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

 

 

 

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.

#179 – Alcoholics Anonymous — The League of Nerds

Alcoholics Anonymous is often held as the best way to cure an Alcoholic. Is Alcoholism a disease? – does AA work? – whats with all the religious stuff? Buck and Myles (the B team) are joined by Jon Stewart, he spent 14 years attending AA meetings but left and stayed sober. He tells the B […]

See the rest of the article and listen to the accompanying podcast via #179 – Alcoholics Anonymous — The League of Nerds or watch the podcast via YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHfnp76cSsQ&feature=youtu.be

[Note from Gary: whoops… thanks to my unfamiliarity of how to share or reblog stuff on WordPress it’s in fact taken a couple of goes to get this right. Please do check out this podcast link. It’s really good – my friend Jon Stewart is on great, erudite form. I really like his statement “If you want self esteem you do esteemable things” and I can really relate to what he says about being stuck in the middle between between the AA Taliban and the anti-AAers.]

Musings on Dallas Buyers Club, Autodidactism and The Information War

Well, I finally got around to watching Dallas Buyers Club on Netflix and it was really good. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both turn in exceptional performances.

Sadly,  what undermines this biopic is the way that it takes some extreme liberties with historical fact in order to make it fit better into a three act play structure… for example, both the Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner characters seen in the film are invented – they’re actually based on a combination of different people rather than two real individuals. They’re composities.

Another aspect that’s completely fictional is the depiction of Ron Woodruff (as played by Matthew McConaughey) as being a raging homophobe, when he in fact had no hostility towards gay people in real life and it’s since been suggested by several people close to Woodruff that he was actually bisexual.

But if you can allow your brain to shut that information out it’s quite possible to enjoy this movie for its depiction of a group of people with HIV/AIDS coming together to form their own “buyers club” in order to (often illegally) access the best medication available in order to prolong their lives.

The best parts of the film? For me, they’re easily the scenes where Woodruff is poring over books in the library and educating himself on the best treatment options available for the virus, ultimately becoming an expert in his own condition and ultimately a civil liberties hero in his fight against the FDA in order to allow AIDS patients the right to experiment on their own bodies as they see fit.

There are in fact several parallels which I see with the scandalously unfair fight that many people with Alcohol Use Disorder in many countries have on their hands trying to access naltrexone or nalmefene using The Sinclair Method… and the undignified hoops that some patients are forced to jump through in order to get hold of a prescription.

I also relate to the scenes where the Matthew McConaughey character is ridiculed for educating himself on his own condition and the best treatment options available. I’ve had this several times over the years, with an addictions worker once cautioning me that I “think too much”.

The democratisation of science is a scary thing for some people. Autodidactism is especially threatening to some doctors, it seems.

But the question should be asked: is it really monstrous arrogance to “act as your own doctor” and take risks such as importing naltrexone illegally when you’re forced into that position because you know the default medical paradigm in your location is woefully ineffective in comparison to The Sinclair Method?

When the system has you over a barrel and your choices are severely limited, are you really the villain for saying “Fuck off. I’m not playing by your rules anymore. I’m just going to import some damn naltrexone myself”.

?

I would say not. It’s not so black and white as far as morality goes.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the movie. Despite the lack of historical accuracy it’s still a good watch. I got a lot of identification out of it.

Another film worth checking out for that similar theme of laypersons on an autodidactic quest to educate themselves on medicine (in order to save their little boy) is Lorenzo’s Oil (see HERE). Well worth viewing.

 

Just back onto the subject of The Dallas Buyers Club: there’s quite an interest article here about a HIV patient inspired by the initiative of the Matthew McConaughey character who has recently injected himself with an untested gene therapy:   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41990981

Makes for interesting reading. It wouldn’t surprise me if gene therapy was one of the next things that they’ll look at for addiction treatment. Hey, you never know.

 

Okay, well I’ve ran out of things to say. Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

 

Katie’s Journey from Alcoholic to Moderate Drinker

A new YouTube video by Katie about The Sinclair Method:

I must say, these videos are great. She’s a real natural – she has bags of charisma – and when it comes to my own recent still very amateurish video efforts (see HERE and HERE), I could learn a lot from Katie, actually – because these are really well made.

About the video: moderation wasn’t the path that I ultimately chose. I think that the reason for that was that I felt as if I’d drank enough booze for a lifetime and I just wanted it to be over… but isn’t it amazing that The Sinclair Method gives someone the power to have that choice?

Absolutely fantastic.

Please be sure to subscribe to Katie’s channel. We need more videos like this please!

I’d actually love to see more people start up Sinclair Method-themed blogs and YouTube channels… so if you’re an aspiring writer or aspiring vlogger and thinking of starting something up (or have already set something up) please do drop me a line because I’d love to feature it on my website. It’s great to get that cross-pollination going.


***Edit: just regarding blogs, here’s something that I’ve just got to share – a blog by a TSMer friend of mine by the name of Nicky Katz (click on the image to open the site in a new tab):

I don’t think Nicky has updated it in a little while, which is a shame because it’s a really well done blog and I’d love to hear how he’s doing post-extinction. But please do check it out, because as I say this is quite a nicely done site.

In fact, I’m going to paste this into my resources section.

 

 

 

 

‘Rainman of Recovery’: Me and my nerdy Niacin fascination again

So since I felt on a bit of a roll I had a crack at another YouTube video (‘…and why not?’, as a late film reviewer used to famously say).

This time I decided to cannibalise an old article (see HERE) on Bill W.’s Niacin fixation and my summary of how – had Bill still been alive – he’d most likely have been very interested in The Sinclair Method.

More than anything, I just wanted to have a crack at doing another YouTube video using some subject matter that might get a bit of debate going. The video itself went surprisingly well aside from a couple of bloopers, but then again I was talking non-stop for 18 minutes – so given the fact that I’m also a chronic insomniac I did surprisingly well to keep awake (!).

Heh. After reviewing these last two videos I’ve been thinking of a new online name for myself – ‘Rainman of Recovery’.

Hahahahaha! Hey, that could work!

Okay, that’s me done for now. This whole YouTube experiment has been an interesting one with a steep learning curve, but I think I’m going to now vegetate for a couple of days.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

Endorphin Vs GABA: A Taxonomy of Alcohol Addiction?

‘Antigen’ – that’s my new word for the day. Heh.

After some embarrassing problems with my water works I went to see a doctor and subsequently got some blood taken in order to screen me for prostate cancer… and my antigen score (something that’s an indicator of potential cancer) came back a bit high so further tests are needed.

I dunno. It’s Greek salad to me. I looked up antigen on the net and I found myself getting lost after the second paragraph.

Oh well. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed and place my faith in my local medical services. That and keep myself distracted,

…Talking of which: I’m currently having a Netflix binge, watching the first season of Mindhunter. What a great show!

It’s a drama all about the evolution of forensic psychology and criminal profiling in the FBI in the late 1970s and it captures the journey of two FBI special agents and their passion for their research into violent offenders really well.

Given my family’s own harrowing experience with violent crime (see HERE) there’s certain types of films and TV shows that I now just cannot tolerate anymore – anything that glamorises violent crime or portrays murderers as entertaining anti-heroes, for example – but this show is different.

It’s really well balanced because it keeps the audience’s focus on these pioneering feds (the two main characters are based upon the real life FBI legends john E. Douglas and Robert K Ressler), not the monsters they interview.

More than that, as someone fascinated in the psychology behind addiction what really resonated was the depiction of these researchers attempts to establish a taxonomy of criminal offenders.

I mention this because though I often (for the sake of simplicity) use the term ‘alcoholic’ to describe what I was prior to my exposure to The Sinclair Method, I think that it’s a bit of a misnomer because someone else’s strain of the affliction could be quite different to mine – more complex – and they may need additional counselling, whereas I managed just fine with the pill alone.

Additionally, I think that there’s as much to learn from the people for whom The Sinclair Method doesn’t work as those for whom it does. There definitely needs to be more research. Could it be – as David Sinclair posited – that these people have a mechanism of addiction that’s likely caused by the GABA system (as opposed to the endorphin system)?

I look forward to people’s thought on this because it’s an interesting question.

What’s stuck in my mind for a good few months now is something Claudia Christian said to me back when we met up in Edinburgh earlier this year. She pointed out that everything is very physical with me… that my experience of addiction was very much one of physiological craving as opposed to one of simple psychological escape.

‘More visceral’ could be the way to put it, I guess. Hmmm…

Okay, well, once again, I look forward to people’s thoughts on the taxonomy question.

Bye for now.

 

Peace and love,

GARY