Rebuilding

I used to be one of those people who thought DUI offenders were terrible criminals who deserve what they got...until I recieved my first DUI. I'm a 21-year-old female college student who has been surrounded by kegs, frat parties, and binge drinking, it had become a major part of my life. This summer I was home for a weekend for my friend's wedding and pounded back drink after drink with all my highschool buddies and the last thing I remember was dancing with my friends. Three hours later I snapped out of it after crashing my dad's car into a tree a block away from my house. I could see my front door from the car. What happened and why the **** was I behind the wheel? I tried starting the car again but the engine wouldn't turn over and suddenly my door was ripped open and a burly man grabbed me and pulled me out of the car and threw me on the ground. He was my neighbor, an off-duty cop, and told me that the police were on their way. I sat on the sidewalk bleeding and crying trying to piece together what was happening to me. In his eyes I was the wreckless criminal that I used to judge. But in my head i couldnt understand why he was so mean, Im still the good person I've always been, right? The cops arrived and took me to the hospital where they did a blood draw, I would later learn that my BAC was a .26. I guess you could say my three years at a university increased my tolerance. My dad bailed me out the next morning and was so unbelievingly kind and supportive which made it that much harder. I had ruined my life with one night of partying and he just smiled and hugged me. My lawyer said there was a chance of house arrest and getting pulled out of college so I could be monitored. How in one night could I, a straight A sorority girl, lose everything I had worked so hard for. The worst part was returning to my college town three days later for my internship. I was a complete fraud. I had to lie and hide all this pain and turmoil from my best friends because I was so ashamed of what had happened. If my sorority found out I would have been kicked out and I was afraid to lose all my friends. I have kept this entire incident a secret for the past six months, and today I finally was sentenced. I had to admit to a drinking problem I don't think I have in order to be adimitted to an alcohol program and avoid jail. There are 20,000 other students just like me that drink and party, are we all alcoholics? When I return to school in the new year I won't be allowed to consume alcohol or go to the bars. I don't have a single friend who doesn't drink. I thought I had my life in order. I got great grades, I have a wonderful internship, and an active social life, but this incident made me realize that I wasn't in control. I could have killed someone or myself. My lawyer said that when he listened to the police tapes I was talking like I was sober as a saint and could not believe that I was that composed with how much alcohol was in my system. I am ashamed and horrified at what I've done, but it was also a wake up call to reevaluate what is really important in my life. Everyone makes mistakes, but these mistakes don't define who we are, it's the steps we take to overcome them.
lilyflower11 lilyflower11
18-21
4 Responses Dec 11, 2012

Hi lilyflower11, your story really resonated with me. I'm sorry that you are going through all this sudden shock. On the night of Dec. 28, I got my first DUI in MD. I'm 34, a college professor, no criminal record at all. 2012 was a stressful year (lots of hectic work-related projects, long ending of a 5 year relationship, illness, etc.). I'd been drinking more and more throughout the year, sometimes out, sometimes alone. And we all know how stressful the holidays can be.....Well anyway, that day I'd been drinking quite a bit in my condo, then decided that I just hadn't had enough. I knew Washington DC was open later than where I live in MD, so I decided to step out and catch a last call. I got in the car (brand new Civic), drove to a bar in DC, had two strong beers, then left. I was nearly home when I overran the median and blew out my front left tire. I was riding on three wheels for a quick minute when I saw the police lights in my rear view mirror. I pulled over, they did the sobriety tests, I passed 1 out of 4. They were very rude to me, despite my cooperation. Cuffed me and took me to the station. This was about 3:30 am. At the precinct, I blew a .25 BAC, even though I recall being quite coherent. I remember everything clearly. I was released around 7:30 am, and had to walk around a deserted part of town before a cab appeared. Got home in a state of total shock. Called an attorney who recommended I sign up for an extended alcohol class - which will take me out until July. License will be officially suspended in February for 90 days. Trial won't even happen until probably May or June. Not looking at jail time, at least according to the lawyer, but tons of expense and hassle. I'm looking at all this as a major wake up call, but am having difficulty thinking of myself as a 'criminal'. So I can relate to you. I don't think my department chair or any of my colleagues will find out, but it's hard dealing with the trauma of all this and the long road back to a normal life this all entails. All because I wanted to have a few more.......

Hi Lilyflower11, your story is similar to mine in so many ways and I think that sharing it is one of the biggest steps to healing! I will tell you what I've told others on this site, you need to take each day as a fresh start, a chance to better yourself in some small way, and as a gift because you could be in much worse circumstances or even dead. Don't lose faith or respect for yourself - you aren't blameless, but you need to recognize that the type of person you are is how you respond to mistakes. Are you going to repeat them, or are you going to move forward? You sound like such a bright and composed young lady and this doesn't have to impact your future negatively if that is what you truly want. =) You just have to go through the strokes to get better, and I promise that even though it doesn't seem like it things will return to normal!

You're not the only one. Thats step one..knowing that alot of other people are facing this including me. A 2nd time recently, unfortunately. That feeling when u get out of jail the next morning "feeling like you're a lesser person, or some nasty felon" goes away. Because you're not. Life keeps going but it's different now; not having a license, getting a lawyer or PD, parents dissappointed, maybe losing a job or a significant other or all of the above..like myself. Not being able to drive sucks. A LOT. I can't lie I've had dark thoughts but some how I'm still breathing..it'll be ok. Not sure where you're from, I'm from Iowa so I only know the owi laws here..neways you're not a bad person. The only thing that matters is what u think and know about yourself, so if someone else has a problem. **** them thats their problem. Hope I helped you cause I'm in twice as deep of hot water as you are. Was booked in 11/12. Guessing you probly won't read this but maybe you will n it'll help. Cheers n goodluck.

How did everything turn out?

How are you doing now? I just got my first DUI, dont have anyone to talk to and am terrified.

I feel your pain. I have never been so distraught. To make matters worse, I was so traumatized by my arrest, I hired the first lawyer that popped up when performing an Internet search. This so-called attorney added to the nightmare. without going into details, my stress level was off the charts. I fired my attorney and represented myself in court and took my punishment like a man. And you know what? I survived. It's been a hard lesson, but a lesson learned. I haven't had a drink in nearly 10 months. My friends didn't desert me because I quit drinking. II'm still the same person I was before, just a bit more low key. I'm in a better place in my life. You will be to. Hang in there.

Sober1Kenobi,
COngratulations on not having a drink in 10 months. Was this hard for you to do? How did you pull through it? Was there a moment of clarity after a specific time of not drinking?

I quit the very night of my arrest. It was my wake up call and I didn't want to be late for it. My DUI was my chance to renewal.

I wasn't a clinical alcoholic. I was the common binge drinker. At times, just as drunk, every bit as dangerous. I don't miss beer or hard liquor much. I do miss a glass of wine with dinner.

Now that I've quit drinking, I've gained a level of freedom that hasn't existed for me since I can remember. I no longer worry about getting behind the wheel drunk or being stopped by the law. I enjoy riding my motorcycle more now than ever before.

What may seem odd - my senses are sharper. I react to my surroundings differently. I'm more alive.

One thing that works for me - I try not to say I've been sober for ... Instead, I just say I quit drinking. For me, it sounds like a positive lifestyle change, rather than a negative, former alcoholic story.

Best of luck to you!