Derek S. Last House Success Story

Derek S Last House Success Story

Sobriety has given me a lot so far — some things that I didn’t think were possible. One of those things is a healthy relationship with my brother. As brothers, him and I grew up with resentments towards one another in all ways one could possibly imagine. Yet as we reached our teen years, it got worse due to the fact that we began drinking and using drugs together. Thus, unfortunately, this became our relationship with each other. Not only did it take a strain on us, it took a massive toll on our family. I eventually moved out of state thinking that I was not leaving much behind, but at the same time, I was worried that with this decision I would never have any kind of connection with my brother and we would eventually grow apart completely. While I was away, I heard that my brother got sober and was working for a sober living. I was in complete disbelief because in my wildest dreams, I never thought sobriety was possible for anyone in our family. Deep down, I was happy for him, but at the same time, I had my doubts. I believed that it was something that wouldn’t, and moreover, couldn’t last. Time passed and I continued to progress deeper into my addiction and self isolation. Then what seemed to be completely out of the blue, I received a call from my brother. We conversed like we never had before. For what felt like the first time ever, it was a calm and collected dialogue. There was no screaming, no insults, no verbal assaults. In fact it was the complete opposite. We talked about what he was doing in life; how he’s been working in recovery for years and that tremendous transformation that has taken place in his life — the true gifts of sobriety. Our conversation proceeded and eventually came to a precipice where he told me that it was entirely possible for me to get clean and work on myself if I was willing to put in the work. After the call ended, I sat in reflection and truly thought about what my brother had just said. For some time, I just sat with myself and wrestled with my thoughts. That God-shot, white light moment that many individuals talk about in the rooms of recovery had finally arrived. It hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. I knew what I needed to do. I was beyond fearful, but I had to capture this moment while I still could. I immediately called my brother told him I was ready for a change. I humbled myself before him and asked him to help me find a new life. He suggested that I go to The Last House, not only because it changed his life, but because he knew it could changed mine. So within a matter of days I arrived at The Last House. I resided at East House, a mere block away from West House, where my brother works. During my stay I learned so much about myself and why things were not working in my life. My brother gave me space and let my have my own experience, but at the same time he was there for me if I needed him. Three months into my stay our relationship took a complete 360 degree turn. We were no longer arguing every day, we were having long talks, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. At 10 months into my stay, I began working for The Last House as a driver. I never planned on working for a sober living, but it just happened — just one of the promises and gifts of sobriety that my brother was talking about on the infamous phone call nearly one year prior. I can look back and recognize seeing my brother get sober and work in this kind of environment and the vital role it played in my decision to go on this path. Today I have a year and a half sober while my brother has 5 and a half years of clean time. Yet, the best part of it all — we have common respect for each other. We are able to see each other everyday and we are beyond grateful for this opportunity.

How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober

How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober

“Be careful, It may just save your life,” is what Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves in the 1991 Blockbuster “Point Break,” is told when he buys his first surfboard at the beginning of the movie. It shows a lost, angry and egotistical Utah with something to prove after losing a football career due to injury. The surfboard salesman recognizes he is spiritually dead and knows that surfing can holistically save his life.

I started surfing in my teen years. It was exciting, thrilling and frankly one of the coolest things I had ever done. The more important drugs became in my life; the less I would surf. At one point, Icould put down drugs and was training to surf Mavericks, a wave bigger than a house that breaks in Half Moon Bay, California. I got high again and stopped training and surfing altogether. I went to Hawaii on a family vacation, which was miserable to my family who had to be with me while I was detoxing. I stayed and moved there to separate get away from where I had been using. I found drugs in Hawaii and eventually sold all my surfboards to buy drugs.

Eventually, I landed at The Last House. I was a little over a month sober and I was watching a video of people surfing the waves from Hurricane Sandy and I remember making myself a promise: “Someday, I’m going to surf waves that big.”

Through my time at The Last House one of the senior residents would take me surfing and I rediscovered my love for the ocean and It helped me connect with my higher power. It helped me to stay present and me to let go of my resentments and anger towards the world and my situation. At six months sober I went to make amends to people I had harmed in my addiction. I went to an old residence that I owed money to and after making my amends they told me that my old surfboard and wetsuit were in the garage and I was welcome to take them home with me. I started meeting other people in Recovery who surfed or wanted to learn to surf so I would take them and teach them how to surf.

Eventually, I had a whole community of sober surfers and friends that I talked to regularly. My connection to the omnipotent power of the universe now gave me a greater connection to the people in the world.

At 4 years of sobriety, my mom took me on a family vacation to Hawaii. While I was there I went down to the beach to check the surf one morning and stumbled on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I sat down and joined in. After the meeting, the surf started getting big so I paddled out for a session. When I got out in the lineup I realized these waves were huge and I was out of my depth. I was scared but I knew I had to give it a try.

As I moved toward the take-off zone two guys paddled up to me and said, “hey, we saw you in the meeting this morning, where are you from?” I told them I was from California. They told me to come sit with them and they would show me how to get a wave out there. After patiently waiting for 45 minuets big swell started distorting the horizon. One of the guys told me to go and started screaming, “go boy, go boy, go!”

I started digging into the water and paddling my hardest, his screams started fading and I stood up on a gigantic pale blue wall of water. I had never felt water move under my board so fast as I started maneuvering down the line. I rode this wave for a hundred yards and when I came off the wave I had to dive underwater so no one would hear me scream of excitement.

The moment I was sitting at The Last House watching videos of Hurricane Sandy came back to me. The Last House and my recovery community had made my dream of surfing big waves a reality.

In 2019, I started The Last House Sober Living and Recovery Community’s surf program because of How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober. Teaching men to surf in early recovery is truly rewarding to me. Nothing compares to surfing big waves, but seeing a guy catch his first wave and catch a stoke for surfing is almost as good. Helping young men build their own community through surfing and recovery is an amazing thing to be a part of.

Surf Therapy is born of a passion for the ocean, recovery, and surfing. Our mission is not only to teach surfing, but to assist in connecting people with something bigger than themselves and providing our participants with new experiences that have the power to transform their lives. Nature is a powerful force, and when harnessed, can assist with attitude improvement, physical and mental well being, and even help bring people back from the depths of addiction.

Each sessions starts off with a foundation of ocean safety and basic training on how to surf. Then we start the surf lesson with guided meditation, connection to the breath and visualization. Teaching awareness and respect for the ocean and each other is an integral part of the process. This innovative combination of physical interaction with the ocean, light therapy, and meditation has helped many people find peace in their lives and achieve their goals.  I hope that this motivates and educates struggling addicts and shows them How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober.

To learn more about how surfing can aid in improved outcomes of recovery, please give us a call at 866-677-0090. Contact The Last House.  Follow us on social media @thelasthousesoberliving.

Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus

Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus

The Last House is Committed to Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus.  Well, it’s a strange time we are currently living in. Mobs of people lined up in front of Costco at 5am, waiting for the doors to open in 5 hours so they can raid the toilet paper section. Grocery stores with empty shelves, all the frozen and non-perishable food completely bought up each day. Employees being sent home from work. Every sports league, gym, concert and event postponed or cancelled. Warnings on the TV that masks don’t work, they do work, wash your hands, don’t touch your face…… All of it worrisome, confusing, and scary to say the least.

But what is the truth here? Is this hysteria warranted? What are the real dangers?

I wish I had the answers.

At this point, I don’t think anyone truly does. All we can do is proceed as best we can and address the issues that we are able to address with any certainty.

At The Last House Recovery Community, we are doing just that. Let’s practice good hygiene like regularly washing our hands and regularly scheduled house cleanings. Avoid large gatherings (social distancing)? We have altered our meeting schedule to include many more in-house meetings and have changed our regular house outings to outdoor activities rather than indoor. The best defense against any sort of sickness? Healthy living. Our in-house gym, weekly running, and regular basketball regimen provide great exercise and fitness. And our commitment to providing whole foods for cooking instead of sugary/fatty junk foods helps to promote a more-healthy lifestyle and boost immune system.

All of those points aside, one thing is for certain. For an addict, the disease of addiction is much more deadly than any sort of corona virus. The mortality rate for those with Substance Use Disorder living in addiction is almost always fatal.
Which is why we must continue the road to recovery and remember to think in the big picture.

What’s the world and our economy going to look like when the dust settles? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d imagine that as with every other major event in history, life will go on. We are resilient!!

For me though, my life first and foremost depends on my ability to remain sober.

Steven M.

steven m

When I came into the house I was depressed, angry, and manipulative. I was hopeless about having any sort of productive life. There was no such thing as a future where I would be able to live a life that was satisfactory. I wished for nothing more than to die.

Even though all of these feelings still pop up from time to time, I am now able to see the beauty of the struggle; feeling the pain of now knowing that there is a better day on the horizon as long as I continue to do the right thing. It’s not going to be perfect all of the time and that’s okay. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and coffee in the pot. Most importantly, I have people I can call, people I can confide in, and people I can go out and do things with.

I am no longer the same person that came in to the house. I am and always will be grateful for the things that I have been able to learn over the past year or so.

Congrats to Graduate Pete E.


Before I came to the Last House my life and my outlook on it was bleak. My whole life I have suffered from my mental illness and my battle with depression. I let my very life sink down into an abyss of self-pity, victimization, and morbid reflection on how it had turned out and how the world had done me wrong. All of this was how I was living before I discovered that if I self medicated with alcohol life didn’t seem so bad, or at least I didn’t care if it was. Of course it started off as fun, I finally got out of my shell and out of my house for once, and I had a lot of friends, and a growing social life. But all of this did not last for very long. After a year I started to wake up in the mornings drenched in sweat, shaking violently, with crippling anxiety. I learned that if I kept drinking that this would solve my problems with withdrawal. I carried on for the next few years in a constant state of intoxication. Eventually I lost all of my friends, the girl left, and I had quit my job with the idea that if I did not have money for alcohol I could finally stop. But all that did was give me more time to drink and it allowed me to get creative on how to do so. I eventually started conning strangers into giving me money, including my friends and my family. When I couldn’t do that I resorted to stealing from anyone unfortunate enough to be around me. Over time my tolerance to alcohol became so strong I had to be lethally intoxicated to even get some relief.

That cycle continued on for 2 years. During that period I had been in and out of detox for god knows how long; there were times I felt so defeated. I would tell the detox doctors I was having thoughts of killing myself so that they would keep me for some time, so that I could have a break from my family who I had a huge resentment against. After three stints in residential treatment I was introduced to a man by my counselor at Great Oaks recovery, named Chris Kirby, who came to my treatment center to tell his story of recovery and hope. After talking with Kirby for some time he told me about recovery in LA, about seeing the beaches, surfing, the women, hitting AA meetings in Compton, and going skiing and snowboarding in the mountains. Finally, what really sold me was “All our houses have dogs!” So after making all the arrangements with my father I flew out to LA and was picked up at the airport by Mike J. I was in shock my first week I was at the Last House because of all the rules and structure. My flight response’s kicked in and I begged my family for months on letting me leave. For months I resisted the house, I felt as if everyone was out to get me, I felt like I was an outcast in a place I couldn’t escape.

Over time I started to see all the benefits in the house and in the groups and how the house really could save me from myself. I started listening to what others had to say about what they saw in me. My progress was not a steady climb, I had many falling points in my character, and there were times if I fell I wouldn’t stay down for long. But eventually the result was the same, I would get back up and keep going. I’ve had to face a lot of fears during my stay here, one of them being close with a group of guys and being vulnerable at times. I have most definitely not done this house perfectly, but it has done what it was made to do for me. Everything that I wanted in my addiction, I now have in my sobriety: a job, my own place, a girl who loves me for me, self confidence, and the drive and determination to do better for myself. I owe the Last House my life, because I have spent the last few years trying to end it. I can now look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.