During 2020, our community of Medicine Hat, AB experienced a contagion of suicides within a very specific demographic of men. There was shock, there was grief, and there was a lot of conversation around nobody saw this coming. Money was pumped into suicide awareness campaigns and programs while the we all waited… dreaded… more horrible news. The city of Medicine Hat could not have been more aware of suicide.
After World Suicide Awareness Day 2022, Rick, Damyan, and Ryan shared a table and conversation around their personal journeys through addiction. The three of them took turns discussing how their “addiction-fueled” journey’s to suicide looked. Each story was different, but the dark, self loathing, shame-filled feelings were eerily similar. This was the common thread. They each felt hopeless, alone, and a burden to everyone around them. The hopeless feelings each one felt as they got closer to the darkest moment of their lives, the impact of addiction would not allow them to see any other way out. They understood that once they each reached those final moments, they were content with the decisions to remove the problem from family, friends, and society in general.
They decided the action step for them was to begin sharing their lived experience stories of hope with the public instead of only in the rooms of recovery. They wanted to provide hope to anyone struggling with addiction and suicidal ideation. As they share, people would get a chance to resonate with portions of their stories and provide hope that there is a different way no matter where you are in your personal journey.
The first medium they chose to get their stories out was a podcast, “From Darkness to Life”. Our Collective Journey was born.
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