I have suffered all my life from alcoholism and addictions. I have had two previous attempts at sobriety but could never get a grip on it. Seems all my wires were crossed and I never knew why. Things would start off good and just simply explode into an angry mess and then I would just run. I could only hold a job down for about a year. I got to the point where I was simply being shoved around from agency to agency and then no one would go near me for the anger was atrocious. No one spoke about PTSD or chronic depression. No one ever asked me about my childhood which was laced in abuse and a family that desperately wanted to change their gay kid. It led to years of confusion and I ended up living on the streets for a time. Until I met a psychiatrist in Ottawa who truly cared enough to ask the tough questions ... I was forced to go see him through an agency that always stood behind me ... The Well in Ottawa actually cares.

Long story short, I was advised that if I wanted a life I needed to change all, and so I did. I moved back to my hometown. I got involved in AA. I did all the things people told me. I reached out, I asked for help and I began to get better.

I will celebrate six years sober on December 18. My inability to deal with the suicides in my life, my inability to cope with the abuse in my life, all these factors aided in my alcoholism. All these things were never ever talked about and that kept me sick.

We need to open up. We need to say what is going on and we need compassionate places to go that will look beyond the anger and see there's a human being dying inside.

My life is not easy. I deal with this disease daily and in the past six years I have lost about a friend a year to this disease. So the pain continues but I have tools to cope now. I surround myself with positive people and cats!!! Animals can heal ... We need to incorporate them into the healing journey. We also need to begin to look at a person's cultural background and work from there. I am Metis. I have horrid blood memory. I didn't know nothing about this till six years ago. I have attended trauma workshops and more. I work daily at getting better. I am submerged in my culture.

That is what truly heals my soul and allows happy to be a part of my world now. I think if more people began to embrace their spiritual self mental health might be easier to deal with. All I know is this: suicide is never the solution. It truly destroys those left behind, so if you think you're doing the world a good thing by offing yourself ... You are dead wrong. What you're doing is destroying souls. You have no right to do that and the Creator did not put you here for misery. Rise up. See your worth and begin to heal. Life is better with a smile.

Mickilus (Micki) Belcourt (Midland)