“Welp, my boyfriend’s on heroin and meth, I think I’m gonna get a drink.”
It was 8 am and I woke up to a bunch of incoherent texts from my boyfriend, simultaneously accusatory, abusive, loving, practical and delusional. He’d just gotten back from disappearing for two days in Mexico, stocking up on drugs, I’m sure. I’d sent my fair share of drunken and abusive and accusatory texts the night before. He was pissed that I’d told his mom he’d relapsed. He’d been suicidal since his relapse and his mom was wanting him to get help. So, these were just his replies.
I climbed out of bed and grabbed my purse and keys. This is how this day was going to go, I guess. Just get started early.
I drove to the liquor store around the corner and got what I always got: a six-pack of Blue Moon, two 4-packs of little bottles of wine, and a large bottle of some craft beer so I looked like I had taste to the liquor store clerk that would surely see me buy the same thing a few times today and knew for sure that I had no taste in alcohol. He rang me up and I was on my way.
I stopped by a park around the corner from my house. There were some people jogging, playing music and setting up for a birthday party… I opened up one of the little wine bottles and chugged it, put it back in the little cardboard crate and grabbed another one. Today, one of my tenants was holding an open house so I’d be working from home with my work cell by my side to answer any questions from the tenant and prospective renters.
The day was really nice. Too nice to stay inside and drink and I loved being outside and drinking so I decided to go home and get changed and make it a work-from-outside-drunk-while-fighting-with-loser-boyfriend-via-text-day. This was not out of the ordinary for me, I usually text-fought with this guy even when he wasn’t on drugs while still maintaining a level of intoxication and professionalism so this juggling act was normal for me. Add in some lying to concerned friends and family, and it was business as usual.
First, I was going to go get breakfast 30 miles away at a cafe I like in Point Loma near my church. Actually, first, I get started on the 6-pack of beer while I get ready because I hate carrying glass in my car. It makes too much noise. So I drink those while I put on make-up, do my hair, and get dressed. Then, I get into my car with the small plastic wine bottles and the one big beer bottle.
I navigate all the way down to Point Loma then decide I’m running low on wine bottles and should just skip food and drink my calories instead, a common practice at the time. This was logical because I usually spent so much money on alcohol that I couldn’t usually afford food. There is a Trader Joe’s right near the cafe I wanted to go to, so I parked in front, almost hit a pedestrian, then parked. I went inside and looked at their wine section. Something to keep in mind when drinking and driving is that I don’t have a wine-bottle opener with me usually so it has to be wine in a container that’s easily openable. Ah yes, boxed wine, the biggest one. White wine…. yikes, all they had was chardonnay. It’ll have to do! I bought the box and climbed back into my car.
At this point, it was getting pretty warm out so I decided I should drink the beer before it gets hot and then pulled out of the parking lot. My boss was texting me about the open house, so I was texting her back. I got a few phone calls from my tenants about the renting procedure so I talked them through it. They thanked me and we hung up. Dialed the boyfriend yelled at him about being a loser, then hung up on him.
Where to go, where to go. Such a pretty day out… I think I’ll head to Sunset Cliffs. That’s a really pretty place and not too far and I can just chill out and drink there and conduct more business.
So I get on the freeway. There’s a styrofoam cup in my cup holder that has some old horchata in it. I dump the horchata out the window and grab the box of wine and open it, filling the styrofoam cup with wine. Smelling it gives me the chills, it smells so gross, I hate chardonnay but it’ll do the job. I drink it and miss my exit to Sunset Cliffs. Okay, so that’s out of the question now. Where to now?
At this point, I don’t even know what freeway I’m on now but that’s okay. Nothing really matters. All the alcohol in the world couldn’t drown out this feeling of complete self-hatred I had for myself. I’m just a loser driving drunk in San Diego with nothing going on for her. She’s a disappointment to her family. A failure at her job. Not even a good friend to anyone. And her boyfriend sucks. I kept driving.
The chardonnay started setting in and I decided I should pull over to drink, that would be the responsible thing to do. Afterall, it was a big box and I didn’t want to waste all of my gas driving around while I drank it. So I found a nice neighborhood in La Jolla and parked. I answered a text from my boss then drank then drifted off into blackness.
I woke up to someone pounding on my window, which really pissed me off because I had just spent a bunch of money to get my window fixed. There was a paramedic asking if I was okay, open the door, etc. Basically, my car was still on because I had the air conditioner on, so I pushed in the clutch, took off the emergency brake and waved off the paramedics. I’m okay, I told them. I don’t think they believed me though because they got in front of my car to prevent me from leaving and then told me I wasn’t going anywhere. They called the cops.
People in the neighborhood started coming out of their houses, the shiny red fire truck surely caught their eye. The blue and red lights kept them out.
The cops asked me to get out of the car and asked me a bunch of questions I answered very poorly. My story was that I had drank some wine the night before (seriously Vanessa??) and was just really tired and needed to take a nap.
“Is that why you parked like this?”
I looked at my car and it was parked at a pretty solid 45 degree angle to the curb and was right in front of a “No Parking” sign. Good job, me.
After everything was said and done, I bailed out of jail and fought my case from the streets. The DA hated my guts and brought up my two prior DUI’s from 7-8 years ago, both also had BAC’s higher than 0.22 and she really kept saying that over and over again. She kept going on about my high BAC and that is why they wanted me to serve 6 months in jail. Nope.
On August 20th, my public defender got the judge to agree to an outpatient program and 6 months of house arrest with 5 years of summary probation.
Phew, that was a close one.
I go to my still loser-boyfriends house after court and he shows up with a 6-pack of my favorite beer and a bottle of my favorite wine to celebrate me avoiding jail, or so I think. We drink.
We drink and our normal text-fighting now turns into real fighting. He’d been violent with me before but there wasn’t a regular pattern of it, to say, really. In July 2013, when we had started dating, I had to call the cops on him. That should’ve been a good sign to leave the relationship but I didn’t. After looking at my injuries, San Diego County didn’t file any charges against him.
In November 2013, while he was visiting me in Riverside, we had another incident where I had to call the cops on him. Riverside County ended up filing some charges against him but his mom paid for his attorney so there wasn’t any real consequences for him. She paid for the restraining order to be removed.
In August 2014, boyfriend did some more fucked up shit and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to my car and me, and San Diego County didn’t file any domestic violence charges against him but they did keep him in jail for a while since he had been on probation for some drug related stuff. He never let me forget that “I” put him in jail. Nope.
So, here was his chance. It started with him grabbing my phone and accusing me of things, again. He was really pissed about me telling his mom about his relapse and how he was using drugs again. I tried to grab my phone from him but he pushed me against a wall and said some pretty threatening things. Things got physical and I ran out of his house. He came out and threw my phone at me, along with all my belongings. I sat on the curb and cried.
What a shitty night, right? Unfortunately, this was really like most nights that we were together and drinking. Shitty. The whole relationship was shitty. But here folks, is where it gets magical.
As I sat on the curb, crying, a police officer showed up. Thank God, I thought. I figured one of his roommates or neighbors had heard us fighting and the cops were here to rescue me.
He’d called the cops on me and said that I’d done something to him and threatened to kill him or something. The cop interviewed me and since I appeared to be the most intoxicated, I got arrested.
A week later, my public defender put me on the court calendar to now face this new charge because it affected my probation on my DUI case. It was there that I learned that the boyfriend had told the cops that I had scratched him. They showed me photos and it was very evident to me that he’d just scratched himself. I don’t even know how it would have been possible for me to scratch anything since I was a chronic nail biter and had no nails to scratch with, let alone I was terrified of him when he was drunk, but the DA doesn’t care much for logic and it was the same DA that hated me for my high blood alcohol content DUI’s so, I was charged with domestic violence.
I spent the next two months in jail fighting this case.
As much as I wanted to blame the now ex-boyfriend (finally) for me being in jail, I really couldn’t. Everything up to that point had been my decision. I chose to drink that night. I chose to be in a relationship with him. I chose to be in denial about my alcoholism. My choices were poor. I had had the freedom to decide things and I messed up. And if I had it my way, I would not have chosen to be in jail. In jail, all of your choices are stripped from you.
You don’t decide when you eat, sleep, work, or read. You don’t decide when you get there or when you leave. You don’t decide the type of shampoo you want to use or the clothes you want to wear. You don’t decide when you get to call your parents. You don’t get to decide anymore because you aren’t a good decision maker so you lose that privilege.
And I’m glad I lost it. Only when you lose everything are you capable of anything, right? Isn’t that a saying?
It’s so fucking true.
I surrendered in jail. I surrendered everything. My choices, my life, my beliefs, my worries, my anxieties, my pride, my ego… I turned everything over to God and asked him to please make sure I never go through this again. I begged God. Have you ever begged God? Like, really begged? It hurts. It hurt my heart. It hurt the innermost parts of my soul. I was tired of fighting everything every day. I was tired of fighting God’s plan for me. I surrendered.
Basically, I said something like, God, I’m going to stop fighting this but show me something worth fighting for.
Eventually, I quit fighting for justice and started fighting for myself.
I fought to get into a treatment program. I told the judge that I would plead guilty to this domestic violence case if I could serve my time in a rehab. In the depths of my soul, I knew if I did not get help I would end up in jail again or dead. To this day, I still believe that. I cried to my public defender to please plead my case, I really wanted help. I was willing to plead guilty if I could just please get this help.
The judge agreed. She not only agreed but offered to drop the two felony charges and which left me with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
I pled guilty.
The rest is history…. or just the last 12 months of this blog.
Thank you everyone for being on this journey with me.
I’m not proud of who I was. I don’t think anyone was. I’m trying to make up for that, now.
This concludes the 4-part series. I know this is only the 3rd part but I decided to get part 4 out of the way because this writing is very emotionally draining. It actually physically made me sick to think about how much I drank and drove. And this was just one incident. It still makes me really, really, nauseous to think about how many people were endangered during my driving. How many families could’ve been affected? It’s sickening… What’s even more sickening is that if I hadn’t gone to jail and rehab, I’d probably still be doing it.
If you or someone you know struggles with addiction or alcoholism, look into treatment options. Open your mind and your heart to another way of living. You don’t ever have to live like this again.
If you are a friend or family member of someone that struggles, get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting. Read about this spiritual disease. Learn to set boundaries. My parents did these things and helped to save my life.
Thanks again if you stuck around to read this. Thanks even more if you decided to stick around in my life to see it change. And many, many thanks to God who did everything I couldn’t do for myself.