John is 38-years old, has been married for 6 years to Carol, works in a job that he loves in high tech, and he is addicted to alcohol. John noticed that his drinking seemed to pick up over the last two years, but work pressures were mounting, so he saw his increased drinking as temporary, a way to relieve stress so he could be more effective at work. Unfortunately, his alcohol use was creating some major bumps in his relationship with his wife.
Carol started voicing concerns, but as John became increasingly defensive she became increasingly apprehensive and fearful. The less Carol felt she could express about John’s drinking, the angrier she was becoming. He thought she was overreacting and that Carol just didn’t understand how much pressure he was feeling. Maybe he had been drinking a bit more recently, but the recent work deadlines were demanding all his time and attention. John reminded her that he cut down considerably from when they were first married.
Carol agreed that his drinking did get better soon after they were first married, but that it seemed to her that he was working his way back to when things were bad. While he felt that his reassurances to Carol eased the tension between them, he had felt her withdraw more over the last year and that she always seemed angry, even though she had stopped complaining about his drinking. Besides, he disagreed with her that his drinking had been a problem since before they got married. He argued that for the most part he didn’t drink any more than the rest of his friends. She was exaggerating, after all, he wasn’t having problems at work or any place else because of his drinking. Her father is an alcoholic, and he was paying the price, she was reading too much into his drinking. Carol alternated between anger, guilt, resentment and fear. She didn’t like the person she saw herself turning into any more than John did. John felt that work had largely remained unaffected, except for several occasions of drinking too much on two occasions at work parties. His boss didn’t seem that concerned when he advised John to watch his drinking at the upcoming company barbecue, just a friendly reminder.
As John were to later recall the evening after work started off just like countless evenings before. He had finished more than a couple of rounds with several of his coworkers at the sports bar. He didn’t particularly feel that buzzed when he texted his wife to say he was heading home. John no longer called like he used to, texting covered the bases because he was letting her know when he was coming home and he didn’t have to talk to her. John got into his car and pulled out into the street, then disaster hit, at least at the time John felt it was disastrous. As time has gone by, he wasn’t sure he would still call the evening disastrous.
It seemed like out of nowhere another car pulled right in front of him and stopped unexpectedly, causing John to hit the other driver’s rear bumper. As it turned out there was a police officer right there who happened to see the accident. At first John was relieved, after all, the accident wasn’t his fault. The other driver changed lanes without signaling and clearly didn’t see John until it was too late, slamming on his brakes 2 seconds too late. John was relieved this wasn’t a serious accident, just an inconvenience to work out with insurance companies. John was still in his car when the officer came over. He then asked John if he had been drinking, which he admitted to. The officer asked John to get out of the car, then proceeded to do a sobriety check and asked John to blow into the Breathalyzer. John didn’t feel impaired so he wasn’t too worried. Moments later John was arrested; his blood alcohol level was at 0.12.