STAGE 3 - Seven Reasons I Love Sobriety

I don't call myself Straight Edge because I'm not a part of that subculture, but drugs and alcohol are not my thing. They weren't on my radar then, and they never will be in the future. For some people, it's pretty cut and dry. For others, it's a concept beyond comprehension. I don't like taking the risk of discovering what side of the spectrum a person falls on, so if you were to talk to me in the street and the subject comes up, I just say "I have my reasons", because I normally don't have all day to explain.

Today, however, is a different day.

"I have my reasons" is exactly what it says on the tin. I've acquired many reasons over the years, and I'm going to use this space to put ya'll in my shoes. But beforehand, I need to drop a disclaimer for anyone who may feel threatened by the subject matter: Your choice is yours. At the end, I'm going to come back to that, but first, allow me to outline my reasons for not participating:

1. It's an inherently unhealthy practice.

All the excuses in the world cannot change the fact that the human body is not meant to ingest that stuff. That's why it's necessary to put...y'know, warnings on the labels, like they do on any dangerous substance. You don't have to tell me twice that there is extremely little-to-no nutritional value in drugs or alcohol. I made a point to italicize 'extremely' because if I had a dime for every street corner M.D. that tried to spit some bullshit medical benefit my way after I told them I don't drink or do drugs, I'd be a rich guy. It's like, why are you trying to justify your activities to me, of all people? Unless they don't even believe the words coming out of their mouthes, then who the fuck am I? Your choice is yours.

2. I've got better things to do.

There's no other way to say that. To me, it's a waste of free time, and I could find a lot more productive things to do than idle or babysit. I don't expect anyone to be wired like me, but my tendency to do what I want to do with my free time often appears in my productivity (I'm typing this on a Friday night.) I'm often producing things because I choose to use all my time for it. To the general public, it's social suicide, but I've got better things to do than worry about someone thinking I'm a loser - as does the person who chooses to do drugs or drink. It works both ways, but your choice is yours.

3. I'm absolutely sure most people do it because their friends do.

Staying on that ball, peer pressure is a concept that bears no consequence in my personal development - even when society virtually dictates that the consumption of drugs and alcohol is the true mark of an adult. That being said, I bet the bank that both would lose a considerable amount of appeal if your nearest social circle decided to just up and quit one day. Crazy, right? Not so much. If the stuff is so great, why is it so taboo when done alone? Even those responsible enough to drink or smoke in moderation are less than enthusiastic to get drunk or high alone. But whatever, your choice is yours.

4. Nine times out of ten, losing control ain't worth it.

Spinning off the penultimate sentence above, I do believe alcohol is the next best thing to a truth serum. It eliminates inhibitions (or bullshit, depending on your way of life) and grants people the balls to say and do what they would otherwise have the mind not to, with the safeguard of amnesia. That being said, the social and physical consequences of doing something absolutely stupid while drunk is often not worth the story. For me, it's more the latter than the former, because I foolishly speak my mind and I'm low on secrets. Drugs though...Jesus, the dumb shit people do hopped up on drugs is enough of a deterrent. But whatever, your choice is yours.

5. Solving a problem with a problem remains a phenomenally bad idea.

This is where drugs and alcohol become less of a social thing and more of a social issue. To drink and smoke because you can't deal with a problem is a real weakness, and everyone knows it. It leads to addiction, which you have no chance of diagnosing if you have no one in your life to set you straight. One too many times I've seen so-called "friends" become enablers for their own enjoyment, and pressure whoever's vulnerable into the pit with them. Then when that addiction inevitably spirals out of control, they're nowhere to be found - but drugs and booze can. Your choice is yours, but a strong person deals.

6. Here today, gone tomorrow.

The reasons listed thus far are more logical than personal, but these next two will certainly deviate. Simply put, I've lost more people to drugs and alcohol than I can count. If the warning labels weren't enough, they pale in comparison to seeing your loved ones in caskets far before their time. Whether family or friend, it was painful to watch them suffer so much in the last years of their lives because of the afflictions associated with consuming that stuff for too long. Once lovely, lively people transforming into sickly, worn-out husks. And if you were really unlucky, they'd feel the need to share their pain and suffering with everyone around them. Nor man, woman, or child, is immune to the effects of drugs or alcohol, and I have a conscience that tells me I'm capable of fucking up enough as is.

7. The future.

And that brings me to the biggest reason of all: The future. As previously alluded to, "unhealthy" is shorthand for "die faster", and as someone who often thinks in the long-term, that's counterproductive. We all gotta go one day, but I can't die knowing that I put my life on fast-forward to be socially acceptable the end. Whether we like it or not, we all become role models for what to do and what not to do in life, and the last thing I want to do is give anyone who comes after me an extra avenue to blow it. Because at the end of the day, that's all drugs and alcohol is: an extra in life. It's not required, and no one should run the risk of feeling that way.

Like I've been saying, your choice is yours. These facts and observations have been enough for me to make my choice not to drink, smoke, or do drugs in any fashion. I've run the gamut from the illogical to the personal, and these are my reasons and mine alone. Whether anyone agrees or disagrees is completely irrelevant to me.

But what is relevant to me, is that my decision be respected, in the same way I respect the decisions of the many people in my life who chose to do drugs or alcohol. And if you're reading this as someone who partakes in these activities, heaven knows I have enough problems on my own so I'm not better than you, and you're not better than me, so let's keep the horses in the stables. This isn't a conviction post.

It's a big principle of mine and I've gone to unbelievable lengths to retain it, so now that you all know it from top to bottom, do me a favor and stay above the influence of asking me.