Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Alcohol Addiction: Genetic or Learned Behavior?

Being the parent to several children, one of the things we've discussed at great length has been the avoidance of illegal drug use and its abuse, as well as the use and abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs. As they each come of age our discussions are revisited, especially since they have biological fathers with different tolerances for alcohol.

My eldest children's father used and abused both drugs and alcohol. The youngest children's father neither abused drugs, nor drank in excess to my knowledge. Our children did notice he had not only started smoking for the first time in his life at age 39, but he had also picked up more frequent alcohol consumption. Since we were no longer together, I cannot be sure how any excess drinking would affect his behavior, nor how his genetic makeup would effect a dependency on alcohol.

While I can see my first ex-husband spending countless hours in an alcohol rehab for substance abuse, I wouldn't foresee that happening with the second ex-husband; that is unless he learns to be dependent upon it for comfort. My reasoning comes from having spent years with each. While one drank to disguise the aroma of marijuana or to get a buzz (which usually required more than a six pack), his abuse eventually lead to the use of harder drugs. The other drank moderately and only on social occasions, until our separation when the children would talk about his drinking habits during visits which were new to all of us.

Consequently, we all have agreed that since there might be a predisposition for alcohol dependency for some of our children, that all of them would do well to be responsible when deciding to consume alcohol as they reach that legal age of 21. After all, what is the purpose in getting drunk just to get passed the bad taste one has for the drink? Isn't it better to enjoy with moderation?

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