The story of inspiration to make the Stop for Life promise and how it can change your way of thinking
This story starts when I was 15 years old and was at a restaurant with my dad. We met a few of his friends after a funeral for their friend that had taken his life.
At one point, my father directed his full attention on me, with the most serious face I had ever seen him make. He commanded, “Will, I want you to make a promise to me.”
Like any normal teenager, I rolled my eyes and said, “yeah dad?”
He reinforced how important this was. I said, “ok - ok - What promise?”
He said, “Promise me that if you ever get to a point in your life that is so bad, so difficult, so desperate or so depressing that you feel like you need to take your own life, promise me that you will do one thing first.”
I said, “OK – what is that?”
He said, “Do whatever it takes. Sell everything you have if you need too. Buy a motorcycle and drive from one side of the country to the other. Make it a big road trip. Just you, your bike and the open road. If at the end of that trip, you still feel like killing yourself then go for it, but at least promise me you will do that first.”
With all sincerity, I made that promise to him. At the time, it seemed corny. Besides which, I didn't even like motorcycles. That promise, however, has stuck with me my entire life.
I’m now almost 50 years old, and with just about anyone my age, I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs. We all have different stories and different tragedies that happen to us.
There have been a few times in my life, when times were so bad, the thought of suicide did enter my mind. Before my mind went to far down that hole, I stopped, thought about my promise to my dad and thought to myself, are things really that bad? Is it so bad, that it is time to sell everything and buy that motorcycle?
Instead of being focused on suicide and how I might kill myself, my attention was refocused on selling my stuff and taking a trip. Where would I start, where would I go? Would I take the old route 66? Before I knew it, my mind was refocused on something much more positive.
Fortunately, it never got to the point, where I was so desperate, I had to take the trip. If life had become that difficult, I would have taken that trip and I know it would have transformed my life.
This promise to my dad has been such a blessing to me. It’s been such a help having a mental safeguard when it comes to suicide. Instead of letting the downward spiral of depression take me lower and lower and instead of focusing on suicide, this promise made me stop and think about an alternative to suicide.
We all know suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When we are faced with tunnel vision into a path of darkness, we lose understanding that it's temporary and sometimes we need a mental safeguard to help us refocus.
There is one truth and certainty about life. It will change. When things are good, don’t take it for granted, tragedy can be right around the corner. When things are bad, rest assured, it will eventually get better.
I want to ask you, to make that same promise I made to my father. You can make it to a parent, make it to a loved one, make it to someone that cares about you, even make it to me, but please make the promise.
You can have a different promise that I had if you wish. Just be sure to follow our recommendations when you create the promise.
You can have an alternative to suicide, a mental safeguard.
Some people who are seriously considering suicide do not want to call a help line and talk to a random person. This is an alternative that you only answer to yourself and someone who cares about you. Please take the Stop for Life promise. It costs you nothing and may someday save your life. At worst, it gives you something else to think about when times are bad. If things really do get so bad, it might actually be a life changing trip.
Founder - Stop for Life