Rehabilitation Services

The Harbor Light Center in Chicago is one of the largest Salvation Army substance abuse recovery programs in the United States. For more than 70 years, it has been providing comprehensive, specialized services to persons seeking to overcome the disease of alcohol and substance abuse.

A sequence of programs enables clients to set and achieve personal, positive objectives to overcome their addiction, reestablish their lives and return to the community as productive citizens.

The Harbor Light Center provides intensive substance abuse treatment and follows up with support during the critical period as clients reintegrate into the mainstream community.

Services Include:

Intake And Orientation


Harbor Light ProgramA review board, composed of representatives from all Harbor Light Center departments, conducts daily reviews of individuals applying for the recovery program. Generally, applicants are accepted unless their problem is clearly something other than substance abuse. We do accept dual diagnosed clients (mental health and substance abuse). In such cases, we refer them to the appropriate agencies for additional assistance.

Applicants may not be admitted to Harbor Light Center while intoxicated. If detoxification is needed, we refer them to area detox centers.

Intensive Rehabilitation Unit

Our Intensive Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) provides residential treatment to those who are detoxified and in need of basic education, counseling and help to achieve changes in attitude or behavior. The IRU accepts high-risk clients who may have failed in other treatment programs, but now seem ready to face their substance abuse problems.

A full program of activities and services help prepare residents for productive and independent or semi-independent living. The IRU serves 20 men, who are required to stay in the unit from 21 to 45 days.

Minority Alcoholism Treatment Program

Harbor Light Program

This six-month residential program is designed to meet the needs of minority males age 21 and older, who are able and willing to work. Handicapped, mentally ill and retired clients may also enroll in the program, but are not required to seek employment. The program serves 20 men.

The program focuses on relapse prevention and enhancement of each person’s quality of life. Clients receive a minimum of 25 hours of treatment each week and are assisted in their search for employment training and education.

Half-Way And Three-Quarter Way Houses

The Harbor Light Center Halfway and Three-Quarter houses offer structured living. Following an orientation period, clients move into private rooms, while paying program fees.

They may stay for up to two years if they need structure and rehabilitation, participate in the program, adhere to regulations against substance abuse and abide by rules that promote better community living.

Employment Services

Harbor Light Program

The Harbor Light Center offers two types of transitional jobs programs to assist clients in their employment needs.

One program provides job training on specific skills in food service, maintenance or clerical professions. The second program offers a work experience with a community partner. The Salvation Army subsidizes the wages of the client while he is working for up to eight weeks. If the client proves himself, the partner may hire the person directly.

Both programs include training in resume writing, interviewing skills, appropriate job behaviors, conflict resolution and other skills necessary for employment stability.

Signs to Get Help

Identifying the Problem

Do you believe that a loved one, or perhaps even you, may have an alcohol or substance abuse problem? Listed below are some of the signs to look for when identifying a problem.

Signs of drug use
Some of the following signals may help identify a drug problem in yourself or in someone close to you:

  • Marked changes in attitude
  • Spending lots of time alone in a room
  • Lying
  • Boisterous or belligerent behavior
  • Being secretive about movements and friends
  • Strange or secretive phone calls
  • Stealing
  • Not caring for others – family members, friends, etc.
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Emotional outbursts, mood swings
  • Changes in group of friends, loss of interest in old friends
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Skipping classes, skipping school
  • Skipping work or school on Mondays
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irregular sleep patterns and eating habits
  • Dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Constant sniffing, runny eyes and nose, difficulty fighting infection

Drug paraphernalia to look for includes: rolling papers, pipes, bong (marijuana); small spoons, razor blades, mirror, little bottles of white powder, plastic/glass/metal straws (stimulants, eg. cocaine and amphetamines); syringes, bent spoons, bottle caps, eye droppers, rubber tubing, cotton and needles (narcotics, eg. heroin).

Signs of Alcohol Dependence
Some or all of the following points may indicate alcohol dependence:

  • Drinking excessive amounts (in excess of guidelines for safe drinking)
  • Drinking one type or brand of alcoholic beverage (eg. Beer, wine, etc.)
  • Drink-seeking behavior (hanging out with others who drink, only going to events that include drinking, etc.)
  • Increased tolerance (drinking increasing amounts to gain same effect)
  • Decreased tolerance (drinking decreasing amounts brings the same effect)
  • Withdrawal symptoms (getting physical symptoms after going a short time without drinking)
  • Drinking to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as drinking to ‘cure’ a hangover, or to stop the shakes)
  • Some awareness of craving for alcohol or inability to control drinking habits (whether or not you admit it to others)
  • A return to drinking after a period of abstinence (deciding to quit and not being able to follow through)