When Jaime Coy (’17) hit the lowest point of his life, God used the seeds planted in his hardship to grow him into a counselor, so Coy could use what he’s learned to positively influence others who have had similar experiences.
Coy was a member of the first class to complete the graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC). He will walk the stage with his peers at commencement in December.
Coy first studied at Tech for a degree in history with a minor in sociology. He wanted to be a teacher initially, but realized soon that it wasn’t his gift. He tried and applied for a number of things, but couldn’t seem to find a long-term fit.
When Coy decided to go back to school, he was working for the city of Lubbock, so he needed something online. When he searched LCU, he was instantly drawn to the CMHC program online. Before he knew it, he was enrolled.
“I knew that’s what God wanted me to do, without a doubt. Never in a million years did I think I was going to be a counselor. Never in a million years did I think I’d be where I am today,” said Coy. “But here I am.”
Coy had been hired by the city in 2003. He was promoted in 2007, but ended up getting suspended and demoted in 2011 after his choices interfered with his work. In 2013, he began treatment for alcohol addiction.
“It was a huge turning point for me,” he said. “Instead of being mad at the world, I started understanding that my life wasn’t the hand I was dealt, it was the hand I’d created.”
A year after beginning treatment, he got a promotion, giving him a second chance at his job. Shortly after that, he made the commitment to return to school.
Since, Coy has completed a degree at LCU, will walk at graduation in December, is married with five kids of varying ages, and has a job with the treatment center he visited, The Ranch at Dovetree.
Coy is over four years sober, living life of life’s terms.
His decision to seek help changed his life.
One major change: he married his wife, both bringing kids from previous relationships to the altar. “Our family is chaotic. Our family is crazy. Our family doesn’t adhere to others’ expectations – we’re very unique. We embrace that, because we know God made each of us different.”
Coy was married for five months before another big change: he began the CMHC program at LCU. His wife was immensely supportive as Coy pursued his graduate degree, though she’s also held him accountable. The kids too encouraged and supported him. However, Coy thinks everyone in his family was ready for him to graduate.
As he began his education at LCU, he felt God affirming the changes in his life.
“It seems like with every class I took,” he said, “I got something out of it that I didn’t expect. Something was always revealed to me. In the times that I felt I couldn’t go on with the program, I felt God’s hand encouraging me to go on and trust Him.”
Coy experienced available and accessible professors in his three years. He feels he has grown academically, professionally, and personally, and credits his professors with much of that.
He also forged valuable and lasting relationships with the other members of his class, even in an online setting. They got to know each other through discussion boards, group projects, and residencies. He relies on them, and feels he can call them up if he ever needs them. “The online part didn’t feel online,” he said.
But Coy recalls there were hard moments too, including his toughest class: statistics. The only way he got through it and his other difficult classes was with God. Not so different, in fact, from the way he’d learned to get through life.
“When I didn’t know what I was doing, He did something for me that I couldn’t do for myself,” Coy explained. “Had God not intervened in my addiction, I would have never learned—I’d still be living that hell.”
And Coy has learned a lot from the changes in his life and from the three years he’s spent studying through LCU.
Coy initially wanted to be a Christian counselor, but has come to realize that he wants to treat counseling as a ministry to anyone who seeks support.
“I hope to plant seeds,” Coy said about his future. “The staff that helped me didn’t force anything on me; they didn’t make me do anything. They just planted seeds and loved on me. That level of acceptance, not judgment, that I felt… It was an extension of God. And that’s what I hope to do.”