Time For Change

Time For Change-

My story begins in Des Moines, IA. Just before freshman year in high school, I got high for the first time. Over the course of the next few years, it became something I did everyday. I began procrastinating on homework and started using during lunch break and even at school. I barely got my diploma and continued doing what I thought was normal for a teenager. I was struggling to attend classes in my first semester of college. I began using and drinking more heavily, which sequentially put me in handcuffs for the second time while back home for Thanksgiving break. I ended up dropping out before even completing the semester and put school on the back burner. I slowly started changing whom I surrounded myself with and began to see less of my family. I had a newfound priority, which surpassed all other relationships and ambitions I had.
For the next several years, I continued down this path of destruction. I started using harder drugs, which led to more arrests and eventually homelessness with no one to turn to. Drugs and alcohol had been the answer to all my problems for the last 5-10 years. I had gotten to a point in my life where I was so comfortable being an alcoholic, that I had accepted the notion of staying consumed by this appalling disease until I died. I lost sight of how much I was hurting not only myself but also those around me. I was working at a dead end job and living paycheck to paycheck, only to become broke the day I got paid. I had lost friends over time because they could no longer see me continue to ruin my life. Dishonesty, disrespect and manipulation were all apart of my day-to-day life. None of these consequences of my actions caused me to stop.
I was given an opportunity to go to California and try to get sober yet again. I didn’t know anything about The Last House but I am thankful today that I had just enough clarity to give it a shot. I came to The Last House on September 14, 2015. I was not a very social person. I had drank and used drugs in the past to boost my confidence and be able to interact with others. After being in the house for several months, I started feeling like something was working. This sober living was different than the last one I was in; there was a sense of community. I had been in a sober living 5 years ago in which I lied and manipulated my way into making it seem as though I was working a program, which inevitably put me right back where I was before. This time was divergent. I utilized willingness and surrendered to the program of hope being offered in the house. I bonded with the other people in the house and felt like I belonged. Throughout my stay, I not only met people who I now call friends today, but I also was able to amend relationships with family and friends that I had harmed in the past.
Today I am grateful for my life and wake up with a sense of ease and serenity. The house has given me people who I can reach out to at any point who will support me no matter what. I get the chance to be apart of my family once again and they no longer live in fear about whether or not I will die. But most importantly, I am able to love myself and have been blessed with freedom. No longer am I tied down by the disease of addiction. The structure and comradery that The Last House provided me was something necessary to my well-being. I needed to be given direction rather than suggestion. I am able to have fun without getting loaded. I regained my love and passion for sports, which I had omitted for years. Graduating The Last House was like getting a degree in sobriety. It is merely the inception of this new life I have found. It was the beginning and end of a crucial chapter in my life, which I can look back on and be appreciative for it for the rest of my life.

I am now a program manager at one of the houses and get to help people walk along this journey in the same shoes that I once did. I am able to continually see how this program impacts lives in such a profound way.

Proud Last House Mom

We tried it all. Rehab after rehab, in and out of programs, outpatients, sober livings and nothing stuck. We started over and over again, but never completed one. My son began an emotional and physical spiral down to the depths of addiction at the young age of 14. He hid his pain from the world and from me, his mother. I pushed him to get help for years, what felt like every day. Like I said, we tried, he tried, I tried, but he kept finding a way out and a way back to what felt safe, hiding in obscurity, pain and secrecy. It was years of the same, and for me a Groundhog Day nightmare. Then, one day, at the age of 27, he finally told me (not me telling him) he wanted to be sober. I had never heard those words come out of his mouth in my life. He wanted it for him. He picked up the phone and called out for help and off to Los Angeles he went. I was scared, to be away from him, to have him in this new place so far away, not close enough for me to save him if he chose to do what he’s done again and again, but I was waiting for the day he would want something different and now he knows what the difference feels like for the first time in his life. I couldn’t be a more proud mother. He completed rehab and was referred to attend an aftercare program at The Last House. Almost immediately I heard a change in my son’s voice during his time there. The peer support and understanding he felt not only from other guys that became his friends, but the staff as well. It changed his outlook on everything. Finding a new family to love and rely on, who were going through this thing called recovery with him thousands of miles away from me, just made me feel secure that he was in good hands. He began sounding like a man on the phone, open and real, acquiring tools to take care of himself. I watched him transform in that year at The Last House and become the man I always knew he could be. He felt such a connection to the place and people that helped him through his early stages of recovery that he began working at their facilities. He has now joined the staff at a great outpatient facility, Thrive Treatment, in Santa Monica, California.

Watching my son now be a mentor to other men in early treatment has brought me such pride and joy, knowing he has a purpose that is bringing him fulfillment in his life is all a mother can hope for. I will be forever grateful to the team at The Last House and everyone who has helped him on his journey of recovery.

Live From Paris

It all felt so normal, second-nature, and routine—like folding laundry. I had this problem called life, and it was killing me, but I had this solution called inebriation, and it worked.

It worked so well at first, that when it turned on me, I didn’t notice it subtly rob me of all control; I couldn’t see that it was killing me too. Life moved forward, as it does. People and places came and went. Possessions, friends, family, morals, and sanity had long since been lost. Naturally, there was one constant, the alcohol and drugs. There were these moments I would have: moments of resolve, moments of a voluntary tour in treatment, moments of improvement. They were just that though, moments.

At some point, that moment would end. I wouldn’t show. I’d disappear claiming to be sick (oh, how sick I was). The universe was reduced to my next drink, my next hit, and my next line. Then came this one moment, unlike any of the others, shortly before everything changed: I sat there and sobbed. I sobbed until my belly ached, until my face was hot and red, until I could barely breathe — pleading to go home. I cried for help and slid to the ground; I cried until I choked. Curled up, I held my knees close, thinking of all that never was, and all that could have been. Like the first pair of glasses, I saw myself, the situation I was in, with clarity I had not known before. Save for a select few, I saw that I had fashioned all of my problems. You were never the genesis of them, it had always been me. I saw with a painful lucidity the person I had become: the liar, the degenerate, the victim, the shell of a human. I saw that although I had created this mess, I couldn’t solve it, just as much as I couldn’t solve my alcohol and drug problem. I had gained a different perspective, I started to grasp the reality of my situation. Unfortunately, it wasn't sturdy enough to stay sober on for long; however, it was sturdy enough to prop open my window of opportunity, holding it until my time came to jump through. The 17th of July in 2013 was my first day — and I don't just mean sober. I gave up on the morning of the 17th. I just let go. I spent that day, and the next twenty-nine in a rehab in the mountains of Santa Cruz. It was an overwhelming, stressful blur. There were countless process groups, therapy sessions, and meetings, but I listened. I listened to what others had to say and I listened when my counsellor told me I needed a sober living. The Last House was the name, as in, the last sober-living house one needs to go to, but that’s not why I found myself there. To be entirely truthful, I was standing on their doorstep that Sunday in mid-August, because my counsellor thought the owner was cute, so she called him. And there I was, bags in hand, on the doorstep, my dad, somewhere behind me, watching—waiting for my next move. I knocked. I knew I couldn't solve my alcohol and drug problem, and I knew I couldn’t survive long if I turned back, for existing with or without the alcohol and the drugs had become unbearable. I was caught in a conundrum when the door to The Last House swung open and I walked in. I would have been ecstatic with ‘okay’. I would have happy with ‘not miserable’. Anything but this constant wanting to die, it would have been a success. I didn't think I could set the bar any higher. I didn't think I deserved it to be any higher. I had given up hope of happiness. Having a dream was a waste of time and an inevitable disappointment. And so it goes…I grew, painfully, that year in the house. Bit by bit, I learned to live. I began to feel, see, and grow fully and I watched with my very eyes the person I was always meant to be materialise in the reflection of that bathroom mirror. Life became bigger as I grew up. With The Last House and the Twelve-Step Recovery process, I was transformed. The person I was no longer resided within me, and with that, it was time to move back into the world, and so I did. I have been brought to me knees, humbled several times, had to reground and recommit myself, changed in even more profound ways, discovered passions, chased dreams and then dreamed bigger. And even in the worst of times, it’s still a miracle that I’m even here, sober and breathing. It’s a strange sensation when you wake up in a dream that’s been realised.

I live a world away, an entire person away, a whole way of living away from where my story began. Life brought to me the opportunity to continue my studies in Paris, and I jumped.

I’m far away from the Last House, the Twelve-Step program, and the community in which I got sober. When I was told that the tools I was being given were portable, when I was told that this design for living works and it works anywhere, I was told the truth —

I tested it.

HOW To Fix Your Problem

As a psychotherapist here in Los Angeles I often have clients who come to me seeking help for a wide variety of life problems and personal difficulties. Anxiety, depression, financial insecurity, drug addiction and marital problems are just a few of the issues that I see people struggling with. Often, by simply revealing and discussing their issues with me these clients start to see a reduction in their difficulties, such as less anxiety, improvements in both their mood and their relationships, less struggle with their addictions, and more. But sometimes the problems don’t seem to get better and I often see that what is needed is a deeper commitment to making changes in one’s life and the willingness to take action. Those who can acknowledge their problems, can be open-minded towards trying something new and who are willing to commit and take action invariably begin to feel better and function more efficiently in their lives. I am continually amazed at how quickly and successfully people start to heal mentally, physically and emotionally.

This has lead me to often ponder the question: What are the factors that lead to growth and healing in people and a reduction of their problems? What I’ve found is that a person must exhibit three qualities for real and deep change to occur in them. Those three factors are reflected in the acronym HOW: Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness. *(I must confess that I in no way originated this idea. These three factors are often mentioned in the 12 step recovery programs and appear in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as The Big Book.)

In this blog post I would like to explore these three qualities and discuss how they are essential in helping people overcome their difficulties in life.


“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

― Aldous Huxley


Let’s begin with the first letter, H, i.e. Honesty. Since we were children we’ve heard idioms such as “Honesty is the best policy” and “honest to goodness” and it is my belief that most people believe that honesty is better than dishonesty. Such things as lying, cheating, stealing and slander are all forms of dishonesty that without fail have negative consequences for a person who engages in them. But in the context of overcoming personal life problems honesty can be looked at in a particular way. Unless a person is able to acknowledge that a problem exists, i.e. admit to themselves and to another person that they have the problem, very little attention or help will be directed towards the problem and thus rarely occurs. Another way to state this is that often people are in denial that a problem exists, or they minimize the severity of the problem to themselves or others.

The need for honestly admitting one’s issues in order to be able to change and overcome life problems is nicely encapsulated in the book Alcoholics Anonymous at the beginning of the Fifth Chapter “How It Works”. “

“Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average.There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.”

I have witnessed this many times my clients. If a person is able to be unflinchingly honest about their problems and can begin to be more honest in all aspects of their life, they invariably begin to feel better and their problems begin to decrease.


“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”

― Frank Zappa


I must be clear that Honesty is just the initial factor needed and without the second factor, Open-mindedness, progress will surely begin to falter. One definition of open-minded is a willingness to hear and consider new ideas. (www.yourdictionary.com)

Why is it important to be open to hearing and considering new ideas in order to overcome one’s problems? I might state it simply in this way: It’s difficult to learn anything without having an open mind. And I strongly believe that in order to fix serious life problems a person must learn possible solutions to their problems and be willing to enact those solution.

If a person is open-minded to making changes in their life and for trying new things, they are well on their way to improving their lives and seeing their problems decline. However, many people are resistant to being open-minded. Various factors can contribute to this lack of open-mindedness. Prideful obstinance, denial, trust issues, over reliance on self-will, fear of change, and many other forms of resistance can lead to a person being close minded to hearing and considering new ideas.

I would like to share an example from my own life to highlight the need for open-mindedness. When I was a boy growing up in South Louisiana, I came to believe, by observing the other boys and men around me, that a “man” was not supposed to share his feelings with other people. If a male was sad or upset the societal belief that I tuned into was that they should “suck it up” and “drive on.” I can remember hearing phrases like “boys don’t cry” and “crying is for sissies.”

Looking back I understand now how unhealthy these ideas were for me and the extremely negative consequences that resulted in me as a result. Fearing that any expression of negative feelings would be met with judgement or disdain from other males, I learned to bottle up and bury any feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear, etc. You can probably guess where this headed to. By not “processing” my negative feelings in a healthy manner, over time these normal human experiences such as angst, anxiety, depression, fear, and such became worse and worse. My solution to these issues was to often self-medicate and numb these feelings or avoid them altogether.

Now what does this have to do with open-mindedness? Well, quite simply, I had to learn and practice a new way of engaging with these negative and toxic emotions. It was suggested to me that I start to talk about these feelings with others and to start to get more “vulnerable.” This went against my social conditioning and definitely was outside of my comfort zone. Luckily I was desperate enough to try something new and my road to emotional healing began.


“The future depends on what you do today.”

― Mahatma Gandhi


The last component in our three part formula HOW is willingness. A definition of willingness that I particularly like is “The quality or state of being prepared to do something; readiness.”  This suggests one’s being willing to take action. And “action” is the key. Without taking some form of action a person, in my experience, will not change. A person can be honest about their problems and open-minded to possible solutions but without taking action in all likelihood no real change will occur. What types of action are we talking about? That depends on the person and their problem. However, for emotional and psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, anger and the like, activities such as meditation practice, going to a therapist, prayer, exercise, yoga, EMDR therapy, equine therapy and others have all been shown to have therapeutic benefits for people. But without the action of participating in these activities, they can’t help a person change.

In closing I would like leave you with perhaps my favorite quote of all from the writer and philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

–Charley Allen

Thank you Last House – Sincerely, Matt.

My name is Matthew Fidlow and I was raised in Chicago, IL. I was fortunate to have found Last House when I was sitting at death’s door as a 25 year old child, and am blessed to say that 3 years later, sobriety has taught me what it is to be a man with a passion for life. I came from what most would consider a great home, though my parents did divorce, I was given all I could possibly need, and want. My brothers did exceptionally well, both going to college, and getting scholarships to pave their way. I mention this because my circumstances did not dictate my path. I did. Drugs were just another avenue to trouble, but cheating, lying, stealing, those were part of my fabric. I was your typical know it all, I’m sure you know the type. I started selling drugs, because of course, I would be the most successful drug dealer at 17, and decided that school wasn’t all that important. Big shock, I got arrested soon thereafter. Most people would be cautious. Me? I thought, well, let me figure out how to beat the system, because that was just a slip that could be fixed. I had no idea how to live, it was just about surviving. I eventually got put on probation with the condition to “behave” for 2 years in order for my charges to be dropped. But as I always did, I figure I could think, or in some cases, charm myself out of anything. I’d sporadically serve a few days in jail with no real repercussions. But as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, this is a progressive disease, and it couldn’t have been truer to the word. By the age of 22, drugs were not my problem, they were my solution. And I torched everything in my path. Homelessness followed, relationships were nonexistent, and eventually a 4.5 month stint in jail brought some attention to this problem to me, albeit brief. I attempted to check into residential treatments, would do those for 30 days, and would be lucky to muster a couple weeks after. But the cycle continued, and got worse.

March 15, 2014 was a pivotal day for me. I came to California with essentially nothing left and insurance about to to no longer provide me with residential treatment centers to board at. This was it, it was now or never to get this “sober thing”. My family didn’t want to have anything to do with me, including my recently engaged brother, all for good reason. It was now or never. I had a counselor at a treatment center who simply told me that I could lie to him if I wanted to, but if I did, the advice he’d give me would be based on that lie, and would eventually hurt me. So simple, but something I had never heard before. I heard people say to “Give it a year, and if you don’t like what AA has to offer, drugs will still be there”. So I said, you know what, let’s try that. I’m going to put 100% into this and it doesn’t work, at least it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Seventy six long days later it was time to move to sober living. Chris Kirby, someone I heard a lot of good things about from the rooms, picked me up, and brought me to Last House. Initially the accountability in the house totally threw me off, and I found myself reverting to back to my old self, because that’s what I was use to doing. But something stuck out to me almost immediately. There was a sense of brotherhood, and a friendship between the guys. They were trying to help! And they were happy, laughing, enjoying each other’s company, and there were no drugs involved. It seemed almost impossible to me, such a foreign idea. I didn’t realize you could be sober AND happy. But I wanted to be that. The house taught me a number of things that I will be eternally grateful for. It taught me how to be accountable, how to be honest, how to look after myself and those I care about, how to do simple things like cook and clean, but most of all, how to have fun. These were all foreign concepts to me prior to the house. I remember a difficult situation I had with a job I was working at, running it by a house manager, Andy. He gave me suggestions, and I was systematically finding something wrong with each of them. He eventually told me to stop living in the problems, and focus on the solution. An incredible concept, and something I try and do today.

When I had a year of sobriety, I applied to work at Pacific View Recovery Center, the very treatment center I was at before coming to Last House. At this point, the obsession to drink and use had been lifted. But more importantly than that, I was happy. I was finally at peace with my life, not clouded by substances, not needing substances, not wanting substances. And the most remarkable thing about it? it wasn’t fleeting, it stuck! My mother came from Chicago to celebrate my one year with me and to give me a cake, the same woman I put through the ringer for so many years. It was one of the happiest days of my life.

Today, I am employable. I am accountable, dependable, honest, and trust-worthy. I recently left Pacific View Recovery Center after nearly 2 years working there, not because I was kicked out, getting high, or didn’t show up. That would have been the old me. I left on good terms, and moved on to another opportunity. I stress that word, opportunity. I have been given opportunities in my life that I was not afforded when I was active in my disease.
I am currently working for Last House as the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator. I get to apply the values that I’ve learned daily in my life, and hopefully my story can help give hope to someone. We all need to be reached in some capacity.

My life is blessed today. I have friends that I can count on, and that can count on me. I have a beautiful apartment that I pay rent for, and live with a sober brother from Last House. I have a puppy named Jasmine, that I adore. I have a great relationship with my family, including that same brother who is now married, and asked me to be a groomsmen. And I work for the facility that saved my life. I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you Last House.

Hiking Mt. Whitney with friends

Hiking has been a long time passion of mine. Ever since I have been sober I have developed a strong bond with nature and the outdoors. It is in nature where I have some of the deepest and most inspiring moments in my sobriety. The picture below is an example of one of the awe inspiring scenes that I was privileged to witness while hiking Mt. Whitney.


My trip up Mt. Whitney was something which required much planning and careful consideration as it is, after all, a hike up the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. The hike was about 15 miles (counting the long walk in the parking lot, and the various detours that were required during the hike) and rises to a peak elevation of 14,505 feet above sea level.

This hike was a surreal experience. I had always talked about climbing Mt. Whitney with my friends but had never come close to actually following through. The Opportunity arose when a fellow Last House Graduate forced me to enter the lottery which grants Whitney climbing passes. It was by sheer luck that we managed to reserve three spots for the hike in early august- an ideal time to do the hike.

It was even more fortuitous that we were able to make it up to base camp the night before our hiking date because the road leading up to it had been shut down due to a fire. My two friends and I were one of the 20 cars which were escorted through the still smoldering embers during a low point in the fire before it picked up again.

The hike itself began at 10:45pm and ended at around 2:30pm the next day. The hike was grueling and tested my endurance and commitment on several occasions. The most difficult portion of the hike occurred at the summit where my head started to throb as a result of the altitude and I started to feel the onset of altitude sickness. It was through my throbbing eyes that I was able to witness the sunrise from the top of the U.S, one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever witnessed. The view was far greater than anything I had imagined. To my left I could see straight over Death Valley and to my right a stunning view of the high sierras presented itself. The breaking dawn shattered the small lakes and ponds sprinkled throughout the sierras, piercing the calm still waters with streaks of vibrant orange and yellow. I summited before my friends and spent 15 minutes in complete solitude observing the sunrise before snapping a few pictures and hurrying to check on my buddies who were resting below.

My Mt. Whitney experience was made possible through my stay in The Last House and my commitment to being sober. If it were not for my fellow housemate I would not have entered the lottery which got us passes to hike, I would have missed out on an experience I cherish dearly today.

–David S.

Santa Monica Out-Patient

Thrive Treatment

A new partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program that will open next month in Santa Monica, Calif., will rely heavily on building a one-on-one relationship between a patient and what the organization is calling a “recovery advocate.” The advocate’s role will not mirror that of a 12-Step sponsor, but instead will involve assisting individuals with integrating recovery and basic life skills such as applying for a job or overcoming bad credit.

“Oftentimes these issues are what keep our clients stuck,” says Jennifer Musselman, who will serve as Thrive Treatment’s chief operating officer when the outpatient facility opens in mid-August. A maximum of 49 patients will be served at the PHP and IOP levels in the coed facility, with the possibility of an evening program being added in 2016.

Clayton Ketchum, whose background includes establishing a young-adult recovery community in West Los Angeles, is the founder of Thrive Treatment, which will accept both self-pay and out-of-network insurance arrangements. Musselman says that the recovery advocates likely will be culled from Thrive Treatment’s own alumni and from individuals whom Ketchum has personally mentored. An attempt will be made to match the interests of the patient and the advocate.

To Learn More, Click Here

Acceptance in Our Recovery Community

Sober Living Last House

A little over a year ago I came into contact with The Last House. I had a major relapse on alcohol while living in Japan and the Japanese asked me to leave the country. I landed in Los Angeles with no plan on how to put my life back together. Someone recommended The Last House sober living facility as a place to start. I was grasping at straws and was willing to give it a try. I was not the typical Last House resident, I’m older than the average and I’m gay. From day one I felt welcome and accepted. The staff and other residents accepted me and seemed genuinely interested in my recovery. The structure of the house helped me start the process of recovery. I attended AA meetings at least once a day, participated in house activities and allowed the structure and process to aid in my healing. The staff and the guys in the program with me kept me accountable for my behavior and provided a safe place for me to struggle with my issues. My age and sexual orientation really made no difference to staff and residents of The Last House, which took a weight I sometimes carry off my chest. Living there gave me the tools I needed to embark on a life of sobriety. I was able to take the experience of The Last House and apply those tools into my daily life. I have been sober since March 10, 2015 and a great credit goes to The Last House.

-Former Resident

A Clinical Viewpoint

The Last House Sober Living For Men
What is really going to work? That is always the question, isn’t it? If you’re reading this you are looking for that answer. Sad to say that no one has that; not at least in any way that can be guaranteed, marketed or repeated. Still we have to make decisions. We have to try to make the best choice for ourselves and for the people we love. As an addiction professional I can say with true confidence that Sober Living is the best choice for a young person in early recovery.

The Last House gets Sober Living right. Community, personal accountability, fellowship, honesty, integrity and above all fun in recovery. The last house cuts through the bells and whistles that generally present a fantasy that isn’t likely to work out for most of the young people I’ve worked with.

Learning how to enjoy life on life’s terms is central aspect of emotional sobriety and this is where the Last House excels. Young men there learn life skills. They cook and clean for themselves and for one another. They talk openly and directly about what they see happening good and bad with their peers. They call each other out for bad choices. They deal with real consequences. It’s a no bullshit kind of place. Staff doesn’t coddle to residents, they keep it real and they make sure clients are moving forward even if it means taking away their iPhones or their car keys.

Most importantly they don’t allow young adults to disappear. After countless sober livings and treatment centers young people in early recovery tend to learn how to fly under the radar and get through their sober living experience without really being challenged or encouraged to change. Unfortunately too many Sober Livings and treatment center allow this to go on.

On the flip side, there is also a lot of camaraderie and fun. Competitive basketball games at the park, group hikes, barbecues at the beach, sober parties that don’t suck. All that stuff makes the tough love go down easier.

As an addiction professional it is often hard to work with clients to initiate real changes only to watch their environment reinforce self destructive behaviors and contradict the principles that we work so hard to develop in early recovery. When my clients are residents at The Last House I know they are being held accountable.

written by David Pavia LCSW

Failure To Launch

“Failure to Launch” is characterized in my own experience as a lack of connection to other humans, professional failure which gave rise to social inadequacies. The pain of this experience in my case gave rise to increased drug use and dependence on illicit narcotics in order to feel some form of connection. The dependency on drugs furthered my stagnation due to the impairment they caused and the energy needed to acquire illegal substances. At age 25, I was broke, homeless and unemployable, I had little contact with family and no friends. This cycle had continued to perpetuate itself until it could be arrested by physical detoxification and treated with healing in a community setting.

The first stage of recovery was to break the physical dependence from the drug. In my case, Opiates, which create physical dependence needed to be cleared from my system with the aid of medications that treat the symptoms of detox. It is important to note that this phase alone cannot treat the addiction, I have detoxed medically and non-medically several times. In my case, while still in detox, I was immersed into a community of other addicts who had recovered from addiction and begun meaningful lives as part of a community, they had crossed from Stagnation to Generativity. These other young men are still some of my closest friends.

I was lucky enough to find myself at The Last House Sober Living for Men in Los Angeles, a program where Integrity, honesty, accountability and friendship were the basic tenants of the community. Most other Rehabs I had been to were short term and had the reverse effect where I learned behavior that furthered my stagnation.

In my own experience, the desire to be socially accepted or “one of the guys” encouraged me to follow in the path of what these new friends of mine had done. They had jobs, friends and could buy their own cigarettes, all things I sincerely desired. Feeling socially connected was the basis for me to launch myself into a life of purpose. After gaining traction and finding my first steady job I began to show new guys in the community how I was able to find purpose. The act of “giving back” truly launched my personal growth and self esteem into a realm I had not known was possible. I was on fire, useful, employed and truly connected to my peers.

written by Chris Kirby
Director of Admissions for The Last House Sober Living for Men in Los Angeles