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Attempting Suicide at the Pinnacle of Success

A musical prodigy quits high school to be a rock star, but drug use, alcohol, and sex end up leading him down a deadly path. Read Transcript


There is no way to describe or make

sense of wanting or trying to kill yourself.

You're in such a crazy place.

And the pressure of the demonic is so strong.

NARRATOR: Richard Thomas was at the pinnacle of rock and roll

success when he tried to take his own life twice.

It's terror.

It's awful.

It's a spirit.

It's a spirit of suicide.

NARRATOR: As a young boy growing up in the Philadelphia area,

Richard's family attended church.

But he never learned about Jesus.

I grew up in a very dead church.

And it was all religion and tradition.

And they taught that they were--

the Bible stories were just to show you ways of being

and that it wasn't even real.

NARRATOR: His parents divorced when he was young.

His mother remarried.

But she and her husband worked constantly,

leaving Richard on his own to cope with his pain.

I started drinking at 10.

I started doing drugs at 10.

I started smoking at 10.

I know part of the reason why I medicated

and all that stuff had to do with that.

But it was filling that God-sized hole.

NARRATOR: Also at age 10, Richard got his first guitar

and began playing rock and heavy metal.

I just knew in my heart that that's what I wanted to do.

And I told everyone.

I said and I told my friends and my family--

I said, this is what I'm going to.

I'm going to do what Slash does.

NARRATOR: And he was right.

He turned out to be a prodigy and was

accepted into the Philadelphia High School for Creative

and Performing Arts.

Despite studying classical guitar,

Richard's love for heavy metal became an obsession,

and in some ways, a religion.

I would turn the lights off and light candles

and burn incense and blast heavy metal music.

And why I was doing it, I don't even know.

But it was almost like a seance or something.

NARRATOR: Then two weeks into his senior year,

Richard landed a gig with the popular metal band Operator.

He quit school, bound for rock and roll stardom.

While his skills as a guitar player gave him success,

it was the music industry that perpetuated his addiction

to drugs and alcohol.

It was, like, million-dollar tour buses right away.

It was, like, everything.

I was drinking heavily and taking drugs

and creating this persona.

Drink.

Have tons of fun.

Do drugs.

Have sex with tons of girl.

Do all the things that people think--

think-- that they want.

NARRATOR: During this time, Richard's uncle,

Joe, a man he admired and respected, became a Christian.

Joe knew his nephew needed God.

And he prayed for him constantly.

I was partially aware of his addictions.

And I visited him on tour when I was saved.

But he was very detached and highly medicated

when I would go visit him.

NARRATOR: Richard eventually joined the metal band Rev

Theory.

But in time, he began growing weary of the rock star

lifestyle and began taking sleeping pills.

Partying and playing in front of 65,000 people became work.

And I hated it.

It got to the point where I would just hide in the bunk.

I would only come out of my bunk to sound check.

And then I'd go back in my bunk.

NARRATOR: Richard's rock and roll dream quickly turned

into a nightmare.

It was getting to the point where I felt like I was dying.

And I was.

I was slowly killing myself with all the drugs and alcohol.

And I hated everyone around me.

I hated myself.

That made me go deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper

into depression.

It was just pure despair.

All my dreams came true--

all my worldly, fleshy dreams.

And I still wanted to die.

NARRATOR: One night, he decided to overdose on sleeping pills.

There was something else in the room with me

because I made the decision to go and dump all the pills

out all over the counter.

And suddenly, I'm fisting hundreds of pills

into my mouth.

And it felt like I was getting help.

And I was.

I couldn't see it.

But it was very, very creepy.

NARRATOR: Somehow, Richard survived.

Several months later, he tried again.

A famous singer friend of mine--

I sent him a text saying, I'm leaving this world--

going to-- I love you, man.

It started a chain reaction.

And eventually, 911 got called.

And suddenly, paramedics show up, cops--

just there was a million people at my house.

They take me out on a stretcher and go to the emergency room.

NARRATOR: Richard spent three days in ICU and another 30

in rehab.

When he was released, his uncle Joe called to pray with him.

Is basically Jesus, the most high God, coming in and saying,

hey, I'm real.

I love you.

And everything's going to be fine.

The Holy Spirit came in.

And I couldn't not say yes.

I had to.

And just like that, baptism by fire--

was saved.

It was amazing.

It was such a surprise.

And I just overflow with joy.

I can't describe the feeling that's in my heart.

NARRATOR: Today, Richard has a new direction in life,

using his talents for the Lord, writing, playing,

and singing music for Jesus.

Once you're saved, it doesn't mean

you don't need to be delivered from all kinds of things.

It's a process.

The Lord broke the cycle of me chronically hating myself,

which led to suicide and all of those things.

And just the Lord just loves on me so much,

showed me what real love is.

I started to love things that I never even ever did before--

helping people, serving others.

It's amazing.

It's miracle after miracle after miracle.

And Jesus is the only way for that to happen.

You can't do it with religion.

You can't do with any of all those false things.

You can't do it with drugs, alcohol, sex.

None of it works Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life,

and the only way to our Father in Heaven.

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