Exit supports political campaigns to allow lawful option for persons wanting to end their life in the face of unbearable and unrelievable suffering. But, at best, such campaigns help those in the future. Political campaigning is an expensive business, no matter how just the cause.
Meanwhile there is an area that Exit is better equipped to address, and that is help for people now. Not in days to come. People who, facing an uncertain future, need the reassurance that sure knowledge can bring. The current round of Exit workshops has just concluded, giving people practical experience in a variety of methods by which they could, should the need ever arise, “pull the plug” on an unbearable existence. Participants gained practical knowledge in assembling materials, role plays with doctors to obtain drugs, and handling the many legal, ethical and interpersonal hurdles that can occur around such a decision. With people travelling from as far afield as continental Europe and Asia, the workshops have taken on an international flavour.
With an ever increasing range of source material from different organisation and the Internet, people at the workshop are particularly reassured by being able to test the ideas themselves, and separate scientific data from pseudo-science or well-meaning but poorly supported advice. Every method and idea can be challenged, and the evidence presented.
Exit does not encourage suicide, but if someone is going to take the final act we hope it would be as painless and as dignified as possible. The workshops are only open to members and Exit does not give advice on suicide over the Internet or by email. Workshops are conducted strictly in accordance with the law.
“The profit comes not only from all the work and knowledge that you
transmit, but pretty much from the collective participation and sharing
with others the will to be able to possibly master the auto-deliverance.”
“It is remarkable that people who get together to discuss and share in this serious topic are so able to laugh and relax. It was revealing to learn how I can now take full responsibility for myself even in difficult circumstances without involving anyone else. It has given me courage and patience.”
“It gives such comfort to know how to end your life in a painless and dignified way, if and when the need to do so arises.”
“None of us knows what fate has in store for us and in a perfect world we should have no fear of death, but it is the manner of that dying that is of the greatest concern. To be able to control your own leaving of life is a great source of solace and peace. We are so grateful for receiving this knowledge.”
Such letters and comments make our work worthwhile. Some go even further. “Thank you for saving my life,” said one woman – explaining how the certain knowledge of being able to die gave her the courage and determination to go on living longer.