Addiction: A Family Affair

Kelly goes missing for over three weeks which prompts his parents to start searching for him all over. They even start having ideas that he is dead. Gladly, he makes a call from jail where he has been after he got arrested for public intoxication. During the call, he confesses his love for his drink and that he is glad that he is not a part of the society. It is clear that he is not ready to quit drinking.  He started drinking at the age of 19.

Significant Factors that Contributed to his behavior

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Kelly’s parents had divorced while he was a young person. This, however, did not stop him from seeing his both parents and they both engaged as a team to ensure his growth. His dad states he was loved and cared for. Her mother seemed, however, to be overly concerned about his life. He states that her mom had an idea of how she wanted him to live, but he held different ideas on how his life should. This must have given him some pressure in life that might have contributed to pushing him to alcoholism.

His dad acknowledges that Kelly is a special talented kid with great abilities in gymnastics and skating and that if only he had pursued them, he would have been a pro. A key factor that could have contributed to his eventual alcoholic behavior is his condition of severe dyslexia that he was diagnosed with while in second grade. This made him get labeled as stupid and categorized as a special kid. The special kids were not allowed to mingle and play with other kids. This was a cruel experience that his mother admits that must have caused a lot of pain to Kelly. The American Psychiatric Association indicates that 25-35% of the teenagers with learning disabilities engage in alcohol abuse. In their study, Chapman & Wu (2012) noted that individuals with intellectual abilities suffer disproportionately from substance abuse problems especially due to lack of access to information on prevention and treatment plans.

His behavior started developing in his last year of high school. This must have resulted from the pressure in the society where he was expected to be making plans of joining college like most of his peers. For Kelly, he did not have such plan as he could barely read or write. This lead him to start drinking as a way of making him not think of his future and thereby allow him a care free attitude that would make it acceptable to be irresponsible. His parents failed to help him realize his potential and how he could have tapped on that despite him not excelling in academics.

Factors Causing his Persistence to Addiction

His persistence to the alcohol addiction is most probably caused by his inability to connect with other people especially his parents. To some extent, he seems to feel that is unloved. It is for this reason that he gets so attached to his dog that he states that it is only with the dog that he can give emotions. He feels that only the dog gives unconditional love.

While on the streets, he lives as a homeless alcoholic and even has a girlfriend who is also a drug addict just like he is. This makes him somehow comfortable with the kind of life he was living. Together, they could hustle for some few dollars from well-wishers and use this to buy alcohol. His continued alcoholism is associated with the pursuit of his happiness. This may be related to stress which is closely linked to increasing substance abuse that leads to poor and mental health, financial issues, homelessness and engagement in criminal activities (Laudet, Morgen, & White, 2006).


Carroll Chapman, S. L., & Wu, L.-T. (2012). Substance Abuse among Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities33(4), 1147–1156.

Laudet, A. B., Morgen, K., & White, W. L. (2006). The Role of Social Supports, Spirituality, Religiousness, Life Meaning and Affiliation with 12-Step Fellowships in Quality of Life Satisfaction among Individuals in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Problems. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly24(1-2), 33–73.

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