When I was a teen boy, I think I began drinking at age twelve or thirteen. How did I start at such a young age? I remember it like it was yesterday. My best friend lived in what we called the ghetto in a medium sized town in South Florida. My family was middle class and I suppose Bill’s family was rather poor. It seemed like we were always eating sloppy Joes whenever I would spend the night on the weekends. His house always smelled like an old hound dog that had not been washed in a coon’s age. When his dad would come home from working on the Sun Beam bread truck, he could just about clear everyone out of the house whenever he would take his shoes off. I’ll never forget how disgusting the fragrances were in their home.
If you are a teenager and have been drinking alcohol, please stop. Many young people have been hurt severely or hurt someone. My story may sound like it was fun when I was a teenager, but my children will tell you differently when I grew up to be an angry alcoholic.
We were great fisherman, Bill and me, at least until we discovered something else that was more exciting than catching a big large mouth bass. How two teen boys could go from fishing and start drinking alcohol on the weekends still baffles me. It was the lady at the convenient store where we would frequently go to play pinball that used to sell us the beer. Not far from the busy intersection where the store was located were the familiar woods that surrounded our favorite lake to fish in. There were beaten paths all around the twenty acre lake, plenty of woods for cover and endless fun for a couple of teen boys on a Saturday or during the weekdays of summer.
The older lady (or, clerk) at the store must have been about twenty five years old and she always had bloodshot eyes. We would stop in and tell her what we wanted to drink, pay the tab and she would put the booze out behind the store while we would be playing a game of pinball. We would finish the game, grab the beer and head for the lake. Funny how teenagers drink the same alcohol brands as their parents. Bill’s father always slammed Miller in a bottle and that’s what we would always buy.
We would always get it in a quart size and share the wealth. On more than one occasion we would keep drinking until we got sick. How much alcohol can a teenager consume before they hurl? I don’t know, but I remember that we would be cursing like drunken sailors as we would tell jokes, stagger, laugh, fall and puke. Because the paths in the woods went only around the lake there was no way of getting lost. Although we would get so inebriated that we had no idea where we were. During those early teenage years was the beginning of me turning into an alcoholic. It wasn’t until about twenty five years later that I found the rooms of AA.
When things really got fun is when we started having girlfriends. Now there would be four or five of us teenagers drinking around the lake. The girl’s parents were always a lot more strict than our moms and dads. So, they always had to be careful not to consume too much alcohol. Us boys on the other hand could decide to camp out and stay drunk all night. This was way before there were cell phones or even pagers for that matter. We could tell the parents that we were going to fish and camp out and they would be fine with the whole idea. I think that the parents were OK with us drinking because they were alcoholics themselves.
A common question among young people who have parents that drink is “will I become an alcoholic?” The best way to not get addicted is to never choose to drink. If you don’t drink you will not get drunk. It’s that simple!
It’s sad how teen boys can start drinking alcohol at such a young age. I really don’t think things have changed much since we were chasing our girlfriends, catching bass and playing pinball on our weekends and summers when we were out of school. My son and daughters all started consuming alcohol in their teens. I am thankful to God that they have since stopped unharmed and I also have not had anything to drink in over eleven years. It’s cunning, baffling and powerful how alcohol grips people, even in teenage years.