If we choose to end our lives the pain of our alcoholism will live on forever. Let me attempt to explain. On August 10, 1995 I decided to end my life. What appeared to be the last few moments of my life actually turned out to be the last few moments of my drinking.
I often wonder what would have happened if I had gone through with the horrible decision to kill myself. I was a thirty-four year old body of confusion masquerading as a man. Depression had dominated my life for two decades. Alcohol had dominated my life since the young age of thirteen. In fact alcohol had been the only constant in my life. It was my friend and my advisor. Alcohol granted me courage, hope and direction. At least that is what I thought when I was under the influence.
Then one day alcohol abruptly abandoned me! It seemed I could no longer get drunk enough to live with myself. No matter how much I tried or how much I drank I could not find any pleasure, hope or direction from within the confined space of the bottle. That was the most frightening moment of my entire existence. I knew I had to quit. I knew I had to put distance in between myself and alcohol. I also knew it would be impossible. I decided if I were going to end my alcoholism I was going to have to end myself. It seemed desperate but it also seemed like the logical thing to do at the time.
As I set out that night to put an end to my sad existence I learned something shameful about myself. Alcohol had turned me into a coward. I found myself trapped in a horrible crevice. Too scared to live, too fearful to die. I did not have the courage to end it all and I could not find the courage to go on living. Suddenly, I looked in the mirror and saw myself as others had seen me for years! I was horrified by the sight. It was at that very moment, as if by instinct, I shouted out to God. I soon realized I was praying. It was the first time I had prayed in years.
I was able to get some sleep that night. The next day I awoke early and without hesitating I walked two miles to a hospital emergency room and told them I was sick, that I was a down and out drunk and I was considering taking my own life. It was the first time I had been honest with myself and another human being in nearly twenty years.
That was the beginning of a long recovery that ultimately turned into joyful sobriety. Had I taken my life that dismal night nearly 16 years ago I never would have married or found out what it was like to become a father. I would have never experienced joy, success or prosperity. I would never have felt the true love and grace of God the Father. I would have left this world before my time and those who loved me would have always carried the pain of my passing deep in their heart. And most importantly we would have not been able to share this moment together. I would not have been able to relay to you that a life away from the bottle is not only possible but probable when you sincerely ask God to remove the desire to drink. So you see to end myself would certainly not have ended the pain of my alcoholism at all.