Grapevine Online Exclusive

Published June 2014.

Letter from Spain

An AA from Gijon, on Spain's northern coast, shares his story with Grapevine readers

I grew up in a small town in the northern coast of Spain. Memories of my childhood mostly consist of the constant fights between my father and my mother. There were a lot of money issues because of my father's partying and gambling. I remember my father lying on the living room floor sleeping. Sometimes, he sent me to the bar to buy snuff or buy cokes for my brothers and sister and me. I remember when I was eight years old, we received a letter telling us to vacate our home within 15 days. My father had spent the rent money playing cards.

I started drinking when I was 14 years old at home with family. That was not unusual in Spain in the eighties. When I started drinking, it was an occasional activity and I really liked it. The occasional became the common within a couple of years. I started drinking in the morning. When I was 17, I went on a true binge that began at the school Christmas party. I still remember how sick and hungover I felt afterward.

-- Francisco P.

Gijón, Spain

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