For my beautifully intelligent and innocent niece who asked me why I used to drink.
I drank because I wanted to have fun, it was normalised, everyone did it.
I drank because my parents drank.
I drank because my peers drank.
I drank because despite the fear I felt about being drunk for the first time, I liked the loss of control. It made me bold to kiss boys and tell my secrets and dance all night.
I drank because I learned to like the taste of beer and wine. But never vodka. Vodka had to find a home in coke, ribena, milk. Anything to take away the sting.
I drank because of the stories we could tell, of the shared drunkenness, of the shared embarrassment.
I drank because it made me more beautiful, it made me look cool.
I drank because I was scared and insecure, I needed its fake courage to make my shyness disappear.
I drank because I didn’t question why.
And it is how you have fun, isn’t it?
I drank because I had numbed myself to the aftertaste, to the side effects, to the hangovers.
I drank because after a few I wanted more.
I drank because I thought I was invincible, I am young and my body can handle it.
I drank because I thought I was happy with the glass of sauvignon in my hand.
I stopped because my mind and soul can’t handle it. I didn’t want to be numb. I wanted real courage, real beauty, real fun. Because I wanted to be truly happy.