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Vice Asked Straight Edge Adults What Kept Them Sober

People within the punk subculture swear off drugs and alcohol for life.

By Zoe Cormier

Turn on, tune in, drop out. Ain’t got no funk if you ain’t got no junk. Free up the weed. Countless musical and social upheavals of the 20th century were inextricably linked with their devotion to mind-altering substances. Except for one: straight edge, a fringe phenomenon of the punk scene spawned in the early 80s as a reaction to out-of-control cocaine and heroin abuse.

When self-indulgent benders and fatal overdoses seemed to be stripping the scene of its philosophical credibility, as well as killing off its members, many responded in what they saw as the most subversive way possible: by swearing off all drugs and alcohol for life. Many went even further by going all-out vegan and celibate.

If doing drugs and getting drunk had become normal, real punks would want to be anything but normal. The band Minor Threat coined the flagship label with their 1981 song “Straight Edge,” and the movement took off from there. Devotees were often easily spotted by the giant black X tattoos on the back of each hand (co-opted from the marks bouncers would ink with Sharpies onto the mitts of underage club goers).

Like many scenes, this one fizzled out by the early 2000s. By most accounts of people I spoke with, the majority of the original punk sXers dropped out in their 30s—but a committed handful are still sober. Here’s what keeps them going.

Click to Read the full article (as well as the profiles)

Mother, wife, small business owner.

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