One Little Pill
I just came across this film that is now available on Vimeo on demand and would recommend you take a look if you are struggling with alcohol addiction, and are not looking for an abstinence based solution, or having trouble staying abstinent if you are. The aim of the film is to highlight the way that the drug Naltraxone, with the Sinclair method, can really help somebody stop harming themselves, which is the most important thing.
Non Abstinence solutions such as “Harm reduction” or the “Sinclair Method” are often felt to be second best by many in the addiction treatment, who simply rely on the 12 step model, despite the evidence that it is not greatly effective with many people. The film makes the point that the individual is blamed, not the treatment when things go wrong in traditional 12 step approaches, and says if addiction is a disease then treat it like one, with proper treatment. It describes in simple terms, how Naltraxone works, and shows people taking it before drinking, and describing how it makes them cut down over a short period of time. People can then be offered support and move on, or take it long-term.
It is a relatively cheap solution, but is not really being pushed by many in the treatment world, although some more progressive doctors do prescribe it. It seems to be a problem to get hold of it in some areas. The film talks about how the treatment industry is a multi million pound business, that could well be threatened by a pill, that is more effective than a month in an expensive rehab. The film is narrated by Claudia Christian, who actually goes back to her old treatment center where she was treated to discuss Naltraxone and the Sinclair Method, which she finds is not a method they use. Claudia comes across as really down to earth and wanting to help others, and helps bring the different elements of the film together. This certainly makes a welcome change, to celebrities going on about the 12 step solution.
The treatment consists of taking a Naltrexone pill one hour before drinking alcohol, but not on other occasions. Over the following months, most users will begin to drink alcohol less frequently or in smaller quantities. Usually after 3 to 4 months (but occasionally 15 months), successful practitioners are no longer addicted; some people give up drinking alcohol altogether, while others become social drinkers. If they choose to continue to drink, the patients have to continue taking the drug as needed for life. Therapy may optionally also be used. This seems a lot better than the faith-based 12 step approach, which has been used since the 1930’s.
Claudia makes an interesting point about Bill Wilson (AA founder) actually being quite progressive, in his outlook to addiction treatment at times, and that he even tried LSD at one point to see if it would help. She wonders if he would probably embrace the use of Naltraxone, and hand it out in meetings when talking to her former rehab. I think he could well have been interested, so it is rather sadly ironic that the 12 step solution, that he formed is one of the main reasons, there is little progress in the addiction field, as hardcore members are often suspicious of medication or any change to the program of AA which is out of date.
I hope the film gets the exposure it deserves, and people take notice of it, especially in the treatment field. It is the sort of story that could really help if the press pick up on it. Some of the scenes were shot in London in an area I know rather well, and I feel the “Sinclair Method” is something that could really help here, as the British are probably the worst for binge drinking, and are also less likely to trust a faith-based method such as AA. I am happy that people are giving up their time and raising funds to make these films which question the widely held views about recovery, such as AA is the only solution. People need to be informed about different solutions, and be able to ask a treatment center for help that is appropriate for their needs, and not simply being pushed towards a 12 step solution, that probably will not help, given the dreadful success rate and the fact that most people simply leave. So many people do need some help to stop, especially in the early days, and so many sadly give up at this point when cravings become overwhelming.
I feel that “Harm Reduction” techniques are really important and have covered them elsewhere on the blog but the “Sinclair Method” using Naltrexone, takes things a step further, and can really help people who are struggling. I formed my own opinions about this after seeing the damage done on a binge, especially after an alcohol or drug free period. When I was in my early twenties a drummer I knew well, died of an overdose on the anniversary of his mothers death, and two people who joined AA the same time as me, (and who were ironically seen as model AA members, compared to myself who openly questioned things) have had serious problems as a result of binge relapses. One jumped from a bridge and the other had a stroke. Both these last two incidents could probably have been avoided if the people concerned had taken Naltraxone, or used another effective harm reduction technique.
If you wish to find out more about the “Sinclair Method” you can look here http://www.cthreefoundation.org/about-the-sinclair-method.html#.VHcQC4tLQZM
After watching the film “One Little Pill”, I decided to read Claudia Christian’s autobiography “Babylon Confidential”. It is a real roller coaster ride and contains the kind of account, of a descent into serious alcoholism, that many of us will relate to. What is not so common is her solution, which has really worked for her, and will probably work for many more people, if they heard about it. She talks at length, towards the end of the book how, she did not do that well, with traditional solutions and how well she responded to Naltraxone. It is an inspiring story and I enjoyed the rest of the book as well, having had a couple of brushes with the Sci Fi fans myself thanks to my ex! It is a good read, with a lot of humour, considering some of the situations she got mixed up in. Claudia also mentions a book called “The Cure for Alcoholism” and writes at the start of it. It is by Roy Eskapa PHD, and I have just started reading it, as I wish to know more about the Sinclair method. You can buy it here and I will put something about it on the site when I finish.
I am so glad that people are trying to make people awar,e of the many different ways, people can get help for their addictions. The 12 step model is now out of date, and it’s moral stance about alcoholism, is rejected by many. The cravings that you have to beat, to recover from alcoholism are tough, which is why so may fail, so methods that address this are really welcome. I wish I had known about this when I was trying to stop, because this would have helped me, and probably meant that I would have stopped earlier.
Here is a related post on my site about Nalmefene http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/nalmefene-approved-nice-check-heavy-drinking/