Please Accept My Apology

There is no way to sugar-coat this. On Friday, July 26th, I made a monumentally stupid decision; I made the worst mistake of my life. After a night of drinking, instead of calling a taxi or a friend for a ride home I decided to get behind the wheel of my car and drive. As a result of that decision, I was arrested for DUI. Fortunately, I was stopped before any physical damage occurred. I now live with the realization that someone could have been seriously hurt or killed because of my recklessness. Lives could have been forever ruined and that too would have been my fault.

I know I made a horrible choice. Regardless of my state of intoxication, it was a choice. No excuses are being made nor is blame being deflected. It was my “error in judgment” and mine alone and I am dealing with the consequences. In the days since, I have felt and continue to feel guilt, shame and remorse and rightfully so. There is no condoning what I did. Knowing what could have happened has driven me to take steps to ensure it is never repeated. I am attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and I have sought professional therapy and guidance from my pastor.

Over the past several days, my thoughts and prayers have not been for myself but rather for those around me who have had to suffer because of my lack of judgment. After informing those closest to me of what I had done, I would not have blamed anyone for their condemnation. While I know I have disappointed many, I now know I have been blessed with some amazingly supportive and compassionate people in my life. Still, part of me questions whether I deserve their kindness. This is a very low point in my life, and it is incredibly humbling to have those around me continue to stand by my side, lifting me up instead of tearing me down. To them, I am truly grateful.

In closing, this is not written as some form of penance, but rather to take responsibility.

If you are going to go out drinking, don’t drive. Call a friend or a taxi. If neither of those are viable options, give the bartender your keys. If you feel you may have a drinking problem, reach out to friends, family and other organizations for help. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

The next day, when I was sober I realized what the consequences could have been. As for right now, all I can do is accept those consequences. To my family, my friends and the community, all I can say is I am sorry and I hope you can accept my apology.

Chris Rutledge
Submitted to Journal Inquirer and Enfield Press for publication

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