The Giving Tree is a woman’s sober living in Santa Barbara, California. Established in 2003, it operates two houses on one property. The Giving Tree offers women an opportunity to live in a structured communal environment without the influence of alcohol or drugs, and a chance to work on their recovery.
Accommodations and Amenities
The Giving Tree includes a pale yellow house that has 16 women and a smaller residence that holds 11 clients. There is a large secluded yard on the property with patio tables, chairs and lush green trees providing shade. The interior of the houses are eclectic yet comfortable and one of the living rooms features a fish tank, an oriental rug, a Buddha perched on an end table and tree-themed artwork hanging from the walls.
Women are grouped according to age, as well as length of sobriety, with the belief that residents with more abstinence can provide support to newcomers. Accommodations range between two and four clients to a room. Furnishings vary per room and may include a bunk bed, twin beds, or a combination of the two, an armoire, a TV and makeshift closet space.
At The Giving Tree, the kitchen is stocked thanks to donations from the local community. Food items include milk, cheese, bread, eggs, fruits, vegetables and coffee. Residents typically purchase their own meats and other desired groceries. Each house has a live-in house manager.
Rules and Regulations
Prior to admittance, clients must have completed detox. Typical length of stay is between six months and one year, but several clients have lived at The Giving Tree for two years or more. Weekly requirements for unemployed clients include attending five outside 12-step meetings plus five in-house meetings, having a meeting commitment and acquiring, as well as actively working with a sponsor. Clients who work, are in school full time or attend an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at a treatment center follow the same curriculum, except they are only required to attend three outside meetings. Many clients attend IOP at Phoenix of Santa Barbara, a psychiatric care facility, which provides a low-cost dual diagnosis outpatient program for those with co-occurring disorders and chemical dependency.
At The Giving Tree, random drug testing is conducted between two and three times per week. Alcohol testing is done every night after curfew. There is zero tolerance for clients testing positive. During the first two weeks, a strict 9:30 pm curfew is observed Sundays through Saturdays. After that time, the curfew is 10:30 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and 11 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Additionally, after 30 days, residents are granted 48 hour passes. The 30-day cost is $750, not including a $150 security deposit, which is refundable provided that The Giving Tree receives a minimum of seven days vacancy notice from a client.
The houses are located close to the beach, and clients are asked to bring beach towels. Aside from that, they women are cautioned to avoid bringing extra luggage and an excessive amount of clothing due to limited storage space.
The Giving Tree is designed for women who are seeking a close knit, 12-step oriented atmosphere. This is not a luxury sober living, even though Santa Barbara is an upscale beachfront city. For those who want an affordable option for no-nonsense recovery housing, this is a great choice.
The Giving Tree
327 East Victoria Street Unit C
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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Photo courtesy of GivingTreeSBL
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