I started drinking when I was 15 years old. Even though no one in my immediate family drank, all of my friends at the time were drinking pretty heavily. My first drink was at a friend’s house. No adults were around so we helped ourselves to the liquor cabinet. We also had our own stash that someone managed to buy. My mom never questioned if my friend’s parents were at home.
Years later, I asked her about it; she said she never questioned my plans because she trusted me.
There were several of us drinking that night. It was the first time I’d ever tried alcohol. It was also the first time I ever got drunk. I spent the rest of high school drinking on the weekends and occasionally before or after school.
I had a nice scholarship lined up for graduation at a private Christian college, but chose to go to a more “party” type atmosphere. The harsh reality was that by the time I graduated high school, I was already drinking alcoholically.
I managed to complete a year or two of college, but grades no longer mattered. I went from being an honor graduate with big dreams to a person who visited bars and parties every night of the week, and only worked so that I could afford more alcohol.
Eventually, I dropped out of school. I lost everything that mattered to me at the time; my hopes and dreams, my drive and ambition, and most importantly, myself. By the age of 22, I found myself in rehab. I realized it wasn’t how often I drank or how many I drank, but why I drank that was the bigger problem. It always came back to the first drink, not the last one.
I have now been sober for many years. I went back to school, and even completed a graduate degree. Although my experience has helped make me who I am today, I would have spared myself years of heartache had I never taken that first drink of alcohol in high school.