Greg Dicioccio, 32, who’s been working in direct client care at Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley for two years, arrived at the agency as a client three years ago after leaving an ATC program in Pennsylvania early. He relapsed, but the Pennsylvania program wouldn’t let him come back. That branch instead referred him to Ohio.
The first time he entered the program, he did it because his parents were forcing him and he had nowhere else to go. “But the second time, I came in myself,” Greg said. “No one was pushing him. I just really, really, really had had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore.” He was depressed, lonely and knew he needed help.
His addiction started as a teenager, experimenting with marijuana and tobacco before moving on to pills and ultimately heroin and crack cocaine. He struggled for more than 10 years. Greg estimates that he tried to get clean about 20 different times in various treatment programs before he found ATCOV and what worked. “This last time I said, ‘I’m just tired of doing this. I’m tired of being a nobody. I’m tired of being a loser. I’m so alone and depressed. I can’t do it anymore. I want to change my life.’”
God is what worked for Greg. “I just felt such a calling on my life from God in the spiritual sense,” he said. “I just love that atmosphere of having church and chapel and being engulfed in that. That’s what saved me.”
After completing the program, Greg decided to stay on and work at ATCOV because he saw a lot of opportunities there. “I felt that God had put me in Ohio for a reason and when I was in the program I got my GED and planned on going to college to pursue my dreams of working in the medical field,” the New Jersey native said. Greg is enrolled in college in Youngstown, pursuing a nursing career while he works at ATCOV.
“God just saw fit to make all that stuff happen for me and it was just like, why would I leave? It’s so good here,” he said. He loves his job and the fact that he sees men come into the program like he was, broken and distraught and he’s able to help them. “I just love to see the turnaround,” Greg said. “I love to see guys that come in — and I was just like that, completely broken, completely lost — and literally, within one year, see lives totally transformed and changed and to have a purpose in that, helping guide these young men in the right direction because I’ve been there.” He finds it fulfilling. “It’s the purpose,” he said. “You literally can’t put a price on it.”