‘Thank You for Giving Me My Daddy Back’

Addiction-recovery director seeks to ‘make a difference’ for families

A few years ago, Terry Fowler was preaching one day a month at Home with a Heart in Liberty, S.C., a substance- and alcohol-abuse recovery center for men. One of the residents invited Fowler to come to his graduation ceremony at the conclusion of his time there. After the ceremony, a 6-year-old girl came up to Fowler, wrapped her arms around his legs and said, “Thank you for giving me my daddy back.”

Fowler has never forgotten that moment, and now, as the recently appointed director of the Good Samaritan Colony in Chesterfield County, he hopes to be a part of “giving wives their husbands back, giving children their fathers back, and giving parents their sons back.”

He was a pastor for 32 years — serving churches in Easley, Pickens, North Greenville and Chester. Now, at age 57, his ministry is moving in a new direction, one in which he hopes to “make a difference in people’s lives.”

At an open house celebrating the reopening of Good Samaritan Colony in Ruby, S.C., visitors donated household supplies in an old-fashioned pounding.

Good Samaritan Colony was founded in the town of Ruby in 1978 by a group of Baptist pastors as a ministry to recovering alcoholics. When Fowler heard the Colony was looking for a director, he applied for the position. Part of his motivation, in addition to his prior experience at Home with a Heart, was a sense of gratitude to God for having seen his wife, Terri, overcome an addiction to painkillers. (Her doctor prescribed the narcotics for her migraine headaches, which would sometimes last up to 10 weeks.)

“She never took anything more than what was prescribed, but she became addicted, and she realized that and checked herself into treatment,” Fowler said. After her recovery, she completed her bachelor’s degree and then earned a master’s degree in counseling from Clemson University. Today she is an addiction counselor and is helping her husband in his new place of service.

“We’re really a team,” said Fowler. “It’s sort of unique. I understand what the families go through, and she understands where the clients are.”

Good Samaritan Colony can house up to 16 residents at a time. The current facility, located on 65 acres of land, is about 20 years old and was closed recently for renovations. Fowler, who has experience in construction and cabinet-making, spent 60- and 70-hour weeks over the last two months helping finish the work.

The approach to addiction recovery at Good Samaritan Colony centers around the redemptive power of the gospel. Residents can stay at no cost for a year (or longer if necessary), where they engage in group therapy, Bible study and manual labor at the on-campus farm or at one of the center’s work facilities — a machine shop and cabinet shop.

“We want to teach them life skills,” Fowler said. “While our goal is to introduce them to the Lord Jesus Christ, we also want to set them up for success. We don’t want guys graduating from here after a year and going right back to where they came from.”

Fourteen years ago, Fowler and his wife traveled to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., where they received training in the 12-step, Christ-centered Celebrate Recovery program designed to help people struggling with hurt, pain or addiction. Fowler plans to incorporate the Celebrate Recovery methodology in helping residents at Good Samaritan Colony find freedom from the pain and addictions that control their lives.

Good Samaritan Colony is led by a board of directors and receives financial support from local churches, including about 40 churches in Chesterfield Baptist Association.

Fowler’s specific prayer requests right now are for a volunteer to help with the ministry’s website and social media presence, pastors who are willing to commit to preaching once a month, a van for transporting residents, and a new high-capacity furnace.

For more information, visit GSColony.org.

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