Updated: May 20, 2019
Ian Zettervall, 38 of 135 Brewster road. 12 Step Recovery Advocate. 19 years walking the walk of recovery, through thick and thin.
I remember a time, 12 years old, first day of a new school, Watkinson. My parents had placed me in a private school after completing 5th grade in public school where a barely passed math class. I didn't know anyone in the school, and I was terrified, wrought with anxiety and insecurity; looking straight ahead, scared to look to my left or my right. There was another student in the class (we were all there for the first time) looking like he was maxing and relaxing, hinds behind his head, smile on his face, cracking nothing but jokes. I was baffled by this display. All I could think was 'how on earth is it possible that we are both here for this first day at a new school, not knowing anyone else in the class, yet here I am a nervous wreck, barely able to say a word, shaking like a leaf on the inside; and here he is, cool as a fan making jokes, making the other students chuckle?
I could not understand what separated the two of us. But I did know one thing: Whatever was making me so nervous and full of anxiety in that moment, I wanted to get rid of. And what ever was making him appear calm, cool, and collected, I wanted it, but I had no idea where that "it" was to be found. I did know one thing for sure, I was not to be found from within (or so I thought at the time. About a year later, I discovered what I thought was the solution: ALCOHOL.
I didn't grow up around alcohol. Neither of my parents drank. Alcohol was not present at most family functions. There were times that family attended 4th of July picnics at a large lake where some distant relative owned a cabin on the shore. I was young, and me, my siblings and cousins were preoccupied with swimming out on the dock. I remember swimming in the water, hearing the high pitched whine of a motor boat propellers from the large lake in front of me when my head went underwater, and the metallic clanks of horseshoes clanking against a metal post in the yard behind me. Most of the adult men of the family were drinking beer with their shits off, playing games of horseshoes. As I stated, I was more interested in jumping around in the cool water on those hot mid-summer days, to be mindful us what the grown-ups were doing. But I do recall that the as the day drew on, the men in my family became louder and louder and the empty Budweiser cans piled up.
I didn't have my first personal experience with alcohol until around the age 13. It was a weekend during the school year; and I was sleeping over a friend's house and this particular friend had an 18 year old sister, who happened to have a 21 your old boyfriend that recently moved in with my friend's family. My friend Matt and I were watching a movie in the living room and there wasn't anyone else in the house. I remember Matt casually asking if I wanted to drink; to which a casually said "sure". As it so happened, the sister's boyfriend like to drink (and smoke weed) and left a mixture of vodka and orange juice