This belongs somewhere under the fearless inventory category. It’s the part of my addiction I most regret and a very solid reason for me never to drink alcohol again.
In the year before my recovery, I’d drive under the influence almost every day. Let’s say 200+ times in 2016 alone. Maybe not shitfaced every time, but certainly above any rational limit. Occasionally I felt myself falling asleep. I’d fight to keep one eye open because they were getting crossed. Somehow I would always make it home.
Usually it was daytime, so I wasn’t worried about the police. At that point I felt so powerless that I almost wished for a DUI so I could go public about my secret alcoholism.
Many times I was driving my own kids, picking them up from school or sports practice. It became a part of my daily routine. Sometimes I would drive their friends too.
I hate this about myself. It’s part of the reason I felt justified to leave my family. It was just too dangerous to have a dad like me around. Today I’m wondering how I can make amends to them for something they can’t fully understand.
Let me say clearly — I think drunk driving is evil and I have no excuses for my behavior. I never had an accident, neither was I caught, but I am just as guilty.
It started out around 2013 when I would skip work at noon and head to a bar. At first I had some rules to keep myself sober behind the wheel. The limit was would one beer per hour to give myself time to recover. So 3 beers meant I needed 3 hours of downtime before I could drive. Of course rules don’t last once alcohol hacks your willpower. Soon I revised the policy to 30 minutes per beer. Then I’d deduct time if I ate lunch with the drinking. Eventually I gave it up entirely and simply kept some Altoids in the car.
Typically I would drive familiar routes and moderate speed. Occasionally I pushed the envelope – seeing if I could hit 90 mpg on a country highway. Near the end of my spiral, late 2016, I made a point to drink in the car on road trips. Kicking back a few beers made those boring rides much more enjoyable.
It was reckless but somehow I didn’t die or get caught.
Writing this now I’m amazed by how completely alcohol had twisted my thinking. I don’t recall a desire to die but that was an obvious possibility. This is all evidence that I was powerless over my addiction and my life had become unmanageable.
Today is 24 days of sobriety and this all feels like a nightmare, except I know it was real. That is me when you add alcohol. I never want to be that person again.
Recovery is my only escape. Looking back reminds me how nothing matters more in my life today than sobriety.
Today I’m free and moving forward.