It has been almost a year since you received your DUI. You are still in the adjustment phase and are trying your hardest every day to stay sober. Drinking and driving under the influence was a dreadful mistake, but you are now moving forward. The fees are almost paid off. You spent your time in jail, completed a drug and alcohol education program, and participated in community service.
Life has changed in several ways, especially since you lost the freedom to operate a vehicle and have to find other means of transportation. You have faced many challenges and still are with maintaining sobriety. Now is the time to focus on the positives. Finding the support and treatment needed can be beneficial when moving forward to a different life.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 32 people die a day in the United States from fatal drunk-driving accidents. That means one person dies every 45 minutes. The NHTSA also states that 11,654 people have died from alcohol-related traffic deaths.
Driving a vehicle while under the influence is a capital crime. Due to strict enforcement laws, drunk-driving deaths have been reduced since the 1980s. Charges can include misdemeanors, felonies, and penalties. The cost of poor judgment can be very expensive. For example, a first-time offense can cost a driver up to $10,000 in legal fees.
The Impact of Having a DUI
It is common for people to feel it is okay to drive while under the influence because their judgment is impaired. However, a DUI can impact your professional career, education, relationships, and the rest of your life.
The first offense from a DUI may follow with temporary risks but drinking while driving comes with many repercussions that are never worth it. Your actions could cause long-lasting injury or death to yourself or others. Passengers in your vehicle, and other drivers and their loved ones could be at risk too. It is essential to understand the long-term risks of drinking and driving to prevent repeating the same behavior.
Long-term consequences might vary according to each state but may include the following:
- Civil lawsuits
- Increase in insurance premiums
- Require participation in an Interlock Device Program
- Flag background checks
- Employment loss
- Damaged reputation
- Damage to personal relationships
Challenges of Maintaining Sobriety After a DUI
Life changes and the adjustment phase that begins with any transition can come with many challenges. Sustaining sobriety after a DUI can be challenging for the following reasons.
Display of Alcohol in Society
Maintaining sobriety from alcohol use disorder (AUD) can be difficult as alcohol is easily accessible. Alcohol is displayed everywhere. This includes ads, billboards, television commercials, etc. The exposure to alcohol even happens when purchasing groceries, at the lotto counter, or walking past the beer and wine section when you are just at the store for chips.
Stress, entering environments where others are drinking, and continuing to associate yourself with past party-related acquaintances can also trigger drinking behavior. The temptation will always be with you. However, free will and responsible decision-making can put a stop to cravings. If you choose to stop drinking, this can prevent drinking and driving while under the influence.
In order to successfully maintain sobriety after a DUI, you must remove yourself from the temptation to drink. It is imperative to remove friends that may be a bad influence. Finding alternative sober activities is also a great choice to live a healthy accountable life, not only for your safety but for everyone else that could be involved.
Partaking in new activities could lead to new healthy relationships. Networking with different people comes with new opportunities. These new friendships can boost your happiness and reduce stress. A few sober activities you may try can include the following:
- Going to the mall
- Hiking and getting in touch with nature
- Join a sports league
- Participate in arts and crafts
Finding Support After a DUI
Relapse prevention gives an individual in recovery a higher likelihood of long-term success in sobriety. Working with a professional therapist can help identify your triggers. Addiction treatment professionals can also give guidance and coping skills needed when facing challenges with temptations to drink.
A mental health professional can assist in creating a plan to prevent alcohol relapse as well. Other behavioral therapies can help an individual cope with stress, trauma, and mental illness associated with AUD. Regular checkups with a provider can also be a great option to stay on track with sobriety.
Finding support from new friends, close family, and healthcare professionals can be highly beneficial in your journey. This can help you, or a loved one, live with continuous sobriety and potentially save a life.
It is important to understand the long-term risks of drinking and driving and commit to the positive changes made in your life for relapse prevention. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a disease that affects behavior, personality, and priorities. At 12 South Recovery, our focus on evidence-based therapy and treatment, medical support, and compassionate care gives each of our clients the tools they need to battle their unique problems and recover on their own terms. Life after a DUI can come with many challenges, and we want to help you every step of the way. If you feel you or a loved one needs extra support for sober living after a DUI, call 12 South Recovery at 866-839-6876.