Why I Gave up Alcohol for Lent (Pt. 1)

***I started this post about a month ago, and it has taken me this long to get around to posting it. Now that Lent is about over, I figured it was time to woman up and just hit publish.***

I have been getting a lot of questions from people about my choice to give up alcohol for Lent. Everything from, “You did what?! Why?” to “Couldn’t you think of anything easier? What about chocolate? C’mon. It’s not too late to switch!” My decision to give up alcohol has some very personal reasoning behind it, but hey, it might help somebody out. So here it goes. This will be a multi-post story because to understand my decision, you need all of the background information about my relationship with alcohol. I should tell you that not even my family knows all of the details, so this should be interesting.

Like many American kids, I had my first taste of alcohol at a very young age. It was your typical moment when the kid asks the adult what they’re drinking, thinking it’s some sort of soda, and the adult gives the kid a sip just watch their reaction. This happened at a neighbor’s house as we never had booze in our house growing up. I believe it was a Coors Light. I guess it doesn’t really matter what it was, all I knew at the time was that beer was disgusting and I would never drink the stuff again because eww.

Fast forward a few years to seventh grade. In my hometown, this is about the age that kids start experimenting with sex, drugs, and alcohol. I lived in one of those towns where when you are a kid you think there isn’t anything to do so you find destructive ways to deal with your boredom. For my friends and I, our first experiments with alcohol were pretty harmless: sneaking little sips of vodka from somebody’s parents’ liquor cabinet here and there. We were so terrified of getting caught that we had to start small. One night, a small group of us were at the movie when one of my friends pulled a water bottle with some vodka in it out of her purse. Over the course of the movie, we passed the bottle around. None of us drank enough to get even a buzz off of it, but that is the first time I remember feeling warm after drinking.

In the middle of seventh grade, I met my birth mother when we opened the adoption. After meeting the rest of the family, I began spending some weekends and at least one week during the summer with her. She is the one who introduced me to wine. At fourteen I was beginning to learn about the different types of wine, and she would let me have a glass with my dinner whenever I was at her house. At the time, wine was something to be enjoyed as a complement to a meal and nothing more.

Sophomore year was the first time I remember being in a situation where people were actively trying to get drunk. I was a bit of a homebody when I was in high school, so did not find myself at too many parties during my early high school years. We were at a friend’s house, and her parents happened to be out of down. This friend has older siblings, so she had been exposed to partying. Meanwhile, my parents did not drink. Anyway, we decided to take advantage of the fact that her parents were out of town and had a little kickback with a small group of friends. We mixed up some Captain Morgan and Dr. Pepper for our party favors. (Un)fortunately – depending on who you asked – my friend was convinced that she had made the drinks too strong and after only a few sips promptly dumped them down the drain. Another attempt was not made.

I will never forget the first time I got truly drunk. I was on the bus coming back from a week at Girls’ State when I texted my best friend and told him that I wanted to get drunk. Naturally, he was somewhat confused as I actively avoided drinking and parties most of the time. I assured him that is was something I “needed” to do to deal with the week I had just had living and learning in an environment comprised entirely of high school girls. We found a party at a friend’s house and I drank Phillips vodka straight out of the bottle, taking small pulls until my face got tingly and moon looked like it was wobbling in the sky.

And so began my party girl days.

To be continued…


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