Community support is key for Steamboat’s only faith-based, sober living house
Travis House has graduated two men from its program in the first year
Scott Bourbeau’s uncle used to own a ranch near Colorado Springs — the only one in his family that “branched out” beyond Massachusetts where he grew up.
“I really liked that about him, he was like an old cowboy,” Bourbeau said. “It’s not that I wanted to be a cowboy, but I knew it was really nice out here.”
He had been living in Boston where he had been sober for about six years after struggling with heavy drinking. But he said he started doing his own thing again, which included drinking. For him, it wasn’t sustainable.
“I learned after a certain amount of time in sobriety I couldn’t drink like a normal person anymore,” Bourdeau said. “It took me to this point of making it out here to actually buckle down.”
At the start of 2022, Bourbeau moved into Travis House, a faith-based sober living house for men in Steamboat Springs that opened last summer. Bourbeau graduated the house’s program on Sunday, June 12 — the second person to complete the program in Travis House’s first year.
“It was a safe place to go through all those issues,” Bourbeau said of Travis House. “The anxieties and the worries, yeah they are there, but they don’t consume my life anymore.”
Jeff Welton got the idea to start a sober living house to help guys in recovery after his 24-year-old son Travis died of an overdose. After his son’s death, connecting with people working toward recovery became very important for Welton. Dwayne Wallace, who started using meth at age 15, was one of the first people he helped.
With the help of Bonnie Thompson, whose son has faced drug related prison time, Welton and Wallace opened Travis House last summer. Welton said the first year hasn’t always been easy, but they have been constantly working to improve.
“We’ve had some trials and errors we have had to learn from,” Welton said. “As the year went we’ve learned and improved and we got the program to where it needs to be.”
The house is certified with the Colorado Association for Recovery Residences, an organization that works to provide those in recovery with sober living options that meet various standards.
In the first year, Welton said a dozen guys came through the house. Two have graduated, four have left but are still sober and another six just left the program, Thompson said. Wallace said over time they have molded their original program slightly to ensure policies make sense for the people who end up in Travis House.
“The two main things are Jesus and community,” Thompson said. “They’ve got the community of the house so the guys support one another. They have the staff community (Welton, Wallace and Thompson) and they’ve got their church community.”
The program features bible study, weekly meetings with staff, programs at Steamboat Christian Center and Euzoa Bible Church among other aspects, Thompson said. By the end of the program, Thompson said she hopes graduates will develop a strong community of 10 to 15 people outside of Travis House in Steamboat that they can call on for support.
There has also been strong support for Travis House in the community, Welton said. Thompson said the largest share of their revenue was from local donations, which totaled about $35,000 last year. Another $12,000 was collected through a fundraiser and another $9,000 through program fess, which Thompson said essentially, only pays “some of the rent.”
Bourbeau is organizing a golf tournament planned for Aug. 12 at Haymaker Golf Course to benefit Travis House as well.
“This year, we’re trying to double all that,” Thompson said. “The community helps us a lot with donations, and then this year I’m going to try for some small local grants.”
For Welton, the support from the community has been moving.
“It’s literally the community of Steamboat pouring into us,” Welton said. “When I walk into the Travis House and I sit down, it’s kind of overwhelming, because I can see what God is doing with my son’s testimony and I can see the good.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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