IT WAS 4:03 A.M. when my phone started ringing off the hook.
In my passed-out, irritated stupor I reached for my cell phone and promptly pressed the ignore button when I saw my best friendâ€™s name on the caller ID. I had only said goodbye to her two hours before, but then again she was so drunk when we parted ways she probably didnâ€™t remember. It was something we could discuss in the morning, like we had so many times before.
When I woke, I saw that my friend had left me a voice mail. As I entered my password to retrieve the message I felt confident that this would be some of her best work, as her most creative and hilarious message comedy is almost always inspired by a few stiff cocktails.
My eager, playful excitement turned to shock and horror as I listened to what she had to say.
â€œYou are the first one I am telling,â€ she said softly between sobs. â€œI got my third DUI tonight. I am so scared and I donâ€™t know what to do. Iâ€™m going to jail.â€
Situations like this always seem so surreal, like surely this canâ€™t be happening. You rack your brain thinking of all the things you should or could have done differently while silently praying that the man behind the curtain is going to come out at any minute screaming youâ€™ve been caught on candid camera.
After reality set in, I have to admit that I asked myself, â€œHow could anyone be stupid enough to get a third DUI? Wouldnâ€™t you at least get the picture after the second one?â€
Oh if only life could be so simple and everyone could be as smart as me.
The truth is, I donâ€™t have a DUI, but I probably should. It is so easy to have a few drinks and think you are perfectly fine to drive. The whole problem with being intoxicated is that you donâ€™t think clearly, make wise decisions or consider the consequences. It seems like such a ridiculous notion to call a taxi when you have the keys in your hand and your car parked right outside.
With the holidays fast approaching, Iâ€™d like to propose a toast: Hereâ€™s to recognizing the dangerous consequences and costly outcomes of drunken decisions before itâ€™s too late. And for all of us who need a little help in this department, hereâ€™s a holiday DUI survival guide to get us all safely into 2008 and every new year to come.
Be aware of how much you are drinking. I believe this rule is violated most because people simply do not understand the alcohol content of what they are drinking or how it affects them over time. One drink per hour does not mean you can drink any size container, full of any type of liquor
According to the Washington State DUI blog, one drink per hour equals: 12 ounces of beer with 3 percent alcohol content, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor or 1 ounce of 100 proof liquor.
One gin martini is typically 3 to 4 ounces of 94-proof liquor, which means if you have two martinis in an hour you are consuming eight to 10 drinks in two hours.
Malt liquor beer usually has an alcohol content of six to 10 percent. One 40-ounce malt liquor beer equals four to five drinks in one hour, according to the Web site.
Also be aware of how much your body can handle when it comes to alcohol intake. â€œYour weight, rate of consumption, amount of food consumed, mood and consumption of illicit or prescribed drugs will impact the alcohol absorption rate. Many people believe water or food dilute your breath alcohol content level. This is not true. Food and water impact absorption rate,â€ the blog reports.
If all else fails, consider the consequences. According to Department of Safety Internet DUI facts, â€œa single DUI conviction could cost you as much as $5,000 or more after all fines and fees have been paid. The cost could be even higher if you donâ€™t qualify for the restricted driver license for driving to work during your suspension.â€
The best defense is always a good offense. Designate a driver before you go out or call a cab if you even remotely think that you arenâ€™t safe to drive.
Donâ€™t take the chance because it is just not worth it. Nothing will kill the holiday spirit like receiving that at 4 a.m. phone call, or even worse â€” having to make it.