The past couple weeks the police have responded to an unusually high number of suicide calls. Unfortunately, many of those attempts were “successful.” What an awful way to describe someone taking their own life.

It is stunning to think about how much pain the person was in to drive them to this extreme. I am no stranger to that pain, both in sobriety and lots of times before. The local recovery community is  reeling from the fact that at least 2 of those who committed suicide were in a program of recovery.

I, too, have experienced hopelessness in sobriety. Some people call it a dry drunk, or stark, raving sober. I had isolated myself and my world shrank smaller and smaller. One by one the promises of the 9th step disappeared from my life. I was ruled by fear and resentment. I did not want to use or drink, but I did not want to be alive either.

Solely by the grace of a higher power, someone came back into my life and I was once again, with many years of sobriety, able to reach out and start over at step 1. It was not easy. It was embarrassing to admit just how sick and miserable I had become.

It was only after I was once again able to experience serenity and peace of mind that I realized just how angry and resentful I had become. As I worked through the steps one more time, fear left me and I was able to intuitively handle situations which used to bother me. Hope was my mainstay.

Many professionals, mental health and law enforcement, don’t believe that 12 step programs are effective. The rooms are flooded with people who are forced to be there, who have no intention or desire to change. They experience the fellowship of the 12 step group and nothing else, and wonder of wonders, they don’t change. They go back to getting loaded and living “that” lifestyle.

I know that fellowship, people, are not enough to keep me sober and wanting to be alive. I need to go beyond fellowship to the program of recovery that a couple of guys stumbled upon many decades ago. I need to take action to clear the path between myself and my higher power.

I don’t know what personal hell those folks had been in. It is a reminder that a person’s outsides don’t necessarily match their insides. Maintaining “look good” can be deadly. You are not the only one suffering, even if it looks that way. Please, if you are struggling, reach out. If you feel hopeless, try the step. You may be able to succeed in life, not succeed in suicide.


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