Today I want to share a personal story. It’s a story about addiction and overcoming addiction. It’s pretty serious stuff. It’s about a super challenging time in my life, why it was a massive struggle, what I did about it why I am better today for the experience.
I struggled with an addiction for almost 3 years in my late 30’s.
While my addiction clearly wasn’t as serious as drug or alcohol addiction it was tough for me to get through. I’m hoping that my experience can help you in some way. We all have had struggles. It’s not about the struggle. About about what we do and it’s about who we become in the process.
I was addicted to Monster Energy drinks and I am not proud to admit it.
I was never a big caffeine guy. I, still to this day, have never had a cup of coffee. I drank soda as a kid but I never needed it. In 2003 when I had my “health crisis” I gave up all caffeine and didn’t have it at all for several years.
Then I was on a long road trip one day in late 2008 and I bought an energy drink to keep me awake. It worked and honestly I felt kind of good. It was a euphoria that I really couldn’t explain. I just liked the feeling the energy drink gave me.
A few days later I bought another one when I was geocaching with my son. It gave me a boost and I, again, felt good and euphoric. A couple of days later I had another one. For a period of a month or two I had one energy drink ever few days. For a while I said, “Never two days in a row…” until I had one two days in a row.
Before I knew it I was totally addicted.
Each day on the way to the gym I stopped at the store to buy a Monster Energy drink. I started drinking them before my workouts and, eventually I NEEDED an energy drink before I worked out.
Before long I was drinking one in the morning and, most days, another in the afternoon.
I remember one day I didn’t drink one. I was totally and utterly miserable.
From 2008 to 2011 I think I went maybe 3 days without a Monster Energy drink. Sadly I knew the prices at each store. I knew my way to the Monster’s at each gas station and supermarket in town. I knew where the deals were and I when it was “2 for $4” I was all over it.
It was a scary time.
Eventually the first one of the day still felt good but only for a little while. The second one always made me feel lousy. It was a horrible addiction and it was ripping my body apart from the inside out.
I was racing endurance events at the time. The first couple of races with the energy drinks I did well. Eventually I started having MASSIVE issues with cramping. It was so bad that one day I literally couldn’t lift my leg over the top tube to get onto my bike.
The addiction was destroying the thing that I loved to do the most which was to compete.
In 2010 I got divorced and I became very poor.
Somehow, I ALWAYS found the $3 for my Monster. There were days that I bought my Energy drink and rode my bike to work because I had no money for gas.
Addiction will make you do things that make no sense whatsoever.
On top of all that I was being a hypocrite. As a personal trainer I was telling people the virtues of good health and meanwhile I was addicted to this can of crap that was making me feel terrible and was killing me.
So what happened?
I found a drink called from AdvoCare called Spark.
Some may say that I traded one addiction for another. I disagree. Spark did have caffeine but it’s a totally different beast. I honestly don’t even know what was in the Monsters that was so destructive but it was. I didn’t NEED Spark to get through my day like I needed the Monsters.
Over time my health improved markedly. I have not had a cramp issue since I gave up the Monsters and I still haven’t had a single soda or Monster energy drink in 10 years.
Eventually I upgrade from Spark to IDLife Energy which is a lot cleaner and thus better for me and couldn't be happier with the way it make me feel!
I beat the addiction and I am thankful that I did it.
I see people with addictions all the time and I understand the addiction. For those 3 years I rationalized my addiction. I would say that I could stop if I wanted to. I thought, “it’s not that bad”. I got used to it. I explained away all the problems.
Until I stopped I never knew how bad it was.
Today I feel amazing each and everyday and I could NEVER say that for those 3 years.
If you are addicted to something harmful I beg you to find a way to stop.
Any addiction is harmful for you. Make a plan and work to leave the addiction behind.