An alcoholic with a 40-year history of driving while drunk claims to have ditched the booze and is navigating his recovery "with enthusiasm".
Stephen Miller spoke of his new lease on life with clarity and passion when he appeared in New Plymouth District Court for driving while more than four times over the legal alcohol limit.
"This is the best I've done in my entire life and I am thoroughly enjoying my recovery, it's been a long time coming," he told Judge Gregory Hikaka.
"If I hadn't of done something about it, I wouldn't have been on this planet for much longer."
Miller, 59, battled his addiction every day and expected that to continue for the remainder of his life.
He regularly performs an "inventory" on himself to keep tabs on his recovery.
"I do the programmes and my counselling sessions with enthusiasm and I jump out of bed with enthusiasm."
It's been a long journey for Miller, who was last caught behind the wheel while drunk on November 16 last year.
A member of the public saw him get into a vehicle in a carpark building and, with concern for Miller's state, phoned police.
Judge Hikaka described it as a "happy coincidence" because when officers located Miller as he was about to exit the building, he returned a breath test of 1029 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
The legal limit is 250mcg and he was subsequently charged with driving with excess breath alcohol third or subsequent.
Miller's first conviction for drink-driving was in 1982 and he was convicted again for the same offence in 1995 and 1997.
The previous breath test readings were equally high, the court heard.
After his latest offence, Miller entered the Salvation Army Bridge Programme, during which he gained skills to cope with his admitted alcoholism.
While Miller didn't complete the full programme, exiting the residential aspect early as he felt his recovery was well underway and he wanted to "test" himself on the "outside", he thoroughly recommended it.
Judge Hikaka praised Miller for his "articulate" submission to the court and for his determination and eagerness to lead a sober life.
To help him avoid a potential relapse, Judge Hikaka rejected the recommended sentence of supervision coupled with community work and instead imposed 12 months of intensive supervision and made an order for an interlock licence.
While acknowledging it was a "lenient" sentence, the judge explained it would provide Miller with further rehabilitation support.
"You've made, from what you tell me, a very sincere approach to recovery that you're enjoying and not just experiencing and I think that's to be supported and encouraged."
Miller said every day was a day of hope.
"I wish to get on with my life, sober, clear-minded and happy."