Faith Based Sober Living in Need of New Home

Thanksgiving at Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Todd and Crissy Sell.

Jonson Kuhn | North Forty News

For Lighthouse directors and married couple Todd and Crissy Sell, creating a sense of family is key to running their successful sober living space, and just like in any other instance, families need a home. But starting this summer on July 31, the place which Lighthouse has called home for many years will no longer be an option.

Lighthouse Faith Based Sober Living has been located at 709 Wagner Dr. in Fort Collins since its beginning. With two additional residential homes nearby reserved for the graduate program, in total, Lighthouse provides room and board for around 59 men within all three houses. While they’ll still maintain the two residential homes, their main quarters which house the vast majority of their residence will have to be vacated by the summer to make room for the fraternity that it once was many years ago.

“It’s still owned by the fraternity and that’s why we’re needing to find a new location because they’re wanting to take it back and use it again as a fraternity,” Todd said. “Originally they were going to give us two years to relocate, knowing that it was going to be difficult to find a place for 48 guys to go to, but they ended up deciding to only give us one year instead so we’re having to reevaluate what we’re able to do. It’s a little dire, as far as I know, the fraternity has no intentions of giving us an inch on that July deadline. So, it’s imperative that we have something in place before then.”

Thanksgiving at Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Todd and Crissy Sell.

Currently, Todd said they’re looking at potentially moving into a hotel located at the east Mulberry corridor near I-25 in Fort Collins, a location that Crissy said has developed a reputation over the years as being a low-cost area where people living in active addictions may stay at for long term periods. If funding can come together in time, Todd and Crissy are hoping they can revitalize the area by providing positive alternatives.

“It’s something that would be positive for the community, as well, we would be making good use of a building that has had kind of a dark mark in the community for a little bit,” Crissy said. “So people who want to revitalize that area, we are certainly on the same page as that and hope to be in a position to do our part.”

The Lighthouse is a (501c3) non-profit residential program for men, at least 18 years old dealing with substance abuse problems who are seeking support and structure to be able to manage their problems in a program of recovery and live a life without the use of drugs and alcohol. According to Todd and Crissy, the mission of the Lighthouse is to provide a safe and positive environment for men who are recovering from drug and alcohol addictions and to provide resources to help them maintain a long-term commitment to their sobriety.

Todd has been running Lighthouse as the executive director for roughly the last nine years. Todd first started out as a board member and a volunteer while Rick and Kate Hatfield were still in charge. Eventually, the owners at the time had to step away, which created an opportunity for Todd to assume command, though, as he explains, the opportunity fell more into his lap than anything else.

“After the owners handed over the keys and expressed that they wanted to do something else, I met with the board and they told me that they’d like for me to take over,” Todd said. “I told them originally that I would be the acting director until they can find someone else to take over and at this point, it was probably four or five years ago that I said, ‘Okay, I guess I’ll concede, I’ll be the executive director.’”

Two months after Todd assumed the position as the executive director, he hired Crissy, who at the time was just someone he knew casually as a friend from church, but eventually, over time the two started dating which eventually led to a marriage. Crissy first started out with Lighthouse as more within an office manager role but Todd said quickly over time she became a director based on the fact that she was taking on far more responsibilities than that of an average office manager and it was clear she was far more invested in helping people reshape their lives in more positive and meaningful ways.

Photo courtesy of Todd and Crissy Sell.

“You can never turn off caring for people,” Crissy said. “For Todd and I, we’ve put in a lot of hours, this is really more of a lifestyle. When we come home we still get calls and texts and because we treat these people like our family and look at them as family, we make time for them, not just within designated work hours.”

Though the hours are long and sometimes a day’s work never feels finished, their hard work has undoubtedly paid off. Todd said that in the time they’ve taken over management, they went from what was “maybe a 3% success rate” to what was well over seven times the national average. Right now it’s just men, but they hope to eventually be in a position to expand to helping women in recovery, as well.

“It’s a unique process; when they give it their all, it’s life-changing for them,” Todd said. “But it’s not about us, it’s all them and the effort they put into it. That’s the thing about recovery, nobody can carry you through it, we can be there to help guide you, but you have to do the hard work yourself.”

Todd said he attributes their success to the level of commitment the staff makes to each person’s sobriety. While going through the process they always strive to reach the root of the addiction, which Todd said is often entangled with trauma to some degree. Lastly, Todd said the other key to Lighthouse’s success has been the faith-based component along with providing support, structure, and accountability.

Todd and Crissy said they’ve had their own struggles with addiction from years in the past, which now puts them in a better position to be empathetic and more understanding of where people are at in their recovery process, which can be especially helpful when considering the stigmas people often have surrounding addictions.

Christmas at Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Todd and Crissy Sell.

“In the midst of addiction you can become so broken, there are stigmas attached to it, and I’ve met so many neat and wonderful people caught up in it that are so worth the help,” Todd said. “Just to see someone be able to rebuild their lives and families, there’s just nothing like it.”

Crissy added, “For me, the driving force is that I can see myself in everyone. I can see who I used to be and identify. I can have such a heart if I know the change is possible and I know that being sober is so much better than the alternative.”

In addition to providing assistance with clothing and housing, Todd said the Lighthouse is special in that they also partner with a lot of local food banks and grocery stores as a means of preparing meals, as well. There are also weekly in-house meetings for people to attend, which Todd said he finds really helps in terms of furthering the idea of a family unit. Todd said he likes to keep the experience all-inclusive by eliminating as many distractions as possible so that everyone can stay focused on their individual road to recovery, getting a job, and becoming self-sufficient.

“All of the survival stuff is taken care of: food, shelter, safety, etc,” Todd said. “Everyone obviously wants to feel safe but it’s especially important when you’re dealing with recovery. We want people to come in feeling like they’re welcomed, safe, relaxed and to know they have support.”

Christmas at Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Todd and Crissy Sell.

Aside from Todd and Crissy wearing many of the hats needed to keep the sober house operating and successful, they also have brought on a program assistant to help lighten the load, as well as two additional part-time positions. Todd said in some cases they even have people who have completed the recovery program and then choose to stay on as resident staff members. Ryan Cordova is one of those very people. According to Ryan, the decision to stay on to give back to an organization that gave him so much, to begin with, was one of the easiest decisions he’s ever made.

Ryan first arrived at Lighthouse in 2021 from a six-month long-term rehab facility. He said prior he had been in a lot of other programs that were very expensive and had lots of amenities but still not the same sense of family that Lighthouse strives to create for everyone. Ryan said that while Lighthouse might not have as many amenities to offer, they make up for it with their core program which consists of helping people find their purpose while learning that no one is ever defined by their past.

“When I got to Lighthouse I needed a purpose in my life and going through our system there were a lot of questions in those meetings that made me think about what I was doing with my life or what was my purpose,” Ryan said. “Todd and Crissy asked me if I wanted a job and I said yes, I’d love to. When I came to Lighthouse I saw other people who could have fun without using mind-altering substances, that there’s another world that doesn’t include all of that. It’s a new way of life at Lighthouse; you’re not just another number to the directors, you’re an actual person and they get to know you on a personal level, and that’s what’s different between versus a lot of other sober living homes and rehabs in the substance abuse industry.”

Crissy said that in her opinion the biggest change that she’s seen is a transition from the feeling of an institution full of rules that were militantly enforced to offering more structure and accountability within a loving atmosphere.

“The program itself has just come so far in the last nine years,” “It was just very bare bones and basic program when we were first working for the Lighthouse. It’s really evolved from more of an institutional setting to a family setting. The aspects of the community have grown and developed so much.”

For anyone interested in helping with volunteering or providing donations, you can learn more through their website at Additionally, donations may be made by phone by texting LighthouseFtc at 77977 or by visiting You can also donate by downloading the Lighthouse app.

Todd and Crissy said fundraising has gone well so far just through word of mouth and social media. So far they estimate they’ve managed to raise roughly $1 million, but that’s still not quite enough to secure adequate housing within the hotels which could run as much as $5 million.

“I’m confident that something’s going to work out one way or the other,” Todd said. “With all the people that have come out of the woodwork to help so far and have helped with getting the word out, I’m sure something’s going to work out. But if it didn’t, that’s a lot of people that need this kind of help that are likely to end up back in the street or back in jail and lost in their addictions again.”


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