Idaho Statesman Business Weekly Article, it's been a ride.

He struggled to stay sober. Now he’s opened a sober-living house in Boise


Trailhead Boise member Brandt Gibson has always had entrepreneurial aspirations but has struggled to remain sober long enough to follow through on any of his ideas. However, his recovery this time around has led him to a more established sense of self.

He joined Trailhead in search of entrepreneurial advice and on May 1 opened River Sober Living, a sober-living house near Franklin and Maple Grove roads in Boise.

For 10 years, Gibson struggled to maintain sobriety. He bounced around the workforce — working a job for a couple of weeks, hitting bottom, then picking himself up a few days later. Then he’d find another job and continue the cycle.

This cycle forced frequent relocations — he’s spent time in California, Idaho, Arizona and Hawaii. He’s worked almost every job imaginable, including as a freelance designer, executive recruiter and a beekeeper.

After gaining clarity on his life direction, Gibson chose to follow his dream of developing something entrepreneurial. He decided to go with what he knew best: recovery and sober-living houses.

Gibson’s vision for River Sober Living is to provide a different type of living, one that promotes sobriety through self-motivation, peer support, and personal and spiritual growth.

“I’ve always known, and never had any problem admitting, that I am ‘powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable’ – but I thought I could work with that,” River Sober Living founder Brandt Gibson writes in a blog on his website. “Admitting defeat is the first brick in my recovery process, and it has saved my life.”

Gibson has lived in a variety of places. “In my experience, whenever I lived in a house where everybody was self-motivated, there was an amazing peer support environment” he says. “People were there to pick each other up. Lifelong friendships have been made because of that environment. When individuals that weren’t self-motivated were mixed with people that were, that brotherhood and peer support didn’t exist, and failure rates were higher.”

After hearing about Trailhead from a family member, Gibson joined. “I felt like because I hadn’t started a business didn’t mean that I wouldn’t be welcomed here or that I couldn’t find support,” he says. “It was awesome right up front.”

Gibson uses Trailhead to hold meetings, network with other entrepreneurs and learn how to grow his business. “Every time I’ve needed help on any element of my business, Trailhead has been able to help, or connect me with somebody that could.”

The first River Sober Living house is already full and has a waiting list, and plans for the second are being made. Gibson’s dream is to open houses throughout Idaho.

Raino Zoller,, is the former executive director of Trailhead.