I had my first alcohol this last November (2012) at 37 years old. I've been technically 'Straight Edge' my whole life - no alcohol, no cigarettes, no drugs - though I was never fond of the whole group of people that identified as 'Edge'.
Ian Mackaye Talks About Straight Edge (Skip to 9:30)
The 'Edge' kids were always way too preachy, and humorless most of the time. I never cared if people around me smoked or did drugs or drank. I just didn't want to do it. Why? Growing up I lived with my mom and Grandmother and Grandfather. My Grandfather would come home everyday from working at a printing press and proceed to get wasted drunk. He would then scream at my grandmother blaming her for everything bad that happened to him (in life) until he passed out on the living room recliner, only to get up the next day for work and repeat the process. My dad was never around, because he was always on drugs and running from cops. I saw what was happening from when I was little on. Everything left a big impression and given that all the males - even all my uncles on both sides of my family (6 in all) - were alcoholics or on coke at one point or another, I figured it was a good bet to just not start at all. So I didn't. I built up a business, a recording studio, which I'm sure was paid for in large part by the amount of money I saved not drinking alcohol through my teens and 20's.
So why start? Why 'break edge' now?
I can sum it up in one word: ATTACHMENT. I realized I had come so far along using the story of my male alcoholic family members that it didn't make sense to me any longer. After all, they weren't me. Biological predispositions or not, I am my own person. I was holding on to not-drinking and letting it control me just like the addictions controlled my family. My fears and ideologies had become attachments. So essentially, I was being controlled by the very thing I was trying to avoid. I decided to drop them and truly drop the past along with it. I never think about the alcoholics in my family anymore, so they can now begin to fade from my life completely instead of being conjured or summoned at every social get-together when I get asked what I'd like to drink. Its been a very freeing experience.
So next time you and I are out, we'll have a drink together and it will be different, but not because there will be a glass of alcohol in front of me, but because of all the ghosts I've left behind me.
The New Loud