The Light at the End of the Tunnel Keeps getting Brighter and Closer
What an incredible journey this has been.
One year ago, today I was at the peak of unraveling. One year ago today, I went to court of my first DUI case in over 20 years. I had relapsed early in 2007 after 101/2 of being sober. By October 2007, the month I should have been celebrating my 11th year, I instead got arrested twice in 16 days for DUI.
I remember my day of the court date, I was sick to my stomach (which I kinda feel today), but confident I had a super paid attorney. My appearence in court was at 8:30 a.m. I arrived at the courthouse to meet with my lawyer at 8:00. The plan was to plead deal with the states attorney like the first DUI was a first offense. In Florida the law is written so that the state can go back to 1900 if they chose too, and pop you for each conviction. I walked into court sat down and didn't move or talk. My lawyer at 8:27 hands me this paper with a sweetheart of a deal, and I signed it...A ray of good fortune was pounding in my heart. That being done I thought smoothe sailing, I could feel the warm wave of calm wash over me as the first case (which was mine) at 8:30. I heard my lawyer do the plead to what was stated per signed agreement. Then the state attorney interrupted with "Your honor we resind the plea deal, we found a prior offense that we wish to investigate from 1992, also this gentleman was arrested just 16 days after this offense for the same thing."
With that my attorney walked by me and said, "call me when you leave the courtroom, don't say a word, just nod to what the judge says, and when its done leave and keep walking." Within 4 minutes I went from calm, and cool to my heart shot up to my throat. As my name was called I walk up to the podium in front of my judge. The state listed their points (sometime I can still hear the echo). The judge looked at me and said that my bond will be revoked and a warrant will be put out for my arrest. I was dimissed.
As I am walking out of the courthouse to my illegally parked car. I call my lawyer, he sounded pretty off-balanced, but still confident. Then through the phone I could hear the alarm sound from a computer. Which the attorney responded to by saying "The state had just issued a warrant for me." I thought I was going to pass out right then, right there. Being the good alcoholic that I am I ask my attorney if I should start hanging at the library all day (I would have computer access, plus no one would ever look for someone at a library) and maybe early in the morning at a coffeehouse (because it seem they always seem to pick you up early in the morning for warrants) My lawyer being the kind of lawyer he is respnded with, "As an attorney I can not advise you to run away from the law, that is illegal and willful fleeing."
So for that day I drove around for a couple hours and hiding my car out in different shopping center parking lots. I finally I pulled myself out of the self-induced shock taht I was in and came to my senses. I realized that...
I did this to myself, and can only blame myself for what has happened
I was not going to allow myself to get arrest for driving around without a license and with a warrant for my arrest
That I was going to go home and wait to face the consequences.
I was going to put as much as I can in order before the "knock on my door"
I was going to continue going to AA meetings and seeing my therapist until they come and get me (I was still 12 days sober at the time)
That until I am drag off to jail, I was going to live each day like my last
I then started my car and drove directly home. I went about each day just doing everything I could. I never felt so alive.
8 days later on Nov. 13, 2007 at 6a.m. the knock on the door came. I invited them in offered them coffee as I changed into more appropriate clothes and made a phone call to make sure my dog and condo would be well looked after. Actually the warrant officers were quite friendly considering their job. They were knid enough to wait until I was at their unmarked car before handcuffing me, that way the prying eyes wouldn't have anything to see. They were really good at just keeping the situation light while I was driven to county jail.
After processing, one of them even came to talk to me. Telling me that since my next court date was only 2 days away. The judge does these things to prove that he is the one in charge and that usually the bond would be re-enstated after a couple of days. He even made sure to put in my file that I was co-operative, and that I was where I was supposed to be, at the time I was arrested. He said that he seen enough of these situations and that this all was pretty standard.
I never did see the outside world again for 3 full months, I would never be able to walk around freely for 6 month (due to 3 months of house arrest) and I will not truly have complete freedom again until Feb, 7, 2010 (2 years probation). No matter what I am grateful still for today and that I made it through this exprience. Today though, I feel that sinking, sickening feeling in my stomach. Maybe its just a reminder to me of what happened to me 1 year ago today. Maybe it is a reminder that I should not take anything for granted ever, but especially today.
What a difference a day, one year later, brings...The light at the end of the tunnel is a little bit closer, and a lot brighter, right now.