VIP (Victim Impact Panel)

So today I attended a Victim Impact Panel class.

To start from the beginning of all this, last year I got a DUI leaving a club I was at. I was at a stop light and wasn’t paying much attention to the light and it was green. I got pulled over and did the standardized field sobriety test and passed most of it until I got to the part where I had to stand on one foot and balance for 10 seconds and failed.. I couldn’t be mad about it because I was pretty drunk and I was just a little under double the limit. I remember the only thing I could think about was when I was going to get out and what my mom would think of me..I was so beyond stressed that I didn’t even really eat while I was in jail nor did I sleep or talk much to anyone. Those whom I began to start talking to were getting bailed out and leaving so I eventually was alone in a holding tank of about 20 guys for 18 hours.

Being in jail was the shitiest experience ever and I felt completely horrible because while being in there I realized I could of potentially hurt someone or even killed someone on the way home. I felt like I got pulled over to avoid an accident that was probably waiting to happen to me. I was so out of control when I turned 21 that I was living life and having fun being drunk as fuck at clubs and bars and what not so I shifted gears into overdrive.. I didn’t stop to think of what could probably happen to me or someone else from me drinking and driving and I didn’t care quite frankly. I had a shity year in 2011 and was drowning everything by drinking. I wasn’t an alcoholic because I didn’t feel the need to drink everyday but I sure as hell got fucking wasted every time I did or almost every time.

So I got out of jail and almost instantly changed my habits around. I no longer got shit face wasted when I went out and didn’t think about drinking and driving. If I had anything to drink I would wait hours before I left to go home. I’m the type of person that is always trying to fix things.. I’m always trying to make sure everyone is happy and that there isn’t drama and anytime someone is hurt it almost hurts me just as much because I tend to focus allot on people’s pain in order to see how to help them.. It’s weird, it’s almost as if I put myself in their shoes and focus on their mentality at that moment and how they feel and from there I’m able to give advice but there are some things you just can’t help with..

So there was this lady speaking today named Joan and she showed a slide show of people who have been hit by drunk drivers. She showed a boy at the end of her presentation of him from the time he was a baby till he grew up and explained how that was her son and how he was riding his bike home from work and he was hit by a drunk driver..

Her story really struck me because she explained how she was very close to him as he to her. She showed pictures of things he made her growing up telling her that he loved her and she explained how every mothers day she puts up the last mothers day card she received from him on her television.

Her loss was over 20 years ago and the way she speaks about it is as if it just happened yesterday. It made me think what if that happened to me? I could relate to the story in the sense that I’m just as close to my mom and how devastating it would be to her to hear that something bad happened to me all because of drunk driving or because of a drunk driver.

Everyone assumes that because there was an accident in town that they won’t get into one because no one has hit them or they know how to drive but the reality of everything is that every single day you run the risk of being hit or dying and that’s why I think parents worry so much because they know this and that’s what makes them care for their children. I’ve just never been so touched in my life by going to one of these classes.

The very last story probably hit me the most because it was about a father who had 2 kids. His daughter worked at the convenient store down the street at night and he worried about his daughter walking home so he would get up every night to meet her there and to walk her home to make sure nothing happened to her. Well I  guess one night as he was walking there a car struck him and the car struck him so hard that his feet tore off from the ankles down, and the impact was so hard that he even flew out of most of his clothes and his intestines flew over 200 feet from where he was hit. All from a drunk driver and the ironic part was that the person had a ribbon on their car antenna that stated they wouldn’t drink and drive. His son then came out of the house and witnessed his father dead with his feet tore off. If that isn’t horrible I don’t know what is.

The story hit me so hard because the man was just being a good father, caring for his kids and making sure his daughter got home safe and he ends up dead.. I didn’t care to hear if he had a car or that he could of drove, whatever the case may be, he was hit by a drunk driver.

I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I went to this panel and I was almost sure it was just going to be some lecture on to not drink and drive but it became such a personal experience and it made me want to not ever drink and drive again and to make sure I tell all my friends and people I know to not drink and drive and if you do drink wait hours until you leave to make sure you’re ok to drive but to just not drink and drive.

These stories weren’t saying that these people hit others because they were drunk, these stories showed innocent people who were hit by drunk drivers. From kids being hit to families burning alive in their cars..

After the panel I went to meet a friend at a bar that was right next door and out of respect of the stories I heard I ate nachos and drank pineapple juice..This experience made me realize that we take so much for granted and run free around town not thinking anything will ever happen to us but it eventually catches up to you.. I’m glad that I’m the type of person to truly learn from my mistakes because it’s stories like these that really make me think and really change my ways. After today I don’t think I’ll ever drink and drive and if I go out drinking I’ll make sure to wait hours before I leave like I have been doing to make sure I’m sober.

Quote of the Day

“Don’t drink and drive”

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