Tag Archives: The Sinclair Method

Why I’m Still Here: The Importance of Celebrating my Recovery

Well, I’m still decompressing after my recent trip to London – I’ve got a touch of travel fatigue plus writing a blog post a day to cover my adventures in The Big Smoke actually quite challenged me.

Me in Trafalgar Square during my recent trip to London

But why do I do it? Why do I write this blog?

Well, given the invisible nature of those people in recovery from alcoholism using The Sinclair Method (as previously discussed HERE) I think that it’s important to maintain a social media presence in order to say “I’m still here”… but, more than that, it’s also important to honour my recovery by having as much FUN as possible during the time that I’ve been granted and to try really hard to be the best version of myself.

It’s about embracing joy and spreading optimism.

If my scribbles on here make even one person who might be struggling smile and feel more hopeful then I’ve done a good job.

What I hope my story demonstrates is that it is possible to come back from the brink and to re-write your own narrative.

As Michael Caine says, everyone should reinvent themselves at least once in their lifetime.

And I also hope that my story shows that even under the strain of the worst adversity it is possible to stay sober and to come out the other end sane.

Patrick Jane (as portrayed by Simon Baker) in The Mentalist

Believe it or not, after my mother’s murder and during the course of the nightmare ordeal of the subsequent trial I found inspiration from the strangest source – the fictional character Patrick Jane from the TV show The Mentalist; I really admire the way how that character is depicted on the show… as someone who, despite having gone through the most traumatic bereavement (the murder of his wife and daughter), consciously chooses to heroically embrace the light rather than spend his life brooding.

It’s a brilliant performance by Simon Baker and I look at it and think “Yeah, that’s exactly the way to be – and that’s how my mum would want me to be”.

The fact is, it would have been quite easy for me to become an embittered and cruel man after what happened to me and my family, but I choose a different path.

 

…And on that note, because further words on the subject escape me for now, I’ll close this article with a classic by Electric Light Orchestra dedicated to anyone reading this who might be struggling at the moment.

 

 

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 3

After getting a bit lost yesterday as a consequence of taking the wrong stop I was more organised today… which is just as well because it was the most important day of my trip to London.

Today I attended a memorial service for families bereaved by homicide at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and lit a candle in remembrance of my mum:

It was a good service.

Though I’m not religious I could still appreciate the value of all of these families coming together to grieve their lost ones. The church had hired professional singers who were absolutely fantastic and belted out some great songs.

I have to confess that I nearly lost it when they sang Somewhere over the rainbow… a song that was especially moving to hear at the service, given how much mum loved it… especially the version by Connie Talbot that came about as a result of Britain’s Got Talent.

But I held it together quite well and also attended SAMM’s annual general meeting afterwards.

SAMM National (SAMM is an acronym for Support After Murder & Manslaughter) have really helped me this past year, by the way… they’ve been a real lifeline. I don’t know how I would have coped without them.


I don’t have much else to report, really. I just came straight back to Mike’s place after the service.

I did take a few photos and shot a couple of videos of Trafalgar Square, but didn’t otherwise do anything special.

Tomorrow I go to a Krampus-themed “satanic flea market/anti-Christmas fayre” in Bethnal Green which should provide some tongue-in-cheek fun.

 

Okay, well that’s it from me for now. Thanks for reading.

 

Love and peace,

GARY

Adventures in the Big Smoke: Day 2

A photo of St. Paul’s cathedral that I took during my travels today

Someone remind me… how does that saying go – “God laughs when people make plans”, right?

Pheeeew. What a day.

After finding out that my good friend Frank was ill and thus unable to accompany me today I resolved to go it alone. Which worked out fine for the most part except that (a) I should have set off to the National Portrait Gallery much earlier in the day (because the traffic was mental by the time I got into central London by train) and (b) I shouldn’t have listened to some advice from someone about how Charing Cross is “easy walking distance” from Cannon Street Station.

Yup, I got a bit lost.

 

Selfie taken near the Thames today. Weirdly, my head seems a bit distorted in this image – like I’ve been given a Bruce Campbell lantern jaw! Haha

“Thank God for Google Maps” is all I have to say, because after having walked around for what seemed like forever I finally made it to the National Portrait Gallery.

It was worth the effort, as it turned out, because I loved the art on display by the likes of Lucian Freud, John Singer Sargent and many other famous artists.

My most striking observation of the NPG, though, is that the very best portraits were of celebrities, not royalty… all of which were technically very good paintings (often painted at an imposing scale) but which lacked the charm and personality of portraits such as the ones of Elton John and Paul McCartney that I saw.

I’m just sad that I didn’t get to attend an AA meeting as I’d planned, but the fact is I elected to come straight back to Mike’s place after visiting the National Portrait Gallery because it was getting quite late in the afternoon and I’d been warned how bad getting back home can be come rush hour.


Now to get set for the church service tomorrow… which is going to be an emotional day, since it’s going to be all about remembering my mum; that’s the main reason why I came to London, after all.

Christ, this has been a long, dreary year. I’ll be glad to see the back of it.

Maybe this event tomorrow will give some form of catharsis… I don’t know… “closure” does not exist as far as I’m concerned; but I’m glad that I’m there to represent my mum, all the same.

Okay, well that’s enough gabbing from me for now. Time to get settled for the night.

 

Peace and love,

GARY

P.S. There is an exhibition of Cezanne’s work on at the NPG at the moment, but I decided that £18 for a ticket was a bit much. I like Cezanne, but I don’t like Cezanne that much!

Zen, art & recovery: How I “sculpt” my blog

A Xena/Red Sonja homage that I’m doing as a present for my friend Edie:

…Still needs a lot of work doing to it; there are also certain aspects that need to be fixed – such as the fact that I seem to have given Edie Bell’s palsey! haha – but it’s getting there.

It’s nice to be back into a little bit of drawing.

My approach with drawing these days is to just say “fuck it and do it”. I used to be such a perfectionist; a complete detail-nazi, taking foreeeever on things – either that or saying “I’ll finish it once I have more inspiration” – but, having learned that procrastination is the enemy of success, I now consciously just throw myself into it and say perfection be damned.

What I guess I’m trying to say is that when it comes to drawing your own critical faculties can be your worst enemy sometimes… hence why I guess I’m more zen when it comes to my art nowadays.

Interestingly enough, my approach to writing my blog is similar. I scribble down a “thumbnail” of sorts (usually a bullet list which acts as a rough sketch) and then I sculpt paragraphs on WordPress, typing away like a madman. My approach is one of “more is better” to begin with (ha! I declare war on brevity!) and then, upon seeing the completed shape, I use my delete/backspace keys much like an eraser or a a palette knife or a chisel to give it a better crafted, prettier shape.

Sounds odd when explained like that, I know – but that’s my process.

As I mentioned in a previous article, I’m going to also have a crack at doing a Krampus-themed piece of art before Christmas (as much as anything because I think it could cool to have my own custom-designed Krampuskarten as a new Facebook cover).

It depends upon how much time I have after my upcoming trip to London.

But given that I’m going to cannibalise the composition of an old piece of artwork (see below), it probably won’t take too long.

An old design that I did for an evil tooth fairy. Since I’m not above referencing my own work, I’m going to rip off the composition for this for my own Krampuskarten design.


Barbara’s Elegant Aphorisms Website

From the Oxford Online dictionary:

aphorism

NOUN

 1. A pithy observation which contains a general truth.
‘the old aphorism ‘the child is father to the man’’
[mass noun]‘the debate begins and ends at the level of aphorism, with commentators saying that something must be done’
1.1 A concise statement of a scientific principle, typically by a classical author.
‘the opening sentence of the first aphorism of Hippocrates’
Origin
Early 16th century: from French aphorisme or late Latin aphorismus, from Greek aphorismos ‘definition’, from aphorizein ‘define’.

…So, for the benefit of any readers unfamiliar with what an aphorism is, there you go. I point it out because I recently became acquainted with a WordPress blog that has a really neat concept – a blog called myaphorisms.com.

It’s a great idea: what the author of this blog does is pen an aphorism a day… which sounds so simple, right? But that’s exactly the point… the genius of it, i think, lies in the simplicity of its design and execution. It’s actually a really smart idea for the format of a blog; I really dig it.

And what I like about Barbara’s blog is the way how she interacts with people in the comments section… in fact, that’s where the main action takes place, you could say.

Another thing that’s quite cool about it is the fact that the purpose-built brevity of the format she’s chosen would feed really well into Twitter and Facebook.

What can I say? I like it! It really appeals to my sense of design.

Something like this would work quite well done around a recovery theme, actually – an AA aphorism a day, for example.


…Which neatly leads onto my next subject:

The Welcome Return of Nicky Katz

Click on image to open link in a new tab

After an absence of some time and some hardship, is really nice to see my old friend Nicky Katz back on the horse with the social media scene, rebooting his Facebook and Twitter presence.

What can I say? He’s been missed. My hope is that he’ll also get back into the swing with his blog too… just because I was always a big fan of his website and I miss seeing his articles. Check out Nicky’s blog here: http://nickykatz.org/

Note to self: I really need to give Nicky a guest writer spot on The Free Pigeon Press because I’m fascinated with how he’s combining The Sinclair Method with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings – how he’s reconciling the two (a subject that I wrote a piece about HERE).

As much as anything I think that it’s important that Nicky does write because so many people can learn from his experiences – and yes – his own admitted mistakes too.

But the measure of a man is how he deals with adversity, not success – so I for one am grateful that he’s back.


…Okaaay, well I’m about done for this article, but before I go I’ll leave you with a couple of words of worldly wisdom from my favourite demented, scat-fixated octogenarian AA super-sponsor and wiener pioneer, the legend that is Morris Rosenbaum-Benda:

Hahahahaha. Love it.

I think this is better, though, just for sheer brevity (an art I’ve never mastered):

(!)

Hahaha!


…And on that note:

Peace and love,

GARY

 

 

 

My 2018 New Year resolutions: “Plans, plans, plans… so many lovely plans”

It’s been quite an eventful year, what with the trial and my home move and my bipolar disorder playing up again (causing me to have to be hospitalised for six weeks during the summer).

What can I say? It’s been a struggle at times.

The trial, in particular, was an absolute nightmare to endure. Though I am satisfied with the resolution of that – the evil streak of piss got a sentence of 33 yearsit was absolutely harrowing to go through; no wonder I lost it months later.

I still find it hard to talk about. So do other members of my family.

But life goes on. Rather than dwelling on grief and letting anger consume me, Mum would want me to make something of my life and in order to honour her memory that’s what I intend to do – to be the good man that she always wanted me to be.

Cruelly taken, but never forgotten: my beautiful mam


“Plans, plans, plans… so many lovely plans”

One of the first things I’m going to do is get back into my training in a big way in the new year. That and the jiu-jitsu classes.

I’m also going to buy a mountain bike to help myself get fit.

As many people know, I’ve already undergone quite a big physical transformation since quitting drinking (thanks to The Sinclair Method).

But what I really want to do is challenge myself with the powerlifting even further and get stronger than I’ve ever got.

My transformation photo. The photo on the left is a picture of me in September 2014 (just over a year after I’d quit drinking thanks to The Sinclair Method) and the picture on the right is how I look now. I’ve lost something like 50lbs in body weight. Not bad going considering that – at the grand old age of 45 – it doesn’t get any easier to get back into shape.

My new goal with the training is to get up to a bench press of over 130kg, a deadlift of 200kg and a squat around 160kg by this time next year – something that I think is achievable because, although my attendance in the gym has been a bit hit and miss this year (for entirely understandable reasons), I’m already pressing well over 100kg and can currently easily squat over 120kg. My only achilles heel is my deadlift… my current one rep maximum is 150kg, but for my build I should really be able to lift much more.

Diet is the key, I think. That and challenging myself cardiovascularly in order to improve my rep range and get my body fat percentage down even further than it is now. Something that my trainer is already helping me out with with a new “fat-burner” training program that he’s given me.


As for other goals: I think that I want to make a much bigger splash with my social media work and my art in 2018.

It’s taken a while with the blog (and what’s not helped is that I had to go into a form of self-imposed exile and make my blog private whilst everything was going on with the trial in order to avoid unwanted press exposure), but now that I’m back the stats are slowly but surely getting up there and I’m starting to see results by cross-pollinating with things like YouTube, Facebook and Quora. The only thing which I don’t have is a Twitter account. But once the book gets released (Claudia thinks it’s going to be around spring next year) I’ll definitely push things further, I think.

Despite my love/hate relationship with Quora, I actually do quite well on there (becoming one of the most popular writers in the addiction section on there, believe it or not) and my pieces have recently hit the 7,500 views landmark.

The real trick, I think, is to just enjoy what you’re doing.

I always find that when I just let go,be less self-conscious and less concerned about things like stats it makes me a far better writer.

A good example of this is the fact that I seem to inject a lot more humour into my blog than I used to.

Talking of which…

…I’m definitely going to do a lot more cartoons in 2018.

People keep asking me why I haven’t done more art and the fact is, as I said before, this year has just been crazy. My head’s just been too fucked up to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.

But yeah, now that I’m getting nicely settled into my new place and I’m finally getting some calmness back into my life I want to do some more stuff. Perhaps experimenting with Adobe Photoshop by doing some painted versions of some of my pencil drawings from the last year (scroll below)

 

…Actually, taking inspiration from the “anti-Christmas” theme of my last article (see HERE), I’m thinking that one idea might be to have a crack at designing a Krampus-themed Christmas card.

That would be quite a fun little art project to get in before Christmas, I think, and would quite appeal to my transgressive, Chuck Palahniuk-esque tendencies.


Anyhoo… that just about covers what I want to do in the New Year.

But what about you, dear reader? What resolutions do you have for 2018?

 

 

Falling out of love with Quora

I’m just sitting nursing a cup of tea and pondering upon Quora this afternoon.

As many people know, I’d made it a home away from home for a while… practically living on there at one point. I really liked my fellow geeks on there and got a lot out of contributing to topics on The Sinclair Method and alcoholism. To me, Quora was always like Wikipedia but better. Or at least I thought.

And do you know what? It’s STILL a fun platform with some great contributors – I still love some of the stuff on horror movies and comic books on there and there’s still some fun to be had on there (see below for an example of a little mischievous fun that I couldn’t resist having on Quora just last night).

But it’s not the same.

 

Too many barbarians are invading the platform now and I find myself wincing at certain loaded questions that I’m anonymously baited with by certain people… certain people with very obvious rival outlooks when it comes to addiction theory. They’re just too damn obvious, in fact, and I’m frankly not going to play their game – which is sad, given that with something like 7,5000 odd hits I’m one of the most popular writers on the subject of The Sinclair Method on there.

 

Another thing that pisses me off about Quora is all of the sociopath groupies. What do I mean by that? …Well, it’s like people on there are absolutely morbidly infatuated with psychopaths, given the amount of questions and answers devoted to psychopathy.

…Clearly there’s a lot of Dexter fans on Quora, that’s all I can say.

 

As someone whose family has suffered horribly at the hands of a disgusting, perverted psychopath (see HERE) I see no glamour and no enticing mystery to such people, believe me.

 

But one of the most tiresome things? The number of twelve year olds who write to ask whether their 150 IQ score makes them special (well, they sound like twelve year olds to me… so I’m assuming they are… but they might not be).

 

I’m not making this up. People really do write things like “I have a 150 IQ. Am I special?” on Quora.

(!)

…Where to even begin! Haha!

 

So where does this leave me?

Well, I’m not going to delete my profile or leave the platform. But I do think that I’ll be exploring other areas of it in future… I’m pretty much “talked out” with The Sinclair Method on there, anyway.

These days I find myself more and more curious on other things – such as topics like nootropics and transhumanism. Oh and I still dip into the horror movie questions on occasion.

 

But, as I say, there’s too many idiots that have now invaded the addiction sections, sadly. Too many people trying to disrupt the signal to noise ratio (see HERE for an explanation of how S:N disinformation tactics work).

Sad to see, but it was bound to happen eventually. Oh well, at least I’ve still got my corner of cyberspace here on WordPress to spread sanity.

 

Over and out.

 

Peace and love,

 

GARY

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

My YouTube Video on the Subject of Trigger Immunity with The Sinclair Method

As I mentioned in a previous post (see HERE), I’d been thinking of experimenting with YouTube for some time, given that despite the fact that about a third of the world’s internet traffic goes through that site only 9% of businesses use it, I reasoned that it would be a crime not to have a go – especially since it could potentially seriously improve the stats for my site.

Hence my first attempt with the video below on the subject of my newfound immunity to triggers thanks to The Sinclair Method.

…What do I think of it?

I think it’s okaaaay-ish. Took long enough to upload. I still hate my accent and the flat, Aspie-ish cadence of my voice, but I think it’s fine for a first effort… I like the fact that it’s not scripted and I’m just keeping it real, being myself…. it’s not a fucking infomermical, in other words.

I must say, the camera on my Samsung S7 Edge phone is actually quite impressive for recording videos. It gives a really good picture.

As for follow-up videos, I’d quite like to do one on Alcoholics Anonymous and my obsessively nerdy interest in Bill W’s niacin fixation, as well as his desire to “find a methadone for alcoholism” (something which I’ve previously discussed HERE).

That and I’d like to do a series of interviews using the recorder function on Google Hangouts – the first of which will hopefully be with the British independent alcohol treatment provider, Paul Turner.

If anybody has any ideas for future videos that they’d like offer then I’m all ears. I’d love to hear from you.