It is becoming harder and harder not to recognize the part that heredity plays in the role of alcoholic propensity. Studies clearly have shown time and time again that the child of an alcoholic parent is 3 to 4 times as likely to have problems later on in life with alcohol abuse, and that the younger a person takes their first drink, the higher this risk is than in children of non alcoholics who start drinking even earlier in life. The fact that heredity play a major role in the propensity to abuse alcohol or other drugs not a reason to exclude the fact that there are other factors also, that play a role in the development of the disease and the behaviors undertaken by the person with these risks.
There are actually three roles in a person’s life that contribute to the successful management or susceptibility to falling prey to addiction:
Lifestyle and social choices- A person who never takes their first drink will not have to deal with the physical addiction of the disease. If a person is not exposed to alcohol, or chooses not to expose their body to it, then disaster is preemptively avoided. In homes where drinking is the common thing to do this can be much harder and thus the second influencing factor on addictive behavior, environment.
Children who grow up around binge drinking, drunkenness, or otherwise irresponsible alcohol or other drug use, whether in the familial or social environment are more likely to consume alcohol or other drugs than those in drug and alcohol free environments. There are exceptions to this rule, but a permissive atmosphere, or an environment where alcohol education is insufficient but supply of alcohol apparent tends to favor alcohol abuse more readily than other environments without such factors.
A family history of alcoholism is a sure sign that a person may be at higher risk of falling into alcoholic patterns. If your parents are/were alcoholic, the chances of you developing alcoholism are 3-400% higher than in non alcoholic families, and 200% higher if alcoholism was present in the previous generation. These numbers are astronomical, and though heredity cannot be controlled, hedging your chances of avoiding trouble for your kids by providing good lifestyle choices as well as a healthy atmosphere are controllable. We can’t just sit back and blame it all on nature. As parents it is our job to nurture our children.