May 11, 2012

I chose AADD

by SSgt. Erica Picariello
Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.

It seems like we all know of someone who has gotten a DUI, but I’ve never heard of anyone end a drinking story with, “and then we took Airman Against Drunk Driving home.”

Is it because we’re afraid that the word will get back to leadership and we’ll get a disapproving lecture followed with paperwork Monday morning? Or that it’s really “big brother’s” trap to get your to admit you’re drunk and the AADD driver has really been instructed to drop you off at us commander’s doorstep? Or maybe we think that people will see us getting picked up by one of those less than conspicuous white government conversion vans and make fun of us for calling for a sober ride?

Whatever the reason, I was on a mission to get to the bottom of it April 21.

My husband and I haven’t really gone out for any social time since last May, when we got the news that I was pregnant with twins. Fast forward a few months and here I am, the mother of twin boys in desperate need of a break and, frankly, a cocktail.

Three cocktails later and I’m legally impaired. A while later a tiny glass filled with murky liquid and topped with whipped cream appears in front of me, as if by magic. Down it went.

I was drunk!

These drinks were all spaced out appropriately over several hours, but even so, I hadn’t had more than a drop of alcohol in about a year. I started to feel the uncontrollable urge to dance and sing the night away and was smiling so hard my face hurt.

My husband was equally drunk and my sober friends had all left, fading with the sun.

The reality of screaming babies sets in and I start to panic. I need to go home now. Do I choose the option that I have experience with? I’ve been driving for more than a decade and I’m pretty sure I could navigate myself home with my eyes closed. Driving does seem to complicate things less. I don’t have to wait for a taxi, call someone I don’t know to pick me up … deal with their judgey-ness … or wonder about leaving my car at rowdy bar. Or do I suck it up, pick up my phone and dive into the unknown: Call AADD and let some Judgey McJudgey faced airman pick me up. Will they be in uniform? How long until my boss knows?

Now it’s time for me to come clean. For the purpose of this commentary, I had planned on calling AADD the entire time. I knew AADD has been the road less traveled and I wanted to find out why.

Here’s how it played out: I called AADD and a cheery volunteer asked where I was, how many people were in my party, where I needed to go and my phone number. Two minutes later I received a text from an unrecognized phone number saying they’d be to my location in 20 minutes.

A little over 20 minutes later a very nice airman volunteer appeared in civilian clothes with a clean personal vehicle to take me home. He asked my name, took us home and even thanked us for using the service.

My commander didn’t call me into his office for an alcohol abuse lecture the following duty day, no rumors floated around the office about my irresponsibility, nobody demanded I hand over my stripes and I wasn’t struck by lightning … in fact, everyone said they had a good time and asked when we could all do it again.

Do you think my day would have played out in the same way if I hadn’t chosen the road less traveled and delved into the unknown? The cost of drinking and driving are steep and when my plan failed it was so simple and painless to call AADD.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Call AADD – it will make all the difference for you too.

Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Air Force Base Airman Against Drunk Driving phone number is (310) 653-3070.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



Near Infrared Camera Integrated into space telescope

Lockheed Martin and the University of Arizona have delivered the primary imaging instrument of the James Webb Space Telescope to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. The new Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam, has been successfully integrated within the heart of the telescope, known as the Integrated Science Instrument Module. The integration completes the suite of...
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie

Space superiority remains vital to national security

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Carlin Leslie Gen. William Shelton reviews his notes before testifying April 3, 2014, in front of the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on strategic forces, in Washington, D.C. Shelton is...

Fifth Boeing GPS IIF satellite joins Global Positioning System

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The accuracy of the Global Positioning System has been improved with the recent handover of a fifth Boeing GPS IIF satellite to the U.S. Air Force. The newest addition to the GPS constellation increases the precision of position, navigation and timing data sent to users around the world. The satellite was...


Fourth AEHF protected communications satellite begins integration months ahead of schedule

The fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite produced by Lockheed Martin is taking shape after early deliveries of its payload and propulsion core. AEHF-4, expected to launch in 2017, will enable the constellation to ...
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alex Evers

Northrop Grumman ships payload module two months early for AEHF satellite

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alex Evers Integration of the payload module for the fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) protected communications satellite underway at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo B...

Boeing realigns engineering to enhance customer Support

Boeing announced April 10 it is centralizing customer support for in-service airplanes at its Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineering Design Center in Southern California, as the company continues to focus on increasing competitiveness while enabling continued growth of the global airline industry. “We’re creating a single location for customer support at the Southern California des...


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>