Is it possible that humans are evolving their way out of alcoholism? Apparently a DNA study was done across the globe: The Fix https://www.thefix.com/will-evolution-protect-humans-alcoholism says that “…genetic variations were observed in five populations across different continents, making the changes unlikely to be solely the product of genetic inheritance,” and that these changes were “resulting in people who drink alcohol to feel sick right away, which would likely stop them from drinking more.”
In other words, they are seeing a trend towards humans who are more likely to feel sick after drinking small or modest amounts of alcohol, which then causes them to stop drinking more, thus preventing alcohol abuse or alcoholism from developing.
If this is true then it might lead us to some innovative ideas about how to prevent or engineer our way out of substance abuse problems genetically. If we can engineer a sensitivity to alcohol or other drugs then we can help to turn the tables in terms of helping people to avoid addiction altogether.
Certainly this kind of thing would be welcomed in the opiate addiction arena, where we are currently losing the fight to prevent people from getting hooked on prescription painkillers. Apparently the leading cause of death among people under the age of 50 in the US is opiate overdose at this point, a statistic that is simply staggering.
There have been other genetic components to alcoholism and drug addiction that have been considered in the past–for example, the prevalence of alcoholism among Native Americans as opposed to Europeans that have been drinking for far longer. But for the most part, if genetics and DNA are going to be involved in preventing or treating alcoholism, that is going to be something that happens in the future, and has little bearing on our success in treatment today.
What can a struggling alcoholic do today, if they need help and do not know where to turn to?
Genetic factors probably cannot help you in the short term. Instead, I would recommend that you get on the phone and call a treatment center that can help you in a much more direct way. Call a treatment center on the phone–any treatment center at all–and start asking questions. This is how your new life can begin if you are willing to reach out and ask for help.
I know that it is scary to think about going into an inpatient rehab center. The idea is completely awkward for someone who has never been to rehab before–the idea that you are going to voluntarily go into a facility and be “locked up” so that you don’t drink or take drugs? That just feels weird.
But you are not really being “locked up.” Think of it in the same way that a person with diabetes might go into a hospital for treatment. They have a medical disorder and they need medical attention in order to be healthy again.
The struggling alcoholic or drug addict is in much the same situation. They have a medical disorder that is currently unhealthy for them. In order to be healthy and live a good life they need to treat this medical disorder. Addiction is a disease and you need to treat it medically with treatment. Stop beating yourself up or feeling as if you are bad person because of your dependence on a substance. Physical dependence does not make you a bad person. You need medical treatment in order to live a better life.
Many people who really need addiction treatment never go into a rehab and get the help that they need. The US government estimates that the number of people in this situation who never go to rehab may be as high as 85 percent of all struggling alcoholics and drug addicts who never get help.
There is no need for you to slip through the cracks like this. If you want better for yourself, if you want to be happy and free again in life, then you owe it to yourself to pick up the phone and to call a treatment center. You may be worried about the details at this point such as “where will I go to treatment?” or “How will my treatment be funded?” or “How long will I be in rehab and what will become of my household while I am gone?”
None of those questions should prevent you from making this phone call. All you are doing at this point is gathering information. Call a rehab center and ask them what you need to do in order to get the help that you need, and then let them explain the next steps to you. Their job is to help you in any way that they can; your only responsibility is to reach out and ask for the help that you so desperately need. If you don’t pick up the phone and reach out, however, no one can help you.
If human beings are to evolve out of addiction and alcoholism then that is going to happen on a broad timeline that probably does not include our day to day lives at this very moment. If you want to turn your life around today then you have to take action today. Don’t hold off and wait in the hopes that medical science will one day present you with a cure for your problems. Some addicts and alcoholics are justifying their disease by secretly hoping that a magic pill for addiction is coming at some point, and that science and medicine will one day present them with an “easy button.”
Well, at the present moment there is no easy button. There is only the idea that if you ask for help and then you push yourself to go to rehab and to start making positive changes in your life then you can start to rebuild a healthy life that is worth living.
You don’t beat an addiction by just avoiding your drug of choice. That temptation will always be there in the corner, waiting to tempt you again. Instead, you need to build a life that is worth living in recovery, one that is exciting and stimulating and fun and meaningful. This is how you truly overcome alcoholism or drug addiction–by building a better life in recovery. If all you do is walk away from your drug of choice then you haven’t really solved anything in the long run, because that temptation is always going to be there.
The real key here is your personal evolution away from addiction and alcoholism, which can fortunately be achieved on a very short time scale. All you need to do is to reach out and ask for help and allow the people who you trust to show you how to live your life. If you are at a point of real surrender then doing this should not be a problem and you should be humble and willing enough to go to treatment. If you are not yet willing to go to rehab, ask yourself how happy you really are in your addiction, and what you are clinging to exactly. If you get clean and sober are you really going to be miserable without your drug of choice? Or is it possible that you are already miserable in your addiction, and that you have nothing to lose by giving rehab a chance? For most people it is the latter. Good luck to you as you make this leap of faith!