February Nonprofit Spotlight: Gilly's House

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THANK YOU... Gilly's House

for being a light to so many!

Out of tragedy, some people create something good.” Barbara and David Gillmeister are two of those “people,” who have brought good out of a tragedy, and it is how “Gilly’s House” came to be.

Gilly’s House, a sober living house located in Wrentham, Massachusetts, was brought to life in memory of Barbara and David’s son, Steven (Gilly to his friends) who struggled with addiction and passed away in 2016 from a drug overdose.


Steven’s parents saw the valuable impact sober living houses had on Steven. It was during his time living in these recovery homes that he had the most success. It is the Gillmeister’s hope to carry out Gilly’s legacy and continue to help those in need.

What is Gilly’s House?

Gilly’s House is a sober house for men recovering from addiction, offering a “safe, supportive and structured environment,” as they continue to positively change their lives and successfully transition back into the community.

You may be wondering, “What exactly is a sober house?”

That was one of my thoughts when I first heard about Gilly’s House. So, I did a little digging. In a nutshell, this is what I learned…

Sober houses are for people with addictions who are transitioning from rehab and detox to independent living that does not include drugs or alcohol. They provide a structured, substance-free environment, helping establish a foundation for sober living.

Residents learn day-to-day life skills, including cooking and cleaning, managing their finances, and healthy social skills. There are house rules and a code of conduct that must be followed, including staying drug-free. Residents pay rent and do not have a time limit regarding their length of stay.

While addiction treatment is not usually provided, emotional support is. “The sober living environment…provides the foundation for sober living through meetings, group discussions and activities designed to help residents maintain sobriety and develop healthy living habits.”


Why are sober homes important?

Did you know that “40 to 60 percent of people treated for substance use disorders relapse?" This is partly due to the lack of aftercare treatment and support.

Sober houses become a critical part of some recovering addicts’ path to staying drug-free by offering this aftercare support. Sober-living houses provide an environment which

  • holds individuals accountable to staying drug free
  • reduces relapse triggers
  • teaches transitional life skills
  • provide support groups and often require participation in meetings
  • allow residents to live at the house as long as needed

Consider some of these sobering statistics:

  • 46% “of U.S. adults say they have a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or has been in the past.”
  • Approximately 7.4 million Americans ages 12 and older reported behavior in the past year that meets the criteria of an illicit drug disorder. (study from 2016)
  • Drug overdose rates have risen substantially in recent years
  • 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred from June 2019 thru May 2020. “The highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period.

The Role of Gilly’s House

This is where Gilly’s House, and other sober living houses, come into play. They can be the difference between an individual’s continuation of sober living and healthy integration into society or relapsing back into their old unhealthy lifestyle. Gilly’s mission is to be a link from the past to the future by providing men, who have struggled with addiction and want to continue their recovery, a residential opportunity which “offers a stable, structured and supportive environment to achieve personal goals while attaining the transitional life skills necessary to reintegrate into community life.” To learn more about Gilly’s story and what they offer visit their website https://gillyshouse.com/.

Be the Light by Helping Gilly’s House

On Gilly’s House website they mention “Rabbi Shneur Zalman teaches that just a small amount of light can dispel a great amount of darkness. Each of us has the ability to bring some light to this darkness.” To learn more about how you can help bring this light to Gilly’s House and its residents visit their donate page.


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