Intergenerational Addiction: How to Break the Vicious Cycle

Written By Alla Levin
July 13, 2023

If you know a family member who has struggled with drugs or alcohol, it is possible that no one else in the family has had these problems. However, from a statistical standpoint, you are more likely to see multiple family members battle substance abuse in the same bloodline. That’s not a coincidence.

If you have one close family member who has spent time in a rehab center, you’re much more likely to need that same service for yourself. Why is this? We’ll talk about intergenerational addiction and its implications right now.  

Why Might Multiple Family Members Have Addiction Problems?

Science has found that some families are genetically inclined toward addiction and substance abuse problems. That means if you come from a particular bloodline, you have a higher chance of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol than someone who is not of that bloodline.

The same holds for other addictions besides drugs and alcohol. Those who come from a bloodline with addictive tendencies might have difficulty gambling. They may become addicted to other activities that consume their time and money.

Are You Doomed to Become an Addict if You Come from a Certain Bloodline?

This naturally leads to whether you’re doomed to become an addict if you’re born into a particular bloodline. Even if you don’t become addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may feel like it’s only a matter of time until you start exhibiting addictive behavior elsewhere.

In reality, though, that’s not the case. Just because you have a genetic predisposition toward something does not mean you have no control over your actions. You can resist an urge, even if that genetic predisposition is a part of you.

You Have the Power to Make Your Own Choices

It would be incorrect to say that you have no choice but to become an addict because you have some problem drinkers or drug users in your family. You don’t need to wait for that cocktail to appear in your hand magically, nor should you blame it on genetics and accept your fate.

Genetics, as does personal choice, will always play a part in your life. Willpower matters, and it’s more crucial than genetics ever are. If you remain resolute and say you won’t become addicted to anything, nothing says it needs to be any different.

If you know that you have addictive behaviors in your family, then you can live your life watching out for those patterns and avoiding them. If that means never gambling, drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs, or doing anything else that makes you an addict, that’s always within your power to do.

If you’ve seen what addictive behavior can do to your family members, that might only make you more resolute that it won’t happen to you. You can feel proud of yourself if you choose a different path and stay on it when times get tough.

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