I knew Sam Mack as a child, then lost touch with him as he grew into an adult. Sam struck me as a child with immense potential, once he grew out of the awkward stages of life. He was smart and energetic and entertaining. So, I guess, Sam Mack was a lot like any child. I read today, with despair, that Sam has made a fatal mistake. He got behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated and caused a drunk driving accident that led to the wrongful death of his passenger, 18 year old Daryn Barnett. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family of Miss Barnett. We hope that the memories of your daughter, sister, or grandchild will help you through these awful times. Know that you do not have to go through this alone. There are support groups and counseling that has helped other families deal with the grief you are now enduring.
Sam, it is apparent that you have a disease. That disease is alcoholism. This is your second arrest for drunk driving, and you are only 21 years old. Alcohol has severely affected not only your life, and the lives of Daryn Barnett and her family, but it has also affected your families lives. For your family, I hope they seek out the counsel of AL-ANON Family Support. You can find them at www.al-anon.alateen.org. These folks know what you are going through and talking it out, and hearing the experiences of others can help.
As for you, Sam, you now have to live with knowing that your disease has taken the life of your friend. If you do not do something about it, it will take your life too. Certainly it has irrevocably changed your life, but you are still alive. You still have a chance to make up for what has happened. Admit your disease. Take steps to obtain help. Work to improve your life. It would be fitting to dedicate your recovery, and a fruitful life of service, to your friend Daryn, so that her loss was not in vain. Sam, your mistake does not have to crush your life and spirit. Do not allow that to happen, if for no other reason, then for Daryn’s sake.