Friday, July 2, 2010

Why I Hate Drunk Driving...

Have a great 4TH of July weekend. If you have plans to have a party or just get together with people and hang out, that's fine and dandy. Have fun and enjoy yourself. If you're drinking or doing anything else that may inebriate you, keep your ass out from behind the wheel.

I don't care how "good" of a drunk driver you think you are. You know how many idiots have said that to me? I've lost count. Ironically, almost everyone who has ever drove drunk happens to be a "good" driver when they're intoxicated. What a coincidence! Not. You just think you're driving fine, for the same reason you may think you're a rock star or an amazing dancer if you're not either of the two while sober. Alcohol impairs you. Even if you're just buzzed.

If you want to try and convince me you can drive fine when you're buzzing or drunk, fuck off and don't waste your time talking to me about it. It's stupid, selfish, irresponsible, reckless and plenty of other negative things but it's also something very personal to me.

I was 5 when it happened. My mom, myself and my little sister who was just a baby at the time. We were driving back to the apartment we lived in, on our way home from the grocery store. We got rear ended by a drunk who thought he could drive a car just fine. My mom and my sister got out. A family on their way home stopped when they saw the accident. A man that was just home from the army ran to help me get out of the car while my mom got my baby sister. The drunk was leaving. He ran that man over and ran me over as well. Seriously. I was run over by a fucking car. I don't remember much after that. My mom told me years later, that one of the paramedics told her not to tell me that my leg was crushed and split open because it would freak me out. I was in and out of being conscious. I took a short ambulance ride down to a field so they could Care Flight me out. The man in the helicopter kept asking me questions that I couldn't make sense of to try and keep me awake. I remember landing on the hospital roof and being rushed in. Then I remember people all around me, bright lights and it being too cold and being scared. Then I don't remember anything else until I woke up in a hospital with tubes stuck down my throat, stuff stuck into my arms and all the rest. Doctor's told my parents I wouldn't make it through that. That I wouldn't live through what I'd just gone through. They were wrong. Thankfully. I was a tough ass, even at that young of an age. ;) Or you know, maybe it just wasn't my time to go yet. Something like that, perhaps.

I was in the hospital a while. I don't remember how long. I remember I could only "eat" ice chips which was more like letting ice melt into my mouth. One of my nurses uses to sneak me cherry Popsicles in, though.

I couldn't walk after that.
I got to be in a wheelchair and have people point and stare at me because outwardly, I didn't seem to have anything wrong with me. Everything looked fine but there I was, getting pushed around in a wheelchair. Eventually, I got to get some crutches and try walking. I got to be a pro at hobbling around on crutches. Eventually, I didn't need them anymore.

I have scars on my body I'll always have because someone thought he could drive fine while he was drunk. I don't mean faint, tiny ones either. I mean thick, ugly scars that I get to look at every day for the rest of my life. Not that I need any reminder of that day because it's nothing I'll ever forget.

I have trouble breathing sometimes because my left lung collapsed in the accident. After it happened, I remember I couldn't play around like I could before. Before, I ran and played and was very active. After, I had to be careful. My lungs would hurt if I played too much. And then, too much wasn't very long. I had to be careful how I laid and how I did other things. I'd get short on breath and be in pain. It upset me because I hated not being able to play some things and it upset me having to limit my play. I felt weak and I didn't like it. Today? The main reason I quit smoking was because I was starting to have pain in my left lung. I wasn't supposed to be smoking in the first place, so good thing I quit.
I still have issues breathing sometimes if I lay on my left side for too long. I freak out when I'm working out (or doing anything) and get sharp pains in my left side.

After the accident, I had problems with my bladder. My bladder had been crushed in the accident. I often couldn't tell when I had to pee and when I realized I had to, it was often too late to make it to the bathroom in time. Sometimes when I slept, I didn't know until I had to pee it was too late. Other times, it would hit me and I would feel like I had time to get to the bathroom, but I wouldn't. Today? It's not as bad, it's no where near as bad as it was when I was a kid. But I still have trouble knowing when I have to pee or not. I still have trouble knowing if I have time to get to a restroom or not. Sometimes, I feel like I need to only to find out that I don't. If I feel like I need to, I haul ass to the restroom and hope it's in time. If I'm in a car, I stop as soon as I can. If I'm asleep and the urge wakes me up, I stumble around and try to get into the restroom as quickly as I can. And no, I don't always make it. (And no, doing kegel exercises don't do anything to help it.)

There are a few other physical things but we'll leave it at that because I don't want to get into more of it.

Now, imagine being a little kid at 5, 6, 7 and onward years. Imagine being in this accident. Imagine working out in your little head that the accident was your fault. That if you hadn't stayed on the toy aisle in the grocery store, if you had picked a cereal faster, if you hadn't taken so long to pick out cookies or if you had not stopped to look at so many other things, that you would have gotten out of the grocery store faster. And if you had gotten out of there faster then you and your mom and little sister wouldn't have been sitting there waiting to turn into your apartment complex at the time that the asshole drunk was driving your way. Yeah, I laid in bed at night hating myself as a little kid because I blamed myself for that accident happening. I worked out so many scenarios in my head that could have gotten us home faster and if we got home faster, it wouldn't have happened. Every time my side hurt from playing too hard, every time I peed on myself and the floor because I didn't know I had to pee and didn't get there in time, every time I looked down and saw my scars; I hated myself because I blamed myself for the accident happening. I blamed myself but never told anyone I blamed myself. I blamed myself until I was 13 years old. Then it took me a while after that to realize that it wasn't my fault, not one bit and that nothing I could have done differently would have changed what happened. Then, I was angry at myself for being so stupid as to think it could have possibly been something I could control.

It took me years to get into a place where I was okay with me. Where I didn't blame myself for anything. Where I didn't hate myself for anything. Where I wasn't angry with myself for anything. Looking back now, I wish I would have told someone how I was feeling. I wish I would have told someone why I was lashing out the way I had. I wish I had told someone why I was so angry so often. I didn't, though. Wishing it doesn't change it. I think I'm probably a stronger person for it, perhaps.

I recently had a huge blow up with a friend of mine who didn't know my story and decided to make a joke about the last time she drove home drunk. Up until that point, I didn't know that was something she did. She informed me she's done it a ton of times and sees no problem in it because she makes it home without wrecking. I informed her how I feel about drunk driving. She told me I was taking it too personally. So, I unloaded on her and let her know that it IS PERSONAL to me. The version she got was much shorter than the one I displayed here. I even offered to show her the scars. She declined that offer, of course. Most do.

I can't change the accident. I can't change the way I reacted to it. I can't change all the years of emotional damage. I can't change anything because it's all done with. I'm passed it and I'm in a better place for the most part. All I can do, is tell my story and speak out against driving while under the influence be it because of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. And I do. Every fucking chance I get.

Have a good weekend, y'all. Have fun and please, be safe and be smart.

Comments, please?


rayne said...

Thanks for writing this. I hate drunk driving, too. My birth mother was on a motorcycle that was hit by a drunk driver and died. And that's the shitty thing. It's rarely ever the drunk that suffers.

Roland Hulme said...

Wow. AMAZING post. I am so sorry you went through that - but that you for sharing and giving us a reminder of why drinking and driving is never, ever 'okay.'

Ginger said...

Wow, what an amazing post. This must have been difficult for you to write. I hurt for you reading along. A lot of people could not be so candidly open about their physical issues and emotional aches as you are here. Massive kudos to you and thank you. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for speaking out. Thank you for the excellent reminder to never get behind the wheel impaired. 'Hugs'

Poindexter said...

Very personal story. Thanks so much for sharing. It is an excellent reminder of the sheer arrogance and stupidity of drunk driving. Your strength, determination, courage, humor and persistence rocks. This is my inspiration for the day. Hugs.

Charlene said...

Drunk drivers are criminals. I am outraged when they get pulled over and go to court and because they have money, get off over and over and over until they hurt someone else.

Our lives can change in an instant and all of use walking around doing our stuff and living our lives should be aware of that.

Jason said...

Thanks for sharing your personal story and also reminding others not to be STUPID.

Tanya said...

I'm surprised to see this hasn't gotten a lot of comments. Which is sad, truly. Had this been about some kind of drama, you would be up to your eyeballs in comments. Instead, you write something harrowing and inspiring over a very important topic, and very little have something to say on it? The blogging world is truly odd.

I am SO sorry this happened to you and I am sorry for all of the things you dealt with and continue to deal with. I am truly horrified by what I have read. May I ask, what happened to the man who rear ended the vehicle you were in and what happened to the man who saved you from the car?

Ashly Star said...

I'm sorry to hear about your birth mother, that's terrible. And you're right, the shitty thing is that the drunk driver doesn't usually suffer as much as the innocent people they hurt.

Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it.

Thank you! That made me smile. I'm happy to be an inspiration to someone for the day. ;) *hugs*

It was rough to write. Only because I've never really openly admitted to the blaming and the emotional issues. I left quite a bit out still but, these were the things I wanted to share. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

I couldn't agree more. Thank you for your comment!

Thank you. :)

Thank you.
The man who pulled me from the car went to the hospital. He ended up being okay, too. I wish I could find him, just to tell him thank you.
The drunk got a slap on the wrist, had to pay some money and got probation if I remember correctly. Woo freaking hoo.

temperofrage said...

Funny, I was going to ask the same questions as Tanya.

Southern Sage said...

that really sucks. I wish I could say I'd never done it but that would be a lie.

sarahbear said...

Thank you for sharing this with everyone. I know it can be difficult to share personal details like this and I'm very glad you had the courage to. I'm sorry that you had to have such a terrible experience with a drunk driver.

It absolutely infuriates me that your friend would tell you that you're taking it too personally. I don't believe that you have to have such a tragic incident happen to realize the damage drunk driving can cause and what a stupid, arrogant and immature person it takes to make a decision that could negatively impact the lives of many others. I get just as angry when I see people texting and driving or doing anything else to take their attention off the road. Everyone who does it seems to think they're the exception, rather than the rule, but all it takes is one split second for everything to change and go wrong.

Thank you, again, for writing this. It's very important for people to see.

Anonymous said...

y'know what? be happy you made it out of that alive and quit bitching and judging the actions of other people just bc you dont agreed with what there doing. yea i know you probably wont be publishing this comment since its not agreeing with you and patting you on the back but i know you will read it anyway so thats fine by me. people are gonna do stupid things and its not your place to judge and tell people what to do!

Dangerous Lilly said...

Just wanted to send over virtual hugs for writing this. The more you share it, the (slightly) easier it'll get and the more people will listen and learn. This is the sort of personal story HS & College kids need to hear. To get it. Somehow, someway. teach em early. *hugs*

Mizz Minx Thing said...

Tanya, you won't see a huge outpouring of comments on this. Maybe like you said because it lacks drama. I think, more so, I'm going to assume a good portion of the followers here are guilty of drinking and driving once, twice or more than that. Here and there, semi-regularly or regularly. Hard to agree with stupidity when you're guilty of said stupidity. There's no good defense against it either so trying to defend those stupid actions? Not likely to happen.

Anonymous, if she wants to speak out and try to spread awareness about just how STUPID, RECKLESS and IRRESPONSIBLE something that takes lives and injures millions of people? GOOD ON HER FOR BEING ABLE TO SHARE HER STORY SO OPENLY. Not many 25 year old will admit they still pee themselves from time to time. Defending a drunk or stoned driver? RIDICULOUS BEYOND BELIEF and you should be ashamed of yourself for attempting to cause drama or shame her over her post.

Ashly, I <3 you girl. Thank you very much for sharing this, honey. I know it was hard getting this out and I appreciate you being so open and honest about your experiences and emotions. People need to see this. People need to read it and understand. Maybe then they'll understand. Maybe then they'll finally GET IT. It's not okay and it never will be. ~BIG HUGS~

Vodka Mom said...

I'm with you. 100 percent.


(And I say a prayer for my nephew, who we will mourn for the rest of our lives.)

Vodka Mom said...

you are amazing.

Another Suburban Mom said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It is amazing that you survived all this.

My cousin was killed by a drunk driver after he had his second baby and the family was never the same.

And anonymous, you just suck.

BTW: I am pimping this for tomorrow.

Maggie said...

We often hear the stories of people who are killed by a drunk driver, so it's interesting to hear the story of someone who lived through it. Thank you for writing this.

Carrie Ann said...

I love you for this.

I could tell my own story but I've no need. Yours says it all.

Thank you.

FiremanPat said...

Very powerful post! As a firefighter/EMT I get to see this side of the story all the time, but never hear the horrors of the recovery and the emotional toll afterwards. Please allow me to share my view on drunk drivers and the accidents they cause, from my blog : THank you for allowing me to get a glimpse of how hard life can be. I will never grasp the difficulties you face, but now I can say I see what some of them are!

OutspokenClitic said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You're amazing for getting through this.

adriana said...

Wow. I'm really glad I read this, even though it was hard to read. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to live through but I am glad you beat the odds!

I hope your friend thinks twice about drinking and driving. I'm appalled that any would would discourage you from talking or writing about this. You are absolutely in the right and anyone who thinks otherwise needs their head checked.

Britni TheVadgeWig said...

Thanks for writing this. I know that I'm often guilty of driving drunk, but I never make excuses about it, nor would I ever try to convince someone that it was "okay" for me to do it. I know it's stupid, and it's something that I've been trying to be better about. So far, I've succeeded.


Peridot (G+P) said...

Thank. You. Thank you so much *Hugs* It took me a lot of time to reach that decision regarding my Mum.

I shamefully admit to driving slightly tipsy on a 50cc scooter ONCE. Never again. There are too many deaths caused by sober driving let alone the drunk in this country. It's a pity the drunks never kill themselves.

My Niece will never know her other Aunty thanks to drunk&stoned drivers. She'll only have high-school stories and an old mix tape passed on by me.

The Cherry Popsicle Nurse was brilliant! :D I would personally become her bitch for a week in gratitude.

I will viciously ass rape that drunk driver with a glass-encrusted marrow and dress the wound with Tiger Balm. Just say the word.


Tragic™ said...

I don't even have words for you hun, I knew about this a while ago and I'm still struck speechless.. I'm infinitely proud of you for healing and recovering the way that you have and I can honestly tell you right now that although I've lost friends over it: I won't get in the car if the driver has had even a single drink, period. This is your post so I'm not going into a long tale but I believe I told you about my cousin's death and his drunk brother in law down home a long time back.

Osbasso said...

I'm guilty of being "that" driver. not to the point of actually thinking that I drive better, but that I'm sober enough to do it. And I can think of a number of times where I couldn't recall the route I took or when I left. Fortunately (for me and others), I've always made it home safe, and without running into the police. That's all changed now, as I get to spend the rest of my life as the designated driver.

You had told me once or twice about the scars, but never got into the details of how you got them. Thanks for sharing your story.

And 'anonymous' is a jackass.

Emmy said...

Thanks for sharing your story!

What a horrible thing for a kid to have to go through - and even though the scars visibly made fade, they never do. As you are doing, all you can do is share your story and hope that it keeps people from doing it who maybe would have in the past.

ConTemplate said...

Oh I have to thank you too. I'm so glad you survived to tell this, but so sorry you have to deal with the consequences.

I lost my best friend in a drunk driving accident in April of our senior year of high school. Single vehicle accident. He & another friend died. The driver survived with hardly a scratch - how & WHY does that happen so often?

nitebyrd said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It is NEVER okay to drink and drive, unfortunately people will. I hope that your post will make someone who might decide not to.

(((hugs))) for what you've dealt with and once again, for sharing it with your readers.

Respectfully Yours said...

Wow, your story sure hits home. Hugs to you for your strength and courage. Thanks for sharing...take care dear.

Resident A-Hole said...

Your blog has shown me two things: 1. It shows that more often than not, judging from comments, drunk driving affects more people than we know, and 2. There are still assholes out there who think it's ok and probably do it themselves but don't have the balls to identify themselves if they feel so strongly about their own convictions. I appreciate the strength that it took to write this and pimped your story on my own blog concerning this topic. Stay strong...

Raquel's World said...

Sorry this happened to you. I have a similar story but won't get into that. Keep on reminding people that drunk driving is dumb!

Bella said...

This is such a heartfelt and important post. Thanks for sharing this with us.

alana said...

Amazing post and thanks for sharing! What I want to know is what we are allowed to take personally. If almost being killed by some thoughtless asshole doesn't make the cut, then what does?

And how freggin hard is it to take a cab or call a friend (or god forbid not get drunk)? I just don't get people.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashly, I read your post and I really am touched and feel sorry for you. I am 18 years old and I am an alcoholic. I don't know if it will ever change that I'm an alcoholic or when I will even make a move towards it. About six months ago I got my license and I have drink drove many many times. Until I realized that it was causing many problems. In the past week, I have been shot at (sort of related to alcohol), I have cheated on my partner whom I love very much (because I was drunk off my face and driving) and I have almost lost my license for speeding. After all of this (in the space of one week) I realized that alcohol was a problem for me and that drink driving was the majority of the issue. I have read many stories of drink driving and realize that it is a horrible thing. I am like you describe, a person that identified themselves as a "good drink driver". However the day after, when I wake up and realize that I have drunk driven the night before, I feel like the scum of the earth. When I drink, it seems all good and well, I feel like "yeah I'm good to drive, I'm not even that drunk" when infact I'm really drunk. I have been so drunk that I have gotten very emotional and almost murdered someone a few months ago (drove to the address). From yesterday, after reading many stories, including yours, I have made a vow to myself to NEVER EVER drink drive again. I don't care how short the trip is, I don't care if it is a 2 minute trip to the grocery store and there is no traffic on the road, I will NEVER EVER drink drive again. I do not want to lead my life into an adult life where I am a drunk and always drink drive and lose my license. What would happen if I was drink driving and I had hit an innocent pedestrian or killed another motorist? I could never forgive myself. I would kill myself. I am sorry for my past. I will never drink drive again Ashly. Thank you for posting this. I am sorry for what happened to you. I hope the driver gets hanged.