Saturday, May 5, 2007

Thinking on Addictions

I was asked a question that I feel deserves a post because it is one that has truly fascinated me for some time. This is because of my own history of dealing with my personal addictions and my experiences as a Reiki Master; with energy healing, as a hypnotist; in issues of pain and healing, and when I was teaching Martial Arts; the various aspects of Qi (Chi), prana, mana, ka, and Qigong to name a few.

The question: Addiction. Do you think it is learned? inherited? 

This deals with the field of behavioral genetics and more specifically psychiatric genetics. Studies have at best shown a 50-60% correlation in alcoholism appearing in a family tree. I would rather say that there could be an inherited predisposition to alcoholism. However there are numerous documented twin studies where one of the children becomes an alcoholic and the other doesn't.

Recent research by  Dr. Bruce Lipton and covered in his book The Biology of  Belief revealed that genes do not in fact control our behavior, instead, genes are turned on and off by influences outside the cell. These influences include our perceptions and beliefs.

Dr. Candice Pert's research into peptides has shown that the receptors we have in our brain are also present throughout our bodies. Two of her books; Molecules of Emotion and Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind, in particular cover the interaction of body and mind.

I think that we can inherit genes that predispose people to addictions but it is not a final sentence. The fact that there are documented cases where people have conquered cancer and other diseases, ended addictions and the enigma of the placebo effect have convinced me that our perceptions, beliefs and environment do matter.

My take:

    1. Cells react to their environment and modify themselves accordingly. Change the environment and they change.
    2. The cells in our bodies die and are replaced including the brain totally every 7 years. Some in minutes, some in days, etc. Over time cells adapt themselves to a new environment that is after we quit smoking or stop drinking the cells adjust and craving decreases or stops.
    3. People can make themselves get sick or die. Broken heart syndrome, witch doctors, hypochondriacs, false pregnancies. etc.
    4. Quantum scientific discoveries on the fundamental basics of energy.
    5. Rich history of yoga and martial arts in extraordinary physical and mental abilities as well as energy projection.
    6. Thinking on and changing our perceptions about our past issues changes the impact they have on us.

Food for thought. Enjoy the meal.

20 conversations:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

peter are you saying that after seven years (max) after stopping a behavior like smoking or alcohol that your body and mind will no longer be addicted? or am i misunderstanding this?

thanks, bee

Peter Haslam said...

I am saying that addiction is comprised of two components; physical dependency (feelings) and mental (craving) where we translate the feelings we have as a need to satisfy them through a behavior that is detrimental to ourselves. Time can diminish the intensity and allow new habits to become permanent both on a physical and mental level. I am also saying that genetics is not final. Just because in a family history alcoholism is present it is controllable now. In my case I am an ex alcoholic period. I have absolutely no craving for alcohol and can freely watch others drink at a bar with not even a twinge of desire. I believe as an alcoholic my cells would literally cry out for alcohol as they had adapted to it in my environment. Today they don't. My belief is that I am no longer addicted. No scientific basis just what I feel to be true. :)

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

then, again, are you saying that you could now take one drink and be done? or get drunk once? (not to grill you peter, i really need to know this stuff if you don't mind. thanks!)

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

The answer is yes Bee. I have had 1 drink and stopped. I don't do it very often as I just don't need the feeling it used to give me any more. So I have gotten drunk since I quit now going on 10 years. If you believe that the need will never go away I believe that you make that true as the mind will communicate to the body to stay prepared. Not scientific but its what I believe.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

very interesting. charlie will have 20 years the end of this month. he also says he has no need whatsoever to drink but i don't know what would happen if he had any. just always thought he could never drink again. aa/na teach you that. thanks!

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

As always Bee enjoy your questions :)

Random Magus said...

I agree with your article I think some people are predisposed to having addictions I think it goes with the slightly obsessive personality [I'm like that].
But its completely true that no addiction can be stronger than your resolve, once you make that decision not go down a particular path I think we do change. Its toug as hell but not impossible

Peter Haslam said...

Thank you for your input Random Magus

Peter Haslam said...

There is a correction to my response to Bee. It should read I have not gotten drunk - missed the not.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

well that sure makes a difference! ha ha ha, thanks for the correction!
sarge is doing a post tomorrow on this, go see then, lots of news in it!

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

It certainly makes a difference Bee my apologies

Ed said...

My siblings, who I regard as alcoholics, dont think I am an alcoholic, the reason being, because I stopped drinking! I don't think they get it, either for what is going on with them or with what was going on with me when I just said "no more" and stuck to it.

I am sure I could have a drink without becoming a nutcase again, and in fact I did have a glass of champagne on my wedding day, but boy, it was sooooo nice. So in my case, I am sure that I am better off/it is easier living with a self-imposed belief that any alcohol is very bad for me.

Peter Haslam said...

I don't disagree with you Ed. Each of us handles it differently. I respect your choice

Comedy + said...

Peter - I agree with you 100% here. I have seen this over and over when I was working. An entire family of alcoholics (could just as easily be drugs) with one who wouldn't drink. Why? Because he knew if he did he would be like the rest of his family. The other members just gave in to what they believed was their fate. Too sad for words.

You are such an inspiration. I hadn't thought about this in many years. I have always believed that God helps those that help themselves ♥

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks comedy+

Sarge Charlie said...

thank you for your kind comments on my post, hope is my message

Peter Haslam said...

Each of us communicates the message in different ways sarge charlie. I like yours and would say to my readers well worth the read.

wildheart4vr said...

Hi Peter I found you by way of MyBlogLog and I got to reading this post and I had to respond.

My ex is in prison for alcoholic related crime. I have good reason to believe that once released from prison he will go back to his old ways as he has still shown me that he is still thinking of only himself. I won't go into detail here but just take my word for it.

Peter Haslam said...

That is true wildheart4vr it is quite common for addicts to be totally self-focused. I certainly was. The decision to change has to come from ourselves and a realization of the impact we have had on others in our lives.

erp said...

interesting post but to communicate will show the consequences either its nice or not.thanks~