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Grapevine : May 2011
I recall having my first beer when I was 17, at my uncle’s birthday party. In the midst of the celebration, I was told that on this day, it was okay to have one. I hated the taste, sense of guilt and the upset stomach I had afterward and didn’t drink again until after high school graduation. After high school, I drank spar- ingly and not often. I recall my first big binge at a friend’s poker party, where we got a little carried away and I had to be driven home. They leaned me up against my front door, rang the doorbell and left. When my mother opened the door, I collapsed in her arms. She dropped me on the floor and that is where I awoke the next morning. After that episode, I’d occasionally indulge at parties and other social gatherings, so it was mostly an on-again-off again effort. I recall one occasion at a house party for a friend’s birthday. I had been working construction and was very tired. I had a few beers and said Iwasgoingouttothecartotakea nap. I awoke the next morning with the sun in my eyes, parked in a tennis court. I couldn’t open the doors on either side of my Bel Air, but found my keys in the glove box and pulled the car ahead to a nearby swim- ming pool where there was a phone. I called my friend and told him to get me out of there before the police came. He showed up a few minutes later with his buddies, the ones who had somehow managed to raise the chain link fence and park my Chevy between the two nets on the court in the first place. They lifted the fence again and I drove out. With friends like those .... I drank off and on for several years but had no problem OUR PERSONAL STORIES Instead of having the world by its tail, booze had him by the neck Social security aagrapevine.org 39 GRAPE_39-41.indd 39 4/4/11 1:04 PM