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How to Draw on a Family History of Recovery

If a family member has recovered from addiction, then draw from that experience in your own recovery

Anchorage residents with a family history of substance abuse and addiction are at a higher risk of developing these problems than others without such a family history. According to PsychCentral, “genetics account for about half the risk of developing addiction,” so a family history of addiction increases the likelihood of developing the condition. This family trait can also increase the risk for other mental health problems, since mental health disorders and addictions are often connected.

While a family history of addiction can make it more likely that an Anchorage resident will develop a drug problem, a family history of recovery can make it more likely that she will have the strength and endurance to leave addiction behind for good. If you are suffering from addiction and have family members who have beaten that problem, then draw hope and encouragement from your family’s past as you strive to get and stay clean from drugs.

Furthermore, your recovery can make it less likely that your own children will one day suffer from addiction. You can draw from your own experiences in recovery as you raise children who will learn about substance abuse and addiction straight from you straight from you. Just as parents discuss issues like eating healthy and exercising to prevent high blood pressure, you can discuss the issue of addiction and how to prevent it.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Family History of Addiction

When discussing addiction with your Anchorage children, PsychCentral advises sticking to the facts. Being overly emotional or dramatic with threats or ultimatums may actually push your children away from you and closer to drugs. Even if you feel passionate about keeping your kids from drugs, addiction is a health issue, not a moral one, so treat the topic that way in your discussions with your children. You can talk with your children about your family’s history of drug abuse, what addiction is and how it works. You can talk also discuss how addiction is a chronic disease brought on by the brain’s response to drugs and alcohol. Discuss the behavioral changes associated with addiction, the physical health risks and the fact that recovery is possible with the right help. The more you talk with your Anchorage loved ones, the more prepared they may be to refuse drugs or to seek help when they need it.

Predisposition Does Not Equal Addiction

In her Chicago Tribune article, Wendy Donahue tells the story of Marvin Seppala, a former alcoholic who dropped out of high school to attend rehab. He eventually went to medical school and became a doctor; he is now the chief medical officer of a network of rehab centers, and is a well-respected expert on psychiatry and addiction. Seppala’s story demonstrates that a predisposition to addiction does not have to determine an individual’s future.

Seppala recounts how, when he got married, he did not want children because he was concerned that they would have the same experience with alcohol that he did. However, he now has two healthy adult children after he deciding that having a family was worth the risk that his children might inherit his predisposition to addiction. The combination of education, awareness and a safe, loving upbringing can go a long way to prevent addiction.

Donahue also interviewed Sarah Allen Benton, author of Understanding the Highly Functioning Alcoholic. Benton notes that many factors in addition to genetics contribute to the possibility of future addictions in children. For one, most people who become alcoholics or drug addicts say they grew up in a home with parents who actively abused alcohol or drugs. Therefore, Anchorage children whose parents avoid drugs are less likely to develop addictions later on, even if they happen to have a genetic predisposition to the condition. For example, consider someone who recovers from substance abuse and then has children; he does not model addictive behavior to his children, so he makes it less likely that they may one day suffer as he has.

According to Seppala, parents should simply put forth their best effort to raise their children, which means providing a safe, loving environment. Benton mentions that she does not want to obsess over drinking as she raises her daughter, but she does plan to maintain an open dialogue that allows her daughter to speak openly about alcohol and substance abuse. She doesn’t want to condone substance abuse, but she wants to keep the conversation open.

Quality Treatment for Anchorage Drug Addicts

If you or an Anchorage loved one is suffering from addiction, please allow us to help. Call our toll-free helpline to learn more about quality addiction treatment; our admissions coordinators can offer a treatment program that will lead you or your loved one to a lifetime of recovery. Our helpline is available 24 hours a day, so feel free to call anytime.