Blue Genes

Used 2012-12-10 Faminsanity alcoholism recovery sobriety

Here in Yeaman, the drinking age is 18. My son turned 18 Friday.

Obviously, this presents some concerns for me. My parents are big drinkers, my mother’s parents were alcoholics and my father’s father was what he called a “skid row bum” (though my paternal grandfather eventually sobered up with AA). If drinking is hereditary, my son is stuck with used, hand-me-down genes.

He had a party at our apartment at lunch time (he lives with me while going to college and doesn’t have class on Friday, as opposed to me, who never has any class 😉 ). He made lunch for 6 of his friends before meeting me later that evening for dinner.

During our meal together we talked about his party and he described his friends and showed me some of the gifts he’d received and we discussed the spaghetti carbonara he’d made. He didn’t mention what they drank until i reminded him that he was now of legal age.

“You know I’ve already had a beer,” he said.

“Yeah, there was that one weekend you ran away to go to a party and came back home drunk. And once, i saw a photo you were tagged in on Facebook. It was a party and i saw cans of beer but i also saw bottles of water and Coke and orange juice so it seemed pretty responsible to me so i didn’t say anything. i trust you.”

“Well, we had a six pack today for lunch. Each of us had a beer.”

“Sounds fun.”

“Do you think I’ll be like you?” he asked, and i knew he meant about alcoholism.

“You’re already not. The first time i ever drank alcohol, i couldn’t stop until i was totally drunk. You’ve already proved you can have just a little. Plus, with your school work, you know when you’re in over your head and you ask for help. You already saw what i went through with drinking, so you know what it looks like if you start to have the same problems. If that happens, i’ll be right here to help.”

He seemed relieved after that, and we had a fantastic evening together.

That i’m worried abut my son’s becoming an alcoholic is normal. That he’s worried about it is reassuring.

Used 2012-12-10 Drunk exercise alcoholism recovery sobriety

I learned my lesson


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on December 11, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I will keep this post in mind for when that time comes with my step son. It will be a few years but its coming. Sounds like you handled it great!

    • Thanks Good 2 Be Gone!

      Yeah, sobriety has given me a sense of honesty that makes it easier for me to approach these kinds of situations. i know you’ve been sober years longer than i have, so i’m sure you’ll find the right words when they’re needed.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  2. This post is awesome. The fact that he knows he can have a .little and stop. We, not so much. And the fact that he can talk to you if he feels he can’t stop. even better. Love this.

  3. Miss Anne Thrope

    God that’s such a tough line for a parent to have to walk. Yes, you’re at risk. No, you don’t have a problem yet. Yes, I want you to have a normal adolescence and be allowed to make your own mistakes, but God I would do anything to help you avoid making the mistakes I have made. I think you do a really good job of walking that line, Al. Happy birthday to Al, Jr. and a happy birthday to you, too, Al, since I happen to know you just had one. I join both of you in keeping my fingers crossed that this problem can stop strolling through your family line here.

    • Hi Kitten!

      Thanks for the kind words. Parenthood is hard, as you know, because every situation is unique and every child is unique and so there is no one single pat answer to get us through. Basically we’re all flying by the seat of our pants. At least in sobriety, i’m more attentive, present and clear headed which means i can hear my instincts better and follow them more closely. And, when i make mistakes, they’re less serious and i’m more reactive when it comes to correcting them.

      Fingers crossed and thanks for the birthday wishes.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  4. Yes, I’m convinced a lot of it is genetic.

    Implanting the awareness of the family history with alcohol is the most important thing. If he does have a problem down the road, this memory could help snap him out of it and make him realize he needs to take action.

    Making sure that he understands the decision to drink is his and that you’re not going to pressure him to stop is also important. Telling him that even though things seem ok now, that problems with alcohol tend to get worse as we age, and that one day he may need to assess whether whatever enjoyment he’s getting from drinking is worth the pain, will help him keep it in check.

    • Hi Boat!

      Thanks for the reminder that drinking problems get worse with time. For me, it started out full bore to begin with so i tend to forget the degenerative nature of the disease. My son has a lot of my “issues” (compulsion, anger, sensitivity) but he’s not afraid to admit he has problems, so i guess by counting on this aspect of his nature and observing things as closely as i can, we can keep his drinking in check.

      Thanks for the great advice, my friend, and keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • “Thanks for the reminder that drinking problems get worse with time. For me, it started out full bore to begin with so i tend to forget the degenerative nature of the disease.”

        Yeah, that’s an interesting point. I could argue as well that I was having problems with alcohol since I started drinking at 16. There were plenty of drunken episodes in my life between the years of 16-30. But I noticed a turning point around age 30-35 or so, where drinking got worse and worse and worse, as time moved on. Part of it is just getting older; drinking starts taking a greater toll on one’s health and it is harder to recover from hangovers; tolerance increases too. Part of it is getting higher paying jobs, and thus being allowed to buy more alcohol. Part of it is being an “adult” as opposed to a 20something, and therefore not being supervised as much. So one feels less pressure to temper it. And part of it is “It’s no longer cute”; the drinking friends in your 20s are now “responsible adults” and don’t indulge as much so my excesses were more noticeable and not as easily forgiven.

        There is no reason your kid can’t enjoy his 20s drinking, provided he’s able to function. Implanting the idea that he is statistically more likely to be prone to greater problems with alcohol can help accelerate moving from “pre contemplation” to “contemplation.”

        • Well put!

          i suppose it’s not dissimilar to a woman with a family history of breast cancer. She lives her life knowing she’s at a higher risk so gets earlier and more frequent checkups. My son swill just need a little closer attention than others.

          i appreciate your input, brother, keep coming back,

          Al K Hall

  5. I thought i’d comment since i’m getting all the comments without actually reading or commenting on this post. I’m glad i read this one.

    I get triggered by a lot of your posts because “i am your son” in this post. I DO worry about my chances of addiction to alcohol (or anything); but i have no evidence that i am on “that road”.

    I check myself constantly (which i’m getting a little sick of) … I check myself with Jen all the time, and she must think, “STOP ALREADY” … we’re 30 years past college. My shrink tells me, “what’s your evidence?” and i can’t come up with any.

    I do not drink until i’m drunk, OR to get drunk. Saturday I had a glass more than usual, and i hated the way i felt. So i’m done. I’m not saying NEVER am i touching beer again … i’m saying … drink something you like, and that’s fine; that’s it. There’s no “more” is better.

    So am i going to ride off into the sunset thinking that i am ALL THAT … that i am ALL cleansed of my weird addictive behaviors and patterns. HELL NO!

    Just sayin’ in a round about way, i appreciate this post: It has given me some relief, and even more respect for you, who can see things clearly (for others). That not everything revolves around us: The addicted-personality types. …. erm … don’t know what i’m saying here. I hate labels.

    Thanks tho! MEL

    • Hi Mel!

      Thanks for the visit and the comment. i’m glad you felt moved to comment on this point, but don’t feel you need to for my case.

      i see what you mean about addictive personalities. Even if my alcoholism is my “addiction of choice”, i can see that mentality spill over into other areas, eating included. While i’m far from being someone with eating issues, i sometimes externalize eating and binge when i’m stressed or nervous or tired… i mentioned the “fuggit” button in one post and that exists for me with eating as well because i know, even recently, that i continued eating when when i was full and didn’t like the taste of the candy anymore. It was compulsive. All of that just to say i feel you, sister!

      Thanks for the kind words and keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  6. thanks again Al for another fine post. my kids are a little younger, but I feel the fear I do. And the picture! Brilliant! Where did you get it, because I really would like to use it myself, if that’s ok with you! your son had such a civil celebration at home, making lunch with his friends and a six pack. then a dinner with you. beautiful. happy birthday to him, and to you!

    • Hi Dudette!

      Nice to see you here. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      As for the pictures..99% of them i stole myself so feel free to steal what you like. If it’s my own picture and/or my own text, i often put the website on the bottom so you can steal those too!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  7. I’m finally feeling well enough to comment (still feeling crappy but not as bad as when this was posted). In a lot of ways I don’t need to as I’d just be repeating what others have said already. 🙂 (But still I will, ha!)

    You handled Al Jr’s question really well!

    This makes me think a lot about who you were at 18 (and while I did not know you exactly at that time, it was not too long after & I know witnesses from back then, too!) — you have been the kind of person that has to figure things out in large part on his own. I think your son is much the same.

    He’s going to walk his path…

    I love that he asked you that question, though, and I love the answer you gave.

    Ultimately, though, it will be his thing to figure out, his choices, his decision whether to continue drinking or not.

    I am glad that he has you to ask advice from at this point. And I am glad that you are in a place where you can give him wise advice — and I am also glad you are in the place where you are using the tools from the 12 Steps and your sponsor to help you figure things out not just by yourself, and that you listen! As I understand it, that is the key to staying sober.

    Hugs to you both.

    • P.S. My comment was in part made with what you said to Boat up there in your comment in mind, re: the degenerative nature of the disease: “we can keep his drinking in check.”

      I know what you are saying here, and I know you mean well in writing it, but to piggyback on my own comment, ultimately there is no “we” with “keeping the drinking in check.” There is him, and only him. It’s his decision.

      But — you are there to help with the information, if he asks, and in this case, he asked. That’s excellent.

      Just be careful of the “we.” There is no convincing an alcoholic who is in denial that there is a “we” when it comes to “keeping in check”. Just sayin’. Got experience on that one! 😉 And the “we” can be indicative of co-dependence. Something to be aware of and/or note.

    • Hi Babe!

      i see exactly what you mean about the codependency thing and you’re right to remind me about it. It’s up to him to ask for help and i cannot make him want help even if i see how badly he needs it (if this becomes and issue…pft pft pft 🙂 ).

      Keep taking care of yourself and coming back,

      Al K Hall

  8. Your son sounds like a smart, mature young man, and you’re both lucky to have each other. It’s a very reassuring thought as a parent to realize it can skip generations. I hope to one day have a similarly open conversation about drinking and alcoholism with my daughters.

    • Thanks for the message, BBB!

      Parenting for alcoholics can be tough because we love our children and want them to avoid the pain we experienced, but at the same time allow them to learn from their mistakes. i also try to remember i’m more sensitive to the issue than other parents might be and it isn’t necessarily necessary to say “Hmmm, you’ve been sniffing that perfume sampler an awfully long time…”)

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

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