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The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Him
It was a Friday night and the young girl sat in her room alone. Her daddy had assured her that he would be home by seven to eat dinner with her and her mom and her sister. But when she crept downstairs and peaked around the corner, the kitchen table was set and the food was sitting there, uneaten and cold.
Her dad worked a lot and he played softball five days a week after work. And when he was home he sat in the basement watching sports and drinking his favorite blackberry brandy and an MGD. Tyler hardly ever saw her dad and when she was promised that he would be home, she always got her hopes up.
“Mom, when is daddy going to be home?”
“I don’t know honey. He said he was going to be home two hours ago. Maybe
his softball game went into extra innings.”
Tyler walked away from her mom and back to her room. Her head hung down
and her eyes stared straight at her feet. Her face showed an expression of sadness and her hopes of her dad being home on time were shattered.
Tyler’s dad’s softball game definitely hadn’t gone into extra innings. They had won their last game of the season and the team and he were out at Mr. B’s in Troy celebrating. Although celebrating for was just an excuse to do out and drink beer. He would lose track of time and forget about the family he had at home. “Celebrating” meant breaking his promises to his two daughters and his wife and only caring about himself and his wants.
“Guys, it’s getting late. Let’s have one more beer and then let’s call it a night.”
“Oh, come on Don, the night is young. It’s not like you have anything better to do and it’s a weekend, you don’t have to work in the morning.”
“I suppose you are right.”
Don’s family never even crossed his mind. He had drank so much that his ability to think and reason was out the window and his good judgment disappeared. He was so out of it that he could hardly get the edge of his glass to his thin, alcohol soaked lips.
As the night went on and Don drank beer, after beer, after beer. One o’ clock in the morning rolled around and the bar had cut him and all of his softball buddies off. They decided since they couldn’t drink anymore they might as well go home because in their eyes if you can’t drink then there is no party, so Don got in the car to drive home. He figured he would be alright and that he would make it home ok. He drank plenty of times before and nothing ever happened to him. He could make it home this time too, he thought.
As he turned on to Clarkston Road he let out a sigh of relief.
He thought to himself, “Yes, I am in the clear.”
He was almost home when all of a sudden he saw the red and blue flashing lights behind him. He pulled over and rolled down the window.
“License and registration.”
He looked through the car and shuffled through all the papers. He was struggling to find what the cop had asked him for. During this time he told himself to stay calm and act normal, they will never know.
“Here, you go.”
The officer looked Don straight in the eyes. The scent of alcohol smothered the officer’s face. It was so strong his eyes began to water and he felt the need to cover his nose with his hands.
“Sir, have you been drinking tonight?”
Don stopped and stared at the officer. Should he lie and try to get away with it or should he just come out and tell the truth?
“Yes, yes I have,” he shamefully said.
“Why don’t you step out of the car for me.”
Don stumbled out of the car. His feet barely hit the pavement. His eyes were bloodshot; his face was bloated and red. He looked like a complete mess. He could barely stand. He knew he was in trouble.
“I’m going to ask you to do a few tests for me. I want you to walk in a straight
line, one foot in front of the other with your arms straight out to your side.”
He couldn’t do it. His feet didn’t even come close to the line. His feet swerved and stumbled over one another and his body swayed side to side. He looked like a toddler first learning how to walk.
“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to take a breathalyzer test. I need you to blow
into this machine as hard as you can five seconds. I will let you know when you can stop.”
Don blew into the machine, embarrassed that he had finally been caught, something he thought would never happen to him.
“I’m going to have to place you under arrest for driving while intoxicated. You
will be spending the night in jail and you will get one phone call when you get there. Someone can come and pick you up in the morning as soon as they pay the fines.”
Don knew this was it. He had screwed up big time, with himself, the law, his wife, and his kids. His life was about to take a turn for the worst. He was so embarrassed and upset. This night was the beginning to a very long, hard, stressful road.
“Where have you been? You said you were going to be home hours ago? The
kids have been asking about you and we are all worried about you! I’m sick and tired of you doing this to us. You have no consideration for this family and all you care about is your stupid softball and your stupid softball buddies.”
“I know, you’re right. I screwed up, and after tonight I don’t know how you will
ever forgive me.”
There was a moment of silence on the phone.
“Vicki, I was arrested for drunk driving. I’m spending the night in jail and you
can come and get me in the morning but there is a $1750 fine to get me out.”
“You what? You’re where?”
She was shocked and didn’t know what to say.
“I’ll get you out. Don’t worry, but we don’t have $1750. How am I supposed to
come up with that kind of money in less than 24 hours?”
“I know. You are going to have to take money out the kids’ bank accounts and
we will replace it when we can. Look, I know I messed up big time and things are going to have to be a lot different now. All I can say is that I’m sorry and I am going to do whatever it takes to get myself out of this mess.”
“Ok, I am holding you to that. I love you and be safe. I’ll be there in the
“I love you too.”
The next morning was complete chaos. Vicki had to come up with a way to tell her two daughters, who love their daddy so much, that he was in jail. And on top of all that she had to get ready and rush to the bank to get the money. Her cell phone wouldn’t stop ringing either. Between the jail, court, and Don’s new probation officer she couldn’t get time to get anything done that needed to get done. She was stressed and was about to break down.
When she arrived at the Oakland County Jail to pick Don up, they were bombarded and overwhelmed with rules, fines, laws and things that Don would have to do over the next year or so.
“Don, these next few months are going to be extremely tough. You will never get
through this if you don’t believe in yourself and look for support from the ones who love you. And Vicki you need to be here for him, to keep him going, and you need to do whatever you can to get him through this.”
Don and Vicki looked at each other. You could see it in their eyes that they loved each other and supported one another. You could tell that they wanted to make this work and that they wanted to get through this together.
“Now, I know this is overwhelming but I am going to let you know some of
things that are coming your way. First off your license will be taken away for at least a year. You will be attending court several times over the next year. The judge will be checking up on your progress, giving you community service, and she will in the end determine when you will be getting your license back. So you will need to follow of her rules. You will also be put on probation and you will have to attend several AA meetings.”
Don knew that he no longer could be independent. Other people would have to drive him everywhere, to work, to softball, and the everyday places that he needed to go. Life was about to change and not for the better.
He went home that night after two very long and stressful days. He sat in his basement, the place he spent most his time, and started thinking about everything. He knew that he had to do something drastic to make this better and that if he didn’t change then things would never be any different. He loved his wife and his family and he didn’t want to lose them over something that he controlled. Yes, he had an alcohol problem, but that didn’t have to go on forever.
Don was such a strong and determined person. Anything he set his mind to he could do. He cared about everyone and would do anything for anyone. It was just his character. He knew that he had to do this for himself and for his family. That night he decided that he would never drink another drop of alcohol in his entire life.
The next day after things had settled down a bit, the whole family sat down in the living room and had a talk.
“Girls, all I can say is that I am sorry.”
They sat there and looked at him in disbelief.
“All you have to say is sorry?”
“No, there’s more. I’m sorry for making promises and
breaking them and I am sorry for putting you through all this. I’m going to try and change, but it won’t be easy.”
“Dad, we want you to change. The past couple of years haven’t been fun. You were never home and you and mom fought all the time. We didn’t even have a dad.”
Vicki spoke up, “You know Don, I knew this was eventually going to happen. You got away with your drinking for so long and you were finally caught and frankly I’m glad you were. Maybe now you will wake up and start taking responsibility for your actions.”
“I know, I know. I have woken up and I have already thought a lot about everything. I am going to try and be a better dad and a better husband and I am going to start by quitting drinking.”
“Well good. Its about time. Maybe after all this goes away we can start living life like a normal family.”
“That’s the idea,” Don said as he got up and walked away.
Life was hard from that point on. The temptation to drink was always there. At softball games, at business dinners, at home when he was down in the basement watching football. The alcohol was always there staring him right in the face.
It sat in the refrigerator, eyeing him, and saying, “Drink me! Drink me!”
But Don had self control and he was strong. Every time the opportunity arose to drink he thought about what could happen again if he decided to crack open another beer. He knew the consequences of his actions and he never wanted to deal with them again.
Over time, things got better and fighting the temptations got easier. They learned to deal with everything that was happening in Don’s life, and eventually after two very long years the whole mess was over and life was better than it had ever been before.
Don now came home when he said he would every night and he kept his word about never drinking ever again. Things were more peaceful in the house, there was less fighting, and Don was a happier person. Living in the house was more pleasant and the girls and his wife finally had a husband and a dad that they could depend on. Life was finally good and they were so happy that Don had changed.
Don never would want to go through what he had to go through again. But even to this day if you ask him about his arrest for drunk driving he will say that it was the best thing that ever happened to him.