The following story is something very personal that has changed my life completely (in a positive way) & I’d like to share with everyone. I wanna show people that we all make mistakes but it’s what we do after that proves who we are. This will be broken up into four parts: THE MISTAKE, 17.5HRS IN JAIL, THE CONSEQUENCES & THE NEW ME.
You are probably wondering “damn so who was Jaime before the MISTAKE that he’s changed so much”. I wasn’t a bad person and it’s not that I have changed a lot because well I am still me. It’s more like I see my life differently now. I feel I was just sleepwalking through life, which is what I think most of do until a wakeup call comes our way.
My life consisted of working full time and spending the weekends at the bars/clubs with people I thought were my friends. Most of the time I would go out get wasted, blackout and wake up in the morning wondering how the hell I got home. I would jump out of bed make sure my car was okay and then thank God I made it home safe and promise that I would never do that again. Well it happened plenty of times and it wasn’t until my luck ran out that I realized just how horrible what I was doing was. I’m not going to lie I knew what I was doing was wrong I just had that mentality of “oh it can never happen to me”. Well it happened to me I was arrested for drinking & driving.
The 19 months spent dealing with my mistake was one of the hardest times of my life (so far). It was fucking hell having to deal with all the consequences and making sure they all got done right and that every single request on my probation term got completed. However, the worse part of it all was the emotional toll it took on me.
The 1st 3 months of my probation I was a fucking mess. I got so depressed and didn’t want to do a damn thing I seriously thought my life was over (I know a bit dramatic but that’s me). When I wasn’t working or dealing with something that had to do with my probation I would spend countless hours laying in my closet floor listening to Kelly Clarkson’s song “CRY” on repeat. If you know me at all you know I love music & that I am obsessed with Kelly. Well this song is about the ending of a relationship. Here’s a snippet of the lyrics…
Is it over yet?
Can I open my eyes?
Is this as hard as it gets?
Is this what it feels like to really cry?
I’m talking in circles
I’m lying, they know it
Why won’t this just all go away…
That’s how I felt. For me it was the end of a relationship. I just wanted it all to go away I wanted it to be over with. At the time I wasn’t aware that I was breaking up with old Jaime and transforming into new Jaime.
I also remember being an emotional mess a few times… okay who am I kidding A LOT OF TIMES. I’m never gonna forget a few of the times I would just burst out crying for the stupidest things ever. One of them was the time I had problems with the breathalyzer, my car battery died and then I lost my wallet all in the same day. Or the times I cried at work for having to deal with phone calls from my probation officer or attorney. Oh or the time I had to deal with them extending the term of my breathalyzer from 6 months to a year because of a technicality. Also the time the counselor from my drug classes wanted to extend the term of my classes a few weeks just because she wanted too. Gosh I could really go on and on about all the stuff I had to deal with throughout it and the many times I cried.
Dealing with all that I realized that there was more to life than just work and getting drunk on the weekends. I was spending more time with my family and real friends. I was back on the right track going to school and saving to buy a home. Little did I know that is not what I wanted either.
I also felt as if I was stripped away of all my rights. I felt trapped and confined to the 8 pages I signed. If you recall part of the consequences was “Limited travel – must remain within the state of Texas & must request permission to leave”. That is the one that affected me the most because I had just got bit by the travel bug. I would now spend countless hours planning vacations that would never happen. It wasn’t until then that I discovered blogs about backpacking. I had no clue backpacking existed but after reading enough about it I figured I could do it too. Like a kid I wanted something I couldn’t have at the moment so that ignited the key. Travel had always been something I wanted to do but never thought I could. So I focused on getting my probation done successfully and saving for my backpacking adventure.
On October 25, 2010 I went to court for the last time. I got my DWI dismissed and the breathalyzer removed from my vehicle. Looking back I wouldn’t change a single thing, because it has made me who I am today and put me on the path to live my dream. I am more mature and more responsible than ever before. I still plan on drinking on occasions where I am not driving but if I go out to a party or bar/club I will not have a single drink if I am driving. The few times I have been out and not drank I am always asked why not and well I am honest and let them know why. One night of fun with a few drinks or a lot of drinks is not worth putting myself or others at risk or having to go through all this again.
I remember when I first signed the probation terms I told myself as soon as I am done and it is dismissed I am gonna go to New Orleans and party it up on Halloween weekend and celebrate my freedom. Well that didn’t happen instead I was more than ecstatic to buy a backpack for my trip and save the rest of the money for my trip.
I read the local news often and I come across headlines like: Drunk Driver Who Killed Boy Gets prison Sentence or Family mourns father, daughter killed in crash or Drunken driving suspected in fatal La Marque crash. I read the headlines and cringe at 1st glance and then I read the stories and my heart is broken and often time get tears. I think that could have been me and thank God it wasn’t because I know it could have been a lot worse than just running a red light. I can’t believe I used to be so careless and wreck less but what matters is that I learned my lesson.
I recently heard this narrated on one of the shows I watch and felt it resonates so well with my story:
“With every small choice with every small decision we are defining ourselves. Are we honest? Are we faithful? Are we proud of ourselves or are we disappointed by who we have become? Life rarely turns out the way that we plan. The unexpected happens and it surprises us with new and exciting possibilities, but sooner or later reality hits you in the face.”
I never imagined getting a DWI but when it happened I took full responsibility for it and overcame it. It was an unexpected event that has put me on the path to travel the world. I am 100% proud of who I am and of who I have become. I hope this story helps prevent people from drinking & driving and also let people realize that we all make mistakes but it’s what we do after that proves who we are.