Several months back, my sister and I went to this party together. I had just turned 16 and had just gotten my license. Anyway, someone brought alcohol to the party, and we both got really trashed. By the time things were winding down, she thought she was good to drive though, so I didn’t argue when she got behind the wheel. I just got into the passenger seat without a word. Big mistake. During the drive home, she tried to take a sharp turn a little too fast and ended up running off the road and into a tree.
I was okay, because I had my seat belt on. My sister didn’t though, and she went face-first into the steering wheel and broke her nose. She was crying and in a lot of pain. We got out of the car and were trying to figure out what to do next when we heard sirens. Someone had seen the accident and called 911. I felts so bad for her. If the cops realized she’d been drinking, she’d be arrested and have an adult record, since she’d just turned 18. I figured she didn’t need that on top of her car being wrecked and her nose being broken. Plus, she planned on enlisting in the army, and obviously those plans would be up in smoke. So, I told her I’d say I’d been driving. Even if the cops figured out I’d been drinking, I’d only have a juvenile record. She argued with me but eventually agreed just before the cops arrived. Long story short, I ended up getting arrested that night and charged with DWI and vehicular assault (on account of her nose). I spent the rest of the weekend in juvenile detention before going to court on Monday morning where I was released to my parents’ custody until my next hearing. Needless to say, my sister and I were grounded for a long time after that.
Fast forward to Friday. I was in court again; this time to learn my fate. I thought that since I didn’t have a record, the judge would go easy on me. Maybe give me probation with community service. Wrong. The judge sentenced me to six months in juvenile detention. The only reason I’m not there right now is because the judge was lenient enough to give me the weekend to resign from my job and take care of some other stuff. But tomorrow, I have to report to the detention center to begin serving my sentence.
Look, I own the fact that we were both stupid for drinking that night and for trying to get home by ourselves. No one needs to tell me that. I really screwed up that night. In addition to my sentence, I lost my license and my boyfriend. His parents demanded that he break up with me following my arrest. I was also thrown off the softball team at school. And speaking of school, which starts in a week, I’m obviously going to be missing half a year’s worth. I’ll probably end up having to get a GED instead of graduating with my friends.
Since court, I’ve been wrestling with whether or not I did the right thing in taking the rap. I guess in a way it doesn’t matter; I’ll be going to juvenile hall regardless. But considering how much this is costing me, I can’t help but wonder. What do you think? Did I do the right thing? I honestly don’t know. All I know for sure is my sister is super grateful for what I did. She’s since enlisted and is looking forward to basic training. We eventually told our parents what really happened that night. They were mad, but seem content to let me deal with the consequences of my decision. They’re not demanding my sister fess up to the cops at any rate. Like I said, I really hope I made the right choice here. And I should be able to have my record sealed eventually, so this won’t haunt me for the rest of my life.
I know I’ll be locked up before anyone has a chance to respond to this, but I look forward to reading the response once I get out. Finally, I’d just like to say to whoever might end up reading this…please don’t drink and drive. And don’t get in a car with anyone who has been drinking. I learned the hard way what can go wrong with a decision like that.
- Suffering the consequences of someone else’s actions can make you feel frustrated and confused. You are kind for selflessly caring about your sister even though you had to take the blame for what she did.
- It’s often best for the person who committed a crime to do the time themselves. This teaches them the lesson they’re meant to learn. Even though you love your sister and took the blame, you’re keeping her from learning some serious life lessons.
- You can ask yourself if maybe you care too much about others in the wrong way. After all, you don’t deserve to suffer because the situation wasn’t your fault. People need to be held accountable for their actions so they can grow as individuals.
- You can find healthier ways to care selflessly. One way is by volunteering to help those less fortunate. You can be a mentor for a kid who needs guidance, read to children, train to be a counselor, plant trees to help the environment or help out at your local animal shelter among other things. You can also educate others by writing about alcohol abuse, or join a cause that helps victims of drunk drivers. Fostering or adopting a shelter pet is a great way to give a dog or cat the unconditional love they deserve.
- Spirituality may help you understand what the right thing was to do and gain meaning in your everyday life. Prayer, yoga and meditation are used to calm the mind, body and spirit. You can also attend church services.
- Expressing your feeling through creativity can help you understand them better. Creative activities include drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument, clay sculpture, coloring in a coloring book or creative writing among others.
- Caring about others is a good thing, but you may want to ask yourself if you should care more about your own life. You can make an effort to care about yourself each day by practicing self-care.
- Some people would rather suffer themselves than watch others suffer. This may be a positive thing, but you may need to hold your sister accountable for her actions a little more often when necessary.
- If you need someone to talk to, you can head to the Teen Central website and click the Help tab to call one of the hotlines. The Tools tab has many valuable downloadable resources for positivity, signs of a healthy and unhealthy relationship and more. You may also speak to a trusted therapist if necessary.
- If you made a list of the many lessons your sister could have learned if she suffered the consequences of her own actions, what would that list look like?
- In what ways is it wrong that your sister let you take the blame for something you didn’t even do?
- Can you list all the ways you deserve to have healthier relationships with people who care about you as much as you care about them?
- How can focusing on your own hopes and dreams be helpful to others and improve your own life?
- What can you learn from your decision, and how can you let this make you a better person?
- In what ways can you improve the lives of others by using your selflessness the right way?