Years ago, my family and I left the house one night to pick up something for supper. When we opened the door, there were law-enforcement vehicles, ambulances, a crowd gathered around a small area and vehicles parked everywhere, including our driveway. 

We discovered a few minutes later, a neighbor had been out walking her dog and was hit and killed by a driver under the influence. I’m still not sure how that happened right outside our front door and we didn’t hear a thing.

I don’t believe when the man left his house that night that he intended to kill someone; however, his irresponsible decision devastated two families that night – his and the victim’s. I heard later that he was on his way to the store to buy more alcohol when the accident happened.

When I was growing up, a family member was shot in the abdomen. His survival rate was complicated by the fact (according to the doctor) that trying to repair the damage to his liver from excessive alcohol consumption was like trying to sew wet toilet paper together. He was quite fortunate that he survived the attack and lived many years after that.

Years ago, the church I attended at the time had an amazing opportunity to work with two young ladies who had been driving (alcohol was involved) and because of that decision, a 1-year-old girl (one of their daughters) lost her life. When my husband and I went to visit them after the accident, the carseat the little girl had been sitting in at the time of the accident was in the den. It broke my heart and it’s something I can never erase from my memory.

A family member of mine was a witness years ago to an alcohol-involved accident where a child lost their life and they were called to testify at the trial. They said if they did drink and drive that was enough to make them stop. 

These are just a few of the reasons and experiences I’ve lived through that make me question why anyone would drink and drive.

Two grown adult males that I care about were raised by alcoholic fathers. One of them made the statement years ago that he was determined (when he was a teenager) to not grow up and be the kind of man his father had been; so, I guess we can learn and grow positively even from the negative influences in our lives.

If we want to be totally honest, drinking is just one of the many reasons why accidents happen. Exceeding the speed limit, texting and other forms of distracted driving are just a few reasons why innocent lives are lost daily.

Because of my faith and personal convictions, I do not consume alcohol; however, I do not judge those who do. They have the right to make their own choices. I support their right to make their own choices. While I do not consider myself to be judgmental, I do have a strong aversion to alcohol consumption and I can’t apologize for that.

I know that everyone who drinks will not get behind the wheel of a vehicle and even if they do, they hopefully will not be involved in an accident; however, my thought is why take the chance? I thought it was human nature to want to be in control of or at least be aware of your surroundings; so, I’m not quite sure why someone would intentionally place themselves in harm’s way or take away their ability to protect themselves.

Years ago a parent told their child, who was about to leave for a friend’s house that night, that if they did drink, to call the parent who would gladly come and pick them up. The teenager’s response – why would I do that? You’ll have been drinking, too. I can’t think of a more powerful reason why parents may want to consider the behavior they exhibit in front of their children.

For the people in my life and even strangers who opt to drink, please keep yourself and those you care about safe. Stay home.

Ann Jordan works in The Valdosta Daily Times advertising department.

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