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Old 07-27-2009, 10:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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alcoholism/personality traits inherited?

I come from a long line of alcohoics, and developed the problem myself as well. My mom had her bout with it, quit long before i was born, my natural father (who i rarely was around untill i was 4) was an extreme alcoholoic , but i was only around him a couple of times while he was drinking, but i was so young, i barely remember it. While growing up my mom and my stepdad rarely drank my mom had a a problem, but she quit long before i was born.. though my stepdad was very strict, i was never exposed to any violence, or any problems of any kind. I had a very fortunate childhood, but started drinking at 14 and was an alcoholic from that first sip, i just know it.
My mom has told me several times while growing up that i have alot of my natural fathers personality, even though i was never around him, and i find this so interesting.
so my question is do you think that it is possible to inherit these traits from birth?
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sure it's possible, but I grew up with my birth parents, both alcoholics, so everything I learned was a direct result of watching their relationship.

Mom was a great codie, caretaker, enabler, and alcoholic. She was a stay at home mom and took it seriously. In spite of the mental and verbal abuse my Dad heaped on her, she stuck with it to take care of her boys, and drank her way through the pain. She's gone now, I wish I'd known about recovery prior to her death so I could understand what she was going through.

Dad was a classic alcoholic, always high-functioning. Took good care of his family, but when it came to marriage he knew how to slam doors, throw dishes, he took mental and verbal abuse to an art form. The day after a big fight he'd be apologetic and it would begin all over again.

Most of the traits I learned from my parents are listed in CoDA's "Patterns And Characteristics Of Codependency". Everything I know about relationships I learned from my parents. I burned through quite a few dysfunctional relationships and marriages with women who struggled with their own addictions. Thankfully, there are programs like AA and CoDA to help me understand where I've come from.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ah the ol' nature vs nurture debate.

No one's quite figured that out yet, but I'm sure it's partially possible.

I grew up in foster care, I have no idea who my parents were, or what traits I may have inherited from them. I don't care. MY responsibility is to address what I know now about myself. I have to move forward, and live my life addressing ME, not my history, not epidemiology of any issues I have. I live the best I can. I can't carry a crutch to rationalize addiction or personality issues. I get help, I get therapy, I live honestly and with good intention. It's all I can do.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:48 AM   #4 (permalink)

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I was raised in a home where the 'isms' of alcoholism were present, while one or both parents 'may' have drank alcoholically. I've learned that alcoholism is genetic, and that alcohol in and of itself does not need to be a factor.

Many mood disorders and mental illness' are also genetic. There is a history of both alcoholism and mental illness in my family - it seems I won the jackpot.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Certainly quite possible. Then as humans are prone to doing it all gets multiplied with every generation
Standing in a church makes you no more of a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The past is a strange place. They do things differently there.
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that personality traits are inherited... some may be from nurture, but not all...

I view alcoholism as a really problematic personality trait.

My dad was alcoholic.. in AA 24 years before he passed... My brother is in AA 23 years... So many personality traits of mine are exactly like my dad's... some people think my brother and I are twins...

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Old 07-27-2009, 11:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have alcoholism on both sides of my family, and I can relate. It seems that I was almost "craving" my first drink when I was 13 or so. I think that's why it's been so hard on me going sober now, but aside from being a "mental case", I'm ok.........
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
I was raised in a home where the 'isms' of alcoholism were present, while one or both parents 'may' have drank alcoholically. I've learned that alcoholism is genetic, and that alcohol in and of itself does not need to be a factor.

Many mood disorders and mental illness' are also genetic. There is a history of both alcoholism and mental illness in my family - it seems I won the jackpot.
me too, and i feel really sorry for my kids
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:52 PM   #9 (permalink)

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That's the good news, though. We get to stop the cycle. I don't have to perpetuate the cycle of mental illness and active addiction because I choose to recover today. I'm honest with my daughter about both and am teaching her that it's okay and healthy to take care of these two important aspects of myself.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There are many heavy drinkers/alcoholics on both sides of my family, including my dad and his dad.

When my dad sobered up, he got his masters and was a drug/alcohol rehab counselor for 25 years.

Then again, I was adopted at birth - and I'm referring to my adoptive family. So figure that one out. I dare you.
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Wow, I don't really know but I've heard that it genetically skips a generation for God only knows what reason. It fits for me as my maternal Grandfather was a alcoholic and I take after him alot. My parents never got drunk in front of me and would have a bottle of wine in the Fridge for like six months so they aren't alkies. In addition, my younger brother is not.
"The chains of alcohol are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken"
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Old 07-27-2009, 01:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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the research of the genetic factor is still being explored
as far as I know...it's not absolute fact.

It's important to know the recessive gene plays a part too.

5 generations of my family only had 1
excessive drinker... who quit ueing his religion...
.until my only sibling and
I became alcoholics. We both quit years ago
with God and AA....

Anyway....it matters not how you became an alcoholic
you too can quit and enjoy a sober healthy life.

Blessings to you and your family
Each Day Sober Is A Victory!!
Joy In AA Recovery!

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Old 07-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I like this quote: "These genes are for risk, not for destiny," stresses Dr. Enoch Gordis, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2007)

Last edited by Mattcake; 07-27-2009 at 01:26 PM. Reason: added source
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:20 PM   #14 (permalink)
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All the research I've read seems to indicate a genetic facdtor can be involved in alcoholism. You have to remember, though, that there is a difference between family history and genetics. Family history of alcoholism involves not only a genetic factor but also an alcoholic home enviroment and all the things that that entails. And when genetic factors are discussed, it usually concentrates on a predisposition toward alcoholism rather than a certainty that one will be an alcoholic if they have the right genes.

I know that SR hates it when I start talking probabilities, but the stuff I've read points to the fact that around 60% of alcoholics have a family history of the disease. That doesn't mean, however, that if you have a family history of the disease, you'll become an alcoholic, too. It just means that you'll be more predisposed to becoming one.

If you want to discuss genetics from a national/racial perspective, then we see that the French have the highest rate of alcoholism, while the Italians have a much lower rate. Native Americans are up there, but orientals aren't. (Some orientals seem to have a gene that causes an adverse physical reaction to alcohol). And of course the Irish, God bless 'em, are way up there. The list goes on.

So do genes predict whether or not you're predisposed to alcoholism? To a certain extent, yes. But bear in mind that while 60% of alcoholics have a family history/genetic tie to the disaese, 40% don't. I have no family history but turned out to be a screaming, hard core drunk.

But in the long run, who cares? Scientists, maybe. I'm more concerned with what I'm doing about the disease than how I came to have it. As to inheriting personality traits personality traits, I have no idea.
God, Please set aside all I think I know about myself, my disease, the Big Book, the 12 Steps, the Program, the people in the fellowship, spiritual terms, and especially about you God so I may have an open mind and a new experience with these things. Amen
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I know the researchers and scientists haven't found the "X factor" in the genes yet, however, I do believe that there is something there, more so in some families than othes.

I did see something that helped me to believe that. One of my Sponsor's other sponsees that I became close to, who had a few years on me both age wise and sobriety wise, was an 'identical twin.' Both of which were given up at birth for adoption, to two different homes.

D was in her fifties when she found her sister, actually living only about 20 miles away from her. Turns out her sister was also an alcoholic, grew up in a similar type of home where drinking was only on special occasions maybe once or twice a year. When they started comparing their lives, both sisters started drinking about the same time, their drinking progressed about the same way, and they got sober within 2 days of each other same year. And now, they both have Alzheimer's.

I am inclined to believe that addiction can be partly hereditary. My own sister, who is younger than me by 11 years, saw what it did to me and chose not to drink at all. She married a fellow who also came from a long line of alcoholics, and their children are very aware of the possibilities of becoming addicted and are very watchful of themselves. One, who became a M.D. is not in 'private practice' but chose the 'research route' instead. Yes, he is one of those looking for the "X factor" in the genes.

Today, I find it interesting, however I am more concerned about Living Sober. I found recovery and that is where I want to stay, lol

Doesn't matter 'why' I am an alcoholic, just matters that I did find recovery and am having a life I never dreamed was possible.


Love and hugs,

God Bless You All As You Trudge The Road
Of Happy Destiny (especially when you are
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Sobriety: AA June 7, 1981
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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so my question is do you think that it is possible to inherit these traits from birth?
9-14-08 The rest of my day starts right now
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:08 PM   #17 (permalink)

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I grew up not knowing my biological father at all...my mother and father were light drinkers but like someone else mentioned, I swear at the age of 13 I was craving booze and from then on out I was hooked...It wasn't until a year ago that I got a call from my half brother who told me my biological father was in a coma and asked if I wanted to see him before he died. I went. My half brother told me he had been an alcoholic but had quit the year I was born. He also said, "My father told me to tell you it's not too late for you". I was APPALLED! How dare he say that to me, he didn't even know me...I was actually appalled because he was right and I was ashamed. I also found out that I had a half brother die from cirrhosis from alcohol abuse...I also have 4 sisters....one full blood, 3 half and they all have drinking problems...so I dunno.....
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Yes. I was adopted at 2.5. I come from a long line of people with alcoholism/addiction and mental illness (birthfamily). My adoptive father is an alcoholic who isn't drinking right now but is not in recovery (medical issues). He began to drink alcoholically when he was in his mid 30's which surprisingly is when I did also. Opiods are my DOC but I started with drinking.
I am so thankful for my sobriety

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Para acceptar las cosas que no puedo cambiar
La fuerza para cambiar las que si puedo
y la Sabidura para reconocer la diferencia
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