I never used to drink.
My parents donít drink much. My father has an occasional beer with his friends, and once in a while Jackie my step-mom has a glass of wine when she goes to a restaurant. Until last fall, I had tasted beer exactly once and wine exactly once, and I didnít particularly like either one.
But mostly I didnít drink Ďcuz Iím a Christian. In my youth group, drinking is something we talked about in small group, not something we did. So when Jess and Scott and my other Christian friends got together, we played games, listened to music, and talked. No one ever said ďHey, you wanna drink?Ē
Iím a cheerleader, so I sometimes get invited to parties. Whenever there was alcohol, I always said no, and my friends were cool with it. Some of the girls on the squad drink, and some donít, but nobody is like out of control.
All that changed in September. I started hanging with this girl Paris. I knew she had a bad rep, but I was like whatever. I was almost 16, and very pissed and bored with life, and Paris fit my thinking at the time.
My youth pastor who was so cool left the church in June, and I didnít know the new guy, so youth group was boring. Courtney and my cheerleading friends were being totally annoying. I was pissed with my real mom for never calling, and I wasnít getting along with my dad. So there it is.
Paris partied and did drugs and all that, and I knew that. But I was in the mood for something different. So anyway, one Friday night she invited me over her house, and because my parents trust me, they said okay. They didnít know Paris then anyway. They probably thought she was some random kid from youth group.
I got to Parisí house and I was like ďoh crapĒ Ďcuz it was a party. I couldnít believe the stuff that was going on. Drugs, and kids going into other rooms to do stuff, and of course booze. I guess I really should have figured this because I knew what Paris and her friends were into, but I didnít think about it. Anyway, immediately everyone expected me to start drinking. They were drinking a lot. I saw one girl drinking vodka mixed with something as fast as she could drink it. An hour later she was passed out on the floor and some random guy was all over her. So gross!
I was afraid he might have put something in my drink so I went to the bathroom and dumped it in the sink. Then I sat on the toilet till someone was knocking on the door. I wanted to call my father to come get me, and I know I should have, but instead I decided I wanted to have fun like everyone else. So I went out and lit a cigarette and made my own drink with cranberry juice, Ďcuz thatís my favorite. Then later I made another. I hadnít eaten very much, so by then I was getting really dizzy. A few minutes later I was in the bathroom puking my guts out and asking God to forgive me, and swearing Iíd never do it again.
Anyway, the next weekend one of Parisí friends had a party, and I lied to Jackie about where I was going, and I stayed there all night, drinking until I puked again. I know this totally makes no sense, but thatís what I did.
Then I realized that all my clothes were like totally wrong for partying. Thatís when I asked Paris how she got her money, Ďcuz her family is broke and she has really cool stuff. Anyway, she told me she sells drugs, so then I started selling too so I could get some things I needed.
I quickly became what my counselor calls a binge drinker. I drank as much and as fast as I could like the girl on the floor I talked about earlier. I never totally blacked out like some of the others, but I may have for a little while once.
I only drank on weekends, but I knew I was becoming an alcoholic. I knew if I kept on like this, I was gonna totally screw up my life and it would kill me. But I didnít care. I just wanted to drink.
As it was, I couldnít get my butt out of bed on Saturday mornings for cheerleading practice, and Iíd almost be late for the bus for away games. So Brit and the other girls were always pissed at me, but I didnít care anymore. And I stopped going to youth group on Sunday nights and stayed away from Scott and Jess. I knew being a party girl was way more fun than cheerleading or youth group. Within a few weeks it got to where all week long I couldnít wait till Friday to be with my friends and drink. Then I could have fun and be myself.
Toward the end, Jackie suspected I was drinking, but I denied it. I think she knew for sure, but she was trying to find the right way to deal with me. I mean, I lied to everyone about everything, and I almost never used to lie about anything Ďcuz I was a Christian.
The Friday night after Thanksgiving, I came home really drunk, and my father was standing there with my report card in his hand. I had a C-, 2 Dís, and an F ... and 14 unexplained absences. I was so busted. The weird part is I didnít care. I didnít care about my father being pissed. I didnít care about my grades (and I was mostly an A student). All I wanted to do was go to this party Justin was having on Saturday night. And, of course, drink.
People liked me when I was drunk. People laughed at my jokes. Iíd tell guys I could drink them under the table, and I did. Guys paid attention to me. They wanted to kiss me and go out with me.
Paris was planning this big Sweet Sixteen party for me (Ďcuz we could never do it at my parents house). Jackie was planning one too, and inviting my friends from youth group and cheer squad. But I didnít care about that party at all. I even told her to forget it. I wanted to be with my ďrealĒ friends and drink till I passed out. I even thought about giving my virginity to Justin that night.
My step-mom Jackie had something of an alcohol problem when she was in high school and college. She maybe wasnít an alcoholic, but she was a big time partyer. By the time she was 25 and gave her life to God, the partying was kind of out of control, so maybe she was an alcoholic. I never knew that about her till I was busted and she talked with me at breakfast one morning.
She recommended I see a counselor, Ďcuz I was binge drinking and smoking weed and doing some other stuff too. My first counselor was a total moron, and didnít understand me at all. But then we switched, and my second counselor helped me realize I was on a self-destructive path. She said it was partly normal teenage rebellion and curiosity (okay, whatever), and partly because I was feeling abandoned, mostly by my birth mom (exactly!!) She said we were lucky to catch it early, and I was lucky to have parents and friends who actually care about me. (I donít believe in luck. I believe in God. So I prayed and thanked him.)
I had been so fixated on the negative Ė my birth mom and girls on the squad who were dissing me, that I missed Scott and Jackie and the others who really cared. Pastor Drew, my new youth pastor, showed me God had a purpose in my life, and that was also very important.
So in December for my Sweet Sixteen I invited Scott and some friends from youth group, and Courtney and the entire squad, although Autumn still hates me and didnít come, and a few other random friends from school. My dad went out with his friends to give me space, and Jackie chaperoned, but was cool about it. We played music, and some games, and ate a lot. We had no alcohol or drugs, and I had a really awesome time with my real friends.