An Ignition Interlock Device is typically part of a driving requirement after a DUI or other impaired driving offense. So, it’s good to see the positive impact of Ignition Interlock with no legal requirement, provided as a show of love and hope for a family member.
Just ask Maria.
“This Was My Family, Trying to Save My Life”
She’s a stay-at-home mom who has been sober since Jan. 18, 2014. Her recovery started at a treatment center, but when she returned home, she was in for a big surprise from her family.
“My family told me that I was going to have (an IID) in order to drive,” Maria says. “I didn’t have any legal issues. There was no legal reason for me to have this on my car. This was my family, trying to save my life.”
That’s how she ended up at a Smart Start service center to get a Smart Start Ignition Interlock Device installed in her car.
Not everyone who drives drunk is a chronic alcohol user. But in her case, Maria says, the IID ended up being an important piece of her journey to sobriety.
Furious at First
Maria, who uses her blog soberblessings.com to share personal thoughts about her recovery, says she had been trying to get sober for a while.
“I didn’t start drinking heavily until my 40s,” she says. “As my kids were getting older, I had more time on my hands, and I wasn’t dealing with things very well. Alcohol took some of the edge off, and it took over more of my life than I ever wanted it to. Eventually my family was very, very concerned.”
Initially, Maria was “furious” at having to use the Ignition Interlock Device in order to drive.
“After I’d been to treatment, I didn’t understand why my family wouldn’t trust me,” she says. “But as angry as I was, I felt like, ‘OK, if this is what you want, this is what I’ll give you. You’ll be able to trust me, and I’ll be able to get on with my life’.”
“Every Day I Used It, It Got Easier”
The anger turned to determination. “Every day that I used it, it got easier,” she says. “I was proving to my family, but also to myself, that I could do this … that I could be sober.”
As time went on, Maria viewed the Ignition Interlock in a positive light. Successfully driving with the Smart Start IID became a source of pride.
“Every time I could start the car, I was proud of myself,” she says. “It was like a gift to my family. It gave me back a sense of pride and let me give my family the comfort of knowing that we all were safe if I was behind the wheel.
“I didn’t do a ton of drinking and driving before the installation,” she adds. “But I’m sure it would only have been a matter of time before something awful might have happened. Thanks to the device, that day never came.”
Part of the Process
Maria says that the IID played a big role in her recovery process. But it was only part of a larger picture of counseling, meetings, working with a sponsor, and other parts of the process. That also includes support from her husband and their three teenagers.
“The combination of all of that is what has gotten me sober and kept me sober,” she says. “The device really helped build up my self-esteem again. I feel like I would have been on shakier ground having just gotten back from treatment and not having it on my car. The fact that it was on my car, that I didn’t even have an opportunity to screw up, helped to keep me away from the idea of drinking and driving.”
Maria proves the positive impact of an Ignition Interlock Device. She has been sober for nearly six years, and she’ll be the first to tell you about having “a life beyond my wildest imagination.”
“But I can only do that because I got sober,” she says. “And I couldn’t have gotten here without the Smart Start device. As much as I hated it at first, when it was combined with everything else I was doing, it saved my life.”