When I was
I liked it
By the time
I was sixteen
I loved it
By the time
I was eighteen
I used it
By the time
I was sick
Now I am
(written the month I turned 20)
The truth about my entry to the world of drinking alcohol is that I liked it. Escape was sought and found. Escape from so many years spent in my own head pondering my fears and imperfections. Release from the inhibitions that led to shyness and total lack of confidence-especially around boys my age, but generally most of the time.
I liked it, then fell in love with it. A nasty love affair; as alcohol dominated and manipulated. Was I born genetically predisposed to alcoholism? Did I doom myself by starting at such a young age? Why didn’t my friends seem to be worried about running out of beer? I sure was.
None of those questions matter. The truth made itself known in a variety of ways. Before I turned 16, I came across this quote somewhere: “The chains of alcohol are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Only 15 and I already knew I was in trouble. I put the quote on a little piece of paper and put it on the mirror in the bedroom I shared with my sisters. I don’t recall anyone saying a thing about it.
Mirrors were not my friend in those days. Most adolescents can probably relate to that. But do most adolescents look in the mirror, feel self-loathing, and say things like “You dumb, ugly bitch?” I said it and I felt it. To the core of my being. Who am I? Not good enough. What am I? Not good enough.
Drinking was only a symptom, exacerbating my troubled thinking. I was indeed sick in the head. My thoughts may have been unfettered in a drunken state, but they were also untethered the rest of the time. They led me far astray and though my parents may have noticed, they didn’t know how to help me get back to safer territory. I didn’t feel loved and I didn’t love myself. My self- perception was full of thoughts that held me back and allowed more weeds and faulty roots to gain ground.
If not for the healthy outlets of sports and writing, it is likely I would have become a sad statistic; crashing my car into a tree one night, deeply depressed by life and alcohol, or drinking myself into oblivion one time too many. Running and writing saved my life. Drinking almost killed me. That is my truth.