Family Dynamics

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Wright 1
Randi Wright
Professor Fitzpatrick
ENGL 1023
November 30, 2012
Is family dynamics what determines whether we end up addicted to substances? “Drinking with Daddy” was used for my guide on research to Family Dynamics and Addiction. “Drinking with Daddy” gives out the brief, yet verified reason why many people are under the impression that addiction is hereditary and passed down the line. Susan starts her story off by stating “My grandmother Cheever taught me how to embroider, how to say the Lord’s Prayer, and how to make a perfect dry martini (1496).” Although many people believe that it is genetic, it has been proven that you don't have to be what your family is or was. You are not destined to be an addict just because it is in your family history or family dynamics. Many people have parents that are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Lots of them grow up to not have any substance abuse problems in their lifetime. For many years there have been family members that have been impacted by alcohol and drugs. It states in the article written by William white and Bob Savage, that family members “have been cursed by social stigma, public neglect, and professional misunderstanding” (1). In the story, Susan talks about not even knowing it was a problem when she was exposed to her parents drinking and that “Every evening at six o’clock, right on schedule, the grown-ups would prepare for what they called their pre-prandial libation (1470).” It was a common, everyday occurrence for her to see her Wright 2

Parents and neighbors do their drinking. Naturally, you would think it was normal to drink everyday, because that is all you had been exposed to since you could first remember. Susan talks about how that after the adults would start their daily drinking “the entire mood would change” (1470) and also how “ the adults got loose and happy and forgot I was a child”(1470). The belief that alcohol was a “product of heredity grew throughout the nineteenth century”(White 2). Now that we have more instances of addictions in families and society, we have statistics that show it is just a rising matter in the world. In an article, by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the statistics show that “ Over six million children in America live with at least one parent who has a drug addiction” (2010 Drug). It is not uncommon anymore that you either your mother or father would have a substance abuse problem. What is different about Susan’s upbringing and now, is that we are more aware today of the chances of becoming addicted to substances as well as other things in life. In my opinion, I believe that it does have a huge impact on your life of how you were brought up in your family. The 2010 article of statistics also brings out the point that “ prescription pain killers” are one of the most commonly abused substances, “other than alcohol” (2010 Drug). In Susan’s story she states “ Drinking was apart of our heritage” (1471). Which also goes to show that in Susan’s upbringing, it was common and passed down by behavior. In “Drinking with Daddy,” it was said by Susan “Divorce was pretty rare” (1471). This also was a different era than today. Today it is not uncommon to get a divorce. She does describe how “when all the martinis in the world weren’t enough for Wright 3

Them to blot out their pain of their humanness, they killed themselves quietly. No one talked about it. They hanged themselves with their hats on…” (1471). We now live in a society that people are very opinionated and very open with things. But it is still the same concept as it was then. In “Living with Addiction,” by Tian Dayton, it talks about how we keep “ Drinking or using drugs because we don’t want to deal with the feelings” (Dayton 7). Feelings of loneliness, less than, anger, guilt and many more keep you feeling trapped into using your choice of substance. It seems to me that it is more prevalent today in our society to be an alcoholic or a drug addict,...
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