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Success feels right at home

There’s a house on the road to recovery that’s been helping people find stability, confidence, and a renewed sense of hope

DIXON – It’s been 1 year since the Sinnissippi Recovery Home took in its first wave of residents.

The two-story white vinyl and brown brick house that stands alone on a field of green grass has become a beacon for Sauk Valley’s recovery community. It sits on a sturdy foundation, a visual reminder of the stability the house offers to those attempting to distance themselves from their past.

It can house up to 10 adult men, and since its opening May 30, 2017, 17 have passed through its doors.

“These are family guys,” said Stephanie Englund, Recovery House manager. “They’ve got kids, mothers, fathers. They spend time at church. They spend time developing and healing those relationships that were damaged through their substance use, and that’s kind of where their focus is at.”

Success comes in different forms, but one graduate who completed the program in January set several personals goals, including securing a home and developing a relationship with his child, and “he just texted me last night and said ‘I graduated my GED class … and I’m starting college in the fall,’” Englund said.

“The success for him continues.”

The eight men now living in the house decide on their treatment options as they progress through their recovery; it generally takes between 3 to 9 months to graduate. They participate in 12-step meetings and utilize other support services, with a focus on a relearning process that changes their minds and behavior.

That process is important: Each resident needs to establish new memories to distance himself from the past he’s attempting to overcome, Englund said,

“When you are living a life of just unmanageability, continuous substance abuse, feeling isolated, your thinking kind of goes down, so it takes a lot of effort and attention to battle that down.”

The men often reach a point in their journey to sobriety where they feel stable and begin to wonder ‘What’s next?’” recovery home specialist Jeff Woods said.

He tries to find out what they liked to do before their substance abuse took over, and reintroduce them to old hobbies, or new ones.

“This is a second life to them,” Woods said. “Getting sober, then unlearning, then relearning how it is to live.”

Tristan Blakley, 23, of Clinton, Iowa, is one of the residents who found himself questioning what’s next.

He had a few months clean from meth before he came to the recovery house 5 months ago. The father of two said he’s learned a lot because of the exposure he’s had to different people through various meetings at the house.

“They help you get on a daily routine, which is something I thinks addicts need,” Blakley said.

He wasn’t always a fan of the routine.

He said when he first came to the house, he just didn’t listen; he thought he knew what he needed to do. Over time, though, he came to realize that he “wanted to be clean” and he needed to change everything about his life, he said.

One of the things he’s gained is stability.

“I think the biggest thing it’s given me is a boost in confidence – that no matter you do, you’re going to have someone back you up.”


Did you go to inpatient treatment to stop using alcohol and other substances? If you returned home, would you be likely to start using again? Do you need to develop a daily routine and strong recovery support to help you live life sober?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, then the Recovery Home may be what you need.

The Recovery Home is a therapeutic living environment and a place to practice recovery skills while living in a sober, safe, and structured living environment.

Among other things, residents must:

• Attend 12-step/alternative support meetings

• Have weekly contact with a sponsor/alternative support

• Have or work toward a legitimate means of financial support (work, public assistance, social security, etc.)

• Pay monthly program fees in a timely manner

• Take part in the Intensive Outpatient Group treatment and After Care

• Help cleaning his apartment and common living areas

• Not possess or use of alcohol or other illicit substances

For more information or to apply for a spot at the Sinnissippi Recovery House, go to or call 815-994-4129.



Funding for Sinnissippi Recovery Home comes from a variety of sources, including the state, the United Way of Lee County, local health and mental health boards, and Kreider Services, which rents the home to Sinnissippi.

The goal is to expand to a second recovery home for women.

Donations to the nonprofit Sinnissippi Foundation can made at or sent to The Sinnissippi Foundation, 325 Illinois Route 2, Suite 100, Dixon, IL 61021.

Call 815-284-9380 to learn more.

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