Be Careful with Alcohol
By Chuck Connell
This is for my children, and all their cousins and extended cousins of the same generation. My message is simple: There is a lot of alcoholism in the broad Connell family, so be careful about this during your lives.
· In my grandparents' generation, my mother's mother could not stop drinking when given an opportunity.
· In my parents' generation, at least the following people have had significant problems with alcohol: my mother, her second husband, and one of my father's three brothers.
· In my generation, there are fourteen "Connell cousins". At least nine of them have been alcoholics. My sister Cathy died from uncontrolled drinking.
It is well established that there are genetic factors in alcoholism. And certainly there is learned behavior related to drinking. This does not mean that the next generation is doomed to repeat the same addictions as mine. But it does mean that the next generation should watch out for the role of alcohol in their lives.
Having a beer on Friday evenings is not harmful, and there is strong evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol has cardiac benefits. But be careful. A Friday beer can turn into several, then into weekend beers, then into weekend mixed drinks, then all week. Each person has to make their own judgment about how much is too much. Unfortunately, self-monitoring becomes difficult for alcoholics, because one of the key aspects of addiction is self-delusion about the addiction. Alcoholism sneaks up on you. It feels like you’re just having a good time, but you have come to depend on the drinks for the good time – that is addiction.
There are lots of better things in life than drinking – friendship, love, travel, career, children and more. Alcohol can take them all away.
Be healthy and happy... Chuck