Sunday, February 6, 2011


So the other day, my friend and I were discussing the footy players who took "sleeping tablets" and got into trouble for it.  Then we started chatting about the stupid stuff we did with drugs. When we started drinking.  Whether we smoked. And whether and/or when our own children would start.

For me, I had my first alcohol experience at 5.  Now wait, don’t call DOCS because it’s too late.  That window of opportunity closed around 1981 and I’m pretty sure if the authorities didn’t care that I was driving around unsecured in the back of an EJ driven by my pissed father, they probably wouldn’t have had him arrested for feeding me  beer in a medicine glass.   Though in hindsight, perhaps they should have.

I am not even kidding when I tell you that he would get himself a beer, apparently I would request some and with Mum giving her blessing, would pour me about 20mls and off I would pop to wander the neighbourhood and talk to the birds in the trees.  Parenting at its finest.

But my first non supervised, covert alcohol experience?  I was 14.  I was staying at my (still) best friend’s house and her parents were going out for the night.  Green Light.  We found a bottle of BOLS gin in their study, hooked in and promptly fell over the Webber bbq out the back.  After picking up the black charcoal and fixing up the BBQ, Bobby Brown demanded we dance to My Prerogative up and down the hallway.  That could have been when we ran our charcoaled hands up and down the walls.  Maybe.

Bonnie’s parents, thankfully, were oblivious to the fact that we filled the Gin bottle up with water and we blamed the dog for the rest.  Unscathed.

My first other drug?  Marijuana.  At about 15 I suppose.  Like most kids, I had a go, but because I’d never smoked cigarettes, was a bit clueless about inhaling and exhaling, hence my lungs did not thank me.  Nor did my Epoxy fringe that accidently caught fire when my friend was trying to light the bong in the 7/11 car park.  Needless to say, getting stoned and I never really took off.

The most stupid experience with drugs?  I was in grade 10.  Probably 16 I guess.  It was our big school Sydney/Canberra Trip.  Trip by name, trip by nature.  See, I get motion sickness and as this was all to be conducted on a bus; I took travel sickness tablets with me.  Around about half way through this, somewhere in the Bonny Hills area, the boys cottoned on to the fact that say, taking 6 or 7 of these tablets, was akin to taking copious amounts of acid.

Now, up until this point, I was a total straight one eighty.  At school.  At home. At my part time job.  I got good marks, didn’t shag boys, and didn’t talk back.  So it was of course unexpected that I, along with my about 10 other girls, would also take the tablets and get faceless.  But take them I did and running through the bush in my Pj’s at -2 degrees kind of gave the game away. That and one of the boys slept in his undies under the bus because he believed it was trying to leave without him.

I was the only girl to get caught, along with 3 other guys.  We were VERY lucky not to be expelled.  We were suspended for a week but the reputation lasted much longer.  The worst of it was that I let my Mum go and defend me to the Principal.  See, I told her I had taken a Panadol and coke, and wigged out.  That old chestnut.  I am so ashamed I let my Mum go into that office and defend her child who didn’t deserve her protection.

I don’t regret the above though you know?  It scared the living shit out of me.  I’ve never touched anything harder.  Ecstasy, GHB etc etc.  It’s around, it always was around, but man, one bad move and that’s your mind – gone.   And I’m kind of fond of my mind.

I have a brother in law who has basically lost his life and massive potential from years of pot smoking.  An incredible artist who now, on a good day, can work up the energy to drive to his mothers house.  We’ve all got stories about how alcohol has broken down families.  Good families, ones that without the addiction to the drink, would be very much an entity today.  If you have never been touched by drug addiction, you are incredibly lucky.

And now, I have three children who are yet to experiment with drugs, but hope I’m a little bit more savvy than my mother was.    Best keep a close eye on the Gin and the medicine glasses though.


Littlemissairgap said...

Coke & Panadol, or was it Coke & aspirin? - tick the box on that one which ever one it was. I was so lame! Still am. I had a bad head cold going on. Took 1 codral day & night tablet (recommended dose for adults is 2). Went out & had a full strength latte, came home & took another codral day & night tablet. Next thing I know my heart is racing & I've got the jitters & the shakes big time ... Lamo! Can you imagine me with the real stuff? Dead I imagine!

Bryna said...

I didn't do too much bad stuff when I was younger, and I didn't start early... I was a WAY late bloomer. So much of my experimentation started at 17 - 21...

I do worry about what my girls will get into when they get older. There are SO many crazy things to think about! Pill parties, choking yourself, sniffing whatever the fad is... YIKES!

Draft Queen said...

I dread these talks with my kids. The worst part is, I know that, at the very least, my daughter knows about my younger addicted self. Part of me wants to scare the mere thought of drug use out of her by telling her that my current state of health is because of my drug use as a kid but that hasn't been determined to be true. In fact, other than psychologically and emotionally, I seem to be relatively unscathed. She knows that my best friend had an addiction problem because her best friend is his son and Jason never held any of that back. (He was so much braver than I will ever be.)

By her age, I was already smoking pot. Had been drinking for at least a year. Smoking cigarettes longer. We talk about the dangers and all that jazz, but I'm just not sure if saying "I did that crap and it was dumb" is a deterrent or an excuse from her in the future. (Which is stupid, but teens are stupid and possess questionable logic.)

Lucy said...

Bern, I love it when you post like this. The post you did on alcohol has stayed with me forever and this one resonates too.

"Good families, ones that without the addiction to the drink, would be very much an entity today. If you have never been touched by drug addiction, you are incredibly lucky."

Too true, too scarily true.


Green Mama said...

Fantastic post, as always. When are you going to write one about teenage sexuality and really scare the crappola out of me? I did the motion tablet trip as well on a school camp and still remember thinking my heart was beating on the outside of my chest.

KJ said...

Fantastic post, Bern. The 'hardest' drug I've tried is dope. It made me sleepy and as someone who already needs a good 10 hours to be at my best, it kinda seemed pointless.

Two of my brothers, though, seem quite happy to have spent large amounts of their lives with a lighter in one hand and an Orchy juice bottle attached to their lips. Countless garden hoses have been sacrificed throughout the years. *sigh*

MaidInAustralia said...

Oh don't, I'm already crapping my pants about what my kids will get up to. Unfortunately I know what I was like...

Ms Styling You said...

My teenage daughter looked at me aghast late last year when discussing Schoolies and whether I would buy alcohol for her and her brother. Then I told her that drunk in pubs at 15 and that in my Year 12 year, the entire grade hung out in the astro-turfed beer garden at one of my hometown's 21 pubs. My drink of choice: Advocat and Lemonade!!!
So ATM, I think I'm safe on their experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. And my drinks cupboard is empty following the Christmas excess and my subsequent self-imposed ban ...

Maxabella said...

Drugs have always been around and even when they weren't we were always coming up with ways to get high. Hyperventilating into a paper bag and girls dropping like flies all over the playground, anyone else? See, anything can be abused! Our kids will be okay 'cos we'll make sure they are. x

Rick M said...

Oh dear, I have way too much to add to this conversation so I'll stick to the basics. I didn't drink in high school. At all. I didn't smoke in high school, at all. The first time I got rip roaring drunk was at a party in Year 12 before graduation but then didn't really start again until I turned 18, which is also when I started smoking.

I wish I had never started smoking because I am way beyond addicted. It's terrible and the worst decision I have ever made. Those who know me know I have made some shockers.

Alcohol I abused for at least four good years there and it all started because I am an anxious mother fucker. I couldn't go to parties where there would be people I didn't know, so I drank beforehand. And I would keep drinking there. I thought people didn't like the person I became when I was sober.

I'm slightly better now but I still drink a bit too much. During my worst, which coincided with a few other dramas in my life, I was drinking a bottle of rum a day for two weeks over the Christmas holidays. On my own. Dancing to the MusicMax channel in my living room and pickling my many, many troubles. That was two years ago.

The rest, well, I won't go into that here.

Sorry for my essay Bernfred!

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Our first 'real' experience with alcohol is almost identical. Instead, I was at my friend Tracy's house - her folks were out - and we dabbled in cask wine. Classy. Although, to be honest, I doubt I drank more than about a glass and a half. That was enough to set me dancing around the lounge room though.

Here's a shocker - I have *never* taken drugs. Of any kind. Not marijuana - nothing. Do you realise the power of that? If my kids were ever to throw back the old, "Well, I bet you did drugs when you were my age, Mum!" I can say, "Actually...NO. I didn't. HA!"


But if they ask me about alcohol....stuffed.

Tai Tai said...

I've grown up with parents, uncles, aunts, family friends drinking and smoking copious amounts and all seeming to have had a brilliant time doing it. As kids, we never really knew what was happening back then but now it's all crystal clear, and unfortunately still happening. Don't get me wrong, I love a drink myself and have been pretty adventurous in my recreational use of somewhat unnatural substances, but there's something about our parents' era that let it all get far too loose. I think as each generation learns more and more about the consequences, we move away from that excess more and more. Let's just hope the next generation is completely disinterested eh?

Carly Findlay said...

Drugs ruin peoples' lives and can let them make bad decisions and push people away.
I have never taken drugs or smoked, and the first time I was drunk was age 22.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Great post Bern. I plead the Clinton Defence (no, not that 'I did not have sex with that woman', the other one). I"m sticking with the Just Say No approach for now (my kids are 7 and 4). All bridges will be crossed when we get to them.

Jodi Gibson said...

Great post. I was pretty innocent growing up. I remember doing the 'Spew'-manti thing at about 15 and spew I did!. We used to get drunk at parties, but never got caught. I remember being scared shitless thinking about if my parents ever found out. Never got into the pot thing, just wasn't interested, and luckily there was no peer pressure. Anything harder, stayed well clear of. I know all too well the effects of hard drugs having a relative who lost her mind, her life and tragically affected our family from as early on as I can remember. It is something we live with every day and something I hate her for exposing us to.
I am scared that drugs seem to be more accessible these days and kids seem to be taking more risks. I only hope my children are smart enough to know right from wrong. I can only guide them in the right direction. But I am scared - really scared.

Faybian said...

I grew up near Monash uni, nuff said. I took a shit load of drugs as a young un, but am now straight. It doesn't make it any easier if your own kids do drugs themselves, but keep the lines of communication open and remember harm minimisation ppls. Tried the motion sickness tablets myself...omg what a nasty trip. I've written about it in my own blog, including a bit of the afore mentioned harm minimisation at . It's under, not surprisingly "drugs".

Veggie Mama said...

You're lucky Bobby Brown hadn't requested you be Humpin' Around. I broke a bed that way.

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