The First Time

The first time I had a drink, I was 4 or maybe 5 years old. My older step-sisters, in high school at the time, were having a party. I don’t remember much about that night, other than I felt amazing being with all those big people. I was making them laugh! They let me play their ping pong ball game with them, and even let me cheat and win! I don’t remember having an opinion about what I was drinking, or even what it tasted like. I drank it though. I liked the attention. I have a vague recollection of not feeling good, but specifics are not clear. I do recall dark brown fuzzy carpet.

Dragging me by my arm, I was told to go to bed and pretend to be asleep, as people rushed around shushing each other and scrambling to pick up. Hindsight and retelling of family stories years later filled in the gaps that were confusing for me as a child. They were home, and evidently earlier than anticipated.

To this day I do not know where my parents were that night. Or the time I woke up one early morning to a sea of sleeping bags and blankets, covering so many bodies splayed out all over our rec room floor. It was a different time, the eighties. The thought process was “at least they are partying at home instead of out driving around. They are doing it safely”.

I will be 40 in 10 days. I have drank alcohol up until 65 days ago. I didn’t drink in my early teens, but by 18 had a boyfriend with legal friends. For over 20 years I have ….

been an alcoholic? An on and off binge drinker? Both? Does it really matter?

When I look back at my history, on paper yes. If I was reading this about someone else, it would leave no doubt. Of course she’s an alcoholic. But because it’s me, it’s somehow normal….

It’s not that bad…I didn’t wake up and have a bottle of vodka for breakfast. (Although I’ve had Kahlua in my morning coffee on a couple of occasions with friends.) I didn’t hide bottles. I never drank before work. I did strategize calorie consumption with alcohol, as in skipping meals to get tipsy quicker, skip meals to compensate for anticipated alcohol consumption. Switched from sugar- and calorie-dense cocktails to straight liquor over the years. Granted, the worst of the bottom occurred in my twenties.  I didn’t drink while pregnant. After the kids were born, I drank, but responsibly. I didn’t drink alone.

Until I did.

I’ve had horrendous hangovers, but never withdrawal symptoms. Or so I thought. Don’t all people when hung over get the shakes? No? Just me?

I think that’s the thing. That alcoholic term is so loaded. (Pun not really intended, but I’m leaving it there.) Alcoholics are physically addicted, right? Was I physically addicted? Maybe….

I don’t think it matters.

I no longer care what the definition is. Alcohol does not work for me. It doesn’t make me feel good, it doesn’t improve my life. It never feels as good as that elusive just-tipsy-but-not-drunk feeling does for that brief moment. Chasing that ever-closing window of buzzed perfection always led way past excess. When having 1 leads to 10, it’s not good regardless of whatever the definition says. I love the way Jim states it at Fit Recovery, “I didn’t want to drink, I wanted drunk.”


I am done wrestling with am I or not. Doesn’t really matter in the end, does it?


8 thoughts on “The First Time”

  1. Two things: One: POWERFUL post. You are so self aware, it’s humbling to read. Two: So glad you are reading Fit Recovery. I’ve sent so many people over to his blog because what he preaches, we need to read……and I’m not even overly fond of cyclists….LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thank you Gail. And your not being “overly fond of cyclists” comment made me snort! 😂Love his blog and was excited when I started reading after you mentioned it. I connected to many things, even though I only have a hybrid mom bike! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it was my derision at cyclists that first connected Jim and I. He read one of my humorous and sarcastic filled rants on my blog about cyclists and other types of people that bug me while I run. (I’m quite impatient with people!) It turns out that I only dislike certain kinds of cyclists…the ones that clip Seamus and me on our runs. I’m pretty sure Jim would go after anyone who actually did that to a runner…..Anyway, you’re right. I connect to many things he writes about as well. It’s a damned good blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. That’s crazy! In south Texas we I feel sorry for the cyclists. We don’t have many, but the small contingent we do have, have to pick their routes carefully. Drivers in Texas are like no others I’ve seen in any other part of the U.S. It’s almost as if they see cyclists as targets and try to run them off the road. (And there is no city infrastructure for bike lanes.)

          I suppose there are jerks in any sport – even driving! 😁

          Liked by 1 person

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