Drink, drank, drunk. Alcohol is a part of life not easily avoided. To be honest, it's a part of life many of us wouldn't want to avoid; having a few drinks with friends, family or coworkers can be a fun and relaxing way to unwind after a stressful week of work or class. But if Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have contributed anything to society—anything at all—it has been to personally demonstrate how humiliating and debilitating alcohol consumption can be when taken to the extreme. Unfortunately, the overly publicized missteps of these Dior-clad disasters are more obvious than the backstage mistakes of us common folk.
You don't need me to tell you that alcohol can be dangerous. You know not to drink and drive; you know binge drinking is a problem on college campuses; you know pregnant women who drink alcohol are doing an unthinkable disservice to their unborn babies; you know excessive alcohol use can impair your judgment and result in regrettable decisions. At least I hope you know all this.
The problem with alcohol use (and abuse) is that what you don't know—or what you know and choose to ignore—can truly hurt you. So we've compiled a stash of resources that you should read, and that you might want to hold onto, in case you or someone you care about happens to need them. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully a light scratching of the surface will open some eyes and stir up some discourse.
First you need to know when you're drunk. As a woman, I speak from experience when I say the girls shouldn't try to keep up with the boys. Males are generally physically larger, and their bodies metabolize alcohol at a faster rate than ours do. The following charts map out the BAC, or blood alcohol content, for males and females according to time elapsed, number of drinks consumed and weight. These charts are handy and wallet-sized; it wouldn't be a bad idea to cut them out and carry them with you if you have a tendency to overestimate how many drinks you can handle in an evening. Keep in mind that no blood alcohol calculator is 100 percent accurate, but it's a good place to start when estimating your intoxication level.
True or False
Snatch Those Keys: The Play-by-Play Interception of a Potential Drunk Driver
Get help. A great place to start is www.alcoholscreening.org, a site providing an assessment that determines the extent of personal drinking habits. The Web site also provides links to nationwide resources, and users can plug in local ZIP codes to find area treatment programs.