Maddy Bernero

Over Drunk at 21


I didn’t care if it was illegal. In high school I loved to drink and party.

A few years ago I was tailgating in the parking lot of the concert venue waiting to see Lady Antebellum open for Rascal Flatts. The opening band didn’t start for another three hours and I had already had four beers and two shots.

Before we went into the venue I decided that I wasn’t drunk enough to make it through the concert buzzed. Some of us hopped into the cab of the pickup truck and started chugging cheap vodka. No glasses, no chaser, until half the handle was gone.

I don’t remember much of that concert.

I was sick through some of it. I slept through most of it. But I was desperate through all of it – from my decision to drink the first beer through the very last song.

Living a Double Life

That concert was one of many poor choices I made in high school. I lived a completely double life, drinking and hooking up at parties on Friday and Saturday night, then rolling out of bed for Mass Sunday morning.

I was desperately searching for something to give my life meaning. I turned to alcohol and parties because I could numb myself there, fill myself with things of this world and ignore my true un-satisfaction.

There was an emptiness in my life, a void. I was filling my void with sin, which can never result in true joy or peace. Sin can only leave us with unhappiness, as it eats at the void making it deeper and more apparent.

Grace and Mercy

Hopefully this does not sound familiar to you, hopefully you are living your life with Christ as your center – knowing that He can fulfill your greatest longings. But if any part of my story sounds familiar, put your life on pause for one moment and consider these things:

Reflect: Are you truly and honestly fulfilled with my behavior? If we are engaging in actions that are building us up in character and virtue, we should wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and more ready to meet Christ in our day.

Repent: If we have the courage to acknowledge that we are living a less than desirable lifestyle we must also have the courage to admit that we are wrong and repent – turn back. Take advantage of the sacraments, especially Reconciliation. They provide grace, healing and mercy that are so essential to living the Christian life.

Return: No matter what the sin, no matter how big the offence, the Lord wants you to return to Him. He is ready and excited to help you walk the way of true freedom. Take the courageous step to turn to Him and accept the love He has to offer.

At the beginning of this month I will turn 21 and let me tell you – I am excited.

Not because I will be able to legally have a glass of wine with my friends. I am excited because I know the Mass and hour in adoration I will go to on my birthday, will be infinitely more fulfilling than any drink I will have. I am 21 and I am completely over being drunk. I’ve found the real answer to my searching and I don’t want anything other the Lord to fill that void in me anymore.

Know that I am praying for you as you walk through your faith journey. The Lord has so many good things planned for your life. If we are willing to let Him fill our void with those good things He desires to give us, and not try to fill it ourselves, we will be eternally happy.

Categories: CollegeDrugs and AlcoholMy Life

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Maddy Bernero

About the Author

I am a senior in college and I love talking about, thinking about and sharing my faith. I work full time as a Director of Religious Education for the Confirmation program and a Coordinator of Junior High Youth Ministry. I am slightly addicted to coffee and incense. My favorite thing in the world is a good liturgy. I absolutely love running marathons and half marathons. I am really good at tripping up stairs and I am afraid of standardized tests.