Why Stop Drinking & Driving?

Some MADD members have stopped speaking for MADD through the years because of Burn Out and feeling it's futile to keep speaking, like nothing is changing and nothing ever will. Sure it concerns me that after all of those years of speaking for MADD, I've not seen the numbers of alcohol-impaired driving incidents reduce. The rooms are still filling with DWI convictees. It occurred to me that perhaps the police are simply becoming more effective at getting alcohol-impaired drivers off of the roads, so the progress we are making is harder to see as a result. But from what I've heard, fatalities are down.

One problem is that the police and MADD have been working hard to make a difference, yet people still get behind the wheel and drive impaired. The DWI numbers and fatalities are staggering.

A few years ago, I started seriously refocusing my message away from the horror story and migrating into the reward for driving sober. Rather than being against something, being for something might yield better results.

If the doctrine of fear and the mere rendition of horror stories, combined with effective policing were sufficient to stop impaired driving, we would have slammed the brakes on this problem a long time ago. So we have to be honest with ourselves and quit doing what doesn't work.

Anyone remember the Scared Straight Program, where youthful male offenders would be brought to adult prison to 'scare' them into living a law-abiding life? Certain inmates were selected to verbally abuse the young men, telling them what would happen to them if they came to prison. They would also scream at the young people and get in their face in a hostile manner. In Minnesota today, this would be unacceptable behavior, thanks to the Minnesota Prison Rape Elimination Act.

While I'm all for touching audiences' hearts to stop impaired driving, as an education of the heart is indispensable, having a 'drum roll' followed by a repetition of information everyone has heard a hundred times already is useless.

Alcohol is a real problem in our society. While under the influence, people still know the difference between right and wrong. But alcohol is a great drug for reducing anxiety and while under the influence, people don't CARE that they are at risk of harming others or themselves.

Well, remember the JFK quote about not asking what your country can do for you, but rather, ask what you can do for your country? I feel voluntary service work gives people time to reflect on their lives while helping others. Speaking for MADD helped keep me sober, so it helped keep this alcohol-impaired driver stay out of the back of a police car or Hearst. More importantly, if I am sober, I can't drive drunk and kill someone else. The real issue is SOBRIETY. While we are not interested in being part of a prohibitionist society, and only ask that people don't drink and drive, I submit to you that if someone drinks, they will drive. Getting a Designated Driver is a great idea...that didn't work. Drinking and driving go hand-in-hand; that's how it usually works. How do we impress upon people that alcohol is a dangerous legal drug? Even people that have multiple DWI's or have even killed or injured themselves or others, still keep doing it! MADD Panels and prison don't go far enough! But maybe treatment would.

Half of all murders in this country reflect either the murderer or the victim (or both) were either drunk or under the influence of alcohol. More than half of all children that die in alcohol-impaired crashed die at the hands of the ones who love them the most (the parent/s). Tell me that alcohol isn't cunning, baffling and powerful. We might not be an Alcoholic, but if we lose our control while drinking, we have a drinking problem. Who in their right minds would place themselves and loved ones in eminent danger? Obviously, an impaired person would.

Deciding to drive sober while drunk might work, but only if a person hits rock bottom. But you know the drill. Alcohol doesn't have a conscience and it doesn't discriminate.

I could go on and on. Well, I already have. January of 91 until now and still hard at it. Unlocking hearts and persuading people to take their freedom back from King Alcohol. Me, I feel like a Runaway Slave in the Safe State called the 12 Step Program, prayer and intention, and serving my fellow for the greater good.