“You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice” -A universal paradox that we believe we can do whatever we want moment to moment.
The truth is that, at times, our choices have far reaching consequences. The less important choices are what to wear today or should I park here or there. These things have very little impact on our life in general. Bigger decisions are which college or university to attend, who we marry or if we get married at all. These are the choices our parents talk to us about. These are the things we think about and we know are going to help shape our lives; what we are going to be able to do and where we are going to live. Relaxing with some friends is never anything we would have considered as part of the things that shape our lives.
The truth is, in Illinois, it can easily have that effect. Chicago has very strict laws relating to DUI’s. Going out to a bar with friends is something many Americans enjoy doing not only on the weekends but even Monday night to watch the game. Sports and alcohol go together in our nation. Tailgating is best way to spend the game day. Cheering for our favorite team with a group of friends or even with a group of strangers that are cheering for our team is a great way to watch the game. Having a drink or two isn’t a problem, until you get behind the wheel of your car.
Studies have shown that even one drink can impair your driving skills. Reaction times slow and the ability to quickly and accurately access situations are severely compromised. The tough part is that studies have also shown that drinking alcohol can make us healthier. These studies show that in moderation, alcohol can reduce stress, improve circulation as well as other things. Most people struggle to keep consumption within that range. When we are out with our friends watching the game, beer just seems to taste better. And usually, the more we have the better it tastes. Plus, if our team wins we need to celebrate – with a beer or a shot. Likewise, if we lose there’s no better way to drown our sorrow in a beer. When we drink we feel better and who doesn’t want to feel better?
So, our team won – what a game! We had a great time with a couple of old friends and even made a few more talking about the game, the plays and the calls. No one could believe the ref made that last call – it was ridiculous! Ah well. It was a good game and now it’s time to get home. After all, gotta get to work in the morning. That’s when it could happen. You look up and there are the sparkling lights. Lights are great during the holidays but not red and blue behind your car when you just left the bar. The good feeling you had just a minute ago from the alcohol doesn’t seem to have the same effect when you’re face to face with an officer of the law.
The first time a person is pulled over for driving while under the influence the consequences can feel like the weight of the world. A repeat offender would say that those consequences are a walk in the park. Remember though, none of the consequences are minor or easy to forget.