June 22, 2005

1/3 Choice, 1/3 Happenstance, 1/3 Environment

Here’s an explanation as to why I have never smoked or done drugs.

When I was 9, my Mom’s father died of lung cancer. It was a terrible thing and my first exposure to death and what can happen to a family when a loved one dies, especially young and unexpectedly. My grandmother never recovered, still mourning his death, when she died some 25 years later. He was all of maybe 52 when he passed. I was very very close with this grandmother, so this pain of hers, became my pain.

He was a heavy smoker at one point and so his death of lung cancer was of course attributed to his smoking past. As years went on, speculation arose that the smoking, while it did not help the situation, was more than likely not the root cause. He had worked in a glass plant and many of his co-workers died that year of lung cancer too. We now think they were exposed to something in the glass factory and that is what actually caused it.

Regardless of what caused it, he died of lung cancer, he was a smoker, my Nana was a mess for 25 years after, and it made enough of an impression upon me that I never smoked. As I said, a cigarette has never touched these lips. Nor will one.

I gather when most kids are experimenting with pot, is middle school. I lived in Taiwan during my middle school years and there were NO drugs in our school. None.

My freshman year in high school, we were back stateside and we were in Pensacola, where my folks bought a home in a school district whose high school was known to be the largest agricultural school that side of Jacksonville. We had cows, crops, and Vo Tech ruled. I went to high school with military kids, farm kids, and those whose parents worked in the local paper mill down the road.

For some reason, drugs were not big at my school. They were there, but most didn’t do them. My high school was the State 4A Football Champs. Our Marching Band was the Marching Bands of America Grand National Champions. Our baseball players, became pro’s. Our Valedictorians and Salutatorians become Radiologists and PhDs in Nuclear Engineering. We were busy kids, that had good fun, but drugs didn’t come into play for us. It just didn’t. We all knew who the potheads were and they were great guys… always friendly. Actually, they were always really sweet to me. But it was known in my family, that I could be nice to the potheads, but could not date them. No biggy… the potheads were not the ones making the grades and my pattern had already been set... I only dated smart boys.

So no drugs there.

I got to college and I think I lived my sophomore year either studying or drunk. I drank a lot and by the end of my sophomore year, I realized that drinking was poison to me. I could not drink like others and have just one. I would drink, until I threw up, then drink some more, until I passed out.

That’s a bad thing.

But by then, I had decided that I wanted to go into the NSA. They do drug testing and they ask you if you have ever done drugs when you interview. I needed to be able to say ‘no’ truthfully, so I never tried them. Once again, nobody I hung with did them, but I’m sure I could have found it if I wanted to.

I wasn’t smart enough for the NSA and when I got my flush letter, by then I was in the last half of my senior year in college. (It was a very cool test and I enjoyed taking it, but I evidently didn’t meet any of their requirements, speaking only one language, not being brilliant, and just flat out not being spook material. It all worked out.) The last two years of college, Sunday through Friday you could find me in the Computer lab programming or studying with the crew I hung with (that included VW) until 2AM. Saturdays I’d go out, but by then, I had tapered off the drinking to the point that I was typically the designated driver. I had too much studying to do to be perpetually hung over.

I graduated and went to work in the aerospace industry. No drugs there either, but for sure by then, I had no desire to lose control of myself like drugs can do and by the age of 23, I completely gave up alcohol too.

So that’s my story. It must sound like I have led a boring life, not partaking in what most American kids did, but trust me, I did not. I laugh readily and can find myself amused by most of what goes on around me.

I don't look down upon those who have not made my choices. These were MY choices for ME. If I looked down upon those whose paths were far different from mine... rest assured... I would not have married my husband! *grin*

Posted by Boudicca at June 22, 2005 10:01 PM

It's more common than I ever knew it was. I never knew that. But I talked to people now and they say they've at least tried stuff.

There's no appeal for me. I don't like smoke, I don't like needles. Hell, I'm a picky enough eater...ya really think I could do that stuff? I'd be like a little kid being made to eat spinach!

Posted by: Sissy at June 22, 2005 10:16 PM

*whistling and looking like I just didn't read this, and HAVE NO idea what you are talking about*

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at June 22, 2005 11:59 PM

Weed didn't do anything for me except make me unbelieveably hungry. Seriously, I had hardcore potheads telling me to stop eating because it was weirding them out (adding the munchies to an appitite that's big enough for two people in the first place is a bad idea).
I did LSD a few times. I don't regret it, but I'm lucky I didn't fry my noggin'.
That said, I think I've used illegal substances less than ten times in my life, and that was a long time ago (way before I became a parent).
I like a good cigar now and then, but cigs taste like crap.

I've never had a problem drinking and maintaining a buzz, or just having a beer or two. I've drank to excess, but it doesn't happen often (I dislike actually being drunk).

Posted by: Graumagus at June 23, 2005 12:27 AM

My Dad died of lung cancer, so I never touched a cig. The psychological implications made me sick just thinking of one, let alone touching one to my lips or taking a drag.

Pot, once or twice. I tried to become a drunk in my wild single days but my body doesn't like alcohol much, and let me know about it.

But that's it. I like having control too much to risk losing it. ;)

Posted by: pam at June 23, 2005 08:34 AM

I never came in any contact with drugs (and then only pot) until college.

I tried it, but couldn't figure out what the big deal was. Didn't even get the munchies, must have been doing something wrong.

I tried cigarettes, but got sick everytime I smoked one and just thought they were generally nasty.

Now Alcohol, I still love it even though I am not allowed very much so I am my hubby's permanent designated driver.

Posted by: Machelle at June 23, 2005 08:44 AM

Yeah, me and AWTM must have hung out in school, course I don't remember, but hey, who's judging!

Also, I am usually the designated driver these days as I was certainly the designated drunk all through high school and college. But still, the drinking and some other stuff, didn't stop me from going to an Ivy League School and then Law School, so no harm, no foul. As for cigs, nope, I have asthma, so none for me, thanks.

Posted by: Oddybobo at June 23, 2005 08:45 AM

Pretty close to the mix of happenstance, choice and environment that has led to a nearly drug free life for me. No illegal substances. Like a good beer or wine, but since Wonder Woman has a big red X on anything alchoholic (conflicts with meds) I just don't buy any anymore. Smoked—cigars and pipes. Gave away my pipes and a box of macanudos 16-17 years ago (except for one lil stubby I found in a box last year) and haven't really missed tobacco. Doesn't bother me when folks smoke, for the most part, but cigarettes are still a lil nasty-smelling.

No real claim on superior moral choices, just the way things are. As to drug use, while not for me, I really think what folks put in their bodies (as long as they don't endanger others) is none of my business. Or the government's. Folks ought to have a right to be stupid. Keeps the gene pool cleaner.


Posted by: David at June 23, 2005 08:59 AM

Oddy- I have found that those that smoked pot in high school and partied heavily, were still successful in life. In general, from my experience, unless someone did something really mind altering, there is no correlation to how hard they partied and what type of adult they became. All the potheads I went to school with at some point got their act together, or as my Dad says 'the good genes kicked in', and they ended up being successful.

Case in point being my husband who partied very heavily in high school, hair down to his waist, and now holds numerous degrees, including a doctorates, and is very well respected in his profession. He doens't party at all now... and hasn't since he was 17. He doesn't even drink. If we had gone to the same high school, we wouldn't have even known each other. I wouldn't have given him the time of day. ;-)

Grau- You are lucky you didn't fry your brain. I worked with a guy whose wife dropped too much acid in the 60s and did some damage.

Posted by: Bou at June 23, 2005 09:00 AM

I'm "boring" in that way too... no regrets. I've "fake smoked" cigs a couple of times (in college), because I didn't know how to do it for real. Never tried pot or anything else. No desire or curiousity. Plenty of alcohol in the college daze... ;-) but very little now.

By the way, you're 39 and 10 months?? Sounds like we'll be turning 40 around the same time. When's your b-day? Mine's 9/1.

Posted by: Marie at June 23, 2005 10:15 AM

Yeah, that's pretty high on my "Really stupid crap that I've done" list.

Posted by: Graumagus at June 23, 2005 11:42 AM