From the December 2013 magazine.

December 2013: Christmas in a bar

The call to come home pierced his empty soul. It was from his 12-year-old son

I drank socially until I was 9 years old. I sipped the beers of adults at parties and enjoyed small tastes of my mom’s whiskey sours—they were liquid candy! Alcohol made me feel a part of; but mostly I just liked the effect.

At age 9, I made that conscious decision to get drunk: I slipped through the jail bars securing the room that “protected” my father’s wine and liquor from his four resourceful sons. Once in the room, my friend and I were unable to uncork the wine bottle we chose. With a nail, I drilled a small hole through the cork so that I was able to suck out the...

-- Mike H.

El Cajon, California