Battling Alcoholism? Steve Agler Understands. ‘There is hope’

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Steve Agler Cutline No. 1Linda and Steve Agler There was a time in Steve Agler’s life where everything fell out of place.

A volcanic divorce, damaged wrist bones, drinking two fifths of vodka daily that made him too inebriated to treat his patients in a once successful chiropractic practice resulted in Agler’s downhill spiral. He eventually found himself homeless and eating out of dumpsters.

That was the former Steve Agler.

Now, Agler’s a new creature in Christ. He’s sober. Married 16 years to his wife, Linda. In May 2017, he graduated with a masters in pastoral counseling at Calvin Theological Seminary, and is a peer recovery mentor and case manger at Sacred Heart Rehabilitation in Benton Harbor, and a Marketplace chaplain for Gordon Foods Service.

Saw the light

Hope and mentoring turned his life around.

“There’s hope found in Jesus Christ, hope in the body of Christ,” said Agler, 62. “There’s a reason they call alcohol spirits. I’m a firm believer in spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is when we’re trapped in the addictions, our minds are clouded and we can’t see the light.”

The future burned bright earlier in Agler’s life.

God, he said, had blessed him with a keen sense to grasp academics. He earned a master’s in chemistry and a doctor of chiropractic.

He found success as a chiropractor.

‘I am your God’

“I had one the largest practices in the state of Michigan, rated second per population making six figures income,” said Agler, who whose chiropractic offices included locations in Dowagiac and Niles.

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What happened?

“Because of alcohol addiction, I lost literally everything worldly, physically and spiritually,” he said.

This doesn’t mean Agler and God didn’t intersect before he accepted Christ.

The first time the Holy Spirit spoke to him was while dissecting a cadaver. While looking into a skull, or cranial vault, he heard, “I am your God.”

“I was a strict evolutionist scientist,” recalled Agler. “I’m looking into the human brain and I heard, ‘I am your God.’ Within seconds at that moment, all the science I had learned, I came to the conclusion God created man.”

Still, becoming a Christian wasn’t immediately on Agler’s spiritual radar.

“I kept moving forward and God wasn’t in the picture,” he said.

Life seesawed for Agler. In his 50s, he was earning a good living but alcoholism, the lost use of his hands that needed titanium wrist replacements, and loss of his income and home all took a toll.

“I lost my identity,” he said.

‘They pulled me in and prayed’

Agler’s wife of 16 years, Linda, and some friends drove him to Mel Trotter Ministries. It was there the staff at Mel Trotter and Madison Square Church worked in tandem to mentor Agler. The church also provided Agler with recommendations and help with classes at Calvin Theological Seminary. As an intern, Agler served as a commissioned pastor at Celebration Fellowship Church at Ionia State Prison.

“They pulled me in and prayed over me and I received Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in a very powerful way,” Agler said of his early days at Mel Trotter. “Like the road to Damascus, I was healed but I didn’t know how to live life.

“I was a five year old in a 53 year old body. People at Madison Square Church understood it takes a congregation to raise a child and that was what I was. I had meetings with Pastor Dave (Beelen) weekly and learned how to live a Christian life, a life like Jesus Christ living in the Kingdom here and now.”

To those who are battling alcoholism or other addictions, Agler urges them to reach out to mature Christians like the ones who befriended him at Mel Trotter and Madison Square Church.

“There will come times of sobriety when we’ll reach out and the one with His hands reaching out is Jesus Christ,” said Agler. “There is hope in that tremendous amount of resources of people who want to help. We have to humble ourselves just like I did. Recovery happens in community and that community is Jesus Christ and the people.”


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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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