What Can We Learn From the Causes of Alcoholism?

What Can We Learn From the Causes of Alcoholism?


What are the main causes of alcoholism?  Are there even a specific set of circumstances that can cause it to begin with?  Can we prevent it from occurring if we know these causes?

Some people believe that looking at the causes of alcoholism is pretty useless from a general standpoint.  There is a genetic element involved but there have been studies that show that even this is fairly inconclusive.  And the bottom line is  that many people become alcoholics who have no family history of the disease at all.  So it is not really a solution to point to genetics and say “that is the culprit.”  The data is just not consistent enough to say that.

Now it is true that if you are being raised as a child by an alcoholic parent, then you may very well be more susceptible to developing alcoholism.  This is an undeniable pattern that you can easily see over and over again.

A more important question might be to look at the personal causes of alcoholism, and whether or not that plays a key role in recovery.  What I mean by that is to examine why we drank on an individual level, and maybe examine some of the root causes and see if that exploration can lead us to insight that will help us to stay sober.  Some programs of recovery pretty much ignore this approach, and say “we are not concerned with why or how much you drank,” but only “in what you want to do about your problem.”  They are solution focused and always moving forward with this approach, but they might be missing out on valuable information that could help a person to stay sober if they were to dig into their past and examine it.

Harley Farms
Creative Commons License photo credit: davitydave

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For example, maybe someone has abandonment issues from childhood, and drank as a way to medicate those issues.  Is it worth examining those issues and dealing with them in order to prevent a relapse?  Is it necessary to even do so, or can a comprehensive program of recovery pretty much insure sobriety anyway?  Do we have to look to our past in order to secure our recovery today?

Many reasonable people believe that we can benefit from treating these underlying causes in recovery.  Yes, you still have to find a way to treat the alcoholism directly, but your life can improve from treating those causes as well.

There is a whole group of people out there that says the causes are irrelevant, and that we just need a universal solution in order to stay sober.  I tend to disagree with this thinking, and believe that some level of customization is important for certain individuals, and that they need to examine their root causes more closely.

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