The burning sensation lingered in my mouth and stomach long after I had consumed that last long drink. We opened the night with mugs of Coors Light and closed it by guzzling Goldschlager. I was becoming everything I knew I wasn’t supposed to be. Which was cool because I didn’t really like me. I was too good. So good that if you squeezed me I smelled like Tide with Bleach with a hint of lavender freshness. I was tired of being the good boy. It was time to partake of the forbidden fruit.
Eighteen. That is how old I was when I had my first drink. This is sort of late in life by most American standards. I think most kids have tried it by middle school. I’d been taught that drinking was bad, but I had also seen first hand what pain it could cause. I watched my grandfather drink so much that his legs started to turn black from the alcohol poisoning. I watched my Aunt Jan and my Uncle Chris mourn the loss of their 8 day old son after he was killed by a drunk driver. I knew that alcohol could corrupt or kill, but I still wanted to try it. I needed to try it.
My first alcohlic purchase was a 6 pack of strawberry wine coolers. Some people said that beer tasted like piss, others said it was an “acquired” taste and so I chose the lesser of two evils – Bartles and James. They were delicious. Not only were they delicious, but they were easy to hide in my sock drawer in my bedroom. I used to go to the kitchen and get a glass of ice and then sneak a wine cooler into the bathroom and drink it. It was so fun being naughty. There was an adrenaline rush that came with purchasing alcohol illegally and then the added thrill of drinking it without getting caught. It was like walking on coals without burning my feet.
The problem with opening the door to darkness is that you can never get a good look unless you step completely inside. Even then it is best to allow your eyes to adjust to the light by closing the door behind you. This is the way the devil works, like a crack dealer he gives you a small taste for free and then once you are hooked he robs you of everything that you have. He makes you beg for the very thing that is killing you and you are left naked, humliated and ashamed, but still you want more.
I am the Devil’s puppet
Drinking alone lost its luster after a little while. Like most worldly pleasures I got bored and I wanted to take it to the next level. But where?
College is a great place to get educated in debauchery. College is where you learn how to do a proper Keg stand, what a jello shot is, how to play quarters and all about the joy and pain of a beer bong. College is where you are “trying to find yourself” and for some reason we always look for it at the bottom of an empty bottle or in someone’s bed or backseat. We are constantly testing our limits. Our appetite for destruction isn’t sated and eventually we find ourselves lying face down in a pool of our own vomit or at Walgreen’s shopping for a pregancy test. Our lives have become as empty as our bank accounts. Reality, something we have been trying so hard to avoid, is suddenly in our face like a drill sargeant poking it’s rigid finger into our chest and thrusting responsibility into our lap. We don’t like it.
For some of us we mature enough to realize that happiness cannot be found in things of this world: Internet porn, money, alcohol, women, and even success do not bring joy, they only bring momentary happiness. Happiness is something that comes from external circumstances where joy comes from within. True contentment comes from faith, hope and love. These things don’t always give us the rush and excitement that worldly pleasures give, but unlike the fast food of the world, they give us the nourishment that we need. They satisfy the hunger. They remove the cravings.
I remember when my friends would say lets go out and get wasted! I understood what wasted meant, but I never really gave the word “wasted” much thought until I got older. I look back on all the times I spent drinking the night away, I don’t remember much about them. I remember a few shallow laughs and a lot of hang overs. I remember sore throats from throwing up. Now I fully understand why they call it Wasted.