not a believer of the “Everything Happens for a Reason” philosophy,
but perhaps many things that we go through are no less life-altering.
No matter how many
lengthy Facebook posts I write, or how many texts I carefully draft out before
hitting “send”, I never know quite how to begin anything.
Let’s start with
the DUI I got a couple of weeks ago.
That got your attention, didn’t it?
I always thought
the people who got DUI”s were the people who drank every day when they got
home, were out at the bar every night, falling down and knocking over
chairs. I am none of those.
I’ve always been
the “go out on Saturday nights with a few friends and have a couple of
Things had not been
going well. I turned 48 in October and
had some challenging issues in my personal life. So…on a Wednesday night some girl friends
and I decided to have a Girls Night Out.
Two days prior to our evening out, we had to deal with the fact that one
of the girls in our group of friends who had battled depression and alcohol
addiction had taken her life.
I can’t and wont’
pretend that I was close to her, but whenever someone my age dies, it really terrifies
me. I am a believer in God ( but perhaps
have not completely learned to trust in him), and have to confess to a fear of
death (as though every living person on the face of the earth does not share
that fear). I have a girlfriend that
says I’m afraid of dying alone. Hmmm…..There’s a thought…..but the fact is
everyone dies alone (excluding the presence of God of course).
Don’t’ worry; this
is not a cautionary tale of mixing depression with alcohol. It’s more of an exposure of my flaws to you
early so that there is a “nowhere to go but up” kind of thing for you to observe.
As I said, I had
been very depressed since my birthday, and my anxiety had been off the charts
for the last month. For some reason I
had felt a sort of paranoia set in…Everyone was most certainly against me (or
so it seemed)–everyone that I was close to, except my four-year-old grandson
Mikey, and my 16 1/2 year-old dog Simba.
There were about
eight of us that ventured out that fateful evening. I hadn’t seen anyone in a month or more; I
just hadn’t felt like seeing anyone.
Anyway…enough of the boring and trivial details….
I left the bar
upset and listened to depressing songs on the car radio until I began to weep
When I was about
two minutes from home, I plowed into a ditch and mangled a telephone pole. I felt fear wash over me as I tried to get
out of the ditch. The mud was so thick,
I think I just made it worse.
So many thoughts
ran through my mind…
I knew I was in
serious trouble, and about to make the afore-mentioned woes worse. I wasn’t hurt physically, but a dozen
conflicting thoughts raced through my mind.
I wondered about
our friend who had ended her life. Had
she been feeling like I had been feeling?
Had her demons taken control, and had she had any regrets?
suicide has never really crossed my mind….not for any moral reason, but just
in case that whole “burning in hell for all eternity” thing they
taught us in Catholic School has any basis in reality, I’m playing it
safe….And it’s to my loved ones’ advantage that I continue to play it
safe….I thought about arguments with loved ones, I thought about what would
have happened if I didn’t go home to my dog?
What if my grandson, my BFF, had never been able to see me again? And worst of all…How would I have lived
with myself if I’d hurt someone else??
Yes, even though I
had behaved illogically on this particular occasion, my logical brain was still
thinking….and if you know me at all….over-thinking.
By the time the
sheriff’s deputy arrived, he could clearly see that I was ok, but there had to
be a reason I wrecked my car. He of
course had to ask if I’d been drinking.
My response was, ” Well, yeah.” He said it was the first time he’d asked that
question, that an individual just came out and said “Well, yeah.”
While I’d like to
pretend that the reason I can’t lie has to do with honesty and integrity, the
real reason is that I am incapable of lying.
I’m really very bad at it, and I am sure everyone can see through me.
The deputy had no
recourse but to arrest me. He told me as
he was escorting me that it was sad because my driving record was better than
his, and he’s a cop.
I opted to take the
breathalyzer and blew .10–about one beer over the legal limit.
drinking, sobbing, and subsequently driving are not things that are meant to be
done within narrow time constraints.
Yes, I should have stayed home and watched Christmas movies on Netflix.
Let me make it
clear that this has been the worst nightmare of my life (though it has been
pointed out to me that as nightmares go, by the age of 48 it’s not the worst
one I could have had). The financial
aspect alone had the potential to be devastating, especially if they totalled
my car and of course the over-thinker in me obsessed over that. I continue to be plagued with depression and
anxiety, but now I have magnified it. Well
I obtained a public
defender, it is my first offense, I did blow very low on the breathalyzer, and
by all accounts I was cooperative. The
judge appeared to be compassionate towards me and though I continue to fear the
situation I am in, I know a huge part of that is simply wanting it to be over
with…to be able to put it behind me and get on with my life.
I am still unable
to sleep ( but in all honesty I never really have). When I think of how much worse it could have
been had I hurt someone, I am grateful beyond words. If I had hurt someone else, the court would
have forgiven me, and God would have forgiven me long before I would have forgiven myself.
I have received so much support and compassion from all of the people I previously thought didn’t care about me. A person dear to me cleaned out his bank account to bail me out of jail, and later stated that he would help in any way he could.
evening I made a Facebook post chronicling what had happened because I wanted
all of my friends and family to hear it from me. I wanted them to know that I wasn’t making excuses, that I was
showing accountability, and taking responsibility for my actions….and….Yes,
to some extent, providing the previously denied allegation of the cautions of
mixing alcohol, depression, and driving.
Maybe if my
deceased friend had reached out, she’d still be here
Maybe if I’d
reached out I’d never have gotten into this situation.
One thing is
certain however; there are no do-overs.
Whatever happened, happened.
There is no plausible deniablity.
however, all that being said, nothing is irreversible.
We can always
change the path we’re headed down, and we can always make other choices, even
when we can’t undo the poor choices we already made.
I cried myself to
sleep the night after I made my DUI post and woke up to the most amazing
outpouring of compassion and support.
Maybe if I’d never
gotten into trouble, maybe I’d never know I’d made an impact in people’s lives
so that they would want to impact mine.
I may have a long
hard road ahead of me…probably most of it lived in my head already (that
over-thinking thing again).
I have gotten all
kinds of advice on how to handle myself in that court room January 8th. The most profound and simplest advice came
from someone who knows me well:
“Just be honest, Corrie.
That’s your strength.”
I will do what I
always do when I’m terrified, and that is follow the advice of my hero Jack
from “Lost”: I will let the
fear in for five seconds. I will let it
completely overwhelm me and take over.
And then I will do
what I have to do, and I know that in doing so I will be a stronger and a
better person for it.
There is no mess we
can get ourselves into that hope cannot overcome and open the doors of
opportunity that we never even considered walking through.
Nowhere to go but