I’d like to say that the DUI I got seven years ago doesn’t affect my life today, but I’d be lying. The truth is, the consequences of that decision have been all-encompassing – especially lately.
For the last three years, I’ve been on felony probation – which hasn’t been a walk in the park. Under the terms of my probation, I’ve had curfews, breathalyzers and travel restrictions. Not to mention the endless fines, legal fees and court costs that I’ve had to pay.
Sometimes it starts to feel overwhelming and makes spending four years in state prison seem like a piece of cake.
Moving On is Hard
This month, I’m headed back to court in an attempt to terminate my probation – an attempt to close the door on the last seven years of my life. To say this upcoming event has caused me anxiety would be an understatement. I’ve been living in fear for the last four months, barely able to enjoy life around me.
During the upcoming hearing, I’ll have to face the judge that sentenced me to prison, as well as the family I hit and injured on my drunken joyride home. It will, no doubt, be an emotionally draining day – one I wish neither I, nor anyone else I affected, had to go through.
It’s not just the probation aspect that continues to haunt my life. Getting a DUI (as well as going to prison) affects your personal and professional life, too. Regardless of whether or not I want to divulge my past, I have to, and it’s really just the luck of the draw how people react to it.
Just last week, I had a job interview with the CEO of a large research non-profit. I was conflicted as to how – and when – I should tell him I’m a felon. Truthfully, I didn’t want to tell him at all. I’m sick of feeling like that one decision defines me as a person; I just wanted him to get to know the “real” me first.
Long story short, he was incredibly understanding of my past, but it made me wonder: Will I always have to bring up my DUI to a potential employer? Will there ever be a point where I don’t have to re-live it?
It’s Better to Think Twice
It’s said that we make approximately 35,000 decisions in a day. While most of these are trivial – such as what we want to eat – a lot of them aren’t. Some have the potential to completely alter the course of our lives. Yet, only a fraction of us ever stop and play the tape all the way through – to really think about the consequences that that one decision could bring.
Next time, when you’re faced with a similar situation – whether it’s getting behind the wheel after drinking too many or something completely different – think twice. I certainly wish I had.
Additional Reading: Embracing the Now – Time to Get Over the Ghosts of Your Past
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