DUI treatment next to liquor store
Odd neighbors: DUI counseling center and Lucky’s Liquors.
In a small strip mall off Ashland Avenue near University Village, a substance-abuse treatment center is located right next door to Lucky’s Liquors. Is this savvy social-services placement or the worst idea ever?—M.C., Pilsen
“I can answer that! I’m an alcoholic!” Diane Jones pipes up in the waiting room of the Chicago Treatment and Counseling Center. The 1225 South Ashland Avenue storefront provides therapy to alcoholics and DUI offenders, and administers methadone maintenance treatment. Today, the 58-year-old is here for the latter. “I go into that store every day, get me a pop and go home,” she says. “It makes me stronger.” The center’s administrative assistant, Regina, seconds the sentiment: “If that doesn’t make an alcoholic stronger, I don’t know what will!” Out in the parking lot, Sarah, a 23-year-old recovering heroin addict fresh from getting her daily dose of methadone, is headed to her car. “It’s not this business’s fault for selling liquor next door,” she says. “People sell heroin around here, but I can avoid it because it’s something I don’t want to do anymore. I came out of here one day and an old dealer of mine was parked in the lot. He’s like, ‘Sarah, what’s up?’ I’m like, ‘What, do you sit here and look for people you used to deal to?’ What it comes down to is willpower. If you want to stop doing something, you will stop.” For the record, Lucky’s Liquors clerk Moe Sema says he doesn’t lose sleep over potentially tempting alcoholics off the wagon.