My Suicidal Passenger

Just Needed a Drink

The man in my back seat was dying, and I had no idea what to do. It started when he got into my taxi and asked me to take him to a place on the North side.

On the way, he asked if I’d stop at a liquor shop so he could buy a pint. Sure. No problem. He went in, but came right back out empty-handed. “Won’t sell to me – I been drinkin’,” he groused.

Actually, he was well past “been drinkin’.” He was thoroughly lubricated, but he seemed to be functioning okay.

When he asked if I’d go in the next liquor store and get him a bottle, I agreed. That’s a commonplace service in the taxi business.

He took two or three quick swigs from the bottle, then said, “Okay, I think I can face my ex-wife now.”

But when we got there, she refused to let him in the door.

“I told you never come around when you been on the bottle” she yelled, then added just before slamming the door. “Besides, you know you oughtn’t to be drinkin’ with your diabetes.”

Back in the taxi, the man was starting to slur now. He asked if I’d take him to the bus station. I told him I would, then watched in the rear-view mirror as he upended the bottle. He drained it in one long draw.

Before we ever reached the bus station he was out cold in the rear seat. I didn’t know much about diabetic comas or insulin shock in those days, but it didn’t look good.

When I radioed in, the dispatcher said, “Take all his money and dump him in an alley somewhere.”

But that wasn’t something I could do.

Cop to the Rescue

By then, a torrential downpour had begun – the kind that always flooded the low parts of the city. I could barely see to drive. No way I could put him out in that.

When I stopped a police cruiser, the cop said he’d guide me to the city’s detox center, where they take drunks and druggies to dry out.

Once there, we dragged my dead-limp passenger across the parking lot, down some stairs, and up some more, through the unending rain. The man was so limp and so heavy, his backside was dragging the ground. His pants got dragged down halfway to his knees. His private parts were showing by then, and the cop kept half-pleading, half-yelling at him, “Aw, fella, pull up your damn pants.”

When we got him inside, the cop hastily dropped his end on the floor, and I didn’t know what else to do, so I dropped my end, too. There he lay.

Was this Goodbye?

I’ll never forget the sight of my sodden passenger on that cold tile floor, and the cop telling me I could go – that he’d handle it from there. And I did, I left.

To this day I don’t know if that man lived or died. If he did die, I didn’t kill him, of course, because he’s the one who asked for the whiskey. He’s the one who upended the bottle. And he’s the one who drank despite knowing he was a diabetic. He must have drunk many pints like that during his lifetime.

But I’ll always bear responsibility for handing him that last pint. That’s where our lives intersected briefly, and that’s where I may have helped my passenger, a hopeless man who seemed filled with self-loathing, to commit suicide.

Thanks to that unwise passenger, and my equally unwise assistance, I now look much more carefully at the things I’m asked to do. And I now try never to hand anybody a tool for their own destruction.

My lesson, however, didn’t stop there.

More Passengers

You see, much later I realized that I’ve got other passengers. They ride, not in the back seat of my car, but in the back seat of my thoughts.

Riding along with me, ensconced in the back of my mind where they’re difficult to detect and dislodge, are memories, urges and echoes, left there by people I’ve met along the way. Some of those people were important to me: parents, friends, teachers. Others were passersby who happened, by chance, to embed some aspect of a brief encounter deep within my psyche.

And these passengers, thoughts sitting there in the back of my mind, are still talking to me. Still whispering that I should have said more (or less) at that last meeting. That I might not make my goals. That I may not be good enough to achieve them anyway. And a hundred other whispers, the majority of which seem aimed at undermining my best intentions.

Oh, they don’t whisper in actual voices, but they constantly make their presence felt… unless I can find a way to still them.

We all have these passengers – thoughts, impulses and feelings that constantly whisper to us and weaken our resolve at the most awkward times.

But there are ways to still – or at least unmask – those unwanted passengers.

Step 1: Realize Your Mind Is All One Seamless Piece.

There are a million different processes going on simultaneously within your mind, but that doesn’t mean that your mind is fragmented. It just means that not all of your processes are aimed in the same direction.

Once you are clearly aware of the difference between your own thoughts and the “pseudo-thoughts” handed to you by those passengers, it starts becoming easier to discount or even ignore them.

Step 2: Learn Some New Techniques.

Hey, the old ones don’t seem to be working, right? There are some very effective tools for taking power away from those unwanted passengers and their suggestions.

Some marvelous new techniques have been developed within the past 15 or 20 years that can help you unplug the power from those self-defeating, self-sabotaging impulses that you never wanted and certainly didn’t ask for. And when you put them to use, results can be quick.

It’s not uncommon to see complete release from long-term emotional baggage within days or hours – occasionally within minutes.

Do a search on the web for NLP, EMDR, TFT and EFT. Or look up the Sedona Method. There are others, but these will give you plenty to start. You’ll be amazed at the stories you read, where people literally get relief within minutes from anguish that has gripped them, in some cases, for decades.

Step 3: Start Using Some Of These Techniques.

If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with a practitioner near you. They’ll help you get started, and in most cases they’re not expensive. Especially in contrast to the cost of traditional therapy, which can run on for years.

Step 4: Start Enjoying The Blessed Quiet.

As your mind and your life are freed from the insinuations, the accusations and the discouraging comments of those unwanted passengers, you’ll feel quieter and less torn in opposing directions.

We all have those insidious little passenger processes in our minds. Usually they’re there because somebody, years ago, accidentally installed them and then went away and left them running. They may never have meant to, but you’ve got them, none-the-less.

We all would like to get rid of them. After all, once in a while a passenger can get unruly, or even – as the man in my taxi did – become suicidal, thanks to the dark passengers in his own mind.

It’s important that we learn to recognize that their voices are not our own voices; their wishes are not our own wishes. And that when we quiet their voices, we’re securing for ourselves the gift of greater peace, success and joy.

Learn to still the passengers, and the gift is yours.

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