I knew we were in trouble October of the 8th grade. My daughter had gone to our town’s Oktoberfest and the next morning she woke up feeling really sick. Well, what happened last night, I asked. I drank 8 Monsters, she said, because they were free.
There’s nothing an addict likes better than free shit. Free anything. If you’re giving it away we are taking it. We’ll try not to take it all but you better hold on to some portion for yourself because the addict trigger switch gets flipped with free shit and we are out of control. Because who drinks 8 Monsters because they’re free?! She’s not a big kid, so she probably drank that first Monster and liked the affect produced by the caffeine and sugar and then thought, well, one more won’t hurt. But she couldn’t stop after just one and before you know it she’s chugging 8 and now is waking up feeling like crap with a caffeine and sugar hangover to beat the band. (Read here about deaths associated with consumption of energy drinks.)
Dr. William D. Silkworth wrote, in The Doctor’s Opinion, in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, in 1935, “The action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy; that the phenomenon of craving is limited to this class and never occurs in the average temperate drinkers. These allergic types can never safely use alcohol (or other drugs, insert mine), in any form at all…” Clearly, she was never going to be able to drink Monsters safely and in moderation.
You would think this information, this experience would have set in motion the need for me to be extra vigilant, not let her go out with those kids again, sign her up for more after-school activities, watch her like a hawk, fearful, protective, observant of tell tale signs of the addictive tendencies manifesting in new and mysterious ways in my adolescent daughter.
I wish I could say that’s what happened. What happened instead? Denial moved in, rearranged the furniture, picked the best bedroom in the house, snuggled down deep under the fluffiest comforter and made herself at home for the next 4 years of chaos, confusion, and crisis.