03 - your views on drugs and alcohol.
Honestly, I could talk about this one for days. I could probably sum this up in three words with the well-known phrase “just say no.”
Without going into too much unnecessary detail, I decided at a very young age (too young to even really be thinking about it, in my opinion) that drugs were something I would never take part in. My mother had been a drug addict for the entirety of my early childhood (and probably some time before my birth), and though I was thankfully not present, or even aware of it, for the most part, I was old enough by the time it ended to understand everything I’d seen and the repercussions of it all. While the abuse of drugs on my mothers’ part was no where near the mess of things you see on tv and in movies, I really don’t believe it needs to be extreme to be a problem. People often ask how on earth my father got custody of my brother and I at such young ages when 9 times out of 10 the mother does. I could say it was because my father not only had a job, but a well-respected one. I could say it was because some judge decided to give my dad a break. What I will say is that it wasn’t all that hard for us to end up in his hands because she was too busy doing other things. It’s not like we never saw her—I have video proof that when she was with us, she was good to us. But I also have vague memories of being locked in the bedroom of her apartment with my brother while her and all of her friends that were half her age were having quality adult time in the living room. Like I said in the beginning, I could talk about this for days. I’ve seen the effects of drugs and I know that children of addicts either end up one themselves, or, luckily in my case, they end up being advocates against the use and abuse of it. I’m thankful that despite some troubled times, my older brother never dove as deep into them as she did and he is done with them now, and also that my mother has been clean and sober for nearly 16 years.
As for alcohol, it was never something we feared in my household. I have been taking sips of alcohol from both my father and my stepmother for years, but I never felt the urge to drink their easily accessible liquor cabinet dry and refill the bottles with water. I went to a handful of parties in high school where there was alcohol involved, but I had never had enough to even be considered remotely drunk. I’ve had friends who went off the college and drank more in a weekend than I have my whole life and even though most of them were somehow able to keep up their 4.0 GPAs, I know that I probably would not have been so lucky. So I’ve kept my alcohol intake to a minimum over the years. In fact, I’m so unattached to alcohol that for the entirety of my 21st year (actually starting about 3.5 months before my birthday), I stayed 100% alcohol free. My 21st birthday was spent making ice cream sundaes, watching standup comedy, and playing a giant game of spoons with friends. I had multiple people tell me that I was wasting (and sometimes “abusing”) the age, but I find that ridiculous. To say that I’m wasting it would have to disregard the fact that I’d ever had a drop before the day I turned 21. It’s no different than those dumb enough to smoke cigarettes before they were 18 (or really at any time in their life) or to do anything else commonly “accepted” before the legal age to do it. It was my own little stand against holding it at something of even remote importance to me. Aside from the few people who complained (and I wouldn’t be lying if I said they were all younger than me), most people told me they were jealous of my ability to do it and not think twice. Apparently more people are addicted to it then they realize. It’s not like we don’t know that alcoholics exist, but I believe that more people look down on drug addicts than they do alcoholics. To me, they are all the same. The only difference is that in most cases, the drug of choice for drug addicts are illegal. Addicts are addicts though, and even though I don’t believe myself to have an addictive personality, I’m not carefree enough to risk it.