I’m going to piss some people off with this post but whatever, that’s why I started writing here in the first place.
It’s actually very easy not to break edge or worry about being tempted to do so if you just follow these simple steps
Step 1: Claim for the right reasons
This whole post is gonna be blunt, so lets’ get this out of the way: If you claimed for the wrong reasons, you are going to break edge. The wrong reason is any reason other than that you desire to live a life free of the influences of drugs and alcohol because doing so means something to you personally. If you claim edge because all your friends are edge, you’re going to break edge. If you do it because the ‘cool guys’ in your scene are edge, you’re going to break edge. If you do it because your favorite band is edge, you’re probably still going to break edge.
Even doing so because of some life experience doesn’t guarantee you’ll stay edge. I know lots of dudes who’s parents were violent alcoholics, who claimed edge, and then still broke. A lot of the time, if it’s only as a reaction, kids get caught up in emotion and don’t think it through, and they re-think it later on and break. People grow up and change, and their thinking changes with them.
Step 2: Your ideas on straight edge have to grow with you
I’ve found that as I’ve grown older, a lot of my reasons for claiming edge don’t seem as valid to me as they once were, but I have new reasons. I have new reasons for not breaking. I know that not everyone who drinks gets drunk, not everyone who uses drugs recreationally is high all the time, etc, etc. So why don’t I have just one drink? When you get older, that question is going to be right in your mind. Why not just one? You’ve got to have a reason why you don’t have one drink, because if your only ideas are “excess drinking is bad”, well, what happens when you realize the vast majority of drinkers don’t drink to excess? I had that question when I turned 22. I had an answer already. Your edge dulls as your mind dulls. Don’t let your mind dull, always keep fresh ideas in your head.
Part of that is not being intolerant and inflexible in the first place. If your views on being edge are like thick plastic, solid and inflexible, but ultimately not solid, they’ll break. If you see the world in total blacks and whites without grey areas or moral ambiguity, you’ll find yourself in a quandary when reality ends up not being how you saw it. Personally, I think drugs and cigarettes are absofuckinglutely stupid and I don’t really know why people do them. But I’ve got friends who do them, and they’re good people who I wouldn’t ever give up. If I tried to force them into a black and white worldview that didn’t allow for such a thing, I’d find myself like so many others doubting my own worldview, of which straight edge is a part. And when your ideas don’t match observable reality, you’ll give up on them.
3. Accept that 99% of edge people break edge.
That’s a hurtful truth, but it’s pretty much a plain fact. You might have someone around who’s a bit of a hero to you for staying edge for a long time. Don’t let that person be the reason you’re still edge. You’ve got to do it because you want to. I’ve seen a lot of kids get disappointed in seeing all their friends or people they looked up to break and then get discouraged and break themselves. That’s stupid. They might realize things don’t mean to them what they used to, or maybe never meant to them. You’ve only got yourself to answer to for your own convictions.
This sort of goes back to the first point. You have to be edge for you. Because once upon a time in the 90’s it seemed like almost everyone was edge. It was the big thing, the popular thing. It’s not cool or popular anymore in most places. When it became unpopular, I saw people dropping it like flies. I’ve also seen people give up on being edge because of negative experiences they’ve had with other edge people, same as people who drop out of hardcore because of negative experiences they have here. Eventually everyone notices the cliques, the popularity contests, the prommies and trends. If you want to stay, you’ll stay, but only by realizing that all that shit is dumb and eventually passes away. There’s a lot of good in living a clean, sober life, and you can’t let other people’s stupidity ruin it for you.