Magazine

From the December 2015 magazine.

50 Years Out of the Ring

An old-timer remembers back to 1965, when she stopped fighting and hung up the gloves for good

There was no alcoholism in my family that I’m aware of, but I believe I was born an alcoholic. After I got sober, my parents told me that as a toddler, when they had friends over for drinks, I would toddle over as they set their drinks down and drink them. Everyone thought it was cute back then. Not so cute later.

At age 14, I found what I thought was my true calling. I was babysitting and spotted a liquor cabinet. We didn’t have anything like that at our home. So I poured myself a tumbler full of hard liquor, drank it, and knew that from then on—while I would do other things—the drink, and the feeling that came with it, would be my priority. This was true as I later crisscrossed the country, often in blackouts, shedding values as if they were outgrown sweaters. I used drugs at some points, but they never had the hold on me that alcohol did. I only got sick and had a hangover once.

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