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Why are so many young Americans literally killing themselves with drugs, alcohol, and suicide?

September 24, 2018 by David Saffold

I just read an article by Jamie Ducharme in Time Health called
Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Are Killing So Many Young Americans That the Country’s Average Lifespan Is Falling

The gist of the article says:

Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Are Killing So Many Young Americans that the Country’s Average Lifespan Is Falling … Death rates for Americans ages 15 to 44 rose by around 5% each year between 2013 and 2016, and drugs, alcohol and suicide are chiefly to blame, the CDC report says.

This article is sobering (no pun intended)! Why are so many young Americans literally killing themselves? I feel that a big reason is that so many of our youth come to adulthood lacking a healthy emotional connection to themselves. They have no personal connection to a loving God which makes them vulnerable to becoming dominated by a destructive sense of self. I say this because this is my experience coming to adulthood and the reason for my teenage addiction to alcohol and why I put a gun to my head when I was 25 years old.

Looking back on my teenage years, I felt deeply threatened by life and people. Deep down in my core beliefs I felt I had no value, was intrinsically weak and bad, and therefore not truly lovable. These were the destructive beliefs that had come to dominate my sense of self. The threat was that other people would discover my destructive truth which would lead to rejection, condemnation, and humiliation. I walked through life filled with the ever-present fear that I would somehow be exposed for what I really was. Alcohol relieved me of the painful feelings of the intense fear and anxiety that goes with a life experience that is so threatening. Chronic intense pain is so abhorrent that we will do anything to escape it. I found my relief from my chronic emotional pain in alcohol. It freed me momentarily from the pain so I could feel acceptable to others.

The problem is that addiction is destructive by definition. My addiction made me do bad and humiliating things which intensified my destructive beliefs about myself. The addiction interfered with my ability to do good in my life, to progress in my ambitions around work, career, and relationships. The fight against hopelessness and despair eventually wore me out and I put a gun to my head. I didn’t really want to die, I just needed to pain to stop – all else had failed.

It was at this point in my life that I found a personal connection to a loving God. It only took a small change in my beliefs to effect a miraculous change in my life. I never drank again after that experience. I was literally cured of my addiction to alcohol! The dead had been raised to life!

As I nurtured my personal relationship with the wonderful God I had found, my relationship with myself changed. I came to see myself as a wonderful, divine child of a wonderful God who loved me unconditionally. My fear of life and people abated such that I could enjoy relationships, accomplish ambitions, and be my true self in the world. I found purpose, meaning, and value in myself and life which is what I truly wanted all along.

David J Saffold is an Author, Speaker, Pastoral Counselor, and Minister specializing in helping people change their lives through the power of their beliefs. Read a detailed account of Dave’s struggle with addiction, depression, and suicide in his groundbreaking new book “A Beginner’s Guide to Perfection” available on Amazon at