A video podcast interview between Gary Bell and Robert Rapplean discussing the history of The Sinclair Method (TSM) on social media and the continuing challenge of trying to get this revolutionary treatment for alcohol addiction more widely known and readily available.
Hello and welcome to this very special video podcast interview between myself and Robert Rapplean of Intellectual Icebergs fame.
One of the very first people to give The Sinclair Method (TSM) widespread exposure on social media in the mid-noughties on his science blog Intellectual Icebergs, Robert is noteworthy for conducting an excellent 4-part podcast interview with David Sinclair waaaay back in 2005 (see below)… at a time when there was absolutely next to nothing about Sinclair’s research in the public domain… several years before Roy Eskapa would write the first edition of The Cure for Alcoholism and Claudia Christian would go on to set up the C3 Foundation.
As we discuss in the above video, Robert was also the main author of the original Sinclair Method Wikipedia page.
Not just that – but when I first came to hear about TSM and take part in the forums Robert provided a lot of very real mentorship when I came to set up my first TSM-themed blog, Naltrexone Confidential… often answering frantic e-mails from myself at Insane O’Clock in the morning when I was stuck on some obscure scientific detail, so I would say that we all owe him a very large debt because (though a largely invisible presence) he’s in fact been a very real guiding hand – either directly or indirectly – to many people over the span of quite a few years now.
Many thanks to Robert for agreeing to take part in this interview (and also adding some much-needed post production clean up work to the audio); it was a blast having our first ever “face-to-face”, despite having been in contact with each other for several years now.
Without further ado, here’s Robert’s excellent podcast 4-part interview with David Sinclair – enjoy!
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!
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.
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?
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
…Thank you, Seth. It’s been fun. We should collaborate again some time. 🙂
…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.
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.
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.
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!!! 😀 ).
Okay, well that’s this particular reverie over with for now, I think.
‘…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.
When did you first realise that you had a drinking problem and how did you come to hear about The Sinclair Method?
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.
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.
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?
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.
‘…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?
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
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) 🙂
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”…
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?????
…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.
Huh?!? That’s nuts. And you’re quite right… pretty scary.
Jeezus, do these people have nothing better to do?
Obviously not. My counsellor warned me that something like this could happen. I’m fuming. Some bloody jobsworth being a right bully.
[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!!!”]
Apparently it’s legally available over the counter from pharmacies in Spain, you know.
Yes I read that alright. I might be going on holiday then 🙂
I’ll find a way round it. I’m not stopping this.
Hehe. That’d be one way to do it. 🙂
A weekend in Spain sounds good. So feck off you Irish bully boys
Heh. You could kill two birds with one stone by upping your supply and having a nice little holiday in Spain. 😉
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.
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.
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.
Haha. I like your way with words. 😉
How come they don’t try a prosecute me if they’re really serious….no bloody sense.
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.
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.
[Name redacted], though the package that I received was mailed from a factory in India
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]
It might make for a good change.org petition… a campaign to get naltrexone changed to an over the counter medication.
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?
How could I help? Would you like me to write a piece on my website about it, obscuring your name and other details?
Yes do please.
I’m going to contact the papers here anonymously too.
Cool. I look forward to writing it!
Do you want a colour scan? I can do it in work tomorrow.
Brilliant. Thanks Gary 😁
I can use Photoshop to obscure your name.
Yes….I’ll send it tomorrow. Thank you so much.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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:
Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
Answer the 11 questions asked.
Nominate no more than 11 other bloggers for the award.
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. 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?”.
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.
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).
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.
5. What is that 1 book that changed your life (you can also mention an incident if not a book)?
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.
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.
8. Which Superhero would you like to get if you could have a superpower?
…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 simplylooks cool – and there are millions of little kids on the planet who love dressing up as Batman who agree with me on that score.
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.
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…
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.
My nominees are:
Beckie’s Mental Mess
Barbara from myaphorisms.com
Stephen from A Fractured Faith
…And my questions are:
Why did you start your blog?
Which person (alive or dead) has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
What is one fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
Have you met anybody famous and – if yes – what were they like?
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?
What’s your favourite book?
Where do you stand on the “nature vs. nurture” debate when it comes things like addiction, mental illness and crime?
Name a pop song that you enjoy listening to but would feel really embarrassed to admit to liking to most people.
Should there be a “Blogger’s Code of Ethics” or do you believe in complete freedom of speech on the internet?
If you had a time machine what would be the first thing you would do with it? And why?
What would you like inscribed on your headstone after you’re dead?