Mark O’Connor - Defines Sober Living at The Lighthouse Sober Living in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Mark O’Connor, Marketing Director and Admissions Lead of  The Lighthouse, defines sober living, unveils the new sober living home, and sheds light on future plans for expansion.


Recently, I was able to spend an afternoon at The Lighthouse in New Canaan, Ct.

You might think it wasn't such a big deal, because I've been writing content for them for over a year, so I would often visit the residential sober living home in Connecticut.

However, it was a big deal because the Lighthouse was putting the finishing touches on their new residence.

Over the last ten days, they signed their lease agreement, cleaned the home, painted, decorated, and moved the residents in. No small task, indeed.

The house looked amazing!

The yard, grounds, and home are full of excitement.

Most of my time was spent roaming around the house, taking pictures, and soaking in the warmth and serenity of the new sober living residence.

The house is an impressive custom built brick manor residence. The superior craftsmanship and elegant millwork grace each room. Its first floor flows seamlessly together. I'm positive it will serve the purpose for sober living and recovery community events.  

The kitchen is oversized and full of light. There is a dining area which overlooks the lush outdoor space which includes a heated swimming pool, fireplace, and vast rolling lawn amongst the peace and serenity it emits.  

The upper floors contain 7 large spacious bedrooms with abundant, sunshine, and serenity.

Spending the afternoon, at the new Lighthouse sober living home, in New Canaan allowed me to experience the friendliness of staff and residents.

Even though Mark O'Connor was busy coordinating contractors and staff, speaking with residents, and taking calls; I was able to sit him down, ask him some questions about the new Lighthouse sober living residence.

Mark O’Connor on The Lighthouse Sober Living in Connecticut:

“Our new sober living home is spectacular.  Trey (Trey Laird CEO and Founder) and I looked in this area for over a year. We came upon this property, a few short months ago, and knew it would be the next home for The Lighthouse.

The location, the property, the room sizes all offer us everything we need to create a place of healing. Its central location allows residents to get to appointments, meetings, and community events without hassle, while at the same time ensuring privacy and seclusion.

The outer grounds, fireplace, pool, and large yard combined with spacious common areas, bedrooms, and dining room lends itself to all that we want to create for our residents.

Our tagline (words): Recover. Restore. Rebuild. - is echoed throughout this property. The home offers a space for people to transition back into a fulfilling life in recovery safely.”

What is The Lighthouse?

“The Lighthouse is all about recovery. It is a simple fact that the real work in recovery begins when you leave treatment, be it 30, 60, 90 days. Once you leave inpatient treatment, transitioning back into real life outside the bubble of residential treatment begins.  We (The Lighthouse) offer our residents a safe place to heal and learn how to transition into recovery.

How does The Lighthouse offer  ‘A safe place to THRIVE in early Recovery?’

“The Lighthouse was created for men (presently) to safely transition back into life, into or out of a marriage, or back into or out of a career.  What we provide here is a safe, supported environment for our residents to begin working on learning how to live a sober life.”

What role do you serve at The Lighthouse

“My job has many parts. I serve as air traffic control and assure that our residents are getting the services needed to foster a process of healing. Not only do I work closely with the residents, but families, and other professionals who may be part of their continuing care team. I’m also responsible for establishing rapport with other addiction recovery services within the recovery community we serve.

Even though we are a sober home located in Connecticut,  this doesn’t mean all our residents live in the Northeast. Our doors are open to anyone seeking to learn how to transition into a life of recovery.

In a short period, I have solidified working relationships within our local and national recovery community. Daily operations include speaking with referral sources and networking with professionals serving the treatment world.”

What is the criteria for residency and Recovery 365 coaching at The Lighthouse?

“The process depends on where the person is coming from before sober living. Our residents are persons recommended to us from treatment, on the verge of relapse or just recently relapsed and may be in detox.

However, not every person comes to us directly from treatment, nor has everyone who has stayed with us completed a treatment program.  We provide supported living and Recovery Coaching for persons in need of a higher level of structure and care.

It doesn’t matter where a person is before he chooses to reside at The Lighthouse. I will have detailed conversations with the clinical team where the person might be coming from, or with a clinician, psychologist (if applicable), or recovery coach.  I also have several conversations with the person choosing sober living and his family.

During these conversations, I assess and note the man’s needs, wants, and desires, so we better understand how to serve them and their plan for recovery best.”

(This is an excellent lead-in for our next question.

Mark, can you tell me:)

What does sober living entail at The Lighthouse?

"Once in residence at The Lighthouse, we provide the 'brick and mortar'; the foundation where a resident can begin to build a life for living sober in recovery.

The Lighthouse Sober Living provides the structure and the road map for a lifestyle for recovery. The staff, all of us, are people in long-term recovery. We are all Certified Recovery coaches.

When a resident has been in treatment, we help our residents create a plan for sober living with their recovery coach.  There are a couple of instances where they haven't completed treatment, but it's been the clinical recommendation that a sober living residence is a place for them, as long as they have all of the outside services of an intensive outpatient program team with therapists, and psychiatrist, if needed.

The fantastic part of recovery coaching is having an obvious connection of being a person in recovery. I often draw strength on my past experiences and can say to somebody I've been there, and I get it. I often say, 'this is what I did' or 'you might want to try this.' Having this connection solidifies relationships. Our residents establish rapport with one another, ask one another for guidance and support, and learn how to trust in other people with similar goals in recovery."

The Lighthouse supports Multiple Pathways for Recovery

“Many of our residents, myself included, attend a 12-step meeting daily as our chosen pathway to stay sober. However, not all people subscribe to 12-step philosophy. Therefore, it is stress this fact, about The Lighthouse, again, - We believe and support the concept of multiple pathways of recovery. Moreover, we meet our residents where they are in their readiness for change. We don't push or mandate residents to subscribe to any one pathway for recovery. We guide our residents in creating their plan for recovery.
However, there must be a plan.

For example:

I choose to attend a 12-step meeting each day and surround myself with other peers in recovery.

But - Joe Smith might benefit more from Refuge Recovery; meet with his recovery coach and peer supports.

While Bill Jones might choose to attend SMART recovery along with coaching

Alternatively, David White's recovery plan entails yoga, meditation, intensive outpatient programming, and individual therapy.

The Lighthouse is ADAPTABLE to what our residents need, and where people are in their recovery. We are the foundation, the support, the ‘brick and mortar’ guiding each to find fulfillment in a lifestyle in recovery.

It is vital that each of our residents establishes a self-directed plan of recovery guided by his recovery coach.

It is essential that he knows his plan and practices it daily.

With the guidance of a personal recovery coach the plan might reflect:

  • Using the first six weeks to attend an intensive outpatient program (IOP), a weekly recovery meeting with a therapist, and then back to work.  

  • Immediately going back to work, attending evening IOP, and weekly therapist meeting.

  • However,  for many of our residents, choosing to take leave from their jobs, and use this time to solidify a life in recovery while living in a safe, supportive environment- The Lighthouse.”

Mark, is there anything else you would like to add about The Lighthouse Sober Living in Connecticut?

“Our new home is just the beginning of what Trey, myself, and others hope to replicate in different geographies. We have plans for opening a sober living home in New York City soon, and we also plan to begin the search for a women’s residence, in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Lighthouse is extensively connected within the recovery community in New Canaan and New York City. We have made it our purpose to create a nurturing recovery community.

The best way to experience what The Lighthouse has to offer is to come out, schedule a tour, stay for dinner, swim in our pool, and soak in the sobering feeling of serenity and peace.

If you would like to schedule an appointment to come out and spend some time with our staff and residents.

call 203-246-9534”

We are here to provide a safe place for you to THRIVE in early recovery.”


John Makohen