Suspended This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   A few days ago I was suspended from school for getting a little too drunk at a school dance. It was Friday night, and everyone was going out and getting wasted before the Halloween dance at school. I was psyched up all day because I knew I was getting cocked that night. We went to my friend's house because his parents weren't home. I guess I had about eleven or twelve shots of vodka before I went to the dance. It must have been too much because I don't remember a thing, and my mom had to pick me up from the dance.

Since then I have just been hanging around playing Sega. My mom has been going crazy on me every day. My principal suspended me for five days, but said I could get two days taken off my suspension if I went to an A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) meeting. I figured it would make my mom happy if I could get off this suspension for a while. I decided to go to the meeting. I figured it would be a joke being there with all those alcoholics. I thought I would go there, play the part and get out.

The A.A. meeting was weird. There were a lot of people there. It took place near where I lived. Most people looked normal, but there were a couple of strange-looking individuals. There was one guy whose face was beet red. I'm not kidding! His face looked like a beet! This other woman looked like Mike Tyson had used her face as a punching bag. She was all beaten up. This other guy, Ron (he was real cool), looked like Don King on a bad hair day.

There were some cool stories told there. Ron was the first to speak. "I'd like to welcome the new guy." That was me. "I'd like to say that it isn't easy growing up today. I know! Don't let anyone tell you any different." Then he went on about his drinking days and told a good story.

"I remember the first time I realized I was an alcoholic. I was in a veterans hospital and I got so drunk that they had to give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation just to stay alive. That wasn't the part that made me realize I was an alcoholic though. The part that made me realize I was an alcoholic was when they told me the first thing I said when I woke up was, AWhere's my drink?'"

I thought this guy was pretty cool. He said he had been sober for fifteen years. I felt bad for him because he walked on crutches.

As all these people were talking about their problems and their feelings, I was listening intently. I was thinking that these people have all these problems and I'm here for school so I can get off some stupid suspension! Most of these people came here voluntarily to sort out their problems and help themselves get back on track. I'm watching them like some jerk because I want to get off my suspension.

This other guy Mike talked a long time about his childhood and how his parents beat him and drove him to drink. I felt sorry for him. He looked like a good guy. He had three kids and a wife and a good job, but he lost it all when he couldn't control his drinking problem. He lost his job, his wife, and hardly ever sees his kids. This was only his fourth meeting, and he looked like a wreck.

Next it was John's turn to talk. They always began the same way. "Hi. My name is so and so, and I'm an alcoholic." He said, "My name is John and I'm an alcoholic." Then came some great stories.

"I want to thank the new kid for coming to our meeting. I know it is tough to do and he has real courage for coming here."

I didn't tell anyone I was in there for school because they might have looked down on me.

John continued, " I have been an alcoholic for over ten years, and throughout that time, I have hated myself. I drank my way out of a job, a home, and a marriage. People who say alcohol doesn't hurt anyone are wrong. It hurts. When I was in my heavy drinking days, I could drink two liters of vodka and hardly catch a buzz. I remember when I was a teenager, my friends and I used to leave apple cider outside and wait for it to ferment. Then we used to add vodka and Rumple Mince to it and catch a wicked buzz. When I was drinking heavily, I remember opening the refrigerator and seeing apple cider and wondering how long it would take to ferment."

Everyone laughed. "I want to say on a serious note that these meetings are really helping me out and that I feel really special when I come here."

The meeting ended before I had a chance to say anything. I wish I had had a chance to talk. I felt these people were really special. They played the hand that life had dealt them, and they were winning. While most people go around and complain, these people are taking the steps necessary to help themselves and better their lives. I know I'll think twice the next time I go to take a shot of vodka. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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