Drinking alcohol is a typical pastime for millions of people around the world. Regardless of race, nationality, status in life, or religion, alcohol always finds its way into the lives of people who are not strong enough to fight the disease. And yes, alcoholism is a disease. The term for this alcohol addiction is “alcohol use disorder” or AUD.
What is AUD?
AUD is an unhealthy pattern of drinking that prompts you to drink alcohol every day, at any hour. You get consumed with the want to drink, even when you are doing something else, like conducting an office meeting or having lunch, or simply working. The power of alcohol is so strong, that you will resort to lying to our family, friends, and co-workers just to get away and drink your heart out.
The dangers of AUD
Alcoholism is a dangerous addiction. Aside from the inevitable medical and health issues that you are facing, you can also put your life at risk when you drive your car or crossing the road drunk, and even getting involved in bar fights.
Many alcoholics lost their families, friends, and work due to their unhealthy lifestyle. Their mind is so clouded with alcohol that they cannot see the road they’re heading into. And what’s worst is they blame others for their addiction. They point the blame at their bosses, wives, husbands, and friends, but they can’t find the clarity to blame themselves. Furthermore, most people with AUD believe that they have no control over their addiction because it is in their genes. They claim that they inherited the alcoholism gene.
What gene causes alcoholism? If you are seeking the answer to this question, keep reading.
The alcoholism gene
The alcoholism gene is often the topic of many AA meetings, therapy sessions, and drunken talks. But really, what gene causes alcoholism? Many studies have been conducted to decide if genetics has something to do with alcoholism and AUD. And studies show that there are actually genes that are associated with the drive to abuse harmful alcohol.
Here are the genetic variants that are connected with alcohol abuse:
The following are the genetic variants that are linked solely to AUD:
- DRD2 (rs4936277 and rs61902812)
And these are the genes that are related to both AUD and extreme alcohol consumption:
Is there no escape from the alcoholism gene?
DNA is responsible for creating your physical features as well as your personality. If you can accept that your parent’s genes are accountable for how you look, then does it also follow that the alcoholism gene they passed unto you is something that you cannot escape? If your good looks are thanks to the exquisite genes of your ancestors, then would you willingly succumb to the dark abyss just because your family has a drinking history?
Though it is true that you have a predisposition towards drinking because your parents are alcoholics, they are only able to pass on 50% of their alcoholism genes. 50% is up to you. Fact is many children from an alcohol-filled household grow up detesting alcohol. That is because they saw how alcohol tears their family apart as they were growing up. You have the option not to follow your parent’s footsteps. You have a choice to abhor alcohol and not give in to your deepest and ignored urges to drink.
How to defy the alcoholism gene
If you have the alcoholism gene, there is nothing you can to get rid of it from your system. But you can do is find ways to not let your family history define your future. Just as you can control and change your angry outburst due to hereditary genes of anger management issues from your parents, you can also control your drinking urges. Remember that both genetics and environmental factors play major roles in your choices.
Establish a support system
Since your parents and probably other members of your family tree are alcoholics, you cannot expect to get good advice from them. If you are sincerely determined not to follow in the footsteps of your family, you need to build your own support system. Find friends, co-workers, and organizations who you can reach out to when your inner demons are calling out. By having a trustworthy support system to hold on to, you will have a lesser chance of becoming an alcoholic.
Studies show that having a fitness and wellness routine can help people stay away from alcohol. Though you may not completely avoid alcohol since it is part of your social life, at least you will not risk AUD. Exercising means that you are living a healthy life and eating healthy food. You will not risk everything you work hard for just to be a senseless drunk.
Stay in a healthy relationship
Of course, life is exciting and fun, and flirting and partying are offering spice to one’s life. But since you have a family history of alcoholism, try to rein in your passion to lead a crazy lifestyle. There are other ways to have fun and enjoy your life. Stay in a healthy and productive relationship with someone you love. Build a family of your own, and vow never to make your children go through the same hell you came from as a child. When you have people to protect and love, you are not likely to throw it all away by following your parent’s fate.
Alcohol abuse is a common family problem that leads to many household dramas, physical abuse, divorce, medical and health problems, and the irrevocable emotional trauma of young children. You have witnessed how things unfold in your own chaotic home. You have to break the pattern and start fresh. Don’t let genetics dictate the course of your life. Create your own path that is miles away from AUD or alcoholism. You can never change your family history, nor can you surgically remove your embedded alcoholism genes. But what you can do is defy your genetics and live a full and happy life.