Study ranks Fresno as the 6th worst place to live to stay sober

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Study ranks Fresno as the 6th worst place to live to stay sober
A recent study has analyzed data across 100 cities to find the best and worst cities for sober living. It ranked Fresno as the 6th worst city.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A study ranked Fresno as one of the worst cities for sober living due to low scores in three categories: temptation, sobriety infrastructure and Community Support.

However, the team at Touchstone Recovery Center says Fresno's recovery community has grown significantly in the last few years.

These are people who've gone through treatment and are doing the daily work to stay sober.

"I think that it's hard to get sober anywhere. Doesn't matter where you are," Touchstone Recovery Center Executive Director Nolen Burchett says. "But I mean, I know a lot of people that have been successful here in Fresno."

He says one of the first steps to recovering from alcohol or drug use is addressing the issue and getting help.

"I think a lot of people are scared to do that, to like, commit, and to take this disease seriously."

Kenny Ellebracht finally did in 2019, after getting addicted to opioid painkillers and heroin.

It took him a few years to successfully complete an inpatient program but he graduated from Touchstone in October of 2021.

"It gave me kind of like a lifeline, not only for help, but just get me out of that just the demoralization of continuing to feel like you're hopeless and helpless -- and knowing that you're not," Ellebracht says.

It's why both men believe there needs to be more treatment centers, especially ones that accept MediCal.

"There's a waiting list to get into the facilities that take MediCal and I mean, if you're a heroin addict, you can die at any point," Ellebracht says. "So to have to wait a week or two to get into treatment -- that's a big problem."

The study also showed Fresno as having few activities for those wishing to stay sober, but one man is hoping to change that.

"Bone Dry Sober" will be the first fully non-alcoholic bar in the Central Valley.

A soft opening is scheduled for Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.

Both men say healthy lifestyle changes also help during the recovery process.

To see the full study, click here.

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