Video podcast: Katie and Gary discuss The Sinclair Method

Hello readers

…and welcome to a very special article that marks not just the third anniversary of the existence of this blog, but also my very first venture into video podcasting with my special guest (and fellow TSM warrior) Katie of Embodied Daily fame over on YouTube.

Enjoy!

P.S. I’m aware that it was difficult to make out my drink diaries and extinction graph from what I showed in the video. Sorry about that. Please click HERE to get a better look at them.

Big changes coming – The Evolution of The Free Pigeon Press

Time for a bit of a breather and a bit of a pause for thought about how this blog is doing:

Overall, it’s not been a bad few months. I’ve picked up some extra followers (“hello!”) and it’s obvious that the site is now starting to show up in more search engine listings about The Sinclair Method as well as get a steady number of referrals from Facebook.

Great stuff.

So what next?

Well, given the favourable response to some of the Q & A articles I’ve recently posted I’m seriously thinking about adopting a podcast format as it’s obvious that an audience really enjoys hearing people’s stories and really gets a lot out of hearing an actual dialogue… and I’ve gotta say that I’m quite inspired by the work of my friends Michael and Katie with their excellent respective podcasts and YouTube videos…

…So I think now would be a good time to experiment a bit more with things like YouTube and also perhaps doing some work to improve the actual look of the site with a new template perhaps – as, for one thing, even though the site looks quite decent on my Sony laptop it honestly leaves a bit to be desired when viewed on my Samsung S7 screen (where it looks a bit “crammed”)… so it might be worth seeing if I can find a webpage template that’s visually more cross-device friendly.

Anyway, besides that it’s all good. Everything’s ticking over quite nicely and I’ve got a couple of really exciting collaborations coming up that I can’t really currently talk about because I don’t want to give away any “spoilers”, but that will appear on here quite soon.

The only bit of anxiety that I have about experimenting with new stuff is just around the fact that whilst I’m arguably a confident enough writer I’m honestly like a chimpanzee trying to solve a Rubik’s cube when it comes to trying to figure out some of the tech stuff… it’s all “flying by the seat of one’s pants” with me, given my lack of technical know-how (hehe! – you know what? I think poor Mike is starting to despair of the number of “How-the-f*ck-do-I-do-this”themed e-mails he gets from me all the time! Haha!!! 😀 ).

Oh well.

Okay, well that’s this particular reverie over with for now, I think.

Bye for now.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

Being part of the Sinclair Method Army: Marie’s Story

‘…Not long ago, drink was my “sun” and I was in its orbit.’ – Marie

Hello readers and welcome to the second in my series of ongoing interviews with different people at different stages of recovery with The Sinclair Method (TSM).

My friend Marie – who has been on TSM for over three years now – has very kindly agreed to share her story with us.

What follows is a transcript of our correspondence together.


Gary:

Hello Marie.

When did you first realise that you had a drinking problem and how did you come to hear about The Sinclair Method?

 

Marie:

Hello Gary. First let me say that I’m really excited to work with you on this article. Mindful, compliant Sinclair Method Is a true life-saver. I’m happy to do this as I can to help spread the word.

You ask when did I realise I had a drinking problem? The short answer is I was in my mid-40s.

The true, long answer is that I simply grew up with alcoholism and drinking. It was just what people did. I have a strong family background with drinking, so it was only ‘normal’ when I snuck my first beer at 11 or so. I got married in my early 20s to a rather large man, but I could drink him under the table at will. At that time I was still in the driver’s seat with the drinking. Months would go by and I wouldn’t touch a drop. I separated from my ex in my late 20s, and could drink ‘socially’.

Then some of the binges started creeping in. I would have been shocked at this point if anyone had told me I had a ‘drinking problem’.

I just grew up with people often drinking a good portion of the night and then recovering the next day. I tried to date at this point in my life, and had several broken relationships. My friends Jim and Jack were always there for me. though – Jim Beam and Jack Daniels. I never drove drunk, and I never missed work due to a hangover, but the drinking was becoming more and more prevalent. The binges came more and more frequently and became more and more intense as to what and how much I was drinking. I had the family history, and my own personal choices too, that had me marked as a person who drank.

The AUD started really getting bad in my early 40s. I’ve always been a private person, so a lot of people in my family even still called me a ‘teetotaller.’ I’ve never had to go to the hospital and detox, and I still tried to never miss work or any other important engagement; but I started believing more and more in the bottle of alcohol in my fridge.

Images of cold cans of beer would just pop into my mind when I was trying to focus at work for instance. I’d be home, relaxing an watching TV and, without any real conscious thought on my part, I’d be up and into the kitchen to get a glass of Amaretto. I still didn’t have a ‘problem’, you see. I still didn’t need AA, or any other form of help.

If I kept my head clear and really focused, I could still go for long periods of time without a drink.

As I initially said, it was in my mid-40’s when things came to a head. I’ve always lived on my own, so not even family members knew things were getting bad for me. I just kept it to myself. If I never missed work and never drove drunk, I was in control, right? I was all about Rum Chata at the time, and I had a very hard time getting out the door to go to work without ‘just a sip’. In spite of having lost several family members at this point due to the drinking so prevalent in my kin, I would slide down stairs because I was so buzzed. This is ‘hitting bottom’ in the worst possible way. Finances have always been rough, so I’ve never been able to carry much health care or go see a physician or get medications. So I ended up simply trying to ‘ration’ the alcohol, which left me in quite a white-knuckle state. The ‘binges’, if you could still call them that at this point, had pretty well melded themselves into a string of fights with my drinking. On my days off work, or when I had a clear schedule, I would just drink. I would eat once every other day, but always had red wine handy.

My true moment of realisation happened when I woke to an awful smell of greasy smoke one morning. I used to take several over-the-counter sleep meds, and yes, drink heavily on top of that. I went into the bathroom that morning, only to find that I had left a small votive candle burning on the back of the seat. It had gotten too hot, and the glass container it was in had exploded. There were sharp shards of glass and stinky blobs of brownish melted wax all over. It’s a good thing I left that little candle on the back of the inflammable porcelain seat. I never would have woke up if a fire had started.

That was when things came together for me. That was when I realised it was change or die. The little choices and decisions I had made one at a time all through the years had come to a head. I was torn between the image of the cold beer in my mind with beads of condensation sliding down the sides and the images of all my family members who had died from AUD. This was when I realised that it wasn’t like me to have to fight to get out the door to go to work without a few swallows of Rum Chata. I was single, on my own, but I had to somehow give up the drinking or die.

There is a strong AA community in my area, but I knew these people and would watch them suffer with the cravings to drink. There are many bars in my area, and though I never wanted to go *INTO* the taverns themselves, they would trigger the need to drink when I passed them. I’d get home and pop open the bottle. My finances cut out any possibility of seeing a doctor. I was at a very crucial point in my drinking – I call it the ‘Black Hole Event Horizon.’ I knew the drinking was going nowhere good, but how could I just leave that half-glass of Long Island ice tea?

You didn’t throw any drink out! I never got a DUI or had to go to detox, but I was nonetheless about to get sucked into some very destructive behaviours. Black Hole indeed.

I had been a follower of the sci-fi show Babylon 5 a few years prior.

One day I did an online search of the actors of the show to see what they had been up to recently. I came across Miss Claudia Christian’s memoir ‘Babylon Confidential’. I got a copy, and when sober enough to comprehend, read it quite avidly. Many things clicked into place when I did. Then I got a copy of Dr Roy Eskapa’s ‘The Cure for Alcoholism’ and was blown away by the sense and the logic to the science behind this ‘Sinclair Method’. This is the same time when it came to me that maybe I couldn’t take my own rough drinking habits for granted anymore, much as I grew up seeing the behaviour all around me.

Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian (Click on image to visit the Amazon page for this book)

It was also about this time that I got out to meet Miss Claudia in person. Yes, finances were hard, but it was ‘do or die’ when it came to the drink. Miss Claudia was appearing at a sci-fi convention. I have to say I was far to shy to openly discuss my drinking with ANYONE, let alone someone I was meeting for the first time. That was early 2014. I left her a copy of some of my writing, and then quietly went about my business. I gradually struck up an online conversation with her, and then saved up my pennies and nickles and went out to another convention she was appearing at. This time, I summoned up the courage to speak to her. That was later the same year. She helped me to get my first few doses of naltrexone. Miss Claudia’s wonderful non-profit, CThreeFoundation.Org, was of great help to me. I saved up a bit more cash, got my own supply of naltrexone (Naltima) and began mindful, compliant Sinclair Method. The Drinking Dragon, which had so quietly and perniciously crept up on me, was quashed. The AUD Monster, which was on the very verge of sucking me in, was removed completely from my back. In spite of a lot of odds against me, I got it done – and if *I* can anyone can.

 

Gary:

Wow. That’s a great story of perseverance in the face of adversity. So… it’s been over three years now, right? What have those three years been like? Have you been able to keep compliant?

 

Marie:

Oh, Gary. Have I been able to keep compliant? That’s a very good question, because it’s the whole point of the Sinclair Method after all, right? Yes, I learned early on as I was beginning TSM that LIFE has Inertia, and the Drinking Demon has a life of it’s own. I learned to keep my nal on me always. Things seemed to try to conspire to trip me up once I did realise I had to change or I was going to die from my AUD. I learned early on to keep my naltrexone on me all the time so I wouldn’t get caught out without the medication. It’s such a simple thing to do, really, and yet I had such an awful fight getting my nal!

I feel as though my pharmacological extinction moment happened in March of 2015, so yes, we’re about at that three year mark. Life itself is huge, so the last three years have been a terrifyingly beautiful time. My life is very different these days than what it was years ago, when the drinking was bad for me. For instance, when I was new to TSM, I did the research and learned about some of the science behind the Sinclair Method and pharmacologically enhanced learning (PEL) and I started exercising regularly on the days I did not drink.

These days, my life is grounded around those healthier choices instead of drinking. For me, AUD was such a huge part of life that the change was …. bewildering. What to do with all the time and energy and money once devoted to drink?

I’ll tell you about my extinction moment. Again, I had quite a fight getting my supply of naltrexone. When I did get the medication, I was mindful and compliant. If I compute how much I spent for my supply of nal, it breaks down to a cost of $2 or $3 per pill. Yes, like many other TSM folks, I had to order via a pharmacy in India. As a binge drinker, I did not drink daily. When I was having a rough day and felt a binge coming on, I would take a nal, wait the prescribed hour, then drink. I started TSM just before Christmas 2014. I drank per Dr David’s method thirteen times over the course of those intervening months. If you follow that simple math, that means I used thirteen pills at an expense of some $26 to $39. I don’t put this question forth in a ‘snarky’ or sarcastic manner – but do bear in mind the costs of hospitalized rehab and detox. Compare those expenses. Upon a time I would spend that $25-$40 in one night drinking easily.

So, I was at work that day in March when I had my extinction moment.

I worked in a laundry in an elderly care facility. The pay was not good; and I had no health care. My boss came to me and told me that hours and pay were going to be cut. I didn’t have much to begin with, and my paychecks went down by about one-third. This is part of what I mean by how life will throw you ‘curve balls’. Once the AUD has you, it intends to keep you.

I was furious. I worked nights, in a wing of the facility off by my own. I blush to admit this today, but there I was at work yelling and screaming and cussing. I kicked, and cried, and threw things about. I’m a lone wolf, and as hard as I worked I had just barely been making ends meet. How was I going to support myself making even less? AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) is a GOOD term, and covers a huge field of people in a wide gamut of drinking abuse. Some people have ‘good’ lives, and are still AUD. I myself don’t drink for a reason; if not for naltrexone I’d drink for MANY reasons.

Then the realisation of my extinction moment hit. I landed flat on my backside on the gross disgusting nasty sticky floor at work when I realised I had been so upset and angry for HOURS – but never once did that image of the bottle of Amaretto waiting for me at home come to plague my mind. As beside myself as I was in that moment, never ONCE did my internal voice say, ‘I need a DRINK!’ I had been so wild and agitated for hours, but I was no longer subject to the Drinking Demon. After the shock wore off, the tears that had been of sheer rage turned to … joy? Relief?

The past three years have been terrifyingly lovely indeed. I never expected to have that time. Now, it’s up to me to figure out what I want my life to be about, and how to cope with those awful blind-sides life throws at us all. It’s up to me to figure out how not to permit myself to be so upset. TSM is about dignity, and the personal responsibility that goes along with it. That’s what these last three years has been about for me. Not long ago, drink was my ‘sun’ and I was in its orbit.

It was a ‘Black Hole Event Horizon’ indeed. Objects in motion tend to carry on as they’re going, until acted upon by an outside force. Life has thrown a lot of trials my way. I’ve been compliant with TSM, and so it’s been a rock. I may not know where my life will take me in the next few months, but do know alcohol won’t be part of it.

I used to fight and ‘white-knuckle’, waiting for the time when I could drink. I used to be able to almost taste the alcohol, and feel the tingle in my fingertips before I even had a drop of anything to drink.

It isn’t a life for me anymore. Just a few weeks ago, I opened a bottle of root beer soda a friend had given me – it wasn’t a regular sweet soda.

It was an alcoholic beer, 5.5% by volume. Blind-side. Inertia. I looked at that beer for a long time, I grant you. I considered taking a nal, waiting the hour, and then finishing the bottle. I admit part of me wanted it. I ended up throwing it away, when not too long ago that surprise sneak-attack on the part of the Drinking Demon would have set off a huge binge for me. As strong as AUD runs in my family, the Drinking Monster still just doesn’t stand a chance against mindful, compliant TSM. It is terrifying and beautiful, but there is hope there too. For all forms of addiction – because if we’ve figured out the Sinclair Method for drinking, perhaps soon we’ll figure out how to save people from other forms of substance abuse outside of AUD.

I had a t-shirt printed that says, ‘Alcohol + Naltrexone = Your Life.’ Dr David left us a huge legacy, of dignity and hope. There you have it, Gary. Nal on.

 

Gary:

‘…Not long ago, drink was my “sun” and I was in its orbit.’

Well said – I like that. So it’s fair to say that you were a rapid responder…

I also like the fact that you mention pharmacologically enhanced learning (PEL) and about healthy endorphin reinforcement on your alcohol-free days.

Question: given the steady growth in interest in The Sinclair Method on social media how long do you think before TSM stops being a niche thing and goes mainstream?

 

Marie:

It IS a brave new world, once Extinction happens, isn’t it? Drinking does take over our minds and lives, bit by bit. When you’re free of that life-style, things do open up.

You asked how long did I think it might be before TSM stops being a ‘niche’ thing and becomes mainstream? Again, a very good and insightful question on your part. My answer would be I think it might depend on where you live. Having seen Miss Claudia Christian’s excellent ‘One Little Pill’ documentary – well, perhaps in India where Alcoholism is developing TSM might develop right along with it. That’s so encouraging. TSM may well be ‘mainstream’ in Helsinki, perhaps, where Dr David and Dr Hytiaa did the now-famous ‘Deprivation Effect’ studies.

Perhaps elsewhere in Europe in the next five to seven years naltrexone may become more and more readily available, along with doctors and pharmacists who understand how the Sinclair Method works. I feel as though TSM efforts are getting well under-way in these places.

And then there is America, which has always been it’s own story. In the States, TSM efforts may always have to be grass-roots. I put chalk in my pocket and take walks around town and scrawl ‘Sinclair Method’ or ‘Naltrexone’ on the sidewalks in front of the taverns in the area. I’ve considered booking one of the conference rooms at my local library and having an informal TSM Meet and Greet. I’ve pulled people aside when out at parties and told them privately about TSM. I’m heart-broken to say that financial concerns seem top-priority in my country today. I’ve sent emails to Senators and Congressmen and more local assembly folk, explaining how effective and worthwhile TSM is – I don’t think I’ve had one response. My state’s department of transportation official website reports that in 2015 there were 190 fatalities due to drinking. There were 2,900 injuries. The NHTSA  (United States Department of Transportation) websites report that every day 29 people die in the country in impaired driving accidents. That’s one every 50 minutes in the US. The other pertinent fact here is that, last I knew, TSM has a nearly 80% log-term success rate.

I find that conjunction of facts bleak and awful: there are so many accidents in my state alone due to AUD, but I’ve not really heard back from any authority I’ve reached out to and notified of the Sinclair Method.

By the way, I did try and look for more recent statistics from my state department of transportation as to the impact of AUD on driving on the roads in my state, and couldn’t seem to find more recent figures. I’ve also tried reaching out to local doctors on the subject of TSM as well, and gotten as little return communication.

I’ve also reached out to famous daytime TV talk show hosts about TSM and gotten no answer.

So, for me, the hope of the Sinclair Method lies in other countries. In the US, the Sinclair Method may always be grass-roots. I’ve gotten spare copies of Miss Claudia’s memoirs and donated them to my local library.

I’ve also bought spare copies of Dr Eskapa’s ‘The Cure for Alcoholism’ and donated that too. It IS a human rights Issue. In my last job, the woman who trained me was killed by her husband because she told him she was leaving him. He would sit in the bars and drink and brag he would hurt her if she did leave. He’s in prison for life, at tax payer expense. This happened just as I was learning about the Sinclair Method. In America, it may always be people who have gone through pharmacological extinction reaching out to people who need the news.

In the States, it may always be a case of AUD folks helping other AUD folks. The attitude that says, ‘If you have drinking problem, DON’T DRINK’ is just too prevalent here, on too many levels. For my part, I’ll keep an eye on how things develop in other countries and applaud the success there.

My best to you Gary  – Marie

 

Gary:

Thank you, Marie. This has been a really good, insightful interview. Thank you so much for your time, your input and for spreading the word – it’s really appreciated. I love your chalk drawing, by the way! (and have made it the leading image in the article) 🙂

 

 

 

 

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!


 

Should Naltrexone be reclassified as an Over the Counter medication?

Time for a discussion about whether naltrexone should be reclassified as an over the counter (OTC) 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 and who has had some challenges obtaining naltrexone. 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.
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

Musings on Techspeak Analogies and The Sinclair Method

Hi guys

Since I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while, I thought that it was time for an update.

Aside from a few visits to the gym, binge-watching all four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire on Amazon Prime and playing some games on my new Xbox One X I’ve not been doing much, to be honest. I’ve had a really lazy start to 2018.

About the games I’ve been playing on the Xbox: I decided to go with Xbox exclusives such as Quantum Break and Gears of War 4. Whilst I completed Gears of War 4 (which is a relatively short 8 hour campaign), I have yet to complete Quantum Break… though I am keen to get back on it today as I’m intrigued by the time manipulation concept behind it and I think that the use of live action cut scenes used in a TV show type format is inspired.

I am also a big fan of Alan Wake (a vastly underestimated game made by the same Finnish company that made Quantum Break) so I’m happy to invest myself in it.

You know, it’s interesting… given my interest in gaming I often find myself using gaming or tech analogies to describe things.

For example, when it comes to my experience with The Sinclair Method (TSM) and how it removed my craving for alcohol I’ll often explain it in terms of having received a software patch to “fix some bad code”… and I don’t think I’m alone… I notice that a lot of people on the forums fall into the habit of using techspeak in order to explain their experience of pharmacological extinction.

One of the most famous recent examples of this type of thing was Claudia Christian‘s TEDx speech at London Business School where she said that she “pressed Control, Alt and Delete” on her addiction thanks to TSM.

Hmm…

The fact that TSM offers a “software fix” that other treatment methods don’t does prompt interesting conversations, though.

I remember chatting with Jenny Williamson of the C3 Foundation a great deal about it at one point… the fact that the difference between The Sinclair Method and other treatment options such as the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is that theirs is a palliative approach all about managing the condition and finding ways to tip-toe around triggers, whereas ours offers an actual cure.


Okay, enough yapping, I think.

Time to grab a bite to eat and settle down for the night.

Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

My Liebster Award Nomination

Well, this is nice.

I have been nominated for The Liebster Award by fellow blogger, MagnumOpus. Thank you so much for nominating me, Magnum. It’s really flattering.

Magnum has a wonderful blog called – appropriately enough – MagnumOpus. It’s quite an endearing motivational blog, all about spreading positivity. To quote the About page, Magnum describes herself as: “An optimistic person who sees the bright side of every situation and every person”.

Click on this link to check out her blog: https://magnumopusforyouu.wordpress.com/

I have had some really nice interactions with some other bloggers on WordPress and there are some very talented people on this platform, so it’ll be a pleasure to put forward some nominations of my own.

Here are the rules for The Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions asked.
  3. Nominate no more than 11 other bloggers for the award.
  4. Pose 11 questions for them.

(So do you see how it works? It’s essentially very similar to a chain e-mail, passed from blogger to blogger – the only real difference being that it’s actually quite a nice thing rather than an annoyance. Oh and by the way, it’s apparently okay for a blogger to be nominated by different people a number of times… there’s no rule against it)

Anyway, without further ado…


Questions from MagnumOpus:

  1. 1. What was your dream as a child and did you achieve it?

My ambition as a child was to be a great artist, to draw comic strips and to be famous for it. As for whether I achieved this… well, as for being a great artist, the answer to that is “I’m still working on it”… the answer to the second part is “yup, I first got published in Spit! comic back in the nineties” (see below for the concept design for one of the characters that I drew for that magazine)… and, lastly, as for the part about being famous – well, not really; even though there is a cult fanbase for those old comic books my name is not really well known… in fact, it’s only recently that fans of this stuff have been searching me out and saying “Are you the guy who drew this?”.

Original concept sketch for Sefton Ward: Paranormal Detective, a comic strip that I wrote and drew for Spit! comic back in the 90s [interesting fact: my old college friend, the 2000AD comic book illustrator Lee Carter (of Indigo Prime fame) owns this original drawing and has it on display in his home]
  1. 2. If you were given 3 wishes , what would you ask for?

I only have one wish: to be given a time machine… something which I’d use, firstly, in order to go back in time and stop my mum from being murdered and, secondly, which I’d use to go back in time to give my younger, stupider self a much-needed slap around the head.

Oh and if there was some way that I could engineer it, I’d like to make a life sentence in the UK actually mean life… not sure how I could use a time machine to do that, though.

  1. 3. What inspired you to start a blog?

I felt that I had a story to tell and, given my one man war against the tyranny of brevity (haha!), I thought that WordPress would be a good fit for my hyper-verbosity!

…And at the risk of sounding like a wannabe do-gooder, I also felt that some people could perhaps relate to some of the hardships I’ve endured during my life and could take some inspiration from some of the solutions that I’ve found – such as, for example, the story of how I recovered from alcoholism thanks to The Sinclair Method (see the podcast below – I’m the guy in the T-shirt on the right).

  1. 4. What is your biggest fear and what are you doing to overcome it?

Ooh! Good question. My reflexive response was to write “fear of failure”, but after a bit of thought I have to say that the thing which I fear most is being written off – that’s the thing that keeps me awake at night.

You see, here’s the thing about me… thanks to a combination of alcoholism and bipolar disorder that hijacked my life for the better part of two decades I managed to either miss out on or squander a lot of opportunities (on both a personal and professional level). And despite being as bright and as creative as I am, the fact of the matter is that what most employers want more than anything (more than even skill) is reliability – something which I just couldn’t give for many years and which would render me both unemployed and unemployable for a long time, unfortunately.

Now that I’m sober and that my mental health has drastically improved what I’m very much trying to do is to redeem and rebuild myself… though it’s not easy – I’ve left quite an unfortunate legacy thanks to my years in the wilderness (…oh and thanks to behaving like a horse’s ass).

So what am I doing about it? Well, I’m trying to set achievable goals and I’m trying to become the best possible version of myself – “creating some good karma”, in other words.

  1. 5. What is that 1 book that changed your life (you can also mention an incident if not a book)?

The Cure for Alcoholism by Roy Eskapa. The quintessential text book for The Sinclair Method, this book saved my life and released me from a near twenty year struggle with alcoholism.

  1. 6. Who is your favourite blogger in the WordPress community?

I like the work of a number of bloggers and I follow a number of blogs in my WordPress Reader, but if I’m absolutely forced to single out one person it has to be my friend Michael Dempsey of Recovering from Recovery because I think that out of all of the addiction treatment themed blogs out there (and there’s a plethora of them) his is one of the most balanced.

Click this URL to check out Michael’s blog: https://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/

  1. 7. Which is your favourite fictional character and why is he/she your favourite?

Patrick Jane (as played by Simon Baker) from The Mentalist.

Why? Well, because here is a character who is so inspiring because he is someone who has endured a devastating traumatic bereavement – the murder of his wife and daughter – but who courageously chooses light over darkness… there’s no self-pity and no brooding with Patrick Jane – he instead presents a defiant joie de vivre to the world… 

…And I find this quite inspiring because I know that this is how my mum would want me to live my life.

  1. 8. Which Superhero would you like to get if you could have a superpower?

This dude:

Art by Tony Daniels

Because I want Bruce Wayne’s superpower of being richer than anyone else! Haha!

Seriously though, what makes Bruce Wayne so special is that unlike other superheroes he doesn’t have any superpowers to fall back on and yet he’s still able to kick the ass of just about everyone in the DC Comics Universe thanks to his mastery of numerous physical and mental disciplines… and it’s this unstoppable, indomitable will that I admire so much – that IS his real superpower and something that distinguishes him from the likes of Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) from the Marvel Universe (and another playboy billionaire), who – let’s face it – is a push-over without his suit of armour.

The same cannot be said for Bruce Wayne at all… a true renaissance man who, as well as having an IQ somewhere in the stratosphere and being the world’s greatest detective, is an expert in just about every form of combat in existence and can bench press 800 lbs.

Well, that’s all I have to say, really. I rest my case. The only other thing that I could possibly add is that Batman simply looks cool – and there are millions of little kids on the planet who love dressing up as Batman who agree with me on that score.

  1. 9. Which pet do you like more, cat or dog? What is it about them that you like the most?

Oh I’m fond of both species and spend more time than I really should watching cute pet videos of both dogs and cats on Facebook.

But I would say that cats get the win just because their emotional colour-blindedness is so endearing. Haha.

Aaaw bless… they really are something else. And they remind me of children on the autistic spectrum in the curious way how they’ll give affection, but don’t know how to reciprocate it many a time. They’ll just look at you blankly.

They’re quite misunderstood, I think. Some people misinterpret the lack of reciprocation as coldness, but they just don’t get cats in my view. 

  1. 10. If you could have a talk over a cup of coffee with any person dead or alive, who would that be and why?

Easy: I’d pick my mum. I don’t think that I really need to go into why…

  1. 11. If you could have a day celebrated on your birthday, what day would that be and why?

“Pariah’s Day” maybe? A day that celebrates the outcasts and the misfits. A day that celebrates eccentricity and individualism, in other words.

Why? Well, because I’ve always been someone who’s never quite fitted in… I’ve never had a “tribe”… but I don’t see this as a weakness at all. Quite the opposite – I see myself very much as a free-thinker, not constrained by consensus opinion on any topics and someone who thinks outside of the box. 


  1. My nominees are:

Michael Dempsey

Beckie’s Mental Mess

Barbara from myaphorisms.com

Jon Stewart

Stephen from A Fractured Faith

…And my questions are:

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. Which person (alive or dead) has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
  3. What is one fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
  4. Have you met anybody famous and – if yes – what were they like?
  5. What’s your “TV kryptonite”? Which TV programme would make you want to kick the TV screen in if you were forced to watch it?
  6. What’s your favourite book?
  7. Where do you stand on the “nature vs. nurture” debate when it comes things like addiction, mental illness and crime?
  8. Name a pop song that you enjoy listening to but would feel really embarrassed to admit to liking to most people.
  9. Should there be a “Blogger’s Code of Ethics” or do you believe in complete freedom of speech on the internet?
  10. If you had a time machine what would be the first thing you would do with it? And why?
  11.  What would you like inscribed on your headstone after you’re dead?

“I (Still) Worship His Shadow”: Reminiscing about Lexx

Hi everyone. So, since the beginning of this year I’ve been binge-watching some TV, watching the 4th season of Black Mirror – which was very good – and watching some Netflix documentaries on weightlifting (as any regular followers of my blog know, powerlifting is a hobby of mine).

But what I’m particularly enjoying at the moment is watching old episodes of Lexx on Amazon Prime.

A little bit of background: Lexx was a science fiction show that was a Canadian/German co-production that ran between 1996 and 2002 and used to have a late night spot here on Channel 5 in the UK… this was back when I was really struggling with bipolar disorder and alcoholism… and though I distinctly remember discounting it as bat-shit weird (later commenting to a friend that upon watching it I “wanted to kick my TV screen in”), I became oddly hooked after seeing only a couple of episodes and would in fact later seek out episodes that I’d missed on DVD in order to better make sense of the narrative and the overall mythology of the show.

As for the narrative… oh man… describing it to someone who’s never seen the show is almost painful, but here goes: it’s all about a misfit crew of individuals (a cowardly low-class security worker, an undead assassin, a nymphomaniac lizard/human hybrid and a disembodied robot head) who commandeer a Manhattan-sized living spaceship called “The Lexx” which looks like a gigantic steampunk dragonfly in order to escape the oppression of their own universe (the Light Universe) by travelling into a fractal core that gives them access to a parallel universe, which – appropriately enough – is called “the Dark Zone”.

Each week our “heroes” (and, believe me, such a word is hard to use to appropriately describe our protagonists in this case… as I’ll explain later) would get into some sort of scrape visiting a planet in the Dark Zone for whatever reason… usually ending with the Lexx blowing up said planet… and that was pretty much the formula of each episode (at least until season 3).

Here’s a season 1 trailer from YouTube:

So why did it leave such a profound impression upon me?

…Well, because it was completely and utterly unlike any TV show I’d ever seen up to that point.

People make comparisons to Farscape, but if I am truthful I never really watched that show… I think I only ever caught one or two episodes of it, but from what I saw I can tell you that Lexx is a different beast entirely… one that wears its influences on its sleeve (like, for example, the aesthetic of H.R. Giger and the humour of British sci-fi comedy show Red Dwarf) but which is nonetheless completely unique and, it has to be said, really quite adult in comparison to many other sci-fi shows of its time – put it this way: given the violence and servings of occasional female nudity, it had its late night TV spot for good reason.

But, watching it now, do you know what really blows me away about the show? THAT Marty Simon soundtrack – giving the show arguably one of the most striking sci-fi themes ever.

I mean, you listen to it and you have to go: “What the fuck is that?!??”.

Another thing that’s quite refreshing about Lexx – and quite amusing – is its contempt for alpha males… you see, heroic Captain Kirk types don’t survive for very long at all in the Lexx universe(s). In fact, they usually get cut down quite abruptly. Case in point: the Barry Bostwick character in the very first episode.

The only character amongst the Lexx crew who might conceivably fit the alpha male mould is the assassin-come-renegade Kai (who is essentially a zombified killing machine who had his emotions surgically removed from his brain), but aside from possessing the remnants of a sense of a justice he doesn’t really possess any altruistic drive whatsoever and is much more likely to apathetically say something like “I am not motivated to do that” in response to any given situation that calls for heroism than to want to get involved at all; it’s instead usually only as a result of coaxing from others that he takes any action in any conflict.

Instead, as the episodes progressed, what began to happen is that I started to in fact identify with the Stanley Tweedle character… someone who, on the face of it, is a deeply unlikable character – a lust-driven, treacherous coward.

Why? Because for me he’s arguably the only sane character… and, as I got further into the show, I would think “Yeah, he’s right: leave the ‘hero business’ to other people”. But what’s so great about the character, looking at it now, is Brian Downey’s wonderful performance… here’s a character that you could absolutely end up hating with a passion, but Downey gives him real humanity and as the story unfolds there is a redemption of sorts, because you see that he isn’t really such a bad guy – just someone who’s had to make some impossible choices in order to survive a nightmare existence.

Anyway, aside from some minor quibbles… such as the low budget of the show being quite telling in some episodes (e.g. some dodgy matte paintings and some now very dated looking CGI), it still holds up rather well; it’s just a shame that Amazon is only showing the first three seasons – the completist in me is quite disappointed by this.

On a personal note, I have such fond memories of this show because it offered a bit of welcome escapism from what was a nightmare existence of my own at that time… so it’s an interesting experience to watch this show decades later, being now both sober and healthy.

Okay, well that’s my slice of nostalgia for the day.

Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

Katie’s progress at 5 months on The Sinclair Method

Had to share this.

…I awoke this morning to a notification on my phone that my good friend Katie had posted a new video to YouTube. Oh Goody! I always enjoy these; she’s becoming a great ambassador for The Sinclair method (TSM) and her videos are always fantastic – she’s a natural on camera and these videos are always really well put together.

I think it’s really great. It’s lovely to hear that TSM is really working for Katie.

Please do check out her YouTube channel HERE.

It’s so exciting to see new people picking up the social media torch like this; at one time there used to be so few of us writing or making videos about The Sinclair Method, but now it’s like there’s a whole bunch of us… haha! – we’re becoming like a superhero team, I tell ya: ‘The Avengers of Recovery’.

Check out my previous posts about Katie HERE and HERE.