2 min read
26 Jul

     This topic is a particularly difficult one for me to open up about, but I wanted to let go. Suicide to me was the ultimate spit in God's face when I was a teenager and that’s the exact message I wanted to send when I left this world.  I read a lot of philosophers and one really stuck with me over the years. Arthur Schopenhauer, to him suicide was the highest expression of free will that our higher power gave us.  To reach the end of your rope and let go rather than attempt to live any longer. A grand return to the forces of nature and back into the ground. I love that, and I lived off that for some time. Growing up suicide was looked down upon, it was hushed in rooms and whispered to one another. I was always told it was a sin, that you were going to hell for killing yourself. Back then I believed that, and I also believed I wanted nothing to do with a God who felt that way? However, after my cousin's death, I returned to the church and was rebaptized at 17. I found Jesus, and saw how my writings could make a difference in my life. They also made a difference to someone who was struggling in my life, and because of my painful loss I was able to see through my grief and help that friend. I came to believe in a higher power who wept when his children chose suicide, but did not condemn them for it. I will keep my faith in that till the day I die. 

     When I returned from Afghanistan, things started to go downhill very quickly for everyone. I made a lot of bad choices and struggled just to survive. During my 4 years in the army and after I lost too many people to suicide. It drove me to drink, and I blamed myself for not seeing the signs. I blamed myself for a long time for pain that was not mine to bear but I did, because it gave me a reason to drink. To pity myself, and I'm ashamed to say I made their deaths about poor me, poor old Mack. Cause what else is there for an alcoholic to do but make everything about themselves, right? It hurt and it still hurts to some degree. I just kept blaming God for their deaths, when it was their choice. Then I got angry that it was their choice, that they were so selfish to take their own lives without thought of anyone else. It struck a deeply harmonic chord within me; I was guilty of the exact same thing but I never admitted it. In a way I ritualized their deaths, and drank to excess the weeks leading up to their birthdays and death days. Eventually I hit a point of acceptance that it was their choice and I wanted to respect them. I respected their bravery and courage until the very end, afterall they managed something I did not have the strength to follow through with. I wanted to be there for them, to sit with them and say you aren't alone in this. I saw myself as a failure to help the people suffering around me, and the more I tried to help, the further I fell down the rabbit hole. I've had countless mental breakdowns over the years and most of them involved me losing myself in the pain of another. I gave all I had, or at least thought I did, to help pull someone from their own darkness. I never even realized that I was losing myself in that same darkness.  

     I couldn’t bear to see someone suffer just like I did so I vowed to be there for anyone I could. I refused to lose another friend. I've been told that I made a difference in the lives of those around me, but until recently I was never able to believe those words. I only saw how I failed, never seeing how I succeeded. I can see the ways in which I used these traumatic events, the pain, the hurt to fuel my alcoholism. I'm realizing this truth, that I always found a way to justify my drinking, and what better way than with grief. I didn’t want to stop drinking, I didn’t want to die, but I couldn’t find a way to live or stay sober. I made a decision at the end of my rope to trust fall. Either I was going to die, or something, someone was going to catch me. God, my higher power, caught me with a safety net that I never knew was there. So, I’m learning to let go and let God. I am disconnecting the parts of me that no longer work for me. I am choosing to no longer blame myself for events out of my control, and to know there was nothing I could have done to save their lives. It's not my responsibility to bear, it's not my pain to bear and I had no way of knowing. I was doing the best that I could at the time, and I was trying to survive my own living hell just like they were. It was childish to think that I could be their savior, childish to think that I could play God. I am not God, nor will I ever be. I don’t want his job and I couldn’t possibly begin to imagine the love and pain he feels on a daily basis for us. I am lucky enough to feel his love, mercy and grace in my life every day because I have a relationship with him. I pray you find what you need to have a relationship with your higher power. I pray that you let go of things that were out of your control and let God in. I pray that you heal rather than let blame, shame and guilt keep you in a pattern of chaos. 

Forever your friend,

 Mack  

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