There were a lot of young people, myself included, at this party. I drank a lot. Beer, vodka, rum, etc. I was definitively drunk by the time I heard someone shout that there were police driving up and down in front of the house on HPR. There was a panic and my brilliant idea was for me to leave the party.
I had my parents car with me and, unfortunately, I had developed a dangerous habit of driving while intoxicated. Now, I’ve been to other parties where drunk people trying to drive were physically restrained from driving or their keys were taken and hidden from the driver by other drunk people. That wasn’t the case with me, or at least not that I remember. When others heard that I had my car and I was going to be driving home, no one stopped me but that wasn’t their job.
Instead I had people asking me for a ride home. I denied people rides home despite their insistence. I vividly remember thinking to myself, “I don’t want to be responsible for anyone in case I get in an accident,” and feeling some weird nobility in that. You have permission to facepalm yourself. I do every time I think about this.
Clearly I would still be putting people at risk; people driving on the road, people in their homes, pedestrians walking on road, people that might have to attempt to rescue me if I drove into the ocean. I didn’t think of those things even when I was sober! What chance would I have when I was drunk? My judgement and reason were ejected out of the equation of responsible decision making that night.
I don’t know if I was trying to be stealthy getting to my car, but I remember seeing the police cars just up the road a few houses down parked on the side of the road waiting. I arrogantly thought, “naw I got this.” This is where things start to get hazy. I started the car, I pulled out of the driveway and that’s when it hit me of just how drunk I was. And tired. I was so tired.
As I started driving through the snow towards the direction of my house, which at the time I lived on HPR, I noticed that one of the police cars had started following me and their lights were flashing. The last thing I remember was thinking how beautiful was the snow and how sleepy I was. I succumbed to my drowsiness and rested my forehead against the wheel. Then I closed my eyes while still driving with the police car behind me…
What I’m about to share next is bewildering and hard to believe. Yet, it’s true.
I woke up in my bed at my parents house the next day. I jolted up, and the first thing I noticed were my clothes folded neatly on the floor next to my bed. I never folded my clothes, especially if I was getting into bed to sleep. A sick anxiety creeped into my stomach and my chest tightened. I remembered with a clarity that I put my head against the steering wheel and went to sleep. My mind raced with all sorts of different thoughts. Did the police bring home? What did I say to the police? Why didn’t I get arrested? Did my parents have to bring me home from the station? Did someone else help me home? Did I crash the car? Where’s the car?
I jumped up and looked out from my window. It faced our parking spot and in the spot was a perfectly parked Honda Civic. Someone definitely drove me home but I didn’t know how or who. I was expecting nuclear fallout as soon as I left my room. I tepidly, shamefully walked out to my parents dining room to receive a full tongue lashing and await the repercussions of my stupidity the previous night.
I was greeted with a hot breakfast and a pair of bizarrely calm parents. I was trying to read their expressions. I thought I was in some kind of trap. When they asked me what I did last night, I told them I had been at a friends house playing video games. Those of you that know me would totally be nodding in understanding. Still nothing happened. I was getting more freaked out.
After several days, still no acknowledgement from my parents of that night. I looked in the police blotter the next day to try and piece what happened that night. I met with people from that night to ask them if they heard anything. This was a mystery that I couldn’t solve.
Several years later, I openly brought it up with my parents and shared that whole night with them, thinking that somehow they knew more than they were letting on and that they were just trying to protect me. They were mortified! They had no idea what happened! Everything I was dreading to hear from them that day suddenly spilled out into a scathing scolding that I hadn’t had in years. Immediately my parents gave prayer of thanks to God for protecting me that night.
Looking at this now, I can say without a doubt, it was a miracle that I got home safely and that no one else got hurt that night. I believe in miracles and believe that they come from God. This was a sovereign act of grace over a series of terribly stupid choices. So many different detrimentally life changing scenarios could, and maybe should have happened. But they didn’t and I credit that to God. Jesus is more than a figure of history, but a Savior to me in more ways than one.
My parents were genuinely growing and passionate in their Christian faith. I would sometimes come after a party to find my mother tearfully praying earnestly for my safety. It was always unnerving to me then. Now I look back at these memories with fondness and reverence. I’m truly grateful that I had parents that prayed with a vigilant perseverance for my wellbeing.
I’m not flippantly sharing this story because I think it’s a cool story. There might be a few of you reading this that knew me and were around me when I was in the midst of making stupid choices. I made a lot. And I hurt of lot of people. If anything, this story reveals the kind of idiotic choices I made and how those choices endangered lives.
Putting people in harms way is never okay and if people are reckless and continue being reckless, then that’s when an authority needs to step in and remove reckless people from the general public for their own safety and the safety of others. I believe that we’re all responsible for the personal choices that we make. I believe we should be accountable for those choices and consider the implications of those choices.
I know that I'm pointing towards God for this miracle while I was blacked out but I also want this to be a cautionary tale. I recognize that not everyone that goes through what I went through will have a story like mine with a happy ending. This sort of reckless behavior needs to be condemned in society. I'm so thankful that I have the chance to share from this perspective. I am a totally different person now! I hope that I can pass on my stories to my son and future children. I understand he'll make his own choices and his own mistakes, but I at least want to inform him so that he has that in the midst of his decision making process.
If you’re a parent, please sit down with your son or daughter and talk with them about the consequences of their choices. Particularly with alcohol. Don't leave it to anyone else. What they do or say has a real impact in your family and their community and world. A lot of the times young people don’t understand that. Let’s face it, a lot of adults have a hard time understanding that concept.
If you’re not a parent, but you are someone who has incredible influence over young peoples lives, then share messages that promote healthy, responsible choices. Sometimes young people will listen to another peer or someone they look up to more than their own family. I totally had people I looked up to in Sitka, some of them positive, most of them were negative. I'm sad that I didn't see my parents in that light. I do now more than ever! I'm sure a lot of you can relate to that.
If you’re someone that parties with people that notoriously get wasted and drive home, consider ways of preventing them to drive. Hiding their car key is a great way to do that, but just make sure its just their car key and not their key into their house or for work or whatever. If they flip out that your trying to protect them, then consider if you should continue going out and partying with that person. Don’t cut off friendship, just let them know that you really care about them and don’t want to see them putting themselves at risk like that.
If you’re reading this and you’re that person that drinks and drives or gets high and drives– stop. Please don’t continue doing that. You might be thinking right now that you’re a really skilled drunk driver as you’re reading this. What you are is arrogant and delusional. You take your life and everyone else’s life on the road into your drunk hands when you drive. Beyond the physical risk, think of the relationships in your life and their emotions that you jeopardize when you drive drunk. Get help if you need it! You’re one accident away from bringing ruin into your life and other peoples lives.
Lastly, thank you for taking the time to read through this lengthy post. If you want to genuinely know more about God, or about the Bible, or hear more about my stories, or if you want to share your story with me then email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org