Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Straight Edge

So I thought I'd do a post on Straight Edge. I know some people don't know what it means, or don't understand why someone would choose this "lifestyle", so I thought I'd do some explaining.
Wikipedia defintion: "Straight Edge refers to a lifestyle that started within the hardcore punk subculture whose adherents make a commitment to refrain from drinking alcohol, using tobacco products, and using recreational drugs. The term was coined by the 1980s hardcore punk band Minor Threat in the song "Straight Edge".[1]"

When I was 14 I had a punk rock pen pal named Anna. She was the first person to introduce me to the term "straight edge". I thought it sounded pretty cool, and it was the path I had just recently chosen. In my rough tough junior high school years I liked to smoke cigarettes and tried out pot. I know, what a hooligan. It wasn't until after a really bad Friday night where I had chosen to smoke up like 5 times and made myself incredibly sick, sleeping next to a friend in tiny bed in an acquittance's house, that I decided I would NEVER EVER do drugs again. And so, since that awful night, I have kept my promise to myself. The next morning I even vowed to quit smoking. Because ya know, at 14 I was such a chain smoker. About a month later, after a Rancid concert, I quit smoking. I never seemed to be out with my friends when they'd try drinking. One time, I remember my two best friends going out one night and getting drunk, I was sooo jealous. But soon I realized that wasn't what I wanted.

One of these best friends of mine was actually the child of 2 alcoholics. Fortunately for her, she didn't end up drinking much. In high school I strayed away from the drinking crowd, for the most part, my social life including going to either youth group or punk shows. And the more I went to punk shows, the more I got to know about straight edge. I didn't like labels and I didn't want to be called "straight edge", so when people asked me for smokes I'd jokingly say "I'm Straight Edge, Hahahahaha". It was true, but I didn't want to seriously use the term.

The more I thought about it, the more reasons I had not to drink, smoke or use drugs. Now, before I share them with you, I want you to know that I don't judge other people for their lifestyle choices. I am just simply explaining why I have chosen to be straight edge. I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty or judged. Almost all of my friends drink socially, I have friends who smoke and i have friends who are addicts. To each their own.

One of the reasons was that I had witnessed plenty of peoples lives being ruined by substances. The best friend I spoke of earlier, her Father passed away when I was 14 years old. His liver failed. Her mother, who is recently sober (3 months plus! Whoo hoo!) struggled with this awful addiction for years. She missed so much of her daughters life. Watching my best friend since grade 1 struggle with a parent being an addict taught me a life lesson.

Addictions run in my families(Both sides). This was probably my biggest reason for choosing straight edge. Because this is the Internet and my mom reads this (Hi Mom!) I won't publicly share all the people in my family who are or were addicts (alcohol and drugs). But lets just say I have personally experienced the effects of other peoples substance abuse.

Thirdly, I just couldn't agree to supporting an industry that destroys people and their lives. Even back in high school I thought of it this way. Why should I drink a substance that has destroyed my best friends hope for a happy life? [Just want to say my friend is an amazingly strong person who is living an amazing life! I believe that is God's hand on her]. Or people in my extended family? It destroys people and their families. Now of course I know that not everyone who drinks becomes an alcoholic, and not everyone who uses drugs, like pot, become an addict. But it doesn't matter to me. Why would I purchase and support an industry like that? I just don't think beer companies need my money. I'd rather it go to other places and things.

One other reason does bring in my faith. I just don't feel that living any other way is what God wanted for me personally. I like to think that God chose this for me, maybe protecting me from what could have been my own addiction.

It wasn't until after high school that I actually started calling myself Straight Edge. Maybe it had something to do with all my old pals taking up drinking because they were legal age.. Ya know, all the sober friends I had, turned into party'ers. Maybe it had something to do with my current husband and how he had recently chosen not to drink. Maybe we took up the X together. I don't know.

Dad had joined a punk band and somehow convinced all the guys to be SXE. I laugh about this now, but it really just shows how passionate Dad is about the things he believes. It didn't take much convincing either because all the guys in the band were under 18! haha. Dad was 21-ish. So it became a SXE band. They were terrible! Dad was the singer and I couldn't stand his wanna-be Underoath vocals. But if I get into Dad and his bands I might be here all day. So anyways, after the band broke up and our friends graduated high school, slowly but surely they all broke edge. Our circle of friends became less straight edge. Legal age and college tends to do that. Dad and I didn't care, and still don't care that our friends "broke" edge. It doesn't matter because my edge isn't dependant on anyone else. It's just a choice I've made for myself.

And actually Dad and I were discussing straight edge etiquette last night. When his friends come over they often bring their beer with them (they're usually watching football). I've always been okay with it, and I really don't mind... but I do think that its bad etiquette. And before Stinx was around Dad and I would go to pubs and occasionally bars. It doesn't bother us to be around people drinking. It just seems a little rude to bring beer to a SXE persons home. To me, it's like bringing a hamburger over to a vegan's house. Even though your not offering or making your vegan friend eat the hamburger, it's a little rude, people just don't do that. I don't know, maybe its just me. And like I said, I don't really care. If it bothered me, it wouldn't happen. And I like to think I am a pretty laid back person and that's why I don't care if people drink at my place.

Ok and I know this is long enough already but I just want to add the other major reason for my choice. When I was 20 years old I got a job at a homeless shelter. It was at the shelter where I really saw first hand, the real problems with drugs and alcohol. Sure, I'd seen it in my own life, and my friends lives, but this was just on a whole other level. The shelter job really opened up my eyes. Working with addicts just reinforced why I am straight edge. And the fact is, i am drawn to addicts. Maybe its because my life is so different from theirs, or maybe I am just drawn to their life stories. Most of the time there is a painful experience behind an addiction.

Ok. Sorry this was so drawn out.. Just my thoughts and an explanation to those who were curious.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I always enjoy reading your blog. Some of your posts really make me think.