I started drinking when I was 13 years old.
I know; I started very young. My parents assume that I did that when I was already in high school, but they were very wrong. They also did not know me that well; that’s why I started drinking.
I grew up in a pretty well-off family. There were only three of us in the house, but we had several helpers in the property, and each one of us had a driver. My parents sent me to a private school and hired a full-time tutor, who also lived in the property. It was not because I was dumb; it was more because they did not want me to ask them if I did not understand a lesson.
If you must know, mom had a modeling agency. She was one of those people in California that fashion designers would call to do a show and needed models to walk on the runway. As for my dad, he had a tech company that created CCTV cameras for businesses. My parents’ wealth over the years ensured that I would be secure in this lifetime even if I did not work, but they also never had time for me.
I remembered a massive disappointment that I experienced at school that prompted me to start drinking.
The Day I Became An Alcoholic
I was heavily involved in the theater back then. Every year, there was a Christmas performance at my school. When I found out that I would play the lead role for Barbie and the Nutcracker at the beginning of the year, I told my parents about it at once. The reason was that if I told them months early, they would be able to make time for it, regardless of how busy their schedules were.
Of course, I was happy when they said, “Sure, honey, we will be there.” Still, to keep my parents from forgetting about my play, I kept mentioning it almost every week. So, when the Christmas performance came, I looked forward to my parents being in those seats that I saved for them. I even called them two hours before the show to make sure they could come and know where to go. And they still answered the same.
You could imagine my disappointment when I met my nanny backstage, and she was the only one holding a bouquet of congratulatory flowers for me.
“Thank you, but where are mom and dad?” I asked although I knew the answer already.
“Well,” my nanny said carefully, “Your parents had surprise visitors at home and could not go. They were so sorry about missing your performance, so they sent these flowers instead.”
“What am I gonna do with these? Let’s just go home,” I uttered.
As we entered the property, I could hear the loud music coming from the house. I see that my parents threw a party instead of seeing their only child perform, I thought bitterly.
As soon as the car stopped, I ran through the back door because I did not want anyone to see me. Then, I saw bottles of wine being chilled in the kitchen and snuck two of them into my room. I saw my parents drink that all the time, so I knew how to open them. But it would be the first time for me to drink an alcoholic beverage. I did it, hoping that I could fall asleep and forget about that day.
The more my parents disappointed me, though, the more I drunk alcohol. No one seemed to notice because my parents happened to have a massive cellar in the basement. Even if I took a bottle every day, they might not have known about it.
At 15 years old, I was already an alcoholic. I could not let the day pass without having a drink. I started eating in my room as well because I wanted to eat while drinking. Still, no one bothered to ask why. My parents were just so happy that I stopped badgering them to do family things with them.
Facing My Addiction
I had my third DUI at 19 years old. The judge said that I was too young to go to jail, but I should still know that everything I did had a consequence. In this case, it was counseling and community service.
The latter was acceptable. I thought it was easy to get away with that by bringing some of our helpers and then only moving if a law enforcer passed by. However, I had qualms about counseling because it sounded like I would have to face my issues, and I had been in denial about them – specifically my alcohol addiction – forever.
To my surprise, the counselor advised me to go to a vineyard when I revealed that I could drink an entire case of wine every day if I were in the mood. It was shocking because, duh, that’s where my favorite alcoholic beverage came from. Still, she insisted on it, claiming that I might experience some realizations there.
The counselor mainly told me to visit a small vineyard in Napa Valley. I did it for the wine tasting, but I got another surprise when I realized that the vineyard was making everything but wine. They had sorbets, jams, salads, desserts, and everything else.
I spent half a day learning how to make all of those things. I felt bored initially, but I began to enjoy it when we got to the sorbet part.
I realized that there’s more to grapes than wine after that. The temptation was still there, but I eventually managed to limit myself to a glass of wine once a month or only when there was a special occasion.
When I returned to my counselor six months later, she commended my progress. “Sometimes, you need to see the root of your problems in another light,” she uttered wisely.