“If I Still Want to Get Drunk, I Can ‘Drink Through’ the Naltrexone”May 01, 2023
I remember using this phrase when I was explaining how naltrexone works to a friend of mine.
"So this medication can make you stop drinking before you get drunk?" They asked.
"Yes and no. But if I still want to get drunk, I can 'drink through' the naltrexone." I responded.
What I meant by this was that if my "intention" going into my drinking session was to get drunk, ie:
- To turn off my brain
- To "escape" after a stressful day
- To simply want to "numb out" from life
...then I could still make that happen even when I was taking naltrexone correctly.
I drank to get drunk
Pre-TSM, I think my intention (whether or not I was aware of it) was to always get drunk.
I was one of those people that would rather not drink than be tempted by just 1 or 2. When I drank, I drank to get intoxicated. I wanted to drink as much as I wanted without anyone telling me when I had enough.
This was how I drank –– almost daily –– for nearly 10 years. 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷
Needless to say, even with naltrexone –– heavy drinking (to complete intoxication) was a very ingrained habit.
Naltrexone made it easier to stop as I gradually developed an off-switch through The Sinclair Method – but if my intention going into my drinking session was to get drunk, then I would blow past the off-switch nearly every time.
Over time, this made me realize that if I really wanted to feel in control of my drinking 100% of the time, I had to change my personal relationship with alcohol.
Changing alcohol's role in my life
I describe this process as a "mourning period" on my TSM journey. I have heard others describe it in the same way. 😢🍷
For me, it came around month 7 on TSM when I realized that in order to have 100% control over my drinking, I had to stop looking to alcohol as a tool to escape or get drunk –– but instead see it as something I enjoyed on occasion, in moderation, as a nice treat. Sort of how I enjoy ice cream or a bag of Doritos.
Alcohol could no longer to be a tool I used to turn my brain off, cope or numb out –– I had to find other ways to do that. Because if I didn't, I'd never get to place of control over my drinking. And I was so ready to be off this rollercoaster of alcohol use disorder.
Here's how I approached this process:
- Each time I wanted to drink, I would pause and ask myself WHY.
- What NEED do I have right now that I am turning to alcohol to meet?
- Then, once I identified that –– I would try to meet the need in a new way.
- I wasn't telling myself, "no, I can't drink" but rather I was saying, "let me try this FIRST before I drink."
- This process allowed me to learn new ways to respond to the reasons why I was drinking....sometimes this would result in an alcohol-free day, other times It would result in me drinking. But it was through this process that I learned different ways to escape, turn off my brain and cope with life's stressors.
- I set intentions before each drinking session.
- I tried to visualize how I wanted the night to go, and think about what I wanted to do the next day that over-drinking would get in the way of
- I would set "drink goals," trying to pace myself and practice mindfulness
- I continuously reminded myself "WHY" I wanted 100% control over my drinking.
- I would examine all of the "costs" that came with lack of control over alcohol
- Then I would look at all the present and future benefits of getting this problem of AUD behind me
This process took several months –– and like I said, it was a period of mourning so it was pretty uncomfortable.
But I can see now that it was absolutely necessary to reaching extinction and getting to a place where alcohol was truly put in its rightful place.
"The only way out is through."
Inside of The Alcohol Freedom Program, we provide video courses, exercises and group support to help you tackle this issue in a judgment-free space, at your own pace.
I hope this helped you! And, we hope to see you inside the program.
Katie Lain (Co-founder at Thrive and Sinclair Method Success Story)
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