Providing Compassionate Care and Treatment
By Amile Wilson
Quietly nestled on sixty-five acres, Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center in Oxford has turned one family’s struggle into a refuge of hope. CEO Bryan Fikes and his sister Elizabeth Fikes are co-founders of Stonewater. Bryan, age thirty-five,will celebrate ninteen years of his own sobriety this May. Originally from Tupelo, Bryan spent junior high and high school as a high-achieving student athlete, until drug addiction took hold of his life.
“We were blindsided,” says Elizabeth, Director of Outreach and Communications. “His behavior had changed, but it’s easy to explain away. By the time we found out, he needed in patient treatment.”
With the support of his family, Bryan enrolled in a ninety-day treatment program followed by a year-long boarding school.
“It made us passionate about meeting families where they are, not only for substance abuse, but also for struggles with anxiety, depression or trauma,” said Fikes. “Because Bryan had been successful in treatment, other parents were asking our family for advice and where to go.”
Bryan’s recovery success led him to a career in finance while Elizabeth followed a path in marketing that led her to New York City. Yet there was a passion brewing in the Fikes family to serve others and to provide resources for adolescents struggling with addiction.
In 2016, Bryan and his parents began work in earnest to develop a retreat for young men ages twelve to eighteen. Elizabeth moved back from New York in January 2017 to join the cause and by March 2017, Stonewater opened its doors to families.
“We’re very intentional about creating a place that doesn’t feel like a hospital or feel too institutional,” says Fikes. “We don’t want to create an idea that you’re in trouble or a problem because of your addiction. We want a place where you can heal.”
Housing a maximum of fifteen young men, Stonewater offers a combination of individual and group therapy as well as experiential therapy and life skills coaching designed to not only heal addiction, but to heal underlying causes.
Teens are taught entrepreneurship, financial management and even simple things like how to give a good handshake.
“These small things help build confidence,” says Fikes. “You have to do something to show adolescents that there are alternatives to their addiction.”
A major part of the Stonewater mission is servant-leadership, so every weekend the teens are out in the community volunteering.
“We are always looking for organizations in the community that need volunteers,” says Fikes.
Beyond healing the teen, Stonewater offers family healing and assigns a family support coach to each family to help build skills for the parents and siblings.
As many as fifty part-time, full-time and contract employees support Stonewater’s efforts.
“We want people in the community to be proud that we have this resource,” says Fikes. “People are choosing to come to Mississippi to get treatment, specifically from Stonewater. We want our community to be excited to have us.”
After walking through their own recovery journey as a family the Fikes are living out their calling to help other families on their own journey.
For those who cannot afford to pay and whose insurance does not cover costs, Stonewater offers scholarships. Organizations in need of young male volunteers or with services to support young men in recovery are encouraged to contact Elizabeth Fikes at Stonewater.
continuing this success in Clarksdale and in the Delta.”