December 11th. December 11th. A date I wish I could take back. A date I wish I could change, but not sure I really would. I’ll explain why.
This date will forever hold a special meaning to me. It came at the right moment, though not the way I would have like. It will be a date to remember, but not the good type of “date to remember”. It was a date of change, a date of “slap into reality” and a date of shame.
I made a decision that night, a poor decision indeed, and chose to have a few drinks then get behind the wheel. I know what you’re probably thinking, “I’ve done that before” or “most everyone has done it once in their lives”. You are probably correct. But on that date, I got caught. I chose to Drink-and-Drive. I chose to put my life and other’s in danger because I wasn’t and didn’t think clearly. I didn’t think of the consequences. I didn’t think about the shame and the embarrassment I’d feel after the event. I didn’t think of the pain and sadness I’d cause my parents and my family. I DIDN’T think. I was selfish.
I have been hesitant to write this post because, as we all know, once it’s on the internet it’s out there. But if my story can help just one person learn from my error, from my lapse in judgement, my lack of thought process, then it was worth sharing.
At the time this happened, I was in the mindset or “Go, Go, Go”. I was living in the big city and everywhere I looked there was something to do. I was living in a busy, busy house with many roommates where some kind of fun activity was always surfing. I wasn’t saying no at the right time, I wasn’t taking time for me, I was drinking more than I should have or needed to be drinking. I started losing a little of me and then the DUI occurred. The DUI that forever changed my life.
For the next 6 months following the DUI, I drifted away from MANY people. I lost a little of my faith and was mad at God, I stopped doing what I love to do, and I honestly started hiding from practically everyone. I started running a lot (for me) knowing I needed something to focus on (a marathon to be exact) and pulled away from all other aspects including close friends and volleyball, a sport I LOVE. I even stopped going to church. It was a dark 6 months. It wasn’t until the summer hit, that I started opening up to other and share my story (as my counselor requested me to do).
I tried to make it through alone, and it wasn’t working. My friends started wondering and asking me what was going on and when I finally told them, not one of them looked at me any different, not one of them ran away, not one of them stopped wanting to be my friend. It was relieving to know that I have great friends who accept me, all of me, the good, the bad, the ugly. I don’t know why I felt that I could do this alone. I don’t know why I felt that people would judge me. Because the truth of the matter is, if you have those people in your life that love you and care about you NO MATTER what, then you have one of the best gifts ever. People make mistakes. People have lapse of judgement. It’s how you respond to the consequences that help you become a better you.
I started going back to church that same summer and felt more joy and love in my heart than I ever thought possible. I continued my running/training for the marathon, but found myself spending more time with other believers and less time wanting to go out. They pulled me out of my darkest time and brought me back into the light of God’s love and God’s arm. The second half of 2015, was some of my favorite 6 months since I’ve moved to Washington. I grew close to many people and I feel like I have some of the best group of friends I could ask for.
Sometimes, it takes a MAJOR slap into reality to truly show you how blessed, how loved, and how much joy life can have. I don’t wish a DUI or ANY bad event on anyone, but if it happens to you, remember that there are people in this world who care about you. God will be there for you, whether you are mad at him or not. He doesn’t leave. Use the situation and grow from it. These types of events aren’t designed to bring you down, they are designed to help you grow into a better, stronger you. I know it has for me.