Posts Tagged drinking

Reasons

My sister’s boyfriend’s mom made me cry hysterically once.

We were moving my sister and her boyfriend from one apartment to another in Madison. I had just finished my 2nd year in college. I was talking about how I hadn’t imbibed alcohol at school. Mostly because I was only 20. Boyfriend’s mom decided that I was lying, and told my parents as such. I got so worked up defending myself against her that I was sobbing to my parents that I did not participate in illegal activities.

I was telling the truth. Most people don’t believe me when I say that I only drank underage once and I wasn’t at college. The idea that I did not go to parties, get drunk every weekend, even once I was 21, baffles people.

Maybe I am simply a boring person, who knows. I know that before I was 21 the fact that drinking was illegal stopped me. I did not want to risk getting caught and receiving a MIP. I was going into criminal justice; I wanted a clean record. As a side note, I have only been pulled over for speeding once and did not get a ticket. Anyway, I wanted to remember what I did at school. I also didn’t want to be the person that dangerously passed out or embarrassingly threw up at the end of the night.

What really boggles my mind, though, are people who drink and drive. A person must be extremely selfish, in my mind, to drive while intoxicated. How can you care so little about the rest of humanity that you would endanger them? I hold the same view about speeding, actually. That is a lot of why I don’t do those things. With drunk driving, though, it is a little different. My reasons do not stem from any personal experience of an accident or even the death of someone close to me. My reason to never drive drunk has to do with my internship at the Kent County Courthouse within the Victim/Witness Unit.

Once a month, there is a Victim Impact Panel that people are sentenced to attend. It’s a relatively new sentence and the aim is to trigger the criminal’s empathy and guilt about their actions. Since it was just down the hall, I went to one last year. The room was full of all sorts of people, since drunk driving is one crime that doesn’t have a “type.” I sat in the back, perched on a table next to my supervisor. She introduced me to the woman speaking and we chatted a bit before she spoke. What she spoke about is why I will never drink and drive. Her teenage son was killed in an alcohol related accident. He was riding back home with his sister’s fiance, who was drunk. The guy missed a curve in the road, continued straight, hit an embankment and rolled the vehicle. The teenager was thrown from the car and killed instantly. However, the woman’s next sentence will stick with me forever. With tears in her eyes she said that she wondered how the police knew he died instantly. “What if there was a minute, a few seconds, before he died? What if he died alone and scared in a muddy field?” I was crying in the back of that room. I don’t know if the panel had the impact it was supposed to on the criminals, but it affected me. I vow to never drink and drive. I never want to be the cause of that much pain in another human being.

I’m not trying to be sanctimonious about this topic. I just think that if people stopped to contemplate their actions, maybe more people would be like me. Maybe we’ll get to the day when not drinking at college isn’t met by disbelief.

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