My Mom’s Final Gift

A majority of 2020, I spent my time in jail-Banning, CA. The looming thought that prison would be my fate. Which I thought was well deserved. Feeling alone and angry, enveloped in self hatred. The hurt I caused others, the years wasted chasing a facade. I did not care what happened to me anymore! I had been given every chance to change and like clockwork I always walked down that same path, the familiar one. On Christmas Day, I almost got in a fight with a guard which would have sealed my fate in the Penitentiary, the other inmates were cheering me on and something came over me, I swallowed my pride and sat down, not caring what they thought of me. Merry Christmas! That night I got on my knees, prayer wasn’t something unfamiliar to me but something I had forgotten. “Why would God answer my prayers?” I didn’t care who saw, I just prayed for forgiveness and one last opportunity to change my life! Please! I am emotional writing this because I was in so much pain in that cell! Once again, a loving God gifted me mercy and there was a shift in my case allowing me to seek treatment. Not just any treatment, they wanted high structure and supervision since I had AWOL’d so many times in past treatments. My mom, who has since passed, got on the phone and called everywhere trying to find the right place that would take me and would comply with the court’s strict stipulations. She gave me a list of a few she thought would work.

At the top of that list was The Last House. I loved the name and I called them and talked to Matt. No need to call anyone else, this place felt right to me. In February 2021, when I came to Last House I was so grateful to have this opportunity and I was ready to do anything! I knew one thing, I was going to graduate! I had too. Coming in with that surrender and commitment was my greatest asset. I put my head down for a while and at about 3 months in, I started seeing the value here, my walls started coming down and my mind started to open. The comfortability of what I knew and felt in control of had always outweighed walking through the fear of what was on the other side of the door, the truth. “Maybe I don’t know shit.” 40 treatment centers and I don’t know shit. If I kept picking apart imperfect systems and imperfect people and using that to justify my anger and resentment I knew surely I would fail again. The same man will drink again. My need for control, selfish pride, grandiosity and playing the puppet master had done nothing but keep me sick and delusional.

This program, along with the steps, gifted me the discernment of truth vs delusion and when I am confused I have people to call on. What a beautiful thing. I have sound peace of mind today and when I don’t I’m not berating myself and burying my emotions like I used to. I feel that shit, I observe them, so I don’t act impulsively on them. I learned I cannot understand something unless I consistently practice it and just intellectually acknowledging a spiritual principle is just that, acknowledging it. I focus on what I can control: myself and how I treat others. What a blessing this has all been. Once I satisfied my sentence I decided to stay here, to work here and be a light for others. I want to give back what was given to me and hopefully impact others how I was impacted. Thank you to my family for all your support, the brotherhood I found in The Last House and thank you Mom for finding this place before you left me. Your final gift to me before death was life.

How to Learn Relapse Prevention Coping Skills

How to Learn Relapse Prevention Coping Skills

Originally, relapse prevention was a separate aspect of addiction treatment, not combined with the standard treatment, but something reserved for after… later. This practice was in place for many years, before relapse prevention was integrated into addiction treatment, giving addicts the opportunity to practice these prevention measures in a controlled environment like rehab.

Relapse prevention coping skills are the skills necessary for individuals to learn to maintain sobriety after leaving addiction treatment. Through this process individuals are able to learn and practice these relapse prevention coping skills to make them habits prior to their return or next real world trigger. 

The Last House integrates relapse prevention coping skills into their addiction treatment programs by providing real world experiences for practice and supportive community. To see how we utilize these coping skills and to see how we can support your sustainable recovery, contact us today at The Last House.

What Are Relapse Prevention Coping Skills?

Relapse prevention skills are a combination of mental and physically habitual practices you can put into place to monitor your personal mental health. This can be done by addressing the following things: fear, redefining fun, learning from setbacks, and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. These mental tasks can help prevent individuals from falling into one of these three forms of relapse- emotional, mental, or physical.

Physically, there are several relapse prevention techniques that you can put into place in your daily life that will help you maintain long-term sobriety and mental strength. Being aware of your surroundings, maintaining a healthy diet and rest habits, participating in self-care activities, and accessing your support system are physical things you can do to keep your mind and body strong. 

How Do You Learn Relapse Prevention Coping Skills?

In addiction treatment you will be taught many helpful relapse prevention tools and develop a relapse prevention plan. For example, one of the tools you may be taught in treatment is “HALT: Ask yourself if you are Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Or Tired? Oftentimes being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired can trigger a desire to use, and therefore it is important to identify [and] address the underlying need instead of using a substance.” Or even “SOBER: Use the SOBER brief meditation when feeling a desire to use: Stop, Observe, Breathe, Expand, Respond.” 

While these tools may be specifically taught in addiction treatment, it is also important to remember that through your relapse prevention plan, you may have a recovery wallet card, a support network, or self-help groups that you can attend to support you through this time.

How Can the Last House Help Me With Relapse Prevention?

Our addiction treatment program can support you at any point in the addiction treatment process. Our clients learn to manage their addiction in a safe, fun, and program-oriented setting where they can learn to focus on their purpose, progress, and building the foundation for their future.

At The Last House we offer addiction treatment through sober living communities and our clinical campus where men are building a sober community through shared experiences and connections. And we don’t just focus on addiction. We work with our clients to help them manage all their mental health needs through a holistic approach to developing a stable base of development and lifelong achievement.

Through our sober programs, clients are taught relapse prevention skills and are given the opportunity to use them in real-life situations and group sober outings. Through this process clients can experience the triggers and struggles of addiction while surrounded by a support system of men working together towards sustainable recovery.

Contact The Last House today to see how we can support your recovery.

Mental Health Resources for Men | The Last House

Different Mental Health Resources for Men

Your mental health can be impacted by a great number of things within and outside of your control. Asking for help is something within your control.

The Last House provides mental health treatment and sober living in Los Angeles, California. Our mission is focused on providing a safe, fun, and program-oriented setting that helps our clients achieve their mental health and life foals. Contact us if you are ready to make a change for the betterment of your future, today.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and just like physical health, many illnesses and physical situations can impact our mental health.

For a long time, there has been a stigma about mental illness and getting therapeutic treatment or counseling has been judged or mocked. But now, mental health initiatives are working to combat the stigma around mental health. 

Mental Health America released a 5-minute Guide to Men’s Mental Health, citing 6 million men struggling with depression in the United States. It also indicates that 1 in 5 men will struggle alcohol dependency in their lifetime and that the suicide rates for men are far higher than those of women. These mental illnesses are just that, illnesses that require medical treatment. 

If you are unsure if you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health indicates the following warning signs: 

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Engaging in high-risk activities
  • Aches, headaches, digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life
  • Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people

If you are experiencing these behavior changes or have noticed these warning signs in a loved one, contact The Last House today for an evaluation. Our experienced and compassionate team are ready to support individuals on a safe path of recovery.

What Are the Different Mental Health Resources for Men?

Men are less likely to get mental health support than women due to social norms, a reluctance to talk, and because of downplaying symptoms. Knowing this, rehabilitation and mental health facilities have worked to develop interactive opportunities for men to access mental health resources.

In TIP56, a treatment improvement protocol from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a 200+ page document on improving mental health practices for men, multiple mental health professionals pooled their knowledge to create and improve mental health treatment for men. Mental health resources like therapy, according to TIP56, are best provided in group therapy, single-gender groups for men, group activities that promote community building, individual therapy, and family and couples therapy are recommended.

How Can The Last House Help?

The Last House provides a continuum of support through multiple male mental-health focused programs. Through sober living, activity based therapeutic outings, and our clinical campus, our clients have the opportunity to develop a positive mental health structure focused on achieving their goals and sobriety.

Our 2020 Outcomes Study showed that of the respondents we supported over the last several years, 87% had maintained sobriety and 80% of those individuals had been sober for over a year at the time of survey. Our former clients indicated greatly improved family relationships, employment statuses, satisfaction with life, educational goals, and emotional wellbeing. 

Contact us today to see how The Last House can be your first step on the journey of recovery.

Success Stories: Leo L.

When I first entered The Last House, I was broken, physically and mentally. My attitude
was that my life would never get better, yet also, that the world owed me something. I thought
that society was going to be miserable, and I hated giving up any control. My behaviors were
that of a three-year-old wanting his way. I was attention-seeking, anxious, and extremely
manipulative to my family and friends. As I went through the house, though, the people here
simply would not put up with any of my antics. They called me out and over several groups,
broke my ego until I surrendered. It’s hard to say where exactly the change occurred, but
suffice to say, today I am a confident, independent, young man who treats my family and
friends with respect and loves sobriety more than anything. I am still working on standing still,
though, AA is an integral part of my life and my outlook today is insanely hopeful for the future.

Success Stories: Bobby A.

Oh man, where do I begin. My behaviors have changed to where I am more patient,
compassionate, and understanding. My outlook changed from feeling like a prisoner the first
few months, to realizing I had an opportunity to work on myself and rebuild myself for a better
life ahead with sobriety and emotional stability. I was struggling with a lot of anger and
irritation and did not know how to express it or cope with it. Emotional regulation was a big
thing for me, and I feel like I have made great strides in that are with the help of the house and
Thrive Treatment. After I worked through my resentment with my parents and how I arrived at
The Last House, my attitude and outlook changed drastically for the better. I didn’t think that I
needed this level of treatment and thought maybe I would have stayed sober at another sober
living that was not structured, but I do know that going to The Last House helped me to rebuild
myself from the ground up and also uncovered some character defects that I am now aware of
and can work on in therapy. I may not have uncovered these things and really dug deep if I was
not at The Last House. So, in closing, I am extremely grateful for The Last House and all of the
staff that helped me through this transformation.

Success Story: Diego M.

Since being at The Last House, my behaviors have changed a lot. I used to sit in a dark room for days on end – making music, treating family and friends and women with no respect. I was never able to keep a job. Lastly, staying off drugs and alcohol since being in the house, I have learned how to become a clean, responsible man; that shows up for work, pays bills on time, and keeps good relationships. I used to steal, lie, and cheat. Thanks to AA and The Last House program which taught me that I do not have to do those things anymore. I still sometimes struggle with my outlook on life, but I do have very many things to be grateful for that I would never have if it was not for this house. Now I must apply the things I have learned here into real life. I went from sleeping on a cold, apartment floor while high, to now having a great life that I never thought I could have.

The Negative Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Use

The Negative Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Use

Whether you’re actively drinking or are sober, you may wonder about the effects of alcohol on your body. The ads for alcohol suggest that those drinking alcohol are in the best shape of their lives. However, those who have consumed alcohol for an extended time know that the effects of long-term alcohol use are anything but healthy. Alcohol affects every part of your body. 

Long-term alcohol use leads to chronic diseases, injuries, and even death. It impacts more than your physical health too and can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. The Last House is here to help you learn more about how to help your mind and your body heal from the effects of long-term alcohol use. 

Is Alcohol Addictive?

While many debate whether alcohol is addictive, the facts are that the body does become dependent on it with regular use. Your body strives to keep itself in balance. When you drink alcohol regularly, the balance is shifted, and your body changes things to adapt. You don’t realize it as it’s happening, but if you stop drinking alcohol, your body will let you know. If you drink alcohol daily and stop, you will feel like your body is punishing you for stopping. Your symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache, sweating, anxiety, and even seizures. Your body is not punishing you, but it is trying to learn how to function without alcohol. In addition to the physical effects of long-term alcohol use, the pathways in your brain are also impacted. It can take months for your brain to return to its pre-alcohol functioning. Knowing this can help you understand why the first several months of sobriety can feel like an emotional roller coaster. 

What Are the Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Use on the Body?

Alcohol is the bad party gift that just keeps on giving. Short-term alcohol use increases the risk for motor vehicle accidents, violence, risky sexual behaviors, and more.  Excessive alcohol use led to about ninety-five thousand deaths and nearly three million years of potential life lost from 2011-2015. Almost everyone knows that regular alcohol use can damage your liver, leading to cirrhosis or other chronic illness. But it doesn’t stop at your liver; the effects of long-term alcohol use may be seen in nearly every part of your body. Your pancreas and alcohol are not friends. 

Regular alcohol use impacts how your pancreas functions and can lead to chronic pancreatitis and diabetes. It can also damage your stomach leading to ulcers, colitis, and other gastrointestinal chronic diseases. Alcohol can damage your heart and increases your risk for chronic heart disease, heart failure, and heart attack. It can also lead to cancer, especially cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and breast. When you drink alcohol regularly, your immune system cannot work correctly, and you are at a greater risk for infection and general fatigue. The frightening fact is that these are just a few of the effects of long-term alcohol use. Your body and alcohol are not friends. 

Sober Living at The Last House

The Last House Sober Living is a network of structured sober living homes in southern California. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to have a meaningful life and participate in their own sobriety.  We’ll help you learn how to live and have fun in sobriety through service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings.  Our experienced staff is composed of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community. If you’re wondering where to start to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help you build a life in recovery.

The Best Way to Resolve Trauma: Get Help at a PTSD Treatment Center in Los Angeles

What is the best way to resolve trauma

While many may think that surviving a trauma ends when the trauma itself has ended, you know the reality. Trauma doesn’t end the moment the event ends. Instead, your surviving trauma may be a lifelong endeavor. Whether you have survived war, abuse, a natural disaster, or other trauma, you know that the trauma stays with you. You also understand that it can rise to the surface at the most unexpected times and leave you feeling as if you are reliving the events over and over again. 

Getting help at a PTSD treatment center in Los Angeles can help you begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Without professional help, you can start to feel as if the walls are closing in on you, and you will find yourself seeking all sorts of ways to self-medicate.  At The Last House, we understand the lasting effects of trauma and why you will try to escape them. We are here to help you learn more about treating and living with PTSD. 

What Is PTSD?

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, develops in some individuals who have experienced shocking, frightening, or dangerous events. Some examples of events that result in PTSD include:

  • Childhood trauma, 
  • Seeing a dead body
  • Being injured
  • Living through and/or fighting in a war
  • Losing a loved one unexpectedly
  • Witnessing another person being killed or hurt
  • Experiencing horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Being the victim of a violent crime
  • Surviving a natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, or flood

While many people will experience short-term PTSD symptoms, some will develop chronic PTSD. Treating PTSD early on at a PTSD treatment center in Los Angeles can help manage the symptoms better and provide you with coping strategies. It’s important to note that PTSD does not always occur immediately after the events and can arise months or years after the events. 

Common Symptoms of PTSD

When most people think of PTSD, they think of how it is portrayed on television or in the movies. We think of the Veteran who has returned from war who experiences flashbacks. And while flashbacks can be a part of PTSD, they are not the only symptom. Flashbacks and bad dreams are considered re-experiencing symptoms because the individual is reliving the trauma. However, PTSD symptoms can also include avoidance, cognition/mood, and arousal/reactivity symptoms. Avoidance symptoms include avoiding seeing or talking about places, events, or things that remind you of the trauma. Cognition or mood symptoms show up as not remembering particular details or facts about the traumatic event, distorted feelings, or even loss of interest in activities. Arousal/reactivity symptoms include being easily startled, feeling “on edge,” experiencing difficulty sleeping, and having outbursts of anger.  A doctor is the only one who can diagnose PTSD, but if you are experiencing symptoms like these, it’s time to see help at a PTSD treatment center in Los Angeles. Many who experience PTSD will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to avoid the feelings created by their PTSD symptoms. While this is understandable, self-medicating will not address the underlying issues. In the end, you may find yourself with PTSD and a substance abuse problem. 

Why You Should Go to a PTSD Treatment Center in Los Angeles 

Seeking treatment for your PTSD will enable you to manage your PTSD symptoms in a way that lets you create a life outside of the trauma. 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.  Composed of 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. 

Stimulant Drug Examples: What Do They Look Like?

What do drug stimulants look like?

Not all drugs are the same. Drugs are categorized into different classes, including narcotics, depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. Each drug class is made up of various drugs and has different effects. Depressants include benzodiazepines and alcohol and, as the name indicates, depress you mentally and physically when you take them. Hallucinogens include drugs like LSD and PCP, resulting in hallucinations. Stimulant drug examples include methamphetamines, amphetamines, and cocaine. Some stimulants are legal and prescribed, while others are not. As the name suggests, stimulants stimulate you mentally and physically. At

The Last House, we know all about the various drugs that can be taken, their effects, and the resulting withdrawals. 

Stimulant Drug Examples

Stimulants speed up the body and the mind. Someone who has taken stimulants will often talk much faster and appear to be moving much more quickly. Some stimulants such as amphetamines and certain methamphetamines can be legally prescribed. Prescribed stimulant drugs examples include Adderall, Ritalin, Didrex, and Meridia. Illegal stimulant drug examples include crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and synthetic cathinones such as bath salts. While all stimulants act to speed up the body’s systems, the different stimulants can look different. 

Cocaine, only available illegally, will usually appear as a white powder. However, crack cocaine looks like small white rocks. Cocaine has many street names, including coke, crack, crank, flake, snow, and soda. It can be snorted, smoked, or dissolved in water and injected. Most who use cocaine experience a rush of euphoria and will binge on the drug until they run out. Following a cocaine binge, users will typically crash, sleeping for several days until they begin to experience cravings again. Cocaine, in any amount, is very dangerous. Cocaine use can result in irregular heart rhythms, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, restlessness, irritability, anxiety, stroke, cardiac arrest, and death. 

In its legal form, methamphetamine is prescribed in pill form as Desoxyn to treat ADHD and obesity. In its illegal form, methamphetamines can be taken as a pill or may come as a powder. Created by mixing the prescription drug with over-the-counter drugs, crystal meth is another illegal form of methamphetamine that resembles glass fragments. Methamphetamines and amphetamines can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or infected. These drugs are highly addictive and have many street names, including speed, ice, tweak, trash, and chalk.  

Like most stimulants, methamphetamines cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing rate, as well as agitation, anxiety, and paranoia. Because of their highly addictive nature, many individuals began taking more of the drug to achieve the same high, resulting in convulsions, cardiac arrest, stroke, or death. 

In addition to methamphetamines, amphetamines, and cocaine, there are also designer drugs designed to simulate stimulants. Designer drug stimulant examples include bath salts and khat. Bath salts, which look much like bath salts or crystal meth, mimic the effects of crystal meth. Khat, a stimulant drug made from leaves and twigs, has cathine and cathinone as its active ingredients and can be drunk as a tea, sprinkled on food, or smoked. Also known as oat, qat, African salad, or catha, khat has similar effects to other stimulants. In addition to the expected results of stimulants, it can also result in manic behavior with grandiose delusions, cardiac complications, nightmares, depression, suicidal ideation, and gastric disorders. Designer drug stimulants are often sold online or in smoke shops, which results in people believing that they are less dangerous, but this is incorrect. 

How to Get Help With a Stimulant Addiction

If you or a loved one have been using drugs, you’ll find many options available for the road to recovery. The Last House is here to help keep them on that road. We are 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 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 creating a sober life or supporting someone who is, The Last House is here to help. Contact us today. 

Asher R.

The Last House has completely changed my life inside and out since I got here. I came in a broken and confused child with nothing to offer the world. I had no idea how to live my life, let alone stay sober. I had been living for nothing, but to get high and bide the time. When I got here, I had dropped out of school, been in psychosis multiple times, walked around with a fake
gun out of paranoia, had panic attacks that almost caused my heart to give out, lost all of my friends, and my family was absolutely terrified of me, but at the same time didn’t know how to help me. I got kicked out of another treatment center for selling other patients Adderall, continuously relapsing, and generally just messing up other people’s recovery. When I got here I knew I needed to change, but I was still too delusional to see what a tornado I was. The Last House did not hesitate to drill into me that I was the problem and I had serious work to do if I ever wanted to have an actual life. I thought I had all of the answers, but I found out here that I couldn’t even keep good personal hygiene, let alone live a successful, independent life. I was on a new action item every week–from the shower to work out to check in to planner; I wrote thousands of words a day for months and was annihilated regularly in the group.

It wasn’t easy but it was exactly the humility that I didn’t know I needed. I had to be made aware of my ego, entitlement, selfishness, zero awareness, and all the other faults I never admitted to myself, until it was all laid out to me here which actually allowed me to change. It would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the support of my brothers here, who never hesitated to call me out and have all been on the same path with me. The rewards of working this program and applying it to other aspects of my life keep getting better. I’ve held down the same two jobs for 11 months and have moved up at both. I’ve gotten relationships back with my family, built lifelong bonds, and a community in the house and in AA. I have enrolled in a GED program and have ultimately become a responsible man who is content with what he has. The Last House showed me what I was capable of and if it wasn’t for the structure and the work staff and residents helping me, I would not have the life I have today. I owe this place a debt I can never repay and I will forever be grateful for this program.