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Plunged into alcoholism

Updated on July 5, 2011

Plunged into alcoholism

Plunged Into Alcoholism

There are some children of alcoholic parents that cope with and rise above this lifestyle that they have been plunged into. Some of these children grow up to be productive citizens and some become alcoholics without any hope, and it is hard to figure why this happens. The answer lies somewhere in the extensive research that has been done in this area and with each individual to find his or her medium for coping with coming from a family of alcoholics. Children, who are at risk, do rise above the stigma and statistics that are pushing them in a course that seems inevitable. Still others accept the life that they have been brought up in, with no alternative but to become alcoholics themselves.

Alcoholism is an addiction, as we all know, and it develops when a person indulges in the consumption of alcohol. In 1991, the American Medical Association declared alcoholism as a disease that can be fatal if not cured in time. A frequent question is often asked, “Is Alcoholism hereditary?” Extensive research has been conducted to try to figure out this age old question. This research has found that children who are born to alcoholics are more prone to alcoholism than others, but it is not necessary that these children will definitely become alcoholics. Other than genetics, there are other factors that need to be factored in, such as a person’s nature, family background, but mostly it is that it depends on a person’s perception on life and how they fit into it. While genetics does have its place in a person gravitating toward alcoholism, studies of children that were adopted, or in the case of twins, have shown that it is not the final answer. Children can go either way, even when both parents and siblings have all gone down the road to alcoholism.

This leads to the how and why of this question, why do some children at risk do fine and some fall into the same trap as their parents? Many adult children of alcoholics that have been interviewed in various studies and have shown that many of them see the destruction of this disease and the problems it causes. This empowers them make an extra effort to rise above their tendencies and genetic predisposition to drink, and make a life for themselves better than what the generations that preceded them were able to do. Risk is not destiny; one can overcome any problem they might have by changing the course of their destiny. Very often, children of alcoholics are thought to be causalities of parental drinking and they are expected to have the same problems, because after all, their parents are alcoholics. It tends to give them an excuse to follow in their parents footsteps, because isn’t that what everyone expects? Most children tend to think they are who people think they are, rather than who they really are. If a parent says to a child that he will never amount to anything in life because he gets a “D” on his report card, the child is going to believe that they are not worth very much. So it is with children of alcoholics. They can be at risk for eating disorders, intimacy problems, overeating, under eating, problems with feeling secure and abuse. These problems can only be addressed by each individual, on their terms, on no one else.

Unfortunately, many children live with this dirty little secret all their lives and cover for their parent’s behavior so no one will know. This puts them at risk because they have no one to confide in and tell their troubles to, mostly out of fear of the Child Protection Services coming to get them and their siblings because they live in a home that is not healthy. So these are the children who might not power out of this lifestyle. There is help with many organizations such as Al-a-teen that help young children and teens cope with life with alcoholics and this is the beginning for them to not be who others expect them to be. Research has shown that children who have alcoholic parents do best if they understand that this is a disease and it is not their fault that their parents have it. It is proven that if these children and teens are nurtured by other truly caring adults and siblings that they do better to overcome their tendencies. They need to realize that they may have to fight back from these tendencies, by staying away from people and places that push alcohol, like certain peer groups and the local bar. They need to feel that they are the ones in control and that alcohol is not in control of them.

Programs such as Al-a-non and Al-a teen have been helping children and teens for more than 55 years and teach them that there is strength in binding with others with similar backgrounds, much like alcohol anonymous does for alcoholics. They have a 12 step program that helps them work through problems and find a spiritual power that is greater than this thing called alcoholism. They meet weekly or monthly and discuss their problems and it is done with extreme confidentiality, so that no one gets hurt or embarrassed.

The key to this diverse group of people that have been affected by alcoholism, is to build up their assurance that they are not the cause of their parents problems, and that it is up to them to become more than anyone expects them to be. Whether it is calling on a higher power to overcome this disease, or to avoid the risks associated with alcoholic parents, it is first and foremost up to them to seek the help they need. They are the ones who realize that they need help and to pull themselves up out of this hole that they are bound to fall into if they are not careful, and they can succeed if they would only ask for help. I know because I was one of the ones that has suceeded.


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