16 years ago today, I got a DUI coming home from a bar.

This post is long, and in no way snarky- stay with me if you can…

I was working a part-time job one day a week. I would come in and open up in the morning, and work 6 or so hours, then someone would come in after me to relieve me and close up.

No one showed up to relieve me. I used to just eat breakfast, come in, and leave not bringing a lunch or anything b/c the shift was so short. So now I’m stuck, working until closing because the girl that went out of town for Christmas, didn’t bother getting a sub for her. 12+ hours later, I am pissed off and want to go home.

My roommate at the time had said “hey, lets go to dollar night to relieve some stress”. So I go home, we get ready, and we go out to the bar. The plan whenever we would go out was, whoever was driving would stop drinking early, start drinking water, and sober up before we left. Well, I was in such a foul mood, I just kept drinking. Literally finishing the last of a beer, putting it on the counter, and leaving. My roommate and I figured I was less drunk than she, and so I drove.

On our way to pick up HER SON (who was maybe 3 at the time), I got pulled over for speeding. I passed most of the field sobriety tests, from what I remember, but the CHP officer had a trainee with him, so they wanted to do the PAS test on me anyway (breathalyzer). I blew a .10, in a state where .08 is the legal limit.

I was handcuffed and put in the back of the car. My friend was able to call her mom (where her son was) using my cell phone to tell her what had happened. Looking back the CHP officers ROCKED- they not only pulled my car into a parking space (I had pulled over into a parking lot) so that I wouldn’t have my car towed and the cost of getting it out of impound, but they also drove my friend to her mom’s house which was about a mile from where I had been pulled over. I also was so lucky that I had been pulled over before we had picked up her son, or else I could have had child endangerment on top of a DUI. Talk about life changing.

I was balling from the time I got put into the back of the CHP car, until we pulled up to Caucasian County Jail. The officers were really nice, trying to talk to me to calm me down. I in no way am angry with them or blame them. I did this to myself.

I was brought in to the jail where I had to blow for the breathalyzer two more times. I don’t smoke, and that thing is DAMN hard to do. You have to blow every last ounce of air out of your lungs, to the point where it hurts. It’s crazy.

I had my mug shots taken, my fingerprints taken. I had to remove all of my jewelry and my shoes. I was then escorted into a holding cell where they were nice enough to give me a blanket. Remember it is dead of winter, and I am in jeans and a sweater, no shoes, in a cement room with a cement bench. I felt like I was there forever. I could hear someone screaming in the cell next to me. Thankfully I was in Caucasian County where it is known to be the “Hilton” of jails. I was all by myself, because they kept men and women separated, and I was apparently the only drunk chick that night.

Eventually around 5am they let me out to make some phone calls. I looked around and each cell had a white board with names/ notes of who was in them. There must have been 13 names on one board- and when they would open the door, there were guys standing, sitting, laying- packed in like sardines. Another said “asshole- no blanket”. The third I remember was one that said “.32″ as in their blood alcohol level.

I first called my dad at work. I knew he would be there and we had an 800 number at work, so I figured I’d try him first (he is my referee with anything related to my mother, so I needed to talk to him first). My roommate and her mom had called my parents at 2am when CHP dropped her off. So they already knew. My dad answered and said, “You know you are in a lot of trouble.” I said yes, I knew. He then said, “we’ve all done it, you just got caught” which is so true (and one reason I am writing this insanely long post).

My mom was still at home, and the jail was between their home and our work (I was working part-time for my parents thru college as well). So I called the house collect, because I would need to have her pick me up to bring me to my car so I could get to work. She denied my collect call. I tried again, she denied it again. So there I was, calling anyone and everyone collect to see if someone could give me a ride to my car. One of my friends totally came through for me. She not only drove all the way up to Caucasian County Jail (about 30 min from where she lived) to pick me up, she bought me breakfast thru a McDonald’s drive thru, and took me back to my car where the CHP officers had parked it.

I drove home, showered, and got to work late. That was the day we were taking my grandmother back to the airport from her visit at Christmas. She came up to me, in the most loving voice ever and said “you are really lucky, you got pulled over for speeding, you didn’t wreck, and you didn’t kill anyone. You will learn from this and you will move on.”

Later that day, I went with my parents to drop her off at the airport- hung over, no make up on, a total wreck of wrecks mentally and physically.

She passed away a month later of an aneurysm. And now and forever, I will know that the last time my grandmother saw me, I had just been released from county jail on my on recognizance for DUI.

My punishment sucked, that is for another day (or at least another post). It cost me lots of money, stayed on my insurance record for 7 years, and I missed out on a lot of fun things like spring breaks because I couldn’t afford it with everyone I owed money to.

To this day if I am driving, and we are going to a bar, I won’t touch alcohol. I will occasionally have a beer or glass of wine if I am out for a happy hour or meal since there will be food involved. I live my life with no regrets, and know that this happened for a reason when I was 22 yrs old. I learned my lesson and I am so blessed that I didn’t hurt or worse kill someone.

I know we all can only learn from our own mistakes, and I don’t judge anyone, ever. But please please please be careful this holiday and always when thinking about drinking and driving. Just try and be safe.

((I repost this on multiple social media outlets every year, in case you think you’ve seen it before, you probably have))

2 thoughts on “16 years ago today, I got a DUI coming home from a bar.

  1. Your are right. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to learn from them, as you obviously have. Thank you for sharing your drinking and driving story. Those that have been convicted of drinking and driving, as well as DWI lawyers alike can understand the situation you were in and are happy to read your story.

  2. Reblogged this on Eat, Drink, and Be Snarky and commented:

    Wow. It has been three years since I touched this blog, and nothing means more to me than this post. Normally I post it on the anniversary, but with the holidays coming up I feel that the sooner, the better.

    I am renewing my vow to myself in 2017 to get back to blogging, cooking, reading, and more. Hope you’ll join me!

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