Celebrating Life in Recovery


Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Cheri Peters (Host), Jim Attikson


Series Code: CLR

Program Code: CLR000121B

00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to addictive behavior.
00:05 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:17 Welcome back.
00:18 You know, when we talk about somebody's issues
00:20 that we really do fight an enemy
00:25 that's bigger than us.
00:26 So specially when we talk about addictions
00:28 and we talk about despair and all of that kind of stuff
00:31 and I really am amazed at in the story of Joshua
00:35 well, when Jesus says,
00:36 I'm just gonna silent all the voices
00:38 and I want you to just to look at Me
00:40 because we're gonna make it through this.
00:42 You know, Jim, I first heard your story
00:45 and I was amazed at what God has led you from
00:49 and what you're dealing within your life
00:51 and now what you are stepping out a ministry to do.
00:54 So I'm just gonna turned it over to you and say,
00:57 tell the viewers what you told me.
01:00 Sure.
01:01 My story begins with suicide, truly after I learnt to walk
01:05 for reasons why I don't understand.
01:08 My mom left, I was four or may be five years old
01:12 there were no telephone calls on my birthday,
01:14 they were no birthday cards.
01:16 She took with her my grandfather,
01:18 my aunt, my uncle my, entire family tree had left.
01:22 So at age five or six
01:23 I started to feel invisible to the world.
01:26 When I was nine she wrote me a letter
01:28 and said that she had a-- I had a new brother
01:32 and that maybe one day I could come and visit.
01:33 So my nine-year-old mind I was replaceable,
01:37 I was disposable.
01:39 I spent most of my childhood mourning
01:42 the fact that my mom was gone
01:43 and then my mother and father have got into a divorce.
01:46 When I was about age ten my father--
01:49 Who did you live with during that time?
01:50 Well, my father got remarried--
01:51 Okay. When I was five.
01:53 It was an integrated family and I had a step-mom
01:57 and I didn't really blend well with that family.
02:00 They were decent people.
02:01 They weren't angry with me or anything nearly,
02:03 they provided and cared for me
02:04 but I was being starved of a nurturing relationship.
02:07 You know, this hugs and kisses
02:08 that little kids need and they need to know that,
02:10 they need to know the affection and love from a mom and dad.
02:14 I just didn't get that.
02:16 By the time I turned to age ten for reasons
02:19 I don't know my father became an angry person,
02:22 and I got the wrath of his anger.
02:26 Growing up it was a non uncommon to be called
02:29 or kinds of names having to dodge food being thrown at me,
02:33 I felt nights I would be called out of my bed
02:36 and have to stand there in attention like a soldier.
02:39 And he would be rate me and make me feel
02:41 even more like an animal.
02:44 Frequently he told me I will make you a break,
02:47 that was his attitude about raising me.
02:50 And the problem was, was that in school
02:52 I was depressed and I had hard time with academics.
02:57 Academics were always the trigger point,
02:59 I would bring home this bad grades
03:00 and he would call me a loser and idiot.
03:03 He had what he called an idiot list,
03:05 and I would have to take the idiot list to school daily
03:08 and then the teachers would fill it out
03:09 and the other kids would make fun of me
03:11 and the idiot list--
03:13 You know, was truly tough is that whole spiral
03:16 is that if I'm depressed, if I'm stressed
03:18 and I'm dealing with all that kind of stuff,
03:20 I can't concentrate at school.
03:22 So there's no way as I kind of even know
03:24 if I'm stupid or not.
03:25 I can't, you know, I cant, I don't get it,
03:27 I don't get anything.
03:29 Well, school was more of a,
03:30 it was more of a safe house for me.
03:33 I wasn't trouble, I fell it danger at home,
03:35 but when I went to school I get a decent meal,
03:38 there was no one calling me names,
03:40 you know, I used to listen for the door,
03:43 you know, back door being slammed shut.
03:45 I knew is he gonna be in a good mood
03:46 or is he gonna be in a bad mood.
03:47 I would hear a plate or something break
03:49 and then I would think is this meant for me?
03:52 And I would always live in this constant state of fear anxiety.
03:55 But when I went to school
03:56 I didn't feel anything like that
03:58 and so I felt that reason at school
04:00 wasn't really place of academics,
04:01 it was simply a place to live
04:03 and so that's why my grades would suffer
04:05 and then I would bring home this bad grades
04:07 and then you know people, you know, I'll be always catch
04:09 well, you are not applying yourself,
04:10 you know, and so by the time I was in the ninth grade,
04:14 you know-- one of the things he'd like to do was
04:17 is I would have to sit in this iron metal chair,
04:20 and I would have to sit there from morning to sunset
04:24 or when I went to bed
04:25 or when I got home from school until I went to bed.
04:29 Sometimes it could be days,
04:30 sometimes it could be weeks at a time
04:32 and I found when I'm sitting with chairs
04:33 I would think about,
04:34 I would fantasies about flying away to heaven.
04:37 You know, or I would sit in school
04:39 and I would fly away to heaven.
04:40 I found that if I fly away to heaven
04:42 then tehse problems will no longer bothering me.
04:45 Right, I can go into a safe place.
04:47 A place where I'm loved and belong.
04:49 Yep, so my initials interaction with suicide
04:52 was quite innocent of itself.
04:54 I remember distinctly
04:55 and I would start to feel better,
04:56 I would start to think
04:57 I'm taking control of a situation
05:00 that I have no control of and I have control over it
05:02 if I think about flying away.
05:04 So by the time I finished my freshman year in high school
05:07 I had barely graduated there
05:09 I almost did make it to the 10th grade
05:11 and I got no letter from the school,
05:14 and the school said that basically
05:16 they had impounded my grades because I over due text books
05:18 and then I had damaged over due library books,
05:22 I damaged some text books.
05:23 And I was afraid to bring this home this letter to him
05:25 because I knew it was bad enough
05:27 that I had just passed and it was this money
05:30 and I just involved and I just knew
05:32 they are gonna call stupid and just start the other.
05:35 So I was home alone
05:37 and I just decided to take this letter
05:38 and throw it away.
05:39 I wasn't gonna tell him about this.
05:43 I dread it myself-- I dread it summer
05:44 after summer after summer.
05:46 Most kids look forward I think that's one thing--
05:47 But I'm home the whole time now, I can't do it.
05:50 If there's educators out there,
05:51 I think if they have a child who is afraid
05:54 and most kids want to be away from school
05:55 but if you have children who gravitate,
05:57 they don't want to go home that should be a key
05:59 that there's something wrong at home.
06:01 And so I didn't want to be that summer and so
06:04 he wasn't home that day
06:05 and I remember wandering through the house,
06:06 I remember thinking if I pick the point of his guns
06:09 and I pulled the trigger it would all be over
06:12 and I remember feeling a sense of peace
06:14 I was like, I'm gonna do it.
06:16 That's the answer.
06:17 Yep, I'm gonna surrender my life to suicide.
06:20 You see all I had-- I remember thinking at that moment time
06:23 my will to live realize that I was very serious.
06:26 And I remember it put up this,
06:28 what are we talking about here?
06:29 I went into wherever the guns were kept
06:31 and I opened the gun can and I pulled out the gun
06:34 and I loaded it,
06:35 I held it my hands I felt alive
06:38 and I remember thinking you can't hurt me,
06:41 wherever I go you can't hurt me.
06:43 Because ultimately I have this out.
06:46 Yes, I created an out.
06:49 I mean, when people encountered me
06:51 post suicide they had this attitude that one day
06:54 I just woke up picked up a gun and shot myself this is all,
06:56 they understand that it was a literally a life
06:58 to suicide march.
07:00 You were seduced into suicide.
07:01 Yeah, it required an effort,
07:03 and my will to live would not just let me do this.
07:05 So I remember I unloaded the gun and put it away.
07:08 I shut the gun can, I remember thinking
07:09 I have a way out now.
07:11 So sure enough he found out about the letter,
07:14 it was a terrible summer
07:15 you know 1985, in the back of my mind
07:18 I remember thinking you can't hurt me anymore,
07:21 you cannot hurt me.
07:23 So finally in the fall--
07:25 And this is my ultimate almost getting back at you too.
07:29 As I want you to find me even, you know, it's like,
07:34 you know for years of all of this stuff I'm going out.
07:37 I was invisible.
07:39 You know my own mother
07:40 I wasn't worthy of a phone call on my birthday.
07:42 You know, my father, my biological father
07:44 I was a piece of garbage
07:45 and the rest of the world didn't see
07:46 what was happening.
07:48 So I was-- you know, there was times
07:49 I even prayed to God.
07:50 I was like Heavenly Father,
07:52 please make him stop hurting me.
07:53 And when God I didn't see God respond,
07:55 I remember thinking I'm really
07:57 have no value, no meaning in life.
08:00 No one sees me. No one sees me.
08:02 So by the fall of 1985 I started myself
08:05 and I remember I started planning.
08:07 I had to realize what was been my tolerance level,
08:11 what baleful means I had access to--
08:13 did I have access to drugs,
08:15 what kind of caliber weapons,
08:17 was there a high place that I could jump.
08:20 And so again my will to live is resisting this?
08:23 I remember going--
08:24 So you know, what I've got to say
08:25 just like any addiction that as somebody was suicide
08:30 as we do that we really are finding hope and joy
08:34 and a little bit of peace in all of the planning
08:38 so you know this is not, this is almost like
08:41 I have something to do now
08:42 and I have something to do that I have control over.
08:45 I found myself I actually enjoyed the planning of it..
08:48 I mean it was-- because it was my own little world.
08:51 You know, it was kind of like
08:52 it was like my secret from everybody else.
08:55 You know-- and part of my planning was as I knew
08:57 that I would be dead by the summer of 1986.
09:00 So I figured I had at least nine months to savor my life.
09:04 I remember going into the library
09:06 and opening up an encyclopedia and looking up suicide
09:09 and I remember distinctly had said,
09:11 people who are suicidal demonstrate these symptoms.
09:13 And so I made a point to talk openly about
09:16 not graduating high school.
09:17 I remember giving things away, you know,
09:20 because my will to live was like
09:21 this is out of control.
09:23 I need someone to help me.
09:24 Yes, my subconscious mind was saying,
09:26 hey thanks for getting out of control.
09:29 I didn't know how to come up and say to someone,
09:31 hey, I'm thinking about killing myself.
09:33 And typically when people say
09:35 I'm really struggling with life,
09:37 I'm really thinking about taking my life
09:38 the response is don't talk crazy like that.
09:41 You know why would you--
09:42 you'll start shutting this person down
09:44 and isolating them
09:45 when they need connection and so--
09:48 So they're all connected with very plan again.
09:51 Yeah. Which is huge.
09:52 I mean, you know, thank you for sharing that,
09:54 because I really did get that full picture as they're--
09:57 if they're not gonna be able to talk to anyone,
09:59 the only comfort they're gonna get
10:00 is in the planning.
10:01 Yeah, suicide really in that respect looking back
10:04 it had its own personality.
10:06 It had its own face about it.
10:08 You know it would sense
10:10 that I was kind of wandering back towards life thinking
10:12 because there was days when you, you would long.
10:15 I want this and then you will live is like
10:17 I can't do this, I can't do this.
10:19 And so this is up and down spiral
10:20 and then it would always kind of
10:21 once it knew it hand somebody,
10:23 it would start tossing me, yanking me towards it.
10:27 I love the way you express that, Jim,
10:29 because you are just talking about its almost--
10:31 you know, we forget that there is an enemy
10:33 and there is a demonic influence
10:36 when we do get lost in that despair
10:38 and I think that's why Jesus warns us
10:40 constantly is look at Me
10:42 because the enemy can get you so lost in yourself
10:46 that would look like a great solution a good out.
10:49 It's a lie. You know, it really is a lie.
10:51 It really is.
10:53 So you try to reach out nothing happens,
10:56 you go back to the plan.
10:58 So by December 1985 I knew that I would be,
11:01 I stopped initiating as soon as it caused.
11:04 I reached the point where I didn't want anyone to know
11:06 that I was going to take my life.
11:07 I'd signs sealed deliver in my life to a suicide.
11:11 I'd enjoyed Christmas.
11:12 Typically people sometimes were contemplating suicide
11:15 enter that peace mood, that's the eye of the storm.
11:18 So explain that 'cause when somebody sees that mood,
11:21 they think oh, they must have gotten over it.
11:22 Yes, that's the most dangerous point.
11:24 Because that's the point
11:25 when they reach the resolution phase
11:26 well, this is, it's all on the table I'm done.
11:29 This is when they start doing things like
11:30 making final arrangements saying goodbye to people,
11:33 I remember saying goodbye to people
11:35 you know because I'm done.
11:37 Even saying like you know,
11:38 what you have been one of my closest friends
11:40 and I just want you to know that,
11:42 'cause it sounds real innocent but for me,
11:45 it's that when you find me dead don't forget.
11:48 That I really did like you, yeah.
11:50 And so one thing your viewers could understand is,
11:53 if somebody if they ever have that moment of something
11:56 doesn't seem right to not ignore that moment.
11:58 You know, and so finally January 23rd
12:01 it's a Thursday I come home and because I had plan to die,
12:04 my grades it was the worst semester of my life,
12:07 I mean it was just absent, red ink everywhere
12:09 and fate had played my hand that night.
12:12 My brother who is seven years younger than me
12:15 had also had some marginal grades
12:17 and it was just him my stepmother and me
12:20 and my brother was crying and he had seen
12:23 what had happened to me growing up
12:24 but he is very fearful of the wrath
12:27 that my father was gonna impose in his life.
12:29 So my stepmother is comforting him
12:32 and being there for him,
12:33 I'm kind of on my own here in the kitchen.
12:35 Because that's her biological child.
12:36 That's here child, yeah.
12:37 And so she looks at me and she says to me
12:39 she says, for your sake
12:40 I hope your grades aren't bad as his
12:42 because I couldn't pass to your father to hurt you.
12:45 I mean, the man had thrown chainsaws at me,
12:47 he had to pull the server on the side of the room
12:49 in the middle of the night
12:50 and yelled at me turned out the lights.
12:52 And so, I before I had sense some threatening my life
12:54 before so I had no doubt.
12:57 I believe that she was telling me was the truth.
12:59 So I looked at her and said no my grades
13:01 are actually very good though they were in my pocket.
13:03 I said I'm having free on Monday
13:05 and it's the best semester of my life.
13:07 And she bought the lie,
13:09 and she's well, how that happened?
13:11 I said, I applied myself and she said okay.
13:13 So you said the very words that.
13:15 I said the buzz words,
13:16 I said the buzz words and they accepted it.
13:19 In my mind I remember thinking
13:20 I had literally gone to a great airport,
13:23 I punched a ticket
13:24 and I would be hopping in a jet plane
13:25 and the next I was gonna be gone.
13:27 And so my father came home
13:29 and she said all his grades are good
13:30 and I'm free on Monday, okay so then following day
13:34 I know exactly how condemned people feel on their way
13:37 to the gas chamber to electric chair.
13:40 The colors were very vibrant,
13:43 the smell was so much more acute,
13:46 I could see things and hear things
13:48 and I think it was my will
13:50 if a bear came charging through here.
13:53 Yeah, you'd be alert and same my body is like
13:55 oh, my goodness something is happening,
13:56 but isn't quite understand that the threat is from the inside.
14:00 And I think that we don't understand about
14:02 that even the rush that we get
14:04 is that everyone of your nerve chemicals are your firing,
14:08 your biochemistry is everything has charged,
14:10 you are very present in that moment,
14:12 you're probably more alive
14:13 then you have been in your life.
14:16 I've never had that moment like this since then,
14:18 I've never been in that so real world
14:20 it's just even the sun had its own color,
14:23 you know and I remember walking through the hallways
14:25 at schools at the end of the day
14:27 and I remember the teachers coming out on the hallway,
14:29 they're saying goodbye and kids
14:30 I remember thinking please help me.
14:33 Somebody grab me.
14:34 Yes please, I remember making eye contact with the principles
14:37 and the educators and it is like,
14:39 in case of talking about
14:40 going to a basketball game that night,
14:42 you know, they were gonna go and live their life
14:43 and I remember thinking why couldn't I be with them,
14:45 why couldn't I be normal?
14:47 I don't want to do this but I'm like I can't my life
14:49 I cannot manage this pain anymore.
14:52 And Monday is coming. Monday is coming.
14:55 So I get on the school bus we lived in a rural community,
14:58 the nearest ambulance was 13 miles north of me,
15:01 the nearest ambulance, excuse me,
15:02 hospital is 18 miles south it was nothing
15:04 but woods and cow pastures
15:06 and so there wasn't a lot of people around.
15:09 I knew when I was gonna die, I knew where I was gonna die,
15:11 I knew how I was gonna die.
15:12 So I had it all planned out.
15:14 I got off the school bus, the bus driver said
15:16 have a great weekend and drove away.
15:19 I went inside and I initiated my suicide plan.
15:23 I went into my bedroom I wrote out my suicide note,
15:25 I grabbed my report cards,
15:28 I went into the bathroom I got a drink of water
15:30 I looked at myself in the mirror
15:31 and I'm thinking I'm looking at a dead person,
15:33 I remember looking at my eyes knowing that
15:35 I'm gonna be dead with in the hour.
15:37 I went into where the guns were kept,
15:39 I pulled out a 22 caliber rifle
15:42 people sometimes have made fun of me.
15:43 They've said, why didn't you use a larger gun,
15:45 you really didn't want to die because that was the only gun
15:48 that I can smuggle out of the house.
15:49 If someone had not been home
15:51 I would certainly use the larger gun,
15:53 I mean that was how intent I was.
15:55 So I smuggle this gun into my bedroom,
15:57 I stuffed my suicide note,
15:59 I stuffed the report cards in my breast pocket,
16:02 I put a shirt and tie on
16:03 because I wanted to look nice,
16:04 suicide steals a persons dignity I found
16:07 and then typically I think when people die from suicide
16:09 they always seemed to make a statement.
16:11 I wanted to look nice.
16:14 I started to climb out of a bedroom window.
16:16 If you haven't seen me up until now I want you to see me.
16:19 Yeah, at this point and time
16:21 I could say I knew, when I was gonna die,
16:23 where I was-- had it all planned up.
16:24 The only thing I did not plan out that day
16:26 was there was a Bible sitting on a shelf.
16:28 Somebody along my lifetime had given me a Bible
16:31 and I grab this Bible out impulse
16:33 and said I'm taking it with me.
16:34 This is my lifeline, I'm gonna take this Bible with me.
16:36 I had never really read it,
16:38 really didn't know the things of Gods,
16:39 so I threw it in my coat pocket and climbed up the window
16:42 and I remember running away from my house,
16:45 because I didn't want anybody to stop me.
16:47 And so I ran down this country lane,
16:49 it was about a quarter mile onto the woods
16:50 I climbed a briquette barbwire fence,
16:53 walked into the woods and I sit down next to creek
16:56 and for an hour I tried to woke up the nerve
16:59 to shoot myself to death
17:00 and at the end of this time my will to live blink.
17:03 It was like a game of chicken
17:05 and I remember thinking I can't do this.
17:07 So I unloaded the gun, I started to walk back home
17:09 and then I remember the life from the night before.
17:11 I had told them I would have that report card for the Monday
17:14 and I knew there would be consequences
17:16 because then I would had also told them a lie on top of that.
17:20 So I walk back down to the creek,
17:21 I sat down and tried to opening up the Bible,
17:24 my frame of mind was so spurred
17:26 I couldn't read the words and so I laid it down
17:29 and I remember I entered into a attitude of prayer,
17:31 I distinctly remember saying dear God,
17:33 please send an angel to save me.
17:35 And when I opened up my eyes from that prayer,
17:38 I just imagine one encounter burning bush,
17:40 I just knew that I was so earnest
17:41 of my seeking after God.
17:43 And when I didn't see the burning bush,
17:45 I remember hearing this voice in my ear whispering,
17:47 even God doesn't care about your life pull the trigger.
17:50 So the enemy was so. Yes, it was in my face.
17:53 It literally for seven months it had taunt in my life
17:55 and burned my life down this pathway.
17:57 It was in my face well, you pull the trigger,
17:58 pull the trigger.
18:00 So I loaded the gun,
18:01 I looked up to heaven and laid it right here
18:04 and I reached down with my thumb
18:05 and I prepared to entering the heaven
18:07 and I pulled the trigger with my thumb.
18:10 And what came after the end of that gun
18:14 I was not prepared for that,
18:17 I remember saying it was Gods deemed
18:19 so my mouth before I pulled the trigger,
18:20 it was His name on my mouth as I fell to the ground.
18:24 I felt like-- I felt for sure is gonna wake up in heaven
18:27 but I was wrong.
18:28 You know the force that came out
18:29 I wasn't ready for that, and I was afraid to look down.
18:34 I didn't want to see the damage done
18:38 and after couple of minutes I happen to catch a glimpse of
18:42 I saw a little feathers sticking out of my clothes
18:45 and I was in shock and I remember thinking
18:46 I can go home and put this gun away
18:49 and nobody will know.
18:50 I'll just clean myself,
18:51 and nobody will know the difference.
18:54 Then I notice that I couldn't breath,
18:56 I felt like warm creamy soup filling up my coat.
18:59 I unzip my coat and I look down
19:01 and then I saw the blood and I knew I was gonna die.
19:03 Once a bullet leaves in the end of a gun
19:06 you can't bring it back.
19:07 I had-- suicide had stolen my life,
19:09 that taunting voice I heard said
19:11 pull the trigger had shown me
19:14 that this is what you supposed to do,
19:15 this is the answer to your life suddenly grew quiet.
19:19 There were no more thoughts of--
19:20 I haven't hate that 'cause when you say
19:22 suddenly grew quiet is that enemy said I'm done here.
19:26 I actually won this battle
19:28 and I literally can leave you to die by yourself.
19:31 It claimed my life. I hate that.
19:32 And I really feel like the strategy of the devil
19:35 is so unfair like that, is like you know
19:38 what I lie to you until you pull the trigger
19:40 and then I'll laugh at you.
19:42 And that just makes me so angry.
19:43 That's the regret. Exactly.
19:44 There was a moment of regret of like
19:46 what have I done.
19:47 I have a-- I remember thinking
19:48 I would take a thousand reasons why?
19:50 I thought suicide was my answer
19:52 if could have my life back the way
19:54 it was before I pulled the trigger.
19:55 And though everything I talked up to this point
19:57 was really kind of unbearable.
19:59 What I unleashed on my life
20:00 could not compare to what I had just done.
20:03 I was gonna die forgotten in these woods.
20:05 I didn't realize that I would be afraid to die alone,
20:08 I didn't realize that I would-- that I was about to suffer
20:10 and or ordeal that still to this day
20:13 I carry with those terrible nightmares, the smells,
20:16 the taste of gunpowder in my mouth, you know.
20:19 And so I'm thinking I have to prepare myself to die
20:22 and these are my last thoughts,
20:24 that I'm gonna die alone in these woods and forgotten.
20:26 And at that moment and time I heard a voice in my ear,
20:29 in my mind I had never heard before
20:31 because not only it calmed me but it encouraged me.
20:36 It simply said to me there are many reason live
20:39 and I remember thinking, you know,
20:41 I would like to grow up one day and be a daddy.
20:43 That's too late I'm gonna die here
20:45 but I want to--
20:46 That might be the reason.
20:48 I want to just know what a home full of love feels like.
20:53 And so I said I want to be a dad
20:56 and the voice said that's a good reason grow now.
20:59 And so I remember thinking you know
21:01 I'm not gonna die in these woods,
21:03 maybe ill die fighting for my least,
21:05 but at least I'll know I fought dying,
21:08 I died fighting for my life.
21:10 So I remember I try to crawl myself up to feet
21:13 and I started to walk, run out of these woods
21:16 but it kept falling over because of the affects.
21:17 By this time its really starting take affects me
21:19 what I done to myself.
21:23 But this time the voice again once again spoke to me
21:24 and this time it was very firm with me.
21:26 Its kind of reminds me when I have my kids
21:28 bouncing on the bed after several times saying
21:30 listen stop jumping on the bed, first you are real nice.
21:32 Hey guys, stop the jumping on the--
21:33 You're gonna hurt yourself.
21:34 Yeah, they don't listen so finally,
21:35 you kind of got to be a dad or mom.
21:37 Stop jumping on the bed little more firm
21:39 and they listen to that voice.
21:40 Well, this time again the voice said to me
21:42 that very firm loving crawl.
21:44 So I remember thinking I have a long way to go
21:46 nobody knows where am I--
21:47 So it's like God is saying focus,
21:49 you have to focus right now.
21:51 You cannot stop right now.
21:52 Yeah, because I mean, I'm in the woods,
21:55 there's nobody knows I'm gone.
21:57 I mean, I'm quarter of a mile away from help
22:01 and so I remember I start crawling,
22:03 and there's been times in my life
22:04 I felt like my body was bouncing off the ground.
22:07 I mean, I barely had the strength
22:09 laying there in fetal position or sitting breathe
22:11 why don't you get through these words.
22:13 When I woke up in the intensive care unit
22:15 I asked them why I couldn't I open my left eye,
22:17 they said because your face was traumatize being dragged
22:20 across the ground to the rocks and the briars.
22:23 And I believe, I don't remember how I got out into this field
22:26 but I remember something waking up in this field
22:29 and I believe that God didn't answer my prayer
22:30 and He sent an angel to save me.
22:33 You know, so I'm in this field and I went into the woods
22:38 with this pretty blue powder coat
22:40 with some of the color shirt
22:41 I'm wearing now
22:42 and happen to catch a glimpse of myself.
22:45 You know, I hear the story of the crucifixion in the whips
22:50 and what they did, you know, to our Savior
22:52 and I just there's blood everywhere
22:54 and then mud and briars that's suicide
22:57 that's the real monster, you know I'm dying.
22:59 There was nothing attractive.
23:00 There was nothing attractive about.
23:02 It showed me pie in the sky
23:04 and there were romanticism of it
23:05 but the real nature--
23:06 There gonna find you just lay down just nice.
23:09 Yeah, all nice but the reality of it was it stolen my life.
23:14 So again the voices call for help
23:17 and I remember thinking nobody is going to--
23:19 I remember arguing within there's nobody around me
23:22 how are they gonna hear me.
23:24 And so I was like a at this point--
23:25 They haven't heard me my whole life.
23:27 My whole life I've been screaming out
23:30 and you are saying call out now
23:31 and I know that that's ridiculous.
23:32 There's nobody around me. And He is saying call out.
23:36 So what I didn't know was on the one
23:38 in my own life God was working,
23:40 but He was also working on an another level
23:42 that I could not see,
23:44 you know so I started calling out for help.
23:46 And what He do is He alert my little brother
23:47 who was the hero of the day, who was sitting on a couch
23:50 and he felt this urgent need to come stack firewood.
23:53 He felt this pulling on his shirt
23:55 and so he ran out of the house and he didn't even bundle up,
23:59 he just knew he had to go stack firewood in the woods.
24:01 And so he came running down and he stacks firewood
24:03 and to stack the firewood and he finds me
24:06 and I remember that's the first time
24:07 I ever had to admit anybody that I shot myself on purpose.
24:11 I said, I shot myself go get help.
24:13 And so I had-- he went and got my grandfather
24:15 and my grandfather came down and at that point
24:17 I had all I had was time on my hands to think,
24:20 there's nothing more than I can do.
24:22 You know the EMS people were coming.
24:24 And so I remember thinking to myself
24:26 if I survive this one I'm never gonna do this again.
24:29 I valued my life and life is truly a gift
24:33 and typically we take things of value for granted
24:37 until they start of losing them.
24:38 You know, when we're feeling healthy
24:41 we have a tendency to take our health
24:42 for granted until we are sick.
24:43 When we're sick we thinking
24:44 I wish I could have my health back.
24:46 Well, people who are contemplating suicide
24:48 if they would think that for a moment
24:49 that there may be the moment when life and death collide,
24:52 when they think I wish I could have my life back.
24:55 And so I wanted my life back
24:57 and so the police and the EMS people arrive.
25:00 And I remember the police officer
25:01 looking down at my face and said who did this to you?
25:04 And I said I did this, sir.
25:06 You know and he shook his head he walked away from me
25:08 and I remember thinking he's gonna leave me to die.
25:11 You know, and so they package me
25:12 up in the paramedics are there and I asked them
25:15 I said please promise me that I'm not gonna die.
25:17 And the medics said I'm not gonna promise--
25:20 he said to me I'm gonna promise to try to keep you alive
25:23 and that's how bad I was going.
25:27 For several months this is what I thought I wanted
25:29 but here I'm begging these paramedics keep real,
25:32 please don't let me die.
25:33 And you know, what's really got to me
25:36 Jim, as you are speaking is that the voice
25:40 that tormented you all of that six months
25:42 or all of that time prior as the planning stage
25:45 the voice is no longer there and now I can hear God
25:48 and I can hear my own thoughts.
25:50 And so it's incredible to know that if I turn it over
25:54 and really ask to silence that voice.
25:57 Yeah. That you chose life.
25:59 It was clear as day, it was a sense of
26:02 I want to live my life as a gift.
26:03 This is the truth, this is hope.
26:05 You know love faith and hope are more powerful
26:07 than the weapons of the enemy.
26:09 You know, I mean that had more power over that
26:12 what gun did to my life and just a hope of life,
26:15 the gift of life and love I mean at that time
26:18 I wasn't a father, you know, I'm today
26:20 but it was the future love of the promise
26:23 of knowing that one day,
26:24 you know, I had spoken my heart desire.
26:26 I didn't want to grow up and be,
26:27 you know, rich and famous
26:28 and that I wanted to be a daddy.
26:30 I wanted to give love to somebody else,
26:31 that was my hearts desire.
26:32 And that's what God honored in my life
26:34 and that had more power than what the monster
26:37 and want the enemy had been showing me.
26:40 And so I was able to survive that
26:42 and you know I had-- the bullet came out
26:45 and missed my heart valve by quarter of an inch.
26:48 It went inside, they still left
26:49 the part of the fragment inside of me.
26:51 You know, the surgeons said
26:52 it was too close for you-- for me to remove it
26:55 because I would have risk paralyzing you.
26:58 And God really He was there that day.
27:01 You know, my whole life He was my Good Samaritan.
27:04 You know He came running to me.
27:06 You know, He demonstrated His love to my life.
27:08 I was some forgotten teenager that felt abuse
27:11 and neglected his whole life invisible to the world
27:14 but God I cared to God.
27:15 All of heaven says, you know,
27:17 you have not been an invisible to us.
27:19 So you are on the way to the hospital,
27:21 knowing that this is serious
27:23 that you could lose your life even yet
27:25 and now you're trying to hold on.
27:26 Yes, you know I'm fighting for my life
27:30 there's periods of-- I'm blacking out.
27:33 They wheel me into the trauma room
27:36 and I can remember being in trauma room
27:38 and in and out of focus-- I have just,
27:41 I have unusual thoughts of memories
27:45 that I don't live-- I know I lost my life
27:47 at that some-- at some point in time.
27:50 I went nearly two hours out surgery
27:52 and I remember hearing them opening up the chest tubes
27:54 and these surgical instruments clinging around,
27:57 you know and I knew that either "A"
28:00 I was gonna indeed wake up in heaven or "B"
28:02 I was gonna wake up upstairs in hospital
28:04 in the next 30 minutes.
28:06 This is where it comes down to either
28:08 any of these surgeons are gonna keep me alive
28:10 or indeed suicide to claim my life.
28:13 And they started cutting into me
28:14 and I have the memories of that.
28:15 And again that's the nature of suicide.
28:19 The next thing I knew, I wake up alive,
28:22 you know, I'm alive, I overcame all that.
28:25 You know the God was merciful, He heard my prayer,
28:29 you know and the thief had
28:31 come to kill and destroy my life
28:32 but God came that I may have life
28:34 and life abundantly.
28:36 But you know it's really interesting
28:37 because I feel like that moment
28:40 when you wake up and that moment
28:41 where you thinking of what,
28:43 I have been given this incredible gift now.
28:46 So once of looking at this almost this tragedy
28:49 that I have to live is like this gift of life.
28:52 And I just want to say thank you.
28:54 I wanted to embrace that, you know,
28:56 the sense of you know this is my life,
28:58 this is my gift however suddenly
29:01 I had a inherited a new reality.
29:04 I was just 16-year-old boy
29:05 that had purposely picked up a rifle
29:07 and shot himself in the middle of the chest.
29:09 And people struggle to say the words suicide.
29:12 Well, I became the whipping board of suicide.
29:15 You know I was called all kinds of names.
29:18 I was broken, I was a coward and people offered me advice
29:22 on how to shoot myself the next time.
29:25 I remember trying to join the army.
29:26 You became a joke?
29:27 Yes, ridiculed, laughter,
29:29 you know for months nobody would help me,
29:31 but they were quick to come out and call me a name,
29:34 you know, offered me advice again how to take my life.
29:39 And so trying and I tried to join the military
29:41 and then they say well, you're broken,
29:44 you're exempt from service, you can't--
29:46 you know, we don't want you.
29:47 They weren't there when I was hurting for months
29:50 I didn't want that for my life.
29:51 I thought that was my only
29:53 but in the-- the Spirit of God
29:55 and the joy of living been able to overcome all that,
29:59 you know and I realize my heart says dreams today
30:01 and that's working reaching other people
30:03 may be contemplating suicide, I call them my friends.
30:06 But, you know, let's talk about that a little bit
30:08 because you know you chose to live
30:11 and not only chose to live but look at the stats
30:14 and what is the issue out there and how many people like you?
30:18 Tell us some of the stuff that you've learned since them.
30:21 Suicide is an epidemic without a voice,
30:23 you know, typically all epidemics have a voice,
30:25 suicide does not.
30:27 The World Health Organization says
30:28 that every day 3,000 people take their life.
30:31 Everyday-- every 30 seconds someone
30:33 around the world is talking their life.
30:34 I've always said that people don't die from suicide
30:36 because they're like hope
30:38 I feel that you die from suicide
30:39 because they've put their hope in death,
30:41 hope that death will set me free
30:42 from whatever reasons why I hurt.
30:44 Every 30 seconds someone takes their life.
30:47 For every successful suicide
30:49 there is 20 to 25 people trying to take their life,
30:52 so 65,000 people globally are trying to take their life.
30:56 I think suicide is a thermostat.
30:58 At this moment. At this moment.
30:59 Today there will be 3,000 people
31:01 that will take their life.
31:02 I mean every day here in United States
31:04 20 to 25 veterans take their life
31:07 just veterans alone.
31:09 One in, every one in 12 teenagers
31:12 in the United States has a suicide plan,
31:16 one and six will actually attempt the act.
31:20 But you know what but one of the things
31:22 that you said that that I just feel like
31:24 is so powerful is that
31:26 because they have put the hope in death rather than in life,
31:31 because of whatever's come against them,
31:34 you know, that this is a slow seduction into a lie
31:37 that has now captivated them, that's what my hope is.
31:41 Yes, I think if-- my believe is to inspire people--
31:46 inform people inspire them.
31:47 Inform them that listen,
31:49 when the moment when life and death collide
31:51 you may very well encounter the same regrets that I did.
31:53 So many people are dying from suicide.
31:55 Certainly my experience wasn't limited to just me.
31:59 I know there's been other people have taken their life
32:00 that experience, that moment of I shouldn't have done that.
32:03 A friend of mine, and I love him,
32:06 I miss him so much
32:07 but he stepped in front of a train
32:09 and the last moment the conductor said no,
32:11 I don't think it was a suicide
32:12 because he desperately tried to get off the track
32:15 and it was that moment,
32:16 but he couldn't make it off the track.
32:18 He's been seduce the same thing that seduced my life.
32:21 It had stolen my life
32:24 and then to inspire people to live,
32:27 you know, I wanted to see people fall in love
32:29 with the joy of living again.
32:30 Life is for to living, it really is a gift.
32:32 So how did you do that?
32:33 Because that, you know, you say that
32:35 but that's not an easy journey
32:36 to fight against all of the lies
32:38 that you've bought, all of the lies
32:39 that you have kind of got up every morning
32:42 and it motivated you to get through the day
32:45 and now you got to confront those.
32:46 That's true.
32:47 The value-- I believe you had the pain
32:50 that death equals-- pain equals death
32:53 or life has value.
32:54 I believe our life value exceeds
32:56 greatly the pain of death,
32:59 you know and if you can focus on reasons for living.
33:02 You know, it was my desire to grow up
33:03 and be a dad for me that was important.
33:05 That was more powerful and that got me to rise up
33:07 out of that feel position and go live my life.
33:10 I tell people to count blessings.
33:12 You'll find one reason to live today.
33:14 You know, find something that you can hold fast to
33:17 and that's hope redirect your hope from death back to life.
33:22 Encourage people to go get help,
33:23 go get counseling,
33:24 find out why-- where your life went off the track.
33:27 If somebody doesn't listen to you make sure
33:29 that you find someone else,
33:31 keep saying it keep talking, keep doing that.
33:34 We're gonna open up for questions
33:35 because I know that people are gonna have
33:37 questions in the cafe.
33:38 Open up for questions and then we get back on some questions
33:41 that I have for you.
33:42 Okay, Jonathon, I know that you know
33:48 you're a teen self so what about the issue
33:51 as far as your friends and some people
33:53 that you know what's-- can you relate to anything
33:57 that he has talking about today?
33:59 Yes, Jim, my name is Jonathon Dixon.
34:01 I'm from California
34:03 and I'm a sophomore in college right now.
34:06 And I've had about two friends
34:09 that I know that actually attempt to suicide
34:12 and both of them for one of them
34:14 I came after the failed attempt
34:17 and another one I was able to come into the room
34:19 when they were doing it,
34:20 and I remember just asking them
34:23 why do you want this so much?
34:25 And their answer seemed to be
34:27 they just didn't seem to feel that
34:29 there was purpose for the next day.
34:31 And I know there's many, many teens, I even myself
34:34 I remember it was a time when I thought
34:35 I wasn't sure what my purpose.
34:37 I wasn't sure where my talents where valued.
34:40 You know, what would be my purpose?
34:42 I'm not good enough to be a star on TV,
34:45 I don't feel like I'm better than
34:47 the person sitting next to me.
34:49 What is my purpose?
34:50 And I'm just wondering what--
34:52 when was it when or after the event
34:55 that you found what your purpose was
34:58 or where did you find your purpose?
35:00 That's a good question.
35:01 It took some time for me to find
35:04 I guess my purpose.
35:06 I had originally-- my life mapped out
35:08 I guess normal for young folks.
35:11 I wanted to join the military
35:13 and then I wanted to be a police officer
35:14 that was always my goal.
35:15 And then the suicide barred all that for me.
35:18 I tried 25 times to be a policemen,
35:21 25 times I was rejected.
35:23 They don't know there was always the suicide
35:25 but it always as question,
35:28 have you ever attempted suicide in the past
35:30 or have you ever been hospitalized for depression?
35:31 And then so I was like yeah, you know,
35:33 I of course I can't lie about that scars are on in me
35:37 but I knew that I wanted to help people with suicide.
35:40 I knew that my life had been given back to me,
35:42 I haven given a tremendous gift.
35:44 I felt I was a steward, my life didn't belong to me
35:47 but I was a steward of my life.
35:50 And so I wanted to honor God with my life,
35:53 and I knew that I knew
35:54 how to speak to people on that level.
35:57 Like your friends in that situations
35:58 I knew by opening up a Bible my own experience
36:02 it would help them and I always thought
36:03 it would give glory to God because you know there was--
36:06 my story is not so much about one empty grave,
36:07 it's about two empty graves.
36:09 It's about the grave at Calvary and that's empty.
36:11 What He did for my life and I wanted to help people
36:14 but its taken 25 years to reach the point
36:17 where I could feel comfortable talking
36:20 and saying to people is my name is Jim,
36:22 I'm survivor of the suicide attempt.
36:24 And it's been most of life with a clock over my head
36:26 hiding from people afraid that they would see my scars
36:30 and ask me, you know,
36:31 how did you get that nasty hole in the middle of your chest?
36:34 But its not-- I believe a life
36:37 growing and growing to it almost.
36:39 So I love the fact that you said
36:40 you found you purpose and actually saying
36:42 how can I help the people around me?
36:45 You know even in any kind of 12 step program
36:49 if you really do a program of recovery
36:52 well, the 12 step is go tell someone
36:54 whatever it is that you have figured out
36:56 in your life reach out to the next person.
37:00 Will you talk about Jonathon and I love this
37:02 when you talk about right now
37:05 we are so disconnected as a society
37:08 that if you get that in any level
37:10 and just say we're gonna connect
37:12 not on Facebook, not in gaming
37:14 but we're gonna go rock climbing
37:15 and we're gonna go out and do this
37:17 or we're gonna play music and jam together,
37:18 we're gonna do whatever
37:20 and we start to connecting with each other
37:22 that's a purpose in life,
37:24 because people are dying because they feel invisible
37:26 and that's what you're saying
37:27 is I felt invisible my whole life.
37:30 You know, we have another question
37:31 I know that Karen, you had the question.
37:33 Yes, Jim, my name is Karen Owen,
37:37 and I have had depressed moments in life
37:40 where I you know felt like doing that
37:42 but I just felt like I couldn't
37:45 because it would be victory for the other side not for me.
37:51 I was wondering you didn't say
37:52 anything about any religious up bringing in that,
37:54 how did you know it was God that was prompting you
37:58 and moving you in such a direction?
38:02 That's a good question.
38:04 First I give all the glory to Him.
38:06 I mean He was obvious He knew
38:08 what was gonna happen long before that ever happened.
38:11 And so He brought servants into my life
38:13 that were faithful.
38:14 I was drawn to the things kind of--
38:17 we went to church three times when I was growing up
38:18 we went to I think on a Easter Sunday,
38:20 we went to a funeral and a wedding
38:21 that was about the extent of my experience growing
38:26 but there were people
38:27 who were faithful in their walk with Lord
38:30 and somebody made sure that I had a Bible
38:33 and I don't remember that person that,
38:34 you know, that gave that to me.
38:35 You know when like Ten Commandments were on
38:37 I was always glued not because it was interesting
38:40 it is such a spirit in that movie
38:42 that I just felt drawn to.
38:43 If I heard Christian radio
38:45 I would kind of turn an ear to it.
38:47 I was being drawn.
38:50 You know, it's a God before I ever knew God.
38:52 I love when you said that for whatever reason
38:54 you walk out the door with a gun
38:56 and you see the Bible that was given to you
38:58 and you grab it kind of-- to depressed to even read it
39:01 but it prompted you and then pray.
39:03 On one hand I had a weapon
39:06 that was meant to destroy my life,
39:07 in the other hand I had a love letter
39:08 written to me from God.
39:10 It was meant to save your life.
39:11 Yeah, save my life. That's incredible.
39:13 So you know I have to ask you
39:15 is that we talked about nutrition on this thing
39:19 and that Jesus saying that "I am the bread of life."
39:22 So what was the step that it took to get you
39:24 into actually reading the Bible
39:27 and looking all of that connecting with God.
39:29 What did that look like for you?
39:31 I felt like it was my Father.
39:33 I honestly it was a time of excitement
39:38 I knew that God had--
39:40 it was like my road to Damascus.
39:41 I knew that God had done that for me.
39:44 You know, the rest of the world may have not
39:46 but if I was the only believer in this world
39:49 I would know that there's a--
39:50 You know, I think that you'll understand
39:52 this more than a lot of people,
39:54 when I came off the 10 years of homelessness
39:56 and that God I felt like
39:58 He kissed me on the face every morning.
40:00 I felt like it's like He can't wait to wake us up.
40:03 Like you know I could see that in your life,
40:05 I gave you this life
40:06 and I can't wait to show you today
40:08 what the joy of that gift was.
40:12 He really was it-- I found myself enter the word,
40:16 you know, all I met that you know
40:17 I had my 20's things fell apart.
40:19 You know, I have some health problems
40:21 as a result of surviving that.
40:22 You know, then I had to inherit this world
40:24 of the name calling and being that person
40:27 and I fell into my late 20's I was homeless.
40:30 You know, so but God has been faithful in all of that even
40:33 when I walked away from Him, He was still there.
40:35 He didn't walk away from me, I walked away from Him
40:38 and He's always been faithful to me
40:40 and I know that He saved my life.
40:41 I know He saved my spirit but He saved my life.
40:44 So you are now you are dead? Yes.
40:48 So talk about that a little bit that's pretty awesome.
40:50 Yeah, I love some of the great joys in life
40:54 is wrestling with stuffed animals.
40:55 We have-- my kids don't just go to bed
40:57 there's like a half hour long process
40:59 that they get tucked in you know I mean--
41:01 We laugh together.
41:02 We laugh together,
41:03 there's lots of life in my home.
41:05 They don't that psycho they don't go to bed
41:09 knowing that any moment
41:11 that there someone's gonna break the door down
41:12 and dragged them out their bed
41:13 and called them the meanie names.
41:15 You know, I just felt like that the weight of all that
41:18 was stopped by the power of God.
41:20 So even the generational things,
41:21 the things that you could have
41:22 passed onto them, you have not.
41:24 I have not. That's incredible.
41:27 And that's incredible to have somebody
41:29 that's watching just know that,
41:31 you know, all of that sadness,
41:32 all of that trauma, all of that abuse
41:35 that literally you can start to come out of that
41:38 and say I don't know how I'm gonna trust you,
41:40 but I'm gonna trust you
41:41 even when I stumble around with my life.
41:43 That's a choice, it comes that we ultimately
41:46 we have our own-- you know
41:47 it was my choice to pull that trigger.
41:49 It was my choice to make those plans.
41:51 It was my choice to call towards life.
41:52 It was my choice to ask God to intervene.
41:55 And likewise I think if there is this generational things
41:58 if it's a parent that went through
42:00 those abusive things in their home
42:01 and they have responsibility that their children
42:03 they didn't ask to be born,
42:05 they have to make a choice that,
42:06 you know, something I'm not--
42:07 I know how bad things can be it stops right her.
42:10 I'm drawing the line in the sand
42:11 my kids are not going to experience that.
42:14 Even if I need to get help,
42:15 if I need to call them the troops
42:17 I'm making this choice.
42:18 That's right, they didn't ask to be born.
42:20 And so they--
42:21 we have a responsibility as moms and dads
42:24 to take ownership of our own things
42:27 and I take our ownership and they say here
42:28 give it to a little child and say here
42:30 you deal with this.
42:32 You know, I just got to say that,
42:35 you know, I just want to smile at God
42:36 and tell Him to thank you for your very life,
42:39 for your very hope today.
42:41 We're gonna go head and take a break
42:42 and come back and close out the program.
42:45 I'd like you to come back and talk to anybody
42:48 that's maybe watching that is suicidal
42:50 and what would you say to them
42:52 and how would you pray for them,
42:55 even if you could close in prayer.
42:56 Well, we're gonna be right back.
42:58 I'm so proud of God, it's just ridiculous cool
43:01 that in the mist of our craziness,
43:03 in the mist of our sadness, in the mist of our pains,
43:05 so if you are in pain I get all that.
43:08 But in the mist of all that if we stop believing one life,
43:11 we stop believing the devils himself,
43:13 but we stop listening to all this torments
43:15 that the Holy Spirit has time to say
43:17 you know what, I hope for you
43:19 and I know who you are and I have a plan
43:22 and its not to cause you harm
43:23 its to give you hope and a future.
43:25 We will be right back, stay with us.


Revised 2015-01-29