If My Parent Is An Alcoholic, Can I Have A Drink?

Editorial Team

SpringBoard Recovery was born from the passion and personal experience of its founders. We understand the real-world challenges of early recovery and are here to help and we are passionate about helping our clients lead balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lives.


While it’s true that children of alcoholics are more likely to have addictive tendencies as well, the question children of alcoholics often ask is, “If my parent was an alcoholic, can I have a drink?” Many children of alcoholics know that research shows genetics are responsible for a significant portion of the risk for alcoholism or drug dependence and addiction and worry that they too may fall in the line of addiction, even with just one drink.

That said, research also shows that while alcoholism and/or drug addiction is partly genetic, Dr. Robert Morse says that it’s also part of family environment, upbringing and more. In effect, it’s not solely your genetics that will dictate whether you too end up with alcohol dependence, but the environment in which you were raised as well. The unfortunate fact is that too often, children of alcoholics grow up with parents who have not sought treatment for their addiction. That’s why seeking help for substance abuse at alcohol rehab Scottsdale is always the first step in any generational disease.

Not “Can I Drink,” But “Should I Drink?”

When the child of an alcoholic asks, “If my parent was an alcoholic, can I have a drink?” what they really want to know is, “If I have an alcoholic drink, will I also become an alcoholic like my parent?” Children of alcoholics are all-too-aware of the devastation and destruction of relationships and lives that can come from growing up with an alcoholic parent and they want to stay far away from that happening to them. The very genetic component of alcoholism will often encourage many children of alcoholics to abstain entirely from any alcoholic drinks for fear that even one may lead them down a dark path.

But, many factors are involved in how addiction occurs. Yes, genetics play a number one role in addiction, as does a family environment. Additionally, though, gender, mental health condition, and current environmental situations also affect that fine line between having a drink every now and then and becoming dependent on alcohol.

That’s why caring and competent centers like SpringBoard Recovery take a holistic look and approach when working with clients who are addicted to alcohol. Asking if you’ll be an alcoholic if you have a drink just because your parent was, involves more than that basic question. The staff at SpringBoard knows that there’s more to alcoholism than just drinking too much. Looking at environmental factors, worries and concerns that drive one to addiction are just as important as paying attention to the genetic component of alcoholism, so instead of asking, “Can I Drink?” a better question may be, “Should I drink, and if so, how often and how much?”

Forging Your Own Path

As we’ve said, many children of alcoholics will watch the devastation that alcoholism can bring to a family and steer clear of alcohol forever. Others, however, may find themselves affected by their childhood with an alcoholic parent in a different way—one that leaves them vulnerable to alcoholism repeating its family cycle. While the good news is that there is no such thing as one specific addiction gene that will cause one to become an alcoholic, a rough childhood as the son or daughter of an alcoholic combined with that genetic tendency may make a difference.

For those who ask, “If my parent was an alcoholic, can I have a drink?” and answer with, “Yes, I can and will,” extra precaution must be taken to ensure the same cycle of abuse is not repeated. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the genetic factor plays into about half the risk of whether you may develop an alcohol abuse disorder. Other research suggests one in four children of alcoholics will become alcoholics themselves. Moderation and control must be key, and discernment should be used if there are stressful triggers added to taking that drink.

Beating The Genetic Component of Addiction with Alcohol Rehab Scottsdale

If you’ve thought you could handle ‘just one drink,’ even though your parent was an alcoholic, you may have learned the hard way that it turned into more, and has now changed your life and your relationships. You may be feeling guilt and shame, remembering when you first asked, “If my parent was an alcoholic, can I have a drink?” and wishing you had sworn it off forever.

But that doesn’t have to be, and you can reclaim the life you were supposed to live. The caring and compassionate staff at SpringBoard Recovery knows that alcoholism affects families, and often the children of alcoholics need support, treatment, and recovery options as well. They know that temporarily removing yourself from the environment that triggers your dependency can play a pivotal role in ultimate recovery, and have a beautiful alcohol rehab Scottsdale in Arizona that lends itself to you detoxing and recovering without the stress of additional life distractions.

Most importantly, the clinicians at SpringBoard will take a customized and holistic approach to your addiction, evaluating not just the genetic factor, but the life situations that led to your dependence. They’ll compassionately guide you through treatment and recovery, and help you end the cycle of alcoholism as a family legacy for good. You deserve to live a life free of family baggage and dependence, and they want to help you. Make the call today, and break the cycle once and for all.


  1. Adult Children of Alcoholics: https://adultchildren.org/
  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/research/major-initiatives/collaborative-studies-genetics-alcoholism-coga-study
  3. Ohio Crime Prevention: https://ocpa-oh.org/
  4. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-abuse-vs-alcohol-dependence-63101
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK115605/
  6. Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323465
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p1120-excessive-driniking.html
  8. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-holism-4685432
  9. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohol-use-disorder/genetics-alcohol-use-disorder
  10. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995923/

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JANUARY 2, 2021

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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