Sobriety By Accident

Posted on August 5, 2010

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The road to my sobriety was long and very rough. There was a lot of drama, and certainly a lot of pain. Ultimately, after some legal trouble and a fair amount of personal injury, what got me sober was a car accident. I crashed my car at 3am-ish. I went out drinking with some friends, we started at one bar and of course continued to another. I remember being on the freeway, driving to the next bar and I passed the exit that would have taken me home. I remember thinking that I should just take that exit, it was late enough, I was already drunk and I should have just gone home. But I didn’t. I got to the bar and met my friends and of course I was more than happy to drink more. Another hour of drinking and I was blacked out. At the time of my accident I didn’t black out very much. I would have a few minutes here and there that were fuzzy but not chunks of time. Like, I would remember seeing you at the bar but I wouldn’t remember exactly what we talked about, or I would remember going home but I wouldn’t remember walking up the stairs and going to bed… just bits and pieces would be fuzzy. There had only been one time that I blacked out for a longer period of time, maybe 90 minutes I think. And the night of my accident was the second. I don’t remember about the last 45 minutes to an hour that I was still drinking at the last bar. The last thing I remember was taking another shot of 100 proof liquor, it was my favorite and all my shots were at least doubles. I don’t remember walking out of the bar, getting in the car, getting on the freeway….nothing, not a single moment. The next thing I remember, is raising my head and I was covered in blood. Nothing serious, broken nose and a couple of cracks in my head, but I had crashed into another car. The next several hours were a little crazy and chaotic, sirens, hospital, tubes and needles. There was a period of panic because I wouldn’t stop bleeding. After a period of time they were concerned for my life and stopped the accident assessment and rushed me to the hospital.

The next morning my friend that I had been drinking with gave me the courtesy call to make sure I made it home okay. When he called I had only been home from the hospital for a couple of hours, I was in a lot of pain and I was still a little drunk. I had to tell him that I had crashed and I was hurt. I didn’t realize at the time what effect it would have on him. Of course, I was completely wrapped up in my own drama at the time but after that our friendship was strained for awhile. I never thought about how he must have felt hearing that I had crashed my car. Hearing that I was hurt and in a fair amount of legal trouble. Apparently he had tried to take my keys, offered to drive me home and I refused. He must have felt guilt, and sadness, probably a bit of fear because the outcome could have been far worse, or it could have just as easily been him. I had a very close knit group of friends in my life at the time of my accident. We were very tight. We worked together, played together, drank together and did all other life things together. And all of these people drank the way I did. So when I crashed my car and got hurt I think it caused everyone to take a second look at their lives and their habits. It was kind of a big deal. A big, somber, contemplative deal. I wish I would have realized how my friend must have felt that day, I could have handled it differently. I could have offered him comfort and let him know he shouldered no blame. I am an adult, and I did on that night, what I did every night. It had nothing to do with him.

Eventually, our friendship healed but because I got sober we didn’t hang out the way we used to. I love him dearly and will always consider him a fantastic friend. He texts me on every holiday without fail even all these years later and he is a very important person to me. Last night I saw him for the first time in a long time. It was so awesome to see him and we got a huge hug and some good jokes. It was the first time that I realized the impact the situation must have had on him.

I’m so grateful its over, I’m so grateful we are all okay, and I am forever grateful for all of my friends….old and new.

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