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Aster's avatar

Does every family have at least one alcoholic?

Asked by Aster (18860points) 3 months ago

I used to think alcoholics were only in the movies but in real life they would have to have a couple drinks at 5pm. But now I’m learning about it breaking up marriages, causing a liver to lose most of it’s volume, causing people to pass out in public and to just die. Now I know at least one drinker whose body feels like it’s surrounded by a layer of water which is edema.
Do you think there’s one in every family? Even if you have to go to cousins or inlaws?

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9 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

No, not in my family or extended family. We have had our share of smokers (including cancer deaths), a suicide about 30 years ago (2nd cousin), and one out-and-out schizophrenic, but thankfully no alcoholics.

I’m talking about all the way to second cousin on both sides.

I wonder if ethnicity/heritage plays a role. All European and Eastern European Jews.

zenvelo's avatar

No, most families do not have an alcoholic.

But a single alcoholic’s behavior can affect , on average, ten other people.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have a lot. Mom, dad, cousins far and wide. Skipped me, I dont really like the taste much tbh.
Many of my friends also have at least one, usually a mother or father, or sibling.

Demosthenes's avatar

My family doesn’t have one that I know of. It’s had several chain-smokers, though. We tend to get our drinking done in our youth and don’t develop alcoholism. Both of my parents liked to party in their 20s, but now, in their 60s, they very rarely drink.

But my family is relatively small compared to many.

JLeslie's avatar


I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning, but my family is mostly Jewish, and alcoholism is statistically less likely in Jewish people than many other groups. Not immune though, it’s not that it doesn’t exist at all among Jews.

Most Jews I know don’t grow up with adults drinking regularly, not even regularly at parties. So, they don’t have that example, children don’t relate it to adulthood, and I read recently Jews might have something protective genetically from alcoholism.

My dad for the last ten or fifteen years was drinking a glass of wine in the evening, and I really didn’t like it. He was convinced it was good for his health. Recently he became convinced it might be bad, and so he stopped. I’m really glad. He seems to have stopped with no problems. It a few months now. I do think it was a bad habit when he was doing it, maybe some might call it an addiction? Probably not. I just found it so odd that anyone in my family would drink regurlarly.

My dad was a smoker for about 20 years. My aunt was a big time smoker, she loved it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Questions like this make my head pound. This time it’s about the word “family”. I mean anyone realizes that if you extend “family” far enough you are guaranteed an alcoholic. In my case, it was my mom’s sister, my wonderful aunt. But the answer to the question as it stands must be a definitive yes.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Why guaranteed? Some families just don’t drink, or only drink on occasion. A lot of jellies don’t drink, we’ve had Q’s where a lot of jellies have said they don’t drink, I bet a portion of the jellies who don’t come from families that don’t.

My husband’s family only has one alcoholic that I know of, and he is family by marriage. Married to my MIL’s sister, and I don’t even know for sure he’s an alcoholic, I met him once, but I got the impression. His mom has 9 sisters and brothers, his dad has 7. None of the blood related family members drink a lot, many barely drink at all, or not at all.

When we went on our first date I ordered a coke no ice and so did he (partly why I knew he was the one ~) and he declared, “an American who doesn’t drink?” He was glad I didn’t drink, because he usually doesn’t either. There’s a lot of us around actually.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie My problem is with the word “family”. It’s the buggery that arises with loose general definitions. You can refine the word down to immediate or extended family, but even then you would have a tough time convincing any 3 of us on where the borders between the 2 begin or end.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Nuclear family is pretty well defined, but I agree that extedended family is much harder. Each person answering the question might define it differently. Do I count my husband’s uncle by marriage? I don’t, some might.

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