By Cheryl Rick Klein
My older sister has had a long history with alcholism. I tried to help her with her problem but I simply couldn’t get through to her. She denied her problem and I continued in my late teens and early twenties driving her to several bars the day after a major binge because she was so drunk the night before she didn’t remember where she left her car. In fact, she didn’t even remember how she got home. This happened mostly on Sunday mornings after a wild Saturday night.
She resembled the photo below on Sunday mornings when we started searching for her car.
It was only a matter of time before her luck would run out and it finally did one one rainy night after drinking vodka all day while working a clothing boutique I owned. I was off that day and she didn’t have me there to “save” her from making poor decisions.
I owned a clothing boutigue in Roslyn and it grossed over a million dollars in sales the first year I opened the store at the young age of 23. Since my store was so successful my older sister left her Special Ed teaching job because she was often physically violated by mentally challenged adult sized students. I was against the whole idea but had no choice since my mom was the president of my business even though she was not involved In the day to day operation of my store.
I knew it was going to be a nightmare and ruin everything I worked my ass off for. I didn’t even cash most of my paychecks because I wanted to reinvest the money back into my business so it could expand faster.
In hindsight, If my sister didn’t work for me I probably would’ve still owned my successful boutique and possibly opened a few more stores. I put my blood, sweat and tears into my store and it was totally worth it. I created a successful business by myself and I became a confident strong business woman.
I had a very bad premonition that my luck was about to change.
It started out fine for the first few weeks. Then I noticed my sister was slurring her words when she spoke to customers every now and then. The problem escalated and my manager Jody who worked with my sister on my days off and she told me that my sister was getting too out of control and the customers were starting to notice.
That rainy night my store manager offered to drive my sister home because it was obvious she was extemely drunk and could barely walk. Of course my sister told her she was fine and to mind her own business.
My manager tried to call me and my parents to stop her from getting behind the wheel. She couldn’t get in touch with us. There were no cell phones back then so texting wasn’t an option. On the one mile ride back to her house she missed her street tried to made a u-turn and her car skidded and she hit a telephone pole. A short time later I got a frantic call from my parents who told me to meet them at the hospital. They also informed me she was arrested for driving while intoxicated. My sister just got the first DWI in our family.
The first things I saw when I found my sister’s room was that she had a bloody slit lip and to my horror she was arrested and hancuffed to the hospital bed. My sister motioned me to come to her and whispered to me to take her handbag out of the room and go to the bathroom and dump the evidence. I quietly sneaked her heavy shoulder bag out of the room.
As I passed my father who was crying to the police officers who happened to know my family because our house alarm that was connected to the police station was always going off. He was begging them not to take her to jail that night after the plastic surgeon stitched up her cut lip.
My mom who noticed how I was trying to pass the police holding my sister’s large handbag quickly followed me to the closest bathroom. To our horror we found in her bag a half full larger bottle of vodka which we quickly poured the remaining vodka down the drain.
Then we saw a large trash can and tried to bury the large bottle of Absolute under hundreds of paper towels we pulled from the dispenser. We prayed nobody would come in the public restroom as we tried to hide the incriminating evidence.
I felt like I was aiding a felon but my family was extremely close and we always protected each other my parents loved all their four children unconditionally. Even if it meant cleaning up my sister’s mess that night which I am sure was probably illegal.
My father managed to save my sister from going to jail that night and took her home . She had to appear in court a few days later and since it was her first offense they pleaded her case down to driving while impaired. I learned later that my sister’s blood alcohol count level was so far above normal my dad actually had a doctor friend at the hospital my sister was taken to change the level on the file before it was shared with the police and district attorney.
I on the otherhand was so traumatized by this experience I had to witness in person almost 30yrs ago that from that night on if I drank more than one drink I would never get behind the wheel of a car. If on that rare occasion I had a few drinks I would leave my car wherever I was and call a cab or a friend to pick me up and take me home.
Unfortunately, my sister didn’t learn from that night and got 2 more DWI’s since then and even lost her teaching license because she was now a convicted felon. She now works as a glorified nanny mostly watching young children for $300 dollars a week. My sister had a masters degree in Special education and used to earn 150k a year. Her whole education and quality of life ruined because of making irresponsible stupid decisions while under the influence and getting multiple DWI’s.
It’s so sad her whole life was ruined forever. She doesn’t talk about her past much and in a way I feel sorry for her because addiction is a inherited gene. Both my parents had a assortment of addictions. In fact me and my three siblings all have inherited different demons and addictions as well.
So before you judge someone and assume that a person is a weak hopeless addict or alcoholic remember that nobody ever asked to be a alcoholic.
I wrote this very personal story to tell you the consequences of drinking and driving. My sister was lucky she never killed or injured anyone else but herself but she could’ve.
Do not drink and drive!!!!!!!!!!
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