It took me a year to figure out I was "roofied"

Advice columnist Dear Prudence gave some shaky advice to an alleged rape victim's friend who is conflicted about the victim changing her story of a drunken encounter. Originally the alleged victim said she had a regrettable one-night-stand then later flip-flopped to rape accusation mode after talking to a crisis line.

Dear Prudence and most of the internet is agreeing at this point that personal responsibility trumps the blame game after the fact when it comes to hooking up. Just because you were drunk doesn't mean it's okay to cry rape later. This is very sound advice, but I will tell you, it's possible to not know you have been given the date rape drug for quite some time.

I was "roofied" and didn't figure it out what happened for a year.

One night when I was 24 and living alone, I attended a 60th birthday party for one of my bosses. I wandered into the hotel lobby while talking on my cell phone and this older guy and his three sons I'd never met offered to by me a drink. They seemed like clean cut tourists and even though I was attending an open bar party in the next room, I accepted the drink and chatted with them.

A few sips in, which was only my third drink over the course of the evening, I was unable to stand. It was like I had slugged an entire bottle of liquor. I could barely speak and I was slurring horribly. I called my friend Michelle who said to get in a cab. I was fading fast and by the time I was in the cab, I could barely say my address.

It was only the luck of God that made me realize something was not right when I did. I literally crawled into my apartment and blacked out for 12 hours.

I remember nothing except a hazy pop in consciousness at 4:00AM when the building maintenance people knocked down my door. Apparently I had turned the water on in my bathtub before blacking out and flooding the apartment below me. This caused me to be evicted.

It all seemed so weird at the time. I assumed somehow the 2.5 drinks naturally made me that drunk and I accepted responsibility for my eviction. I was embarrassed about it and took a look at my life and realized I needed to be much safer. Attending parties alone is just not a good idea, even if it's a work function. And I really needed to watch the booze. If just over two beers can do that one night, who knows how my body would react the next time?

Anyway, I was telling a friend this story over a year later and she asked me if I had considered that I may have been drugged. Boom. A light bulb came on. This may seem unlikely coming from someone as opinionated and bristly as me, but I'm actually very sensitive and accept blame and responsibility to a fault. It had never occurred to me that I had been drugged. Didn't "roofies" just exist in the movies and advice columns? Does that happen to real life people?

In short, yes. The date rape drug can come from anyone. Never, ever accept a drink from a stranger. Knowing what I know and having barely escaped a few other terrifying situations, I don't think I can let my daughters out of my sight.

Be safe, Chicago!

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  • My daughter just turned 21. I always tell her to NEVER accept a drink from someone and to always keep an eye on the one in your hand. Putting her hand over it might be a good idea.

    Your guardian angel was working over time that night my friend! ;-)

  • In reply to siblingless:

    My guardian angel is working over time. I've been in 5 minor accidents, one major car accident and hit by a train. I've had more head and neck injuries than a boxer. And yet I'm indestructible!

  • You have a fleet of angels and they are working 24/7! Dang, girl!

  • In reply to siblingless:

    I guess so! I was also homeless at 17 and later narrowly missed buying a McCondo during the boom of 2006 (badum-cha!)

  • PS, I forgot to mention I actually have whiplash right now because we were rear ended Thursday. Haha, seems kind funny right now! More drugs please . . .

  • You can NEVER be too careful! When I was in college I was at a frat party with some friends and I knew better than to let anyone get me a drink. I served myself all night long... until I let someone get me a glass of water. WATER. He spiked it with GHB and it's only by the grace of God that I made it back to my girlfriends dorm room before passing out. I only knew because I started coughing up blood the next day and had to be tested at the wellness center. It's a scary world out there!

  • In reply to AbbysMom813:

    Water?? Where do they get it and how can they feel right about using it? Mind blowing. So glad you're safe!

  • Unfortunately I have had a similar experience about 15 years ago. Had a couple drinks with a guy in a strange city, suddenly felt over the top drunk (after only 2 drinks). Barely made it back to my hotel room and basically fell onto the floor next to the bed and passed out. I woke up in the middle of the night for a brief instant, disoriented on the floor of the bathroom. Crawled back to bed and slept for hours. I woke up with a couple small injuries on my hands and still have no recollection of what happened. It's a scary memory...the lack of memory is the scariest. I definitely plan to make sure my little girl is well educated on the dangers of those drugs -- Melanie

  • In reply to mjp:

    I am floored how common this is. No one in my life at the time knew anything about roofies, or at least no one brought up the possibility. I had an on-again, off-again boyfriend who just thought I was a drunk when I told him and my friends weren't there to see it go down either.

    The world is so, so scary. If my daughters ever live alone in the city I'll be on them like stink on a monkey, calling 24/7 and insisting they stay together. Ahhh!!

  • Dude, same here! I didn't realize it until later, either. I assumed I just drank a lot more than I could remember even though the last drink I remember was drink #1. I figured it all out later. Pretty sad how prevalent the drug is.

  • In reply to chibbz:

    That thought terrorizes me - that so many girls are just having a drink or two and blaming themselves. If it happened to you, me and two of our mutual friends who really knows how common it is??

    Again, WHERE are these guys getting it and learning who to use it? I'm going to poll some male friends and see what the word is.

  • Yeah, seriously, I'm curious where you even get it either. Just your local drug dealer??

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    It's very scary to say but I wonder how many women never know they have been drugged. And don’t believe for a second that it only happens when strangers buy you a drink. It was years before I realized that I was the first time it happened. I'd been dating the guy for about 5 months and was never much of a drinker. One night he had me try something new and even though I'd only had 2 drinks I was very disoriented. Everything is pretty hazy even now, but we were at his place (I’m not even sure how we got there) and I suddenly became aware that I was naked and he was on top of me. I’d never been with a guy before and I wasn’t planning on being with any guy till I got married. I pushed him off but it was too late. I blamed myself for years. I must have gotten drunk and gave him the impression that I wanted to. I even felt sort of guilty that I let him go so far only to make him stop. It was years later when I was watching a show about date rape drugs before it clicked that I’d been drugged.

    The 2nd time Joe and I were out together thank God. I was sitting at a table with some friends and a couple of people I didn’t know. Only Joe or I got my 2 lightweight drinks. I was laughing and feeling really good chatting. I remember that some of the women started talking about being with other women and one said she was bisexual. Someone asked “What do like best men or women.” I thought something like “this is interesting” and I really wanted to know the answer. That’s the last thing I remember for I’m not sure how long. Joe had gone to talk to some other friends but I had been having such a good time I didn’t go and I have no idea how long he was gone. He found me slumped over and thought I had been doing shots of tequila or something. I don’t remember leaving the bar. I vaguely remember throwing up on the way home and for much of the night. I was so sick we considered going to the hospital but Joe still thought I was drunk and I was in and out of it. The biggest reason we didn’t go was the nearest hospital was 15 miles away and the closest one we (next nearest) trust is about 25. I thought I was going to die. I thought I must have had food poisoning or something when I started coming out of it. It would never have occurred to me that I was drugged. Not until my female friend who had been sitting at the table with me called later in the week to tell me she had spent 3 or 4 days in the hospital because she was drugged that night and she wanted to know if I’d seen anything. She told me what they found in her system but I can’t remember. I called my doctor but as I suspected it was too late for them to test me. When she said she had been drugged though it made perfect sense. How could I not have seen that right away? I think the reasons are twofold First the drugs impair our judgment in such a way that we are susceptible to suggestion even when the suggestion comes from our selves. Second we just don’t expect something like that to happen to us so we make excuses for what must have happened. We assume that we are smart enough and pay attention enough to not get something slipped into our drink so our mind finds the most logical explanation after it summarily tosses that one out. I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone could have slipped something into at least 2 drinks (I didn’t know any of the other women well enough to know if they got ill) without being noticed. The next morning when I told Joe I’d only had 2 drinks and I’m not even sure I drank 1/2 of the 2nd one we discussed if I could have been drugged but we discounted it because I’d been sitting at a table with a group and I’d never left my drink anywhere. We need to teach young (and not so young) women to question rather they were actually drunk in situations like this and that even if you are drunk it doesn’t give a man the right to override your wished. My boyfriend knew without a doubt that I wanted to wait until I got married. Even if I had been drunk (or drugged for that matter) that didn’t give him the right take advantage of that situation. But we are also going back to years before I’d ever heard of date rape. I knew in my heart that what he had done was wrong but it didn’t stop me from blaming myself. I’d waited 22 years and I believed we were in a relationship that was heading somewhere. I never saw him again. I hope somewhere down the road that if he ever did that again (hope he didn’t more) that he ended up in prison where he belonged. I was a wreck for months after it happened and even many years later it still haunts me. More now I think because I feel like I was way too naive not to realize this right away and I worry about who else might have suffered for that.

    Not many people even know about this, but you know what if I can save 1 woman by sharing my story it is worth doing it. Ladies if you are out and you have a drink and feel like you are too drunk for the amount you have had to drink don't leave and go home. Go to the bartender or doorman or someone you can trust and ask them to take you to the hospital because you think you've been drugged. If you are out with a friend who seems drunk ask them did you drink that much or could someone have slipped you something. And if a friend has a wild night that seems totally not like them and blames it on too much to drink when you know they don't usually drink much urge them to think about how much they actually had and if it jives with how drunk they felt. But in my opinion even if they have had too much to drink of their own accord it is wrong to take advantage and depending upon the circumstances I'd say rape could very well be the right word.

  • Thank You everyone for sharing your experiences. I am pretty damn sure I was the victim of GHB (or something) 3 evenings ago. I had a fun evening planned out with the girls (1 is a really good friend, others were her friend). We meet at her place and had 1 drink before we headed out. We went to an upscale locale place (across the river form NYC) It is a very popular loungey type spot with an older crowd (my friend and I are both in our mid -forties). I had not been there before. I do not go out without my husband very often but try to do something with just girls a few times a year.
    Anyway, we went to bar and ordered a cocktail . I was having a margarita. We ordered some appetizers too. When getting the second drink, I was engaged in conversation by two younger guys at the bar. They said they were there with their boss, who I also met and had come in from the city. Ok this pretty much all I remember. The rest of the info comes from my friend. She said that she believes they bought me a drink, then I was gone for like ten minutes (I was probably in the ladies room) . She said she remembers them looking like they were trying to get me to leave somewhere with them, which thank goodness I did NOT do. Next thing she said she saw me standing at the bar by myself. She came over and said I was very incoherent and not making sense and could barely stand. She took me to the ladies room where I promptly fell on the floor. She new something was wrong so she took me home to my husband and told him she thought I might have been drugged. He said I seemed different then just being drunk and my friend told him that I only had two drinks at the bar. He said my jaw seemed kind of twitchy. He was scared and decided to take me to the emergency room. This was a sad experience as they treated me just like a drunk college girl. They DID NOT test me for anything even though my husband explained the situation. The took my vitals--my BP was very low- and basically told him to let me sleep it off. He took me home after a few hours and I did just that. When I woke up at 6am. I had ZERO recollection of what happened. Now I have been drunk before where I had a foggy memory of what happened but this was not that. This was a complete blank! Nothing. Luckily through my friend and husband I was able to piece things together. Thank goodness NO type of assault happened to me because it certainly could have based on the state I was in.
    I do however feel kind of ashamed. As if I did something wrong. The only thing I blame myself for is being overly friendly. I am very outgoing and tend to talk a lot. So I was probably talking to these guys when I should not have been or the took my friendliness as an open invitation. Thank goodness nothing worse happened and that I have a wonderful and supportive husband who helped me through. Sadly I feel like I will never feel the same about going out with some friends for a few cocktails...

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