Moorhead [Minnesota] police were investigating how a 12-year-old girl nearly drank herself to death. The child was taken to the intensive care unit at MeritCare Hospital with a blood alcohol level of 0.379 percent Friday evening, police said.This story strikes a nerve since I came far too close to dying from alcohol poisoning at age 16. I was told later that the guys who poured vodka down my throat (I remember them starting to do this) dumped me in a park when they realized I was in crisis. If it hadn't been for a couple of other guys who saw me and took me to the hospital where I had the alcohol pumped out of my stomach, I wouldn't be here today.
The guys who nearly killed me didn't get in trouble with the law, but I got a ticket for underage drinking. The leader of the class I had to attend missed an opportunity. With the right information about my case and some understanding of why (other than alcoholism) I might crave alcohol's numbing effects, he would have easily learned that drinking was my attempt at self-medication. I trusted this man's intentions and was open to getting help.
This incident happened after I started having crying jags for no apparent reason. It's only since I read this story that I realized those crying jags started as close to the one-year anniversary of my first rape as is possible without knowing the specific date. Before I started drinking again, I called the local mental health hotline and subsequently went in for counseling. My assigned therapist focused on my relationship with my mother and failed to ask the right questions that would have told him he was seeing a rape victim. I turned to alcohol's soothing effect again only when it became obvious to me that therapy did nothing more than bring the turmoil close enough to the surface to make me cry.
Those who would call me and those like me, "stupid" for drinking might as well call someone who has been beaten until her eyes are nearly swollen shut "illiterate" for not being able to write legibly.
A red flag should go up if someone, especially a child, suddenly starts drinking to excess. Too many people assumed my drinking was caused by nothing more than typical teenage rebellion. Those who came down hard on me for my bad behavior just multiplied my feelings that I was a horrible person. My parents were concerned, but they didn't have any better resources than I had.
My rapist, and ex-boyfriend, knew what started me down that dangerous path, but he didn't say a word even though he and my brothers were still great friends. Every now and then he did lecture me on my bad behavior.
I didn't take his advice well, to say the least.
Rather than doing a lackluster job of describing the warning signs of an alcohol overdose, I'll leave answering the following question to a Mayo Clinic expert
Q: What is alcohol poisoning? How do you know if someone has alcohol poisoning?
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