Andy J.

I haven’t spoken to very many people about this incident and only those who were there will remember. I have been so embarrassed by the surrounding events that I kept it to myself, until I read Anita Moorjani’s book, ‘Dying to be Me’. After reading her book, I decided to start researching for myself and trying to remember as many details as I could about NDEs to try to make sense of it all. My hope is that I can connect with others who may have shared similar experiences in order to gain a better understanding of what happened to me.

In the summer of 2002, I was in my second year as a US Army Infantryman and had yet to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. Some friends and I decided we would throw a party in the barracks and bought several hundred dollars’ worth of hard liquor and beer. Aware of my addiction to alcohol, I decided to drink anyway, and had not eaten anything all day. It was late into the evening and I was becoming very intoxicated when I decided to challenge my friends to see who could drink the most. Only, instead of allowing them to drink, I decided I would consume all the alcohol that was left over. I have been told I chugged three large bottles of hard alcohol. I blacked out when my friends decided to call an ambulance. I was unaware at the time when I was being rushed to the hospital that I had actually died.

During the trip to the hospital, I remember hovering over my body watching three emergency medical technicians attempting to revive me. I remember being confused and unaware of what was happening, almost as if I was watching a movie of my death. The next thing I remember was that I was floating high above the Earth, just staring at the vast oceans and bodies of land. I felt complete peace and I was not afraid at all. I don’t remember if I had realized at the time that I was dying or completely dead. But, I just remember being at complete peace, no fear, no feeling or sound. It seemed like only a few minutes had passed when I saw a flash of light and I had woken in the hospital intensive care unit.

I remember the lights in the room were blinding and I couldn’t breathe because I had a tube in my throat. Several nurses were surrounding the bed trying to calm me down when I began to panic. They removed the tube from my throat, which was quite painful. When I finally realized that I was safe, they started to explain to me that I had been in a coma for two days from severe alcohol poisoning. My Company Commander was standing in the back of the room in tears. The doctor told me I was only the second person in the history of the hospital to survive with such a high blood/alcohol content, and explained that I had actually died in the ambulance and again in the Emergency Room. They kept me in that hospital for two more weeks of recovery and group therapy to ensure I wasn’t suicidal, which I was not. I had just made stupid choices.

I felt so guilty and ashamed of the incident that I have hardly spoken of the incident since. But, ever since the day I woke up, I have been searching for my purpose. I have tried going back to church, Buddhism, Wicca, meditation, yoga… It wasn’t until I read Anita’s book that I felt closest to finding the answers for which I was looking. I am still somewhat afraid of what people will say about the incident but I know now that I am not alone and I hope that I can find others like me who are still searching.

I can say that, now that I am 39 years old, I have finally reached a point in my life where I am at peace with the world and myself. After three combat tours, all my nightmares have stopped, my PTSD is gone, anxiety is gone and I am calm. I meditate daily, which has brought me as close to my NDE as I can get without dying.