Sue Monsey started drinking at age 13 because she wanted to fit in at a new school.
A shy teen, she downed a half-pint of lime vodka to gain acceptance by a group of girls.
The alcohol made her sick and she blacked-out, but her drinking continued. As an adult, it cost her a job as vice-president of a mortgage company.
Before getting sober last June, Monsey was among many women who binge drink, a problem highlighted in a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An estimated 14 million U.S. women consume an average of six drinks at one time about three times monthly. Heavy drinking puts women at increased risk for breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, heart disease and unintended pregnancy, the CDC says.
Monsey, 56, said drinking hits women harder than men. Her health problems included an enlarged liver and alcohol-related seizures.
Im doing fabulous today, she said.
But it has been a long, rocky road to recovery. After getting sober, the Utah native moved to Isle of Palms five years ago where she wanted to spend time enjoying the beach and writing. Things were fine until she decided to try just one glass of wine at a holiday party. That led to more heavy drinking that ultimately cost her the beach home. Her addiction has wrecked her marriages, she said.
Ive had years of sobriety but then I drank again, she said.