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It's A Family Affair

The Night I Almost Died From Alcohol Poisoning

I was extremely naive when I was a college freshman. I was 17 years old. I was 110 pounds. I was living in the co-ed dorm. Before college, I was always under the constant supervision of some adult who always told me what I was supposed to do. There I was, alone for the first time in my life. There were no real rules. In Colorado, the drinking age to have near beer was 18 and other liquor at age 21. This, however, was college.

The first month I was there, I just did not feel like I fit in. I was the youngest person in my dorm. The jocks loved to tease me. Everyone else pretty much ignored me. My roommate spoke no English since she was from Panama. Classes were quite different from high school. It was overwhelming.

One day, these two jocks who especially loved to tease me invited me and another woman to their room. We were talking until her roommate got her to take a call. I was there alone with those two. They thought it would be pretty funny to see what it would be like if I ever got drunk. I didn't think it would be that interesting. Then they dared me to drink whiskey straight. They handed me a 64 ounce cup they filled with undiluted whiskey and dared me to chug it down without pausing for air. I don't know why I just didn't say no. I knew I would probably choke. I figured if I choked they would just laugh at me and leave me alone. I got sick as I could smell it, but tried to gulp it. It was disgusting and I did choke. They laughed, but they said they would not let me leave until I could do the whole cup. They filled it up to the top and told me to try again. Wanting to get this over with, I took a deep breath and gulped down the whole cup. I calmly asked, "Can I leave now?"

As I walked towards my room, the hallway just seemed to go dark. I remember opening my door, but that was the last thing I remembered clearly. In my stupor on the floor, I could sense my roommate screaming. I remember another student who was in training to become an EMT was poking and prodding me and flashing a light in my eyes. He kept trying to get me to talk to him. I wanted to just say I was okay, but I couldn't move or talk. Then I lost total consciousness.

A few days later I woke up. I was in my own bed still fuming from my vomit. I could hardly talk since my vocal cords were swollen. An adult friend of mine who spoke Spanish and would translate what my roommate was saying filled me in on what happened. They said I was very close to death, but they did not want to take me to the hospital since a lot of people would get in trouble. The guys who gave me the drink would be in trouble since they were under legal drinking age giving drinks to a minor. The resident assistant would get in trouble for allowing alcohol in the dorm. The EMT student would get in trouble for going along with the plan to cover this up. Of course, I would also be in trouble. It would have been worse for everyone else if I had died.

If you think that experience was bad, I had an even worse experience. I was friends with a guy who was a heroin addict. He was supposed to be getting clean. I trusted him like a big brother. We had a few drinks and then he said he had some errands to run. He asked me to come with him. We took the bus and went to someone's house. I only had 1 drink earlier, so I was by no means drunk. After my first experience with alcohol, I did not want to ever get that drunk again. When I went inside, my friend went with a guy into another room to discuss money. He told me to sit down and a lady came out and handed me a Pepsi. Being too trusting, I drank it. That was the last thing I remembered. 15 hours later I woke up in a motel with 5 strange men, my clothes were half off, I was dizzy and confused, and I felt like I was violated. One of the men asked me where I lived and took me home. I was so out of it at that time that I could barely put my finger on what happened. I just wanted to go to my bed and sleep. Deep down, I know what happened to me. I just hope there is no film or pictures of it running around somewhere. Later on I found out what happened to my friend, he was beaten up and left in a ditch outside of town. He was found days later, dead.

Things like that happen in college, high school, clubs and almost any place where a party is going on. If you are having something to drink, alcoholic or not, never leave your drink unattended. Watch while your drink is being poured or only drink a beverage out of a can or bottle that you open. Things can be slipped into your drink and you can not only be raped, but some people are also killed.

As far as alcohol goes, take it easy! You are young, keep your liver. If you must drink, do it in moderation. It is really not worth getting drunk all the time. Don't show off trying to be macho and drinking obscene amounts of liquor. It is a poison and can kill you.