But I’ve Only Had Two Drinks

A dull throbbing emanated from the left side of my chest, it thumped and broadcast a swirl of nausea across my body. I sat slumped in a chair at a pub, eyes glazed and totally catatonic. Terrified, my eyes searched for a familiar face, I couldn’t see anyone, I could barely move my eyes. I wanted to cry but lacked the ability to. Finally my sister returned with a lemonade, I tried unsuccessfully to drink it. I was completely immobilised. My flesh felt like it was bubbling.

40 minutes earlier — My sister led me through the doors of a popular Perth tiki bar, she’d had a few wines at a previous work event but this is where the main event was going to be. It was summer and I was warm, the bar was warmer and the walls seemed to close in the longer we were there. She settled in to speak to some colleagues while I made use of myself by heading to the bar to grab two of the happy-hour cocktails. Whatever they were they had a lot of rum, after one white wine I wasn’t too bothered what I had next, surely it had to be more interesting than white wine. I just had one, that’s all I needed.

I don’t remember leaving that bar. I don’t remember finishing my drink. My next memory is being slumped.

I sat petrified. The memory of sheer terror is firmly imprinted onto my mind. I felt more intoxicated than I’d ever felt in my entire life, I’d only had 2 drinks. The urge to vomit washed over me repeatedly, as did the urge to cry. Neither eventuated until my sister wanted to leave, she was drunk and unaware that something serious was wrong. After a gust of ability I stood up and stumbled to the curb outside the pub, abruptly pushing past the security guard, I heaved as much as my body would let me onto the sidewalk. The security guard felt sorry for me and got me a bottle of water, I sat down again, this time on the curb near a storm water drain, exactly where I felt I should have been. Thirsty, extremely sick, hot, and fighting unconsciousness; I could hear my sister on the phone to my husband trying to get him to come and collect me, he couldn’t drive, he’d had something to drink as well and didn’t want to risk it. I understood, my drunk sister didn’t. A colleague of ours was luckily with us, and although also drunk she managed to organise a cab to take me home and help me off the curb to get in it.

I passed out as soon as I got in the taxi. My next memory is being in my husband’s arms in our driveway.

I was slipping in and out of consciousness and when conscious I was crying uncontrollably. I was shivering and my eyes were rolling to the back of my head. He asked if he should call an ambulance, I don’t remember responding. He was scared and so was I. I was so sorry, I’d only had two drinks, I didn’t mean for this to happen. I laid in his arms for what seemed like hours, finally he got me inside and helped me into bed.

I was safe. Free from harm. It’s taken me 6 years to circle back to that night and realise, or maybe come to terms with the fact my drink was spiked. Someone almost killed me. Someone could have taken me from those who love me. But here I am, a little more wary and very alive.

Thank you Emily. Thank you honest cab driver. Thank you kind security guard.

Be safe. Be kind.

Do you know how to spot if someone has had their drink spiked?

Did you know drink spiking can happen to anyone? Did you know even putting additional alcohol that they didn’t expect or ask for in someone’s drink is considered drink spiking in Australia? I watched the bartender make my drink, he handed it to me, and I kept a close eye on it. Drink spiking can happen to anyone, at anytime, and can be extremely dangerous. This is why it’s important to recognise the signs of drink spiking as soon as possible, especially in others as they might not be able to tell you they think their drink has been spiked or they might not know.

These signs include:

  1. feeling dizzy or faint
  2. feeling sick or sleepy
  3. feeling drunk even if you’ve only had a small amount to drink
  4. passing out

If you suspect you or someone you know has had their drink spiked, don’t be afraid to say something. Even if you or they have had plenty to drink, if you suspect something isn’t right say something to someone you trust, or call emergency services as soon as you can. If you suspect you have been sexually assaulted, get to the ER of your closest hospital as soon as you can manage it. Further reading from the Australian Drug Foundation can be found here.

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