Drinking and driving: Is it worth it?

  • Published
  • By Anonymous
  • anonymous
The following commentary was written by an Airman here who was punished for driving under the influence. His leadership asked that this Airman remain anonymous.

Drinking and driving. Is it really worth it? Is it worth risking your promotion, your career or possibly your life? Although the "obvious" answer would be no, I thought differently on the night of Aug. 19.

On that night, I arrived at the gate at 4 a.m. and was directed to pull over. I was then given the field sobriety test, for which I failed miserably, and blew into the dreaded breathalyzer (blew nearly two times the legal limit). Before I knew it, I was taken into custody by our security forces.

At that point, I realized I had made a huge mistake, especially when I received word that my first sergeant and my supervisors were notified. I'm sure it was a rude awakening for them and their family as well!

On that night, not only did I lose the respect of my peers, but I lost my dignity, my pride and, of course, my stripes. This night changed my entire outlook on life and jeopardized my career in the Air Force.

My lapse of good judgment caused my leadership to question my core values and my apparent lack of respect for authority. Furthermore, my mistake misrepresented my section, my squadron, the U.S. Air Force, and most of all, my family's good name.

That night, I failed to make the right decision to not drive under the influence. For every bad decision that is made, there are consequences. Right now, I am facing consequences that I could have prevented if I had only listened and utilized the available resources that the base has to offer: 225-RIDE, 227-Taxi, my wingman, my leadership and my first sergeant.

Shortly after receiving the DUI, my entire squadron had to stand in formation at the post office while I changed the infamous DUI sign. Although I thought that was embarrassing enough, even more punishment soon followed.

I was reduced to the rank of Airman, performed 30 straight days of extra duty, enrolled in the Alcohol, Drug and Abuse Prevention Treatment program, worked for the 225-Ride program as a passenger handing out 225-RIDE cards, and put together a 10-minute briefing for the last commander's call. Believe me, that was nerve racking but important to my fellow peers.

With that said, I sometimes ask myself this question, "Is it truly worth it?" The obvious answer is no. It's too late for me, but it's not too late for you to make the right decision.

If you are going to drink, be responsible, have a plan and, of course, have a wingman. There are many options on base for you to use should you decide to drink. Listen and use them. It will save your promotion, your career and possibly your life!

Do not make the same poor decision that I did. Do not become the statistic that I have become. Let me be the example for you on what not to do, ever. And, most importantly, do not drink and drive.