Addictive Genes and Sad Souls…Do We Inherit Sadness?


I was 6 or 7 years old when my first addiction began, I used to get £1 for dinner money, and everyday my Mum would see me over the main road and wave goodbye; off I would trot to meet the two friends who I walked to school with.

The gap between her wave goodbye, and the knock on my friends front door, was the best part of my day

I remember the feeling of excitement as I rushed to the shop at the bottom of our estate, where I would buy 10 packets of ‘Cheesies’ and 10 packets of ‘Meanies’ (small bags of 5p crisps)

I don’t know how I knew that it needed to be a secret, but I knew it alright; I knew it intrinsically. So; I would eat ALL 20 packets in rapid time, and by the time I reached my friend’s house, I had consumed them all, and my secret was safe

By lunchtime, I was starving, every single day… and I knew that if I could stop buying the crisps, I’d be able to eat lunch with my friends. I regretted it everyday, whilst I watched everyone eating their lunch; but I didn’t stop…because I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t control it or suppress the urge. I would tell my friends that my Mum didn’t have enough money to give me dinner money. Any lie would do to keep the truth under wraps…

How did I know that it was unacceptable? I was a rebel child, so bucking against rules was something I did with open gusto, I see now that spending my money in a ‘naughty way’ was just another act of rebellion, but being open about it was unthinkable… I just knew the eating had to be done alone.

I was displaying behaviours exhibited by most addicts, but not behaviours I had ever been exposed to when my addictions started.

Without an example, or any awareness of addictive traits, I behaved exactly as addicts do anyway.

Secrecy, solitude and cover ups are what ‘grown up’ addicts do, it disturbs me when I try to pin point how I knew this at age 7

Next came mini pots of ‘Nutella, they were 10 pence each, so I had 10 pots in between Mums wave and the 1st door knock.

As I grew up, the behaviours never changed, just the substance

I moved areas in my teens, and there were no shops on route to my new school that I could get to, without my friends seeing me, so my dinner money lasted til 1st break, where I would salivate as I marched as quickly as possible to the school canteen, to get a slice of pizza.

I don’t think I ever had any dinner money left at ‘dinner time’, throughout my entire school life. I hid it from my friends and teachers alike, for all them years

Next came alcohol, then cigarettes, then casinos, then fruit machines, then weed, then ecstasy, then speed, then booze again, then cocaine, then legal highs, then weed again, then booze again. In between all these, food filled the gaps…consumed in a frenzy like manner. Food is and was my fall back, and when that one hits me, I can put on 3 stone in 3 weeks, easy

I was watching a documentary on drugs a few weeks ago, and Russell Brand (an addict himself) made a comment that struck a chord with me, he said –

“Every addict, every single one, when they are straight/not high/sober/abstaining etc, has a feeling of sadness deep in the pits of their psyche, a feeling that never leaves them; a feeling that continually eats into the subconscious and the soul”

It made me think of an Amy Winehouse lyric “That silence sense of content that everyone gets, just disappears, soon as the sun sets” – The name of the song is ‘Wake Up Alone’…That’s what addicts do, whether alone or lying next to someone, they wake up alone, everyday

Every addict on the show confirmed they felt this deep sadness, most confirmed it without pausing to even think about it for a second

Firstly I disagreed with the idea; I decided I wasn’t sad, especially not above and beyond any other emotional state, but, the more I thought about it, the more I realised it might be true. Maybe I am fundamentally sad on a level that I have separated myself from?

Am I sad and just great at self-denial? Lets face it, I’ve been at it since I was 7 years old. My memories of childhood are very hazy, but the morning walks of addiction are crystal clear flashbacks, illustrating the strength and impact of these experiences

From a genetic point of view, on one side of my family tree, my Nan and Granddad were addicts, they had 2 children who are both addicts, between them 2 addicts they had 5 children, 3 of which are addicts…either active/dormant and/or recovering (I am one of them). I don’t know 2 of the 5 very well. But, them aside, the argument that ‘addicts breed addicts’ is strongly supported in our clan

BUT, if it is sadness that causes the problem in the first place, where does it come from? This void of contentment that all addicts seem to share! Is it coincidence? Are we sad because we have tasted the pleasure of certain activities or substances, and we know that at some point we will have to cut those things out of our lives?

Is there such a thing as a sadness gene?

The worst thing about it is, if they found a magic pill to eradicate this tendency, I think I might avoid taking it. Because I think I would feel sad about letting go of my many fixes. I am through the worst times, I have more control now than in the past, but the strength of the urge is the same as it was at 7 years old, it never lets up, it never weakens, it’s never trumped

It feels so hopeless to resist, and I am not a weak person by nature, I am a fighter. So; I guess on some level, I’m actively choosing to not fight the tendencies

The stats vary, but many doctors and scientists argue that 10% of the population seem to have no ability to regulate the use of these activities and substances, without becoming dependant on them. They can’t remain in the ‘recreational bin’…They are consumed with the hit, even when the addiction leads to the total breakdown of their lives, and the loss of everything in them, they carry on regardless

I’ve worked and socialised with many addicts over the years, and most of them were wading through the aftermath of losing everything and everyone. It is supposedly an inbuilt natural reaction to keep yourself alive; but addicts even ignore the possibility of death with great ease

What is it about these pleasures that drive some people to self destruct, until they have just one thing left in their life?…Their fix!

I don’t want to be this person anymore. I go through periods when I abstain for weeks on end, but during these times, I secretly long for a fix of some kind, and it’s only ever a matter of time before I’m back to being hooked on something

Being an addict is a difficult, lonely, misunderstood place to live in. And some like to believe it’s some kind of choice, but I don’t think many people would actively choose to lose everything in their life… just so they could consume some substance or another

It creeps up and swallows you whole, before you’ve had time to take a second glance!

We are all gripped for life, abstinence is not a cure. For most people, the urge never leaves, and it’s a matter of luck and circumstance that separates the recovering addicts from the active one’s

Are we genetically sad or genetically prone to addiction? Or worse, are we fighting both inherited states at once? Is what seems like a desire to feel excitement, actually an action to alleviate a lifetimes worth of sadness?

Until we know more, we have no choice but to ‘Wake Up Alone’

About Littlebeut333

'Random Spillages from a Reportedly Strange mind’… Hello all :) I’m Dawny, the littlest of the Beuts..and my brain spillage content varies from the profoundly philosophical, to utter bilge ://…Life is my inspiration. I write about friends, love, the soul, society, shrinks, people, labels, home, mothers, perfect moments, dirty politicians, music, pain, beauty, women, religion, god, mental health, the demise of humanity!!! etc…hence the ‘random’. All spilled through the eye of my ‘ever musing, slightly philosophical mind’. Although I write mostly for enjoyment, and to empty my oh so busy head; sharing my snippets appeals to me, and I also love reading the thought trails of others. I would be most chuffed if anyone comes across my page and has a browse (and if you do, thanks in advance). I guess the biggest compliment would be if, for you, my rambles are either :- slightly different from the norm, enjoyable, amusing, unenjoyable, and/or thought/emotion provoking. Whatever them thoughts or emotions might be…The good, the bad, the ugly..and everything in between!! ;)… I accidently fell in love with writing a while ago, and from that time, my inspiration has come solely from lifes varied encounters, feelings, knowledge, memories and thoughts. Welcome to my archives, to some sections of my mind :0 Dawny

22 responses »

  1. Pingback: Spooky Fag Related Mini Miracle… « Random Spillages from a Reportedly Strange Mind

  2. Hey Tricia, thankyou soooo much for this comment. firstly, I’m so glad that this post has helped you better understand your brothers problems. I feel humbled by knowing that and inspired to write with honesty even when the topic is taboo. I did chuckle at your ‘naughty’ reference and I do think this plays a part in it. The rebel within loves to rear her bloody head, still! 34 years and she’s not bored yet 🙂 Your beautiful words and your references to God and The Angels filled me with hope and I think I am finally in a place where I can benefit from the love that comes from them. Thanks so much for your kind and sweet words…I will kick this gene up the butt and into timbucktoo very soon! Take Care…Dawny 🙂

  3. Hey The Other Side Of Ugly, I am truly touched by your comment, thank-you so much. I think you’re right about knowing and growing. I am happy to say that I’m getting there slowly but surely. Thanks again for your sweet and kind words…Dawny 🙂

  4. Hey theflatgirl, It’s so hard isnt it? I hope we both manage to kick the weights of addiction, your thanks means alot. Good luck with the genes…and roll on the miracle pill that fixes our tendancies, thanks for commenting…Dawny 🙂

  5. You should put this to audio with soft music behind i to bring out another element of your creativity. A personal story like this compounded with a real voice behind it has enough impact to really connect with your audience. 🙂

  6. Hi Dawny – Thank you for writing this. It really helps me to understand my brother who is a drug addict and who has struggled his whole life with it. I can certainly relate to the food addiction issues. I know for me when I stopped making myself wrong and stopped making my behavior wrong, the compulsion went away. When it ceased being “naughty,” the thrill was gone and my eating habits normalized. I don’t think this would work as well with drug addiction because drugs create a true physical craving on top of the psychological and soul-level problems. This is why 12-Step Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous incorporate a spiritual solution to the problem. I have to admit that only God and the Angels can heal an addiction like this, because God and the Angels help to fill that void, that emptiness. God and the Angels are there to nurture your Soul, to bring Joy where there is sadness… to bring Peace where there is strife. May God and His Angels bring you that Joy and that Peace, Dawny. Blessings, Tricia ():-)

  7. This could have been something I wrote myself… I have been addicted to everything from love, prescription drugs, to thoughts of suicide. It is so difficult to figure out.

    Thank you for writing this and exposing yourself.


  8. Hey Jessica, thanks for commenting, I agree with your friend that genes play a part, and I’ve been reading recently that seratonin and dopamine are often lacking in the brains of addicts, explaining why they crave the high, but I also think social factors make a difference and humans have been purposefully altering their consciousness since the year dot, so maybe it’s a natural behaviour that only becomes a problem for people with a lack of self control! Who knows…Its been great reading the views of others on this, so thanks again…More food for thought, Dawny 🙂

  9. Hey Dave, LOVE this comment, you have opened my eyes to a whole new definition, re the pleasure and motivation, you’re so right and it gives me a new way to try to kick my addictive shit…because there are activities that give me pleasure such as writing and singing. It’s all too easy to let things slide, you’ve inspired me to increase these things in my life, with pleasure as the kick start for motivation! Thank-you muchly for commenting and a fresh perspective! Dawny 🙂

  10. Thank you for the like! Your blog, too, is pretty cool. This is a powerful post. I’ve dealt with addiction in various forms throughout my life—mostly pretty tame, but an addiction is an addiction. I know someone, too, who has been alone and dealt with depression for most of her life. Her parents were both depressed as well, so she blames her genes. It’s an interesting and sad phenomenon. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Good question. It could be that most people have a feeling of well being naturally, while addicts need some substance to make them feel good. So asking an addict to quit is like asking someone to give up pleasure and motivation. Is it any wonder they don’t want to give up their addictions?

  12. Hey Karron, I say a MASSIVE well done for kicking both, and on your own too. I think if someone is truly reading and 100% wants to give something up, they can do it on their own, although this takes a strong willed and remarkable person in my eyes anyway. So go you! 🙂 I can’t imagine you being a doormat when you managed such a gargantuan task as an addict, you’re probably more a kind person, and as such, have to actively avoid the doormat thang! 🙂 It’s interesting the things you list for self-esteem, and it is at the times when my illness prevents me from doing these things, that I feel the worst about myself. You are soooo right about the person being ready, I feel half of me is ready and the other half can#t help but cave to the impulsive idiotic section of my brain…I find the giving up part semi easy, but staying on that road for any length of time far harder. Once again, well done, you are an inspiration having done the giving up and the sticking to it. Thanks again so much for taking the time to comment and for your kind words…Dawny 🙂

  13. Well thank you Dawny. Having been there, done that with most things (but not drugs) I understand addiction only too well. I can’t drink because I am a drunk. I don’t smoke, because it was killing me. So 30 some odd years ago, I stopped both on my own, cold turkey. It was a miserable two months! And a lot of it had to do with living in a house with a mother who constantly belittled me and my siblings. Not fun. It took a long time to find myself. And to understand myself is a daily issues. I want to be a strong woman, but the best I can do on some days is to not be a doormat.

    Self esteem is important, but I think practical things are too. A job generally equals self worth, self worth leads to self confidence, and that leads to self esteem. A place to call home, clean sheets, a shower every day . . . all of those are practical things that lead to a whole person. However, if a person doesn’t want to change, they won’t, and there isn’t a thing we can do about it – except pray for them and let them know help is there when they are ready.

  14. Lil Trissus! I’m glad to see you have been back for a gander, after the last painful confusing browse 🙂 Thankyou muchly for your sweet words, and I’m glad to have tickled your ‘food for thought’ sections of ze brain. As I write this I am chuckling at the discussion you had with that guy on facebook! START A BLOODY BLOG woman, your wisdom is being wasted!! Love you millions toooooo! Thanks for the weekend, twas lovely! Luv Lil Dawny Xxx

  15. Hey Karron, thanks again for taking the time to comment, I’m very interested to hear other people’s views on this. I think the point you make about a lack of happy genes is a good one. It also fits with the theories that argue addicts have less seratonin and dopamine, our ‘happy chemicals’…I think you are spot on about this lack of worth, I have never known an addict who had a steady and healthy self esteem, so maybe this is where the work needs to be done. Most of us are guilty of measuring our worth by comparing ourselves to others, and we probably all feel inferior when we compare ourselves to those with the will power and self control that it takes, to resist! I am still trying to direct my obsessive tendancies in a healthier direction, I hope you too find a replacement for food. Thanks again Karron, your answer brings up more food (no pun intended ;)) for thought..Dawny 🙂

  16. dawnyyyy me again, cant get phone to work and the bloody postman aint been…this is the only way i have of contacting you lol. i may end up being a bit later. reply if you get this. love you much xxx

  17. dawny dawn..its lil trissus here…just having a lil gander at your new posts. i absolutely love this one and its sooo well written and gives much food for thought. you are such a clever little bean and i love you millions. xxxx

  18. Maybe it isn’t so much a sad gene as a lack of a happy gene. It seems that depression, loss of self, deep anger, and a lack of worth seem to plague all addicts. (I am a food junky.) I don’t know why, if I did, I could help millions of people turn into well adjusted, happy people. I can’t even figure out why I keep eating things I KNOW are bad for me. (suicidal? no I don’t want to die.) Good post, generates a great deal of though.

  19. Hey luluberoo, thankyou muchly for your comment. It’s interesting hearing your views, as someone who has studied the science of it. I think it’s probably too complicated to resolve with current knowledge of the brain and mind. Your sons feeling about being uncomfortable in his skin (and the void) resonated with my feelings, I am trying to replace old habits with new and positive challenges, but your right, it is not easy. However, we can but try. I hope your son is on the path to something brighter. Thank again…Dawny

  20. I’ve spent many years on the “science” of addiction, and I’ll be damned if I can figure it out. My son (the addict) never felt comfortable in his skin he has told me. Like you, for as long as he can remember there was something external needed to feel happy. I agree about the void. It’s always there, it can’t be filled. The best is to try to replace it with a good or positive addiction. It’s not easy.
    Great post.

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