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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Environment Versus Genetics - What Youth Tells Us

Researching our book which will be out in the next month or so, I went to the 2009 meeting of the International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (ICYPAA).

More than 2,200 people spent a holiday weekend talking about alcohol, prayer,
why they no longer drink, and the Twelve Steps they all believe saved their lives.

Many told family stories that could make you cry – of alcoholic or drug addicted parents, or drinking to feel better and in many cases as they put it just to “feel normal.” Others talked of families with one or two loving parents in what they considered a good home, and sneaking alcohol from a young age.

The majority of those I met and listened to:

• Started drinking in middle school or the first year of high school. Ages ranged from nine (drinking vanilla extract from the kitchen cabinet) to 14 (when alcohol and drugs became easier to get)

• Had problems with multiple addictions to alcohol and drugs

• Came from families with a history of alcoholism and drug addiction

• Felt awkward or different from other children all through school, didn’t have many
friends, and describe their first experience with alcohol as making that all go away.

Makes a powerful case for the genetic connection. But they also overcame their addiction. That's faith and the desire to lead a better life.

Which is stronger? I guess it depends upon who you are, what you want and how much support you get from loved ones.

Now from Drew Carey - something funny to put it all in perspective.


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