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Health and Fitness

One Night, One Mistake: ET2 Palfrey's Story

What does "Keep What You've Earned" Mean to You?

My name is ET2 Michael Palfrey. This is my story about a bad decision I made while drinking and the lessons I hope to pass on to my shipmates. Watch my story now.

It was Memorial Day weekend, and I had just gotten off work for liberty. Some of my friends were at the beach, and I offered to give them a ride downtown. We stopped at a bar in North County [San Diego], and a friend bought me a beer.

At the time, I thought, "Why not? The night's over."

Worst decision I ever made.

I don't remember leaving the bar, but apparently I drove all the way to Alvarado. Before I knew it, I was in handcuffs. I just remember thinking, "This is not real. This did not just happen."

Thirteen months, one DUI, and the near loss of my career later, I'm here to say don't make the same mistake I did. I've paid thousands of dollars in fees and fines, I lost my car (worth $25,000), my wife of twelve years, and my career is in jeopardy - all because I had too much to drink.

A Second Chance

I met with my Command DAPA after I got arrested, and he and my Chief were very supportive. They knew I made a mistake and pointed toward the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP).

I was surprised to see how well they balanced helping me deal with the situation and work through my issues with not letting me off the hook for the drinking that had become destructive in my life.

Now I'm working toward earning the respect of my shipmates and leadership again. I know that some opportunities have been completely closed off to me, but each day I work at building their trust back up and going the extra mile to prove that I'm a capable Sailor.

Hear My Story

I decided to share my story publicly via the Keep What You've Earned campaign because I hope there's at least one Sailor out there - even just one - who hears my story and decides to stop getting 'wasted.' I had to learn my lesson the hard way, but if you make smart decisions when you drink, you have can fun while keeping what you've worked so hard to earn.

I'm lucky that I didn't hurt myself or anyone else that night. Some people aren't so lucky.
Be smart. Drink responsibly.