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Grapevine : August 2011
I was born in Plano, Texas, in the early '90s. Shortly after birth, I moved to a small suburb of Houston. My fam- ily was very wealthy and I knew it. We grew up spoiled, getting whatever we want- ed, whenever we wanted it. My father, a successful business- man, was seldom home so I think he probably tried to buy the love of his children. My mom seemed to be your happy, suburban housewife and I al- ways considered us normal, until my dad abruptly separated from her and moved to Portland, Oregon. My mother lost it, attempting to overcome her pain by becoming a hardcore partier. My brother and I were left to be raised by nannies, most of whom were young. I distinct- ly remember a nanny showing me my mom's cocaine stash. I was ten and it traumatized me. That night was my first real drink of alcohol. I remember the magic clearly. Seconds after the vodka poured down my throat, all my problems vanished. It felt amazing and, in that moment, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to alcohol. I started drinking, both alone and with my nanny, several times a month. It was my cure-all. By the time I hit 12, I was the notorious par- ty animal at my school. I had many friends, but most of their parents wouldn't let me come over or even hang out with their children. Even- tually, I was completely alone. My mom moved out and my dad moved back into the house, bring- ing my drug addict older brother with him. I became addicted to some outside issues and began using on a daily basis. When he wasn't home, which was often, my dad left us ample amounts of money to get by on, but the combination of all my addic- tions was starting to get extremely expensive. I soon learned that when dad was drunk and passed out, it was easy to steal his cash and/or ATM card. Eventually, though, that wasn't enough so I learned the art of check forgery. Thousands of dol- lars later, my dad found out and sent me to counseling. I was grounded for a while, but still had easy access to booze. One Friday night in late March, my dad was drunk and let me have some friends over. We got bored staying inside and decided to leave. My belligerently intoxicated father didn't like that, so we got into a physical altercation. After about ten minutes of throwing punches and drunken wrestling, I hit him one last time in the chest and ran down the street. Two blocks later, I was arrest- ed. The last thing I remember was an ambulance flying past me. Several hours later, I came to in the police station, getting questioned by two detectives. As thick as my drunken haze was, I put it together ILLUSTRATION BY ERIC A. aagrapevine.org 47