I’m a bridge walker which is nothing like a street walker. I just love bridges. I’ve walked the Brooklyn, Sydney Harbor, Royal Gorge, Multnomah Falls, London (in Lake Havasu) and pretty much every other bridge I could get my feet on. But until Steve and I walked the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge outside Taos, New Mexico, I’d never seen a bridge equipped with a phone offering on-the-spot suicide counseling. Ten of those hotlines were spaced along the Rio Grande Gorge’s span.
Why is suicide such an issue there? A Taos Pueblo tour guide told us that young American Indians are two to three times more likely to end their own lives. One of the biggest reasons for their distress is alcoholism and addiction.
A few books, including the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, have given me insights into the desperation faced by alcoholics and the covert devastation that the disease inflicts on society. An effective treatment would not only relieve an infinity of suffering, but dissolve a multitude of evils. So my holiday/birthday wish list is much simplified for the foreseeable future. The Foundation for Alcoholism Research (FAR) is an all-volunteer organization raising grant money to fund efforts to find a fix. I wish them Godspeed as well as all the money intended for gifts to me. With enough support for this effort, I hope many more of us can get high on bridges instead of booze.