First Step of Sarasota reaches 200th patient milestone for its sober living program

Nonprofit operates 18-bed facility

Image from the First Step website

First Step of Sarasota, a nonprofit organization that provides addiction recovery programs in Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties, recently served its 200th patient through its sober living program, First Step has announced.

Since 2007, First Step “has operated an 18-bed sober living facility to assist individuals in transition,” a news release says. “The sober living program provides support for a person in recovery in a safe environment with likeminded people who are making an effort to live a drug-free lifestyle, hold a job and begin a new addiction-free life,” the release adds. The nonprofit is assisting 15 individuals through this program, the release notes.

“There is a huge need for safe and sober housing for individuals coming out of treatment and reintegrating into society,” David Beesley, president and CEO of First Step of Sarasota, says in the release. “Research has proven that the longer a person is in a sober environment, the greater their chances are for recovery,” he added in the release.

“According to an article released by John Hopkins in 2012, housing coupled with day treatment increases the chances of abstinence at [the six-month mark],” the release points out.

Relapse rates for people leaving detox, without follow-up services, range from 65% to 80% one month after discharge, a report by researchers published in the journal Addiction has shown, the release explains. However, those who were provided drug-free recovery housing coupled with an intensive day-treatment program were up to 10 times more likely to remain abstinent than those released from detox with minimal assistance, the release adds.

“We look forward to working with Sarasota County leaders in the future to explore options to expand this essential model in Sarasota County,” said Jack Cox, board president of First Step of Sarasota and president of Halfacre Construction Co., in the release.

The board and staff of First Step of Sarasota plan to explore additional ways to bolster this effective program during the widespread opioid crisis, the release notes. For more information, visit