I just finished watching Australia’s Most Effective Drunk Driving advert (according to the video name). And I won’t argue with it. It’s worth the 5 minutes – trust me.
Before I ramble on this morning – please watch it.
I’ll carry on below the video. Don’t worry, I don’t mind waiting…
Oh boy. That really hit home for me, and sadly, millions of others, too, I’m sure.
And that makes me sad.
Not only does it make me sad that we live in a culture of alcohol, where it’s glamourized as the cure-all to making us relaxed, confident, sexy, and most recently, healthy, but it stirs up dirty memories of times I was simply lucky.
Lucky, and very, very stupid.
I have not driven drunk often – to my knowledge. It goes without saying that there have likely been innumerable mornings I’ve woke up mere hours after blacking out and drove somewhere with the alcohol still racing through my veins.
I’ll never forget my first attempt at going alcohol free, at an outpatient Addiction Services program. They were running through the gamut of “intake” questions, and they asked me how I got there that morning. This was after they asked me how much I drank the day before, and when.
I said, “I drove my truck…”
And they politely explained that from the volume I drank the day before, I was still very illegally under the influence, and would technically be until later that afternoon.
No matter. I’d have at least another bottle of wine in me by that time.
I had drank so much the day before (and every day before that), that it was going to take at least 24 hours or more of my body fighting to get back under the legal limit.
Hubs drove home.
A few months later, we are having a pool party and the drinks had been flowing since the first early morning “breakfast beer” and it was now about 10:30 at night and it’s a miracle I could stand up straight.
Ok, let’s face it, I probably wasn’t standing very straight.
Long story short, my friend yells my name from inside the house, I barrel in and there’s one of my dogs with her eye literally hanging down near her jowls, panting and wanting a treat.
WHAT. IN THE ACTUAL. FUCK.
Her eye literally fell out.
And I, nor anyone who was over, was in any condition to process what was happening, or what to logically do next. We were all loaded. So naturally, of course, I panicked. Hubs panicked. Everyone panicked. Our dogs are our children.
And what horrible, drunken, useless, irresponsible parents we were in that moment.
So we did what every negligent, concerned, raging alcoholic would do.
We swaddled her up, climbed into the car, hit the gas and flew blindly into the night with reckless abandon, seeing triple and risking everything to get her to the emergency vet.
At 160km/hr (100 miles) we were blaring the horn and flying through red lights across the city core, holding our breath and closing our eyes just hoping we slip through the intersection.
You know, like in the movies.
We were crossing into oncoming traffic just to pass vehicles in our own lane, flashing our lights and turning corners like we were in Days of Thunder. 40 minutes later, we arrive, miraculously unscathed at the emergency vet, stumbling and crying, with absolutely no control over our emotions – because, well, the alcohol.
It makes me absolutely sick to my stomach to imagine how things could have ended up.
We could have killed someone’s mother. Or child. An entire family. A woman on her way to give birth at the hospital. A stranger crossing the street. A teenager on a bike. We could have injured someone and saddled them to a life of pain and therapy, ripping away and transforming their entire life – and the lives of everyone who knows them – in a split second because of our selfish and irresponsible “choice”. We could have killed ourselves – but in all honesty, I was at a point in my life where if you had asked me, I would’ve said that dying wouldn’t have been the worst possible outcome.
How sad that an alcoholic’s disregard for their own life can overshadow the respect for someone else’s.
When you unknowingly cross over to that darker side of drinking (because let’s face it, there’s no bright side) where you no longer have any control over it – you’ve entered terrifyingly dangerous territory.
You become a car crash waiting to happen, a train wreck – a tornado in the lives of everyone around you.
And if you’re one of the “lucky” ones, like me, you can claw yourself out with the car crash remaining just a metaphor. But as long as you’re not in control of your drinking, you will always be a tornado in the lives of everyone around you.
Uprooting their safety, spinning wildly and unpredictably, with no one in your path being safe from harm.
Pixie ended up having her eye removed. Thankfully, it wasn’t her blue one (she had one brown, one blue eye). To this day we still don’t really know what happened – not unlike waking up day after day trying to figure out when your drinking problem became a problem.
It’s a frustrating process, trying to pinpoint that spot in your life where you crossed over into Tornado Territory; where you are so numb and your brain so dysfunctional that flying at 100 miles an hour through red lights and intersections in the dark when you can’t even form a sentence without slurring seems like a good idea.
I am so lucky. Not everyone is. And unfortunately, it’s the innocent ones that usually end up on the shitty end of the unlucky stick. You know – the ones in your path.
I am NOT lucky.
I am stupid.
Correction: I was stupid.
I was so stupid on so many occasions, in so many different situations.
But here I am, 8 days sober, and looking into the remaining blue eye of my baby girl, feeling incredible gratitude for whoever, wherever, cleared those intersections and got us to the emergency vet that night safely – leaving everyone in our path unscathed, thank GOD.
And guess what? We drove ourselves home, that night, too.
The only thing worse than an actual tornado, is a drunk one.