Experience, Strength and Hope (My Story continued – drinking in high school – 16, 17, 18)

The first time I stopped drinking, I could tell my story and know what had happened when.  Next time (this time), I lost that ability, and it hasn’t come back.  I can’t confidently say what happened before I stopped drinking, after I stopped drinking, in high school or in college.  I figured the most honest way to tell about it would be to write what I remember.  Maybe that way I can sort it out a bit more. I don’t think the time line is terribly important.

So sometime in high school I started drinking a lot.  I have a few memories of being drunk.  Once, for example, I remember laying my face on the mat of the wrestling cage.  As an potentially interesting side note, my first year in high school, which would have been 1976, was the first year my school district made gym class co-ed.  This was not a good thing.  I don’t know if it started out that way or became that way, but by the time I was in high school, some sports were segregated and some were not.  Wrestling was segregated, although I think that prior to my time, girls probably didn’t have to take wrestling at all.

Anyway I do recall the time I was supposed to be stretching or what have you, but I was too drunk to stay upright.  No one ever caught me drinking or being drunk in high school.  I often drank around my period, which was the reason I started anyway.  I also remember taking a purse to the bathroom.  Kids smoked in the bathrooms at that time.  I did that, but I also drank in there.

All my high school drinking was solitary.  All of it.  There were kids who drank and did drugs, but I wasn’t remotely friendly with them.  At least one of them had been my “best” friend in fifth and sixth grades, but we weren’t friendly anymore.  The kids I was remotely friendly with were the good a smart kids, or the “cooties,” but they didn’t drink.  The social drinking I did only involved the guy across the street, who I was sleeping with, and my family, on holidays.  I also snuck pot with the guy across the street, and drank and smoked pot with some of my cousins on my father’s side of my family.

I remember some of the kids who got very messed up with drugs and alcohol.  One guy, who was never the brightest, suffered some kind of obvious brain damage around then.  There was a girl who mixed alcohol and tranquilizers and who went into a coma.  Last I heard, which was a long time after high school, she never came out of it.  There were random locker checks in school, when they would hold a fire drill, get everyone out of the building, then not let us back in while police checked random lockers.  The drinking age was 18 at that time, so some high schoolers could legally drink.

This was an affluent area.  It’s now one of the most affluent areas in the country.  There weren’t gangs (that I know of), or violence of any kind.  But there were drugs and alcohol, for sure.  Still most kids went to school, hoped and planned and tried to graduate, didn’t often get pregnant in high school, got a very good education there.

I knew it then and I know it even better now, that the drinking I was doing was disordered and sick from the absolute start.  It went so quickly from a want to a need.  It went so quickly overboard and over the edge.  I’m grateful it was like that, because it brought me to the end that much more quickly.

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