Kris Bratton still remembers the pleading in his parents' voices when they woke him up early one Saturday morning last month.
"Kris, you need help. We don't want to force you. It's your choice."
Bratton rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and tried to make sense of what he was hearing. Then he sighed, defeated.
"Yeah. I'll go. I know I have a problem."
That was the day the 16-year-old heroin addict packed his bags and headed to Justin's Lighthouse and Leadership Academy " a decision that changed his life.
"My addiction was getting way too outrageous. Too many people were noticing it, and I was having legal problems," Bratton said. "I was overdosing and everything else."
Bratton realized that in his position, he only had three options: jail, death or recovery.
"And I'd already been to jail," Bratton said.
The Oklahoma City-based leadership academy is a therapeutic community program that strives to enhance and improve the quality of everyday life for teenage males dealing with any number of behavioral patterns.
"We deal with adolescents not only with drug abuse, but with other kinds of behaviors and trauma and crises," said Winston Lewis, the program's community outreach director and co-founder. "Pretty much anything that brings conflict in the family and results in school dropout, parent-teen conflict, substance abuse, anger management and things like that.
"We realized these hospital-based treatment programs weren't working, and we wanted to try something different," he said. "Lauren Parajon