Joshua will graduate in October 2023 from Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley’s year-long program. He’s been accepted into a sober living and rehabilitation program where he’ll work with others who have had similar issues. He’ll also connect with his home church. But it was a long road.
“I had been on a journey of recovery for the last seven years, in and out of rehabs, and continuously relapsing,” Josh, originally from Louisville, Ohio, said.
His alcohol and drug addiction started when Josh was in his mid-20s when he was in college and living with others who partied a lot.
Just before coming to ATCOV, he had entered a year-long faith-based rehab in the Akron area but got kicked out for relapsing. He found himself in an Akron homeless shelter.
“I was rather hopeless at that point, feeling like, maybe I just can’t get this,” he said. “I decided to make one last phone call and everybody shut the door or just didn’t get back and Teen Challenge said, ‘Well, can you get here today?’”
Josh arrived at ATCOV within the hour. It wasn’t his first visit. In 2020, Josh enrolled in the program but stayed only 45 days. “I was dead set on not staying longer than that first phase,” he said of his first time. “Although I will say that when I was here then, I had a feeling of that still, small voice saying, ‘Stay.’” But he was still scared, still running from himself and he left the program.
This time, he knew he’d stay for the whole year. He knew if he didn’t he would be repeating what he had always done. Also this time, Josh was open to the advice from his counselors.
At his worst, Josh couldn’t hold a job or maintain relationships. “I was at the point before I tried going to rehab where I was living in an abandoned building. This is a guy who has two master’s degrees, but I can’t do anything because I’m just so blacked out. I would black out for weeks.”
He remembers being at a detox center and looking out the window at the psychiatric hospital across the street. He thought either that or death would be his best options. He felt like he couldn’t stop.
Josh grew up hearing other people talk about the peace, love and joy of knowing Christ. “It never resonated with me and I thought maybe it never would,” Josh said. “Now I can truly say that I’ve experienced all of those things.”
He knows all of those people were telling him the truth, he just wasn’t ready to put in the work to build a relationship with Christ. “That’s what Teen Challenge gave me,” Josh said. “They gave me the time, they gave me the platform to do just that with the people who come in constantly and pour into us.”
Previously a detached person where love and familial ties were concerned, Josh now views God as his father and Christ as his savior. “Now I feel that He’s truly there — that He does have me every single day, every single moment.”