You're Not Alone...

I have been looking for any kind of support possible for the OWI I received last week. I have not been convicted yet, but the situation looks pretty grim and I am simply beside myself with humiliation, self-loathing, and guilt. I have cried everyday since. I'd like to think I'm a good person, but I feel so horrible. To give you some background, I am going to school for a teaching certification and I am in the process of opening my own non-profit organization for underprivileged children. I voluntarily teach dance to inner city kids just outside of Detroit, I foster for no-kill animal organization, and I regularly volunteer and donate to cancer treatment/research organizations. I work part-time as well, and I have maintained an exceptionally GPA throughout high school and college. I don't drink to excess, and I don't do drugs. Heck, I was the designated driver for my friends on St. Patrick's Day -- who, by the way, live 45 minutes away from me. For most of my life, I have been a really good person.

I NEVER in my wildest dreams thought this would happen to me.

My friend had just graduated from college. We hardly ever saw her because she lived so far away to go to school. She was finally back in town, but not for long because she has a job offer in another state starting at the end of the month. My friends and I were so excited to see her. I know now that I overdid it, but at the time I felt fine. I was stupid. So stupid. My mother and sister do not live far away, and have always offered to give me a ride if need be. Honestly, I felt fine. I was in my car, on my way home, when I was pulled over.

I get confused when I get to one of the intersections in this particular part of town. Even when completely sober, I have occasionally driven down the wrong one-way street. That's exactly what I did. And as soon as I turned, I saw the flashing lights.

I got scared. Seriously, who doesn't freak out a little when those lights are behind you? I did well on the roadside sobriety tests, and the officer asked me to blow into the breathalyser. I was terrified of not complying - thinking I'd immediately be placed under arrest - so I did what the officer asked, thinking I couldn't be above a .08.

Wrong. Dead wrong.

To my disbelief, I blew a 0.16. I was immediately put under arrest and placed in a holding cell until my sister bailed me out the next day. I was charge with OWI (Operated While Intoxicated) - First Offense. Because I blew so high, the attorney does not think I will be able to get it lowered anymore than impaired, which is still an alcohol-related offense.

I have a brother who has a first offense narcotics charge. By all means, he has a drug problem, but his record can be expunged through a 74-11 law as long as he completes probation. I am not allowed that. I make a moment's mistake and I am going to have to live with this forever because the State of Michigan does not allow alcohol-related offenses to fall off of your record... ever.

I know what I did was wrong now. Believe me, nobody feels more guilt and shame than I do. I just don't understand why I have to wear a scarlet letter for the rest of my life when I am doing everything in my power to stay away from that persona. I am not a repeat offender, and I WILL NOT be a repeat offender. I have no criminal history; I have always done everything by the book. I am willing to pay huge fines, do an infinite amount of community service, I would even give up alcohol for the rest of my life if it meant I didn't have to continuously bear this burden for the entirety of my existence. I am questioning everything now, and I feel so hopeless. I know I am not alone, but I feel extraordinarily lonely. I can hardly eat or sleep. I am terrified of going to court.

For those of you out there dealing with the same thing, I feel for you. I wish that I could take away this problem. I wish that we'd made different decisions like we have a million times over now that it doesn't count. You are not alone, and I am so sorry you are going through this.
jenlynn6687 jenlynn6687
22-25, F
8 Responses May 24, 2012

Hello, I am unsure if you will see this post but I am from michigan as well and just recived by first owi and I have been feeling just like you did, I would like to know how things turned out for you? Did things improve? I just feel so helpless, I am going to school for social work but I feel as though that is a far stretch that no job but a minimum wage job is attainable... If you or anyone else who reads this thread please shine some light on this gray matter..
Thank you!

I just got one myself here in Oregon. And the timing couldn't be more awful as in 3 months i was supposed to start business school and now i think i may have to put it off for a term. I had just worked a double at my restaurant and was exhausted. I went out and drank, and didn't feel drunk just more tired. When i was pulled over i was cognitive enough to pass the sobriety test. but i was still taken in to take a breathalizer and blew .17 Now the nightmare begins and I'm having bouts of depression. This really sucks. I get why the laws and punishments are in place i really do, but the expenses and shame are enough. If only they'd punish you based on character and not just everyone the same.:(

My story is very similar. I was charged last night. I would love to hear where you are at now.

I went through 6 month probation and holiday testing. 3 month license restriction. Ended up having to do some alcohol counseling and 40 hours community service (my choice of non profit). I was lucky in that sense and it wasn't too tough to get through. It's been a little over a year and my life is pretty much back to normal. I have a friend who is an insurance agent and got me a discount, though it's not spectacular, on auto insurance. Life is back to normal in general. I still drink, but I'm much more conscientious of my state of mind, especially if I have to drive. A breathalizer is a great investment! All in all, the sooner you admit your mistake to yourself and make a promise to be smarter next time, the easier it will be. Good luck to you!

PS. Possibly unlike you, I had to learn from getting a second DUI that I have a drinking problem. You think you hate yourself for one? Try getting 2. I actually considered ending my life. I swore that I would NEVER EVER get another one after the first DUI, but the way it happened, (which you can read in my story) was so bizarre and so unexplainable I could have never seen it coming. However, I woke up in jail for a second time and I finally really "woke up" Whether I'm an alcoholic or not, I don't know, but I do know that the only way for me to NEVER end up in this again is to quit drinking altogether, which I have. And I joined AA and I've been sober 3 months. That is TOTALLY my choice, I"m not preaching that at all. You decide what you want to do as far as drinking is concerned. In fact, when you go to AA, (which you will no matter what), you will find doctors, lawyers, teachers and bums and everyone in between. I am a good person, successful driven, kind and thoughtful and this happened to me twice. And ya know what, I'm getting through this one actually better than the last one because of my decision to quit drinking and my new outlook on life. If I can gget through a 2nd DUI and I'm still loving life and I'm still successful and happy, you can DEFINITELY do it.

Thank you for this. Please read my story and reply with any advice if you can please.

Thank you!


Hey ladies, ok you guys need to chill out a little and put down the emotional ba<x>seball bat. You're going to be fine and all of the good qualities you have are still there, this doesn't change anything. I'm not going to lie, getting a DUI absolutely sucks, but if you're honest, forthcoming and willing to "play by the rules" the court system will recognize that and work with you to get through it. I feel like a lot of people try to avoid payment, or find "loop holes" or continue drinking when they're not supposed to and the court system has to deal with people like that every day, so when they come accross someone who's honest and responsible its like a breath of fresh air and they are more flexible, but that's just my experience.<br />
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Like you, I am a college graduate and am working on a second degree in sign language interpreting which I will finish in July. When I got my DUI I felt so awful I couldn't eat, sleep, I felt worthless and like a horrible criminal. I cried daily. In the end, I promise, life will go back to normal. It does. Even having the DUI on your record hardly ever comes up. Even with employers. Unless they do a heavy duty background check and even then, if you're honest and tell an potentional employer the situation most people don't even think it's a big deal or maybe have even had one themselves. .<br />
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As for the laws and punishment, one thing I suggest is not to spend to much time dweliling on how ridiculous and unfair the punishments are. While I agree 100% that it's a money maker for the government and they are exploiting people's mistakes and/or problems, it really doesn't matter in the end. You still have to pay and I found that once I let go of the anger and biterness about it, it was so much easier to deal with. It's already expensive and inconvenient, you don't need to be filled with anger and contempt on top of it. So try to just take it as it comes and not fight it. <br />
One year from now your life will be perfectly normal. I promise. As long as you play by the rules. Until then, take it one day at a time. Just do what your responsible for one day at a time and pretty soon you'll find yourself on the other side of this. You'll also be surprised how supportive and understanding people, even strangers will be. Hang in there ladies. :)

Well said and I perfectly agree with you based also on my experience. thank you

I just received my first DUI on Friday after a Tigers game. I too made a mistake the thing that gets me mad is I was across the street from a hotel and I knew I couldn't make it home so I drive not even 100 feet and I get pulled over and arrested . I cannot explain what I'm going through I'm so scared , I don't eat I don't sleep I feel horrible like a criminal. My court date is on June 11 and I'm so scared and embarrassed .

The laws regarding DUI and OWI offenses disturb me quite a bit. It is an example of how good intentions become monstrous money-making machines that continue preying on citizens. What are we teaching people? That forgiveness and redemption are impossible for your one mistake? Is this not the same mentality that drives more criminal behavior (i.e. I am continuously labelled a criminal and/or irresponsible person so eventually it defines me)? There is an article entitled "Fighting MADD" that I found very interesting on this topic.<br />
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It makes me wonder what democracy really means in this country, and the bigger issue at hand.

Thankyou I agree I was treated like a criminal when I was arrested and put in jail. I had surgery week prior and bandages were bleeding thru couldnt get nurse look at it in there. I will look up Fighting Mad thanks info!

I got my first dui 3/9/12 and like you have never been in trouble. I blew high bac also and feel horrible what I have done. Its hard to get through this I too cant sleep or eat but with help friends and family I know I can get past it and so will you. I will pray things work out for you and me. So you also are not alone even the good people make mistakes I am just glad I didnt hurt anyone or myself take care.