Drunk at 11

January 11, 2010

I got drunk for the first time when I was 11 years old.

Some slightly older friends took me to a corner bar in Heidelberg, Germany, and the bartender handed me a Bacardi and Coke.

Being drunk made me feel free.  Free from my anxiety and my pre-teen insecurities.  I laughed, I danced, I learned to shoot pool and throw darts.

But it also made me feel out of control.  As though I was watching myself from somewhere else in the room, with no say in how the evening would proceed.

I decided, then and there, that getting drunk wasn’t my thing, no matter how much fun it was.

Only a few short months later, at the age of 12, I was raped.

Not in a bar, not in an alley, not on a train or even in the dark of night.  It was in my friend’s bedroom, on a cold, crisp, winter day. 

I wasn’t dressed provocatively.  I wore a white turtle neck, black cotton dress pants, and black boots that went click-clack when I walked across tile.  Hung carefully on a chair was the grey Member’s Only jacket I borrowed from my Daddy.

After that, I learned how to drink just enough to numb the pain.  At the age of 12, I quickly found the line between buzzed enough to feel good and drunk.

Alcohol was my crutch, the thing I turned to when I didn’t feel like life was worth living.  With it coursing through my veins, I could be a different person, one who knew nothing of fear and rape and shame.

I gave it up, eventually.  Even in my extreme youth, I knew it wasn’t the answer to my problems.  

Instead, I put my pain in a box, built a brick wall around it and walked away, hoping that if I didn’t have to look at it, I’d forget it existed.



  1. Andrea,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Nobody should ever have to go through something so awful, and especially not at such a young age. I hope you find inspiration and comfort in your own beautiful girls and are one day able to heal.


  2. Oh, sweetie. Even though I cannot begin to imagine all that you’ve been through, I *do* understand the idea of using alcohol as a crutch to avoid whatever it is you don’t feel like facing. I don’t know what brought this post on, but I hope it was healing.

  3. Gah. *HUGS*
    SO sad for your 12yo self.
    I hope writing this helped.

  4. Right now I want to hug you. This post has touched upon something very close to something going on in my life now. I am not the person feeling the pain, but their pain and how they are dealing with it so many years later is directly affecting my world. I can’t imagine what you feel, but I do know that you have a unmeasurable amount of stregnth to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  5. oh my sweet surviving sister. your box is open now. you are free. and you are loved.

  6. Oh honey. I hope there is a part 2, 3, 4, 5 & 11-teen to this story, because I think it will help you sort it out and tell your truth.

    You are beautiful & loved.


  7. I really admire you for putting these things out there. I think it makes you that much more beautiful!


  8. hugs. What an awful thing.

  9. Sorry for your pain….you have come a long way! Be proud of the women,wife, mother you are today. ((Hugs))

  10. Honey, I love you. Some days, that is all I can say. But it’s true.

  11. I’m reading. You are astonishingly strong.

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