Post # 1
My father was/is an alcoholic (I haven’t seen him in over 15 years but I’m sure he still has a drinking problem). My mother always warned me that I shouldn’t drink because “it’s in my genes” but of course, I did anyway. There were a few years (freshman year in college and after) where I partied a lot and did my fair share of boozin’. Never once did I feel hooked or like I HAD to have it in order to function. Since then I’ve dabbled in some other things that are said to be addictive but again, nothing. I’ve never had trouble quitting whatever vice it was that I fancied at the time. I honestly don’t think that I have an addictive personality (well, unless you count junk food) which is why it’s hard for me to believe that addiction is truly in my genes. I found out recently that my grandfather (Dad’s dad) was also an alcoholic so I wonder if it has more to do with the way we’re raised than anything. My father was always around my grandfather growing up so he witnessed his drinking first hand whereas my mother shielded me from a great deal of my father’s addiction when I was younger. I knew he had a problem and I knew what alcoholism was but I very rarely saw him in that state.
So, I’m curious. Those whose parents had/have addictions, have you found that you’re prone to addiction issues? Those who’ve battled with addiction themselves, did your parents or a close family member struggle with an addiction when you were growing up?
ETA: I know that alcoholics & drug addicts come from all walks of life so I’m definitely not saying that they must have had shitty childhoods in order to have an addiction. I know people who wound up in rehab multiple times and came from picture perfect families.
Post # 3
My father is an alcoholic. He would get super drunk when I was little like every night and would disappear for days. My mom divorced him because of this. She gets drunk very often too, almost every night. I would say it’s safe to say that both are alcoholics.
When I was younger and in college I did my fair share of drinking, but always in social situations. Since having DD 3.5 years ago, those social situations have become pretty much nonexistent. DH and I will drink with friends if she is staying the night at my mom’s, but that’s about all the drinking I do now. I’ve never been one that enjoys a beer with dinner and I feel super uncomfortable drinking anything with DD home. I think if anything, my parents example has made me turn off to alcohol.
Post # 4
Alcohlism runs in my family. While I have never had a serious problem with alcohol, I still have a lot of trouble controlling my drinking once I get started. My brother has a similar issue, but he also drinks a whole lot more and has said that he may have an addiction to alcohol. There are so many environmental and social factors, so it’s really hard to say what genetic influcence there is
Post # 5
My mother was a meth head up until recently…did drugs while she was pregnant, would get clean off and on few a months as I was a kid. It got to the point were she was abusing me, and I left. Packed up a bag and left, wound up staying with my grandparents regularly! She went on downward spiral, wound up homeless, and doing not so nice things for her next fix, and ended up almost dead because of her addiction. It ruined her life. I on the other hand, who had contact with her through all of this, can’t stand the though of drugs. I did your typical teenager stuff, smoked pot, tried E…but none of it was addicting. Just a phase. As and adult like both of you, I went through my party phase and liked to drink and have a good time. And then one day I decided I was done with it, I’ll occasionally have a drink with DH and friendss, but I don’t drink to get drunk as it makes me sick.
I personally think that alot of it does have to do with the enviorment you grow up in and what you watch and see going on around you as an adolecent. How ever! I grew up with my moms drug addiction, and it actually had the oppisite effect on me, it made me want to be NOTHING like her. We all have our weaknesses, alchol, drugs…Junk food (thats me!) but we are also the only one’s who can control it. You mold the person that you are, not any one else. You are the only one who can make those descions for yourself. So at the end of the day, yes I can see how growing up with that kind of influence in your life can lead you down that path, but at the same time you have every right to say no this is not what I want for myself. In no way shapre or form do I believe its genetic. It’s all a mental thing, and for some people that part of their mentality is to week to say no.
Post # 6
I am not the child of an addict, but someone I am very close to is. They spent a lot of their childood scared they would get the same traits (especially becauise like you, other people in their family warned them it was in their genes), but as they got older and tried drinking, experimented with pot, smoking, etc, they never found themselves feeling the pull of addiction. We have both always wondered if it’s in your genes, or maybe if it’s a personality trait that you can “pick up”, like you’d pick up someone’s sense of humour, etc.
Post # 7
Both my parents are alcoholics, and so is most of my mom’s extended family (my uncles, aunts, and cousins). (We’re Boston Irish Catholic, so that could have something to do with it.) My mom drinks a bottle of wine a night, and my dad is actually trying to be sober, but used to drink lots of bacardi (sometimes a whole bottle in a day). I drink fairly consistently, and sometimes get drunk, but I’ve also gone months without drinking for no reason at all, so I don’t feel like I’m addicted. My main problem is that once I start getting that drunk feeling, I don’t get a signal telling me that I’ve had enough, so I’m usually either barely buzzed or drunk. It’s hard for me to be somewhere in the middle without my SO telling me to slow down and have water. It’s not that I want to get drunk, but stopping drinking doesn’t occur to me when I’m on my way to getting drunk, if that makes sense. I usually just stick to having a few glasses of wine at home, but in college I was a hot mess.
Post # 8
I think it can def be hereditary. Addiction runs deeper than substance abuse. My mother and maternal grandmother both struggle with alcoholism. I had problems in the past with substance abuse ( marijuana and drinking) in my adolescent years and late teens, but thankfully have grown out of them. But I have struggled with bulimia for years now ( which is under control), and I think that is also an addiction. But that can also be my coping mechanism, because I did live with alot of dysfunction. So I guess, I dont really know!!
Post # 9
I am not a child of an addict, but have been very close to this situation with my sister in law and niece. I don’t believe that genetics (nature) is nearly as responsible as the environment (nurture). The level of dysfunction that happens within the family dynamic, when an addiction is present, results in a situation where children adopt all kinds of bad coping mechinisms such as addiction. That is just my non-professional experience.
Post # 10
I’m the lone vote of Other…
My grandfather was an alcoholic and my dad and his 2 brothers are also alcoholics (dad and oldest brother are both recovered). My brother now struggles with addiction, though no alcoholic dependency. So I do believe it’s hereditary.
ETA: I’m very conscious of how much I drink. I really don’t like drinking in a non-social situation. I’ve occasionally had a beer with dinner but it’s hard for me to finish that. But in social situations I can keep up with the best. Maybe it just runs with the males in my family.
Post # 11
I believe 100% that addiction is hereditary… but that doesn’t mean that all kids of addicts will become addicted too. Personal choice and behavior matter more than genes. I’ve never been addicted to anything, but I also made a decision to never be addicted to anything and I try to avoid anything that may go against that goal. (my parents have struggled with various addictions my whole life)
Post # 12
My father was an alcoholic until I was about 12. He was ALWAYS drinking. I was completely against drinking, for anybody, because of this. Once I finally got older, and tried some alcohol, I saw it wasn’t “one drink and you’re hooked” like I had always imagined. Of course, I partied a few times, but one hangover was enough to stop myself from drinking that much. I’ll have an occasional drink when we go out to dinner [seriously like once every few months]. All the times I’ve had drinks, I never once felt the need to continue drinking. One drink is plenty. I honestly don’t know how people can function like that. I don’t like not remembering what I did the night before, or only remembering little bits, like the one time I was drunk. I think some people may be more prone to drinking, and it really depends on your home environment.
Since my dad was always drinking, he, of course, had other alcoholic friends. I remember on in particular would let his 15-ish year old daughter drink with him because “she’s going to do it anyway, I’d rather she do it here with me”. Well, she’s about to be 30 and is now a full-on alcoholic. I don’t know if she would have turned out this way if he wouldn’t have let her drink, but I think her chances of becoming an alcoholic would have been significantly less.
As for the statistic, if one or both of your parents are alcoholics, you’re either supposed to become one or marry one. My grandfather was an alcoholic and my mom married one, so I guess it played true for her. My FI’s dad was an alcoholic too, but neither of us are, so that blows that theory. To sum it up, no, I don’t think it’s in the genes. Not at all. I think it’s more of the environment you were raised in and in the choices you make.
Post # 13
My father is an alcoholic. I will have a little wine once in a blue moon. I have mixed drinks once even less often. I like wine and mixed drinks, but have never felt the need to consume them on a regular basis. My sister was a bit of a wild child and drank quite a bit underage. I think that had more to do with rebelling than alcoholism in the family though. My grandfather on that side is an alcoholic as well.
FI’s family has alcoholism amongst a few people on his dad’s side. He’s the only one that does not drink often. Only one of his siblings really used to consume enough to be considered alcoholic.
I think genes can be a sort of pre-disposition, but there is a lot more that goes into the condition than that. I think a person’s attitude, family life, and general well being play into it.
Post # 14
Ugh, my dad is an extreme drug addict and my mom used to tell me the same thing constantly. One time we got in a huge fight and she was screaming ‘Don’t you know what your chances are of being addicted?! Do you really think you’re that lucky!?!?!?!’
DRAMATICS. I am not addicted, nor have I been, to anything. I don’t think it ‘runs in your genes’. I think that’s a scare tactic.
Post # 15
I think genes are just a big factor in addiction, they dont say that you will be an addict but it predisposes you. Other things trigger it. So if you have a family history of alcoholism and your in a stable environment your less likely to develop it but if you have the same family history and have other factors (abuse, stress, traumatic event, etc) then you are more likely than an average person to turn to an addiction. Its like other mental illnesses like depression, eating disorders ect.
Also when people say “genes” its more a set of personality characteristic, the way your brain is wired and brain chemistry. The Addiction can come out in the form of another mental illness or self harm behaviour.
And, yes, I do believe that for me there is a huge link, and its something I need to be very careful of.
Post # 16
I am a child of two addicts. My father is an alcoholic, but I was never around him so I wasn’t subjected to seeing him. My mother is an alcoholic and drug addict. I started drinking when I was 14 because my mother allowed me. In fact, she was the first person to hand me a drink and a joint. I drank a lot until I was 21 (met FI actually) and I completely stopped. I realized that if I ever want to make our relationship work and have good things come my way, then I need to stop. I drink once in awhile, but nothing like I used to and nearly not as much. It’s gotten to the point where my best friend vodka makes my throat and stomach burn. I guess I mentally made myself hate it. There are days where I crave a drink and don’t give a crap anymore, but I resist.
Luckily FI is pretty straightedge when it comes to drinking and drugs so no worries there. His father was a major drug addict though but has cleaned up.