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.

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.

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 last house success

JL – Another Success from Last House

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. 

matt wicks last house success

Matt W. – A Last House Success

Before I came to The Last House I was a broken little boy who was angry and ran away from what life threw at him. I knew I could not drink like a normal person but I didn’t care. My reality was too much for me to go through sober. My alcoholism drove me to some very dark places and to hurt people I loved the most. There were so many signs in my life that showed me I needed to change. Getting kicked out of rehab and living in a crack house was not enough. My dad walking in on me with a needle in my arm was not enough. Leaving a hotel room while my family was sleeping, on my 21st birthday, to go smoke crack on Lower Wacher drive after just one drink was not enough. Ijust needed to go through all of these things for me to get the willingness to give treatment a real chance. I had heard of a wilderness treatment center in Utah but it cost a lot of money and I was on probation, so I couldn’t leave the state. My sick mind told me I could not get better and to just forget it. I went on another run, leaving the sober living I was at. After a horrible experience, I took the train to my mom’s place asking for help. That same day we got a call from the treatment center saying  they would scholarship me  to their treatment center. Later on, I got a call from probation saying I was being let off early, to go to treatment out of state.

To this day I believe God had given me a chance to save my life. Two days later I was on a plane to Utah. My experience in wilderness cleared my mind and gave me a conception of God. I had a choice of aftercare sober livings. It was between Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Louisiana. LA sounded cool so I went with that. I can recall entering the house and the brotherhood I felt from my housemates and the support from the staff. Slowly I started to change. Between all of the groupings, moving houses and working the steps with my sponsor Matt, my life changed for the better. I cannot thank this place enough or really convey the gratitude I have for The Last House. It helped me save my life and taught me to love. Today I can handle what is put in front of me, show up, have integrity, and values. I am so proud to be graduating this program. B


Acupuncture as an Alternative to Opioids

Pain medication prescriptions are at an all-time high and alongside it, the opioid addiction rate also increases.  Opioids are a good form of pain relief when taken as prescribed but if they are abused they are one of the most addictive types of analgesic available.  As more and more people are prescribed them the medication has become more freely available and thereby open to abuse.

Why is it being called an ‘ Opioid Epidemic’?

As addiction rates have risen so have deaths directly related to overdose and now the overdose rate for prescription opioids have overtaken those of heroin.  The risk is now well known but the numbers still go up.  The reason for this because many people underestimate the risks of drugs if they have been prescribed by a doctor and consider them to be safe.  While an opioid works well to block pain it also gives the user a sense of euphoria so it is easy to look at the benefits of the drug whilst simultaneously ignoring the potential risks. If opioid drugs are used incorrectly or for long periods the user develops a tolerance and requires higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect.

Of course,  many people use opioids and never become addicted however, once tolerance starts to develop a person can rely on the drugs to feel normal, they become dependent and from there, addicted.  If someone has a long term painful condition they are more prone to addiction than those who only need them for a short time.

As rates of addiction rise, overdose-related deaths have skyrocketed. Prescription opioids are How Acupuncture can offer an alternative to painkillers

As the risk of opioid use become well-known people are looking for safer alternatives and are starting to turn towards holistic methods of managing their pain.  Many have found a useful substitute by using acupuncture and there are many reasons why people prefer it to conventional medication.

It is more natural:  Painkilling medications mask the pain; acupuncture stimulates the body to promote healing.  The human body is designed to heal itself and acupuncture assists this.

It is effective:  while pain killers relieve the pain by temporarily masking it, they do not cure the underlying cause.  In 29 studies pain levels were reduced by 50% using acupuncture.  The results of the studies which involved 18,000 people were published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Acupuncture can be used for multiple conditions:  The treatment is used to treat many conditions, from mental health disorders like anxiety through to physical problems like menstrual cramps.

No negative side effects:  Acupuncture has no side effects, it does not produce euphoria or cause withdrawal symptoms.  Many who have used opioids in the past report unpleasant side effects including nausea, vomiting, fainting and dizziness.

It is safe: In our culture, we are constantly bombarded with pharmaceutical products to manage pain.  Opioids remain a good form of pain relief but more people are looking at the risks and then moving over to safer solutions.  Even if a person is using opioids for pain management acupuncture can help with dose reduction and withdrawal.

Some people find the idea of acupuncture worrying but it is worth consideration because it is risk-free.  It does not have any of the negative physical or mental effects associated with opioids that can often outweigh the undoubted benefits of taking the drug.

A skilled acupuncturist can help a client cope with any worries and anxieties and it will likely continue to grow in popularity as a viable alternative to opioid-based products.  If you help with addiction Contact Us at The Last House.

medication assisted treatment

Medication Assisted Treatment

The withdrawal process for substance abuse can be painful or, in some cases, even fatal.  As a result, there are several medications to help that are used within medically controlled environments.  These medications assist people with the most difficult part of their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and keep them safe whilst they go through the detoxification process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Help with the Symptoms of Withdrawal

Addiction recovery is challenging and success depends both on the substance used and how the individual is assisted with the early symptoms of withdrawal.  These cravings and symptoms are the hardest part of recovery and although they are necessary, fear of these can hamper the person’s progress or lead to relapse.  Some of the cravings are milder than others and these can be managed without medication.  However, some of the withdrawal symptoms can be painful, distressing or deadly and it is here that medication-assisted treatment can help people stay safe and have a more comfortable detox experience.

Medications Used to Manage Withdrawal

The type of medication used will depend on the addiction and the nature and severity of the withdrawal symptoms.  Some of the more common types of medication used are:


Vivitrol is used to block the effects of opioids and is helpful for those with opiate addiction.  Unlike other medications, Vivitrol is injected and is only used once a month and it cannot be used until detox has been completed so it is not suitable in the early stages of recovery.   Vivitrol is very effective and helps a person maintain their recovery.  The main risk is that it can cause a decreased tolerance to opioids so, in the case of a relapse, the risk of overdose is raised.


Methadone reduces craving and eases withdrawal symptoms by blocking the action of opioids.  However, unlike Vivitrol, it must be taken once each day.  There is a slight high produced with Methadone which leaves it open to abuse.  It will produce sedative, relaxing and anti-anxiety effects and can give a feeling of euphoria.  Additionally, people who use Methadone to withdraw from heroin or other opiates find they then need help to withdraw from the Methadone.  However, despite having some withdrawal symptoms these are much less severe.

Narcan (Naloxone)

This medication is used to block or reverse the effect of opioid drugs and delivered by injection – either into a muscle or vein – or by nasal spray.  It will only work against opioids and is only designed to be used in cases of overdose so it is very effective in emergencies..  Narcan is not routinely used as a mediation-assisted treatment in detox programs.

Antabuse (Disulfiram)

Antabuse is used specifically to help with alcohol detoxification and acts on the liver to stop it from breaking down a substance called acetaldehyde.  This is produced by the body in response to alcohol consumption and if levels build up there can be several unpleasant physical effects.  If a person drinks while taking Antabuse they will experience vomiting and other symptoms within around 10 minutes.  The drug stays in the body for many weeks after it is last taken so if a person consumes alcohol at all within that time they will experience these negative effects.  This is what makes the drug an effective deterrent and causes the person to completely avoid alcohol.

If you have any questions regarding withdrawal, detox or the drugs used in medication-assisted treatment contact us at The Last House and ask to speak to one of our admissions counselors.

last house college scholarship

Last Day to Apply for The Last House College Scholarship!

Today is the deadline for The Last House College Scholarship applications.  If you haven’t applied yet, today is your last chance to apply for $1000 in financial aid for the spring semester of college.  The Last House is dedicated to furthering the personal development of those who are trying to improve their lives.  In that spirit, we are offering a $1,000 college scholarship to individuals who are interested in mental health education.  Ideally, we would like to choose a candidate whose life has been affected by Drugs or Alcohol and who is looking to help those who are still suffering.


-U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. Resident

Deadline for submissions is December 10 2019

-Enrolled or accepted in an accredited college or university

-High School seniors are encouraged to apply

-Minimum GPA of 3.0

-Consent to be listed as the winner of The Last House College Scholarship on our website

-Awarded funds must be spent on college tuition, room/board, or other education related expenses.

 How to Apply

Applicants must provide basic student information along with a Personal Statement in essay form (500 words max) as to why they deserve The Last House College Scholarship.  Expressed interest in drug and alcohol treatment or mental health is preferred.  Applicants can optionally provide an additional essay or letter on our Google form.


Check our scholarship page to apply for a scholarship for the next semester.

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 Key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

Treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse have grown in recent years, but long-term rehab remains one of the best methods and provides a level of care that many other shorter options do not.  Often entering a drug rehab facility is what makes the difference between relapse and long-term sobriety.

Some of the shorter options include ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal or outpatient treatments.  Neither of these will provide the consistency of physical and psychological support that a long-term option does.  Additionally, long-term facilities offer safety and supervision which many addicts need and find reassuring.

Choosing between a bewildering array of options can be overwhelming.  Here are 10 good reasons for choosing a long-term rehab facility for yourself or a loved one:

Reason #1 To remove enabling or negative influences

When a client enters a drug rehab facility their communication with the outside world is limited and monitored.  This helps to remove any of the negative environmental influences and also isolate them from those who have enabled their drug use.  This means that they are not discouraged or undermined in their attempts to achieve sobriety by preventing access to drugs or negative influences. This removal from ones environment is only one of the advantages of long term rehab.

Reason #2 To live in a drug and alcohol-free environment

A long-term rehab facility is a no drug and alcohol zone.  The client must live at the facility and, unlike outpatient treatments which allow the individual to go back into the environments that enable them to access drugs or alcohol, clients may only leave on approved or supervised trips. The facility is a safe, supportive place which provides stability and freedom from temptation.

Reason #3 To establish routine and structure

Once a person is dependent on or addicted to drugs they often lose any structure in their life which leads to more likelihood of substance abuse.  Within a rehab facility, the clients have full days which are structured to include all their therapies and other activities to help them towards health and sobriety.  The aim is to encourage activities that help them stay away from drugs or alcohol and also start to learn coping strategies to stay sober in the long term.

Reason #4 To access 24/7 support

Long term rehab provides staff 24 hours a day so there is always someone on hand to give support when needed.  These professionals are there at all times for the benefit of the client, providing help, advice and support at critical moments on the journey to sobriety making relapse less likely.  This is yet another one of the advantages of long term rehab.

Reason #5 To receive medical support and supervision

In the early days, many clients experience unpleasant physical or mental withdrawal symptoms, yet with the right medical support the worse symptoms can be alleviated.  This benefits the client immeasurably and is also reassuring to family, friends and loved ones who can see that the client’s struggles are being dealt with sympathetically, appropriately and safely.

Reason #6 To facilitate personal growth

Choosing a long-term rehab program gives the client time to focus on themselves away from all the pressures of day-to-day life.  This is a good opportunity to look at areas of personal growth and how they can direct energy away from destructive people and activities and towards more productive, positive pastimes to help maintain sobriety long term.

Reason #7 To live in a sober environment with sober peers

This is particularly valuable for young adults who may have related to their peers through drugs and alcohol use.  Within a long term rehab facility, they can form relationships with other people who are sharing the experience and working towards their sobriety.  This allows them to develop new ways of relating to others and it provides critical support through the harder stages of withdrawal.

Reason #8 To access more therapy options

Long-term rehab and treatment programs offer many experiences, therapeutic interventions and treatment that will benefit the client on all levels.  Physical, mental and emotional needs are equally important and utilizing many different types of therapy and treatment can help the clients start to relate what they learn to their own real-world experiences.  Many therapies allow clients to develop new interests and take up new hobbies that they can continue when they leave, filling time productively with positive activities that do not involve seeking and using drugs.

Reason #9 To address nutrition problems

Those that abuse substances often neglect their nutrition which can then lead to worsening withdrawal symptoms and poor health.  Inpatient rehab looks at the nutritional needs of each client and produces a nutritionally sound diet to support them through their journey to sobriety.

Reason #10 To get help with returning to the real world

Once the client has been assisted to withdraw from drugs or alcohol treatment will help them develop tools to help them stay sober.  By participating in treatment the client will have developed mechanisms for avoiding their triggers and staying away from negative influences, they will be able to avoid relapse by putting the healthy lessons and tools in place once they move on from their stay.

If you would like to learn more about treatment for addiction, particularly long-term treatment programs please contact us.  At The Last House, we will work with you to give yourself, your child or your loved one the best chance of moving forward to an addiction-free life.

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Fentanyl Abuse The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse:  The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse:  The Prescription Killer

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a drug given to relieve chronic pain.  The opioid shot to fame after the rock icon Prince died as a result of an accidental overdose of the drug.


Fentanyl is one of the strongest prescription painkillers available and is currently taken by millions of people across the US to help control their pain.  However, it is also fast becoming a drug of abuse.


All opioids treat pain effectively but carry a risk of addiction.  The problem with Fentanyl is its strength and the way it works.  Fentanyl was developed as a fast-acting pain killer in 1960, however, while the effects are rapid they are also short-lived making the user look for an additional dose.  The other problem is that the margin between safety and overdose is very small giving the drug a high overdose risk.  Fentanyl is most commonly used in hospitals because of this risk and the fact that it is 100 times stronger than morphine, making it a high-risk candidate for abuse.


Opioids are often prescribed after surgery for a short period of recovery, but for some, they are needed in the long term.  They are effective but also risky and the abuse of opioids is growing nationally.


Fentanyl Fatalities


The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has announced that 1,000 people in the US died from an overdose of Fentanyl between 2005 and 2007. Nurses, doctors and anesthesiologists have a high risk of abusing the drug because of its availability in hospital, however, it is more usual to see the abuse of prescription Fentanyl and this is increasing in line with its availability in the community.


Watching for Signs of Fentanyl Abuse


Users often experience a range of unpleasant side effects when using Fentanyl including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness, headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating and itching
  • Slower breathing
  • Nausea, poor appetite, weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Shaking
  • Visual problems


In the case of overdose the person may quickly become unconscious and a coma and death my follow.


In addition to the side effects of the drug, a user may also experience long-term physical or mental issues including suppressed immunity, fits, delusions, paranoia and personality changes.


How and why is Fentanyl abused?


Like other opiates, Fentanyl gives the user feelings of euphoria alongside making them feel more relaxed, drowsy and calm. It is a powerful opiate and dependency can develop in a short time.  The drug comes as a pill, injection or a dissolvable film.  Once addiction occurs the users often move onto other opioids like heroin because it is cheaper and easier to find.  Sometimes Fentanyl is mixed with other drugs like heroin to increase the effect and in the case of illegally sold Fentanyl, it can be cut with other street drugs making a potentially lethal cocktail.


Treating Opioid Addiction


Opioids withdrawal can be life-threatening so it is always done under medical supervision.  The symptoms range from mild discomfort through to extreme pain and this often causes a relapse.  The solution has been to help an individual through withdrawal by using medication.  This makes the process more comfortable and reduces the risk of relapse.


After detox is complete a good treatment program will look at the underlying mental or psychological processes that lead to addiction, helping people develop an understanding of their motivations and encouraging them to develop new ways to cope with stress.


Residential treatments like those offered by The Last House are known to be the most effective because people are removed from environments where they can fall back into old patterns of obtaining and abusing substances.  Time away from peers, negative environments and stresses can help lay a firm foundation for long term sobriety.