"Do as I say, not as I do!" was the frequent refrain we all heard from our Dad. Like all teenagers, we thought he was a hypocrite as he openly drank his beer and hard liquor from his well-stocked cabinet.
However, as we got a little older, he began to teach us how to drink responsibly. Starting at age 16, we were allowed a glass of wine with dinner. At age 19, Dad was on a course in the city where I was living on campus and he gave me a rye & ginger ale in his hotel room before taking me out to dinner. Although he did mention that I wouldn't be allowed anything like that in the restaurant since the drinking age was still 21 at that time.
So I learned to drink responsibly, right? Yeah, right.
Living in residence on campus, I was like a wild beast suddenly let free from its cage. I loved the parties, the drinking, the carousing, the liberty from all parental restraints.
Drink responsibly? Nah! Par-Tee! Par-Tee! Hey, this was the late 60's!
My friends and I frequented the frat parties that were open to any girls on campus. And I ended up meeting and dating one of the guys for the entire year. Practically every weekend there was a party at the "house" with music, dancing, and making out after drinking ourselves to a sleepy and vulnerable state.
At one of the biggest parties of the year, long tables were laid out for the sumptuous meal and wine poured freely from the bottles that just kept on appearing. When the band started up, we were all ready to "get down." Strains of The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf, and Chicago got us even more drunk on the beat and the rhythm. At one point, I remember climbing up on the table and dancing solo while everyone cheered me on. Later, my boyfriend and I found ourselves behind some gigantic draperies working on our virginal lust factories. (No! No! all was still intact as we stumbled out after being discovered
A frequent haunt of the campus crowd was a local hotel bar. I'd go there with groups of friends all the time, but once I went with the president of our student council when my boyfriend was studying. As a joke, we thought we'd see how much beer we could drink that night. Driving back (and yes this was a time when people would drive drunk! How stupid could we be?) he had to stop while I vomited into the bushes at the side of the road.
Another time while hanging out in my boyfriend's room in the frat house, we made so-called "screwdrivers" with orange pop instead of orange juice. Two guys shared a room with bunk beds and two desks. Not much floor space, so a bunch of us climbed onto the top bunk to drink. Comfortably settled, one more guy decided he'd climb up, too. Well, no sooner had he put part of his weight on that bunk than the whole thing collapsed with booze, pop, and students flying. The next morning I experience my first true hangover.
There were other times, too....hanging head in shame.
To this day, I detest beer, red wine, and screwdrivers. I can't believe I didn't get hurt, raped, or killed during that time. And I can't believe I managed to get my teaching degree. Thank God drugs weren't involved because I probably would have given them a try, too.
Although our parents thought they were teaching us responsibility, I do believe that they over- protected us most of the time. They didn't allow us to make mistakes growing up at home. So as soon as I felt that freedom from their control, I became an idiot. Yes, an intoxicated idiot.
So if you ever use that phrase, "Do as I say, not as I do" to your kids, be sure to explain the whys and wherefores of it. Tell your kids that you made mistakes growing up and that they will make mistakes, too. But also explain that drinking to excess is a mistake that can lead to life-long problems of a mental and/or physical nature.
Thank God I was blessed with some innate intelligence that overcame the intoxicated idiocy.