Alcoholism runs in families

Over the 30 years I’ve been researching alcoholism, there is one glaring fact that stands out, psychologically and physiologically, this disease is inherited.  It is an emotional disease combined with a physical allergy to alcohol. Even before researchers showed how and why some people are predisposed to becoming alcoholic, simple observation showed that when one or both parents are alcoholic, the children are at risk.

I deal with patients every day who rationalise and justify their drinking. They want to know why they can’t control their drinking. They want me to teach them to drink socially………… ever tried to control diarrhoea?  They will even argue that it is not in their family until I ask questions about their grandparents, aunts and uncles and there is a silent nod.  “Ah! My Aunt was an alcoholic but we don’t talk about her.”  Of course not, it is a stigma and should be swept under the carpet. Things like that don’t happen in one’s family.

I’ve had people tell me they would rather have cancer because at least people will give them sympathy.  How much sympathy does an alcoholic get?  None!  How much understand can you give someone who is constantly argumentative and deep in denial about how much he or she drinks.

Do people drink because they are unhappy?  Of course they do.   Why do people drink who appear to have everything that money can buy?   Because they are unhappy and often don’t know why they drink to excess.  Alcohol is a symptom of an underlying problem. Even rich people have Bipolar 1 or 2, Emotion Regulation Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Depression. They are the more common mental health issues underlying alcoholism.   There are other mental health problems but not as common as the above.

I know people with 30 years sobriety living with Bipolar 2 plus Borderline Personality Disorder and they didn’t know it. They hang on to their sobriety for dear life and put up with chronic mental health issues because they don’t know where to get the help they desperately need.  They live in AA meetings for fear of picking up a drink and are too afraid to take medication for fear of being ridiculed by older, sober members.

Don’t get me wrong.  AA meetings are fine for the camaraderie you find in this Fellowship but you need more, if you are to remain sober for the rest of your life. You need to find out the underlying cause of your alcoholism before you pick up another addiction and pretend that everything is OK, as long as you don’t drink.

I also know people with 30 years sobriety who are chronic malcontents ….. They don’t drink, but they are desperately unhappy and turn to shopping, sex, gym (junkies), gambling and prescription drugs to alleviate their emotional pain.  I know a famous Australian who killed someone in a car accident when he was in his 20’s and made the decision never to drink again.  Trouble was, he didn’t know about his shadow addiction………… gambling.

When counselling alcoholics, it is important to help them understand that it is genetic, environmental and nutritional. Taking a holistic approach guarantees long term sobriety. There are a host of biological reasons associated with alcoholism and these need to be addressed by a specialist. Group support is of paramount importance along with a good Nutritionist to help you understand the importance of your predisposition to food intolerances like gluten, fructose and lactose in your diet.  Specialist counselling for co-dependency issues to help you unlearn learned behaviour growing up in a dysfunctional environment. Many alcoholics suffer with Post Traumatic Stress and don’t know it. They have the odd idea that you have to be a returned soldier from Iraq or Afghanistan to suffer with PTSD.  This is a myth.

Anyone growing up in an alcoholic home has big issues and a bad attitude.   They often grow up with a “chip on the shoulder” and victim mentality.  “The world owes me a childhood” is their war-cry.  They turn to alcohol, drugs, crime, and domestic violence with a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ mentality.

Women have a different metabolism and are more prone to hiding their true self by getting married too young and having children, because they think that will make them happy. What happens later is a middle-aged woman with who ends up alienated from society, hiding behind her front door watching TV and reminiscing about what could have been.  A woman who drinks too much is a ‘slut’ and a man who drinks too much is a ‘macho man’ catching up with his mates after work.

Alcohol is responsible for immature emotions. People who use alcohol to cope with life’s stresses end up 10 to 20 years behind their physical age.  You know the type.  She is 50 years old going on about 25.  Always lamenting about life and hates the way she looks, her job, her husband and has the emotions of a two year old - spitting the dummy when things don’t go her way.

Emotional damage often manifests as self-destructive or self-defeating behaviour. Alcohol abuse is the catalyst for emotional immaturity.  When we suppress the emotions through alcohol binge drinking episodes, we can’t learn life’s lessons. We end up stagnant in a cesspool of alcohol with childish emotions and the ridiculous idea that the world owes us……… what?

Where do I start?  Well, stop drinking is the first step. How do I stop drinking?  Well, seek help through a recognised addiction specialist. What do I do next?  Start detoxing with amino acid supplements like Tyrosine, L-Glutamine and GABA.  You will need professional advice before you start.

Amino Acid supplements like Tyrosine for the manufacture of dopamine and noradrenaline, which are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood.  L-Glutamine can reduce both cravings and the anxiety that accompanies alcohol withdrawal. Glutamine can be found in our Ultimate Gut Health Powder.

A good liver tonic like LivaTone Plus is recommended and can be beneficial in those who have an inflamed liver or a sluggish liver. LivaTone Plus contains all the B vitamins and the amino acid Taurine. It also contains the antioxidant vitamins C and E.

Magnesium Ultra Potent can be taken before bed to assist with a deep and restful sleep. It also helps to reduce stress, very beneficial to a recovering alcoholic.  Magnesium is also known as the “great relaxer”.

Dr. Cabot’s book, Help for Depression and Anxiety is an excellent read for recovering alcoholics.

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The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.