Gary's Story: Part Two - Confessions of a TSM Guinea Pig
NOTE: This is Gary's candid, personal account of his experience with The Sinclair Method.
This three-part series is used with permission.
Because in part one I discussed how I discovered The Sinclair Method and where I was at with my physical and mental health prior to going onto this treatment, I wanted to devote this chapter to discussing what it was actually like for me embarking upon my journey with TSM.
Before I get ahead of myself though, I need to introduce someone who would be an instrumental catalyst in my finally deciding whether to “Sh*t or get off the pot” as far as this treatment goes.
The person I’m referring to is, of course, my friend and ally Claudia Christian.
(A photo of Claudia and me taken during filming of the London segment of the upcoming documentary about The Sinclair Method, One Little Pill)
For those people unfamiliar with the name: Claudia Christian is a highly talented and well-respected Hollywood actress with a career in film and television spanning three decades.
Despite an impressively prolific output (just look at Ms. Christian’s IMDB credits to see how busy she is!), to her legion of fans she is, of course, mostly fondly remembered and revered for her iconic role as Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5, a television series that is still considered by many – including this author – to be one of the smartest and most compelling science fiction TV shows ever produced.
So how on earth does someone like Claudia Christian even enter the picture with regards to what was going on with someone like me?
Good question. As I mentioned in the previous chapter, back in December 2012/January 2013 I’d fallen on hard times and, as luck would have it, had stumbled upon references to naltrexone and The Sinclair Method on the internet... and like any good, dutiful computer nerd who’s trying to do his research on something, one of my first ports of call was the Wikipedia page for TSM.
Although I found the page to be quite informative, I was still hungry to learn more and... as my eyes scanned down the Wikipedia page I came across something that made me say to myself “Hello, now that is interesting”. What I found was a reference to the fact that Claudia had successfully cured her own alcohol addiction using The Sinclair Method and... not just that... had even wrote about her experiences with both her addiction and with TSM within the pages of her memoir Babylon Confidential.
So, again, this resulted in yet another Google search. I typed “Claudia Christian Sinclair Method” and the first thing I recall clicking on was this vimeo video:
And... oh God... do you wanna know something? It was like a breath of fresh air. It was exactly what I needed to hear. And the fact that here was a person speaking about alcohol addiction (and, most importantly, how to successfully treat it) in such a persuasive, intelligent and articulate manner just blew me away..... up until then, I’d been so used to seeing vacuous celebrities giving the usual, predictable lip service exclusively to A.A. (the less said about Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew and Gary Busey here, the better)...so this was quite something, I can tell you.
It had an honesty about it... it said: “Do you know what? If A.A. didn’t work for you, then you’re not alone. In fact, it doesn’t work for most people... so don’t feel bad about it... just have a look at something that studies show DOES work quite effectively for people who try it”.
More than that... most refreshingly, there was nothing tiresomely polemical about what Claudia was saying about Alcoholics Anonymous... she wasn’t “bashing” it... she was just stating the fact that out of all of the treatment options available for alcohol addiction it (statistically) doesn’t have the best success rate going, that’s all (around 5% according to some studies).
What came next was to change my own personal destiny radically: I took the unusually forward step of contacting Claudia directly via a personal message on her Facebook fan page.
What I sent her was a bit of a rant, as I recall. Back then I was drinking quite a lot at that time and had a bit of a Tourette’s syndrome when it came to my usage of the CAPS LOCK AND EXCLAMATION MARKS TO EMPHASISE EVERYTHING!!! ...but ...much to my surprise, Ms. Christian got back to me that very evening and was extremely kind and extremely supportive in my quest to find an answer for my addiction.
And do you know what? She’s been brilliant with me ever since. As I’ve corresponded with Claudia over all this time, I’ve discovered a number of really interesting things about her... not least of which is the fact that she’s an extremely intelligent lady, someone who’s a voracious reader and who has a vast knowledge and interest in science and medicine... so it was no surprise to learn that she comes from a family full of doctors and surgeons.
Put it this way: I wouldn't like to go up against this lady in a debate - she's really sharp.
So anyway... this was all around December 2012/January 2013.
Wish I could say that I went onto TSM soon after, but that’s simply not the truth, sadly. In the months following this I had one of the most frustrating experiences of my life trying to somehow get my local medical service to prescribe for me... and... urghh! ...It was like having one door slammed in my face after another. Honestly, words can’t do justice to the disgust I felt when confronted with some of the unhelpful and (it has to be said) antagonistic attitudes I was presented with.
But, as it happens, this anger would give birth to something really positive. An idea started to form in my head. Little more than just an embryo at first, but as I got talking to Claudia over the period of a few months, it started to take shape.
What I proposed was a blog. Nothing more than a chronicle of one man’s experiences and observations as a “guinea pig” on The Sinclair Method. Something that would chart my progress and (taking inspiration from Carl Sagan with his “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” maxim) really put TSM to the test. All that was needed for this blog was a domain name. Oh... and, of course, I needed a supply of naltrexone so that I could actually start treatment.
The first came easy. Like the best ideas, “Naltrexone Confidential” just naturally popped into my head without anything in the way of intense brainstorming. What’s neat about it is the way how it acts as tribute to Claudia (by way of a “tip of the hat” to her memoir Babylon Confidential) and it also, it has to be said, sounds like the name of a magazine, doesn’t it? (Obviously, the eponymous magazine from James Elroy’s L.A. Confidential comes to mind).
Strangely enough, having an appreciation of that type of hard-boiled fiction (I was a huge fan of Jonathan Latimer’s Bill Crane detective stories when I was younger) helped shape the style of writing that I would adopt... no flowery, morbidly romanticized confessionals about “my struggle” for me!
Nope. This was going to have an educational/journalistic tone to it: “Just the facts, ma’am”.
It says a lot about Claudia that she got behind this idea so early on and said “Go for it” to me. It speaks volumes about her very real confidence in this treatment.
...Think about it: if this had gone pear-shaped and the treatment proved to be absolutely useless then things could be very, very different now indeed.
Thankfully, as luck would have it, out of all of the treatment methods I’ve tried over the last two decades this was the one that did the unthinkable and finally relieved me of my addiction to alcohol. All it took was 13 weeks for pharmacological extinction to take place. (See here: http://naltrexonecon...nction-agenda/)
But.... oh dear.... as is my habit, I’ve got ahead of myself again. As I said earlier, the biggest battle that I’d had on my hands was simply acquiring a prescription for naltrexone (or nalmefene – naltrexone’s sister drug that has been found in several clinical trials to be as equally effective).
For a time I flirted with the option of using a private clinic in Scotland to have it prescribed (and had even started the process by filling out all of the necessary paperwork and allowing my surgery and this clinic consent to send relevant bits and bobs to each other to get the ball rolling)... however, I’m sad to say that I elected to instead take a leap of faith by instead importing it from an online vendor.
In retrospect, this is not something that I would do again. It was taking a bit of a risk. But here’s the thing: I’d been so sickened by my past experiences dealing with my local medical service... and felt, by this point, so sick of the undignified way that I kept being made to feel like Oliver Twist begging for his bowl of gruel each time I dealt with a different medical outlet, that I wanted to take back some measure of control by “cutting out the middle man” and simply importing the damn stuff from an online vendor.
Quite a bloody-minded attitude to have, I know. I’m not proud of this admission. But that was where I was at. That was the sum result of having numerous doors slammed in my face and being patronised and sneered at when I presumed to insult some doctor’s God complex by telling him about this currently little-known, but wildly successful treatment method that flat-out contradicts his outdated notions about addiction treatment.
Still, that’s all in the past now.
The way I see it is that out of this crucible of seething anger something really positive was born: the website and my ongoing commitment to help spread the word about TSM.
Not that it would be all plain-sailing with that, you understand. There’d be tears and tantrums (as I explain in Part Three), but my association with Claudia has been a good one. She’s been incredibly generous with her time... and, it has to be said, extremely tolerant, too ... as I’ll perhaps detail in another article, running a website and campaigning to raise awareness about this treatment method isn’t always easy.
It can come with some headaches.
Recently, because I was feeling a tad burnt-out (“familiarity breeds contempt” and all that) and because I wanted to have a crack at some other projects, I stepped back from it all and handed the reins of the website to my long-time collaborator Joanna... but I’m still very much active as an occasional contributor on there and as a technical consultant of sorts.
Anyhoo, this all brings me up to the here and now. And since I’m now – just looking at the wordcount – at 1,800+ words, I think now would be a good time to say “adios” and pass you over to Part Three, which will act as an summary of my experience with The Sinclair Method.