Generational Addiction and How It's Impacted Me

June 18, 2020 Amanda Richardson

To my knowledge, generational addiction has impacted both sides of my family for at least four generations. Specifically, alcoholism and its devastating effects have weighed heavily on three of my four grandparents.

Surprisingly, neither my mom nor my dad struggle with alcoholism, but even though they slipped through that generational curse, the patterns of addiction have still greatly impacted both of their lives. My mom struggles with other types of addiction and my dad is still processing through the experiences of being raised by an alcoholic. I don't struggle with alcoholism either, but as most of you know, addiction still plays a large role in my life.

What Is Generational Addiction?

I would define generational addiction as the ongoing impact of addictive behaviors ranging across two or more generations within a family unit. Generational addiction has impacted my life in numerous ways and I certainly believe that it played a role in my addictive habits forming.

I don't think it's fair to entirely blame generational addiction for my personal addictions; however, it is important to acknowledge the many possible pathways by which addiction can form.

Impacts of Generational Addiction

Generational addiction is interesting to me because it is a reminder that our environments (specifically as children) can play a huge role in how our adult lives unfold. Both of my parents were raised by alcoholics and they have repeatedly told me horror stories about how those experiences negatively shaped their lives. For my parents, witnessing alcoholism at such a young age served as a testament for both of them to never forget how dangerous even one (seemingly normal) substance can be.

Neither of my parents hardly ever consume alcoholic beverages. They will occasionally have a celebratory glass of champagne at a wedding or a beer or two at a family party, but both of them have implemented strict limits on how much they will consume and how often.

If anything I am incredibly proud of my parents for making such valiant efforts to fight addiction in their adult lives. While my mom still has an unfortunate history of addiction, her addiction journey is vastly different than the heartbreaking lives of both of her alcoholic parents. Additionally, I am thankful to both of my parents for making the intentional choice to provide a better childhood for me than the ones they were unfairly given. My childhood wasn't completely free of dysfunction, but, ultimately, I know that without my parents' efforts to change the course of generational addiction it could have been so much worse.

I don't have children yet, but when I do I am confident that my husband and I will provide them an even more emotionally healthy childhood than either one of us had. 

Generational addiction is painful and it serves as a reminder that so much of our lives are outside of our control. With that said though, I am confident that with the help of therapy, introspective growth, and intentional decision-making, each younger generation can slowly but surely change their family's future for the better.

How has generational addiction affected you and your family? Share your story in the comments.

APA Reference
Richardson, A. (2020, June 18). Generational Addiction and How It's Impacted Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Amanda Richardson

Amanda is a professional health and wellness writer who specializes in creating content tailored to the female audience. She is especially passionate about social injustice, mental health, and addiction recovery.

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For more information on Amanda's professional writing services, be sure to check her out at Richardson Writing Influence.

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