Second Chances

Danielle - Canton, Ohio
Entered on February 26, 2008

I believe in second chances; in holding your head high after being unable to look your parents in the eyes, let alone yourself in the mirror.

On December 31, 2006, I left home to celebrate New Years. The day was like any other; the emptiness in my heart and turmoil in my stomach more than any dose of Pepto-Bismol could conquer. I couldn’t find peace within myself; I hadn’t been able to for the past eight months.

Eight months ago I separated from my middle school…then high school…then college “sweetheart.” Two days later my grandma passed away.

I called the past eight months a part of my healing process.

My mom called them depression.

As I left that night she warned me, “Danielle, be careful. You’re not going to drink, are you? That’s not how you were raised. Don’t do anything stupid.”

Lingering in the doorway, she watched me pack my navy blue Adidas bag. She wanted to say more, but compensated for her silence through the concern in her eyes.

I shoved past her through the doorway, making no effort to hide my annoyance. “You know I don’t drink. I’ve gotta go.”

She followed me down the hallway to the front door. My dad joined us, matching her concern with a forehead kiss. “We’ll miss you, Sweetheart.”

My mom paused before closing the door behind me. “You know what I’ve always told you; all the crazies will be out tonight.”

That New Years, I became one of the “crazies” my mom warned me about.

I drank. I thought Crown Royal and Coke would conquer the emptiness in my heart and the turmoil in my stomach. It didn’t.

I left the party; I didn’t make it far. What happened next can be summarized in three letters—D-U-I. By January 1, 2007, my life had been flipped upside down faster than a house on The Learning Channel.

The law—or State Highway Patrol—didn’t care that I was a Christian, that I had a clean record, or that I was an honor student. All they could see was a drunk driver—and underage. All I could see was a blur of red and blue lights—a failure.

Being at college offered me a sense of freedom I’d never experienced before. This freedom led me to parties. Parties led me to alcohol. Alcohol led me to a DUI. A DUI led me to a courtroom. Finally, I was forced to face my depression, and concerned parents, who led me to counseling. Counseling helped me find my way back to Christ.

There’s no magic formula that makes changing the direction of your life as easy as one paragraph makes it sound. There’s no magic formula that restores nineteen years of trust lost in one night from parents, siblings, and friends.

The restoration I found doesn’t involve magic formulas, only the love of Christ.

And this is why I believe in second chances.