The Share


We asked these clean and sober individuals in early recovery what it’s like—after completing a rehabilitation program at the Van Ness Recovery House—moving into a sober living space. 

Life With Tools

“Getting out of rehab is fabulous. I now have a life with tools. Being in the house was very uncomfortable because all my life I did whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t follow rules. I never let people tell me what to do. In rehab, I was told what to do. It was uncomfortable. I had to learn to follow direction. Now that I’m out, I don’t always want to do my readings or call my sponsor, but my sponsor warns me that the people who don’t do the work relapse, and I don’t want to relapse. The best thing about being out of rehab is my freedom. I don’t have to deal with 20 different personalities. It’s great being able to visit my family whenever I like. I’m so happy with my recovery. It’s easy for me to take responsibility for my life because today I’m happy.” 

—Edgar Lagos, sober since January 14, 2020.

Changed Everything

“I went into rehab right before the pandemic, so I was the last person to go in before we went on lockdown. I feel very accomplished because it was very challenging being there every day with the same people. Rehab helped me change my life. Even though I did the work, the house helped me. This is my third time going through the House. My honesty and willingness is different. The first two times I was there, I left early. I was there for all of one month combined. I was court ordered, so I said what I needed to say for the courts. This time I realized I need help. When I first went into rehab I identified as nonbinary. I went by Mariah, but I also said my birth name. Today I’m living as a woman. I’m a transgender woman and I learned how to act and live like a woman. I checked in to rehab on March 10th and I transitioned May 4th. I changed everything. I checked into the House and I came out a different person. It’s a great feeling.”

—Mariah, sober since March 10, 2020.

Tangible Power

“I got sober at 19. I’m now 20. If you’re familiar with the Hero’s Journey, it’s very much like the end of that story. He goes back to normal life, but he’s gained this whole experience. My story is that the climax or the fateful battle become my bottom. The resurrection would be going to rehab and the whole process of rehab. After rehab I feel like I’ve come back to normal society, functioning as a civilized person, but I’ve gained this power you could say, where I am a functioning sober person. It is very substantial and almost like a tangible power through the experience that I had. I now have tools that I can utilize at any point that will prepare me for another journey as I continue to stay sober. The best thing about being out of rehab is being back to the world that I’m used to, but being different and more developed and utilizing my tools to reach my full potential.” 

—Elias Ferguson, sober since February 5, 2020.    

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