Nicole88

The Sinclair Method/ Pharmacological Extinction

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Hey friends! I have been meaning to make this post for awhile. Some may remember from my early posts that I was a poly substance abuser- adderall, benzos, and alcohol. Adderall was obviously my first love and everything else was either to ease the come down or enhance the effects of it. While I have been off of adderall and the benzos for about 26 months now, I continued to struggle with periodic episodes of binge drinking. This was always a concern of mine since alcoholism runs heavily in my family but I just never talked about it much on this site since it was not causing too serious of issues other than a hangover. About 6 months ago, I started taking a new medication- naltrexone, which essentially REVERSES alcoholism by blocking the receptors that the endorphins released by alcohol act on. Since this time, I have not had a single binge drinking episode, hangover, regret or embarassment caused by alcohol. I am able to walk away after 1-2 drinks with zero issues. It has truly been life changing for me and I wanted to share since I know there are others who may struggle with this as well. I know for many on this site, total abstinence is the goal, and I think that is great but it is nice to know that there are other options available.   Many who use the Sinclair method do have abstinence as the end goal which is facilitated by this process since cravings are eliminated as the addiction to alcohol is reversed. 

if anyone would like more information, there is a documentary on Amazon prime called 'one little pill' and also a tedx talk by Claudia Christian 'how I overcame alcoholism.' 

Hope everyone is well :)

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Great post and thanks for the info. I too have found this issue among my adderall days and since quitting. I quit drinking for about 6mo at one point... I don’t drink daily however when I do find the occasional excuse to start it seems stopping is an issue. There is a small window of feeling a bit of euphoria or almost normal when drinking that doesn’t seem to come until well over the normal 2-3 drinks most people have which quickly turns into stumbling and slurring about with regrets the next day. I’ve been working hard to find a ways to stop and may have to give this a try. 

Also seems even 1yr+ post adderall has raised the “buzz” tolerance much higher when drinking for me. I don’t think the drinking did this as I don’t drink frequently and it also seems it has made finding a natural high without any substance almost non existent for me which is basically depressing. I’m still fighting and working to find natural joys in life. Alcohol is certainly not beneficial to this process.

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On 9/8/2018 at 4:27 PM, Nicole88 said:

Hey friends! I have been meaning to make this post for awhile. Some may remember from my early posts that I was a poly substance abuser- adderall, benzos, and alcohol. Adderall was obviously my first love and everything else was either to ease the come down or enhance the effects of it. While I have been off of adderall and the benzos for about 26 months now, I continued to struggle with periodic episodes of binge drinking. This was always a concern of mine since alcoholism runs heavily in my family but I just never talked about it much on this site since it was not causing too serious of issues other than a hangover. About 6 months ago, I started taking a new medication- naltrexone, which essentially REVERSES alcoholism by blocking the receptors that the endorphins released by alcohol act on. Since this time, I have not had a single binge drinking episode, hangover, regret or embarassment caused by alcohol. I am able to walk away after 1-2 drinks with zero issues. It has truly been life changing for me and I wanted to share since I know there are others who may struggle with this as well. I know for many on this site, total abstinence is the goal, and I think that is great but it is nice to know that there are other options available.   Many who use the Sinclair method do have abstinence as the end goal which is facilitated by this process since cravings are eliminated as the addiction to alcohol is reversed. 

if anyone would like more information, there is a documentary on Amazon prime called 'one little pill' and also a tedx talk by Claudia Christian 'how I overcame alcoholism.' 

Hope everyone is well :)

That sounds amazing but so scary at the same time. When you drank before did it make you want Adderall?  So the pill just kills off the high? Would it be comparable to having a non-alcoholic beer? How long has the medication been around and does it cause any side effects?

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@LILTEX41 Surprisingly, no, drinking did not make me want adderall. Though when I first quit, I was sober as well for about the first 6 months. This coupled with the fact that I really didn't have immediate access to adderall probably was a great help. And yes, that is exactly right. Naltrexone essentially kills the high. For me, drinking is a completely different experience and really hardly at all enjoyable. The greatest benefit for me wasn't at all 'hey, great, I can keep drinking,' it was that when I was completely abstinent that I would isolate from social events or old friends because I just couldn't be around it. I would always be thinking why can't I have just one, why am I so different. This is a problem unique to alcohol as it is literally in your face everywhere. Any temptations I had with going back to the pills was minimal or self-induced. But now, that is no longer an issue, and since I have been on this path for about 6 months, I would say I am very close to extinction. I no longer get random cravings for alcohol, and I no longer have obsessive thoughts in social situations about it. I probably have 1-2 drinks a month and would be fine with less. Quite frankly, this alone is a miracle lol.

The medication itself has been around since the 80s with a ~78% success rate for treating AUD, which they believe most of the failure is due to non compliance. Basically, once you commit to doing this, you have to stick it out. One pill 60mins before you drink indefinitely. The most common side effect is nausea. The first few times I took it I felt HORRIBLE. Someone recommended I preload with Dramamine and problem solved!! The nausea subsided after a few weeks and it was no longer needed. The second thing anyone taking it should know is that it is an opiod antagonist, meaning it also blocks the effects of opioids. If you were to get into an accident, any opioids administered would have no effect. Any physician treating you would need to administer general anesthesia or use another pain treatment.

Lastly, it will likely be difficult for you to get your PCP to prescribe you this medication. It is not well known, and well there just isn't any money in it as it's been off patent for years. It is only starting to gain traction now due to the documentary I mentioned and the C3 foundation. I heard about it years ago but couldn't find a doctor to prescribe it. Now you are able to use phone consults to get a prescription. I used MDProactive.com :) 

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A few random last thoughts for anyone who might want to take this route:

 

-Make sure you ask for 50mg naltrexone to be used via the Sinclair method protocol NOT vivitrol shots

-Finding a support group similar to QA is incredibly powerful as not everyone has the same histories, current circumstances or experiences with the medication. A few I can recommend are AlcoholismMedication on Reddit, Options save lives forums, and 'The Sinclair Method Warriors' on FB 

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Nicole,

Thank you so much for all the great info!  So I was wondering though..you mentioned the goal of the Sinclair Method as being abstinence, but how does that work if the reason you wanted to drink again was for social reasons?  Is abstinence your ultimate goal and if so do you feel comfortable going out now because you no longer want it?  Or are you just going to carry on taking the pills for as long as needed?  

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1 hour ago, LILTEX41 said:

Nicole,

Thank you so much for all the great info!  So I was wondering though..you mentioned the goal of the Sinclair Method as being abstinence, but how does that work if the reason you wanted to drink again was for social reasons?  Is abstinence your ultimate goal and if so do you feel comfortable going out now because you no longer want it?  Or are you just going to carry on taking the pills for as long as needed?  

Of course, happy to share!

My goal when I first started initially was not total abstinence. I really just wanted to be able to go out and not obsess about alcohol and to stop the binge drinking. Now that I am where I am in the process, I do see it as a possibility. But yes, many people start TSM with that goal and the reason is that over time, as you drink on this medication, since you no longer receive the positive reinforcement via an endorphin rush, you brain slowly converts back to a state where you have no emotional attachment to alcohol. This is what I mean when I say 'extinction.' This process can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years depending on the person. Now that I pretty much get no pleasure from the drinking and I don't feel as drawn to it nor do I have the same intense cravings, I can see being totallly abstinent but the great thing is how it is no longer a struggle and I don't feel like I'm missing out. It just happens organically really and feels effortless compared to any prior attempts I had at reducing/stopping drinking. 

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So when you go out now to socialize with other friends who are drinking do you still have a drink or two? And if you decide to not drink at all do you feel comfortable going out and being the only one not drinking because you no longer want it?

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17 hours ago, LILTEX41 said:

So when you go out now to socialize with other friends who are drinking do you still have a drink or two? And if you decide to not drink at all do you feel comfortable going out and being the only one not drinking because you no longer want it?

Initially on TSM, I would drink every time  i went out but over the last 6 weeks or so there have been several times where I did not have a drink and felt fine. No cravings or obsessions, I just simply did not feel like drinking. My best example of this would be Memorial Day this year. A group of friends and I spent the week in the outer banks, NC and had a great bash on the beach all day. I took my medication fully expecting to want to participate, but the day passed without me wanting a single drink. Through extinction, most people do get to a point of absolute indifference, but how long that takes varies from person to person.

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That really is absolutely incredible and awesome. Is the medication expensive? I’m already 23 days sober though so probably wouldn’t get it now. But if I drink again would definitely consider it.

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45 minutes ago, LILTEX41 said:

That really is absolutely incredible and awesome. Is the medication expensive? I’m already 23 days sober though so probably wouldn’t get it now. But if I drink again would definitely consider it.

It really is, and no it is super cheap. I used the good Rx app and it ended up being ~$20 for 30 pills which lasts several months.

Congrats on 23 days! That is awesome :) and yea, I definitely wouldn't go back to drinking just to try it out but it is nice to know that the option exists. I just wish it was more well known because I think it could save so many people's lives, especially chronic alcoholics with multiple failed attempts as sobriety. It lets people find recovery on their own terms.

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That's exciting it's not wicked expensive! I thought for sure it would be.  Well, I will definitely recommend it to anyone I know of looking for another alternative and possibly myself if ever needed.  Thank you so much for sharing this with us.  It's so great to have yet another option as you said!  

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