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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Sober-living founder’s inspiration revived through healing

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Ramirez-Pelletier
The Vibe founder Stephanie Ramirez-Pelletier poses in front of her hand painted murals while in the process of painting it, Monday, July 10, 2023, at The Vibe.

This article contains discussion of substance abuse.


Since the grand opening of The Vibe on July 28, founder Stephanie Ramirez-Pelletier has been setting up the sober-living community while grieving the disappearance of her child; the inspiration for the sober-living apartment complex.

Last year, Ramirez-Pelletier renovated an apartment at The Vibe for her 29-year-old daughter, hoping they could move to San Marcos and start a new life until they had a stroke from fentanyl detox. When she went to pick them up from the hospital, they were gone.

“I went into a really severe depression because I spent 10 years of my life preparing a way for my kids to get out of all of that, and If I’m not chasing [my child], who am I?” Ramirez-Pelletier said.

Ramirez-Pelletier became depressed and hopeless. She knew her child needed to be on stroke medication and did not have much time left, so she spent the next few months looking for her child with no sign of them coming back.

In her 20s, Ramirez-Pelletier pulled her life together to raise her children while helping people recover at a ministry, but she continued drinking. Her second wake-up call occurred when she found out her child discovered drugs.

“I put myself into treatment and quit drinking and took care of my mental health because I knew that one day [they] would need some help getting out of it, and I came from a long line of alcoholics and addiction,” Ramirez-Pelletier said. 

While Ramirez-Pelletier worked at treatment centers, she helped people get sober training for family and individual interventions. However, each admission into a treatment center reminded her of her child.

“My heart would break because it’s not the one admission I was looking for, and my [child’s] story just kept getting worse: heroin, fentanyl, in and out of treatment centers, in and out of jail, in and out of our lives for the most part,” Ramirez-Pelletier said.

In May, Ramirez-Pelletier reached out to a friend who owned Sage Recovery, a holistically-based mental health treatment center in Austin and spent 30 days healing her pain and grief. While there, she realized she focused more on everyone else for the last 10 years and had not taken the time to make sure she was okay. 

While in treatment, she called her other children, discussing what to do to fix the hole in their hearts.

“Addiction can turn somebody new into somebody completely different so quickly, and it wasn’t until this year that I really came to terms with the fact that the person I knew and loved was gone,” Ramirez-Pelletier said.

Ramirez-Pelletier said her family has gotten closer and is lucky her other children made it to the other side of addiction.

“By far, the single best thing I could have done was to go and address it head-on instead of just [letting] it pick at me,” Ramirez-Pelletier said. “It kind of reignited this desire in me that recovery is actually worth it. Recovery is actually the best thing I ever did.”

A similar sense of community has also spread among The Vibe through its residents, partners and employees. She hopes The Vibe will eventually become a server community open to all San Marcos residents.

Adam Holt, executive director of Outsiders Anonymous, a gym and recovery community organization in Hays County, believes they can support each other and create a solid sober recovery support system.

“I think what really interested me in supporting her is, before she came here, there was zero sober living in Hays County and the fact that somebody else was going to sort of take that on and I wouldn’t have to do it,” Holt said.

Two months ago, Ramirez-Pelletier met with Anna Davidson, life skills instructor at LifeWorks, when looking for someone to help lease apartments out to people and later oversee the women residents. 

“When she shared her story of why she’s doing this — that vulnerability — kind of put me at ease to know that this is the real deal,” Davidson said. “This is about people living together and helping each other and making this our lives. It’s not just an apartment complex.”

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