I have read both Geri Bemister’s Addiction issues affect us all (June 2 column) and John Anderson, PhD’s response to that article in his letter to the editor published on June 9 (Addictions column fails to explain cause of condition). I take strong exception to Mr. Anderson’s simplistic assessment of what causes addiction in an individual.
Two of my four sons have had issues with addiction. One has been clean for eight years and the other is still struggling with alcoholism. The other two sons have had no serious issues with addictions. All four boys were raised in the same home with the same parents, and for the most part, in the same community.
If anything, I would say that we perhaps were too strict with our sons, although they deny this themselves. I asked all my sons if they felt our parenting style had affected their relationships with alcohol and drugs. They all have assured me that their problems came from their own choices and that they felt they had a good upbringing.
Mr. Anderson suggests that the root of the problem of addiction lies with poor parenting and that parents need to be trained to assist their children to have “self-control.”
I say this in reply to that statement, most addicts that I have known during my 65 years of life (and I have known a few intimately) suffered from low self-esteem for various reasons, were very high achievers, functioned extremely well in every area of their lives, except the area of substance abuse.
One man stated that his job was so high pressure (physician/surgeon) that a stiff drink of scotch in the evening was the only thing that helped him to relax. Another man told me that his insecurity having been raised in a catholic orphanage and not having ever known either mother or father caused him to “run away” from social hurts by going out to get drunk. His addiction crept up on him slowly. It started as social drinking, but when he realized he could feel euphoric from alcohol, whenever he got upset, he would seek comfort in the bottle. This man had achieved far above average in his lifetime and was very disciplined through the army and university education etc.
In summary, Mr. Anderson’s argument just doesn’t wash with me.