DUI Equals Loss

I was scanning through profiles of friends on Facebook earlier. And I came across a page of which several of my high school friends belonged. It was a page for the birthday of our classmate’s sister. She was killed in 1991 by a drunk driver.

I remember really liking her in the one year I knew her. She was a senior when I was a freshman. I remember she seemed to be the only nice senior I met. She offered me and other students rides home. She never treated us like we were less human. She had a huge heart and beautiful laugh. She had gorgeous eyes and a bright smile. And she died too young because of a drunk driver. Because of someone like me.

I mentioned before that I was a good kid. I did not start drinking until I was 18. Well, I tried a few drinks here and there. Mostly with my older sister. But I never really DRANK until I joined the military. And the blackouts started almost right away. I never connected my behavior to the behavior of the person that killed my classmate’s sister. I never thought I would become one of “those people”. Aka people with a drinking problem.

The other night at work, a commercial came on the television for a lawyer that specializes in DUIs. Two coworkers were commenting how expensive DUIs cost now. “That is a couple thousand dollars now.” I said “it costs more than money.”

After my second DUI, I sort of thought I had a drinking problem. Or at least I admitted I was having too many problems from drinking. That was when I first created a “sobriety journal” to start listing the problems. But I did not want to stop drinking. I was not ready. I just wanted to learn to control my drinking and avoid blackouts. I never realized I had to find a solution to my self-hatred: my reason for drinking.

Too many people think DUIs are no big deal. Or the legal and financial consequences are too harsh. But there are too many second and third DUIs. There are too many accidents related to alcohol. There are too many deaths. And the death of someone I once admired was not enough to steer me away from driving drunk.

Mistake 233- My first DUI: I was at the usual bar I hung out at on Thursday nights. After last call, I tried to drive to my job to sleep in my car in the parking lot. I kept extra clothes and toiletries in my trunk for such occasions. I was worried if I drove home, I would sleep through my alarm. Instead, I got pulled over for not having my headlights on. Something so simple. I failed the sobriety test and breathylzer. I do not remember what my BAC was.

I was arrested. Ironically, I was wearing a t-shirt “Top 10 Drunk Lies” at the time I was lucky I knew the home number of a friend because 1) you could only make collect calls from jail and 2) you could not make collect calls to cell phones. And who knows phone numbers much anymore? Usually you just look up their name in your contact list. He came and bailed me out. I got home in time to call out sick from work and spent the day crying. My roommate told me her “almost arrested” stories. We agreed it was just bad luck.

After my court date and sentencing, my driver license was restricted, I paid fines, and I had to take an alcohol safety class. All of the people in that class were forced there and did not take it serious. None of us thought we had a problem. AA meetings were not recommended nor required. I basically learned I just better plan out my drinking nights. And that worked for a few years. (Mostly because I did not drive for a few years.)

Mistake 234- While not a drunk mistake, this was linked to my DUI: I got caught driving on the restricted license when I should not have been driving. I was allowed to drive to and from work, to and from school, to and from doctor appointments, and to and from my alcohol classes. I was driving to pick up my mom for dinner before going to my college graduation ceremony. I got pulled over for expired registration tags. The police officer gave me a ticket for the tags and violating my restricted license. I thought graduation would be included under driving to and from school but the judge ruled otherwise. He suspended all my driving privileges for a year. And I missed my college graduation ceremony because I was not in the mood after getting the ticket. I ended up getting rid of that car since I could not drive it because I was not able to afford the insurance with the DUI surcharges.

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