Justin Covan, 33, has come a long way since he first walked through the doors of Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley about seven years ago. He entered as a client, staying on as an intern and then a staff member, now working in admissions.
Since then, he’s realized profound changes and blessings both professionally and personally. He recently earned his Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant certification.
He and his wife, Rachel, married more than a year ago and they’re expecting a baby girl in September. The young family just moved into their first house. And it all started with ATCOV where he established a relationship with God.
“It was definitely the biggest turning point in my life,” Justin said. “I was finally able to surrender my life over to God and let him take the reins and learn how to trust him with my life and not take matters into my own hands.”
Justin also was able to start to deal with the baggage from his life. He figured out that it was the reason he had gravitated toward drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and trauma from his past.
“With the CDCA, I will be able to be more involved with our counseling department to help out more in that capacity,” Justin said. It will better position him to help others battle their addictions and be successful in life — something that he loves to do.
“I’ve seen how awesome the other side of life can be so I definitely have a heart to help people in any way I can, even if it’s just in the smallest way to get to the place that I’m at and then some,” he said.
Justin believes his experience with addiction and as an ATCOV client makes him relatable to new clients coming into the facility. “It helps them be more relaxed and open with me,” he said. “I experience that now. People hear my testimony and they’re like, ‘Wow, you get it.’” That opens the door for more profound ministry opportunities, Justin said. He’s also able to empathize.
Working in admissions, he’s the first face from ATCOV that some clients see and he often hears from them that if other staff members are as friendly and compassionate as Justin is, that they’re in the right place.
“I would say it is the compassion that helps me be like that because sometimes people can be difficult when they’re first coming in because they’re really in the thick of everything…,” Justin said. “So having that compassion helps remind me that, hey, they’re hurting right now…so I need to be that person, that light into their life that can really help them transition into the program.”