History


Today, The Fellowship Center is a private, not-for-profit 501(c) 3 corporation occupying several homes and buildings on one city block in North San Diego County governed by a voluntary board of directors. It is licensed and certified by the California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and employs a team of state credentialed addiction professionals along with a seasoned food services staff and experienced administrative leadership. Its beginnings grew from the desire of one alcoholic helping another.


In the late forties and early fifties, alcoholism halfway houses were being sporadically established throughout the United States. These homes, sometimes referred to as “recovery homes”, based their existence on the belief that a person who has experienced the tragedy of alcoholism and has found a solution was most effective in assisting other alcoholics to do the same. Of course, this belief was popularized, at the time, by the founding of the original twelve step program: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Since it was contrary to the traditions of AA to be engaged in any outside enterprise (even that of establishing recovery homes for alcoholics) these types of facilities emerged separate from, but in cooperation, with the AA groups. In fact, many were operated by individuals who found sobriety in that lifesaving society.

The Fellowship Center was established in 1963 in much the same way as described above. Stalwart members of the Escondido community, a blend of those who came back from the brink of alcoholic destruction and non-alcoholic civic minded leaders, banded together to convert a large, circa 1900 single family home into a haven of hope for the suffering alcoholic seeking relief. Our residential services have grown in capacity and have changed in operation and design since 1963. However, the core elements of mutual self-help and experiential learning borne of those early days have been the cornerstone of The Fellowship Center’s success. These fundamental elements have been maintained, honed and replicated in a number of similar facilities across California and the nation.

In the early 1970's, the federal block grant began funding alcoholism programs.  This allowed The Fellowship Center to receive funds necessary to expand and professionalize services. It was at this juncture that more formal methods of treatment began to emerge from all fronts in the alcoholism and addiction field. The various models and methods of treatment and recovery began to be defined and categorized i.e. Social Model, Medical Model, Therapeutic Community Model, Aversion Model, Clinical Model, etc.

The Fellowship Center is a leader in what has been defined as the social model of recovery. The board of directors for The Fellowship Center is committed to maintain as much of the social model elements as possible while integrating current, evidenced-based practices shown to be effective addressing this malady. It is with this history, experience and commitment to serve that makes The Fellowship Center an opportunity for a new life for those in need.