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According to the World Health Organization, the Czech Republic is the #2 drunkest country in the world.  In the Czech Republic, Twenty percent of males and twelve percent of females have been drunk at least once by the time they are thirteen years old. If you think that’s bad, it gets worse!  Ninety eight percent of males and ninety seven percent of females have drank alcohol by the time they’re fifteen. Not to mention, 32 percent of these underage boys and nineteen percent of these young ladies are drinking on a weekly basis. Eighteen percent of these fifteen year olds report having some form of relational problems due to circumstances linked to alcohol. And 14 percent have engaged in either unwanted sexual experiences or unprotected sex at least once.

Can you really blame these teens though?  To be fair, they haven’t had the best example set before them by their peers. The Czech Republic in not only the #2 drunkest country in the world, it is also has the second highest divorce rate in the world.  The divorce rate is 24.26 percent. Which should be no surprise since 38 percent of all divorces are linked to at least one partner being an alcoholic. This is very disturbing because there is strong, scientific evidence that alcoholism runs in families. Children of alcoholics have a greater chance of developing problems with alcohol and other drugs than children of non-alcoholic parents. In fact, many scientific studies show that children of alcoholics are four times more likely to become alcoholics themselves than children whose parents are not alcoholics.

So genetic factors have a substantial impact on the development of alcoholism throughout generations. However, there is more than just a heritable basis for alcoholism running in families.  Children of alcoholics form their beliefs about drinking from watching their parents’ drinking patterns – the amount they drink and how often.  When drinking in excess becomes an everyday event, children perceive this to be normal.  So it is no surprise that these children often go on to emulate this drinking pattern when they begin to experiment with alcohol themselves. There is hope.

Having an alcoholic parent is in no way an automatic sentence to alcoholism. Research also shows that over half of children of alcoholics do not become alcoholics themselves.  So take heart, everyone’s tolerance is different and some are more susceptible than others to addiction.  We can only hope everyone waits until they are of age.  And then we hope that they know themselves, be smart, and never use alcohol as a coping mechanism.