Two hangovers stand out in my life.

I was 14 or so and spent the night discovering the joys of boxed red wine with my mother. We sat on the shag carpet in the family room and finished off two large boxes of wine, as she delineated all the problems in her life. I’m sure I told a few secrets too, after all, it was my first real drinking experience and my control was probably pretty weak.

The next morning I awoke to find I was late to meet my grandmother who was waiting for me at a shopping mall. My mother, who was seemingly not hungover, drove me to the mall and dropped me off. All I remember is riding an escalator with my angry grandmother and miserable sister and feeling like I would vomit. I had never experienced a headache like that, I was dizzy, and virtually unable to speak. It was several years before I would drink to the point of drunkenness again and I wished I had learned my lesson from that day.

The other hangover was the most severe hangover of my life. By rating my hangovers on a scale of 1 to 10, most were a 4 or 5: a headache, feeling a little nauseous, sensitive to noise or motion. This was an 11.

I have no idea what had happened the night before, where I had been, how I had paid my way, and what I had drunk, but I woke up alone and fully-clothed in my own bed. I considered this somewhat of an accomplishment. The problem was that I had no food, nothing to drink (meaning: alcohol), and no cigarettes in the house. The corner store being just down the block, it should have been easy to remedy this situation, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t walk. I crawled to the window, looked longingly through the half-open drapes and longed to go outside but I couldn’t. I had no balance, no money, and I knew I would hurl if I left the house. I was trapped there for two days while I rode that hangover out. Again, no lesson was learned from that one either.