Changing My Life and One Bad Night

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September 30, and I had just turned 21, and the only thing I wanted to do was go and have a drink. Like every other guy that has just turned 21 I could not wait to go out that evening. However if I had known the events that would take place I would have made different decisions that afternoon. For the first time I was able to drink legally so as soon as I could I made my way to the liquor store where I bought my favorite drink Crown Royal. My girlfriend at the time was coming over we had plans to go out clubbing and barhopping with some other friends. We sat at my house and finished off the crown and coke mixed drinks while getting ready to leave. And by the time we had left for that night we were both already too drunk to even think about driving that night. But we were young and invincible so of to the party we went.

Submitted: August 04, 2012

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Submitted: August 04, 2012

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September 30, and I had just turned 21, and the only thing I wanted to do was go and have a drink.  Like every other guy that has just turned 21 I could not wait to go out that evening.  However if I had known the events that would take place I would have made different decisions that afternoon.  For the first time I was able to drink legally so as soon as I could I made my way to the liquor store where I bought my favorite drink Crown Royal.  My girlfriend at the time was coming over we had plans to go out clubbing and barhopping with some other friends.  We sat at my house and finished off the crown and coke mixed drinks while getting ready to leave.  And by the time we had left for that night we were both already too drunk to even think about driving that night.  But we were young and invincible so of to the party we went.

When we finally made it to the first club that night we immediately stated ordering mixed drinks hoping to not lose the buzz that we had going for us already.  And after we had been their and had a few drinks we started running into all of our friends.  We stayed and partied had some more shots of whatever was being ordered and danced the night away.  We partied from one bar to the next and from one dance floor to the next.  By the time any of us were through partying that night we were all pretty wasted.

On the way home I was pulled over in Gardendale oddly enough at a pay phone.  According to the officer who arrested me I had ran a red light was driving in excess of 70 mind you in a 35 zone with my tail lights out tag light out and swerving all over the road. Looking back at it now I realize that he probably saved not just my life but that of my girlfriends.  I was given a field sobriety test which I was in the process of passing with flying colors, I must say very proudly of myself.  I was passing the test right up to the point when he asked me to say the alphabet backwards, and that would be my turning point for the night, my only reply to this was “I could not do that even if I was sober”.  So with my arrest that night not only did I get to add all of the driving violations but now I have gained a DUI charge also.  While I was handcuffed in the police car they did a search of my vehicle that’s when they found the pistol that was under my seat. So I get to add pistol without a permit to go along with everything else.  My only thought was “DAMN”.  When we had finally gotten to the jail and I was being booked I told my girlfriend to get my car back to my house and get me out as soon as possible, I told here where I kept the Eight grand in the house, just for emergencies, and told her to come right back and “Get me out now”.That however did not happen, According to Gardendale you have to stay in what they call “The Drunk Tank” for 24 hours before you can be released.  So I did my time in Gardendale all nice and quiet, really I didn’t have much of a choice because all the alcohol I had consumed that night I a state closer to being passed out more than anything else.  To get out I had to call my Dad to come and get me because Gardendale would not take cash for my bail which was over 5000 at the time and it was Sunday so I had to get someone to write a check for me to get out that afternoon.  Calling my dad to come and get me out of jail had to be the lowest point of my life at that time and when I first saw him also had to be the moment I was most afraid in my life.

Now that I was out of jail I was hoping that I could do my little court case and life would go back to normal or at least as normal as my life was at the time.  All I need to do was making it to my court date and not have any more trouble and I was good.  I did not fully understand how lucky I was still.  For whatever reason my court date was months off so by the time it had came around I was a full fledge alcoholic out partying and drinking all the time.  I do not know how I managed to not get arrested again while waiting on my first trial; just lucky I guess. 

My court date arrived finally and I stood in front of the judge next to my lawyer, who I thought was over paid, and did what she said to do.  I pled guilty to pistol without a permit, guilty to driving while intoxicated, speeding, reckless driving, and tail light out.  My total fines that day were a little over thirty two hundred dollars.  I was sentenced to probation until my fines were paid. I had to do eight Saturday defensive driving classes each of which was seventy five dollars each and if you showed up one second late you had to start the classes over again.  I was ordered to attend sixteen AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings.  All while my license was revoked by the state so I could not drive. 

By the time my first Saturday class had come I had already attended two AA meetings.  So my mentality at the time was, do my classes and AA meetings and get it over with.  I have nothing in common with these people that are here.  I am not an Alcoholic by any stretch of the imagination or, that is what I thought anyway.  And then sitting in my first Saturday class the instructor walked in, a tall black guy with long hair pulled back into a ponytail, well dressed in a suit and nice, probably very expensive, shoes on.  As all of us, about fifteen or so, were sitting around a couple of tables he began his opening speech that morning while taking his watch off of his left hand. 

Do you know that in the state of Alabama, that if you can drink four or more drinks in a sitting then you are an Alcoholic?  That means four beers, four shots of whatever, or four classes of wine then you’re an Alcoholic.  I was once in your shoes and had thought the same thing you’re thinking right now.  Not me I am not an Alcoholic.  But I want you to think about this.  I want you to figure up how many drinks you have every day or every week, how many pack of cigarettes you buy during the week and think about how much you spend on drugs every day.  When I first came into this program I decided to take every penny that I would have spent on this stuff every time I wanted it and put it up.  So I when I wanted that drink I would put the money up or when I wanted that dope or cigarettes I would put that money up.  In three years ( as the watch was being passed around) I paid cash for that watch ( it was a gold presidential Rolex). In five years I paid cash for my Mercedes that is outside and in ten years I paid my house off.

That opening speech shook me, it got my attention, I do not remember a whole lot else about that meeting but I remember the dollar amount that I was spending every week when I was an open Alcoholic.

I started going to my AA meetings and listening to what they had to say.  I took everyone’s advice and worked the steps.  I did what was asked of me in the AA program.  I read the book, The Big Book; I went to meetings and worked the steps.  But most importantly to this day I have not picked another drink up since.  I have turned my life around in order to set an example for the still suffering Alcoholic.  And until I started school this past spring I was charring AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings three days a week along with working at Bradford Rehab Center on Saturdays.  I have often been asked “Are you not ashamed if someone finds out that you are doing all of this and them knowing that you are an Alcoholic” my answer is always “No”.  “If what I do saves just one life or helps just one person drop their addiction to drinking or to drugs then the embarrassment that I suffer is well worth it”  you never know the life that I may help save might just be yours.

 


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