Have you ever drunk and driven knowing you were over the limit? It is very common. If you have never done this, then well done and respect to you. I know a lot of people who have done this and continue to despite knowing friends or family who have been caught. Sadly, there is no deterrent big enough out there to stop people doing it despite the disastrous consequences we see from near or fatal accidents. In 2020 there were over twenty-eight thousand convictions of drink driving. They were the individuals who got caught. We know that a lot more people do it, they just don’t get caught. Some will knowingly drive over the limit. Others will think they are ok to drive and get home safely. I am ashamed to admit to you that I have done it and not been caught. Thinking back to this particular episode fills me with anxiety. I need to get it down on the page so I can move on. I now don’t drink so I will never do this again so I can ease my conscience a little. I never did it regularly but I have taken the magic taxi on a few occasions. Thankfully, no one was ever hurt from this apart from myself in the story I am about to tell you.

The roots of this story begin in my previous blog, “teenage dream” so you may need to pop back to that one to refresh your memory. Despite some heavy criticism from one former Sobering Thoughts fan, I am keen to press on and continue this story. This night began well, as they normally do. I went for a big night out in Newcastle with a few mates. I think we must have gone during the day as we returned on the train earlier than you would normally from a night out. It may have been a bank holiday. I am unsure. I remember getting back and feeling pretty pissed. Throughout that day I had been in contact with Teenage Dream girl. This was just before the point of being cut off completely by her. I recall that I felt extremely low at that time, the previous few months had really started to take their toll. I must stress that the person I am talking about had also been through an extremely hard time as well with losing a member of their family. I possibly did not cover that in the previous blog (as it was pointed out in the days after) and I would like to apologise for that right here and now. However, having analysed this period over and over again I don’t believe my behaviour and conduct was anything other than supportive. I don’t think I deserved to be treated like that. But time moves on and I have let it go.

The contact during the day was not good and eventually resulted in a drunken phone call made from my side. I can recount that someone (who I didn’t know) answered the phone and was pretending that I had the wrong number. Absolutely classic. I can still hear that conversation in my head, every word. I had been really struggling in the weeks building up to this day out and with hindsight drinking was the last thing I should have done. My unhappiness compounded even further by the over consumption of booze. Getting home I was pretty upset and frustrated with what had happened, but I hadn’t discussed it with anyone. I got in and did not know what to do with myself and became incredibly anxious. Now here’s the stupid part. I got into my car and started driving. I put on some really depressing music and just drove, almost wallowing in self-pity. I have no idea what I was thinking and why I did it. It was brainless. I do not blame anyone other than myself for this. Despite everything that had occurred during the day there is no vindication for what I did. I am deeply ashamed and embarrassed of my actions. I drove out of Alnwick and towards a neighbouring village. I had no clue about what was about to happen. I came to a T junction but instead of turning left or right I careered straight into a hedge at some velocity. At first, I think I may have been knocked out temporarily. I was in shock and it sharp sobered me up, but I thought fuck, what the hell do I do now?

I did what most people do at that point and called my family to come and help. I had broken the law and if I was found by anyone other than my family I would have been in a lot of trouble. I’m amazed that no one came along the road I was on, but they didn’t. Like a coward I hid and waited for someone to come and pick me up. I had not only done this to myself I had then involved other people in my mess again. This was only a few months after the window breaking incident. I should have known there and then that Nick and alcohol just don’t mix. When I was going through my dark spell last year, I would return to this night in my head nearly every day. My mind would go to the extreme and think well what would have happened if you had crashed into another car or hit a pedestrian? It could have been so much worse, and I was lucky to get away with what I did. Maybe if there had been repercussions against me it may have caused an earlier change in my behaviour. I was lucky for so many different reasons. Not hurting anyone else from my reckless actions or myself are the main two. The car however did not survive, and it was written off shortly after. There is no rational reason that can justify what I did that night, absolutely none. There is no ‘but’ coming here either. I made a very bad judgement whilst I was drunk and was fortunate not to do any serious damage to my life or to anyone else. However low I was feeling at that time or how upset I was that night I can never rationalise the events of that evening. Facing up to this now is going someway to letting it go. It was a long time ago and I have learned a lot from looking back and reflecting on this. I have to accept that is now in the past and over. I must move on and not dwell on it any longer as that would be counterproductive to my recovery.

I would like to dedicate this blog to someone who messaged me during the week following last week’s piece. They were incredibly brave in admitting to me they thought that drinking had become too much of an issue for them. The strength it must have taken to admit that to someone is incredibly admirable and I am hoping that they are able to get the support they need but most importantly want. That is the key thing here, needing and wanting help are two very different things. Like this person, if you would like to talk about any issues you are having then please drop me a line. I am happy to talk to anyone and help in any way if I can.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Denton

Sobering Thoughts