Zach Gibson came to Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley as a client in 2016. Five years later he’s working as a case manager/chemical dependency counselor assistant at HOPE because he can’t see himself anywhere else.
“I know the impact it had for me and I just wanted to do my best to make that same impact so I chose to stay and to help the next man that comes through,” he said.
Zach battled with drug and alcohol addiction for about 10 years, leading him to what he describes as some dark places including prison and homelessness. He tried secular rehabilitation programs and relocating to a different state to curb his addictions but nothing worked. “Nothing really changed my life until I actually cried out to Jesus and meant the prayer that I prayed to Him,” Zach, 30, said. “He ended up bringing me to Teen Challenge, made a way for me to get here and totally changed my life.”
The difference between the ATCOV program and the other programs Zach tried?
“I think what made the program successful for me and what makes it successful for guys today is the Jesus Factor,” Zach said. “He is the only answer to getting free from addiction or alcoholism. It wasn’t until I put my hope and my belief in something greater than myself that lasting sobriety finally happened.”
Before arriving at ATCOV, Zach told himself he was going to graduate the program no matter what. He wanted it to be one of the few things in his life that he completed. The first day, he wrote on a piece of paper, “Trust the process,” and put it on his dresser, reading it each night before going to sleep and each morning when he awoke. He took that slip of paper with him to his graduation and he still has it today.
A native of Fayetteville, Ark., Zach says he doesn’t even know the person he was before arriving at ATCOV. “I have a different perspective on people and how I think about them first and I just love people,” he said. “I think it all goes back to, before I came here I just couldn’t stand myself.” He learned to accept what he’d been through and love himself and that expanded into loving the people around him.
Now God has given him a beautiful wife, Jennifer, and the couple had their first child, Anna, last December. “She’s just an absolute joy and I am so blessed,” Zach said.