Regret, guilt and shame are common sentiments experienced by young adults after a night of heavy drinking. The level of regret is often akin to the level of problems a young adult has amassed in their life as a direct result of drinking. For many, romantic relationships, friendships, grades or jobs suffer. Many can recover from these dips through changing the decisions they make and how they live day to day, which they learn in addiction recovery.
For some, one bad decision can change their lives. Two cases that made headlines last week reveal how alcohol abuse can lead to negative lifelong consequences. They involve young adult women who decided to get behind the wheel after a night of drinking. These women, both from Florida, were charged with DUI manslaughter.
Kayala Mendoza got behind the wheel drunk in November 2013 and it resulted in the death of 21-year-olds Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio after a head on collision. This incident made headlines because of a harrowing tweet Mendoza composed a few hours before the crash that read “2 drunk 2 care.” She is now set to serve for 24 years in prison and banned from driving for life. Prior to her sentencing she said “I know that I have made mistakes and the outcome is so much more than I could ever imagine,”… “No matter how much time passes by, [Ferrante and Catronio] will never leave my heart. I think about them every day and I regret my choices every day.”
The second tragic DUI case involved a young adult, Mila Dago, 24, who pleaded not guilty to the DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges despite a text message that indicated she was drunk before getting behind the wheel and killing a passenger in her car in an August 2013 crash. Her blood alcohol was taken 2 hours after the crash showed she had BAC of .178 – more than twice the legal limit. Recent evidence showed that in the hours before the crash she sent 60 texts to her boyfriend, including one 3 minutes before the crash that said “driving drunk woo … I’ll be dead thanks to you … lata.”
Both of these tragic cases magnify how grave the consequences of alcohol abuse can be on a young adult’s life. Often, the substance use starts before a major incident occurs as bad decisions increase over time as the addiction erodes their inhibitions. Young adults are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and many plan around how to get to and from places when they intend on drinking via designated drivers and car services. However young adults with substance use problems usually find themselves drunk or high without prior planning and don’t have a safety net in place.
In an active addiction, the decision to use or drink is often eroded – it just happens – and the decisions that follow are poor and impacting. Red Oak Recovery’s treatment program helps many young adults recover when they begin to see the negative consequences of their addiction-fueled decisions. Our addiction programs can help before lifelong consequences occur within a young adult’s life resulting from drug and alcohol-induced decisions.