Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Reformed Drunk Driver

Back to my Drunk Driver Parolee Story, Part Deaux.

M was a young man when he went to prison. Unfortunately, he had started drinking before he had started driving. So when he started driving, he was already a drunk. I don't remember how old he was when he killed someone while driving drunk, but I remember he was around 25.
Maybe it was because he was so young, maybe it was because the person he killed was his age, maybe it was because both his parents were alcoholics, but whatever the reason, M was different from the other parolees I've told you about. He always tried to give me the credit for turning him around, but I will tell you right now, he walked into my office a REPENITANT man.
From the "git-go" he admitted he was drunk, but that being drunk was his fault and no excuse for getting behind the wheel of a car that night. He regretted his offense and said he would regret it until the day he died. He stayed sober the entire time he was on my caseload.

He had been arrestted at the scene of the wreck. He never took another drink after that. He had to go through detox in the hospital after he was arrested, but he never drank again. He made his 90 meetings in 90 days while he was awaiting sentencing. He didn't ask for a trial. He didn't even want to ask for a plea bargain, but his attorney was rather insistent, according to him.
When I told him I wanted him to do another 90 in 90, that I considered it standard for all parolees who had an Involuntary Manslaughter {nowdays it's called Intoxication Manslaughter} conviction, he didn't balk, or complain, he just said, "Yes, Ma'am, I understand." And he did it.

During the next several years, even after I left the Parole Office, I'd see him and later him and his wife and then them and their daughter around town now and again. He'd always come over and speak to me. He'd start off by thnaking me for my help, and then he'd tell me how good his BUSINESS was doing, and what trips he and his family had taken, and how well his daughter was doing in school. And then he'd try to thank me, again. My response was always the same, "M, you did it yourself. All I did was encourage you and offer you a little support now and then." "Well, Miss H, it made a difference, Thanks."

Of the hundreds of parolees I handled over the years, he's the ONLY one I feel good about.


Lovi said...

You did a thankless job well. I'm sure you made a difference in more lives than you know!

HollyB said...

Thanks, Lovi. I like to think so, if only in the lives of people I protected by sending the recidivists back to prison for a brief time!

DiamondMair said...

Keep the Goddess in your thoughts today, as she girds her loins for confrontation over cappucino ..................... ;)
Semper Fi'
Diamond Mair

phlegmfatale said...

Well, bless M for facing what was wrong in his life that he was hiding from in drink, and bless him for moving on and trying to be a good person despite that life-changing tragedy, and bless you, Holly, for being who you are and having the strength of character to say the tough things and try to help these people change their lives.