Families. You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. Many of us have complicated relationships with our families, even under the best of circumstances. If you throw addiction into that mix, things become even more complicated.
If you or a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, it might be good idea to examine your family. No, as much as we’d like, we can’t blame everything on Mom or Dad. Addiction and families are not that simple. But if you’re struggling with addiction, studying your family situation can’t hurt.
In another blog post, we debated whether addiction could be caused by a person’s genes. Many experts believe that genetics might contribute 50% of person’s likelihood to abuse drugs or alcohol.
As you can see, that’s not a definite answer. We’re talking about the likelihood of a person’s abusing substances, not a definite chance. In addition, it’s a 50% chance. This means that other factors contribute to 50% of a person’s risk of abusing drugs or alcohol.
Part of this 50% can come from environment. Did addicts grow up in a home where other people abused drugs or alcohol? If they did, it makes sense that these people might have a higher chance of becoming substance abusers themselves. After all, they grew up in an environment where drug or alcohol use was permitted, at least among the adult addicts themselves.
These people may have witnessed their parents, relatives, or other authority figures using drugs and alcohol. They saw potential role models abuse alcohol and drugs, so such behavior might not have seemed unusual. In addition, if members of these households abused alcohol or drugs, such substances would be physically available in their homes. Future addicts would have more access to alcohol and drugs in such environments.
Families and environment, then, might play a large role in addiction. If addicts study their own families, they can try to determine how their pasts have influenced their present circumstances. This study could help them find ways to treat their addictions and improve their futures.