It’s not rocket science…
A.K.A. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about by now. Allow me to enlighten you: what I’m talking about is The Sinclair Method (TSM) and the way people do it.
You see the “M” part of TSM really is not rocket science. Which is not to say the science *behind* it is not brilliant and innovative – it is. But the Method itself is actually very simple.
And it goes like this: every time you crave a drink, you take a tablet, wait one hour if you’re using Naltrexone or two if it’s Nalmefene, and then you have a drink. You drink slowly and mindfully, taking note of the lack of the usual buzz, and when you get that, “Meh… not bothered about this drink and don’t want another one,” feeling, you stop drinking for that session.
Rinse and repeat.
And sooner or later, if you are one of the large majority that this method works well for, you will achieve pharmacological extinction and you, not the bottle, will have control over your drinking.
It really is that simple.
Yes, there are refinements, and important ones, like keeping a drink diary to track your progress over time, and on days when you don’t drink (and hence don’t take a tablet), doing something to generate positive (i.e. non-alcohol-related) endorphins, thereby further reinforcing the re-education of your brain.
But at its heart, TSM is simply this: take the tablet, wait, drink. Repeat.
That’s it. Leave the science to the scientists.
So why oh, why are Joanna and I hearing of so many cases (in counselling, on the TSM support forum we moderate, OptionsSaveLives, and on other social media and support sites) where people feel the urge to fiddle about with this simple method? Why do people think they know better than Dr David Sinclair who dedicated his life and considerable expertise to researching and developing this method. A method that simply works as is, off the peg?
Why, for example, are people messing around with the dose?
Why are they lowering it because they’re feeling queasy and getting headaches – sorry, run that past me again… you’ve survived hangovers from hell when you tried to decorate the bathroom with your insides and your head felt like a marching band with jackhammers was parading inside it, and you’re upset by not fancying food for a few days and a few fairly minor headaches.
Why are they upping it because “I’m one week in and I’m still drinking! I need a higher dose!”
Of course, there will always be a few people whose medical conditions may necessitate a dosage adjustment, either up or down, but this is something you need to discuss with your prescribing physician, not just decide to do of your own volition.
How difficult is to understand that you should take a tablet one or two hours before you drink, EVERY time you drink? Pretty simple, right? So why are people either not bothering – “I just wanted to feel that buzz again…” or being sloppy… “Well, I was only going to have a couple…” or “Once in a while won’t hurt me…” Well, yes, actually, it will hurt you. It will screw up the relearning process that your brain is going through on TSM because all of a sudden your brain will find that sometimes, it does get that reward it’s been craving after all, and it’s yippee! The drinks are on me again! PARTY!!!
And why do people think that white-knuckling their way through the cravings, rather than taking the tablet, waiting and drinking – a method shown to safely and gradually kill the cravings over time – is the way to go? Why are they so desperate to have an alcohol-free day NOW!!?
Actually, I sort of get that. When you’ve been trapped in the hell of AUD for however long and someone throws you a lifeline, you’re going to grab hold of it and pin all your hopes on that lifeline because, for many people, nothing else they’ve tried has worked.
But why do people expect instant results? Why, when it’s taken them years, in all probability, to learn their addiction, do they expect TSM to snap its fingers, click its heels, and fix them overnight? Change only happens overnight on a regular basis in Hollywood scripts. It’s very rare in real life.
TSM can only do its job if you do yours – it’s a team effort. And your job in this context is to follow the Method properly. TSM is not a magic wand – like any form of treatment, it requires commitment on the part of the person doing it and a genuine desire to make a change in their life. And yes, there are going to be ups and downs. And yes, it’s probably going to take some time. Sorry, but nobody said that this was going to be a bed of roses all the way, and let’s face it, the end result is definitely worth persevering through the odd setback.
You see, the thing about TSM is that, as I say, it does work, but like any tool, you have to use it properly to get the desired results. Mess about with the proper procedure and it’s like trying to fasten a screw with a hammer – it ain’t gonna work!
No treatment – for anything from antibiotics for an infection to TSM for AUD – is going to work if you don’t stick to the playbook. TSM will work if you do it properly. It isn’t broken. It doesn’t need fixing. What it does need is for you to commit to doing it and doing it properly. What it does need is for you to be compliant with the Method shown in something like 120 studies and trials to be effective in almost 80% of people.
If you want to do TSM (and do it properly), educate yourself about the science behind it and, as my mother would say, “Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” the proper Method. This is a really good places to start: