Five years ago today, my mom passed away while drunk driving. It was the day that changed my life forever and caused me to take my own mental health recovery seriously. Not only did I leave my modeling career behind, a dream that I had worked hard for since my teenage years, but I lived in my house and learned how to eat for the first time since childhood, a result of my chronic eating disorder. During recovery, I managed to develop an intimate relationship with God, which saved my life, and came face-to-face with my depression, anxiety, addictions, and psychosis with the help of a treatment team.
But I was also grieving tremendously. My mother had just died in a tragic way, and I had no idea how to navigate through that loss. Not only was she driving while heavily intoxicated, but she was also driving with her abuser and enabler. Both of them died that August day, and I was living in France at the time. She died in the hospital alone, and I wasn’t able to see or talk to her during her final hours. Looking back, I remember countless times that she endangered not only her life, but mine and my brother’s. She had a history of driving us to school drunk and used to drink when her and I were in the car alone.
I speak and write on the issues surrounding our mental health often, so for this post, I want to emphasize the importance of not drinking and driving. Here are some facts from the organization MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.
Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes.
An average drunk driver has driven drunk over 80 times before their first arrest.
Please, for the love of my mom, and for those you love, don’t drink and drive. You will be saving countless lives.