By The Sea Recovery is a men’s sober living house in beautiful San Deigo, CA. Founded in 2012 by Gonzalo de la Torre—a recording artist with a graduate degree in psychology—the house is unique for its enrollment/employment model which encourages residents to become house managers. BTSR supports recovery from alcohol and drug addiction focusing on the values of “honesty, gratitude, responsibility, respect and fun.”
Accommodations and Amenities
BTSR is a beautiful 5-bedroom, 4-bath house just a mile from the beach. It is a charming cream colored stucco in a pretty residential neighborhood—great looking on the inside and out, with new and modern furnishings and decor. Clients share a bedroom equipped with two to three twin sized beds with high-end linens and mattresses.
BTSR also has a workstation with a computer and WiFi is available throughout the house. The modern kitchen has granite countertops, a breakfast bar, stainless-steel appliances and all the comforts of home.While BTSR does not provide meals and clients are encouraged to buy and prepare their own food, house managers do teach clients how to cook and encourage them to practice healthy eating.
Rules and Regulations
The first step for a prospective client is a meeting with all of the current residents and managers. Residents ask the potential client about their intentions in the house, ensuring the newcomer will participate in the chores and upkeep of the house. Although open to men of all ages, most of the clients at BTSR are between the ages of 23 and 25 and are required to stay for at least 90 days. The average length of time for clients to complete the whole program is six to nine months.
Clients wake up at 6 am Monday through Friday and have a highly structured schedule throughout the day. In the morning, clients participate in group meditation before heading off to a local 12-step meeting. During the day, clients are required to either have a full-time job, be enrolled in school or in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). In the evenings clients are required to be back at the house by 7 pm. BTSR encourages physical activity in the evenings, and clients regularly play basketball or go to the nearby beach for volleyball.
On the weekends, clients get to sleep in a bit later but are sill required to attend 12-step meetings. More free time is permitted in the afternoon. On Sundays, clients are required to do their individual chores and clean the house.
BTSR only offers sober living services and does not provide any counseling or treatment. However, the program does teach clients life skills—including help with building a resume and assistance in finding a job. BTSR’s goal is to have their clients both emotionally and financially stable and ready for the real world when they are discharged.
In addition to taking clients to 12-step meetings every weekday, BTSR also helps clients work the steps while living in the house. Clients are encouraged to find a sponsor and to meet with them weekly. The house also conducts daily breathalyzer and drug testing with a zero tolerance policy—if a client tests positive for drugs or alcohol, they are immediately kicked out.
BTSR runs on a phase program, and as clients progress through these phases they are granted privileges such as overnight passes and passes for missing occasional meetings. Also as clients prove they can handle more responsibility they can opt to become house managers—which lowers the rent. The managers are all certified through the Sober Living Network.
BTSR does not offer any sort of medication management. Since clients will be responsible for taking their own medications, BTSR does not allow any prescription drugs that could be abused or cause the client to test positive in a drug test.
BTSR encourages their clients to have an active and positive lifestyle, so a gym membership to LA Fitness and surfing lessons are included in the rent.
The house also has a 24/7 tele-counseling line that allows the clients to call a doctor or nurse if they are ill. The doctor can then prescribe any needed medications or antibiotics over the phone. This line saves clients a trip to the doctor and allows them to stay healthy while in the house.
BTSR provides transportation to and from all meetings, but clients are required to find their own way to work or school. BTSR also has two therapy dogs on site as well as a house bicycle.
BTSR is a great option for men looking for a comfortable and stylish sober living environment that is also a safe haven to pursue their professional or scholastic endeavors. The house promotes an environment where clients support and encourage each other, remaining involved each other’s recovery. Regular drug and alcohol testing also ensures that the house will always be a sober environment. Overall, BTSR is the ideal community for fostering emotionally supportive relationships and a successful sober life.
By The Sea Recovery
140 Encinitas Blvd, Suite 114
Encinitas, CA 92024
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Photo courtesy of ByTheSeaRecovery