EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- Alcohol took over Lydia Bethmann's life at a young age.
"So much of growing up in the culture was focused on drinking, it was the center of everything," Bethmann said. "My drinking would often get out of control, I had run-ins with the law, and my life just became really unmanageable. It was dangerous and unhealthy."
Bethmann eventually asked for help from a treatment center, and from there she moved to a sober living home in St. Paul, at the time the closest one to the Chippewa Valley.
"It was terrifying going into this new home in a new big city with people that I'd never met," Bethmann said. "But I just started developing some close friendships with other women who had been through the same struggle that I'd been through."
Now almost five years later, Bethmann opened her own sober living home, called 'Our Dwelling Place' making it the second one to open in Eau Claire. She recently purchased a home downtown, where she'll host several women in a drug and alcohol free household to help struggling addicts find those similar connections.
"Coming out of a treatment center and just getting thrown back into your life can be difficult," Bethmann said. "By having a sober living home like Our Dwelling Place, it can ease the transition, and it's important that people have a space that they can be comfortable in."
Before July, there were no independent sober living homes in the Chippewa Valley despite local alcohol abuse concerns. In 2019, Eau Claire County ranked 10th worst in the state for chronic alcohol emergency room visits, and 8th for alcohol inpatient visits. According to echorecovery.org, 57% of sober living home tenants are more likely to stay clean long term, and Bethmann's vision is a step towards helping others like her get their lives back on track.
"We have a community that we need to heal," Bethmann said. "Drinking and drug use is a problem everywhere you go, but it's definitely right here in our community."
Tenants who are interested must be 30 days sober before moving in, and will complete a 12-step recovery program. As of today, Bethmann is roughly 4.5 years clean.
To learn more about Our Dwelling Place, tap/click here.