“Choosing the red pill” – Seth’s story

Hello readers and welcome to this continuing series of interviews that I’m conducting with different people at different stages of recovery with The Sinclair Method (TSM).

My special guest for this interview is my fellow Your Choice, Your Recovery administrator Seth.


Gary:

Hi Seth and thanks for agreeing to this interview. From previous correspondence that I’ve had with you I was most interested to learn that (like myself) you first heard of The Sinclair Method (TSM) thanks to The Orange Papers website. For the benefit of our readers could you tell us a bit about that whole trajectory in your journey… that’s to say: how did you first come to read The Orange Papers? And, for that matter, what is The Orange Papers?

 

Seth:

Gary, I’m happy to be interviewed about The Sinclair Method. That question about the Orange Papers, well it’s a red pill question, the answer for which your readers are going to have to take a trip down the rabbit hole with us.

I found the Orange papers while I was in Alcoholics Anonymous which is probably analogous to a subculture or subroutine in the Matrix, it has it’s own rules, it’s own language, it’s own glitches. There were an interesting chain of events leading to my willingness to explore logic outside the AA subculture that interestingly was initiated by a fellow friend and AA member I will refer to as The Bumblebee. One day Bumblebee asks if I want to come over to his house and watch a cool video, oh wait The Orange Papers, OK we’ll get back to this later.

So The Orange Papers is a website that is a collection of research writings and email threads hosted by a former AA member that goes by Agent Orange. The front page header reads:

(Click on image to open page in another tab)

Before AA I was involved with a christian cult so finding the Orange Papers was like finding the ex-cult website that had all the dirt on that group I was in. I started reading it, and the more I read the less I felt like AA was actually helping me. But you know what AA true believers do when they are having a rough time, dive more into service. Towards the end I was hosting a group I kind of took over and I turned it into a Big Book Study group, using a series of recordings by a couple old guys named Joe and Charlie.

So I visit the hive of The Bumblebee, and he plays this video called Zeitgeist. Dude blew my mind, so I started doing all kinds of research on the internet expanding my mind. When Zeitgeist Addendum came out I got involved with the Zeitgeist movement, I started the New Jersey state chapter. Anyway it was in this time I became aware of behavioural indoctrination and first heard the idea that AA wasn’t the only way to deal with a drinking problem. Started going to AA in Sept 2000 and by mid 2009 I was done with it, I left and began trying to drink again. It took about 7 years for me to get to the point of looking for help again. This is about the time around mid 2015 I really started to go downhill. After researching SMART, S.O.S. and even Rational Recovery, I tried AA again for 3 months and found it worse than I remembered.

So I decided around 2008 AA wasn’t for me anymore. It was a very difficult time because I lost my community, I was in new territory. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I didn’t have to lie to myself anymore. It actually was a matter of survival because I wasn’t getting better.

 

Gary: Here’s a fun question for you – as I’ve previously mentioned to you, something we both have in common is a fondness for Star Trek. My question to you is “wouldn’t the addiction treatment arena be a better place if people started channeling their inner Spock instead of their inner Captain Kirk?’ i.e. stopped arguing from emotion and started coming more from a place of dispassionate logic. I only ask because I see a lot of people channeling Kirk and McCoy on internet addiction forums, but not many Spocks! Lol

 

Seth:

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. I’m fond of Spock, I like to think I identify with him. What made Spock great was that he wanted to be on a ship with all these divergent and various people. This is something I think addiction treatment needs is a willingness to boldly go where the 12 steps hasn’t gone before. I really don’t know how Spock would deal with addiction, this is the first time I’ve thought about it. I guess if there was a behavioral plague Vulcans fought it would have to be emotions, so our addictions are like emotions to Vulcans.  The closest thing I can think of that Vulcans might regard as a treatment for emotions would be the Kolinahr training. That takes years, and once completed they are Kolinahr masters. There have been attempts by Star Trek to address the problem of addiction, one was a Next Generation episode that got it wrong, but they didn’t consult Dr. Sinclair about it.

I think Gene Roddenberry liked to drink because it comes through the series, his way of solving drunkenness was to invent synthehol.

 

Gary:

Another question just around Star Trek… would you say that the difference between TSM and other treatment methods is that whereas other treatment models effectively see alcohol addiction as a “Kobayashi Maru” (an unwinnable scenario), we don’t.

Seth:

So the classic lore in Star Trek was that Cadet Kirk beat a training simulation called “The Kobayashi Maru” by rewriting the parameters of the test, the test being unwinnable. 12 step lore is the opposite of the Kobayashi Maru it’s winning by accepting defeat. In any other field of medicine this would be laughed away. If the field of cancer treatment stopped searching for better outcomes I would have died 15 years ago. If the AIDS research stopped at the peak of the epidemic we might have 3 billion less people alive now. So yeah AA and other 12 step groups present addiction as a Kobayashi Maru test when it’s anything but. This learned helplessness is killing people.

Gary:

It just seems like when people derisively exhort “There is NO cure for alcoholism” it sorta echos the “There is NO way to beat the Kobayashi Maru” sentiment expressed by numerous characters in Star Trek in response to the fact that Kirk did just that.

 

Seth:

That is the sad thing about the 12 steps, civilians for the most part see AA and NA as something they are not. If I ask people who know nothing about it they tell me some strange things. Some folks think medical professionals are involved at meetings, they think it really works and people who it doesn’t work for just refuse to be treated. They don’t know that the primary treatment is to go to a group and bitch about how they can’t drink anymore. I’m an Ozzy Osbourne fan, everyone knows Ozzy has alcohol use disorder. I think he had the most brilliant insight when asked why he hates going to meetings. To paraphrase: “Going to AA is like going to a meeting where a bunch of men who lost their leg sit around and complain about losing there leg and how it happened. I say it’s done, I lost my leg now get on with life”.

After I went back to AA after not going for 7 years I had a new perspective, I wasn’t going because I was afraid, and I was fully versed in the whole program. So I was very much in touch with how what people said effected me, and meetings are an hour long behaviourally triggering process. I mean if a person goes to a meeting and doesn’t want to drink after they weren’t paying attention. So after 90 days I started looking for other things, I went to SMART for a few meetings but that was after I started TSM.

Two of the people that impressed me were Dr. Robert Sapolsky, and Dr. Gabor Maté. They both have novel scientific views on nature vs. nurture and the social cause of addiction. Their work is what started me looking at alternatives to AA. Dr. Maté used to treat the addicts he treated with Ayahuasca and had great success with it.  

 

Gary:

Okay, next question… and this is a boring mandatory question that I need to ask… but how are you doing as far as TSM goes? Do you still drink at all or are you now completely abstinent? And how long exactly have you been on TSM?

 

Seth:

These are my favourite questions.

I’m very active in our little community of pioneers, and I’m solid. I would describe my relationship with alcohol and TSM as “Organic Abstinence”. If that’s a term that has never been coined I’ll go on record as the originator. What I mean by it is if given the choice of a slice of pizza and a glass of ice water or a beer I’l pick the pizza and ice water every time. I have alcohol all over the house, it’s not mine, but that never stopped me before now. it’s just bottles of something it takes too much work to bother with. When I started TSM I decided I wasn’t going to be totally abstinent because to me that was to extreme and I felt I’d rebel against myself.

So I live life free from the grips of the trickster. I have rules… don’t drink alone… only drink if it’s a casual occasion… if it’s a booze orgy I’ll pass. Nothing triggers my drinkflex anymore. I don’t even stare at people’s drinking glass anymore. I used to do that all the time. I started Jan. 13th, 2016. I consider July 1st 2016 as my extinction day, but it’s hard to tell because it wasn’t until July 10th or so I realised I hadn’t had a drink for a couple weeks.

 

Gary:

Okay, last question… as you mentioned, you’re “very active in our little community of pioneers”… you recently took over the reins from Angela as the head moderator on the Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook forum (which has seen MASSIVE growth in a very short time – so major props to you, Angela and the rest of the gang for that) and you’re an active participant on numerous other forums… but my question to you is what next?

You disclosed to me in a previous conversation that you’ve mooted starting a podcast show – are you still keen to get that off the ground?

 

Seth:

There are times in my life where I became involved with things from a pure heart only to find out the leaders had very ulterior motives, and I stuck around even after I should have left. There were other opportunities I was an early adopter of but didn’t fully commit to because I was burned in the past. The Sinclair Method is the first thing I’ve done that I know 100% that it works, and it’s a grassroots thing that has potential to turn alcohol use disorder treatment upside down.

Alcohol is only legal today because it’s the oldest mind altering substance man has used. If alcohol was discovered today it would be a schedule 1 controlled substance. So I feel a duty to the world as long as it remains a culturally accepted and legal intoxicant to spread the word about The Sinclair Method.

Having been on the inside of Alcoholics Anonymous and done all the things they suggest and tried, I mean really tried to get well and help people do the same. I’m not willing to sit by and be silent, I know what works and what doesn’t, I know what is sane and what is insane. Treating a medical condition like alcohol use disorder which is a learned behaviour that is physiologically set by social conditioning of repeated exposure to alcohol over a long period of time. Treating that by forced abstinence, group indoctrination, some religious ideas of powerlessness, prayer, meditation, restitution and proselytising when The Sinclair Method is available is not only insane. It’s unethical and deadly. We have case studies, we know personally dozens of people who have successfully done what we have done, we have dozens more right now in their first weeks of TSM who need support. Tens of thousands in Finland who have been treated successfully.

We face a difficult challenge because people want answers, and most stop at the first one they come across. As expensive as treatment is and as cheap as 12-step meetings are it’s a hard sell to say to folks “hey there’s something in the middle here”. You know, families have resigned to the idea that rehab is $1,000 a day, medical detox is $10,000 per treatment.

When someone comes along and says look, you can do detox and rehab at home for $3 to $5 a treatment not including drinks. Treatment being take naltrexone or nalmefene wait an hour or two then drink all you want, do that for 3 to 6 months and you’ll be cured, they don’t believe it.

Now accredited addiction professionals are providing The Sinclair Method option for their clients, but instead of a $10,000 detox and 28 day $30,000 rehab they are asking just $1,000 a month for 6 months or some are charging $5,000 for complete treatment meaning until AUD is extinct, if that’s 6 months or 12.

I want to tell you what alcohol use disorder felt like to me. Ever had to be in a room with a crying baby? If it’s not your child it can be annoying, but it’s not your kid so you can get up and leave. But if it is yours or you have to watch it, you’ll stand on your head to get the kid to stop crying, bottle, binky, milk toast, rocking, bouncing, changing diapers. Whatever is in your power to do you’ll try, just to get some quiet. But what if there is a baby in your head, and that infant has a scream on it that would make a mother flip over a car to get it to stop. The only thing that was able to get my evil brain baby to shut up is booze.

Before TSM it was bedlam in my head.

After six months the baby was weened and I guess he moved out, went to college or something, but all is quiet on the booze front between my ears now. Now I’m left to tackle the 20 or so years I avoided emotional maturity. The first year after extinction it’s like an identity crisis, who am I without the defining feature of powerlessness over alcohol? I’m a pioneer in a field where this treatment will absolutely become the Gold standard of care for Alcohol Use Disorder. I’m not an alcoholic, I don’t need a label like that, I don’t have active alcohol use disorder, I don’t need to be anonymous about it, I love where I’m at with regards to this deadly problem.

So what’s next for me? Long term I want to write a guide book for TSM to help people who want to do it get started. I won’t go into more detail than that. But short term I want to host a weekly or twice weekly or even if needed daily Sinclair Method Podcast. I want to have guests on, I think I could have 50 episodes on just talking to all the TSM doctors in each state of the USA. I’d want to cover TSM news, have some fun, I’m sure there will be no shortage of material.

Thank you Gary for interviewing me, it’s been a blast.

 

Gary:

Thank you, Seth. It’s been fun. We should collaborate again some time. 🙂 


 

Avoiding “WordPress Tourette Syndrome”: The Importance of Omission

Hello dear reader. Well, I’m not sure how many posts I’ve got in me in the lead up to 2018… this may well be the last of 2017.

So what’s on my mind today?

Well, I’m just pondering upon something Quentin Tarantino once wrote about how, when it came to screenwriting, what he chose to omit was always just as important to him as what he would include.

Hmm… it’s interesting… I mean, Tarantino is certainly not the type of person that you think of as “Mr. Restraint”, but if you look at the original screenplay for his debut feature Reservoir Dogs it is a masterclass in lean economy; there’s not a speck of fat on that story and the fact that Tarantino leaves the very worst carnage in that story completely unshown (e.g. Mr. Blonde’s massacre in the jewellery store and the ear-slicing scene) makes it all the more powerful when left up to the imagination of the viewer.

“But what about all of the sweary dialogue and things like the silly Madonna monologue at the beginning of the film? Isn’t that completely gratuitous?” you might say, but I would argue otherwise; I would say that the uncouth dialogue and pop culture discussions that the characters engage in reveal volumes about their different personalities. They serve a real purpose.

For example, the unpopular views that Mr. Pink expresses on the etiquette of tipping (or rather not tipping) waitresses mark him out as a real individual and free thinker who doesn’t just follow the crowd and someone whose conscience is unburdened by the need to be particularly liked (a selfish streak that would in fact save his life through the course of the story, ironically enough).

Likewise, the fact that someone like Mr. White passionately sticks up for low paid waitresses demonstrates a person with clear empathy and compassion, sure, but later scenes where he talks racist trash about black people reveal the man to have a conflicted, contradictory sense of ethics at his core… something that really comes into play later on when the story becomes very much about White’s personal code of honour and how that impacts upon the fate of his colleague, the seriously injured Mr. Orange. This becomes the heart of the film, in fact. (***Note: since writing this I’ve had a rethink and I’ve come to the conclusion that “conflicted” is the wrong word to apply to Mr. White’s ethical rulebook. No… what I really meant to say is that, in terms of morality, he is a man who operates on a completely different code to most people… one that seems all about honour, but one that has some callous caveats which give licence to some pretty brutal behaviour.***)

As for the much-discussed Madonna monologue (by Tarantino himself in his role as Mr. Brown): well, that tells you that for all the character is intelligent enough to string together the words for a passionate (albeit vulgar) argument, his crude misinterpretation of Like a Virgin reveals a deeply immature, emotionally stunted man who likely resorted to a life of crime because his childish nature probably got him fired from every legit job he might have ever had.

Mr. Brown (as played by Quentin Tarantino): a man who just doesn’t understand Madonna…

“Okay then, Gary, you’ve droned on about Quentin Tarantino for the last six paragraphs – what does this have to do with anything?”, I hear you ask.

…Well, I’m just thinking about my process when it comes to blogging, really. As cathartic as it is to write these articles and as lengthy as they often are, believe it or not I often bin a lot of what I write; particularly my rants.

In fact I’ve written 2,000 word manifestos before today that I’ve thrown into the WordPress trashcan.

Why?

Because I feel some economy is important and I think that it’s too easy to get into the habit of writing about the things you hate all the time, particularly in a blog like this… and believe me, my frustrations are legion (especially when it comes to how unjust it is that people with Alcohol Use Disorder don’t have ready access to naltrexone and The Sinclair Method), but here’s the thing: if I were to let my anger overpower my emotional compass and if I just unleashed the beast then what example of supposed “recovery” does that really give?

No. I consciously choose a different path to lazy fireband polemics on here.

I choose love rather than hate.

Not that I’m a saint, mind. I don’t completely self-censor myself – hey, my writing on here is littered with words like “fuck” and “shit”… but the point is I am getting better with self-restraint and I think that makes me a better writer.

I think that another reason why I don’t turn this blog into The Orange Papers: Part Two is (a) because there’s enough blogs like that already out there, and (b) I’d like to think that I could actually strike up a reasonable conversation with any members of Alcoholics Anonymous on here without unnecessarily insulting them.

Rudeness is not the way to persuade anyone, I feel… and a little bit of courtesy goes a long way – even when you disagree with someone.

So that’s my thought for the day.

 

As for what else I’ve been up to: well, I got into the gym today and spoke to my trainer, setting up a new post-Christmas training regimen for myself that’s going to be truly brutal.

I also want to start the ball rolling with some driving lessons; something that’s been on my to-do list for too long and that has been a real impediment to my getting back into employment, given the number of jobs that require a clean driving licence – not having one has proven really limiting.

And, last but not least, I finally finished watching the last season of The Strain… which was good, though didn’t quite live up to the promise of the novels (though I do think that some of the changes made from the source material were bold, ballsy choices).

 

Okay, well that’s me done until whenever.

Have a safe and happy festive holiday, guys.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

P.S. Just on the subject of Madonna… not a huge fan, but I have always had a guilty appreciation for this track. It’s a mushy ballad, I know… but i can’t help liking what I like; one of her better earlier ones, that’s for sure. By the way, I can’t get over how young Matthew Modine looks in this video – flipping ‘eck! …He’s changed a lot between this and Stranger Things:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zn5OJGucveg