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Alternative Approaches (Part III)

Old 08-02-2010, 05:25 AM
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I grew up in a family where the ability to debate was part of our the dinner table conversation, add to that I was born a red head, am part irish and worked in law and its a heck o a lot to overcome. When I drank I didn't care enough to argue.

But I have always strongly believed people have the right to their own opinions and a good debater should be able to look at an arguement from both viewpoints...there are just some discussions I am going to have to work harder at walking away from:-)

Of course we are al works in progress, imo, so I am cool with that!
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:59 AM
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LaFemme, you are the Gandhi of the Irish redheads I have known;-) You are going to do so well at this struggle, I just know it.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:35 AM
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Wow, that's a HUGE compliment Recycle...thanks! P.S. - I love your Zen dude on the bicycle:-)
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:07 PM
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Thanks LaFemme, since I am using the image without permission, I should really credit the artist, Philip Newsom: Philip Newsom - Illustrations
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:52 PM
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This is outta nowhere, but has anyone thought of alcoholism as a birth defect?

I have a switch somewhere in my brain that apparently doesn't work properly. In the physical sense, it's like someone who has a cleft lip or gluten intolerance. And birth defect isn't quite the right word, but you see what I'm getting at.

It can be easy to think it's unfair that "everybody else" can drink and I can't, but how is that different from a gluten intolerant person who has to be hypervigilant about not getting a crumb in her food while "everyone else" chows down on wheat bread?
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MTWildflower View Post
This is outta nowhere, but has anyone thought of alcoholism as a birth defect?

I have a switch somewhere in my brain that apparently doesn't work properly. In the physical sense, it's like someone who has a cleft lip or gluten intolerance. And birth defect isn't quite the right word, but you see what I'm getting at.
Yup!

There's a spot in the upper part of my brainstem that just pumps out dopamine at the thought of alcohol, and then my limbic system tries to poke and prod the rest of my brain into rationalizing how easy it would be to have "just one drink".

Or...at least that's how I see it...

Social drinker's brains just don't light up like a Christmas tree like mine does with booze.

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Old 08-02-2010, 04:26 PM
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Hmmmm.

My thoughts are going in two directions here.

Alcohol creates in our brains an unnatural chemical state - the dopamine dump, among other things, I'm sure. So the resultant feeling isn't one that is a natural state for the brain, thus one that couldn't/shouldn't be sustained. Heroin, for example, also changes brain chemistry. I'm not addicted to heroin, so I don't miss or crave that unnatural chemical state.

In a separate train of thought, I'm wondering about switches and brain chemistry. Is it the switch that's broken or the chemicals? What I mean is, do we have enough dopamine, serotonin, etc. in our brains and we just have a broken switch like a broken lock on a door or is it that we don't have enough brain chemicals and the switch is an attempt to correct that, like opening a dam to raise the level of a river, but not having good control over how much water is released?
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:28 PM
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And this is where my secular reaction kicks in, because if we have broken switches and/or chemicals, I don't see how this can be fixed except by physical means (such as a medication or maybe gene therapy that we don't currently have).

As in, the person with gluten intolerance can avoid gluten and be perfectly healthy, but the broken gluten receptor or whatever can't currently be fixed.

[edited for clarity]
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:44 PM
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Recent research;

"Receptor Variant Influences Dopamine Response to Alcohol"

Receptor Variant Influences Dopamine Response to Alcohol, May 18, 2010 News Release - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Old 08-02-2010, 04:44 PM
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I love my little kitten cat...pets are awesome...and help with the bad times.

I just go day to day...not too much thinking behind it now...don't know if that's good/bad.

I feel like crap most of the time because of the depression. I'm not sure anything can fix that.

I'd love to say that life is great sober, but it's not. At least it's better compared to when I got smashed every day. I suppose what I'm saying is that my life went from really sh!tty to not-as-sh!tty.

I know, I'm such a Debbie Downer today.
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:17 PM
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****{Bamboozle}}}

I've had depression since I was a child, Bamboozle, way before the drinking, so I know how hard it can be.

And I love your sig line - WarGames is awesome!
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:40 PM
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Thanks, Murray.

*sigh* What can I say? Effing "increased euphoria following alcohol consumption."

We could just shut down my dopamine system, but I've always had depression, so I don't have enough of those bad boys to start with.

I'm totally serious, I need to go hang out on a gluten intolerance board to see how people deal with never being able to eat a Twinkie again.

/rant
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:50 PM
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First bambozzle, sorry you are having a downer day, glad you have cats, pets are great for helpin with depression, I've never not had one or two.

Second MT & Murray, you are givin me a headache, science is not my favorite subject! ;-) but I know there is a lot of alcoholismc research going on about the chemistry of alcoholism. I am thinking there are probably different types of alcohlisms...and this is just a new thought from being here on SR, when you are drunk we are all pretty much the same but in recovery everyone seems a little different to me...or is that just me...lol!
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:04 PM
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It's undeniably true that people have experienced real positive results with secular, religious, and spiritual ideas and treatments. Since everybody's different, it makes sense that the same problem would have many answers.

Well, LaF, if it's science, then we can potentially fix it - unless it's an unavoidable flaw in the design.

For instance, as you know, cancer is cells dividing inappropriately. And obviously, we need cells to divide sometimes, so it's not like we can just turn off cell division altogether.

With brain chemicals, we can't just turn them off completely - we need dopamine to move properly and maybe the switch malfunction is also involved with smelling or breathing or something.

Whooooaaaaa, lost my point. Um. I think I was just trying to say that for me, attacking this problem through science gives me a much-missed dopamine-induced euphoria rush!
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:13 PM
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Murray, speaking of euphoria, there's a guy who advocates taking Naltrexone only when one drinks. One usually takes it while abstaining, but since it blocks the opioid receptors, one wouldn't get the extra hit of dopamine and euphoria if one drinks while taking it.

The Cure for Alcoholism by Roy Eskapa
Amazon.com: The Cure for Alcoholism: Drink Your Way Sober Without…

If taken every time one drinks, one wouldn't get the reinforcement of extra dopamine, and one would gradually unlearn the behavior that caused the dopamine reward because of the lack of reinforcement. Essentially, it would reprogram someone to drink like a "normal" person.

I dunno. Like I said, I think I need all the dopamine I can get, but it's an interesting idea.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:37 PM
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MTW...its not the concept of science being able to fix the problem, its that you are making me read big "scienciey" (made up word) words in general...dopamine, neural receptors,...Aaaarrrrgggghhh!

I also heard about that book and thought it interesting, but maybe a little too good to be true?

Right now, if someone said they could wave a magic wand and I could be a normal drinker I would say pass, I want to be a non-drinker 99% of the time and that 1% of the time i dont can be attributed to my dumbass self, who I never should have listened to in the first place:-)
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:46 PM
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LaF: puppies, kitties, ice cream. Better?

Yeah, sounds too good to be true to me too, but definitely interesting.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:49 PM
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Like Drugs, Talk Therapy Can Change Brain Chemistry

I like to think that my mind can change my brain structure and chemistry...to a point. Like using new behaviors, then feeling the rewards of being able to make changes in the way I act with regards to drugs...feels good. As I continue to make progress in recovery I keep building new connections in my brain along with decaying connections to old behaviors. The "if you don't use it you loose it" could apply to neuro-circuitry.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Zencat View Post
I like to think that my mind can change my brain structure and chemistry...to a point.
Zencat where is the point in your opinion? What can't you change?

I have been reading a lot about neuro-plasticity. I posted a link in the fitness forum about how learn to juggle has been shown to increase the amount and density of grey matter. I know there must limitations, but there in my own meditation practice I keep seeing unlimited potential for growth in some areas.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by recycle View Post
Zencat where is the point in your opinion? What can't you change?

I have been reading a lot about neuro-plasticity. I posted a link in the fitness forum about how learn to juggle has been shown to increase the amount and density of grey matter. I know there must limitations, but there in my own meditation practice I keep seeing unlimited potential for growth in some areas.
What I haven't been able to change is the PTSD symptoms from popping up from time to time. One is I get bad anxiety attacks where my body goes through the typical symptoms...racing heart beat, sweating etc. Yet I'm able to 'just go through it' and do the things I want to do like thrift store shopping in a crowded shop. Yep my anxiety if off the scale but I plod forward. Afterward it feels great to have shopped. And I am more likely to go shopping again. Whereas before I would have left the store as soon as the anxiety hit and felt like do-do because I split before I could shop.

Why heck there was a time when I would have to get loaded on drugs before I would go out of the house. When I didn't have drugs I stayed indoors terrified to leave the house. I used to do grocery shopping at 24 hr markets at 4am (less people in the store) even when I got high enough to get out.
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