Justin’s Place Recovery Program
The Light in the Dark
“Hebrews 10:24-25,” said Jeff McDowell, senior director of Justin’s Place, quoting the passage from memory. “That is Justin’s Place in a nutshell. Healthy relationships – first and foremost with Christ, then with each other. That’s the way of the cross.”
Established in 2010, the Justin’s Place Recovery Program began with 16 beds for men. Now, over 10 years later, Justin’s Place has grown to become a 160-bed, four-location, 12-month, residential rehabilitative program designed to equip both men and women battling addiction with the tools and resources needed to live a productive, self-sufficient life.
The world of recovery can be a dark place, both literally and figuratively, but Justin’s Place Recovery Program tries to share the light of hope with those in darkness.
The causes of addictions are often deeply rooted and hard to overcome. So in contrast to most inpatient rehabs that only offer a 30-day program, Justin’s Place takes a year-long approach to allow for physical, mental and spiritual healing, the establishment of a strong network of support and lasting life transformation.
“They didn’t get into it overnight, and they won’t get out of it overnight,” Jeff explains.
The program focuses on creating a long-term, holistic continuum of care. The 12-month program is comprised of a structured, faith-based curriculum, counseling, case management and peer support that offers employment training, legal assistance, physical wellness, community service and family reunification as residents gradually transition towards independence.
“Justin’s Place is becoming, if it’s not already, a leader in the integrated-recovery model,” said Ray Steadman, vice president of programs. “There’s not a lot of other places that do it [like we do].”
But just like the other programs at St. Matthew’s House, Justin’s Place faced some obstacles over the past year due to COVID.
“We didn’t have consistent staffing, and half of our residents got COVID my first month on the job,” said Doreen Lockwood, director of the Justin’s Place Recovery Program for Women.
But Doreen also noted some unexpected blessings that came as a result of their reduced capacity and quarantining together. She said, “It gave us the opportunity to self-assess and to enhance what we already do and look at how we can best meet the changing needs of those we serve.”
Ray agreed with Doreen’s sentiments. “In spite of COVID and all of those external challenges, we still were able to help men and women through their addictive behaviors and find freedom,” he said. “But unfortunately, we’ve also seen an increase in demand since COVID.”
The past year was a tough battle for everyone, but especially for those who struggle with addiction. Experiencing unemployment, deaths of friends and family or quarantine alone can be detrimental to those who seek relief from pain, depression or boredom through drugs and alcohol.
According to Forbes, who cited the CDC, in the 12-month period from May 2020 to April 2021, over 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. which is a 28.5% increase from the prior 12-month period.
This is why Justin’s Place exists, to offer a solution to those who see only darkness. We’re so grateful to those who support the program and make Justin’s Place possible whether it’s through prayer, giving or volunteering.
“[It’s been] a year of perseverance to still be able to deliver quality ministry and recovery work and that also extends to the donors and supporters,” Doreen said. “They haven’t given up on us; they continue to believe in us. They’re like a band of angels that surround us when times are tough and the season is difficult.”
The unfortunate truth of any recovery program is that not everyone makes it through to the end. We put hope within their reach, but they have to be willing to do the work. And yes, some fall off the track back into their old habits, but we have a rich history full of success stories.
Over the past 12 months, 61 people graduated from our Justin’s Place Recovery Program. That’s 61 lives that have been transformed because we were able to give them a spark of hope and introduce them to the true Light.
Want to hear a first-hand account of how Justin’s Place changes lives? Check out two testimonies from our graduates: