The Hickey House is a long-term residential sober living facility designed to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the modern world. The Program consists of 12-Step meeting attendance, structured living with curfew, 24/7 accountability and a work study program where the residents are expected to maintain full time employment. Residents are subject to random drug and alcohol tests each week. The Hickey House is listed on the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Board’s Transitional Housing for Offender Re-entry (THOR) Directory.
Since 1986, the Hickey House has been providing long term structured support and life-skill development to individuals suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. Many of the former residents of the Hickey House still live in the Northeast Georgia area and assist our current residents. Hickey House staff live on-campus to maintain accountability and structure.
Alarmed by the revolving door created by short hospitalizations for substance abuse programs, Tom and Elaine Hickey opened their home to provide a long-term sober-living environment. Originally from Boston, the Hickeys moved to Georgia when Tom, a clinician for a hospital chemical dependence program, accepted a position in developing a similar program at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Elaine was a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology and an associate professor at Bunker Hill Community College, as well as maintaining a private counseling practice. Nevertheless, she joined Tom in the North Georgia Mountains. Tom soon noted that patients returned to the short-term hospital setting again and again. Elaine invited the female “tougher cases” to stay in a hunting lodge she and Tom had purchased—a big blue house just outside the small mountain town of Helen. Their goal was to provide an affordable alternative to long-term hospitalization. Hickey House, Inc., was formally established in 1986.
Treatment hospitals through the Southeast began making referrals to Hickey House, and soon the Blue House was filled to capacity. Within a year, the Hickeys expanded the Blue House to include a large meeting room and an apartment for Tom, Elaine and their two young daughters. With 25 people living in the Blue House, the Hickeys purchased another house nearby, a smaller green house. They opened the Green House to men.
Through the 1990s, the program acquired the Mountain House is Sautee, the White House and Pink House in Demorest and the Currahee House in Toccoa.
By the new millennium, Tom and Elaine were forced to scale back the program due to their declining health. By 2003, the Hickey House became a men-only program. Tom battled cancer, and passed away in 2006, after nearly 38 years of sobriety himself. During his lifetime, Tom helped hundreds of individuals establish strong, sober lives.
After Tom’s death, Elaine carried on the work that had meant so much to them both. Hickey House now consists of six houses, all located near Helen. The Blue House—the home the Hickeys first shared with the tougher cases—remains the heart of the program. Alumni referrals are the primary way an individual is admitted into the Hickey House. When individuals have positive experiences at Hickey House or they see the changes in loved ones who have completed the program, they tell others that, thanks to Hickey House, they or their loved ones are now living productive, sober lives.