Hey all! I haven't blogged in a long time - summer is so busy for us! I've had something on my mind a lot lately though so I want to get it "on paper" so to speak.
When I was a little girl, my dad was a bad alcoholic/addict. I can recall many arguments between my mother and father regarding who would drive after dad had drank too much. I think dad always thought he was fine and could do it. I hated long car rides because I knew there would be arguing about this subject. I didn't know what was going on at the time but now I know. I am sure he drove us around like that countless times. Thank God we didn't die or kill someone else.
In high school I joined SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving) because I vowed I would NEVER drive drunk. Why would someone do such a thing??? My junior year of high school on New Year's Day we received a phone call that two of my guy friends had been killed in a car accident the night before. They were seniors in high school halfway through their senior year with bright futures ahead of them. They left behind parents who didn't know how to go on without them, friends who became lost without them, and they left behind a message to everyone - don't drive drunk. It was found that they had been drinking when they wrecked. It was devastating in high school to go through this. If I thought I would never drive drunk before that, I sure as heck knew at that point I never would. I had friends who died because of it! And in high school, I never did. In fact, I only drank a couple of times in high school and didn't drive any of those times. I would have been way too scared to do so.
In college and in my early 20's I began really drinking a lot and going out a lot. At some point I just decided that getting behind the wheel of the car after a long night of drinking was better than waiting on a cab or having to go pick up my car the next day. I can't tell you how many times my friends and I left bars or parties after drinking entirely too much. We could barely walk straight some nights, much less drive across town but that is exactly what we did. I should have been arrested. I should have died or killed someone on those nights. But once again, thank God I didn't get what I deserved. The more I did it, the more it became easy to do. It became part of the routine in fact. I used cabs a couple of times but not nearly enough.
Also in my early 20's I woke up one morning very early to a phone call from one of my closest friends at the time. She was crying. She was calling to me that our other very close friend's husband had been killed in a car accident that morning on the way to work. He was on his way to work and was hit head on by a truck going the wrong way on a 4 lane highway. This was the hardest thing I have ever been through with a friend. Going to help plan a funeral, going to visit a friend the night of hearing this news, and watching her try to pick up the pieces afterwards was devastating. And....the person who hit her husband was drunk. And he was not injured at all. He had left a local bar after drinking all night. I went with her to court where he was sentenced but in our eyes he wasn't going to be behind bars for long enough. I was very angry at this man at the time. How could someone do this? Yet, I did it all the time. That could have been me. My disease was eating my so much that I didn't see that I was doing the same thing and had just been lucky so far.
Two weeks ago, my 18 year old sister received a call that one of her 20 year old friends had been hit head on by a vehicle while driving home that night. And....the driver of the vehicle that killed her was drunk. They lived. She did not. 20 years old with a lot of life left to live and she died because of someone else's selfish actions.
Last week I was looking at the news and heard that there had been a wreck in our town where a teenage drunk driver had hit someone and though the injuries were not life threatening the other driver had been hurt. I prayed for all involved and went on. The next day as I looked online at the news I saw the mugshot of the driver who had been drunk. I was floored. It was a friend of mine who did outpatient treatment with me last year. She just looked so incredibly sad in that picture. She had been doing so well in her recovery and relapsed a few months ago. That is where this disease took her - to getting behind the wheel of a car with a BAL 3 times the legal limit. 19 years old and such a beautiful young woman with so much to offer. This disease has stolen so much from her, including now her freedom. She is now sitting in jail. Her mother is inconsolable. This has rocked our recovery community, especially those of us who were close to her. It shook me to the core. I am glad she was caught - this means she is no longer harming herself or others. However, I am saddened that she is still so sick and caught up in this awful addiction. All we can do at this point is pray that this is the desperation that she needed to get back into a recovery program and pray for those affected by this accident. She goes to court tomorrow morning to learn her fate. So young.
I have a completely different view of all of this now that I am sober. I have been on many sides of being affected by drunk driving - doing it myself, losing friends who were doing it, seeing friends do it and injure others, etc. I used to be very angry at people who did this which was very hypocritical considering I was doing it myself. However, now, I just pray that these people get the help that they need. Anyone who is driving around like that likely has a problem and needs help. They don't need people beating up on them and putting them down. I'm certainly not justifying their actions - it is very selfish to get behind the wheel of a car like that. This disease makes us selfish. It's probably hard for some people to see this side of things but I now have a love and tolerance for people that I never had before. I am thankful for that. And I am thankful that I never got what I deserved.
Please don't drink and drive. Give up your keys. Have someone pick you up. Call a cab. It's not worth losing your life, your freedom, or someone else's life over. I made that mistake entirely too many times myself. If you can't walk straight, chances are, you shouldn't be driving!!!