Stuff Sober People Like: Energy Drinks
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Stuff Sober People Like: Energy Drinks


This post was originally published on October 7, 2014.

When you get clean and sober, it often feels like walking around butt naked in public. There is an acute vulnerability that happens when you lose your former best friends booze and drugs, who shielded you from the harsh realities of life—like having to talk to other humans. The smallest and most basic of life’s tasks can feel overwhelming and insurmountable in early sobriety and many of us yearn for a way to check out of feelings. Smoking, shopping and sex are some of the top ways people distract themselves and alter their reality even just for a moment. Food—especially sugary treats—and coffee are also popular mechanisms for escape because of the chemical change that happens in the body when we eat things that sky rocket our glycemic index. These are what I call sobriety loopholes—things that can be ferociously abused while still keeping our clean time but will definitely need to be dealt with later if they become bad habits (which could end up compromising serenity, even sobriety, in the long run).

One of the greatest sobriety loopholes is energy drinks—Red Bull, Rockstar and Monster being amongst the most popular as they are the trailblazers in the field of legal liquid cocaine. When I first got sober, I was addicted to Rockstar—consuming as many as four a day, which could definitely constitute hospitalization. But that was what I loved about it; downing a 16-ounce can of Rockstar made me feel like I had done just the right about of cocaine—which for a sober alcoholic, is the best thing since sobriety checkpoints.

What I like best about Rockstar is that it comes in this big black phallic can, and when I was newly sober, holding it kinda made me feel like a bad ass—which goes to show you how desperate I was for a sliver of edginess. I also enjoy the taste of Rockstar much more than that of Red Bull or Monster or that God forsaken Five Hour Energy drink.

When I got sober in 2003, Red Bull only came in eight-ounce cans—probably because that is what is medically safe to ingest in one sitting—so they were too quickly consumed for my liking. Monster is syrupy and thick—not light and bubbly like RS—and the taste is just a hair too sweet. Not to mention the utter dork factor involved with Monster—I have always associated it with people who play Dungeons and Dragons until 4 am or still have an eyebrow piercing and live in the Inland Empire.

Five Hour Energy, also a popular energy product at the time, is for non-addicts who need to stay awake but don’t want to feel gacked out. All I want to feel is gacked out so I could never understand when someone would tell me I should give it a try. That is like taking time-release Adderall—what’s the point? Not to mention the fact that Five Hour Energy has zero drinkability factor—it’s meant to be taken as a shot and tastes like the ass-end of a car exhaust.

Just the way that anything that goes up must come down, this law of physics very much applies to having an energy drink addiction. First, you quite literally experience a comedown after your couple hour buzz wears off. Also, the game of pouring massive amounts of liquid gut rot down your through day after day does have a price. I have known many people to end up at the hospital for what they thought was certain death and turned out to be a panic attack caused by too much energy drink consumption. Some have gone on to blame energy drinks for the death of their loved ones—and they may not be wrong. According to the FDA, there have been 34 energy drink-related deaths since 2004. So, just like smoking or compulsively eating Twizzlers, energy drink consumption should be limited and moderated as best as possible. If you find yourself still sipping from the big black can on your third sober anniversary, you might want to think about quitting that too.

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.