If your parents were alcoholics

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2008
If your parents were alcoholics
Wed, 05-01-2013 - 9:55am

Did it influence you in any way to drink or not to drink? Why?

Both my parents are alcoholics and I chose not to drink. I didn't want my life to revolve around alcohol. On the other hand, my siblings drink and one of my brothers is an alcoholic. It is so odd how we chose such different paths yet were raised in the same household.


Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 05-01-2013 - 10:47am

I think it really depends on your personality also.  My father drank quite a bit growing up, and my middle brother and I drink on occassion, but not much.  My youngest brother who doesn't remember much of it, doesn't drink at all, but that's just his personality. I remember a lot of my dad's alcoholic outbursts as a child, so that influenced me to carefully watch my alcohol intake and it definitely turned me off of it when I was younger.

My husband's parents, his dad, step mom and mom were all alcoholics.  His mother still is into alcohol and drugs, his dad and step mom have been sober for about 15ish years.  My husband didn't touch alcohol til he was a couple years into college and while he has no interaction with his mother because of her alcohol issues, he struggles binge drinking and alcoholism now and in counseling.  his older brother however doesn't touch alcohol at all and never has.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-08-2002
Tue, 07-09-2013 - 2:58pm

I didnt know any statistics when I started drinking, and after I started drinking...I didnt care.  What I have learned since getting sober was that children who have one parent addicted to alcohol has a 50% chance of becoming an alcoholic and if both parents are alcoholics, the child now has a 90% chance of becoming an alcoholic.  Sometimes these facts will skip a generation.  I do not know if it is genetic or that the child makes a conscience choice to not drink.  My grandfather was an alcoholic.  He had 4 children.  Of the three girls, none of them drank...they were raised by him in the highlight of his drinking.  He had one boy...that boy was born after the girls were grown with children of their own.  My grandfather quit drinking thru his church when his boy was very young and I dont think he ever remembers seeing his father drunk.  My uncle did not drink till he joined the Marines....and started out with having a few with friends on base.  He got the taste...as my aunts would say...and he became a raging alcoholic and died from this disease.  Of all my grandfathers grandchildren, I am the only one that became alcoholic...I caught the bullet.  BUT....from the greatgrandchildren, there are 7 of them, my girls encluded, 4 were in treatment before they turned 18.  So....just some history on how the disease can and does pass along.  My family seems to be kind of typical of alcoholic ancesters....I dont really know the absolute answer, but I have an opinion.  If I never picked up a drink in the first place, I would not have become alcoholic.  My thinking is a bit off when it comes to rationalization.  I was a "rebel" so if someone told me I couldnt, I would prove I could.  That was how I started drinking.  Once I started, I didnt think it was so bad.  I was too close to see the progression from a few drinks to getting loaded every day.  I really thought I could quit any time I chose...until I chose and it didnt work.  Not until that moment did I understand the hold alcohol could take on a person.  I didnt know my grandfather when he was drinking...but I think the tendency to drink came from this man and has passed to some of this decendents.  So, how do we stop this cycle?  Good question....that has been debated by many people with more knowledge than I have, but, for me, the only answer was that after I knew I was in trouble internally because of alcohol, AA showed me a way to stop...and it has been working for a few years now.  Preventative?  I dont know.  Solution to the drink problem? 12 steps....that is my experience.  First I had to be willing to do it...then I had to do it.  Simple.....but ohhh soooo hard. 

Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP