A Long Line of Alcoholics

My 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.
WittyOne WittyOne
46-50, F
4 Responses May 24, 2007

missdiana-I tried to send you a private message but could not.<br />
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What I wanted to say to you is, take care of yourself!<br />
You can not make your father stop drinking, and you don't want to go down that path.<br />
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I would encourage you to join a group like ALATEEN or ALANON, you will find support and strength through people who have been, or are, in a situation like yours.<br />
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Congrats to your mom for stopping, but just "not drinking" is often not enough. Good Luck<br />
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same story for me only im 13 :) my moms quit. but my dad s a functioning alcoholic. and it all throughout my family history. my dad has liver problems. right now hes in Afghanistan working as a civilian contractor. and is only allowed 2 beer a month. but as soon as he comes home on leave the first trip is the one to the local lcbo. he starts off by only drinking a little the before we know hes full out drunk. hes gone to see Councillor. mainly because we want him to. but he never tells the truth. he tells them what they want to hear. hes been drinking since he was 14.

I agree that the best way to avoid a problem with drugs or alcohol is to avoid it altogether. Alcoholism runs in my family on both sides. I do drink and sometimes I overdo it but I try to be careful. I actually have all our hard liquor locked up and I don't know the combo. If I come home after a bad day I would love a stiff drink. I mostly worry about when my kids move out because then I won't have the same inhibitions to be careful as I do now.

My first drinking experience, at 14, was on a camping trip with my older cousins and involved vodka and orange juice. To this day I hate vodka, and orange juice doesn't thrill me either.<br />
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I think an advantage I have is self-control has always been important to me, and there is no way to feel completely in control of yourself when you are drunk.