man shares his sober success story

At Living Amends, we know that one of our scholarships can save a life. Read our success stories below to learn more about how sober living scholarships can impact people around you. To apply for our scholarship program or to donate, please contact Living Amends today by calling 713.397.8474.


My road to recovery has been long and arduous. I began drinking in my teens and have been in and out of a few treatment centers over the last fifteen years. I have had a wonderful life and amazing family, but instead of focusing on the tremendous blessings I had been given, I could only dwell in my disasters. In an attempt at self-knowledge to combat my spiritual malady, I pursued my undergraduate in Psychology and my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. However, as the book states, self-knowledge availed me nothing. I was never truly willing to believe in God or the life-changing results of the 12 steps and continued to believe I could outthink this disease, and through time and maturity, I would outgrow my drinking and prescription drug problems. However, the progression of this disease is real, and at thirty-four years old, I picked up heroin. This decision forever changed my life and caused me an excruciating amount of pain, trauma, and desperation, and finally, my spiritual malady became clear due to the extreme nature of heroin.

This, in combination with financial pressure and a death in my family, finally brought me to my knees. I was finally backed into a corner that I could find no way out of on my own, was forced to admit absolute and utter defeat, and was given the precious gift of spiritual desperation.

This scholarship will help me in so many ways, as my family has finally set the boundary that they will no longer enable or support my risky and self-destructive behavior. Finally, for once in my life, I had to rely upon God that after treatment at Ascension, my housing would be covered for sober living as long as I continued to do the next right thing. It gave me an opportunity to walk in faith and courage that whatever the outcome was, God had taken me this far and would give me everything I would need to stay sober. I have been to expensive and fancy treatment centers before, but upon discharge and return home to Austin, was never set up in the recovery community with the proper support and guidance.

I have come to trust the leadership at Ascension and will take this opportunity as my first step at long-term commitment to sober living. I have applied to many jobs in order to start becoming financially responsible instead of dependent, as this was a deeply ingrained part of my addiction and character defects. The scholarship that was awarded to me gave me my first sense of independence from my family financially, and that feeling is great. All I want to do is begin work, and even with my degrees, I am willing to humble myself and find a “get-well job” even if it’s just at Amazon warehouse while I work on reinstating my LPC license and can put the bulk of my focus on my recovery in these new and early stages.

The thing I love most about Living Amends after reading through the website is that at the end of this blessing I was given, I am given the opportunity to pay it forward to the next person in my shoes. I am so excited that I finally understand the 12 steps are the solution to my problems and that the connections, commitment, and foundations I make now, will dictate how happy I can finally become and how free I truly can become in all aspects of life. I so look forward to paying this forward, a lifelong journey of helping people in recovery, and I am excited for the gifts sobriety has already given me. With gratitude from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the team at Living Amends. You have built a bridge for me into my new life that I was unable to build on my own.

Kent-How Living Amends Has Impacted My Life

When I decided to come down to Texas from Kansas City, Missouri, my family thought that it was a waste of my time and money because I thought I was only going to be able to afford a month down here. It was my fourth time in treatment, and they weren’t very supportive or optimistic, but I told them I was going to die without help. Towards the end of treatment, I was having panic attacks because I didn’t know what I was going to do, but then Any Length Retreat had me apply for the Living Amends scholarship. I was ecstatic when I found out that I got it.

This scholarship has given me a chance to get a strong foothold in the sober community here in Austin. The year prior to coming down here, I was isolating in my apartment because I have an autoimmune disorder and didn’t want to get Covid-19 (even though I was killing myself with alcohol). Now I go to the gym almost every day with my housemates. I really like the gym, so I applied, and I just got the email that I’m hired. The training isn’t until the end of February, but thanks to Living Amends, I have built a fellowship of people outside treatment here in Austin, secured employment, and it’s looking more realistic that I have the possibility of starting fresh down here.

I still go up to Any Length Retreat, where I got sober to talk with all the guys up there as well. Last week I chaired an H&I, and just yesterday, I picked up my first ever sponsee, who is also at Any Length Retreat. I didn’t know if I was qualified, but I was told since I’ve been through step 8 with my sponsor and continue to do 9,10,11, and the others daily that, of course, I’m ready. I honestly never saw myself not only sponsoring someone but also looking forward to and being excited to sponsor someone. Being of service really does feel good. Even if it’s just talking to the guys at Any Length Retreat about my experience or something small like getting them snacks and candy on my way up there.

I feel like I’ve actually built a sober family here in Texas, and it’s all thanks to Living Amends. I never thought this would be possible. I feel like I not only have a fighting chance at long-term sobriety but a good chance at long-term sobriety. Thank you very much for helping people like me. I don’t take it for granted, and I will continue to pay it forward. I know your contribution will help a lot more than just me in the long run.


My name is Kyle, and I have been a blessed recipient of [a] sober living scholarship program from Living Amends. Before this time, I was in a dark place coming out of relapse and didn’t want to be around any longer, but thanks to God, I reached out to the fellowship, and the troops rallied and got me into a great sober living house. This was possible thanks to the financial support I received from Living Amends. Once I was in sober living, I started off with getting a bed, then Whitney gave me a temporary job which turned into me getting a more permanent job. I did new inventories, made amends, and for some great peace of mind that continues to this day. I now sponsor several guys in the community and have gone into business for myself. I also have a new profession in the sobriety field that feels like a calling. I can now pay it forward just like many did for me and would like to sponsor/scholarship someone. I would like to thank Living Amends for the chance they gave me with the scholarship to sober living.


Living Amends helped out my recovery and sobriety immensely. When I moved to Austin, I had almost no money to my name. I found out about the scholarship through a friend and applied, and to my amazement, I got it. Getting this scholarship took a lot of stress and worry off of my mind and made it possible for me to get a job and get my feet underneath me. This allowed me to focus on my recovery and allowed me to flourish and find a job working in recovery as well, helping others the same way I was helped.

It gave me time to become a part of the house I live in and develop a relationship and brotherhood with the others that live here with me. Having that kind of relationship with the other guys that live in this house has made me feel like I’m a part of a community and a fellowship of like-minded men who have gone through much of the same experiences with me, whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction or legal issues.

I appreciate everything this scholarship has done for me, and I am extremely grateful for the chance it gave me to further myself in my recovery. I am happy to be able to pass this gift on to others in early sobriety to help them in the same way that it has helped me.

God Bless,


Hello, my name is Jordan, and I am writing to you about the importance of scholarships in sober living. Most drug addicts have no money saved and have torn down every relationship we have ever participated in. This includes our family and friends. Most of our families have spent countless dollars on lawyers, bondsmen, treatments, and our debts to help us. By the time we have a clear understanding of what sober living is, we have no means to pay the up-front money to be accepted into the home. Most of us go back to drugs and alcohol because we have no options but to move back into the same situation that we previously found ourselves in.

Trying to be sober with no rules, no guidance, and no help usually ends [badly] for us. When I was about to be discharged from a treatment center that had scholarship me into their facility, they mentioned sober living and showed me that statically my chances for staying sober improved drastically if I went to sober living. They started pulling information, and when they came back with the amount I would need to enter, I was disappointed and at a loss. I couldn’t call family because I had ruined all trust.

When I spoke to my counselor about it, she said she would talk to some people about a scholarship. My dad’s friend Whitney Welch from Living Amends decided to scholarship me into sober living. That was 255 days ago—eight months of sobriety from a guy who couldn’t get eight days. So far, sober living has taught me how to pay bills, be accountable for my actions, how to be a member of a community, and to be the best sober gentlemen I can be. If I hadn’t received help along this journey, I wouldn’t have succeeded. Thank you, Living Amends, for the scholarship and [for] investing in my success.


I found myself fresh out of prison, living at a halfway house, with no clue as to what the next step for my new life was going to be. I had the option to move back to my parents’ house in the same old town and around the same old people [with] who I spent my time within my addiction. Honestly, that thought terrified me. I knew that all it would take was one single moment of weakness, one split second, for me to call one of them up if I found myself craving a drink or drug. The idea that it would all be so readily available to me was too scary to fathom, so I knew that going to my parents’ house was suddenly no longer an option for me.

Now came the point where I felt stuck. Like I said previously, I had just gotten released from prison, so I found myself without a car, without a cell phone, and without a job. I most definitely did not have any money saved up from my active addiction either. I was at a standstill. But where I lacked, God provided. My significant other was in sober living down in Kerrville, Texas, and he started talking to me about the possibility of me going to sober living as well. As far as the fears I was having about my next step and the ready access to drugs and alcohol, sober living sounded like the perfect solution. There was only one problem; money. How was I supposed to come up with nearly $1,000 just to move into a sober living house? How was I to acquire the means in such a short amount of time being in my situation?

Feelings of hopelessness and desperation began to arise. The problem of not knowing what I was to do next was finally solved, but I had no way of doing it. I was thrilled and then devastated all at once. My significant other was determined not to give up hope and began reaching out to his friends in the program in Kerrville. I was then put in touch with an incredible woman by the name of Whitney Welch, who owns two sober living homes known as ‘Mir House’ down in Kerrville, Texas. Whitney was a Godsend. She heard my situation and understood and sympathized with my desperation and earnest want to live a better life.

By the grace of God, she allowed me to move into one of her homes with a scholarship that would waive the deposit and the entire first month’s rent. I can’t even begin to explain the over joyous feeling I had when she gave me this blessing. Had it not been for Whitney and the kindness of her heart, I don’t know where I would be today. I believe that without the scholarship, I would have had no choice but to move back home with my parents, resulting in a relapse. Because of the scholarship I received, I have been given the blessing of getting to live in a supportive home filled with other women working the program. I have also been graced with enough time to settle into this new area and find employment. I am very happy to say that I am on my third week here at Mir House, and I am doing better than I could have ever imagined. The home has been extremely welcoming, and I have been blessed enough to find a well-paying job. I couldn’t imagine getting where I am today without the aid of the Living Amends scholarship.


My name is Mackenzie Wilson, and I was granted a Living Amends scholarship I’ve used to help fund my stay at my sober living house. I cannot begin to express what your help has done for me, even just a month in. Staying here as I begin my sober journey isn’t just about having a roof over my head with fellow recovering addicts. The blessings I am experiencing reach so much further into my livelihood and growing experience as a newly sober woman in Austin.

Already thus far, I’ve completed my PHP work, started volunteering and service work in the community, and gotten a new job that I’m so excited about. I work with my sponsor frequently and will be starting my amends process very shortly. My favorite part of my week currently is the weekly Step Study meeting I’m chairing and leading online. It brings my week an incredible amount of fulfillment, as well as accountability, as I continue to look at my own step-work journey.

I will be applying to jobs in the treatment field in the coming months as I continue to gain more time as a sober woman. I look forward to this next chapter in my life, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Living Amends. I can’t thank you enough for the way you continue to change my life for the better every day. I am extremely blessed, and that awareness affects my daily life as well. I am nothing if not grateful every day to wake up where I am, doing what I’m doing to keep myself sober and safe, and hopefully bring positive change to others still struggling. This is my new purpose in life moving forward, and I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity at a new start.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Mackenzie Wilson


The scholarship I received from Living Amends to attend Ascension House in Austin, Texas was incredibly beneficial for someone who was trying to restart their life. I personally needed to change almost everything about my life if I was going to be successful in recovery. Being given a scholarship allowed me to have the time and supportive environment I needed to make those changes. I would not have been able to do that on my own. It was at Ascension House that I learned what working a strong program looked like and how working the program could change my life. The scholarship and the chance to live and learn at Ascension House is part of why I am sober today.


I started my journey into recovery at a young age. I went to 5 treatment centers between the ages of 16-19. My addiction caused major financial strain on my entire family, and sacrifice after sacrifice was made so I could get the help I needed. I was blessed with a housing scholarship from Living Amends, and it provided me with the accountability and structure I needed at that time. I am so grateful to have had that faith put back into me and another chance at recovery. Today, I have over a year and a half of sobriety, a stable career, and I am able to give back to those who need it most. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given from Living Amends, and I hope to continue to pay it forward.


My name is Claudia, and I am 54 years old. I have been an active addict (alcohol) for over 30 years. For the last 14 years, I have been in/out of AA. The longer I drank, the worse I got. The longest I was able to stay sober was seven months, and that was in 2007. I didn’t understand the big book, the quotes, or what the steps meant. But a seed was planted. Just how deep it was planted, I didn’t realize until many years later.

Years of being torn between hope and hopelessness followed. I nearly lost my life in 2012 when after drinking all day, my mind gave up, and I went into a psychosis and took all my medications which consisted of blood pressure and antidepressant mostly. My heart couldn’t take it, and I went into acute respiratory failure. I was in an induced coma for two months. After having a procedure on my heart, due to the meds I took, I was released only to drink that very same day.

I went to treatment 11 times and stayed sober for a couple of months at a time, but it never really took. The disease took hold of me again and again. Each time I lost more. I would throw myself in front of a train for my children, but I could not stay sober for them.

In November of 2019, my disease brought me to my knees. Hopeless and totally defeated, my body and soul screaming in utter despair, I found myself wanting nothing more than to die. I had no hope left in me. I thought to myself, I might as well go out the way I have been living. I had nothing left in me. I was looking at my messenger on my FB for no reason at all. Dizzy and feeling like I was losing my mind, I saw Sharon Sauer, a friend and former boss of mine. I felt a little glimmer of hope return and, on impulse, messaged her and asked her if she could help me. That’s all I said, I think. Her reply almost instantly was, let me see what I can do. Shortly thereafter, she asked me if I would commit to a six-month stay at a sober house in Kerrville. Sharon saved my life that night by giving me a scholarship to the MIR House. My reply was one word. “ANYTHING.”

I went to Detox a few days later and went straight to Kerrville. That was the beginning of a dream I had given up on. I found a sponsor almost right away. We connected almost immediately. Her being German helped; I never had a German sponsor.

The scholarship that I was blessed with changed my life. It saved my life. I have been blessed in such a way it’s like a dream. Every day is a blessing. This house is a magical place. For once in my life, I can honestly say I am truly at peace with myself and the world. I still have a lot of work to do, but one thing is for sure, if it wasn’t for God that worked through Sharon that night, I would be dead right now. And that’s a fact. Everything will be alright. My connection with my Higher Power enables me to take on life as it is without having to numb myself to endure it.

If I die tomorrow, I will die at peace and SOBER.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Alex F.

When I first received the scholarship I was just getting out of treatment and still full of fear and anxiety about my future. Relationships were still not mended and trust was not there. At this point I feel super solid in my recovery and continue to work the 12 steps with my sponsor. I do service work and relationships with family and friends are coming back

I plan on staying in sober living indefinitely and continuing on the path I am on now. I am a stable job and am starting to become more financially independent and self sufficient as time goes on.

Benjamin R.

This scholarship has impacted my life to an astounding degree. I was so excited to get the news. For once, it gave me the freedom to start this road to long-term sobriety without having to ask to borrow money from family and friends. I know they’ve paid a tremendous price already, and likely would’ve said no. It also precluded me from having to accrue even more credit card debt (which is already devastatingly high) and spared me from having to tell my sober living home that I don’t have the money and risk getting evicted prematurely. I have been abiding by the guidelines of both the sober living home and the scholarship. I am grateful to one day pass along a portion of this opportunity to this next addict who finds themselves faces with this situation— I like forward to it. I have what calculated the total cost of this will be and have placed the deadlines in my calendar with sufficient reminders. I am currently on Step 5 with my sponsor and constantly look for ways to be of service to those around me. Again, I can’t express enough how appreciative I am. I am applying now for “Month #2” so that I may have a head start and not forget or wait too late. Thanks!

Collen C.

As I begin my 3rd month at A Friend’s House @ Lake Travis, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be in a safe and sober environment as I begin my journey back to life and regaining my footing in society. I have made life long friends in this process and feel so blessed to feel “a part of” a community of like minded people I can count on and they can count on me as well. It’s hard to describe in words how homelessness effects people. For me, it has been a great teacher and a humbling reminder of how low my bottom can and will be if I choose to drink or use again.In great detail, describe your plan moving forwards as you work on becoming financially self-sufficient. My plans are to continue things I do daily that help me stay on the beam in my recovery. I have been meeting lots of people within the aa community and have a few promising job leads. I have also joined up with a group of musicians who get together before meetings and play music. It’s been a really great experience to do that sober, with other sober people! I hope to continue getting pet sitting opportunities as well. I know I cannot fix all of the issues that came as a direct result of my drinking but I have a short term plan to start making small financial/livings amends with help from my sponsor. I have a clear head, an open heart and a desire to live and I am so very grateful you chose to grant me this gift.

Kate C.

Having the support of this scholarship to help me be able to stay in sober living has greatly increased my spiritual and emotional health. For the first time in my life I find myself inviting God into my daily life. While still very new to this, most of my prayers are simple. I ask in the morning for God to help me stay sober today and guide me in my recovery. I use the serenity prayer several times a day and I thank God at the end of the day. Emotionally, I am able to not “take the bait” for arguments when my soon to be ex-husband is taunting me. I am able to share about my struggles and finally take suggestions from others in the program. I find I am blessed with grace on a daily basis. Thru this program I have been able to stay on my medications for depression and anxiety and am the most sober I have ever been.

I’d appreciate if the program would be able to pay 50% of my rent for the next month, as I am still looking for employment and will now be caring for my four year old daughter half the time. I plan to continue applying for nursing jobs and hope to find employment in the recovery field or in wellness work. I am honored to be able to be apart of others recovery and give back to the program that gave so freely to me. I was able to share part of my story at the treatment center I went to just recently.


First and foremost, THANK YOU! When I received my first month scholarship at a point where I had to decide between my job and having a place to live. Perfect timing. I had just started at Tesla Gigafactory looking forward to the big checks and great benefits. I didn’t into consideration the fact that I have no transportation to get there, not on the bus line. The first week i took the bus an hour and a half and walked an hour and a half then worked a 12 hour shift, then walked and took the bus to make the daily mandatory 12 step meetings or required house meetings. I was wearing myself out! I knew I had to either find a new place or quit a great job. I almost decided to just sleep at the factory and never leave. Problem was I started at the end of a pay period and would have to wait 3 weeks to get paid! After a week and a half of working and somehow managing all the requirements at my sober living I fell into depression because I could not make up my mind, I was terrified of being homeless again. That sober living didn’t give you time to find a place, they kick you out same day they decide. I was tired, depressed and scared. Then all of a sudden I got an email…. “You’ve been awarded…”………………… when I tell you I almost cried….. man……. you have no idea the weight you lifted off my tired shoulders. I immediately found a sober living with less requirements in an attempt to keep my job. Talking to my sponsor he flat suggested I get a new job anyway so I would have time to devote to my recovery. It was a hard choice… but I agreed. I worked a few temp jobs to pay the remainder of my rent. Funny how things work out. A week later I got a job offer from the University of Texas making even more money and with better benefits than I had at Tesla! I start on the 28th.

The reason I’m applying again is because I probably won’t get paid until the middle of next month. This scholarship will get me thru 2 weeks. Doubt I will get it in time… If I get it at all but I just need a little more help. I’m almost there. I have a decent place to live, a good, accessible job on the way and I’m rock solid in my sobriety.

I cannot say thank you enough. A million times THANK YOU! Life is good and I’m grateful for all of it, even the struggles and pain. Thank you thank you thank you