“When was your first drink?”
“God, two years old I guess”
“Two?! Ok, I will rephrase. When was the first time you got good and drunk?”
“Yeah, two. But I know what you mean. I was 13 the first time I willingly got drunk”
Ok, here are explanations of both….
Booze was never taboo in my family, it flowed freely at parties and my parents never kept track of what was in the house. In fact my first official drunk was when I was just a toddler. I obviously don’t remember this but I have heard my Mom tell the story over and over, laughing every time. I apparently stumbled over to the coffee table, grabbed a glass of red wine and downed the entire thing, a professional drinker at two! She told me that I screamed all night long, eyes rolling around in my head (I must have hated the spins as badly then as I did years later). She was too afraid to take me to the hospital for fear of persecution from Child Protective Services. I toughed it out that night, I survived to drink again one day. There is no stopping a determined toddler with DNA mapped out perfectly for addiction and substance abuse.
My next good drunk, New Years Eve, 1993. I swallowed my first glass quickly, my mood as sour as the champagne. I was struggling with bulimia, and by struggling I mean not having enough time to vomit between meals or enough hours in the day to obsessively run mile after mile. I hated school and everyone there. The only solace in my life was my new-found love affair with smoking.
My second glass, enjoyed a little more than the first but still gulped with purposeful intent. I feel the bubbles in my nose and this makes me gag a little as I am reminded of the sensation of vomit spraying out of my nostrils which unfortunately is a daily occurrence.
My third glass marks the end of the first bottle. I sneak out the back door for a smoke. I hold my glass of champagne in one hand and my Marlboro Light in the other. I feel like a fucking supermodel for about half a second. I am in love with that fleeting sensation of power, sex and maturity. I am no longer a child, if I ever was one at all. I stare at the night sky inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly, luxuriantly.
The second bottle of champagne disappears in no time at all. My Mom is asleep in front of the television, Dick Clark counting the year down like pennies thrown in a fountain, meaningless wishes and a waste of time. I stumble into my room and collapse onto my bed. I have one loud continuous thought reverberating through my head, “I want to feel like this forever, I want to feel like this forever….”