Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published September 2011.

Web Exclusive: Growing Up Drunk

Her drinking career began at girl's slumber party at age 12 and ended 23 years later

"I was completely physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt."

My grandfather was stockbroker when the market crashed in 1929 and all I knew about him was that he ended up on skid row and died shortly after my parents were married. My other grandfather had owned taverns in the Manhattan area and died from diabetes after having both legs amputated. My suspicions are that they were both alcoholic. It seemed to skip a generation because both my parents can drink an occasional glass of wine. I also have two brothers and three sisters who the gene seemed to avoid.

I had my first drunk with some girlfriends at a sleepover when I was 12 years old. I will always remember that first of many hangovers as I sat in church the next day, sweating and wanting to vomit. Church had always been a place where I had felt safe and protected. On that day, as someone played a guitar, tears fell from my eyes.

-- Suzette C.

Santa Cruz, California

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