1973: I got drunk for the first time at age 16. With my high school buddies. And I spent my senior year, age 17, as a “weekend drinker.” I’d get drunk at parties with my friends. Mostly beer. But I experimented with vodka and whiskey and cheap sweet wine too.
1975: Freshman year of college, age 18. They had all these “keggers” parties at the frat houses. So you could get drunk for free just about every weekend. I often took advantage of the opportunity.
1976: Age 19. I was mostly a stoner. Pot and psychedelics. But I liked pounding a good jug of red California burgundy wine with friends. I liked the taste and the buzz and the bohemian aspect. “Sweet Burgundy” as Tommy Bolin sang about it before he ODed on heroin. *sigh*
1980s: I was mostly a “weekend drinker” at this point. I liked to pound the beers at punk rock shows. Or spend a Friday night at a bar with a friend quietly sitting there and getting mutually shnockered on pitchers of beer. I mostly preferred 6-packs — bottles of Budweiser with the long-necks — during this period. Loved the taste.
1990s: In my 30s now. Still a “weekend drinker.” Friday nights. A social drinker. I never drank alone. And I never drank while I was doing the 9-to-5 during the week.
1997 to 2002: I didn’t drink at all for 5 years. I was really into Kundalini meditation. And didn’t want to mess up my clear head space with alcohol.
2003 to present: What turned me into an “everyday drinker” was my job. Ironically enough. I was working as a street vendor on Telegraph. It was a grueling job. And by 5 in the evening I was worn down. I’m an introvert by nature, so the constant social interactions with my customers wore me down. So at 5 o’clock I’d go to the liquor store and buy a 24 ounce can of Olde English malt liquor (alcohol content 7.5%). I’d immediately feel rejuvenated. So I’d pound 4 or 5 more cans of them and be feeling no pain, as well as socializing effortlessly with all my customers like there was no tomorrow, all the way until midnight when I finally packed up my vending stand.
And that’s where I ended up.