I still remember the first time I got drunk. It was at a Salsa spot called Gonzalez Gonzalez, and I was there with a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I had recently started a new job as a truck driver for Frito Lay, and I was finally starting to get comfortable with my routine. But I still felt like I was missing out on something, like there was a whole world out there that I wasn’t experiencing. So when I got invited out, I jumped at the chance. I dressed in my newest clothes, and I was excited to make an impression on the group. I had always been an active member of the organization, but I felt like I needed to let loose a little bit. As everyone around the table behaved responsibly, I ordered my first ever Long Island Ice Tea. It came in a boot-sized cup, 2 feet tall, and I remember feeling a rush of excitement as I took my first sip. The drink was strong, and it tasted like freedom. As the night went on, everyone danced the night away, and networked within private conversations. But I was focused on one thing only: finishing my drink. And before I knew it, I had chugged the entire thing. As I stumbled out of the restaurant, spinning and disoriented, I saw the world with new eyes for the first time. I felt like I had discovered something that had been missing from my life. And knowing that I could go back to it at any time gave me a sense of comfort that would soon turn detrimental. Looking back now, I realize that that night was a turning point for me. It was the moment when I started down a path that would lead me to alcoholism and addiction. But at the time, I was just happy to be experiencing something new, something different. It’s funny how one decision can change the course of your life.

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