I grew up with alcoholic grandparents. My parents drank regularly. My sister swore off alcohol altogether. I drank in an average way: wine with dinner, beer with pizza, mixed drinks at parties, blender drinks when dining out, hot toddies in winter, etc. I didn’t drink to get drunk, but I knew people who did … and couldn’t seem to control it. I knew my triggers for the buffer zone between feeling good and getting drunk, but many people seemed not to (or just couldn’t stop when they did).
Listening to the audiobook for Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of Love, Sex, and Addiction by Claudia Christian with Morgan Grant Buchanan , I heard about a method for alcoholics which allows them to keep drinking and is effective 78% of the time. Alcoholics Anonymous is effective long-term less than 5-8% of the time. This new method requires a prescription for a pill that you take one hour before you intend to drink and turns off the addiction pathways that lead to the binge.
The Sinclair Method saved her. She’s given a TED talk on the subject and more information is available on the website along with other resources. You have to take a pill EVERY time you drink for the rest of your life (Naltrexone). The pill is non-addictive and has minimal side effects. Abstinence only leads to stronger cravings and physiological damage. Gradually decreasing and gaining control actually improves health. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcoholism and would stop if they could, find out more. Your resources include websites and a popular book available on Amazon.
Why we think smokers need pharmaceutical aids while alcoholics and addicts just need will power, remains a mystery to me. If simple habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to maintain, why would addictions be easy? If a substitute drug breaks, controls or just minimizes the cravings and has fewer or lesser side effects, why shouldn’t it be a routine option? When combined with behavioral changes, drugs are highly effective. The problem never goes away, but you have room to make choices. You learn to make better choices too. You are “cured” as long as you remember both things: take the pill every time and break the habits associated with problem drinking. How many people can still be saved? We need to start now.