Story of a Recovering Alcoholic – The Characteristics

Anyone can become an alcoholic or addict. If you are reading this, you may well know that, as only those with an interest in the subject are likely to be on this page. However, many people not ‘in the know’ may believe that you have to be poor, hopeless and weak willed to end up as an addict or alcoholic. The reality is that it is an indiscriminate disease which affects people from all social backgrounds, from wealthy to poor; it includes those with a strong moral and or religious code and those with no faith; it affects all ages, races and denominations; the well and less well educated; and those from loving families and those who have had a difficult upbringing.

Alcoholism Does Not Discriminate

Myself, I had no excuse to become an alcoholic – although you don’t need one. If there was a stereotype of someone likely to become an alcoholic, I would not be it. I am one of the examples that proves the non discriminatory nature of the illness. I had a loving background with a hard working mother (typist) and father (factory worker), I had a happy childhood.

We struggled a bit financially so I knew the value of hard work. That you had to earn your living. I was brought up to believe that you did well in life by working hard and doing the right thing. Worked hard at school and throughout my childhood I excelled academically. Being top of my class throughout primary school and very near the top in secondary school. I went on to university and was the first member of my family to do so.

Don’t Have to Have Reasons to be an Alcoholic

You don’t have to have reasons to become an alcoholic. As I have demonstrated, but it does help if you can understand yourself to know why it might have ‘struck’ you. I do believe there is a genetic tendency. There is no alcoholism in my family that I am aware of until my generation and yet my younger brother has gone down the same path as me but 5 years earlier. My older brother is a very heavy drinker and could easily go the same way (but I believe is being very careful not to) – my sister barely drinks at all. So it is a little bit ‘random’ but I believe it is in my gene. I am concerned for my children in case they go the same way.

My Character

However, I also believe it is in my character and that is why I went down the road I went down. I am the third of four children and my parents worked hard, I wanted to be noticed. I was not the attractive oldest daughter. Nor the elder son who made everyone laugh with his wit. Nor was I the cossetted baby of the family. Soon discovered that I was academically the most able and if I came top. My mother was particularly proud of me (though I have no doubt of his love for me, my father was less interested in academic achievement).

I am also naturally competitive so I decided to exceed my siblings in all things I could. I am not sure this was a conscious decision but this is what I did, I did better at all things academic and went to university; my sister got grade 5 piano so I achieved grade 6; my sister did her Duke of Edinburgh gold award – so did I (I couldn’t beat her there) but I added a Queen’s Guide in and she didn’t do that. I set myself exceptionally high standards which involved hard work and I think this contributed to my alcoholism.

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