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Celebrating Life... Preventing Death

Mindlessly scrolling through Facebook this morning I saw a GoFundMe page for an acquaintance's celebration of life party, and my scrolling became not so mindless. After giving a small donation, I started to think of some of the memories I had of him in my early 20’s. He was full of life; full of personality, hilarious, talented, caring, loved by so many, and absolutely, objectively, gorgeous. Certainly being someone I wasn't too close with, I had no idea of his demons and what happened behind closed doors (this brings up a whole other topic on how well we know the people we are super close with but that’s for another day). By the time of his death, he barely resembled the same person he was 10 years ago. Alcohol… that’s what it does… it rots your body from the inside out. I’ve been around addiction and recovery my entire life, and I’m still shocked at its power.

We've been quite busy, and our blog has been neglected. The last few posts have been about people who have died. I’m actually sick (physically and mentally) of reading and writing about people who have passed away from alcohol, substance abuse, and other health related issues because of those things… vibrant, and loved by so many, with a great life and endless opportunities in the horizon... many suicides we hear about also fall into that category of a death related to alcohol/substances. Statistics show that people suffering with an addiction or just someone under the influence are exponentially more likely to take their own life… and then we have to evaluate was it the person who took their own life or their addiction?

It’s been about a week since Avicii’s death. Another young, attractive, talented, smart soul, gone too soon. He publically suffered from health issues related to alcohol and it’s rumored he died by suicide… his family is quoted saying “he could not go on any longer”... he just couldnt take it anymore. I have heard similar statements from so many of my clients … alcoholism/addiction of any kind is exhausting… draining…consuming... as is depression, anxiety, and most mental health disorders. Finding hope can be so difficult. One of my favorite concepts I learned in my Satir training was allowing others to borrow your hope. From the outside looking in, we see the potential, the greatness, we can read between the lies someone tells themselves, and see the possibility for a future filled with prosperity, acceptance, and love. I wonder what it would be like if when feeling stuck we allowed ourselves to really manifest and feel someone else’s hope. Hmmmm.

How do we teach our kids from a young age (and society in general) to deal with life on life’s terms? How do we teach them about the challenges in having unrealistic expectations? How do we teach them to grow their positive cognitions and throw away the negative thoughts that some time get in the way? How do we teach them that it really is about the journey and not the destination… and there will probably, never ever ever be a point where they have the world and the universe and life all figured out… and that’s okay? What about emotional regulation… how to deal with disappointment, some things that are unfair, anger, embarrassment, and hurt? How do we teach them about the risks of alcohol and drug use without enticing them to indulge in the forbidden fruit? How do we show them that everything that glitters isnt always gold? That the life of a celebrity or rockstar isnt always fun and games or the ideal … that kind of life can be just as empty and meaningless as everyone else’s with even greater consequences… so much to teach them… and even with it all, there’s no guarantee… what can we really do to prevent this kind of death??? Even though this is my business, education, and experience, I still have no clue but I’m going to continue to try.

Video of Avicii playing for thousands of people at the age of 21.

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