As a case manager at HOPE Counseling & Addiction Services, Dan Fowler, 32, helps others on their road to recovery from addiction. It’s a journey he took himself. Along the way he developed a relationship with God. “His grace and his mercy are abundant in my life,” Dan said. “If it wasn’t for God’s grace and mercy, I wouldn’t be here right now, there’s no doubt about it.”
In August 2013, Dan entered Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley and he wasn’t happy about it. He began using narcotics after a high school football injury. After graduating, he became addicted. He suffered seizures. One day on the way to buy drugs, he had a seizure, fell on his face and woke up to see his front teeth on the ground in a puddle of blood.
His family found ATCOV and persuaded him to go. “My mom told me she would rather see me less often in Youngstown than see me in a coffin,” said Dan, a Cleveland native. “With the situation, all the doors were closed, all the bridges were burned and that was probably one of the best gifts I received in life was that tough love.”
He completed the program, but his heart wasn’t in it. He had a victim mentality and it wasn’t long before he was back to his old lifestyle. About six months later, Dan called his roommate from ATCOV who drove to pick him up from a hotel in Cleveland and bring Dan back to ATCOV. “I didn’t get berated or scolded—they took me back with open arms,” Dan said.
This time, Dan’s resistance was gone and his attitude changed. He viewed ATCOV as a blessing, not a punishment. He completed the program. Part of that success was submitting to God. Growing up, Dan attended a Christian elementary school and even won competitions for reciting Bible verses, but his relationship with God was on the surface. “I was more a fan than a follower,” he said. That shifted when God was all he had left. He began to see that God stood by him through all of his problems and difficulties. His whole life changed.
Upon completing the ATCOV program, Dan became a staff member. When HOPE Counseling & Addiction Services opened, Pastor Bob Pavlich, ATCOV’s CEO, offered him a position there. Dan earned his license as a chemical dependency counselor assistant and is pursuing his licensed chemical dependency counselor certification. He works with people in the program, offering guidance to steer them away from the mistakes he made.
He met a wonderful woman in church and they married in August 2020. If he hadn’t come to ATCOV, none of that would have happened, Dan says. He’d likely be working a dead-end job. He never would have met his wife. He wouldn’t have a network of close friends and his relationship with God would be shallow. “God is the most faithful person I’ve ever had in my life,” Dan said. “I still definitely fail on a daily basis in different ways, but His love never fails me.”