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Founders

Karuna Recovery Residences is the creation of two friends who supported each other through sobriety and beyond.

Lauren PhilhowerLauren Philhower was destined for leadership although no one could have predicted its path. "My parents demanded perfection from a young age. I couldn't have sleepovers, my calories were restricted and the more they pushed, the more I fought back," says Lauren, Director of Operations and co-founder of Karuna Recovery Residences.

Lauren's resistance spiraled into a debilitating addiction. She left college to seek rehab in Florida, then moved to a TLC sober home in San Francisco, where she received her initiation into sober living.

The experience was transformative. Lauren achieved long-term sobriety, and discovered her calling. "In this supportive, family-like environment, something just clicked. Taking responsibility, helping others like me it all just made sense," she says.

Once sober, Lauren rechanneled her ambition to win into changing lives through love, care, and structured living. She became a house manager first for the home she lived in, then for a home with Bodha Recovery Residences. She quickly rose to Director of Operations of Bodha, overseeing the entire operation and staff. When Stacey joined the Bodha team, she and Lauren decided to branch out and create their own brand of sober living guided by love, compassion, and commitment.

In the process of her supercharged career, Lauren has gone from testing the waters of leadership to taking rightful command. Today, she values luxury sober living for the same reasons you do: rock solid community and an unwavering loving-kindness that jumpstarts new beginnings. "Through your interaction with the others, you discover the traits that you value, and learn who you want to be," says Lauren. "I watch others lead and that made me the leader I am today. This job chose me, not the other way around."


Stacey PassasKaruna co-founder Stacey Passas is a force of nurture. "I've been taking care of people my whole life," Stacey says. "I made sure my friends were okay, I stepped up when my dad got sick before I got sober, I took care of everyone but myself."

Instinctively protective, Stacey was responsible for sending Lauren to rehab. But it took deep reflection before Stacey would afford herself the same care. "I thought Lauren would come back," she says. "But when I saw the life she had, I understood that's what I wanted, too." Stacey summoned her courage and entered primary care, then a sober home.

Sober living equipped Stacey with the tools to take care of herself as well as provide better care for others. "At first, I tried to bend the rules, get a later curfew," Stacey says. "My older housemates set examples that saved my life. I fought back, but if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here." Over time, Stacey developed an unshakable confidence, and became a leader in her own right.

As co-founder of Karuna, Stacey channels her self-assurance into setting an example for others. "By standing up for what I believe in, I let people know that they can do what I've done and recover," she says. Through honesty, compassion, and selfless action, Stacey helps Karuna residents during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Tough and compassionate, Stacey listens to residents, gives advice when asked, and keeps the peace throughout the house. "I don't need anything back. I just want people to have the kind of life I have," she says. "That's enough."

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Karuna Recovery Residences offers caring homes, honest relationships, and structure and accountability supporting a life worth living—one rewarding day at a time.

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