Jessica Lahey is a recovering alcoholic and bestselling author. Her latest book, The Addiction Inoculation, approaches how she intends to protect her children from the dangerous hereditary issue of substance use disorder.
Lahey is also an educator who strongly believes in helping parents protect their kids from high-risk behaviors including substance use.
Lahey calls some parents “failure-adverse” in terms of having a desperate need to prove their parenting skills and never let their kids fail. She goes on to say that, “it’s a parent’s ego trip that leaves kids feeling incompetent, incapable and utterly dependant”. Lahey has been called a whistle-blower for kids. Statistics show these behaviors often produce drug dependant kids. Put the hereditary factor in and you have a problem.
Lahey grew up surrounded by alcoholism. In her extended family, gum (mostly peppermint) was at the house to hide the smell of the adult’s booze breath.
“Nap” was the word used for “sleeping it off”. Lahey says “there was a lot of napping”. There was also a lot of slurring and forgetting.
Lahey has 8 years of sobriety and uses her platform as a former teacher and author to highlight the role of genetics and other risk factors in raising kids destined for a life of substance abuse.
Lahey says she never expected to be an authority on drinking. She didn’t want to be like her family and even signed up as a peer counselor at UMass “educating busted frat boys”.
At the age of 26, however, as a newly married woman, Lahey fell for the “romance of drinking”. Opening a bottle of wine and having a glass with dinner became drinking a bottle a day and even thinking about drinking all the time.
She entered a 12 step program at the age of 43 and has been sober ever since.