I have an OK relationship with alcohol, and I do my best to honor my four-drink limit.
Like most of my friends, I started drinking in high school. But unlike most of my friends, it was with my own dad, not in secret at parties.
Even though at 24 I now have excellent taste in wine, I didn't know then that my dad's influence would screw me up in a bunch of super fun ways. Regardless of how people my age were introduced to drinking, apparently we were way more into it than the teens of today.
And it wasn't our fault, either. It's our parents who are to blame. According to research from The Institute of Alcohol Studies, parents are less likely to drink in front of their kids and are more open to discussing the repercussions of drinking underage.
But, I wasn't a great kid anyway. Every other week, my ass was grounded for breaking my dad's ridiculously strict rules. He was in the army once, so he had a more militant approach to parenting. If you did something wrong, there would be consequences. And those consequences left me phone-less for a year once.
Yep, my dad took my phone away for a year in high school, but maybe that time I deserved it.
Either way, there was no negotiation. If I fucked up, I got grounded. End of story. Ironically, my strict dad would often forget what he grounded me for, and I would have to remind him.
Despite all that, my dad, not being from the US, never really cared about the legal drinking age of this country. He isn't a heavy drinker at all, but he loves red wine.
It started small. He would give me a sip of beer here, a swig of wine there. Maybe a splash of Bailey's liqueur in my coffee. (He's obsessed with Bailey's.) I never felt anything from it, but I definitely liked to try it.
The first time I got drunk was during a particularly tense Thanksgiving dinner. All the adults left their half-drunk glasses of wine in the kitchen. So as the meal went on, I kept sneaking out to finish them.
Even at 16, I knew that wine shouldn't go to waste. So yeah, I participated in my fair share of underage drinking.
Now that I'm a few year past the legal drinking age, I would say on average, I drink four nights a week. Sometimes I'll just have a beer with dinner at home by myself, and sometimes I'll throw 'em back at a bar with friends. I try my best not to surpass my four-drink limit, but once in awhile, I totally blow it.
As much as I'd hate to admit it, that sounds like a lot when I write it out. Do I drink too much? Seeing that I have my life together, I don't have a good reason to make changes just yet. But compared to the kids of today, I'm much worse off. And so is the rest of my generation.
And according to this new research, apparently alcohol would be too expensive for me to even want to buy it if I was a teen today. Great, so I subjected my 16-year-old body to potential alcohol poisoning because people weren't smart enough to raise the tax and price of alcohol yet? Cool.
When I was a senior in high school, if I wanted to get any alcohol, I had to ask that one dude in our school who looked twice his age and had a fake ID to buy it for me. My school was small, and we only had one go-to guy for beer. Thinking back, he probably made so much money ripping us off for cheap bottles.
Seriously, if I was a teenager now, it's crazy to think that I would live in a time when parents are nicer and consider their drinking behavior more carefully. And I would have Snapchat.
So yeah, being 16 in 2016 must be the shit.