Alcohol Addiction Sinclair Method Step 1
STEP ONE: UNDERSTANDING THE SINCLAIR METHOD
Changing your thinking
The first steps towards a successful treatment plan require you to, before anything else, change how you think about your drinking. While it can be easy to stay in the same mindset of alcoholism, the Sinclair Method aims to change that mindset – and give you a fresh slate when it comes to your relationship with alcohol. By looking at the development of addiction, and the chemistry behind what causes alcoholism, it’s possible to be permanently cured when you change the way you think.
By understanding how the method works, and what it does, you’re already on the right track. Even if you’re only at the very start of your journey in a problematic relationship with alcohol, this method is an excellent fit for you – creating the right thinking and right conditions to improve that relationship and inoculate against future problems.
For many, the idea of drinking when you have a drinking problem seems counter-productive. But, in fact, our research suggests that continuing to drink is a must for your recovery. Providing you’re following your plan to the letter, and taking your Naltrexone or Nalmefene as necessary, you can continue to drink – and you must, for your treatment plan to be a success.
Addiction can feel like a mountain where it’s impossible to reach the summit. But clinical studies into the Sinclair Method have shown you don’t need to climb that mountain. Addiction to alcohol and binge drinking are severe issues, but there is a cure. No constant slog, sliding backwards or difficult climbs for your future treatment.
While traditional addiction treatment methods for alcohol require total abstinence, the Sinclair Method takes a different approach. As you go into treatment, it won’t be necessary to stop drinking. For this treatment to be successful, it’s recommended that you continue to drink at a safe rate. For those hesitant to attend rehab or go into treatment because they’ll never be able to enjoy a drink again at a moderate level, the Sinclair Method is the answer.
While traditional abstinence-based methods are admirable, they require a tremendous amount of willpower to be successful. Whether it’s through faith, conventional support groups, counselling or private treatment, relapse is incredibly common – and extremely disheartening.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic’. With traditional methods, whether it’s weeks, months or years, abstinence is a constant strain on your life. Especially when you leave those support networks and feel you can go it alone. Without treating the chemical connection between drinking and your brain, deprivation and impulse will soon set in – leading to often devastating relapses over time.
This compulsion isn’t limited to humans – rats and monkeys deprived of alcohol following free access also experience that same deprivation effect. This leads to binge-drinking and a considerable increase in daily intake in comparison to those that continue to drink steadily. Neither is the right solution – but the Sinclair Method is an alternative to both, working to break that cycle in new and innovative ways.
To beat your addiction, stopping drinking simply doesn’t work. With the Sinclair Method, you’re provided with the means to drink without that compulsion – through the use of endorphin-blocking opioid antagonist drugs, known as Naltrexone or Nalmefene. To gain the most benefit from these medications, continuing to drink while keeping to your medication schedule is a must. Abstaining means you aren’t getting that trigger needed to reduce addiction and ultimately retrain how your brain thinks about alcohol.
Once you’ve entered into treatment, you’ll likely notice a reduction in your compulsions and cravings for drinking within the first few weeks. However, it’s essential to stick to the plan provided, as it can take three to four months for the Sinclair Method to result in real, substantial success against alcohol addiction. You must keep drinking – but you’re doing it on your terms, which is already a step in the right direction.
UNRAVELLING THE MYTHS OF ADDICTION
Whether it’s from the people around you or your internal voice, many people that have problems with alcohol have mistaken beliefs surrounding their addiction. This might include:
I’m a lost cause and incurable, so there’s no point trying to stop.
You can’t get out once you’re addicted, so this is my life now.
Your personality is inherently addictive, which makes you weak.
There’s no point trying to control drinking because nothing will work.
You have to stop drinking for the rest of your life to beat alcoholism.
You’re born a drinker, and that will never change.
Alcoholism is nearly always a terminal condition.
You must have immense willpower to beat an addiction.
You must detox and go through rehab to beat alcoholism.
You need to hit rock bottom to start going up.
With old-school treatment methods, all these statements have a ring of truth. But with the Sinclair Method, alcoholism is no longer incurable. Addiction doesn’t have to plague your life, and you don’t have to use every ounce of willpower you have to abstain every single day. With traditional methods, relapse is easy. Which is why looking at addiction from a different perspective is a must if you want to find a way out that’s successful, practical and works for you.
Before the Sinclair Method became a formal treatment plan, many rehab-based treatments for alcoholism were based around a dangerous ‘drying out’ process, often known as detoxification. For those with alcohol addiction, these detox periods can be physically and mentally harmful, especially if done incorrectly. The Sinclair Method strips away that detox requirement, leaving you with no physiological dependence on alcohol. Alcoholism isn’t the incurable disease it was once considered to be.
Using the Sinclair Method, those myths are no longer a reality. Beating your addiction is possible, and not relapsing is entirely feasible with the right tools in place.
Clinical studies have shown that Naltrexone or Nalmefene can be used as a way to reverse that addictive behaviour completely. This means that you don’t have to live your life as an addict. With the right medication, drinking can once more become a regular part of your life. Instead of a demon to avoid or a way of life, alcohol becomes completely neutral – which is the ideal way to live your life.
We often associated alcoholism and heavy drinking with immoral behaviour and weakness. But rather than a moral problem, in many drinkers, the issue is far more chemical. Addictive brain biochemistry can be to blame for problems with alcohol in the first place. So fighting chemicals with chemicals is the ideal approach for the best possible outcome.
Research into the Sinclair Method has proven that controlled drinking is a feasible goal when Naltrexone or Nalmefene are taken as advised consistently. By curing that addiction, those cravings and uncontrolled drinking binges are no longer a factor in your choice to drink. For those with severe drinking problems, this change can mean a new lease of life – and no early death as a result of an extensive drinking problem.
No one is just ‘born an alcoholic’. Typically, binge drinking and other drinking issues are the results of your genetic predisposition combined with learning. Nature vs Nurture, but for your brain. Over time, you develop an addiction based on your brain’s response to that alcohol. Just like any other habit, it doesn’t happen overnight. By removing that addictive drinking and the compulsions associated with alcoholism, there’s no need to hit the ‘rock bottom’ that many programs make central to their treatment plans. With the Sinclair Method, you strip back the need for willpower and fighting cravings to drink in exchange for a less drastic, and more effective, answer.
It’s a sad fact, but alcoholics that have remained sober for many years are indeed in the minority. Even more so when it comes to those that stay sober for the rest of their lives. Every addicted individual has a risk of relapse, and as much as 90% will do so within that first twelve months. One drink is enough to enter that spiral, even following years of sobriety and work.
Those that attend alcoholic’s programs often report alcoholics returning to the start of the plan decades after reaching sobriety. That unique alcohol deprivation effect means that addiction is always there, bubbling under the surface. Up until the introduction of the Sinclair Method, that addiction had no way to be un-learned or removed from the brain. Willpower and rehab alone aren’t enough to change what’s hard-wired into your brain, and often learned over years and years of addiction. Whether you’ve not drunk for a single week or for ten years, that high-risk addictive potential is still there. The Sinclair Method removes the concept of ‘one drink is all it takes’, changing the brain itself to remove addiction entirely – instead of just wallpapering over the cracks.
In contrast to the high-stress, often painful traditional detox process, the Sinclair Method is practically painless and easy. You’ll be encouraged to continue to drink while on the provided medication, allowing your brain to make those new and changed connections between drinking and cravings. From there, you can choose to taper off your drinking level slowly and surely – a better approach for your body and your mind. Pharmacological extinction using Naltrexone or Nalmefene makes the process more comfortable, more gradual, and far more in your control.
REGAINING CONTROL WITH A CURE
Scientific research has proven time and time again that there are two main reasons both humans and animals have a loss of control when it comes to alcohol. These include:
Genetic predisposition can be the basis of many addictions. Everyone’s brains are wired slightly differently, but for those with this kind of predisposition, a powerful endorphin system is a significant characteristic. That means drinking produces more potent endorphins within the opioid system in your brain, creating that connection between alcohol and pleasure. According to Dr Candace Pert in 1973, of the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins, these endorphins are ‘molecules of emotion’ within the brain, producing a pleasurable response when triggered through a range of chemicals.
The more times you drink alcohol, the more likely you’re connecting parts of your brain in specific and predetermined ways. When you have a drink, those endorphins mentioned above move throughout your brain. As with any muscle, the more exercised those neural pathways are, the stronger that circuitry becomes. That means people that drink every day are far more likely to have more robust wiring than those that have a drink occasionally. As these pathways develop, they become a permanent part of your brain.
The more you drink, the more solid those pathways become. If you were to walk a trail in the woods the same way every single day, you’d expect a path to appear over time. The same is true for your brain. As that connection solidifies, those cravings and the need to drink more begin to take root. That’s how addiction starts – a combination of your own drinking experience, and the genetic predispositions already build into your brain.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE
While the Sinclair Method is often used to treat those that are already full-fledged alcoholics, it can also be an excellent way to prevent alcoholism from occurring in the first place. Through a kind of chemical vaccination, it’s possible to avoid those negative addiction issues from happening in the first place – despite existing predispositions, and your personal drinking experience.
Rats that are genetically predisposed to addiction will likely become addicted if they are provided with alcohol freely. However, if those rats are given Naltrexone or Nalmefene before that access, the conditions for addiction to happen simply don’t occur. The chemicals prevent that stronger pathway, preventing the process that drives alcoholism in anyone – whether you’re genetically predisposed or simply have high levels of drinking in your daily life.
If you currently drink, and you’d like to maintain your current lifestyle without the risk of addiction, then the Sinclair Method is the answer. Often, individuals are especially cautious if family members have a history of addiction. But with Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you can ensure that your drinking remains neutral and that the path to addiction is blocked for you chemically. The Sinclair Method isn’t only designed for those amid addiction. It can also be used pre-emptively to allow you to live your life without the fear of alcoholism looming over you.
ALCOHOLISM ISN’T A ‘MUST’ FOR TREATMENT
To enter into treatment with the Sinclair Method, you don’t have to fit into that specific, alcoholic ‘box’. There’s no need to wait for a severe problem to occur or for your addiction to be formally diagnosed. The Sinclair Method works just as well for those simply looking to reduce their intake or develop healthier drinking habits by taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene before having a drink.
Because you’re in better control of your brain, you will naturally drink less. This means you can drink safely and moderately on your terms. While you will technically be ‘dieting’ from alcohol, that temptation and craving won’t be there in the back of your mind. Naltrexone or Nalmefene, when taken before drinking, removes that component for you.
IS THE SINCLAIR METHOD CONTROVERSIAL?
As with any advancement of development in the clinical and pharmacological field, the Sinclair Method has a certain amount of controversy surrounding it. For those that don’t understand the science, the method may not make sense. Especially when it goes against all we are taught when it comes to the treatment of alcoholism. You may find that people around you are sceptical of your choice of treatment. But if it works for you, then it’s well worth the results – even if those around you don’t quite ‘get’ it.
The same is true for medical professionals and counsellors, who may advise that using drugs to cure addiction isn’t the way forward. It’s ingrained in the UK’s healthcare system that cold turkey, rehab and old-school treatment plans are the only way through. Being prepared for this negativity ahead of time can ensure you’re ready to deal with it. Research backs up the Sinclair Method, and while it may not yet be widely known, this doesn’t make it any less valid.
There may also be concerns about you being a ‘test subject’ for a new form of treatment. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. The Sinclair Method is already well-established and beyond testing. Tens of thousands of individuals have completed treatment using Naltrexone or Nalmefene alongside drinking. With so much scientific data already available, the Sinclair Method is well-researched and a fully-fledged treatment plan – not a start-up or brand-new cure.
While there are other treatment methods out there that claim to deal with cravings and temptation in addiction head-on, these tend to be based in psychology. While this doesn’t make those treatment plans ineffective, they don’t actively target the addiction within the brain. This means you’re simply covering up the problem, instead of removing it entirely. The Sinclair Method is the only option out there to de-addict your brain, instead of providing coping and willpower-based processes in an attempt to overcome alcoholism.
Pharmacological extinction is the term for what the Sinclair Method does. Traditional treatments don’t remove that addictive component. According to WHO, typical treatments only prevent relapse 10-15% of the time. By contrast, the Sinclair Method prevents that alcohol deprivation effect from occurring in the first place. Up to 90% of alcoholics in traditional treatment will relapse in the first year, but a pharmacological approach can prevent this from occurring from the start.
You must be prepared for the confusion of others surrounding the viability of the Sinclair Method. After all, it’s something new and less publicly known – and as such, some will be sceptical. You may even find those with addiction treatment in the past to be unsure about whether this kind of treatment would work. But with logic and science on your side, there’s plenty of evidence to show that the Sinclair Method is a powerful and useful tool to remove addiction altogether.
WHO IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THE SINCLAIR METHOD?
As with many medications, we cannot recommend the use of Naltrexone or Nalmefene for pregnant women. This is, in part, because a continuation of drinking is required as part of the treatment plan. Breastfeeding mothers are also not eligible for our treatment plan for similar reasons.
For those physiologically dependent on opiates, such as codeine, morphine or heroin, it’s essential to speak to your doctor before considering the Sinclair Method for treatment. Opiate withdrawal can be a severe medical problem if not treated and managed correctly, and as Naltrexone or Nalmefene affects these areas of the brain, it’s best to seek advice up-front.
If you’ve found success in an existing treatment plan, and are currently sober, there’s no need to start on the Sinclair Method treatment. Our option is intended for those currently actively drinking, so we will always advise that you stick with a treatment that works for you. If you are presently relapsing, however, then the Sinclair Method may be a viable alternative to returning to a rehab treatment plan.
GET OUT OF THE ‘IT’S MY FAULT’ MINDSET
Science has shown that as much as 10% of the population has inherited a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism. But beyond familial information, there are no studies or scans to show if you can more easily become addicted to alcohol. It’s not until you start drinking socially that drinking may begin to become an issue. For many people, social drinking is just that – the compulsion doesn’t form, and they can continue drinking at their ‘base level’ throughout their life.
For those with this predisposition, those cravings and compulsions generally creep up on you. Over time, your brain changes to make you want to drink more, leading to a loss of control. Often, this is so gradual you – and those around you – don’t notice it happening until you are addicted. Two or three drinks becomes four or five, and it goes from there.
As that pathway in your brain strengthens, you’ll find yourself thinking about drinking more often. Craving a drink, and even reasoning why you need to drink more such as having a tough day at work. For those that have a glass of wine every day with your dinner, you might not even notice this craving until you try to stop. It’s at that point that the alcohol deprivation effect comes into play, and you’re able to see clearly the addiction that has formed.
Following on from this learning, you may notice alcohol interfering with your lifestyle and ability to function. Maybe it’s repeated hangovers, or acting in embarrassing ways. While you may say you’re going to stop drinking, by this point the addiction in your brain is already there – and you’ve lost control. Now, drinking is a physiological need, and it’s incredibly difficult to stop. If your brain tells you you’re hungry, you eat. Similarly, your brain will now be telling you that you need to drink alcohol to satisfy that need.
For the majority of alcoholics that are predisposed to addiction, the first drink is the first time that genetic potential comes into play. Over time, as your drinking becomes worse, and you’re unable to stop yourself, your brain will be programmed to seek out the pleasure that alcohol provides. In Chapter 13, David – a recovered alcoholic – examines how that addiction is much like a computer programme, using reinforcement and repeated actions to strengthen that connection. Much like the wiring within our brains.
When you work with the Sinclair Method, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself or lay all the blame on your actions for your addiction. Alcoholism doesn’t make you a bad or a weak person, and no measure of moral thinking can change your addiction. Compulsive drinking is rarely an informed decision. Much like a person with diabetes is responsible for their treatment through insulin, you’re accountable for your treatment by taking your medication when you need to. Before drinking any form of alcohol.
Once you begin, you’ll be able to have a first-hand understanding of just how the Sinclair Method works. By actively feeling the difference between pre- and post-medicated drinking, you’ll be able to change that programming that’s deeply ingrained into your brain. By removing that positive reinforcement of endorphins, you can look towards a better future.
THE OPIOID SYSTEM
How do our brains work when it comes to addiction? It all comes down to chemicals—specific neurons in your brain release a chemical substance that’s similar to human-made opiates, like morphine. Known as enkephalins or endorphins, these substances fit into the same receptors as drugs like heroin. These chemicals are triggered for a wide variety of reasons and can be produced naturally to block pain in injury and during childbirth – which goes to show just how effective a painkiller they can be.
Within the brain, your endorphins are released into open space, in between your neurons. This means, instead of taking a direct path from one synapse to another, endorphins can have a radiating effect on all the neurons in the area. Unlike chemicals that transmit through synapses, such as serotonin, endorphins act as a kind of local hormone and provide a degree of reinforcement in the paths they take. Endorphins produce that specific reinforcement that makes you want to do the action again that caused them to appear – which could be taking drugs, or drinking alcohol. Of course, the more times you produce those endorphins, the less effective they are. Which is why addicts rarely stay on an even keel with their use of substances, instead increasing their consumption to reach that level of response again.
Our opioid systems have the unique ability to reinforce our behaviours through sensory input. For example, eating something sugary causes a response from your tongue, which results in sensory neurons in the brain firing to produce those endorphins. In terms of evolution, this is an excellent thing for us humans. It means we don’t have to wait to digest our food to reinforce whether we should repeat the behaviour. In this way, we learn what’s good and what’s spoiled – what we like and what is too bitter or sour. Endorphin reinforcement encourages that learning through sensory input, encouraging those behaviours in the future.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DRINK WHEN TAKING NALTREXONE OR NALMEFENE?
If tasting or ingesting alcohol causes your brain to release endorphins like water down a plug hole, then Naltrexone or Nalmefene is the plug. This medicine stops the endorphins releasing into your brain when you drink alcohol, leaving those receptors without the reinforcement they’re looking for to create compulsion and cravings.
When you have a drink while you’re taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene, the reinforcement is blocked. This stops that all-important strengthening of those pathways, and over time leads to those previously reinforced bonds becoming looser. After a full course of treatment, that addiction is removed at a physiological level, restoring how your brain works to the way it did pre-addiction.
Abstinence rarely works. So if you’re looking for a cure, rather than a lifelong struggle, then Naltrexone or Nalmefene is the solution. With the Sinclair Method, accessing the treatment needed to remove your addiction is manageable. Follow your treatment to the letter, take your medication, and carry on drinking – and freedom from addiction could be yours.
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Alcohol Addiction FAQ's
Where can I find my nearest rehab centre?
We offer locations for alcohol rehab centres nationwide, call our team on 0333 444 0434. They will be able to advise you on treatment options available in your area.
How soon will you be able to get me into rehab?
This all depends on your personal circumstances. We ask that you contact our team on 0333 444 0434 so that we can fully understand your situation and needs.
We’ll talk you through a short telephone questionnaire designed to help us provide you with the best possible care.
We then set a date and time for your admission and you can look forward to a new start in life.
Could my mental Health be linked to my addiction?
Absolutely yes, so many people are not even aware they have a mental health problem and many people don’t make the connection in children and mental health. The alcohol can become a ‘solution’ for a persons mental health. At the start it will seem as if the alcohol is quieting the mind, but in time as the addiction progresses it will only add to any mental health problems the person has. It is also difficult to diagnose a person with mental health while under the influence of alcohol.
Is it true that alcohol affects sexual performance and harm an unborn babies?
As well as being directly related to many serious diseases, drinking large amounts of alcohol can also lead to poor sexual performance, and it can harm an unborn baby. If you have an alcohol related problem, there are many ways in which you can get help to reduce your drinking, and there are also many services that you can use that will help you stop altogether. Definition The problems associated with alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, are wide ranging, and can be physical, psychological, and social.
Is rehab a cure for addiction?
There is no definitive cure for addiction. However, rehab can provide patients with the skills needed to successfully manage their addiction and remain sober. Recovery from addiction is never over and patients will need to work on their ability to avoid relapse for the rest of their lives. A high quality addiction rehab programme sets patients up for this process.
Am I an alcoholic? What is the difference between casual drinking and alcohol addiction?
Most people can enjoy a casual night out with friends, have one or two drinks and then stop, and they might not drink again for several days. They enjoy a drink, but they don’t NEED it.
If you feel that you would like to talk to one of our experts and see how we can help you, call us on 0333 444 0434.