"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Monday, April 22, 2013

Twelve

is how old I was when I had my first beer.  Did you expect that?  I was with my entire family and we were visiting another family.   I did not expect to be offered a beer but I was offered the beer by the 12 year old son of the other family.  Oh that was one horrible beer.

My step dad drank Stroh's beer.  In fact, nearly 34 years later I can recall the jingle " One beer lover to another, Stroh's beer."

During high school, I went to many parties and can honestly say, that every party had alcohol available.  Pretty much every single year I was in high school at least one student died while driving under the influence of alcohol.

 I did not like the taste of alcohol.  But it was part of the life where I grew up.  Graduation parties were expected to have a keg or two.  In cars at high school dances kids had alcohol and I can remember a few dances where I saw kids with beer inside the gym. I suppose it was a different time.  I do not recall one wedding before I turned 20 that hadn't turned into a place where a good deal of people got drunk.

When Bill and I married, we were married in a Mormon (LDS) church and the reception was the strangest reception I had ever been to, as no one was drinking.  When we went on our honeymoon, we ordered wine with our dinner, perhaps to establish that we crossed over into a new threshold of adulthood or something like that.    I am smiling now, as I took one sip and told Bill I think I would prefer a coke.   He laughed and said he would too.  Since I turned 20, I have not been to one wedding where alcohol has been served.  

I had my last taste of alcohol nearly 25 years ago.  I do not miss it.  I understand that many people drink alcohol responsibly and have never had an issue with it.  For me, I think my issue was twelve, as in twelve was when I had my first taste of alcohol.

I grew up in a predominately rural area that was  settled by a large population of German immigrants.  My step dad was a professor at a local college and mom stayed home.  We lived in a nice home and every single one of my siblings went to college.   Is this how America is now?  Is this how America has always been?  I wonder, as I type, because I cannot enter a grocery without passing the liquor section first.   Something that is not common out west but was common in Ohio was the drive thru convenient store.  In my 45 year old mind I am deeply reflective, as it makes drinking while driving incredibly easy, don't you think? 

I am not trying to step upon a bandwagon that is crying for Prohibition once again.  I am not one to say that if one has alcohol in their homes or if they drink that they are the problem or that it is a problem.  As I said earlier, I am deeply reflective as I type this post.  Most who read this are not alcoholics.  Many may be surprised by my revelation of when I began to drink.  If nothing else, I have tried to be as sincere and honest with the life I have and the life I have lived.  I am not perfect and have never tried to perpetuate that persona.

I am simply Jennifer a woman that should never been exposed to alcohol when a child.

I am Jennifer, the niece of an alcoholic.   I am Jennifer, the cousin of an alcoholic.  I am Jennifer, the grandaughter of an alcoholic, and I am Jennifer, the sister of an alcoholic. 

9 comments:

Practical Parsimony said...

I never had a drink of alcohol until I was 35. My four siblings drank 20 years sooner. Today, at 66, I am the only one who is not an alcoholic, functioning alcoholics who never miss work or get arrested. I thank my mother for never allowing alcohol in my life.

I have many blood relatives who are alcoholics.

justdifferent said...

You story is very interesting to me Jennifer as alcohol is something I have also been thinking deeply about lately. My family has a HUGE history of alcoholism so I have been very wary of the stuff since they started finding familial/genetic connections. I have always wondered what made me different than my brothers. I too have realized lately that while I cant say I frequented the parties around here that involved drugs or alcohol as a teen, the social circle my ex husband frequented ALWAYS involved drinking to excess. I did my share of drinking in my 20s but simply don't anymore. It does become an issue with people around me even now that I simply don't CHOOSE to drink "adult beverages"I have thought a great deal about the subject in the last few weeks and have come to the conclusion that generally speaking I have never LIKED .the taste, or the feeling even minor drinking left with me, but I did it to "fit in with the crowd". NOW that I am in my 50s, I finally realize, I simply don't have to impress anyone or fit in with any group or care about what they think of me or care if my "not drinking makes THEM feel uncomfortable" So pass the pitcher of tea or coke, that's who I am.

Mrs.Rabe said...

It is amazing isn't it?

I grew up out west and alcohol was available at the convenience store, the grocery store...

I had my first taste at 14. I prefer coca cola too. Many men my husband works with live for the weekend and talk about getting drunk. I often wonder why that would be a 'fun' part of the weekend.

Deanna

Anonymous said...

My dad is a recovered alcoholic, my husbands dad died of liver cancer due to alcoholism, his brothers all alcoholics, save 2 who don't drink..His sisters used to drink a lot..I think alcohol is the curse of many, if your relatives have the disease immediate family especially one is at a huge risk to have it, so I have stayed as far as I could from it, my husband has a beer once every 10 or 15 years, we have been married nearly 40..He never touches the stuff..he saw what the disease did, his dad never bought groceries, or supported his mother, he gambled and drank, the family was always hungry and nearly homeless, his mom stuck by the bum and he died like a dog, begging forgiveness of his kids and wife, we were the only one child who did anything to help him when he was dying..It was horrible to see him and listen to his shameful admissions, people who put alcohol before their wives, husbands, children are truly truly ill..Here in Washington state one can buy hard liquor in grocery stores shameful at that, people buy it before food for their kids, shameful..I read your column and love it, I so agree with many of your feelings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Humble wife said...

I believe before I comment to each of you, I should take a momet and thank you collectively for commenting and sharing your stories. This is not an easy subject especially with alcohol so ingrained in our society. My post was to share what happened to me as a minor child and how I have lived as an adult. I am well aware of the total impact alcohol has on our society and am not addressing that at this time...and hope that those that visit to comment and see this understand I am taking a snippet of my life and then fast forwarding 34 years so the readers have another window to me.

PP-Good mom! Powerful comment and to me such a window to the world.

JD-weird how we are on the same tangent isn't it? My post has been long in coming as I said, but to see it here has opened up the email etc. The taste is most certainly part of it, but I think the key is impressing others...at least in the initial drinking years. Of course I cannot speak with certainty and would get volumes of comments but I think that is how it began. Now many will see the flavor, the nuances, the ambiance provided, the nurturing of the vines, and on and on and say I do not appreciate alcohol and its purposes. I do...especially as I make tinctures etc. But twelve is where I stand...and I cannot ever change that in my past. Reminds me a good deal of a marketing campaign...target the young and you will have lifelong customers. More so, dont you think, if you can addict some of them?

Deanna-seems like the right of passage for our age group...sigh. Thanks for sharing your story too. I kind of leapt off a cliff with this post and wonder what ripples it will leave.

Anonymous-thank you for reading and commenting. I do see the alcoholism in families and have shared as much with my children on my worries or concerns. I am so happy to read you have had 40 years with a man and because of what he saw, took from it not to have alcohol in his life. Many are able to without issue, but I am thankful you shared he appreciated what could happen and lived as a result of his understanding.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous, my husband is the oldest of nearly 9 children, one died who was born after him when an infant..He would never put alcohol before human life, he had to grow up fast, he had to support many siblings who were left by a man who loved to drink and run around with women and raise hell..He saw and would never act like that, he forgave him cause he is in my opinion a saint on the earth, he would not let him die like a dog..My opinion of him was somewhat different, my father took to drink after my Mom died from cancer in a few months of diagnosis many kids, new to this country, he beat the demon rum but we were left without him..I tracked him down he is a decent, loving human being, the demon rum cost him his children and a good life, he simply could not go on without my Mother..it was tragic, but he doesn't drink anymore and got clean and sober in a year after we were all split up..I say throw the crap away, and never ever taste of it..Many have the biological gene of alcoholism, it is a disease for god's sake people act like it is some flaw in their human self, it is a disease!!!!!!!!!! Love your blog, read it daily, keep up the sweet blog.

Humble wife said...

Anonymous- I had a comment here, but decided to ask for an email for a few reasons. First I think I misunderstood the comment you recently left but more importantly, I wish to speak to you personally and it isn't the easiest in a comment section. My email is on the top right of the blog. xxoo to you my sweet reader.

Glenn B said...

Let's see, I am the son of an alky, the brother of an alky (out of two of my siblings one was an alky, the nephew of a good number of alkies (most on my father's side but one on my mother's too). I think some of my grandparents were alcoholics as well. Me, I have no problems with it, never have had any either. Yes I do drink, sometimes frequently some times not for weeks, even months. I enjoy beer and wine with a meal or anything for a light buzz (no driving). I get soused now and again, maybe 3 or 4 times a year whether I need it or not. My bigger vices were smoking and chew. I gave those up almost 24 years ago; I was hooked on both but beat em.

All the best,
GB

Humble wife said...

Glenn-it is interesting how so many around you as well as with me, and neither you nor I are alcoholics. As to smoking and chew, I hear you. Bill chewed and then one day the county commissioners passed policy that no county vehicles could have tobacco products and his patrol car was his office...and he chewed while in his office. He just quit cold turkey. It has been a good decade and although he says every now and then his lip tingles or what for the chew, he hasn't faired to bad.