Grace House: Living Sober, Powerful and Free

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG)  |  By Elise Spleiss
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Grace House Family and Board of Directors gather to celebrate another day of living sober. -- Photo by Patrick Miller

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Grace House family members Willowlee, Tony and Nikki. -- Photo by Patrick Miller

There is a small but empowering island among the many drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities in Sacramento County. Grace House, located in a quiet residential neighborhood in Carmichael, (formerly Steps to Freedom), is the only full service sober living home in the area for men and women leaving rehab facilities.

The home provides a family living environment where residents can support and encourage one another to stay drug and alcohol free as they transition into being productive members of our community.

Since 2009 Grace House has been giving their residents a reason to stay clean, and not return to their old friends and old ways. Residents who are living and remain drug and alcohol free can live at the 18-bed co-ed home up to twelve months, or possibly longer to better prepare themselves to live safely on their own. They pay $500 or $200 per month, depending on their situation. Two ‘scholarship beds’ are also available.

Grace House is a part of The Way Ministries, which also runs a street ministry for the homeless and a food ministry in several communities. Residents are invited to be a part of these ministries. What sets Grace House apart from other facilities is the sense of pride residents get when working with these outreach programs, being able to give for change instead of just receiving. They serve hot meals to the homeless at Rusch Park twice a week, help distribute 200-300 food boxes weekly to families at Serna Village in McClellan Park, and help with many community projects such as the recent Winter Sanctuary shelter program.

The Winter Sanctuary hosted by the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART) was instrumental in helping get three people off the street into Grace House.

Many residents have never experienced working as a team and helping others, and find that this work leads to their growing feelings of pride and self-esteem. They eventually become a productive, self-sufficient part of their community themselves. Over 100 men and women have graduated from the program since 2009.

Grace House is self-supporting and receives no government or social service agency funding. It is run by a 5-member board of directors representing The Way Ministries and two other ministries. People living in the home have certain rights and protections afforded by The Americans with Disabilities Act and Federal Fair Housing laws. The board ensures all city and state regulations are met.

Chairman of the Board, Patrick Miller, said in an email, “I personally have three people working for me that lived at Grace House and worked to change their lives, because they were able to live clean sober lives and make the changes needed to become productive members of society”. Alex went from robbing banks in Burbank to support a drug habit, to serving 5 years in prison, then living on the street for 5 years using and dealing. He finally found his way to Grace House. After one year of clean living he got a job in the marketing department where he encourages others to not follow in his footsteps.

Miller met Helen as she was getting off federal probation for counterfeiting money to support a 26-year drug habit. She is now a productive member of the community and also supports residents in making the same lifestyle changes she made.

There is still much work to be done. Miller cited the help still needed from the community in continuing their work. He said, “Our goals are to connect with more resources to help folks transition back into productive members of our community, reach out to more ministries and social service programs to be a resource for them, to connect with the neighborhood and become good neighbors, and to continue to help people into sober living”.

Alicia summarizes it well, “What Grace House gave me was an opportunity in a safe place to heal and steady my feet. Surrounded by love and support while growing my relationship with the Lord, I have overcome what I never thought I could. I continue to thrive and grow every day and hope many many others can have the same success. Thank you Grace House!!!

For more information and to view testimonials on Grace House and The Way Ministries, go to www.thewaytribe.com or on Facebook.