My battle with alcohol is probably a lot like yours. I too felt so alone in my near decade-long struggle. Alcohol was both my best friend and my worst enemy. It would remove all of my problems while simultaneously creating more.
A friend once shared a quote with me that said, “alcohol gave me wings to fly… and then it took away the sky.” I think that’s about right. For nearly a decade I used alcohol for everything and when I didn’t have it I craved it. Every. Single. Day.
I was so ashamed of my dependence that tried to hide my patterns of heavy drinking from most people. Occasionally I would get too drunk at parties and pretend that it was a “fluke” and unsual
for me. But it wasn’t a fluke at all because I loved to drink and loved to drink A LOT. I would often be at parties wondering if there was enough alcohol there… noticing everyone was still sipping on their first drink when I was going for my second or third.
I would also regularly sneak more drinks when people weren’t looking, keep stashes in different places and by around lunchtime everyday I’d be dreaming about my nightly wine ritual. I lived for
drinking so much so that I gradually found myself isolating more and more just so I could drink whenever and however I wanted.
I share this with you because if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you can relate – at least to some extent. I get emails everyday from people who say that my story is just like theirs...yet here we are, feeling so alone in this battle when the truth of the matter is, we are not alone at all.
If I’ve learned anything in the last few years of serving as an advocate and success story to the Sinclair Method it’s this: countless people struggle and suffer silently with alcohol dependence every single day – feeling alone, hopeless and ashamed with very few options to turn to.
These are often people we respect, love and admire! People we would never imagine would struggle with an addiction. They are our parents, grandparents, children, colleagues, bosses, yoga teachers, soldiers, nurses, doctors, counselors, professors, teachers, store clerks, realtors, coaches, waiters, police officers, personal trainers, and so on.
Alcohol addiction does not discriminate and once it gets its hold, it progressively works to strip away your joy, peace and the truth of who you are. This has been a major motivating factor for me to go public with my alcohol addiction and serve as an advocate for this extremely effective treatment of undoing alcohol addiction. I want to show people that they’re not alone in their struggles, that an “everyday person” like me can battle with (and overcome) this monster, and they can too.
Right before I found the Sinclair Method, my drinking was the worst it had ever been. Over the years I tried so many other ways to stop or reduce drinking and nothing had worked. I felt like I was out of options, and there were days that I prayed for my own “rock bottom” – thinking that maybe if things got “really bad” it would finally make me stop.
On bad days I would sit and honestly wonder if I was going to have to live my life as an alcoholic. That’s how strong the addiction and craving for alcohol was… and it was constant. Honestly, it breaks my heart to think back to those days. Thank God for the Sinclair Method.
I found TSM by accident – which seems to be how most people find it since it is still relatively unknown to the mainstream. I stumbled upon Claudia Christian’s TedxTalk about how she overcame alcoholism using this method. I was stunned something like this existed. “How come I hadn’t heard of it before? Surely it was too good to be true,” I thought.
In August 2017, A couple months after seeing this video I started on TSM and naltrexone treatment,
and my life hasn’t been the same since. Through this method and over the course of one year I watched myself go from a daily heavy drinker, to a moderate drinker, to an infrequent drinker and ultimately landing where I am today, nearly 2 years sober from alcohol.
The changes on this method were gradual and subtle – I slowly started having more alcohol free days each month and noticed my quantity of drinks were decreasing.
For me, the biggest gift of the Sinclair Method was its ability to completely remove my alcohol cravings over time. I didn’t realize how much I was craving alcohol until I slowly wasn’t anymore. My mind felt so free and I started to feel like a “normal” drinker as I watched myself leave
unfinished glasses of wine on the table and genuinely enjoy longer periods of time without alcohol. I felt like this method gave me a reset button to life, a second chance.
I was rediscovering hobbies I hadn’t done for years because drinking was my main hobby (and it’s hard to do most things while drunk), I was
also feeling more sensitized to my environment – noticing the beautiful smells of flowers and
feeling emotions I hadn’t allowed myself to feel
in a long time.
I also started to feel genuine joy again and realized alcohol and robbed that from me for
so long. I could go on and on about all the
things that changed when I got on TSM, but I’ll stop here.
For the better part of the last century, alcohol addiction has been treated with an abstinence-only approach, with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) being the most well-known and recommended program by everyone – even though its success rate is somewhere around 5-10%.
This has also produced a challenge in society as alcohol addiction has been perceived as strictly black and white – you’re either an alcoholic or you’re not. After speaking with hundreds of people over the years, I’d venture to say that most people who struggle with alcohol fall into the “gray area” – where they’re still living life as usual, but alcohol is becoming a bigger problem that they’re struggling to control. Yet, it might not feel “bad enough” to quit completely, label yourself an alcoholic and go to AA meetings everyday. So, people continue to drink, trying different things to reduce or control it with little lasting success.
It’s important to note that I have nothing against AA and I’m so glad it exists – I find the 12 step work very valuable, and also think it is vital to have a relationship with God and practice prayer especially during recovery and challenging times. However, alcohol dependence is a chronic illness and a disease of the brain, and I believe it should be treated as such – just like how someone with diabetes would be treated. We can no longer view alcoholism as a moral failing, but as something that requires effective, evidence-based treatments that are proven to work for most people.
And that’s why I’m so passionate about the Sinclair Method. It no longer requires a person to hit “rock bottom” to get help. People can start this treatment before it gets too bad – and it gives them the option to keep alcohol in their life in moderation if they choose because they are addressing the biological aspect of alcohol use disorder.
Is therapy or coaching “required” for success with the TSM method?
While it’s not required, I believe having some form of support is vital to success for two reasons. First, it’s important to make sure you understand the mechanics of the method so you’re doing it correctly. Second, often our relationships to alcohol are quite complicated and we’ve used alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with life’s challenges. So, while the naltrexone treatment can work miraculously to reduce drinking, if we’re not also addressing the behavioral aspect of it, we can stay stuck in a rut and not make progress on this method.
Raising awareness about TSM
While TSM is still relatively unknown to the general population, things are slowly changing. More and more doctors are getting on-board with this treatment, and there are new treatment platforms coming online that provide evidence-based programs that include medication therapy and harm reduction.
The CThreeFoundation has done great work to raise awareness about this treatment method, and provides a directory of doctors who treat using this approach.
What others are saying
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