Monday, 28 July 2014

Straight Edge, it goes deeper than tattoos.

My date stood me up, and being a flirty, sociable kind of girl I got
chatting to some men. This pub is my local, it’s a spit and sawdust, young pub
with bands on a Saturday, no garish lights and no obligation to dress like a footballer’s
wife. My local now feels different now I never drink, I follow a set of very
simple rules, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs and I don’t sleep
around, when I say I’m teetotal I mean it, there’s no excuse in my mind to ever
drink. The lads are chatty and friendly, I feel like a cross between a little
kid and mum nursing my J2O and listening to people repeat themselves, the pints
are flowing and then garish shots, and I miss my old drug of choice a little.

We end up in the garden where the drink keeps flowing, wine, beer shots
that look like the revolting “cocktails” I remember making as a child with milk
shakes, squash and the contents of the kitchen cupboards. I’m offered them, I
have to keep saying “no”. The cocktail shots appeal to the same childish impulse
that drove us to eat sour sweets called things like “brain bender” and they go
down like poisonous sherbet dips.

The thing I like about my old drug is people talk, booze puts a mask on
people yet again takes it off again and then you can get to the roots of people.
Now this is where people’s lives unravel in front of you. A young lad who looks
like a mischievous rave pixie starts talking, he is the ring leader, the one
buying the shots with the biggest mask but the persona drops and the story
unfolds.  The rave pixie tells me about his dad who did drugs daily, he
grew weed never hid the fact, now I realise Straightedge is a privilege.


Kids whose parents have positive attitudes to drugs are more likely to
have positive attitudes to them according to the Rountree surveys. Parents
drinking and getting stoned gives them a positive attitude to getting off their
faces, parents are their kids biggest moral guide. Straightedge may feel like a
choice for many and for me it’s been a positive one but for many how can it be
a choice, if the watch a parent have a negative emotion then block it out with
booze how will they know how to cope with life, if they've seen a parent pull a
bong, or snort some powder it’s no longer shocking, if a child pulls their mums
hair out of the toilet they may well feel frightened and disgusted by this but
it becomes normal. Some research disputes this common sense and points out that
parental attachment is also a big factor, lack of attachment means you are more
likely to fill the hole in your soul with pills, powder or smoke, a magic
potion that replaces love. “The wrong crowd” is also a huge influence, if your
kids know adults who indulge they are more likely to do drugs.

It’s a month until one of the biggest anniversary of my life comes
around, the day I left my pet drug addict/alcoholic, he is also the father of
my children. That day I left chaos, I left starving for someone else's choices
and I gave my kids, I left a ball of addiction who I used to love. I gave my
kids a privilege. I showed them drugs and are bad, that you can leave someone
for behaving badly. With massive help from my family I got out of a cycle.


So when another middle class kid smugly tells you how good they are
maybe they just got lucky, they had a stable background, they attached to their
mother so the choice came easily. My journey, I have holes in my soul that have
helped me make the wrong choices, but I have privilege on my side too. It took
me a drug addict boyfriend, a life on a poor estate. I find ways to fill that
hole in my soul with exercise, meditation, art and writing fill those holes and
watching my kids suffer to go straight, really straight edge. Some may never
make it, maybe they’re not weak but unlucky.



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