It runs in the family

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

In my addiction counselling; ironically the same day I caved in to alcohol, I was asked the question ‘is there a history of addiction in the family?’

Umm…yes, actually.

It’s only once you are asked this question and you have to start categorising your relatives, you realise maybe you are not the only one to have gone through this.

Our family don’t like labels such as ‘alcoholic’ ‘binge drinker’ ‘gambler’ ‘workaholic’ we tend to prefer the terms like ‘stubborn’ ‘loose cannon’ ‘liked to party’

Turns out when you start putting labels on behaviours displayed by my relatives we have some family history of alcoholism, gambling addiction and workaholics. 

I only started to uncover, or realise these things by remembering certain conversations I had heard growing and putting together the pieces. 

My grandad is someone who particularly resonates with me. He is very eccentric, quite sociable but has tendencies to over think…and over drink.

He was born in South Africa where there was a culture during his teenage years to go out and drink heavily and thats exactly what he did through to his early adult life. The family then moved to UK because of his dual british passport. Shortly before he moved he had attempted to cut down on his drinking and found that a lot of his friends were only interested in getting on the beers. On moving to England he drank less and started a business, which is still running successfully today.

Today I hung out with my grandparents and I told them I was cutting back on my drinking again but explained the difficulties because of social pressure. I used the phrase ‘I am a yes person, and therefore I struggle moderating myself’ I also said that it has been noted that when I drink I drink about 5 times quicker than everyone else without realising it.

‘We’re more similar than you realise, Abi’ was my grandads response. 

I told my nan that I was worried about the fact that next weekend I was going to a social event revolving around getting pissed and that I was worried and maybe should have some drinking rules in place. 

‘I think it is best you don’t drink’ was my nan’s very direct response. I know she is right but for some crazy reason I needed someone to confirm this for me.

Today I haven’t drank and even though this weekend didn’t get crazy, I am grateful and relieved it didn’t. I don’t want to get out of control. I don’t want to be that girl anymore. And thats a good enough reason to stop completely. I shouldn’t be influenced by others who don’t understand what this feels like. I should listen to my relatives who have more in common with me than I realised but most of all I should listen to myself. Not drinking means I don’t risk progress. Not drinking means so much more than giving into peer pressure or being called boring. 

Today is day 1 of no drinking. Again. Baby steps.


  1. I’m proud of you for realizing that addiction runs in your family. I love what you said about how people find different verbiage for addict. For me it was “oh, she’s just young.” Recognition is the first step. I hope your journey goes well.

    • Thankyou, I have read your story and I wish you all the best in continuing with your journey too. Its nice to be able to relate to people and I certainly could relate to your experiences. I’m not making excuses, but being young certainly does make you question if you have a problem or maybe you just being young and crazy like everyone else? i am now 24 and starting to realise that even though I am still fairly young, my behaviour now stands out more and more and it cannot continue.

  2. This is a very interesting realisation and I think there is a lot of truth in alcoholism running in families. It runs in mine too, my granddad on my dad’s side who went mad and killed himself.

    Finding your inner voice amongst all the noise in your head is difficult. Sorry to say, but you’ll probably fuck up loads of times in loads of different ways before you learn to hear yourself, and trust yourself. I am still nowhere near there.

    But like I always say, one day at a time. Making grand promises is all very well but we are only human. This weekend, I didn’t fuck up not even once, in fact I made huge progress in my relationship and initiated some important discussions. I’m really proud of that. In fact I couldn’t be more proud of myself right now. Allow yourself to feel that way too – feeling grateful for not having a crazy weekend is a great attitude.


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