Nightclub Offers Alcohol- And Drug-Free Alternative To Addicts

Sunday, July 15th 2007, 3:44 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A new Oklahoma City nightclub is designed to offer an alternative to people who are trying to recover from alcohol and drug addictions.

Called ``Club Soda,'' the nightclub opened March 30 and is managed by Rick Richards, who had spent 13 years working in adult entertainment clubs and was tired of their atmosphere.

Donna Woods-Bauer, the executive director of the Oklahoma Citizen Advocates for Recovery and Treatement Association, asked Richards to open a club for recovering addicts.

``It doesn't matter how nice a place is, when you put alcohol in the mix there's eventually going to be trouble,'' Richards said. ``I've seen my share of it.''

Club Soda was started as a component of a Sister-to-Sister program coordinated by Woods-Bauer's group. That program tries to help mothers who are recovering addicts reconnect with society and their children, said the program's coordinator, Cheryl Denny.

Denny said addicts use drugs and alcohol in an attempt to feel comfortable in a ``normal world.'' She said the club gives recovering addicts a safe environment in which they can learn that it's possible to have a fun night out without drugs or alcohol.

Any profits from Club Soda will go toward the Sister-to-Sister program, Richards said.

His club has a dance floor, karaoke, pool tables and a small cafe and serves specialty coffees, soft drinks and milkshakes. Children are allowed in the club, which also includes a playroom.

``It's a family atmosphere,'' Richards said, ``a place where people can get out and don't have to worry about finding a baby sitter.''

Singles also frequent the club.

``I've made a lot of new friends,'' said Samantha Morris, 31, who added that one benefit of the club is that she can avoid fielding pickup lines from drunks. ``Even people I've met for the first time there don't feel like strangers.''