Stop binge drinking with a ‘magic’ pill – how naltrexone cures alcohol addiction
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I’ve written this article to prevent others from destroying their work, finances and relationships through binge drinking. I’m not selling anything, I make no money from treating binge drinkers and I have no self-help recordings or hypnotherapy course to promote. What follows is my story and how I regained control over my binge drinking.
Out of control
I’ve never been dependent on alcohol, and could go for weeks without drinking. But I have always partied hard. When I drank, I went absolutely off the rails. I’m 34 now, and have done a great job hiding my problem from my colleagues and employers during the past 12 years. A few years ago I was in the USA on business. I got arrested for being drunk; spent the night in jail and was bailed out. I made it to work at 8:55am… just in time to deliver the opening presentation at our global sales conference. At a more recent event, I was sick all over my boss’ shoes in the back of a limousine. Another time, I woke up at the train station having pissed my pants. In fact, I have passed out in too many places to mention. Essentially I was a street bum in a suit.
Cry for help
I knew that I had a problem, but because I was not dependent on alcohol, doctors never really took me seriously. During my twenties, I went for liver function tests on 7 or 8 different occasions. I wanted the doctor to say, “Andy, you need to stop drinking or you will die.” But my excessive drinking wasn’t addressed because the test results always came back ok. I was not offered any help, support or counselling. I think I was once given a leaflet for the Samaritans.
A wake up call
In early 2011, my binge drinking episodes got worse. I destroyed my car in a drunk driving incident; I woke up in a hotel corridor having pissed my pants; after a party, I was so drunk I couldn’t remember walking home with my 3-year old boy; and in March 2011, whilst away at a conference in Paris, I spent $2,000 dollars at a strip bar on my company credit card. To add a degree of levity to this pathetic incident, I have no recollection of the entire night.
Due to ‘misuse of company property’ and gross-misconduct I was fired. Coming home I had to tell my wife. She threatened to divorce me. Losing my job and possibly my family was the wakeup call that I needed – and I turned to the internet for help.
Addressing the issue
By chance, I came across and article in the Times titled: Can a Pill Cure alcoholism?
More research led me to the Sinclair Method Website – and that’s when I got very excited.
Here was a small online ‘self-help’ community of 800 former alcoholics that had managed to regain control using naltrexone, a drug originally developed for treating heroin abuse. Unlike every other alcohol treatment, this method does not promote abstinence. Naltrexone, when used as suggested by Dr. Sinclair, has a success rate of over 80%
If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), they will tell you, “A person must reject every drink that contains alcohol.” But AA has a success rate of less than 5% – so what’s the point in trying something that is most likely to end in a relapse?
The root cause of binge drinking
To explain why naltrexone works so effectively, we have to examine the root cause of binge drinking.
When you drink alcohol, a small gland in your brain releases endorphins. Similar in chemical structure to heroin, endorphins are an opiate-like compound and extremely addictive.
Your brain rewards you with endorphins every time you drink, and this has a powerful effect on your behaviour. So when you have 2 shots of tequila, your brain tells you: “Those tequilas make you feel amazing; damn the consequences do another two shots now.”
The massive endorphin rush helps to explain why certain individuals find it very hard to stop after four or five drinks. Research shows that certain types of people (based on genetics) release more endorphins in response to alcohol consumption – and are therefore more likely to get addicted to alcohol.
How naltrexone stops binge drinking
Naltrexone blocks the alcohol ‘euphoria’ you get from the release of endorphins It doesn’t actually prevent them being released, but it prevents them being absorbed. This destroys the reward cycle, so when you drink two tequilas, you don’t get the rush of endorphins. You get a bit of a buzz, you’ll still feel drunk and you’ll certainly have a headache next day, but because you are not getting the endorphin rush with each drink; you won’t feel that crazy drive to keep drinking to get the ‘reward’ of more endorphins.
Where can I get Naltrexone?
If you are a binge drinker, your greatest chance of success in life might be to see your doctor and ask for a naltrexone prescription. You can get it prescribed in the USA, but in the UK the drug is not licensed for treating alcohol under the NHS. This means you’ll either have to go private (cost £ 200); convince the doctor to prescribe some (like I did using the Times article); or buy the tablets from an online pharmacy. I am not suggesting you take action without seeking the correct medical advice – I just want to spread the word about the potential to help you stop binge drinking. The commonly accepted advice is to take naltrexone one hour before drinking for the rest of your life.
Why do I have to keep taking naltrexone all my life?
Imagine you’ve been controlling your drinking with the help of Naltrexone for 2 – 3 years. You think you are in control so you decide to stop taking the tablets. The next time you drink the rush of endorphins will feel so euphoric, that you will fall off the wagon in spectacular style. There are tales of 3-day ‘Charlie Sheen’ style binges for people who stop taking the medication. So the commonly accepted advice is to take Naltrexone 1 hour before you drink for the rest of your life.
Progress so far
The first time I tried naltrexone it was a great success. I was able to control my alcohol ‘addiction’ and stop after 4 drinks. This is the first time I can remember coming home for over 6 years after a big night out. I even put my wife to bed after brushing her teeth as she was so drunk! I’m at the beginning of my journey with naltrexone, but am absolutely convinced it will change my life forever.
You can follow my progress on my blog. Best of luck, Andy.