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Alcohol and Suicide


Faith Rucker
My father jumped from the Atlantis Casino to his death on October 12th, 2010. I was 15 years old. We were on our way to my softball game when my mother received a phone call from the police saying we needed to get home immediately, that it was regarding my dad Eric Rucker.

That was a scary ride home. When we got there a women and two police officers were on the front porch. The police officers took me and my sister inside the house and after a while a family friend came over. My mother finally came into the house and it was with horrible news. She told us that daddy had been in a roofing accident and would not be coming home. I remember my sister and I started screaming and crying. It didn't seem to be real.

My mom could not bring herself to tell us what really happened. Our pastor told her she shouldn't keep the truth from us. I learned later that evening from my grandpa that my father wasn't in a roofing accident but that he had actually taken his own life. I just sat in silence.

When my dad stopped drinking he was a lot of fun and he was much more involved in our lives. He was a loving person to be around. When I was about 13 years old we were on vacation in Hawaii and I saw my dad get a beer from the fridge. I hadn't seen him with any alcohol in about three years so before he could take his first sip I told him, "DAD you aren't allowed to have that". He assured me it was perfectly fine because we were on vacation. As you can guess this carried on after we got back home.

I noticed that he was never around again and when he was he was very short tempered. He was never physically abusive but he would be very verbally abusive to my mother. We would never know what kind of mood he would be in so when he came home we would ignore him until he said hello to us first. My dad thought if he didn't drink in front of us we wouldn't know, but my sister and I could tell. He would hang out in bars until 2:00 or 3:00 o'clock in the morning, then drive home drunk or sleep in his car.

Growing up with an alcoholic father is not exactly the best way to have a childhood but living with the aftermath of his suicide has forever changed my life. My father did not see me graduate from high school, he will not walk me down the aisle or hold any of his grandchildren. There is no more. For months I was haunted by the what-ifs and the why. How could my father do this to his family. Sadly those questions can never really be answered.

What I have come to accept is that my father was an alcoholic. He wanted to stop drinking but could not stop on his own. He wanted to be the good family man that he once was. Unfortunately he never sought help, never went to counseling or AA. Now looking back I wish he had gotten a DUI because then maybe he would have received the help he needed and would be alive today. My father was in such despair and anguish and I know if he had not been drinking that day he would have never jumped to his death. I forgive my dad and I miss him very much.

In December, two months after my dad's death we started attending the Solace Tree. The Solace Tree is a non-profit organization for support and education for grieving children and adults. It opened my eyes to how precious life is. Being around kids my own age that have been through similar tragedies as mine, really gave me hope that everything was going to be okay. .

Today I am nineteen years old and am attending college and I am majoring in business. I have a blue heeler puppy named Bobbi and a great boyfriend David. I speak at functions for the Solace Tree. I love life and could not see my life being any better than it is right now. I am enjoying every day that I am blessed with.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


  • Alcohol is involved in over a quarter of all suicides in the U.S. 
  • Suicide rates go way down at times of a national crisis

Why People Die by Suicide
By Dr. Thomas Joiner


Why People Die by Suicide

By Dr. Thomas Joiner

Dr. Joiner's father committed suicide about 25 years ago while he was a student at the University of Texas studying clinical psychology. It was a shock to his family since his father who was a successful business man did not fit the criteria for suicidal types. He died a gruesome death by slashing his wrists then piercing his heart. He said the pain of his father's death compelled him to pour his professional energy in trying to combat this international killer.

Dr. Joiner's research has produced new and important findings regarding suicide. He says there are three common traits for people at risk for suicide.

  • Fearlessness. They have learned to overcome their natural fear of pain and death. Dr. Joiner says it is a common misunderstanding to think of people who have died by suicide as cowardly or weak. But to do something as fearsome or daunting as death by suicide requires a fearlessness in order to actually carry through with it. They have high risk behavior and a blatant disregard for their personnel safety.
  • Feelings of loneliness or social disconnection: Dr. Joiner says this is the most powerful risk factor of all. The feeling of alienation from others. "Nobody will miss me when I die." We are very social creatures and have a basic fundamental need to connect and belong.
  • Feeling like they are a burden to other people. Sadly they feel their death is worth more than their life and that the world will be better off.
If you have someone you think should be acknowledged or spotlighted in our newsletter please contact:
Marion Straw 775-323-8273