DUI Life: Owning a Breathalyzer

One of the biggest mistakes I made throughout this entire journey was to not really understand the effect alcohol has on my body.

I mean, I understand the general good feeling, becoming more talkative, and an elevated chance of saying yes to an outrageous dare or late night burritos…

But how many drinks is .08?

You can say “ok well, for an average man that would be…” but what is it for
you?

If you’re drinking a one beer versus another when does that ABV (alcohol by volume) difference make a difference?

What’s your favorite bartenders pour like? If they’re your favorite, it’s probably a bit heavy. Or maybe even a
lot heavy.

So if you have three heavy pour drinks what is your BAC an hour later? Two?

You can rely on the chart… but it, too, is an estimation.

What is your BAC when you’re feeling good? What does .08 feel like?

Some say to stop when you can’t feel your face… what BAC is that?

One of the first, and smartest, things I did after my arrest was to head on Amazon and buy a breathalyzer for myself… namely the
BacTrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer. I did a little bit of research and the consensus was that it was an incredibly accurate one - which is what matters most of all.

Yes, paying $100 to monitor my alcohol after a conviction hurts a little bit, but it’s something I should have done a
decade ago.

When I first blew the cops portable breathalyzer it was the
first time I have ever blown on such a machine, and what a colossal mistake that was. Throughout college the only way I could gauge how much I drank was how bad the hangover was the next day. All my adult drinking life I determined if I could drive on how good I felt. I was sure that if I wasn’t too numb I could make it. So I drove drunk, and I had no idea I was doing it. I thought I was fine.

The cops don’t give DUIs based on feeling. They give it based on the readings of a machine. Having one of those machines of your own
just makes sense. I had thought about it a couple times over the years but shied away when I saw the price tag.

Get it. It’s well worth it. It’s much cheaper than getting it
after getting busted.

Knowledge truly is power, and now I know when I’m legal, and when I’m not (well, technically as I’m still on probation
any detectable amount of alcohol is a violation when driving - but now I know when that alcohol is showing up and when it isn’t.)

Get a breathalyzer and keep it in your glove box. Blow in it after your happy hour - you’ll be shocked at what your reading is. How many times have you drank that much and driven? Hundreds maybe?

It’s also valuable to see how specifically your body handles alcohol - do you accelerate quickly? Do you burn off alcohol quickly? Or do you burn it off slowly?
This knowledge will change your life for the better.

Go drinking and blow into your breathalyzer the first thing in the morning - you’ll be
completely blown away at your BAC reading. I’ve had some instances where I didn’t get completely sober until 3 PM the next day.

If you’re a parent this should be a gift to your children on their 21st birthday. I know that’s what mine will be getting. If there’s somebody in your life that is a heavy drinker, give them one, let them learn just how drunk they’re getting.

It seems ridiculous that mine pairs with my smartphone, but it’s been a surprisingly handy feature - it records my scores with timestamps, so I can see the rates of how my BAC rises and falls. I tend to sober up quicker than it estimates (not by that significant margin - usually an hour, hour and a half quicker after a night of drinking).

The most valuable lesson I’ve found:
How I feel has little-to-no relation with my BAC. There’s times where I’ve felt “oh man, I’m feeling good, I must be pretty drunk”, do the test and get a .04 (and retest and have my findings confirmed). Sometimes I’ll be feeling completely fine and get a .2!

Remember - this is what the cops are using against you. Know how it affects you.

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