The process works in my favor, for once

While I’ve been working through the penalties for my second DUI, I’ve been surprised a number of times by additional requirements that were not spelled out in court.    It’s remarkably hard to get good information about the process for working through a DUI conviction.  Even people who are regularly involved in the process, lawyers, probation officers, registry officials, and substance abuse counselors, don’t know all the details or where to go to find definitive answers.  It can be very frustrating, but few people really care because after all, I must deserve whatever happens since I’m a drunk driver. 

The lesson, as always, is don’t drink and drive.  Homily over.

One of the surprises that came up was during my 26 week aftercare program for second offenders.   While this program was specified as part of my sentence, no one mentioned that after the 26 weeks were up I’d be required to continue going to monthly group meetings for the duration of my probation.  Keep in mind that I’d have to pay for these monthly sessions, in addition to paying for the 26 weekly sessions.  Luckily, my insurance covers them, so I only have to make the co-payments.

I started the 26 week program in May of 2008, and attended the weekly group sessions into December.  Then in the exit interview Tom, my counselor, told me that the monthly program was being reviewed, and they wouldn’t be holding sessions until they decided how it would be changed.  I’d be notified when things were settled. 

I didn’t hear anything for months.  Then in April, after I’d begun to believe that I’d escaped further sessions, I received a letter stating that I’d have to start attending group meetings twice a month.  I was not pleased, but there was little I could do.

My first session, again with Tom as the counselor, was scheduled for May 7th.  During the session, Tom mentioned that while the new process called for sessions twice a month instead of just once, the sessions now ended a year after intake for the 26 week program instead of ending when probation ended.  Tom followed up for me, and found that since my intake was in mid-May 2008,  I only had to attend that one session before my year was up.

Note that two unusual things occured here.  First, no one decided that I’d need to attend extra sessions to make up for the ones I’d “missed”.  Second, someone in the system took it upon themselves to get an issue resolved for me.  Thanks Tom!

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