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Grapevine : August 2011
and into hers. Little did I know, this would be the first of many attempted escapes from my life. School was unbearable. I watched the other kids, trying to fig- ure out how they managed to seem comfortable. I lacked confidence, val- ue and, at times of distress, the abil- ity to breathe. I remember one girl in particular, who was a year older than me. She had such a sense of ease and comfort. I wanted what she had. It tookalotofguts,butIwentupto her one day and asked her how she knew how to say all the right things and act the right way. "I have a secret," she said. I still remember how wide her eyes got when she spoke. Wow! I thought. A secret, that's what I need. She leaned closer, whispering, "I bring wine to school." I went home that afternoon and immediately took inventory of the available alcohol. Grandma had a gallon of port wine, which I was sure she wouldn't miss. I used a silver kitchen funnel and siphoned some wine into a lunch bag-sized contain- er. The first day that I could finally feel comfortable was nothing short of marvelous. How could I know that my new friend would eventually turn on me? Fast forward through many years of hard drinking and bad de- cisions that brought me to a place where the only thing I wanted was to die. On a typical morning, I'd get up around 7 a.m. and get ready for work. This meant heading into the kitchen, where there was always about three inches of vodka left in a half-gallon bottle. I needed three drinks every aagrapevine.org 39