West Hollywood Council member John Duran was the bearer of sad news last night, when he announced on his Facebook Timeline the passing of Justin Wells, the co-founcer and CEO for Westwind Recovery Treatment Centers and Sober Livings in Los Angeles. Duran was his longtime attorney and friend.
“WEHOANS. Sad news,” Duran wrote. “The passing of Justin Wells- long time member of our recovery community. This is heart breaking. Craig Charles Sargeant and I were his attorneys for many years and we became close. He is survived by his husband Zack Ament his father, mother, sister and a baby boy on the way who will be named Justin. All our love to all of them. Arrangements are pending for December 7th. RIP my young warrior. We love you eternally.”
The members from the recovery community took to social media to express their sadness with tearful emojis, broken hearts and messages of condolences for the husband he left behind, the son he never got to meet and his family, and friends who are devastated by this loss.
“Terribly sad,” wrote West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “For Zack Ament and all of us.”
“So incredibly sad to hear this, posted Craig Charles Sargeant. “Such a bright light. Sharp as a tack and a genuinely good soul. I will miss his smile. My heart sinks for his entire family.”
“This is a huge loss for our community and its heart breaking,” Christina Mercado Simos who works at La Fuente Recovery Treatment Center. “Incredibly saddened by these news.”
“He was one of a kind and such such a kind generous man – was very good to me when I was in need and I am so saddened by this,” Ricardo Ferrise posted. “I am so sad for ZACK – this is just shocking and awful.”
“I can’t deal with this. I literally just can’t right now,” wrote Chris Lynn, “I need my higher power more than anything in this world right now. Please keep Zack Ament and Justin Wells family in your prayers everyone. I just got the news that Justin had passed away and I couldn’t be anymore beaten down, my heart hurts so bad right now. I can’t keep watching people who I love and care about be taken by the disease of addiction.. I just can’t. I love you so much Zack and I’m always here for you…”
Wells and Ament recently celebrated a two-year wedding anniversary on November 11. Ament posted a charming photo of the two having dinner the night before Wells was set to have a discectomy.
“Today, I’ve been married to Justin for two years ❤️,” Ament posted. Tomorrow, Justin goes in for a discectomy 🔪. Is there any better way to celebrate an anniversary on the eve of back surgery than a Netflix-and-chill-with-room-service-all-night staycation?!? Life keeps happening: bring it on!!! ⭐️ 🐦 🐦 (stone emoji)”
Justin Wells founded Westwind Recovery residences with Ament, and Justin White in 2014. He grew up on the east coast and attended the University of Vermont. He moved to California in 2004 and he formed Westwind after numerous attempts at getting sober. After getting clean, Justin lived at a sober living home where he become the house manager. In 2012 he and Ament decided to create more sober spaces to promote clean and healthy living. As the landscape of recovery was changing, he decided to expand safe and sober spaces for clients. He collaborated with more partners to open up Westwind’s inpatient and outpatient centers.
According to a source, Ament found his husband’s body yesterday morning. The details of his death have not yet been released.
Wells was part of a group of young sober men who are very active in the recovery community, promoting fun and friendship in gay sobriety. Our condolences to everyone who knew him and to those who are hurting by this sudden loss.