According to my Google search, around 55 per cent of all vehicle wrecks are alcohol or drug-related.
If you are stopped by the police and are charged with driving while under the influence (DUI), it is up to a $1,000 fine, a second offence can land you in jail for 30 days, and a third offence can land you in the slammer for 120 days. You lose your licence and have a criminal record, and it stays on your record.
In December 2022, 414 people received DUI’s in Saskatchewan alone. That is one out of 2,200 drivers. Doesn’t seem like much, unless you are the one to get that call that it killed your loved one.
When I was a teenager, drinking with my friends seemed to be a good idea and it was a blast. We would all pile into one vehicle, get some booze and travel all the back roads. It was called a gravel run.
As I grew older, I married and had children. I have a special needs daughter with lots of health issues and I struggled with anxiety, so I began to have a few drinks, just to take the edge off, not knowing that those few drinks would lead into a much bigger problem.
By this time, my kids were teenagers, and I was drinking a bottle a day. Who would it hurt? Just me, right? Wrong.
I worked hard, drank hard and played hard, never missing a day of work, but never being completely sober. I never planned to become an alcoholic, but I was.
I woke up one morning and hated who I saw in the mirror and quit. This was on December 12, 2000, and I have never had a drink since. I do think about it when times get difficult, of course I do, but I never will again, as I know what it does to family.
Today I still deal with alcoholism but it is worse, far worse and the pain is incredible. All I can do is sit back and watch as my son slowly goes downhill.
To watch my son go through this is torture, as the system does not allow me to help him.
I have had people tell me to walk away, use tough love, but could you? Could you walk away from your own flesh and blood and sleep at night?
I know that if they do not want to change, nothing can change them. It does not matter what you say to them or how you act to them, you cannot make them get help.
The hard part is not having help. I have phoned hospitals, rehabs, police, hotlines and counsellors only to be told the same thing. He is an adult. If he is not causing self-harm or harming others, we can not do a thing. Sorry, we understand and know how you feel.
Unless you have walked in my shoes, you do not understand or know how I feel. If you have a kid that is going through this, then yes you do. It does cause self-harm. It destroys the liver, causes heart issues, strokes, digestive issues and kills brain cells, yet it is legal to sell.
It tears families apart. We can not plan family functions or family pictures. The last family pictures were horrible as he was not sober. A family supper is often short or not at all, as he just may not show up.
Alcohol is taxed at 50 per cent, this tax should go towards helping parents of addicted adults, by allowing parents to force them into rehab. As it stands now, if he went, he could walk out the next day.
My best friend’s son died from this at the age of 33. She found him, and it is a memory she will never forget.
Every function has to have liquor, most stores sell it and yet it is a legal substance that kills people. Something has to change; our system does not work for adult addicts. Parents’ hands are tied with this, and it is not a fun game.
Our system needs to change, or more addicted adults are going to die.