EMPOWER Addiction Recovery

Home » Addictions » Really,, Your Genes Made You Do It?

Really,, Your Genes Made You Do It?

Advertisements

By Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo,  M.Ed., Ph.D.drunk

Genetic influences are those inherent traits that specific genes are credited for.  Behavioral genetics is the study of genetics that attempts to determine the connection between genes and patterns of behaviors and the environment (i).

I find most interesting the topic of alcoholism.  Scientific/biological research has suggested that there are specific genes that determine if one would be more prone to addiction than others.  For this particular issue the discussion suggests that if you possess the “addictive” gene and are exposed to environments that promote the use of alcohol then it is more than likely that this person will become an alcoholic.  This environmental factor coupled with the genetic makeup of the individual appears to be a combination of genetics and environment, influences, and learning choices.

Trait theorists theorize that people lack free will, that behavior is predetermined, and that environment has no role in behavior. So, does this give the alcoholic a free pass, is this the proverbial get out of jail free card.  Does this mean that one no longer has to be accountable or responsible for that bad drunken behavior, the making a fool of yourself at the annual Christmas party, how you can barely talk, how you are incapable of formulating a logical rationale thought, least to say sentence, but still, you just won’t shut up, potty mouth,, how you can barely walk, but will adamantly insist that you can drive,,,,, but,, this is not your fault, you are a victim, after all, you had no choice, this is your destiny, your genes have determined that you may crawl out of the bar, but you will never crawl out of the bottle…..

I hate to disappoint, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but evidence suggests that regardless of genetics people can and do learn to adapt to different environments and are not victims of determinism.  Those that believe in environmental causes, nurtmonopolyure, or just plain old fashion accountability, hold firm in the belief that environment is the most important aspect and influence on a person’s behavior, not genetics.

If you possess the ability to make a conscious decision, you possess free will,,

So, what does this mean for the alleged predetermined alcoholic, no get out of jail free card for you,, behavior has consequence, you break it, you buy it,, you OWN it,,.

 

Reference:
(i). Human Disease and Conditions, Behavioral health (2014) from, http://www.humanillnesses.com/Behavioral-Health-Fe-Mu/Genetics-and-Behavior.html

How to cite this article:
Nuzzolo, V. E., (2016).  Really Your Genes Made You Do It.  Retrieved from https://risetoshinetoday.org/2016/02/20/really-your-genes-made-you-do-it/

 

Advertisements

156 Comments

  1. cicif5 says:

    Cheers!

    Like

    • zummy66 says:

      I think there are people who just like the idea of blaming genetics for their alcoholism or addiction. But people like that are “blamers,” period. They’ll blame their family, spouse, kids, job, you name it. Can people who grew up in an area of high drug use or in a family where you’re surrounded by alcoholics (I did!) nudge you in that direction? Sure, but that doesn’t mean you WILL become and alcoholic/addict, and it certainly doesn’t give you an excuse for your bad decisions. Most people with a genetically predisposed condition such as diabetes or epilepsy will chose to do something about it right off the bat, so they can live full, functional lives. However, if they choose to not see a doctor, have tests done, and take necessary medications, then who is to blame? Last week, I attended an Al-Anon meeting for the first time with my mom. I was the only guy in a standing-room-only crowd of women around my mother’s age, all of whom were affected by their loved one’s drinking and using. The one issue that kept coming up was the GUILT they felt over it, and some even had family that blamed them personally for their drinking/using! My heart really went out to these people, because dealing with the loved one’s disease is bad enough, but to actually suffer blame and guilt on top of it must be devastating. I learned about the Al-Anon slogan of the Three Cs, “You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure, you can’t control it.” Whether it’s genetics, environment, your family, or the guy down the street, constantly playing the blame-game not only hurts yourself, but the others in your life as well. Nobody wants to hear the BS of WHY you have it, they want to know what you’re DOING about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cicif5 says:

        The drinkers were blaming others in their life for their own drinking? Hmm. Maybe it’s like you say, blamers will blame (haters will hate, etc.). But I’d ilk to think no one is inherently anything. I still remember hearing about “predestination” as a kid and thinking WTF!? (Or the kid’s equivalent.) Still, there is some truth in the genetics thing — just not the whole truth as you’re pointing out. (An interesting study out of Berkley says a person’s personal sense of happiness is about 50% genetic predisposition, 20% intention [i.e., based on choices they make], and 10% based on life circumstances [e.g., roof’s leaking, boyfriend broke up w/ me]). But so are you for or against the AA way of looking at things? Because to me they seem way into the WHY…

        Like

      • Vanessa says:

        Hi Zummy66, I agree with you on response, I grew up in a area where there were big drug selling and drug using. my dad used drugs in his life time, but my mother never use any kind of drugs or alcohol in her entire life. I don’t think that’s a genetic, because I used drugs ,because that’s what I chose to do in my life. my personal opinion that’s an excuse for someone to play the blame game. growing up in the environment that I grew up in nobody put a gun or threaten me to take any kind of drug. I did it because I wanted too. I do believe that diabetes, cancer and other illnesses can be genetic and take proper medication prescribe by the Dr. My sons never used drugs in their life. they seen what I went through, so maybe that’s why? I don’t know, because I seen what people had gone through using drugs ,but it didn’t stop me from using. I think its all up to the individual how they choose to live their life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Cicif5
        Actually, AA is very much about taking responsibility for your own actions and taking a good, hard look at yourself. ( Taking “inventory,” they call it) You work the steps with a sponsor and whatever you discover about yourself is between you, the sponsor, and God. Therapy is good to discover the “whys” of your life, but AA is really just about not drinking. You’re responsible for your own happiness and AA doesn’t provide that for you, but it DOES do is help remove what for some people is the biggest obstacle in their entire life. So when I say people don’t want to hear “why” somebody is a drunk, addict, etc., it’s because nobody likes to hear excuses. What is said and discussed in AA stays in AA, so we can then move forward without turning everything in out day-to-day life into a big therapy session. How much or little you want to tell others in your life is up to you, but no more excuses!

        Like

      • Javier Lemus says:

        I totally agree, people who are born with problems like the ones you mentioned do their best to keep healthy instead of complaining about it. A good example of this is also people who are missing limbs and you see them running marathons and doing obstacle courses, there’s really no excuses but the ones you make for yourself. Blaming your genes to your alcoholism or your bad/abusive behavior is just an excuse to make yourself believe you have no choice. I love to see people who have every excuse to not run these marathons or obstacle courses and do it anyways and excel at it.

        Like

  2. Cynthia Ordonez says:

    I did a research paper on serial killers, to find out the reason for their actions. All serial killers had something in common, some part in the frontal lobe of their brain was dimmer than normal brain. This makes them more prone to violence, sex, addictions and what not. There was this neuroscientist who found out that he had the same brain patterns as a serial killer. He also said how he grew up in a good home with a loving family. This could have been the one of the reason as to why the doctor didn’t become a murder. My point is that genes can only increase the chances of someone becoming a certain why, like an alcoholic. Even one has free will and the ability to make their own life. Therefore I believe everyone should be held accountable for their actions despite how they were born.

    Like

    • Vanessa says:

      Hi Cynthia, I truly believe when ever anybody does something wrong no matter what is going on in their life, or in their head they should be accountable for their actions. Now, someone who was sexually abused growing up they could repeat the same abuse to someone else. I always heard hurt people hurt others.

      Like

    • Cynthia,

      I agree with you that everyone has free will and does not have a determined life. I also agree that everyone should be held accountable for their actions despite how they were born. I also believe that this specific gene can only increase the chances of one becoming an addict, but environmental factors play a huge role. I’m sure that many people might have this issue in the frontal lobe of their brains, but why doesn’t everyone who has this issue become addicts and murders? Because of environmental factors.

      Like

    • Sara Sada says:

      Cynthia, I totally agree with your reasoning. Everyone should take ownership of their actions. I find it fascinating that that neuroscientist had the same brain patterns, but because of his free will and environment he turned out different than the life of a serial killer. But with free will comes responsibility. It is possible with genes that someone exhibits certain behaviors due to disease that they cannot control.

      Like

  3. Vanessa says:

    Hi Veronica, that’s like with John, he drank at the age 12,because of the environment he grew up in living with his parents who were always drinking in the house arguing and things around him, so that’s all John knew. John inherent the traits. As he got of age he continue to drank alcohol. I believe that anyone who is in the environment of an alcoholic family will be prone to drinking themselves. people still has a free will to do as they please . Like you said, V. you break it, you buy it, you own it.

    Like

  4. SteveMc says:

    Hi everyone,

    I normally like to play “Devils Advocate”. In this particular conversation I don’t know how.

    Sure genetic study may reveal some similarities in people who are affected with addiction. However, I cannot help but wonder if this is a chicken/egg argument. Just because there is a common denominator in the subjects studied how can we be sure the acts they performed where not the cause or creation of the similarity?

    Where are the studies of the brain before the addiction manifests itself? It seems to me that the “genetic argument” serves more of a legal purpose than a practical one.

    I’m all for furthering our knowledge of the human condition but ultimately I fail to see the purpose in providing more excuses to the world’s greatest excuse makers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree I feel like people will use this to their advantage in court. Say if someone got into a car accident and really hurt someone or killed them due to drunk diving a lawyer would argue this in court saying this person is geneticly subceptable to this trait, do they get a slap on wrist? People should have a conscious and know right from wrong and be prepared for to deal with the consequences of the actions.

      Like

    • I agree with how people use that excuse to get away with things. For example in court, they might use it to get away with their actions when really they should learn to deal with the consequences. There’s a price for everything you do and people need to own up to their decisions rather than for things to blame it on. Just because it’s in your genes doesn’t mean the outcome is definitely guaranteed. If you’ve decided to do something, then you ought to be ready for what’s to come.

      Like

    • Shaldup Paljor says:

      Yes, I agree with this also. I find the resorting to the idea that one’s faults roots from genetics proves as unfair and ineligible. It seems like a get out of jail card. Though someone has committed such as a crime, the saying it was caused from genetic problems which has instantaneously been introduced seems as a way for the bad guy to save himself, unfairly.

      Like

    • I can’t imagine an attorney arguing that genetics caused their client to drunk drive (but when someone can walk away free by claiming Affluenza , who knows: https://www.rt.com/usa/affluenza-drink-driving-prison-879/ ).

      I don’t think there should be a loot of room for legal arguments based on genetics, rather I see the purpose is to understand certain behaviors that don’t make rational sense. We all, at times, do things that we know are wrong. There is a difference between deciding to celebrate by getting sloppy drunk, and getting sloppy drunk when you ha no intention to. The difficult to control urges that genes makes some people more likely to have is what we shoud be seeking to understand better.

      Like

  5. Genetics play a big role in a person’s appearance and how someone might behave. There are many genes that one simply can’t control such as your height and skin color. On the other hand, most behaviors can be controlled. I believe that this new gene that scientists discovered is simply not strong enough for someone to get an easy pass for alcoholism.

    Being addicted to something, especially drugs is extremely dangerous. At times, addicts can’t control themselves, but they brought themselves to that position. I believe that addicts are driven by environmental factors on the most part. For example, many might drink because they see others drinking, peer pressure, or a way to escape reality. They break under the pressure of life and starts drinking which leads to addiction.

    I understand that some people simply “can’t control” themselves, but that is why there is treatment centers and other ways to control the addiction. When someone commits a crime, of course they should be accountable for their actions. That is the rule society has made. If so, every criminal would want to be tested for this addictive gene in hopes to get away from a crime. Of course there is extreme cases when one has a serious mental illness which will excuse them jail time, but some cases, it is just people trying to run away from their consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisandra,

      Excellent point,, accountability and responsibility. We are responsible for the choices that we make. Behavior has consequence!!!

      Like

    • I think the question that needs to be asked for everyone addicted to something is… why are they addicted? Most may agree that alcohol can be “fun” for recreational use from time to time, but if someone gets addicted and starts abusing it almost every day- it’s certainly not just for “fun.” Drug abuse and addiction is usually a dual diagnosis with a mental illness. I believe there’s always something more- and it’s sad that it happens. It’s not the best route to take, but there is help available. If they can’t control themselves, yea, there is something definitely not okay.

      Like

  6. phanny seng says:

    Hi Professor,

    “Trait theorists theorize that people lack free will and that behavior is predetermined, that environment has no role in behavior”. This is something that I do not agree with. I feel after a certain age as in 18, your mature enough and ready to be on your own, you are responsible for your actions. Also, underage children because it comes not only from your genetics, but your environment. It has a role in growing up from what you see. For example, if you grew up seeing your parents drinking alcohol, you might think it is a cool thing to do. As a child you will follow that at a young age and drink too because that is what you know from seeing this type of actions. However, they can do the opposite because they don’t want to become like their parents. This is the determination of free will.

    Like

  7. You are responsible for your own actions and people should take responsibility for when they’re wrong. I feel like behavioral genetics would give people a reson to act a fool. Some people who are exposed to that gene will abuse that excuse. I know of many people including myself who grew up in that environment or things that could trigger wanting to smoke or drink but never picked up a bottle of liquor or smoked weed. Most of my family smokes weed but my brother and I don’t. Me personally it turned me off from ever trying it. Life is about making decision, now if you know you have this gene and drink or smoke anyways and get addicted and having a hard time quiting you can’t blame nobody but yourself because you did it anyways. I don’t belive that there is a get out of jail free card and you can’t pass go and collect $200.

    Like

  8. This post resonates with me personally. My father is a (recovering) alcoholic and my mother always warned me to be careful because I had the addictive gene. With this information, I still CHOSE to party and experiment in my early 20’s. The biological gene that I could or could not posses did not make me do it. Unfortunately, I became a drug addict for the first few years of my 20’s. I did not make this decision and say “I am going to become a drug addict,” nor did I blame it on the possibility of the addictive gene but I did continue to make the decision to not get help. After getting an OUI and eventually becoming homeless, I finally surrendered and sought help. I have been clean for 3 years now. So this proves that even if you may have a biological gene or predisposition, you can choose to not “activate” it. And if you do happen to spark this gene, there is a choice to reverse it. I never once blamed my father for my addiction. I chose to hang out in the environment I did, well aware of the risks and my own family history. Alcoholics and drug addicts are very well known to blame anyone and everyone but themselves for their actions. It is a famous defense mechanism to avoid admitting the truth because to addicts the truth is paralyzing and fearful. I do not believe that having a biological predisposition should be an excuse to get out of any irresponsible behaviors regarding alcohol and drugs because there is no way to absolutely prove you have the gene. And there are plenty of people whose parents are addicts/alcoholics and they never touch a drink or drug in their life. Or they chose to drink or party but it never becomes a problem. We are responsible for our own actions and decisions, good and bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Darren says:

      Danielle,
      You just described my upbringing and youth exactly! Even as a teen, I remember only being interested in “wet” parties and actively seeking out drugs and partying when I got older. Even then, I knew it was of my own doing and I was responsible for the outcome, good or bad. As far as to whether I was generically predisposed to alcoholism or not…who cares? All that matters is what I’m doing about it NOW. A person can only play the blame game and kid themselves for just so long until they do something about it or die. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

    • Luz-Anne says:

      I completely agree with you. I feel like people use that excuse instead of taking responsibility for their actions. All that genetics do is increase your chances but the actual choice that’s made depends on you. Like you said, not everyone who’s been around addicts all their lives are destined to be one. We were all born with free will. What we choose to do is no one’s choices but our own. Some people overuse the fact that genes are literally the cause for the actions and don’t consider the environmental factors that also play a big role. Regardless if the choice is good or bad, the choice was yours to make. My uncle is an alcoholic yet his son only drinks occasionally so it really depends on yourself. You are who you choose to be and you just have to live with the choices you make because they do impact your life.

      Like

    • I completely agree with you. I feel like people use that excuse instead of taking responsibility for their actions. All that genetics do is increase your chances but the actual choice that’s made depends on you. Like you said, not everyone who’s been around addicts all their lives are destined to be one. We were all born with free will. What we choose to do is no one’s choices but our own. Some people overuse the fact that genes are literally the cause for the actions and don’t consider the environmental factors that also play a big role. Regardless if the choice is good or bad, the choice was yours to make. My uncle is an alcoholic yet his son only drinks occasionally so it really depends on yourself. You are who you choose to be and you just have to live with the choices you make because they do impact your life.

      Like

    • Lake Amyel says:

      Thank you for sharing Danielle! I too have recovering addicts in my family and was warned not to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Like you I also struggled with a lack of control over my problem for many years. I was lucky to never get into any legal trouble and was never physically addicted. Still, it delayed my life plans for several years and I still live with the repercussions of the bad choices I made when I was younger. Through out this time I was aware that I had a higher chance of developing a problem because of my genes. This didn’t play heavily into my thought process as I had so many other things going on. The truth is I struggled with drugs and alcohol because I was curious and didn’t take the negative aspects seriously enough. I can’t blame my genes for the decision I made and I can’t thank them for keeping me on the right track now. The choices were absolutely my own. Thank again for sharing and congratulation on your three years!

      Like

    • pridethomas says:

      Thanks for sharing your personal trials you have encountered… I’m wondering what kept you going? Or any one going once they decided they no longer want to be a drug addict, or to even indulge in drugs anymore ? Was it family? A role model? Or your situation of being homeless and wanting to be “someone”….I wonder because , I encountered a similar situation with people who have posted here…maybe you heard from family growing up that you have the addictive gene and so have I. With my grandfather , great uncle, and grandmother that is/was a alcoholic …knowing this i too indulge in drugs and drinking as a teenager and I’ve done something’s for a long time and others once or twice (usually socially) and never again…however, I became pregnant and had a son and once that happened everything changed. My focus was my baby and drugs, alcohol and searching for parties was not my focus …I dropped friends, got my priorities straight so I guess I matured over night. Sometimes I say to people …yes having him early was not ideal But thank god for him because if it wasn’t for him to push me with school , and my association then maybe I would still be getting high, smoking cigs and tripping. …so yeah it is your choice overall and then it’s your motivation…once you try something you never forget the feeling so why did you not return? What’s stopping you? What has changed your thinking. Was it family? Your siblings? Your church? How do you stay sober for three years? Or 10? It’s mind power of course and your conscience and your logical mind I believe.

      Like

      • Robert Tynes says:

        First off, I think it’s awesome that your son was a driving factor in motivating you to turn your life around. There are definitely people out there that either can’t or are not willing to make an effort to change. Second, I agree that many different things can cause someone to decide to live a different life going forward. Sometimes I think that life may just preoccupy your time and choose for you. It reminds me of “mind over matter”. Somehow I feel we can even subconsciously decide to do one thing over another vased on previous witnessed experiences and what we learned from them.

        Like

      • pridethomas says:

        I guess then it’s all will power ! I agree if you learn from a experience then you should make the positive steps to progress. History only repeats itself when you didn’t learn from, it you know? Maybe being on drugs and drinking is in your DNA…. well if your uncle, sister, grandma all got hooked on alcohol and drugs very easily maybe you should learn from them. Or the media in general when you see the egg being fried in a pan.

        Like

    • Robert Tynes says:

      I can relate to your story. I also had alcoholic parents, one of which I saw maybe for 3 days of my life–3 very spread out days. My mother raised me and I basically went through the 12 step process of AA meetings with her during my early adolescence before being displaced and moved between foster homes and my godmothers house. I returned at 15 and continued on the fight for sobriety again with her. A fight she wound up losing, unfortunately. She made it to my high school graduation but passed in my first semester of college. I screwed up my chance to get a degree from a good school my first time around, between partying, alcohol and smoking. I always said to myself I would never be an alcoholic and constantly reminded myself that all it takes is one drink to get it to start, one bad night, partially due to my own friends showing beginner symptoms of alcoholism and partly due to the fear of losing control I have kept my drinking to a minimum. I definitely agree that a number of factors can have a role in breaking the cycle.

      Like

  9. samuelt21 says:

    I completely agree, I believe everyone has a choice, those findings of “alcoholic” gene is just another excuse. When we can’t find a solution to something, or when we get tired of seeing a pattern of behaviors over and over, what do we do? We find an excuse, “well maybe it’s in her.., or” her mother was one so she’…” blah blah blah. I am the youngest of 5 and we all made our decisions to be the way we are, everyone has a choice. If you’re going to have a problem just have it by yourself, don’t drag others down with you, and don’t affect others. I understand that it’s a tough situation to get yourself out of, I am very understanding to that. But like I said everyone has a choice, and when you make certain choices you better be ready to face the consequences that come along with it. Play Big, Be Ready to Lose Big. That’s all I’m saying..

    Like

    • Amy Considine says:

      Ok, samuelt21, I hear you. You believe the findings of the “alcoholic” gene is just another excuse. But how many of those with addiction issues deals with a co-occurring mental illness? I do need to bring up the issue of mental illness and genes, when someone blames their mental illness (and subsequent addiction) on genes they are actually speaking the truth. I needed to talk about this and chose your post to reply to. Depression, schizophrenia, they really can be blamed on genes because mental illness is indeed hereditary. One of the groups last night in Professor V’s class talked about suicide. Suicide takes so many lives every day, someone could blame their desperation on a depression gene they got from their mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandparent or cousin. My own dealing with anxiety I am sure comes from my dad who had his own experience with it, in addition to other difficulties. I just hope and pray to god that my 4 and 7 year old nephews don’t end up with anxiety or worse. I wouldn’t wish alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness on anyone. They are horrible disorders. But we need to acknowledge the connection between mental illness and addiction.

      Like

  10. Suanny A says:

    I truly believe that everyone is capable of making their decisions, your genes do NOT make you do anything. Although it may increase the chances of you becoming a certain way. For example, a drug addict or an alcoholic. Your father could have been an alcoholic but that doesn’t mean you have to be or that you’re going to be. Everyone has the ability to succeed in life and the ability to not care and just party all the time. Therefore I believe everyone should be held responsible for their actions, no matter how hold are you.

    Like

  11. Lake Amyel says:

    What an interesting post. It has been stated for a long time that addiction is a disease. It makes sense to me that addiction would be genetic, especially as I’ve seen it in families. Although you can’t change your genes, your genes alone won’t make you an alcoholic. I guarantee that there are other factors that played a role, for example the socioeconomic level of the family, mental health, education level, outside support, etc. So, you may have the inherited traits of an alcoholic but if provided with an otherwise stable life, you are more than capable of avoiding addiction. Unfortunately we don’t live in a society that is set up for avoiding addiction so many succumb to it regardless, even with outside intervention. It is important to have sympathy for addicts because yes they do have a disease and they are more prone to addiction than others. However, they are also fully capable of avoiding addiction. We can not just let things slide because they have the addiction gene, they must be held responsible for their actions. In Alcoholics Anonymous one of the main tenants is that they lack control over their addiction and they must be held responsible for the decisions they made and will continue to make. The fact that we have so many recovering addicts who have held on to sobriety despite the odds proves that it is your choices, not your genes that contribute to addiction.

    Like

  12. Michelle DiPhillipo says:

    I believe that everyone could sometimes act a certain way and look a certain way because of genetics, but i do not believe that people are complete victims of becoming an alcoholic because of it. I was taking a class where a girl did a power point presentation specifically about if genetics play a role in people becoming an alcoholic. I do not believe the trait theory where it says that people lack free will. Everyone has free will and they are responsible for their own actions. Maybe the fact that those specific people have a vulnerability to alcohol means that they would probably enjoy it more than others, but they have the mind to say no when they look at a bottle. There are many people i know that have a family of alcoholics but they themselves do not drink because they can control themselves despite the fact that they are surrounded by alcohol.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. @ Michelle,

    I agree. Genetics, like environment, can make someone predisposed to a condition like alcoholism, but one’s desire to change it can trump those things with enough work and effort. I grew up surrounded by many alcoholic relatives but because there very few incidences of anger or violence, I just thought it was normal. Sitting around, smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey hi-balls was something that adults just did, like like watching TV or mowing the lawn. So it seemed perfectly normal when I eased my way in to drinking when I was older. At the same time, a young person who grows up in an environment where drinking is strictly forbidden and punishable might take to drinking as an act of rebellion, and is off and running from there. So a person can be predisposed to alcoholism, either genetically or environmentally, but the key word id “predisposed,” not “inherited.” There are people in my family who, well into adulthood, continue to blame their family AND their genetic makeup, real or imagined, on every unfortunate situation that’s happened to them because of their own bad decisions. It’s very frustrating to listen to, but I guess I’ll have to learn how to address this sort of thing if I’m going to be a counselor!

    Like

  14. I tend to also not fully support the “my genes made me do it” reason for alcoholism or drug addiction. I try to stay extremely open-minded for everything- (I am young, i don’t know the answer to everything and never will, I will forever be learning, and don’t have extensive research done on many issues in the world) but I do believe environment and upbringing plays a bigger role. There may be reasons why you grab that bottle- depression, abusive family, learned behavior from parents/guardians, etc., but for the most part there is a choice. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s also necessary at one point to accept that you may need help- and you can’t blame your genes for it. If you constantly put the blame on something else, it will prevent you from actually getting better. Acceptance for your actions is key. Understanding why you act certain ways and how you got to that place is also important. Again, this is my personal opinion. (:

    Like

  15. Our bodies are absolutely NOT hardwired to ingest alcohol or drugs. They’re manufactured artificial chemicals. There may be a gene that makes you more susceptible to becoming addicted, but it’s still a conscious choice that is being made by the consumer. The gene does not force you to put anything in your body. An increased susceptibility is in no way, shape, or form an excuse.

    Like

  16. OMG this is a great article! I know this seems pretty irrelevant or not as real but I have watched so many Law & Order and criminal shows where the assailants blamed their assaults on there genes. Oh my father was a born killer which is why my behavior is the way it is. Honestly. It is really hard to say. I guess I do feel that genetics has something to do with the way people are but of course environmental factors can change things! I am a firm believer that you are a product of your environment! you are raised around bad things you will grow up to think those bad things are okay. I guess I can’t decide here whether I think genetics or environmental factors have more to do with people’s actions.

    Like

    • Maryan says:

      Arianna,

      I don’t think this seems irrelevant at all! I agree with you 100%! And TV shows really do apply in real life. I feel like so many real life cases have been just thrown out because they blame it on genetic factors or they look at genetic factors and make it come into play with cases because they think they plays a “huge role”. But it’s FALSE! A child who comes from a drug using (including alcoholism) could get adopted and be put in a completely different environment and the outcome of that child could be completely opposite than that of their parents. It’s all about who you are and where you are. This also comes into play when it comes to people who may live in not the best neighborhoods, some people decided who they become. Either they get wrapped up and caught up with whats going on in their environment and become and outcome of that. Or with some people, take their environmental struggle and allow it to motivate them to make it out. Therefore, I’m not a believer that your genetics plays a “huge role” in developing who you are, because at the end of the day we all have a choice.

      Like

      • Hi Arianna and Maryan,
        I agree that genetics can no longer be used as an excuse for crime or bad behavior. Today we have so many options for treatment for a wide range of mental health and substance abuse issues. There’s not as much stigma to seeing a psychiatrist, therapist, or attending self-help group like there was a few decades ago. Even the court systems are wising up to this and offering treatment over incarceration for drug-related crimes, like the flagship program here in Gloucester, MA. Nowadays, I think that instead of accepting someone’s “condition” as a legal defense, courts might be more inclined to ask, “Why didn’t you get help?” Especially if it’s discovered that the person in question knew about or was offered help in the first place. Being offered help first over being locked up is such a HUGE improvement for society in general on so many levels. There are a lot more choices today for people with mental health and addiction issues, and using the genetics “defense” won’t be the easy way out it used to be.

        Like

  17. Qian Ren says:

    I agree on how “behavior h[ave] consequences… you OWN it”. Although genes may predetermine your higher chances of being prominent to a disease and your appearances, it does not predetermine your addiction on a certain substance. People who say this just use it as an excuse when they get in trouble. In the autobiography Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard, Liz Murray talked about being born to two drug addicted parents who later abandoned her and her sister. Both her parents would often do drugs in front of her and use all of the money to the point she once had to eat a chapstick to hinder hunger. Having two drug addicted biological parents did not make her addicted to drugs just like them. But instead she turned it around and saw how addiction to drugs was like a slow suicide, and optimistically made her way to an Ivy League; Harvard University. She turned her life around and focused on education when she got a job and was exposed to an environment full of successful children her age. Environment is the most important aspect of a person’s behavior. Murray resumed back to high school after hanging out with high school students her age who were getting accepted into colleges like Brown. She saw how happy they are and learned to live like them. She had the free will of picking a different route than her parents. So a person can never genetically inherit addiction to alcoholism because they have the free will to make decisions in life and it is all learned behaviors.

    Like

  18. Sarah Erritouni says:

    The idea that a person could be excused from any consequences following misbehavior because their biology “made them do it” is preposterous. If that were the case than hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and health insurance agencies would not require patients suffering from genetic diseases to find any possible way to pay the full and complete cost of their treatment. Those who must content themselves with a biological calamity must pay for the consequences of their condition and they are leagues more innocent than the alcoholic who reasons all his mistakes away with “I had no free will.” If those who are damaged entirely due to genetics must pay a price then those who allow their environment to presource them into ruining their own lives and the lives of those around them most certainly should as well.

    Like

    • Amy Considine says:

      Ok Sarah, I hear you. But as I said in my last post, biology really can alter a person’s behavior. The pharmaceutical companies know that disorders such as mental illness that can enable addictions can be helped by medication. So many addicts have mental illness as the starting point for their addiction, whether it be trying to self medicate hearing voices, suicidal tendencies, paranoia or delusions. People with these disorders indeed have free will, but they are trying to treat their maladies with alcohol or drugs. Genetics are a huge part of mental illness, at the point of trying to self medicate the environment doesn’t really matter at that point in time. I believe that people can determine their own destiny but only by so much. The rest is inherent biology and genes, deciding if that person ends up addicted to substances as a result of a mental illness. So many people who at one point self medicated with substances often end up on medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers and are able to stop using. The research truly shows this, and advocacy organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness espouse these facts. Don’t believe me? Look up the NAMI website or google “Co-Occuring Disorders”. It’s a proven fact that psychiatric disorders quite often are the gateway to addictions. I think that there is the ability to determine one’s future, but not when that person has a predisposition to a disorder such as a brain disorder.

      Like

      • Sarah Erritouni says:

        To be honest, I don’t completely understand what you’re trying to say, so if I misinterpreted some part of your comment please feel free to correct me.

        What I got from you was that some addictions come from having to take medical drugs to deal with some sort of mental disorder, and since these disorders are generally genetic, the addiction caused as a result is also genetic. The problem here is that even those who get addicted through this process are still doing so as a result of their enviornment and choice.

        When a person goes to a psychiatrist, or any medical professional, they are generally hoping that the doctor will provide them with a perscription to fix whatever problem he or she is dealing with. These perscriptions, depending on the individual, may or may not satisfy their intended purpose but either way, it could cause them to get addicted.

        If the drug works, they might take more than needed every moment they feel a bit off; if it doesn’t they might keep taking more hoping a larger dosage will do the trick. Either way the individual chose not to follow the psychiatrist’s instructions and did as he or she thought was best.

        Also, mental disorders do not always need to be medicated and can be dealt with entirely through a positive enviornment. If you haven’t yet read or listened to the audio in Sierra’s original post, you should. It provides a wonderful example of this.

        Like

    • I see that we all agree about the responsibility of “Genetics alcoholics”. But if it is the case something should be done to help them. If they are addict because of genetic problem, I think them need assistance like cancer people to be able to go over this situation. Otherwise, they it will be very difficult for them to cure their addiction.

      Like

  19. pridethomas says:

    One thing I remember hearing growing up is bad association spoils useful habits. So I do think alcoholism it is a learned behavior and you learn it from your environment or the friends you make. At some point you either have to make the choice and use your free will to decided no I won’t do this becuase I learned that I am sloppy, and a mess or you grew up with it and it is just a everyday thing you see. This relates to anything not just alcoholism it could be swearing and maybe you grew up in the house where saying fuck shit ass hole bitch was ok and not frowned upon. Where as some people in there house they would not dare But because of the environment of where they grew up that’s how it was. And that could fall on the religion you are, neighborhood, etc. I know some things I learned from my upbringing is all learned through my family and not saying it’s bad but is natural and it’s sad to see some children who grow into adults that are in homes with poor role models. I see it all the time at the school I work in…the dad or mom smokes the 8th grader smoke too learned behavior but they have free will to make a smart decision.

    Like

    • Sarah Erritouni says:

      You are totally right. Enviornment does tend to have a huge affect on how a person behaves. I also agree that, since family is usually a person’s main enviornment, a home is where behaviour, both good and bad, is learned and encouraged by example.

      The neighbors across the street from me live in a house attached to another families home. The latter family’s parents, from what I’ve seen, make no attempt to adjust their speech patterns when their kids are around, so their kids are exposed to a lot of profanity in their lives. As a result their kids use a lot more profanity than any of their peers, believing that it’s OK and the norm to use them. This is most likely because the kids watch their parents swear and find it, through example, to be a natural part of life.

      The former family however is a very religious family and the parents would be absolutely horrified if anyone uttered even a single breath of profanity within their home. Their kids as such, from what I know, have never used profane words in public and generally seem beyond scandalized when somebody else does. Once agian, these kids concluded that profanity was not an option in a mature adults vocabulary by observing their parents’ reactions to it.

      These two families live in the same exact area, in homes that are attached even, and yet their children have completely different ideas on how a person should speak. Simply, the environment they live in and the environment their parents create in the hone are complete opposites and is what they draw on to help them understand the world and their place in it better.

      Like

      • Qian Ren says:

        I agree with you on how the environment affects one’s behavior. Whether one family allows swearing or not depends on the culture and that is why it’s good that the Neo-Freudian incorporated culture into personality. The environment plays a very important role when it comes to learning. Especially for preteens who are in between the stage of being a children and adult. They are just finding for one’s identity and so they are easily affected by other’s opinions around them. I moved around a lot when I was little, and when I was in middle school, I moved and attended one school for a week. At this school, students popularized the idea of dating, smoking, drinking, fighting, etc. Who ever had dated, got suspended/ arrested, fought the most was looked at as the coolest kid in school. Those who didn’t even do any of that was outcasted and pressured to change their identity and do bad things. Many of the students now have dropped out and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Although some were able to turn their lives around, many were trapped and didn’t know how to get out. That school was in a city with a high crime rate and access to drugs and alcohol was easy. A week later I moved to another city and school. There students popularized the idea of doing well in school and being clean. Who ever had the highest grade, obedient, and never caused trouble was looked at as the coolest and most popular kid in school. Addiction shouldn’t be something portrayed as something cool, but something that is going to destroy you or people around you.

        Like

      • Sierra Hitchcock says:

        I agree with you that environment has a huge effect on how a person behaves. I grew up with a religious mother who talked about, and still talks about, what kinds of morals and values are important to have. Because I was homeschooled I spent a lot of time with her so her views and beliefs have, hopefully, positively effected my life and the way I conduct myself. Now I have two older brothers and a sister. My oldest brother and my sister both spent the last two years of high school at the same religious boarding school my mom went to. They haven’t spend the amount of time with my mom that I have but both of them still were in an environment where the same kinds of morals and values were being promoted. My last brother on the other hand never went to boarding school and never interacted much with my mom even when he lived at home. The different amounts of exposure my siblings and I got to these teachings is evident in the ways we act. None of us behave badly but I notice little things like I tend to have more patience and give the benefit of the doubt more readily than my siblings or how my oldest brother and sister are more cautious in relationships than my other brother etc. It is fascinating to see first hand how the environment a person grew up in effects them in adulthood.

        Like

  20. Jonathan Hock says:

    Wouldn’t you say growing up in modern western civilization that we live in the land of opportunity? Americans today can get as far in life as they want depending on how hard they work; regardless of class, race, gender, etc. So lets say for example someone is more inclined to have an addictive personality, this person should be monitoring his or her actions at all times and be conscious if they see anything getting out of control. People with motivation and people who set goals can clearly see when something is an obstacle between them and their finish line. If someone notices that a substance abuse issue is hindering them to where they want to be in life they will find the incentives to handle the problem themselves. For them to carry on in life saying that their lives are predetermined because of their addictions is bull crap. We know a lot about addicts, and the biggest thing that sticks out to me is that people change only when they want to change. I think that is safe to say for any bad habit form not eating our greens to shooting up heroin. Even if we grew up in an awful environment we still have a moral compass and we can observe the successes in other people. To embrace that addicts do not have responsibility over their actions solely because this was their genetic disposition is not only demeaning to successful addicts who had the will power to overcome their issues, but it is also the enabling of victimization.

    If anyone disagrees please do so with logic and and not your feelings.

    Like

  21. Amy Considine says:

    I do believe in the factors that genetics play in certain illnesses, including alcoholism. I do believe that alcoholism is indeed a disease, like heart problems or diabetes. But there is the notion of personal responsibility and not crying in your coffee (or vodka) that your problems are all genetic. Which do I believe in more? I don’t know. A family member was an alcoholic for many years, why did she end up with that problem while her sister led a productive and healthy life? People who have overcome their addictions might agree with the predisposition theory and think that they had to overcome something that is inherent in their genes. But to drink or not to drink, to drug or not to drug, we all have free will and can absolutely choose the better option. I know that lots of college kids engage in drinking and drugging, most emerge from college without an addiction problem. But there are the few who can’t (won’t) stop and end up as addicts. I don’t know what they say in rehab about this notion of predisposition but I would be interested to know. I know that when I was away at school it seemed like everyone drank every weekend, including me, I now have an occasional glass of wine and I can easily walk away from it. I would like to read more about this notion of the addiction gene, I think that it is an interesting notion that warrants more discussion.
    Best,
    Amy

    Like

    • Qian Ren says:

      Hi Amy,

      I too would like to learn more about the biological study of the addiction genes. Before we had all these technologies that scientists now use to make studies like these, alcoholism was already a problem. Now I wonder how did people view alcoholism especially during the 1920, 1930s prohibition. What did they say caused them to be alcoholics? They couldn’t say it was predetermined by the genes because there weren’t many advanced studies about the genes then. The part you brought up on how you and others are more likely to drink during early adulthood rather than middle/later adulthood is interesting. I believe that we are more likely to drink when we are younger because of peer pressure and society usually associates alcohol with younger adults. Or maybe it’s because as people are in the later adulthood they have more priorities and are busier, looking back to last night’s presentations, people in the middle/later adulthood most likely have jobs or family which keeps them busy and full of responsibilities.

      Like

    • Jonathan Hock says:

      Something I like to think about when contemplating if people really have control over becoming addicted is whether or not they chose to use the drugs. Of course there are those horror stories in eastern Europe about kidnapped tourist women who are forcibly addicted to heroin, they tie the women down or lock them in rooms and give them high doses of strong drugs multiple times a day for months in the hopes that the women need them for the drugs because they are too far away from home to seek support elsewhere and unfortunately get stuck in a cycle of prostitution. This is what I would consider an exception to the rule that most people are not forced to do drugs. Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol in our modern society are aware of the consequences.

      Like

    • You mention that when you were away at school, seemingly everyone, including yourself, drank every weekend. It’s great that you did not develop any drinking problem from that time, as you stated that you can presently drink a glass of wine on occasion. I would guess that many of the “weekend drinkers” that you shared alcohol and merriment with went on to become alcoholics. Of course it is a choice to drink or not, but it can be an uninformed choice in the moment, where people only realize that they have a problem long after others have.

      Like

  22. If it true that Scientific/biological research has found that there are specific genes that determine alcohol addiction, that is really sad. Because , both, genetic and environment are two factors important in our life and our socialization. But this is not an alibi to glorify this kind of people. They are responsible of their acts. The determinism is a reality of our life, but that never stop self determination, self battle and self motivation to reach our goals. People with genetic illness go always over their disease and live longer. It could be the same case for those people addicts.
    .

    Like

  23. Robert Tynes says:

    As the son of a former alcoholic (my mother passed in 2005 of Cirrhosis of the liver) and a possible alcoholic in denial (my father whom I haven’t spoken to in several years), I think it’s fair to say that “alcoholic genes” may have passed on to me. Living in the household with my mother as a child I started to despise alcohol. Interference from the then Department of Social Services (now DCF) and consequential visits to AlAnon meetings pointed me in the direction of alcohol as the root of our issues, whether or not it was. My mother never hid her problem from me. If people were coming over, then it was time to hide all of the cans however. To this day I fear the possibility of the power alcohol may be able to have over me if I ever succumb to using it as a coping agent. I can identify with using free will to affect the outcome of my decisions and rarely ever drink, while one of my brothers drinks heavily and the other won’t touch a drink with a ten foot pole. I can say that alcoholism, although genetically traceable, I believe can be defeated with the proper mentality about it. In my sober brother and I’s case, the fear keeps us astray. There is far more to this than I can fit into this comment/response, but for the meantime I have the choice beyond what genetics may dictate.

    Like

    • Sierra Hitchcock says:

      You family story is very interesting in how your parent’s relationship with alcohol effected you and your brothers in different ways. Neither of my parents are alcoholics but my mother believes my paternal grandfather was one, though neither he nor my dad would ever admit it. I notice the way my dad and his sister are effected by alcohol even if it is just one drink. They get louder, more outspoken, and ruder. Alcohol amplifies their worst behavior and it is off putting to be around them. I don’t know if I have any kind of alcoholic gene, but I still try to avoid alcohol just in case. I am underage so that also deters me from drinking, but I know that that doesn’t stop most people from indulging in alcohol. I absolutely believe that every person has free will to chose to not partake in a behavior and you and your brother have decided to go down that path which is commendable.

      Like

      • Robert Tynes says:

        Thank you. I still have a beer here and there but “the gene” doesn’t affect my ability to tell myself when enough is enough. Partially I believe my brothers influence in telling me “you need to figure out your limits” is what helped me figure that out, during my early 20’s I certainly found out my limits. As of late It’s almost down to one or two beers and I’m done. My tolerance levels have alot to do with it as welll as the way alcohol affects my body. It’s unpleasant and I rather not deal with the feeling.

        Like

    • Michele McKinnon says:

      I agree with you, it’s free will to choose to drink. My mother was an alcoholic too, however, I never worried about becoming one as I became of drinking age. I don’t think genetics play a part in one becoming an alcoholic or any other addict. However, I do believe that it’s possible that forming an addiction can be a learned behavior. If anything, I can claim that my mother taught me it’s okay to turn to drinking as a coping mechanism. Alcoholism wasn’t something that my mother was predisposed to, it was something that was learned. It was her way of dealing with life. However, unlike you I don’t fear the possibility of the power that alcohol can have on us. I do drink socially, but those drinks are so far and few in between. I can have one drink today and not another for months. I believe it’s dependent upon an individual’s ability to make better decisions.

      Like

      • Robert Tynes says:

        I agree with you in that we can control our urges and in that drinking can be learned as a way to cope. I guess my fear would be in regards to it being used for that reason. Saying “I need a drink” because I had a bad day at work can lead to this mentality, I think, just by association of a bad feeling with drinking to make it go away. However, i feel maybe the thought ” work sucked, lets go out (to get over it quicker)” would be a better way of looking at it that doesn’t exactly associate the drinking with a coping mechanism for a strrssful day.

        Like

  24. Sierra Hitchcock says:

    I absolutely believe that humans were born with free will and therefore must be accountable for their behavior and actions. I do think a person’s genetics can predispose them to certain behaviors i.e. addiction, and certain environmental situations can cause them to act on those predispositions, but in no way is blaming your genes for your personal actions acceptable. Every person has the free will to not act on a craving, impulse, or desire. If you do, then you are accountable, not your genes.
    Awhile ago I listened to this fascinating story on The Moth podcast told by James Fallon, a world-renowned neuroscientist (I will put a link at the bottom so you can listen to it yourself, if you wish). He talked about his study of patterns in the brains of psychopathic killers and how they all showed damage to two certain areas of the brain. He then shares how he was going through a stack of brain scans of his own family, for an unrelated research project, and at the bottom came across a scan that showed severe damage to those two certain areas of the brain, just like the killers had. He thought he had put this scan in the wrong pile but when he looked to see whose scan it was he was shocked to see that it was his own! He then goes on to share how his family and friends revealed to him that he is emotionally distant which he was completely unaware of. He also shares how his father’s side of the family is riddled with killers and how his upbringing positively effected him. I highly, highly recommend listening to this. It is only fifteen minutes and is related directly to what we are discussing about genetics and predisposition.
    https://themoth.org/stories/confessions-of-a-pro-social-psychopath

    Like

    • Sarah Erritouni says:

      Thank you for putting the link in your comment. The story was really interesting and, as you said, perfectly reflects the free wil v. genetic determinism issue. Any person, just like James, has the ability to overcome the characteristics that genetics ‘predisposes’ them to. It really does depend on the enviornment and experiences a person lived through growing up. If someone grew up with a steady support system of people who showed him or her what was socially, morally, and ethically correct they’ll more likely grow to be similar to what James calls a Pro-Social Psychopath. Having a good example is a lot more influential to a person’s development than their genetics and this goes for people from all walks of life.

      Also, I found James’s comment on the nessesity of psychopaths really enlittening. Whenever the general population, myself included, hear the term ‘psychopath’ our minds don’t treat it as just another difference within the human species but rather as a disease. The way that James explained the role of psychopaths in our society showed me that even the inability to feel empathy can be beneficial. Just because someone is labeled something you don’t understand or perceives reality differently doesn’t mean they’re somehow inadequate as human beings. Everyone has a purpose in life.

      Like

  25. Javier Lemus says:

    I honestly think that in one way your genes can make you more prone to different behaviors. With that said, it’s also not an excuse. That’s like the excuse of “the violent video games made me do it”, just because give a pre disposition to be an chocoholic it doesn’t mean you have to be one. You can choose to not open the can of beer and you can also choose to get a cab home instead of trying to drive. If a psychopath or a sociopath kills someone and gets caught he doesn’t get a free pass just because he’s not “wired right” so why should someone just because he thinks his genes make him prone to violence. Last year I read the story of a man in France, who after being killed in a knife fight in a video game he traced the other player to his home in a town about 2 hours away from him. He went to his house and stabbed him the chest with a kitchen knife, this was after spending about 3 months tracing this person. This is the kind of person that need to be locked away, he obviously had plenty of time to A. calm down B. think about what he was doing and C. whether it was right or wrong so there’s obviously something not right with him. What if this man said he has mental problems, and all of a sudden the court lets him go because his genes made him do it so it’s not his fault? There would be one more crazy out and about. Your genes made you do it? no, you had a choice and you took the wrong one. Plain and simple.

    Like

    • Jonathan Hock says:

      I agree and think that people still know as to if it is right or wrong through their learned ideas on what society finds as normal or not. Like the video game example was clearly a guy who had some psychopathic tendencies. He had a clear understanding of the law but still made the conscious decision to go and kill some one. In criminal law its called firs-degree murder because it was premeditated.

      Like

  26. daelynnvalerio says:

    Some people have a certain gene that makes them more prone to addiction than others. For example, if a friend and I decide to go to have a couple of drinks and as soon as my friend finishes his first drink he can’t stop drinking, but I can have one drink and not have another drink in months, this is because my friend my friend has genes that made him more prone to addiction. Having genes that determined why you are addicted to alcohol should not be use as an excuse to become an alcoholic. If the individual is aware of his/her situation actions should be taken to prevent the addiction. This should not be use as an excuse, every person should be responsible enough to take responsibility for their actions. If you are aware that after having that one drink you won’t be able to stop then keep yourself away from bars, and environments involving alcohol. Your genes would never make you do something you didn’t want to do.

    Like

    • Yes they may have a gene that predisposes them to addiction but that does not mean that they can not take precautions or set limits for themselves . Knowing that you may possibly be able to become addicted to a substance due to prior experience, should help you make the decision to either fall into that addiction, or to stray from it and create a path for yourself.

      Like

      • We can blame, insult or think everything. But when you have a situation which predisposes it became more complicate…Psychologically or Sociologically it is abnormal. But what about Genetically or Biologically? We are leaving in a society. And for a genetic alcohol problem, I think the Government should do something.

        Like

      • daelynnvalerio says:

        Exactly, Thats what I was trying to state, if the individual is aware of the situation he / she should take stict precautions. The indivual should keep himself/ herself away from certain environments that could trigger the addiction. I totally agree with you the individual should make better decisions and take responsibility for his/her actions

        Like

    • Jennifer N. says:

      I understand where you’re coming from but remember most people don’t know it’s a serious problem until after the fact. People binge drink all the time. They go out and consume multiple fluids but usually to have fun. Some know their limits others don’t seem to have one but they all usually do it for fun or distract themselves from personal problems. Maybe someone likes the taste of alcohol more then someone else which is why they consume it more frequently. “My genes made me do it” isn’t a real thing to say and I don’t think anyone would. Though after drinking or maybe getting into drugs and having found treatment and now knowing what could’ve been a factor of your behavior is now when someone can say alright so I had this disorder that could’ve triggered me to doing so. Though ultimately everyone does have responsibility for their actions and should know when to control themselves for their own health and safety.

      Like

  27. This is an interesting topic as I have grown up with addicts all my life. I do believe that genetics has the ability to give someone more of a susceptibility to drugs and or alcohol. Also, environment does have a huge influence on behavior.
    There is a couple different ways of looking at an addict’s life with genetic “deficiencies”. You can see an addict as a person that was born with a much more challenging life than others. Depending on his will and luck of influence, he can either climb out of these deep pot holes he finds in his genetic road, completely avoid them because he knows their there, or fall into them and blame his genetics for putting them there. Some addicts live their entire life climbing out and not figuring out how to stay out. They don’t learn to look ahead and anticipate their road. Sometimes it’s the environment that deprived them of such skills. Compounded are the external factors that push them into these potholes like clinical depression, injuries, and traumatic events.
    I compared my life with my best friend. We used to do all kinds of things when we were younger because that’s what we did based on our influences at the time. Our families were basically the same and we went to the same schools. The difference between him and I is he had an “addictive personality” or genetics that predisposed him to addiction, and I had a control issue where I could not let another substance dictate my “self”(actions, emotions, etc.). So I would easily stop what we were doing because, enough was enough, and he would follow through to the fullest were it would affect his life and others. He ended up getting addicted to heroin and I struggled to be around him. I stuck by him through all kinds of hardships to show him that he had a friend through this struggle, and his parents did the same. Luckily, through a tremendous battle and many years, he was able to get himself out of his hole and learned not to fall in. His doctor told him that he has clinical depression and his brain was allergic to opiates, which gave him that incredible euphoria that lead to his addiction. This is something he lives with, still this haunting addictive self, wanting and yearning for that escape, but through life lessons, meds and the support of his family he understands how he can live without falling prey to his genetics. I gained a different perspective from this. I admired him for having fallen prey to his monster in the closet and learning how to get out and keep the door locked. The hardship is having that monster, always there, always haunting. This is a struggle I do not have to live with and feel grateful for something I couldn’t control, my genetics.

    Like

    • Sierra Hitchcock says:

      I really enjoyed reading your post and the analogies you used. They were a great way to describe addiction. Being a teenage female dancer, eating disorders are very prevalent in my world. Because of this I have read quite a bit about them and the recovery is much like you described. They may be able to stop abusing food and their body and shut and lock the door with the monster behind it but they will always have to live with that monster there. It haunts them, and everywhere they go there are triggers begging them to start their addictive behavior again. Addiction, whether it is genetically or environmentally driven, is a horrible monster that can only be fought if its victim wishes to fight it. Many times it is easier to just give into and open the door to the monster rather than fight to keep the door closed. I am glad to hear you friend was able to recover, not everyone is as lucky.

      Like

    • Sara Sada says:

      Hey martin, I totally agree with your comment. I have a friend who I grew up with that has problems with alcohol. Environment is indeed a big factor, while growing up. I do believe that there are some diseases that genes have a total control of when you are born. A person has no control of that, they can’t choose what they have, but decision making I believe an individual has a choice. With that choice, comes responsibility of ownership. It is so easy to use words, but actions are harder to come by. Like you I do believe it is how strong your will is. If an individual truly wants to accomplish something, they will make decisions working up to that goal.

      Like

  28. One may be predisposed to alcoholism due to genetics and/or example but that does not mean that they must feed into it or use it as an excuse. If you have a prexisting issue in your family regarding addiction and you have witnessed it/grew up around such behavior it is up to you whether or not you lead the same lifestyle or not. Genetics may play in as a factor but that does not have to determine your future. It should in fact help you make the decision not to go down that path because you have seen the effects the addiction had on your loved one. That alone should be means enough for you to try and prevent falling into the addiction.

    Like

    • Qian Ren says:

      Yes, I agree with you on how our genetics don’t drive our future. When people have done something wrong, they will always come up with any excuses thinking that it would make up for their wrongdoings. Sometimes people say that just to make themselves feel better and in a way “justify” their wrong act. I agree with you on how those who are exposed to the environment full of addictions, should know and clearly see the consequences of becoming hook to a substance. It is sad that sometimes those are the ones who are more likely to become an addict and their experiences aren’t enough to persuade themselves to stay out of it. Like how professor V said in class, “misery loves company”, so the environment is very important. But it is also possible to not fall in the trap and chose the right path in life, because there are countless amount of people who were once addicts and now are successful or have their life straighten out.

      Like

    • Yes, by experiencing your loved ones suffering from alcoholism should have an impact on your future, but sometimes it doesn’t. There needs to be a combination of thoughts and emotions that create that break in the predisposed addiction cycle. Sometimes, unless it’s pointed out, the lesson isn’t learned. If a child isn’t influenced enough to see the problem is his or her parents, then the problem will persist within them. Some children grew up with traumatic events in their lives that they luckily linked to alcohol. They were able to consciously link the substance to the behavior, therefore making the change in their own lives. Not all children are that intuitive. Some need to learn through experience, some just never think it could happen to them.

      Like

    • Michele McKinnon says:

      I agree with you that witnessing the turmoil that having an addiction can cause should make one want to make better decisions. Life is all about choices. We are all born with free will, to make our own choices. Some people develop addictions and have no idea what they’re getting themselves into until it’s to late. But for those that have a first hand account on what addiction does to an individual there should be no excuse. Genes determine eye color, hair texture, and skin complexion, but an addiction doesn’t fall into any of those categories. It’s just my opinion that the environment is a bigger factor in determining if one will develop an addiction or not.

      Like

  29. Michele McKinnon says:

    Having grown up with an alcoholic parent, I honestly believe it is a choice. Because I saw first hand how drinking can affect an entire family I made a decision to never deal with my problems by living inside a bottle. I am able to drink socially amongst my peers and not have to worry about whether I will develop a drinking problem or not. While genetics may play a part in determining whether one develops an addiction, I honestly believe the environment plays a bigger role. I think it’s a conscious decision made by an individual. In my personal opinion, blaming genetics for an addiction just seems like a cop out to me.

    Like

    • I agree with you that being an addict is a choice and can be overcome utilizing ones own free will and making the conscious decision to not succumb to addictive genetic traits. A friend of mine had an alcoholic guardian throughout his life, and is a normal functioning member of society by choosing to avoid alcohol and other addictive substances. It really is a choice and your genes should not ultimately affect your actions in the end when it comes to critical decision making.

      Like

    • Jonathan Hock says:

      Michele,
      While my parents were not alcoholics (they never drank at all), my grandparents were alcoholics. I say this because it is interesting to see how against my parents are of alcohol. All our lives my brothers and I have heard horror story after horror story of being a kid growing up with alcoholic parents, and of course we visited the grandparents often, and one of them lived with us. It obviously didn’t phase us kids much; just before and around the age of 21 all my brothers and myself went in and out of phases of drinking too much. Especially me. I wouldn’t say I had a drinking problem at all, I was just taught to binge drink with my friends in the Army and was never introduced to any other way of drinking until a couple years later where I decided to take it easy. Now I don’t have the mentality that drinking means drinking until you are drunk. I can easily just have one now and not feel the need to get wasted. But in the past ‘one’ always led to wasted. Not that I wanted to get drunk necessarily, that’s just how we did it as a group of friends. Looking back I can now see how many of those friends of mine were alcoholics, or at least are alcoholics now. I wouldn’t say it was my luck with genetics, seeing how all my grandparents were alcoholics, it was definitely my freewill and conscious decisions to change my drinking habits.

      Like

  30. Jennifer N. says:

    I certainly don’t agree with the statement that, “genes made me do it”. I feel that even if you do have an addictive trait in you’re genes you can certainly manage it instead of using it as an excuse to your mishaps. I think it’s absolutely unreal that’s like driving drunk getting into an accident then saying hey my whole family has an addiction problem so its predetermined that I was going to do this but it isn’t my fault. Plenty of households have father that may consistently consume alcohol but their kids don’t grow up doing the same. Yes, they made drink it once in awhile but they have self control and know how much they should intake or when their not stable enough to do certain things like operate a vehicle. I do believe that yes if one family member is an alcoholic another might become one as well because of the exposure and influence but you know your limits. Blaming your genes to the police about your mistakes will do nothing but make you look ridiculous because you are accountable for your own doings.

    Like

    • Amy Considine says:

      OK, Jennifer, I see your point about the drunk driver. I do. But I must bring up the story of a good friend of mine who is 22 years clean and sober. She started drinking and drugging in high school and was soon spiraling out of control. at 21 she ended up in the first of many rehabs, eventually getting clean and sober 16 years later. She experimented with not only alcohol but the hard drugs- benzos, cocaine, also marijuana (which some people don’t consider hard, but I think in her case it opened the door to other drugs.) She started losing friends and had to drop out of school. In rehab the idea that she had a psychiatric disorder was introduced. They diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was introduced as she spent her first of many inpatient visits in a psychiatric hospital. Finally she had a reason for all the substance use. She got on psychiatric drugs and joined AA. She got a sponsor and is now sponsoring 3 people herself.
      Do I believe that genes and predisposition are major factors in many addicts experiences? Yes, I do. I really do. I know many of you disagree with me, but I have seen first hand how someone can get their life together with the proper treatment. I’ve seen the proof myself.

      Like

      • Michele McKinnon says:

        Hi Amy
        I don’t think your friend’s situation can compare to the issue at hand. So it seems your friend just had an undiagnosed mental illness, not necessarily a predisposition to addiction. It seems she just used drugs as a way to self medicate, perhaps as a coping mechanism for something she didn’t even know was an issue. From my understanding of everything you wrote, it just seems to be one big snowball effect. Her undiagnosed mental condition led to her drug addiction. Just my opinion.

        Like

    • kmontimes4299 says:

      Jennifer, I agree with you when you said that people who have an addictive trait in their genes should not use the statement, ” my genes made me do it” as a way to justify their actions because those people should make better decisions and avoid environments expose to alcohol beverages. However, I disagree with you when you said that ” they may drink it one in awhile but have self-control” because in most of the cases when a person has an addictive trait as soon as they have one drink they cannot stop drinking. This is why i think is better if the person tries to avoid those environments .

      Like

      • That is true kmontimes4299. But many people don’t know that they have the genes and for that avoid alcoholic environment. So when they start drinking they can not stop it. If they are diagnosed early, something could be done to save them. But when they start only one Providential hand cans stop them.

        Like

      • daelynnvalerio says:

        I completely agree with you kelcey, If a person is aware of their genes they should take more responsibility and avoid those environments. And like you said some people would not be able to stop drinking after their first drink, this is why alcohol should be completely avoid.

        Like

  31. Your genes do not make you do anything you don’t want to do, an individual capable of making a conscious decision has free will and is able to stop him or herself from acquiring addictive tendencies. Numerous individuals have genetics which make them more prone to being addicted to products such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Meanwhile, other individuals are more fortunate and can do marijuana, drink an alcoholic beverage once, smoke a cigarette once and not have the pyschological need to do it again. These individuals are inherited with specific genetic traits which make them immune to addictive tenedencies. However, people born with specific genetics which cause them to be addicted to products more easily have, free will. Which gives them the ability to consciously monitor their movements to stop themselves from abusing for example alcohol or cigarettes. Human beings are able to adapt to thier environments as well, individuals should take accountability for their actions within thier environment. By adapting to a hostile environment composed of addictive products, individuals with addictive genes may reject the theory of determinism. Genes are an excuse for those who do not not want to take accountability for thier actions, you made yourself do want you wanted to do.

    Like

    • Cruz I agree that everyone has the ability to monitor and control themselves, but it truly comes down to whether or not they have the strength or will to use that control. Not everyone can do that for themselves. Yes genetics are a small factor; it shouldn’t become an excuse, but cause you have control over what happens to you.

      Like

      • I believe everyone, even people with addictive tendencies have the strength to control themselves. They must use addictive products in moderation, Bu monitoring and controlling thier intake in order to not abuse a substance. Many people can control themselves on a daily basis, genetics play a small role in behavioral determinism but at the end of the day a person with addictive tendencies and another with normal genetics is the same because it all boils down to free will. A person with addictive tenedencies can make conscious decisions to avoid addictive products similar to a normal individual.

        Like

      • Lynnou Modestin ,Genetics are maybe a small factor. But when you have the genetics and you start drinking, now start the serious problem. You will have genetic and environment problem to solve . And I am not sure it will an easy equation to solve.

        Like

      • Courtney Doucette says:

        yes Lynnou everyone is different and handles things differently… I hope people who are dealing with this or may in the future will have the strength and courage to pull through

        Like

    • Cruz, yes, while people do have free will to make choices, the right answer isn’t always clear. People aren’t born with the intuitive ability to fight a potential addiction unless it has been learned. They typically discover they have this problem after experiencing the problem first hand and the effects that it has on others. And even then, it depends on their environment that will dictate there handling of this newfound problem. Addictions don’t come with specific guidelines that say, if you drink or drug this much or this often, this will happen. While under the influence, I don’t think people really consciously realize what they’re doing all the time until its too late. They don’t see the big picture; Addictions are like hoodies; they create tunnel vision, so the addict doesn’t see anything else but their selfish needs. Sometimes, it takes them hitting a wall they didn’t realize was there for them to reflect and realize what they have done. So “free will” is in play, they are freely choosing to feel good in a chaotic society that only feeds negativity and pain. The reality is, the drug is the one feeding.
      When it comes to the choices that are made, that cause a certain issue, of course they are the ones that made those choices thus need to suffer the consequences. I don’t believe you can make any excuse for your own actions no matter the case, but I’m trying to say it isn’t as easy and clear as people that don’t have addictions make it out to be. I believe in teaching and influencing addicts in a protected environment opposed to jailing them. They need to have epiphanies about life and what its truly about, so then they can consciously make the choice, and have reasons behind those choices.

      Like

      • Because people have free will, a individual with a potential addiction should be able to make a conscious decision after experiencing or observing the harmful effects a addiction can have in a person. The environment has a substantial effect on a person, but people are capable of adapting to an environment and becoming accustomed to situations in which they initially had a disadvantage. People under the influence aren’t as capable of establishing conscious decisions as others, they should evaluate themselves after and determine if he or she has a problem and should avoid this thing or product because they may get addicted to it. Free will is utilized in this case an individual can decide whether to avoid the alcohol or invite it and consistently drink. Teaching and influencing addicts in a protected environment to utilize thier free will to avoid potential addictions is a great idea.

        Like

  32. I don’t agree with the statement ” My genes made me do it”. I understand that there are people pre-exposed to an addictive trait in their genes but that’s not an excuse to become an alcoholic. If the person is aware of their genes they should take more responsibility and make better decisions. For example, if a person knows they have an addictive trait to alcohol and that person gets very drunk which led to an accident that killed a person, what would the excuse be, ” My genes made me do it”? there is no excuse, the person should be responsible for its own actions especially knowing that he/ she had an addictive trait.

    Like

    • Jennifer N. says:

      Now having read a couple comments I can see where they’re coming from about having an addictive trait in their genes could influence someone’s decisions. So no, not everyone is going to be born told, “hey you have an addictive trait don’t do this and that”. Though its after the fact they’ve the damage has been done, bridges have been burnt, the go and seek help is when the learn what could have played a role in all their poor decisions in the first place . Yes, everyone is responsible for themselves and should take full account to their actions. Though I feel like with an addictive gene you’re most likely prone to be easily influence and like Amy’s friend continuously do more drugs or substance abuse until you get that help or are situated in a stable environment that will keep you away. From there you can learn, get on mediation or repeat back to the cycle that had landed you there in the first place.

      Like

      • Kelcey Montimes says:

        Jennifer, you brought up a really good point, and I agree with you. Those are not aware of their genes would not know they have it until after the damage is done, which hopefully would help them make better decisions and be more careful. These people would be expose to alcohol from time to time, I mean the cant avoid it forever, and it’s true what you said they are most likely prone to be easily influence and do it again, but I think that’s their fault they should know better than to make the same mistakes after knowing their situation. I understand that for some people it’s hard to not make the same mistakes all over again but you should always try to have self control because the statement “my genes made me do it” should be never used as an excuse.

        Like

      • An addictive trait in someone’s genes should not influence their decision making, everyone has their own free will to do whatever they want. If someone with an addictive trait chooses to abuse alcohol, then they are consciously deciding to drink. The addictive traits in someone’s body does not make them do something they don’t want to do. Observation is another alternative for evaluating if someone has addictive tendencies instead of experiencing potential addictions. With observation an individual can determine if they are capable of controlling a substance or incapable and developing an addiction.

        Like

      • Sierra Hitchcock says:

        It’s certainly true that a person isn’t born knowing they have an addictive trait in them, but that doesn’t mean they have to make huge mistakes and hit rock bottom before realizing it. A friend of mine was only eighteen when she told me that she had an addictive trait and was choosing to stay away from alcohol. The way she came to this conclusion was by looking at her own family history as well as examining her own life. Her mother was a former alcoholic and alcoholics ran in her family so by just being aware of that fact made her realize she was prone to addiction. She also took note of her relationship with food which was an unhealthy relationship at the time. She noticed that she was almost to the point of being addicted to eating. Realizing that she could be addicted to something as simple as eating made her take a step back and consider what else she might possibly become addicted too. She by no means made huge mistakes or hit rock bottom in order to come to this conclusion. It is possible to come to revelations like that without a huge, unfortunate event taking place to trigger it.

        Like

      • Jonathan Hock says:

        I know lots of recovered addicts who are defying their “uncontrollable” addictive personalities. To say that one cannot is directly contradicting them in my opinion. There are whole programs of people who have recovered from rock bottom and bad choices, but also there are tons of people who know that they catch themselves wanting to go back to their vices more than the average person. As humans we can cognitively think about this as well as reflect what is normal behavior from the rest of our societies.

        Like

    • Sara Sada says:

      Kelcey, I totally agree with you. People should be more responsible, but knowing people with addiction, they do not always know that they are addicted to anything . They think it’s the norm for them. They need to accept that they have a problem first, before finding the best route to handle the addiction.

      Like

    • Courtney Doucette says:

      Yes I think that is awesome… I agree with them having to take more responsibility step up to the plate since they are aware of the consequences…

      Like

  33. I believe everyone, even people with addictive tendencies have the strength to control themselves. They must use addictive products in moderation, Bu monitoring and controlling thier intake in order to not abuse a substance. Many people can control themselves on a daily basis, genetics play a small role in behavioral determinism but at the end of the day a person with addictive tendencies and another with normal genetics is the same because it all boils down to free will. A person with addictive tenedencies can make conscious decisions to avoid addictive products similar to a normal individual.

    Like

    • I mostly agree with you. I would add that people often do not know that they have genes that are geared toward addiction. It does not take long, in some cases, for a person to start off having a few drinks with friends, to being a borderline alcoholic. If a person doesn’t realize that they are losing control of their ability to drink in moderation, they may not realize that they needed to make different decisions until it is too late.

      Like

  34. Sara Sada says:

    I believe that there are different sides to genes. There are some genes that are passed down that contain diseases and they make you act differently even with free will. But other than that I believe people have the right to own up to the decisions they make. Addiction starts with one try, and before that one try any person in the world has the opportunity to say yes or no. Even though I have never tried alcohol, or any kind of substance, I know someone in my family who has. I am originally from Morocco in Casablanca born and raised till I was 7. At the time i had no idea of the stuff adults got into, everything looked innocent in my eyes. It was years later when I would go with family to visit for the summers that I started hearing about it. In Morocco if someone is doing drugs in the family it’s hushed, it’s not bragged especially if it’s a women. In arab culture that’s considered even a greater sin than when a man does it. So through the years when I went on vacation I found out from hushed conversations from my parents and relatives that one of my uncles was addicted to drugs; I think it was heroine or coke. He had been trying to get clean, but he was distancing himself from his family. Family was the only thing he had, he was not married yet and no kids. When I came home I could not believe, I was trying to understand what would make a person consider harming themselves like that. And then when I got married a learned a different version of free will. My husband, he drinks socially but he knows his limit, but unlike my uncle he can stop for long periods of time without craving for it. My parents never drank, did drugs, or smoked but through my adolescence I got to see for myself what it does, and I know for sure free will exists. People easily want something else to blame for their problems; like of course it wasn’t my decision to pick up a bottle, someone handed to me that’s why I’m drunk. These are the kinds of excuses people give. It’s harder to look to yourself for faults.

    Like

  35. Whether a person becomes an alcoholic seems to be an intersection of their genetic dispositions and environmental factors. Everyone is, of course, responsible for their actions. The fact that someone is more likely to be an alcoholic as a result of their inherited genes explains why some people become alcoholics, as does a person who is raised in an environment where alcohol is prevalent. There are also alcoholics from families that do not have other alcoholic members, and grew up without the presence of alcohol. Just because something is “more likely” does not mean that it has to happen. Your genes are not making you drink, but genetics do go a long way to help understand why some people can so easily become alcoholics by doing little more than trying alcohol, and having a fast, unquenchable thirst for it thereafter.

    Like

    • silvana kanani says:

      Hi Nick, i reply to your comment because I share the same idea with you. Are many factors that effects on alcoholism addiction, but cat blame on the genes. growing up in an alcoholic family or environment might raise the chances to became alcoholic but is every ones choice and responsibility if they want to go with it or stand to it.

      Like

    • Josilyn Gaudet says:

      Hi Nick, I agree with everything you said. Like you said “your genes are not making you drink” you may have an addictive gene but YOU were the one who picked up the first drink. No matter what, you are responsible for your actions and have to take ownership.

      Like

  36. silvana kanani says:

    “The apple does not fall very far from the tree” and other expressions that support the idea that genes determine your future we hear in every day life. I think genes have a great impact on someones mind and body development but I would never believe that genes determine your addictions. In my opinion if someone in your family is addicted to alcohol is because they made their choice and you have yours. I think some people make the choice to became alcoholic because they do not have enough straight to prove wrong the idea that they are not going to be as their parents. I would say that the idea and the fair of having that addicted genes have the greater impact on someones behavior than the gene in itself. To conclude my statement i would say that there is no genes in addiction, is only you and what do you really enjoy in life. If you chose to depend on that imaginary gene that is making you became an alcoholic is your choice not your gene choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth Gutierrez says:

      Hi Silvana,
      love how you said “the idea of having the additive gene has a greater impact on someone behavior more than the gene itself”. I also believe that this gene or more mentally than physically. I feel as if addiction is mentally and only that person can decide whether or not to own the choices they have made. Someone who has the gene and knows just has something to put the blame of their bad decisions on. Alcoholics do tend to put excuses to their drinking.

      Like

      • Silvana Kanani says:

        thank you for replying Elizabeth! that’s what i think too being an alcoholic because of the genes are excuses. people tend to put the blame on something else instead of making improvement and work through their addictions.

        Like

  37. Amela Agic says:

    I believe that people who have the “addictive” gene are probably more likely to become addicted if they are put into that situation. But everyone has the free choice to decide if they want to go down that route. There are many examples of children having alcoholic parents but they don’t end up becoming alcoholics themselves because they chose not too. But there are also many cases where children do follow in their parents footsteps into addiction. I think that environment, the individual’s morals and free will ultimately decide your actions, not genes. If you are more prone to addiction then it is up you and your family and friends to help you stay out of situations that may trigger the impulse.

    Like

    • silvana kanani says:

      exactly. i think addiction is mentally too they are always looking for something to blame on rather than taking responsibility and making the change.

      Like

  38. Courtney Doucette says:

    ” behavior has consequence, you break it, you buy it,, you OWN it,,.” This out of all of your statements I definitely love
    the most!!!! I totally agree with this article, as long as you can make a conscious decision then you are able to determine
    you future and which direction you would like it to go… none of this poor me crap!! we all go through it but we just have to make sure we GET through it and move on…we all have genes that got passed down to us… but at the end of the day your choice is your choice…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth Gutierrez says:

      Yes ! Totally agree Courtney! I think this “addiction gene” is more mentally than physically. Perhaps lets say you have a person (person A) that has this “addiction gene” but does not know it and you have a second person (person B) that has it knows it. Both persons are have become alcoholics. Would Person A be more aware they need to stop and it was their fault they got themselves in that predicament and Person B the complete opposite because they can rely on blaming it on their genes saying it was their genetics that made them do it and thats why they can’t stop drinking? Curious on your opinion about this.

      Like

      • Courtney Doucette says:

        I do think that person A not knowing would do either what you said or may find some other factor to blame it on (stress, depression etc…)… but not knowing about the gene or having it they would never even think of that being a reason… and person B yes of course people usually blame on everything but themselves… and I think people who know they have the gene would love to have a pity party of poor me now look what I have to deal with because of the genes I was born with instead of saying I am to blame for my actions… At the end of the day everybody likes to pass the buck especially when it’s not in their favor …

        Like

    • Shelli Brunet says:

      I agree also, taking personal responsibility for our actions; should be taught in school. Instead I see too many teachers and parents making a scapegoat out of every learning opportunity. “You didn’t do well on the test because it was trick questions” or my personal favorite… “he only started trouble with him because he started it with my child before”. In this day and age we are so busy pawning off the responsibility of situations that we don’t realize to change it, we must own it.

      Like

      • Courtney Doucette says:

        Yes Shelli so true… it makes me very sad these days have come to be like that… I try hard to make my kids accept responsibility for their actions and I hope they will continue to do so for themselves as adults and pass down to their children…

        Like

    • Josilyn Gaudet says:

      Hi Courtney,
      I agree with what you wrote. You are right, at the end of the day nobody made you take that drink other than yourself. Sometimes when suffering from alcoholism people tend to have a poor me attitude and want people to pity them but the only way for them to get better is to own up to their addiction

      Like

  39. Josilyn Gaudet says:

    I happen to believe that genetics do contribute to alcoholism but also believe there is not predetermined future that you will be an alcoholic. I do believe that you can have an addictive gene, but I believe willpower and your environment around you are the most determining factor. If you never picked up that first drink would you still be an alcoholic? Regardless of your genetic makeup, you would not be an alcoholic if you did not start drinking in the first place. I find this particularly interesting because it really goes to show how we control our own destiny. That one drink could be a normal first beer with your dad or it could end up unleashing a hidden monster within you. But either way YOU picked up that drink, you caused what is bound to happen after that drink. YOU are responsible for your alcohol intake, you are responsible for your actions, you are responsible to help yourself and stay sober. Your genetics are not responsible for your actions, nor your alcoholism, you are. Having an addictive gene is possible, but it takes your actions, your choices and only you to activate it.

    Like

    • Amela Agic says:

      Wow, I never thought of it in that sense. We really don’t know if that first drink is innocent or can trigger something far worse. I believe it is your will power to know when to cut it off. Just like eating a cake, sure we want to eat the whole thing because it tastes so good but most of us know to eat one or two pieces regardless how bad the craving for more is. We need to know our limits and if we have trouble controlling them then we need to establish a support system.

      Like

  40. Shelli Brunet says:

    Being the child of a raging alcoholic and drug addict, I truly believe that it is not a genetic trait. I believe it is a learned behavior, we see them do it at a young age and believe that it is socially acceptable. Then as we get into our teen years we may learn that drinking is unacceptable but our friends peer pressure us to drink. This does not mean that because of our genes we are predisposed to being an alcoholic it simply shows that we have a learned behavior that is later reinforced by a social situation. Regardless of how we get their, parents, friends or even television, we need to take a responsibility for our actions. No one put that bottle or cup in our mouths. We had every ability to say “no”, but we choose not to. We make choices everyday and if it is a bad one we try to find something to blame for it. In order to move forward we need to accept the consequences of the choices we make, good or bad, and drinking or drugs are a personal choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EXCELLENT!!! Good for you for making the right choice!!

      Like

      • Silvana Kanani says:

        exactly, i think being a child of someone with alcohol or drug addiction we can learn not to be like them. we have seen how primitive and bad they looked when they were drunk and we don’t want to be like them. my uncle was an alcoholic i think he still is even though he does not drink every day how he used to. My cousin since he was a teen he was shamed to tell to his friends that the drunk man walking down the street was his father. he chose not to be like his father, he knew that was not a good life. he hated alcohol for ruining his family. today hi is a man and has two kids. never got drunk till now had have a drink in our family party’s but never being drunk. the genes thing didn’t work with him, he made his choice.

        Like

  41. Gabby Berube says:

    I remember in health class my first year of high school, the teacher said “If you have a parent, or grandparent that was or is an alcoholic, you will probably be one too, because you carry the gene.” After that, I started viciously researching this subject, because was dad was an alcoholic, and the absolute last thing I wanted was to be one too.

    Through my research I understood that this was not possible. Growing up alcohol was not spoken of, thought about, consumed, or seen in the household. The only thing I new about alcohol was that it was bad, and my dad abused it before me and my siblings were born. Because of that, I don’t think any of my siblings or I have any chance of being alcoholics unless we learn poor behavioral choices from peers.

    Like

    • Elizabeth Gutierrez says:

      Hi Gabby,
      I am very glad and happy your dad’s choices made you not follow that route. No gene can decide what we become addicted to and you are prove of that. Ive heard many stories like yours of a relative that have been an alcoholic and they not becoming too. People choose their destiny , a gene doesn’t choose for them.

      Like

  42. i believe that alcoholism is a choice i have a lot of members in my family that drink and from a very little girl that was all i seen in my house was my mother and father drinking and acting a fool grown up now i do not drink and my little brother does i believe its a choice that you make. I have no interest in alcohol and even going over to parties i still do not drink maybe its because i seen how they acted like fools and i do not want that to be me

    Like

  43. Mamadou Balde says:

    I don’t agree with this theory at all. Saying that my parents were drunks so I am destined to be one does not make sense. This problem is a matter of will. If you really want to get out alcoholism, you will. However, if you want to goof around and be miserable you would put the blame on your genes. So we as a society accept this theory that some people act bad because they inherited whatever the bad behavior is from their parents, therefore they can’t get out of it, it would be disastrous. Most of them you justify their wrongdoings by that, bad people will hurt people and put the blame on their genes. I believe the environment has a lot to do with this. For example, let’s take a person that has alcoholic parents, but they happened to be raised by different people who are normal, productive folks of society, that person has a high chance of being a normal person although their biological parents are alcoholic. In conclusion, environment has a lot of to with it but saying that one can’t get out of alcoholism because they parents are is fooling oneself and not having the will for a normal life.

    Like

  44. Andy Duverge says:

    I agree with the fact that genes don’t really make you do anything. Genes may sway your personality and behaviors but I don’t really think that they could make you physically do something. You have to be really exposed to alcohol or anything for that matter to become really addicted to the substance. No one in my family really has an addiction so I can’t say anything from a personal account. However I would like to know do any of you think that the trait theory really is true?

    Like

  45. Michaela Brunet says:

    This is all true. I agree with this one hundred percent. Your genes only control your make-up not your behavior. Just because you did something does not mean that you don’t have to own up to it. If you did something good you say “I did it!” if you did something bad you stay quiet, praying no one will notice it. When your drunk you don’t care but when you see the video on Facebook about it; you claim it you were just goofing off. What I’m trying to get at is that you, a person, behave the way you want to behave, even if its on accident. Behavior is changeable, Genes are not.

    Like

  46. luis gallego says:

    Behavior is an action that is controlled by oneself so to say that being an alcholic is genes related then wede be saying the same thing for drug atticts such as for instance someone who shoots up heroin and i know for a fact alot of people well majority of the people hate being stuck with or even sseeing a needle so your telling me its a gene that they look to stick themsleves with needles to get high no thats an action that is based on there behavior there feening for there fix so there behavior is making them act erratic in a way which is unstable so there all over the place looking or finding a way they can find there high so i completeyl 100% agree with this article.

    Like

  47. YU LIU says:

    For the alcoholism, maybe gene will influence him or her in the childhood or teenager, but when you go into the society. because of some situation or environment, like ” Alice”family didn’t care about her, she felt lonely. so she will find something made her felt good. However, should we think that can’t change? I think we can change it by ourselves, even this behavior is so different, because we feel that is comfortable, we can’t live even though we know this behavior is terrible. I always think all the thing will make more success by ourselves, and I trust if we want to change something, don’t give up, try our best, I think gene, nature or nurture behavior will not difficult to deal.

    Like

  48. Alexander Karabelas says:

    They may have evidence that alcoholism is a gene, however I don’t quite believe it. What happens to the personal responsibility? Does it just diminish? Do we just start acquitting all the people with behaviors that are unacceptable? There is a clear distinction between behavior and genes. Genes like your hair, your skin or your eyes, are unchangeable. However behavior is. You have a choice to get drunk or not. It is something you can change, even if it is hard. I honestly believe that this is just an excuse to let some people off the hooks. They need to be held accountable for their actions.

    Like

  49. Ezekial Francisco says:

    Of the comments I’ve read, I do agree with a lot of them. Alcoholism is definitely an interesting case because the victims of it often use the genetics of it as a scapegoat for their addiction. In reality, alcoholism is a combination of many factors. Genetics being one of the smaller ones. It does have a lot to do with their learned behavior. In some cases their addiction being learned from early childhood experience.

    Like

  50. Cristina Pereira says:

    Many studies have focused on the causes and risk factors associated with alcoholism such as biological, environmental, social, and psychological. However, the environmental factor could be a strong influence on alcoholism. Individuals who live closer to liquor stores or heavy drinkers affirm to have a more positive outlook on drinking. Also, when people start drinking too much that behavior becomes a pattern, and they significantly increase their chances of having an alcohol problem. The more they drink, the more their body becomes more tolerant, making them drink even more to feel the same effects. Biological factors could predispose an individual, but I don’t think this is the most influential factor of an alcoholic.

    Like

    • Cindy R says:

      I agree with a lot of the comments here and I took an interest in what you commented, growing up I was always surrounded by alcohol because pretty much everyone in my family drinks. It was normal to be told to get a beer from the fridge for someone or to be told to pick up the empty bottles from the night before even though there was no special occasion, to see someone (usually a relative) passed out on the floor and leaving a glass of water with alka-seltzer next to them. Also it never really went unnoticed that we have always lived on the same street where there is a liquor store or two. My uncle knows he’s an alcoholic but doesn’t want to change says he doesn’t need to, even though he has up to 20 years of evidence to prove he should. My step-father is one and knows it doesn’t like the change and hates when it’s mentioned. But that’s the thing I have always been taught, don’t talk about it because we never had to talk about how effected the family we watched it happen and it gave us enough reason to not start. I haven’t become an alcoholic, nor my younger brother and sister but who knows how tolerant to alcohol they are or my tolerance is, so my background isn’t like John’s case study but we have seen how it can affect others and yourself.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: