OXFORD – A long, winding road leads up to not one, but two of the Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center homes in Oxford.
These buildings are exactly that – homes – not an institution.
Tuesday marked the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the recovery center.
Stonewater was founded by the Fikes family after it was impacted by addiction.
Bryan Fikes, son of Margaret and Jeff Fikes, struggled with a drug addiction 13 years ago.
Bryan’s older sister and Stonewater’s director of outreach and communications Elizabeth Fikes, said her brother was once a 16-year-old living in Tupelo who could not get through a day without using hard drugs.
“It wasn’t just recreational marijuana use,” Fikes said.
She said the family was left searching for a treatment center, but there were not a lot of options for adolescents.
That is how Stonewater started, she said.
The center’s goal is to destigmatize the conversation about drug addiction, and help adolescents recover in the process.
“This can affect everyone from all walks of life,” Fikes said.
She said the center, which has been open for seven weeks, hosts children from all over the U.S., not just Mississippi.
Fikes said the main center hosts males from the ages of 12 to 17 for 90 days.
The second home is dedicated to the outpatient program. This is for those who do not need live-in treatment. It accepts both boys and girls for either three hours a day, three days a week, or five hours a day, five days a week.
Fikes said a lot of the staff is also in recovery and can relate to the patients.
“Our mission statement is lifelong recovery lived,” Fikes said.
She said they hope each adolescent can find something they are passionate about while at the center and take that back to their communities.
“It’s not a canned, out of the box treatment,” Fikes said.
Daniel Farmer, Stonewater’s academic advisor, has a deep connection to the center’s mission.
He was a teacher for eight years and also battled with addiction.
He is now in recovery and helps the children make sure they stay current with schoolwork so they emerge as leaders, not lagging behind.
Farmer said they use the University of Mississippi’s high school program, or work with the online programs offered by the school the child already attends.
“The program is self-paced and meets the children where they are,” Farmer said.
He said he is passionate about the program and realized he wanted to feed his family by working in this field.
Rod Farrar, Stonewater’s clinical director, said God called him to do this work.
He created the clinical program and works with patients on different forms of therapy to guide them through recovery.
“We want to love our patients like the Lord loves the broken,” Farrar said.
“Anytime a young person is taken off the streets because of addiction and doesn’t become a productive member of the community, it hurts our economy,” Maynard said.
He presented the Fike family with a plaque to thank them for instilling a program to help oppose this.
Elizabeth Fikes then introduced Senator Roger Wicker, thanking him for being such a positive community leader and family friend.
“If you’ve never made a mistake, then this event may not have anything for you,” Senator Wicker opened.
He said this program can change the lives of those around us while working in conjunction with the drug courts.
“There is a spectacle greater than the sea, and that is the sky; there is a spectacle greater than the sky, and that is the human soul,” Senator Wicker quoted per Victor Hugo.
He said Stonewater is a way to turn human souls around.
“I think Jesus would be part of a program like Stonewater,” Senator Wicker concluded.
“I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t surprised to be here today,” Fikes said.