A Biology Lesson: Epigenetics

It’s finals week for my three high school teens.  The freshman is studying for his Biology exam and the topic of nature vs nurture and the study of epigenetics got me thinking…

  • I wonder if my kid’s will have issues with alcohol?
  • I doubt there is an alcohol gene? 
  • Could/Did my husband and I, with our family histories, pass it along?
  • I think it’s a modeling behavior thing….which makes me hopeful for my kids.

We have always sort of joked that I Am… My Father’s Daughter.  He, and a few of my siblings, have NO moderation switch either.   Each of us likes to drink thousands of cocktails…once the cork opens…the behavior is drink until (insert all kinds of possible scenario endings). I saw my grandparents drink at every social function, but I don’t think I ever saw any of them drunk.  (But I never saw them pass up a drink at happy hour either). Overall, I come from a long line of Highly Functioning Alcohol Over-Consumers.

I’m not blaming any of this on anyone but me, I have made my choices.

But as the oldest grandchild, I got moved up to the Big Table and offered wine-maybe even before puberty.  We were taught to open pull tab beers (and make chains out them-and they were quite long) at a very early age, we could pump a keg, and I recall being the bartender of a holiday event when I was about ten. I could make a fabulous Old Fashioned and Martini while in grammar school.

There was the Christmas where each of us were given our own bottle of Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Mix.  All of us Littles would pretend we were making our own cocktails. Our grandfather mixed it in a fancy glass with a cherry.

Adulting = Drinking

That was the message in my tribe.

And it is no surprise that when I felt sort of uncertain about something new, I would turn to a thing I was REALLY good at… drinking…and being able to drink more than most.

We all like to do the things we are good at.

A few weeks ago, I sort of had this extreme Guilt Trip wash over me.  So much so, I felt this strong desire to send my siblings – who I taught to drink – an apology note.

  • “Hey Sibling(s), Sorry I taught you to Pre-Party.”  
  • “Sorry I modeled that the only way to be grown up and have fun is to cocktail…your brains out and…
  • Hey it’s OK if you make an ass of yourself…we all do” {Laugh Laugh– Deny Deny}

I didn’t send the note, I reasoned that they would have learned it from another family member – that learned it from someone before them…and so on and so on.  I really want to model something else for my kids.

But some in the family tree got the Off Switch and some of us didn’t.

So back to Epigenetics. Click here if you want to watch a short video.  It explains how we have the ability to make choices in our thoughts and lifestyle which can change how our genes “express” themselves.  Without getting too scientific, we are born with a DNA blueprint, but the packaging of all of it can switch on and switch off or reorganize.  It explains why twins, separated at birth, can end up having very different health histories/outcomes depending upon how they were “nurtured” and the things they were exposed to while growing up.

So, I don’t believe my kids are destined, or that I am destined for disaster from my bad choices in the past.  The body is an AMAZING machine that can transform itself when given the proper “nutrition”.  (The liver is especially regenerating).  I have to believe in this positive manner.

The video link above mentioned a 2 month cell life.  Which gives me hope that some things are going to start switching back on…or switching off in ME in the next couple of weeks.  I simply believe that I am on the road to healing whatever damage I unwittingly did to myself over 35+ years of drinking.


The new science of epigenetics promises that every person on the planet has the opportunity to become who they really are, complete with unimaginable power and the ability to operate from, and go for, the highest possibilities, including healing our bodies and our culture and living in peace – Bruce Lipton

And I love this other quote by Bruce… it SWITCHES ON my optimism.

The moment you change your perception, is the moment you rewrite the chemistry in your body.


3 thoughts on “A Biology Lesson: Epigenetics

  1. My tribe sounds exactly the same as yours.
    There is no ‘alcoholic gene’ no one has been able to prove this. This is the frustration I have with the misinformation that is out there (mainly protecting the alcohol industry and other drinkers). It just drives me nuts. Alcohol is an addictive drug. Not everyone who drinks gets addicted this is true but this is due to a myriad of individual factors. Most important of which is the ‘family’ and ‘peer’ influence. That’s why it runs in families. If it’s modelled as normal to drink to excess this will become normal to the children, and their children etc. Sorry I’m rambling – All of this information is in Annie Grace’s book. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The body truly is amazing. I didn’t know that there isn’t an alcoholic gene, that is interesting to find out! I had assumed that there was some sort of addictive gene but it makes more sense that it’s learned tendencies and family influence.


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