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Joint Commission awards Gold Standard of Care

Oxford Treatment Center Recognized by The Joint Commission for Providing Gold Standard of Care

The Joint Commission recently awarded Oxford Treatment Center its Gold Seal of Approval® , an internationally recognized symbol for healthcare quality. This distinction signifies that Oxford Treatment Center has achieved Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating its compliance with performance standards that reflect its commitment to providing safe and effective care.

Located in Lafayette County, Oxford Treatment Center is a leading provider of drug and alcohol treatment services, offering a full continuum of care, including medical detox, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, outpatient care and a recovery residence. To learn about the services offered, visit https://www.oxfordtreatment.com/program/

To obtain accreditation, Oxford underwent an extensive review process, which included a rigorous on-site survey. The facility demonstrated compliance with behavior healthcare standards related to several areas including care, treatment and services; environment and care; leadership; and screening procedures for early detection of imminent harm.

The Joint Commission’s behavioral health care standards

Developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides behavioral health care organizations with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas related to the care of individuals and their families,” said Julia Finken, RN, BSN, MBA, CSSBB, CPHQ, executive director, Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Oxford Treatment Center for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”

“We’ve built our treatment model around established best practices and guidelines that lead to the best outcomes for our patients,” said Mark Sawyer, CEO of Oxford Treatment Center. “Achieving this accreditation is a testament to the high-quality care our staff provides every day and our ongoing commitment to clinical excellence.”

Tupelo, Olive Branch offices closing

Oxford Treatment Center is closing its outpatient offices

In Tupelo and Olive Branch, Miss., to focus on its continuum of care at its two primary locations.

The center provides treatment for drug and alcohol addiction at two campuses in Lafayette County, Mississippi. Withdrawal management and residential treatment take place at its 110-acre residential campus at Etta. Meanwhile, its Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), outpatient services and continuing care are all housed at its Resolutions campus in South Oxford.

The closure of the two small satellite offices comes as part of a cost-reduction initiative by parent company American Addiction Centers (AAC), the nation’s largest independent provider of drug and alcohol addiction treatment services.

Oxford Treatment Center CEO Mark Sawyer said the needs of the center’s patient population have changed since the satellite offices were initially opened. Neither included a housing component.

Oxford Treatment Center is closing its small outpatient offices in Tupelo (left) and Olive Branch (right).

“Each of these offices was created to provide continuing care to people who were returning home after treatment to the Tupelo, Memphis or DeSoto County areas,” Sawyer said.

“Today, nearly two-thirds of our patients come to us from out-of-state. It makes far more sense for them to continue their care at our Resolutions campus in Oxford, where we can provide housing, a robust therapy schedule, and 24/7 supervision.”

The Resolutions campus off Highway 7 South includes a 12,000-square-foot outpatient center with separate areas for medical services, therapy and community events. It is flanked by four supportive housing residences for up to 48 people. Residents continue to participate in treatment, while also developing the skills they need to regain independence and build a new substance-free lifestyle.

The Oxford Outpatient Center at Resolutions also hosts a Community IOP program for people who need help for drug and alcohol problems but are not going away for residential treatment. Community IOP allows them to get help on a part-time schedule while also maintaining their job or staying in school.

To learn more about programs and facilities at the Oxford Resolutions campus, visit oxfordtreatment.com/oxford.

Bluebird Trail a new addition to campus

Nesting boxes offer hands-on exercise in new beginnings

 

Oxford Treatment Center’s residential campus will be a more welcoming haven for wildlife this spring, with the installation of new nesting boxes for Eastern bluebirds.

A collection of more than 50 nesting boxes are currently being installed on the 110-acre campus and surrounding properties. While the boxes are built to suit the species’ standard preference for nesting sites, they are also unique: Each one features the brightly painted designs of a person entering recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Director of Operations Sid Russell, an avid naturalist and outdoorsman, worked with Art Therapist Resa Frederick to incorporate the conversation project into therapy sessions for patients.

“This is all about new beginnings,” said Sid Russell, Oxford Treatment Center’s director of operations, who initiated the project.

Russell oversees the center’s facility management and maintenance. He conceived the project as a way to use leftover lumber from projects on the campus, rather than throwing it away. The boxes were built by the center’s maintenance team.

Recognizing the opportunity for therapeutic use as well, Russell offered the boxes to Art Therapist Resa Frederick, M.Ed., NCC, LPC, who has incorporated them into her sessions with patients this spring.

“Every project we do allows the individual to express themselves, while incorporating themes of addiction, recovery, reflection and hope,” Frederick said. “The birdhouses provide a perfect ‘canvas’ for that expression. They symbolize recovery as a new beginning, along with the importance of having a firm and solid foundation, being surrounded by a positive community, and having a place to belong.”

Those themes were apparent to Russell, who is in long-term personal recovery from addiction. An ardent naturalist and outdoorsman, he looks to nature as a way to shape his own perspective in recovery. He maintains a collection of bluebird houses, wren houses, squirrel boxes and hummingbird feeders at home.

Eastern bluebird

Eastern bluebird

“I respect and admire the wildlife the Lord gives us and try to learn from them,” Russell said.

“When you’re in active addiction, it’s all about you. You’re the center of attention. But being in nature helps you see that you’re a very small part of a very big world, and that all of creation works together.”

Russell was previously involved in the development of a bluebird trail in Tupelo. At Oxford Treatment Center, he contacted the owners of surrounding properties for permission to install some of the bluebird boxes on areas around to the campus.

According to the North American Bluebird Society, nesting boxes hung along prescribed routes help bluebird populations to grow and thrive. To best attract bluebirds, the boxes must have the right depth and entry-hole diameter. They also must be hung at a specified height, preferably facing southeast. And they must be at an appropriate distance from each other, since bluebirds are territorial during nesting season.

In addition to the bluebird boxes, Oxford Treatment Center’s maintenance team has also begun building and installing wood duck houses, to attract the beautiful migratory birds to areas around the center’s private lake. Such wildlife conservation projects are rooted in another central tenant of recovery — giving back.

“We’re here to be stewards of the earth,” Russell said. “If we can help a little bluebird along its way, that’s a worthwhile effort.”

First addiction counselor training course held in Oxford

New location serves northern half of state

Participants at the first Mississippi Addiction Counselor Training course in Oxford gathered at Oxford Treatment Center’s outpatient facility on Friday, Sept. 22.

 

North Mississippi professionals seeking to become certified addiction counselors are now attending classes closer to home.

The Mississippi Addiction Counselor Training program held its first classes in Oxford on Sept. 22 and 23 at Oxford Treatment Center’s outpatient office. MACT already offers training sites are in Jackson and Biloxi.

“I don’t think I would have been able to do this if I had to drive to Jackson and stay overnight,” said Lucy Faulkner of Pontotoc, a clinical assistant at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center.

“Having it available in Oxford is more affordable, and I don’t have to be away from my family,” she said. “For me, it means easy access to a program that will help me become a certified counselor.”

Barry Doughty, ICADC, teaches Counseling Process as part of the first course series.

MACT is a one-year program offered through the Mississippi Association of Addiction Professionals. By completing the program, professionals can earn the designation of Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC).

“Many people are already licensed as counselors or psychologists, but are not necessarily trained to work in alcohol and drug treatment,” said Martha Wittig, PhD, chair of the Education Committee for MAAP. “This program offers specific training in working with addiction.”

Those who work toward CADC certification include allied health professionals like social workers, nurses, and marriage and family therapists.

The training is open to those who do not have a college degree. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll in MACT. People can join the training schedule at the beginning of any quarter.

Courses in Oxford are held at Oxford Treatment Center’s 12,000-square-foot outpatient office, which opened in August off Highway 7 South.

The facility was designed for outpatient treatment programs including group and individual therapy, along with psychiatric treatment for co-occurring disorders like depression and anxiety. It was also designed with training in mind, said Billy Young, CEO of Oxford Treatment Center.

“In our region and elsewhere, there is a tremendous need for therapists who can help people overcome addiction,” Young said.

“Our hope is that, by providing this resource, we can help professionals across northern Mississippi grow their skills and support change in people’s lives.”

Twenty people took part in the first course series offered in Oxford. Barry Doughty, ICADC, a clinical therapist at Oxford Treatment Center’s residential campus at Etta, taught the course entitled Counseling Process. The course continues Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-4.

The second series, Addiction Pharmacology, will be taught by Chip Peterson, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CADC, clinical director at Oxford Treatment Center. It begins Dec. 1 and continues Jan. 5-6 and Feb. 2-3, 2018.

Learn more about the program and how to register.

New outpatient campus nears completion

Oxford Treatment Center will celebrate the opening of its new outpatient campus with a ribbon cutting, open house and reception on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Michael Cartwright, CEO of parent company American Addiction Centers (AAC), will be on hand to meet community members and talk about AAC’s commitment to Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi.

“With the opening of the new outpatient center, our company now has two outstanding facilities and more than 130 employees in Lafayette County,” Cartwright said. “American Addiction Centers is invested for the long-term in this community. We are committed to providing the highest quality clinical care here to help people recover from addiction. We are also committed to applying resources here toward outreach and prevention.”

The ribbon cutting for the 12,000-square-foot Oxford Outpatient Center is set for 11:30 a.m. with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce. A reception will follow until 1 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

Located at 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South, the Oxford Outpatient Center is home to an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This part-time treatment program includes three weekly group sessions, several one-on-one sessions with a therapist and frequent drug screenings. People join IOP either as a follow-up to residential treatment or as an entry point to recovery, depending on their treatment needs.

Oxford Treatment Center’s

Local aftercare, alumni and outreach programs will also be based at the new outpatient center. Adjacent to the main building is Resolutions Oxford, a 48-bed staff-monitored community for people in early recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Programs at the new campus are part of Oxford Treatment Center’s complete continuum of care for drug and alcohol addiction.

Individuals can begin with medical detox and residential treatment at the center’s main campus at Etta, 16 miles northeast of Oxford. They can transition next into IOP while living in the adjacent Resolutions community. This provides support in the critical first weeks after residential treatment.

“When everything in your life has been focused on drugs or alcohol, you need a chance to practice this new clean-and-sober lifestyle,” said Billy Young, CEO of Oxford Treatment Center.

“Going straight back home after treatment typically leads to a greater chance of relapse. But spending several weeks in a sober community doubles your chance of still being clean at one year. Our facilities and programs are all built around that goal — helping people achieve long-term sobriety.”

Prior to the opening of the new outpatient campus, Oxford Treatment Center offered IOP at an outpatient office on University Avenue. Sober living housing was provided off-site in Lafayette County.

The center will continue to offer transitional housing at the original sober living homes, for people who have completed a stay at Resolutions but want the continued support of sharing a home with others in recovery.

For more information or to schedule an assessment for addiction treatment, call the Oxford Outpatient Center at (662) 281-1306.

Outpatient center to be training site for addiction counselors

Professionals in north Mississippi seeking to become Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC) can now access classes closer to home.

At the 2017 MAAP Conference in Pearl, MS: Clinical therapists Barry Doughty and Amy Woodward; Outpatient Manager Barbara Cox; CEO Billy Young.

The Mississippi Association of Addiction Professionals (MAAP) has approved Oxford Treatment Center’s new outpatient campus as the north Mississippi training site for its Mississippi Addiction Counselor Training (MACT) program. Courses are also offered in south Mississippi at William Carey University’s Biloxi campus and in central Mississippi at the MAAP office in Jackson.

Previously, professionals in north Mississippi have had to travel to Jackson to attend the classes, said Martha Wittig, PhD, chair of the Education Committee for MAAP.

“Many people are already licensed as counselors or psychologists, but are not necessarily trained to work in alcohol and drug treatment,” she said. “This program offers specific training in working with addiction, and provides these professionals the opportunity to become certified as alcohol and drug counselors.”

Those who work toward CADC certification include allied health professionals like social workers, nurses, and marriage and family therapists. The training is open to those who do not have a college degree. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll in MACT.

Barry Doughty, ICADC, clinical therapist at Oxford Treatment Center:

Said hosting a MAAP training site in Oxford would benefit the entire community.

“This program will be training the next generation of treatment professionals, who will in turn help many people recover from the disease of addiction,” said Doughty, who represents northeast Mississippi on the MAAP Board of Directors. “For professionals in our area, it will now be easier to take advantage of these MAAP classes and earn a valuable certification.”

Core coursework through MACT includes Addiction Pharmacology, Counseling Theories, Counseling Skills and Counseling Process. People can join the training schedule at the beginning of any quarter and complete the coursework in a year.

MACT courses at the Oxford Outpatient Center begin with the Counseling Process sequence on Sept. 22-23, Oct. 20-21 and Nov. 3-4. Registration information can be found on the MAAP website, including the registration form and 2017-18 course schedule. Deadline to register is Friday, Sept. 8.

To learn more, call the MAAP office at (601) 321-2085.

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New detox unit opens on Etta campus

Medical detox program can now care for up to 36 patients

 

American Addiction Centers CEO Michael Cartwright, center, with Oxford Treatment Center co-founders Dr. Tom Fowlkes and Billy Young

Mississippi’s leading drug and alcohol treatment facility has completed its latest expansion, adding 24 new beds in a specialized new medical detox unit.

Oxford Treatment Center’s residential campus at Etta, set on 110 acres within the Holly Springs National Forest in northeastern Lafayette County, has been undergoing extensive upgrades and expansions over the past year. The latest addition, a two-story facility adjacent to the main lodge, dedicates the entire second floor to the medical detox program, with meeting rooms and therapist offices on the lower floor.

Michael Cartwright, CEO of American Addiction Centers, told local staff recently that the transformation of the campus fulfills the vision he shared with the center’s co-founders. AAC acquired Oxford Treatment Center in 2015 from Tom Fowlkes, MD, former Chief Medical Officer, and Billy Young, who remains CEO.

“You should be very proud of what you’ve built here,” Cartwright said, addressing some 50 staff members as they gathered in the new building for the first time.

“The team you have here is second-to-none — from your professionalism to your clinical excellence, to truly caring about each person who comes here for help overcoming addiction.

“At AAC, our goal has been to give you all the tools and facilities you need, so that you can focus on providing outstanding patient care. It’s very rewarding to see that accomplished.”

Cartwright, himself a recovering addict and former clinician, is based at AAC’s corporate office outside of Nashville, Tenn., and visits Oxford Treatment Center frequently.

AAC now has more than 30 locations nationwide. Its vision is to advance addiction treatment through standardized, research-based methods, with the ultimate goal of helping more people achieve long-term recovery.

Oxford Treatment Center’s new medical detox unit

At Oxford Treatment Center, programs and facilities continue to grow. Patients come for help from all areas of the country. The center’s new Oxford Outpatient Office off Highway 7 South is slated for completion this summer, along with four adjacent sober living homes. That new outpatient campus will provide support, structure and accountability for people during the critical transition between residential treatment and their return to everyday life.

At the Etta campus, two new cabins opened in fall 2016, bringing the residential program’s total capacity to 88 patients. The center’s medical detox program already had a self-contained 12-bed facility where patients received care from in-house psychiatrists and 24/7 nursing staff. The new building now brings the total number of detox beds to 36, with a nurses station, physician offices and assessment rooms located along the same hall as the semi-private detox bedrooms.

Oxford Treatment Center provides medical detox for substances including alcohol, opiods (OxyContin, Vicodin, Fentanyl, heroin) and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium). The medical program is directed by psychiatrist Dr. Stephen Pannel, who is board certified in addiction medicine.

This year’s transformation of the Etta campus has also included a second lakeside pavilion, the paving of gravel roads, and extensive landscaping including a new 12-Step Walk. A covered riding arena for the center’s equine therapy program is also slated for construction this year.

Visit Oxford Treatment Center’s Facebook page to follow the progress.

2017 Anniversary Weekend

Event Schedule

11 a.m.-Noon — Check in

11:30 — Lunch

Noon — Opening remarks and alumni stories

1:30-3 p.m. — Activity Block 1
Equine therapy demonstrations
12-Step walk tour and ropes course demonstration
Art therapy demonstration

3-3:30 p.m. — Snacks and alumni stories

3:30-5 p.m. — Activity Block 2
Equine therapy demonstrations
12-Step walk tour and ropes course demonstration
Labyrinth tour and mindfulness demonstration

5 p.m. — Live music begins: The Wilburs

5:30 — Supper

6:30-7:30 p.m. — Evening speaker: David P.

7:30-8 p.m. — Music and closing

 

Alumni, Family & Friends Registration

Community Partner Registration


Community Partners

Regional professionals in mental and behavioral health and other community partners are invited to the Etta campus as part of Alumni Weekend 2017. Community partners may choose to attend either:

  • Saturday, May 6 — Check in between 11 a.m. and noon. Enjoy lunch and take part in the afternoon activity schedule. Depart in the afternoon or stay for music, supper and speakers.
  • Friday, May 5 — Come for pre-event campus tours, offered on the half-hour between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

 

Register in advance by using the link above. For more information, contact:

Daniel Jensen
Northeast Mississippi
(662) 679-0639
djensen@contactaac.com

Angela Quadrani
Memphis & DeSoto County
(901) 484-1929
aquadrani@contactaac.com


Important details for May 6

  • Enter at main entrance: There is a new fork in the road. Follow the signs to the right for parking.
  • Leave your phone in the car: For HIPPA compliance and for the privacy of our current patients, cell phones and cameras are not allowed on the campus.
  • Our photographer can take pictures for you: You can choose to be in photos, or opt not to by wearing a red lanyard. Attendees will receive a link to a password-protected photo site after the event.
  • Smoke at assigned times and places: The Etta campus now has designated smoking areas, and the schedule will allow for breaks.

New Oxford Outpatient Campus Under Construction

Oxford Treatment Center marks five-year anniversary

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2017, Oxford Treatment Center is preparing to open a new outpatient campus and to launch a new series of free workshops for the local community.

Its new 12,000-square-foot outpatient office off Highway 7 South in Oxford will open this spring, alongside four new adjacent sober living homes. There, people who have completed residential treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can practice a new sober lifestyle in a structured, supportive community. Accountability measures include therapist supervision, daily meetings and drug screenings.

Billy Young, CEO

“Having these new facilities will enhance the continuum-of-care we provide to those who come to us for help overcoming addiction,” said Billy Young, CEO. “There is no quick fix. Recovery is something you work for over time, day by day. But we can give people the best chance for long-term recovery by offering the right amount of structure and support through each phase of their early recovery. That’s what the continuum-of-care is all about.”

At Oxford Treatment Center, that continuum begins at a 110-acre campus in northeastern Lafayette County, where on-site medical detox and residential treatment programs are based. People can then transition into an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), which includes group meetings three times a week for an average of 10 weeks. Oxford Treatment Center offers IOP at outpatient offices in Oxford, Tupelo and Olive Branch.

Currently, the Oxford Outpatient Office is located at 1916 University Avenue. Oxford Treatment Center also maintains sober living homes at off-site locations in Lafayette County. The new outpatient campus will bring all of those pieces together in one setting, on Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South.

Barbara Cox, MS, LSW, MAC

“We’re looking forward to what this move will mean for our staff and for the recovery community,” said Barbara Cox, MS, LSW, MAC, interim manager of outpatient services. “This space will also give us new opportunities to engage the community in helping people understand addiction. It’s our goal to continue bringing the conversation out into the open, so that more and more people can get help and support — instead of suffering in silence and shame.”

Toward that end, Oxford Treatment Center is launching a new, free quarterly Community Workshop Series at all three of its outpatient office locations. The series will give the public direct access to clinical therapists who have years of experience treating addiction, including the opportunity to ask questions anonymously.

The first quarter Community Workshop Series on the topic of Addiction & Family Dynamics is set for upcoming Tuesday evenings: Feb. 28 (Oxford), March 7 (Tupelo) and March 21 (Olive Branch). For more information on upcoming events or outpatient treatment for substance abuse problems, contact our Community Relations team.

 

Sober living homes are nearing completion as the new Oxford Outpatient Office takes shape nearby. The new outpatient campus will open this spring.

 

In New 12-Step Walk, Landscaper Digs Deep for Meaning

12-step-walk-step-1

Paths and patios reflect recovery’s journey, offer therapeutic tool

From the early hours of morning, Bill Hewitt crouched down on his hands and knees, pulling jagged pieces from piles of rubble and fitting them like a puzzle on the forest floor. The owner of a landscaping company in Franklin, Tenn., Hewitt employs more than a dozen people. But this was a job he had to do alone.

“My crew knows how to make things look nice,” he says. “But this project was different. It reflects the brokenness you feel when you finally face your addiction.”

 

Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt

Over the past several months, crews from Hewitt Garden & Design Center have been transforming Oxford Treatment Center’s residential campus and adding new outdoor spaces for therapeutic use. The new 12-Step Walk, a trail of gravel paths and small stone patios, represents the journey of recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Hewitt and his team carved the path through the woods south of the main lodge, taming undergrowth to open up a shaded level spot for each step along the journey. The path circles elements of the center’s ropes course before cresting a hill at Step 5 and descending towards a lushly planted lakeside garden at Step 12.

Hewitt’s team has also added several stone fire pits and small patios to the campus. The additions build upon Oxford Treatment Center’s approach of using its environment as an effective tool in the treatment process. Patients and therapists use outdoor spaces for group and individual therapy sessions, as well as for simple relationship building and personal reflection.

“When someone has been in active addiction to drugs or alcohol, they’ve experienced a disconnection from the world around them and the people who care about them,” said Interim Clinical Director Chip Peterson, M.Ed., LPC. “Learning how to rebuild those connections is an important part of recovery.”

 

At Step 1, that disconnect is laid bare. Rough-cut internet cables with exposed wires jut out from either side of the pieced-together patio.

At the narrow entrance, a spike-shaped rock stained with splatters of red paint blocks the way — disruptive and ugly, like the addiction it represents.

Surrounding the space is a collection of unwanted shrubs and trees. Broken boxwoods and crooked pinetrees, they’ve been picked over for years; customers chose more handsome specimens at Hewitt’s landscape center. The patio floor is a mosaic of rejected sandstone, leftover bricks and old pieces of concrete.

“There’s a lot of meaning in that little patio,” Hewitt says. “The whole thing is made of rejected materials. But at the same time, for me, all those pieces represent the people of the world. Whether you’re a big piece or a little piece, you’ve got your place. You’re important.”

As with each of the 12 steps along the walk, the space is defined by an imposing boulder. For Hewitt, it represents God’s abiding presence at each step.

For Step 1, Hewitt says, he requested from his supplier simply a “big, pretty boulder.” When it was delivered, he couldn’t believe what rolled off the truck: A huge, heart-shaped boulder, with a dark line cutting right across the middle.

“To me, that represents God’s heart,” he says. “It breaks because of your addiction.”

 

Hewitt is not in recovery himself. But taking on this project, he was determined to improve upon the more straightforward 12-step walk installations he’d seen on other campuses.

He spent time studying the AA Big Book and listening to a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. He talked through the project with his wife. He prayed a lot.

“We had a lot of discussion about how to make it meaningful,” Hewitt said. “I’d think about it while making that three-hour drive down to Mississippi on the Natchez Trace. It was a wonderful, peaceful place to think through what it should look like.”

Aside from the first and final steps in the walk, each step is simply marked: a stone patio, a boulder, an inscribed plaque. When it came to capturing Step 12, Hewitt knew exactly the spot to use.

12-step-walk-step-12

 

 

 

“I thought this was the most peaceful place on the whole property,” he says of a tucked-away clearing beside lake. There’s sunlight filtering through the leaves and sparkling off the surface of the water. To that natural setting, Hewitt and his team added a waterfront swing and a sandstone patio furnished with a teak bench and chairs. “It’s meant to be like a little Garden of Eden,” he says.

The plantings are wild, lush and colorful. Hewitt smiles with the knowledge of what it will look like here in spring. The azaleas will be a riot of pink, white, red, purple and yellow. The hydrangeas will be dressed up in their pom-pom petals, while the Japanese maples wear leaves of lace. The hostas and ferns will unfold at their feet in a sea of green.

To the side of the patio lies a pair of massive logs, bench-high and as long as a man is tall. Hewitt had the logs pulled from a burning pile of brush on the other side of the campus, where land was cleared for a new covered riding arena.

The fire scorched the bark from the logs, but didn’t burn the heart. Having gone through the flames, Hewitt says, the logs are now more resistant to rot and will last for years.

As in life, it seems: Sometimes you go through hell to rest in a Garden of Eden.

 

12-step-walk-swing