The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Scott Arnold: Confessions of a Former Dumpster Diver

By Zsa Zsa Palagyi
The 700 Club - Scott Arnold isn’t proud of it, but he used to be a dumpster diver.  “I had to survive and the only way I knew how was to get food out of dumpsters and to live out of them.”

For years, Scott spent his days wandering around in the scorching Arizona sun, rummaging through dumpsters and sleeping in alleys and ravines.   It was a far cry from the life Scott thought he would have when he was a boy. 

“At one time in my life I aspired to greatness, to having a life full of winning, of being successful, of traveling the world, of going all over different countries and representing my country, you know, as a gold medalist in the Olympics,” Scott remembers.  “Those were the things that were spoken into my life at a young age that I believed were achievable for me.”

Scott hoped to be an Olympic ski racer.  He trained with the Swiss national ski team and even won the Vail cup in Colorado.  Skiing was his life!  But when Scott’s parents’ business took a hit and they couldn’t afford his training anymore, he was pulled from the sport and put into a private high school.   Scott’s parents thought this would set him on track towards college and a successful future, but it didn’t.   “When I didn’t have skiing to be my center, I started to flounder,” says Scott.

On the slopes, Scott had only spent 3 or 4 hours in school each day.  Now he was expected to excel alongside Harvard and Notre Dame hopefuls.

He admits, “ I wasn’t as intelligent as the rest of my classmates. I never measured up.  The fear of failure in my life really began to set in and grab ahold of me.”

So Scott turned to alcohol to escape his insecurity and inadequacies.  “I was not your average drinker.  I was a tore up from the floor up drunk.  I was the last one to leave a party.  I never could stop.  It was never one or two for me.  It was a dozen or more.”

And then there were the drugs. Sometimes it was marijuana, sometimes cocaine or LSD.  Over time, he started using prescription drugs.  Scott experimented with many.  “Percocet, vicodin, hydrocodone.  It kept me numb, especially it helped remove or erase the guilt I had.”

It was the guilt of multiple DUI’s, near death accidents, a broken marriage, and the disappointment he brought his parents.    He tried to stop drinking and using drugs many times – and even went to Wyoming to rekindle his dream of being an Olympic skier.   “But of course, the drugs and alcohol always got in the way.  I always kept getting lured back into that thought that I could drink or drug just a little bit and it never worked.”

What finally broke the cycle was an encounter in the county jail.  At the time, Scott says,I was absolutely like an animal.  I wasn’t like a human being.  It was after years of living outside, and I had mental problems.  I was talking to myself all the time. I was the most desperate human on the face of the planet.”

Scott needed help.  “I went out where they had the jailhouse library.  They’d push it around on a cart.  And there was a Bible on that cart.  It was a Bible about breaking the chains in your life.  He was my last hope.  I cried out to JC desperately and I got on my hands and knees and I begged Him to come into my life and to completely set me free of my drugs and alcoholism. As soon as I cried out to God like that, like I meant it, my heart changed.  It was like a switch went on. I felt love. I felt the love of JC replace every need that I ever had to use drugs and alcohol.  I didn’t have to be perfect anymore because only He is perfect.  And He began to speak to me clearly.  I heard the voice of God saying read your Bible. 

After his release, Scott went through intense counseling and Bible study.  Today he has freedom and true success.  He’s married, has a home and a family – and works for a rehabilitation center, where he helps others out of the lifestyle he once lived.

“I look back at those dumpsters and those places where I used to smoke crack and drink and it’s like a nightmare that used to happen in my life.  I’m just overwhelmed with the incredible power and the grace and the mercy of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.”  Scott smiles and concludes, “But the most important thing I could ever tell anybody is that obedience to Jesus Christ and his word is the key that unlocks every stronghold that Satan tries to hold on us.  That anybody who believes that they can find fulfillment outside of JC is lost because there’s no other way to heaven but through the name of JC. God is Real.  Jesus is the answer!

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