By Graham "GSM" Matthews
One of the most common questions I'm asked is why I don't drink, and if I'd ever consider drinking on my 21st birthday. I wouldn't, and I haven't. I feel that part of what makes me who I am is that I don't drink, do drugs or smoke. Not to say that there's anything wrong with doing those things, but I've always been a big believer that I've never needed them to have a good time or to make me happy (not to mention I'm already crazy enough as it is). My only addictions are writing, wrestling and life itself.
Straight edge was a path I chose six years ago, and I didn't do it because I thought alcohol was “evil” or anything along those lines. I did it because I knew it would make me different from everyone else, and it has. I'd love to be remembered as the one person (or among the few) who has never taken a sip of alcohol. Ever. I greatly appreciate anyone and everyone who has understood my straight edge lifestyle and has accepted me for who I am and what I stand for. Swig of soda for those amazing people!
Simply put, I've lost a good number of friends and family members, both figuratively and literally, because of drugs and alcohol. But that wasn't the reason I embarked on a straightedge lifestyle to begin with. Back in early 2010, I began idolizing CM Punk and his straightedge lifestyle. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and decided I wanted to be just like him. That said, in my entire life I have never smoked anything or consumed any alcohol. And I don't plan to.
In anything I do in life, I strive to be different. I didn't want to be CM Punk but rather I wanted to be LIKE CM Punk. Almost everyone I know drinks or does drugs, and that doesn't make them any better of a person than me or vice versa. Like I said, everyone's equal. And I'll reiterate this: there is NOTHING wrong with doing any of those things; it's all in moderation. If you can keep it under control and not do harm to anyone else, that's the key. It's when you become excessive about it (or anything in life) that it becomes a problem.
I've seen what drinking and doing drugs do to people, and I don't want that to be me. It's not that I'm afraid. Instead, I don't see any reason to do any of those things. It's as simple as that. People will do these things because they enjoy it and/or because they enjoyment out of it. That's completely fine. I've said this time and time again and I'll continue to say it: do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn't come at the harm of others. So, why would I drink or do drugs if I'm already happy?
I don't want to wake up tomorrow and not remember what I did last night. I don't want to do something stupid because I was high. I don't want to get “wasted” for the sake of getting “wasted.” I don't give in to peer pressure, either. I want to have a fun time, sure, but having a fun time doesn't ALWAYS mean alcohol has to be involved. Some people don't get that and maybe they never will, but sometimes something has to happen in order for them to learn, unfortunately enough.
What makes me happy? Wrestling. I'm completely content staying in on a Friday and Saturday night watching a movie and especially getting stuff done. I actually ENJOY what I do (writing articles and such), so I'll spend my time doing it. I keep my social circle small and full of people I can trust and have a good time with. I don't care for parties because that's not who I am. Want to call me a “loser” for not going to parties? Go ahead, but it's not going to change the fact that I'm happy doing what I'm doing. And if I'm already happy, I see no reason for me to smoke, drink or do drugs.
In a nutshell, do whatever makes you happy. If that means smoking or “getting high,” that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with being straightedge, either. There's a common misconception that all straightedge people hate people who do drugs or drink and that couldn't be any farther from the truth. I don't hate the people who do that stuff. I don't like the act of doing those things, but that has no reflection on my opinion of those who do them. My opinion of it has always been this: don't do that stuff to be “cool.” Do it because you actually want to. Most importantly, just be you.
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