This is an interesting one for me — I come from a Baha’i family, and Baha’is are teetotalers. Neither of my parents has had a single sip of alcohol in more than 30 years, and I grew up with nary a bottle in sight. The only times I was ever exposed to alcohol as a child was when we went out for dinners with my grandparents and they’d have glasses of wine (much to my shock and dismay); when I spent time at my friends’ houses and they’d have drinks over the barbecue; or at the rugby clubrooms where I’d watch middle aged men drink too many jugs of beer then drive home with their kids in tow. The quote that was bandied about in my household was, “Alcohol produceth the absurd.” And I think you’d be hard pressed to argue with it.
As I got older, I was constantly surrounded by alcohol — like every other teenager in the world, the parties I went to were filled with drunk girls spewing, aggressive boys fighting and sexually mature students getting it on. I was the designated driver for my group of friends and endured the annoyance of everyone laughing at jokes I could never really be a part of, and the privilege of over-charging for petrol and receiving free McDonald’s at the end of the night.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve since drunk alcohol, and I’ll be the first to admit that partying is more fun when you’re drunk. But having witnessed devastating behaviour — my own included — over the past 15 or so years (and you’ve got to remember that my Mum established and ran one of New Zealand’s biggest schools for teenage mothers, many of whom became pregnant while under the influence), I do often think to myself, ‘This is kinda crazy. Why do we humans do this to ourselves?’ I don’t know a single couple who goes out and doesn’t fight while drunk, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t go out and feel a little embarrassed after drinking too much, and I don’t know anyone at all who hasn’t done something they completely and utterly regret while wasted. And that’s not even mentioning the road deaths, the hangovers, or the money spent.
I’d like to raise my children in a situation similar to the way I was raised, because I’ve often thought that the absence of alcohol probably contributed to both the stability in my family and my parents’ insanely happy marriage.
As for drugs, I don’t mess around with that stuff and I wish other people wouldn’t either. I could never be in a relationship with someone who uses them, and I prefer not to be around people if they’re doing cocaine/MDMA/whatever else, but if I don’t know about it then I guess ignorance is bliss. One of my best friends killed himself after taking acid just one time and experiencing drug-induced psychosis when we were 21, so as you can imagine that left a pretty major impact on me as far as hallucinogens are concerned. And I don’t really understand why people smoke weed, but if they can function while on it then whatever, it’s their choice.
At the end of the day, I’m never going to tell anyone what to do unless their behaviour is specifically affecting me in a negative way, or if they’re my children, in which case I will take them down if I catch them being naughty.
One last thing: There is nothing glamorous about having a Facebook page filled with photos of you and your friends clutching champagne glasses, beer bottles or magnums of Grey Goose.
And that’s about all I have to say about that.
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