The memoir read is about a young woman, Korean Classical, who, over the course of growing up, not only experimented with alcohol, but also went through the whole cycle of alcohol abuse. She shares her experiences in order to present that this can be the case with anyone and evolves over time, not all at once. She begins the story by talking about one of her childhood friends, Natalie, with whom presented Koran’s first sip of alcohol.
She describes Natalie as one of those friends who always was the first to do hinges, and to encourage others to jump on board. After trying Southern Comfort at the young age of 14, she realizes that this alcohol stuff makes the inhibitions, which she struggles with so often, disappear-?She loves this. She wants to drink more after this time, but Natalie goes away to a boarding school, and Koran’s source of alcohol goes right with her. She goes on to talk about her drinking experiences in high school, particularly at age 16 when she requires her stomach to be pumped after a party.
She went on to college where she stayed in the party scene, joined a sorority, and continued her bad habits. She had many negative experiences including sexual encounters, fights, and problems with relationships, all while under the influence of heavy alcohol. She tries quitting a few times unsuccessfully, even moving away from the party scene. She is finally able to quit at the age of 23 after realizing how much it cost her. Korean, although still seemingly in denial about the actual problems she faced growing up, was a full-blown alcoholic.
The diagnosis Korean should have accepted would have been alcohol use disorder. This as defined in Deborah C. Bedside’s Abnormal Psychology textbook is, “a problematic pattern f alcohol use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress… ” (Betide, 2014, p. 318). While Korean experienced a plethora of symptoms that would allow for a positive diagnosis of this disorder, a few really stuck out. One of these is the “craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol” (Betide, 2014, p. 318).
Although mentioned many times, she flat out illustrates how hard it is for her to not want to drink by saying, “l can’t get over a pledge I was forced to sign when I vowed my intention to become a sister of Zeta: It made me promise I would abstain from alcohol for the next three months. (Classical, 2005, p. 146). Another symptom she exudes is that Of, “alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended. ” (Betide, 2014, p. 318). This is shown when Korean says, “l also expect to be able to limit my drinking to just a few nights a week… Sees than a month after our reunion, Vanessa and are hunched at one bar stool or another, sucking down Blue Hawaiian by the stressful, five or six nights a week. ” (Classical, 2005, p. 281 She shows that even though it was not her intention, she cannot not help her intake of alcohol when the opportunity arises. The next prominent symptom s that of, “alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol” (Betide, 2005, p. 18). The psychological problem this applies to in Koran’s life is that of her serious confidence and self-image issues. She says, “This kind of self-loathing used to be the reason I drank in the first place”, showing how her alcohol abuse was so tightly connected to her mental state (Classical, 2005, p. 264). Lastly, another symptom Korean displays is, “Tolerance, as defined by a need for markedly minimized effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol” (Betide, 2014, p. 318).
This is implied at different times in the book, but especially when she talks about how she expected her tolerance to be “next to nil” after abstaining for a short time from alcohol, but in fact it “doesn’t happen that way. Instead, I pound three of those raspberry-colored suckers. Rather than feeling drunk, I feel nourished (Classical, 2005, p. 280). One of the most surprising and alarming factors throughout this memoir is that Korean never really seemed to get help for her problems.
Whether the tot was psychological or just drinking evolving over time, no one really sat her down and presented her with a diagnosis and treatment plan. At one point in the story, Korean says, “In the future, even after addiction counselors translate the term alcohol abuse for me… ” She still does not apply this diagnosis to herself. She also emails an addiction counselor to obtain a “classification” for herself yet doesn’t want his advice, or for him to tell her to cut back on drinking and she especially doesn’t want to have to meet with anyone about her problem.
He responds, classifying her situation as alcohol buses, on the terms that she would be able to stop drinking when she got out of whatever “scene” she was in, whether that be “graduating form college and getting a job, or getting away from a miserable situation” (Classical, 2005, p. 321-322). Korean had a pretty normal upbringing and many of her actions with alcohol, friends, relationships, and bad choices aren’t far from the norm. The other factors in her life are the contributing reasons to why she developed such an issue with the substance of alcohol.
From a biological standpoint, Korean mentions that “birth-control pills have an adverse affect on me; they always ill… They will bring me to depths of anxiety and depression that I have never known… The combination of oral contraceptives and liquor unglued me” (Classical, 2005, p. 253). This is not her fault, but definitely contributes to alcohol being a problem biologically for her. Looking from a psychological standpoint, Korean faces some sort of mood disorder, involving her self- esteem issues.
This is confirmed when Korean quotes her mother’s reasoning for her improved state of being in a later portion of the book, she says, “… My mom attributes ‘selective serotonin eruptive inhibitors and a good man’ to he bright change she sees in me” (Classical, 2005, p. 268-269). She also uses alcohol to combat her overall shyness and personality issues that she sees within herself. This makes her feel better on a mental level by throwing her inhibitions out the window. While biological and psychological factors definitely come into play, the social contributing factors really take the cake.
For starters, Korean herself even admits the whole reason she has a drinking problem is due to social reasons. She says, “Since my alcohol abuse has always been social… ” (Classical, 2005, p. 275). Before this admission, it is clear hat Korean not only drinks socially, but places herself in situations that keep reassuring her behavior. For instance, when she went to college and had a meeting with their residence advisor, she was thrilled to hear that the way that drinking underage went at this school was pretty much a “out of sight, out of mind” policy (Classical, 2005, p. 1 15).
To make matters worse, when she decides to rush a sorority, she willingly places herself in a group of girls that she knows “work hard, play hard” and has a reputation for being wild (Classical, 2005, p. 144). This scene just further influences and encourages her unacceptable behaviors pushing her to further spiral downwards. These contributing factors definitely augmented her problem, but there are also some factors that maintained her problem. As mentioned before, the psychological problems of her mood disorder, as well as her self-esteem and self-image issues further pushed her drinking to the limits.
Her social scene, also previously mentioned, kept the ball rolling with her bad choices. One cannot avoid social situations forever, and if one plans on trying that to solve one’s issues, then as soon as a social situation arises, the treatment plan rumbles to the ground. Her problems potentially could have been prevented if she was gotten serious, professional help when she was at the early stages of her alcohol abuse. It would have been a tough call early on when it was just experimentation in the parents’ eyes, but at the age of 16 when her stomach was pumped, she should have been treated by a professional.
This could possibly have educated her in a more clear and effective way, and would have had the potential to deter her from her self-destructive behaviors later on. While no real types of treatment from a professional were directly used with Korean within her memoir, there were a few attempts at self-reform, and a suggestion of treatment by the addiction counselor she contacted. Her attempts at self-reform were doomed from the start, since they were to just avoid the social interactions that seemed to propel her drinking problem.
She says, “Since my alcohol abuse has always been social, it only makes sense that become antisocial in my self-reform” (Classical, 2005, p. 275). These attempts always failed, until she finally saw the repercussions of her actions involved in drinking and managed to quit altogether. When she contacted the addiction oneself, he had suggested “practicing sobriety… Abstinence from drinking… Recommend AAA for anyone in an abusive drinking pattern because twelve-step programs are helpful for anyone trying to build a good life… (Classical, 2005, p. 322). The twelve-step programs are validated, research supported treatments, but the self-reform with no support or professional inquiry is certainly not. Korean found her self-reform to be successful the last time, when she successfully quit drinking but the other times were not successful. The treatment seems unrecognized and self-destructive, as one Anton rely on oneself to stray away from negative behaviors when one doesn’t have a professional support system, and has a history of bad tendencies of relapsing.
I would recommend Korean sought professional assistance, especially so it would be on record the problems she faced, and she could have input that was credible and reliable, as well as non-biased. While I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir in the way that it was entertaining, as well as there were multiple parts I could relate to. Although this was nice, it leads me into why do not suggest young people, or people struggling with any form of addiction read this memoir. In my opinion, there are several very large problems have with the content of the book.
For starters, I believe Korean is still in complete denial about the extent of her addiction problem. Even as early as the preface of her book she states, “Still, am not an alcoholic”, when she most certainly is, or was (Classical, 2005, p. Xiv). Another large problem have with the memoir is the fact that it was published in 2005, making her only 25 years old. While her age is not what I draw an issue with, it is the fact that she only stopped drinking a mere two years prior to the book being published. In my opinion, this is not a proper mount of time to develop a “from outside looking in” take on everything that happened to her. Also believe that it is not enough time for her to have fully processed the events to be able to clearly lay them out to others. The next issue have with the memoir is that she portrays that no professional help is necessary and I believe she does this because she still does not believe that she has this serious disorder. The problem is that she does, and if others think to themselves, “well I have these symptoms, I’m just like her, I must just be going through a phase, don’t need help because I not have an actual disorder’ we are going to run into an even larger problem in society. She did not want any kind of help either.
She says, “I find the email address of an addiction counselor and decide to write to him. I don’t want his advice per SE. I don’t want to know whether he thins I should cut back or quit drinking entirely. I just want him to classify me. ” (Classical, 2005, p. 321). This is not an acceptable action for a person with such a problem. We do not need her actions validated especially when they were not treated because things do not normally work out as they did for Korean. She also notes that her actions like “many girls” are a, “stage that tapers off after the quarter-life mark. ” (Classical, 2005, p. Xvii).
The symptoms and series of life events that Korean experienced were not a stage, or phase, or any other justifying term that may be used to describe them. This lessons the severity of her issues and is dangerous when one needs to admit and accept what their real disorder was: true alcohol use disorder. Another issue I found within the content of the book that rubbed me the wrong way was how Korean completely generalized the college experience as a hole within pages 109 through 298. She describes college as what we see in movies. While some of these events may occur, they are not the whole college experience.
For example, she titles the first section Of her college years as “All You Can Drink’ and the first sentence states, There couldn’t be a better name for freshman year of college. ” (Classical, 2005, p. 109). My issue with this is that unless you have your own personal experiences in college, as I do, you would not be able to compare and contrast this, along with the other generalizing statements Korean makes throughout this section. While think he overall environment of college did not aid her recovery, I do not believe that it can be held as fault for her personal actions.
She says, “But in college, we can wear our alcohol abuse as proudly as our university sweatshirts; the two concepts are virtually synonymous. While these are commonly positively correlated, that does not mean it is an instance of causation. Not everyone goes through college being a huge partier, blacking out, making questionable sexual decisions, etc. Another huge and unacceptable generalization Korean makes is Of the Greek system overall in pages 135 through 154. For instance, she states that, “Anything that needs to be represented with a concept-word (e. G. , sisterhood) is almost always a crock of sit. ” (Classical, 2005, p. 45). While yes, I am part of the Greek system this is not why I have such a large problem with this. It is because societies are compartmentalized. It is a natural process for people to relate to each other and classify themselves. It helps people find themselves and their identity, who they fit in with based on their personalities and what they enjoy doing. This is no different when it comes to the process of sororities and fraternities. People go to college and feel like a small fish in a big pond, and Greek life is a way to make your pond a little smaller, to feel like you’re in a “school offish” instead of swimming alone.
This is not to say that there aren’t negative things that go on within Greek life, but Korean only highlights the negatives within the system. Also, she attributes some of her misery and downfalls to her time in her sorority, but the fact is that she was miserable and bored before, she rushed-?This was a huge factor in why she rushed. So no one can say for sure she wouldn’t have spiraled downhill had she not become involved in the Greek system. Korean also validates the disorder again at the end of her memoir, stating “… Stop being ashamed of Our missteps. ” (Classical, 2005, p. 335).
My issue with this is that one should be ashamed of their missteps, just not themselves. It is not okay to drink until you have alcohol poisoning or have a sexual encounter that you don’t remember because of a blackout. What I think she means to say, which I completely agree with, is that while you should be ashamed of your past, you shouldn’t condone the negative actions you’ve taken. She also near the very end of the memoir validates a coworker of hers. This coworker, at a corporate party is not drinking and without inquiry why, the girl notes that she promised her mom she wouldn’t.
She later tells Korean she had to have her stomach pumped the previous night, which Korean relates to. My problem is not with her admission or that Korean related to this, as these are both positive things. My issues arises in the last line, “As we gather our purses, slide my arm through her hinged elbow and say, That happened to me, too. “‘ (Classical, 2005, p. 339). The girl offered this information up, which to me seems like a cry for help from someone. While Koran’s attempt t comforting her is nice and most likely had the best intentions, all Korean can offer as advice is that she pulled herself out of it with no professional help.
In turn, the girl may think “since she seems fine now, will turn out fine too”. Think this is a very dangerous and contagious series of bad advice. It doesn’t usually turn out with no serious repercussions as it did for Korean- people end up in jail, hurting someone else, hurting themselves, or even worse, killing someone or themselves due to a consequence of their alcohol use disorder. While I have obvious problems with the content of the book, how she orators her disorder (not even acknowledging it for what it is), and her “treatment” or lack there Of, I do have to give credit to Korean Classical in her structuring of the memoir.
She walked us through her experience from the beginning, separating it into four sections (Initiation, The Usual, Excess, and Abuse) with subsections to further break down the series of events. The events were chronologically in order and were very easy to follow. She is an entertaining author and really puts her heart in her work, and it shows. This book was entertaining and easy to read, it just wasn’t easy to process. As a person who has no history of substance abuse, I can’t imagine the mixed signals it could potentially send to someone currently suffering, looking for help.
I think this is an amazing memoir for her and was probably very key in her process of recovery, yet don’t think she should have tried to aim it as much as a “self-help” book or to give advice to others with this same problem, as they need professional help.