Living Out Loud Project. (v13). Drinkin’ Buddies.
The Living Out Loud project is designed to bring writers out of their box by writing about things that are either new, personal, uncomfortable ~ or all of the above. This month’s topic, way out of my comfort zone, is about my relationship with alcohol. The Living Out Loud project is a monthly writing exercise open to all writers with a willingness and desire to Live Out Loud.
I am an alcoholic. Well, not really, but I could be. You see, I grew up in a house where it was a “normal” thing for my dad to go out every weekend with his drinking buddies or for them to come to our place every weekend and they would get drunk. I mean all nighters some times. My mother on the other hand, I don’t think EVER had a drink in her life. I take that back. ONCE my brothers tricked her into taking a sip of some kind of liquor and I thought she was going to kill them.
And my dad would get mean when he drank. I remember many times my mom telling us to go to bed and pretend we were asleep because our dad was home and he was drunk. We would scurry to bed and I can remember lying there under the covers, scared to breathe, but I wasn’t exactly sure why. I remember many, many nights of they would be yelling and screaming at each other. You’d think that would have deterred me from drinking AT ALL. But no…
Once I got to high school (probably 12th grade) if you didn’t drink some then you were an outcast, strange, and no one wanted to hang out with you. So, we snuck and drank. Of course back then you only had to be 18 to drink beer and wine but 21 for liquor so we mainly stuck to beer and wine. I am not proud to admit that it was not unusual for us to go to school drunk or at least half drunk. By us, I mean my best friend, Sam and our other best friend Barb. Sam had her license and a car so she would pick us up for school and we’d pool our money on the way to school and pick up a bottle of Ripple or Mad Dog… yeah, we were real classy. Unfortunately, my senior year I had Spanish 3 first period. There was more than one time that I can remember that I could barely speak English much less Spanish. And Senora de Tucker always believed us when we said we just weren’t feeling well. The principal on the other hand, I think he knew what was going on and just looked the other way.
After I got out of school, I ended up moving to another state to live with an older sister. She was separated from her husband (she had gotten married right out of high school and never had wild partying days) and living the life of partying hardy and I fell right in there with her. We worked very closely with the police department of a small southern town and there were many nights that we would go out and try to drive home but neither of us was sober enough to keep it in the road, so we’d call the police and tell them where we were and they would come and escort us home (yes, with us still driving) or if we REALLY could not drive, one would drive our car with the partner following us. I look back on those days now and just thank God that we never killed anyone else or ourselves. I cannot believe that we would drive like that. Or that the police would let us! I guess back then, a lot of people did it and it didn’t seem that out of the norm. Of course, that still doesn’t make it right.
Then I moved to another state, met my husband and the partying pretty much continued until I got pregnant with our first child. All my drinking came to an abrupt end. But, before it ended, I remember (well I probably DON’T really remember) one New Year’s Eve my Hubby was working. His brother had come in to visit from out of town so we went to this bar behind his work to wait for him to get off. I do remember that we started off drinking beer and had probably consumed about a six pack each before Hubby got there. Yeah, I did my daddy proud. I could hold my alcohol with the best of them… just like him. But once hubby got there I switched to wine and then liquor and capped it off with the champagne. I don’t remember leaving the bar, or getting home, but, we lived in a second floor apartment so I am assuming that I walked (was dragged or carried?) to the apartment. I woke up the nest morning in our bed in my nightgown but I have no clue how I got there or how I got changed. I ended up with a TWO DAY hangover. That was probably the beginning of the end of my drinking.
After we had the first two kids we would occasionally get together with our neighbor s for cards and dinner and usually the guys would end up with cases of beer and the ladies would end up with pitchers of margaritas. But that didn’t last long, either. I started thinking about the impression I was making on my kids and I decided that ONE of us had to be sober for the kids so I stopped drinking altogether for about ten or more years.
I started thinking back on my childhood and realized that I came from a LONG line of alcoholics, including some of my siblings. I realized that our family history seemed to be littered with addictive behaviors and personalities and I did NOT want my kids to grow up like that. I just knew that I could be one of those women that got drunk every night on her wine or cocktails and I did not want that kind of life for me or my kids so I steered clear of alcohol.
Even now, with my kids all grown, I don’t drink much at all. I may have the occasional glass of wine, or the occasional margarita, but as my kids will tell you… now… I AM a cheap date. One or two drinks and I can definitely feel it. By the end of two… you may as well put me to bed. And the funny thing is, I prefer it to be that way. I have been to too many functions and seen parents make utter fools of themselves because of too much alcohol. I do not want to make my kids have to weather that kind of embarrassment.
I remember a few years back at a cheerleading competition that #3 and I went to in Dallas one mom got so drunk she passed out on the stairs going back to her room, fell, and ended up in the local ER all night and completely missed her daughter’s competition the next day. Of course the poor girl had to face the barrage of questions the next day from squad mates and adults alike as to where her mother was. I don’t want to do that to my kids. Life is hard enough for them as it is.
Now, I might have a glass of wine or drink once or month or even further apart than that, but… I KNOW… I could be that person…that person that can’t stop at one…that person that drinks until they pass out… that person that’s the alcoholic. And I don’t WANT to be.