From an email to a friend of the family, a heavy drinker.
We are all wounded by childhood, there are no total exceptions, only relative exceptions. And there's no such thing as a 'normal' or 'healthy' childhood, because the world we are born into is too greatly distorted, so whatever the local environment you are born into, it is still part of the greater environment of 'the world.' You only have to look at hospitals births, and the incalculable damage they do to us, to see this.
The wounds we carry are all the things that happened in our early life, starting with that nightmarish birth process, that cause us to harden and close in defense against the world, and to construct the false identity which we think of as who we are. This is what we all do, as children, because it is the only way to survive. Our identity, then, is made up of patterns of reactive behavior, habits of thought and action, that are sourced in early wounding. Wilhelm Reich calls it identity armor.
The "genetic affliction" you refer to is generational wounding. It's in the genes, sure, but this is why it's in the genes, because of repeat, generational abuse. It's not either/or, it's both/and. There is a reason why our ancestors were alcoholics. Nothing is entirely random.
Unless we can remember (let in) those early traumas, we can't let them go.
I don't recall anything majorly traumatic in my past, but i am fairly sure that it happened, because of the way that I am now. I can deduce backwards, without actual memories to go on, and tap into emotional patterns and even physical responses, to find those wounds, without knowing exactly how they got there. Yet I know they are there, now, because i can feel them. Feeling and locating the wounds then allows healing to begin. As we let in that disowned trauma, we can let go of the defensive behavior (such as drinking, for example) that we have been using to keep it out of our awareness.
This process has nothing at all to do with anyone apologizing for past wrongs. But one thing that does help to allow the letting in/letting go, is to revisit those wounds with the person directly involved in them, because this can be a way to literally right the wrongs of the past. For example, for my mother to see that side of my brother that tormented me in the past, to see it now, would provide some sort of 'closure' for the part of me that was wounded, all that time ago, by her refusal to see it then. It is a form of reenactment that allows the letting in to be complete, and the letting go to follow.
The Greeks had a theater based on this, called catharsis. Naturally it is painful and uncomfortable. But then, so is child birth.