I sat with a lady yesterday in Starbucks for three hours having a very real conversation that has me asking myself the question “why me?”
Let me back up a little here, last month I did a Out Of The Darkness walk with hundreds of people who had lost loved one to suicide, or were survivors of suicide attempts. I signed up to walk alone but I ended up joining a group of women and we talked some, but for the most part I was by myself.
I did the walk because I am a survivor of suicide. I tried to commit suicide when I was 16. I overdosed on a bunch of pills and was rushed to the hospital. I was lucky to be alive said one of the nurses, if it had been any other medicine, I would have died. The next 19 years I would drink myself into oblivion hoping that I would die because I was too scared to live without alcohol. I have done some terrible things while intoxicated that I swore I’d go to the grave with and the sooner I got there the better. So many times I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without being completely disgusted. The knowing of the things I did while drunk were too much for me to bare while sober, so I drank more. I was miserable because I drank and I drank because I was miserable.
Over ten years ago I lived in a high rise in downtown Dallas, I think I lived on the 24th floor. There were no screens on my window and I remember trying to drink enough to have the courage to jump. No amount of cocaine and alcohol gave me the courage and I was disgusted with myself even more for not being able to just end it all. That’s a terrible place to be.
Anyway, this lady I met at the walk last month texted me and wanted to meet to have coffee. I was pleasantly surprised and made plans to meet, not knowing what an impact it would have on me. On April 30th, 2014 her son’s 23rd birthday, he shot himself in the head. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. A very outgoing, charming, handsome guy he was. We talked about him quite a bit and she struggles with the guilt of not knowing something was wrong. She’s traced all his steps leading up to that day, she’s questioned all his friends and she still feels like there is something she could have done.
Makes me sad because I know that could have been me. That could have been my mom saying those things. But it wasn’t. So it just makes me wonder why me, why am I still here? I have put myself in harms way so many time and yet I’m still here. I have wanted to die more times than I can count but I’m still here. All I know is that I’m beyond grateful to be here and to be given another chance at sobriety. No more wasting this precious thing called life.
I’ve had my share of troubles with my young son and his mental illness, his wanting to hurt himself. The first time my son told me he wanted to kill himself, it was like a knife in my heart, but I understood deep down how he felt. My baby boy, so young, but so much pain that he wanted to die? I pray to God that I never have to feel the pain that this amazing woman felt when she heard of her sons suicide. It was then that I was truly able to feel the pain I caused my mom when she had to see me taken out of the ambulance and into the hospital.
What an amazing, strong, and courageous woman I had the pleasure of sitting down with yesterday. She spoke openly about her struggles with her sons suicide and I was able to sit and talk about my alcoholism openly without any fear of judgment. As i type this I am realizing how much more alike we are than different, two women recovering, trying to find our way.
That is the best conversation I’ve had in a long time, maybe ever. That was truly a gift of sobriety.