Chris Harrison, a former heroin addict, tells how Teen Challenge was instrumental in helping him overcome drugs and get back to Christ.
In the words of Chris Harrison:
“Hey, I’m Chris. I’m from Rochester, New York, and I’m 30-years-old.
“In high school, that’s when things started really going downhill, friends started drinking, and doing drugs, and I pretty much just followed that path.”
By 17, Chris Harrison was street savvy and well connected in the drug scene. He had tried every drug imaginable, except for heroin. His first time with heroin was almost his last.
“My dad woke up early for work that morning. He came downstairs and he found me lying on the floor not breathing, with a blue face. Um, I didn’t have a pulse. He called an ambulance.”
“They said that I was flat lined. I wasn’t breathing. They pumped adrenaline into my heart and they brought me back.”
Chris was given a second chance. He went to rehab but six months later he was caught up in his addiction again.
“I was angry at life. I was angry at the world, um, I was angry at my family, my upbringing.”
In school Chris had been labeled a trouble maker. So, no-one was surprised that he was in jail for eight drug related felonies by the time he was 19.
“I remember one night in there, I just kind of broke down. And you know, I just said, ‘God, if you’re really real, you know, pretty much make a way for me to get out of this mess,’ and you know, here I am.”
“You know, I didn’t know much about salvation or anything for that matter. Um, it was pretty much just a plea. And the next day I heard my name called, ‘Chris Harrison, pack your stuff, you’re out of here.’”
Chris’ mother heard about a drug rehabilitation ministry called Teen Challenge. A week later, Chris decided to give it a shot. His first time ever attending a church service was New Year’s Eve.
“They were singing this song. It was about 1:00 a.m. and they just sang it for like 20 minutes.”
The song included the lyrics, “If you could use anything Lord, you can use me.”
“And it just started slicing me up; it broke me down and I went to my knees. “And I just remember, just, just letting go almost, and whatever was there, receiving it.”
Chris graduated from Teen Challenge and went on to Elim Bible Institute. On a trip home, Chris got in a fight and he was stabbed in the back three times.
“After I was stabbed, I remember just having anger. Anger towards God. I left Bible school because I listened to, to the lies. I listened to what was inside of me and I didn’t feel like I had a place in God’s family.”
“And I had to run. I was angry at God. ‘How did you bring me to this place where I had hope and I felt like you had a purpose for my life to this?’”
“I ran from God for three years and it was, it was living hell. My heart got so hard, and you know, one night, you know, I was out there; it was the middle of the night. It was raining, I remember, and God just confronted me again and I just broke me down.”
“And I walked over to Teen Challenge, which wasn’t far, and I went to sleep on the porch there.”
That night changed Chris’ life forever. Chris says that he learned that God is not only the God of a second chance, but of a third and fourth chance too.
“God has been very patient with me. I can’t help but to think of, you know, the people that I know now that are dead. He allowed me this breath, this chance to live again. Time and time again I turned my back and I ran from Him. And He loved me anyway.”
“I feel like I’m really free, you know. It’s been years since I’ve touched anything from my old life.”
“The story of my life models redemption, you know, how faithful God is; how He’ll never leave us nor forsake us.”
Watch Chris Harrison Share His Story Below