Claudia Christian on The Sinclair Method

A very special video podcast interview between Gary Bell (of Naltrexone Confidential and The Free Pigeon Press fame) and Claudia Christian on Gary’s 5th anniversary of starting The Sinclair Method.

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, AA, the depiction (or rather non-depiction) of alternative recovery options in film and television and lots more besides.

Enjoy!

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

Caricature of Claudia Christian standing writing the formula for The Sinclair Method at a chalkboard
An acrylic painting that I did as a present for Claudia Christian back in August 2013 – just before the filming of One Little Pill. In fact, the paint was still wet when I gave it to her.

I first became aware of Claudia Christian as an actress from her work on the excellent sci-fi/horror film The Hidden and later the classic science fiction TV series Babylon 5.

It was only upon only upon doing a Google search on The Sinclair Method (TSM) back in late 2012 (back when I was still struggling) 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.

A photograph of Gary Bell and Claudia Christian taken during the filming of the UK segment of One Little Pill in August 2013
Me and Claudia during the shooting of One Little Pill in London back in August 2013

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 indepth 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,

GARY

Podcast interview with Michael Dempsey of Recovering from Recovery fame

Having very recently tried my hand at hosting video podcasts on the subject of The Sinclair Method, I thought that it would be good to try doing a conventional audio podcast interview and my friend Michael Dempsey of Recovery from Recovery fame kindly volunteered to be my very first interviewee!

Hi everyone.

Given that I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and have a go at new things, having very recently tried my hand at hosting video podcasts (see HERE), I thought that it would be good to try doing a conventional audio podcast interview and my friend Michael Dempsey of Recovery from Recovery fame kindly volunteered to be my first guinea pig interviewee for this little experiment.

So – without further ado – here’s what we came up with:

I think it turned out alright. Sure, there’s nothing in the way of any real production values… no jingle or anything… but that’s to be expected; and yes, the sound quality leaves a little bit to be desired on my end, but as far as first goes go, it’s not half bad.

I look forward to doing more and would like to thank Mike for not just being a brilliant interviewee, but also (being an experienced podcaster himself) a really good mentor and – last but not least – for lending a hand to clean up the audio for me.

Many, many, many thanks to him for that.

As for the content of the interview itself: I think it’s really good. The last half of the interview, in particular, is really insightful and I got a lot of identification from Michael’s observations of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Also, during the course of the interview Mike has some really useful expert advice for anyone wanting to set up their own recovery blog.

…Okay, well that’s me done for one article and one interview. It’s been a blast.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

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.

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

 

Katie’s experience with The Sinclair Method

Because I’m sure that my readers would be thankful to hear another point of view and also because (given that I’m a lazy bugger! haha) this takes the heat off me to produce new material, here’s a really interesting YouTube video by Katie in which she describes her experience with The Sinclair Method.

I can really relate to what she says about how when she was addicted so much of her mind’s available bandwidth was taken up by obsessive thoughts about alcohol. Like it crowds everything out.

I can also really relate to what she says about how (with that newly reacquired attention span space) old hobbies are revisited. In my case I got back into weightlifting and my art in a big way.

“The more you use it, the less you use it over time” is another thing that she says that really chimes with me because upon going through I recall being left with an excess of pills – so much for any misinformed scaremongering about how TSMers supposedly need to take the pill every day for life.

…Right! Without further ado I’m adding this testimonial to my Sinclair Method resources section. Many thanks to Katie for inviting me to add her excellent video (I chuckled at the few seconds of “bloopers” at the end, by the way).

I’m always looking for material like this to add to the site, so if anybody else has a YouTube testamonial or a blog they’d like me to plug for them please feel free to drop me a line.