Justin Covan, 31, is the admissions coordinator and educator coordinator at Adult & Teen Challenge of Ohio Valley. It’s a job where he’s able to help people, counsel them and help educate them about the word of God. He loves it. But Justin traveled a long, bumpy road to get here.
Justin came to the agency about five years ago after struggling for 12 years with drugs. He was on multiple psychiatric medications and tried various other drugs. He did multiple jail stints, suffered abuse from his father, was admitted to psychiatric wards and visited myriad rehabilitation facilities. Ultimately, he got caught breaking a window at his grandmother’s house to get money to support his addiction and found himself in jail, charged with burglary. The judge planned to sentence him to three years in prison.
“In desperation, I reached out to Jesus for the first time in my life,” Justin said. “He definitely responded. That ended up leading to God opening up a door for me to come to Adult & Teen Challenge. The judge ended up doing a 180, from ‘you’re going to jail for three years’ to ‘I’ll let you go to Adult & Teen Challenge.’”
At first, the program was grueling. About two months in, things began to shift, however. “I started to just hit my knees and pray, lay on my face in Chapel and pray, read my Word,” Justin said.
God transformed Justin from the inside out, starting with helping him forgive his parents and forgive himself. A PTSD diagnosis finally allowed Justin to begin dealing with his past trauma. “I felt called to stay” at ATCOV, Justin relayed. “I really felt like God was speaking to me pretty clearly about that.”
ATCOV gave him a chance and Justin became an asset to the organization. “I knew that I had a heart for ministry,” he said. “It’s like a family here. I’ve worked in many other places but nowhere like this. I mean, these people, they’re not just my coworkers. They’re my friends. They’re my brothers. They’re my sisters.”
He also liked what ATCOV was doing for the community. “If God could help me out through this program then he could other people and I wanted to be a part of that,” Justin said. Since arriving at ATCOV, Justin got his driver’s license and bought a car—both firsts for him. He’s engaged and he and his fiancé will marry in November.
“I have peace of mind. I can wake up each day and not have to worry about the day. I can wake up and know that it’s another day serving God. I always say that my worst day now is better than my best day then.”