I swore I would never become an alcoholic like my father. But I started drinking alcohol at 16 years old and smoking pot at 17. I remember stealing drugs from the veterinarian I worked for, and taking those pills even though I had no idea what they would do. The pills had no noticeable effect.
But the alcohol and marijuana worked. I liked the effects, especially when I combined them. I felt more confident, more popular, and less worried about what other people thought of me. My inhibitions melted away and I felt I could be who I wanted to be, that I fit into the world and somehow belonged. Music sounded better and women were more attracted to me. I also started getting into trouble when I was high, but I figured it was just a matter of controlling how much I drank and used. This illusion that I could learn to control my addictions lasted over two and a half decades.