It’s the idea employed by the Sinclair Method (TSM), and it’s my first real attempt to scale back from alcohol abuse to recreational, situational alcohol use, which is the program’s ultimate goal.
I started on naltrexone a little over two months ago, but without any guidance. I had a vague inclination to keep a drink log, but it was sporadic and not detailed. After learning about TSM and deciding (hoping) it could be right for me, I’m now starting to keep a better log and a journal about my experiences.
I take 50 mg of naltrexone every day at least one hour before I expect to start drinking. Of course I’ve been doing this for two months already, but now with TSM, I’m engaging in what they refer to as “mindful drinking,” or really considering and contemplating each drink I take. How badly do I want it? What do I like about it? Was it as good as I thought it’d be? These types of thoughts, along with the chemical effects of naltrexone, are supposed to work in tandem to reduce cravings and dull the pleasure receptors that make drinking such a rush.
When I was prescribed naltrexone, I was also given the sleep aid seroquel. On nights when I’m committed to not drinking, I take seroquel before I leave work so that I’m ready to pass out when I get home. This does help, but I’ve found lately that seroquel has been giving me vivid nightmares. I had the same problem with trazadone and gabapentin before. Many of these nightmares center around me being in my bed, aware that someone is breaking into my apartment, yet I’m paralyzed and blind and can’t do anything about it. After a few of these terrifying episodes, I’m considering switching meds when I see my psychiatrist next week.
But I’m going to stay on naltrexone and continue to practice mindful drinking, with the end goal of deciding that drinking just isn’t as fun as it used to be. The process can take six months, and I’m more or less in the beginning of month two. I will post updates as time goes on, or maybe even start a separate blog for this topic.