All Things In Moderation
We are the Mormon Girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear our skirts below our knees
We wear our daddy's shirts
And we're the biggest flirts
We are the Mormon Girls
We don't drink, smoke or chew,
We don't date guys that do...
We ain't got no boyfriends.
-Girls Camp Ditty
I was never a true "Molly Mormon." My sins of choice came in two varieties... boys & pride.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Coffee and Tea... they never held any mystery for me. I never really wanted to try them, so the whole Word of Wisdom was easy for me to keep and defend to those who challenged it.
But having followed the Word of Wisdom up until I was 23 years old, I have experienced life differently than some of my peers. My coworker and former roommate, Em, attend UC Berkeley at about the same time I was at BYU. Whenever I tell a story about college [like the time we played "Capture the Flag" in the quad (pre-library renovation)] she sarcastically says, "Yeah... we did that, too, after we were stoned, drunk and someone had puked on themselves."
Personally, I'm okay with never having vomited alcohol on myself, but I still feel like I missed out on the normal college experience. As someone who now drinks socially, I regret a certain lack of stories that start with, "This one time when we were really drunk..." because those stories are HILARIOUS.
I'm not advocating anyone who believes in the LDS Religion trying alcohol... but for an uptight girl like me... it has a very liberating effect and I enjoy the silliness that descends upon me after a couple of drinks.
Mixed with that enjoyment, though, is a certain wariness. I am the child of an alcoholic.
Since the topic is "How has the Word of Wisdom affected your life?" I'm going to tell you a little bit about my early childhood that I usually don't talk about.
When I was very young, infancy through about second or third grade, my father was a drunk. Not just any drunk... a mean drunk. He didn't ever hit us, but he was still terrifying to me as he yelled and threw objects inside of our house. I'll never be able to forget the time he threw my mom's rocking chair against the living room wall, breaking it. My dad was scary.
At some point he realized what he was doing and decided to stop. He and my mom decided to go back to church and he stopped drinking alcohol, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. All at the same time. Cold. Turkey.
My dad is tough. I'm grateful that he is and that he made that decision. I'm grateful that he and my mom went to the LDS church and that our lives were put onto a positive path again because of it and because of the Word of Wisdom.
It might seem strange that even though my life was positively affected by my parent following the Word of Wisdom that I choose not to. One thing is for certain... my dad and I are not the same. Because we're not the same, and we don't have the same reactions to things, I don't think that I will become the kind of person alcohol made him.
Still, though, I always carry a little bit of fear around that I might turn into an alcoholic one day. It makes moderation in all things a goal--a healthy goal--for me.