Alcohol

A long time ago when I was in college for the second time around (after quitting uni) before I quit higher education for the second time (another blog post needed I think) I remember seeing and reading a book in the college library about the children of alcoholics. I don’t actually remember reading all of it, and I don’t remember a lot of what it said, and I realise that this doesn’t maker for a good way to start a blog post, but I do remember that there is a theory about alcoholism being genetic.

Back then, it was a theory. I don’t know when the book was published and I was in college the second time between 2002 and 2004-ish. I don’t really remember that for sure either, and I’m not up to date with the whole genetics of addiction and mental health and etc.

But I was drawn to this idea that the alcoholism is genetic. That there is something in our genes that causes alcoholism, that is passed on from parent to child. I think mostly because my dad was always in the pub before the first showing of Neighbours on the BBC around noon, and my nan used to drink a bottle of sherry a day. At least. I liked this idea that I was or am doomed to a similar fate. Not just the alcoholism, but the idea that our mental health problems are inherited. As well as forced upon us by environmental factors.

Which actually means I was/am doubly screwed cause there is alcoholism in my genes, but I was screwed up by an alcoholic parent as well. Means the same for most children of alcoholic parents I assume.

That was a long time ago now, and I’m currently on my sixth beer of the evening.

Having grown up with an alcoholic parent, it kinda put me off at first. Most teenagers are drinking by time they’re sixteen, but other than the Babycham I drank at Christmas every year, I didn’t really start drinking ’til I went to uni at eighteen. Even if parental units around me offered me alcohol, I tended to decline, cause that’s who I was back then. I didn’t realise what it did until I was older, and by that time I was already cutting and, well, I combined the two.

I used alcohol (lager mostly) in various ways. I used to take a lot of overdoses. Non-fatal and attempts at suicide. The non-fatal ones are called para-suicide attempts (I read my notes). Anyway, I used to get blind drunk, and then take a lot of my medication, and then pass out/fall to sleep, for twelve hours. And I used to get drunk, and cut, (and have done recently). Alcohol has it uses. Terrible, terrible uses.

(Opens seventh beer)

For some people, texting, or calling people, while drunk is the danger they face. They call exes, tell people what they really think, what they really fell, and while I face these problems too, mostly, the danger for me, is the self harm. I shouldn’t drink alone, at least, not when I’m feeling low.

I’m feeling okay right now, I fancied some beer, and I like to think I am capable of doing so without it turning into a bloody mess. Literally.

Such is life, and whether or not I inherited this is still in debate, though not for me. I came to realise some time ago, that what I inherited from my dad, is more the addictive personality, rather than the specific alcoholism. I use it but I don’t turn to it. I have some of my dad’s OCD, but I’m actually more like my mum than anything else, but do have a tendency to collect things. Which is all my dad (the man has over 10,000 beermats).

When I started this post, I was going to tell you how much I like lager. Whether this is better or not remains to be seen, so I offer a video.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fmZCve025Q&w=480&h=390]

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2 Comments

  1. When I was about 15 (late 80s), I was told by a social worker that children of alchoholics generally tended to become one themselves. I don't know how true it was at the time, and I think she was actually trying to scare me into leaving home because it wasn't safe there really, but its definitely one of the reasons I don't drink. (or rarely drink, I should say.) I feel like I was doubly screwed (as you say) because both my parents were alcoholics. If there was a chance I could inherit some alcohol gene from one parent, what were the odds with two? yeah. Totally screwed. So for the longest time I avoided drinking at all. It scared me to death. Once I got into tafe (college) I realised that having a drink or two wouldn't magicallty turn me an alchoholic, so I drank a little bit but realised how easy would be to use alchohol as a drug so was careful. These days I don't drink at all, because I remember what it was like to have parents who drank and I can't do that to el kiddo. He may or may not have inherited an alchohol gene from me, but at least I have done whatever I can to not expose him to that kind of environmnt. Hopefully that make a difference.

  2. Gogol Bordello! This warm my Slavic soul! :DI did the get-drunk-take-meds thing but only once. Didn't kill me but I felt horrible the next day. If others asked (and there were others around) I told them it was hangover. But it wasn't.It's a common misconception that if you have a gene for something you will almost certainly get it. In fact, it's only a nudge in probability and not even a big one. One's actions have way more impact.

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