(con't from previous entry...)
I started drinking as a teenager. 14 to be exact. I have always hated beer - I was spoiled in that my parents were divorced so getting liquor or wine coolers from my dad was easy. If my mom found out, it would piss her off, plus him buying it made him 'the good guy' for a minute, so win-win for him. So that's how the vodka part began. Plus, I'm a WASP, I'm suppose to love vodka.
But my drinking experiences really started when my best friend's (ex)boyfriend was a guy who went to a local college (we had all attended the same high school). At 16, we started to party at his frat house: This is where I picked up the habits I'm currently trying to thwart. At 17, I dated him for a couple months, only because that decision was made for me, as I was (more) interested in his friend. His friend whom he explained me to as: "She's a bitch when you first meet her, but if you can deal with her at first, she's great," - probably the most proper (pre)introduction I could ever get. Then I dated his friend for nearly three years. (I guess I really am "great".)
I became friends with many of those guys. I spent my latter high school summers in their apartment just drinking away. I sort of became Momma Bear of that place. We drank almost every night. Drinking a lot. I never drank beer: Just liquor...mostly vodka. Some people drank more than others; sometimes I needed a night off. But this is what was normal at their place, for their parties: Drinking to excess. Someone probably should have gotten hurt (aside from a sore throat from swallowing a goldfish backwards), but we were young and stupid and this was a small town with little entertainment value. His New Years parties were a fantastic mess of sloppy delight too, and I have yet to have a New Year's celebration that meets the expectations he set for me (and probably all of us) back then.
When I left for college, I went to school in Ohio. The same habits he had helped me build. Habits that had worked out poorly for me while still in high school and almost got me into big trouble a number of times in college. The most obvious of times was when I went to a frat party (the same frat I learned to drink at - where all the guys knew me - but a different chapter in a different state) and I ended up way over-drinking and upchucking in mulch, followed by almost getting shoved into a van by a large group of frat guys. (You do the math.) Some kid came by and saved me.
After that incident, and a miserable freshman year in general, I chose to transfer schools. I moved back to PA and went to school near home the following year. A few months after that, I broke up with the guy that I had been dating for nearly three years who, at this point, had been extremely close with the guy that taught me how to drink over the past four. Although, they had drifted apart somewhat, as our friend had started dabbling in drugs, drinking heavily and had since dropped out of school, I still saw them, but less often. The habits, however, stayed with me - remaining unaware they were not "normal" (though I'm unconvinced they aren't, especially after moving to the drinking city of DC).
If it gives you any understanding of how intense my training was, this friend of ours passed away last year. He had finally gotten his life together, he had a good job and a girlfriend he loved. But his heart had given out. He died at the age of 26. He is dearly missed and we all remember him with fond, fond memories. He was someone who could always make the room laugh and brought people, who wouldn't normally meet, together as friends. I can't thank him enough for all the fun I had when I was younger, but it's time to change the habits he helped develop as a kid. I remember him with much love, but I have to break those habits now; not just here and there, but every night...because I really like the memories.