Another Alcohol Post

June 21, 2009

As a recovering alcoholic I don’t make it a habit to go out too much, but my conviction is so strong that I do go to the bars with friends once in a blue moon. This past Thursday was one of my co-worker’s 21st birthday, so a group of us went out to celebrate with her. Despite being surrounded by drunk people and alcohol, I never feel tempted to drink myself. I just enjoy a couple of O’douls and think about how much I’d rather be at home watching a DVD, but sometimes I feel so isolated in my sobriety that it drives me crazy if I don’t get out with some friends once in a while. Unfortunately, social interaction in my age bracket almost always involves alcohol and I usually find myself in situations most sober people are advised to avoid. While I strongly agree with that logic and even offer it to people in similar situations, I simply don’t apply it to myself. Honestly, if the events of the past 3 months of my life don’t drive me to drink, I can’t imagine that anything will. My mind is made up and it’s not something I’m concerned about.

Anyways, to continue with my story, one of the girls I was hanging out with was planning on driving home after the bar closed. This was the second bar we had attended that night, and I didn’t think anything of her driving when we switched bars, but this time it was pretty clear that she shouldn’t be driving. Her speech was slurred and she was having some problems even walking straight. I told her I’d give her a ride home or call her a cab, but I got the “I’m fine… I’ll be okay” line I’ve used so many times myself in my lifetime. After pressing further, I got hit with “you’re the one that’s got two DUIs, why would I listen to you?” Here’s a better question: why wouldn’t you? I don’t want to see anyone go through what I’ve been through… and I certainly don’t want someone to die after I couldn’t convince them to find another way home. I don’t want to ever have to live with that kind of guilt. It’s so frustrating being able to see the big picture and to be able to realize the severe consequences of such minor actions. Lots of people think “I’ve driven home drunker than this and I’m always fine.” Yeah, that’s probably true, but do you realize how many times I drove drunk and never had anything bad happen? In 10 years of having my license and 5 years of being able to legally drink, I got one DUI and one Hit & Run. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve gotten behind the wheel of a car with alcohol in my system… that’s an extremely small percentage. Also, one time, two weeks after my DUI, I got pulled over in downtown Seattle completely wasted. I was so drunk I barely even remember interacting with the cops and I woke up the next morning in my bed still wearing jeans and found a business card in my pocket with a hand-written note that said where my car was left. Even though I was more drunk that time than I was for my DUI or my Hit & Run, I never got into trouble for this incident. I can only imagine how different my life would be today if I got booked for two DUIs within a couple weeks of each other. So yeah, out of hundreds of times driving drunk, I had a potential problem only three times. Some people might get away with it for their whole life. However, it only takes one time and sometimes the stars don’t align for you. Things just go bad… and when they do, they can be tragic. One of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver when we were 14. Two of my buddies from high school were killed in 2002 when their friend got into an accident while driving with alcohol in his system. It really makes me wonder how I ever reached a point where drinking and driving was an acceptable thing for me to do. I guess once you hit 21, it’s really easy to make that excuse to drive home. Again, I never listened to anybody, so why would anybody listen to me? Well, because I understand the consequences of those few times when you don’t make it home without hurting yourself or someone else and I’m sober for Christ’s Sake! I’m not trying to be a nuisance, just trying to save people I care about from fucking up their lives with one little mistake. It can be a pain in the ass to get a ride home and have to track down your vehicle the next day, but believe me, the $10 you spend on cab fare is a lot cheaper than the thousands it will cost you if you get a DUI or worse.


  1. Kind of strange now to be the one trying to convince someone to not drive drunk? It’s great though that you want to try to help others from your past experiences and hopefully people will listen. I may not have listened for a long time when I was using and it pissed me off to have people try to tell me what to do, but now that I’m sober I look back and am thankful that I had people in my life that cared enough about me to try to help me out even when I didn’t want it. Just keep in mind that alcoholism is a disease that has no cure, it’s something that we will be stuck with for the rest of our lives so don’t get too comfortable in your sobriety. I’m coming up on 9 years and it’s something that is always in the back of mind. Although I haven’t used in a long time, it’s right there waiting for me to slip up so it can work its way back into my life. Be careful of the bars and all that because although you might be drinking a non-alcoholic beer, its still a beer and it still follows in a general pattern similar to what you were in before, just not getting hammered. If you need to get out of your house, you don’t have to put yourself in a tough situation to do it. If you want to get out without have alcohol around, hit me up man.

  2. A very sad tale indeed. I regret my negative influences that I contributed to your problem. I also relived many of the negative memories that came from first hand exposure to those events in your life. Your ability to tell your story in this case written is a great example why I think AA would be a great place to visit once in a while. Despite your view and it is correct that no one can stop an alcoholic from drinking but themselves does not alter the fact that they can’t be positively impacted by stories and advice from others who have been though the same shit. I also think sharing your story keeps it fresh in your mind and helps you stay the course. So if you can help just one person whether it is James or anyone else is not worth a few hours of your time? Take this communication skill and put it to a good use. I have always believed in you.

  3. sorry posted on wrong spot

  4. I’m glad your friend made it home. Next time she might not. Never knew about the drunk driving incident 2 weeks after your DUI. What a fool you were…glad you’ve ditch the fool – he was a jerk! I loved you both, but I like this Mike so much better 🙂

  5. I have better stories than the aforementioned. I lived through most of this. Best/worst few? Battle rapping a bum who probably had a weapon. Breaking into the downstairs neighbor’s apartment thinking it was ours and falling asleep on the ground. Having the shell station attendant call me @ 3am to pick you up from the gas station. She paid for your cab because you had lost your wallet and she knew you very well from your regular alcohol purchases.

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