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SCOTT SQUASHES HIS ‘INSTINCT TO RUN,’ STAYS GROUNDED AT MISSION
Scott grew up in a busy house—he had five brothers and both of his parents worked. They lived in the San Fernando Valley and Washington State before settling in Thousand Oaks. When he got to high school, Scott started drinking.
“At 14, I figured out that I could change the way I felt by alcohol,” he said. “I knew I was uncomfortable— just not really outgoing. And as soon as the alcohol hit me, I felt great.”
Scott said his alcohol addiction took hold quickly. “By the time I was a senior, I got thrown out of high school,” Scott said.
Scott went to Florida, where at the time, the drinking age was 18. “I was able to drink in bars and buy alcohol,” said Scott. “I was working as a union carpenter. I did enjoy it. I wish I would’ve stuck with it. I was just focused on work and then partying. Things progressed pretty badly.”
Scott ended up getting arrested for drinking and driving, and decided to flee back to California. “I shouldn’t have even gone to Florida in the first place because I was on probation. So I was in trouble when I got back. They put me in jail for a year.”
After his time spent, the judge directed Scott to return to Florida—just to take care of his DUI. But instead, he stayed for another five years and did not follow the judge’s orders. “I completely ignored the law and I suffered for it,” he said. “When I returned to California, they locked me up for three years for leaving the state while I was on probation. My time in jail was tough. There was a lot of fear involved.”
The silver lining, however, was that Scott wasn’t reliant on alcohol anymore. “When I got out in 1996, I had my alcohol under control,” he said. “I drank, but it was more of a social thing. I wasn’t drinking like I used to drink.”
For two decades, Scott kept it together. But in 2017, he got terrible news. “My father got word that he only had two weeks to live,” he said. “I decided to drink again. I was running from the pain.”
After another DUI, Scott ended up in jail. Unfortunately, while he was there in 2018, his mother passed. He remembers being incarcerated in Indio in the blazing heat. “I just kept thinking about the coast. When I got out, I drove up to Santa Barbara. I was drinking again and this time I tried to run away from the law on the 101 freeway.”
The chase landed Scott right back in jail for 15 months. “When I got out, I had no place to go,” he said. “I did not want to start drinking again after all that time sober.”
Scott, now 57, entered the Mission in December 2020. “They let me in with open arms,” he said. “I was a stranger and they let me in. It was awesome.”
Scott received a Bible and a pair of shoes for Christmas. “I’ve been in the word three times a day for six months,” he said. “I just feel the spirit in my soul. I feel really good about it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I can admit that. I’m responsible for everything that’s happened to me. My instinct was always to run.”
Scott enjoys the Bible studies at the Mission, and the discussion that surrounds them. “The camaraderie and the fellowship are great,” he said. “Also the whole structure of the place: I have (vocational training) to do, I have classes to go to … that structure has been awesome for me. It’s making me responsible again. It’s brought me back to life.”
Scott recognizes that things will be more difficult after graduation, which is approaching in a couple months. “The real test will come when I leave here,” he said. “I hope to get a job, keep going to church—whatever plans God has for me, that’ll be it.”
Scott said he hasn’t planned for retirement, so the next several years of work are important. “I need to work hard, and I just need to not drink,” he said. “There are a lot of us here with alcoholic pasts, and a lot of people who have moved on and been successful, worked regular jobs, had good lives. I’ve seen it happen.
“I have a relationship with God now, and I’m really comfortable with it. I’m comfortable when I’m in the Bible. If I stay focused on that, I’ll make it.”
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