I’m Plenty Angry Enough

I got up this morning and saw I had a text. It had not awakened me during the night. It was a 2 a.m. text. You know what that means. It’s either a drunk text. Or something bad.

It was to let me know a friend of mine is “okay”. Which is also an indicator of something not good.

She was okay, but she was in an accident.

And she had been drinking.

I’m not writing this to point out the obvious about drinking and driving. I’ve done that. She’s done that. We’ve had that discussion.

But the thing about drinking and driving, getting in an accident and not being hurt…

She is damn lucky. As is any one else who was in her path last night.

I don’t mind pointing out a few more things though.

She is lucky for quite a few more reasons.

Right now any of us who care about her are angry and she is safe. I am angry because she made a decision that not only put her at risk, but many others. I am angry because she totaled her car. She escaped with her life. I’m not angry she escaped with her life. I’m angry that she didn’t value it as much as we do.

I’m angry…

But not as angry as I would be if she had been hurt or killed.

Then I would be grieving. I would be grieving because this person who has value to my life, her family’s life, her friend’s lives, and the lives of the people she comes in contact with on a daily basis, would be grieving. And we would be angry at her for doing this. And then we would be feeling guilty for being angry. And then more anger on top of all of that because it is so senseless.

And as angry as I would be about her being hurt or killed, I don’t think I could deal with the anger if she had hurt or killed someone else. For all of the bad things that happen in life, drinking and driving is 100% preventable.

I told her I did not think I could look at her if she had hurt or killed anyone.

The simplest lesson I learned in determing if you have a problem with alcohol:

If you have problems when you drink alcohol-you have a problem with alcohol.

I fully understand and comprehend addiction and the hold it has on people. Addiction is a disease. I know the physical, and the psychological, hold that addiction has and the gut wrenching process of dealing with it.

I know these things.

But if she had been killed, or killed another, none of the things I know about addiction would have mattered at all.   I have the blessing of being angry at her today, she is not dead, and no one has been physically hurt.

But should there be a next time-

I don’t want her luck to be used up when she is on the road that my children, my grandchildren, her family, and innocent unknowns are traveling.

I want this to be the angriest I ever have to get with her.

Because it’s plenty angry enough.

The “what if’s” of last night are not what is keeping me awake tonight.  It’s the “what if’s” of tomorrow if she ever does this again  and not I, or anyone who loves her, is reason enough for her to love herself.

47 thoughts on “I’m Plenty Angry Enough

  1. Sorry that you have to go through that but I am glad you are a good enough friend to be honest with this person and help them to see how they affect others with their actions. Many people can justify their actions until confronted by someone they respect.

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    • Thanks Jason. Fortunately she was honest enough with herself to let me know what happened and own the responsibility for it. But yes, I did respect her enough to be honest about how I felt. Unfortunately she didn’t act responsibly before she started drinking.

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  2. Woah. I would be really angry too! That’s called, not planning or not thinking or irresponsible. Yep. I’d be angry too.

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  3. You highlight something very important, you don’t need to be an alcoholic to have a problem with alcohol.

    I went through a spell in my early 20s of driving under the influence every weekend. I would take the car on a night out intending to get a taxi home and collect the car the next day. At the end of the night, after a few drinks, best intentions go out the window.

    I didn’t realise back then that I had a problem with drink but as you wisely say, when I drank I had a problem.

    Thinking back, I was very lucky as we those around me.

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    • My father used to own bars (pubs) when I was a child. I saw reasonable, smart, adults walk in. And ridiculous, out of control, people walk out. And get in cars. And drive away. I always attributed my non-drinking status to seeing people pour out their self control in to the glass that just held the alcohol. I was scared to act like that. To willingly give up the ability to think and act for myself….

      I think a responsible drinker is going to make sure they don’t have access to a vehicle before they take that first drink. Because you are so right…best intentions go out the window when the alcohol starts pouring.

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  4. Drinking an driving is so incomprehensible to me. It’s disgusting that the person not only devalued their life by doing this but also other drivers. You have every right to be angry.

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  5. Scary stuff. I’m sorry you have to go through this with your friend. I hope your anger makes a difference in your friend’s life, as well as with your friend’s life (and death) decisions. I’ve been through the anger-guilt-anger thing with a loved one. It’s not fun.

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    • It isn’t fun. I forgot to add the “scared” part in to that anger/guilt/anger…. to lose someone to something preventable would be such an emotional battle. The “please don’t” do this to your self is a silent, on going plea in my head. Not just for her, but others that deal with this.

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  6. I’m with you, Colleen. Live your life, do what you want, but when it involves potentially or in fact hurting another, that’s my line. Whether drinking and driving, texting and driving, anything that can endanger another life… is my boiling point. I’m a friend, like you are, with my friends but friendship has to be a balanced ethical two way street. If my friend does something toxic that impinges on me. Do I judge them to be bad? No, but their actions are hurtful! Their actions are bad. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the devastation from things like this at work. Thanks for caring. Thanks for speaking out. Thanks for being a moral compass that mirrors things I need to be reminded of, good & bad. Wishing you a great weekend and sending good thoughts your way. And, I’m truly glad your friend is okay and no one was hurt.

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    • Thank you Paulette. I think she is as “good” as can be. Physically she is safe but I see much in her future that will not be easy. But it will be well worth her inner struggles and hard work. I like how you said this. I don’t judge her to be bad. But I don’t even have to “judge” her action, it “is” bad. Being honest with her was the only option if I truly care, and I do.

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  7. This was very piercing to me in many ways… and I shall not discuss how it is so piercing here… But I am sorry your mind was so occupied and focused on anger yet compassion for your good friend. It must be a muddled mess in your heart.

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    • Thanks Koji. I am very pleased that she knew she could be honest with me and know that anything I said to her I said because I care, for her. And for anyone else that could have been in that path. No one was hurt. Physically. And lessons can be learned and changes made so no one does. I’m sorry this pierces you, without saying why, and you don’t need to, the fact that it pierces indicates pain in some way. I’m sorry Koji.

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  8. WOW! This wells up so much in my heart and mind… Many years ago – decades in fact – my sibling was the driver in a fatal alcohol related accident. A friend was lost… That was the apparent tragedy. So much more was lost that affects both families for generations, forever really. The decision to give a buddy a ride COMPLETELY changed all of our lives in an instant. It destroyed two families from the inside out. It changed how people approached my sibling – and me in the halls of our high school. It changed how my sibling would live his life – tormented and unsettled, never finding self-forgiveness for his “act of kindness” turned horribly wrong.

    My sibling could never talk to their children about it. I have seen the downward spiral of this carry forward into another generation. How could you NOT explain this gut wrenching lesson to your children. Pride, embarrassment, denial? I have a niece and nephew that will always know there is an empty! hollow! void in their parent. They will not fully know or understand their parent without this knowledge – and they have repeated the same irresponsible mistake of drinking (driving) recklessly…

    This has affected even my cultural heritage. As a young child of French and Italian immigrants we made “vino”. Our feet were freshly bathed and wiped in alcohol by my grandfather. We stomped the grapes, that we grew, in a wooden keg. I should think of this when I raise a glass of wine. Instead my first thought is always of my sibling and the life lost when I do so. I have told my daughter about making wine – but never indulged in her having the experience. Alcohol became serious business the moment that tragedy struck my life. I rarely indulge in alcohol – limited to a glass of wine with a holiday dinner.

    I spoke often and in volumes to my child about this. I am so very blessed that she listened to the pain and heard with her heart to be responsible. My daughter would call me to escape the college dorm that was certain to be partying all weekend. We would drive five hours on a Friday night, pick her up and get a hotel room for the weekend or she would board a bus and come home.

    Please share this story with your friend… Thank you for another important, insightful post.

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    • Angie, I remember. I did not “know” your sibling, but of course knew “of” your sibling. And I can painfully recall the changed young person who walked the hallways after that incident. It was painful to see your sibling, I can’t imagine what your sibling was going through.

      Like you I have watched as someone suffers, and carries an unforgiven moment in life. And have watched it hurt and affect so many many many others.

      I sent this story to my friend before I put it here. Though my blog is about “my” life, it obviously interacts with others as well. I sent it to her and got her permission for this. I told her that I can’t guarantee what others might say but know there would be good feedback in some sense. She knows she has work to do, has already started, and gave permission for me to post this. I want her to be able to come back to my words if I’m not available to call and see/hear that she matters. As do all of the others that she has the possibility of impacting by her actions.

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      • My hopes and prayers for your very fortunate and blessed friend to see their way through the whatever drives this situation. I dare her to strive for your level of integrity by being honest enough with herself to seek a safer, healthier, richer, fuller life and to recognize her value and self worth! Peace

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        • Thank you Angie, I hope she reads this. Your words. Your experience in watching your sibling and the extended affect. I truly thank you for sharing. I know it wasn’t/isn’t easy. Blessings.

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  9. I understand your anger Colleen. I see when I feel anger, compassion can not come in. When I’m condemning or judging, there’s no room for compassion or love. I have a choice to choose one or the other. I didn’t understand this until I began to look within (willing to look at my behavior, beliefs I accepted, my own addictions of denial, defenses, excuses, perfectionism, giving up on myself and so on). I’ve shown up in many ways that I’m not proud of and wish I could keep hidden under the rug although I couldn’t heal unless I looked at them. I’m no different from your friend other than I chose not to drink and drive at that moment your friend did. When I feel anger, I feel the anger and ask for help within, help me see this differently.
    Someone could tell me they loved me a hundred times and if I didn’t learn to love myself their love doesn’t mean anything. First we must learn to love and accept ourselves otherwise we continue to seek a false love and numb ourselves. You and your friend are in my thoughts. Pam

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    • Thank you Pam. I know the part about being told we are loved a hundred times not meaning anything if we don’t believe we are lovable or don’t love ourselves. I’ve been there. And it is a very sad and lonely place to be.

      My anger, I feel, did come with compassion. I was angry at the choice she made because of the risk she put herself and others in. I was compassionate about her inability to see her own value and her value to us. My words to her, though, were not angry words. And my compassion is what made me share with her that I was angry about her choices (more than one choice was involved). I owed her that truth. I owed her, as her friend, the honest feelings of fear, anger, sadness, relief (that she wasn’t physically hurt). Hearing those words, and the explanation of what happened filled me completely with such compassion and fear that not being honest with her would have been a total disservice to how much I value our relationship. I don’t always see anger as a ‘bad’ thing. I think anger, when used with compassion and truth, can be a valuable lesson. I don’t like it when I make decisions that anger people I care about. And understanding what I did, and why it angered others, is necessary for me to sometimes see an entire picture.

      And…I can’t thank you enough for always giving me calming, and loving, feedback.

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  10. Colleen, I was 19 years old when I got a DUI, it was 1969 and before MADD, drinking and driving were still acceptable, and it gave me something to brag about. When I was 30, I was the less drunk of me and a friend, he drove us to the bar I drove us home. His wife was mad at me for months because I allowed him to get so drunk. That was the last time I drove drunk, it was the last time I drove when I had more than 2 drinks in a evening. Today I am the duty designated driver and don’t mind a bit. You have every right to be mad, you have every right to get into your friends face and scream until your throat hurts, you have every right to fear for your love ones and friends, we can only pray your friend listens. But as you scream, always remember she is your friend. Always remember your voice maybe the one that finally sinks in. And we will all pray for her. Please take care, Bill

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    • Thank you for the story Bill. It is different now isn’t it? I started seeing changes regarding drinking and driving as a very young person. I remember the start of MADD. I was lucky, I believe. Because I never could drink. I didn’t like the taste of it but more so I never liked the idea of giving up control. So I don’t really know the fascination with it. I purposefully got drunk once in my life. Had a designated driver. Baby sitter. I lost five pounds by the next morning. It only reinforced my desire to not go that route. All I can say, again, is that I have no understanding of the desire to do it. But, I don’t care if others do. As long as they are responsible and don’t risk anyone, including their own, life

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  11. I had a boss who drank and drove. Totalled three cars that I know of. Drank through his wife’s inheritance. Managed to walked away from all the accidents (don’t know how he kept getting insurance). Finally alcohol got him not a car accident. Unbelievable. Scary and should have a time for pause. A lesson for everyone.

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    • The stories….there are so many of them. Sadly we don’t learn from others do we? If we did we would be a perfect race of humans by now. I don’t see that happening any time soon. But I hope we do continue to learn before the next lesson is only for those left behind. Thank you Tess.

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  12. I am sorry you both had to go through that. It seems we often think we are invincible until God allows us to see that we aren’t. I wish there were tougher regulations on drunk driving. I was the unfortunate recipient of a drunk driver who crossed three lanes of traffic and hit me head on. I had no where to go. He was in the far right east bound lane, I was in the far right west bound lane. When I saw his headlights coming at me, out loud I said, “God please don’t let this be my last day.” I ended up passing out and came to, a block later without having hit another car in the process. I was going north on a block after he hit me. They had to get the jaws of life to cut me out. I hit the rear view mirror. To this day I have extensive cervical damage. I was suppose to have my neck fused. He had a scratch. My car was totaled. He had escaped from the work house, stole a car, went to a bar and was served way past what he should have been.
    I had to ride in the ambulance with him. How awful that was. I understand Paulette. I also lost a friend to drinking. She was in a deadly accident. But wasn’t driving. Was a passenger. She was decapitated. I have no time for and listend to no excuses why anyone cares so little about themselves, but more than that why they care so little about others. Take care my friend
    Yisraela
    Glad your friend is ok. I pray she has learned something valuable

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    • My prayer is the same Yisraela. I am so sorry for your pain. (I have a fused neck). I have to say that this line: ” I have no time for and listend to no excuses why anyone cares so little about themselves, but more than that why they care so little about others.” really hits home. There should be no stories like yours, ever. Thank you for sharing these very difficult parts of your life….and the on going affects from having had them happen to you.

      Please take care, as well.

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  13. Wow, that should be a wake up call.
    I hope it’s her rock bottom, cuz everyone needs one in order to make the decision to change.
    Glad you aren’t planning a funeral…good for you to speak out about being angry and not just happy she survived.

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  14. Thank you for posting this important message and from your point of view. I think the people who offend don’t realize how it will affect others. They do think about themselves often times but just don’t care. I hope many people read this and it makes them think.

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  15. Through Paulette’s post this story hit the headlines in my on line journal. I think all of us know someone or of someone who has been touched by an alcohol related story. This is an honest and heartfelt telling. Well said.

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  16. My husband has been sober for more than a decade. He never — thank God — hurt anyone but himself. I am grateful every single day for his sobriety. It is the best gift he ever gave us.

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    • Teepee12 I’m so glad your husband is sober. And that you see it as a gift. I hope my friends sees the same potential in her sobriety. A gift to herself, and the ability to give to others she loves. Thank you.

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