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Frenchfry's avatar

Do you have alcoholics in your family? Do you drink or not?

Asked by Frenchfry (7564points) August 6th, 2010

My father was a alcoholic. Some people say it runs in the family. It is a disease. Do you believe it is a disease? Do you believe it is hereditary? I drink but not heavily. I have gotten drunk. a time or two. I don’t drink everyday.

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28 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think the tendency toward alcoholism is genetic. My brother is. My maternal uncle was. My father was a heavy social drinker.

filmfann's avatar

Both my grandfathers were terrible alcoholics. My mother’s father was a railroad tramp for most of his life. My father’s father was, let’s just say, an embarassment.
I don’t drink much, but I have a glass of wine or a beer every day. It doesn’t have the hold on me it had on them.

Aster's avatar

I had two that were and they both died. I think it’s environmental with a genetic component and , with time, have lost interest in it. I drink socially, and since I’m not sociable, it cuts it down to 2–3 drinks per year. lol The definition of “alcoholic” has changed over the decades. It used to be you had to be laying in a gutter passed out. Now it’s if you must have a cocktail before dinner you’re an alcoholic. Drums up business for the therapists.

Incinerator's avatar

My brother is and an uncle was, but I only drink on rare occations. If it is genetic, maybe it skipped me. My bother has a serious drinking problem but won’t get help. “I can quit any time I want to. I just don’t want to right now.” It’s a joke to him.

meagan's avatar

My father is an alcoholic. I do have an “addictive personality”, but it doesn’t apply to smoking or drinking. I can quit smoking cold turkey, and I’m not particularly fond of alcohol. So I don’t think that I’m at risk.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Our paternal grandfather was an alcoholic. Maybe that is why he married a woman whose family owned a brewery in Pa. Neither of their children were alcoholics, but their daughter (our aunt) married one, and produced one child that is an alcoholic, one who only drinks socially and one that is a teetotaler.

I’d like to hear the opinions of our British Jellies. Alcohol consumption seems to be much more relaxed and common there.

aprilsimnel's avatar

No, no alcoholics in my family. They’ve got enough to deal with without adding alcohol to the mix.

I drink, but maybe 3 glasses of alcohol in any form in a given week.

gailcalled's avatar

No alcoholics that I have ever heard about. My paternal grandfather drank a shotglass of schnaps daily for breakfast and introduced my 12 yr. old cousin to beer. But gramps lived in an unheated house in a Lithuanian schtetl until he was 18. (And great-gramps owned and ran a brewery.)

Immigrant Jews and their descendants tend to be over-eaters. Every scrap matters. We are all members of the clean-plate-club.

I have probably had the equivalent of one beer and one bottle of hard liquor during my adult life. And this past year several sips of red wine.

misstrikcy's avatar

My dad is an alcoholic. So is my sister.

When I was a teen I did binge drink a lot but gave up drinking in my mid-twenties. I couldn’t handle it. I would either end up getting angry or depressed and was always chundering somewhere.
I hated feeling out of my control..
I didn’t drink for years afterwards, but now i’m in my late 30’s I’ve started to enjoy the odd glass of wine when I get home on a Friday night.

I suppose it is a disease… but I don’t beleive it is hereditory, despite two people in my family being afflicted. I beleive some people are more pre-disposed to ‘weakness’ than others..

wundayatta's avatar

There is both a genetic and environmental component with alcoholism. It seems that stresses of many kinds can lead people to “self-medicate,” often with alcohol. If such a person also has a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism, you’ve got a volatile mix.

There are other entryways to alcoholism, as well. Social drinking is one of those.

I believe there is an underlying pain that leads people to pick up a drink in the first place. It could be depression or loneliness or horniness or any number of other things.

Some people say you have to treat the alcoholism first, and then you can treat the underlying causes. Some think you have to work on both at once and others think that is not possible.

As far as treatment is concerned, I don’t think it matters whether there is a genetic component or not. Not yet, anyway. Maybe medicine will find drugs that can adjust the impact of the genes that create the predisposition, but I don’t believe there will ever be a drug for the environmental component. Well, not in my life time, anyway.

That means that alcoholics have to attend to the pain or stress that originally caused them to turn to booze. Of course there are various support groups for this—primarily 12 step groups, but also a variety of others. There is also individual therapy.

I fear that too many alcoholics will see the genetic component and say, “oh, it’s genetic. There’s nothing I can do about it.” They will conveniently forget about the stress component, and never deal with the underlying reason why they picked up the drink in the first place.

gailcalled's avatar

Here is the owner of the brewery in Lithuania (my great-grandfather). I don’t know how much he drank, but he lived well into his nineties.

CherrySempai's avatar

My grandpa is an alcoholic, and he lives with us. I personally do not drink (besides the few times for sorority initiation), and do not plan to drink more than fruity drinks during weekends away with my friends.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t think we have any alcoholics in the family, I have an aunt (not a blood relation though) who is a heavy drinker but I wouldn’t go as far as saying she is an alcoholic. I drink very little, maybe one glass of something every couple of months. I don’t like the taste of most alcohol.

downtide's avatar

I think a tendency to addiction is hereditary. There are no alcoholics in my family. I do drink, but moderately.

Frenchfry's avatar

@gailcalled living till his nineties aint bad. considering all the drinking

downtide's avatar

I knew a woman (from Scotland) who insisted that a tot of whisky before bed every single night was good for her. I think she was right – she lived to be 94.

NaturallyMe's avatar

No i’m not one and i drink alcohol very seldom and sparingly. My dad’s dad may have been a slight alcoholic, but other than that, nobody else in our family is.
I know they say alcholism is a disease, but i find that weird, since this disease didn’t exist before the invent of alcohol. Maybe it’s just the addictive trait that’s genetic or something.

Berserker's avatar

Both my parents were alcoholics. As far as I know, my mom still is. My grandpa was, so was my uncle and one of my aunts. I am too.
As already said, the tendency for alcoholism may be genetic, or whatever psychological mindrframe some people share may easier succumb to alcoholism. I really don’t know though, as there are different kinds of drinkers, ’‘functional’’ and chronic for example, and people may become alcoholics for several different reasons. I guess some hereditary branches can be weak to certain triggers.
I’m curious to know, even if it’s off topic, if different kinds of addictions can be genetic. (Gambling, drugs, so forth.)

tinyfaery's avatar

There are alcoholics on both sides of my family and I very rarely drink. I don’t like the taste and I don’t like the buzz.

ducky_dnl's avatar

My brother and dad are both alcoholics. I have only drank once..and I hated the taste of it. I don’t think I’ll ever like it.

pearls's avatar

The only person in my family who was an alcoholic were my grandfathers. I usually have a glass of wine each night when I get home from work. I don’t guzzle it down, but sip on it for about an hour.

jerv's avatar

My aunt drank her way to a liver transplant and then drank her way through her second liver. Does that count?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@jerv Was she ever sober? Usually they don’t give you a liver if you’re still drinking.

jerv's avatar

@Dr_Dredd If its an uncommon blood type and they don’t have any other compatible recipients nearby, then things are a little different.

Of course, she was supposed to quit drinking. And for the first year, she only drank near-beer… by the case.

gailcalled's avatar

Retraction: Two of my male first cousins are heavy drinkers; they both had very bad fathering..indiffence or emotional neglect.

Having my paternal grandfather introduce them to beer and bartending when they were 12, was, in hindsight, not a very good idea.

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