To say life has completely changed since 2014 would be a vast understatement. I was a 26 year-old coke head, an alcoholic, a thief, a liar, severely depressed, selfish, suicidal, an unavailable father to a son I've never met, and I had burned every bridge. I was lying in bed with a crippling hangover/headache from a 3-day bender - ready to kill myself.
How did this happen!? When did the lights go out? I honestly don’t know. Somewhere in that post-coke binge, blackout fog of September 29th, 2014, I wrote suicide letters to each of my loved ones.
Those letters still sit in my closet – all covered in dark, faded spots from the tears pouring out of me. Even in that dark moment, I still knew there had to be something worth living for, so I wrote a letter to myself…just in case. Here’s that letter:
September 29th, 2014
If by some miracle you are reading this…it means a miracle has really occurred. You were really going to do it. You had said your goodbyes, and it was time. But something happened. Something changed in your heart. Maybe it was someone. Maybe it was God. Whatever it was, I am so glad you have another chance to smile, another chance to spread the good news, another chance to hug your dog, another chance to be crazy, another chance to make someone laugh, another chance to sing, another chance to feel everything around you, another chance to love and be loved! What a great joy that must be.
Now, there’s a chance that someone else is reading this. Whoever you are, it is my hope that you keep this letter forever. Use it to remind yourself that in times of great despair, to confide in God, your family, and your friends. I chose to hold everything in. It was a choice that became habit over the course of time. This was my choice.
Life is not a game, love is not a game, friendships are forever, forgiveness is forever, love is unconditional, and happiness is unconditional. These things I know to be true. Hold on to these truths. You will waiver, you will stumble, and sometimes you will fall. Enjoy the fall. Seriously. Soak it all in. I was in a free fall for the last 7 years. I knew I was falling, but it became so normal that I started smiling again, I could feel the wind in my hair, the rush of adrenaline, the excitement of the uncertainty, and I eventually forgot that one day, I’d hit the ground. Well…here we are. The impact wasn’t at all like you’d imagine. Some people think that when you fall from such great heights, the impact will kill you instantly. Nothing happens instantly. While I’m speaking somewhat metaphorically, I literally hit the ground about a month ago. I am 26 years old. Seems like nothing to the average person, but it was long enough to hurt. It was long enough to conclude that I’m not getting up again. It was long enough to hope that someone would come along and rescue me. It feels like being stuck in the snow on a mountain with no food, water, or protection from the elements. You can hear the search party calling for you, but you can’t cry for help because you don’t have the energy. You know any moment could be your last, so you try not to close your eyes.
This was a great ride. I regret jumping. I wish I had never jumped. I don’t even remember jumping. Maybe I was pushed. Maybe I lost my balance. We will never know when the free fall began, but it was a long time ago. I’ve just now hit the bottom & taken my last breath of air. God gave me more than I wanted, more than I needed, and I am eternally grateful.
May the love of God be ever present in your life. My hope is that you find appreciation for everything, an acceptance for that which you do not understand, and I want you to learn to ask for help when you need it.
If you just read that letter (and you’re not totally crying your face off like I am), you can see that I had completely decided to kill myself. It was just over. BUT, you can also see that I was clinging to something – otherwise, I wouldn’t have written any of that. Looking back, it’s very clear that God was in the middle of that storm. He picked me up on that day, and He still holds me today.
The past three years have taught me that God is in the middle of everything, whether I choose to see it or not. The craziest part is that I’m truly grateful for all of it – especially the rough stuff. I now have a passion and a purpose in life, and I will continue fighting every day, because I love this life of freedom.
If you’re struggling with a similar darkness in your life, it’s honestly ok. But don’t you dare give up. My sobriety means everything to me, and I would not trade it for anything.