It takes a lot to resist temptation. That we can all attest to. Open conversation, positive encouragement, and community all lend in very powerful ways to maintaining but at the end of the day, it’s hard. The majority of us enjoy the occasional libation or illicit substance and that’s all well and good. But at a certain point a line needs to be drawn and, as much as we all could probably benefit from it, keeping ourselves in check is incredibly difficult.
Luckily, places like The Other Side exist. Sober bars where recovering addicts or individuals interested in sobriety can hang out over non-alcoholic beverages. This particular bar, which launched in 2013, is run as part of nonprofit New Directions Addiction Recovery Services, and is meant to give recovering addicts a place to kick it and connect with a community that’s there for them.
“It’s a good, healthy environment,” said Chris Reed, president of NDARS and recovering addict. “You get that family-type feeling. It’s the exact same concept as your local neighborhood bar except without alcohol.”
In a recent HuffPost interview Dr. Keith Humphreys, a psychiatrist and addiction expert at Stanford Health Care, explained that going out or meeting people can be difficult for recovering addicts and that typical bars or clubs are high-risk environments for relapse. “There are places where a huge portion of socializing occurs around drinking and/or party drugs — college campuses, factory towns, upscale urban areas — and that poses a challenge for people in recovery,” Humphreys said.
That’s where The Other Side plays a crucial role. The bar is open from Thursday through Sunday and on top of non-alcoholic drinks visitors can play darts, pool or ping pong. The bar also hosts bigger events once a month, including movie nights, drag shows, comedy nights and live music. Any profits made from the bar go toward other recovery services. During the other days of the week, people who have purchased a monthly $10 membership can come into the venue to do recovery work or talk with their sponsors. There’s also a family support group that meets at the venue along with a 12-step program.
The Other Side is in Crystal Lake, Illinois but for more info on sober venues around you visit the NDARS website or your local AA or NA. Resisting temptation can be a bitch, but programs like these make it a little more manageable.