WRITING a book about his time as an addict, a dealer, a criminal and a mental asylum inmate wasn’t easy for David Harris.
But the man who is now a pastor at a Bendigo church went through the slow process to “prevent people making the choices I made, to save them the pain”.
Mr Harris wrote his memoir Certified with his wife, Helen, who is also a pastor at the Life Centre in Valentine Street.
It details not only the “wild life” he led as a teenager, but also his gradual descent into madness, when seances led him to hear evil voices and “demonic activity”.
He now looks back on that time, 25 years ago, as “another world”.
And he also warns about the increasing use of drugs by young people.“It’s an epidemic,” Mr Harris says.
“”When I was a kid, 14, 15, it wasn’t so common, being down the streets, fighting, getting into trouble, and it led to other things, like alcohol and drugs.
“Now, with kids, that’s often seen as normal and it’s very destructive.
“I want the book in schools, so kids can see what happened to me, to use it as a gateway to a better experience.”
Mr Harris says it was the acceptance he finally received, first through a Salvos rehab centre, then in his church, that saved his life.
“I like getting old things that are broken and fix them up, and that’s an image of what happened to me,” he says.
He says his book, which is graphic without being too explicit, doesn’t glorify crime.
“We’ve got a man who comes to our church now, who’s from generations of gangsters, and he says that when the Underbelly series came out, there was an increase in young men wanting to have lives like that.
“That’s not what we want, we want to tap into it and turn it for good. We want to expose it for what it is, but give people hope that they can change and start again.”