Happy Sunday, everyone!
As I shared in Family. Reunited., the first nine months of 2018 was full of family, trips, more family, and more trips. Life was as full as ever. While I was up north at our cabin resort, I took a call from an old friend, one of the closer ones I had in my recovery. He was playing his own game of self-improvement and challenging the limits of what's possible. In doing so, he came to me with an idea. A sober house, one where people could come and stay as a transition from life in treatment to life in the real world. He had an idea and a few people he thought could contribute. He wanted to meet and move quickly, as he put a timeline on this idea, wanting a house to be opened by early November. It was early September and we had no plans, no experience, no idea where the house would come from, and really no set process to follow.
I met with him and a few others over the next couple weeks. He had a lawyer who could help with legal advice and business structure. He had an acquaintance willing to partner to purchase a house. And, most importantly, he found a few people he thought could generate and maintain the energy to open and sustain a sober house. It was exciting and scary at the same time. Opening a business, taking all the steps to license a sober house, working with others on startup operations, and coming up with a long term plan - these were all things none of us had experience with. And, it wasn't going to stop us.
We met weekly, put plans in place, did our diligence, and off we went. My good friend and his business partner started the search for a house. I filed the business with state and federal agencies on 9/28/18. Healing Homes Network, LLC was official. There was no turning back!
Many late nights, early mornings, and long weekly meetings put some strain on my relationship. But the project moved on. We held a mini fundraiser on Halloween to get some of our initial needs taken care of. We opened a business account, established ownership, and started to fall into our roles. There were four of us business owners, and two partners searching for the house. They found that house near the end of October. It was definitely real, then.
By early November, we were in the licensing process, working on prepping the house, and building a bit of a network. We set a date for an open house and turned the notches up a bit. One of the business owners took on all the decorating. She was a designer by nature. She also convinced four men that the sober house should be for women. There we were, two months into an idea with a date set to show the world what we had.
The open house date came in the middle of December. So many things to accomplish before that, and so much anticipation for that day. I was at work that morning and began to feel a little crummy. By lunch, shortly before I was to leave, I was lying on a couch, feeling like something was really hitting me. I went home. I got sick. No way this could happen!! I was going. I started the drive and 15 minutes in, I had to turn back. I was incredibly sick with a stomach bug, something I hadn't had in a long time. The open house would go on without me.
Within a week, we had our house manager move in, and our very first resident. We officially opened 1/1/19, though we had a couple residents by then. By 1/4/19, all eight beds in the home were spoken for. It was incredibly baffling to have had such a rush of women into the home. We anticipated a couple months of buildup. Everything about the place was beautiful. It really was a home. Not a sober house, but a sober home.
And there we were, business owners serving women who needed it most. And it all happened in just a few months. If there was ever doubt about powerful ideas coming to fruition by simply generating and putting those ideas into practice, it was gone. What a gift this world provided us and the women who would be served. It's a gift I'll never forget.
It wouldn't all be smooth sailing, though. 2019 for the business would provide some challenges, as would life. But along with it would come amazing opportunities. Stay tuned for more!! In the meantime, check out the website for Healing Homes Network, which includes more info about our homes and owners: http://healinghomesnetwork.com/
Peace and love,