A year ago, I was given a free BACtrack® Vio™ at a technology focused press event. I am, because I feel like it, including this product information into this very personal story I’m about to share with you. This is the first time I’ve ever written about this, and my memories of so many shattered lives. After a Woman Was Left in a Coma by a Drunk Driver, I Became Her BFF: She’ll Never Know & I’d Still Do It All Over Again

Don't Be a Drunk Driver

Have you ever met someone who changed later on in your relationship? I mean, really changed, like not even close to the same person s/he was? I’ve met a few people like that, especially during my teen years, and those experiences changed me, too.  In fact, one of my best friend’s changed. I’ll tell you all about her, shortly. First, there was a woman who Sue spent a lot of time with, and for that reason, I did too. That woman changed because only the right side of her brain functioned properly. The left side had suffered such severe trauma, it was close to non-functioning. You’ve heard of the science based right side – left side articles. Now, just imagine what life was like for her! She managed to make it through each day, with a lot of support and a live-in facility. She had a life. But, she would never be the same. Ever.

Then, there was a man, the husband of a woman I worked for. I was the babysitter. I babysat both the children and the husband. The husband had suffered several severe strokes. He had brain damage. Among other things, it was my job to protect the children from him because the husband had little control over his “urges.” I’m sure I didn’t understand how much so at the time, but I was in way over my head! I had to protect the children, myself, and even his wife on a few occasions. The man’s wife told me stories about her husband, before his injuries. She described a man who was completely different from the man who I knew. The whole heartbreaking story, for everyone who lived in that house, is one has tugged at my heartstrings for years.

People change. We have the right to choose to change. But, what about the people who don’t have a choice? What about them? What if they don’t want to change? What if they are happy just the way they are? There are accidents and diseases and all kinds of terrible things in life that could change our lives in an instant. I understand that. What I don’t understand, is making a choice to destroy someone else’s life. Driving drunk is a choice. While there are plenty of people who have driven at twice or more than the legal limit, my guess is that most people don’t realize they are over-the-limit and impaired. The truth is, whether the consequences of driving drunk are from a conscious choice to do so, or from a foolish choice to assume best-case-scenario, it’s a choice. It’s a choice that could change your life and anyone else’s, forever. 

That brings me to the story of one of my best friends. By that time in her life, I was one of her only friends. I spent many days with her, but she never met me. After reading a newspaper article about her, I couldn’t resist the urge to meet her in person. She was a pretty woman in her early twenties. She was in a coma after a terrible car accident. The story of the accident was in many of the local newspapers. It wasn’t the initial story that caught my attention, though. I didn’t hear about her story until she was moved to a nursing-home. She was in the beginning of her life, about to be moved to a facility where most people were at the end of their lives. That caught my attention. I started visiting her. I read to her. I sang to her. I played music and danced next to her bed. I brushed her hair and tried with everything in me to share my youth with her. I wanted her to feel young. I longed for her to live whatever life she planned to, before her accident. By the time I decided to be her new BFF, few family or friends visited her anymore. So, I kept introducing her to my friends. I made quite a few of them go visit her with me. I thought that she might have a better chance of waking up if she was surrounded with youth and life, rather than old age and constant death. Yes, there was constant death. It was a nursing home. The following year I left the State. Years later, one of my younger sisters got a job in that same nursing home. She called me to tell me that my picture was still in Shannon’s room. I even got the chance to speak to Shannon’s mother that year to tell her that her daughter was forever in my heart.

To this day, I am grateful for every minute I got to spend with Shannon. I can only hope she knew I was there. In a moment, her entire life was changed forever.

Drunk driving is not an accident. I’m asking you, begging you, telling you to make informed choices. Talk about drunk driving with your friends. If you are old enough to drink, you are old enough to have a conversation about the potential consequences of being a drunk driver. In fact, offer a breathalyzer test to your friends and family before they leave a gathering or event! Gift one so they can do the same for their friends.

Honestly, I can’t think of a better Holiday Gift! 

Aside from the free breathalyzer that was given to me a year ago, I’ve had no other form of sponsorship for this post. In honor of Shannon, and those like her, I implore you to be responsible. Have fun. Gather. Drink wine. Drink whatever you want, but drink responsibly and DON’T drink and drive. 

The BACtrack® Vio™ is only $49.99. It comes with three mouthpiece attachments so you can test your friends as well! It works together with free a app that is user friendly. It’s on my holiday shopping list, for sure! I can think of several people who would really appreciate one.

don't be a drunk driver

don't be a drunk driver

Don't be a drunk driver

don't be a drunk driver

don't be a drunk driver

Be better safe than sorry!

By: Alicia Gonzale