Saturday, September 18, 2010

Breath or Blood?

Will it be breath or blood?

It’s been a long week and it’s time to unwind. Or maybe it’s been a long day and it’s time to unwind. Or maybe, as it must be for some people who go to a bar near me, it’s been a long night because they show up at eight in the morning. Or maybe the stated intent was to get drunk.

However it starts, it doesn’t end up well. The flashing lights appear, the siren blips and the truck slowly pulls over. The officer contacts the driver then goes back to his car. A second police car pulls up and joins the first. They talk and then talk to the driver of the truck. Eventually the second leaves. More time passes and finally a third police car comes. It must be the alcohol specialist; the DUI car. He seems to take over. He talks to the driver of the truck, spends some time conferring with the first officer and then the magic words are spoken, “Will you step out of the car.” No it wasn’t a question, he is now in control of the drivers life and things are about to change.

This was how my night went. I wasn’t even sure what time it was. Oh, no, I wasn’t in the truck, I was seized out of a deep sleep. It must have been the siren blip and then I saw the lights. I find out it’s the golden hour of 2–3am.

I dislike alcohol. I have some friends who lost their mother because of a drunk driver. I have other friends who lost a child because of a drunk driver. I know of many homes where alcohol turned what should have been a place of comfort, care and nurture into a place of distress, neglect, fear, and abuse.

I dislike alcohol because of my past. I was one of those people who didn’t know the meaning of moderation. If I drank it was to get ripped. I didn’t spend hours nursing a drink. All of my drinking days were as a minor so there were times when quantity was a problem. Those times were met with forced moderation. Then there were the times where marijuana was the primary drug and alcohol was a booster on the side. In any case, if quantity wasn’t limited, my objective was to go to the edge which usually meant falling off onto the other side.

On a side note, don’t be fooled by the marijuana propaganda that it is safer than alcohol. There were many times where pot alone resulted in loss of control of my actions and where I spaced out while driving, ending up somewhere and having no idea how I got there.

Well I’m much older now but I have no desire to find out if I could be a responsible drinker. Maybe I could but it seems like I would be playing a game of Russian Roulette. The cost is way too high if things go wrong.

Another thing is that I keep thinking of the words of Proverbs where it says this:
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.  (Proverbs 20:1 ESV)

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.  (Proverbs 23:29-32 ESV)

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.  (Proverbs 31:4-5 ESV)

I do quite well messing up my life and making bad decisions on my own. I don’t need any help from alcohol.

So things changed for the driver of the truck last night. He was given the roadside sobriety test and failed miserably. The officer announced to him that he had failed and then asked if he wanted a breath or blood test. He also told him that if he refused the test then certain penalties would automatically come into play. The man said something about wanting to go home. The officer, somewhat laughing, said that home was not one of the options. Did he want breath or blood? The man finally answered that he wanted a breath test. The officer then put handcuffs on him and loaded him in the police car. Soon after a tow-truck showed up and took the truck away.

I would assume that in the best of cases, the driver of the truck took a sharp turn in his life last night. He didn’t wake up in his bed today. He will wake up in jail and hopefully he will have to pay a high enough cost so this doesn’t happen again. Sadly, for many like him, it will be just a bump in the road. They will soon be back on the road without a driver’s license, steering a metal missile down the road and leaving a trail of devastation in their wake.

Philip

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