I'm a convert to my church and often times I find it so funny. In our church we are encouraged not to drink or smoke or use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs in anyway. All good things to avoid and I have a insanely strong testimony of that.
Having said that, I often find myself in a strange spot when surrounded by my Mormon peers. Especially my born and bred Mormon peers.
I grew up in a home where drugs and alcohol were very present. Addiction has plagued my family for generations. Not everyone, but many. I could tell you stories that would make you shiver. How I came out alive and well is a true miracle.
Drugs and alcohol were as much a part of my childhood as cartoons. This is not something I'm proud of at all, but needless to say, I am very aware of what they are and what they do to you. I am well versed in behaviors associated with being high or drunk. It's to the point where I could talk to my parents on the phone, hear one word from their mouth and know that they have been drinking. I could see their face for one second and just know. There's no fooling me on this topic.
I'm not going to pretend that I've never tried these things, but I knew immediately that it was just not for me. When I was a teen and under the influence of any substance that I shouldn't have been, I had this overwhelming feeling that it was just so wrong. My exploration didn't last very long, and it was enough to ingrain in me that drugs and alcohol were not good...in any form, at any time. I couldn't escape the guilt even when I had not one reason to feel guilty...drugs were encouraged where I come from.
When people join our church they often have a hard time giving up these things. Not me, not even a second thought. What is gained is so much grander than that little buzz, that it was just clear that this counsel was true and good.
The other day I found myself in a room of women from my church. One of the girls was talking about a family member who was experimenting with drugs a little and getting off the path. This girl was worried as she should be, I've seen that path and it's just ugly. Someone asked her what she was messing with and the girl said that it was marijuana....then she proceeded to ask if pot and marijuana was the same thing. I'm glad I was sitting down because I would have fell over. Really?? And this is where my problem comes in. I often have a hard time relating to these women. I don't think they are bad or wrong for not knowing this, but we are just so different.
My childhood was hard for so many reasons. Someone asked me once if I'd switch my trials with someone else. No way. I was exposed to so much that my peers have never even seen or heard of. I was brutally exposed to the world we live in. I am grateful for my trials because I can see from a mile away any danger signs. I can help my children avoid things that others have no clue are even coming or exist. I am so grateful for my experiences and the confidence I gained from them. I know that Heavenly Father knew me and had confidence that I would choose the way I did. He prepared me with the inner strength to learn from others mistakes and move in the right direction.
I admire my Mormon born and bred friends though. I admire the innocence they see the world with. That was the way Heavenly Father saw fit for them. They have lessons they learned that are what they needed and their families need. I don't look down on the girl who didn't know that marijuana and pot was the same thing. It really must have been a great upbringing she had. I often find myself envious of these girls for the love and spiritual knowledge they were raised with.
But like I said I would never trade with them. The tools I've learned from such exposure are priceless. I think they are tools that would not have been learned in any other way. I am grateful for the life I was given and am grateful for the life that I now have. I think it is safe to say that after all of the years of hurt I have finally healed and seen the larger purpose and plan. It feels good to be on the other side of this trial.