We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Sometimes it takes a celebrity to remind us of the central fact that the errors we make that we believe are perhaps singular and not commonly committed by others are, in fact, quite common.
Take drunk driving, for example.
Take Michael Phelps.
We all certainly know who he is. Phelps is unquestionably the most celebrated swimmer in the history of the world, flatly unrivaled for his exploits in international pools. Phelps has an astounding 18 Olympic gold medals, a figure that, remarkably, he may yet add to.
He also has two drunk driving arrests. Phelps was first arrested in Maryland in 2004, when he was still a teenager. As a 19-year-old first-time offender, he managed to escape conviction. Alternatively, he was sentenced to probation and subjected to other requirements, including a duty to discuss alcohol problems and awareness with other young people.
What surprised many people was Phelps' second DUI stop a decade later, when, at 29, he was arrested late last September, again in Maryland. Reportedly, Phelps registered a 0.14 percent blood-alcohol reading following the stop. The threshold limit for DUI across the country, including in Florida, is 0.8 percent.
Phelps pleaded guilty last Friday. He received a one-year suspended prison sentence and will be on probation for 18 months.
By all indications, Phelps has worked hard to pursue sobriety since he was arrested, reportedly completing several weeks of inpatient treatment at a facility and also attending Alcoholics Anonymous sessions.
He says he now has "the tools to move past this" and looks forward to "a much brighter future than I had in the past."
Phelps is currently training for the 2016 Olympics games. If he competes, it will be his fifth performance.
Source: The New York Times, "Michael Phelps pleads guilty and admits alcohol problem," Associated Press, Dec. 19, 2014