Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 VBA Journal, Winter Issue, Vol. 41, No. 4 - Page 24

by Andrew B. Delaney, Esq. Confessions of a Teenage Drunk “My name is Andy and I’m an alcohol- ic.” So goes the introduction at most Al- coholics Anonymous meetings, and while I don’t attend meetings regularly any more, I certainly know the drill. I’ve struggled with drinking since I was fifteen years old. It almost cost me my legal career before it even started. Now why would I want to tell the whole world—or at least the entire Vermont bar— that? Truth is, I don’t. It’s not exactly some- thing I’m proud of. I wish I could drink like a normal person. Now that I can afford to buy the fancy liquor, it’d be nice to have a nice single-malt scotch once in a while or some good Irish whiskey. It’d be nice to en- joy a glass of wine with dinner or a “real” beer after mowing the lawn. And if I were a different person, I could do that. But I’m me. And after multiple knocks on the head, I’ve finally concluded that I’m one of those people that can’t drink alco- hol. I suspect that if you’re taking the time to read this, maybe there’s something in you—or someone you know—that wor- ries you a little bit. So, if one person reads this and it’s a wake-up call . . . if it helps one person out there realize that he or she isn’t the only one out there with an alcohol problem, then it’s worth a little embarrass- ment to me. Or maybe my motives aren’t that pure. Maybe I just like talking about myself. I am a lawyer, after all. 24 You don’t need a screwed-up childhood to become a drunk. I grew up in Torrington, Connecticut at the end of a dead-end street right next to the Naugatuck River. There was a big mulberry tree at the end of our road (a road which also served as our driveway). In 1985, during Hurricane Glo- ria, I hid in a poorly built tree fort I’d made out of cabinet doors my dad had brought home from a job. My parents were un- derstandably upset. After reading a book about Denmark, I built my little brother wooden shoes—hammering them togeth- er around his feet. I hadn’t thought about how he might get out of them. After read- ing a book about the Wright brothers, my brother and I built an airplane. We never did manage to make it fly. My bottom front teeth are chipped because—at age seven or eight—I thought I would catch a Frisbee in my mouth like a show dog. I found a heroin needle on the street when I was about ten and brought it home. Shortly thereafter, my parents announced that we’d be moving to Vermont. In the early 1990s, I split my time between Vermont and Connecticut. My grandpar- ents live in a quiet suburban neighborhood in northwestern Connecticut. There are farms and streams and woods nearby. The air—despite being only a few miles outside of the city—has an earthy quality about it. Elm, maple, and hemlock trees line the THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • WINTER 2016-17 streets. My mother and baby sister, my aunt—and sometimes my father and little brother—live in a large three-story home on the corner of two quiet, country roads with my grandparents. It’s a pleasant existence. I can do chores if I need money. I happen to be the favor- ite grandson, so if I ask grandma for some money, it’s not even necessary to do those chores. My two-and-a-half-years-younger little brother and I have taken over the third floor of the house. We have all the ameni- ties we could ask for. There’s a barn of sorts in the field across the street that my grand- parents own. We’ve run an extension cord across the road—actually tacked it to tele- phone poles, which I’m sure violates some code somewhere—so we have power and a sort-of apartment-slash-clubhouse setup in the upstairs of the barn. Vermont is a bit different. Dad has decid- ed to get back to the land, so we have sev- enteen acres in Tunbridge. There’s no elec- tricity or running water—dad jokes: “We do have running water. You run down to the stream and get it.” We live in a camp and it’s usually just me and dad or just dad and my brother during the Vermont times. But despite the lack of amenities, Ver- mont is pleasant too. I read a lot and walk through the woods. I don’t enjoy nature quite as much as 䁉ɽѡȁЁ$ɔ)єЁݕ՝$ѕݥ͠ѡɔ݅)ɔѼYɵЁЁӊéЁչȴ)Q'eٔѼ͍)ͥ$ЁɹѼɕ) Ѡ䁉ɽѡȁ$ɔ)͍ Ѡȁɕ́ٔЁ)ɕɔѕи])ЁȁՍѥѡ՝ݔͽ)ѥ́ݥ͠ݔ5䁱́ͅи$)eЁٔɅյ5ɕ)ɔЁͥٔQ͡܁ѡ䁱ٔ)'eչєQɗéѡѥԴ)ɱɽݥѠа'eЁѼ)չ)$ѡ͔́$܁ѡЁ)ʹ́Ё丁%ЁͻeЁ͍ɥє)eԁeЁٔѼɕ͕ѼЁ)ٔͽѡЁ́ѼݥѠ)锸9ѡ՝́ѡЁ'e)݅Ѽ՝)ݥѠՉх͔)% ѥа䁍ٕͥ́ɽ)ѡɕаЁɽѡɸ!e)ɕѱ䁝ɅՅѕɽ!ݽɭ)ȁ́ɥٕ́ȁɕձȴ)丁Q݅э́ɥȸ)Mѥ́$ЁݥѠѡѡe)ЁٔȰЁٕȁɔѡ) ЁѡɗéȁȁѡЁɕ)ܹщȹ