How I Ended My Abusive Relationship With Alcohol

My first taste changed my life at 14. Now I’ve found peace without it.

JWII
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Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

I had my first taste of alcohol at the impressionable age of 14.

Shortly after my birthday, I stayed the night at a friend’s house on Coney Island. My friend’s father was a neighborhood mechanic who ran a shack of a garage. He always had a steady flow of older-model cars driven by abuelos, who refused to speak English. He was also a heavy drinker. That night, my friend and I crept in the back room with a bottle of his father’s E&J and spent hours talking about the girls we liked and the clothes we wanted to wear during our first week of freshman year.

You don’t forget your first experience with alcohol, mostly because everybody’s story ends the same — sick as hell, next to a toilet. The only sense I remember is that I felt… nothing. And I liked it. From that point on, I associated numbness with normalcy.

That association followed me well into my twenties. After I was in a serious car accident that resulted in multiple surgeries, I spiraled into a dark depression but didn’t know how to articulate my feelings. All the love and support from family and friends couldn’t get the bottle out of my hand. At the time, I didn’t consider myself an alcoholic, but my propensity for…

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JWII
LEVEL
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