TSM – Embracing The Cure – Joanna’s Journey

In chronicling my own route to recovery, I hope to bring you some insights into my own experience with Naltrexone and The Sinclair Method (TSM), that will either tug further at your curiosity of TSM or help you along the way with your own recovery.

My experiences are solely that – my own experiences.  Yours may differ, of course.  I am not medically qualified, simply someone who successfully used TSM to rid my own addiction to alcoholic drinking.  Other routes to recovery exist that work for other people, but they did not work for me.  It was The Sinclair Method that finally broke down my addiction.

My journey began in September 2013.  A very dear friend of mine, exasperated at my never ending and fruitless attempts to remain sober for any meaningful length of time, handed me the book Babylon Confidential, written by Claudia Christian, a memoir of her life, her battle with alcohol addiction, and her recovery from alcohol addiction. He told me in no uncertain terms and using language that I could never print here, that I HAD TO READ IT.

Always having been a fan of Babylon 5, the TV show that I remember Claudia starring in, I was more than happy to comply with his request.  However, I wasn’t prepared for the type of book it was.  Oh my, that was a shock I tell you!  Despite the book’s subtitle being A Memoir Of Love, Sex & Addiction, I believed it was just an autobiography – but no, it is much more than that.  Way more than that, in fact…….

Once I’d settled down to begin reading it (with a few drinks naturally), I read it from cover to cover in one night.  I shed tears not just at events that Claudia had lived through.. but, as my friend had told me, there were a lot of similarities in what was written on those pages.  Hell, even I could see them!  Not in the lifestyle, or the glamour of course.  But in what Claudia explained was happening within her.  I recognised that ‘monster’ she writes of….I recognised the confusion, the pain, the undeniable pull of being unable to remain sober… the days and nights of questioning what was wrong with me.  Why couldn’t I stop drinking when I am so in control of practically everything else in my life?

That realisation was a turning point in my life!  Fate had brought me to this point.  I had to grab the moment with both hands – I had HOPE!

As Claudia explained, Naltrexone could be the answer.  I read and re-read, trying to comprehend everything through my hazy mind and my drunken stupor (at this point it was almost 2.00am).  Could it really be that simple?  One tablet, one hour before drinking?  That sounds ridiculous – far too simple.  After all, I had tried various methods to try get this ‘thing’ out of me (AA, outpatient treatment courses, antabuse) and no matter what I did, I just could not remain sober for any length of time.  I could get sober for a few months before the inevitable happened again, but I couldn’t remain sober. How could this simple tablet – and one simple rule – be the answer?

At this point it had teased my brain enough that my mind wouldn’t let it go.  I didn’t sleep much at all for the rest of that night, my brain was so filled with hope and I knew I had to find out more about TSM.  I spent the next few days researching as much as I could.

I eventually ordered a copy of The Cure For Alcoholism by Dr Roy Eskapa, and my Naltrexone tablets.  This was another vital step.  My brain was still quite hazy, being that I was actively drinking at the time, and it appeared difficult for me to put things in order of what I needed to do to get started.

One week later, I had fully understood Dr Eskapas’ book and was ready to go.  With some nervousness of what might happen, I presumed to get myself safe at home with some alcohol and my Naltrexone pill.  Upon taking the pill, it quickly became apparent that I was feeling a couple of minor side effects (as is common in the beginning).  It wasn’t alarming in any way, just a little strange.  When the required hour had passed I poured a drink and during the course of that evening I could not finish 2 drinks!

During the course of each drinking session on naltrexone, 2 drinks seem to be my limit.  In fact I have yet to finish a third since I started taking Naltrexone.  I simply lose interest in my drink.  I find that I still have that need sometimes, that craving (since I am still quite early in treatment), but the actual act of drinking no longer drives me off the end of a cliff… it no longer controls me.

It is an interesting sensation to realise that I just don’t want the drink that is in front of me anymore.  Previously, I had little choice once I’d started.  Drinking a bottle of vodka now I’ve had the naltrexone pill holds all the interest of drinking a large 2 litre bottle of soft drink!  I will often start consuming a drink and then, strangely enough, my mind wonders to whatever else I’m doing… and suddenly I realise that a couple of hours have passed and I haven’t even finished the first drink.

I now quite regularly throw drink down the sink.

“What?!?”,  I hear you cry.  Well, yes, that is absolutely true!  There never used to be alcohol in my house unless I intended to drink it.  Now there has been alcohol in my fridge for days and weeks at a time.  TSM and the process of pharmacological extinction is reversing my addiction.

One of Dr Eskapa’s recommendations is to keep a record of your consumption.  Below are the results of how my drinking has drastically reduced in the 10 weeks I have been following The Sinclair Method and of how my number of alcohol-free days have increased.

Ten weeks into the course, I’m experiencing great success with TSM.  I have gone from drinking an average of 65-75 UK units per week to experiencing an incredible fall with the very first tablet, followed by a steady drop (now easily within W.H.O. guidelines – less than 14 units per week for a female).

The “golden rule” of one tablet, one hour before drinking has not been an issue for me at all.  Back in the early weeks, there were a few times that I took that tablet with my hands shaking because I was craving so badly that I was physically hurting… it seemed as if my version of ‘the monster’ was trying to put up a fight as I was waiting that hour… but, upon taking that first drink, I would often find that the craving was less severe than my ‘monster’ had told me it was.  Nevertheless, since I had taken the Naltrexone, I would make the decision to have one drink to help the extinction along and then get on with whatever was left of my day.  Within a week or two, I had stopped drinking upon waking up in the morning (as had previously been my habit).

For me personally, TSM has been unbelievably beneficial – fulfilling all the promise I read of in the books.  It is an ongoing process, but this is a proven science.  That is why it appealed to me.   One pill, one hour before drinking that day… and –  as Claudia has often said to me in my correspondence with her – ‘Let the pill do the work’.  Indeed, that last sentence has summed it up perfectly.  (Thanks Claudia – I’m stealing that quote from you!)

The help and support I have had along the way has been phenomenal.  Since there is currently so little awareness of TSM in most areas (especially in England), I’m pleased that that lack of awareness is going to be challenged with the release of the documentary ‘One Little Pill’ and online resources such as this website.  Now I have experienced TSM, I want to do more to tell others of this wonderful treatment and to offer any support where I can along the way.

TSM should be an option – it shouldn’t be something that we, as alcoholics, have to jump through rings of fire to obtain.

Without Dr Sinclair’s amazing work focusing on alcohol addition and the help of Claudia, Dr Eskapa and others, I would not be where I am now.

And where am I??

I am well and truly on the road to freedom.  Based on my journey so far, I have absolutely no reason to believe that I will not be one of the almost 80% of people who experience long term success with The Sinclair Method.