I always thought that the war on drugs could be ended if there was just a vaccination for addiction. If I had children, I would choose to vaccinate them against addiction along with other life changing protections.
I hoped that without the physical need people wouldn't overdose, rob, kill and all other sorts of terror for their next fix. I didn't think people would stop doing all drugs, but they would do them as recreation only; on their terms, which would have a clear line where the fun stopped and the alter state abandoned for sleep and water. What would the world look like without addiction?
While it isn't as easy or clean as a futuristic vaccination against the "addict gene," but there appears to be drugs that dampen the addiction and take away the euphoria of highs of all kind. I HAD NO IDEA THEY ALREADY EXISTED. That statement is in all caps because in all my reading about alcoholism I never ran across that there was a medical solution and that is a problem. So many people are looking for all sorts of inlets of help, and these drugs should be widely known as part of a package of support.
In this episode of Radio Lab, they discuss these drugs, how they work, and why they aren't offered by doctors to people who are struggling with addiction. The drugs do work for the physical addiction but there is still resistance to seeing alcoholism as a physical, treatable problem instead of a moralistic failure. Similar to how mental health was mostly ignored by the medical community until recently, addiction has been boxed off as something for psychologists to handle, not the medical doctor. Both are needed for people.
You should listen to this radio show, or research drugs that help mute the cravings if you are struggling to stay clean and dry. While AA works for some, it isn't the only way. http://www.radiolab.org/story/addiction/
A thought I had while listening to this story was about how much alcohol and drugs becomes a part of identity for people. The guy in the story stopped taking the drugs for a while because he didn't quite feel himself without drinking. They worked for the physical, but not for the psychological/emotional attachments to alcohol. I related to that, it is only a small pull now, but it is still there for me.
I also thought about my dad, who would never think he needed help with his drinking. If I lived with him, could I secretly give these pills to him and what would that do to him? Would that be a violation of his rights, adding in a pill to the handful of pills he takes each day? It might be nightmarish for him though, a bad trip where the booze becomes unappealing and then there isn't anything to keep it all suppressed and himself even keeled in the ways he's known for decades.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. I like myself better for it and have a full life because of it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp