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Clean Getaways

Steve Abrams and Guy Grand offer Sober Vacations to travelers in recovery.

This story appears in the November 1996 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

It's often said that when a door closes, a window opens somewhere else. Brothers Steve Abrams and Guy Grand, owners of Sober Vacations International (SVI) in Calabasas, California, can endorse this belief wholeheartedly. After battling lengthy addictions to drugs and alcohol, the pair finally overcame their respective chemical dependencies; once they did, they started what would become a successful travel enterprise dedicated to serving the needs of other travelers in recovery from substance abuse.

Abrams' long-lasting battle with alcohol finally ended in 1980; two years later, he started his own retail travel agency. By 1986, Grand, after nurturing a 20-year proclivity for heroin, had also cleaned up his act, and decided to join his brother in the travel-agency business. Eager to organize a Club Med excursion populated entirely with recovering addicts--a "sober village," of sorts--the pair began brainstorming ideas about how to harness this specialized travel market.

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