The first time I can remember chugging a drink I was eight years old. I was in the third grade at All Saints Episcopal school in Fort Worth. Every Friday was Eucharist, and All Saints served real wine. To grade school children. I remember the first sip I had. It was way better than Coke. A Cola folks. The white stuff came later, Jeez. I’m not Drew Barrymore. Although she was my idol growing up… Maybe that was a sign.
During the advent season we did what a lot of other places do, we collected cans to donate to a local shelter.
My friend Leigh and I were selected to carry the cans to the chapel.
Upon arrival we noticed the advent wreath was on fire and had turned over and the chapel was going up in flames.
I turned to go get help but Leigh grabbed my arm.
“Wait! The wine,” she exclaimed and I instantly knew what she meant.
We ran over to where the sacrament was stored and took turns chugging the wine, probably half a bottle.
Then we went to get help.
We got our picture in the paper and a pizza party for our class.
My first memory of alcohol and all I can think about is two-fold, one, God was involved from the very beginning, and two, I was rewarded for drinking. Something that would become a theme in early adolescence.