Insider's Guide to High School Journals The Tattoo

The sober truth about getting really drunk

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago – My father told me one Sunday morning that he’s never gotten drunk in his life. I wondered if he, like I had, ever wondered what it was like.

This was the morning after – the morning after I had become enthralled by the shimmer of free tequila under black light. I’m underage, but we all are when it comes down to it and everyone knows it.

Holding a screwdriver in one hand and a rum and coke in the other is so much more fulfilling when you know it’s technically illegal. There’s a certain appeal to doing things we know we’d get in trouble for. The trick is not to get caught.

I’m not very good at tricks.

The room had been spinning in a relatively pleasant manner for a few hours but at some point its motion became quite nauseating. I remember stumbling to the bathroom with the vague intention of fixing my hair and ending up in a corner projectile vomiting with my eyes shut. And all that I could think was, I wonder who is watching

The thing is, I’m a school prefect. In my school, unlike others, it does matter what you do in your own time.

A few years back, a group of prefects got their badges taken away for going to the same thing I had gone to: Kama Sutra. The entire thing sounds like an orgy, but it was actually quite innocent.

Except for the fact that I hadn’t told my parents I was going there, and secondly, that every second I was being handed a drink.

I drink three to five litres of water a day. I drink everything quickly, including alcohol. And so, at ridiculously early o’ clock, I was near incapacitation. All my inhibitions had disappeared – I couldn’t stop moving… in any case, I was returned home, by a complete and utter angel, to whom I am eternally grateful, to my parents.

They still don’t actually know where I went, because I had just told them I was going out.

I am given a lot of freedom in comparison to other people my age and I’m very grateful. Even after this incident, I’m still allowed to do what I want.

They trust me; they trust that I’ve learnt my lesson and that I’ve learnt from my experiences. I appreciate this so much now, especially looking at other people.

I actually feel extremely guilty at disobeying their trust in the first place but it’s really just a learning experience. Everything is, to a point. Life is about growth, we never stop growing and we never stop learning.

I see people who aren’t allowed much freedom at all. Indubitably though, they will grow up, and what experience would they have to base themselves on?

Of course there is a minority of people who have innately good sense, but trust me when I say this is an extreme minority. Pretty soon, we’ll all be gone, split up and labelled ‘adult.’

And with no one to tell us what to do, what will be do?

So despite my intense embarrassment and disappointment in myself, I’m grateful for what nonsense I did.

I know now what acute inebriation feels like and I know I don’t want to get to that point again. I only know this because I’ve tested my limits.

To quote author Tom Morris, “The only way most people recognize their limits is by trespassing on them.”