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Sober Living America Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Counseling, Human Services, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Treatment

Mission: Join Sober Living America and Fight the Addiction Epidemic - Stand Up/Friends Care. SLA grew out of the need to provide a safe, sober and structured living environment for men and women who are beginning their recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse, regardless of their financial condition. Their target recipient is unemployed or underemployed, often homeless, and without the means to utilize expensive medical recovery facilities. With facilities in 15 locations in the Southeast and housing more than 800 residents, Sober Living America strives to provide a hand up for those who want a sober, productive life.

Results: 80,000 Families Served 15 Locations 800 Beds Serving over 5,000 families annually

Target demographics: homeless/destitute suffering with substance abuse

Direct beneficiaries per year: 5,000families suffering the pains of addiction

Geographic areas served: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee

Programs: Housing, education (recovery, spiritual, and life skills), Jobs programs, transportation services

Community Stories

802 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Socki G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have battled with D/A off and on for 25 years. 3 years ago, I lost my eye sight, my career and my marriage with in 6 months. I left Baltimore and moved back to S. C. where I am from. The first 6 months I stayed C/S. The emotional pain was to much for me to handle and I relapsed once again. After going through my divorce settlement and all of my alimony, on dope, at age 50 and realizing that I had to start all over again was to much for me to bare. After trying to commit slow suicide, feeling I had lost all hope, my friends came to me letting me know that I needed help and they would not let up until I did. After two months of trying to get into detox and because I had no money or insurance left, I finally found a place that would take me. They would only let me stay for 6 days. My counselor knew that I needed longer term and knew if I didn't find another safe place to go that I would not stand a chance. After calling quite a few places, I finally called Sober Living America in Jacksonville, Fla. I told the Director of Jax my story and that I had no money or insurance and he said it's ok. Come on down and WE will figure out the rest. After I got there, a couple of weeks later I met Jim the owner. I told him my story also. Even though I was now legally blind and knew that it would be hard for me to get a job anywhere because now i am a liability, Jim offered me a chance to be a volunteer at the facility in Atlanta. I was scared to say the least. Initially I did not think it would work out. I felt so out of sorts because I worked for the railroad for a long time and had no office skills. Jim would not give up on me. He suggested that I started doing intake and we will go from there. Well it has been two years later and I still volunteer as the admissions director for our facility in Birmingham Alabama. Jim and the other volunteers at Sober Living America have stuck by me through a lot of changes. Good, bad or indifferent. Even after all of my family, most of my childhood friends etc. had given up on me-Jim and Sober Living America NEVER did. I never thought that my life would go in this direction. I was angry, resentful and bitter because of the path that I paved for myself but Sober Living America was patient and understanding. They loved me until I could learn to love myself. Just sometimes I did not like the way they were loving on me. Even at my age I had to learn to live and live life on life's terms. It has not always been a smooth ride for the last couple of years since I have been at Sober Living America but I have grown tremendously in my recovery, my relationships and just life period. Now I see why there are residents who have been with us for years because of the love and compassion that is shown there and that it is a safe place to be. Even IF I left tomorrow I could never repay Sober Living America for what they have done for me. I wish who all come through our doors receive the blessings that I have but unfortunately not everyone who comes is there for the right reasons. I do know that if WE bring a sincere desire to change our lives and behavior that GOD will take care of the rest. Thanks to Jim and Sober Living America! I am forever grateful!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to work with Sober Living America after doing contract video work with Jim and Cassy in 2013. From the very first time I met with them at their Atlanta location, I have been greatly impacted by the amazing work they are doing in the addiction community. I have heard from countless members in the community that they helped save their lives- by providing them with a second chance at getting their life back on track. This is an organization truly focused on getting individuals sober- not a spa or resort for people to go to say they are in recovery. It is so rare to find a place that will take individuals right away, regardless of their financial situations- which is exactly the principle SLA was founded on. Truly, this is an organization that is focused on changing lives and doing all they can for their community.

5

Client Served

Rating: 1

When i first got to "sober living" everything appeared to be good. They put on a good show in front of people who just vet tbere. As a little time went by i quickly realized how disorganized this hplace really is. the staff has sex with the clients. the clients do what they want including get high. SOber living is not so er at all. they have bed bugs. mold. the apts. are run down. the staff are all early in there sobriety. if you really want to get sober this is not the. place for you. Staff also gets high with sometimes no consequences. ask me this place is a joke and a scam. the owners get rich scheme but they are playing with peoples lives. 2 thumbs down. shut this place down

Review from Guidestar

2 Keith38

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first realized that I had a drug problem and lost everything.S LA was there for me.One person in particularThat changed the way I think about things.Jim asked me if I would like to go to church with him keep in I thought this guy was a little off but I went anyway after all he was the founder o f this amazing organization it was July 4I'm a guy from north Carolina in the atl at that moment my life changed

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sober Living America is a sober living community that allows men and women that struggle with alcohol and/or drug addiction to live in an environment that promotes sobriety, stability and responsibility. I needed a "safe" place that had a zero tolerance for alcohol and/or drug use. I needed to be in a place that would require more accountability for me that just going straight back home would. I wanted to become employable again and learn to be responsible with the money I earned. The time I have spent at Sober Living America has allowed all this and much more to happen for me. I have become am employable person, my self esteem is much improved and I have found happiness without drugs and/alcohol. The love of the other residents here, held me over until I could love myself, which was a process that, I believe, has been possible thru working the twelve steps of A.A. I know this is an ongoing journey that will continue for the rest of my life and that with God's help and the fellowship I can don this one day at a time.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have never been in a place like this. I walked into a lot of open arms and very loving people. I have been happy since I got here and I am not leaving anytime soon. My sobriety is what I came here to get and I know that this place is where I will get it.

1 Bree H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sober Living America has given my kids their mom back, my parents their daughter back and me my life back. They took a huge chance on me by allowing me to come in with NOTHING! I called so many programs and they all wanted money. The community there is amazing, we held each other accountable and helped build each other up. I am thankful for sober living America and those that serve people like me.

Review from Guidestar

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been an avid drug user for over 15 years and have been trying to quit for about 10 of those. I was using meth and Xanax, I came to sober living b/c I had to not because I wanted to at first. But once I got here it was a new found happiness. I was welcomed with complete open arms, not judged, not criticized, and felt right at home. I love Sober Living America! I have a new family and this family I have chosen. I would recommend this place to any one that is wanting to get help.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Sober Living America is the only place that was willing to take me in with no money and no insurance.
People need to be willing to get clean and sober to stay that way. This place does not have locks on their doors, however they do hold us accountable. Drug use is not tolerated in any form around the community. You do have freedom to come and go after 30 days of being a resident and that has helped me get connected with the 12 step community. Not only did they help me find a job but they took me to meetings, made sure I had everything I needed to be comfortable, and helped me grow in a relationship with Christ. I am forever thankful for this organization and the people that serve there.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I been here about 44 days. This is a really friendly group of people. I felt alone and empty when I came here and from the moment I walked in the door I felt like I was home. I never knew what AA and recovery was like but I am learning to live life on life's terms.
Jim and kristy seem to really care and that's important to me

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I chose Sober Living America for long term recovery because my initial phone call to seek help was nothing but helpful. Amanda, the intake coordinator, immediately grabbed my attention as she explained strength and hope to me through this program. I was sold! When I arrived, I was a mess. Monty and April, two staff members, were unbelievably nice to me and went out of their way to help, and at that time I had no idea that they were staff members. I have been here for 2 months now, and am in the middle of working the steps, having daily engagements with my sponsor, and have been reconnected with my High Power. I am forever grateful for a organization like this that will take anyone, even without a job/money/food/clothes, and breathe life into this killer disease.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Came to Sober Living beat down and ashamed. Was greeted by the community with open arms. Worked the 12 steps and got plugged in with the fellowship. Have had a total spiritual awakening and couldn't be happy with the way my new life in sobriety has turned out.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

SLA let me in with no money and has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. The staff is in recovery and are very compassionate. I am now working a full time job and paying my own way for the first time in years. I am working the steps with my sponsor and have really made some progress.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had no place to go and they let me in. If it had not been for them I would not be alive today clean and sober. All the people I talk with said that I had to have $1200.00 to get in and one day someone call them and they said come in and they will see what they can do. They got me into recovery and a higher power and help me on the right path. I drink for 36 years and when I got here they asked me was I sick of they way that I was living. And I said yes and they told me that was the first step.

Review from Guidestar

Cassy F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization took me in with no insurance and no money walking in the door. They plugged me into recovery and lead in a relationship with Jesus Christ. They saved my life!!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 2

Not the most easy place to maintain sobriety. A good amount of substance abuse/using goes on - even with the staff.

If you're strong or this is not your first recovery program, you may find this environment helpful.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

Walking into this community, and from the beginning, I was treated with great value. To say this was an easy resolution to make in my life would be a falsehood; however, the staff and residents here showed me a sympathetic understanding that I had not experienced before concerning my addiction.

The program at this community gave me an immeasurable experience to many 12-step groups, a fellowship of peers whom I consider my great friends now and a greater understanding of my higher-power through faith.

Most importantly, I have come to be accountable, love myself and found rejuvenation with those I love as well as my new family here – clean and sober – just by doing it one day at a time.

sobertoday

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience has been something I didn't expect. When I first got here my disease wanted me to pick this place apart and return to active addiction, fortunately I stayed . I now have a full time job that allows me to pay my $165.00 a week fees and learn how to responsibly manage my money. I have 3 great roommates that I have formed great bonds with that I think I will carry with me for he rest of my life. I have been a slave to meth for 15 years, today I am a slave to nothing. I enjoy life today. I have reunited with my family and that is something never dreamed of. They actually want me around today.
I never knew recovery could be fun.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

This place is just plain NASTY! Bed Bugs, Roaches and Mold. The owner sets you up in an apartment with 8-10 other guys. ( Did I mention it is only a two bedroom apartment with 5 beds) Charges you $200 plus per week, lets you stay a week or two to get you into the hole and then lets you get a job through their always relapsing work development team. (Mike & Steve) Both who could care less about sobriety. Mike Thomas has been back with thius place 3 or four times even after stealing peoples rent money and money from the community. Steve has relapsed so many times I couldn't even count , but they still let him back. So, if you are serious about recovery, Stay away from Sober Living America and their Owner Jim who is the biggest liar and crook I've ever seen......

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a client for four plus years and this program literally saved my life. Not knowing where to go when released from the treatment facility, I reached out and SLA was there. Quite the program for those really wanting to make changes in their lives and thanks in part to them, I am clean and sober today.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I had spent over 15 years of my life drinking beer morning, noon and night, and had finally lost everything over a DUI. When no one else would consider helping me without insurance, Sober Living welcomed me in with open arms and gave me the tools to start living a sober lifestyle. I call it organized freedom community living.
You are given the opportunity to take your life seriously and beat addiction once and for all. Working and paying bills is a part of real life, having to work some humbling jobs at times pays for your program fees and also allows the next person to come in without a dime to their name. Once you have settled in, their Career Development program will work with you and your skills and help place you in a rewarding job.
I can't thank this community enough for all they have done for me and the countless people I have seen come through the doors!

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Get out of it what you put in it. I had to set my expectations properly. I had no where else to go. Homeless, hungry, and high. Gave me a chance. Luckily I took it.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is what save my life. I would not be alive to with out this place. Still work to help the next person.

2

Client Served

Rating: 1

The facility in Jacksonville, Fl is not a rehab based facility. It is no more than a labor camp. The program reguires that you work for a company called Pacesetters Personell Services in which you pay goes directly to the program. It is mandatory that you work for this company instead of trying to better yourself

Comments ( 1 )

profile

Jim at Sober Living 01/04/2014

Hello Big Hunter - This is Jim deVarennes. I am sorry that you had a poor experience. For me, I have to remember, that my thinking is what got me into trouble in the first place. I was mad at everyone, and I was sure it was everyone's fault but mine. Please feel free to call or email me, most residents have my phone number. To be clear Sober Living America is faith-based community service organization that helps individuals suffering with substance abuse - even when they have no money. We provide recovery, food, housing, life skills, career development, and transportation. Our entire mission is to connect you with the 12 step community. Everyday in Jacksonville Florida there is a 7:00 a.m. spiritual meeting, an 8:00 a.m. Big Book Study, a 2:00 life skills DVD(Often Andy Stanley), and an outside or onsite 12 step meeting. In Atlanta we add a noon outside 12 step meeting. On Sunday, we encourage and provide transportation to church or whatever spiritual facility you prefer. For those working during the day, there are mandatory 12 step meetings every night. When a person comes in with no funds and no family support, we can only afford to give them 3 to 5 days before they are required to go to work. We ask your families or friends to support you so you can focus 100% on recovery. We prefer you not work for 90 days while you learn a new way to live, but we understand that many do not have any support. That's why we are here. We have a dedicated Work Development volunteer who daily calls on business owners requesting they consider our residents for a job. Many become Community Partners and today provide full-time good paying jobs to many of our residents. In between Atlanta & Jacksonville over 70 people have received full-time jobs. Yes we do require that you pay your fees - I know this seems hard, but that is part of being responsible. When you pay, it also makes it possible for the next newcomer to come in with no money. Your money also pays for the cost of our van, the fuel, your utility bills, your apartment, etc. We do NOT take peoples checks, they pay their bills and they keep the rest. Our charge is stated up front so everyone knows the fees. People have accused us saying that you make them pay - no that's not true. Life is full of choices. If I choose not to pay my rent, by landlord will evict me. Sorry, didn't mean to get preachy. We do make mistakes, and with the help of great volunteers, our facilities and programs are getting better everyday. We love you & you be good to yourself because you are worth it today. Jim

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hi - I'm Jim deVarennes - President & Founder of Sober Living America. Since this is a review, I’ll try to be as objective and unbiased as I can, but I have to admit, I feel absolutely blessed & humbled to be part of working with a great group of caring volunteers who serve families in distress in our communities.
Okay – some good stuff about Sober Living America.
The Good:
Our leadership has been doing this since 1994. I guess what that means is we made a bunch of mistakes and prayerfully hope that we have learned from those mistakes. We have also tested many systems for years, and we really do know how to help people find recovery and rebuild their families.
I love the Vision of Sober Living America……
Vision: No Money – No Problem.
For those interested, In 1993 I witnessed a young man enter a sober living facility looking for help. He had his wife & 5 year old girl. I had a 5 year old girl at the time. They told him that he would have to have money, and that it would take 3 weeks before they could help. His head dropped into his hands, his wife hugged him and cried, and the little girl ran up and asked, “Why are you crying mommy”. That was it for me. I had already seen hundreds turned away, but when I saw the impact on the family, my life was changed. God puts things on your heart sometimes, and I believe I was called to serve. Heck, most of us have been affected by a loved one or friend that has suffered. We all know someone.

I Love the Daily Classes at Sober Living.
We have a 7:00 am spiritual, 8:30 Big Book, 12:00 Outside AA/NA meeting, 2:00 DVD with Andy Stanley, and an 8:00 outside AA/NA meeting. It’s effective.

I Love our Community Partners
These are business leaders who give our residents another chance for a career and support our organization.

I Love the Volunteers
This group works to provide housing, utilities, food, recovery services, transportation, and work development – regardless of people’s financial condition. Gotta love that! They are amazing! Visit them at www.soberlivingamerica.org.

I could keep saying good things and talk about No Waiting List, but it would start to sound like a commercial not a a review.

The Bad:

Our facilities are tired and need improving. It’s happening, but I seem to want everything yesterday.

Our programs can always be more engaging. We are working on that – one day at a time.

All of us Volunteers seemed to forget sometimes (myself included), that God is in charge, that there is a bit of good in the worst of us, a bit of bad in the best of us, but we are all children of God and we have a right to be here. (That’s from the AA Big Book – Dr. Paul O – great man).

Come see us – checks us out for yourself. We belong to our community, always pray that we serve families in need with love and compassion. Jim