Figuring out what you want to be when you grow up can be HUGE, especially when you’re already grown. Yay us, for finally figuring it out! (Apparently it’s been staring us right in the face for years.) All we had to do was ask ourselves a few simple questions.

1. What do we feel most purposed and called to do?

2. When do we feel most happily and usefully whole?

The answer was clear. It has ALWAYS been when we are loving, serving, and recovery community building. And it was from these three things that the idea of starting a “Sober Tiny House Community” was born.

What does that even mean exactly? To keep things simple, it’s nothing more than a piece of property dedicated to building and sustaining a healthy and healing environment for individuals living in recovery. It’s NOT a “Sober Living” but a place where people are living sober.

Because our focus will be on living smaller in order to have Bigger lives and more time to give back, the residences will all be smaller alternative dwellings, such as Tiny Homes on Wheels, Small Cabins, and the like.  12 step meetings and workshops will be held onsite, as well as various job opportunities made available to our residents. Our first task was to hold our newfound idea up to the light, and by “light” we simply mean a list of certain criteria that we hold close to our hearts:
  • Do we have sufficient experience, strength, and hope to guide us through?
  • Are our treasures and hearts in the right place?
  • Will this endeavor allow us to be good stewards of our gifts and help others?
  • Is healing our focus?
  • Will sharing be our culture?
  • Is this going to be a safe and sacred place where Iron will sharpen Iron?
  • Will prayer and meditation be supported?
  • Will Spiritual Growth be encouraged?

All answers being “YES”, and feeling strongly purposed and called, we move forward daily, putting this vision out there.

Who are we, and what’s this whole thing all about? Well, our names are Nino and Victoria Gabaldon. We are a sober, husband and wife team, and have been active in the recovery community for over 25 years. In that time we have definitely discovered where our hearts live, and have uncovered a few of our gifts. Our hopes have always been that one day we would find out how God could use us best, and the day arrived.  We are forever grateful. Finally realizing that we are standing on the path and ready to take full responsibility for this mission, is awesome and scary all at the same time.  Our commitment is to fear less, and remain faith-FULL, as we step forward.

Ironically, just as the individual who has lost their glasses on their own head, we were blessed with the opportunity to see the truth in our own reflections. We witnessed our hearts being poured out into the lives of others in our fellowship of recovery, and the phrase “blessings to be a blessing” surfaced. We sat with it for some time, until it sunk in completely. We were to share our lives through “Love and Service”, it was as simple as that. I can still hear the voice of my favorite acting teacher, the late David LeGrant (RIP) saying: “It’s so simple sometimes, that it baffles you.” Although this is definitely not a phrase that causes someone to feel extremely intelligent, it IS clear. The most amazing part of this discovery is…we’d do it anyway. It’s who we are, and what makes us tick. It is by far the best thing we have ever done well and with genuine consistency. Having this epiphany has brought us both such joy and peace of mind, knowing that we can truly make a difference. So, how would one monetize Love and Service? That’s just it, they wouldn’t. Well, let’s just say they shouldn’t. It would go against everything that it stands for. But, you can definitely invest in it! We discovered (truthfully: we were told by someone that loves us) that “time” was our currency. The irony: we give it away for fun and for free, and it’s always a win-win situation.

This means, that our income has to come as a byproduct of other things. Within the community at “New Now Village”, we will focus on the following efforts to generate revenue, therefore, affording us more time to love and serve. Here are a few proposed income streams:

  • Seasonal Short-Term Rentals
  • Long-Term rentals
  • SoberDirectory.com (A paid listings site for all Recovery Related stores, events, clubs, conventions, retreats etc.)
  • Tiny Home building classes
  • Sales of Reclaimed lumber and repurposed building supplies
  • Sales of upcycled furniture
  • 12 Step meeting rentals
  • Retreats
  • Homesteading classes
Now called, focused and prepared, the only remaining problem for us was figuring out how to set the stage or prepare the soil. How were we going to find funding? Where is the perfect location with proper zoning in our area? Who will we team up with to help us bring this to light? In order to raise capital, we are currently building a website that is called “The Sober Directory” (www.soberdirectory.com). It will be the home of all things Recovery, allowing users to utilize their mobile devices to navigate any Sober Community. It will show them where they are in relation to the closest meetings, sober events, recovery bookstores, generate coupons aimed at friends of Bill W. and much more. Proceeds from paid listings and advertisers will assist us in supporting “New Now Village”. Our commitment to our personal recovery, is paid forward by our actions of helping others to achieve sobriety through sponsorship and 12 step service work. It’s our primary purpose. These actions are not for sale. What was so freely given to us, we so freely give. It’s how 12 step recovery works. These types of programs are not designed to do anything other than help people to find freedom from their addictions. They do not claim to, nor do they have any desire to engage in anything else. New Now, as a community, hopes to assist in areas that our program is not equipped. There are many jokes around the rooms, depicting what the program is NOT, as there very well should be. We generally keep things playful, in order to make it clear for a new person, as we do not want them to misunderstand. Some of the things that are said:
  • We are not marriage counselors.
  • We are not banks, loan sharks, or financial advisors.
  • We are not cooks, maids, or landlords
  • We are not babysitters or pet sitters
  • We are not a car rental service or uber.
The list can goes on, depending which school you come from (New or Old).

Now, although all of the above are true; humanness, empathy, and compassion can kick in, and you may find yourself going above and beyond the call of duty.

Just short of enabling, we will NOT frown on extra milers, we will encourage them!! We want to foster a “Pay It Forward” awareness.

Approximately 10 years ago, we were seconds and inches away from opening a “Sober Living” and after completing our due diligence, we decided against it. Without owning our own property, we could easily see our bottom line of truly helping others, coming into conflict with earning, and we couldn’t bear to experience that. It was something we had witnessed with the majority of the places that we researched and interviewed. We have been in a praying and holding pattern ever since. We were not willing to own a business that we claimed was “people” focused, if we couldn’t afford to put “people’s” needs first.

 

Since we have been in recovery, we have noticed that there are generally three needs which people very often experience:

First: affordable housing

Second: food

Third: the lack of employment or job/life skills

New Now Village – A Sober Tiny House Community will be where “Creating Space for Grace” is built into our Culture, because in the end, only kindness matters.

I find it funny how more often than not, “answered prayers” are only considered answered prayers, when they are acknowledged as such. In the past when we have prayed for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out, Love and Service won EVERY time. Once we finally gained this clarity, we decided to faithfully turn ourselves over to it with complete abandon. And it was most certainly a “baptism by fire” as we leapt into Property Management roles for the past few years in preparation to open “New Now Village”. Sadly, the “fire” part, became literal as well as figurative (as we were displaced from our home during The Norse Peak Fire on Crystal Mountain in Washington 2017). We are currently (safely) managing a property in the West Glacier/Columbia Falls, Mt area.

Nino & Victoria Gabaldon