By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
After four stints in treatment, 30 days each, Tim Schnellenberger felt defeated.
The Big Book changed that.
It’s the book behind the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous and the tool that helped him in his sobriety. And now it is his mission to introduce others in recovery to this lifesaving tool.
He was introduced to the Big Book after that fourth stay and the concept behind it was what finally provided him the relief he was looking for. That was 2000. He was sober and working as a realtor.
Then he thought to combine the two ideas— real estate and sobriety— and purchased his first sober home in 2002, which housed five men.
Healing Properties grew and within the next several years he had 65 beds and then 81 total, where he helped men and women. His focus was more on sobriety and helping others and less on real estate.
Now, the son of football coach Howard Schnellenberger and former model, has two businesses: Healing Properties Sober Living and Recovery Boot Camp and a new foundation to help those who need financial help in order to get sober.
Together with his father, they formed the Schnellenberger Family Foundation, which launches this month.
The foundation will be dedicated to raising money for treatment scholarships for those suffering with drug and/or alcohol addiction.
The idea is to help the wives and mothers of the men who are seeking treatment. Schnellenberger said often times men can’t seek treatment because they are financially supporting their families. He said the foundation will help ease the financial burden to families.
Currently Schnellenberger is operating two businesses Healing Properties, his sober home residences and Recovery Boot Camp, which opened in 2015.
The idea behind the 12-step emersion addiction treatment center is to help teach men in recovery basic life skills, discipline and introduce them to the Big Book and the 12 steps.
Its what worked for him all those years ago and it is what he says works for his clients who have graduated the program.
“I realized a lot of kids had not been exposed to the Big Book,” he said. “By the time they were out of treatment, they thought they were cured.”
So, he said he started the boot camp as a way to reach those “kids” mostly men ages 18-25 sooner.
To participate in the program, one must actively attend NA/AA meetings, have a 12-step sponsor, workthe 12-steps, interact with sober supports and implement daily living skills necessary for long-term recovery.
He said the day doesn’t start for a person under his care until their bed is made. Days are structured with time in a classroom setting learning the 12 steps, with clinicians, sponsors and attending meetings.
Those who have graduated boot camp and are residents must be up and looking for a job, attending meetings and back by curfew.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for anyone using drugs as Schnellenberger said keeping a safe environment is of utmost importance.
“We can’t make anybody sober,” he said. “If you are willing we have the opportunity to help.”
He said if someone isn’t serious about finding long-lasting sobriety then they can’t stay in his programs.
“At Recovery Boot Camp and Healing Properties, we admit clients that are dedicated to our philosophy and the goal of long-lasting sobriety,” he said. “I firmly refuse to endanger any of our clients’ sobrieties by introducing someone who may bring chaos into their lives just so we can fill a bed. Maintaining the integrity of our recovery community in both of our programs is our top priority.”
Residents start out living in a triple room and can work their way to request a double and then a single. He said running a mens only business allows them to open up to one another without the distraction of having to impress a woman. People who have been there one day interact with those who have been there for months.
They create a microcosm of real life in the apartments. Tenants must take responsibility for their belongings, clean their shared space and communicate.
“Sobriety plays out in living,” he said.