By BLANCA CAMPOS, Fleet Support Branch, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. January 3, 2012
One of my buddies invited several of my friends and me to a party she was having at her house. After drinking for a while, we started a challenge to see who could hold the most beer. I really didn't want to play because I had to drive back to my place. However, peer pressure got the best of me. I'm the kind of person who has a hard time turning down a challenge.
Our beer drinking escalated to playing cards and taking shots. I'd have never guessed drinking so much would make me hungry for ice cream. However, as we kept drinking, my craving for ice cream got worse, so I decided to sneak out of the party to get some.
As I was stumbling to get my shoes on, one of my sober friends realized I was heading out the door and asked, "Where are you going?" Caught red-handed, I simply looked up and said, "Uh, nowhere," and went back and joined the party. Still, I wanted some ice cream and, as the party went on, I tried sneaking out again. However, another friend caught me this time. "Stro," as we called her, also was drunk when she asked me, "Where are you going?" I told her, "To the store," and she immediately asked, "Can I come too?"
I was buzzed, so I wasn't thinking too clearly and decided to take her and another of my drunken friends with me. As I drove to the store, I remember seeing a police car. However, I was apparently driving normally enough not to be pulled over.
We finally arrived at the store and went directly to the ice cream section. We grabbed some ice cream and jumped back into the car to head back to the party. Unfortunately, one of the problems with being buzzed is you tend to forget things. Without realizing it, I'd left my cellphone on the store counter. As we headed back to the party, I decided to have a little fun and started doing "donuts" in an empty parking lot. When I decided I'd had enough, we drove back to the party.
As it turned out, trying to sneak back into the party didn't go as planned. Some of our friends noticed Stro and I were missing and went outside to look for us. They got worried when they didn't see my car and I didn't answer my phone, which I'd accidentally left it at the store.
When we entered the house, everyone just looked at us. Because I was buzzed and not in complete control of my senses, I didn't realize what I'd done was wrong. They asked me why I'd left and why I hadn't answered the phone. All I could say was, "I don't know." Ultimately, the cashier answered my phone and told my friends where I'd left it.
My friend drove me to the store to pick up my phone and took me home. The following morning, I was told what I had done. I couldn't believe I'd been dumb enough to jeopardize my life and those of others the way I did. I was lucky I didn't cause an accident and kill myself or someone else. I could have lost everything just because I'd decided to drink and drive.
Now when I go out and know I'm going to drink, I either have a designated driver or give my keys to someone who is not drinking. Looking back at that night, I should have asked myself whether drinking and driving was really worth it. And, most importantly, I should have asked myself while I was still sober enough to give a straight answer.