|I shall be telling this with a sigh|
|Somewhere ages and ages hence:|
|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—|
|I took the one less traveled by,|
|And that has made all the difference.|
Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
In my practice I have witnessed a great many people go through a DWI or other criminal charges then find themselves standing at the cross roads. Where to now? In my opinion, Your health and well being (physical, mental, & spiritual) should be placed first and foremost. But that might not be your main goal? In fact, that may not even be a conscious thought.
I like to say, "this is a perfect time for self reflection." How did this happen? How did I get here? And don't tell me because I got caught. Was this merely a one time error in judgment or was is it part of an emerging pattern, a direction of destructive behavior? Questions to ponder for sure but in back of it all are usually strong feelings of denial.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE IS ABOUT PROOF
MY job is to get people what they want. I serve them. I defend them. I am not interested in true guilt or innocence merely legal guilt and innocence. Can the government PROVE their case? If not, then my goal is not justice (supposedly that goal is for the prosecution and government). I need to know what my client's goals are, not my goals, and certainly not the government's goals.
COUNSELOR AT LAW AND MORE?
But I care for people as people, and sometimes they need help. You cannot make someone get help or accept help or force them to change. As much as dramatic TV shows show interventions and people confronted, in the end they must want to change otherwise it will never be successful in the long haul.
So a few thoughts on change. I have been at many a cross roads so I speak from my own experiences. I have been given second chances. My father dropped dead at 51, the day after my 17th Birthday. I went into a tailspin, a downward trajectory into the abyss of drinking and drugs. I was mad, angry, and upset at the world (G-d included). It was a bad time. It went on for quite awhile. My first intuitive step was the best thing I ever did: I left the streets of Brooklyn, I left all my fun "friends", I packed my car, and started my life over (anew) in Florida. Many of my Brooklyn friends wound up dead over the ensuing years from accidents, drugs, and crime.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP
TRUE change begins with changing your primary circle of relationships. If you are not willing to change your reference group then change is unlikely to be successful (long lasting).
"Birds of a feather flock together." Who are you flocking with? Because if they are cheating, binge drinking, drugging, and just hanging out then you are sucked into that same vortex. You will not stay clean, sober, healthy, or anything else if your buds, family, friends, and those you hang with are doing the opposite.
THE DWI DIRECTION CHANGER
So in the final analysis a DWI or other criminal charge can set your life in a new direction. It may involve a re-start, a re-birth of sorts. I have a poster in my law office from the cover of Success magazine circa 1988. It is a Peter Max drawing of the Phoenix. A mythical bird that sets it self afire to begin anew. This symbol and story is found in many different cultures. It speaks of resurrection. To cast off old skins, old ideas, old ways, and to allow (to permit) the spirit inside you to rise. A new beginning is a blessed thing. It can remake you as a person if you accept it. To those that fight, scream, kick and wish to remain on the same road this will forever feel like a curse. They will remain a victim to themselves and others.
Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., Esq.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney & Counselor at Law
504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850