The Problem of Drug Abuse in Sports With Young Adults

The Problem of Drug Abuse in Sports With Young Adults

The Problem of Drug Abuse in Sports With Young Adults

The Problem of Drug Abuse in Sports With Young Adults

Drug abuse in sports is an ongoing issue in the sporting community.  Not only is it bad for the health of the individual athlete but when celebrity athletes are found to be abusing drugs it also presents a bad role model for impressionable young adults.

The growth of drug abuse can be linked directly to the increasing emphasis on winning.  This has taken root within society as a whole and has spread to the world of sports.   Sadly, many athletes, including teens and young adults, start to find new ways of improving their performance and drugs are one of these.  Additionally, the pressure they feel to constantly achieve first place means they can start to look towards drugs as a way to cope with increasingly intense stress levels.

Most of the available performance-enhancing drugs are illegal but that has not dented the impact they are making in sports and many players continue to take them despite the attempts of the professional sports leagues to wipe it out by bringing in routine drug testing.  The fact remains that there are still players who find a way around the problem of detection.

The main drugs used at present include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Androstenedione
  • Creatine
  • Ephedra alkaloids

The Increase in Drug Abuse in sports with Young Adults

Young adults are now the biggest group of prescription drug abusers with those aged 18-25 abusing painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs and stimulants according to a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  This may be because they want to fit in at school or because they are striving to achieve athletic perfection.  Some high schools and colleges do not test for drugs as frequently as they should because it may impact their position in the leagues.

Other studies are starting to show links between drug use in sports and the likelihood for impressionable teens to start abusing drugs.  Whatever the reason it seems the problem in this age group is growing all the time with sometimes devastating results.  In 2014, there were 1,700 deaths among young adults who overdosed on prescription drugs, more than those who overdosed on illegal recreational drugs.

Helping Young Adults Beat Drug Abuse

The Last house provides support to help you eliminate drugs from your life.  Whether you are at college, an athlete, or both we tailor our rehab program based on the unique needs of young adults.  We will give you the help and support you need in a compassionate and understanding way.

Alongside your treatment for addiction, you will have the opportunity to take part in several classes so you can make the best of your time with us.  You can start our courses at any time and it is really easy to enroll.

Some of the classes we offer include:

  • Sociology – especially relating to drugs and alcohol
  • Psychology
  • Public Speaking
  • Civic engagement

If you have any questions or just need advice for yourself or a loved one please contact us at The Last House and speak to one of our qualified admissions counselors today.



Managing Anger in Addiction Recovery

managing anger in addiction recovery

managing anger in addiction recovery

Managing Anger in Addiction Recovery

It is often the case that people have mental health disorders that are concurrent with addiction problems.  Often addiction occurs as a result of self-medicating through the use of drugs or alcohol.  It follows, therefore, that to achieve and maintain sobriety any treatment must take a holistic approach to the person and address their physical, emotional and mental health.

Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion nor it is an abnormal response to certain situations.  However, it can be the case that anger is not appropriate and can cause additional problems, leaving a person vulnerable to dangerous situations.  Sometimes those suffering from addiction problems experience anger for no apparent reason.  Infrequent minor episodes are not cause for concern but the out of control expression of anger can indicate deep-seated emotional issues or a mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder and others.

Drugs will not help with anger management; in reality, they often cause issues with anger.  Drugs or alcohol can provide short term, temporary relief because often they tend to make the user feel euphoric, calm or relaxed.  However, in time the user will become more tolerant of the substance and require more and more to get the same effects, eventually becoming dependent or addicted.  This is why managing anger in addiction recovery is important.

For some people the drugs or alcohol cause them to become disinhibited and they are unable to control their anger or frustrations.  Combined with substance abuse the brain can rewire itself, the behavior become the norm and this compounds the problem.

Some of the reasons why a person can struggle to control or manage anger include:

  • Past trauma – if traumas are not dealt with they can cause problems with managing emotion. If the individual decides to ignore the trauma it can later be expressed as anger.
  • Family history: People who are exposed to family members who express anger inappropriately may also learn to express themselves in the same way.
  • Self-blame: If a person is angry at themselves they can turn this outward towards others, they may even blame other people for the feelings.
  • Addiction: Addiction can lower a person’s ability to cope with life and deal with their emotions.
  • If someone is prone to angry outbursts or erratic behavior it may be an indication that they are abusing drugs.

Addiction Recovery:  Learning to Manage Anger Effectively

Part of any substance additional program is to help people develop coping mechanisms and managing anger is part of this.

Here are 4 positive ways to cope with anger:

  1. Breathe: Take a few deep breaths, stay calm and evaluate your feelings.  Try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view.  This will probably affect the way you react.
  2. Work on communication skills: Take advantage of any communication skills development that may be on offer as part of a rehab program.  This will help you become a more effective communicator which can reduce the amount of anger in the situation.
  3. Developing coping mechanisms: Try to find other ways to release your anger, perhaps taking up a sport, going to the gym or any activity where you can release tension and positively express yourself.
  4. Identify toxic people and situations: If you can develop an awareness of what triggers your anger you can take steps to avoid them.

Take control of your health and mental well being

At The Last House we can help you take back control by empowering you to work through some of your feelings with trained counselors while participating in a rehab program.  We can work with you to help you to develop new techniques, not just to manage your anger, but to improve and develop life skills, communication and enhance your overall quality of life.

Mental health is the key to recovery in substance abuse and addiction.  The Last House looks at each client holistically, making sure that any mental health issue is diagnosed and treated at the same time as the person moves towards sobriety.  Contact Us now to find out more about our ongoing treatment programs.

Common Hiding Spots for Drugs if you suspect your child is using

Common Hiding Spots for Drugs if you suspect your child is using

Common Hiding Spots for Drugs if you suspect your child is using

Common Hiding Spots for Drugs if you suspect your child is using

If you have growing suspicions that your child has started to use drugs you may start thinking about looking for evidence.  Although this can feel as if you are invading your child’s privacy, sometimes that is necessary to protect your child.  Once you have found the evidence you can identify what drugs they are using, what resources and treatment options are available and start to determine what action to take.


As we all know, teens can be very clever and when it comes to hiding evidence of substance abuse they will be even more innovative.  They could choose a place in their room, car or bathroom.  To help you we have compiled a list of some of the more common hiding spots where your child may leave a supply of drugs or alcohol.

Common Hiding Spots for drugs to Check if You Suspect Your Child is Using

One of the most common ways of hiding drugs is to use an everyday item that no one will give a second glance.  Most teens are not known for keeping a tidy room so there can be lots of items scattered around at random.  This is normal, but it also means that there are multiple potential hiding spots for drugs or alcohol where they are hidden in plain view.

The most common everyday items used as a hiding spot for drugs include:

Pens, highlighters and other writing equipment

These are things that you will see in most teens rooms, however, they can easily be used to hide drugs like marijuana or pills which can be slipped inside.  The wide-barreled highlighters have been known to be converted into a pipe and the caps are big enough to store cannabis or other drugs.    A ballpoint pen can have the center removed to make a useful tool for snorting drugs like cocaine or other powders.

Drinks Cans and Candy Wrappers

If there is a soda can that seems to be a permanent fixture in your teen’s room it could have been re-purposed as a hiding spot for drugs.  Candy wrappers and containers can also be used in this way and are well worth investigating especially if there is a particular tin or wrapping that never seems to move.

Toiletries and Makeup

Any type of personal hygiene or makeup container can be made into a perfect hiding spot for drugs, paraphernalia or alcohol.  Shampoo bottles, deodorant, and any other container can be hollowed out and converted for drug storage and left in plain sight.

Belt Buckles

Check the back of your teen’s belt buckle.  Some have a sliding partition on the back that, when removed, exposes a compartment that can be used to store drugs.

Posters and Pictures

If you notice that a picture or poster seems to have some tape peeling up on the rear of the frame check it out.  It could have been made into a hiding spot for drugs that can be flattened and stored between a picture or poster and the wall.  Crooked posters can also mean that something is hiding behind it.


Books have long been a popular way of hiding drugs or alcohol because it is so easy to create a hollow in the middle of a book to create a secret storage area.


Another well-known location for a hiding spot for drugs or alcohol is under a mattress.  Be sure to check under the sheets too as it is not unknown that people will make slits or holes in which to store their substances.


Toys can be cut into to create storage compartments to hide drugs or paraphernalia. If your teen suddenly starts taking that old stuffed toy with them it is worth checking it when you can.


Cars are a very common area in which teens hide drugs or alcohol.   The areas to check include compartments, dashboard, under the seats and under the hood.  Setting up random car checks is a good way of finding any hidden substances.


One of the most common hiding spots for drugs or alcohol is under the lid of the toilet tank or tucked in behind the toilet.


Vents of all kinds can be found around the home and some of these can be easily removed.  The cavity behind can then be used for storing sometimes quite large quantities of drugs or alcohol.


Light Switches

The front plates on a light switch can be removed easily and the cavity behind is a good hiding place for small objects and, of course, drugs.  It is easy enough to simply unscrew these and check behind them for any hidden substances.


Watch For Signs

If you are suspicious that your child may be abusing substances because they are acting strangely or for any other reasons then it is well worth taking the time to search for evidence.  Although it is quite frightening when you find drugs or alcohol it is better than ignoring it and allowing the behavior to continue.


If you need any help or advice regarding your child’s drug or alcohol use please Contact Us at The Last House and talk to one of our professional drug treatment counselors.


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Setting Boundaries with your Child in Recovery

Setting Boundaries with your Child in Recovery

Setting Boundaries with your Child in Recovery

Setting Boundaries with your child in recovery

Boundaries are a key part of life, but they are essential for those in recovery from substance addiction or abuse.  Setting Boundaries with your child is a Healthy Way of Helping Your Child With Addiction Recovery.

Boundaries need to be firm and stable but having them too rigid or too relaxed can both be damaging especially in the formative years of a child’s life.  Boundaries that are too strict can lead to emotional repression, whereas lax boundaries cause issues with developing a sense of self and personal responsibility.

It is always worth remembering that boundaries work both ways:  You must set your own but you must also respect those set by others, including your child.  This forms the basis of a healthy relationship which makes all the difference in the treatment of addictions.

Setting Boundaries With a Teen

Setting boundaries in place is one of the ways you can help when a teen becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.  By setting out boundaries, establishing what the consequences are for violating these and maintaining them consistently will help your teen move towards the realization that they need some help.

It is tempting to try to cushion your child but this prevents them from experiencing the full consequences of their actions.  Often parents will ensure the addicted teen’s needs are met to the detriment of the other family members which can cause a strain on familial relationships.  It is not useful to enable the addictive behavior, in fact, it makes them less likely to seek help.

Boundaries will remove that stress, encourage other family members to engage in their own interests and the teen will be allowed to see how much danger they are in as a result of their addiction.

Addiction Recovery for Teens Requires Healthy Boundaries

To set healthy boundaries you need to understand that suits you may not work for others.  We are all unique so you will need to give a lot of thought to what will work for you.  To help with this here are some things you need to remember:

  • Boundaries should reflect your right to personal feelings, values and beliefs.
  • Identify your real, underlying emotions. An understanding of this will make communication more honest, direct and meaningful.
  • Think about how you want to be treated, express these and set limits.
  • If you find your boundaries are not respected it is OK to express this and to say no.
  • If you are unsure if someone is pushing your boundaries always follow your gut and respond accordingly.
  • When your boundaries are tested be prepared to defend them and know that it is fine to do so.

What are Unhealthy Boundaries?

Unhealthy boundaries are weak boundaries and these are counterproductive for teen addiction recovery.  If you have set an unhealthy boundary it will mean you start to act against your own interests.  It can leave you open to manipulation or abuse.  Some examples of unhealthy boundaries include:

  • Always pleasing others at the expense of your own personal beliefs, values and plans.
  • Allowing others to define your boundaries.
  • Making choices and decisions for others.
  • Not being able to say no, or feeling guilty if you do.
  • Feeling manipulated, used, threatened or mistreated.
  • Unable or hesitant to assert yourself or express your own opinion.
  • Feeling pressurized to act in certain ways.
  • Taking on other peoples responsibilities.
  • Telling others what to do, how to behave, or what they should feel.

Boundaries and Consequences

With every boundary, there must is a consequence if that boundary is ignored you must be willing and able to enforce it.  One common boundary is staying away from peers or places that risk sobriety.  Your teen’s boundaries are not under your control.  However, if they decide to take that risk their consequence is that they have to deal with the results.

Boundaries to help Reconciliation

Substance and alcohol addiction is always accompanied by behaviors that threaten relationships and once someone has gone into recovery it can be one of the most difficult things to put right.  Making sure that healthy boundaries are in place mean that those close to the situation are protected and the individuals all learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

Boundaries to Remove Negative Influences

As the family and friends set their boundaries, the person in recovery needs to do the same.  This is a key way of removing negative influences that threaten their sobriety.  Learning how to say no, especially to old friends, how to end relationships and so on is part of the process of recovery.

To ensure that boundaries are enforced enjoying some self-care activities like taking exercising, eating well, getting support and making new relationships with sober peers gives a much-needed boost to self-esteem and increases determination to maintain boundaries when they are pushed.

When Boundary Setting Fails

Setting boundaries is vital at this stage of your teen’s life and critical to their recovery from addiction.  Setting boundaries with your child in recovery will build confidence and help strengthen positive relationships with family and peers that are an essential support for maintaining sobriety.

If you feel that your boundaries are not respected and the consequences have little or no little effect it is time to consult a professional about treatment.

At The Last House, we provide age-specific treatment programs for teens which have been proven to work more effectively than all-age programs.  Give our professional counselors a call or fill in our contact form to find out how we can help you and your child start on the road to sobriety.

Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for Coping with Stress

Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for Coping with Stress

Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for Coping with Stress

Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for Coping with Stress

It is not uncommon that alcohol is used as a way of dealing with stress and coping with difficult situations, yet this type of self-medication will ultimately lead to a worsening situation.  Over time the triggers that turned someone to drink will become connected to the alcohol use, with the alcohol becoming a major stressor in its own right.  This creates and perpetuates a cycle of substance abuse and addiction.

The best way to address the problem of using alcohol as self-medication is to undergo a dual-diagnosis treatment program which identifies and treats any underlying mental health problem as well as the addiction itself.

There are other safer and healthier ways to help a person adjust their behavior before alcohol abuse develops into addiction.


Stress is part of life and over time we need to develop strategies to cope with it healthily.  Instead of turning to substance abuse to escape or avoid dealing with stress, there are several ways that we can act so we can cope with the stressors without suffering physically, emotionally or financially.  One of those ways is to use supplements that help by bringing us towards a more relaxed state without the physical or psychological damage caused by drugs or alcohol.


Kava is also known as kava root, kava pepper, kawa kawa, kew and intoxicating pepper.

Kava is a native plant of the South Pacific and medicinally it is used to help with anxiety, restlessness and stress and sleep problems.  Additionally, it can be used for headache, depression, muscular pain and in the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).  It is well known as a painkiller and is used to promote wound healing.

Kava acts on the brain and the central nervous system (CNS) and is also drunk socially in a similar way to alcohol because it gives you all the social effect of alcohol without any of the dangers or risk of addiction.  It also has no negative depressant effect to be concerned about and is not damaging to the liver.


L-theanine is predominantly found in tea leaves but is also present in a form of edible mushroom known as Boletus badius.  L-theanine relaxes an individual but does not make them drowsy, it has a positive impact on the cardiovascular system and helps relieve stress.

It is most commonly found in tea but it can also be found in other foods, particularly in Japanese cuisine.  Although it has caused some side effects (headaches and dizziness) the substance is mostly beneficial and has even been said to have a part to play in the prevention of cancer.  It is calming and stress relieving and gives the same relaxing effects as alcohol safely and healthily.


The herb Valerian also has other common names including baldrian, amantilla, all-heal and garden heliotrope.  It is used to treat sleep problems and when combined with other herbs like lemon balm or hops it can cause drowsiness.  It is often used to treat stress, migraines, stomach problems, anxiety and nervous asthma.

Some people have used Valerian as a treatment for depression, tremors, epilepsy, joint pain and ADHD and it can also be added to bathwater to help an individual relax and prevent restlessness.  The herb sedates the brain and nervous system and is useful for those who use alcohol to relax or fall asleep.


Two other common reasons people use alcohol are to help with personal interactions and to fill time.  Rather than using alcohol other activities can be used to build connections with others, pass time, as well as being a good way to work towards physical and mental health.

These activities have all been shown to have a positive impact when used as Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for coping with stress:


Meditation has been used for many centuries and is known to help people cope with stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.  As well as being relaxing it can also help lower blood pressure and help reduce pain.

Meditation is one of the ways that treatment programs help people overcome addiction.  It encourages them to develop a sense of self, inward calm and focuses their attention.  Meditation can include a mantra, image or sound to focus on if you wish.  Some people find silence works best for them and focus on special breathing techniques, stillness and silence for around 15-20 minutes.


Exercise is a great way to release stress – be that dancing, running, swimming or going to the gym, you can increase physical fitness, confidence and body image at the same time.  Exercise works in a multitude of ways to change a persons outlook on life and make them less likely to turn to alcohol as a form of stress relief.  There are many form of exercise that are Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for coping with stress.  Try different thingns and find out what works best for you.

Spending time with family, friends and loved ones

This is an obvious de-stressing technique that is often overlooked.  If you spend time talking, laughing and doing activities with people you love you will soon find your mood improves and your ability to cope with stress increases.

Taking up new hobbies

The time that is spent drinking can be more beneficial if it is full of interesting and inspiring new hobbies and activities.  Maybe you want to start reading that book that’s been on the shelf for a while or go to a movie?  If you feel creative maybe painting or making music is the way forward?  Whatever it is it will reduce your stress levels and give you something positive to focus on.  Maybe you want to try something new?  Is there something you have been meaning to try for a while?  Don’t be afraid to look for new and interesting ways to fill your time.

Treating Alcohol Addiction

If alcohol use starts to become addition it is time to seek help.  Long term use of alcohol causes physical and mental damage and impacts personal relationships.  It is vital to see a professional as withdrawal from alcohol can be dangerous without medical supervision.

Alongside help with withdrawal professionals will look at what contributing factors triggered the addiction and work with the individual to look at ways of avoiding and ameliorating these. Treatment programs also offer opportunities to connect with other people and groups who have faced the same challenges and can assist them in their long term recovery.

Young Adults and Alcohol Addiction

Young adults are going through a unique and challenging transition in life and are often more negatively impacted by alcohol addiction as a result.  At The Last House, we have a decade of experience in treating young adults struggling with substance or alcohol abuse.  If you need advice or guidance or are worried about someone’s use of alcohol we are happy to give advice.  Please call us or fill in our contact form and one of our professional counselors will be happy to discuss your needs and concerns.

The Last House Sober Living integrates many of the above methods that are designated as Safe and Healthy Alternatives to Alcohol for coping with stress.  Contact Us for more information on our program and how we can help you with your fight against addiction.


How to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs

How to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs

How to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs

How to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs

Parents don’t suddenly wake up one morning with the fear that their child is using drugs; it is usually something that develops over time because they have noticed signs that something is not quite right.

It could be that a previously good student has started to drop their grades.  Perhaps they are hanging out with a bad crowd, becoming more secretive or their behavior has deteriorated.   There could be more concrete reasons why, as a parent, you have become suspicious; you are finding your money gone, they look different or maybe you have found drugs or equipment.

No matter why you have grown suspicious, the thought of a child using drugs is something that most parents find terrifying.  It is easy to become angry, scared, afraid or confused and your mind may seem to be all over the place.  The big question most parents in this situation asks is what can I do now?

A child using drugs is something that must be tackled head-on but it is really hard to know how to raise the subject.  Although your thoughts and emotions are likely to be in turmoil you must keep your feelings in check and collect your thoughts before saying anything to your child.  Preparation is the key to what is an undoubtedly difficult and challenging conversation, but getting ready beforehand can make all the difference in the outcome, avoid any backlash, and enable your family to move forward constructively.

Starting the Conversation About Substance Abuse

Whatever substance your child is using, be that drugs or alcohol, make sure you are prepared, calm and know what you want to say before you try to start a conversation. This article is intended to help teach you How to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs.

The direct approach is always the best.  There is no way around the fact that abusing drugs or alcohol is dangerous but you must avoid getting emotional and try to make sure that your child does not pick up any feelings of anger or frustration.  Avoid making accusations.  If you fall into any of these traps or you start to shout and threaten the result will be that your child will shut down and won’t be willing to talk at all.  Tackle the problem with some delicacy to have a chance that they will open up.

The best approach is from a place of caring – that you are concerned for their well-being.  A child who abuses any substance will try to play it down so keep calm and express your thoughts without getting angry, shouting or making accusations.

Make it clear what you expect.  There are many ways to tell someone that substance abuse is not acceptable or safe and that there are consequences they have to face without getting aggressive, angry or confrontational.

Don’t try to talk to them if they are obviously under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  They will not engage with you and it could make it harder when you approach them again when they are sober.

Instead of accusing them of anything try to ask some more open-ended questions so that they have an opportunity to explain, expand upon and discuss the issues.  Avoid judgmental questions but steer the conversation in the right direction.  Try asking how they are feeling, what they are using, when and how often and always ask how you can help them.  Let your child know that you support them and want to help: That you are there for them.

If they open up and engage with you tell them how much you appreciate them doing so and how you know this is hard for them.  You can then move on to how you can go about getting them the help they need.

Although it is often a parental instinct to punish wrongdoing, this will be counterproductive in this case.  Taking away their phone, removing privileges or grounding them is not going to help them to stop abusing alcohol or drugs.  It can have the opposite effect by causing the child to withdraw, turning more and more to the substance they abuse.


The main priority is to get them the help they need and this is non-negotiable.

Make sure you are clear that the best solution is treatment and give them options depending on what is available.  If your child is under 18 it is often easier to get them onto a treatment program.  However, for over 18s you may need to use some leverage such as an offer to support their treatment financially or by removing any existing financial support.

Boundaries are essential in these situations – you must tell your child what is and is not acceptable and stick to these no matter what.  This can have a far-reaching effect on things like living arrangements, financial support, and multiple other factors which depend on whether or not your child will accept help, treatment and support.

At The Last House we know how frightening and painful it is to find that your child is using drugs or alcohol and we know that sometimes the first conversation may not go the way you want it to.  Be prepared to accept defeat and come back to the topic later.  Even if they will not admit to having a problem it is important that you try to move the situation forward so they can get the help they need.

If your child is currently using drugs you will need a plan in place to speak with them about this, but also some suggestions on where to go after the conversation, contact our experienced admission counselors.  At The Last House, we can offer advice on a variety of options and interventions. Give us a call and we will help teach you how to Confront your Child if you suspect they are using Drugs.

Please fill in our contact form or call us and we can help you take the first step towards getting the help you need for your child.


A Natural High – Fitness an alternative to drugs

fitness a natural high

fitness a natural high

Fitness A Natural High – As an alternative to drugs

Long term sobriety is the main goal of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction but unless treatment is delivered holistically it is not likely to be successful in the long term.

Substance abuse does not just take a toll on physical health, mental health is also compromised.  It is essential that both mental and physical health are assessed in order to provide the best therapies with the highest possible chance of success.


As well as being effective, therapies must also engage the client and one of the things that do this is exercise which can be a positive way of filling time that was previously used in acquiring and abusing drugs.  Staying physcially fit and increases endorphins and provides a natural high

Not only that but it also improves general health.  Weight is controlled, clients have more energy, more stamina and better protection against things like heart disease but, equally importantly, exercise is known to have a positive effect on mood.

Alongside its role in forming a positive part of recover, exercise can also lead to the development of more healthy habits after treatment.

How Exercise Helps Addiction Recovery and gives the individual a natural high

The main reasons why clients have turned to drugs and alcohol are to escape from stress and increase their ability to cope with life or to silence negative emotions and memories.

When treating the addiction the client then has to deal with the physical effects alongside finding new ways to deal with these stressors. Taking exercise is one of the most popular ways for clients to achieve this because it not only increases their physical well being but also boosts their mood.  Using exercise as a healthy way to manage any negative emotions or to overcome challenges is a way to stay motivated during treatment and this can continue into their life after recovery.

When an individual exercises the body releases mood-boosting endorphins which increase feelings of euphoria while simultaneously reducing any negative emotions.  Not only that, but it boosts the immune system which helps reverse some of the damage to the body that is known to occur with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Working up a sweat helps eliminate toxins, improves circulation and boosts energy.

As well as all the physical benefits, exercise works on improving the body aesthetic with an increase in feelings of self-esteem and positive body image; factors that are often implicated as contributory factors in cases of substance abuse.  Setting goals, working towards them and ultimately achieving them is a huge boost to their confidence in their ability to overcome challenges.

There are multiple mental health benefits of exercise; it gives an individual a way of releasing stress, anger and the other emotions that are implicated as risk factors for substance abuse.  Some forms of exercise can assist with increasing collaborative ability, leadership and communication skills, increase emotional intelligence and encourage new, healthier friendships to develop.


What Type of Exercise?

Clients are individuals and their recovery needs will be unique to them; it makes sense that the same applies to exercise.  Different types of fitness can be used as a natural high.  There is a huge choice available, all of which offer physical and mental challenges.  Encouraging the client to explore these options gives another opportunity for them to explore their own wishes and discover new interests.  It is a key way of enabling them to look outside of their own comfort zone to find new engaging and enjoyable activities.

A more solitary individual may find joining a gym beneficial because of the ability to exercise alone.  There are a number of amenities on offer in gym facilities including cardio and strength training, weights, swimming pools, etc.  There is also the option of working with a trainer if an individual finds this beneficial and in doing so they can tailor-make their activities and goals according to their own wishes.  Other solo sports include golf, skiing, rock climbing and running.

For the more social client there are a many groups that offer the opportunity to join teams in soccer,  basketball, hockey and others, alongside other activities like yoga and dance classes.  This gives the opportunity to expand social networks, develop teamwork, increase mood and build new, healthier relationships.

Some clients want more of a challenge and there has been a growth in the availability of non-traditional activities.  Things like surfing, mountain biking, horse riding and sky diving can be exhilarating and lead to the discovery of new lifelong passions.  Clients can work together to help each over overcome challenges and provide motivation and moral support.  These types of activity are often used as experimental therapies but with the right clients have provided opportunities for individuals to push their own boundaries and gain huge benefits.


Exercise is Important for Young Adults

Exercise of any intensity has been shown to reduce relapse risk in young adults recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.  Many of these positive effects are not directly related to the activity but provide benefits by encouraging healthy activities, establishing routines and time management and provides the individual with a natural high.  The client benefits from increases in energy and improvements in mood and the idea of sobriety becomes more appealing.  In addition, the time used by working out takes account of some of the time freed up by not needed to acquire or abuse alcohol or drugs.

In the modern world the use of technology is something that affects young adults more than any other group.  The amount of sleep and physical activity a person gets is impacted by their use of devices and these are factors that increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.  This is a relatively new discovery and is important to factor in to any rehabilitation regime because a large proportion (6 out of 10) of people struggling with addiction also have a mental health problem.

Physical fitness has proven to be an excellent way to address and counteract some of the factors that lead to increase likelihood of substance abuse and does allow recovering addicts to experience a natural high.  Exercise can continue long after treatment ends and is useful to build a strong foundation for a healthy future lifestyle.  The positive effects of exercise combine to improve a client’s quality of live and increases the chance that they will be successful in achieving long-term sobriety.

Contact Us at the Last House if you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction and who you think may benefit from our programs implementation of fitness as a natural high.

Best Addiction Documentaries for Teens

best addiction documentaries

best addiction documentaries

Best Addiction Documentaries for Teens

In the mainstream media drug and alcohol use can often be portrayed as normal or even glamorous and teens are impressionable, especially when their favorite stars can be seen using them and having fun.  Documentaries can add some much needed realism into the view of drugs in a world which rarely looks at the negative aspects of substance abuse and focuses on the so-called benefits.

On the occasions when the mainstream media does show the consequences of substance/alcohol abuse this is often seen as a normal consequence of  ‘having a good time’, rather than something that can be dangerous and even life-threatening.  This constant stream of sanitized images of drug and alcohol use is a worrying source of misinformation which does not address growing concerns about the use of these substances in young adulthood.

Fortunately, outside of the mainstream there is a lot of good information available on streaming services which provide access to a lot of useful and interesting documentaries. Here are some of the best addiction documentaries:

Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery

best addiction documentaries

Russell Brand holds nothing back when he discussed his own struggles with drugs/alcohol.  The actor is known for his comedic acts and has played several roles where the character is using drugs or alcohol.  Brand took the decision to take control of his addictions when he was told he faced death, insanity or jail. Brand argues that governments and other agencies often misunderstand addiction, treating it as a criminal activity rather than the disease that it is.  He also looks at some alternative ways of dealing with the issue of addiction in general.


Marijuana: A Second Class Addiction (David Goldenkranz)

marijuana a second class addiction

This documentary follows the life of 22 year old David Goldenkranz as he struggles to quit marijuana and looks at the common misconception that marijuana is non-addictive.  This documentary is more relevant than ever as the movement to legalize the drug grows both in the US and globally.  In trying to quit the drug, David finds that his friends are not supportive and often ridicule him and he finds it increasingly difficult to break way from its use.  The film doesn’t make a case for legalizing marijuana but it does present different viewpoints on the subject and includes interviews with people who have been treated for cannabis addiction.


Kids on Ice

kids on ice

Meth has a number of commonly used street names include glass, shard and ice and this documentary focuses on the problem of methamphetamine addiction, specifically issues faced with childhood addiction which is causing havoc in the small rural communities of Australia.  Law enforcement has proven to be almost powerless in trying to turn back the tide and with a lack of resources many people seeking help, including children as young as fourteen, are being turned away from counseling as a result.  The film is disturbing in its nature, showing how casual experiments leave kids addicted and becoming involved in criminal activities to manage an addiction which has largely destroyed their lives.


Dope Sick Love

dope sick love

This documentary is unique in that the focus is on the life of a New York City couple who are addicted to heroin. The camera follows them as they go about their day activities; there is no narrative, no interviews, the viewer just watches the events as they unfold.   There is nothing that escapes the camera lens; buying the drugs, shooting up and robbing others to fund their habit.  Even the most disturbing moments of their lives are captured and displayed to the viewer.  The film clearly shows how the couple’s life revolves completely around getting and using the drug to the exclusion of everything else.


Oxycontin: Time Bomb

oxycontin time bomb

Oxycontin is a helpful medication that helps those suffering from chronic pain achieve a better quality of life but, alongside this, it has also become a drug of addiction.  Oxycontin has been promoted by the medial community because of its analgesic properties but, as t his documentary points out, many receive a lot of funding from the drug companies when they advocate the use of the drug.  In recent years there has been an alarming increase in the recreation use of Oxycontin and in the incidence of overdose.




This is a compelling film in which a number of teens describe the near-death experiences they suffered as a result of drug abuse.  These are teens that surprise the viewer by not fitting into the sort of stereotype we are often presented with when it comes to substance abuse.  The teens in this documentary are athletes, top students and other high performers which highlights that drug and alcohol abuse is something anyone can fall victim to.  The students tell their stories of comas, overdose, losing control and the drugs they have taken – ranging from cannabis, to alcohol to prescription drugs and how they fell into the downward spiral of addiction.


Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict

ben diary of a heroin addict

In this documentary we meet Ben who was brought up in a middle-class home with a loving family. With his upbringing Ben was heading for success but instead he ended up succumbing to heroin addiction.  In the video diary that Ben kept the viewer sees the real life effects of the drug on this promising young man.  Ben was shooting up around four times a day and eventually his veins became useless leading to scenes where Ben is having to inject heroin into the veins in his groin.  The viewer watches Ben on the phone as he mixes his hit while telling the caller he is now clean. Ben’s attempts to get clean, his motivations and how the drug simply took him over makes this documentary hard to watch.


Young Adults are more Susceptible to the Influence of Pop Culture


In the Movies

In movies the use of drugs and alcohol is glorified; there are no consequences with users often shown as cool, popular and successful people. For example, in the movie Superbad a group of somewhat geeky misfit teens want to be cool and get the girls.  The film’s focus in on the comedy of the situation and some of the embarrassing things that happen when you drink to much.  Sadly, like many others it avoids the real concerns, for example, the effects of alcohol poising, the risk of sexual assault or accidents.  That is why we made a list of the best addiction documentaries which show the ugly truth about addiction.


In Music

Music has always been an arena where drug and alcohol abuse is celebrated.  It is still perceived as ‘cool’ and there are many songs that extol the virtues of partying hard and getting high. Some songs will mention specific drugs and, as a result, increase their popularity.

Even if someone listens and is not consciously influenced to try a drug they remain part of a culture that sees substance use as normal and acceptable.  It can mean that teens are less likely to refuse or feel under pressure to try substances which then lead them down the path of addiction.


The Unique Challenges of Young Adults

It is obviously a major challenge to counter the influence that pop culture and social media have on teens.  They are at an age where they are going through a rapid stage of physical and psychological growth and personality development and facing increasing responsibilities in their lives.  This is what makes them much more susceptible to media influence than their adult counterparts and should receive treatment away from older addicts.


At The Last House we have extensive experience of treating teens/young adults who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.  If you would like to know more or are looking for help for yourself or a young adult, please get in touch via our contact form or ring our team.

Last House Success Story – Mike W



When I came to The Last House, I was a coward.  I was incapable of looking at myself or critiquing myself in a meaningful way.  My ego was through the roof and I didn’t really take to heart any advice or feedback that was given to me.  I would pretend to listen just to get people off my back and then to myself thing that it was bullshit. I lived in my own world and truly believed that I was the smartest person in any room I walked into.  My heart was filled with hate and I was just resentful at the world as a whole. I blamed everyone except myself for all my problems. I was so self-absorbed I could not care less about the harm I was causing my family.  I remember when my dad finally wouldn’t put up with my shit anymore and he kicked me out of the house last year. He gave me $300 and told me to never come back and not to call. I happily took the money and headed straight to Baltimore to get crack and heroine.  The only thing that was ever on my mind was the next hit. I then spend the next month or two homeless, wandering the streets of Baltimore with no hope. That experience thoroughly broke me and gave me the gift of desperation that I needed to get better. I was a hundred pounds, soaking wet and could barely form a sentence, but I was ready to get my life back on track.  Going through The Last House this past year has given me hope. For the past decade I thought I was destined to die, sad and alone, with no accomplishments worth mentioning. This house has given me confidence that I can achieve anything and it’s given me the balls to go after my dreams. I lived in constant fear before I got here, always worried about letting people down or not living up to my own expectations.  I’ve learned not to dwell on my mistakes and I have made a few since I have been here.  The one thing I have gained that I am the most grateful for after going through this house is freedom. My mind is no longer consumed with getting high or finding money to get high. I don’t dwell on my past or the wreckage I’ve caused. I can only think about what I can do today to give me and my family a better future. Overall, I am just happy. I work a job I hate 45 hours a week in a state that I despise and yet I am happy still. The house has taught me to appreciate what I have, which has been essential for me in sobriety.

Last House Success Story – Peace S.



When I entered The Last House I was nothing, but a broken, angry, stuck up little kid. I thought I knew better than everyone else, because everyone else was out to get me. I was anxious and insecure and wore a mask to cover all of that up. Luckily, the house saw right through all of that and helped me work on my character defects. They were there for all of my weak ass attempts to leave, they were there when I wanted to get high, and they continuously pushed me in the right direction. It was hard to buy in at first, but my life only got better after I did so. It was crazy, every day I woke up, I wanted to live a little more, I was a little less angry, and walked with my head a little bit higher. When I came in I did not want to be sober and had no drive to do all that AA shit, but because the house made me do the steps and attend meetings it started to work, then I bought into AA and my life changed even more. What’s great about this program is that you don’t have to want it, or maybe you want it more than anyone else because you want to be in your kids’ life, or you feel broken, but none of that matters. It’s just about doing it and the promises will come.