Young Drunk: Social Drinker or Alcoholic?

cocktail

I didn’t just drink when I was young. I drank alcoholically, drinking as much as possible as often as possible, and getting sucked into every drinking game in the book. I drank Jungle Juice. I played beer pong. I did “kegstands,” which meant being hoisted upside down to drink directly from the keg’s tap, flipping my shirt up and exposing my bra in the process. Luckily, I was too drunk to care.

I “bonged” beers, sucking an entire beer down in a few gulps from the business end of a funnel-and-tube contraption. I played “power hour,” taking one shot of beer a minute for a full hour, drinking the equivalent of five beers in sixty minutes. I played “Edward Forty-hands,” a game where you tape a forty-ounce bottle of beer to the hands of everyone at the party. Once bound, you can do nothing with your hands until you’ve consumed eighty ounces of beer. This can get complicated, because you have to finish the drinks fast in order to free a hand to go the bathroom. Drinking twenty-one shots on your twenty-first birthday is a newer tradition, one I missed. When I mentioned that tradition to people my parents’ age, they were shocked, but it’s ingrained enough in youth culture today that my twenty-five-and-under friends just shrugged when I asked them if it was normal.

Binge drinking is officially defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as consuming more than five drinks within a single day. I first heard that during college, and I almost spit out my beer. Five drinks isn’t binge drinking! That’s a regular Thursday night. I wasn’t alone. More than a third of American college students binge drink.

I found it hard to believe at first, but fourteen percent of these drinkers have had ten or more drinks in one sitting. I had to verify those numbers over multiple sources to believe it. Ten or more drinks is a lot, so I was surprised that so many students admitted to doing it. Some take it to a deeper extreme: almost six percent will have as much as fifteen or more in an evening. Fifteen. That’s about a fifth of hard liquor. This type of drinking is known as “extreme” binge drinking, which sounds more like an X-Games event than a medical term.

Ten to fifteen drinks would be enough to get anyone wasted. I should know. I drank that much regularly. It’s definitely enough to make a 150-pound eighteen-year-old male vomit in his sleep, and could even be enough to put a 125-pound eighteen-year-old female in a coma. The first time I got drunk, I went to the hospital with a BAC of 0.36. I couldn’t have weighed more than 100 pounds at the time. I shouldn’t have been able to walk out of the hospital that night. I’m unbelievably lucky.

The more often someone drinks, the more her body will adjust to having blood laced with booze. That’s why I was able to drink more and more over time. I was proud of it. I could drink a lot of full-grown men under the table, and I liked to prove it. This is also known as building a tolerance, which is the same thing that can kill a longtime heroin addict. The amount of drug needed to catch a high starts to exceed what the body can physically handle. Binge drinking is one way to increase your tolerance, and after a few years of regular drinking, I was a pro.

I refused to admit that my drinking had gotten out of control. I told myself that bingeing is a symptom of alcoholism like nausea is a symptom of pregnancy. Not all pregnant women experience nausea, and not all nausea indicates pregnancy, so you can’t automatically assume that every nauseated woman is with child. She might just have the flu, or maybe food poisoning, or a migraine. Just because I binged didn’t mean I was an alcoholic. People who watched me drink didn’t think I was an alcoholic, either. They thought I was celebrating. Or maybe I’d had a bad day. They say, “I never thought you were a drunk.” Then they look down and sigh, “But then again, I was drinking, too.”

At some point during my downward spiral, I started to wonder if maybe I was drinking too much. I took an online quiz, trying to convince myself that I was just a youthful partier, that I wasn’t a problem drinker or an alcoholic.

NCADD Self-Test: What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

1. Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone? Yes
2. Can you handle more alcohol now than when you first started to drink? Yes
3. Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though
your friends say you didn’t pass out? Yes
4. When drinking with other people, do you try to have a few extra drinks when others
won’t know about it? Yes
5. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if alcohol is not available? Yes
6. Are you more in a hurry to get your first drink of the day than you used to be? Yes
7. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your drinking? Yes
8. Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your drinking? Yes
9. Have you been having more memory “blackouts” recently? Yes
10. Do you often want to continue drinking after your friends say they’ve had enough? Yes
11. Do you usually have a reason for the occasions when you drink heavily? No
12. When you’re sober, do you sometimes regret things you did or said while drinking? Yes
13. Have you tried switching brands or drinks, or following different plans to control your drinking? Yes
14. Have you sometimes failed to keep promises you made to yourself about controlling or
cutting down on your drinking? Yes
15. Have you ever had a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) violation, or any other legal problem related to your drinking? No
16. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are drinking? No
17. Are you having more financial, work, school, and/or family problems as a result of
your drinking? Yes
18. Has your physician ever advised you to cut down on your drinking? Yes
19. Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are drinking? No
20. Do you sometimes have the “shakes” in the morning and find that it helps to have a
“little” drink, tranquilizer or medication of some kind? No
21. Have you recently noticed that you can’t drink as much as you used to? No
22. Do you sometimes stay drunk for several days at a time? No
23. After periods of drinking do you sometimes see or hear things that aren’t there? No
24. Have you ever gone to anyone for help about your drinking? No
25. Do you ever feel depressed or anxious before, during or after periods of heavy drinking? Yes
26. Have any of your blood relatives ever had a problem with alcohol? No

I answered “yes” to sixteen of the twenty-six questions. That put me in the “serious level of alcohol-related problems requiring immediate attention and possible treatment” category. I took it again and got the same results. I took a different quiz the following week. And another a month after that. Every time I took one of those quizzes, the results said I should seek treatment for my alcohol consumption, but I still didn’t believe it.
I wasn’t a bum. I wasn’t drinking in the morning. I didn’t get the shakes or hallucinate. I called the tests bogus. I knew better. I was different from those people who can’t control their drinking without a support group and a chip that says how many days its been since the last drink. I thought I didn’t need help. I was wrong.

I don’t know if binge drinking caused my alcoholism, or if I was an alcoholic from the start. The culture surrounding alcohol in my teens and early twenties certainly made it easy for me to drink lots and lots of booze without being labeled a drunk. From the very first time I had more alcohol available to me than I could physically consume, I binged, to the point that I had to be hospitalized. No one else went to the hospital that day, even though we all got drunk. I wasn’t alone in my overindulgence, but I was somehow different. I was an alcoholic, but it took me ten years to admit it and finally get sober. I’m glad I did, because it saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t found the courage to say, “Hi, I’m Emma, and I’m an alcoholic.”

Newness: Blog, Portfolio & Shop in One!

shop-blog-portfolio-newlayout

So I recently made the decision to add my portfolio to my blog.. and then my beautiful Storenvy said my store had been inactive because now they have teamed up with STRIPE and you have to allow STRIPE to be used in your shop there.

I’m all for Stripe if that’s what works for you, but I’m sticking with Paypal.. and the sheer idea of needing to create a new account just so I can accept payments like I do with Paypal seemed ridiculous and made me feel like it was time to move on for now. I loved Storenvy and had a few stores there… but I refuse to sign up for Stripe so you can no longer purchase from them, only browse.

So I’ve also added a few shop items to Miseducated as well — I had it here once upon a time and it went well.. so it’s back. We accept PAYPAL and credit cards through Paypal. Even if you see me out at an art booth I will have my Paypal here (card slider) and accept cash but sorry, no Stripe. I don’t see a need for it when Paypal is the safest way I’ve ever known to pay online and does everything I need it to for all of my businesses: my art, handmade items and how I get paid from clients.

inspirational-quote

So I’m kind of nervous but also excited to have everything in the same spot for the first time EVER. I’m going with it.. I can keep it all maintained together and I really enjoy this minimal layout.

As for the delay in updating.. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of things that I have been walking through but I’m super happy you’re always here when I come back and WOW thanks to everyone who entered in the contest, Kawaii Box will let you know if you won! We’ll have another giveaway in the future with more chances to win. XOXO

Kawaii Box Subscription Club Review & Giveaway

Awhile ago I was invited to review the Kawaii Box which is a super cute subscription box that offers kawaii goods from Japan and elsewhere.

As I’ve said before, subscription boxes are a big thing right now — you can find them for just about anything you have an interest in! I was very excited to hear of one who only offers kawaii goodies. I did a home-stay and studied in Japan for a few months in college and had to purchase 2 more suitcases and a few shipping boxes in order to bring all of my purchases home! I can’t think of a better subscription box for me to review..

..and so please view the video review AND enter in the giveaway (lots of options for more giveaway points!) to win your own gift subscription box for a taste of kawaii delivered right to your mailbox!

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Positive Energy Project: Selecting, Cleansing & Charging Crystals

how to care for crystals

Selecting Your Crystal

  • Identify your purpose.
  • Look for a few crystal varieties that seem aligned in the area your purpose lies in.
  • Look at crystals and pick one that feels right to you or attracts you the most visually.

If you’re in-tune with your intuition and emotions pay attention to how you feel (happy, excited, drawn to it), if I’m instantly imagining the crystal on my nightstand or sitting on my mantel then I’m likely to get it.

amethyst crystal grid

Cleansing Your Crystal

Crystals are a mineral that absorb energy and hold onto it until cleansed. I like to cleanse my crystals when I get them especially because who knows what or who touched them and got absorbed and if I want to welcome that into my home.

I have read and heard a lot from people advised to do just about everything in regards to cleaning them so be sure to chose the method that makes sense to you.

For instance I really prefer sitting my crystals in a clear jar of salt water in the sun or moon light for a day or two but some crystals, minerals and pearls are too sensitive for such a treatment. If that’s so then I will light sage and hold them in the smoke for a few minutes, best outdoors, while letting it billow out and away. Be sure to sage yourself a bit afterwards.

A good salt water solution is about 20% sea salt and the rest water. If you have actual salt water then that is best! When you’re done soaking them, pour the water outside into the earth.

crystal grid ocean sandy beach

Charging Crystals

I charge my crystals in sunlight and moonlight. I sit them on a window sill at either time and let them charge for a day.

Sunlight re-charges crystals with ultraviolet light. When crystals are harvested from the earth they are removed from the energy they were nurtured in. The crystals have been taking energy and nutrients from the God and the universe via the ground providing nutrients to develop into a crystal. They now need to absorb energies for renewal. The full spectrum of light restores the crystal’s depleted energies. The moonlight offers and even broader spectrum of energy, especially a new or full moon.

angels aura crystal

Activating Your Crystal

Sometimes, a crystal can be asleep in a sense and not know it is going to be used for healing or meditative purposes. Making a spiritual connection with the crystal helps to awaken its consciousness. You can activate your crystal by holding it, praying while holding it, meditating on your higher dreams and aspirations while holding it, rolling it in incense, communicating that it is yours for comfort.

Because each crystal absorbs energy (like a magnet, just touch one) they can absorb new instruction. Sometimes the crystal gets filled up with unconscious instructions from people handling the crystal, unaware they are projecting energy thought forms that are picked up and stored (alas the cleaning when purchasing/finding). When we add our own energy and prayers the crystal will then resonate with that amplifying, broadcasting, and projecting the new set of energy patterns to ourselves, others and our environment (I most often use them to just enhance my environment or hold while meditating/praying).

The way I do this is the same way I cook, which is also a meditative, prayerful and reflective state for me in connection with God and the universe. I think about love, the things I love and value, affirmations to myself and my family (and even the world) and I imagine infusing these things into the food, crystal, candle, whatever it is I am working with. Then I feel the energy of that love and healing, the energy of my higher self, emit through the crystal, the smoke, the meal when we eat. Most often I visualize healing, protection from God and love as these are the things I most appreciate in our lives.

crystal grid

Where to Buy Crystals

There are usually stores that carry minerals, crystals or New Age-y materials in cities. We have a few here. However you can also find them on ebay and other online boutiques.

crystal cactus The Playful Soul Broadripple

Turning 30: Five Things I Learned in my 20s

30th birthday party

I remember once upon a time when turning 30 seemed a distant memory, not even a concern in the least. In my teens I remember talking to peers who said we were “old” now because we were graduating high school. I would tell them you’re only as old as you feel because I felt like I was 15 on a bad day (on a good day I feel 12). Most of my friends have always been older than me so I never concerned myself much with age and that it meant anything other than wisdom.

So tomorrow I’m turning 30. Today my partner says he’s planning something for me and that I need to be ready to leave for dinner at 5:30pm.

Update: David threw me a surprise party and I thought maybe it would be us, his mom and maybe my mom… But it was my family, friends and at my favorite place to eat (Saigon) and it makes me cry just thinking of how much trouble he went to… For me! I’m just in shock and tears as I write this and SO grateful to have these people in my life.

I’m just wondering.. how significant is it to turn 30? How do others feel about turning 30? Am I supposed to be preparing some big, bold change? Am I supposed to feel or act different? I don’t. I will tell you what I’ve learned by 30, though, and maybe it will help you no matter what age you are.

“You’re 30: You know stuff now. Your 20s were for ‘ducking up,’ as my auto-correct would say, and learning from those mistakes. (For instance, never again will I convince myself that sleep is for sissies and go straight from a party to the airport. You will not ‘sleep on the plane'; you’ll vomit in the security line. Go to bed.)” — Olivia Wilde

1. Don’t settle.

You’ll learn by now that settling to keep things nice now will not pay off. If you feel like your settling in your job, your relationship, your friendships, for something less than you feel is healthy and encouraging for you then you’re only delaying the pain of giving yourself what you need. Do it now, don’t wait another 30 years. If you don’t know what you want then take a few years to honestly find out what your purpose in life is.

2. Take care of yourself.

You probably stopped eating cake, dessert and chocolate for breakfast (unless it’s your birthday, ha!) with a side of a fast food lunch and little to no exercise because you’ve seen how you age when you care for yourself that way. You’ve seen how your body changes and becomes more sensitive. I can hardly even eat cheeses or most dairy products now without my body breaking out in hives and my throat closing! Our bodies become more sensitive to what is good or not-so-good as we age; to keep looking our best incorporating healthy meals and daily exercise is important. Trust me, I’m pretty petite and enjoy junk food.. but all of a sudden the combination was very apparently affecting how I felt and looked much faster than in my 20s. What I eat today affects my body much faster than it did as a younger woman. I can even tell how it affects my mood and energy quicker than that.

3. Explore yourself.

Similar to #1, find your purpose in life, what means most to you and find a way to do it. For instance one of my purposes is to inspire others to live a happier, creative life and I carry this online, in my family, in my work. Even just at home I spend a lot of my time doing crafty things with the kids, connecting with them and doing art journal projects. My spouse is a contemporary realism painter and when I am able to encourage him and give him more availability to work I am doing this. My other purpose is to LOVE love love with no reservations and this is something you can do no matter what you do for a living or where you are. You can donate to the needy, save animals from dying in shelters, so many options of things that are unrelated to your location, family, job, etc but the goal is ultimately to find your purpose and live it in every way. Start small and allow it to affect your whole life. When you’re living for your purpose you will feel it.

4. Know that personal style is ageless.

I am one of those women that doesn’t believe you have to change your style as you age. If you see me out and about you’ll think I’m a teen (until I get wrinkles I suppose) and be shocked to know I am married with children and a professional career. Does that mean I dress inappropriately for work? No. I do dye my hair pink, wear bunnies, frilly skirts and rainbows galore. I cannot stand reading articles (I saw a lot when writing this) that explain how women need to “dress their age” because that is different for everyone. If you love it and it makes you feel beautiful, wear it. If people don’t like it they probably aren’t good for your spirit.

amber renee

5. Family growth.

You always hear that around 30 your biological clock ticks louder.. Some women who didn’t ever want babies suddenly are warming up to the idea. Is this because they feel a time crunch or because they want to experience mother hood? Have a baby is a huge amount of responsibility, it’s the hardest and most rewarding job there is. Let alone having more than one. However if that is your dream you’ll probably hold that as important to you prior to turning 30. If you’re having babies because you feel like you should, don’t. Having a child requires you to be 100% in and even then it will be very hard some days. If you don’t want kids, embrace it. Don’t ever feel like you need to do something because you’re “supposed” to want to. I always wanted a child and fawned over the Cosby family.. low and behold I have 4 kids and it works for me; I’m extremely happy. I even consider having another sometimes. Would it work for you? I don’t know. I’ve met equal amounts of women who are drowning in their decision for a big family.

13-going-on-30
I don’t care how cliche it is, I will always adore this movie and it is one of the very few chick flicks I actually own (the other one is Riding in Cars With Boys which is good too). Plus it has Mark Ruffalo in it.

Articles

Freaking Out About Turning 30? @ The Guardian
What to Own Before You Turn 30 @ Harper’s Bazaar
Why No Woman Should Ever Be Scared of Turning 30 @ She Does the City
Quotes from Celebrities on Age @ POPSUGAR
22 Books Every Woman Needs to Read @ The Frisky