When Harrison thinks of how he ended up with his loving parents, he chuckles. “It’s a funny story, actually,” he says.
“My parents were unable to have kids and they both had well-paying jobs. They were at a house party in the 80s and my mom saw a pregnant lady with a drink, so she confronted her.
“The lady said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Tomorrow I’m getting an abortion.’ My parents convinced her to have the baby, my sister.”
The woman, who used heroin, returned three years later pregnant again. “That was me. I was raised by two loving parents and had a really good childhood.”
But Harrison started to rebel in high school, drinking and skipping school to play video games. He eventually dropped out. “I just ate and drank and didn’t really have any vision in life, which was depressing and led to more drinking.”
After a DUI, Harrison entered the program at our sister mission in Oxnard, and was there three to four years on and off. “Before going there, I was agnostic and didn’t know anything about God. I started my relationship with Him there. But I feel like it was all mental. I put it in my head, but not in my heart, if that makes sense.”
After relapsing, Harrison decided to get help again, but at Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast to get out of town. Harrison nearly completed the program before leaving for a girl. “I ended up marrying her and we started a family,” he said. “I was working a decent job, but it was stressful because I was still drinking—I didn’t overcome that.”
Now back at the Mission, Harrison has a different focus. “My first time here, I was still chasing after what America would define as success—having a wife, kid, car, dog,” he said. “Those were all things I desperately wanted. And this time around, those are all things I’ve just lost, so I know that God has a better plan.”
His advice to people struggling is simple: “If you give into your addiction, you’ll end up in the grave. Your life just ends up a tragedy when it could be an inspiration. You can make a change. It’s just a matter of how badly you want it and being willing to ask for help.”