Founded in 2013 in Torrance, California by Katherine Donahue, who has been clean and sober for six and a half years, Sarah Marie House offers upscale, gender-specific sober living to women and men with co-occurring disorders. Donahue opened the house so that she could make sure that other newcomers did not face the challenges she did when she was newly sober. Donahue is passionate about helping clients overcome their obstacles, while they rebuild healthy lives. She holds degrees from UCLA and the Southwestern School of Law, and is an attorney in good standing with the State Bar of California. These are dreams that she was able to accomplish, since being in recovery.
Accommodations and Amenities
Sarah Marie House includes one 2,300 square foot, two story, five bedroom house that accommodates six women, and another large house that holds six men. The women’s house is on a half acre, and the men’s home is equally spacious. Since the men’s house is relatively new, there are two male clients but room for four more. Residents are paired in fully furnished rooms. The women’s house includes three full bathrooms.
Breakfast and coffee is available in the mornings. Clients are responsible for remaining groceries and meals are prepared in fully equipped kitchens. Amenities include Wi-Fi, cable TV, a gym membership, which includes a yoga class, house computer, flat screen TVs in communal areas, redwood deck, barbecue, fire pit, fireplace, indoor Jacuzzi and basketball area. Transportation is available upon request, but clients in need are transported to one 12-step meeting a day.
Donahue and her husband, along with their cocker spaniel Bruiser, and house manager Annette Milazzo, a Sarah Marie house alumnus, live at the women’s house. A residential manager lives on the premises of the men’s home.
Rules and Regulations
Clients are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but typically they must have undergone detox, or have graduated from a residential treatment facility. Additionally, they must be willing to work a 12-step based program of recovery. During the first 30 days, residents must also call two women or men in recovery on a daily basis.
Additional requirements include attending a daily 12-step meeting for a minimum of six months, participating in a weekly double scrub event and performing assigned household chores. Clients must also commit to going to school, attending an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), working or performing community service. All residents must be out of the house between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, and doing activities that are conducive to recovery.
Additionally, the weekly required 12-step meeting quota includes attending a step study and a stag meeting, which can be consolidated into one meeting. The meeting’s secretary must sign attendance slips, to show proof of appearance. Residents participate in a 7:30 am morning meditation from Mondays to Fridays.
Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. Residents who relapse are dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but are kept away from the rest of the clients to ensure the safety of the entire household. Donahue typically allows clients freedom to work with their sponsors, and only intervenes if behavioral issues incur. The curfew is 11 pm Sundays through Thursdays, and 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
On Thursday nights, all residents and staff go out for dinner after a mandatory double scrub event, which is enforced to help establish community, as well as keep the houses spotless.
The Sarah Marie House is a member of the Sober Living Network, which demands high standards from affiliates. Additionally, the house is CAARR certified, and a member of the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. Flight attendants seeking short-term sober living are often referred to the Sarah Marie House by the criminal justice system.
The house is located in close proximity to a plethora of 12-step meetings, and a farmer’s market which sells fresh produce.
With Donahue and a caring staff at the helm, residents are in great hands at Sarah Marie House. The beautiful homes provide a serene ambience, while clients reside in a supportive and highly structured environment, which ensures them a solid foundation in recovery. Former clients rave about the house, saying that staff helps clients learn accountability, while they turn their lives around for the better. The Sarah Marie House does not like to disclose their address, for the safety and privacy of clients.
Sarah Marie House
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