I was too young to legally drink. So one day after work I found the seediest bar in town and sneaked in the side door. I ordered 2 cans of beer to take away. The barman said “What 2 cans, that’s not the way to become a man. You need much more.”
I had reasoned that if I only ordered 2 cans it would not be challenged and I would go to another bar and get some more.
I drank alone on the banks of the River Torrens keeping an eye out for the police. One walked past and said nothing. I was OK. I knew I looked older that I was. I bought some more and got drunk.
Another time a mate and I were away on a fishing trip. He bought some grog and I was going to buy a small bottle. He said, “That will not last you long, get a big bottle.” I did and enjoyed the nights fishing, drinking and mateship.
A mate told me he was going out to the winery to get some wine in casks as it was too expensive at hotels and bars. I went with him and bought several casks of second grade wine. We were drinking for two weeks before we went back to the winery for more.
About age 19 a friend asked me to have dinner with him and his wife. I thought that was unusual but bought some beer and went. When I arrived he said “You can leave that (the beer) in the car, we don’t drink in this house.” I thought I never knew they were religious.” But I left the beer and had dinner.
After awhile he said to me “You have been drinking a bit lately Fred.” I said “So what?”
“Well, my father used to drink a lot and he ended up in a terrible state.” He said.
I replied, somewhat taken back, “What’s that got to do with me?”
“We were wondering if you know what your getting into?”
“I sure do.” Was my indignant reply and left to drink the hot beer in my car – alone.
I never returned to that friendship.
By challenging my drinking they had challenged me to drink more. But, the friendship I felt in that particular challenge never left me. From that time on I somehow knew that I had a drinking problem but I wasn’t ready to do anything about at that stage.
This experience reminds me of the saying that I have heard many times in sobriety – ‘First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.’