Recently, Blum and associates attempted to establish links between molecular neuroscience and each step in the Twelve Steps adopted by self-help groups . It is important to point out that the purpose of this current article is not to support or refute the existence of a higher power, but to provide some evidence that acceptance of the Twelve-Step doctrine may be linked to reward circuitry genetic antecedents. In their book , Blum’s group briefly discussed the development of the Twelve Steps and pointed out the struggles of its co-founder William G. Wilson.
The concepts developed not only by “Bill W” but by other notables such as “Dr. Bob” (Robert H. Smith) and the Oxford Group have evolved based on empirical experiences of what has worked for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is quite remarkable that Bill W along with others fought arduously, against all odds to deliver, the Twelve-Step message and fellowship to alcoholics starting in Ohio, St. Louis, and New York. It is ironic that in 1939, when the Works Publishing Company, owned by a few investors through the purchase of stock, published the “Big Book” (Alcoholics Anonymous: How Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism), the response was less positive than expected. The end result was that Bill W and his wife Lois lost just about everything including their house. However, realizing that the Twelve- Step program was indeed saving lives, Bill never gave up! Bill W continued to smoke throughout his recovery even at 76 years of age, while dying from emphysema in the winter of 1971. From a neurological perspective, nicotine, sugar, and coffee activate and release dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) reward site of the mesolimbic system of the brain . While not minimizing the effect AA also had on his recovery, certainly the depression Bill W suffered during his recovery from alcohol, a 17-year battle, was reduced by the continued use of all these substances. We are also interested in Bill W’s effort to combat alcoholism through biology. When he experimented with both LSD and Vitamin B3 (niacin) therapy, many in the fellowship were dismayed with his hope to biologically assist alcoholics to gain relief from their addiction.
Citation: Blum K, Thompson B, Oscar-Berman M, Giordano J, Braverman E, et al. (2013) Genospirituality: Our Beliefs, Our Genomes, and Addictions. J Addict Res Ther 4:162. doi: 10.4172/2155-6105.1000162