The Hidden Danger of Energy Drinks
If you’re alive, you probably drink energy drinks. I know I do. Red Bull and Monster have become our generation’s morning coffee. It seems like everybody has one of those shiny metal bottles in their hand at some point during the day.
What about those in recovery, though? How do energy drinks and sobriety intersect? Why, in the rooms of recovery, does everyone seem to have energy drinks glued to their palms?
While I can’t answer those questions with 100% certainty, I can offer some educated guesses. Speaking for myself, a woman in long-term recovery, I like the energy that energy drinks give me. I mean, it’s in their very name!
Energy drinks work great. One in the morning gets me ready for work. One in the afternoon takes away that dreary and tired feeling. On the weekends, having an energy drink gets me ready to go out and have fun!
For women in recovery, though, energy drinks can be dangerous. We’re trying to stay free from all mind and mood altering chemicals. How do we reconcile that with drinking large amounts of caffeine?
I think the first point we need to address is the age old question – are energy drinks a relapse?
Are Energy Drinks a Relapse?
While this may seem like a dumb question to some, it’s absolutely valid. Energy drinks contain super doses of caffeine and energy boosting vitamins. Caffeine is, technically speaking, a drug.
The answer to this question lies in checking our motives. Ask yourself the following questions:
To put it another way, are we using energy drinks for their intended purpose or are we falling into old behaviors?
Depending on how we answered the above questions – energy drinks may be considered a relapse.
Energy Drinks in Rehab
The debate surrounding energy drinks and relapse is precisely why they’re not allowed in most rehabs. Despite this strict no energy drink policy that treatment centers have, they’re still popular among patients.
Speaking from personal experience, everyone I was in rehab with drank energy drinks. I was no exception. Even though they were considered contraband, and we could get in trouble for even being in the energy drink and supplement aisle at Publix, we found ways to smuggle them in.
Does the responsibility lie on us, as patients who were breaking rehab rules? Does the responsibility lie on the staff for not monitoring us closely enough (though it certainly felt like they were!)? It’s probably a little of column A and a little of column B.
What I do know is that we were drinking energy drinks to feel different. We were using a substance to escape the restless, irritable, and discontent feeling that’s so common among those in early-sobriety.
Alternatives to Energy Drinks
Here we come to the crux of the problem with energy drinks and sobriety. They allow alcoholics to act out. They allow us a short-term escape instead of a long-term solution.
Instead of drinking energy drinks, why not try some healthy habits and behaviors? And ladies, don’t think I’m lecturing you! I’m saying this to remind myself to be healthier too!
Need energy? Try meditating and doing yoga. This always gives me a boost. Also, there’s nothing that increases energy more than drinking the right amount of water. Seriously, there’s nothing!
Need to improve concentration? Again, let’s try meditation and yoga. Not only do they give me energy, but they make me more focused and productive throughout my day.
Feeling restless and looking for a quick escape? Well, I don’t have an answer for the quick escape part, but I do have an answer for that restlessness. Try working steps and living by spiritual principles!
It’s not a quick escape, but rather the key to a life beyond our wildest dreams. Yeah, I’ll take that over an energy drink any day!