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Grapevine : June 2011
W henever I get crazy enough to think I can drink normally, I have to get rigorously hon- est and take a long, hard look at my track record. This not only scares the hell out of me, but reinforces the fact that this drunk never drank one drink in her life, unless it was water or juice. The family joke was that, when I was a baby, the only way to shut me up was by putting beer in my bottle and shoving it in my mouth. I have fond memories of being five or six years old, going to the family bar and sipping drinks from everyone and them laughing at me because I couldn’t walk and was falling all over the place. I grew up in a world of booze and had no idea this wasn’t normal. I do not ever remember being a social drinker or one of those hap- py-go-lucky drunks. Come to think of it, the drinkers I knew weren’ t ei- ther. I drank not to feel and I drank whatever it took to get there. By the time I was in my teens, I could drink all the adult drunks under the table, which I thought made me strong. I became a blackout, suicidal drinker by the age of 13, spending many nights in emergency rooms, getting x-rays and being stitched up after car accidents or slicing myself on busted bottles. I would get home from the hospital, pull my stitches out and try to have a drink that would make me feel better. I never felt better, though, because one drink led to another and another and so on and so on. I would come out of a drunk a day or so later, hat- ing myself for being so weak and evil, wondering how I let it happen again. I’d have to keep drinking just to stand being in my own skin. I tried to quit a couple of times, like when I had two babies, but I could never stay quit. I tried cutting back, which, to me, meant passing out instead of blacking out. I used to drink with my ex- husband and get furious when he stopped, because I was just getting started. I’d get rid of him so I could really drink. Toward the end, my drinking buddies were telling my husband I was an alcoholic. The nerve! They were just jealous be- cause they couldn’ t keep up with me. I remember my mother crying, begging me to slow down. I tried, one night, to sit at a picnic table with her and just enjoy a single drink. Be- fore the night was over, she got mad, stormed into the house and left me with the rest of the booze. I did not like hurting or scaring my mom. I loved her very much, but, hard as I tried, I could not drink the way she wanted me to. I took my kids out with me to the bar one night in a blackout. aagrapevine.org 35 GRAPE_34-36.indd 35 4/21/11 4:05 PM