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.
…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.
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.
Hello dear reader. Well, I’m not sure how many posts I’ve got in me in the lead up to 2018… this may well be the last of 2017.
So what’s on my mind today?
Well, I’m just pondering upon something Quentin Tarantino once wrote about how, when it came to screenwriting, what he chose to omit was always just as important to him as what he would include.
Hmm… it’s interesting… I mean, Tarantino is certainly not the type of person that you think of as “Mr. Restraint”, but if you look at the original screenplay for his debut feature Reservoir Dogs it is a masterclass in lean economy; there’s not a speck of fat on that story and the fact that Tarantino leaves the very worst carnage in that story completely unshown (e.g. Mr. Blonde’s massacre in the jewellery store and the ear-slicing scene) makes it all the more powerful when left up to the imagination of the viewer.
“But what about all of the sweary dialogue and things like the silly Madonna monologue at the beginning of the film? Isn’t that completely gratuitous?” you might say, but I would argue otherwise; I would say that the uncouth dialogue and pop culture discussions that the characters engage in reveal volumes about their different personalities. They serve a real purpose.
For example, the unpopular views that Mr. Pink expresses on the etiquette of tipping (or rather not tipping) waitresses mark him out as a real individual and free thinker who doesn’t just follow the crowd and someone whose conscience is unburdened by the need to be particularly liked (a selfish streak that would in fact save his life through the course of the story, ironically enough).
Likewise, the fact that someone like Mr. White passionately sticks up for low paid waitresses demonstrates a person with clear empathy and compassion, sure, but later scenes where he talks racist trash about black people reveal the man to have a conflicted, contradictory sense of ethics at his core… something that really comes into play later on when the story becomes very much about White’s personal code of honour and how that impacts upon the fate of his colleague, the seriously injured Mr. Orange. This becomes the heart of the film, in fact. (***Note: since writing this I’ve had a rethink and I’ve come to the conclusion that “conflicted” is the wrong word to apply to Mr. White’s ethical rulebook. No… what I really meant to say is that, in terms of morality, he is a man who operates on a completely different code to most people… one that seems all about honour, but one that has some callous caveats which give licence to some pretty brutal behaviour.***)
As for the much-discussed Madonna monologue (by Tarantino himself in his role as Mr. Brown): well, that tells you that for all the character is intelligent enough to string together the words for a passionate (albeit vulgar) argument, his crude misinterpretation of Like a Virgin reveals a deeply immature, emotionally stunted man who likely resorted to a life of crime because his childish nature probably got him fired from every legit job he might have ever had.
“Okay then, Gary, you’ve droned on about Quentin Tarantino for the last six paragraphs – what does this have to do with anything?”, I hear you ask.
…Well, I’m just thinking about my process when it comes to blogging, really. As cathartic as it is to write these articles and as lengthy as they often are, believe it or not I often bin a lot of what I write; particularly my rants.
In fact I’ve written 2,000 word manifestos before today that I’ve thrown into the WordPress trashcan.
Because I feel some economy is important and I think that it’s too easy to get into the habit of writing about the things you hate all the time, particularly in a blog like this… and believe me, my frustrations are legion (especially when it comes to how unjust it is that people with Alcohol Use Disorder don’t have ready access to naltrexone and The Sinclair Method), but here’s the thing: if I were to let my anger overpower my emotional compass and if I just unleashed the beast then what example of supposed “recovery” does that really give?
No. I consciously choose a different path to lazy fireband polemics on here.
I choose love rather than hate.
Not that I’m a saint, mind. I don’t completely self-censor myself – hey, my writing on here is littered with words like “fuck” and “shit”… but the point is I am getting better with self-restraint and I think that makes me a better writer.
I think that another reason why I don’t turn this blog into The Orange Papers: Part Two is (a) because there’s enough blogs like that already out there, and (b) I’d like to think that I could actually strike up a reasonable conversation with any members of Alcoholics Anonymous on here without unnecessarily insulting them.
Rudeness is not the way to persuade anyone, I feel… and a little bit of courtesy goes a long way – even when you disagree with someone.
So that’s my thought for the day.
As for what else I’ve been up to: well, I got into the gym today and spoke to my trainer, setting up a new post-Christmas training regimen for myself that’s going to be truly brutal.
I also want to start the ball rolling with some driving lessons; something that’s been on my to-do list for too long and that has been a real impediment to my getting back into employment, given the number of jobs that require a clean driving licence – not having one has proven really limiting.
And, last but not least, I finally finished watching the last season of The Strain… which was good, though didn’t quite live up to the promise of the novels (though I do think that some of the changes made from the source material were bold, ballsy choices).
Okay, well that’s me done until whenever.
Have a safe and happy festive holiday, guys.
Peace and love,
P.S. Just on the subject of Madonna… not a huge fan, but I have always had a guilty appreciation for this track. It’s a mushy ballad, I know… but i can’t help liking what I like; one of her better earlier ones, that’s for sure. By the way, I can’t get over how young Matthew Modine looks in this video – flipping ‘eck! …He’s changed a lot between this and Stranger Things:
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.
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?
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.
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.
The theme of today’s post is to do with all things techy and my chimpanzee brain’s heroic efforts to come grips with some gadget stuff over the last few days.
It just doesn’t seem to have been my week when it comes to gizmos. Honestly, it’s like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.
First of all the monitor for my PC inexplicably buggered up on me, forcing me to use my laptop… then the brand new (and expensive) fancy-schmancy vaping mod that I recently bought decided to stop working on me for no discernable reason whatsoever yesterday morning.
What doesn’t help matters is that it’s so high tech that you have to be in fucking NASA just to follow the instruction manual.
…Anywaaaay, thanks to knowledgeable assistance from the market seller that I bought it from I finally got to the bottom of why it wasn’t working.
Get this: the mod had a default setting in which it would lock – yes, lock – after 900 odd puffs. Stupid, I know… I mean, why?!??
Oh well… all that matters is that that setting’s been changed and it’s working now.
‘Nothing else could possibly go wrong on me today‘, I naively thought.
Cut to: early yesterday evening and, after having had a really enjoyable chinwag over the last couple of days with addictions expert (and fellow Your Choice, Your Recovery Facebook group member) Paul Turner, we decide to have a crack at recording a Skype interview to upload to YouTube.
A mental health nurse with 25 years experience, Paul is an independent alcohol treatment practitioner who works in the West Midlands of England. (see HERE).
In recent times he and his partner have seen great success using The Sinclair Method – something that Paul discusses in the really good YouTube video below:
…But back to the Skype interview – and do you know what? It goes great.
Paul is a great speaker, a complete pro and a real gentleman to boot. The man is just really easy to talk to and I find what he has to say on the subject of the difficulties with nalmefene particularly interesting and enlightening (though I knew that it was much more expensive than its sister drug naltrexone – five times more expensive, in fact – I had no idea that the side effects were quite so problematic). We also share similar sentiments on how just how odd it is that despite the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous views alcohol addiction as the manifestation of a physical allergy, yet there is so much contempt in 12 Step circles for a medical approach like The Sinclair Method in favour of a religious/moralistic one.
So anyway, the interview goes great. We talk for well over 20 minutes and upon reaching a point where we both run out of steam I press stop on the Icecream screen recorder app on my laptop.
And nothing happens. I go into it and press another key and it just inexplicably starts recording my screen again.
…It takes a minute for my monkey brain to work out exactly what’s gone on here.
I have a “Ah, that’s what happened” moment of realisation followed by a slightly sick feeling when I work out that the freebie version of Icecream that I have on my computer has a default 5 minute recording ceiling… no doubt to entice people to buy the pro version… and that most of the interview that just took place didn’t actually record.
I explain this to Paul and rather than being mad he’s a complete gentleman, offering to repeat the interview at another time. What a good egg.
Oh well. It was a failure, but at least a noble failure! Haha.
(Hey, ‘God loves a trier’ and all that)
I’m just wondering what my best option is when it comes to screen recording freeware, because I definitely want to have another go. I’d quite welcome people’s thoughts on this.
…Moving on, there’s been not much else going on the last week to report. I’ve been on another Netflix binge (catching up on episodes of Bojack Horseman) and I’ve been back into the gym as well as reconnecting with some old friends from my local open access art studio.
Regarding the prostate cancer screening that I was talking about in my last post (see HERE), I’ve got an appointment with the urology department of a local hospital for next week, so it’s just a case of ‘wait and see’. I’m just pleased that my water works issue is finally getting looked at as it’s been a source of discomfort for a while.
Okay, well that’s about that from me. Thanks for reading.
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.
It’s been a good week. The site has been getting quite a few more hits than normal (I’ve been getting quite a lot of traffic from Egypt, believe it or not – Egypt!) and I’m finding that the change of page design/menu reshuffle is really helping my readers because the new Sinclair Method resources page is getting a lot of views.
I’m also seriously considering recording a few Youtube videos using my new Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam. Just as an experiment.
Although I’ve taken part in the One Little Pill documentary and have done podcasts I’m very much more in my comfort zone as a writer (largely because I hate my accent) but the problem that I have is that every article I write seems to want to turn into a novel these days… that’s to say that I often struggle to keep the word count down to a reasonable level. Brevity is a real problem when you’ve got a lot to say on a given subject and it occurs to me that podcast/Youtube media may be easier than vast quantities of text on visitors to the site. Certainly less hard work to ingest.
Or perhaps a combination of video media media and text would work better for some articles. Who knows.
But I wouldn’t mind some advice/feedback on this in the comments section below. I’d particularly like to hear from people on what they think is the simplest to use video editing software as I would be a complete newbie when it comes to using anything like that.
I’ve also been working on the draft of a new page for the Sinclair Method resources section of the site entitled ‘Answering the Critics: “Why haven’t I heard of The Sinclair Method before?”‘.
That’s its title in its current form, anyway.
It’s turned into a bit of a monster if I’m honest. The word count on it is currently 1,500 words and I’m only about half way through it. What I may end up doing is splitting it in half and making it a two part series of articles.
Other than that I don’t have much else to report. In between my blogging I’ve been back into the gym after a long absence and I’ve finally got around to watching Marvel’s The Defenders, which (after a slow start) got really good… really tying up story strands from the other Netflix Marvel shows quite well. What can I say… I’m a Marvel fan, though I did quite enjoy Suicide Squad.