From the April 2011 magazine.

Story Archive: Happy Birthday--You're an Alcoholic

What it was like

I had my first drink at age eleven, but even before then I can remember feeling that I just didn't fit in. Before my fifth birthday, I'd figured out that death was inevitable. I remember crying, afraid that "God" was coming to get me. My older brother and his friends were teasing me, sitting on top of a fence which was too high for me to get to them. Fear. Anger. Resentment. I'd walk to school dreaming about being a TV character. I wanted to be anybody but me.

In third grade, I went up to the new high school that was being built and smashed shelves full of glass jars with nails in...

-- Mike S.

Port Angeles, Washington