Beginning Your De-Addiction with Naltrexone / Nalmefene + Drinking
Once you have received your prescription for Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you can actively begin your de-addiction treatment.
The science behind The Sinclair Method should give you good reason to feel optimistic about the results. All you have to do is take your medication before your first drink of the day and drink normally. This treatment requires you to drink, so it does not ask you to make changes to your lifestyle or how you live.
Whether or not you share the fact that you are undergoing treatment with other people is up to you. What we will say is if you have family and friends who know you have a drinking problem, telling them you are undergoing de-addiction and explaining the process to them will provide some reassurance that you are doing something about it.
Of course, this is a personal decision.
If you do choose to tell your family or closest loved ones, make sure you confirm to them that the de-addiction process is completely safe.
Here’s how you can explain it – Naltrexone and Nalmefene are safe, manageable medications that are not additive. They are well studied and proven. They offer no highs or lows. Taking them feels like taking a placebo.
Make sure you also confirm beyond doubt why you need to carry on drinking alcohol while you undergo this treatment – because Naltrexone or Nalmefene do not work without alcohol. The effect of taking them is the brain un-learns dependence on alcohol over time, and alcohol consumption is necessary for this process to happen.
If you want to give The Sinclair Method a go, call us on 0333 444 0315 for free, personalised advice. We offer rapid assessments and can get you started with treatment within 48-hours of assessment.
The Sinclair Method Is Like Riding A Bike
The more you ride a bike, the better you get at it.
The Sinclair Method is similar, except the more drinking sessions you have with Naltrexone or Nalmefene, the better the wired system in your brain that drives your addiction is broken down, dismantled, weakened and ultimately discarded.
It’s important to remember that The Sinclair Method requires patience because the wired system in your brain that drives your addiction is a complex beast. It has formed over the many drinks you have consumed in the past. It has now reached a point where it demands a drink, and if it doesn’t get it, then it makes you feel poorly.
You will know this feeling as withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone or Nalmefene + Drinking will reduce your dependency on alcohol over time, drink by drink. Every time you drink after taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene, your brain starts to progressively disassociate alcohol with pleasure.
How To Drink While Taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene
The nice thing about taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene is you do not have to keep to a schedule when you drink. You are to drink as you would normally – randomly, whenever you want to – but only AFTER taking your medication.
This is an incredibly important point, so we will repeat it for clarity: you are to drink as you would normally but only AFTER taking your medication.
Most people take their Naltrexone or Nalmefene first thing in the morning as soon as they wake up. Otherwise, you can take it any time before your first drink of the day. This could be lunchtime or in the morning. Everyone is different.
Something you might find useful is keeping a note or list of the drinks and alcohol you consume. We say this because when you take Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you will start to drink less and less over time.
Diligently keeping a record of your drinking habit will be helpful because it will allow you to track your progress on The Sinclair Method. One of the most common things we hear from heavy drinkers is they don’t know how much they drink. They can only give us a vague number, based on bottles, pints or glasses.
By keeping tabs on how much drink you really consume, you will be able to see your progress and map it out accurately. This will provide the inspiration you need to stick with The Sinclair Method, which gives good results in 3-4 months.
Keeping A Drinking Diary
You can keep a drinking diary by noting the units of alcohol in each drink you consume. In the United Kingdom, drinks sold in packaging must clearly show units.
Here’s how many units are in some of the most popular drinks:
- A single small shot of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%) – 1 unit
- Alcopop (275ml, ABV 5.5%) – 1.5 units
- Small glass of red/white/rosé wine (125ml, ABV 12%) – 1.5 units
- Bottle of lager/beer/cider (330ml, ABV 5%) – 1.7 units
- Can of lager/beer/cider (440ml, ABV 5.5%) – 2 units
- Pint of lower-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%) – 2 units
- Standard glass of red/white/rosé wine (175ml, ABV 12%) – 2.1 units
- Pint of higher-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 5.2%) – 3 units
- Large glass of red/white/rosé wine (250ml, ABV 12%) – 3 units
If you do not have access to the packaging your drink came in (for example, if you have a pint or double vodka at the pub) then you can use the examples above to keep track of the amount of alcohol you consume each day.
How Much Can I Drink on Naltrexone or Nalmefene?
NHS guidance says that men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. If you have a drinking problem, then you will already be consuming a lot more than this (possibly triple, quadruple or even more).
When you are on Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you are asked to drink as you would normally, and over time, your drinking will naturally reduce.
We recommend drinking as you would normally and seeing how you get on. You won’t feel a change in your urge to drink for the first few weeks, but over time, you will begin to want to drink less. Your urge to consume alcohol will reduce.
The Sinclair Method will help you get your drinking under control and down to safe alcohol consumption levels within 3-4 months. For some people, the treatment can take longer, but it has a very high success rate (The Sinclair Method has a 78% success rate and one-quarter of patients go on to become 100% abstinent).
Beginning Your Drinking and Diary
Now that you have your prescription for Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you can start drinking and de-addicting your brain. The Sinclair Method allows NO abstinence. You must carry on drinking as you would normally when you want to.
In time, you will begin drinking less. This happens because your brain is being rewired to disassociate alcohol with pleasure. By drinking, you are changing habit-forming behaviour into habit-erasing behaviour. This radical thinking is grounded in science, and it has helped thousands of people take control of their drinking.
The official way to begin your treatment is by taking half the normal dose for your first two drinking sessions. After this, you move onto the full dosage and stick with it for 3-4 months, only drinking after your first tablet of the day.
Once you start taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene you should begin your drinking diary. Just write down the drinks you have and note the units of alcohol in them. This will allow you to track how much you drink and offer insight into your habit.
Your diary will serve as a roadmap and a reference point. Some days you will drink a lot more than others – and this is absolutely fine. Everyone experiences addiction differently and there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to alcoholism.
Most people notice a perceptible difference (decrease) in the amount of alcohol they are consuming within the first six weeks.
Within the first six weeks of treatment, the neural pathways in your brain that fuel your craving for alcohol have already started breaking down. Your brain has already started to dissociate alcohol from pleasure. You may even start to feel free from alcohol, but you must stick with the treatment for it to offer long-term results.
Eventually, you will start having drink-free days. And then, complete abstinence.
What Should You Expect To Happen?
You shouldn’t expect anything to happen in the first five weeks of taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene + drinking alcohol.
However, by week six, you may start to notice a reduced craving and urge to drink. You may find yourself thinking twice about reaching for a bottle of beer from the fridge or a glass of wine on a night. “Do I really need this?” might even cross your mind.
Do not let these thoughts stop you from drinking. It is absolutely essential to the success of your treatment that you continue to drink when you take Naltrexone or Nalmefene. Without alcohol, Naltrexone and Nalmefene have no effect on your brain. You need to keep drinking for The Sinclair Method to cure your drinking problem.
The aim of The Sinclair Method isn’t just to reduce your drinking habit – it is to make your addiction extinct. It is to cure your habit. Even if you get a reduced craving for alcohol, you must continue drinking to have a complete cure.
The science behind The Sinclair Method is “pharmacological extinction”, which involves un-learning the brain’s associated dependence with alcohol.
The powerful effects of pharmacological extinction develop over several months. They cannot possibly cure you within the first six weeks. You must stay the course and stick to your treatment for it to work.
Incredibly, even though only around 3% of participants who take part in The Sinclair Method choose total abstinence as their original goal, a quarter of them (just over 25%) achieve abstinence after three months. This just goes to show that if you stick to taking your Naltrexone or Nalmefene as directed and continue drinking, the results can be life-changing.
If you continue drinking while taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene, you can expect to see a significant decrease in your drinking habit. You will find yourself losing interest in alcohol, and once you reach this point, you will be close to the cure.
Selective Extinction: How to Maximize Your Results
By now, you know that the science behind The Sinclair Method is “pharmacological extinction”, which involves un-learning the brain’s associated dependence with alcohol. However, The Sinclair Method actually goes further than that – it tweaks the methodology with something called “selective extinction”.
Selective extinction means that the neural pathways that were created as a result of you drinking (the same neural pathways that now make you crave alcohol) are selectively targeted by the medication you take. These are then broken down, dismantled, weakened and destroyed over several months.
The effect of this is you begin to crave alcohol less and less, and eventually, you won’t crave alcohol at all. Your interest in drinking will be gone.
This is what we would call “cured”.
This is so far removed from traditional rehab methodology that you may find it quite unbelievable. But you can trust us when we say it gets results.
We know how difficult it can be to wrap your head around the concept that alcohol can be consumed in such a way that it teaches our brain not to want it at all. The Sinclair Method does just that by transforming habit-forming behaviour (drinking) into habit-erasing behaviour.
One of the nice effects of selective extinction is it only breaks down the neural pathways that are formed as a result of drinking alcohol. This means you will continue to enjoy and find pleasure in other things in life, like sex, walking, cycling, reading and gaming. The only reduction in pleasure will be in the drinking itself.
Another aspect of selective extinction is receptor super-sensitivity, which is when your brain is more sensitive to positive endorphin release.
The Naltrexone or Nalmefene you take will cause upregulation in the area of your opioid system responsible for releasing endorphins. As the pleasure you get from drinking dwindles, the pleasure you get from other things increases.
This reinforces your positive behaviour and reduces your brain’s dependency on negative behaviour. In other words, you will begin replacing your negative behaviour (drinking) with positive behaviour – and positive behaviour is healthy.
So, not only can The Sinclair Method cure you of your addiction to alcohol, but it can also bring about positive changes to the way you approach life. This is your opportunity to find happiness – and we would say that’s an opportunity worth taking.
Following Up And Following Through With Your Therapy
One of the beautiful things about The Sinclair Method is it is a 100% outpatient treatment method, meaning you will not stay in clinical care at any stage. You will continue to live your normal life with no change to your lifestyle.
We may recommend that you see your medical doctor once a month for a check-up to make sure you are healthy and coping okay. This is not set in stone though – you can be successful on your own without visiting your doctor. We simply advise it.
Regardless, you should always follow the Golden Rule of The Sinclair Method: to take your Naltrexone or Nalmefene before you drink and to drink as you would normally. If you keep to this, you will see a positive improvement within months.
Keep in mind, however, that with The Sinclair Method, you only take your Naltrexone or Nalmefene before you drink. If you have a day off from drinking, there is no use in taking your medication. The medication is only effective with alcohol.
The result of taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene consistently over a period of several months is you will start to have a significantly reduced urge to drink. This means you will start having more and more days without a drink.
This is great! That’s exactly what we want to achieve – we want you to get to the stage where your brain doesn’t want a drink. This is the first step towards complete abstinence – but abstinence doesn’t have to be your goal.
People who follow The Sinclair Method down to a tee can continue to drink socially even if they were once addicted to alcohol. Basically, so long as you take your Naltrexone or Nalmefene before you drink, re-addiction will be impossible. The neural pathways that give you a craving for alcohol cannot form with this medication.
Lastly, remember this – treatment never stops with The Sinclair Method. You will need to continue taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene forever before you have a drink. If you don’t do this, you will become readdicted to alcohol. Missing a few treatments is okay, but you should try and not make a habit of it. Keep your medication on your person to stop this from happening. Naltrexone or Nalmefene + alcohol = your cure.
In part 5 of our guide, we will discuss ‘the cure’ in further detail and how you can measure and determine your success with The Sinclair Method.
To find out more about The Sinclair Method, call our experts on 0333 444 0315. We will discuss the treatment with you and arrange a fast assessment. You could start treatment within 48-hours. You’ve nothing to lose by giving it a go.