The Road to Recovery

Personal experience and empathy drive passion for overcoming substance abuse at Fort Wayne Recovery and Allendale Treatment.
Nov 6, 2023
Tammy Davis
Jeffrey Crane

“Wow, that was a lot.”

That was Nate Moellering’s last thought before he woke up on the bathroom floor with the door lying in splinters around him. Medics had broken it down, revived him with Narcan, and were preparing to transport him to the hospital.

Just hours later, Moellering was back on the streets buying more heroin from the same dealer, triggering the cycle all over again: Another overdose, another door-smashing rescue, another trip to the hospital. By the end of the day, Moellering had died twice. 

The second time, Moellering met a local police officer named Mark Gerardot. That connection changed everything.

“He asked me to tell him my story and then he listened for more than two hours,” says Moellering. 

He had nothing left to lose and was tired of disappointing people who loved him. After struggling with addiction for nearly 15 years, Moellering took his first step toward lasting recovery when he reluctantly agreed to let Gerardot help.

Today Moellering serves as the executive vice president of Fort Wayne Recovery and of Allendale Treatment. He has been sober since 2017.

“One of the keys to recovery,” says Moellering, “is for everyone to find their purpose.”

For Moellering, that purpose is to help people overcome addiction the way others helped him. There’s no shame, he says, in wanting to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. 

“I realized I can use my story to help someone else turn their life around,” Moellering explains. 

His slide into addiction started when he was in fourth grade. He never felt he fit in and the expectations others had for him felt too big to accomplish. The only way he could control his life was to mess up on purpose. 

He began to experiment with his ADHD medication, then cigarettes and alcohol. Marijuana followed soon after, and by the time he was a sophomore in high school, Moellering smoked weed every day. Football injuries led to three surgeries in high school and those came with prescription opioids. Another surgery in college led to more painkillers and when those became hard to get, he turned to heroin.

“I started doing it every day,” says Moellering, “but I still thought I had it all together.”

When football season rolled around again, Moellering realized he couldn’t stop. Crushing withdrawal symptoms overwhelmed him and he started using again. He failed a drug test and dropped out of school to get healthy, but he found himself in a continuous loop of rehab and relapse.

“I really, really did want to stop,” says Moellering, “but people underestimate the power of addiction.”

By the time Moellering met Gerardot, he had already overdosed several times. He didn’t have a place to live and stole anything he could trade for drugs. 

“You don’t really know what humility is until everything you have is someone else’s,” says Moellering. “I felt lost.”

While Gerardot’s empathy got Moellering’s attention, he also needed discipline, boundaries and accountability. Gerardot called Mickey Ashpole, a friend who ran a treatment center in Florida, where Moellering found what he needed to get clean. It didn’t come easily, though. 

“You may not feel like doing it every day, but you do it anyway,” says Moellering. “Recovery is not for people who want it or people who need it, but for people who do it.” 

Less than nine months after successfully completing the program, Ashpole offered Moellering a job managing Fort Wayne Recovery, an intensive outpatient center he had just opened. It was a leap of faith for both men, and while Moellering acknowledges there were growing pains, he knew he had finally found his place.

Five years later, both Moellering and Fort Wayne Recovery have grown tremendously. Fort Wayne Recovery added a housing option to its outpatient program and expanded to include a partial hospitalization unit. Justin Anderson and Adam Hochberg, who had worked with Ashpole in Florida, joined the business along the way. Empathy drives everything they do.

“We’ve created a program that’s really patient-focused,” says Moellering. “It’s us fighting for them until they can fight for themselves.”

In August of 2020, the team opened a residential detox facility that offers inpatient treatment for substance abuse and mental health. Once detox is complete, each patient leaves with a fully defined plan for aftercare. Often, that includes the outpatient services of Fort Wayne Recovery. 

Driven by his passion to help others out of addiction, Moellering is now a part owner of Fort Wayne Recovery. He has seen his life come full circle. 

“I survived when I should have died,” he says. “It’s hard to overstate the ripples that everyone’s life has. Even the bad things can be used for good.” 

Fort Wayne Recovery
310 E. Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
(833) 762-3739

Allendale Treatment
5419 County Road 427, Auburn, Indiana 46706
(833) 338-6946

Products and Services: Fort Wayne Recovery provides drug and alcohol rehab services to assist clients’ integration into living full and productive lives. Services include intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and sober living housing, with a focus on building strong support networks, finding and maintaining gainful employment, learning to manage symptoms and medications, and promoting strong life skills.

Allendale Treatment provides individualized treatment to those struggling with addiction and/or mental health disorders. Services include medical detox, inpatient addiction treatment, mental health treatment, and no-cost intervention services.

IMG Insurance Management Group

Related Stories