A ministry leader says a car crash helped him discover his life's purpose, ministering at the same place that helped him recover from addictions.

Steven Keesic, once an addict, graduated from the Adult & Teen Challenge program in 2007. He is now the ministry manager for ATC in Southern Manitoba, based out of Winkler.

"I was almost done with my first University degree and my life had really taken a turn for the worse. That's when my addiction took over and got out of control."

Keesic realized he needed help.  

"I was mad at the church and I was mad at God. I walked away and tried all these other things but this led me to a broken state. I couldn't function, my life was very chaotic," he says.

After trying a few other methods to quit his addiction without success, Keesic found hope at Adult & Teen Challenge. 

"That's where I met Jesus for the first time in my life. I realized He was real, He did have a plan for me. Through the love I received from the staff, who saw potential in me and spoke life into me, I suddenly became aware that God had a purpose for me."

Finishing the Program with Hope to Continue His Studies

After initially graduating from the program, Keesic stayed and became intake staff at ATC for two and a half years. 

"I would go to court for guys and help them get into the program, and with the admissions phase."

During this time Keesic finished his first University degree by correspondence. 

"Then I ultimately went to law school. I practised law as a lawyer for about five years. In 2016, the tank had run dry. I invested too much into work," he says.

Keesic stopped seeing his counsellor and his Bible started to collect dust. That's when he got into a bad car accident and things changed again. 

"I almost died in that accident. Two days after my coach said, 'The Lord told me, He said Steve, whosoever cannot give up everything for My namesake cannot be My disciple'."

While this was hard news for him to hear, Keesic left his practice to work at Adult and Teen Challenge out of Winkler.

"I knew God wanted me to serve Him. I made a decision to retire and through it all God has been really awesome."

He still uses his law degree while working at ATC, just in a different fashion. Keesic will share advice and his law experience or put students in touch with lawyers. 

"Our life is our ministry and it doesn't matter where you're at, a teacher or pumping gas. We need to live it day and night."

Keesic says for him, structure is freedom. Keeping in connection with the community ATC has created as well as staying in God's word are the foundation for his continued success to stay away from addiction. 

Now Working at Adult & Teen Challenge

"I went into full-time development and building our organization. I founded our men's groups, our women's life-lines groups, our concerned person's groups which are offered to families of people who are struggling."

Keesic shares how often when people call him for help in addictions, he's the last call. Addicts may have tried everything else, even gone to jail, and are now looking to get help through ATC.

"Addictions affect every congregation and denomination," he says for those who think this problem may not affect them.

Keesic has also been raising funds for a new Super Thrift Store in Winkler. The target was $250,000 to build it and ATC is now only $15,000 away from completing this goal.

"All the dollars and funding is really going to get us to a place where we can help people. Today we have 44 guys in the program. It's growing like crazy."

COVID-19 has increased addictions for many people, with isolation driving them towards their vice. 

"The only answer to addiction comes from Jesus," says Keesic, from personal experience.

The organization offers hope through a relationship with Jesus Christ, not only to addicts but their families as well.