Renegade Adventures: My First Drink

Renegade Rip Reporter Daulton James Jones Enjoying his drink.

Daulton James Jones, Reporter

So on Feb. 18, I finally turned 21! For most people, that usually means they are about to begin a 24-hour party full of enough alcohol to mimic a Tuesday night at Charlie Sheen’s house. I, on the other hand, wasn’t. That’s not who I am or who I honestly ever see myself being.

Instead, to avoid the inevitable nagging from my peers to take part in the drunkenness that for some reason comes with 21st birthdays, my friend Shanice and I bought tickets to Soulquarius, which is an R&B and hip hop festival in Orange County that featured acts such as Jhene Aiko, The Internet, Ari Lennox, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Brandy, DMX, and the legendary Erykah Badu followed by numerous others.

It was honestly amazing. I got to see so many of the artists that I had always listened to, and in the past, I had suffered from F.O.M.O. (Fear of Missing Out) because their concerts were sold out.

Looking back at this, I can completely see that I didn’t buy the ticket to this concert solely because I wanted to see all these performers, but also as a form of escapism.  I was trying to avoid getting drunk, tipsy, hammered, or whatever you want to call it, so bad that I purchased this ticket.

I am that friend in the group who, when everyone goes out, there’s no need to worry if it’s your turn to be the D.D. (Designated Driver). I’ll be there, more than willing to take the position.

Some may think that’s boring, but I love it. I personally don’t like being under the influence or so I thought I wouldn’t like it. I’m a control freak sober, so I just figured if not being in control of myself and my actions while sober freaks me out, then under the influence, it would definitely not go well, so I always took the loss for that.

Also, it just wasn’t appealing to me growing up. Like when I would see people drunk, they wouldn’t display characteristics that I wanted to attain.

During high school when I would go to parties with my friends, I’d just see a bunch of people I knew acting a fool. They would act completely different, and a majority of the time in ways that were not in the least part flattering. Plus, I played football in high school and here at Bakersfield College, so I’m not even going to describe the things that were going on then.

Needless to say, my hesitation to drink did actually put a damper on my friendships. My friends would feel like I was judging them because I chose not to take part in the drinking.

They decided to not invite me to things because they felt as if, “Well, if Daulton’s not going to drink, why is he here?”

Thankfully, this quickly faded, and they became more understanding.

My fear of self-control definitely has a tight grip on me. I’m not completely sure where it comes from. I’ve just seen so many people succumb to alcoholism and not even be aware of it. Some of those people are members of my extended family. Maybe seeing them unconsciously struggle with this as I was growing up left a negative imprint of alcohol on me.

I had numerous conversations with my cousin about this, and she basically told me that I have to let go, and see what happens. To most people that sounds super easy and stress free, but for me that was so stressful and difficult.

Thankfully, I did.

Days after my birthday, one of my other friends was having a birthday where she was also turning 21, so I attended.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to leave until I drank. She was having a Tacos and Tequila themed birthday since it was National Margarita Day.

Me being me, I just tried it, with the utmost caution, and my goodness this margarita was strong at first. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I just wasn’t expecting the kick back to be so heavy from the alcohol.

To be honest in my head I was like “Whelp, I drank. Good job, give yourself a pat on the back, and go back to your water now,” but I didn’t, I kept drinking. I began to loosen up and talk a lot more which I think shocked one of my new friends J.R.

I was having a good time, and I honestly thought everyone was lying when they would say, “Just keep drinking, and it’ll taste better.” But it’s totally true!

That night I drank about four margaritas, and indulged in tacos and cake! I definitely felt “tipsy” or whatever you want to call it. I was all good until about 10:30 p.m., and then I was out cold. I tried so hard to stay up and have fun with everyone, but I was so tired. I guess I’m a sleepy drunk.

I definitely conquered my alcohol fears that day. I understood that, yes, those people that I have seen act negatively because of alcohol, but not everyone reacts that way. Thankfully I didn’t, which is what I was afraid of. I had a really good time that night. I’m not sure if it was because of the alcohol, my friends, or a mix of the two.

In the future I’m definitely not going to stress over having a couple drinks at a social event. I’m definitely not going to take part in the blackout drinking I’ve seen so many do in front of me, but I am not opposed to a few drinks here and there. Alcohol and I had a good first encounter with one another.