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Grapevine : May 2011
of all those who were watching. It was a terrifying experience, intensifying my feelings of being different. To this day I don’t know why they disliked me so. But there it was again, I was not the right fit, and the girls in my school made sure I knew it. This pattern of not fitting in hap- pened again in high school and it hurt just as much as it did in elementary school and junior high. It was turning into the story of my life and I had ab- solutely no way to deal with it. In high school, however, I discov- ered the magic balm of alcohol and drugs, the most miraculous cure-all I had ever come across. I don’t remember exactly what night or specifically where it hap- pened, but I do remember discover- ing alcohol at a Hall Party. By the time it was finished discovering me, I was lying face down in the dog dish at my parent’s house. That first time was a blackout experience, which maybe should have filled me with a sense of foreboding and dread. For a normal adult, it probably would have. But for a child like myself who never fit in, it was nothing but a tiny blip on my ra- dar ... and it was the most wonderful blip I had ever felt. I remember how I felt when the alcohol touched my lips and poured into my mouth, a sweet, delicious feeling. The instant it started run- ning down my throat, I began to feel warm, cozy and snuggly. other good feelings came on in a rush, all swim- ming together as the liquid raced to my stomach. when the waves settled and the process of absorption began, warmth crept up my entire body. The feeling was like slipping your hand into a perfectly-shaped glove, cus- tomized to fit perfectly. My alcohol abuse continued, for the most part, out of control for the next 16 years. whenever I had a mo- ment of that old “not a great fit” feel- ing, I simply imbibed the wonderful elixir that made all those horrible feelings fade away into the sunset. It was like magic. I could not believe my luck. Finally, I could fit anywhere I wanted to. I was the happiest drinker around ... until I wasn’t. After a number of years per- fecting my drinking, I finally be- came a seasoned, talented profes- sional. I had tried quitting, twice by this time, but figured if I could stop for three months, then I could go right back to drinking again. As my drinking went on, the magic was not working so well any- more. The places where I used to fit in so expertly, were no longer so easy to fit into. It got to the point where it was like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. I was beside myself, confounded as to why this wonderful potion was not working so wonderfully anymore. The morning came when I no longer fit into life at all. I had lost all semblance of normalcy and each day was drowned in a drunken stupor of 24 May 2011 GRAPE_22-27.indd 24 4/4/11 4:27 PM