Family Drinking And The Holidays

I must say what the doctor on XM Radio, Channel XM said about addiction before I forget.

He said that he doesn’t know why some people get more addicted than others…genetics, childhood circumstance, it’s hard to say exactly.

What we do know is that….some people of the same genetic pool can demonstrate moderation and self-restraint, while others who are blood relatives simply…cannot practice self-control…self-regulation.

According the the DSM-IV, The Diagnostic Statistical Manual No. 5, “addiction red flags are: not being able to stop drinking alcolhol for example once beginning to drink alcohol. Once the individual starts drinking alcohol, it becomes really difficult to discern how much alcohol has been consumed. It becomes difficult to stop drinking even when drinking too much leads to all kinds of problems.

  • Black outs
  • Drunk Driving
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Arrests
  • Jail time
  • Court and Attorney fees
  • Cirosis of the liver
  • Dimentia
  • Diabetes

So, why can one sister have one drink while the brothers and sisters drink a lot when the family gets together?

The Doctor explained that people who become addicted to alcohol end up in the predicament from repeated behavior and maladaptive coping responses to environmental stressors.

However, we can’t deny the reality of family history of addiction.

The caller who was the “self-regulated sister who can manage her alcohol consumption” stated that the more her siblings drink, the less she drinks”.

The doctor responded, “best to not bring too much attention to your opposition to “overdrinking” or to make a point to underdrink while they over drink. Also, it’s not recommended to draw attention to the fact that you can practice self-regulation and they cannot. That choice could actually backfire and make the siblings that are more limited with self-regulation to rebel, and consume even greater quantities of alcohol.

Best to not drink at all. Perhaps make family get togethers that don’t revolve around alcohol at all. Make your get togethers not even include alcohol.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Give the sibs a heads up, and see how they respond. Tell them, this is how we are getting together this time. We hope you can join us, and that we all agree to have an “alcohol free” evening.

Those who will show will demonstrate authenticity. Strength, and Individualism.

Those who don’t show are weak.

The doctor said that he gets many questions from his patients in his practice on how to deal with these kind of challenges with different people with different preferences of drinking alcohol.

The doctor said that the reality is that there can be clear personality differences amongst siblings, and beyond.

We must recognize our own strengths and weakenesses, and those of the people we are close to.

If a person is a selfish person, chances are he or she is only thinking about how to get the next “fix”. The ‘selfish person’ is not concerned with the welfare, thoughts or feelings of others. Others are not on the selfish person’s radar. The selfish person does what he/she does, just because.

No explanation needed.

It can feel very threatening to the drinkers to be confronted and draw attention to a behavior they are not comfortable talking about openly. It’s like the white elephant in the room.

The sibling who practices greater self-regulation now feels insecure to communicate her individualism, especially because she is in the minority of the siblings who can practice self-restraint.

This pressure of holding back, bottling up her true feelings builds up. Eventually, something explodes, whether it’s the quality of the sibling relationships, or the nature of how the siblings will convene for future gatherings….unless the siblings can be on the same page with compromise, drama will ensue.

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