The Drop Your Pride Program

In 2003, I stood cuffed and shackled on stage in front of hundreds of students for the first time. Despite my fears of speaking before a large group, let alone as an inmate, I delivered my message. After I had finished my talk, as I was escorted off stage by two armed corrections officers, I came to a realization. It can be incredibly difficult to convince young adults not to think that “it will never happen to me.” In fact, deadly incidents of drinking and driving occur every day, involving people from all walks of life.

The combination of alcohol and driving does not discriminate. It does not care who, what, when, where or why. It can destroy hundreds of lives both directly and indirectly in the blink of an eye.

I know not every student drinks, and not every student drinks and drives. However, I also know that it happens somewhere, every hour and every day, seven days a week. The backbone of the Drop Your Pride program is simple: Your actions have consequences, both good and bad. Nobody is perfect, and we all make mistakes. The important thing however, is to minimize all unnecessary risk. I do not condone underage or excessive drinking, but I do realize that it happens. All I ask is that you do not drive after drinking. To Drop your Pride has symbolic meaning: Pride represents each person’s keys after drinking alcohol.

999 out of 1000 times, nothing bad may happen. The one time it does, it changes everything.

I do not have some magic formula to eliminate drinking, and my friend did not lose her life because I was drinking. She lost her life because I made the choice to drive after drinking. I do not educate on the science of alcohol, or cram statistical data into my 45-50 minute program. I simply relive the nightmare which I created for so many people on July 29th, 2001. I emphasize the impact it has on the victims family and friends. How just one decision, one choice, resulted in one life lost and hundreds of lives affected. I promise it is the most unique program on alcohol awareness and choices, and If I can make every person think twice or open a line of communication about the program then I have done my job.