I started drinking when I was 15. My mom’s two best friends would come over on Friday afternoons after school and would drink Taylor Lake Country White wine. We’d sit at the kitchen table and laugh and talk and drink. My mom was never a heavy drinker. In fact, she didn’t want me to drink on those afternoons. But she let her friends drive the bus and when they offered me a glass, she went along with it. As she did with almost everything. My mom was very nice. Too nice. Major people pleaser. I remember getting a buzz and thinking how awesome it was. My shy awkwardness evaporated. I was funny. I could converse with these ladies and entertain. I mattered. I existed.
My parents adopted me when I was three months old. They never hid it from me. I remember my mom telling me the story over and over again of how it all happened–the day they got the call from the state that a little girl was available for them, the drive they took all they way up north, the first time they saw me, and how in love with me they were. It was my favorite story. I knew I was loved from the start. However, if you know anything about adoption you know that the primal wound of being given away by the person who gave you life leaves an indelible scar on your soul. I was no exception. It didn’t matter that they loved me. I was still an alien.
The separateness that I felt as a child has been a constant in my life. I’ve had therapy, joined adoption groups, read books, researched, yadda yadda. I now understand it, but like any grief, it never leaves. You just learn to live around it. I will say, however, that it definitely impacted my drinking. I didn’t feel as alone when I drank. Plus, it was just the thing to do.
In high school, I was a cheerleader. Odd, because I was a total introvert. And I smoked. Cheerleaders in my school were not smokers. They were the pretty girls, the popular girls, and very outgoing. If you were a cheerleader who was shy and awkward you were bullied–by the other cheerleaders, no less. And so my years as a teenager were spent trying to escape the bullies. Doing whatever it took to make them not be mean to me. I still shudder when I think about it. I did have one friend on the squad who had it worse than me. Her parents were dead and she spent her youth in foster homes. She drank, and so we drank together. Misery loves company. We were dark soul mates.
My high school boyfriend was abusive. He was an ‘artist’ so his emotions and temper ran high. I got the brunt of his hatred of the world and took it in stride. Never really understanding that I was being physically and mentally abused. How sick is that? I remember cheering at a basketball game and having these intense bruises all over my inner thighs, peaking out of my uniform skirt and wondering if anyone could tell. They could, apparently, because someone told my mother and from that point on I was forbidden to see him. They knew. I didn’t even acknowledge it. Just thought they were being stupid parents. So, then it became lying and hiding. I was not going to break up with the one person in the world who KNEW me. Who UNDERSTOOD me and my pain.
College was high school revisited, mostly. Except I flunked out. Spent the next few years attending a local community college and drinking every chance I got. I had a small group of friends and we’d drive around on Friday nights with a case of beer, listening to Fleetwood Mac, Yes, Heart, and Aerosmith. Oh, how cool we were! At some point I ditched the BF, but he continued to stalk me well into my 30’s believe it or not. I still have to keep anonymous on social media or he will find me. Unless he’s dead now.
So, that’s my early foray into the world of alcohol. It gets way more interesting i.e., depressing in my 20’s and 30’s so stay tuned…