Suicide Thoughts Are the Dark Before the Dawn for Many Alcoholics

mindy18f-3-webYesterday we learned of the suicide death of popular country music singer Mindy McCready. She recorded a total of five studio albums in her short lifetime, which accounted for twelve singles on the Billboard country singles charts. This figure includes the Number One hit “Guys Do It All the Time”, as well as the Top Ten hits “Ten Thousand Angels” and “A Girl’s Gotta Do (What a Girl’s Gotta Do)”.

The press documented her personal life, which shows year after year the effects and consequences of living an alcoholic life.  Most likely, many people tried to help her. But often we don’t want help. We worship things instead of God. We put other people (in this case possibly her worship of her boyfriend) on pedestals rather than God. And in the end she gave up.

  • In August 2004, McCready was arrested in Tennessee for using a fake prescription to buy the painkiller OxyContin.
  • In May 2005, she was stopped by Nashville police for speeding, then arrested and charged with driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license
  • She was found unconscious in a hotel lobby in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, after attempting suicide in July 2005. She was hospitalized for a drug overdose after consuming a large amount of undisclosed drugs with alcohol
  • In September 2005, while she was pregnant with McKnight’s child, she attempted suicide again by overdosing on antidepressants.
  • In July 2007, McCready was arrested in Ft. Myers, Florida. She was charged with battery and resisting arrest for an apparent scuffle with her mother
  • On December 17, 2008, paramedics were called to McCready’s Nashville home after an apparent suicide attempt; they transported her to a hospital after finding wounds on her wrists
  • On May 25, 2010, McCready was hospitalized in Cape Coral, Florida, for a possible drug overdose; she may have had a reaction to Darvocet her mother had given her.
  • In April 2012, McCready gave birth to her second child, a son named Zayne. The child’s father, record producer David Wilson, was found dead on January 13, 2013, at McCready’s home, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • On February 17, 2013, neighbors called the Sheriff’s Office of Cleburne County, Arkansas, reporting gunshots. McCready was found dead on her front porch, the same place where her former boyfriend and the father of her younger son had killed himself one month prior. Her death was from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her two children remain in foster care and were not home at the time of her death.

I look at this information with so much sadness because that could very easily have been me, minus the gifted vocals.

When I was 26, I took a whole package of OTC Unisom tablets and drank a few beers.  I ended up in the psych ward of a local hospital for three days. I remember feeling so hopeless. I was drinking a lot. And my boyfriend (Husband now) and I had decided to split up. We both drank a lot but my drinking even then showed its heavy alcoholic tendencies.  It is nearly impossible to have a relationship when there is a lot of drinking involved.  No matter how much passion and interest there is in one another, drinking will always stand in the way of developing intimacy with another person.

I had suffered from bouts of depression throughout my high school and college years but had never gone as far as a suicide attempt.  So, naturally this event shocked me sober and into the rooms of AA for six months.  During that time I rekindled with the boyfriend and began to develop an amazingly new intimate relationship with the God I’ve always known was there.  Alcohol blocks me from having good relationships, especially a good relationship with my Creator.

Flash forward ten years and I found myself drinking alcoholically again, unable to stop.  In the course of things, this cut me off from God, which was horrible for me. No matter how many people God sent to me to plead with me to stop, I simply couldn’t stay sober this time.  I tried AA. I tried begging God.  I started a half-measures devotion to Saint Michael the Archangel. I prayed. I cried.  But I couldn’t stay stopped.

One day at the end of all this, I was outside watering the newly planted azaleas. My boys were inside playing XBox and my husband was on the computer working up an estimate for a client.  I was drinking–it was about 11am on a sunny Georgia Sunday–and something compelled me to walk over to the tree swing we’d put up in our front yard. I stood on the bench there and put the rope around my neck.

And I froze.  I stood there for several minutes.  Nobody saw me.

And then, just as nonchalantly something compelled me to take the rope off, put my beer down and go inside. There was nothing spectacular going on that day that would have made me sad. No fight with the husband. No big issues at all.  But I was tired of drinking. And I had lost hope that I would ever be able to stop. I’d tried everything.

I did put the beer down. And then I went inside and sat in silence with God.  In the silence, He promised me a future and insisted I not give up hope.  Hope is the key. Hope is the antidote to suicide.

And once I got sober again, I reconnected to God with an intimacy I’d never known before.  I gave him my life. Told him to do whatever he wanted with me.  I told him I was tired.  And then I slept.

In reading the stories of other sober bloggers out there, I’ve discovered so often suicidal thoughts or attempts are part of the territory.  For many, thank you God, this in and of itself–this realization that OMG I actually considered taking my own life–becomes the springboard to new life.  This becomes the moment, the “bottom,” that propels us to surrender completely, exhausted into God’s loving hands, where He is able to insert a little bit of the grace of hope into our hearts.

I feel so badly for Mindy McCready. She obviously had a substance abuse problem.  She needed help. She needed a support system that would immerse her into God’s world and take her out of this world.  It must be tough to surrender everything to God when we’ve made it big in Nashville.

Prayers for Mindy McCready’s soul and for her children, friends and family members left behind.

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8 thoughts on “Suicide Thoughts Are the Dark Before the Dawn for Many Alcoholics

  1. “Hope is the antidote to suicide.”

    I truly enjoy your blog. Your words are true, hopeful and inspiring. I’ve needed to read something like this. Thank you for posting it. And prayers for Mindy and her family. I was raised on country music and know her songs well. It really is a shame.

  2. Yup…suicide. I too was at that jumping off point in my life. The strongest I felt it was early in my sobriety (I too wrote about it not too long ago). What I didn’t mention was that in the past I had gotten to the point where I had actually planned it. It was just a plan – wasn’t sure *when* I would do it, but I knew that I would (God had other plans, clearly). For me, it was the place of not being able to live with the drink, and not being able to live without it. It was was torture for me to be awake to that every moment of the day.

    Mindy M’s timeline shows progression, like it happens to all of us. Things get worse, never better.

    Your story was very powerful – I could just see you going to that bench and testing the waters, so to speak. It strikes with subtle ferocity, doesn’t it? I know exactly how you felt then. It’s a strange place, but it shakes you to the core. That it could be the *end*. And how bad is it in us that ending our life is the *good* option? My heart breaks thinking about how I felt then, and how you and other have felt…and then of course, hearing about those who go through with it. Sigh.

    But as you so wonderfully state, this despair can be the springboard to new life, imbued with God’s Grace.

    Thank you for this…lovely post, as usual.

    Paul

  3. I think it’s one thing that highlights that it’s not just a physical addiction, it’s a mental illness, the fact that it is so often hitting rock bottom by having this sort of incident that makes people seek help.

    I’ve got the AA on my prayer list, that’s for sure. Xxx

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