CCR Client Now Suicide Awareness Advocate

Donny Stewart is a suicide awareness advocate.

Donny Stewart called the Center for Community Resources (CCR) crisis hotline five years ago, and his life has never been the same. “I called because I was doing a lot of drugs,” Stewart said. “I had thoughts of suicide and I just didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t want to live anymore.”

He knew something wasn’t right, but Stewart wasn’t ready for change. “I was nervous; I was still using, and I was shying away from people.” Stewart said. “My behaviors didn’t change though. It wasn’t until I was arrested that I got focused on my recovery.”

Believe in Second Chances

Stewart was given a second chance. “I knew I was going to die from the drugs or the law had to intervene. I committed burglaries on purpose. I admitted to my crimes right away, and I was sentenced with six months,” Stewart said. “I was done running. The cops were on my side, and helped get me into drug court.”

Stewart was a drug user since the age of 12 years old. He had some ‘clean’ periods, but often found himself flailing. “It was a way to validate myself,” said Stewart. “I wanted to feel better. I always had a void I was trying to fill. I was the middle child and never felt like I equated to my siblings.”

The Turning Point

A turning point for Stewart was when he started working on his ‘stuff’. “I always thought I didn’t need anyone’s help,” Stewart said. “My biggest obstacle has always been my own self. I let my thoughts get in my way. I’m still a bit reckless — saying things I shouldn’t and mistaking cockiness for confidence — but I’ve changed my life for the better.”

Stewart credits his new outlook and positive behaviors to his CCR Drug and Alcohol Case Manager, Kara Kerschbaumer. “Kara genuinely wanted me to get better,” said Stewart. “She pushed me to do things like get my driver’s license. I still see her two times a month, and she helps me plan my finances, make appointments, and help me stay on the road to recovery.”

Suicide Awareness Advocate

Stewart has been consistently clean since 2015. He works at Tani’s Pizza in Butler. In his free time, he works to promote suicide awareness. “I want to erase the stigma,” said Stewart. “I want everyone to know they’re not alone.”

Stewart speaks at events and has created a social media campaign asking followers to send post cards. “I started the post card campaign to show messages of hope,” said Stewart. “My goal is to collect post cards from every state, showing anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts that they’re not alone. I have received 15 so far.”

Stewart associates the semi-colon as his symbol of hope. “I chose the semi-colon because it symbolizes a choice – you can choose to end it now or let the story continue.”

Reach Out

Crisis staff is always available. CCR Crisis Intervention provides intervention, assessment, counseling, screening, and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 800-292-3866.

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One Response to CCR Client Now Suicide Awareness Advocate

  1. Debra Lynne November 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm #

    Proud of my little bro.

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