Our children?

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Mike O
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Our children?

Post by Mike O » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:01 am

Given the fact that alcoholism has a genetic element should we worry about our children having this alcoholic tendency also?

What are your experiences in this?

My oldest son is 20 and, like most students, he has drunk somewhat excessively at times. He has a young lady now and drinks only occasionally.

Should he be warned that there is an alcoholic tendency in the family?

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Karl R
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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:05 pm

Interesting question Mike,

I've two children; a 21 year old son with a high functioning form of autism and an 18 year old daughter. Each of them has explored this topic in their own way and within their own capabilities.

My son lives much in today(not the past or future) so the version of alcoholism he recognizes is the one of wreckage and impaired relationships. We've talked about this in terms of my experience, his experience while I was drinking, and the general family experience. His drinking is limited to a small glass of wine at Christmas with my wife who is a light drinker.

My daughter, on the other hand, has been very proactive about exploring the subject of alcoholism. We've talked at length about the physical allergy, the mental obsession, and the spiritual malady. Also about irritable and discontent and the concept of powerless/unmanageability. She found the definition of alcoholism from the chapter to the agnostics on her own. She occassionally attends open AA meetings with me and is a member of the alanon fellowship.

Both my wife and I have been very open on the subject with our children despite having communication difficulties with each other at times. I've also been open on the fact that "there is a solution" should they ever need to find it and where that solution may be found.

The communication seems to be open between my children and myself on the subject for better or worse.

I kind of take my cue from this from our big book on page 134 which points out the importance of the discussion.

In time they will see that he is a new man and in their own way they will let him know it. When this happens, they can be invited to join in morning meditation and then they can take part in the daily discussion without rancor or bias. From that point on, progress will be rapid. Marvelous results often follow such a reunion.

cheers,
Karl

Mike O
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Post by Mike O » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:14 pm

Excellent post, Karl.
Wow, you really did go into it with your kids.
I'm inclined to take the view that mine don't need to be burdened with it at the moment. I'm seeing no signs that any of the three are abusing alcohol, but, being aware the history of the disease in my family I'll be watchful for signs - probably moreso than non-alcoholic parents.

Maybe this laissez-faire approach is wrong? I don't know for sure.

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Karl R
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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:26 pm

With my son my wife and I sort of approached him each at our own time. He's an avoider-like his father---doesn't like the discussion bit at all. Part of that is being autistic, part of it is inherited behavior from me.

My daughter, on the other hand, has been completely proactive in approaching me about the topic. I think what prompted her was the change in how I dealt with life on life's terms drunk versus sober. I never really initiated the discussion with her-she initiated it with me.

So...I never really made the choice of whether to talk to them or not about the nature of alcoholism---it kind of just evolved as a natural event in family recovery. Neither of them show any signs of a drinking problem at all. Both very sensible kids. At the age of 18 if my daughter has experimented with drinking in small quantities but all it does is give her a migraine headache. She dislikes migraine headaches. :o go figure...

cheers,
Karl

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Post by Mike O » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:44 pm

Thanks, Karl, for your input.

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Post by LucasM » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:20 pm

I don't have kids and it's always been because of me being an alcoholic, a drug addict and I have mental health issues also. I knew in the beginning that there was a major problem for me with drugs and alcohol. I wouldn't wish my life on my worst enemy so I definately don't want children to go through what I've gone through. For me it would make me puke to see a kid of mine drinking or doing drugs. I would know I was probably the one who caused it. Then I think about my nieces and the fact that there's been problems with alcohol and drugs with almost everyone in the families. It makes me sad to think that how can they possibly have a chance. :cry:

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Post by Karl R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:39 pm

LucasM wrote: For me it would make me puke to see a kid of mine drinking or doing drugs. I would know I was probably the one who caused it.
Interesting observation Lucas---In what way would you be responsible? The reason I'm asking this is that in ammends with my parents we had to get past the idea that they got in their head that they were somehow responsible for my alcoholism. We got there eventually but it took some work on my part and some work on their part.

Bill W himself forgot the warnings his "people" gave him when he was young. "I forgot the strong warnings and the prejudices of my people concerning drink." (from Bill's story)

On another note....I've found it important to share, not only the nature of alcoholism with my children but the nature of the solution I've found in my life. Sharing the problem and sharing a potential solution should they find themselves in need or....perhaps more likely should they encounter another person(friend or coworker) in need of a solution.

"The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism." (From "there is a solution")

K.

Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:49 pm

My father was an admitted alcoholic who died with 36 years sobriety. My Brother and older sister are social drinkers, my younger siste hardly touches the stuff. ("I start to feel it after two or three," she says).
My son takes a drink on rare occasions, my older daughter doesn't drink for religious reasons, my younger daughter got into prescription drugs and only drinks when nothing else is available.
Taking responsibility for my child's possible alcoholism is a convenient way of blaming my parents for mine.
Jim S.

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Post by leejosepho » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:59 pm

I have two daughters now in their 30s. I had abandoned them when they were 5 and 8, but their mother made sure they had at least some contact with their "father" even during the worst of my drinking. I have never told either of my daughters not to drink. In fact, I had occasionally given them sips of beer during my drinking.

I got sober before my daughters had become teenagers, and I eventually began explaining our allergy that makes it impossible for certain people to drink safely. Later on, I also told them no real alcoholic could ever quit drinking and stay stopped.

My older daughter was drunk at her college graduation, and I said nothing about that. A few years later, she called me one day and said she had decided to stop drinking ... and would I remind her of that if she *ever* took another drink!! Within just a couple of weeks, she called again, very sufferingly-sober, and I finished 12th-Stepping her. She has since permanently recovered.

With my younger daughter, I have failed completely. She no longer drinks, but we might as well be complete strangers.

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Post by Mike O » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:59 am

Jim 725 wrote: Taking responsibility for my child's possible alcoholism is a convenient way of blaming my parents for mine.
Jim S.
Interesting but strange equation.

Can you elaborate there, Jim.

Jim 725

Post by Jim 725 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:19 pm

Interesting but strange equation.
Can you elaborate there, Jim.
If I'm responsible for making my child an alcoholic, it stands to reason that someone must be responsible for me being alcoholic. And that someone must be one or both of my parents.
I have a fairly large library of AA speakers and attend two speaker meetings a week. In the past few years it has become customary for speakers to spend anywhere from five to fifteen minutes of more telling of the history of alcoholism in their families. While few, if any, ever come right out and say anything to the effect of "It isn't my fault, it was my family," that's the message that comes across.
Possibly there is an alcoholism gene that is passed on. But I'm the one who did my drinking, and kept on drinking in spite of the consequences. I can't blame anyone else, and I can't plead victimization. Not if I'm honest with myself.
Jim S.

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Post by Mike O » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:09 am

Quite right.

Don't overlook the fact, though, that what I originally asked was a question about this genetic disposition which we, and therefore, our children may have.

Nobody mentioned blaming our alcoholism on anyone else.

Thanks for your posts.

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Post by joey » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:26 pm

Mike O'R wrote: Don't overlook the fact, though, that what I originally asked was a question about this genetic disposition which we, and therefore, our children may have.
From reading Jim's posts carefully, I understood he meant that you don't need to worry about genetic predisposition to alcoholism. You being an alcoholic does not have any bearing on whether your children will be alcoholic or not.
Joey

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Post by leejosepho » Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:13 pm

Jim 725 wrote:Possibly there is an alcoholism gene that is passed on. But I'm the one who did my drinking, and kept on drinking in spite of the consequences. I can't blame anyone else, and I can't plead victimization. Not if I'm honest with myself.
Jim S.
Whatever it might be and from wherever it might have come, I am absolutely convinced I was born with some kind of predisposition toward alcoholism. Like the proverbial "sitting duck", I had absolutely no more of a defense against my very first drink ever than I had against the last one I ever took several years later ... and somewhere in-between, the alcohol I could never have lived without apart from a complete psychic change began triggering what we now know as our physical phenomenon of craving.

Whose fault is it that I am an alcoholic?

We might eventually find him, her or it at the source of this:

"Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?" ("A.A.", the book, page 61)

Living my own way to death or coming into "the Fellowship of The Spirit" (page 164) are the only two options I have ever had, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

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Post by Mike O » Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:50 am

joey wrote:
Mike O'R wrote: Don't overlook the fact, though, that what I originally asked was a question about this genetic disposition which we, and therefore, our children may have.
From reading Jim's posts carefully, I understood he meant that you don't need to worry about genetic predisposition to alcoholism. You being an alcoholic does not have any bearing on whether your children will be alcoholic or not.
Sorry, but if indeed there is a genetic factor which predisposes to alcoholism, then, yes we DO need to worry about it where our children are concerned.
This was the subject of the original post.
:)

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