A Guide to Understanding Drug Addiction

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction may be one of the most confusing and frustrating diseases. It is hard to imagine why anyone would continue to use drugs and alcohol as their entire life is falling apart.  Understanding drug addiction is not simple because it often defies logic. Watching someone face consequences like the loss of family, arrest, financial ruin, and more while continuing to use drugs is heartbreaking. The key to it all is to know that the one who is active in their addiction is not in their right mind. Fortunately, this begins to change as they get sober, and then it’s time to rebuild.  That’s why The Last House is here; we’re here to help those coming back from addiction create a sober life. 

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol use despite any adverse consequences.  Drug and alcohol use typically begins with experimentation or first use. While we often think of this in terms of illicit drugs, the drugs may be legal. A person may be prescribed opioids for long-term pain or may begin using alcohol. The user may stop there or may move on to regular use. The danger begins when the use continues, becomes riskier, and leads to dependence. If you find yourself drinking while drunk or high, you’re engaging in more dangerous use. If you find you cannot stop or taper down without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you have crossed over to physical dependence on the substances you have been using. Not everyone who uses or experiments with drugs and alcohol will become addicted. Researchers do not entirely understand why, and this is why understanding addiction is so complicated. 

What Is the Best Way to Treat Addiction?

Treating your addiction depends on multiple factors. The drugs you have been using, how you have ingested them, and your use history will significantly impact treatment decisions. Treatment is about more than the drugs, though, because the drugs are typically used to cope when poor coping skills exist. Maybe you turned to drugs as a way to self-medicate your anxiety disorder or because you couldn’t cope with past trauma. Perhaps you found drugs as a way to self-medicate your depression or because you grew up in a family where someone normalized drug use. All of these circumstances will be taken into account as you seek treatment for your addiction.  Researchers continue to explore the effectiveness of different treatments and find that twelve-step mutual aid recovery groups and recovery housing are both very effective. 

Can Addiction Ever Be Cured?

While it can never truly be cured, addiction can be managed quite well. The United States Surgeon General reports that approximately fifty percent of adults who once suffered from substance use disorder are considered in stable remission. This represents about twenty-five million people, once active in their addictions, who have now been sober for more than a year. That’s good news for those early in sobriety; recovery is possible. However, recovery is a lifelong endeavor.  Addiction, like many other diseases, requires ongoing care and attention for remission to continue. 

Reach Out to the Last House Today for More Information About Drug Addiction

The Last House Sober Living is a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

How to Stop Enabling a Drug Addict

Stop Enabling a Drug Addict

Loving a drug addict is hard. We want to help and support the people that we love. But when does loving a drug addict turn into enabling a drug addict? It can be a fine line and defining the boundaries can feel impossible. A loved one consumed by an addiction may seem like a completely different person. Your instinct may be to save them by any means necessary, but that may not always have the results you’re wanting. A person wrapped up in their addiction is not thinking clearly and their decision making may not be logical. At The Last House, we can help you understand what steps to take when you are ready to stop enabling your loved one. 

What Does It Mean to Enable a Drug Addict?

Enabling a drug addict involves engaging in activities that support their continuing drug or alcohol abuse. While it can be something as simple as providing financial support or housing to someone addicted to drugs and alcohol, it can be much more. Other forms of enabling are more subtle and are focused on helping the addict face the consequences of their addiction.  Enabling can take the form of justifying your loved one’s behavior, minimizing the impact of their substance use, or denying that there is a problem. Maybe you’re helping to protect their image with their coworkers or family friends or taking care of any resulting problems. Perhaps you have tried controlling your loved one’s addiction or lecturing them about it.  No matter what your enabling looks like, it likely involves your not expressing how you are being impacted by their use. And holding in those feelings can lead to you taking on more responsibilities for them and ultimately feeling superior to the addict in your life. Addiction couples with enabling changes the whole dynamic of any relationship. 

How Do I Stop Enabling My Loved One?

Helping a loved one face their own addiction can be difficult and heartbreaking. You’ve likely seen the television shows and movies that depict “tough love”.  It’s called tough love because it can be hard to set boundaries even when they are set with the hope of helping an addict face their addiction. The first step is to accept that there is a problem and to identify your role in the problem. If you can identify your enabling actions, you can stop enabling and allow your loved one to face the consequences of their substance use. For example, maybe you have taken over all of the chores inside and outside of the house because your partner has been intoxicated, high, or hungover too often. Instead of carrying the load alone, start asking them to share the responsibilities. Likewise, stop covering for your loved one with other members of your family, friends, and their coworkers. While you may feel like you’re putting them in danger of failing, you’ll want to remember that it’s not your job to save them. You’re trying to change the trajectory of their disease by allowing them to face the consequences you’ve been protecting them from. Instead of enabling them to keep using, now you’re enabling them to face the truth of their using. 

Sober Living at The Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping learn how to have fun in sobriety. If you’re wondering where to start creating your sober life, The Last House is here to help!

Finding the Right Drug Addiction Support Groups for You

Finding the Right Drug Addiction Support Groups for You

Finding the right drug addiction support group is a bit like finding the right pair of shoes. Not only will you want to try out a few different types of groups, but you may also want to try out other meeting locations within the same group type.  If you went to rehab, you were likely exposed to different drug addiction support groups either through their being described or your attending some meetings. Drug addiction support groups are an essential component of a relapse prevention plan.  At The Last House, we know the importance of finding and attending support groups, and we’re happy to help you find meetings. 

Different Kinds of Drug Addiction Support Groups

Drug addiction support groups are much different than being in treatment for a huge reason.  These groups are not run by licensed professionals but by the members themselves. In addition to other kinds of drug addiction support groups, there are often meetings tailored to different demographics, such as all-women meetings, LGBTQ meetings, or all-men meetings. Researchers have found that attendance and participation in drug addiction support groups increase success in recovery.  Whether you are new or established in recovery, support groups can play a vital role.

Twelve Steps Groups

Twelve-Step programs are perhaps the best known of the self-help groups. These programs include:

As the name suggests, these groups are based on recovery through the completion of twelve steps. AA was established in 1935 with the principles essentially remaining the same, with the only requirement for membership being a “desire to stop drinking.” 

AA and the other twelve-step programs that have grown from it are built on mutual aid, with alcoholics and addicts helping each other stay sober.  All twelve-step programs include reliance on a Higher Power, referred to as God in the literature, of your choosing. 

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist-inspired support group offering recovery from all forms of addiction.  In addition to a book, there are Refuge Recovery meetings held in many locations worldwide. Refuge Recovery meetings include group meditation, sharing, and readings.  Group members practice meditation, personal inventory, mentorship, retreat, and service as part of the program. 

Smart Recovery

SMART Recovery,  or Self-Management And Recovery Training, approaches recovery in a much different way and does not use labels such as addict or alcoholic. The program also does not rely on religion or spirituality. SMART recovery focuses on a scientifically-based approach to behavioral change using their 4-point program. Once individuals become familiar with SMART and are free from addictive behaviors, they are encouraged to volunteer. 

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a recovery group focused only on women. WFS, with its “New Life” program, addresses the unique needs of women in recovery by highlighting the need to nurture feelings of self-value and self-worth. Meetings are held in many locations and online.  Literature from WFS is available online.  

Secular Organizations for Sobriety 

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a recovery group focused on helping those staying sober from alcohol, drugs, or compulsive eating. Whereas twelve-step programs emphasize reliance on a Higher Power in sobriety, SOS recognizes the individual as the source of their sobriety.  SOS holds meetings around the world, and much of its literature is available online. 

Live Sober at The Last House

The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  Comprising active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff is familiar with many recovery support groups in the area.  If you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help! 

What to Do After You Leave Drug Rehab

What to Do After You Leave Drug Rehab

Once you’ve admitted you have a problem, go to rehab, and get sober, you may be wondering what to do after drug rehab. It’s a bit like graduating from school and finding yourself not knowing what the next step should be. In rehab, you’ve likely learned that you need to change your life and your surroundings.  But how does that work?  We know how overwhelming it can seem to change everything.  That’s why The Last House is here. We want to help you as you start to create your sober life. 

What to Do After Drug Rehab

It is critical to realize that there is no magic action that will keep you sober after rehab. Instead, it is the collective results of many different steps.  Much like rehab has various components, so does recovery and sobriety.  It may take you some time to find the right mix of actions that work for you, and that’s not only okay, but it’s also expected.  You are building a new life, and you will not have all of the answers. That said, there are some things that you can do that will help set you up for success while you are figuring it all out, including:

  • Making choices that support physical and emotional well-being
  • Having a stable and safe place to live
  • Engaging in meaningful daily activities
  • Building supportive relationships and social networks

One of the first things you can do after drug rehab is to find a sober living house.  Early recovery can be challenging. A sober living house can provide you with structure and stability to support your recovery.  At the same time, living in a sober house can also enable you to meet others in recovery and begin to form a support network. Many sober homes will host different activities to help you discover how to have fun in recovery.  Many who have found themselves in active addiction have stopped participating in any activities except getting and using the drug of choice.

While it’s essential to learn how to have fun in recovery, it’s also important to begin to take on responsibilities again.  A great place to start is by getting a job and learning how to support ourselves financially.  Depending on the job, you might find a sense of purpose within the work and a sense of accomplishment.  You will also begin to make friends at work and have a social support network that is not built around drugs and alcohol.

Balancing It All    

You might be wondering how you’re going to stay sober with a life filled with work and fun.  Where does recovery fit? Well, in addition to living at a sober house, you can also participate in recovery meetings.  Most, if not all, twelve-step programs have in-person and online meetings that you can attend.  There are also other recovery groups such as SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, and a wide variety of online communities that can support your sober life.  And, the good news is that you don’t have to pick just one.  You can experiment with attending different groups and different meetings within the same group until you find the ones that work best for you. 

Reach Out to Us Today at the Last House 

The Last House Sober Living is a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help! 

Dante N.K Success Story

Dante

Once I got here, I knew I wanted to get sober, but on my own accord.  I was not able to speak my truth and I held onto my old ways; ducking and dodging questions and believing my morals were above the program.  I lied, I bent rules, and truly believed that I was a victim to my circumstances.  Once I put down my walls and gave a real effort to the path laid out for me by The Last House and the Alcoholics and Cocaine Anonymous programs, I found joyous and free people. At first, I was there to listen and talk to women.  I wasn’t working any of the steps and didn’t get into the real work until it came time to get a job.  After working there for only four days I relapsed.  Then came what I believe was my first spiritual awakening.  I came back to The Last House and felt more shame and guilt than ever before.  I was looking my brothers and my house manager in the face, while hiding at the same time.  That secret was going to keep me sick and it caused me to not be able to sleep at all.  I decided to completely turn my life and my will over to the care of God.  I did something about who I was and what I stood for.  

I started working with a sponsor who showed nothing, but genuine care.  He helped me to see that I would never have to suffer again.  I used to think that I was special, not capable of great things, and hid behind a persona that said otherwise.  That is until I came to find out that the people surrounding me had almost or exactly the same thing going on. I was able to relate and have friendships where we didn’t depend on each other for validation or need anything from each other on a co-dependent level.  I saw my house as a real family and at that – my only family besides my parents, sister, or cousin Josh.  I was learning what accountability was, the value of hard work, how to be there for a brother, that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that I need to think before acting, how to listen, how to follow through, how to be honest, how to show vulnerability.  I developed new tools that serve me daily such as how to get a job, but most importantly how to stay sober.  My family doesn’t constantly worry about me, I have a job, and have reached a place of independence.  I have a clear mind, I’m healthy, and, of course, I am happy!  I know what it is like to hit the pillow sober and know what it means to live life on life’s terms.  My behaviors, outlooks, and attitudes have shifted from delusional and hopeless one to almost mature adulthood.

Four Fun Sober Activities for Men

fun sober activities for men

When we’re active in our addictions, we don’t often think of recovery as fun.  We believe that there can’t possibly be any fun, sober activities.  Instead, we picture our future sober lives as an endless marathon of recovery meetings, work, and fulfilling the responsibilities we’ve avoided.  We imagine sobriety as a life without color, without laughter, and without fun.  But it doesn’t have to be that way and, at The Last House, we can show you what sober people do for fun. 

Four Fun Sober Activities For Men

One of the saddest parts of addiction is the loss of self.  While you’re active in your addiction, you likely have only one interest. Your primary purpose becomes getting and using your substance of choice.  Even if you participate in other activities, you probably schedule them around your addiction.  Once you get sober, you may not even know what you like to do. You may not have spent a lot of time exploring fun, sober activities, and you might wonder what sober people do for fun. The good news is that there isn’t just one answer, but getting sober puts you in a position to start exploring. 

Your next question might be where to start, and here are some suggestions:

  • Basketball
  • Snowboarding and Skiing Trips
  • Surfing
  • Group Outings

What you might notice about this shortlist is that these activities are all much more possible sober!  It’s much more comfortable and less dangerous to engage in sports such as basketball, skiing, snowboarding, and surfing when you’re not high or drunk. Not only is your chance of injury reduced, but you also might enjoy yourself. You may have thought that you’re not a sports person or that you’re not really into exercise, but you might give yourself a chance to try.  You might surprise yourself. 

In addition to sports, group outings to areas such as the beach, museums, or other places can be quite enjoyable. When was the last time you explored the space around you and saw what was available to do? Imagine walking through a museum with no purpose other than to look at the art and enjoy it.  Consider the possibility of walking along the coast and looking out to the ocean, just taking it all in. Picture yourself at a restaurant or a picnic with friends, enjoying their company and the food.  You may or may not enjoy every activity that you try, but sometimes the fun is in the trying. 

What sober people do for fun is to live.  By changing the focus from drugs to living, life is so much more fun.  You might find that you love to golf, or you might find that you hate it.  Either way, you’ll have tried something new.  With each new activity that you try, you’ll start to learn the things you enjoy doing, and you’ll likely begin to form friendships with those who want to engage in similar activities.  And one day, you’ll find yourself out having fun and wonder what it was about using that you thought was so great. 

Sober Living at the Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  Our staff,  composed of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, have years of experience. If you’re wondering where to start creating your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

Harrison S.’s Path to Sobriety

Harrison S

I think the most important change in my outlook since getting to The Last House is, I now see that sobriety is possible for me.  When I came in, I had relapsed yet again (I was only out for one day), and all of the misery I was so used to came back instantly.  I was able to take some responsibility, but for the most part I was convinced the problem was my mom, first, and the world, second, and then me third.  I had never held a job and I had never been sober for longer than 5 months.  I didn’t know how to be consistent and I would rely on my mom sending me to treatment again once my relapses stopped being fun.  I said what I wanted and did what I wanted. I quickly learned from the groups at The Last House that my actions affected people and thus one of the first changes was learning to be considerate. 

It took a while for me to fully see what was happening, but I got a glimpse of it when my mom offered to fly me back to Denver and I declined.  Around 4 months in The Last House was when it clicked for me.  Most of the guys know that I received a call that my mom had taken her own life.  Instead of retreating and self-destructing, I leaned on the guys.  I got up, and did the things suggested to me (at times because I did not want to receive words for sleeping in).  The house showed me what I am actually capable of doing because no one let me do much less.   As time went on, I got a job, then two jobs, and found I was able to handle all of my responsibilities.  A few years prior I was in a basement covered in trash and starring at months-old piles of laundry – changing my clothes weekly or so because even a shower was too much work. 

Yet, now, I can handle things and for the first time in my life I feel pretty good a majority of the time.  I currently have two jobs, two sponsees, and a life I love today!  I wouldn’t have it without the 12 steps, and I wouldn’t have worked the steps unless I came to The Last House.

Finding a Sober Living in West LA

finding sober living in West LA

You’ve gotten sober and now you might be wondering what might be next. As you’re assembling your sobriety tools, you might start to wonder about the best place to live.  This is especially true if your living space prior to getting sober is a place you associate with drinking or using drugs. Perhaps you’ve relapsed in the past and you want to take extra steps to set yourself up for success in sobriety.  The Last House is here to help you build on the work you’ve done to get sober so that you can stay sober. 

What Is Sober Living?

Sober living houses offer a living environment that supports maintaining a recovery lifestyle. Research has demonstrated that those who reside in a sober living house can make and sustain changes that support their recovery. Sober living provides safe and stable housing which plays a huge part in successful recovery.  It also can provide a path for you to find a new way of life in sobriety. 

If your life while using drugs and alcohol focused only on using, you may need to learn how to socialize, work, and engage in relationships without using. Many facilities will incorporate social outings, structure, and some level of responsibility.  At The Last House, we’ve even incorporated rescue dogs into our program so that you can enjoy the love of a dog and the responsibility of helping to care for a pet.  

The services from one sober living house to another might vary, but you can expect to find that many sober living houses require a particular length of sobriety, such as 30 days, before they will accept you into the house.  Still others might require attendance at recovery meetings and maintaining employment.  Sober living houses might also require residents to contribute to the running of the house, either financially or by completing chores. You’ll want to ask questions about what to expect as a resident of a particular house to make sure it’s a good fit for you. 

Why You Should Go to Sober Living in West LA

Choosing a sober living facility can be difficult and there are lots of options. You’ll want a house that’s located where your life is or where you want it to be, depending on your circumstances.  More importantly, you want a house that will best support you by providing a safe and support place to live while you’re developing your new sober life.  

Choosing a sober living house in West Los Angeles can improve your chances of staying clean and sober.  Additionally, choosing a sober living house that is gender-specific rather than co-ed can also contribute to greater success at remaining abstinent. So, as you explore your options, be sure to look at the location, the requirements for continuous sobriety, and the offerings of the house.  Sober living houses located in West Los Angeles are located centrally to allow for outings to the beach, to the golf course, to the mountains, and to explore Los Angeles. 

Sober Living at The Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  Our staff consists of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community and have years of experience. If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

Furry Friends: Benefits of Pet Therapy

pet therapy

When we’re working on getting clean and sober, we often focus on attending meetings, going to therapy, and doing the work of maintaining sobriety.  And while these are all good areas of focus, we also need to look at how to add some fun and some joy to our sober lives.  This may come to us in different ways.  We may explore hobbies such as exercise, photography, crafts, painting, or volunteering to help others.  We may connect with new friends in sobriety or rekindle friendships from before our alcohol and drug use changed us.  At the Last House, we’ve found that sometimes it is as simple as connecting with a rescue dog. 

How Are Animals Therapeutic?

Pet owners have been telling us all about the benefits of having a pet for years, but it turns out that it’s just a story they tell. There is scientific evidence that dogs help reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, there is evidence that animal-assisted therapy sessions result in lower anxiety for individuals who have mood and other disorders.  Some studies have shown that the presence of a dog can be as comforting as the presence of a human friend during stressful or traumatic times. 

In addition to the benefits dogs can provide during therapy or stress, dogs can also provide us with a lifeline to some normalcy in our lives.  Many of us new to recovery have forgotten how to take care of ourselves, never mind another being.  A dog or cat can provide us with the opportunity to help another living thing survive and thrive.  By participating in the care of a pet, you allow yourself to focus on something outside of yourself and to begin to relearn taking on some responsibility.  By doing this within a sober living environment, you can enjoy the benefits of caring for a pet without having to get your own pet. 

Benefits of Having a Pet

Beyond the studies about the effects of pets during therapy or stress, it’s easy to see how the presence of a dog or cat can change the dynamic for us when we are on our own or with others.  Dogs and cats offer us unconditional love, in their own way, solely because we exist.  If you’ve ever had the opportunity to have a dog, you know that your dog is just as happy to see you when you’ve been gone 5 minutes as he is when you’ve been gone 5 hours.  There is something beautiful and reassuring about having another living thing be so happy to see you.  Additionally, animals can bridge the gap between people and offer themselves up as a topic of conversation.  Instead of finding yourself sitting with another person in awkward silence, you might find yourself chatting about that quirky dog and all the crazy things he does. 

Pet Therapy at the Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  Activities such as service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings are all a part of helping you learn how to have fun in sobriety.  We also know that animals can make a world of difference in early sobriety.  By rescuing dogs, we enable our residents to participate in caring for a pet without having to take on the responsibility of pet ownership.  If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help. 

Jon L.’s Success Story

Jon L

Since being at The Last House, a lot has changed.  My relationship with my family has grown, but more importantly my relationship with myself has changed.  Before coming to The Last House, I was in a very dark place.  My life slightly changed when I tried getting sober for the first time in 2015.  I was not prepared for what was to come, not capable of using the tools I had, and to reach out for help in the community I had built.  After getting in trouble with the law, losing both my mother and father all in a couple of years, I’d lost all hope to live for anything.  I lost my identity and lost the people closest to me too; at the point all I knew was to turn to drugs.  I ended up destroying all relationships with friends in the program and with my siblings as well.  I had no life skills, could not hold a job, and just lost connection with everything.  I was all alone.  However, I couldn’t take it anymore and I finally asked for help.  I got another chance at life and was sent to The Last House. 

When I arrived at The Last House, I had a terrible outlook on life, a bad attitude, and a behavior that was getting me nowhere.  Being in The Last House has changed a lot in me which is not easy to admit.  This was a place I did not want to be at but needed to anyway.  It took a lot of sweat and tears to get to where I am at now (with the help of The Last House community).  I finally put my guard down, stopped fighting against the people who only wanted to help—and took their suggestion.  I needed the structure of being pushed to my limits.  I needed to be broken down and then lifted back up, but that was not easy.  Most importantly, I needed the 12 steps – that was one of the things missing in my recovery from the past.  From all of those times trying to get sober, I had never completed the steps and this time it has completely changed my life.  I really had to be pushed, even forced, to do the things I did not want to do and for me that was what I needed.  All I ever wanted was to be self-sufficient, independent, happy, content, present, and have a relationship with the family that I still have – my two brothers and two sisters who have been a big part of my recovery. 

This is just the beginning — these challenges and opportunities don’t stop.  I am always going to be growing as a person and challenged in life but being at The Last House has given me more tools than I ever had along with the ability to use them.  I am grateful for everything that has happened in my life, good and bad.