Stay Sober With Good Relapse Prevention Strategies

Stay Sober With Good Relapse Prevention Strategies

You’ve done the work and you’ve gotten sober.  You may be feeling great or you may be feeling a bit scared.  You may also be wondering how to stay sober.  Tales of others relapsing may have you wondering just what you need to do to prevent relapsing. The Last House is here to help you build on the work you’ve done to get sober so that you can stay sober. 

What Is a Relapse?

At its simplest, relapse is the return to the use of the drugs or alcohol from which we got sober.  However, most addicts and alcoholics will tell you that the relapse began before the drink or the drug was ever picked up.  Relapse can be divided into three stages: emotional, mental, and physical.  The emotional stage is defined by poor self-care including isolating from others, not going to meetings, poor eating habits, focusing on others instead of self, and more.  During the emotional stage, there are often no thoughts of using. Those thoughts come during the next stage.  During the mental stage, you may feel like you’re on the front lines of a war battling against yourself.  You may find yourself looking for opportunities to relapse, craving drugs or alcohol, glamorizing your past use, and more.  If you’re unable to successfully work your way through the emotional and mental stages, you may find yourself at the physical stage, where you begin to use drugs and alcohol again. 

Is Relapsing Normal?

While relapse can be common, it is not required.  Long-term recovery requires a great deal of change on the part of the individual and relapse prevention strategies.  Often those that relapse start to attend fewer meetings and stray far from the very routine that got them sober.  If relapse does happen, you can hopefully rely on the lessons you’ve learned while getting sober to begin again.  Starting over means taking a hard look at what led to the relapse and then developing relapse prevention strategies.

Practicing Drug Relapse Prevention

Long-term sobriety means changing the definition of fun, learning from setbacks, and becoming comfortable with discomfort. Once we put down the drugs and alcohol, we often find that we have to change our circle of friends.  No longer can we spend our time with the people with whom we used to use drugs and alcohol.  This means that we need to establish a new circle of friends and learn how to have fun without using. 

Long-term recovery also means learning that life is not always smooth sailing and that choppy waters are not an excuse to return to using.  It has certainly been said at more than one meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that there is no problem that cannot be made worse by picking up. Staying sober means allowing ourselves to feel all of the feelings and learning how to work through them constructively.  Life in sobriety will have ups and downs, but we can learn how to manage without using.  Drug lapse prevention is, in essence, balancing the demands of recovery with the demands of our lives so that both flourish. 

Let The Last House Help You

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

Saving My Son

saving my son

How can a random encounter on a Utah mountain top lead to a transformational recovery from the insidious disease of addiction? Actually, I believe it was part of a grander plan.

My son and I met Matt Fidlow and Chris Kirby, from The Last House admissions team, in August of 2018. It was parent weekend at Legacy Wilderness Treatment Center located in Loa, Utah, where my son began his recovery journey, two months prior. Parents and their children were reunited and went on an excursion to scale down the side of a mountain. The group cautiously hiked up the steep side of the rock and we found ourselves towering high above the terrain below. Keep in mind that I had not seen my son for two months. Now I had to put my trust in him to teach me how to use the equipment and to scale down safely. Trust was something that had eluded our mother/son relationship during his addiction. It was a huge leap of faith to give him my life and safely lead me back to solid ground.

While contemplating the irony of the situation, we found ourselves in conversation with Matt Fidlow. He and Chris joined our group as part of an outreach between the two treatment facilities. Immediately there was a connection, as we were all from the Chicago area. Matt shared his story and spoke of the freedom in recovery that he found at The Last House. Matt invited my son to give him a call if he was interested in coming to Los Angeles for his next step after Legacy. And that is how it began…. 

In September, my son flew from Utah to LA to begin this critical transition. Through the structure of The Last House program and tough love of the staff, even in the most challenging moments, my son held on to the belief that he could change. As the days turned into months, my son gained the skills necessary to navigate life’s challenges and seek opportunities to grow. The strong and supportive community at LH was the key that finally opened the door to recovery! The Last House program brought my son back from the depths of despair and lifted him up to become the young man I’d always hoped he would be. 

Since his graduation from The Last House, my son continues to rebuild his life with intention. He is giving back as a sponsor to other young men from The Last House which keeps him grounded and connected to the fellowship.  He is employed with future career goals,  financially independent and thriving. Most importantly, my son is genuinely happy for the first time, in a long time! 

During his active addiction, I was terrified, devastated and confused.  I was consumed with trying to fix, manage, control the chaos and understand the insanity. My extreme efforts seemed to be ineffective, unappreciated and I was mentally and physically exhausted.  It felt as though I was walking on shifting sand, unable to gain stability and forward momentum. 

It was on a recommendation from my sister that I found the Nar-anon 12 step recovery program.  The program, similar to Al-anon, is for those who are affected by someone else’s addiction. Learning that addiction was a disease that I did not cause, I could not cure and I could not control brought an incredible sense of relief. Through weekly meetings, listening to members share experience, strength and hope, I gained valuable insights and tools to help me cope during each twist and turn that came my way. Trusting that my son was in good hands at The Last House helped me let go. 

One of the benefits of us continuing to work on our individual recovery is the common theme of faith and reflection. Trust continues to build and strengthen our relationship. I believe this unexpected journey has made us into more than we could have been without the experiences we have endured. The disease of addiction does not define us, but it continues to transform us.

I will always be grateful to The Last House for not only changing the trajectory of my son’s life, but saving it. 

Bringing Home the Elephant: The rise of at-home overdoses during quarantine

Bringing Home the Elephant: The rise of at-home overdoses during quarantine

Co-authored by Chris Kirby and Joanna Lilley

Hiding an addiction while under the same roof as family might have worked in the past, especially if only visiting for short periods of time.  With the sheltering in place, families have found their adult children returning home to temporarily stay safe from COVID-19.  But that order has lasted far longer than most folks originally anticipated.  There is no hiding now.  

While hospitals are trying to triage beds for those impacted by COVID-19, they are finding a tug-of-war situation for admits.  The beds are needing to be used to detox.  Those beds are needed for people who overdosed.  This is an unprecedented predicament that hospitals are in.  Pandemic aside, the risk of at-home overdoses will continue to raise as the unemployment rate skyrockets, and parents continue to fear letting their children leave home.  This can only continue to get worse before it gets better. 

Below you will learn about a story of a young man who had this exact story.  Luckily, he managed to get connected to The Last House in Los Angeles, California: 

Ryan’s sister started laughing when she heard what she thought was snoring coming from her brother while they were watching a movie at home. When she tried to wake him up she saw the saliva and foam coming from his mouth and realized he wasn’t sleeping, he was overdosing and the sounds he was making were his body struggling to breathe and stay alive.

Ryan and his sister Liz were home from College as the result of nationwide stay at home orders in response to the Covid–19 pandemic. Weeks before, Ryan was at The University of Arizona where his drug use and excessive drinking were easily masked by passable academics and a party atmosphere typical of college campuses. His parents had taken notice when his friends voiced concern about his drug use. They knew that he was recreationally using drugs and going to parties, but “that’s what all college kids do.”

Growing up in an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, California, there was nothing out of the ordinary about his regular use of marijuana. Ryan was well liked, athletically gifted and on a clear track to attend a major university. He also had a nervous disposition, rarely did his own laundry, and his immaculate room was kept that way by his mother.

Ryan survived his potentially fatal overdose thanks to his sister’s attention and the quick reaction of the local emergency services administration of Narcan, a common overdose reversal drug. This event in his family’s home was undeniable and precipitated his family to research drug treatment.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s story is not unique.  This incident is one of several similar cases at The Last House alone.  That in itself indicates a rise in familial awareness of their loved one’s substance use issues. Across the country college students returned home to finish their spring semester from home.  Chris Kirby, Admissions Director at The Last House even commented “We’ve seen an increase of young adults who returned  home from college during quarantine and overdosed at home where their family was then forced to confront their substance use problems.” 

To professionals working in the treatment industry, the warning signs were clear prior to the potentially fatal overdose.  But to families, their love sometimes can cloud the image that is immediately before them. For Ryan’s family, or any family is a similar situation to him, becoming familiar with the warning signs can be the difference between a life saved and a life lost.  Not familiar with the warning signs?  Here’s a short list:  

  • habitual drug use
  • adverse consequences 
  • Little-to-no remaining relationships due to lack of ownership and addiction taking over

Often the question we ask ourselves as professionals is “why don’t families call for help sooner?”  The answer to that is much simpler.  It is stigma.  Families may feel shame when their child can’t participate in or complete educational goals because of learning differences or drug abuse.  And if it’s not shame, it may be related to image and reputation, or worse, just not being aware.  Any of these scenarios can potentially be deadly as evidenced in Ryan’s situation and others like him. 

There is no harm in making a confidential call to professionals to get an assessment and opinion on early intervention. The phones are ringing, and we anticipate the rise of overdoses, DUI’s and emotional breakdowns related to substance use.  As a parent, if you can get your child connected now, do not wait until it gets worse. 

If you or a loved one is struggling and needs the advice, do not hesitate to reach out.  We are non-judgmental and want the best for your child.  That call could be the difference between life and death.  That’s not something you want to be thinking about right now. 

For questions and comments contact: 

Chris Kirby at 925-698-6797 and via email at chris@thelasthouse.net

Joanna Lilley at 970-218-9958 or via email at joanna@lilleyconsulting.com 

Structured Sober Living

structured sober living

My name is Matt Fidlow, and I am from Chicago, IL. I had a great family with two loving parents. The first time going through treatment, I was 22 years old and just wanted to earn some trust with my parents. I had no plans to quit. However, I did go there, hoping I could learn to manage my use. Anyone who has struggled with addiction knows that this is not possible. The second time in treatment, I had come to an understanding that I was an addict, and I needed to make a change. This began a pattern of completing a 30-45 day residential treatment only to relapse in less than two weeks. Every time I left a program, I would make promises to my mom but still relapse. What was wrong with me? 

Well, it turns out when you’re using from 16 years old through your young adult years, you miss a few things. I had no life skills what so ever and created a lot of wreckage. Every time I attempted sobriety, these problems I had created piled up and became astonishingly difficult to solve, and with no life skills, I didn’t have a chance. I eventually landed myself in a treatment program in Santa Monica, California. This program, like the others, helped me build a foundation, but upon completion, they did something entirely different. They coached my mom on how to hold the proper boundaries to give me a nudge in the right direction. Previous treatment programs would let me choose the aftercare plan. The problem was that I was making the decision with a sick mind. This was the worst thing that could happen! I was making a decision based on what I wanted and not what I needed. This time the treatment team and my mother gave me one option, and if I chose not to accept the help, I was on my own. At the time, I was not happy, but looking back on it, I am eternally grateful for everyone that was involved in that decision. I ended up going to a highly structured program called The Last House. 

Through this process, I struggled. After all, I was replacing behaviors, ideas, and codes that I have survived and lived by my whole life! I remember calling my mom and telling her how awful the program was. Like everything else in my life, I looked for the easy way out. My mom held a boundary, and this forced me to walk through these uncomfortable situations. I had been to treatment so many times that I knew what to do just had to do it. The problem was that determination to make changes would fade over time. But this structured transitional program was different. When that drive would fade, I had peers in the house that wouldn’t let that happen. You see, at this program, we were our brother’s keeper. That brotherhood would not let me fail. I learned those essential life skills that I had been missing. The basics like showing up on time, doing chores, holding others accountable, and the best one of all how to hold myself accountable. I didn’t understand why I did a lot of the things I did while I was in the program, but that didn’t matter because after I did them, I still reaped the benefits. It wasn’t that the other programs didn’t teach me some of these things, but 30 – 45 days is not nearly long enough to combat the ideas that I had lived my whole life. The Last House was a year-long program.  Basically, the program forced me to take positive actions, ultimately building my self-esteem over time, and set them in stone for life.   

Derek S. Last House Success Story

Derek S Last House Success Story

Sobriety has given me a lot so far — some things that I didn’t think were possible. One of those things is a healthy relationship with my brother. As brothers, him and I grew up with resentments towards one another in all ways one could possibly imagine. Yet as we reached our teen years, it got worse due to the fact that we began drinking and using drugs together. Thus, unfortunately, this became our relationship with each other. Not only did it take a strain on us, it took a massive toll on our family. I eventually moved out of state thinking that I was not leaving much behind, but at the same time, I was worried that with this decision I would never have any kind of connection with my brother and we would eventually grow apart completely. While I was away, I heard that my brother got sober and was working for a sober living. I was in complete disbelief because in my wildest dreams, I never thought sobriety was possible for anyone in our family. Deep down, I was happy for him, but at the same time, I had my doubts. I believed that it was something that wouldn’t, and moreover, couldn’t last. Time passed and I continued to progress deeper into my addiction and self isolation. Then what seemed to be completely out of the blue, I received a call from my brother. We conversed like we never had before. For what felt like the first time ever, it was a calm and collected dialogue. There was no screaming, no insults, no verbal assaults. In fact it was the complete opposite. We talked about what he was doing in life; how he’s been working in recovery for years and that tremendous transformation that has taken place in his life — the true gifts of sobriety. Our conversation proceeded and eventually came to a precipice where he told me that it was entirely possible for me to get clean and work on myself if I was willing to put in the work. After the call ended, I sat in reflection and truly thought about what my brother had just said. For some time, I just sat with myself and wrestled with my thoughts. That God-shot, white light moment that many individuals talk about in the rooms of recovery had finally arrived. It hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. I knew what I needed to do. I was beyond fearful, but I had to capture this moment while I still could. I immediately called my brother told him I was ready for a change. I humbled myself before him and asked him to help me find a new life. He suggested that I go to The Last House, not only because it changed his life, but because he knew it could changed mine. So within a matter of days I arrived at The Last House. I resided at East House, a mere block away from West House, where my brother works. During my stay I learned so much about myself and why things were not working in my life. My brother gave me space and let my have my own experience, but at the same time he was there for me if I needed him. Three months into my stay our relationship took a complete 360 degree turn. We were no longer arguing every day, we were having long talks, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. At 10 months into my stay, I began working for The Last House as a driver. I never planned on working for a sober living, but it just happened — just one of the promises and gifts of sobriety that my brother was talking about on the infamous phone call nearly one year prior. I can look back and recognize seeing my brother get sober and work in this kind of environment and the vital role it played in my decision to go on this path. Today I have a year and a half sober while my brother has 5 and a half years of clean time. Yet, the best part of it all — we have common respect for each other. We are able to see each other everyday and we are beyond grateful for this opportunity.

How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober

How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober

“Be careful, It may just save your life,” is what Johnny Utah, played by Keanu Reeves in the 1991 Blockbuster “Point Break,” is told when he buys his first surfboard at the beginning of the movie. It shows a lost, angry and egotistical Utah with something to prove after losing a football career due to injury. The surfboard salesman recognizes he is spiritually dead and knows that surfing can holistically save his life.

I started surfing in my teen years. It was exciting, thrilling and frankly one of the coolest things I had ever done. The more important drugs became in my life; the less I would surf. At one point, Icould put down drugs and was training to surf Mavericks, a wave bigger than a house that breaks in Half Moon Bay, California. I got high again and stopped training and surfing altogether. I went to Hawaii on a family vacation, which was miserable to my family who had to be with me while I was detoxing. I stayed and moved there to separate get away from where I had been using. I found drugs in Hawaii and eventually sold all my surfboards to buy drugs.

Eventually, I landed at The Last House. I was a little over a month sober and I was watching a video of people surfing the waves from Hurricane Sandy and I remember making myself a promise: “Someday, I’m going to surf waves that big.”

Through my time at The Last House one of the senior residents would take me surfing and I rediscovered my love for the ocean and It helped me connect with my higher power. It helped me to stay present and me to let go of my resentments and anger towards the world and my situation. At six months sober I went to make amends to people I had harmed in my addiction. I went to an old residence that I owed money to and after making my amends they told me that my old surfboard and wetsuit were in the garage and I was welcome to take them home with me. I started meeting other people in Recovery who surfed or wanted to learn to surf so I would take them and teach them how to surf.

Eventually, I had a whole community of sober surfers and friends that I talked to regularly. My connection to the omnipotent power of the universe now gave me a greater connection to the people in the world.

At 4 years of sobriety, my mom took me on a family vacation to Hawaii. While I was there I went down to the beach to check the surf one morning and stumbled on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I sat down and joined in. After the meeting, the surf started getting big so I paddled out for a session. When I got out in the lineup I realized these waves were huge and I was out of my depth. I was scared but I knew I had to give it a try.

As I moved toward the take-off zone two guys paddled up to me and said, “hey, we saw you in the meeting this morning, where are you from?” I told them I was from California. They told me to come sit with them and they would show me how to get a wave out there. After patiently waiting for 45 minuets big swell started distorting the horizon. One of the guys told me to go and started screaming, “go boy, go boy, go!”

I started digging into the water and paddling my hardest, his screams started fading and I stood up on a gigantic pale blue wall of water. I had never felt water move under my board so fast as I started maneuvering down the line. I rode this wave for a hundred yards and when I came off the wave I had to dive underwater so no one would hear me scream of excitement.

The moment I was sitting at The Last House watching videos of Hurricane Sandy came back to me. The Last House and my recovery community had made my dream of surfing big waves a reality.

In 2019, I started The Last House Sober Living and Recovery Community’s surf program because of How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober. Teaching men to surf in early recovery is truly rewarding to me. Nothing compares to surfing big waves, but seeing a guy catch his first wave and catch a stoke for surfing is almost as good. Helping young men build their own community through surfing and recovery is an amazing thing to be a part of.

Surf Therapy is born of a passion for the ocean, recovery, and surfing. Our mission is not only to teach surfing, but to assist in connecting people with something bigger than themselves and providing our participants with new experiences that have the power to transform their lives. Nature is a powerful force, and when harnessed, can assist with attitude improvement, physical and mental well being, and even help bring people back from the depths of addiction.

Each sessions starts off with a foundation of ocean safety and basic training on how to surf. Then we start the surf lesson with guided meditation, connection to the breath and visualization. Teaching awareness and respect for the ocean and each other is an integral part of the process. This innovative combination of physical interaction with the ocean, light therapy, and meditation has helped many people find peace in their lives and achieve their goals.  I hope that this motivates and educates struggling addicts and shows them How Surfing Helped Me Get Sober.

To learn more about how surfing can aid in improved outcomes of recovery, please give us a call at 866-677-0090. Contact The Last House.  Follow us on social media @thelasthousesoberliving.

Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus

Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus

The Last House is Committed to Staying Safe and Sober During the Corona Virus.  Well, it’s a strange time we are currently living in. Mobs of people lined up in front of Costco at 5am, waiting for the doors to open in 5 hours so they can raid the toilet paper section. Grocery stores with empty shelves, all the frozen and non-perishable food completely bought up each day. Employees being sent home from work. Every sports league, gym, concert and event postponed or cancelled. Warnings on the TV that masks don’t work, they do work, wash your hands, don’t touch your face…… All of it worrisome, confusing, and scary to say the least.

But what is the truth here? Is this hysteria warranted? What are the real dangers?

I wish I had the answers.

At this point, I don’t think anyone truly does. All we can do is proceed as best we can and address the issues that we are able to address with any certainty.

At The Last House Recovery Community, we are doing just that. Let’s practice good hygiene like regularly washing our hands and regularly scheduled house cleanings. Avoid large gatherings (social distancing)? We have altered our meeting schedule to include many more in-house meetings and have changed our regular house outings to outdoor activities rather than indoor. The best defense against any sort of sickness? Healthy living. Our in-house gym, weekly running, and regular basketball regimen provide great exercise and fitness. And our commitment to providing whole foods for cooking instead of sugary/fatty junk foods helps to promote a more-healthy lifestyle and boost immune system.

All of those points aside, one thing is for certain. For an addict, the disease of addiction is much more deadly than any sort of corona virus. The mortality rate for those with Substance Use Disorder living in addiction is almost always fatal.
Which is why we must continue the road to recovery and remember to think in the big picture.

What’s the world and our economy going to look like when the dust settles? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d imagine that as with every other major event in history, life will go on. We are resilient!!

For me though, my life first and foremost depends on my ability to remain sober.
-Andy

Steven M.

steven m

When I came into the house I was depressed, angry, and manipulative. I was hopeless about having any sort of productive life. There was no such thing as a future where I would be able to live a life that was satisfactory. I wished for nothing more than to die.

Even though all of these feelings still pop up from time to time, I am now able to see the beauty of the struggle; feeling the pain of now knowing that there is a better day on the horizon as long as I continue to do the right thing. It’s not going to be perfect all of the time and that’s okay. I have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and coffee in the pot. Most importantly, I have people I can call, people I can confide in, and people I can go out and do things with.

I am no longer the same person that came in to the house. I am and always will be grateful for the things that I have been able to learn over the past year or so.

Congrats to Graduate Pete E.

pete-e

Before I came to the Last House my life and my outlook on it was bleak. My whole life I have suffered from my mental illness and my battle with depression. I let my very life sink down into an abyss of self-pity, victimization, and morbid reflection on how it had turned out and how the world had done me wrong. All of this was how I was living before I discovered that if I self medicated with alcohol life didn’t seem so bad, or at least I didn’t care if it was. Of course it started off as fun, I finally got out of my shell and out of my house for once, and I had a lot of friends, and a growing social life. But all of this did not last for very long. After a year I started to wake up in the mornings drenched in sweat, shaking violently, with crippling anxiety. I learned that if I kept drinking that this would solve my problems with withdrawal. I carried on for the next few years in a constant state of intoxication. Eventually I lost all of my friends, the girl left, and I had quit my job with the idea that if I did not have money for alcohol I could finally stop. But all that did was give me more time to drink and it allowed me to get creative on how to do so. I eventually started conning strangers into giving me money, including my friends and my family. When I couldn’t do that I resorted to stealing from anyone unfortunate enough to be around me. Over time my tolerance to alcohol became so strong I had to be lethally intoxicated to even get some relief.

That cycle continued on for 2 years. During that period I had been in and out of detox for god knows how long; there were times I felt so defeated. I would tell the detox doctors I was having thoughts of killing myself so that they would keep me for some time, so that I could have a break from my family who I had a huge resentment against. After three stints in residential treatment I was introduced to a man by my counselor at Great Oaks recovery, named Chris Kirby, who came to my treatment center to tell his story of recovery and hope. After talking with Kirby for some time he told me about recovery in LA, about seeing the beaches, surfing, the women, hitting AA meetings in Compton, and going skiing and snowboarding in the mountains. Finally, what really sold me was “All our houses have dogs!” So after making all the arrangements with my father I flew out to LA and was picked up at the airport by Mike J. I was in shock my first week I was at the Last House because of all the rules and structure. My flight response’s kicked in and I begged my family for months on letting me leave. For months I resisted the house, I felt as if everyone was out to get me, I felt like I was an outcast in a place I couldn’t escape.

Over time I started to see all the benefits in the house and in the groups and how the house really could save me from myself. I started listening to what others had to say about what they saw in me. My progress was not a steady climb, I had many falling points in my character, and there were times if I fell I wouldn’t stay down for long. But eventually the result was the same, I would get back up and keep going. I’ve had to face a lot of fears during my stay here, one of them being close with a group of guys and being vulnerable at times. I have most definitely not done this house perfectly, but it has done what it was made to do for me. Everything that I wanted in my addiction, I now have in my sobriety: a job, my own place, a girl who loves me for me, self confidence, and the drive and determination to do better for myself. I owe the Last House my life, because I have spent the last few years trying to end it. I can now look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.

JL – Another Success from Last House

jl last house success

Well to start with I am no longer waking up shaking, hallucinating, throwing up, and having seizures. The year leading up to me coming into treatment I was in an extremely toxic relationship. We drank and used together 24/7. We were incredibly codependent and I believed that was true love. Looking back I can now see how insane this thinking was but when I was in the it I thought this was all normal. On my 22nd birthday my girlfriend and I went to a five day long music festival called Lightening in a Bottle. I had never been on so many drugs at once for a week long period of time. I had brought with me to the festival a ton of Xanax and a fifth of banana 99, for the mornings at the festival, because I knew what would happen if I woke up with nothing. Unfortunately or fortunately on the last day of the festival I woke up with nothing because I finished all of my shit in a black out the night before. Everyone was still asleep and the bars weren’t open until 12pm and It was only 8am, so I was fucked and I started shaking and hallucinating which eventually woke up my girlfriend and she started to freak out. It wasn’t long after that, that I started going into nonstop grand mal seizures. Everything from that point was a blur but I started to come to in a hospital bed with my girlfriend crying in the corner, nurses around me, and a doctor looking at me like he had just seen the most horrific thing in his life. The doctor told me that if I had shown up at the hospital just an hour later that I would have been long dead. My withdrawal symptoms were so severe that it would have killed me. He then began to tell me that he had never seen alcoholism so bad in someone my age and that the withdrawal symptoms I had were that of cases he had seen in people who had been drinking heavy for 30 years. He told me that my liver was on the verge of cirrhosis and that if I continued to drink and use the way I had been that I wouldn’t be alive by this time next year, and that if I wanted to live I’d have to get sober. I didn’t care, it didn’t faze me in the slightest. I was literally prepared to die an alcoholic death and could not care less. My girlfriend had been on the phone with my parents and told them everything that happened, from waking up that morning, to the point of me waking up in the hospital and having had 6 grand mal seizures. 

When my girlfriend and I showed up at my parents’ house later that night I walked straight into an intervention. They begged me to get help and the only reason I agreed was because they told me I’d only have to be gone for 2 weeks.   At the time, two weeks seemed like a long time but I looked to my girlfriend and she told me to just go. Off I went to Utah, for 100 days!?!  I was bullshitting my way throughout my whole stay in rehab. Towards the end of my stay in rehab my girlfriend and I got in a huge fight over the phone and caused me to get my gym privileges taken away. This is where I drew the line. I tried to go anyways and when they wouldn’t let me in the sprinter van all hell broke loose. I started cussing out and threatening the driver and then ran back in to the rehab, to the staff conference room, and I barged up in that shit and started screaming at all of them and told them if they weren’t going to kick me out that I’d give them a reason . I began punching holes in the wall and started ripping the pictures off the walls and throwing them at staff. I then locked myself in my room putting all the dressers in front of the door and fell asleep. Fast forward a couple hours and I was on my way to the airport with Chris Kirby and Matt Fidlow, who happened to be in Utah for a conference. On our way to The Last House, I was communicating with my girlfriend and letting her know that I had to go to sober living. She cussed me out and broke up with me, saying that I played her and broke her heart. Kirby wouldn’t allow me to respond, so coming in to The Last House I was emotionally messed up and I had no idea what I was getting into. 

Let just say I had a rough start here at the house. I wasn’t willing to change and I thought it was all bullshit. I agreed with absolutely nothing that was going on here and the only thing on my mind was how I was going to get my ex-girlfriend back. However, you guys didn’t give up on me. Especially David Ford. Through the nonstop grouping and the millions of words I wrote at the house, something finally clicked.

After 9 months of trying to fight and beat the system, I finally surrendered and decided to allow the house to do its thing. It was the best thing I could have done, it made my life so much easier. I actually started to want to stay sober, which was something I did not think was possible. I began to see how A.A. was going to save my life. I saw the steps finally start to work for me. I’ve built such an amazing community here at The Last House and will always have a place to hang out at if I start to struggle. The house has literally completely changed me and for that I am eternally grateful.