Monthly Archives: February 2018

Tales from the TSM Trenches: Lesa and Gary in conversation

Hello readers.

The following article is what you might call an epistolary… an electronic “chain letter” (using instant messaging and e-mails) between myself and Lesa, a member of the Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook forum, collected and re-edited here in a Q & A format.

Lesa D. Christensen, Sinclair Method advocate and fellow member of the Your Choice, Your Recovery forum.

…I like doing these types of things, I must say.

It makes a real change from the onus being just on boring ol’ me… and I like how it makes for a really organic article.

Anyway, without further ado…


Gary:

So… To start the ball rolling… “Hello Lesa. How did you come to go onto The Sinclair Method (TSM)?”

 

Lesa:

I had to find TSM on my own.

I pretty much just got lucky. I went to a 30 day in-house Rehab and AA and I couldn’t stop drinking.

I was a disaster and I felt like I was sinking further and further down.

A friend of mine who’s an avid AAer told me about naltrexone but didn’t know really what it did. I started researching and came across Dr. Roy Eskapa’s book, The Cure for Alcoholism. I read it and went to my doctor and asked her to prescribe it to me.

I didn’t even mention TSM because I was worried she wouldn’t give it to me. I was given the prescription and told not to drink but if I did it wouldn’t hurt me*. I started it right away.

[*Note: this is NOT the correct way to prescribe naltrexone for The Sinclair Method. The correct protocol is to advise the patient to take a naltrexone pill one hour before their first drink and not to take it on any days that the patient does not drink.]

Click on image to be taken to the Amazon page for The Cure for Alcoholism.

 

[After a short break the conversation then picks up again a few days later by way of e-mail correspondence]

 

Gary:

…Hi Lesa,

Hope you’re well. I’ve had an odd couple of days where I’ve not been able to find the motivation to do much (February is always like that for me – it’s just a dead month here in Hartlepool).

I’ve been thinking about my blog and I think that I might do a whole series of interviews like this with different people at different stages of recovery with TSM… why? Well, because I think readers are getting a bit bored of hearing “Gary’s story” all the time and would be grateful to hear other people’s points of view.

So… continuing on with our interview… I have a question for you: I note from your posts on the Your Choice, Your Recovery forum that you’re someone who very much supports medically assisted alcohol addiction treatments such as TSM as well as other stuff like baclofen and gabapentin, etc… and my question is what do you say to people who don’t support a biological model of alcohol addiction? What do you say to people who view it as “an illness of the soul” (a view supported by many AA members)? Or, for that matter, people who view alcoholism as a “choice” rather than a disease? (a view supported by some psychologists)

 

Lesa:

I have been dealing with this for a while now. AA is so infiltrated into our society no one wants to hear anything else.

“It sounds to good to be true!” or “Lesa, there’s no magic pills.”

So I respond like this, “If I go to my doctor and I tell him I am sad and nothing makes me happy, he’d probably diagnose me with depression. He wouldn’t tell me to “choose” to be happy and go find “God”.

That would be malpractice, especially if I committed suicide.

Yet, we live in society that is brainwashed into believing that if someone is alcoholic they need to find a “spiritual awakening” and “choose” not to drink.

It’s completely absurd!

There are medications that repair the eroded neuropathways from addiction and balance-out the neurotransmitters that cause anxiety and depression caused by alcoholism. I take Naltrexone as needed and Acamprosate to balance out the neurotransmitters. They are a great medication team to cut cravings and create homeostasis (balance) back to pre-addictive state.

It’s absolutely ridiculous we (TSM) folks are educating society on this scientifically proven and evidence based method to cure alcoholics instead of doctors. We really need to make a movement to help so many people suffering from alcoholism. Not only is society ignorant to these medications they fight the scientifically proven method! It’s pure madness.

 

Gary:

…I think you’re right: ignoring an effective, safe and dignified treatment in favour of a less effective, antiquated one IS malpractice… it goes against the Hippocratic oath.

It’s like a class action lawsuit waiting to happen.

I mean, it’s a question of human rights, surely? It’s like this: if there was a ground-breaking treatment for diabetes or cancer that was being denied to people there’d be an absolute uproar, but because TSM is for alcohol addiction it’s like nobody gives a sh*t about our rights – don’t you think?

 

Lesa:

That’s a great point. I am going to start using it. You’re right, if there was ground breaking medication for any major illness that was available and not used there would be an uproar. I am going to use this in my arguments with non-believers.

 

Gary:

Here’s a question that I wanted to ask… I note that you work in law enforcement… and my question is this: would attending AA meetings not put you in a potentially very compromising position if you found yourself sitting in a room elbow-to-elbow with people you’ve previously arrested?

I mean, okay, there’s the “who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here” card and there’s the twelfth tradition… but in this age of social media you have AA members breaking their own traditions online all the time

 

Lesa:

Actually that’s another dilemma I had to deal with in AA.

I am actually a sergeant in the jail which makes it even harder because you spend 40-60 hours a week with people who hate you. They love to get dirt on staff.

12% of AA members are court ordered so there’s no desire to keep that private. I live in a very small community in Northern California called Humboldt County. We have the second highest crime rate per capita in the State to only be beat by Oakland, California.

Most of the people who commit crimes are influenced by drugs and alcohol so as you can see going to a program or going to AA in my area can prove difficult. I had to go out of the area for rehab that was professional and first responder based to feel safe. AA meetings had many offenders and I found that made that support system even more ineffective for me as well.

So thank God for TSM and MAT (medication assisted treatment).

 

Gary: 

…So I notice from my newsfeed that you’ve set up a Facebook page. What can you tell us about that? This is very much inspired by what you’ve read in Roy Eskapa’s The Cure for Alcoholism and Linda Burlison’s A Prescription for Alcoholics, right?

 

Lesa:

I want to be a part of a movement that educates society on new approaches that treat addiction. I find it ridiculous that society is so brainwashed by AA. I know that it takes a strong person to be a linchpin but I think I am up to the challenge. I am inspired by several people: Claudia Christian, Dr. Roy Eskapa, Dr. David Sinclair (of course), Linda Burlison, Lance Dodes and you. Plus, all the many people who are willing to speak out against the masses and are making positive change. I really want to be a part of this movement and see real change. 

I have dedicated my page, The Game Changer for AUD with Pharmacological Extinction (see HERE) to helping as many people as I can. I am currently working on a class dedicated to teaching people about the brain, addiction, alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) and medications used to control and cure the disease. I created and taught many classes for law enforcement and I am going to use those learned skills to teach my new passion TSM and MAT.

However, I am a novice blogger and Facebook page manager so I am still learning in that area. 

On my page, I show and talk about books that not only talk about TSM and MAT but provides the proof of the statistics and the information that back it up. I also bring up issues and add some of my personal information and issues I’ve dealt with going against the grain. 

I hope you join me and I look forward to creating my class and sharing it with all of you.

A Prescription for Alcoholics by Linda Burlison (click on the image to visit the Amazon page for this book)

Gary:

That sounds great!

I use WordPress as my blog platform, by the way. It’s a blogging platform/website builder that’s really user-friendly and really easy to learn. You don’t have to have any real experience with coding or anything like that to set up a decent looking website with WordPress.

…Okay, well I think we’ve just about come to the end of the road with this article, Lesa. Thank you so much for your input and long may your success with The Sinclair Method continue. Also, all the best with your new projects!


 

Enough is Enough: Isn’t it time to get Naltrexone reclassified as an Over the Counter medication?

Here is an instant messaging conversation that I had yesterday with a friend from Ireland who has just recently gone onto The Sinclair Method.

For the purpose of ensuring her anonymity, let’s call her “Alice”…

 

Alice:

Hi Gary.  Hope you’re well, am still staying on track and seeing improvements already.  I nipped into Lidl last night and got a couple of bits I needed.  I headed to the check out down through the last alcohol isle….think their stores are the same layout in the UK.  Anyway.  Got to the check out and my brain goes….oh yeah…you wanted wine.  And so I doubled back for some I giggled inside, that would never have happened before my TSM journey.  Still drinking each evening but never without my 1.5 hour window after taking my nal.  This evening I came home to a letter from HPRA,  the health products regulatory authority of Ireland telling me that they have seized my medication….that I have already received?????

Alice’s letter from the HPRA (Health Products Regulatory Authority) of Ireland.

…So I rang my counsellor and she reckons that perhaps my medication was sent out twice …which I doubt very much.  I think it more likely that big brother is watching.  Cannot understand that if I have acted unlawfully then why are they not prosecuting me.  My counsellor reckons it’s best to not respond and draw attention.  A bit scary and very very annoyed at the same time.  F*ckin bullies.

 

Me:

Huh?!? That’s nuts. And you’re quite right… pretty scary.

Jeezus, do these people have nothing better to do?

 

Alice:

Obviously not.  My counsellor warned me that something like this could happen.  I’m fuming.  Some bloody jobsworth being a right bully.

 

Me:

Yeah.

 

[Alice then discusses a possible not-exactly-legal strategy that she could use as an alternative method to acquire the naltrexone she needs, her defiant sentiment being “How dare they!!!”]

 

Me:

Apparently it’s legally available over the counter from pharmacies in Spain, you know.

 

Alice:

Yes I read that alright.  I might be going on holiday then 🙂

I’ll find a way round it.  I’m not stopping this.

 

Me:

Hehe. That’d be one way to do it. 🙂

 

Alice:

A weekend in Spain sounds good.  So feck off you Irish bully boys

 

Me:

Heh. You could kill two birds with one stone by upping your supply and having a nice little holiday in Spain. 😉

 

Alice:

I’m going to research it and see where the pharmacies are.  Might hedge my bets and have to post them back to myself.  They might be the same at the airport.  You know how bad airport security is these days.

 

Me:

It’s appalling that naltrexone is so hard to get hold of if you need it… you know, if this was a treatment for cancer there’d be protests, but because it’s a treatment for alcoholism nobody cares… which is so wrong.

 

Alice:

I know.  I’m treated like a criminal.  What I can’t understand is that they state that I’ve acted unlawfully, yet the end of the letter States that if they don’t hear back from me within 28 days then the case is dropped and they destroy the evidence….bit Irish if you ask me.

 

Me:

Haha. I like your way with words. 😉

 

Alice:

How come they don’t try a prosecute me if they’re really serious….no bloody sense.

 

Me:

Part of me wishes I got [caught and] prosecuted for purchasing mine from [name redacted]…. just because I’m the type of person who would go to the media to shame the system.

 

Alice:

You rebel!  What was the site you used? 

Thing is…if I was on the better side of this I might fight it.  I just couldn’t do it yet.

 

Me:

[Name redacted], though the package that I received was mailed from a factory in India

 

Alice:

I’m going to keep the letter though….I might send an anonymous copy to a paper…..you’ve got me thinking now.

I might just follow this up if they keep me anonymous…..send them a little snippit with links to Claudia’s clip* and some other online stuff.  Some reporter might like to get a little start with this 😁

Hmmmmmm….I think I need a new me email address 🤔

[* Note: see HERE for Claudia Christian’s acclaimed TEDx lecture about The Sinclair Method]

Me:

It might make for a good change.org petition… a campaign to get naltrexone changed to an over the counter medication.

 

Alice:

This might be more useful than I thought.  My contribution ….even though I haven’t got tangible results yet.

I really can’t do it as myself though just yet.  Can you help?

You can use the letter if you hide my name and the letter reference/case number?

 

Me:

How could I help? Would you like me to write a piece on my website about it, obscuring your name and other details?

 

Alice:

Yes do please.

I’m going to contact the papers here anonymously too.

 

Me:

Cool. I look forward to writing it!

 

Alice:

Do you want a colour scan?  I can do it in work tomorrow.

 

Me:

Sure.

 

Alice:

Brilliant.  Thanks Gary 😁

 

Me:

I can use Photoshop to obscure your name.

 

Alice:

Yes….I’ll send it tomorrow.  Thank you so much.

 

Me:

You’re welcome.


…Okay, so I’ve redacted the content of this conversation in certain places in order to preserve Alice’s anonymity but it reads fine, I think.

Jesus, it makes me so angry – just the injustice of it.

THE LAW REALLY IS AN ASS. 

I mean, here’s someone who’s (rather nobly) doing everything possible in order to help herself recover from a horrible, debilitating addiction… and yet she has to put up with this – being made to feel like a criminal; it’s just wrong on so many levels… absolutely scandalous.

Something needs to be done, I think… and I would love to read other people’s feedback on this.

And, in closing, I would like to thank Alice for sharing her experience and also for her commitment to the cause. I think that it’s actually quite brave of her to allow me to publish this.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

Thoughts on AA Agnostica – A Tale of Unsung Heroes

A big hello to my regular readers.

This has been a bit of a rubbish last month for me. I’ve really lacked the motivation to write anything and have just felt strangely at odds with a few different things and a few different people.

Which is not good, I know – but I get spells like this.

I dunno… maybe it’s my bipolar or maybe it’s just the poor weather getting to me. It’s also been exactly one year since the end of the trial and since my mum’s killer was caged, so the memory of that has been playing on my mind..

That said, the last couple of days have been quite interesting.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading and have reacquainted myself with a bit of AA history, reading up on the background of famous early atheist/agnostic members such as Jim Burwell and reading websites like AA Agnostica and AA Beyond Belief.

…So what’s prompted this research?

Well, I just got a most interesting comment from a gentleman called Edward on an old article of mine (see HERE) that discusses the possibility of splicing The Sinclair Method (TSM) into the DNA of the 12 Steps, substituting the words “God” and “Higher Power” with “pharmacological extinction”… and what Edward wrote about secularaa.org set off a whole chain of thought and curiosity with me about how someone would go about actually trying to set up a secular TSM-themed meeting. Just what exactly would be the protocol? …And just what sort of resistance to expect if you wished to become part of that whole ecosystem.

And – oh my word – as a result of this research I was quite shocked to have read the details about some of the discrimination that these groups have had to endure because of the intransigent and intolerant attitudes of brethren from traditionalist groups.

Of course I’d already heard about what happened in Canada (see HERE) with some secular AA groups being purged from meetings listings, but I had not read the finer details about what exactly had gone on there and I think that it’s absolutely scandalous how these groups have been treated.

But, on a positive note, it is encouraging to know that there are people in AA fighting this type of persecution and looking to try to bring AA into the 21st century and make their fellowship truly inclusive.

It really is a story of true heroism in my eyes because I have to give these guys real props for the stand they’ve made… and it also makes me think that when it comes to something like the idea of splicing The Sinclair Method into the 12 Steps there is potential for a real dialogue with such people to discuss how to go about charting such new, uncharted territory.

Okay, well I’m “talked out” all of a sudden; I guess that’s all I have to say for the moment, so I’ll say bye-bye for now and do some further reading, I think.

 

Peace and love,

GARY