The terrifying possibility has crossed all of our minds; however, hence "crossed," as in a temporary passing by, provoking just enough anxiety in us to maintain an important awareness in our decision-making (particularly concerning the number of vodka cranberries we indulge in on Friday nights). This awareness is crucial because although it's small and willpower continues to dominate, genetics do play a role in our proneness to addictive behaviors.
However, despite the fear of eventually adopting his or her lifestyle, in reality, a psychologically sane and rational person would never allow for this (which I am... most of the time).
1. We learned from their mistakes
Witnessing and experiencing the hardships of living with an alcoholic first-hand inevitably impacts you, but depending on the individual, it implants a sense of determination in us to avoid our parent's destructive choices. We watched them choose a bottle over their family, their health, and their marriage, mistakes we won't be willing to make. From her mistakes, I grew an impenetrable tough skin, an upside of all the turmoil. Resilience is undeniably our forte.
2. We choose our own destinies
And not our genetics. In addition to the combination of nature and nurture's influence on the aspects of our behavior, I am a strong advocate for the third, often forgotten feature: willpower. Despite our living conditions and genetic makeup, we have the ultimate say in our futures. Some, more than others, have a higher vulnerability to addiction, but hopefully, you know who you are and will make wise choices based off of this knowledge
3. Thoughts differ from action
It's normal to have a "feared self." It forces us to be more aware of the repercussions associated with our decision-making. It's the What Ifs? that steer us away from the anxiety-provoking persona we've witnessed our whole lives. We watched our parent be the worst father or mother, spouse, sibling, and overall irresponsible human, and it's almost impossible (and quite baffling) to allow oneself to follow in such disgraceful footsteps.
Take this is a token of reassurance because after witnessing an alcoholic's potential destruction on the family dynamic first-hand, it is commonly the path least chosen from people like us. Enjoy your vodka cranberries, tequila sunrises, or mojitos in moderation, without forgetting who you are and what you've been through.