A New Experience in LA

Scott Ames

I’m originally from Des Moines, IA which is the largest city in Iowa at roughly 200,000 people. This is where I grew up and when through high school and partially through college as well. I had tried getting sober back home multiple times whether it was to get my family off my back, to have a place to stay, or because the law required that I go to treatment to satisfy charges I had received. I went to several meetings across Des Moines, but I never felt like it was for me. I also was only doing it for a reason other than for myself. I went to jail time and time again, but as soon as I was given freedom, I was right back where I started even though I would swear off completely while behind bars. My family wouldn’t allow me to stay at their house anymore, so instead, I would find somewhere else to stay temporarily or sometimes I would even sleep at work. Even though my life was falling apart both externally and internally, I continued down this dreadful path. One day, my parents called to say they would give my one last chance and send me to a place in Los Angeles. I had been to California before to try to get sober but I eventually manipulated my way back to Iowa by buying a plane ticket home and doing it all behind my parents back. I told them I was coming home for a visit but instead packed up everything, thinking I would never return. Getting sober in Los Angeles is a lot different than Iowa. The meetings in Iowa were full of grumpy old timers who only complained about their crummy lives. I think that partially turned me off to the rooms. In LA, the rooms of AA are full of a much younger crowd and there are a wide variety of meetings to go to. When I landed at LAX, I was mainly excited to have a roof over my head and some food to eat. I had honestly accepted that I had caused so much wreckage in my life, that I wouldn’t be able to turn it around. The sober living that I arrived at was The Last House. The name of it was actually fitting considering my parents told me this was my last chance. Although the structure of the house was a little intimidating at first, I realized that what was asked of me day to day wasn’t very hard at all. The most challenging part at my stay, was going through the steps and figuring out how to live a healthy, manageable, internally happy life. I had ups and downs, trials and errors, but I found that’s what life really is. Fear had riddled my life to this point, and anytime I was faced with an obstacle or hardship, I would run. Facing my troubles head on is something I learned not only in the steps, but also at the house hearing feedback from my peers. The Last House is heavily based around unity and camaradery. From revamping my shot on the basketball court to taking trips to Mammoth mountain, I found gratification in things that used to bring me joy. The house also made me feel like I wasn’t the only one who was trying to put my life back together. Another crucial characteristic at the house was that people actually cared. I had been to many outpatients and other sober livings where how they communicated with me felt so fake and in-genuine. Throughout my stay, I learned how to balance everyday life, recovery and work. Once I completed the program, I was offered a job working at the house which I gladly accepted. This allowed me to not only give back, but also to witness significant change in others. One of the biggest gifts of the program was getting my family back. For so many years, I created so much havoc in their lives. Being able to make amends to them and be a part of their lives once again brought me peace of mind. I’m now present when we get together during the holidays and I’m a brother and a son. Today, I am financially self-supporting, I have hobbies that bring me joy, and I have a group of friends who are trudging the same road as I am.



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