My love affair with getting trashed started at a normal age. I'd taken sips of wine from weddings before, never enough to get me drunk, but enough for a taste. When I was in grade six one of my classmates confessed through a note that he and the rest of the 'popular kids' were going to smoke pot that weekend. I'd never really fit in with any of the other kids my age, and it somehow got ingrained into my mind that doing drugs was cool.

I had enough to escape from though, the first time I ever stole liquor from my mother's ample and readily available liquor collection at thirteen. I made a mixture of all of the hard alcohols I could find in there, and topped it off with some red wine. I skimmed only a tiny bit from each one so they'd hardly notice. With my beloved water bottle, I braved the November cold to walk the twenty minutes uphill to my friend Calvin's house. There, him, my best friend Crystal, and his friend Tristin would tell me how cool and badass I was. I felt it every step.

So when Crystal started downing Advil by the bottle in a futile attempt to get attention from the boys, I began to wonder to myself if Advil really could get you high. Tristin hid them however, so I resorted to taking sips from my water bottle. The lingering wondering of taking pain medication as narcotics was stained in my thought processes. Although I didn't achieve my goal of getting drunk that day, it was nice to get out of my house.

I started escaping my house and family on a regular basis. I was a sullen and moody coming-of-age nearly-teenager and had a nasty and spiteful attitude at only thirteen. I felt brave, pilfering booze.

But pot though, I wasn't sure. It happened one night that Crystal and I went to a local hockey game, because we heard from Tristin that's where him and all of his friends were going to be. Both of us were half in love with Tristin at this point, so we paid our thirteen dollars and scoured the crowds. Nothing. Deflated, we headed outside to go stand in the doorway, waiting for our rides away from the embarrassment.

"Hey." Tristin called, and we saw a group of about twelve kids our age over in the skate park, just standing there. So we wandered over towards them and acted demure, as though we weren't searching for them. Even at thirteen, it was all about appearances, so I coolly and calmly sat down between two kids from my homeroom class and hung my feet and legs over the side of the bowl in the skate park.

"Here, want some?" somebody handed me a small wooden pipe and a lighter. I stared about at the faces of all the boys around me, some I knew from school, from around. Some were older than me. I took the pipe and put it to my mouth and inhaled. They all started cheering. Crystal followed my actions and we both felt pretty grown-up at that point.

The group of us wandered about and I felt a little dizzy and floaty, but other than that, I felt almost exactly the same. Maybe pot wasn't strong enough, I thought to myself.

A week later I was out in that skate park, sitting in the bowl with the guys again as they passed around the pipes. Again I inhaled and felt nothing. I still laughed and giggled with the rest of them, but something in the back of my mind knew I wasn't as high as I could be. I didn't have that satisfied feeling of being disconnected from the world, but I would find it someday.

When I was younger, I felt the constant need to escape, and I never knew what I was running so hard away from, or to. Now I know that I was only running from myself and towards nothing.