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Fun for some, problematic for others
on January 23, 2014
It all started when the bags were emptied on the kitchen table. The mountain of endless marshmallows was so tall you had to stand up to see the person across from you. Everyone in the room thought we had just given our friend the best birthday present he could have asked for. After more than ten minutes the tears still trickled down his face, tracing and re-moistening the nearly dried salt trails along his cheeks. His girlfriend knew better. She and I had discussed the gift a few days before when she vocalized her reservations, "he doesn't moderate well, he won't stop until they're all gone." I was naive, I saw no problems - it's just a bunch of marshmallows, right? I didn't realize the door I'd unlocked for my friend and what demons lurked on the other side.
Everyone was having fun, all of us laughing and shoveling handfuls of the soft, dried sugar lightning bolts and other fun, brightly colored shapes into our smiling faces. Nobody noticed the pile he'd crushed in front of him. When we heard his gigantic snort and saw him sit up in his chair the room erupted with excitement, one guy even laughed so hard he doubled over coughing and nearly puked. We all just assumed he snorted because he was laughing too hard. We were wrong.
In the days after the party he stopped returning my calls and replying to my text messages. His girlfriend saw less of him as time went on. He would show up at her place at odd hours, disheveled and looking as though he hadn't slept for days. More upsetting for her than the smudged rainbow of colors around his lips and nostrils was the trembling of his hands and tracks on his arms. By the time she finally found the words to say, he was gone before she drew the courage to address what he had become. She didn't see or hear from him again until I tracked him down several weeks later. I found him in a house on the wrong side of town with some unsavory characters who had been following him and "the medicine bag" around the sugar scene for the last few weeks. My friend had developed a reputation and become a celebrity of sorts in this circle but only because of what was in the bag we'd given him, the same bag that was destroying him. His new friends only knew him as The Doctor. The first attempt to bring him back didn't end well and I was thrown out of the house onto the porch with my own blood on my freshly torn shirt after showing him a picture of himself (link below). The following week we orchestrated a better planned and successful intervention. He has been rehabbing at a gym across town and shopping at the local farmer's market over the last month to keep himself clean. Despite a few bumps in the road, his recovery is looking promising and we are supporting him as best we can.
Be careful who you give these to.
Below is the condition I found him in at the house and one of the people he'd been hanging out with. I have removed his face to protect his privacy. Talking to your kids early and honestly about responsible marshmallow use is the best prevention for abuse.
i.imgur dot com/6eeGKfQ.jpg