Alcoholism is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. Though alcoholism can develop at any stage in life, for any reason (which of course includes drinking), some people are predisposed to develop alcoholism. Being born by an actively alcoholic parent creates genetic conditioning that puts a child at risk for developing alcoholism. Additionally, being raised in an alcoholic home where there is no recovery can also lead to the development of alcoholism in a child. Alcoholism can skip generations, or it can prevail from one gene to the next.
“I didn’t want to become my alcoholic parent”
The last thing anyone who was raised by an active alcoholic wants is to turn into an alcoholic, let alone one that acts anything similar to their parent. Repeating your alcoholic childhood is not a necessity, nor is it unpreventable. However, beginning to change your future often begins by reconciling with your past. Most alcoholism develops as a coping mechanism in which people try to forget the past or avoid the future. In order to avoid an alcoholic future and make peace with your past, there is some emotional and spiritual work to be done.
Talk About It
Unfortunately, we are not able to simply think ourselves through our experiences, especially when they are full of emotional pain. In an advice column response regarding a reader’s alcoholic father, Dr. Petra Boynton, a psychologist at International Health Care, writes, “part of living with a chaotic, abusive and dysfunctional parent is feeling like you cannot talk about it to others.” Continuing, the doctor asserts that “things are different now. If you can accept you have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, you may feel stronger..”
Make An Informed Decision
Maintaining a toxic, abusive, and dysfunctional relationship with an alcoholic parent can be both taxing and harmful. If you are making the decision to get sober and live a life of recovery, staying a part of that relationship might make your recovery process more strenuous. Keep in mind that there are no such things as absolutes- if you choose to separate yourself from your parent, know that things could change in the future. You are changing everyday and one day you might feel stronger or differently in relating to your alcoholic parent. Alcoholism is a pervasive and progressive disease. Embrace the empowerment to know that if things don’t change, it is out of your control, and you’ve made an informed decision for yourself.