If I am going to commit to being a journalist for this station, that means I cannot limit my writing. If something inspires me, I write about it. If something is beautiful, I write about it. That also goes for the unbearable and hard truths of our lives. But, as I said, I am a writer, so write, I will.

If I can prevent just one person from drinking and driving this weekend, I will be honored to have shared my story.

Over ten years ago, I was arrested, read my rights, pressed against a cop car, was placed in handcuffs and brought to jail, for being under the influence in a vehicle.

Before I tell the story I will tell you that in all this, "big mistake" cost me approximately $3,000-$5,000, so please don't think you're wallet will not be affected. With fines, course costs, legal help, and so many other things, breaking the law is not cheap.

The story is like so many others. I will leave out names and places because if I tell you where I was and who else was also drinking and driving, that would not be good for them or me. That is there story to tell and I will only tell mine.

I went to a Memorial Day Weekend party. We were barbequing, eating, drinking and having a lot of fun. I remember being a little nervous when I got there, because despite what you may assume, I do have social anxiety.

Because of that, I drank too much. I also want to point out that I consumed liquor that my body was not used to, like tequila. I can't drink tequila.

The night went on and many of us think, "Oh I'm fine, I can drive, it's not far." That's what I did. I lied to myself.

You also don't want to have to sleep somewhere where you feel uncomfortable, or want to be an imposition. So, I got into my three-quarter-ton vehicle and turned the key.


Lizzy Snyder/Unsplash/Canva
Lizzy Snyder/Unsplash/Canva
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I drove about a 1/4 of a mile when I realized that I shouldn't be driving. I was very intoxicated. So, I pulled into a parking lot, put the car in park and started to find my phone to call my mom to come and pick me up.

As I was looking for my phone, remember, the keys were still in the ignition, I saw the blue lights behind me. He approached the vehicle and because the keys were still in the ignition, I was drinking and driving. He gave me a sobriety test and I remember being very good at it however, the smell of liquor that was radiating off of me, immediately showed this cop that I was drunk, no matter how many times I could walk in a straight line, touch my nose, and balance on one foot.

What I found out later on is that there was a car behind me that noticed I wasn't driving sober and called the police.

This person did the right thing. I did not.

I take full responsibility for my actions, but this was only the beginning. Many of us think that when we get arrested that's it. It's not. Oh boy, there is so much more. Other than this being a permanent mark on your record, you have lots to do in the State of Maine, if you get an OUI.

After I was arrested, they brought me to the station. They gave me a breathalyzer test. I was two times over the legal limit. I tested .19 % alcohol in my blood stream.

They were very surprised that I was coherent and talking to them with that amount inside of me. I was surprised.

They brought me to the police station and booked me and this is where all of this gets extremely tough to discuss. This is the part where the guilt and the reality of the situation set in. Talk about being, "scared straight."

I was brought into a room with a woman who told me to take all of the clothes off in front of her. I was humiliated, naked, cold, and terrified. After I took my clothes off she had me bend over to make sure I didn't have any hidden drugs on my person. They do that with everyone I guess.

After that, she gave me my "jail costume." I call it that now, because humor is how I deal. Trust me this was the biggest "fashion fail" of my life. I put on a light tan/brown shirt that was way too small. No bra. This paper cloth for underwear and brown pants that were awful. They felt like I was wearing cardboard.

I was then brought into my holding cell. I didn't go into the general population because I was bailed out the next morning. But spending one night in a cell in jail was a lesson enough for me. Hell, getting arrested was enough. Getting behind a 2,500 pound car, completely drunk was enough.

The night closed in on me very quickly. I felt like I couldn't breath or think or feel. I was numb. But what I do remember, is the coldness. It was freezing as I was laying on a slab (cot) with one blanket that felt like it was made of triscuits or wicker.

As I attempt to close my eyes and picture that I was anywhere else, I felt like even though I was humiliated, this all needed to happen. The hours felt like days and I needed to be in there all night long because that was the rules. I had to sober up.

I was bailed out in the morning and my mom picked me up. This was hard too. Looking at the person you want to be like and know that you let her down is a pain that runs deep.

After all of this, I was determined to be the best person I could be. So I attended court and went to DEEP classes. DEEP is, according to the State Of Maine,

DEEP is a legislatively mandated operating-under-the-influence (OUI) countermeasure program. The goal of the programs is to reduce the incidences of injury, disability and fatality that result from alcohol and other drug related motor vehicle crashes, and to reduce the risk of re-offense for OUI. DEEP provides effective, efficient, and meaningful interventions such as education, treatment, and counseling services.

After that, in court the judge saw that I was a one time offender and I think she could tell that I truly was serious about never doing this again. But I still had to pay the price so I was sentenced to a week in jail or weekend doing manual labor. I chose the manual labor and it was at my old high school.

It was tough on my body and mind but I did this because I was too afraid to go back to jail, honestly.

This experience has taught me so much. I am not invincible. I am not a super human and I am not above the law.

Please understand that I could have killed someone. I could have killed myself and I didn't take that into consideration. I was selfish.

If you drink this weekend, don't drive. If anything, take my story and picture yourself going through all of this, simply because you drank and opened the door to your car, got in and drove.

It's that simple. One choice, a split second decision can change the rest of your life.

Please don't make the same mistake I did, call a friend or sleep where you are.

You're better than all of this. And now that I have been through this, I know that I am too.

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