South Rome Chronicles- The Making of an Alcoholic

Let me start by saying I am not an alcoholic! I was pretty close to it, but not even aware of the reason that I started drinking around age 13. What I did recognize was that things didn’t really matter when I was drunk. We would pool our money together, walk to Big H, and get some wino to buy malt liquor for us. We were told to eat pork skins with it in order to create a dry mouth. The dry mouth could be fixed with beer. More importantly, the anxiety that I brought from rural to urban seemed to go away when applying alcohol to the problem.
I remember one night sitting in a car in the parking lot of Twin Oaks, car load of the homies, drunk. We had one person beat boxing while we traded two liners like “My name is Kwesi and I’m the best! I’m like superman with the S on my chest!” Lame? Maybe! But the alcohol made us feel like we were without problems. We didn’t always get into the clubs because they were strict on age for a few years. But they never stopped us from sitting in the parking lot just taking in the moment.
Throughout my days in South Rome I looked forward to Friday because I knew I could make up some reason to spend the night with someone and get drunk. We would spend the night and not even bring clothes because we lived in walking distance of each other. I was basically spending the night to shift the responsibility from my mother to somebody else’s mother for a day or so. I was basically sedating myself to survive the weekend. The shots, the people driving slowly in cars with tinted windows was something out of a movie that was usually followed by slow singing.
It wasn’t until I got older that a friend of mine told me that I was dealing with anxiety. He said it will make you feel like you are having a heart attack but nothing show up on an x-ray. Smoke filled rooms and clubs were a challenge to manage, but I would sit and take deep breaths just trying to fit in. I was counting days until we could move; however, after we moved, my family both blood and just by association, were in South Rome. I often wonder what happens to bonds like those that we created.

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