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Grapevine : August 2010
YOUTH ENJOYING SOBRIETY told jokes. Surely, there was some- thing different. Then it hit me---it was alcohol. My second grade teach- er and the school secretary weren't their normal selves because they were drunk. My friend proposed we go steal some bottles from the fridge. We made a trip from our video game camp in the basement to the refriger- ator upstairs. We grabbed a beer and headed back to the basement before my drunken mom and the teachers realized what we were doing. We split that one beer, played some vid- eo games, watched a movie, and then my friend fell asleep. Before I passed out, I made three more trips up and down the basement stairway. At the end of the night, my 11-year-old mind was calm: no worries about school, no girl troubles, and a feeling of joy that I realized only an alcoholic in- toxication could give me. The following spring, I dropped out of Sunday School and renounced all the Catholic beliefs upon which I'd been raised. I had it all figured out: there was no God, Jesus didn't exist and church was nothing but a waste of time. Besides, I had football to watch on Sundays! My drinking progressed. In seventh grade, I'd realized I could take the liquor my parents seldom drank. If it was vodka or gin, I'd re- fill it with water. If it was whiskey or bourbon, a dark soda did the trick. During my sophomore year of high school, the weight of the world fell onto my shoulders after my girl- friend of nearly two years dumped me. We were supposed to be togeth- er forever, or at least until we went to college. The breakup brought on a great deal of misery, and I turned to my old friend liquor and a new acquaintance, prescription pills. Grapevine 53