I am not a drug addict. I don't spend my waking moments looking for my next fix. I'm terrified of needles. I'm definitely not snorting anything up my nose! Thanks to a cleft lip, I have what you might call an "asymmetrical" nose. It's not like a Picasso painting or anything, but it's not something you'll see in GQ, either. Regardless, it's my nose and I want to keep it!
There's literally nothing appealing to me about the prospect of using drugs. In fact, I don't even drink!
Well, not alcohol, anyway...
Monster, Rockstar, NOS, Venom, and Red Bull on the other hand... Well, I've drank enough energy drinks to fill a tanker truck... or five or six.
Let's Get Real
Let me just preface this by saying that I'm not a scientist, so I can't say conclusively what these drinks do to your body. You're not a scientist either (OK, maybe someone reading this is, but most of you aren't), so stop being so self-righteous about your drink choices. Don't lecture me about my health and how my heart is going to explode or I'll lose my duodenum in the toilet or whatever the prevailing myth is these days. In fact, even if you ARE a scientist, you don't have any conclusive evidence linking these drinks to any real negative effects (not a causal relationship, anyway), so get off your self-righteous, health-conscious high-horse.
Also, I'm pretty sure the Monster "M" isn't a secret, Hebrew code for "666". It's just an "M" that's shaped like a claw mark... I really doubt that Satan has the energy or disposable income to expend on inventing and marketing energy drinks in a subversive plot to control the youth of America. I think he has his grubby little hands full with all the heroin, meth, and prescription pills that are wreaking havoc on society. If you want to wag a finger, take a look at pharmaceutical companies that are peddling real poison for profit.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I'm pretty sure these drinks aren't harmless. Yes, they have 17 different B vitamins, but I really doubt that I need 240mg of caffeine, or taurine, or l-carnitine, or whatever other innocuous sounding poisons they are pumping into energy drinks these days. Most likely, I just need more than 4 hours of sleep... Then there is the issue of the sugar. That's the real killer. Once again, I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but common sense (and Michelle Obama for the last 8 years) tells us that we just don't need the sugar.
So, sometime in July 2016, I decided that I was going to stop drinking energy drinks for good on August 1st. That date came and went and I was still drinking an energy drink every day... two on some particularly rough days...
The months past and I kept trying to quit. I kept setting new deadlines and I kept missing them. I just couldn't make myself stop. I began to think there was something wrong with me. Was I really this physically addicted to the sugar, caffeine, and taurine? Was it a psychological addiction? Was I just weak?
The answer was yes. Yes to all.
Once I came to that realization, I could really grapple with the issues and put this addiction behind me. That and I found my why.
Getting to the Roots
Let me talk about the addiction first. For those of you who have dealt with an addiction to narcotics or alcohol, an addiction to energy drinks may seem like a small thing. It may pale in comparison, but to me it was no small thing. I was physically addicted to the substances in these drinks. Perhaps even more powerful was the psychological addiction. Every time I went into a gas station, every time I was behind the wheel (I drive thousands of miles for work), every time I was working on an intense project, I had this impulse to grab an energy drink. I just needed one in my hand. The final issue was the fact that I had no impulse control. This really bothered me.
It wasn't just the addiction itself that presented a problem for me, but what it represented. I was teaching and preaching to teens in a juvenile detention center on a weekly basis. Sometimes it was church. Sometimes it was a drug and alcohol class. Sometimes it was personal mentoring. Nearly always the subject of discipline and self-control would come up. I believed in what I was saying, but who would believe me if I couldn't practice what I preach?
The bottom line is this: when it comes to addiction it's never a "small problem". The causes and mechanics of addiction are the same for everything from caffeine to cocaine and PCP to pornography. If I could be an energy drink addict, I could become a heroin addict. On the surface it may look harmless, but the roots run deep. I had to get to the root and cut it out.
Finding my "why".
When I finally had my breakthrough, it was because I found my "why": I don't want to be bound by any substance, no matter how innocuous. Whether women or whiskey; cigarettes or soda; coffee or cocaine, I don't want to be a slave to anything.
I cannot reach my calling or my best and highest purpose without first being free of the "weight" of an addiction, no matter how small. It's the "little foxes" that spoil the vine after all...