Yumiko Miyata started drinking when she was 15. She was an inherently shy girl and found that alcohol helped her make friends. When people discovered she could hold her liquor, she then became the center of attention. At first she thought it was harmless fun. Eventually, however, her life started spinning out of control.

"I didn't think much about drinking in the beginning," Miyata says. "It was fun and I liked the way alcohol tasted. However, I started relying on it to deal with stress. Once you start using alcohol as a way to solve your problems, you can't control the way you drink anymore."

Miyata got married in her 20s and gave birth to two children. However, she never stopped drinking — not during her pregnancy, nor when she was breastfeeding her newborn babies. "In one hand, I was breastfeeding my baby; in the other, I had an alcoholic drink," says Miyata, who is now 65. "I look back now and am horrified at what I did."