Abstaining from Drug Use: The Straight Edge Movement

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straight edge movement

Hard rock and punk music have been linked to rampant drug use almost from the inception of these musical genres. Rock music has always been about fighting and rejecting the current establishment, and with the Straight Edge movement, rock and roll and particularly punk rock are fighting and rejecting rock music’s long-established pairing with drugs and alcohol.

For people schooled in an alcohol and drug-infused rock music scene, Straight Edge, (which is often abbreviated as “sXe”) is a bundle of contradictions. sXe devotees adopt a militant form of drug-free living with anti-racist overtones and long-term commitments to loved ones. Minor Threat, a 1980’s era rock band, penned a hard rock song that gave the movement its name and impetus. If you adhere to the sXe lifestyle, you probably don’t use drugs or alcohol and you actively encourage friends and acquaintances to do the same. The sXe movement has no leaders or central organization but like punk rock music itself, sXe attracts people who are committed to their own individuality and who reject conformity and mainstream society.

sXe somewhat tragically implies that drug and alcohol use and abuse are now part of mainstream society. Drug use might have once been cool because it was so anti-establishment. sXe goes one hundred eighty degrees to proclaim that not using drugs is now the cool thing. If the movement had only sprung up and died a quick death in the 1980’s, it would not be as noteworthy as it is. Having now survived more than thirty years, sXe is a legitimate lifestyle choice among hard rock disciples who are politically active and socially responsible.

The sXe movement’s strength may be attributed to the damage that its adherents have observed in their own industry and among their friends. More mainstream musicians might bemoan the harmful effects of drugs with an occasional song, such as Neil Young’s Needle and Damage Done. sXe adherents carry the drug-free theme through their whole catalog. Some sXe musicians have had personal experiences with family members who have suffered from drug or alcohol abuse, and they’ve used their talents to promote a lifestyle that won’t harm a person’s family or friends.

sXe has had its critics who decry the movement’s militant nature. Punk rock is synonymous with counter-culture, and the sXe movement within punk rock is a step beyond counter-culture. Even if its followers demonstrate a degree of militarism, they are living and taking action without the corruptive influence of drugs and alcohol.

If you are interested in more information about an abstinence approach to drug recovery or connect with abstinence followers in your community, please contact our staff at Hired Power at 800-910-9299. We help people to cast off the mantle of drug and alcohol abuse. The sXe movement and other support networks can provide an active social support network for people who are motivated to overcome their drug or alcohol addiction.