21st birthday

Today I have been driving around the city in which I spent most of my twenties living. I have driven past a lot of memories, both good and bad. I made many drunk mistakes during those seven years. I do not remember if I ever attempted to go sober back then.

Did I believe I had a problem?  Was I under the illusion that I could control it?  Or did I just think it was a part of being young?  I enjoyed my party life style. I thought any other type of life was boring and not worth living. And I was still at a point where the good times outnumbered the mistakes. Or that is what I remember now. Maybe once I start reading through my journals, I will recall more problems than I wish to admit.

I thought of stopping in the 24 hour cafe that I used to go to drunk. Everyone in that cafe was drunk between 2am and 4am. I guess we were lucky cops did not sit and wait to pull over everyone as we left the parking lot. I once took my mom there during the day and she agreed the coffee was great. I felt proud that the place was good even when sober.

The place where I got all my body piercings has been changed to a mobile phone store. I was always sober when I got pierced. Was piercing just another way to fit in with the parties? I think everyone I knew in those days had at least a tongue piercing. I started to get rid of mine in my 30s. Now I only have simple ear piercings.

I am eating at a restaurant that I used to consider as a fancy date place for my ex-husband and I. Restaurants are when I feel I am testing my sobriety.  I am so used to a glass of wine with my meals. And I honestly could have one or two and be fine. For now. But even if I have only 1 or 2 glasses every other night for a month, I will eventually go back to 1 or 2 bottles a night. I ask for a glass of water and return the wine menu to the waitress right away to avoid the temptation.

Mistake #3: my 21st birthday. My first time getting drunk was when I was 18. (I might add that as a separate mistake later on.) I actually think the law in America should be 18 years as the drinking age. If you can join the military and die for your country, you should be old enough to have a beer. By the time I was 21, I gained a lot of drinking experience at frat parties, other college parties, military bases and trips to Tijuana.

I was married at the age of 20. I tried to get in a bar once with my husband with a fake ID. The bouncer recognized it was fake. I kept insisting it was real. He threatened to show the ID to a cop across the street. He gave it back and told me not to bother with any of the other bars along that street cause they will keep the ID. I was mad at my husband for not sticking up for me. He remained quiet by my side the whole time. I began feeling anger at a society that would let me be married but not let me in a bar. We left. He picked up beers from the store and we got drunk at home instead. (Can someone get in trouble for contributing to a minor for getting their spouse drunk?)

So my 21st felt like it was opening doors to freedom. No more trying to get served with a fake ID and fearing it failing. No more having to sit home. I could enter the world of party people legally. I never foresaw all the other fears and problems that would develop over the next seventeen years.

I do not remember much of my 21st birthday. We had dinner. I had wine with dinner. Then we bar hopped. I remember going to the bar where that bouncer turned me away. I got free birthday shots. I drank mixed drinks. I think back than I drank Sex on the Beach mostly. I sort of remember going to another bar. My husband said we went to several bars that night. And then I got sick when we got home. He cleaned it up. It was the beginning of him cleaning up many of my drunk nights.

A lot of people have told me that not remembering my 21st birthday is a sign of a good birthday.

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