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, yogaâ€¦ 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.
Date NDE Occurred: June 2002
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
Severe Alcohol Poisoning
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal During the time I was high above the earth, I felt completely aware of everything around me. It was almost as if I was part of the universe, and the universe was part of me. I have been trying to replicate the experience through meditation but have yet to achieve that level of consciousness since.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was high above the Earth just staring at the beauty of the world, and how peaceful everything seemed from my perspective.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
I felt like I was only above the Earth for a few minutes when in fact two days had passed on Earth. However, much of that time I was in a coma.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I wish I could remember more. The vision I had during the experience was much more detailed and more glorious than I could describe or imagine.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I heard no sounds during the experience. At least, I don't remember hearing anything.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I remember a bright light prior to waking up in the hospital but I am unsure if this light was associated with the NDE or with the lights in the hospital.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain There was a flash of bright light and the next thing I remember was waking in the hospital.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I was floating high above the Earth but it has been so long I don't recall.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Confusion at first, followed by complete peace
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated I was raised in a Christian household, attended church until I joined the Army where I decided to leave the church
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Although I do not label myself to a certain religion or belief system, I still attend church and meditate on a regular basis. I am fascinated by religion and philosophy and try to take the best from every religion. I consider myself to be quite spiritual and loving, however, I wouldn't say that I am any specific religion.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I was raised in a Christian household. I always thought that when I died, I would meet all my ancestors and loved ones and would go to either heaven or hell based on my faith and relationship with God. During this experience, I don't recall seeing or hearing anyone or anything that was consistent with what I thought would happen after death. However, I am not writing them off as not true, I am still in search of answers.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I have become a much more positive person. Many of my friends that I have served with often ask me how I can remain so calm and positive after three combat tours. I try my best to explain it but words don't come close enough. I just do my best to be kind to everyone, love everyone and be honest with others and myself.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I felt as if I was the universe. As if, I was connected to everything but still able to observe from a single point.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I felt a definite presence of a completely peaceful force. The few people I have spoken with have told me they think it was God's presence but I am still uncertain.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Uncertain I cannot remember. When I was observing the EMT's trying to revive me, I was completely confused as to what was happening. It wasn't until after I woke up that I began to recall these events.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Uncertain The amount of peace I felt during this experience was as if I was completely wrapped in a blanket of love and peace. As if, this feeling penetrated my entire being.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life After my experience, I have devoted much of my personal life to discovering as much as I can about spirituality and religion. I have studied Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca, and Philosophy. Any time I can get my hands on a spiritual book or video I envelop myself into hoping I can get a glimpse of the truth. I have discovered that meditation can be very beneficial (especially post combat) and probably the closest I can get to feeling close to the same experiences during my NDE.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I have had a very pleasant relationship with my family and friends. I am as compassionate as I can be, without conforming to what others believe to be true. I try to focus on being true to myself and showing others that they should love themselves, as well as others.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I did my best to describe my experience; however, words cannot describe how beautiful and peaceful my experience was to me.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I do not know how my remembrance of the experience compares to my remembrance of other life events I am completely lost with this experience. It has been so long that, I am sure, I have forgotten details that may better describe my experiences. But I hope that by coming to this site I will be that much closer to finding the answers I need.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I am unsure if any of these events are related but I have felt the presence of other energies surrounding me especially during meditation. There was a day I can remember, I came home from my first deployment and my stepfather had passed away. I was alone in the living room after his funeral and I felt as if he was in the room with me and I actually had a brief conversation with him. I have mentioned this event with a psychiatrist once, and he told me it was all a result from the emotions of his passing.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The most meaningful part of the whole experience was being able to look down at the Earth and see how beautiful the planet looked. I saw the world, for the first time, in complete peace. No war, no famine, no hate, nothing. Just a beautiful planet.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Very few people, and only those I completely trust, know about my experience. There is one person I speak with about it and he and I are on the same journey for answers. Although he has never experienced it, he understands the importance of the event and others like it.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I viewed the experience as a second chance at life. I was happy that I came back and have lived a very full life with many happy experiences. Although I am still searching for truth in all this, I will continue to live a full life with my family.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I believe there is more to my experience than I can recall. I have thought about trying hypnosis to recall the event and hopefully remember more details but I am afraid of how people will react to my story. That is why I wish to remain anonymous until I learn more.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain There have been times, when in deep meditation, that I feel as if I have transcended to nearly the same level of peace and love. I have had some brief visions of leaving my body but nothing has come completely close to the actual experience.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Everything I have said is to the best of what I can recall. It has been so long since I talked about it, that I am sure I have forgotten some of it. Whether you decide to share my story or not, I will keep searching for answers and I will keep reading more stories of NDEs. I know there are others out there who have experienced the same thing as me. I am not alone. Thank you for your research and for this website.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I am uncertain how this questionnaire could be any more thorough. Thank you for taking the time to create this site.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.