The day itself was as ordinary as all others before it. The sun, wind and earth had been behaving much as they always did. I’d been for a walk in the park earlier that day with my father – probably somewhere between 4PM and 5PM. Of course our walk was consumed by my pleadings against being sent back to a rehab that was, in my view, not too far removed from a concentration camp. This time I’d be in for a minimum of 6 months to a year. Probably even more because of my stubbornness to “treatment”! I had no financial independence at that stage in my life and so, conglomerates of parents, councilors and “friends” could make these kind of decisions about one’s life, all because one happened to like Heroin a little too much. Decisions that severely impacted not only my personal freedom but also my future life trajectory. I wasn’t being unreasonable. I had a plan. I was willing to study and to pass. But the last 2 years must’ve been enough for my father and mother. They didn’t seem persuaded by the argument that I’d just come out of the place (after nearly 6 months) and that more of the same wasn’t going to miraculously cure me from all my wayward tendencies. Yes, I had used since I’d been out, but it was merely the fulfillment of a promise I had made myself while “on the inside”. In short, I was going to get high again at the very first opportunity just to show that none of that mind control and psychological torture bullshit had worked on me. The rehab didn’t crack me, despite this being the institution’s explicit goal. The dam we walked around was damned beautiful that day, seen through free eyes. My father was noncommittal. I knew the plans already included a physically intimidating councilor from the said institution sleeping in front of my room’s door that night to prevent any attempt on my part to escape. The next day we – the ex-convict councilor and I – were on the first flight back to “the farm”. A place where Old Testament law ruled in the name of Jesus. I’d made myself another promise while I was there on the inside. This promise had nothing to do with drugs. I’d promised myself never to get into a position again where I could lose my freedom. I promised myself I would rather die than go back to a life of servitude. Suicide would be preferable to slavery. So I didn’t want to die but I was prepared to take the risk if it meant securing my freedom on the outside. I was about twenty-two and my parents apparently never took my own threats that I would “do whatever it takes” to stay out of there quite seriously enough. I was serious. As I watched the autumn leaves swirl about in the breeze, I was thinking about the cold hard steel of the two weapons I had access to at home. They were both somewhere in my father’s cupboard – at that stage still easily accessible in the circumstances. But I tried to push that hard and chilling image out of my mind and focused instead on my imminent efforts to convince my mother of the merits of my arguments in favour of being treated with leniency and released into my own custody, duly reprimanded (and the threat of another term as inmate still hanging over my head). Mom, I was just getting back into my groove, you understand. Yes, there would still be drugs, but no more heroin junkie vibe from me anymore, I was moving my life into a completely different direction. If only they could have understood this! Have believed me! Then I wouldn’t still have my hair stand on end when I think about that one shot – the one before the successful one went off – when I had the pistol to my temple…and on pulling the trigger was only greeted with a…click…There had been two previous clicks, both while the firearm was pointed at my chest (I didn’t really want to die after all!). I’d become convinced that the gun was jammed beyond any hope. So I’d become all the more desperate there locked inside the bathroom of our house with the old .22 pistol. I couldn’t go back to that place! I’d sworn this to myself so many times during my captivity there that I was quite prepared to accept the 2nd worst case scenario: I die a free man. I can’t tell you exactly what went through my mind when I pulled the trigger with the gun pointed at my temple, but I can confirm that the click sound didn’t startle me. I was going to have an absolute last shot with that gun – pointed at my chest again, like in the original plan, to increase my likelihood of survival – while still communicating the seriousness of my message clearly. If the next round didn’t go off I was going to go for the .45 revolver and I was so desperate I couldn’t even tell whether I would then point it at my chest or rather just straight at the head. Sorry, short straw. You lose. I can tell you that it is the most unnatural feeling to try and shoot oneself – your every fiber rebels against the pulling of that trigger. But the next shot did go off with a nice big bang. It felt as though someone had punched me very hard in the chest. Not a sharp pain at all at that stage. Just a big blunt thud. Still, I quickly felt the strength drain from my body and I crumbled with my back against the bath wall. I could vaguely hear some commotion in the rest of the house as my brother, father, mother and councilor tried to locate the point from which the loud bang had emitted. To me it felt as if someone was gently tugging at a string attached to my medulla oblongata: “come here, you are welcome, it is warm and peaceful here”. Some part of me reserved not to answer these Siren calls just yet. I had made my point and would probably succeed in getting out of the plans for rehab that had been made on my behalf. I was okay with dying but wanted to live. Live on my own terms.