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Current Page: Living | Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Former nightclub owner addicted to drugs, porn, gambling now brings life-saving water to 8 million

Former nightclub owner addicted to drugs, porn, gambling now brings life-saving water to 8 million

A small boy drinks from a Saks Fifth Avenue-funded water well in Brus Laguna in Honduras. | (Photo: charity: water)

A former nightclub promoter turned Christian humanitarian whose charity has helped bring clean water to over 8 million people has released a new book that he hopes will encourage more individuals to aid the cause.

Scott Harrison, the New York City-based founder and CEO of charity: water, has a book released on Tuesday titled Thirst.

The nonfiction book "Thirst," by Christian humanitarian Scott Harrison, released October 2018. | (Photo: charity:water in collaboration with Baas Creative)

The book covers Harrison's life, from being raised in a pious Christian home, to his several years as a nightclub promoter in which he indulged in many vices and avoided religion, to his decision to return to his devout Christian roots and eventually found a charity centered on providing clean water to the many areas of the world lacking it.

"I was so eager to share the story of water, this human resource, this story of how everyday people have engaged and brought the best of themselves, their time, their creativity, their passion, their generosity to this issue. It impacted so many lives," said Harrison in an interview with The Christian Post on Monday.

Founded in September 2006, charity: water presently has supported clean water projects throughout the developing world, providing clean water to more than 8 million people via the contributions of about 1 million donors worldwide.

Harrison explained to CP that he wanted to not only share the story about charity: water in his new book, but also to encourage others whose past mistakes "are keeping them from a different future."

"I was strung out on drugs, addicted to pornography, and cigarettes and gambling and drinking, and was able to really transform my life by coming back to my faith and by walking away from a life of vice and selfishness," said Harrison.

The Symbolic Ship

Harrison left his devout Christian home at age 19, ending up in New York City where he became a nightclub promoter who often engaged in drinking, drug use, smoking, and other vices.

At the beginning of the book, Harrison noted that after years of living this lavish lifestyle, surrounded by big names and constant parties, he was feeling what he called a "numbness."

"My body was dulling. My conscience was cooked," wrote Harrison. "It took about ten years to pull it off, but somehow I'd managed to become the worst version of myself."

With the help of his parents, Harrison returned to his Christian roots. From there, he decided that he had to leave the nightclub life and sought to do something better.

This came in the form of working for two years with the charity Mercy Ships, a Texas-based charity that sends large hospital ships overseas to places in need.

Harrison told CP that his rejection of the vices came "cold turkey" on the night before his day on one of Mercy Ships' hospital vessels.

"The night before I joined this humanitarian mission, I did my last drugs, had my last cigarette, and looked at my last pornographic image, and gambled the last time. I just walked away from it cold turkey," Harrison explained.

"There was something, I think, prophetic or symbolic about walking up the gangway of a giant humanitarian hospital ship and sailing away to a new life, getting to start over."

'Be a Blessing to Others'

In addition to his own personal transformation, Thirst also documents the 12-year odyssey of charity: water, the challenges the organization faced early on with finances and outreach.

This included the initial struggles associated with being a charity that gives 100 percent of public donations to the clean water project, while private donors separately covered operating costs.

To help raise the funds for things like new wells, Harrison noted to CP the importance of telling the stories of those who live without clean water.

"They had not seen people dying, children dying of dirty contaminated water. They hadn't lived in Liberia, West Africa for a year," noted Harrison.

"I just tried to tell them stories with open hands and invite them to use their resources to end some of this needless suffering I had seen and to use their time and their talent and their money to help bring clean drinking water to everybody on the planet."

Harrison also highlighted the value of churches in his efforts, explaining that congregations had helped raise millions for the clean water projects abroad.

"We have churches that are using charity:water's story as a way to outreach to their local communities and say 'hey look, we believe in something that certainly you can believe in. We believe every human being on earth deserves clean and safe water to drink. Will you partner with our church in making that happen?'" said Harrison.

Harrison added that he hoped his book will encourage readers "to live a life of service and to always be looking to how they can use the resources God has blessed them with to be a blessing to others."

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