Addiction: My Story
On holiday, people tend to act differently to how they normally would.
They think that things that are normally bad, immoral or illegal, are good, legal, and OK, as long as what happens on holiday, stays on holiday.
My story begins with a holiday in France, summer 2009.
It was a family holiday, the last holiday the family would take together, as my sister was leaving for university in the autumn. Because my mother is fluent in French, we often go to France, usually Brittany, for a couple of weeks. But this time, everything was not as great as it had been in the past.
My sister had gone out with some French students she'd met, slightly older than her, and they were all drinking something. She felt that she had to have it too, to fit in. It really was something wonderful. It seemed to make her much more cheerful when she had it, so I thought I'd try it, too. And so began my terrible addiction to Peach Iced Tea.
Between the two of us, my sister and I could get through 15 litres a day, and when we weren't drinking, we were out to buy more. It cost our family a fortune, but Peach Iced Tea is remarkably easy to get hold of in France. We became very violent towards anyone who told us we were drinking too much, and even started talking back to our own parents. It was a stormy time for our family.
When we got back to Britain, we found Peach Iced Tea wasn't as freely available as it was in France. We couldn't find it in any supermarkets, and so had to turn to the black market, importing people from France who had bottles filled with Peach Iced Tea smuggled in under their shirts. It's a wonder they weren't caught; those who were questioned just claimed to be pregnant, a good enough reason for Border Control.
These French smugglers started out bringing us the stuff as a favour, but as time went on they started demanding money for their services, telling us that if we didn't start paying for their train fares, they'd stop bringing us Peach Iced Tea.
Even our combined money wasn't enough for one return trip for our smuggling friends, so my sister and I had to do something terrible to gain money. We sold fake Pokemon cards to our friends. At first our friends didn't catch on, but then they started asking questions about how we managed to find so many Shiny Ancient Mew cards, questions we couldn't answer. Before we knew what was happening, we'd been sucked into the dark, dark world of the Fake Trading Card Market.
Our supplier of fake Pokemon cards was a Russian man who we only knew as Red. He told us that his biggest rival, Blue, was a Swedish man who didn't treat the cards with the proper respect. My sister and I were disgusted by Blue's alleged behaviour, and so, we began getting into fights with people associated with Blue. One day, we met one of Blue's favourite dealers, who went by the name Eevee. The fight was brutal, and lasted for many hours. I was lucky, and got away with just a few scars. My sister, on the other hand, lost her right ear and the big toe on her left foot. That was when we realised how far things had gone. This had to stop.
First, we had to get out of the Fake Trading Card Market. It was hard, but we managed it. We had to go to the police for witness protection, so Red wouldn't hunt us down and kill us for leaving him. Once you're part of the Fake Trading Card Market, it becomes extremely hard to leave. We had to relocate from Llandaff North to Llandaff Village, and my sister had to dye her hair from dusty blonde to strawberry blonde. I started wearing glasses to be able to slip under the radar, and moved school, from Llandaff City to Bishop of Llandaff. The transition was hard, but it was worth it, to get out of the Fake Trading Card Market.
Giving up the Peach Iced Tea was hard, but we managed it, somehow. My sister found it worse than I did. She was using Lemon Iced Tea as a substitute, and though it didn't give the same fantastic sensation as PIT, it kept her cravings at bay. It's been four months since either of us have touched the drink, and though it can be hard, giving it up has been one of the best things I've ever done.
Although Peach Iced Tea is inexplicably not listed, you may want to peruse our info section on substance misuse.