One of the most interesting comments I received in response to my decision to quit drinking was that I shouldn’t worry about my drinking habits, after all, everyone needs a crutch. Now, a crutch is not an inherently bad thing. In fact, it’s a necessity for a person with a broken leg. But when referring to alcohol, or cigarettes, or anything of that nature it becomes derogatory.
Does everyone need a crutch? And what constitutes a crutch. By definition, it is simply something that supports someone. By that definition anything could be a crutch. Since I stopped drinking, I have had an average of four cups of tea each day. Has tea replaced alcohol as my crutch?
I guess that depends on why I am drinking it. First, let me be clear. I am not just drinking tea. It must be Starbucks tea. Well, actually that’s not true, it can be a tea I fixed for myself at home, but I must drink it out of a Starbucks cup. That is because the Starbucks cup is an accessory. It means something. When I have a Starbucks cup in my hand I have an identity, I belong to the Starbucks-drinking club.
Consider Ugg boots. Could footwear be considered a crutch? Again, I suppose it depends on why I might choose to wear them. Is it because they are comfortable and I generally like the look of them? In which case, any warm fuzzy boot would suffice. Or is it because they are Uggs, and I want to belong to the Ugg-wearing community.
There is nothing wrong with desiring a sense of community, of fitting in, belonging. God Himself declared that it was not right for man to be alone. So the question remains…do we all need a crutch? And is the goal to find the least harmful crutch or is it to learn to walk on our own two feet without support. Perhaps my journey will lead me to the answer to that question. In the meantime, I will hold my head high as I cling to my green and white cup with the cardboard sleeve that announces to the world that I belong.