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He was Shy and Didn’t Feel Good Enough

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“Before Daniel could kill himself, we had to intervene.” Doug Hugill and his wife, Kim, had to make a heart wrenching decision - to turn their son, Dan, over to bounty hunters. “It's terribly hard. Terribly difficult to make a decision where someone you love so much and you're going to be the one that that tells on him and eventually gets him sent to prison. Words can't describe the depth of how broken your heart is.”

The oldest of four, Dan adored his parents, especially his dad, a high school physics teacher and cross-country coach. “He and I were really close,” Doug recalled. “We fished together; we went to do outdoors together.”

“My dad was my hero when I was a kid,” said Dan “It's not that my dad ever did anything to make me feel unaccepted. I just think he was a lot to live up to and I was really shy.” While Dan’s parents took their family to church and taught them about a loving God, Dan didn’t see it that way. “He was a disciplinarian.I didn't feel like I was good enough.”

At thirteen, Dan found that drinking made the pressure of not measuring up disappear. “It made me feel strong,” he remembers. “It made the shyness go away. It hid the whole part of me that didn't feel like I was good enough. I found a path of less resistance where I felt accepted.”

By the time Dan was a sophomore in high school, he had a fake ID and was drinking every day. Then, a buddy got him hooked on meth. “It almost felt like Popeye, you know, when Popeye eats the spinach,” Dan recalled. “It made me feel like I was sober and I was powerful. And so, I had the liquid courage of the alcohol, but then this euphoric burst of energy from the meth. People kind of thought I was crazy because I'd fight a lot. I liked how this makes me feel. I liked the respect that comes with it.”

A short time later, he was kicked out of the high school where his dad taught and coached. Doug wasn’t sure what to do. “It was embarrassing, and it was hard. I was afraid of him at times. I would talk to Daniel sometimes and I wasn't talking to the same Daniel. One night, he threatened to kill me, and it was tough 'cause that's not the Daniel I knew.”

Dan started selling drugs to support his meth habit and working as a bouncer in a bar. Before long, he was feared as an enforcer for drug dealers. Watching helplessly as their son destroyed his life, his family prayed. "He left us bankrupt in more ways than one,” said Doug. “They had an altar call every week, and I would go forward and say, ‘Lord, I'm praying Your Word back to you because we need a miracle here.’”

Dan knew he was in rebellion. “They were trying to help me. I just would not listen. I didn't want to hear it. I was violent; I was aggressive.” By the time Dan was twenty-nine, he was a fugitive from the law, considered armed and dangerous. His face was all over the local news. It was then his parents decided to tell authorities where they could find their son. Dan was arrested and convicted on drug charges.

While awaiting sentencing, he found himself reaching for a Bible. "It was a desperation moment, and I didn't know where to turn. I was just like, ‘God, talk to me.’ When my finger hit the verse, it was Psalms 18. This psalm hit me so hard. Seeing what God did for King David in that, that broke me. I was like, 'Are you good? Can you please help me?' Because I didn't feel good enough. It says you're good and I've been so bad and I don't know what to do and I need you. Are you willing to take me back?’” Dan says he rededicated his life to God that day. “After that I was repulsed by drugs. I don't want to touch alcohol. I don't want to touch meth. I want nothing to do with it.”

At sentencing, Dan was given twelve years. Immediately after arriving in prison, he went to a church service where he professed his faith in Christ and was baptized. He said when he returned to his cell, God was there. "I smelled rain. And I was just like, ‘What is going on?’ I felt the presence, the Holy Spirit literally sitting next to me on my bunk. And I remember Him just like speaking to my spirit. He's just like, 'I'm with you. I'm gonna be with you. It's okay.' And I found calm and I found comfort in that.”

Now, facing over a decade behind bars, Dan pleaded with God for an early release. Then, just over a year into his sentence, he changed those prayers. "I was like, ‘You know what, God, I trust You. If I need to be in prison for these next multiple years, I know this is where You want me to be. I am turning my will over to You.”’

Two months later, his sentence was overturned and Dan walked out of prison a free man. His dad saw the change immediately. “That was amazing because he comes out, gives me a big hug, and he's the Dan that you see now. He's joyous. He's full of happiness, he's full of the Holy Spirit. He loves God,” Doug smiles. “I feel like I have my son back.”

Dan acknowledges the changes God has made in his own life. “I never take it for granted. I love what He's done for me.” Dan has since married and started a family. He is very active in his church and his community, coaching others who are in recovery. He and his dad are back to creating great memories.

“Prayer is powerful. God is faithful. God is good,” Doug exclaims. “He wants our best and He cares for our children. So, parents and grandparents keep praying for your kids. cause those prayers are heard.”

“You don't have to be cleaned up for Him to come in and start working,” Dan adds. “Jesus stepped in, and that blood covering you, it makes you right with God. As much as I screwed up, God looks at me and loves me like He loves Jesus. I don't even think I still fully comprehend that, but that right there is the most freeing thing in the whole world. And that can literally be anybody's experience.”

For more information about addiction recovery centers and communities Dan is apart of, please visit: The, and

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About The Author

Amy Reid

Amy Reid has been a Features Producer with the Christian Broadcasting Network since 2003 and has a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University. When she’s not working on a story she’s passionate about, she loves to cook, garden, read and travel.