Brother’s death led to helping addicts
September 20th, 2007 Oklahoman
By Sara Ganus
NOTE: Since this article was written, Justin’s Lighthouse has expanded into adult males, as well as, adult females.
After working in real estate, mortgage brokering and the restaurant business, to name a few, business entrepreneurs and brothers Winston and Miles K. Lewis decided about a year ago to do something that hits close to home.
It had been about seven years since their younger 28-year-old brother, Justin Lewis, died of an accidental drug overdose on March 7, 1999, just two weeks after he was discharged from a drug treatment center.
They had never stopped asking questions.
“First of all, why did our brother accidentally overdose two weeks after having been discharged from another drug and alcohol treatment facility? What mistakes could be learned from our experience?” Winston Lewis said. “Then we began to ask ourselves questions involving adolescents.”
Those questions, along with available property that Winston Lewis once had helped his mother manage as an elder residential care home, materialized into a 12-month research project and the creation of Justin’s Lighthouse, a male residential leadership academy that would defy the traditional, institutional recovery model.
Dedicated to their brother’s memory, Justin’s Lighthouse will be able to care for up to 12 male residents who exhibit maladaptive behaviors, lack of cognitive skills or low self-esteem, substance abuse, and mental illness through a 12-step, 120-day, trauma-informed — or “sanctuary model” — program.
From 7 a.m. to sometimes past 8 p.m., residents will participate in community meetings, meditations, and recreational activities; listen to inspirational speakers; and learn how to become a leader, Winston Lewis said.
“We don’t want them to just be compliant in attending a 12-step support group meeting,” he said. “We want them to learn how to lead the group. We really wanted to take those skills and give back to the community. That’s a hugely important aspect of our program.”
The Lewis’ hope to eventually open a similar residential leadership academy for women.
For more information about Justin’s Lighthouse, visit www.justinslighthouse.com.