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Wednesday, March 09, 2005 

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.

When you started drinking were you really scared you might have alcoholic tendancies? How did you get past that? At what point did you decide you weren't destined to be like your dad (where alcohol was concerned)?

I've been thinking about the low number of comments this week here at VSoM. What do you think? Is it an unusually busy week for everyone? Or is this topic difficult to comment on? There seems to be little room for discussion really, on the topic of WofW, even though I really like reading everyone's perspective on it at their "various stages".

So, I'm an active, card-caring member of the LDS church who believes the WofW is a commandment from God to help us lead more productive lives with fewer "land mines". There have been moments when I truly thought, "A good stiff drink would make this moment pass less painfully," and I have even half-joked about it with my husband and others. The truth is I've thought pretty seriously about it, but have never gone farther than that.

Who is to say?...maybe a drink now and then is all I need. (Someone once told me her LDS therapist was disappointed that she was also LDS, because a little drink now and then would probably cure her woes and she might not need medication.) But maybe I would be one of those people who couldn't control myself once I started. Alcohol, in that respect, is a mystery.

But, I will (hopefully!) remain firm that I know the WofW is a commandment for a reason, and won't ever have to find out "the hard way" if I have alcoholic tendancies or not. I tend to believe the commandment is there to protect those that DO have tendancies, and for those who don't...it's just a matter of obedience, just like every other commandment in the gospel.

Whaddaya think?

i find it funny how so many mormons are certain that if they take one sip of beer that they will begin a rapid decline into alcoholism, drug abuse, and all other varieties of debauchery. the truth is that the vast amount of people in the world are able to use such things in moderation (especially alcohol).

i definitely feel like i missed out on a some things by being sober throughout my twenties. i don't think i would have drank that frequently, but like you said, occasionally it can be great fun. although it's been a long time i since i've been inebriated, think i would qualify as a silly drunk.

and suzie, i myself have definitely felt that i could have used a good stiff drink at times. i remember constantly saying to myself on the mission "man i need a beer."

I missed out on alcohol as well. Bu then again, I missed out on a lot of things. I missed out on STDs. I missed out on attempting suicide. I missed out on failing high school. I missed out on being an astronaut. I missed out on breaking any world records. I missed out on being a teenage father. I missed out on having my parents die when I was young. I missed out on mutilating small cats. I missed out on travelling to Europe. The list goes on.

My life is what it is because I missed out on all those things. I am who I am because of what I experienced, and I don't want to be any different than I am.

And I don't really care that I missed out on all those things. well, except for the astronaut part.

Well said k.s.!

Come on folks, when the going gets tough, what's a good stiff drink going to do? Pay the bills? Mow the lawn? Show up to work in your place? Bring more wins to your favorite team?

I don't think anyone can list any scenario where boozing it up is the cure-all problem-solver.

Suzie Petunia- When I started drinking I wasn't so much scared abotut alcoholism as being a mean drunk. Honestly, though, alcohol just lowers your inhibitions and shows what you've really got going on inside of you. For me... apparently it's a lot of silliness going on inside.

Re: Low Commentage... Sarah's position was not very controversial and I think that Rebecca's was very personal and that might be the reason for the low number of comments... but what do I know?

For the record--I don't think anyone NEEDS to drink alcohol anymore than I think anyone NEEDS to go skydiving. They are optional experiences that have certain dangers and certain benefits.

Whatever the case, I never drink when I'm feeling down. I don't think that's a recipe for anything good.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

I would just like to say that I've been away from the "Blogging-World" the past couple of days...crazy wknds, sick children and insane work days will do that to you.

Kaycee...I adore your dad. It takes a VERY strong person to do what he did. I'm so glad he's so involved with my dad and brothers...life just wouldn't be the same without him.

It's interesting that most people focus on drinking, smoking and drugs when discussing the WofW...when over half of D&C 89 talks about the food we should be eating (going back to moderation in all things) that following all of those things will make our tummies happy, or bodies strong and our minds sharp. (Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.) But isn't it interesting that if you truly followed EVERY aspect of the WofW how healthy you would be?? Seriously. Eat your veggies.

Everyone has already said such interesting things so can I just say how jealous of you for the little ditty… I’ve never heard that song. You will have to sing it for me at some point. I think it will be a real crowd pleaser. I am impressed that you shared such a personal story. Very interesting stuff K.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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