Thankful After a Past of Parties, Drugs & Abortion
A 700 Club Interview with Dustin Garrett
Compelled by the Gospel, PPL equips Presbyterians to champion human life at every stage
“Having a family that, you know, liked to party, that liked to spend time doing that. I didn't have to reach out very far. I didn't have to look very hard to find substances to abuse,” Dustin remembers.
With little supervision, he had easy access to drugs, alcohol, and time alone with girls.
“I was real young when, you know, I began to, you know, engage in all sorts of sexual activity,” said Dustin.
When he was 15, he had found out his girlfriend was pregnant.
Dustin looks back, “I remember just being absolutely terrified. I mean, I was 15 years old and I just got a call from my girlfriend that she was pregnant. And her mom heard it.”
Dustin remembers all the parents meeting in her basement, “Everything we heard was, if you have a child, it's gonna ruin your life. Your life is over. When we got out of that meeting there, it had been decided that she would have an abortion, and that I would help pay for it. I can be honest and say there was like this relief that came over me. Because it was like, okay, this problem is-is now gonna be gone.”
Unfortunately for Dustin the problem had only changed. After the abortion his relief turned to heartache.
Solemnly Dustin recalls, “I can literally still hear the phone call that happened after she had the abortion. Uh she was a really tough girl, but it – she was so-sobbing like, weeping over the phone. Like-like something traumatic had just happened. And she described kind of the cold instruments that were used and like the room that she was in, and-and how terrible that it was. And-and I didn't – I didn't – I didn't know what to say. Instead of it being a problem that needed to go away, that's when it-it sunk into me that like, oh, like – was this a boy or a girl, or what it looked like, or like what happened to it.”
Dustin continues, “We couldn't bear to talk about it. And It plunged us into this spiral of drug addiction that was just awful and that ultimately took my girlfriend's life.”
Dustin’s turned to drugs to escape the feelings of shame, “I began to just get worse and worse. You know, shooting up heroin every day and stealing money and robbing houses. And I began to get arrested and actually then go to jail. It was one of those times that I got arrested and went to jail that they ended up putting me on the suicide floor of the jail. In my heart, I knew that if I died, I didn't know what would happen to me. I was scared of what would happen if I died.”
Suffering from heroin withdrawals in jail, Dustin remembered from his youth what his grandmother told him.
“She communicated to us that there is a God, that Jesus is a Savior and He is who you need. And in that moment in the jail cell, I cried out, ‘Jesus, please save me. If you're there, please save me.’ And something changed in my heart, like something changed to where I just had my spirit just testified that this Jesus is what I needed.”
He was released from jail but didn’t know how to follow Jesus and fell back into old habits and ended up homeless.
He reflects on that season of life, “I still tried to do things in my own strength. And the Lord allowed this timeframe of me just failing and failing. And it wasn't until I ended up in a homeless shelter and some men came alongside of me, actually opened up the Bible and began to go, ‘This is who you are.’ ‘This is who Jesus is. This is what Jesus said. This is the God of the Bible.’ And I began to say ‘no’ to the things that were destroying me, by the grace of God, by the Spirit of God, with the Word of God. And my life has never been the same since then.”
Dustin's faith grew through serving and teaching others about Jesus. Today Dustin works for Samaritan ministries, a pro-life medical sharing ministry. He speaks on their behalf at Winter Jam, a huge annual Christian concert. He still thinks about his past, thankful for god’s forgiveness and grace.
With a tender thoughtfulness Dustin says, “What's really difficult about I think abortion in particular, there's a lot of parts about it that there's no resolve. Meaning like I sit before you today, and with the drugs – there's no more drugs in my life. Whereas with the abortion, I still don't know if it was a boy or a girl. I still wonder what it's like to be a father. And in light of a sovereign God, I can rest and know that even those things that we've done that we just are so ashamed about, He's gracious enough to still love us.”