CHRISTINA SIMOS / Friendly House
Friendly House was founded in 1951 and was the first residential program for women recovering from substance and alcohol abuse.
Christina Simos, the current Executive Director, started out as a resident at the facility.
“Walking into the Friendly House saved my life,” reveals Simos. “I will always be grateful for Peggy Albrecht, who was the Executive Director at the time. She saw something in me that I could no longer see in myself. Her love, her words, her guidance, and love of AA helped me heal.”
“I wanted to work in recovery early on in my sobriety, but I didn’t want to go to back to school,” says Simos. “About ten years ago a friend approached me about a job in treatment and I just said yes… I’ve worked just about every job in treatment. I found my passion and voice at La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center.”
“I was asked to oversee admissions and business development at Friendly House in April of 2021. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go back and help the place that saved my life. In January of 2022 I became Executive Director. A full circle moment.”
“I’ve never been this happy,” reveals Simos. “I get to help women from all walks of life find recovery. I also get to address racial inequities and health disparities in historically excluded communities at Friendly House. What we do matters and I’m trying to change the way this industry operates.”
“My life is beautiful. I’m a nurse at county hospital with 17 years of sobriety now. I made a list of wishes and hopes and dreams and they’re checked. Married: check. Sober: check. A dude: check. Nurse: Check. Before I got sober, I was living in a rundown apartment, and I did my grocery shopping at the Rite Aid across the street. I was a very unhappy lesbian. I hadn’t figured out my life at that point and actively trying to destroy the relationship to the woman I’m now married to. I’m super grateful that my recovery was built on a solid foundation, and I’m actively working to get connected to my core base of friends, but life makes it hard when the pain of drinking and using isn’t fresh. The thing I love most about being sober is the ability to take responsibility for myself and my own actions. It’s amazing, it’s freeing, and it’s empowering. I love being present in my own life.” —Danny Schurr
MY WHOLE IDENTITY
“My life is amazing. It’s nothing I would ever imagine would be possible for me. In terms of the basics, like that I’m a functioning member of society; that I have a roof over my head; that my bills are paid; that I’m financially responsible and I’m not running from the law; that I have a relationship with my family—it’s a challenging relationship because they don’t have the same tools that I do, but I get to show up differently. I get to choose how I engage and not make it worse. I’m starting grad school in the fall. In terms of my personal relationships, I have an amazing village of people that lift me up and are working on themselves and giving back. They inspire me. Turning eight years sober is surreal. I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think I’d want anything to do with a sober life. Drinking and using was my whole identity. Looking back at the past eight years, I can honestly say that I have lived more and experienced more, been present for more, and been proud of more than I had at any point in my life.” —Tinna Florez