My cover story "Why OC Must Lose the 'War' on Sober Living Homes" ran 11 months ago, but given the intense coverage such places have received ever since, I think this anonymous letter I received remains timely.
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Plus, I can sympathize as an asthma sufferer (I think; I've also been told it's allergies, seasonal bronchitis and, from family and friends freaked out by my non-stop coughing spells, T.B.).
Here's the letter:
I wanted to write to you about your story. Twenty years ago, we moved to HB because my husband has severe, dehabilitating asthma. The sea air has helped him live fairly treatment-free for 19 years. Last year, a SL provider did not disclose to our neighbor that he was buying their house for a business. Since that time, we have battled cigarette smoke. My husband is diagnosed with decreased lung capacity that often has him hacking and gasping for air. We are in the ER often. The problem with them gets better for a bit—and then a new batch shows up and we fight it all over again. We decided to try and sell our house. But the online reviews—and the advice from professionals who know the owner—are so bad, sales fall out before close. So, we can't leave—and they will slowly kill my husband. We have no rights. I get the sympathy for addicts. But I want to know why their health is more important than ours?