Since coming to the Last House, my behavior towards myself and others have changed completely after spending so many years numbing, running, and always taking the easy way out. I was fortunate enough to have found the last house where I learned more about myself in these 18 months than I have my whole life coming in. I was shut off and reserved behaving like this was just another sober living I was going to get kicked out of. Overtime, I found another outlook on everything, life, sobriety, others, myself and my future. Being much more optimistic about my future I now have a reason and the resources to stay sober.
When I put alcohol into my system, I act without any regard for other peoples feelings, and seem to lack empathy, but when I entered the last house I carried on with this habit of conduct from a sober state of mind. Clearly, my moral compass was nonexistent, and it was absolutely necessary for me to be placed under a structured system. Luckily, my parents found the Last house through an interventionist and gave me an ultimatum, either I go to this program or I can’t live with them anymore and have to figure it out on my own. By the grace of God, I admitted some sort of defeat and agreed to this program. I had no idea what I was getting into, I’m glad I didn’t because if I did, I would’ve politely said no. And so my chicanery and projection of my own misery began the second I crossed Last House threshold. I want to thank all the managers for their efforts to tame me in my first few months. without Will, miles, Dusty and Mike Wood’s severe yet loving disciplinary tactics, I don’t think I would be here to tell the tale. From a lying conniving child i slowly transformed into an open minded and willing man through the structure and brotherhood of Last House. Most importantly, I found myself as I am in gods image, through the alloy of the 12 step process and this program. Tonight I hope that those of you who are new and feeling lost at the Last House can recognize the miracle that stands before you and think maybe there is a chance for me. Please understand none of this was of my own doing and any good I’ve done while I’ve been at Last House is through God’s divine power, and through the utmost trust I have for this programs process. As Dusty says “the water is nice over here.” Last House taught me how to show up and stay consistent with my responsibilities and commitments. My cynical nature has been abated and my nihilism has morphed into a voracious desire to live and evolve. I’ve developed a cardinal liking to be there for others. No words can justly describe my gratitude for the brotherhood about me. I thank all of you, for being a movin part of this beautiful mechanism that turns Boys into Men.
My behaviors have changed in ways I couldn’t imagine. I used to be a blameful person who couldn’t take any accountability. I lived a life with no trust in something bigger than myself and burned everything in my path. I didn’t believe in telling the truth; I only believed in saying things that would get me closer to my next drug or drink—lies of conduct, lies of making you think you can trust me.
The Last House has taught me a new way of living, based on helping others freely and being honest with myself. This has enabled me to be honest and impactful to those I meet on my journey. My outlook on life is no longer selfish and black and white. I now have a grasp of my purpose that I did not have when I was using drugs. Life was grim and dull; everything seemed so pointless. The only thing that made sense was how much dopamine I could overload myself with as fast as possible to numb the painful, empty hole in my stomach.
Now, I have tangible dreams that are no longer false and can become my reality. God and His children are beautiful. My life is filled with gratitude and moments of peace that I couldn’t find in my addiction. My attitude towards life and what God has to offer reflects all of that. Hate, gossip, self-pity, and destructive pride have been washed away thanks to the Last House and AA. I love myself now, which I couldn’t say before. The Last House gave me the ability to look in the mirror without being plagued with insecurity.
I used to hide my body with hoodies and hats. Now, I can walk outside with confidence, wear a T-shirt without hiding my hair under a hat, and just be me. I used to harbor hate towards my family and blame them for all my problems. Now, I love my mother and my grandparents and have extreme gratitude for having them in my life. Even my father is finally proud of me. All of these things would not be possible without AA and the Last House.
“Since joining the Last House in December of 2021 the transformation of our son Sam has been remarkable. Little by little (step by step), the son we once knew has reappeared and he is now a responsible, mature, thoughtful and kind young man.
Sam has surpassed our hopes and dreams. We are so proud of the incredible work he has done for himself and the work he is now doing for others.
We are forever grateful to the Last House (and Thrive) for believing in Sam, never giving up on him and supporting his continued growth. We believe that the managers at the Last House are Sam’s guardian angels, and they hold a special place in our family’s hearts forever.
We are so grateful to have a new and better relationship with our son, and we have hope that relationship will continue to grow. We feel so lucky to have him back in our lives and will never forget the Last House and the great guys that helped to give our son a second chance.”
-Alexandra & Todd Cooper
When I first showed up at the Last House I was a broken, haunted person that saw no possibility of
turning my life around. I sure as hell did not think the Last House or AA had any shot at helping me.
Dustin gave me some advice during my first few days that has influenced how I approached my
experience here. First, show up even when you don’t want to, even if you do it for someone else, you
will eventually learn to do it for yourself. And second, stick around long enough to see what it’s like on
the other side. So that’s what I did, far from perfectly, but I was present even when I was tired, fed up
and angry. And I did the work even when my first instinct was to dismiss it all because I was hung up on
the concept of God. My spiritual experience is definitely of the education variety, but the result is just as
striking as any white light experience I can think of. My time in the Last House has been the most
positive and radically transformative experience of my life.
I can think of no better way to show the change in me than comparing my life now to my life at the
moment of my last drink. That last drink was a shot of Jim Beam I begged my mother for so I wouldn’t
have a seizure on the way to the hospital. The look of fear and pain in my mother’s eyes I will remember
for the rest of my life. In the end I drank to hurt myself, but right then I realized I was hurting everyone I
care about in the process. Today, instead of hurting those I care about with the way I live my life, I try to
help people. I no longer avoid my family out of an overwhelming sense of shame. Instead of the small
and lonely world I once lived in, I have a community of people I genuinely care about and who genuinely
care about me. And the crushing self-hatred that once had me on the brink of taking my own life has
been replaced by real self-love.
My name is Dalton and I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict.
I’m not sure if I was born like this or if I somehow crossed a line, but what happened was that alcohol and drugs took over my life. It progressed quickly. When repercussions of my drinking and drug use would set in, I would invariably find myself in a program and with all the best intentions, promising myself and others that I was done. The ‘done’ part never seemed to be happen. Well I can still have a drink, it’s the drugs that are the problem.
Over and over, I repeated this pattern in different ways, with different chemicals, different circumstances, and in different cities. It was never easy to stop drinking and using, but it was significantly more challenging to stay stopped. Eventually, reality hit me as I reached yet another bottom. For the first time, I had some clarity.
During the course of my inpatient treatment, it was strongly suggested that I find a structured sober living. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was willing enough to do what was suggested to me. When faced with the gravity of my situation and the reality that I would likely end up back to what I always do, drinking and using drugs until I reach an even lower low, I was willing to give anything a shot.
Willing: that’s how I walked through the doors of The Last House and how I started my journey of recovery. My experience in The Last House was profound. I was certain it was the intensive outpatient therapy I attended that would be the catalyst for change, but in retrospect it was the The Last House. It was a community that supported me, challenged me, and most importantly guided me into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, where I found a solution to my alcoholism and drug addiction.
However, that solution requires work and I don’t believe I would have been able to maintain the concerted effort needed for it. Willingness for me tends toward the ephemeral; it’s here and then it’s gone. Had it not been for The Last House providing the community, structure, and time for me to nurture that willingness, and holding me accountable to the work required for the 12-step program of recovery, I would not have the life I do today.
My sobriety date is July 17th, 2013, and I am 31 years old. I graduated from The Last House in August of 2014 at the age of 22. I live in Paris, France. I have a career path, a wife, and two degrees now. I have healthy relationships with my family and friends. I have stability, freedom, peace, and my life looks vastly different than it used to—inside and out.
I was promised a life beyond my wildest dreams. As Disney and fanciful as it sounded at the time, it turned out to be true, only in a different way. Life isn’t going to be perfect and material successes aren’t guaranteed, but what I have is a life that I didn’t know was possible. The idea of spending even one day free from that aching feeling to alter my state of consciousness with alcohol or drugs seemed impossible — that was beyond my wildest dreams. It’s not always easy and life gets vastly more complicated. I am not perfect, not even close; however, I have tools, people, and a program of recovery to help me walk through whatever comes my way.
If you’re just coming to The Last House, I hope you make the best of it. I hope you get to see things from a different perspective and I hope you get to meet people that challenge you. No mater what, I hope you find the freedom that you deserve, and I hope that you get to help others find it too.
April 20th 2023
Recovery, let alone sobriety, can be quite the tricky topic to navigate. Setting aside all the drastic life changes that will need to be made, figuring out how one can go about making these changes to get clean and sober is a whole other beast. It won’t only be tough for the individual who will be trading in his life for a new one, it is challenging for all the loved ones involved; family, partners, friends. All parties invested in this process ultimately want the same goal – for the individual to be happy, safe, self-sufficient, and truly free from the enslavement that drugs and alcohol bound over our loved ones for far too long. But you may be asking yourself, “Where do I even start? Is therapy the right answer? What about a rehabilitation treatment center? Will a 12-step program do the trick?” These are all valid and vital questions that anyone entering recovery needs to be asking. However, more important than the question, is the answer….
I can safely say, from my experience, that the one and only question that one needs to be asking is, what direction will provide myself (or whoever is losing their battle with addiction) the best chance for success. When I say success. I’m not referring to business or their career, but success in life measured through happiness, healthy relationships, fulfilling work, and long-term sobriety. My family and I are just like you and yours. We really had no idea what to do. In truth the only thing we knew for sure is that we could not sit back and do nothing. My addition ran my life and was rapidly burning my life into the ground, and those closest to me were soon to be casualties that would be engulfed in the flames.
Slightly backing up – a little background on me. I grew up in Palos Verdes Estates – the southernmost part of Los Angeles County. I was the oldest of two children – an 8-year gap separated my brother and I. Up through high school, I excelled in my studies – achieving a 4.0 GPA, I played two varsity sports – baseball and soccer (one of which I captained) and was a member of the honor jazz band. Ultimately, these things led me to getting accepted into a 4-year university – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I don’t mention things these to pump my ego or boast, rather to show that one can have a lot of things going for them – and IT WILL NOT MATTER. I had my fair share of “run-ins” during high school once I began partying socially during freshman year. Well, truthfully – it started off as social, but rapidly progressed into daily alcohol and drug use. I smoked weed, drank, popped all types of pain killers, benzos, barbs, snorted coke, etc.…which ultimately led to a couple arrests, couple suspensions and the list goes on and on. Things only continued to get worse – in college the drug and alcohol use only progressed as did the consequences: DUI, kicked out of campus dorms, court-ordered community service, employment terminations and on and on. My life was reduced to nothing. I felt nothing – outside of never-ending pain, suffering, and bouts of depression that would only be temporarily alleviated by getting loaded. Sure, I graduated college with my diploma, but I couldn’t support myself in the slightest. Something had to give – and it sure wasn’t going to be drugs and booze….at least not yet. I had met with therapists through the years, taken classes for DUI, but had never attended rehab or sober living and all that comes with it. Hence, I had never experienced recovery. This downward spiral continued on for a few more years.
Ultimately, at 25 years old with nothing to show for his life – I had reached that point, that breaking point, ‘the bottom’ that the A.A. rooms always talk about – I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. It was time for a change. I finally asked for help, but where does one even start. My family and I did like any directionless family might do – we turned to good old Google. Flooded with an exceedingly high number of detoxes, rehabs, and sober livings, to say we felt overwhelmed would be an understatement. After numerous phone calls and hours of “picture surfing” online, my family and I settled on a rehab center in West Los Angeles. The treatment center served its purpose. It provided me with a snapshot of what a life without drugs and alcohol would look like. More importantly, it separated me from the lifestyle; the drugs and alcohol, the poor company I kept, and the places that I hung out. Having been removed from those elements I was able to gain a better sense of clarity for what I needed to do. Before entering rehab, I had the preconceived notion I would simply return to work after finishing my 30-day treatment as if my life was cured and fixed for good in just one short month. Let me tell you — that could not have been further from the truth. I wanted to be clean and sober. I needed to be clean and sober. I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted to be able to suit up and show up for my friends and family. Yet, if I would have elected to return to my life so soon without developing the necessary skills and resources required, it would have surely ended in disaster. This is when I made the best decision of my life and chose to enter sober living, specifically The Last House.
Since I was not familiar with the recovery community, whatsoever, I had never heard of The Last House until I was in treatment. A friend of mine I made while in rehab was planning on going to The Last House upon completion of his time there. He, along with a few others in the sober community, told me tales of rigorous structure. I felt scared, I felt intimidated, I felt like I didn’t need to attend such a program since this was a first go-around at sobriety. However, for that exact reason, was why I needed to go to The Last House! I needed to go to a place that would challenge me and force me to transform into the man I always knew I could be. Of course, it would not be easy. In fact, it would be quite the opposite. It would take a lot of effort and energy to see the change I wanted in my life. But what was I to do? I wasn’t going on a vacation. I wasn’t going to appease some external person. First and foremost, I was going to continue my clean and sober lifestyle, but equally important – I was going to learn how to live a mature life filled with integrity and character.
I clearly remember my first night in the house like it was only yesterday. The entire car ride from rehab to The Last House, my body was tense and riddled with anxiety. The worst expectations of what was to come were racing through my head. What I was feeling emotionally could be likened to the feeling of sitting in the back of a cop car being driven to the station after committing a crime. However, what my deceiving mind told me and what I was to experience over the next year were total opposites. I was finally in a safe environment. Sure, it was also structured, but most importantly, it was safe, which really alleviated the worries my parents had experienced for ten years running. They could finally sleep soundly at night.
Through this journey, the person I was and the way I was living was challenged every single day. I was pushed to be the best version of myself; to finally after 25 years of living – become a loving son, helpful brother, and caring friend. I was pushed to grow up and mature into the man I wanted and needed to be. Was the entire time I spent at The Last House easy? Of course not, but was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY! So, what all did The Last House do for me. There is not enough space in this letter for me to rave about all of the benefits and positives I learned, but I can give a brief snapshot. First off, I gained the basic, yet vital skills needed to lead a successful life. I became punctual, thorough, honest, and accountable. I can suit up and show up whenever I am called upon whether it be for my family or friends or for work. I was introduced to A.A and therapy and now work a strong 12-step program daily to address my addiction and alcoholism along with heightening my emotional and mental sobriety. I gained life-long friends whom I am still in regular contact with to this day. Whatever twist and turn life may throw may I way – I am now able to navigate without having the need to turn to drugs and alcohol.
Upon graduating from The Last House. I worked as a manger there for nearly two years before working as a manger over at Thrive Treatment for another two years. Currently, I run the Supplies and Fulfillment team for a diagnostic laboratory here in Austin, Tx. I met an incredible women in the rooms of A.A. and we are currently engaged and set to marry in March. She has 4 years clean and sober while I eclipsed 5. Our entire apartment is clean and organized and the bills are all paid for mind you. I have a fantastic relationship with my entire family – mom, dad, and brother (who I have finally begun mentoring – which unfortunately was 26 years to late – but better late than never). I have been able to travel both inside and out of the United States visiting numerous states in countries over these past 5 years. I attend meetings regularly, sponsor other men in the program, and have gone through my steps a few times (currently on step 3). At the end of the day, I am happy, self-sufficient, and ultimately alive! My life is continuing to grow and expand, and I am fully looking forward to the future as I have some big dreams for my life – as you should as well! None of this would have been possible without the support and guidance provided to me from The Last House.
Before the LH, I was broken. To be specific, I was 20 years old, living at home with my parents
after failing out of college and I was abusing drugs constantly. I was smoking weed and using
psychedelics and cocaine constantly to be specific. I was in an abusive relationship with a girl who I
used drugs with and was always fighting with my parents about both my drug use and my lack of
motivation to move out. I was not in school and only maintained to keep a low paying job in order to
afford my substances. Physically, I was overweight, my lungs were compromised, and I was
constantly fatigued. Emotionally, I was constantly anxious, horribly depressed, suicidal, and
ruminated constantly on nearly every aspect of life, fearing leaving my room. I did not want to kill
myself, I just wanted to die and only the constant use of cocaine and LSD helped stem that feeling a
When I first got in the Last House, I was extremely anxious and worried about how it would help me. I
resisted the structure at first as so many do and even tried to et my parents to get me to leave. I did
not want to make friends and hated the fact that life had brought me here. Through groups, feedback
from the guys here, and the Last House’s insistence that I work the 12 steps and attend meetings, I
slowly began to see the changes come to myself. Physically I lost weight and got in shape (the gym
there is amazing), my lungs got better, and I got a nice LA tan. Emotionally, especially through work
in the steps and IOP, I began to love life. I wanted to make something of myself and be independent
from my parents. I rekindled relationships with my family and friends and regained their trust. The
Last House structure puts a huge emphasis on honest and that changed me to have more integrity
that I’d ever have. With the support of my fellow guys there, I sought out good jobs that enabled me to
become financially independent. When times were tough, the staff and other residents were ALWAYS
there to support me in any way I needed. I do not have enough good things to say about the house,
other than it saved my life. Simply put, it took in a broken, sad, and troubled young cocaine addict,
and after a year of work from the house and I, shot out a happy, healthy, ambitious young man.
My life is not perfect now, as no one’s is, however overall, it is a stark contrast to anything from three
years ago. I live close to the house in LA in an apartment I pay for, with two other sober people who I
get along with and have open communication with. More than anything I have really been able to
manage my responsibilities very well. I have two good paying jobs, a group of friends who I love both
sober and norms, I keep my space clean and exercise regularly. With the experience in the house, I
was able to establish structure for my life and it keeps me both busy and satisfied. I still attend
meetings regularly and with my proximity to the house, I am able to sponsor guys there and the staff
is still supportive of me even though I am not a resident. I am currently 23 years old and nearly 3
years sober and have a fantastic relationship with my family which is one of the greatest gifts of all.
Thank you for reading, Leo Levy