Get Help Now!  


  Available 24/7   

The road to recovery starts here! Trusted, confidential help available 24/7. Speak with an addiction treatment specialist anytime. Please call us now at 800-815-3910!

Beyond Reason... A Blood Alcohol Level of .708

by Ned Wicker

The story out of the Rapid City Journal was almost unbelievable. Reported by Andrea Cook who wrote that a woman was found passed out behind the wheel of a stolen truck, taken into custody and tested to have a blood alcohol level of .708, almost twice what is considered a deadly level, she should have been dead.

It’s also nearly nine times South Dakota’s legal limit of .08, shared by many other states.

She didn't show up for court

Marguerite Engle, 45, was hospitalized, and then freed on bond. She was supposed to show up in court on December 15, but did not appear, only to be found again December 28, slumped behind the wheel of another stolen car. She is being held without bail, pending trial on two separate offenses.

The state’s attorney for Meade County, Jesse Soundreal, said he spoke to a state chemist who told him he had never seen a level this high in his more than 30 years on the job. The chemist said he had seen a .53, but nothing higher. Soundreal said that .4 was lethal for about 50 percent of the population.

It takes time to build tolerance

A person can’t just drink that much alcohol right away. It takes time to build a tolerance and gradually a person’s body allows them to drink more and more to the point of consuming massive amounts of alcohol before “passing out” as Engle obviously did on those occasions.

She was found on those days when she decided to steal a vehicle, but what about all the other days? It is beyond reason to rationalize why a person would slump to the point in life that only the wash of alcohol can take away the strain and disappointment of life. It is beyond reason because we are not meant to live without hope.

What is the rest of her story?

There were very few details about Marguerite in the article. It did not say if she was married, had children, what she did for a living nor did it offer any personal details of her life, other than the fact that she had come to South Dakota from Minnesota.

What I am curious about of course is what Paul Harvey used to say, “and now for the REST of the story…” How did this woman get to the point to where she drinks herself blind and steals cars?

The disease of alcoholism drives people to do strange and unusual things that they otherwise would not think of doing. Out of control drinking, stealing cars and other bizarre forms of behavior are symptoms of a deep, spiritual problem. Something hurts.

Sad story but there is always hope!

The rest of the story is one of disappointment, emotional pain and missed expectations. The sadness of her life may seem hopeless, but there is always hope. The beauty of the 12 Step program is its focus on renewal of the spirit. If people want to be open, honest and willing, the steps are a path to wholeness and well-being that medical interventions cannot offer.

The South Dakota courts obviously have to deal with Marguerite. She did steal vehicles. But will the criminal justice system do anything to help her overcome her alcoholism? They can lock her up and dry her out, but will she be offered treatment? That’s why I favor drug courts that have been established around the country.

Incarceration is the wrong focus

The focus shouldn’t be so much on incarceration, and this country has a higher percentage of people behind bars than any other Western nation, but on healing. This woman is going to get drunk and steal cars again, not matter how long she is locked up.

However, if she goes through treatment and enters a sensible recovery program, there is hope.

Click here to post comments

Do you have a question or story? It's easy to ask your question or submit your story. How? Simply click here to return to Drug Addiction Symptoms.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

Recent Articles

  1. Illegal Addiction

    Sep 22, 17 09:19 AM

    Illegal Addiction; Health care works who have Easy Access can become addicted before they know what's happened.

    Read More

  2. Subutex

    Sep 21, 17 09:46 AM

    Subutex and Suboxone are treatments for the withdrawal symptoms of opiate addiction but other treatment is still needed.

    Read More

  3. Crystal Meth

    Sep 21, 17 08:32 AM

    Hey, my name is Victoria I'm a teenage drug addict. Am I proud? No, it destroyed me! My life felt over, but it wasn't, it's never to late to call for

    Read More

Follow on Twitter or Google+

Search this Site:


**  We're also launching four new classes which will help you learn how to use motivation, affirmation and encouragement to end addiction in yourself or a loved one. Each class will focus on an evidence-based concept, explaining how to illicit positive change in yourself or in someone you love.

We will teach you practical techniques that research has shown to be effective for achieving change and successfully ending addiction. We'll begin offering these classes this September through Learn-It-Live (Learn-It-Live is easy to use teaching tool and you don't need to download anything to use it). Click Register Now! below to join one of our classes. The registration process includes setting up an account, but you determine your screen name to protect your confidentiality.

Four new addiction classes:

- Addiction 101, a FREE 60 minute course introducing key substance addiction recovery concepts. This seminar examines many aspects of drug addiction, including symptoms and treatment. It also introduces the Stages-of-Change as a building for recovery.  It will be held on October 3 at 6:00pm central-time.

Addiction 101 Register Now!

- Intervention, introduces you to Change-Talk as an alternative to "tough-love". Change-Talk is a method, which you can learn, to get an addict (including yourself) to move away from addiction and toward recovery.  This is a 2-hour class that meets October 5, at 10:00 am central-time at a cost of $10.

Register Now!

- Change-Talk, is a building-block for addiction recovery. This course teaches you to recognize, listen to, and encourage Change-Talk in yourself and others.  Research has shown it helps lead to positive change. This is a 2-hour class on Thursday, October 13 at 10:00 am central-time, for a cost of $10.

Change-Talk Register Now!

- Effective Conversations, explains how to use conversation to connect for recovery. Reflective listening and change-focused conversations often facilitate positive change and addiction recovery. This is a 2-hour class that will meet on Thursday, October 19 at 10:00 am central-time, at a cost of $10.

Effective Conversations Register Now!