Teenage Drinking Lesson From Mom

Here’s a memory of how my Mom dealt with a suspected teenage drinking issue when I was 16 years old. It shows how sometimes the best lesson/punishment is more about the message than the punishment. Mom was smart…she disciplined us the old fashioned way, although I don’t remember the last time she gave me a whipping. However, Mom also used (very effectively) emotions and guilt as a way to teach lessons.

In 1972 I would have been about 16 years…the guy I hung out with at that time (whose sister is on Facebook…so I won’t use any names). He and I were gonna go out and ride around the circuit on a Friday night…somehow we got split up and he ended up at the river partying and drinking…and I stayed in town (I think I drank a single beer somewhere)….anyway, later that night I was home at my normal curfew time (11pm), but at about midnight the sister of my running around buddy came down to our house and said that something was wrong with her brother… he was unconscious and acting funny. My Mom was always a take charge person and went and checked on my friend. She saw the shape he was and saw he was drunk…helped get him sober and then came home. I was afraid she’d question when she got back home but nothing.

Next day…we’re going somewhere and she’s driving…I’m in the passenger seat. She starts out with, “You know I had to go down to XXXX house last night…and he was drunk”. I started looking out the passenger window so I wouldn’t have to look at my Mom. Then she sticks the “proverbial dagger” into me by saying, “Wally, you know it would BREAK MY HEART if I knew you were doing something like that”….tears, not the little tears, but the big ole GIANT TEARS start rolling down my face as I continued to stare out the window…That guilt trip by itself was worth about 2 months of not taking a sip of booze.

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