Hereditary or is that just another excuse? - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hereditary or is that just another excuse?


Didn't want to hijack another thread but it seems to me that I'm not alone where my drinking is out of control when I drink by myself.

Maybe it's boredom?

I seem to have more control and even abstinence when I'm in a group. Even when in a group of drinkers .

I'm always assumed as the designated driver but no sooner I get home I'm having a wine.

Now my brother has lost his license again so much so he has been ordered by the courts to go to therapy and when he eventually he gets his license he'll have to have a breathalyzer fitted to his vehicle. I saw him yesterday, I felt so sad, he hardly got any teeth, looks 20 years older than he should and still drinking. He's 4 years younger than me. I can't help him as he still thinks he can control this.

I have read that alcoholism can be genetic. My daughter drinks with her friends and has had several blackouts, lately. I'm really scared for her and I've had a talk to her.

I don't remember my father drinking much and my mother never drank at all. But apparently it can skip generations.

I'm trying to make today my first day again. I've got a new plan.

Thanks all for listening and the comments help.

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Old 02-28-2018, 05:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi James - let me put it this way - alcoholism is rife on my mothers side - but she rarely drinks.

Me my dad and my siblings have all beenn drinkers, My sister, like my mum drinks rarely, and my brother drank heavily as a young man but now, like my Dad always has been, he's well within the normal spectrum.

I was an alcoholic - but I stopped drinking.

Heredity may play a part in some cases - but it's no barrier at all to stopping drinking IMHO

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Old 02-28-2018, 06:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is just a fact for me. I was born that way, and there is no getting away from it. If the experience of millions of others over the last few thousand years is anything to go by, we will all try to find a way around it and continue drinking. Chasing that delusion into the gates of insanity or death.

There is no cure that will make us like other people. If you caught the genetic bullet, then there is only one way to survive, and that is complete abstinence. Far from being an excuse which mitigates our behaviour, the genetic factor points to what must be done to recover. It is not a justification or an easy way out.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi, James.
From what I have read, there are a few factors that can lead to dependence.
Genetic predisposition is one of them.
If there is a lot of alcohol dependence and addiction in your family, I would pay attention to that.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was also always the one drinking the least of the group, which is why people were surprised when I quit, I guess. They saw the two or three I would have while out; the six I'd drink alone when I got home were less obvious.

It does seem to run in the blood, so to speak, though I'd consider heredity to be an excuse only if you use it to avoid fixing the problem.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't know if it's nature or nurture, but I know it can be beat. I took the MMPI years ago and it indicated an addictive personality. I'm the only alcoholic in my family, that I know of.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm the only alcoholic in my immediate family. However, I think addiction takes many forms. My older sister has self-harmed since middle school. She is almost 40 and still does it at times. It gives her a physical release that makes her feel better emotionally. Before an alcoholic, which never took place until my 30s and after my child, I was VERY regimented with weight/exercise. I weighed almost 50 lbs. less than I do now (god I miss it) and obsessed at times. It was never a full blown disorder, but I definitely get the control and obsessive part.

Unfortunately I decided to NGAF and ate/drank myself so I'm a disgusting blob now. I don't recommend it. Work in progress.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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whether its hereditary or not, there is a solution.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hello, James. I do believe there is a genetic component to alcoholism. There are many alcoholics on both sides of my family; my father was an alcoholic but my mom never drank, even though most members of her family did--a lot. The important thing is that we can stop drinking and change our lives for the better--there is a solution. It's good that you have a plan, and I wish you all the best on your sober journey.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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What Dee and Gottalife said. And, what plan are you working? Mine is AA and it's free - rehab wasn't an option since my parents wouldn't pay for it (after all I had put them through). There are others people use with success- the key is having an active plan and wanting to be sober more than you want to drink.

I believe that genetics are a factor- it's certainly rife on my mother's side- but I also believe choices about our drinking factor in, some of us have other mental health issues, and.....so on. It also doesn't matter, because I'm a straight up alcoholic.

Lastly- I'd venture that it's best to focus on you (me), despite loving your brother and daughter and worrying about them. YOUR drinking is what should be your top concern.

Hope to see you here.
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Old 03-01-2018, 03:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I was extremely unlucky in that addiction runs in BOTH sides of my family. But I'm positive that environmental factors growing up played a part too.

But my genetics and upbringing are both factors that I have no control over. I *do* have control of my recovery, and putting it above all else in my life - today and moving forward.

I have one child and although he's only 4, I do worry about his future. All I can do for now is be a role model, and that means ensuring that I'm not engaging in behaviours that are unhealthy and self-defeating.

Anyhoo. It's good to see you here, James. Stick around for a while.
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Old 03-01-2018, 04:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Genetics is the top reason with environment being the 2nd, though many can be alcoholics pretty much out of nowhere.
That is a bad sign with your daughter as I'm sure she's grown up seeing you drunk her entire life, and looks at excesses drinking as a normal thing to do because of this. I would do everything you can to put the bottle down for good not just for yourself, but for your kid. You for sure don't want them to be another to go down the dark path of alcoholism.
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Old 03-01-2018, 05:04 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I've never seen my dad drunk.
He is nearly 80 and i'm 44.

I always thought it was because he did not like alcohol.
It turns out he was petrified about turning into a drunk like his father.
He was never going to give alcohol the chance to get a firm grip on him.

My mum berated my alcoholic Grandad.
When we were younger, she called him names, humiliated him, told anyone and everybody the 'supposed' misery he caused.

I can never speak to my mum after 8pm on an evening now.
She is drunk and slurs her words and mixes her booze with tablets.
To me (and the rest of my family) its like nails down a blackboard and we all instantly cut short the phone call. Sometimes we just hang up. She has no history of addiction on er side of the family.

To me it shows that

1. Some of us are dealt bad genetics.
2. You can ALWAYS work on what you are dealt with.

I remember coming here and saying how unfair it was that this could be a genetic, family condition.
It was why me? Why not my brother or sister?

I needed a massive wake up call.
I was being selfish, self pitying and pathetic.

Some genetic diseases are devastating - sickle cell, Marfan, Duchene, cystic fibrosis, fragile X, Tay Sachs, Huntingdon's disease.
They are a truly a death sentence with limited quality of life.

I won't say I am lucky if I have inherited addiction, but there are people who are dealt with far worse than me.
I can work on me.
I can improve on me.
I can manage my illness.
I can have a long and productive life.
I can not follow the path I was meant to.
Other people with diseases above have no choice but to.

This is all said and written with kindness.

I wish you the best xx
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:08 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Having an alcoholic or heavy drinking parent is definitely a factor but I don't think it has been conclusively determined how much is genetic inheritance and how much is is just the normalisation of heavy alcohol use. My parents were heavy drinkers but none of either of their families were. Not much we can do about that unfortunately except search for the best way for us to quit.

All the best to you and your daughter.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:15 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Addiction runs in my family,but I don't care or even think about it anymore. My brother doesn't have a drinking problem(that I know of), I do/did. Once I got beyond the trying to 'solve it' so I could drink 'normal' i.e accepted the fact that I can't drink, my recovery became easier. The trying to fit a square block into a round hole thing kept me drinking.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:19 AM   #16 (permalink)
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For me, spending time figuring out how much heredity, genetics, or environment played a factor in my alcoholism, was time taken away from working on the solution.

Bottom line, I am an alcoholic. Now what am going to do with that information going forward?
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:32 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think it is both nature and nurture. In my case, my Mom's side is full of alcoholics. I grew up in an environment where drinking was normal behavior, so those two factors probably contributed to my outcome.

That being said, I was still in control of my outcome and allowed it to happen. I knew a long time ago that I drank in a different way then most everyone but choose to ignore it.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:33 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Lots of good comments here, and to your original question, it is indeed just another excuse. I too desparately tried to find out why i am an alcoholic. I tried every form of moderation known to man and made some of my own up.

Bottom line, I wanted to know why so I could fix it and start drinking normally again. It was not until I finally accepted that I simply AM an alcoholic that I could move forward and learn how to live my life without alcohol. You don't even need to use the term "alcoholic" if you don't want to, but I feel you do need to accept that there is something unchangeable about you that will never allow you to drink alchol without severe repercussions. And why I am that way is not relevant - I simply am and will always be that way.
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:46 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah, both sides of my parents family were riddled with alcoholics. But not my mother and not any of my 3 siblings. But I don't think that matters.

I was the same,drank alone, haven't drank in social situations for years.
I think, for me, I get smashed when drinking alone, because I drink at my own speed (fast) and because I didn't interact with anyone while drinking alone, I couldn't judge how drunk I was getting (usually very) until I suddenly woke up wherever I'd passed out, hours later.

But to me, drinking is a personal choice. There is no urge to drink so strong, that you cannot choose to over-rule it.
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Old 03-01-2018, 02:02 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I have also noticed that alcoholics, including myself, share many character traits, which adds to the heredity debate.

Self centered
Egotistical
takes things very personally
overly sensitive
internalization of emotions
A type personality

Just my .02 but I think heredity does play a role in the development of alcoholism
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