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Where The Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day

By Alicia Dorr in News on Nov 21, 2006 8:30PM

Somewhere near the Iowa border, 160 miles from the increasingly cold streets of Chicago, there is a 15-acre farm that has one mission: helping women turn their lives around.

It's a rehabilitation center with a waiting list, designed to help women break addictions and quit prositution. light_at_end_of_tunnel_12.jpg While the women don't have to milk cows or tend to pigs with whatever it is pigs need, they do contribute with their share of daily chores. The farm is run by people who are all too familiar with the problems of the street: Rico Altiery and his wife Alice - who spent many years trying to get her husband off heroin and out of the Latin Kings - and Doris Nazario, one of the first women to make it through the rehabilitation program.

Of course, you might have guessed, the farm isn't just a farm - it's the New Life Covenant Assemblies of God Church. We always try to reserve judgement on the effect of religion on addictions, or once someone "finds God." We've never strayed far from the "it's the only thing that works" philosophy behind AA because, we figure, if it works for you, then it works for you, and who can argue with that?

What we really like is the community aspect of healing, like the house that offers help and a home for sex offenders in Maine. While that project has drawn mainly criticism, we think there's a lot to be said about having time to heal in a controlled environment that is not a hospital or a jail. With the recidivism rate of most addictions, many people need an alternative to mainstream society for awhile so they can get back on their feet.

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