Lessons learned from a DUI

lessons


There are moments that are still haunting me in my life, although they are becoming less and less. These are moments I am not incredibly proud of but there have by far contributed to my own personal growth.

The distance in time helps but there are still moments of shame, guilt, and even embarrassment.

It wasn’t a great time in my life, the relationship I was in was falling apart for many various reasons and I was still heavily into self-loathing and self-destruction. Even though I had young children to care for.

I went out to a party and that’s it. I don’t remember anything after that, except for brief moments sitting in a cop car and then waking up behind bars as I was released.

There has been a war within of taking responsibility for myself and my actions while realizing that my drink was spiked. And perhaps it wasn’t but that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, I was drunk and got behind the wheel and had to deal with the consequences.

For the first time in my life, I had to look at myself. 

I had to acknowledge that what I was doing was not serving me or my kids.

I had to see that how I was showing up in this world was fully my responsibility.

I needed to take accountability for my actions.

And it was hard and painful. 

For the first time in my life, I saw I was playing the victim.

The victim because I was born to parents who were not equipped to raise me.

The victim because I grew up in foster care and no one wanted or loved me.

The victim that if no one thought I was good enough, I didn’t deserve to love myself.

As I began looking at myself at the age of 26, who had endured so much, I was able to make sense of my own behavior. It felt like the fog has finally lifted and that it was time for me to step out of the shadow.

I was embarrassed that I allowed it to get out of control.

I was ashamed that I seemed to have followed my parent’s footsteps.

I was riddled with guilt for slamming the truck into a house with a family in it.

How could I allow this to happen? 

Going through all the motions after the restricted license, the required education class and therapy I know that I balanced on the edge between alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction.

And truly, there is no excuse.

But there is no reason for me to continue to beat myself up over it.

It’s been 16 years.

16 years of venturing out into the light.

16 years of turning my life around.

16 years of becoming who I have always been.

There are still moments where I shake my head in disbelief and say, “How could I?” but it happened exactly when it needed to happen.

It happened so that I could wake the hell up. 

I needed to unravel and become completely undone. 

And in the process, I learned to be gentle with myself, to acknowledge we don’t know what we don’t know but to be open to the opportunity to step into awareness for ourselves.

Since that day, I look at every event and every experience and see what the relationship is between past and present. And there is always a relationship. Don’t believe me? Keep a diary of the events and behaviors in your current life and think back when this behavior showed up before. What was the event? How do you feel?

I drank because I wanted to fit in, needed to courage to speak and because I hated myself. But I didn’t know these things. I didn’t know that is why I was drinking so heavily all the time.

I needed to learn to be okay with my past, to love myself exactly the way I am flawed and all and I needed to know that I could always depend on me.

But more than anything else, I needed to forgive.

Forgive me.

Forgive my parents.

Forgive my foster parents.

Forgive all the other people.

Forgive the events that happened to me beyond my control.

Forgive the events that were completely in my control.

It is the time that I no longer feel ashamed over this event or embarrassed.

We all do some stupid things at times, some bigger than others.

But they are not the end of the world.

There are however lessons to be learned and grow from.

I am no longer hanging my head in shame but rather acknowledge the incredible awareness that happened because of the event.

And at this moment in time, I want you to know that no matter what stupid thing you have done, you are okay – right here, right now. Don’t beat yourself up over it because you will miss out on so many things that are truly good in your life.

I love you!

 

Petra is a coach and mentor for creatives, rebels and dreamers who are ready to find the courage to forge their own path because life is too short to feed the fear.

She’s the founder of the Rebel Soul Connection, a community for creatives, rebels, and dreamers to take action with tools, resources, support, and accountability.

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