Ran into somebody the other day. Recognized him immediately, but wasn’t sure from where. Started talking, trying to figure it out. Then it came…
“Fuck that DUI class, man. That was some bullshit”.
Ah yes. That’s where he’s from.
We caught up. He was one of the people I liked hearing from in the group session of class. Funny guy, honest. Hadn’t seen him in quite some time.
Made me think back.
A year ago, I was going every Wednesday to a three hour class, learning, and re-learning that what I had done was wrong. Learning that what others had done were wrong. Being lead in discussions around inane topics like “Why do you think people drink?”
A year ago I was going to an AA meeting every week, hearing people tell horrific stories of hitting the absolute rock bottom, then having to share “I had like three beers too many one night” and getting looks from everyone else.
A year ago, I would get into my car, turn the ignition and wait 45 seconds for my interlock to turn on
, and blow into it, and blow every 15 minutes to make sure that I hadn’t had any alcohol.
A year ago, I would have never had another person in my car.
A year ago, I would have to argue with a seedy car accessories owner to get two months on my interlock instead of one.
A year ago, I was getting constant reminders - from class, from my car, from the DMV, from my insurance, from tv commercials, that I had done something wrong.
A year ago I had to go into another separate class to tell me that yes, I had done something wrong.
While it wasn’t the most pleasant flashback, it made me realize how much this whole experience has changed me. More importantly, it’s nice how much I don’t have to think about my DUI every day, every car ride, every long meeting.
Today I drive my car freely, and easily.
Today I have passengers.
Today I am not required to be anywhere, at any time for the state.
Today I am half done with my probation.
Today I still feel bad about what I have done.
Today I realize that it doesn’t define me as a person.
Today I still drink, but when I do, I take an uber
Today if I end up drinking while out, I use my breathalyzer
to make sure I’m good to drive before I do.
Today I don’t drink as much as I once did.
Today I’m paying crazy high insurance.
Today I’m closer to having this behind me.
The process of satisfying the court seemed like it would never end. That every time I would have to calibrate my interlock another month seemed like it would be forever. Every class made it seem like time was standing still. It felt like I would be punished forever.
I’m glad that I can be here to say that you won’t be. You’re punished, and you do what you need to, and little-by-little, you get to think about it less. You feel the pain less and less every day.
You move on, and eventually life returns to normal.
When you’re in the middle of it, it’s hard to imagine. The further you go along, the quicker it seems to go.
I know I started this blog with advice a lawyer told me, “It all goes away
”. It’s hard to believe in the moment, but I can tell you:
It all goes away.
It all goes away.