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Neighborhood Sober Living Facility
updated: Jan 24, 2013, 1:30 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

What do you think of a sober living facility in your neighborhood. We have one moving in a few doors down and were wondering if there are good ones and bad ones?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 367050 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 01:37 PM

There are probably good ones and bad ones, like everything. If it was me, I would introduce myself to the owner/manager, and ask for a phone number to call *if* there are any problems. The response you get should give you a clue as to how it will go. Some people in early sobriety are real jerks, but the rest of the community will be looking to put them into better behavior.


 COMMENT 367051 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 01:38 PM

I've lived near two over the years. The first one was poorly run and the police were over there constantly - they ended up getting shut down. The second one was closely monitored - there was a counselor living there and everyone there had to adhere to a curfew. They are still there. It really depends on how the place is run. Keep in mind that quite a few sober living houses have non-voluntary residents (often the last part of their sentence). See what happens when they open. If there are problems, report them to law enforcement. Hope it works out for you and that they will just be good neighbors.


 COMMENT 367054 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 01:45 PM

Vote out Mayor Schneider.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 01:46 PM

I was in one in the early 80's and although we had some criminals in there no one killed the neighbors..And this is a true story. Other people living in or around Santa Barbara were not so lucky..We had acouple serial rapists there too..I was a pretty bad drunk if I was your neighbor you would not want me to fall off the wagon but life is life and anything could happen..Have you looked on Meganslaw.gov website some of your neighbors might be on there.. It wouldn't bother me if there was a half Way house of anytkind in my HOOD As long as they didn't try to change the neighborhood. That is the only thing that would bother me,,,They would probably be wary of moving next to me though.


 COMMENT 367061P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 01:56 PM

I'd rather that then the majority of neighbors who i know nothing about, who are not necessarily "sober", etc.
As I understand it, for decades Federal and State law have prohibited applying differing standards to residents of residential neighborhoods-


 COMMENT 367063 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:01 PM

How is a sober living environment any different than a large family living next door? If you can accept that the kids will be kids, the teens will be teens and the parents will sometimes fight you can accept a safe living environment where folks with serious addiction problems are learning to live normal productive lives.

However there is a difference between a sober living environment and a half way house for convicts. The former is peaceful and healing while the latter can be a madhouse. You might find out which one fits the one coming near you and gain from that knowledge.


 COMMENT 367069 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:07 PM

Personally I don't like it. I live a stones throw from one and it seems like there's all sorts of "comings and goings", police cars stopped in front of it. They have meetings there, so we have extra cars parked at the street.

I don't begrudged people a place to get treatment--but I happen to know that some of it is " court-ordered" and the people don't really want to be there or have an interest in long term recovery.

Why is it okay to put this in a quiet neighborhood, with kids around?Shouldn't it be an extension of a hospital or clinic?


 COMMENT 367073 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:11 PM

@069, I couldn't agree more.


 COMMENT 367074 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:13 PM

Because, while your experience might not be so great 069, plenty of others are able to use sober living homes to turn their lives around and have a functioning, sober life. Giving them an opportunity to live in something resembling the "real" world is a hue boon to a lot of these people.

Yes, there are always going to be bad apples. There always will be. No reason to judge the entire apple tree as rotten though.


 COMMENT 367075P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:18 PM

Could you tell us roughly what area...as in downtown, closer to semi-rural, or suburban tract? Helps to visualize.


 COMMENT 367078 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:26 PM

Buy a gun, while you still can, and learn to use it. Just in case. It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


 COMMENT 367087P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 02:57 PM

Yes, there are good ones! One house away from me, the best, quietest, problem-free neighbors. Granted, it's not a first-phase home.


 COMMENT 367090 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 03:06 PM

There is a sober living house in my neighborhood. I often see some of the inhabitants out on the porch smoking cigarettes. They seem to have traded one addiction for one that is less negative, at least in the short term.

Other than not looking very happy or friendly, they seem to be okay neighbors and I've never seen cops or other enforcement activity at the house.


 COMMENT 367092P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 03:06 PM

Well said 074. The way to teach them to live within our community is not to isolate them, but to welcome them into the community and treat them with the same respect you'd give any neighbor.

Imagine trying to recover and have pride when the rest of the world is trying to get as far away from you as possible.


 COMMENT 367093 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 03:08 PM

I'll be getting out my chainsaw and cutting down that poison apple tree.

People have a problem, I get it. They should get help, inpatient somewhere-- not out in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the people at the house near me, bring their friends over ( who are not in the program but should be). The friends attract the "oldest profession" element and others.

It's not a good thing.


 COMMENT 367096 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 03:22 PM

I interviewed for a night job in a facility for women with drinking/drug problems. The mgr herself was pretty scary, and her warnings about the occupants were enough to discourage me from even trying the job. The facility was a nice home in Noleta---you'd never suspect the occupants were potentially troublesome.


 COMMENT 367098 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 03:46 PM

I guess people would prefer to be living next door to a drunken living house...


 COMMENT 367103 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 04:05 PM

no matter if its a sober living house or a family dwelling there are always good and bad.. lots are closely monitored now by probation dept. lots of recovering people are ordered by court to a sober living others that are lucky go on their own.. either way i wouldnt mind one in my neighborhood.. im a recovering alocolic/ addict (15yrs) i went to school and took alcohol/drug counseling classes to understand my disease because at the time there were only 2 sober living homes for women.. helped me alot.. rather a sober living home then drug house


 COMMENT 367105P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 04:10 PM

I live several houses away from one, on the mesa, and have never experienced or witnessed a problem.


 COMMENT 367111 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 04:37 PM

I lived next to one for four years on state st. Never had a problem, never saw anything sketchy. My upstairs neighbors who were in college and bringing home the "flavor of the day" were more disturbing then the treatment center.


 COMMENT 367114 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 04:44 PM

Ask an alcoholic or addict's family member if these facilities are worth it. As a few have said there are certainly good facilities and bad. Just like there are good people and bad. Court-ordered or not, some people need the addtional structure provided by supervised sober facilities to complete their recovery. If it helps someone regain their health and become a productive member of society again, more power to them. One helped my son find his life again.


 COMMENT 367116 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 04:48 PM

OP here - great input - thanks everyone


 COMMENT 367122 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 05:06 PM

069.... would you rather have a house full of rowdy college kids next door? partying surfers? skate punks? They live in quiet neighbourhoods too you know.


 COMMENT 367148 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 06:20 PM

This is another example of the demise of SB. We are a town of 90,000, yet we have to bare the burden of being overrun by a gutten of social services, most for the down andouille from OTHER jurisdictions.... Why?...wouldn't it make sense to have these services in other, less expensive, less desirable locations? Wouldn't dollars go farther in say Lompoc, Sant Maria or Bakersfield and Fresno....?
We lived in the North County for years before we could afford SB... And now we deal with vagrants downtown, living in landscaping, and if they stay here long enough, living in the home next door for free! Thanks SB Housing Authority!


 COMMENT 367194 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 08:49 PM

I read EdHat regularly and chime in "sometimes", mostly not. It happens, right now, that I have a family member living in my home while she attempts to get into a Sober Living Facility that will take her AND her little girl, so they can grow healthy TOGETHER. Her case worker has talked about this wonderful place in Santa Barbara and is trying to get her in there.

We are in Santa Maria. It seems so far to us, but we want her well. Ironically, I just last night searched the place here on EdHat to see if anything bad popped up... instead I read a few praises and came away hoping she can get in there.

You see, unless it's someone YOU love, you don't get it. Sometimes bad choices are made... sometimes repeatedly. What I am seeing right now is a frightened, yet determined young lady just trying to break free from the addiction that has beaten her down.

I'm not going to get into the why's and wherefore's of how she got where she is... but it's sad that there are so many judgmental folks down there feeling so "above it all" that they don't want the OTHER TAXPAYERS IN THEIR COUNTY to succeed if it means they have to "look at them". Shame on you if the shoe fits.

I was going to "hide my handle" but have decided against that. I have nothing to hide - do you? Did you even pay for your subscription here? I did...


 COMMENT 367204P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 09:21 PM

I live close to Oliver House on the mesa, court-ordered sober living for women with kids, and the only complaint I've heard of from closer neighbors was noise and some commotion in the past, from a lot of comings and goings, more than a family home, but I figure probably a lot less than a home rented to students. Moms and young kids probably have fewer problems than a houseful of men - there wouldn't be kids there if people weren't pretty stable. Whether court-ordered or voluntary, people in a residential communal living situation have made an effort to stay clean to get to that point. Institutions don't teach people to live as sober members of society & aren't a substitute. I've had problems with tenants who were hard-drinking former Delta Force, Rangers and Seals that could probably compete with a halfway house, but these guys didn't have a problem.


 COMMENT 367210 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 09:35 PM

Another thought, and this is @048: according to Wikipedia, "The 2010 census population [of Santa Maria] was 100,062, putting it ahead of Santa Barbara (the county seat) for the first time and making it the largest city in the county. The estimated population of the area is 171,227, which includes Santa Maria, the city of Guadalupe and the unincorporated township of Orcutt."

When you say, "yet we have to bare [sic] the burden of being overrun by a gutten [sic] of social services, most for the down andouille [sic] from OTHER jurisdictions", it clearly demonstrates lack of understand of what a county comprises. We are all in this together. We in Santa Maria contribute to YOUR running. We are a bigger population base and our taxes contribute to the county services you deride. Unincorporated communities, such as Orcutt and Los Alamos, and others, see their tax dollars going to the county and NOT into their own coffers for city growth. They get a small percentage back.

I'm happy for those of you who can afford to live in Paradise, but don't fool yourselves, many of the gang and drug troubles are in YOUR community, too. There is no joy in that statement for me, by the way - I hate what society has become.


 COMMENT 367211 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 09:36 PM

oops... make that @148


 MESARATS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 10:25 PM

Re148. Do I smell some NIMBY? You should move to the Mesa where even the idea of one will be met with a lynch mob group led by the local realtors and nose in everyone's business neighorbors who will then draft a set of draconian rules to submit to local and state agencies. Sober homes are a mixed bad, you only hear about the ones that are a problem. At least when there is a bad egg they can be evicted immediately unlike other bad tenants that can take months to evict. If my big house ever gets empty, I am going to try house that is not a program home, but just people who want to live in a sober enviorment. It was that when I bought it and worked very well.


 MESARATS agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-24 10:40 PM

One more thought. A Parol Officer once suggested to me that I should do a half way home for under age sex offenders because there is a big need, they pay well and since they are underage they do not fall under the reporting under Megan's law. Even though I could come out ahead on my properties, I am not going there. Be care what you protest, you could get much worse.


 COMMENT 367287 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:15 AM

Be good and kind to people. Those who are working to stay sober are working to fix thier lives. Cheer them. Pray for them. Be thankful for them.


 COMMENT 367296P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:24 AM

It depends which organization is running it...the only one I had experience with (not as a resident) had very strict rules about keeping the place nice and quiet.


 COMMENT 367297 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:24 AM

I wouldn't buy a house in a neighborhood that I knew had one up the street. I don't make any apologies for that. I just wouldn't and I'd bet many other buyers wouldn't either.

I am getting tired of babysitting everyone with their recoveries, help me get on my feet, Food stamps now have a cutesy name so no one knows that you can't afford to feed yourself, donate to the food bank, free contraception, Help the starving artist (who has enough $ for paint, beads and weekend activities), help the school, donate to this that and everything else. Like the Flight attendant suggests when those oxygen masks come down: take care of yourself first then reach out to others. Maybe call your family and say "I need a little help." This fella might not have written this post if these people had listened to "Just say No!" or "D.A.R.E." that we funded.


 COMMENT 367314 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:41 AM

MITZI Santa Maria and Lopoc contribute both good and bad to the County. The "Chumash" casino contributes nothing but a magnet for all manner of crime, drug and alcohol abuse and a place where so many people can go to lose their money, particularly many who cannot afford to lose their money needed for necessitites of life. The casino has now been packed with "penny" slot machines and a few nickle machines to make it affordable to all the drug and gambling addicts that frequent the place and a number of old people who, apparently and unfortunately, can find nothing else to do with their time. Despite the fact they are a major contributor to crime and substance abuse they pay none of the taxes needed for all of the public services and infrastructure they place demands on daily. That is certainly much more worrysome than a six person sober living house!


 COMMENT 367320 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 09:56 AM

I know I would hate it. I lived at Sally (Salvation Army Hospitality House) on Lower Chapala for a bit and the sober living facilities are money makers, there is no support and strict, truly silly rules that are outlandish cause people to fall to old ways. VERY FEW are successful. Makes me shudder. Haley St sober living house had a murder.


 COMMENT 367335 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:17 AM

I've had both bad and good experiences with living near a sober living facility. When I was living in San Diego a sober living home moved in next to the quiet and safe apartment complex I had lived in for years. Within days my boyfriends car along with several other cars were broken into. My boyfriend's car was broken into 3 times and mine was broken into once. It was so bad, the complex manager hired a security guard for the evenings. The theives caught were all from the sober living home. They would sneek out at night, steal and get high. Needless to say, we moved.

The flip side to that story is where I'm living now (in Downtown SB) and have been living for 7 years. Across the street is a long established sober living facility that is well run. I knew it was there when I moved in because of a business connection but most people have no idea what it is. They are very quiet and respectful and we have had no problems with the patients there. Get involved and good luck!


 COMMENT 367354 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 10:56 AM

LOL @ 297- obviously you never went through the "just say no" and "D.A.R.E." programs that you refer to, for if you had you would know what a joke they really are. The only thing I got from participating in D.A.R.E. that I can remember was a breakdown of the appearance, ease of access, method of use (inhalation, insufflation, injection, ingestion), and effect of each kind of popular drug on the streets. It made kids who had no prior knowledge of drugs get just enough accurate information to become curious about trying the ones that sounded 'cool'. I have had many many more friends and acquaintances get addicted to drugs and alcohol who went through the D.A.R.E. program than the ones who did not.

To the OP- I agree with those that say that these homes are a mixed bag and it truly depends on management style and the organization running the place. This is a worthy post and I am glad that you brought it up and are reading many perspectives on this.


 COMMENT 367376P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 11:27 AM

They really are a mixed bag. In my neighborhood, there are 4, including the Sally. It's the best neighbor by far. One of the sober living facilities has a police or ambulance response out front almost weekly. They had a murder 4 years ago onsite. Some of their clientele migrates down the street, and engages in drug use. There's no oversight or real counseling going on. Their next-door neighbor is also a sober-living home, and you'd barely know they were there except for the crowd of smokers out front. There's another one, a makeshift home in a Pini property, and there is little sober-living going on in there! People are remanded to these things by drug courts, and so you might get neighbors that care little about your area. Or you might get a really good one, like 2 of ours.


 COMMENT 367378 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 11:34 AM

There no bad one's, only bad people!


 COMMENT 367384 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-25 11:40 AM

@354..."that we funded" was the clue to my facetiousness! :>)


 COMMENT 367716P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-01-26 11:33 AM

122, you have some kind of bone to pick? going to college, surfing and/or skating aren't crimes against humanity. i know it's a strain on your cognition but making generalized statements that demonize people who want an education or enjoy board sports is lame.


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