I myself have enjoyed the prospect of addiction being genetic. “It’s like having cancer or arthritis, I was the victim. That was then. Even in the first several years of recovery I was convinced ‘once an addict always an addict’. What changed my mind? Not science, they are trying and have come a long way but bottom line after all my research, they don’t have the answers when it comes to genetics and addiction. Scientists have theories and they disagree. Fact is you will decide for yourself the cause of your addiction as have I. For me it was emotional disorder and fear. A lack of ability to express and release the emotional pain from childhood trauma and the fears that accompanied that. “Terror management theory” is one scientists theory on addiction being fear based of which I agree. I read; genetics are information and what we do with that info is not written in stone. We are not robots. Does it not take a load of responsibility, guilt, and shame off the addicts back to claim genetics? I know it did for me. When the pain gets too much it’s OK to show it. Or blow up it’s your choice. END Lori E_________________________
The following paragraphs are compiled from sources listed in footer.
Ten years ago science was said to be homing in on the “alcoholism gene.” Could a gene-based cure for addiction be far away?
(sources in footer)
Well, yes it could. It’s very far away, if even possible at all. Researchers now have identified over a thousand genes linked to alcoholism. The genetics of alcoholism mirrors what has become increasingly apparent to geneticists: life is complicated. The way you act or the quality of your health is likely influenced by many genes interacting with each other along with various environmental factors. The concept that a small number of genes are responsible for disease or behavior is obsolete.
What that means, in the case of alcoholics or drug addicts, is that even if your parents were addicted, it’s unlikely that their genes are the deciding factor that will make you an addict.
TWO MYTHS OF ADDICTION:
1. THERE IS AN ADDICT GENE (from the CNN article)
There is no single gene, or set of genes, that determines whether or
not a person will become an addict. And even if a person’s parents are addicts, it doesn’t mean they will be too.
Why are there genes for addiction? We all have the genetic predisposition for addiction because there is an evolutionary advantage to that. When an animal eats a certain food that it likes, there is an advantage to associating pleasure with that food so that the animal will look for that food in the future. In other
words the potential for addiction is hardwired into our brain. Everyone has eaten too much of their favorite food even though they knew it wasn’t good for them.
2. “Addiction is for life”
For you Big Book thumpers the word “RECOVERED” appears at least 20 times in the Big Book (http://www.164andmore.com/words/recovered.htm
Addiction is a spectrum disorder, like depression, and every person is different. While there are plenty of cases where addicts struggle for years to overcome a drug addiction,
many more cases reveal the opposite — short-term users who manage to put the past behind them
and lead normal and productive lives. According to the National
Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, 75% of alcoholics recover without treatment.
BEGIN LORI E. AUTHOR:
The thing is, when your a child you don’t know what trauma is. And many addicts I have met, unless they have had therapy or were brutally abused and heinously neglected don’t always know what emotional neglect and verbal abuse look and feel like. How would they? They were brought up in a setting that they became accustomed to whether it was nurturing and caring or one of badgering and criticism. Hurt people hurt people and emotional abuse and neglect (which is even harder to identify as an innocent child) is passed down from generation to generation as a learned behavior. I just read (from theshoresrecovery.com) some staggering statistics of a recent study that included over 17,000 participants. The findings revealed that physical abuse, verbal abuse, neglect, domestic violence, loss of a parent, or having a parent who is addicted or mentally ill greatly increased the likelihood of addiction in the individual.
So what then? Why does the emotional disorder concept offend so many addicts especially in early recovery? If I subscribe to the genetic theory I don’t have to take responsibility for the past. If it’s genetic I don’t have to work on my emotional condition. I won’t be lumped in with the bi-polar and the mentally ill. If it’s genetic you will understand it’s not my fault. Oh ya but then, I don’t care what you think do I? Right, of coarse I care what you think. Do I fear what you think? I wouldn’t be writing this for all the world to see if I did. But I do care, about what you think of me and my writing. Working on our emotions is not as scary as it sounds. Being emotionally constipated wasn’t my fault anyway, I don’t need the genetics excuse. No one taught me how to feel my feelings and let them flow. They didn’t allow me to share and cry. They taught me how to repress and shut the hell up. They taught me to be ashamed of my emotions and who I was. The past never leaves us it will always be a part of us but it can change. The past can change because my perceptions and feelings have changed. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Love and kisses.
Does Childhood Trauma Lead to Addiction?
The Myth of an ‘Addict Gene’
By Jeffrey Helm, The Tyee. Posted August 12, 2006.