A More Effective Alcohol Addiction Therapy?

AA and similar 12 step programs leave many looking for a more effective addiction therapy. The Sinclair Method (or TSM) is a scientifically proven treatment developed by Dr. John David Sinclair that cures alcoholism. While traditional 12 step and AA rehab programs only see a 15% long term success rate, TSM recovery success rates are 78% or higher.

Treatments such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), ask you to stop drinking as soon as you start the program. TSM acknowledges stopping on a dime is difficult for many people. In fact, patients are encouraged to drink while taking their anti-craving medication.

Although this may sound counter-intuitive, alcohol becomes part of rehabilitation. The medication works with the brain to block alcohol’s “reward” signal, significantly reducing the urge to drink over time.

TSM requires you to take Naltrexone or Nalmefene at least one hour prior to drinking for the rest of your life (or as long as you continue to drink). Naltrexone and Nalmefene chemically manipulate the brain to keep opioids from having an effect. This disrupts your body’s habit-forming cycle, causing you to want to drink less instead of more.

You can still become intoxicated while drinking. However, you won’t feel the pleasure that normally comes along with it.

Since it’s inception in the early 1990s, the Sinclair Method has cured countless patients, many of them who were considered lost causes. Today the treatment is supported by more than one hundred published clinical trials.


A 5-Step Process To Being Cured


According to a book endorsed by Dr. Sinclair himself, there are 5 essential steps to becoming cured by his method. These serve as a blueprint and guide to ultimately regain control over addiction. The steps are as follows.


Step One: Understanding the Cure


The first step to becoming cured is to transform one’s understanding of alcoholism and what it means to their life. TSM applies a modern take on alcohol addiction and how it can be successfully treated.

You may have been surprised to hear that the Sinclaire method does not require you to stop drinking. In fact, it encourages it. That’s right; for treatment to be successful with TSM you must do two things: take your medication and continue to drink alcohol. Of course, this does come with some stipulations. You’ll be mandated to not have more than 5 drinks per day or 26 drinks per week.

The Sinclair method challenges conventional stigma regarding alcoholism. While some rehab programs teach that “once an alcoholic is always an alcoholic”, TSM proves that addiction can be cured.

In order to mesh well with the Sinclair method, you should understand the principals it’s based on. These principals include the following:

  •  Alcoholism can be cured.
  • Alcoholics do not have to remain alcoholics.
  • Having an ‘addictive personality’ isn’t something you have to live with.
  • You can control your drinking and live a normal life
  • Abstinence and “willpower” is not the exclusive path towards curbing alcohol addiction.
  • Even if you are an advanced alcoholic, you can be cured.
  • Your genetics do not mean you will always be an alcoholic
  • You do not have to go through a painful “detoxification” to be cured.
  • You do not have to “tough it out” and go through a 12 step or similar abstinence program to be cured.
  • You do not have to hit ‘rock bottom’ before you seek help.

The above would have been considered impossible before The Sinclair Method. Thanks to TSM, alcoholism is curable. No longer are you condemned to a lifelong struggle once you become an alcoholic. Before TSM, an alcoholic attempting to drink in moderation almost always ended badly. Now, stopping your drinking completely isn’t the only way to be cured.

Programs like AA ask that you go through painful detox periods & go through a 12 step program. Despite the best of intentions, the vast majority of alcoholics relapse.

Due to the Sinclair method, there is a new choice. Between the following, which one would you pick?

– You are ‘incurable’. Quit drinking cold turkey and apply to enter a program with an 80% relapse rate.

– You can be cured. Keep on drinking while receiving treatment that has an 80% success rate.

When you put it that way is it hard to see that The Sinclair Method is truly revolutionary? No more dangerous beliefs of being doomed to eternal alcoholism. Now you can beat your addiction.

Science shows that you have good reason to expect to be cured entirely of your alcoholism. If you take your medication, continue to drink and keep going to therapy, you will be cured as a result.

If that sounds like a fair solution and you happen to reside near Houston, Texas, contact us here at The Wellness Collaborative.


Step Two: Self-Assessment – Do You Need Help With Alcoholism?


The verdict is in. Alcoholism is a disease that comes in stages. Look at the stages below and see if they apply to you:

Early Stage:

  • You drink more than you let on. You secretly consume drinks and might feel ashamed at your actions.
  • You experience ‘blackouts’ and missing memories after an instance of drinking
  • You look forward to consuming alcohol, associate with peers who drink excessively and shy away from events that do not involve alcohol.
  • Family and friends are becoming worried about your drinking.
  • Drinking has begun to affect your work life
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, anxious behavior, or depression.

Middle Stage:

  • Drinking has definitely become a problem for you (whether or not you admit it)
  • You want to drink less but can’t.
  • You start regularly relying on alcohol as a ‘pick me up’ or antidepressant
  • Health problems begin and your doctor may have asked you to drink less (or stop altogether)
  • You’ve begun to miss workdays or lose a job altogether.
  • You’ve been convicted of drunk driving or have had traumatizing alcohol-induced interactions with friends or family.
  • Withdrawal symptoms have become regular and expected.

Late Stage:

  • Your life is totally chaotic
  • You may be experiencing serious medical issues such as cirrhosis, pancreatitis, internal bleeding or high blood pressure
  • You experience consistent issues with memory, depression, and sleep deprivation. In cases where heavy drinking has gone on for many years, you may have permanent brain damage derived from alcohol, known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome.
  • You hallucinate and have convulsions or brain seizures when you stop drinking. This can be fatal – if you experience this you should seek medical care immediately.

If you can relate to any of the above stages? If you’re looking for a cure, The Sinclair Method should be considered as it is proven by clinical studies and offers the best odds when it comes to breaking the harmful cycle and taking back control over your life.

While you can eventually proceed with TSM on your own with medication, we advise that you go to follow up therapy sessions during your first few months of treatment.

If you are in the Houston Texas area, we ask that you come into The Wellness Collaborative for an introductory appointment. Our substance use specialist Dr. Kelli Wright will work with you to form a strategy that allows you to live the best life possible.

Step Three: Getting Your Prescription for Naltrexone or Nalmefene


Naltrexone and Nalmefene are both approved for treating addiction-related problems by the FDA. Your medication with The Sinclair Treatment would consist of taking Naltrexone (usually in pill form) every day for as long as alcohol is a part of your life. Some providers may also offer monthly injections with a time-released formula. You will be encouraged to drink when first taking your medication. The medication works synergistically with alcohol; this means that in order to be cured you have to actively drink. Over time the medication will work to remove your the addiction it’s self from your brain and nervous system.

Taking the medication without drinking will not cure you. It may seem illogical to drink in order to cure your drinking addiction. Regardless, this is exactly what you must do. As long as you keep taking your medication when drinking, you have a high chance of becoming cured.

Typically these are the results yielded from 3 – 4 months of drinking alcohol plus ingesting Naltrexone:

  • Less drinking – women will drink no more than 4 drinks per occasion whereas men will have no more than 5 drinks per occasion
  • Reduced desire for alcoholic beverages
  • Decreased time spent thinking about alcohol
  • The freedom to decide to stop drinking entirely
  • The freedom to decide exactly how many drinks you will have (without losing control and going overboard)

What does it feel like?

Naltrexone or Nalmefene alone are not psychologically active. In other words, it will not make you feel ‘high’. The effects surrounding your drinking will become more evident with each passing week you are on the medication. Some users report a decreased appetite, nausea, or a reduced craving for cigarettes. If you are concerned about side effects or want to know more about Naltrexone or Nalmefene, ask your doctor and they should be able to provide you all and any information.


Step Four: Keep A Journal


Going forward with the treatment, the fourth step of The Sinclair Method is to keep a record of both how much you drink and how much you desire to drink. Your doctor may or may not tell you to do this. Regardless, it can’t hurt to see your positive results on paper.

You should make a chart or list that shows your daily alcohol consumption along with how much you felt like drinking throughout the day. If you are unsure how to measure this, a common way is to use the Visual Analog Scale of Alcohol Craving (or VAS). This consists of making a line with an arrow at either point. You would put an ‘x’ on the left point if you did not crave alcohol even a little bit that day. On the right point, you would put an ‘x’ if you could not keep yourself from drinking that day, even if you wanted to stop.

Keeping this record will allow you to have hard data to observe when you start to drink less and less drinks every single week. Ultimately whether you want to moderate or stop your drinking completely will be up to you.


Step Five: Staying Cured


Eventually, you will notice that your impulse to drink has been dramatically curbed. Your brain and nervous system have now reverted back to their pre-addiction behavior. Your thoughts won’t revolve around getting a drink anymore. You sought out help for your alcoholism, and now you have control over your life back. You have recovered.

The only catch is as follows: you must take your medication before consuming alcohol. If you go out and drink without your medication, you risk falling back into the addictive lifestyle that you’ve already chosen to leave behind. If you start the habit of drinking without your medication, you leave the door to relapse wide open.

If you are a TSM patient, this is the one rule you should follow as long as you live.


Why isn’t The Sinclair Method More Popular?


There is a myriad of misconceptions when it comes to TSM. Counselors fear that patients won’t take their prescribed medication as directed, or that the side effects would be too detrimental. In reality, patients take Naltrexone and Nalmefene at the rates that are considered normal in general medicine.

Side effects aren’t anything eyebrow-raising either, with 10% of users experiencing nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting. While there is a slim chance for more serious side effects, the risks are minimized when the patient is monitored by a provider.

Others argue that TSM doesn’t treat the underlying cause of alcoholism. However, even if there is a massive underlying cause, won’t it be more feasible to resolve once you aren’t bombarding your brain with alcohol every day?

It’s the 21st century and the science is in. Alcoholics don’t need to look towards abstinence and 12 step programs as their only option. Addiction is a disease and those who have it shouldn’t be shamed and left helpless when there is a cure. The Sinclair Method is offering a way for addicts to get their life back.


The Data Behind The Sinclair Method


To read more about the science behind TSM, see the following links:

***This content is exclusively for informational purposes and not to be considered medical advice***