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First Step Sober Living

2836 Unicornio St., Carlsbad, California, 92009
First Step Sober Living is a residential space for chemically-dependent men in recovery seeking structured, substance-free accommodations for lasting sobriety. Facilities include spacious bedrooms, modern amenities, 12-Step resources, and convenient access to entertainment and public transportation. Residents are encouraged to participate in recovery oriented 12-Step services.

Facility Highlights

  • Spacious Accommodations
  • Scenic Location
  • Evidence Based Program


  • Residential Treatment

    Residential treatment programs provide housing (food and meals) in addition to treatment for substance abuse. Some facilities offer only short-term residential treatment, some offer only long-term treatment and others offer both, ranging from a few days to many months, based on patient needs.
  • 12-Step

    The term “12 Step Program” describes a way to recover from addiction that is based on the model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers base their treatment on 12 steps – the first three of which are situational, the next four addressing the practical issues created by the addiction, followed by two steps focused on making amends for hurting others. Steps 10 and 11 involve a deeper examination of the previous steps and the final step is focused on helping others avoid and recover from addiction.

Facility Settings

  • Luxury

Treatment Center Links

Rehabs 360 Guide


Based in the San Diego region of California, First Step Sober Living offers a gender-specific sober living home for men recovering from addiction or a dual diagnosis. The Carlsbad facility is one of the 695 (48.6 percent) centers in the state for men only, and is located on a residential street in the suburbs 30 miles north of central San Diego.


The organization’s goal is to provide a comfortable, safe place for men to live while they strengthen their sobriety and get accustomed to normal community life. Clients are expected to attend three 12-step meetings per week, though the center also endorses both Refuge Recovery and SMART Recovery.

Each day begins with a devotional period or meditation. Clients participate in weekly house meetings and must seek employment or continuing educational opportunities and develop interests and hobbies as alternatives to addictive substances. Clients also required to take random alcohol and drug tests.


The Carlsbad facility employs at least one house manager. In the state of California, 98.3 percent of all substance abuse treatment facilities have continuing education requirements for staff.


The facility is seven miles from the beach and a short walk from grocery stores and restaurants. It houses up to seven men at a time in shared bedrooms with bunk beds. This suggests highly individualized care, as the average number of individuals in an inpatient treatment facility at a given time was 18 clients, as of 2016. There is a full kitchen, table tennis, and a communal lounge, all decorated in a slightly spartan but clean and comfortable style. There is also a backyard as well as Wi-Fi, cable TV, and laundry facilities on-site.


The single alum review submitted to Rehabs.com to date, from former client N.S.P., was very positive, rating First Step a perfect five stars in treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition. N.S.P. described First Step as “the ideal residency” for his post-treatment life, and went on to praise the house manager and the comfort and relaxation he found at First Step. “I wanted to trust my housemates and not have to worry about if they were going to rip me off or anything... where I could just focus on ME and staying sober. I found that, along with a few lifelong friends,” he wrote.

At the time of this writing, seven reviewers on Google rated First Step an average 4.6 out of five stars: five, five-star ratings and a single two-star rating.[1] Numerous reviewers credited First Step with their continued sobriety, after several failed attempts at getting sober.

Reviewers also praised the center’s management, location near the beach and other amenities, and the freedom they enjoyed at First Step. Alum S.E. wrote in a representative review, “The house is also awesome, beautiful home with plenty of room to ‘do your own thing’ as well as the be around a great group of guys who only want to better themselves in life.” Alum N.H. added, “The managers are really cool and willing to help anyone who is willing to help themselves.”

However, alum Nick claimed on Google that some of the reviews were left by management themselves, writing, “This is weird for me to write, because for the most part I like these guys as people. And they're the ones posting comments here before me. But as soberliving owners, I don't think it's an honest, good place to go.” Nick also reported lax supervision. “Guys would dissappear for a week at a time and just come back home like nothing was odd about that. No one is ever drug tested,” he wrote.


One loved one polled by Rehabs.com to date rated the facility a perfect five stars in treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition. Loved one Danielle praised the program for turning her brother's life around, writing, "This program exceeds any other out there hands down because the house manager as well as the house mates keep each other accountable for your actions. Not only did my brother gain a sense of purpose, but he actually made a few great friendships along the way."


A stay at First Step costs $750 for a month, or $2,250 for 90 days. The center does accept insurance.

[1] GoogleReviews

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