By the time I became a teenager, I had devised ways to remain in the background at home. I didn’t get “into trouble” per se, but there was an instance where I was punished (my father called it a “lesson learned”).
When I turned 16, my parents allowed me to have a birthday party. There were conditions though…
1. Both of my parents had to be visible during the party
2. The lights could not be turned down for any reason (my father later caved in, and let us have the black lights on in the “dance room” den)
3. Any damage to our property would result in the termination of the party.
During that time in my life, my father’s drink of choice was Tanqueray gin. For my party, he set up a “drink station” for himself in the kitchen (on the island). His station consisted of a large bottle of Tanqueray, a large container of grapefruit juice, ice, and a couple of highball glasses. My father spent most of his time in the kitchen at his station. Every so often, he would walk around, and check for any damage to our house.
The party proceeded as planned. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. There were over 30 (or so) guests, and thankfully, there was no damage to our property. I decided to ask my father for a small sample of his drink. I wanted to see how it tasted, and what made him want to drink so much of it. Initially, he said no. I repeated my request numerous times throughout the next couple of hours, finally, he relented. He made it clear that he wanted to make sure I never wanted to drink again. I was excited to finally have permission to have a small drink; I agreed to drink anything he mixed.
My father filled a highball glass almost completely with gin, he then poured a small amount of grapefruit juice into it. I remember watching the juice slowly curl up inside the glass as it mixed with the gin. I smelled it; it smelled terrible. I decided to drink it as fast as I could to “get it over with” and move on with the party. After I gulped the contents of glass down, I immediately felt as if someone hit me on the head with a blunt object. I staggered into the hall bathroom (closest bathroom to the kitchen) to try and make myself vomit. I stuck my finger down my throat as far as I could. The alcohol came back up just as strong as it went down. I expelled quite a bit of the gin I drank. I felt incredibly dizzy, I staggered back into the den, and eventually went outside to “get some air.” I couldn’t stand up, so my father carried me upstairs, and put me in my bed. My room was spinning the entire night. I found it extremely difficult to close my eyes, so I tossed and turned for the rest of the night.
The next day, my father woke me up at 6 am. He had an extensive list of household chores for me to complete before I could go to sleep that night. He spent most of the day lecturing me on the evils of alcohol. He said that he wanted me to experience the negative effects of alcohol, so that I would be less likely to abuse it later in life.