Jacob is working as an intern in janitorial and environmental services while helping with outreach at Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley after returning through its six-month restoration offering.
Restoration allows people who have completed and graduated from the year-long program to return if they need more help. “You come back into the program and instead of doing a whole year, people that have graduated do a restoration where it’s a six-month program,” Jacob explained. He originally went through ATCOV’s year-long program from 2016 to 2017.
“It’s going really good,” Jacob said. “I love working with the clients and being involved in their everyday lives and just sharing the love of God with them.” He believes the restoration program has been effective for him because, for the first time in his life, he’s learned to live for others instead of himself. “I surrendered and realized how much God loved me and that what he was asking me to do was for my best,” Jacob said. “I know that he’s good and that he loves me and it was easier this time to do what he was asking me to do.”
Jacob’s internship is two six-month phases and he’s in the early part of the first. He came to ATCOV after a nurse at the hospital where he was transported after a drug overdose showed him some tough love. The nurse lost two sons to drug abuse and warned Jacob that he would die too if he didn’t get help for his addiction. When he was discharged from the hospital, the nurse gave Jacob a hug. “I broke down crying, deep sobbing and God was there in that room and I knew it was time for me to go get help,” Jacob said.
A few days later, he contacted friends who still work at ATCOV and he was admitted into the restoration program. Jacob started using drugs when he was 15. He started with alcohol and marijuana before moving on to painkillers and cocaine and finally heroin and methamphetamine. “I think I just lost sight of my identity and who I was and I lost sight of my value in myself,” he said. He sought value and acceptance through drugs and alcohol.
Jacob attributes his return to drugs after graduating from ATCOV in 2017 to complacency in both his recovery and his walk with God. “I didn’t really go forward in learning how to create a life in recovery and I isolated and didn’t develop hobbies,” he said. This time, he put himself more out there with others in recovery, with a sponsor and with his mentors. He’s also gotten more involved in the things he likes to do like working out, reading, spending time with family and friends, watching sports and playing ping pong.
If he hadn’t returned to ATCOV, Jacob believes he’d either be dead or in prison. Before he got help, his relationships were disconnected, shallow and chaotic. It’s much different now. “They’re fulfilling,” Jacob said. “I now have meaningful relationships in my life.” God is the center of that. “That is the biggest role of my life is keeping a continuous relationship with God,” he said. “It is the foundation to my entire life and just remaining connected to Him and to other Godly people God’s put in my life.”