The Tara Treatment Center Blog

Tim Ryan and Annie Baker on Driving Under the Influence

To commemorate December as National Impaired Driving Awareness Month, we’ve interviewed recovering addict Tim Ryan on his personal experiences getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.  Tim shares his story in the hopes that he can persuade others to learn from his mistakes.

Tim Ryan

tim ryan on drunk driving

Tim Ryan was a successful businessman before hitting his ‘rock-bottom’. We asked Tim to explain the incident that acted as his wake-up call:

“I was drinking and under the influence of heroin.  I obviously overdosed, hitting two cars and almost killing four people.  It took me being sentenced to prison and for 13 1/2 months to lose everything to truly realize that recovery was the only option I had.  It forced me to sit down and look at myself.  I hope others don’t need to wait for that kind of rock bottom.”

Tim urges us to use this time of year to reflect upon our recovery.  Today, he uses his difficult experiences to help others by offering his perspective as a recovering addict.  On the other hand, organizations like MADD exist to offer the point of view of the victim in drunk driving accidents…

MADD: Mother’s Against Drunk Driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nonprofit organization seeking to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, and strive for stricter impaired driving policy, whether impairment is caused by alcohol or any other drug.  

There is at least one MADD office in every state, offering victim services and many resources involving alcohol safety. MADD has claimed that drunk driving has been reduced by half since its founding.  

In Indiana, Annie Baker is our local volunteer resource specialist.  We reached out to Annie to learn more about M.A.D.D.’s efforts in Indiana.  

“We are definitely a more victim-focused social service agency in terms of the services we provide.  We began the Victim Impact Program to connect drunk drivers to a real person whose life was changed by the drunk driving of another.  In these meetings, victims tell their stories and help others understand that their decisions have consequences.  They really stress that it is a decision–perhaps a terrible, fleeting decision that night–but its not about the person or what their addiction has done, its about where they go forward from here.”

 

VICTIM IMPACT PANELS

The purpose of the Victim Impact Panel (VIP) program is to help drunk and drugged driving offenders to recognize and internalize the lasting and long-term effects of substance-impaired driving. The classes seek to create an empathy and understanding of the tragedy, leave a permanent impression that leads to changes in thinking and behavior and prevents future offenses.

At a VIP, victims, survivors and others impacted by substance-impaired driving crashes speak briefly about the crash in which they were injured and/or a loved one who was killed or injured. They share a first-person account of how the crash impacts their lives.

They do not blame or judge. They simply tell their stories, describing how their lives and the lives of their families and friends were affected by the crash.

 

The VIP Treatment

Annie reports that Pamela Kelshaw of the Victim Impact Program personifies what Mother’s Against Drunk Driving is all about.

Pam is a Victim Impact Specialist volunteering countless hours of her personal time to talk with impaired and drunk driving offenders. “People who’ve been arrested, convicted and sentenced to probation are court ordered to attend a victim impact panel. I get up and tell my story and share my videos of the loss of my daughter and my nephew. They’re actually getting to see my daughter from birth to the day she died and they get to see the vehicle that she died in and they get to see her face on her grave stone.”

Check here to learn more about Pamela’s Story, or here to learn more about Tim Ryan’s story of recovery from the drunk driving accident which helped him realize the magnitude of his addiction.