Dr. Cali Estes - The Addiction Coach ®

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So, there are facts that would seem to show that alcoholism is more common in Native Americans and/or Alaskan Native Americans. Certain studies show this to be true, BUT…..why? One argument is that it is biological. This makes sense to me. Europeans have been drinking alcoholic for at least five thousand years.  Native Americans have been drinking it for less than three hundred.

Evolution DOES explain it.  Those who could not handle their alcohol in pre-Roman times died young and usually violently, often before having many children.   This continues up to the current day with young men and women being removed from the gene pool in alcoholic related accidents.

The problem is the Native American gene pool is far behind the European one where alcoholism is concerned.  As a result, tribes have recovery programs and heavily discourage drinking.    In spite of this, alcohol still finds its way into the hands of people weak enough to drink it.

Try not eating chocolate for a few days.  Alcohol has the same draw for them as chocolate does for most women.

Another reason we contribute alcohol abuse in today’s generation is problems with Self Esteem. Drinking problems are very common among people who have serious problems with their identity, with poverty, with discrimination. And unhappily, our heritage for Native Americans has left them with all three. They started drinking because their earliest contacts, with the fur traders, often involved given them rum in return for furs. It was something new and novel. And they behaved just as anyone else would, who was not used to drinking. Remember the first time you drank? The world started to spin in a different direction. But their serious problems didn’t begin until they were shut up on reservations, their children taken away and sent to residential schools, they were forbidden to use their own languages, celebrate their own customs (potlatch, for example, was banned. That would be the equivalent of telling other North Americans that they could no longer celebrate Christmas or birthdays). They couldn’t get decent jobs and had to live on government handouts. Given this, is it any wonder that for the most part, they suffered from depression? Alcohol numbed that feeling for a while, and that was the perfect breeding ground for alcoholism. Given decent conditions, education, acceptance and a chance to be part of a community, without discrimination and snide remarks, the Native Americans are upstanding citizens.

These 2 reasons just scrape the surface in my opinion. I would like to hear opinions from you!!


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