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FINALIST ESSAY: Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive Scholarship by Caleb Hoover (Spring 2020)

Caleb Hoover scholarship finalistNever Drink and Drive Scholarship Essay Submission

By Caleb Hoover

My dad is an alcoholic in recovery. Before that, he was just an alcoholic. One night, he decided to go to the bar to get drunk. Afterwards he decided to get in his truck. I do not know where he anticipated going, but I know where he ended up: sitting on the cold concrete floor of a jail cell without a driver’s license, without a car, and in the morning, without a job.

What did $20 cost him? His car, employment, house, insurance, family, friendships, money, anxiety, depression, and shame among other things. A one time decision completely destroyed his life, and he is still putting the pieces back together a year later. He still does not have a license or a car, he has difficulty finding a job given his record, and his finances are unstable. It is hard to think what more could have happened if the light pole had not gotten in his way leaving the parking lot. Could he have killed someone else? Multiple people? Himself? Even before my dad became an alcoholic, he just drank alcohol.

An interesting thing about alcohol is that not everyone who drinks becomes an alcoholic like my dad. Not everyone who drinks gets drunk either. For many, alcohol is simply a social aspect of life, whether daily, on weekends, or during special occasions. The problem with alcohol is not even that people get drunk, but that people do not have safeguards in place when they get drunk and that they are at an increased risk to harm themselves or others.
I have heard stories about the drunk personalities: the happy drunk, the loud drunk, the angry drunk. I have seen those personalities in relationships closest to me. The one thing I have never heard in conversations with people is that there is “the normal drunk.” The descriptions attributed to individuals are always the alterations of their personality, whether an amplification or reversal of their sober self. Are some people more fun when they are drunk? Yes. Can people have a good time when they are drunk? Definitely. Can people make really unwise decisions when they are drunk? Absolutely. People are not the same when they are drunk. It affects their entire person: their thoughts, feelings, coordination, critical thinking, and actions. This can havely deadly consequences when that person decides to get behind the wheel.
Every year millions of people choose to drive drunk and thousands of people are injured or killed because of it. What is more astounding is how simple safe drinking is. Having a designated driver, calling a friend, or using a transportation service like uber eliminate the risks associated with drunk driving. My dad’s story provides one small insight into the impact driving drunk can have. I would say he is one of the lucky ones. The question people should be asking themselves is not, “What am I willing to risk,” but rather “Why am I willing to harm others and myself?” Never drink and drive.

Caleb Hoover attends Cedarville University where he is in his second year of pursuing a doctor of Pharmacy degree. He expects to graduate in May 2022.

Pat Rillera, Regional Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Southern California, will be selecting our winner next week.

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