James, 34, came to Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley last October and will graduate in October 2022. His struggles with alcohol, starting when he was 21, led him to seek help from the organization.
“I caught a third DUI and then I came here before anything happened — before I went to court, before any of that. I came here just because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” James said. He went to detox and then his father told James about ATCOV after learning about it in church.
“I knew about Jesus and a relationship with God, but I never really had a solid relationship,” he said. “Here, along the way, I’m developing that and sort of finding myself along the way. He experienced culture shock at first. But he learned to trust the process. “It really just clicks,” James said.
After graduating from the program, he hopes to stay at ATCOV as an intern while he learns a trade at Flying High Inc. He wants to learn to weld. He credits the program for his brighter future. “Once you surrender, it works,” James said. “There’s nothing you can’t do. It is basically limitless.” That involved giving it all to God and realizing that he can’t do it all himself. He needed to recognize that “I need help and not all of that help is going to come from another person,” James explained. His life has shifted dramatically since entering ATCOV.
A year ago he was misusing his sleep medication, taking more than prescribed and drinking close to a gallon of alcohol each day. “I was just in a very lonely place,” he said. “Now, when you know you have that support system that’s other-worldly, it’s like your mind is blown. You’re refreshed.”
His family relationships have also improved since he’s been at ATCOV. His father trusts him more and his mother for years urged James to stop drinking, concerned about his health. He feels better too. “The side that my liver was on, I could barely lay on it and now, I can run a mile without thinking,” James said.
It wasn’t an immediate change though. For the first couple of months, James worried it wasn’t the right program for him and thought about leaving. He’s glad he didn’t and encourages others to stick it out and see it through as he’s doing. “Something happens to you,” he said. “It’s like being born again.”