I started as a healthy teenager. I was not fit, as in I did not engage in sports to maintain my weight, but my organs and muscles were all in good condition. I drank plenty of water and ate relatively healthy. Most of my exercise consisted of walking to and from school, which ended up being about twenty miles a week. In my adolescence, I stayed completely clean. I did not smoke and I never drank. I strived to keep myself independent of stimulants, depressants, and medications.
Shortly into my teenage life, my father remarried. My step mother had three kids, one of which made many awful health decisions. She was overweight as a child and ended up developing type 2 diabetes in her early adolescence. She was only a year younger than me, but the differences in our health were drastic. This is where my story with Monster Energy starts.
The First Sip
One day, as we were picking up my step sister from her friend’s home, she was drinking a Monster energy drink. I had always lectured her about the health effects of those types of drinks, but of course, she never listened. She continuously denied the effects of Monster and claimed that it was her favorite energy drink. She said that the rush it gave her, coupled with the delicious sugary flavor, was worth it.
“Try it,” she said. Any other time, I would have said no, but, for some reason, I cracked and decided to take a sip.
“Oh wow, that’s actually pretty good. You’re right,” I said. My stepmother leaned toward us in the back seat and told me to be careful and not to get addicted to it. I had never had a problem with addiction, even though addictive behavior did run in my mother’s side. This, however, was the first step down a very bad path.
Every single morning, as soon as I had awoken, I would drink one 16 oz. Monster. The serving size of these cans is half a can, but the flavor was only good enough within the first couple hours of opening it. So, I drank the entire can every single time so that I could enjoy the flavor. Now, you may ridicule me or tell me otherwise, but I was not addicted to the caffeine. What hooked me so much was the addiction to the taste. My biggest sin since childhood was my love for sugar. The taste of Monster was exactly what I loved: carbonated, sweet, and refreshing.
The caffeine itself, however, is what truly caused my horrifying experience with this substance. Yes, it is a substance. Caffeine is classified as a drug, and rightfully so. Each morning that I drank these energy drinks, I would be shaking uncontrollably within the next hour or so. I would sweat uncontrollably, my temperature would rise uncomfortably high, and my breathing would become heavy and labored. I was not delusional and convinced that everything was okay as some addicts can be. I knew I had a problem as soon as the symptoms began to show. My flaw was my addiction and my lack of willpower. I was a slave to this energy drink. I was stuck between fighting to get away from the drug and being in love with the taste.
I drank a Monster energy drink every single morning without fail for four years. Sometimes, if the cravings were really strong, I would have two a day. I would drink one as soon as I woke up and one in the afternoon. This was rare, but I still didn’t control myself.
A Heart Attack Waiting to Happen
When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and manic depression. I was on and off of my medicines, as I felt they never worked. My natural chemical imbalance mixed with my inconsistent medical schedule on top of my addiction to Monster was an absolute disaster waiting to happen. The health of my heart suffered greatly. I gained 30 lbs. as well over the course of my high school career. Monster absolutely destroyed my health. All I wanted to do was sit at my computer, playing games or watching television with a Monster in my hand. The laziness was absolutely my fault, but the Monster is what capped off the health decline. The amount of sugar in one can is 57 grams. The average healthy sugar intake for a female of my age and weight at the time is only 27 grams. I was overdosing on my daily sugar intake from one single can of carbonated drink every single day for four years. I gained 30 lbs. in this time frame, starting at a mildly healthy weight of 120 lbs., climbing all the way up to 150 lbs.
At the start of my college career, something terrifying happened. I began to pee blood. It was hard to urinate and when I did strain hard enough to pass urine, it was filled with blood. I took myself to the campus doctor and told them of my symptoms. Although the diagnosis was never officially concluded, the doctor told me: “Well, ma'am, I believe you may have yourself a kidney stone.”
My heart dropped. Why was this so terrifying to me, you ask? My father suffers from chronic kidney stones, sometimes accumulating 30 stones in both kidneys at once. He has suffered from this affliction since he was only 18. I was horrified to think that I was putting myself in the same position all because of an energy drink addiction. Enough was enough.
How did I overcome my addiction?
I quit drinking Monster cold turkey. I decided that enough was enough. I was exhausted all the time, I had frequent diarrhea and dehydration, and my heart was ready to give out at any moment. I was 20 years old and not ready to die or become obese and unable to function the way I was able to when I was younger. I quit buying Monster and refused all offers for people to buy it for me. If I needed a sugar fix in the morning, I turned to a regular soda or chocolate milk. Over time, I adopted a love for coffee with a much lower caffeine and sugar level than Monster, and have been feeling so much better ever since. I lost weight and no longer felt lethargic and bogged down. I felt cleansed and healthy after all the toxicity of the energy drinks had finally been processed out of my body. My kidneys felt so much less pain each day and I had not had another kidney stone or symptoms related to one since then.
It was hard in the beginning. Sometimes I would crack under the pressure and buy one, but I would always feel sick and guilty. As time passed, I took the quitting process day by day; hour by hour. Each day became easier and easier. Eventually, I didn’t even think about that horrid drink anymore.
Monster is an extremely addictive and dangerous drink. I hope reading my story about my experience has convinced you not to try it if you have not already. If you are a fan of the drink, I hope my article gives you insight on the effects of it so that you may make educated decisions about your health regarding your consumption of Monster in the future.
I do not blame the Monster company in any way for the health defects that I have suffered from a result of consumption of the beverage. The outcome was my doing due to my lack of willpower. I am simply here to educate my readers on the dangerous effects that caffeine and sugar overdose can have on your body as a result of overconsumption of Monster.
Thank you for reading!
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