A few years ago CBS had a comedy called Worst Week. The show focused on a guy who was off meeting his soon to be in laws for the first time. As the title implies a lot of bad things and hijinks ensue. Some irritating stuff happens to him for sure but it was a CBS sitcom so it could only get so bad. He would knock over a vase or someone would walk in on him naked. After the week I just recently had I would take those problems in a second.
Last week I had the HBO version of Worst Week. Within a period of five days I was arrested for a DUI and fired from my job. Take that CBS! Maybe if they would’ve gone with my version they might’ve gotten more than just one season. There have been people that have had more troubling weeks than mine, but I would definitely put mine up there. What makes this week extra tough is that I’ve had a pretty easy existence up until this point. I haven’t had to worry about too many serious things happening to me. I’ve never been fired before, been arrested or had a close family member pass away. I’ve had a mostly stress free life.
First off I wasn’t fired because of getting the DUI, the company had no knowledge of it. I was fired for a completely unrelated reason. It’s a long story, but the gist of it is that I made an inappropriate comment that I immediately regretted. The comment wasn’t made in a vicious way, it was more meant for comedy sake. The intent unfortunately didn’t matter and all of a sudden my pristine history with the company meant nothing. For years I worked for this company and was an ideal employee. Anything that was asked I did, whether it was come in early or stay late. All of that though was ruled irrelevant over an incident that lasted 10 seconds.
Losing my job wasn’t ideal, but I was ready to move on. I’d been stuck in neutral and since I had a feeling the firing was coming I was hoping that this might push me to reach for more. The DUI changed that outlook quickly.
A few days before being fired I went out drinking already knowing that I was on the verge of being let go. Even though I wasn’t miserable about it I was definitely looking to have a relaxing night with friends and forget about my trouble at work. We started early at a restaurant and then moved on to a bar to continue the fun. The next few hours were a blur. I don’t remember much until all of a sudden I saw flashing lights behind me. I immediately knew that I was done the second I saw those lights. We still went through the charade of the sobriety tests even though the officer and I both knew what the end result was going to be. I must’ve walked the most crooked line I’ve ever walked and struggled mightily to keep my eyes on his damn pen.
He eventually pulled the cuffs out and all of a sudden there I was in the back of a police car, just over a mile from my house. So close, but so damn far. Now I’m not here with any excuses. I had too many drinks and I got in my car. I made a mistake. It’s a mistake I’ll look back on and regret for the rest of my life. Unfortunately the amount of alcohol that I consumed put me in a spot where I wasn’t in the mind frame to make the right choice.
Like I said I’ve never been in trouble. The worst thing I’ve ever done is go a few miles over the speed limit. Okay that’s a lie since I also egged a few houses once as a teenager, but even with that I felt miserable about it the next day. I couldn’t have prepared myself for the next few hours. Fifteen strangers and I in an enclosed space smaller than my bedroom. As everyone else seems to be sleeping peacefully, I squeeze into a small corner and try to find a way to get a few hours myself on this hard floor. Somehow I did get some sleep. My reward was waking up to a guy sitting above me going to town on two plates of food. It was breakfast time. He had clearly taken my meal, but still asks me if I’m hungry. I’m really not so I pass. I remember the officer telling me I could leave after ten hours and that my dad would be here then. Now that I’m awake the countdown in my head has begun.
For the next few hours I was surrounded by people much more comfortable in these surroundings than me. One guy casually sits on the toilet in the corner just talking about LeBron going back to Cleveland with another guy that is eating a mysterious hot dog that came from who knows where. There is no clock to be seen so it’s just a guessing game what time it is. Breakfast has come and gone so I shouldn’t have much longer to go. Wrong, the next few hours seemed like a week. The guys seemed harmless enough, as harmless as they could be considering they were obviously regulars there. That being said I still made sure to stay out of the conversation which was tough to do as I heard so many arguments that I disagreed with. Wasn’t worth jumping in I told myself.
Then when I had almost given up that I was getting out any time soon the guard came to the door. I swear I was out of that cell so fast they hadn’t even said my name yet. I filled out some paper work and then took a true walk of shame. I braced myself for the angry parent that awaited me. Instead I found my Dad different from what I could’ve expected. He knew he couldn’t be harder on me than I already had been on myself. He was right.
I held back tears as he drove me to my car. Ten hours later I was now going that last mile I couldn’t make the night before. I got home and just screamed. I let it all out. My neighbors must have been out cause they surely would’ve thought someone was hurt. Somehow I found the energy to shower. I felt like I was washing the whole last night off of me. Luckily it was Sunday so I pulled myself together and went to my Dad’s to watch football. It was a much needed distraction. For the next six hours or so I could worry about whether my favorite team’s defense is strong enough to win a championship and whether I started the right running back in fantasy. Unfortunately that couldn’t last forever, I had to go home.
That night was rough. I sat alone on my couch just me and my thoughts which is never a good thing. I couldn’t get out of my head. What do I do now? Will I be able to get the kind of jobs I want? Could I go to jail? How do I tell my Mom? I couldn’t help, but let the tears out that I’d previously been able to hold back. My life felt like it was over. I forced myself to sleep early that night just so I could stop thinking. The next few days were a lot more of the same. I would have my good moments where I would be able to go to the movies and block everything else out. The bad times though were still outweighing those short periods of relief.
I wrote this not for anyone’s sympathy, but for my own sake. I needed to get all this out. It has been a few weeks now and while I’m definitely in a better place I still worry. I worry about my future. I don’t care about any fines, community service or suspension of my license. I worry that my future is gone because of one mistake. I’ve always been someone with lofty goals and I’m afraid that all of those dreams are now unattainable. Hopefully people will be able to see the true me and not judge me over one question on an application. Personally I truly think I’ll grow from this. I’m no alcoholic, but I know there have been many times where I’ve driven when I shouldn’t have. That will never happen again. I’m at a place where I’m even questioning if I’ll ever drink again. Like I said writing this has been therapeutic for me. I’ve got a lot left to deal with it, but I hope this can be serve as a warning to everyone out there. Really think twice and be careful because everything you worked for could be gone in an instant.