The following essay won eighth place in the Through My Eyes Essay Contest VII, which is being published in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month.
The author is an anonymous senior at Brookings-Harbor High School and will receive a $10 gift certificate from Wild River Pizza and $5 from Fred Meyer. Essays will be available online at bit.ly/GVJrwS as winners are announced.
For question or comments, contact Gordon Clay at 541-469-5124
Throughout my family for many generations, alcohol has played a role. Too many people have relied on alcohol to make them feel better, or get through hard times they may have faced. But hearing those stories has made me realize that drinking was not for me.
My dad has told me how life was for him when he was growing up – how his real father was a horrible alcoholic. He would practically take all the money that he had worked for and would go out and drink. My grandmother hardly had enough money to buy them milk, and having as many children as she did, life was difficult already. But then when my grandpa would come home from the bar, he would beat on my grandmother, the most gentle, kind and loving woman I know. He would beat her so badly because the alcohol had turned him into a monster. It happened all too often.
My other grandfather, my mother’s dad, was another alcoholic as well. This story is different in that he did not beat anyone. But still, he would use all of the family’s money, leaving my grandmother at home with her three girls with hardly any money to buy food. He spent the majority of his time out at the bars with his friends, getting wasted. My mom has hardly any good memories with her father because he was never there for her or her family. And I, even today, have only a few good memories of him. But luckily, he has recently joined AA meetings and has been off of alcohol for about two years. After more than 30 years of drinking and missed opportunities to get to know his family.
Hearing these stories has helped me realize the person that I don’t want to be. These stories have showed me how I do not want to be that person that is never around. I want to be a better person than that. I want to be that person that people can rely on, talk to and have a relationship with. I want to be that friend that anyone can come to, whenever they need something. Drinking just makes you the opposite of all of these characteristics.
I am lucky that I have been able to realize these things from other stories. I hope that others are able to do the same thing and realize that drinking really doesn’t make you any cooler. In fact, I have much more respect for people that can say no and stand up for something good.
Drinking isn’t worth it. Being a drunk is not who I want to be.