The first time I became drunk, I was 22 years old. I had moved from my hometown in Lansing, MI to Grand Rapids to go to college. Growing up, I was taught that drinking was bad. Or at least, “Don’t drink until you turn 21 and it is legal.” To my knowledge, my parents never had alcohol in the house, so I wasn’t really exposed to it. In high school, I had friends who partied and drank at a young age, but I was too naive to realize it then. I maintained a strong conviction that I was not going to drink until I was of legal age. On my 21st birthday, I was on a mission trip in another country, so that pretty much nixed that opportunity.
Anyway, shortly after age 21, I did begin to have a few drinks from time to time. But never enough to get drunk. I’d go out dancing at the club with my girlfriends, order a Long Island – actually a couple – and it would have little to no effect on me. Those of you who are familiar with alcohol may be thinking, ‘A couple Long Islands?? Those have a TON of alcohol in them! How could you not get drunk?’ Turns out, the bar we frequented watered down their Long Islands… a lot.
So, back to my story. I was 22 years old, living in Grand Rapids with a roommate, and we are finally on our own. Hooray!
A couple friends of ours who we knew back in our hometown were also living in Grand Rapids. One of them was celebrating his birthday and invited me out to the bar to celebrate with him and a few friends.
I ordered a Long Island – because that’s what I knew. This was the first time I had drank since leaving Lansing. This one tasted funny. It didn’t taste like the Long Islands back at the Silver Dollar.
Although it was strong, I forced myself to keep drinking it. I didn’t want to waste my money, and I was too shy to ask for a different one. About 1/2 way gone, I noticed the room began to spin. There were four of us, and we were just sitting at a table having a mellow conversation, but I couldn’t keep my head up. My eyes kept closing and I felt like I was on laughing gas from the dentist. You know this sensation, right? The feeling where you know that people are talking to you, but yet you feel like you are having an out of body experience and just observing it all at the same time? This was how I felt.
Then I had to pee.
I stood up to go to the bathroom and immediately collapsed to the floor. Have I been drugged? What is going on? I have never felt like before. James wouldn’t drug me, would he? I trusted him. How could he do this to me?
James’ sister was with us that night and ended up literally carrying me to the bathroom so I could use it.
I remember coming back to the table [probably again with assistance] and sitting there, steaming that this guy I had trusted had slipped something into my drink. I didn’t know any other explanation. It’s not like I hadn’t had a Long Island before. I should mention now, I was at an Irish Pub, so this may have played into the potency of the drink.
I later realized I had not been drugged. It was merely the strength of the alcohol. In the moment, I didn’t like feeling out-of-control. However, once I realized it had nothing to do with me being drugged, I was hooked. I began to crave that high. The pains of my past no longer haunted me. My inhibitions were gone, so I was not shy. I realized that through this new-found elixir, I was confident in who I thought I was. I liked this “new Alana.”