A Long Line of AlcoholicsMy family history, more than anything, convinces me that genetics has a strong influence on what we do in life. It doesn't preordain our path, but it may make it much harder to choose a different path.
My father's father and grandparents were alcoholics. My father started drinking at a very young age, he joined the military at age 17. The military of the 60's and 70's did nothing to dissuade their members use of alcohol. My father's favorite haunt was the Chief Petty Officer's Club, a bar.
Most of his 21 year military career he was a "functioning" alcoholic. He went to work, did his job, but spent many of his days off drinking non-stop, especially the last 5 years of his career.
Both my paternal and maternal grandfathers were alcoholics who had stopped drinking by the time I was born. I grew up thinking that my dad would be reaching whatever point they had reached, and would be quitting...he never did. He was 54 when he died from the effects of drinking.
Except for a couple of years as a teenager partying with friends, I have steered clear of doing much drinking. I have never kept alcohol around the house, because I know my family has the alcoholic gene.
I have 22 and 24 year old sons, I have educated them about our family history and the dangers of someone with our gene pool drinking. They both drink on occasion, but I am keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes open, that it doesn't get out of control.
I use to hate when my parents would go out for dinner and leave us with a sitter, because 9 times out of 10, they would come home fighting with one or both of them being inebriated.
I moved out of my parent's home before I turned 18, I am now 46 years old. They divorced a year later. I forgave my dad a long time ago for the effects his drinking had on our family. I never used my childhood experiences as an excuse to whine or curl up in a corner, but I know there are plenty of people who had more traumatic experiences than I did.
My advice to anyone with alcoholism in the family is to avoid drugs and alcohol as much as possible and be ever vigilant about your behavior patterns.