I should have known I’d be an alcoholic. As a child I was filled with shame, fear, and self-loathing. I was bullied and made fun of because I was tall, pimply and shy. Not to mention adopted. Kids can be so cruel. I remember a neighborhood shit-head kid telling me that my parents weren’t my “real” parents and that they must have bought me because my “real” mother didn’t want me. Pretty horrific to hear when you’re 8. I hid everything from everyone. The first thing I remember hiding was my gut-wrenching sadness over my grandmother dying. I was 8, my entire family was at her house the day after she died. I guess the grown-ups were cleaning things out. Someone laughed. I got pissed. How could anyone laugh at a time like this? I wanted to scream and yell at them. The rage I felt cut thru me like a knife. Instead, I started to cry but would not admit anything. I just said I had a belly ache and wanted to go home. It’s odd that I remember that one, little thing so vividly. It was so huge at the time. I knew, deep down, that I was acting completely differently from how I was feeling.
That behavior continued throughout most of my life. I was a very sensitive kid. But NO ONE could ever know that. Eventually, it morphed into a double-life kind of thing. By high school I was pretending to be one thing but doing another. I was an A student, cheerleader with an eating disorder one minute, the next I was cheating on math tests and smoking cigarettes in the girls bathroom. I was a total contradiction.
My first marriage was a total sham. I guess I loved him, he was a really nice guy. But more than that, he represented a picture in my mind of how I thought married life should be. I wanted to fit that good girl mold. I wanted the white house with the picket fence. Instead, I sabotaged everything. I developed an infidelity issue. Within a month of tying the knot I cheated on my husband with a guy who did coke. I loved cocaine. I had done a little in high school and LOVED how it made me feel. Hyper, energetic, thin, fun…all things I struggled with when I wasn’t high. This guy got tons of it and we’d sneak off to bars and snort lines in the bathroom. I never actually had sex with him, but we did everything else. The marriage lasted less than two years.
I must have done a really good job at hiding my drug use and alcoholism because no one ever questioned me. My parents had no clue, or at least they didn’t say anything. My friends were doing the same thing as me so no problem there. I was working, living on my own, managing somewhat. It was all good. Hangovers were a normal part of every day, I was young–I could take it. Just drink again that night and all was cured. I think I was drunk for ten years. But I had a very high bottom, as they say. Never got a DUI, never missed work, never ended up in the hospital.
It all came to head when I met this guy who owned a bar and did massive amounts of coke. We went out one night, drinking and snorting. It got to be about 2am and he suggested going to a friend’s house for one last hit. All I remember is this enormous, red, bong thing in front of me, and these two guys saying, “go ahead, but don’t inhale too quickly.” And there you have it. I smoked coke. Or crack. I have no idea which. All I know is that I was higher than I’ve ever been in my life. I got home when the sun was coming up, wondering how I was supposed to teach a Jazzercise class in a few hours. I swear to god at that moment I saw two roads in front of me. I decided to change directions right then and there. I never saw that guy again–avoided his calls and eventually he faded into nowhere. I never, ever, did another drug. But I kept drinking. Nothing wrong with that. At least I wasn’t a drug addict. THAT would have been terrible.