Founded in 2011 in Huntsville, Alabama by CEO Eric Richards, who is a physicist, Stepping Stones provides sober living homes for men and women in early recovery. The houses are self-run and self-supporting, and the philosophy parallels that of the Oxford House model. Richards realized that he wanted to be of service after volunteering to help the homeless at various local shelters. He was trained in the Oxford Model of Recovery, and implemented it at Stepping Stones with the belief that it helps clients learn personal accountability.
Accommodations and Amenities
Stepping Stones accommodates between 35 and 45 clients, and has three male-only houses, and one house for women. Accommodations vary, but typically clients are paired in double-occupancy comfortably furnished rooms. One of the men’s houses is an old Colonial while another residence is a split-level brick and white-shingled house with baby blue window shutters.
At Stepping Stones, house members pitch in and purchase groceries and coffee for the entire house. Meals are prepared in fully equipped kitchens. The weekly cost is $90 and covers utilities, cable and Internet. Other amenities include onsite washers and dryers and a landline phone. A community coordinator is on hand to provide ample support, job coaching and other assistance. Each house has a president, a resident who is elected by peers. The president oversees operations and works closely with the community coordinator.
Rules and Regulations
Potential clients attend house meetings, so that they can meet Stepping Stones residents. After an interview, interested applicants must be voted in by a majority of house residents. This parallels the Oxford Model, which is also reminiscent of the rules that are followed by fraternities and sororities, regarding the induction of new members. The average length of stay is six months, but some residents have lived there for three or more years, and consider Stepping Stones their home.
The house rules, including curfew and weekly meeting requirements, are established by each house, and are subject to change by democratic vote. Basic requirements include mandatory attendance at regular off-site recovery meetings, participation at house meetings, acquisition and maintenance of an active relationship with a sponsor and completion of the steps. Most clients attend a minimum of five weekly AA, NA or Celebrate Recovery meetings.
Additionally, residents must find work or attend school. Many clients participate in community outreach including the Salvation Army, churches and other organizations. Other rules include no smoking inside the house, performing household chores, being respectful of peers and their property and maintaining respectable behavior. Random drug and alcohol screenings are conducted. While residents who relapse must leave the premises, they are referred to appropriate local facilities where they will be safe.
Other services besides housing include peer support, job coaching, recovery support group referrals and vocational guidance. Stepping Stones partners with Reliable Labor, Inc., an employment agency, which helps residents find construction, administrative, labor and professional jobs.
Stepping Stones allows clients who are new to recovery the chance to be part of a great sober community. The houses are tightly knit, and clients are encouraged to become productive members of society. Stepping Stones boasts a high employment rate from its residents, as well as a 76 percent sobriety success rate. For those who are looking for a highly structured and supportive sober living, Stepping Stones is an excellent fit.
1206 Oster Dr
Huntsville, AL 35805
3213 Cerro Vista St SW
Huntsville, AL 35805
4009 Belvoir Dr SW
Huntsville, AL 35805
2902 Broadview Dr NW
Huntsville, AL 35810
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