Do you remember the first time you got drunk and how it made you feel?
I cannot remember my first taste of alcohol, but I have hazy memories of taking a sip of my dad’s beer or of a relative’s glass of wine as a youngster. These weren’t sips taken on the sly, they were offered to me.
The first time I got drunk was at my friend Jen’s house. I was 15 or 16, and it was during one of our sleepovers. Jen’s parents were much older, and we always got away with so much at her house. We would hang out in her room listening to music, smoking cigarettes and pot. Sometimes we would have little parties with other friends in the apartment that was attached to her garage. After Jen’s older sister moved out, that area was ours. There was even a hot tub in there! Party central. I never dropped acid, but I remember several friends doing so one New Year’s Eve. My friend Tonya was having a bad trip, and she was sitting on the floor, banging her head against the wall. No wonder I never did acid…that image will always be with me.
Oh yeah, the drinking. Jen’s parent’s had a liquor cabinet full of goodies that seemed to be only for show. One night it was just me and her, and she had a bottle of Wild Turkey from that cabinet waiting for us in her room. So we did shots of Wild Turkey with cherry Kool-Aid chasers that night. I don’t remember how many shots I had, but I do remember how it made me feel: warm, giggly, happy. We spent the rest of that night smoking cigarettes, laughing, and listening to music. Every time after that, I always hoped that Jen would have another bottle in her room so I could get that amazing feeling back.
The rest of my high school career went the same way. All my gatherings with friends revolved around the hope that there would be booze at some point. One time with another group of buddies, we helped ourselves to mouthfuls of booze straight from the bottle as we did a quick raid on the liquor cabinet before The Parents home. Denine was pissed and did not partake, as she was worried that her parents would notice. Kara and I didn’t care, because all we wanted was that quick buzz. I rarely snuck booze at home, because of the fear of my mom and her boyfriend noticing the diminishing amounts of booze from their bottles. One night my senior year I said fuck it, slammed shots of vodka until I threw up and passed out, later adding some water to the bottle to make up for what had been drunk.
Was it any wonder that my freshman year of college was so great? I could never get over all the girls in my dorm who called their mothers every night crying from homesickness. I missed my cat and my older brother like hell, but I had free reign to get blasted whenever I wanted! Even better, as a woman I could always get alcohol underage, no problem. Didn’t matter where I was at, I could find a guy to buy me a drink. Easy-peasy.
Since this post is already all over the place, I’m going to switch gears even more. I have the double bonus of having alcoholism run in both sides of the family. My paternal grandfather never drank because his dad was an asshole drunk, and he knew better than to go down that road. My dad quit drinking when I was 10, after a DUI. He later thanked the cop that stopped him for saving his life. He quit on his own, and since then has always referred to himself as a recovering alcoholic. I only recently came to the conclusion that my dad is not an alcoholic. Dad was a big partier and I am thankful that he quit when he did. However, he can still have the occasional beer at a ballgame now. Often he won’t even finish it, he just has the taste for a beer and stops drinking it before getting buzzed. I’ve always been in awe of this. A recovering alcoholic who can still drink every now and then? Who can actually control his drinking? I will never tell my dad that he isn’t an alcoholic, though I now know that a true alcoholic cannot go down the road that he did. His ability to do this skewed my own perception of drinking before I completed my IOP last year. Now I know that I can never safely drink again, and I am so thankful to have that realization.
And this conclude’s today’s “Random Thoughts with Sober & Awkward”. Hope you’re all having a good week.