I came to St. Paul 12 years ago after years of heroin addiction in Boulder, New York, and Los Angeles left me without a life. I was welcomed into the sober community by others with very similar stories who rebuilt their lives. The beginning was tough. I had to accept where I was and what I thought I’d lost. I surrounded myself with people who wanted a better life and I hung on tight. Things got better quickly and I began to see real change. Eventually it became clear, this was less about using and more about having a life. Any addict will tell you, to feel comfortable just standing and breathing in this world is something precious and wonderful. I now have a life that fits me and feels like mine.
SPSL started very organically. I wanted to get more involved in the sober community and took a part time gig as a tech with Hazelden. At the time, I had a job on a small construction crew that led to managing rental properties for an out of town owner. They allowed me to use one of the properties as a sober house and that became the Juno House. I found great local help and the company grew very quickly with a lot of encouragement from the community. We worked hard and built St Paul Sober Living into a very cool operation of several houses both in MN and CO with over 100 beds. I’ve since traveled all over the country visiting treatment centers and attending industry conferences to learn how things work from the referent’s perspective and gather lots of input and advice as SPSL grew. I have made many friends along the way and we have great relationships with treatment providers across the US. We are proud of what we’ve done here and we continue to ask ourselves how we can better serve our clients.
In 2010, we started the SPSL PLUS Program out of pure necessity. We noticed that many of our residents who did not last long in the sober houses were in need of more support on several levels. We asked for a lot of input from our referents and designed a program around a great sober house that would give those who needed it an affordable option for a “super sober house”.
At SPSL, we work hard to give our residents the best shot we can at sustainable sobriety and real change. It’s really about actively seeking the solution and always being in that conversation, making good choices about everything and asking for help in doing that. None of us ever won any awards for outstanding decision-making and recognizing that is so cool and so freeing. The group can clearly accomplish what the individual cannot so we do this together, we do this hilariously, and we do this because it works!