I had a friend whose house phone number was one digit off from my house phone. We were close friends and grew up in the same neighborhood; we had stayed in touch when I moved away. Well, one night I get a call from her, and she seem frantic. “Hey, so the cops called asking for your mom. I told them they had the wrong number and gave them yours.” As she says this the call waiting beeps come through, I quickly say thanks they are calling now and hang up and switch over. 

“Hi, this is the Danbury Police Department. We are looking for Karen Chance,” I tell them to hold on and run to find my mom. Thoughts are rushing through my head of what could be happening. I’m beyond nervous. Cops calling the house can’t be a good sign. My mom takes the call and moves away from me so I can’t hear anything that is being said. But I sit close and try to hear what I can.

Dad had gotten pulled over. He had been drinking and driving, and they are charging him for driving while under the influence. (D.U.I.) My mom had the option to get him or leave him till he sobered up. My mom decides no, I’m not coming to get you. He needs to dry out before he can come home. Even the cop tells her to leave him there. He hates that answer! He threatens to call my mom’s friend to get him. “Don’t you dare!” My mom was livid.

As time goes on my mom starts to set up the pullout couch in our guest room. “What are you doing?” I ask. She says she doesn’t want to be in the same bedroom as him when he gets home. I have never seen her do this before and it scares me. “Well, I’m going to sleep here with you. I don’t want you to be alone.”

Shit! I don’t want to be alone. My mom and I lie in bed reading until my dad gets home. His footsteps are loud and deliberate as he bounds up the stairs. When he gets to the guest room, he slams the door open with fire in his eyes ready to attack, until he sees that I’m in the bed with her. Without saying a word, he backs out of the room and shuts the door.

I’ve seen my dad angry before, but this was different. I am so thankful that I was in that room that night. I don’t know what he would have done. But that look in his eyes, my gut knew it would have been bad. I am also thankful that all he needed to do was see my face and leave.

The next day, being afraid and not sure how the house would settle, I asked my mom if my best friend Oscar could come to stay the night. (We had been friends since we were four and he was the only boy who was ever allowed to sleep over haha). It had been a school night, but my mom knew that if I had a friend over — especially Oscar — my dad wasn’t going to come home yelling. Having my best friend there made me feel safe. Oscar knew what had happened and I am thankful his mom loved us so much that she said it was okay for him to stay over on a school night. 

Dad eventually had to go to court for his D.U.I. They gave him the option to enter rehab. At this point, I honestly don’t know how many times my dad had been to rehab or detox. All I know is he was damn lucky to catch that break. 

When dad got back from rehab I wanted to talk. And, as usual, he wouldn’t. He would never talk about the things that happened when he drank. “I don’t want to talk about it… I had to go through it.”

“NO!” I wanted to scream. “You get to black out and forget everything you’ve said and done.” And we are left with hurtful words and memories. He could never acknowledge he had an issue, so why talk about it, right?

The more things like this kept happening, the more I hated him. I don’t think in his whole time with us he could ever get past two years sober. And two years sober was something that didn’t happen till later. Talking with my mom recently she gave me some insight into his relapses. It went from relapsing every year to every six months, to every three months. It only got worse as time went on. It was only when divorce was imminent that he really tried to stay sober longer.

Every time he came home from rehab or detox the fights only got worse. He may have been sober, but he was angry and a “Dry Drunk.” He didn’t see anything as his fault, and his “faults” fell on us at home.

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

2 Replies to “D.U.I.”

  1. This post was gripping. Leaves me with the same frustrating feeling of helplessness that you were experiencing.😥

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All opinions and conclusions are my own. I am not a medical professional and I am not able to provide you with personalized medical recommendations. If you need help, there are many sources of information and places to get help.