Jason arrived at Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley after struggling with alcoholism for more than 20 years.
He was “always drowning out my emotions and my feelings with alcohol,” he said.
He’s been to prison more than once and in jail more than 30 times. The last time he was in jail, a woman approached him and told him about ATCOV.
“I said, ‘That’s cool. I’ll go. I need something to change in my life,’” Jason said.
The Dover, Ohio, native made the call and arranged to enter the program.
Jason, 43, will graduate in Sept 2023.
“Once I got here, it was perfect,” he said. Bible study combined with work with HOPE Counseling helped him deal with the anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that had plagued him for much of his life.
It was helpful to learn about Jesus Christ and also to learn about mental health and the reasons he chased after drugs and alcohol. “It was just everything was just perfect,” Jason said.
He suffered a lot of childhood trauma and used drugs and alcohol to suppress rather than address the feelings that trauma aroused.
“I never wanted to sit down with a counselor and talk about all the things that happened to me as a child, all the things that happened to me as a young adult and all the times I’ve been to prison and what was entailed there,” Jason said. But he learned that the only way to get better is to deal with it rather than bury it.
Jason started drinking when he was 9, becoming an alcoholic at 17. It started when Jason would visit a family member’s house. The adults would all be drinking and smoking marijuana and the kids would drink too.
Now Jason says he still has some down days, but his up days far outnumber the down ones. “I’m going to stay on as an intern when I graduate so I’m looking forward to helping other people overcome their issues and so I’m looking forward to that and it makes me happy that they’re going to afford me the chance to work here at Teen Challenge,” he said.
Jason hopes to pursue ministry work and plans to get his Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant certification. “A couple times, I know that God tried to call me and I tried to come into a relationship with God,” he said.
But before coming to ATCOV, he never felt safe to make himself vulnerable and to work through all of the issues he’d been avoiding since childhood. Today, he has a wonderful relationship with God. He writes sermons and studies the Bible about three hours a day. “I dig in, I definitely dig in,” Jason said. He gives a lot of credit to ATCOV staff.
“They really love from a pure heart and they’re just awesome,” Jason said. “There’s just so much to be said about the staff that work here at Adult & Teen Challenge. If it wouldn’t have been for Adult & Teen Challenge and the staff here, I wouldn’t be here today.”