THE BLOG
09/10/2014 12:42 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2014

My Friends Saved My Life

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Editor's Note: Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. For resources to help yourself or others who might be in emotional distress, visit https://www.facebook.com/help/suicideprevention.

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I became a professional boxer at a young age, and I devoted my life to the sport. Athletic competition was an addiction for me, and it paid off--I was the European champion five times and the world champion three times--but this success came at a price. By focusing on my boxing career, I had missed out on other important parts of life, like spending time with my family.

The summer of 2012 was a particularly difficult time for me. The woman who was by my side for 20 years was leaving me, which meant I was also being separated from my son, Melchior, the youngest of my four children.

I hadn't been particularly active on Facebook before; I used it from time to time to talk with my family in South America and my friends in the U.S. But with this despair and this contempt I had for myself, I wanted to harm myself, and I wanted to announce it to the world. I felt like a loser who did not deserve to be loved. I was in my apartment in the 13th district in Paris, alone in my room, feeling like I had no solution, no escape from my pain.

So, after falling into a drunken stupor, I updated the status on my Facebook profile with the lyrics to a Megadeth song: "To everyone, to all my friends, I love you but I have to go..."

In the state I was in, I don't even know if it was day or night, but I was told later that the police came to find me after being alerted by a close friend who had seen the Facebook post on my timeline. When they arrived, I had a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a knife in the other. All I remember is a Taser shot in the butt by the cops, who then had me taken to the hospital. Thanks to them I was saved.

This was a major wake up call for me, and it really helped me turn my life around. When you've experienced athletic competition at the highest level for years, and then you're removed from the spotlight, a feeling of inner emptiness follows, and it is very difficult to overcome. Since the incident, my health has been monitored by William Lowenstein, a well-known addiction specialist; he is also the president of SOS Addictions, for which I am now one of the sponsors. I am on a medical treatment plan that allows me to stabilize my mood. I've found other professional challenges and other sources of motivation thanks to the love I have for my children and vice versa. Like the phoenix, I am reborn from my ashes!

I still feel fear from time to time, fear of pain, of losing the respect of those I love, but I also feel happy and I feel like I believe in life again.

My advice for those who think about suicide is to force yourself to talk with people who can help you: your friends, a therapist, even strangers. Go somewhere and chat with people, and realize that there are people out there who suffer more than you! Understand that suicide is by no means a solution; it is only a form of cowardice in the face of adversity. If you look deep inside yourself, I believe you'll understand why you shouldn't end your life, but the best approach is to see somebody who can help you, because there is always someone somewhere.

Finally, remember this: "Life is like boxing. You have to try to keep your feet on the ground, roll with the punches, and learn to live with the scars!"

Fabrice Benichou is a professional boxer. He won the IBF World Super Bantamweight championship in 1989.