So, question for you guys: have you ever heard the term “straight edge”? It sounds like one of those hipster terms like bae, throwing shade, or on fleek. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know, but I do know it means that a person abstains from something, and for me I abstain from any alcohol and drugs.

I fit into that hipster category — what the young people here call straight edge. So, why do I abstain from any alcohol or drug use?

Glad you asked!

Growing up, I lived in a conservative Christian household, so I usually heard that drinking alcohol and using drugs is a sin, and it was very bad to do either. I mean, I was a good boy growing up…kind of! But I never did any of those things growing up!

Even now, in my late 20s, coming up to 30, I’ve never ever had a sip of alcohol — not even wine! Also, I’ve never done any drugs.

While growing up, I’d see my uncles, aunts, cousins, and extended family partying it up. I also saw the damage it did to their families and how their parents or grandparents worried about them. In their faces, you could see their pain.

Whenever I saw my family in pain, I told myself that I would never do what they do. And I like to keep my word, every now and then.

During the whole ordeal with my crazy sex life, I never drank any alcohol or used any form of drugs. People tried to offer me alcohol or wine to put me at ease if I was nervous, or they offered me certain types of drugs.

I always said no; it’s not my thing.

Some people would look at me strangely, as if thinking I were from another planet. Most of the guys were pretty cool with it, yet I always felt like the odd man out.

I wasn’t discouraged or anything; I just felt different from the rest.

By abstaining from alcohol, I hardly went to the gay bars or even straight bars because I never saw the use of going there. Yeah, some people went to have a fun time and dance, but it really wasn’t my place.

Nowadays, if people heard one of their friends is straight edge, it seems like a burden, like you’re keeping yourself from having any fun. Like partying it up is a great thing to do, going clubbing every weekend, being drunk with friends, sometimes getting into fights with other people, and being part of the crowd.

Sometimes people try to get that “high” feeling when they’re doing everything to enjoy themselves partying, risking themselves to be open to whatever drugs they want to try. Yes, not everyone is into that scene or goes that far in their life, but from my perspective and the people I’ve met, they would go that far!

This is what I saw whenever I saw someone take a shot of alcohol, especially an excessive amount of alcohol, or whenever someone shot up with drugs — whether it was one of my extended family members growing up, or someone I either did sleep with or tried to sleep with. What I saw in their eyes was the worst part of them coming out whenever they did this.

The anger, the hurt, the pain they tried to hide, the selfishness that came out; it would be visible for everyone to see, and they wouldn’t be able to control it anymore. This is the reason why I’ve vowed never to use any of those substances.

I liked being a straight edge growing up because it’s very rare to find someone like me who doesn’t drink any alcohol or do any drugs. I feel like I’m a unique person by not doing this.

It’s almost like a calling for me, a calling from God to at least challenge myself in abstaining from this area because I’ve totally failed with purity in my sexual life.

I do feel very honored in keeping myself pure of drugs and alcohol. Thank God He showed me the bad stuff early on in my life.

Do you also abstain from drugs and/or alcohol? Have you ever associated with or outright been labeled a straight edge within your sub-culture or community?

* Photo courtesy mastababa (cropped), Creative Commons.

About the Author

  • I’ve never taken drugs, but I do drink alcohol regularly. Maybe your attitude to alcohol is similar to mine towards drugs: they’re simply harmful despite any pleasure they provide. I didn’t drink before or during my college years. Some of my college classmates had taken me to a pub just of campus and cajoled me into trying a glass of beer. My reaction was the one attributed to Mae West: “Pour it back into the horse.” Then I went to join the monastery, and one day we monk wannabes had pizza and our superior made beer available. I was surprised to find that it actually went well with the pizza. I won’t bore you with the unremarkable history of the past fifty years. But I find alcoholic beverages of various sorts pleasant. My own opinion is that whatever evil comes from drinking comes from excess: abuse rather than proper use. Many college students seem to think that the purpose of drinking is to get drunk. They’ve grown up when they realize that isn’t it.

  • I think having a beer with a friend is an awesome thing for bro bonding.. Of course its not all I want to do with a male friend but its good for starters. But its not mandatory of course, if you’re not into alcohol then other bro bonding techniques can work.

    • I have a few friends who drink in moderation, especially when we’re hanging out. Some of them are in the military, so that’s a very common thing to see. I’m usually on the other side with a soda in my hand, and just chatting it up. I think I’ll write a post for other ways to do “bro bonding” with each other. Thanks for the idea!

  • For me, the alcohol thing is not really an issue, as I’m not old enough to drink legally. That said, I am not super-against drinking in moderation when it’s legal. That said, the college student mentality towards drinking isn’t exactly healthy, so I’ll need to figure out where I’m going to draw the line once I can drink legally. I can buy cigarettes, though, at least until June 9. (I’m 18, but not 21, the new CA age for buying tobacco) Not that I plan to, though. I see no reason to start smoking unless I want to die of lung cancer.

    • Haha! Dude. That’s hilarious with the smoking. True, but hilarious. With college students drinking, they are gonna do it either way. We can’t force their decision of not to drink, but at least give them info if they aren’t careful with alcohol. If you do drink in moderation, I think now should be the best time TO figure out what is your limit. Then commit!

      • Well, for now my limit is 0 because of the drinking age and all that. I’m not exactly in a rush to figure out what my limit is once I can legally drink, given that I have 3 years to figure that out. I do agree, though, that it is important to have a limit!

  • Hey Matt! Yes I have been called straight edge numerous times, though not in those words. The words were usually a more crass version of “goody two shoes.” I was basically called a self-righteous prig by a family member last week. But the shoe doesn’t fit. My only drugs would be the ones we often discuss here, but I think the pull toward addiction almost has a stake through its heart. Never liked cigarettes. Tried cloves once. The smell of pot makes me ill. I hate beer. And I only like the most expensive of wines but do not believe they are worth my money apart from an infrequent glass. Juice tastes so much better to me. I can’t deny that I could use something to “loosen up” from time to time, but I think Jaye’s worship music is better for that than a Zinfandel. And you are a unique person in many good ways.

  • I get called some version of “straight edge” or “clean cut” all the time among the troubled youth I work with. I’ve never done drugs or been drunk, though I enjoy a drink every now and then. If only those kids knew the depths of my “other” drug use, though. I’m definitely no goody two shoes. I think it’s admirable that you abstain from all drugs/alcohol, Matt. The connection you made between that abstinence and your sexual purity hit me in a new way that helps me understand you better. You rock.

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