From the August 2010 magazine.

Half--baked

There was nothing sweet about this relapse that started with vanilla extract

Sitting in group at sunset on the beautiful island of Antigua, the small bunch of us were telling our life stories. We were in treatment for alcoholism and wanted so much to get our lives in order and return to our friends and families. As I read mine, the group laughed, which puzzled me. They said, "Why don't you write a book and call it 'Betty's Crocked'?"

I grew up in a remarkable alcoholic family. We were Irish and had the "curse." I never drank because I did not want to lose control or smell or fall down, as members of my large family often did. However, on the night I graduated from high school, I succumbed to peer pressure and drank hot wine, warm beer and vodka during the never-ending round of parties. I stumbled a lot, got sick and passed out. When I came to, I thought, Wow, that was great; let's do it again. I felt pretty, witty and knew I was a fabulous dancer, though I had more than two left feet. I couldn't wait to repeat it. And upon leaving home for college, I did, for four long years. I justified my behavior because I attended a big party school. I still felt pretty, witty and just knew I could dance. I also fell down a lot, even out of cars a few times. I became adept at throwing fabulous keg parties and could even roll them and tap them myself. Kids would drive 50 miles if they knew of a party at our apartment.

-- ANN W.

Winter Park, Fla.

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