Hi everybody and welcome to what marks a very special podcast interview… a Skype chat with none other than Claudia Christian on my 5th Sinclair Method “birthday” in which we talk all about TSM, our mutual experience of filming the acclaimed documentary One Little Pill, Alcoholics Anonymous, the depiction (or rather non-depiction) of alternative recovery options in film and television and lots more besides.
How my adventure with the charismatic Claudia began…
“It’s not a question of faith, it’s a question of facts. I wasn’t going to be able to pray this thing away. When you look at other treatment approaches you’ve got AA… then you’ve got other types of counselling where they’re trying to reason with it… and I’m thinking, well, this is silly – why don’t you just kill it?!?”
-Gary Bell, One Little Pill
It was only upon only upon doing a Google search on The Sinclair Method (TSM) back in late 2012 (back when I was still very much struggling with the booze) that I became aware of her work as a TSM advocate/addiction treatment activist .
About Claudia – she doesn’t disappoint in person. In fact, in real life she’s very much like her fictional counterpart Susan Ivanova from Babylon 5. That’s to say intelligent, feisty, brave and beautiful.
The very first time I met her was in fact when I was invited to be a guest interviewee for the filming of the UK segment of One Little Pill.
How that came about…
I’d tried just about everything from AA to acupuncture to curb my drinking and turned to the internet to find answers, ultimately reading about The Sinclair Method and later finding out about Claudia’s advocacy of TSM. Upon discovering this I took the bold step of sending her a personal message on Facebook.
Much to my astonishment Claudia responded that same night and was absolutely wonderful, offering real encouragement. Something that (as it turned out) I would really need because this was unfortunately back at a time when there were even less support than there is now and nalmefene (naltrexone’s sister drug) had yet to be officially approved on the NHS here in the UK.
As I went through the thankless process of somehow trying to acquire this treatment through conventional means (i.e. through my GP and local addictive behaviours service) I recall having numerous doors slammed in my face.
I could have easily lost hope but I had Claudia’s support and, deciding that I needed to charge of my own destiny, would eventually take matters into my own hands by importing a supply of naltrexone from an online pharmacy in Canada.
But out of this seething crucible of anger would come some really positive. A blog that I created called Naltrexone Confidential that would go on to get quite a bit of praise. And it was this that led to my being invited to take part in the London segment of One Little Pill some months after I first went onto TSM.
About the documentary: it was great taking part in it and it was a real pleasure to meet Claudia and Dr. Roy Eskapa, author of The Cure for Alcoholism – considered by most to be the instruction manual on The Sinclair Method (click HERE to visit the Amazon page for the book).
But my interview very nearly didn’t happen. I nearly missed the train because I was extremely sleep-deprived on the day that I was due to take the trip to London thanks to the annoying crack-addicted neighbours that I had at the time keeping everyone in my street awake for three solid days.
Hence why when I look back on my interview I think that I could have done better had I not been so crushingly tired. Still, I think I do okay all things considered.
I also have to pause to thank my mom (bless her heart) because, as I mention HERE, I very nearly backed out for fear of the exposure that my appearing in this might bring and it was her who affirmed that I should do it.
The thing on most people’s lips since I did the documentary is just how different I now look. Some people have had difficulty recognising me, in fact.
What I need to point out is that this was very early days for me and my body and brain were only just starting to heal from the poison I’d been feeding it, so I was still quite bloated and sweaty in appearance. Being used to a diet of Carlsberg Special Brew and takeout crap during the course of my addiction, it would (post Sinclair Method) take a while to get onto a healthy diet and exercise regime but, as the before and after photos on this Quora post HERE prove, I eventually got to a much healthier place. And it didn’t take very long either.
Reflecting on things now… In the 5 years since the filming of OLP and the 5 years in which I’ve been on the method there’s been trolls, tantrums, tragedy and trauma to deal with, but I look back on things through a really positive prism. Post-pharmacological extinction there’s little that I would change. Sure, I have some regrets (like how I wish I’d handled some things better with my old website, for example), but they’re minor.
Anyway, I think that (for now) just about covers what I wanted to write on the subject of of One Little Pill. Given my biased involvement, it didn’t seem appropriate to write a proper in-depth review – hence why I’ve given more of just an an overview of my own involvement with it… but take my word for it when I say that it’s essential viewing for anyone interested in the topic of alcohol addiction.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Claudia and everyone else who has helped me over these last five years. To quote Vinnie Jones: “It’s been emotional”.
Peace and love,