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Friday, June 27, 2014

Treatment or Penance?

Targeted naltrexone administration ("the Sinclair Method," our focus here) is the bee's knees for people addicted primarily to the opioid reward.  For people whose addiction functions more via GABA receptors, daily high-dose baclofen has some risk but also some good results.  Baclofen is still in the "early results are promising" stage, but the Sinclair Method's efficacy is well-established.

What disturbs me is that this has been well-established for some time and yet we still think people should just abstain from alcohol and join a support group.  That approach pretty much doesn't work.  95% of the people who try it will fail.

Why do we most strongly promote the method which is both most difficult and least successful?  I think we believe that addicts deserve to suffer.

If someone has a broken leg, we fix the problem.  We don't get into a pointless argument about whether he jumped off the roof, fell by accident, or was thrown by an assailant.  We fix the leg first.  But if someone develops an addiction, hoo boy does the blame start flying -- and the addict should be forced to do it the hardest possible way, as penance.

If the guy jumped, he was foolish to do it.  Whether he jumped or was pushed, he still deserves reasonable medical care.  The guy who jumped shouldn't be denied proper medical care on the grounds that he did something foolish.

If we denied real medical care to everyone who contributed to his/her own problem, there would be no cardiac care for anyone who ever ate fast food or drank coffee.  Cancer treatments would be denied to anyone who ever went near carcinogens.  The entire field of sports medicine would disappear.  Since none of us are perfect, most of us would die young.

It's time to stop insisting that addicts need spirituality instead of proper care.  It's time to treat addicts with no more but no less respect and concern than anyone else with a health problem.  It's time to let addicts have proper medical treatment.

Friday, June 20, 2014

"I Get No Pleasure From Drinking"

Interesting discussion over on www.thesinclairmethod.net -- one participant said (I'm paraphrasing) that people who drink after trauma should focus on addressing the trauma, that people who drink to relax and to deal with anxiety should try the baclofen approach first, and that the Sinclair Method was best suited for people who drink to get high.  I think she has a good point and that that's a reasonable approach.  However, there's a snag -- some of us are maintaining our self-respect by maintaining that we loathe drinking and everything about it.

I'm always surprised when I hear an addict or recent ex-addict say that there was no pleasure in drinking.  Some people say, and probably even believe, that there was no high or enjoyment of any kind in drinking, only the illusion of pleasure from the relief of addiction.  This is not true, yet many of us believe it.

If this mistaken belief is widespread, it could be bad.  If we don't know what we are conditioned to seek (euphoria, in our case), then we don't know what to block (opioid receptors) to break the conditioning.  I can easily imagine someone convincing himself that he drinks only due to addiction, gets no pleasure from it at all . . . and therefore is not a good candidate for a method which works by blocking pleasure.

That would blow.

Really, the majority of people conditioned to drink are conditioned to seeking the pleasure. Yes, it is no longer under our conscious control, but the presence of conditioning doesn't mean the absence of the physiological euphoria which everyone feels upon consuming alcohol.

If you think that your addiction is 100% pain and 0% pleasure, consider that you may be fooling yourself.  There are a number of reasons to deny the inherent pleasure, chief among them being shame that we are (apparently) choosing this cheap temporary pleasure in the face of all reason and common sense.  It's okay.  You're conditioned; it's not a free choice any more.  Any shame attaching must be to the earlier decisions, not to last night's bender.  The thing to do now is to fix the problem.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Finding Support

Some have asked me where they can find support for doing the Sinclair Method.  I'm happy to talk with people, but I'm not available 100% of the time, and there are an awful lot of desperate people out there.

The best place to find mutual support is TheSinclairMethod.net.  It's a free message board. There are people from all over the world, so help is potentially available 24/7.  It's reasonably private -- you have to register to read, although of course nothing is truly private online and pseudonyms are always suggested.

Don't leave off the "the" at the beginning or you'll find yourself at the page of a Sinclair Method inpatient/outpatient clinic.

I've heard a couple of people say that they would like live support groups.  I doubt this will ever happen, because most people don't want or need it.  It's simple to do and it usually works in months rather than decades, so endless meetings are just not a part of it.  I suppose a really huge place like New York City might produce enough people who would like face to face meetings, but I've never heard of it happening.

Your best bet is to join the message board and find a few particular buddies.  If you struggle with the temptation of skipping nal, which is the main pitfall, some folks might share texting numbers with you.

I don't mean to discourage anyone from emailing me.  unchainedmouse at gmail dot com remains available to anyone who wants my help and support.  We're all in this life together, you know?  I just hate to be anyone's sole lifeline when I know that I won't always be available.