Carol is a wonderful person. She loves her husband, her two children, and her life.
She cares deeply for her relatives, friends, and co-workers.
She is warm, giving, and real. She makes people feel very comfortable around her. She has a kind heart and a loving soul. Everyone who knows her agrees.
Carol sees herself as a good person and has always taken much pride in that. The thought of hurting someone never crosses her mind.
One Thursday night in December Carol’s life crumbles. This is her story.
Carol and her co-workers are going to dinner to celebrate their boss’ birthday. It’s a typical productive day at work. Nothing eventful takes place. Everyone is eager to go to the birthday dinner. Come 5:30 they all leave work and head to the restaurant.
They get seated and order drinks and appetizers. They engage in stimulating conversation, share a few laughs, and reminisce about yesteryear. They order their last round, sing happy birthday, have some cake, hug and embrace each other goodbye, and look forward to an easy Friday.
It’s raining and very chilly. Carol makes her way to the car without an umbrella. She has no concerns about being able to drive safely. She has never had issues in the past and this is just another short drive home.
She turns on the radio, the heater, and activates the wipers. She’s enjoying the drive exploring her thoughts as she gets a text from her husband. Delighted to hear from him Carol attempts to respond.
Distracted by the radio, cell, wipers, rain, darkness, and having had a few drinks, she broadsides another car. Hard.
Carol is badly shaken up but still makes her way to the other car. The closer she gets the louder the wailing of a baby in the back seat. Baby’s mother is in the driver’s seat and appears injured.
Carol is horrified. Her right hand begins to shake uncontrollably. Her whole body starts to tremble under the pouring rain. She is filled with sorrow and feels completely helpless.
The police and paramedics arrive. An officer approaches Carol and they start talking. The officer smells alcohol on Carol’s breath. Before long Carol is placed in back of a police unit and taken to the station where she is given a chemical test. Her blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. She’s booked for driving under the influence.
She’s alone in a light green windowless holding cell. She is drowning in guilt and tortured by unrelenting remorse. She is overtaken with heavy sorrow and all she can do is wait to be released so she can deal with the situation.
She knows this will wreak havoc on her whole life and especially on her self image. She doesn’t want this unfortunate event to define who she is.
Her tears roll down her face as she continuously says to herself:
“I am a good person. I have a kind soul. I have a good heart. I meant no harm. I am not a monster. I am not a criminal. I made a mistake. A bad mistake. I will set things right for myself and for the baby and the mother. I am so sorry. I am so very, very sorry.”
Though Carol thought she was fine to drive she now realizes that wasn’t the case. She accepted responsibility for her conduct and was willing to make things right.
Time has passed and the criminal case is now behind her. She looks back and understands how her actions caused harm. To her credit Carol made the necessary changes and has grown as a result.
She feels blessed and has come to see herself as even a better person.
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