When that first sip of beer caressed my lips and cascaded down my throat at the lovely age of eight, I never dreamed that alcohol and I would become star-crossed lovers. In fact, I never conceived we’d even be fair-weather friends.
But fate had different plans, it seems. My total dependence on that liquid courage was already pumping through my veins at birth. I just was blissfully unaware that I’d lose so much at the bottom of bottles for so many years of my life.
I lost bits and pieces of my childhood. Tender moments of sweet innocence ended up drowning in Dad’s cans of Natty Light and Grandma’s bottles of chardonnay. Sometimes my loneliness got lost in the laughter and boisterous voices of my parents’ parties. Other times the shouting and angry lashings stole away the tears I tried to keep inside.
I later tried to stop those tapes of the assault from replaying as hellish nightmares by secretly abandoning them in the bottom of bottles of NyQuil or Benadryl, anything that would knock my pre-teen ass out cold. Some nights this provided a few hours of silent slumber; other nights it just left me mindlessly awake, wishing I would die. The professionals said I suffered from post-traumatic stress, but I could never tell anyone why. So instead, I just hoped that someday I’d leave the memories far behind for good in a bottle of something strong.
By high school, my self-respect and control floated around in careless abandon every time my boyfriend’s mom would stock the fridge with Smirnoff Ice. The alcohol wasn’t enough anymore, though. I started leaving drops of blood in the sink and pills in my stomach; I just wanted to feel fine for once, no matter how it happened.
My virginity swam in a bottle of Bacardi, chased by a splash of Coke. It wasn’t enough though; the tears silently escaped from my eyes as he enjoyed a satisfying slumber. So many times it went that way: we drank, we spanked, I cried myself to sleep. Somehow my mother never told me that wasn’t the way things should go.
One night I lost my biggest secret at the bottom of a pitcher of margaritas as I giddily shared that I actually love women just as much as guys. Every time we drank together, I’d long to press her luscious lips to mine and hold her close. I can’t even remember how much I drank that night she said goodbye for good, but I remember still crying out for her the next morning as my head hovered over the toilet.
Then there was that night which at the time seemed so magical but actually stole my sanity in the end. Who knew that I’d leave my desire to live in a bottle of Jack? I never knew all those shots would actually tug at my uterus enough to dislodge the tiny life burrowed down inside, a life I didn’t even know existed.
I’ve lost my dignity at concerts as I downed glasses of Tito’s; I misplaced my composure in many a round of Mai Tais and shaking my ass on the dance floor while catcalling anyone who made eye contact. I lost years of my life and thousands of dollars in reckless abandon as I constantly drank nights of my life away. Somehow I thought that leaving it all in the bottles and cans would make me feel alive, but really it just made me beg for death to carry me away.
The truth is, I nearly lost it all at the bottom of a bottle. When will the madness stop? Honestly, probably never. I think I’ll go into my grave with a shot glass in one hand and a bottle in the other. It’s what people like me do — boozin’ from the first breath to the last.