Dr John David Sinclair RIP

I was very sad to read that Dr John David Sinclair who has done so much to help alcoholics with his research on an extinction method using Naltrexone, passed away earlier this month. The Sinclair Method is named after him and is a system that helps alcoholics cut down their drinking over time in a manageable fashion. There is a memorial page setup here where you may leave a message for his friends and family. http://thankyousinclair.org

I do not think this method gets the exposure that it deserves, although things are starting to change, as there have been more mentions in the mainstream press over the last few months.

I have certainly met and talked to people who have done well using this method, despite the fact that they have had problems when attempting other recovery solutions. This is really important as many people need to be helped, who do not do well in the common AA environment. If I had heard about this method when I was struggling in my twenties and thirties I would certainly have used it. I could not do abstinence, and had a disastrous time attempting moderation, until I was forty and stopped for good. Using this method would have really saved me a lot of pain.

Here is Dr John David Sinclair talking about his research.

Here are some other pieces on the Sinclair Method https://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/category/sinclair-method/

I have a new site http://www.the-sinclair-method.com/ about the sinclair method


Commenting area

  1. Rest in peace, Dr John David Sinclair. Your work may have gone relatively unnoticed until recently, but things are starting to change. I had to hit a seriously hard rock bottom before I could accept what I was told at AA meetings. Even then it was a real struggle to get sober, and I lost everything in the attempt. That was in the summer of 2000. By that time I’d been to four doctors and therapists, in two different countries, and not one of them even knew about the use of naltrexone to treat alcoholism – despite the fact that this had already been available for six years. In the intervening decade and a half I must have been to well over 1,500 AA meetings and seen hundreds of people come and go, struggling desperately with abstinence. Not once did I hear it suggested that there’s an alternative that can help such people. I was lucky. I got sober. How many alcoholics since then have died unaware there was a simple, cheap pill that could have saved them ..? Jon S.

    • Thanks Jon, I am appalled that there is not more coverage in the addiction world of Dr Sinclair’s passing. I am going to be able to put something on Addiction.com, but hardly anyone seems to know about his work and that is something that needs to change. Somebody needs to market his ideas, and do it properly.

  2. Anonymous May 14, 2015 at 5:02 pm · · Reply

    I have been sober now for 8 months after numerous attempts, rehab, lost of jobs, etc. however, I am fearful that I will not be able to maintain my sobriety, partly because I haven’t accepted the AA definition of never being able to drink again as an alcoholic, and I fear that I will one day (one day soon). I have been looking into this but it seems that most doctors are not knowledgeable or won’t prescribe. I’m not sure what to do now but I just know I don’t want to be this miserable for the rest of my life.

  3. There are quite a lot of resourses on this, here are some links, I would certainly look at The film one little pill and the Roy Eskapa book. Many of the people who are invloved with the cthreeeurope group have also been through AA and not done well. There is also smart recovery if you want to remain abstinent without AA. I think it is good to have a few options with this.

    The Sinclair Method does mean you would have to drink to make it work which can obviously be a problem. The cthre europe people will be able to answer questions better than me as they have direct experience similar to yours and have found a solution. Good Luck.

  4. Hi there. Definitely worth exploring. While you at it, also think about “The Chimp Paradox” – a book that is, I think, really helpful for people in recovery who can’t buy the AA mantras and fellowship dogma. It did more than any other to explain my alcoholic thinking and to help me put together a fulfilled and fearless way of life. It dovetails neatly with CBT too, which I also recommend. There are some people, and I’m one of them, who just shouldn’t drink. Others, I think, can probably sort their head out with more effective tools than the steps and practice Harm Reduction or Moderation Management. Good luck with it. JS

    • Thank you both for the resources. I am really grateful that I found this site because for a while I thought I was the only one out there who did not see AA as a lifelong fit and it has been very discouraging. This brings new life to my journey of recovery. Thank you so much.

  5. I keep forgetting to put something about the Chimp Paradox on here but it is a really useful CBT book that explains a lot about dealing with feelings and emotions. There are some other books listed here which may help https://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/book-reviews-recovery/ including those by Stanton Peele and Lance Dodes that I wish had been available in my first year. There are many other approaches to the AA method, so it is worth keeping an open mind and trying a few solutions to see which works best for you.

    • Anonymous May 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm · · Reply

      I completely agree. I just have been lacking the resources to explore other alternatives to AA; hence, why it has been discouraging, but this is very helpful. Thank you.

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