The long road back

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- At 22 years old, Jackson Davis (not his real name) was making good money as a junior account manager at a Fortune 500 company. However, something was missing. He needed a challenge, both physically and mentally. Two of his brothers enlisted in the Army and Navy, respectively. They both told him to enlist in the Air Force. He took their advice.

Fast forward 2 years to the fall of 2011 and Davis is now a 24 year old Airman First Class stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va. A few nights before Halloween, Davis was relaxing in his home watching a mixed martial arts fight when he got a call from a buddy who was at a bar and had too much to drink to be able to drive. Davis had been taught well and didn't hesitate to grab his keys to help out his fellow Airman. He arrived at the bar, grabbed his buddy, got in the car and started to drive away. One problem. His tail light was broken and he was immediately pulled over. The Hampton police officer smelled alcohol, gave him a breathalyzer and arrested him on the spot for driving under the influence. While watching the fights at home, Davis had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel. The ensuing fallout was dramatic.

"There are so many consequences to getting a DUI", Davis said. "The financial distress may be the worst and I'm out close to $8000in fines, lawyers and other fees. I have to attend an alcohol awareness class every week for 26 weeks and then another class for 10 more weeks. The time investment is enormous, but the worst part is the stigma it brings. Knowing that I have to prove my worth to my chain of command is tough. I have to once again gain their trust and as you might expect, a 2 EPR can be a killer."

What makes Davis' situation unique is his desire to overcome his mistake. He's determined to break through the barriers that stand between him and his goals. "It's an unfortunate situation," he said. "Luckily my actions didn't hurt anyone other than myself. I have to move forward and redeem myself in the eyes of others. My goals are still attainable. It's not going to be easy but it can be done. I'm fortunate to have people who look out for me and allow me to continue to excel."

As Chief Master Sgt. Steve Betancourt, superintendent of the 633rd Medical Group said, the easiest way to overcome the situation is to simply think. "Believe it or not, there are some smart choices you can make when partaking in alcohol. Call a cab. It's so simple and it will eventually save your life and the lives of those you love."

Unfortunately, for Davis, it took a DUI for him to fully understand this sound advice. "This could have easily been avoided," he said. "I now understand the consequences of my actions and the point has been driven home. But I've got to move forward. This situation is a character builder.' Although Davis could fall back into the cushy desk job outside the military, he doesn't want to give up. He doesn't want to let down his brothers or all the mentors who believed in him prior to his mistake. "I don't want to go back to an unchallenging civilian life,' he said, "and I have a lot to prove to a lot of people. I will overcome."

Original content found here.
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