I came into The Last House beaten, miserable, and defeated. I felt worthless, had zero self-confidence, and didn’t have much optimism or hope for my future. I was extremely deceitful and lied about anything and everything. I started my use the first time I was in college at Arizona State to get over my anxieties and to feel comfortable around people. I hated being alone yet couldn’t feel comfortable around others. Ironically, nine years later I was completely isolated burned all of my relationships, and completely alone. I kept everything to myself and worked so hard to keep up the façade that I was doing well even going as far as professionally recreating a fake degree to convince my parents I graduated college. I constantly did stupid things like this knowing full well that I was most likely going to get caught, but doing it anyways because I was unable to face my problems and didn’t want anyone to know what a mess I had made of my life. The worst part was hurting those closest to me and hearing my parents tell me they don’t even know their own son. Years of dishonest and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, I finally reached point where I knew my carefully built house of cards and lies was going to come crashing down, that I asked for help. Thus bringing me to The Last House. The past year has totally changed my perspective and put me on the right track to a better, happier life. I have discovered myself work and believe in myself that I have a lot to offer this world. I have a purpose today and have a lot of optimism and hope for my future. I learned that honesty is essential in all facets of life no matter how bad the situation or consequences. I learned to tackle a problem head on and to get ahead of it before it gets bigger. I am able to relax and be content whether I am bored, alone, or hanging out with others. I don’t care as much what people think of me and I am not afraid to just be myself.
First off I would like to start off by saying how grateful I am for The Last House, for all the people who have been by my side through this journey, for being given an opportunity to have a real chance at life. I spent a lot of years going in and out of treatment and jail, spent a lot of money, I put myself in to a lot of debt, I threw out relationships, opportunities to grow, all my self-respect, integrity and dignity to be able to stay high just one more day.
I remember walking into Thrive Treatment on my first day, still kicking because the detox I was at wouldn’t let me stay to finish my taper. I was in such a bad spot that anything sounded better than being back on skid row, and I was willing to do anything at that point. About a week later I figured I could probably do it on my own when I felt better, once again, and decided to leave. Due to a series of events later that night, I ended up back at East House, sitting on the front porch I was at a crossroads, I had no more options. I was to either stay on the path I was on, or I accepted spiritual and physical help. I stayed sober for about 6 months, I started giving myself the credit for where I was at with a flip phone and a minimum wage job, and when some people tried to tell me I was fucking up, I wouldn’t listen. I stayed out for a month, deep down regretting every second of it. Things got bad again and I ended up back in detox. I sat at a crossroads one more time, I knew if I went to another sober living without the structure I would not get very far, but if I came back to The Last House, I had real brothers that would help me stay put and be here for me. This was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I spent a lot of time dwelling on the past, beating myself up for starting over one more time. I made a lot of mistakes and I didn’t do everything right. But no matter what I continued to take steps forward. I learned to listen to feedback, and do my best to apply it in my daily life. I was able to go back to court and take care of multiple warrants that had been put out a few years ago. I even turned myself into jail while in the house. I learned to handle life head on. I’ve been able to show up to a job every day no matter how much it sucks, and no matter how much I don’t want to go. Since having done that I have become manager of the cafe I work at. I’ve learned to show up for my family, it is no longer a chore for me to be a part of my family. I have integrity and dignity today. I have become accountable to myself and for my actions. I know when I am wrong and I am able to admit it.
If I can say anything for the new people, stay patient. Be an example for the next person behind you, let someone else make decisions for you. Don’t think you know what’s best for you, because that literally got you here, sitting in the chair you’re in right now. Show up when you are asked to and work the steps. It certainly is not easy, but it is so simple. And if I can do this, so can you.
If you are thinking about Wilderness Treatment in California for your loved one suffering from addiction, mental or behavioral health disorders, then you are certainly on the right track. Adventure Therapy is one of the most effective forms of therapy for young adults and adolescents. Compared to traditional Residential Treatments and office-based therapies, wilderness and adventure programs allows patients the ability to exercise real learning in safe environments to push through anxiety, stress, and excitement. These are valuable skills that can be developed rapidly in an outdoor setting and translate to actionable skills when back in urban or front-country environments.
Wilderness treatment is highly effective for disorders such as; alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, borderline personality disorder, attachment disorder, spectrum disorders, bi-polar, technology addiction, and oppositional defiance disorder. A common misconception is that wilderness is a place to send “bad kids” for punishment. Most treatment is designed to treat maladaptive behavior responses that often result from core wounding or trauma responses. When removing a young person from a familiar environment that includes constant over stimulation from cell phones, media pressures, school and social pressures there becomes the ability to leverage the inherent neuroplasticity of a younger brain and can lead to a more effective intervention on disruptive behaviors.
A study in 2004 from Outdoor Behavioral Health Research Council (OBHRC) shows a 50% reduction in symptoms using the Youth Outcome Questionnaire (YOQ). It also showed a continued decrease in symptoms over time.
With Wilderness Treatment being so effective, it leads us to wonder why there isn’t a Wilderness Treatment program in our home state. The answer is because some states like California have laws that make it very difficult and expensive to run an active Wilderness Treatment Program. Due to large populations, California’s departments Land Management tightly control access to California’s open spaces. California’s laws do not protect large private landholders enough to make them comfortable with lending their land to outside use. California’s rich mineral content and agriculture make most of the earth more valuable to industries such as mining and logging. The value of land in California prices out the outdoor behavioral health industry which traditionally operates as a labor of love.
California’s Behavioral Health industry has grown in response to increasing rates of drug addiction and mental health disorders nationwide. It has long been a haven for the treatment of mental health disorders because it is socially acceptable to be open about recovery. So, it is easy to see why programs would take modalities that work so well in the wilderness and apply it to treatment in more populated area’s. Programs like The Last House in LosAngeles, Ca utilize experiential therapies to get their clients “off the couch” and practicing coping and recovery skills outside of their treatment office. “Although our program is not a replacement for Wilderness Treatment in California ,” says Clayton Ketchum, Founder of The Last House, “Using experiential therapies in young adults significantly improves the transition from the backcountry to an urban environment where most young people desire to live and grow their lives.” Utilizing local recreation areas like the Santa Monica Mountains for day outings and the Sierra Nevada Mountains for weekend adventures, “Creates lasting bonds between our clients, because completing a small journey together introduces them to the camaraderie necessary to embark on a life long journey of recovery.” The Last House urges those considering treatment to call their Admissions Counselors for a thorough assessment and to learn about the different types of Wilderness Therapy programs.
When it comes to choosing a Wilderness Treatment Program, it is essential to have a thorough assessment to identify the best fit. It may be difficult to find Wilderness Treatment in California. Several wilderness programs operate in Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana. The two main types of programs are known commonly as the Base model and Nomad model. Different Wilderness programs best serve different populations so it is important that a student be paired with the program which best suits their needs. The other thing to consider is insurance coverage and cost which takes a thorough financial evaluation. Wilderness typically runs $15,000 to $38,000 per month and varies on what insurance covers or reimburses. Chris Kirby, the Admissions Director at The Last House, says, “Not all insurance is created equal, I have seen insurance cover 90% of a program or only reimburse 10%, the first step is getting a full Verification of Benefits to determine what coverage would be.”
The “Nomad Model” is a type of wilderness which is full wilderness immersion. The students begin at a base camp and don’t return until they are finished. They are in the wilderness the entire time trekking from camp to camp and doing group and individual therapy sessions in the woods. They utilize highly skilled field guides to facilitate interventions in the field.
The “Base Model” wilderness, also known as an “Adventure Model” utilizes the wilderness for multiple day excursions and incorporates different activities into each journey. Students return to base where they engage in medical and clinical visits, de-brief and planning for their next outing. They also utilize skilled field guides and therapists in the field to process the experience.
Wilderness Therapy is described by professionals, families and clients alike as one of the most effective and significant interventions for people struggling with mental and behavioral health issues. The other significant factor in the success of someone doing a wilderness program is continuing care. Any initial treatment experience is only the first intervention. For lasting success and decreased recidivism, it is recommended that a young person is in one year of follow up care. Best outcomes come from a highly structured sober living or young addult transitional program. It is crucial that students learn to use their wilderness skills in everyday life and habituate their new coping skills, especially when combating the internal dialogue and behavior patterns which typically lead to relapse.
Russell, K.C.(2005). Two years later: A qualitative assessment of youth-well-being and the role of aftercare in outdoor behavioral healthcare treatment. Child and Youth Care Forum, 34, 3, 209-239.
My name is Chris and I am and addict; a hearing impaired drug addict. I’ve never felt a part of the world I was born into. Until the age of 4 I wasn’t a part of conversations because I couldn’t hear them. My grandmothers nickname for me was “Mr. What.” Even when I was given Hearing Aids at age 4 I was awkward because I missed social cues and often talked loudly or too much to overcompensate for my inability to listen. I was able to excel in athletics and sports like swimming and baseball to compensate for a lack of interest in school subjects and feeling misunderstood socially. My skills in athletics gave me value in an affluent town where where graduating from top tier universities was the expectation.
Then I found what I had been missing my whole life. It came from god and nature and it gave me purpose in life. Cannabis seemed to be something I could not live my life without. Just like a sports team my friends and I would gather around and go on missions to procure the sweet herb and find the places safest to smoke it while sharing bonds of unity around a pipe, bong or blunt. I was the team captain; I had a cannabis club card to buy it from the medical dispensaries, I was an expert in the field and knew all the strains and intricacies of growing the plant. I had arrived, I was a part of a tribe and I called myself their shaman.
As I moved from High School to College and beyond the tribe changed and so did my drug use until I eventually began going in and out of treatment for what had developed into a full blown drug addiction. Every time I went into treatment I would find myself having a deep need to connect with a tribe and my insecurities or deficiencies would rise up to the surface again. For example: Growing up I thought everyone could see my hearing aids and they made me ugly. Hearing aids, along with my wild curly hair gave me a very low self image and I thought I was ugly. Once arriving in a treatment center, a place that was supposed to support healing, I would overcompensate to prove my self worth and would get romantically involved with as many females as I could. I would do this essentially to prove my value to the group and gain a false sense of self esteem.
Unknown to me what I had developed was an inability to self parent or self soothe and a form of body dysmorphia. My value was directly correlated to how those around me viewed me. In other words, “I needed you to like me in order for me to like me.” The only way to save myself from these feelings of crippling inadequacy, utter failure and disappointment was by getting the ease and comfort drugs provided me. Most people don’t understand, but in my brain the only thing that gave me value or satisfaction in my existence was being high.
Through an al anon connection my mom gave me one last chance at a place appropriately named “The Last House.” As soon as I showed up to the house I started with my old routine, talking incessantly about the things I had done so the other guys in the house would like me and I could therefore like myself. This time, something different happened. The guys at the house told me they didn’t care. They didn’t care about my exploits with women, surfing, or water polo. They didn’t care about how many drugs I did or how much I knew about cannabis. These guys took me to 12 step meetings, hung out with me on the weekends and played ping pong with me. They asked me how I was doing and how I was feeling. They obviously liked me and wanted me to be a part of their tribe and they told me to talk less and listen more. They cared more about what I was doing and not what I had done. This may seem simple, but this was a revolutionary concept for me. They liked me because I was human, because they had struggled like I had struggled and they didn’t need me to prove anything to them.
This was the first time in my life that I was getting guidance from my peers instead of authority figures. These guys were making recovery cool, and I began to engage in the process of recovery because frankly, I wanted to be cool like them. For the first time in my life they taught me how to listen to others. How to hear what they were saying so that I could help them. All the special tutors and audioligists I saw growing up had never taught me how to quiet my own thoughts enough to hear what other people were trying to communicate with me. It then became my responsibility to teach these skills to the new guys who came in after me. The best way to learn is by teaching.
What I now understand is that I was living with a greater handicap than my Hearing impairment. I was living with a voice inside my head that was so loud it impeded my ability to listen regardless of how good my hearing aids were. I now understand that voice was the driving force in my addiction.
Since graduating The Last House I have done things I never thought possible. I have gotten more education, worked fulfilling jobs, started traveling the world and gotten engaged. I now hold a leadership position in the healthcare field and l go visit The Last House regularly to teach the new guys what was taught to me. I now get to be the example of how cool a life of recovery can be. The biggest gift The Last House gave me is that I no longer think I am Ugly. They taught me how to develop my self esteem and it gives me confidence and ambition I never new existed.
In the summer of 2013, I made a decision to make another attempt to get sober. Up until this point I had struggled with heroin addiction for nearly a decade and could not achieve long term sobriety. I had been through multiple treatment centers, detoxes, sober livings, and done a geographical move. All of which resulted in failure which took me further away from my own self, my family, and loved ones. I had embraced the fact that I was a drug addict and I would probably die from this affliction. But there was still a glimmer of hope that I could finally “get this” and be a happy and productive member of society again. You have to be broken in order to be fixed, and I finally felt truly broken and ready for some sort of change in my life. I knew that it would take a lot of work and I was ready for someone else to tell me what to do, because up until this point my way wasn’t working. Getting out of my environment and going out of state made it easier for me mentally because it was difficult for me to leave and get loaded if I had an urge to use, so I decided to hop on a plane and go to a treatment center in California. In the past I had done something similar and done treatment and a lightly structured sober living in South Florida. It ended in catastrophe and I eventually moved back home after a year of bouncing in and out of different rehabs. I had to do something different but I had no idea what that was supposed to look like. While I was in treatment in Los Angeles, I met a guy who worked there that had 15 years sober and I noticed that there was something different about this person. It’s hard to explain but it was almost like he knew something that I didn’t. He exuded some sort of aura and had a light in his eyes which was attractive. This man ended up being my sponsor after I completed treatment and he convinced me and my family that I needed to go to a structured sober living.
When I arrived at sober living any and everything was taxing on my serenity. Receiving feedback from my peers on what I needed to change was not something I had experienced in prior attempts to get sober. My patience and tolerance of others was tested on a daily basis while living with 14 other newly sober men. But we had a common bond, and most of us had been through the wringer already. I am an only child so I don’t know what it’s like to have siblings but I would soon have an idea of what it’s like to have brothers. Some of the best feedback I ever received during a group at the house was that I needed to find inner peace. I almost laughed when the manager told me that! I had no idea what he meant but was forced to take a look at it. There was a lot of inner turmoil and pent up rage within myself that I didn’t even know was there. Thankfully, a requirement of the house was to get a sponsor and start working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and go to AA meetings on a daily basis. We had to start practicing awareness and know what was going on around us at all times. Getting a routine down and finding a job also played a big part of my early sobriety. I had my schedule down to a science and knew exactly where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing every second of every day. My life started to have purpose and meaning again. I developed lifelong friendships with other guys that I went through the house with and we trudge this road together.
If you told me 9 years ago that my life would be where it is today, I would have sworn you were crazy. I had fully embraced the life of a drug addict, and resigned myself to a certain future of jails, institutions or death. Nothing anyone said or did was going to change that. I’d already been through multiple arrests, probations, periods of incarceration, treatment episodes, failed relationships, loss of things I had once held dear. It didn’t matter. I was going to do what I did, and saw no alternative for myself.
Even coming into my last run at treatment, I did not necessarily want to be sober. The 2 choices were either rehab or jail, so I chose rehab. But I was not looking to be “sober”. I didn’t even know what that truly meant, let alone imagine a life completely free of drugs and alcohol. I knew that heroin was a problem in my life, that crack was a problem in my life. But completely free of all drugs? AND alcohol? That concept seemed so foreign, so utterly unattainable, that my mind could not come close to fathoming the gravity of what it actually entailed.
Luckily, I landed at a place that was willing to take the time to teach me the true meaning of recovery. Getting clean was the easy part, they told me, staying clean was the real challenge. ‘But my problem is with drugs! Take drugs out of the equation and I’m going to be superman!’ I was under the impression that once I stopped using, all of the great talents I once had back before my active addiction would suddenly reappear in spades, and my life would go back to the way it used to be. Not so fast, they said. They reminded me that I had developed a lot of bad habits over my years of using, like laziness, dishonesty, cutting corners, poor diet, basically most every habit of unhealthy living. Plus, I had problems before drugs even entered the equation. “The reason you started using drugs wasn’t because you had a problem with drugs, was it?” No, I suppose that wouldn’t really make sense. But why, then?
After about a month, I physically felt 10x better. The withdrawal sickness had passed, my skin had changed back from a pale grey to a more human looking shade, and I was able to engage in coherent conversation. I had started working out, brushing my teeth and showering, and no longer floated through my day sporting a blank, empty stare. If someone were to have a 10 minute conversation with me, they would have no way of knowing I was a long term professional drug addict, that had lied to, cheated on, and stole from just about anyone who would let me close enough to do so. From the outside, things looked great. But just below the surface, I was still a mess.
Over the years, I had developed a nasty habit of procrastination. Guess what happened when the drugs were removed from my life? That’s right. I still procrastinated! Procrastinated on my house chores, getting a sponsor, calling my sponsor, doing my step work, working out, eating healthy, setting appointments, returning calls, everything. I would do it “tomorrow”, or “later”, just “not right now”, even though I usually wasn’t very busy. That procrastination led to dishonesty, and I had every excuse you could imagine locked and loaded at all times, ready to fire on anyone who would question my process. This in turn led to anxiety, that either I would not complete what needed to be done, or that my lie would be found out. After the anxiety came depression, as I felt sorry for myself that my life had come to this, even though it was of my own making. I did not voice any of this of course, just told people to leave me alone. Thankfully, they did not! They taught me about suiting up and showing up each day, handling my responsibilities as they arose, doing a thorough job at whatever I did, and how all of these things would actually help alleviate many of the root causes of my fear, anxiety and depression. This all didn’t happen overnight, but rather was basically an extended control study, where over time I began to notice the differences in how I felt and was actually able to correlate it with how I handled life. Personally, this was one of the biggest revelations in my recovery process.
My other biggest issue I still seemed to run into after getting clean was my inability to take responsibility. It was someone else’s fault that I started using, someone else’s fault when relationships ended, someone else’s fault that I got arrested, someone else was the cause of my depression, my anger, my anxiety, etc. etc. The world and the people in it were doing all of this to me, and I was just an innocent bystander/victim of circumstance. Over the years, this type of ‘me against the world’ mentality had served a purpose in my life, as it allowed me to avoid taking an honest look at myself that would require change. Change was hard, and I wanted no part of it. Besides, you were the problem, not me! But it was keeping me mentally sick they told me, and until I was able to own my part, I would remain a prisoner of my thoughts and my resentments. Day after day, week after week, my perception surrounding the circumstances in my life were challenged by the staff, and also by my peers. It was tough to hear, but gradually I began to see that maybe there was some truth to what they were saying. The more I understood about it all, the more hard truths I was able to own, and the more free I felt. No longer was everyone else merely doing things to me, I actually had a say in the results. I was regaining control over my life!
Looking back at it, the truth is I may have arrived at these conclusions all on my own. I may have naturally overcame my clouded perspective and dishonesty. I might gotten a sponsor. I theoretically could have called him every day. I speculatively mayhave decided to work the steps. I possibly would have stopped procrastinating, and there’s a chance I would have attended AA meetings daily. Maybe it would be this run at sobriety? The next one? The 6th one 2 years down the line? Maybe. But when looking at all the evidence, the magic 8 ball reads as ‘doubtful’. And with the way I was living, I didn’t have time to experiment with MY version of recovery. I was on a fast path to either imprisonment or death, and every day of being left up to my own devices was a gamble I couldn’t afford to take. I’m eternally grateful for the path I was shown, and my belief in the effectiveness of structured sober living is exactly why I’m doing what I am today!
I am what one could call a chronic relapser. I first started trying to get sober in 2003 back in Canton Ohio. I’ve made about every mistake one can make on my path to sobriety. In the beginning, I knew that I wanted to stop drinking and using drugs but I wasn’t ready to put the work into it. In Ohio, most of the people in AA were way older than me. I was around 23 at the time and these people were easily over 40. There wasn’t a lot of people my age trying to get sober and I felt like maybe I was too young to stop drinking. I separated myself from them and had a hard time relating. I was focusing on the differences rather than the similarities. Drugs and alcohol were tearing my life apart but I also felt like there was a lot of “good times” that I was missing out on. My drinking progressed to pills and then eventually heroin. To make matters worse I had a 4 -year- old daughter that I wasn’t showing up for and I couldn’t hold down a job. This would start a 14- year cycle of sobriety, treatment and relapse repeatedly. The worst times of my life were still to come. It’s hard to put into words just how worthless I felt being addicted to drugs. I hated what I was doing to myself, my family and my friends. I wanted to stop and just live a normal life but I couldn’t and the years were starting to slowly slip away.
There were times that I put together some spotty sobriety and was sober continuously sober from 2011-2014. I was working in treatment in west Hollywood and thought that I had finally had this thing beat. I was wrong and relapsed again. This time I stayed out for a few years I ended up losing everything. My job, my car and my apartment. Most of all I was losing the support of my family. After years of having their hopes raised and then crushed again they were starting to lose hope that I would ever get this thing. I couldn’t blame them.
I came into The Last House sober living in July of 2017 and I was in bad shape. I walked in with a little bag which had 2 pairs of jeans, one sock and two T-shirts. That’s all I had left. I didn’t even really want to get sober again but I knew that I couldn’t keep living the way that I was. I knew my life wouldn’t last long and if it did it would be a sad, lonely and painful one. The first thing I noticed was how much younger everyone was than me. When I got back I had this feeling that life had passed me by. My friends all had jobs, careers and families and I was in sober living again trying to put my life together. Here I was pushing 40 years old and i felt out of place. When I first started to try, and get sober in 2003 I felt too young. Now, these years had passed and I was feeling too old!! I realized quickly that this was my disease and it was trying to do anything it could to separate me from these guys so I could build a case to go get loaded again. Good thing I didn’t stay in that mind set for very long! Being at The Last House, I had plenty of opportunities to share my experience and all the mistakes that I have made in hopes that maybe these guys would hear something and in turn, not make the same ones. This state of mind helped me get out of myself and my head and turn things around. Being one of the oldest guys in the house I became both an example of what can happen if you don’t get sober for a long time and someone for people to turn to for advice or guidance. I finally had something to offer! Something real and valuable. For the first time in a long time I felt useful.
I am grateful for the experience that I’ve had this time around and with this house and the guys here. I have built a lot of solid, long lasting relationships with them and I know that they have my back just like they know I have theirs. There is never a perfect age to get sober. For some reason, I just couldn’t do it when I was younger. I’m not sure why. All I know is that it didn’t happen. It is happening now and all those experiences were necessary for me to be where I am. I have learned over the last year how to connect with people and find common ground no matter how old they are. There is a bond that forms when one is around people who have a common past and common goals for the future, a brotherhood, and I have found that here.
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.
Entering a sober living home can be a little bit like the first day of school. Much like school, we know that the sober living facility will provide us with the tools we need to make a positive impact in our lives, and that through sober living, we can transition into the men we’ve always wanted to be– but it’s no secret that new experiences can be daunting if we’re not sure what to expect.
As a sober living home in the heart of Los Angeles, our sober living facility focuses on two concepts: providing a fun, program-oriented setting where residents can find purpose and progress in their lives, and building an environment where our men learn to flourish without depending on substances. We believe that getting sober means more than just living addiction-free. We believe that it means living independently, confidently, and boldly– and that’s just what we teach our men.
What can I expect in sober living?
The first thing to understand about sober living is that it isn’t a halfway house, nor is it a dedicated treatment center. It’s a place where men that are ready to better themselves come to get the tools they need to do it. Here in Los Angeles, there are plenty of distractions for a young man just getting sober. A sober living home like ours provides a safe space for our men to mature and develop so they can deal with those distractions without fear of relapse.
Furthermore, the sober living concept is one that’s deeply rooted in fellowship and unity. We know that defeating addiction isn’t a one and done process, and that it takes a village of support and guidance to help us continue through recovery– so that’s also a large part of what we provide here. As soon as our men walk through the doors of our sober living facility, they know they’re here for a purpose, and that it isn’t just about not using drugs. They’re here to make a difference in their lives.
When you enter the sober living community, expect to remain very much involved in your treatment. With the number of distractions in big cities like Los Angeles and practically everywhere else, it’s important that we make sure we stay in touch with treatment groups and rehabilitation programs, even if we finished the initial treatment process ages ago. By transitioning into a treatment plan in the sober living facility, we ensure that the good, sustainable behaviors we learned in initial treatment become habits that will stick with us when we’re living on our own.
Additionally, we should expect to have responsibilities in sober living– and lots of them. There’s no better way to learn how to become the best versions of ourselves than to learn concepts like integrity, accountability, and maturity. As grown men living with other grown men, we should expect to be held responsible for our actions, and to pull our own weight when it comes to chores and house rules. The way we see it in the sober living community, we’re all a team. Whether you’re from Los Angeles, Oakland, or somewhere on the other side of the country, what one of us does in the sober living facility affects us all. As we learn responsibility, we also begin to see just how important our actions are to others. Having responsibilities means we have to hold ourselves accountable for taking care of them.
Another big concept of getting sober is discipline. In Los Angeles alone, there are plenty of distractions that could knock us off the straight and narrow path if we aren’t careful. This is what makes discipline in sober living so important. Having discipline in our lives means we know how to control our actions, think before we act, and frequently weigh the pros and cons of our decisions before we make them. In sober living, we learn discipline by learning to adhere to the rules of the house. For instance, one rule here at The Last House is that we cook and eat most meals together as brothers. This means that practically on a daily basis, we’re all required to contribute to the day’s meal. This could include grocery shopping, setting the table, or cleaning up afterwards. Our contribution isn’t punishment– but it is a way to make sure we learn the value of hard work and teamwork. Being disciplined enough to follow the rules and help do something like prepare meals here in sober living helps us get used to maintaining structure in our lives after we graduate. Expect structure and discipline in sober living– because it works!
Finally, expect to work while you get sober. As young men, working to provide for ourselves or others should be as much a way of life as eating or sleeping. If that’s not the case before we enter sober living though, it certainly will become the case by the time we leave. Los Angeles is one of the world’s busiest cities, and there’s ample opportunity for us to contribute our unique skills and talents to the workforce. Learning the value of working for our own money now can help us start a habit of working, maintaining a job, and providing security for ourselves and our families in the long run. So Monday to Friday, to the office we’ll go.
Sober living is a rewarding method to learn how to become the best versions of ourselves we can be. The Last House is a Los Angeles-based men’s sober living facility that doesn’t just help men focus on getting sober, but provides them with the skills they need to become independent, courageous, and contributing members of society. Every man that enters our sober living facility has the potential to be a pillar in his community. We help him see the potential he had all along. Call us at 1-866-677-0090 to get started today.
While the surface-level meaning of the Serenity Prayer offers powerful concepts like serenity, courage, and wisdom, it’s the deeper meaning of the Serenity Prayer’s core concepts that can help us apply its words to our recovery journeys more effectively.
As with everything in recovery, the more steps we take to give meaning to what we learn and practice, the more likely we’ll be inclined to continue learning and practicing even after we leave the sober living facility.
The first part of the Serenity Prayer asks for peace to accept what we can’t change. Acceptance is a huge first step in our recovery journey, because it’s only after we accept the inevitable that we can begin working on the things that we can change in our lives. When we ask God to help us accept what we can’t change, we’re removing the power of unsurety, doubt and control from our lives. When we accept who we are, the nature of addiction, and how it can be beaten, we return the power of our future back to the only ones who should have control of it: ourselves.
The meaning of change in the Serenity Prayer is action-based. Once we’ve accepted what can’t be changed, all that lies ahead of us is what can be changed. With a clear mind and nothing we’re still holding on to, we’re asking God to give us the strength to take action in our lives. Recovery happens when we give ourselves the green light to start sifting through issues and situations in our lives, sorting them out, and correcting them for the better.
Finally, knowledge lies at the crux of every action we take in recovery, and it’s fitting that knowledge brings up the end of the Serenity Prayer. When we ask God to give us the “wisdom to know the difference” between what we can and can’t change, we’re asking Him to show us the people that will help us discern the things about ourselves that we might not be able to discern by ourselves. We’re also asking Him to help us learn about ourselves. Each day is a day to learn something new about ourselves, and when we gain knowledge in recovery, we gain confidence and independence. When it comes to living sober, knowledge really is power.
At The Last House sober living facility, we strive to dive deeper into the Serenity Prayer to uncover meaning that can help us make the most out of our recovery journeys. Learning the power of acceptance, change, and knowledge in recovery helps make us more confident and independent as we walk our recovery paths. Call 1-866-677-0090 to get started with The Last House today.