No Way Out
By Darrin Ballard as told to T. Suzanne Eller
I still remember that night like it was yesterday. I worked at the mall and left around 10:00 p.m. I said good-bye to my friends and headed for the two-bedroom trailer that I now called home. Little did my friends know that my “good-bye” had a whole different meaning. I decided that I would take my own life, the worst decision of many bad choices I had already made.
What makes a person choose to commit suicide? I was one of those people that said life could never get that bad, that things could never be so horrible that they are beyond repair. I wasn’t committing suicide because my life was out of control but rather because I was tired of fighting and losing a personal battle. I felt like there was no other way out.
It started five years before. I was in seventh grade. I met this guy. He was cool, funny, and he never seemed to mind having teenagers at his house at all hours. The first time I was in his home, I noticed a couple of movies on top of his television. I don’t remember the titles, but I popped one in. It was basically soft porn.
Shortly after that, he took all of us to a youth convention. One night he assembled the guys together in his room and rented an X-rated movie. I watched, intrigued by what I saw. From that time on, I was hooked. I lied and deceived to get my hands on pornography. I craved it. Doctors say that the portion of your brain that can become addicted to heroin is the same part that functions when addicted to pornography. They also say that porn is as hard to shake as heroin.
I believe that, because that is how it felt to me.
Every Sunday and Wednesday, I heard our senior pastor say that behavior like mine was wrong. I was in total inner conflict. I knew that I could never be good enough to please God, yet I was so afraid of missing God that I continued to go to church.
I was alone. I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt or what I was going through. How could anyone understand? I knew that everyone would look down on me. I hated who I had become. I hated me.
Things steadily deteriorated. I moved out of the house when I was only a junior. My relationship at home had not been good for a very long time. I was raised in a “religious” home, but the abuse and words that were spoken behind closed doors were very different from the front everyone else saw.
I worked full-time and attended school. I thought moving out would solve my problems, but it just made things worse. I was now more isolated than ever, and yet I had all kinds of friends. Have you ever been in the middle of a crowd and still felt lonely? Then you understand how I felt.
I changed churches and found one with caring people, but I still had a skewed view of Christianity. I lived a double life, wanting God, searching for God, and yet hiding my sin.
One night at church, a youth sponsor asked me to move in with her family. I didn’t realize it then, but God sent them to me to be my guardian angels. They let me move in and treated me as if I were a family member. They tried to reach me with love, but I managed to keep a wall up between us.
You see, I was still living my secret life. I didn’t want them to know how dirty I felt all the time. I hated the way that pornography made me feel, and yet I was always looking for my next “fix”.
Other than that, things seemed to be looking up. I had a beautiful girlfriend. I worked at a decent job. But it was hard keeping the porn part of my life separate, so after I graduated from high school I moved out of their house and into a trailer.
It didn’t take long for things to fall apart. I was caught in more and more lies. I made several terrible financial decisions, and the debt piled up. My girlfriend and I broke up. I felt alone and worthless. I thought the only way I could deal with this was suicide.
When I arrived home that Tuesday night, I immediately wrote notes to all the people I loved. I made sure every detail was in place. I lived by myself and didn’t have to be at work until Saturday. By the time anybody missed me it would be too late.
It was 4:00 a.m. when I finished my suicide notes. I scrounged a can of cream soda from the refrigerator. I sat in a chair in the living room and methodically divided the pills into three groups of ten. I swallowed ten pills at a time, chasing them with several chugs of cream soda, and gagging. Then to make sure that I was successful, I followed that with a half a bottle of pills. I then lay down to sleep.
Do you believe in coincidences? I don’t. The next morning at around 11:30 a.m., my ex-girlfriend, whom I hadn’t seen in about three weeks, decided to stop by and see how I was doing. She called an ambulance, and I was rushed to the hospital. I don’t remember the ambulance. I don’t remember the rescue workers digging their knuckles into my sternum trying to wake me up. I don’t even remember them putting in the catheter. I just remember sleeping.
When the doctors did all that they could do, they spoke with my parents. When they told my mom that she could see me, she turned to the pastor of my church and said, “I love my son very much, but if he dies, I want to make sure that he is ready to go. Will you go in and pray with him?”
Before my pastor came in, the nurse told my parents I had a 5% chance of living. If I did live, I could be in a vegetative state because of the damage to my liver. I remember my pastor coming in and saying that he was going to pray with me. I couldn’t reply, but he wanted me to pray with him in my heart. I tried with all of my might to make the words come out, but they wouldn’t. I felt like I was dead and attending my own funeral.
Shortly after that, my second mom came in to be with me. I remember her laying her head on my shoulder. She started weeping and quietly prayed for me. Though I couldn’t say anything and couldn’t open my eyes, the tears spilled down my face.
Hours later I woke up. There was black charcoal spewed all over the room where I had constantly puked up the medicine given intravenously to soak up the poison. My room was a mess. My gown was a mess. Once again I felt dirty, as if the mess on the outside revealed the filthiness on the inside.
The doctors said my recovery was a miracle. I left the hospital the next day. I was given three choices: I could be admitted into a mental hospital, I could live with my parents, or I could move back in with my second family.
Which one do you think I chose? I went home from the hospital that day and, literally mean, I went home. My second family welcomed me back but this time with new stipulations. They would love me unconditionally, but I had to be totally, brutally honest with them. I couldn’t hide my feelings. I couldn’t mask the battle of sin.
I knew it wasn’t an equal trade because they would love me no matter what, but I wanted to be honest with them. I wanted to get better. I was tired of feeling the way I did, and here was a family—a God-given family—who was willing to help me.
Another requirement was that I had to go to weekly counseling sessions with my Senior Pastor. Through these sessions, I discovered that not all people were like the guy who introduced me to porn. Little by little I progressed. My new family spent a lot of personal time crying with me and praying over me.
Things didn’t immediately get better. In fact, they got worse the first few weeks after I left the hospital. The first week I backed into a family member’s car. Then the next week my car was repossessed. In spite of these incidents, I didn’t feel like I used to feel.
I think it was because I was learning how to be honest. If I felt bad, I had to say that I felt bad. I couldn’t put on a mask. If I lied, those around me gently made me speak the truth. It was hard, but soon I learned to be truthful with God, with other people, and with myself. That allowed me to let people into my life to help me and to hold me accountable.
Four years later, I look back and see where God has brought me. Did I get here overnight? No, it happened one baby step at a time. First was honesty. Second, I needed to understand that God had a plan for me. Third, I learned to look at life as a gift. Now I wake up each day and I know that I’ve been given a second chance.
There was a time in my life that I felt trapped by my sin. I thought that I could never walk away from the things that were destroying my life. Now I understand God’s love, because He opened a door for me when I thought there was no way out.
Dear Jesus, I want to share every detail of my life with you. I know you have plans for me. Forgive me for wearing a mask. Please help me to be honest with you, with myself, and with those who care about me.
Excerpted with permission of the author of Real Teens, Real Stories, Real Life (RiverOak).
Do you go to church anywhere? If not, find a church. Talk to the pastor and tell him how you are feeling. But most of all, keep doing the next thing. I'm not promising that you will not have losses, but keep praying, seeking God, and His direction. Keep your head high in this storm and one day, it will pass. The sun will shine again. And this dark period of your life will be behind you. There is hope Jeremiah 29: 11 - 13 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,...plans to give you hope and a future.... You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Keep seeking, keep walking, and God will see you through this.
In the meantime, please go get a check up from your doctor and tell him how you are feeling. If you think you are at risk for suicide, please go to the hospital or call 911. Do not do anything to harm yourself, you are going to make it. A really good book on this is Where is God When it Hurts by Phillip Yancey. God is going to see you through this dear one. Please, please do not do anything to hurt yourself.
You are going to make it. I'm praying for you. God is going to see you through this dear one. Please, please do not do anything to hurt yourself. Wait on God. In the meantime, if thoughts of suicide get too heavy, go to the hospital or call 911. Call your doctor as well.
In the meantime, please go get a check up from your doctor and tell him how you are feeling. If you think you are at risk for suicide, please go to the hospital or call 911. Do not do anything to harm yourself, you are going to make it. A really good book on this is Where is
Please, please do not do anything to hurt yourself. You are going to make it. I'm praying for you. God is going to see you through this dear one. Please, please do not do anything to hurt yourself. Wait on God. in the meantime, if thoughts of suicide get too heavy, go to th hospital or call 911. Call your doctor as well.
Here's what I recommend to you:
Don't do anything to harm yourself. You are so loved. Please give your situation time, please allow God time to move. He may be waiting for you to give in to Him, to say, God I will trust you, no matter what. Try trusting God and see what will happen.
Also, please go in for a medical checkup and tell your doctor about how you feel emotionally. Your doctor may have medications that can help you get over this 'bump' in the road.
Also, I highly recommend counseling. You may find a pastor in your church or other local church or some other professional who will understand and help you with your struggles.
WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU!