Brandon emailed me again wanting to give some perspective on how to emotionally recover from a DUI. Decided it was a good idea to give an additional viewpoint other than mine about how to get through this. - Tom
How To Emotionally Recover After Receiving A DUI
By: Brandon Leuangpaseuth“Pull over, I need to throw up!”
I quickly jerked the steering wheel to the right lane and my car drifted towards the exit. I exited from the freeway, pulled into the nearby gas station as one of my female friends hunched over and vomited in the trashcan by the gas pump. She spilled her guts outside of the car as I let out a deep sigh of relief.
I searched for a water bottle around the car but as I looked up into the rearview mirror, blue and red lights filled my eyes. My body froze stiff like a board as I stared into the mirror with disbelief...This did not look good…
The officers stepped outside of their car with their flashlights on and shined them at my female friend whose face was buried in the trash can. Both lights immediately pointed in my direction as my head started spinning and my stomach began churning…
The next thing I know, I was calling my brother to come to bail me out of the drunk tank the next day. I had blown over a .08 in the sobriety tests at the station. I dragged my feet with shame and disappointment in myself as I walked out of the station...
The Emotional Torture After A DUI
First of all, I know I should have never driven in the first place. I hated myself more than anyone knows. I take full responsibility for my actions and I would recommend that nobody else drives with alcohol in their system. I spent approximately 16 hours at the station and I was so distraught.
Those 16 hours felt like years. So many thoughts flooded my head…“Well, there goes my life, my career, and my self-worth…”
After my brother picked me up from the police station, I couldn’t eat or sleep for a week. I couldn’t believe the DUI charge even happened to me.
I have to say, if I didn’t have classes to go to, I probably would have laid in bed for the next 3 or so months…
Every day was torture. I wasn’t suicidal but every day I returned home from school I wanted to have a breakdown and punch some pillows out of frustration…
I was so mad at myself. How could I be so reckless?
It felt like my life was over.
All of my insurance bills went up... and I had to pay for all of those DUI classes. I was a college student barely affording to eat already so this really made money tight.
Not to mention I had to deal with the embarrassment of telling all of my grandparents, uncles, aunts, and friends about why I could not drive myself around. This was the worst part. Not telling my family and friends... but not being able to drive. It really does make you so dependent on other people and public transportation. Your schedule revolves around people and bus schedules. Ride-sharing applications add up and I just didn’t have the money to spend.
I can’t tell you enough.
Everything about getting a DUI is stressful.
Take It One Day At A Time
I had to live every day with the regret of drinking and driving but after a lot of time, I got used to it. I eventually fully accepted my mistake as well as the consequences and my life felt a little less stressful.
I’d recommend to anyone who was recently convicted of a DUI to take it one day at a time. Don’t stress about getting jobs, or thinking too much about your future but instead, to make the most of the day and take the best steps moving forward. Looking back, this was a really stressful time in my life but honestly, I simply made a mistake.
And we all make mistakes. This is not to lessen my actions or try to rationalize that what I did was okay, however, it just puts me back in perspective to not be so hard on myself.
I am human, you know.
My good buddy who is a freelance copywriter
recommended that I keep a journal for emotional therapy. Keeping a log about how I was feeling on some of those days where I was feeling especially down really helped a lot. Just writing about the stress and struggles I experienced would help me feel less distraught.
I’m honestly really grateful for the experience because it taught me not to drive with any alcohol in my system and to really think of driving as a privilege. After all that time, I relied on people to take me places, I am so grateful to be able to drive now.
Just know that the charge does eventually go away on your record and you will be okay
. I couldn’t work some jobs while I was in college because I had a DUI on my record, but for the most part, it wasn’t too much of a factor in my job searches.
Please think twice if you are about to drive home with alcohol in your system. Trust me, it blows to not be able to drive. You will get through it. Again, it’s going to be tough, but you’ll make it through. What really helped me was to hang out with friends or family members who knew I wasn’t a bad person. They know I just made a mistake and treated me like normal which really lent a hand to rebuild my self-esteem.
The best piece of advice for anybody out there who just recently received a DUI is to learn your lesson and move on. Not to sound like your parent but that’s really all that we can do in that situation. The past is the past and all we can do is focus on being better in the future.
Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a freelance writer
from San Diego, CA. You can connect with him on LinkedIn @ bleuangpaseuth