WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. -- "Second Chance," a play produced by the Fort Bliss, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, brings an emotional battle to life, as a Soldier endures struggles with suicide. Two performances of the play took place on Jan. 23 at White Sands Missile Range as a part of the Army Substance Abuse Program annual training options.
The play is impactful and allows itself to take place at any U.S. military installation around the world, due to its universal themes and realistic approach.
The story begins with Spc. Jones receiving the good news that he passed the promotion board and is on the path to becoming a sergeant. He plans to celebrate the exciting news with his wife. Instead, he goes out drinking with some friends, a decision that leads him through an unfortunate series of events.
The dynamic cast takes you down the dark, realistic path any Soldier or civilian can go down when everything seems to go wrong in his or her life. Jones battles a drinking problem, marriage issues, a run-in with the law, and must deal with the consequences. The production ultimately leads to the Soldier receiving a second chance in life.
The play allows the audience to witness the struggles of the Soldier from multiple perspectives, ranging from his battalion commander and his fellow Soldiers to even his wife.
According to the writer of the play, Russell Jordan from the Fort Bliss Army Substance Abuse Program, the scenarios his characters go through in the play happen all the time. Overlooking warning signs is something that happens all the time too.
"Sometimes, we see things with our eyes, but we have to be able to see invisible things clearly. We have to be able to see with our hearts," said Jordan. "When we see those kinds of things, we have to ask the question that takes courage to ask, because when we ask what if the answer is, 'yes.' It takes courage to ask 'are you thinking about killing yourself.'"
If someone were to say yes, they want to kill themselves, Jordan urges people to show that individual you care by listening. Knowing suicide prevention resources and the people you work with is imperative in recognizing the warning signs. For many years, the Army has shared the suicide prevention acronym ACE, which stands for Ask, Care, and Escort. The acronym reminds people that when faced with this situation, you need to ask the question, take care of the person, do not leave them alone, and then escort them to someone that can provide professional help.
"Don't prejudge, don't look at your clock, don't come back with something to say before they even finish," said Jordan. "You are listening for reasons that they want to die, and they are telling you that - we have seen it. But we also have to listen to the reasons why they want to live."
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, contact your chain of command, a chaplain, or call the Military Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.