Tuesday, 27 December 2016

220-1/365 Flashing blue lights


On Christmas Eve eve my daughter went to a party about 40 minutes away and it was out in the middle of nowhere. I agreed to go and collect her regardless of the the time. I can do that now 😊
I set up google maps on my phone to talk me through it and off I set. Having yet another cough and cold, third one in three months (sad violins playing in the background)  I realised I couldn't hear the instructions clearly so picked up my phone and increased the volume. About 1/2 mile later a saw blue lights flashing behind me and I pulled over, half expecting them to go around me but no they stopped too. Long story short they had stopped me for using my phone and I think the fact I was so ill looking and sounding plus I said yes I had used my phone but only to increase the volume  as I couldn't hear the directions meant I didn't get a ticket. He informed me that as I had committed a road traffic offence he would be breathalysing me, I said knock yourself out I don't drink. Needless to say I was clean as a whistle, not even a hint of ethanol in my system.

Rewind to Christmas last year and it was a very different story. I would say I would have been hard pushed to pass a breathalyser test for all but about 2 hours mid-afternoon when I calculate my poor beleaguered liver had processed the night before. I also had a bit of a wild mathematical formula that I had begun to utilise where I would calculate and measure wine against body weight against time so that I could have a drink before going to pick my daughter up from wherever she was. It always seemed to fall in my favour meaning I could have a drink. CRAZY, INSANE, DANGEROUS and CRIMINAL.

Looking back now I can see how bad I was getting and what crazy chances I was taking not just risking getting a ticket but actually killing innocent people. If you are in the last stages of drinking before Jan 1st, please do not drink and drive after any amount or drink and drive the following morning, you would be surprised how long after stopping drinking you are still over the limit. My daughter's boyfriend was stopped twice within about a mile on Boxing Day on his way to our house (poor lad, just cos he's young) so there is a heavy presence on the roads.

 Blimey I feel like a reformed drinker, lecturing you all on not doing what I was guilty of but it was the shock factor of everything that would have happened to me if that same scenario had played out last year. Arrested, suspended from driving, potentially BANNED from driving depending on blood alcohol, criminal record, potential lost job due to location and public transport, explaining to people what happened, telling my daughter. All of this ran through my brain as I drove off on Friday pleased not only that I only had a verbal warning but that I didn't have to worry constantly about getting stopped. I am not proud of how I was but I am proud of how I am now.

Ginger Groundhog

P.S I love this song by Robbie Williams, never really payed attention to his music before. So much of it rings true now and bends very nicely to the blogging community and how I feel about everything. Love My Life I hope it relates for some of you.

25 comments:

  1. Your post sends shivers down my spine just thinking about what could have happened. It seems that every day in the papers there is some tragedy involving someone, especially a young person, drinking and then being involved in a fatal traffic accident. I am like you in that I am so much more aware of what's at stake, having been out on the roads under the influence. CRAZY, INSANE, DANGEROUS and CRIMINAL. I think you summed it up pretty well.
    THANK YOU for the reminder to all of us on this upcoming national drinking holiday. This year, I hope there will be far more of us off the roads. ; )

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    1. I will never forget your overwhelming kindness and compassion for the lady who killed a young woman whilst DUI. That post stuck with me and made me love you for being so full of understanding and not just thinking about doing something but actually doing it. As I said at the time that could have been me in the mornings when I was surely still over the limit. I just re-read it and it made me cry all over again.

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  2. Drinking and driving is so common in South Africa (my birth country) It's so scary to think what could happen. It must have felt great to say, I dont drink:) I'm guilty of driving with massive hangovers, pretty sure my blood alchol level wasn't within the legal limit the day after a massive session. xxx

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    1. Yes it did feel good to say I don't drink but for some reason there was still a tiny worry that somehow I would blow positive. Isn't that weird, not a drop of alcohol but still scared it would be positive. Not sure what that means or if it is just past worries.

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  3. Hi GG
    I'm on Great Barrier Island at the moment with my family - it's a half hour plane ride from the main island of NZ (Auckland).
    There is so much alcohol here, it is kept ready for all the boaties who drop in enroute to wherever. They have normally come from NZ which is around 6 hours away so why they need so much when they have just left I don't know. Look at me, vigilante on who is drinking! It seems it is all everyone does and this island is so beautiful.
    I know what you mean about thinking about these things, who is drinking, are they driving etc etc
    I makes it very obvious when the population is so tiny and the volume of alcohol is enormous. We are a drinking nation xx

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    1. So many of our nations are drinking nations now. I don't think we are judging when we notice how much others are drinking, we are definitely aware of how much they consume but if like me you are comparing it to how much I used to drink. I was horrified when I found out someone at the last party I attended drove home 'early' the next morning. Nothing I haven't done myself countless times but from sober I see the sheer foolishness of it.

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  4. I danced with the devil a lot, often driving back to London after drinking more than was sensible on a Sunday night watching antiques roadshow. Basically I would have been fucked if I had been stopped. A number of family members have been down that road in the past - big fines, bans and now you also get a criminal record. I did get flashed with blue lights a couple of weeks ago on the motorway - I was going a bit quick in the rain but the Cop didn't stop me, just a finger wagging from his partner but it gave me a fright - so definitely no drinking and driving here. Basically no drinking!! Hope its all going well??

    Justonemore

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    1. I hope it's safe to say we don't have to worry about this any more and I don't think I would have had the recall about last year had I not been stopped this year. First ever breathalyser for me and hopefully the last. I remember when SoberMummy was hoping to get stopped back in the early days so she could blow clear ha ha.
      Things are going really well Justonemore thanks, I am anticipating being able to see your fireworks here in Cornwall on 2nd January 😆

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  5. So very true. I'm actually a little scare of other drivers now. I assume everyone has had a few....

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    1. I know what you mean. We went to a Christmas market and nearly everyone seemed to be drinking mulled wine, surely they all didn't walk??

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  6. what a relief to be able to have a breathalyzer test and NOT WORRY! That must feel so good. Bless you for the warning....I hope you feel better soon. You know back in the 60's my mom (who was my first alcoholic) had a terrible head on collision while driving drunk. It changed her life forever, and then 2 years later along I came. she was still recuperating from her broken bones and paralysis, unmarried, had lost custody of her 3 older children, and was now pregnant with me. My entire life has had that message hovering over it....drinking and driving is filled with danger and life changes, if you survive.

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    1. Do you ever reflect on the circumstances of life and think that despite everything I am here against all odds? I do. My birth father (not the man who raised me) was a 'functional' alcoholic and also very high up in the senior ranks of Dublin police. He didn't worry about drink driving because he would "give the boys a wink as he showed them his badge" that would have been 70's. I remember him telling the story of how he was so drunk one night the only way he could drive home was to cover one eye to get rid if the double vision. Everyone laughed, maybe I did once but I'm not laughing now.
      We have come out the other side and all our stories help us grow and show others a different view.

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  7. Yes being able to drive at anytime is great I love it. Drink driving is terrible, there was a little boy killed Christmas day in Australia by a drunk driver. Its so sad, and I can't imagine what this poor boys family must be going through. I have never drunk driven, probably because I always drank at home. I have drunk the next day hungover though, not sure what that would mean.

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    1. They say here in the UK the greatest drunk driving numbers is the next morning. It's not uncommon for someone who would never drive at night after 2 glasses of wine to blow DOUBLE the limit the next morning driving to work. If you drank a bottle of wine alone and finished at 11pm you would still be over the limit at about 9-10am the next day. That is just one bottle of wine. Scary isn't it.

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  8. I love being able to drive anytime too. I look back on my drinking life with increasing amazement, it was chaotic, but at the time seemed normal! I really was clinging on to the edges, but screaming inside. Xx

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    1. I know what you mean, I knew life was chaotic but somehow I felt like I was presenting a relatively normal front. Now I realise that is me deceiving myself. Like you say 'clinging to the edges, but screaming inside' that sums it up perfectly

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  9. Oh how satisfying - a) being able to pick up your girl and b) being able to tell the coppers you don't drink!!! Very useful reflection on last year there too, I all too often forget how damned irresponsible I was when drinking/hungover. Red xx

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    1. We all were Red and we all seemed able to gloss over the rough spots that appeared, until we couldn't anymore. It is so weird reading the old posts because I remember so clearly how I was feeling. All of us can look back and cringe but the fact we are trying oh so hard to be better and do better far outweighs the bad.

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  10. I too, am so thankful I never hurt anyone or myself, as I drove many times while drunk.
    Not proud of that, but it's the truth.
    There are many drunk drivers on the roads here in the states, as we still have a .08 limit here.
    It is one of the reasons I stay sober.
    xo
    Wendy

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    1. It's hard being truthful about it and no I'm not proud either. There but for the grace of God go I, seems appropriate.
      When I lived in Chicago I was amazed at my friend who drank (to me) loads but got in the car convinced she was under the limit. Not sure what our limit is here but it is basically one small glass of wine or a small beer. Anymore than that and your licence is gone.

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  11. I continue to flinch when a police car is next to me on the road. It's weird not worrying about that sort of thing because I have nothing to hide. A sure sign of growth! This was a humorous and insightful read. Thanks for sharing it!

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    1. These days I still worry about getting pulled over, there is usually something wrong with my car that concerns me but....the person driving it is sober.

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  13. What scares me about your story is you were reckless and lucky all those years ago, but now you are responsible and have your own kids driving. What would you say if someone today was doing what you did back then and slammed into your child on the road? Too many people today are getting away with it.

    Faith Brady @ KHunter Law

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  14. Hi Faith, thanks for your comment.
    It was only last year thiat I was reflecting back on.
    What a difficult question to answer. I have no idea how I would feel about someone who slammed into my child on the road but I would like to say that after the initial shock, horror, grief and recriminations I would try to find some compassion and forgiveness but it is so hard to say. I am not sure I could sum up all my feelings and thoughts around this in a comment.
    I'm not sure what you mean with "Too many people are getting away with it". Do you mean driving over the limit or vehicular manslaughter? I know here in the UK the penalties for drink driving are quite strict and obviously if you harm or kill anyone whilst under the influence it involves jail time.
    I doubt I have answered your question sufficiently but I appreciate you asking the question.

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