The Story Of A Teenage Alcoholic

Photo: AntonioGuillem, Cindy Bolanos Garcia | Canva
Young girl drinking in her bedroom

My best friend Kim showed up at my mother’s apartment hiding two Mickey’s in her purse. She motioned for me to come outside and led me to the back of our building. She smiled as she handed me one of the beers.

"My grandfather’s so drunk, he won’t even know they’re missing," Kim giggled. She was one of those kids who was exposed to every kind of abuse imaginable. Her response to any kind of bad news was to giggle. I guessed it was better than the alternative.

I held the bottle in my hands, not really knowing what I should do. I was sure my mother would frown upon it, but who really cared? She barely paid attention to me anyway. We lived as roommates rather than mother and daughter, a fact I resented. I couldn’t wait to move out on my own.

I put the wide-mouth bottle to my lips and drank. The taste of beer almost made my stomach lurch, but only for a second. I kept drinking and wondering what the results would be. I’d never been drunk before.

"Check this out," Kim said. She turned over the lid to her bottle revealing a little puzzle. I looked at mine, and it also had one. We tried to do them and failed miserably.

"Somebody told me they’re easier when you’re drunk," Kim shrugged.

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I finished the rest of my beer and so did Kim. Sitting on the grass together, I waited for something to happen. Kim had a great time, laughing and joking around. I wondered if I had too much anxiety for the beer to work. My messed-up brain issues caused nothing but misery and panic. Maybe alcohol wouldn’t work for me.

Half an hour later, Kim and I were rolling on the grass and singing songs, causing us to fall into hysterical laughter. I felt good, better than good. All my anxiety was gone, and I wasn’t shaking for a change. It was like I found the Holy Grail. I’d never let myself relax enough to have fun in normal circumstances, but with alcohol, I felt I could truly be myself.

I was too young to buy alcohol at the store, but I still drank as often as I could. Between Kim and the people who lived in our building, there was an endless supply. I liked who I was while drinking, fun and silly and happy.

There was finally a solution to all my bad feelings, and its name was alcohol.

I tried every brand of beer and moved on to wine and vodka as if it were nothing.

RELATED: The Addiction Shared By 1/3 Of Americans, According To Research

Of course, alcohol isn’t the answer to anybody’s problems. My drinking sessions were only over after I passed out. Strangely, I thought that was the whole point of alcohol, to drink until I was unconscious. I learned this from my mother.

My mom was an alcoholic for years until we moved to Florida and she finally quit. I don’t remember her drinking much when I lived with her during high school. Still, there were memories in my head of her being drunk when I was younger and trying to drive and yelling at me and ignoring me because she’d been drinking. I swore then that I’d never try alcohol of any kind, a promise I promptly broke as soon as it was presented to me.

I started going to high school parties on weekends where the alcohol flowed freely.

True to form, I drank until I was so drunk that I couldn’t stand up. Once a boyfriend showed his irritation with me by throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me out of a party while drunk. My skirt was short, and everyone hooted and hollered at my underwear, some reaching out to pull it up farther.

That’s the thing. When you make yourself incoherent and unbalanced, there are people out there who take advantage of your condition. I was almost raped once while passed out, and another boy dragged me into his bedroom with the intention of sexually assaulting me. I was barely able to fight back and push him away. Luckily, his friend came into the room and told him to leave me alone. I got lucky.

Not long after that, I started drinking in my bedroom when nobody was around.

I’d have three or four mixed drinks before I went out to party with my friends. It was my little secret, and I worried people would judge me if they found out. As a result, I was usually drunk by the time I got to the party, which left my friends confused.

I honestly thought alcohol was helping me with my social skills and nervousness, but there’s nothing social about drinking alone in my room. Pretty soon, I didn’t want to go out at all and just stayed home with a bottle of vodka. My friends wondered where I was, so I made up lies to get out of things. By that time, rather than decreasing my anxiety, the alcohol made me more nervous and panicky.

RELATED: Being Human Is Hard — And Alcohol Isn't Making Us Feel Any Better

An ultimatum came in the form of my eleventh-grade boyfriend. Either I stopped drinking, or he was going to break up with me.

As much as I wanted to be with him, I went behind his back and drank in secret. The day he found me at a friend’s house with a bottle of wine, he stayed true to his word and dumped me.

The breakup left me devastated. I’d just lost my favorite person all because of stupid alcohol. I made a vow then to quit for good, even if my boyfriend never came back. I stopped going to parties and sneaking into bars with a fake ID. I made amends to my friends, and they started to come around again.

When my boyfriend finally made his way back to me, I was fully sober. I stayed that way for nineteen years, but alcoholism has a way of popping up no matter how long you’ve abstained. During hard or sad times, it was always waiting there to tempt me. Sadly, there were times when I fell in my adult life.

Even though I don’t drink now, I realize that it’s by the grace of God that I’m sober. Taking life one day at a time is all I know how to do. I have occasional cravings, but I’ve learned that if I sit for a few minutes, they will go away and I can get back to my day.

Alcohol is nobody’s friend. Thinking that it helps me relax has always backfired. It’s just not a solution in the way therapy, relaxation, and meditation can help with anxiety. It can make mental illness worse and cause deep depression, not to mention the toll it takes on physical health.

I’m grateful not to live like that anymore.

Drug and alcohol addiction is incredibly common. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, there are resources to get help.

The process of recovery is not linear, but the first step to getting better is asking for help. For more information, referrals to local treatment facilities and support groups, and relevant links, visit SAMHSA’s website. If you’d like to join a recovery support group, you can locate the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you. Or you can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-799-7233, which is a free 24/7 confidential information service in both English and Spanish. For TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, call 1-800-487-4889.

RELATED: How I Broke Up With Booze And Got My Life Back Again

Glenna Gill is a writer and blogger from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her articles have been featured in Scary Mommy and P.S. I Love You. When I Was Lost is her first full-length book, a memoir of love, loss, and hope.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.