The bottle of cheap whiskey had been stashed in the trunk of my old Lincoln for I don’t know how long. I just know that is where it had been stored since I was arrested and jailed on a grand jury – felony indictment, for a charge of driving while intoxicated almost a month earlier.
The arrest was made at my little 1 bedroom cabin and went down without any trouble. I had resigned myself to the reality that the end was near, and there would be no avoiding the consequences I had created – again.
The date of the arrest was sometime in early December 2008. I had been released on a $30,000 bond since July of the same year. That July I had crashed my car, which happened to be a black Ford Crown Vic (retired police edition) that was purchased from a local car dealer a few months before.
The most incredible part of the story on the car was I had a sticker on the back bumper from the Texas Department of Public Safety that stated “DON’T DRINK and DRIVE” and I had a SMART-START Breathalyzer Lock-out which I had disabled the morning of the accident .
As I recall that day, I am amazed at the lack of care and concern I displayed. The total disregard of life and law!
In 2008 there were 94,248 arrests made for D.W.I. and mine was one of them. In fact, I was responsible for three of those arrests made in 2008. The drunken crash in July was the third D.W.I. that year for me.
The three in 2008 and the two prior offences from 1995 made a grand total of 5 D.W.I.s for this fine upstanding, falling down drunk!
FIVE, yep, FIVE – DRUNK DRIVING ARRESTS -that’s me alright. The most habitual offender that I know, me! And there is more great news from my alcoholic past.
These five D.W.I.’s in Texas were the last five of the 13 times I have been arrested and charged with drunk driving.. over and over and over again…HABITUAL.
How is it that I am still walking this earth and not dead and buried is beyond me????
Or a the least -locked up and put away for a very, very long time………
The day before “MY LAST DRINK“, I was standing before a Judge expecting to receive 16-25 years in prison for my crime. The Texas Department of Corrections was in my immediate future, for sure! I had given in and conceded to the fact that my case was absolutely hopeless and I would be better off if I were put away.
As I was speaking to the Judge, trying to plead guilty, my court appointed attorney stopped me abruptly and told the Judge that he needed to talk with me first.
Something was going on here, I wasn’t sure what, but it did not feel quite right.
My attorney told me that he and the D.A had been talking about my case and they were willing to give me a break. “A BREAK”, are you kidding me! OK, I’ll take it. Whatever it is.
I stood in front of him, (the judge) while he read the sentencing guidelines, and explained my rights to me, and so on.
He asked that if I understood, and I answered,
“Yes Sir, your Honor!”
He then asked me,
“So how do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
I took a very deep breath and replied:
“GUILTY, YOUR HONOR”.
What happened next changed everything about everything I have ever known.
I’m sure I was in a state of shock, as he then sentenced me to just 3 years.
I quietly mumbled to myself – ”Three years in T.D.C., that’s sure better than 25.”
My attorney slapped me in the back of my head and said;
“Not T.D.C. dummy, 3 years probation. Do you think you can manage that”?
I was asked by the Judge if I understood his sentence, but I couldn’t talk. I could barely breathe. The District Attorney, the bailiff, and my attorney had to support me as I looked like I was going to pass out! It took around 5 minutes for me the utter my response to the Judge.
“Yes Sir, I understand”.
Part of the probation agreement was that I would have to live in a recovery residence until my term was completed.
Now, I don’t know what it was, but I certainly did nothing to deserve such mercy. If true justice had been served that day, I would still be locked down in prison.
The only explanation I have ever been able to conceive is that God had once more given to me his grace and mercy. Abundantly!!!
Whatever kind of ideas or beliefs I had about the God thing changed in an instant. Right in that courtroom, I had the Spiritual Experience that my friends had talked about. How could it be anything other than God? There was no other logical or reasonable explanation of what just happened.
It was as if I was transitioned from one type of universe into a completely different one. Reality changed in a Nano-second. Like a brilliant flash, bang, boom!
Over the next few hours, I was released and heading back to the little cabin I lived in. My broken life just took a U-turn.
OK HERE IT IS – “THE LAST DRINK”
Upon arriving back to the cabin, I found my ol’girly friend hanging out with her new guy in my house sleeping on my bed…oh well…that did not matter any-longer….I was out of there!
As it turned out, they were not expecting me to return from my engagement with the judge and made themselves comfortable with my little hidy-hole of a home.
(SIDE-NOTE: THAT NEW GUY FRIEND OF HERS -DIED FROM ALCOHOLISM 5 MONTHS LATER! )
So there I was, free as a bird, back at my place, smiling from ear to ear. Telling them what had gone down in the courtroom. They seemed to be a bit surprised. Nervously they got dressed and found me getting some stuff from my bathroom which I would be taking with me.
Then “HE” asked me if I wanted a drink. He obviously had been rummaging around in my vehicle as well as my gal…..OK. Whatever! YES, I replied, bring it on.
He innocently explained that he had found my whiskey in the trunk and could pour me a drink if I so cared for it. He also offered up a cold “LONESTAR”. I’ll take the WHISKEY.
It was late in the day and the hot Texas sun had been beating down on the Lincoln. The bottle arrived like a great gift. He presented it to me as a zoo keeper would present raw meat to a hungry lion. I rinsed out a dirty glass from the sink and snatched the hot glass vessel from his grip. I slowly poured the golden liquid into the glass without thought of how much. I just filled it until it felt right. THEN, I raised it to my lips and took a long deep breath, then down it went. In to my gullet. BOOM – the firewater hit me like hot lava, taking away my air.
Down it went, down, down down.
AAAHHHH……..That was the LAST DRINK, down to the LAST DROP that I have ever taken…
I placed the glass on the kitchen counter and started to laugh. I then thanked the dude, gave the old gal a smile, winked at her, grabbed a few bags of clothes and left that empty bottle of cheap whiskey behind me, along with my old life.
Now, it took about 20 minutes, but the cheap rot-gut didn’t stay down and I made my last pilgrimage to the porcelain alter. (I won’t go in to anymore details about that!)
And that is it….
They say, and I am not sure that I agree, but they say, “If you can’t remember your last drink – them you haven’t had it yet”.. I really do not like that.
FINAL NOTE: I do know that that hot whiskey was my last drink. What has taken place in my life since then can only be described a a miracle. A true miracle. It cannot be explained through reason or logic. Drunks like me should not have survived all the terror and damage that has taken place. Each day when I wake up I take the time to remember and never forget that day. The day which I was saved from myself. The day I was given a gift.
I will be forever grateful. Forever grateful for “THE LAST DRINK”.
Thanks for your time today and I stand ready, with you and for you 24/7 Chris Freeman