"I wish I would have never taken that first drink of alcohol when I was fourteen," I told my mother during our planned hot dog supper tonight.
I had prepared delicious Hebrew National hot dogs with Sarah Lee buns, Bavarian style sauer kraut, potato salad, and baked beans. We were enjoying our meal as the subject turned to this. Me and my mother use each other as our psychotherapists. Rosa listened intently as we sat around my kitchen table, and it rained and thundered outside.
"How did you get a drink at fourteen?" My mother asked, looking alarmed.
"You and dad had an old bottle of wine in the kitchen. I took it and drank it. You all never missed it."
"I'm so sorry," she said. "We shouldn't have had it in the house."
"It wasn't your fault," I replied. "But it did start a lifelong love affair with alcohol. That first drunk is always the best."
Mom enjoyed her supper and I was sad for her to leave. I walked her to her car and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Rosa and I then got on the topic of our first experiences with our addictions as we sat in my den watching the Weather Channel.
"I knew I was in trouble when my morals went to hell," Rosa told me. "I would steal, lie, do anything for a fix."
"Well, I would drink mouthwash for a dollar a bottle when I was running low on money."
Rosa shuddered and said she felt like she was going to throw up just thinking about it. I feared I had said too much during our little confessional.
"I didn't mean to make you sick," I said, backpeddling and reaching for her hand.
"I just can't imagine you like that," she replied. "Drinking mouthwash!?!?"
"It's sad," I said. "I am ashamed to admit it, but I was so desperate. I couldn't live without being drunk."
Couldn't live without being drunk... Let's hope those aren't my famous last words. It has been a slow and painful process tackling each day without my old crutch, beer. From that pain, I have grown and matured. I still get the most terrible panic attacks, but you know what? They pass. I get through them. I used to think I would die and would get drunk to feel better. I now choose to live each day sober and the biggest benefit? I can actually live with myself without feeling like a scourge of society.
"You are so different from what you told me you once were. I am glad I didn't know you when you were a drunk," Rosa then said.
And, I too, am glad you didn't know me then dear Rosa. So glad indeed. We would have never probably met. I would have missed out on the best thing that has happened to me since I graduated from high school or had sex for the first time.