This has been a real confounder for me. You all know about how society regards certain products as dangerous, and gets them banned, in large part because they are addictive. You use them, you get hooked, you can't stop, they're destructive to your body, and then you have to go on public assistance. Woe is thee.
Yet I have never been able to get addicted (or near addicted -- I'm not going by the rigorous psychological definition here) to such products. For example, I have never once actually enjoyed the process of drinking an alcoholic beverage. That is, there has never been an instance where I drank beer/wine/liquor/whatever and actually got a positive response signal from my brain telling me to do it again because it's cool.
So I don't like any alcoholic beverage (the feeling of intoxication is another story) and can't even distinguish them much. They all taste like like sour/bitter stuff that stings/hurts as they go down. Yuck! I mean, I get that it's an "acquired" (i.e., imagined) taste, but I've been socially drinking for a while (i.e. in the presence of legal guardians and after turning 21), and ... nada. To drink anything alcoholic feels like a chore, not something I'd do for enjoyment. (In fairness, soda stings too as it goes down but is otherwise tasty.) When I pick a beer, I go for "least painful", not "tastes good".
I'm even at the point where I believe it's all faked. You're all familiar with the phenomenon of how double-blind tasting destroys the standard quality ranking for wines (link forthcoming). And then, for example, when I asked my female friend "K" what she likes about beer, I got answers like, "well, um, it tastes good when you're really thirsty and tired ..." (in contrast, of course, to all those drinks that taste BAD when you're desperate for one...).
My female (and Italian) friend "A", an avid wine lover, claims that my brain or genome must be so fundamentally different that I should submit myself for medical study so as to gain insight into curing alcoholics (a condition that completely perplexes me). Yet my female friend (wine lover but not Italian) "C" insists that not liking wine is common among her friends. Like with wanting to tank oil's price, I'd be very interested in contributing to the well-being of society by helping out with curing alcoholism ... if in fact I can. (I'm glad their names all begin with different letters!)
(Yes, I know there are some good points about how "alcoholism" is just a case of "I really like alcohol and will ditch my family to enjoy it" [link forthcoming] but the existence of a desire to drink so much is believable and worth understanding better.)
The same phenomenon repeats itself for smoking. While I have tried cigarettes before, and did smoke socially a couple times, and certainly beyond the threshold that makes people yearn for a cigarette, I feel no desire whatsoever to smoke. (Hi health insurer! I haven't ever smoked nearly enough to count as a "smoker".) Sure, the buzz is great, but I have never thought to myself "Hey, I want to do something enjoyable ... oh! Right! Lighting up!"
I can hear you guys yawning. Now, here's the kicker: I do get powerful, near-addiction urges to e.g. post on internet forums, eat ice cream/milkshakes (YUM!), play certain video games, and other things I can remember. But EVERY one of those things for which I *do* get urges ... is completely legal! (Go me!) That is, there has never been any kind of succesful mass movement to ban those things! Those closest we've see is "fat taxes" which are very unsuccessful.
For discussion: am I different enough to be useful to medicine? Is this condition a special case of my bad luck, as society will protect me from access to non-addictive stuff, and let me use addictive stuff to my own detriment? Is it just a matter of time before I start "getting a taste" for these things? Do people merely pretend to like certain beers and wines e.g. as a form of social signaling?