by Victor Mendez 7 months ago in addiction



In the interest of full disclosure, there are links to Amazon books. Opening will benefit the author financially.

I left off where my friends had left my drunk ass stumbling home and dealing with my mom and the aftermath of that first day of drinking. In continuation, there was the funny times, as I hinted at that were funny based on the rule of comedy: time plus tragedy. Well, not so tragic luckily, but still funny maybe on a scale of: time plus a dumbass!

On this one occasion, while freshman or sophomores in high school, a couple of a friends and I had an astronomy class that required us attending evenings at school. After class it had become our custom to do something stupid, like drink and drive. We decided that night would be a "snake bite medicine" night so we went and got us some whiskey and maaaybe some coke, I don't remember. Medicine was usually code for whiskey, usually rotgut or cheapest. To ward off the cold and "snakes". Where our home was, in the valley, there are always hundreds of backroads (used to be, anyway) and little dirt cul-de-sacs to drink in private. This place happened to be in a cemetery and once we finished, we went "cruising" around in my buddy's mom's car. Cool, huh?

Not really!

We went to another friends house cuz that's what you do when you're young and dumb and just messin' around cuz ya don't wanna go home yet. At this point, I was already gone, blacked out cuz when it came to hard liquor I was a lightweight! SO my friend Charlie came out to talk with us, and we all got out to talk and I promptly fell on my ass leaned up against the car and I looked up at my friend Charlie and said, "Hey Charlie! What are you doing here?".

Maaaan, if that wasn't a precursor of things to come! Like I said, I had already blacked out and so didn't remember any of this but your friends always do!

So we piled back in the car and drove off.

I was in the backseat when my friends heard some noise coming from the back and when they turned around, well, I had happily whipped out my lil friend and was urinating in the back...oblivious! Ya think I would have at least tried to do that in Charlie's yard but when you are in a blackout, nothing is normal! The things you make friends do when you are a burden and don't know it. My friends had to clean up the mess I'd made the night before and I don't recall if they said anything about me vomiting, as well, but I wouldn't doubt it. I do remember waking up cold as hell the next morning in the back of my other friend's station wagon wrapped up in a carpet throw he used for decorative purposes. I'm pretty sure I had puked!

Gawd! Drinking is fun!

So up to this point, my greatest accomplishment was learning how to drink in one day! There were other things, of course, but this is a story about drinking and the lack of my stop button so the other things are for another time, I suppose.

Let me clarify the stop button comment. I came to the realization 20+ years ago that I did not have a drinking problem, I had a stopping problem! I have a stopping problem. I've been a professional (Is there such a thing?) drinker from the day I had my first beer at 14!

I've had friends take my keys, some by force. I woke one time wondering why my finger was sore cuz I had blacked out, of course, and when I mentioned it to one of my friends, he looks at me and sez, "You don't remember? You tried to take off so I had to take your keys and you didn't wanna give them up!" Wow! I've wrecked vehicles because I've driven drunk! I've passed out and blacked at the same time because of booze! Almost killed myself, too! I've ended up in strange places cuz of drinking..just crazy shit! I am soooo grateful I never killed anyone, not because of ending up in jail, but I can't imagine living with someone's death on my conscience for selfish reasons! And drinking plus driving IS one of the most selfish things a person can do! Just sayin'..

By the time I turned 18, I was a seasoned drinker. I still had not had my first brush with the law for DWI.

When I was 17, I became aware of the fact that many of my friends already had plans fleshed out regarding future plans after graduation. They were going to college, to work, or getting married..some were doing all three, I'm sure. I couldn't afford college, no marriage ideas or work as I had been working pretty much all my life, so I took an easy route-I enlisted in the Marines! The Few, The Proud, The Marines! Semper Fi, baby!

Since I was underage at the time, I had to have my parents authorization to join, which they gladly gave.That's probably the only time my step-dad was ever proud of me cuz prior to and after my stint, I was the same old-whatever he considered me. I had wanted to go to Vietnam but 1975 was when Nixon got our ass out of there so I'm pretty sure I lucked out cuz who knows if I would have made it through alive...or sane!

On the day before I was to leave for Boot Camp, my friend Charlie came to pick me up to hang out for a while. We went to go see a couple of movies seeing as I was gonna be gone 3 months before we could hang out again. It was the first time I heard "More Than A Feeling" by Boston. 1976, baby!

We had discovered the joys of 420 and nobody did drug tests then, thank God! So I remember Boston very well as it was also the last time I would hear that any music for three months. As for the movies, we watched the Groove Tube and Monty Python's Holy Grail. Gawd, I laughed my ass off that night! Great company also helps to make a great time. Charlie was/is a great friend. I am forever grateful for such a good memory!

So, I graduated, went to boot camp and entered the most diverse world I had ever known. It was literally THE biggest cultural shock of my young life! The biggest adjustment for a brown kid that grew up eating chile in his cereal, (almost literally..lol), was a total lack of flavor! It was what our folk call "American food". No racism intended, it's just what we called American cooking. For us, Mexican cuisine was quite flavorful and chile, so everything I ate was bland but filling, of course. They ain't gonna feed you food that don't bulk you up none! Back then, there was only American or Mexican food..there was no sushi, no curry, Taco Bell was barely a thing. Slim pickings, know what I'm saying?

So for three months I was sober, I had no choice..lol. And the Marines taught me so much! It was a long three months but one of the proudest moments of my life when I graduated from Boot Camp! Sober!

I had gone in October 1st of 1976, went home January 1st, 1977 for a month then reported to my first duty station-Santa Ana in California, a helicopter station and maintenance depot where I was a wireman or basically, the guy who hangs up communication lines between tents and places but I also went to Camp Pendleton for training for a while before that. It is now Tustin airbase or something like that.

It was here where I engaged in other activities, such as pot, LSD, and we won't mention PCP. If there is a God, then he sure was watching over me cuz I tried almost everything..oh yes, let's not forget magic mushrooms. I learned later the guy that introduced me to PCP tried to eat his hand and a few other stories of people trying to fly by jumping from a 3rd story barracks or another guy that broke his wrists and ankles breaking out of a bed restraint while high on the stuff and going on a rampage in the hospital, but...whatever! At least I thought until I experienced a couple of episodes myself, though I somehow didn't lose it. Crazy!

Again, this is a story about alcohol, but there are so many ways to be an addict and until I ran out of those alcohol could wait. In actuality, my first year in the military was more or less alcohol free. Well, not free exactly but my usage was down as I had other substances to entertain me. I remember walking around the spooky ol' helicopters as many had open bays so it was darker looking into the helicopter than the nightshine from faraway lights or even the city lights of the surrounding areas! And if you have a good imagination..well, you know. The year there was semi-uneventful though I do remember meeting one marine whose drawing ability and style of draing fascinated and impressed me. Always wonder what happened to that kid. Hope he made it big somewhere.

I went home on leave a few months later as I was slated to go to Okinawa in 1978. In that culture, at least on that island, drugs were a huuuuuge no-no! You get caught with illegal stuff there by the local pd and you are really screwed and no Marine lawyer is gonna get you off even assuming they would help you! SO guess what wasn't illegal? ALCHOHOL!!! YAYAH!!

We drank! Final installment soon!

Victor Mendez
Victor Mendez
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Victor Mendez
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