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The Sinclair Method | Sinclair Method Step One. Understand and think about addiction in an entirely new way.
The Sinclair Method | Sinclair Method Step One. Understand and think about addiction in an entirely new way.
This is a description of the first step of the Sinclair Method to beat alcoholism or alcohol use disorder.
Sinclair Method,Step 1,alcoholism,recovery from alcoholism
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Step One. Understand and think about addiction in an entirely new way.


Revolutionary Thinking


The first step toward successful treatment involves profound shifts in thinking about excessive drinking and alcoholism.  The Sinclair Method is based on a completely new understanding of how alcohol addiction develops and how it can be permanently cured by removing the addiction from your brain and nervous system.

Understanding how the treatment works will ensure that you solve your drinking problem smoothly and efficiently.  It will also show those of you who are only beginning to develop a problem how to prevent or inoculate yourself against one in the first place.

Many people will think it’s crazy that if you have a drinking problem, alcohol can actually be necessary for recovery.  The research, however, proves drinking is necessary – but only if you take naltrexone or nalmefene whenever you drink.

Most of us think of addiction as a deep-seated problem, virtually impossible to conquer.  But now, clinical trials based on the Sinclair Method have proven otherwise.  While heavy drinking and full-blown addiction to alcohol must be treated as a very serious condition, the latest research proves that it is not nearly as difficult to prevent or cure as it used to be.  Now, millions of lives can be freed of compulsive and addictive drinking without resorting to torturous and antiquated treatments.



Unlike other alcohol treatments, the Sinclair Method does not demand that you stop drinking.  Perhaps you have avoided going into treatment, not only because of the stigma associated with being labelled alcoholic, but because you will have to stop drinking completely.  It is perfectly understandable that many people cannot picture their life without alcohol, dread a future of deprivation, craving and total abstinence.  The Sinclair Method is good news for those who wish to carry on drinking moderately – it allows you either to stop completely or to carry on drinking safely.

Many of you may have already tried to control your drinking using some higher power, willpower, with religion, on your own with professional counselling, or through a traditional support group like A.A.  Some of you may have been through expensive private treatment programs, only to find yourselves relapsing back to heavy drinking.

Studies prove that many alcoholics manage to abstain for a few weeks – even months – at a time.  This is especially true if you have just started traditional rehab and are feeling optimistic about going straight.  But as time passes without having a drink, feelings of deprivation close in and the craving for alcohol intensifies.  You might be able to resist the impulse to drink the first time, the second, and the third.  But all too soon, you find it impossible to resist the craving, and you relapse back to drinking.  You may have promised yourself you would drink moderately, but after a drink or two, you end up bingeing, depressed, and hung over.

As chapter 2 showed, when rats already addicted to alcohol are deprived of alcohol for a few days, weeks, or even months, they immediately start binge-drinking much higher amounts than their original daily intake when they are again permitted free access to alcohol.  Monkeys also this is Alcohol Deprivation Effect.  The same pattern applies to human alcoholics.

The Sinclair Method is about as far away from traditional rehab as you can get; to beat your addiction, you must continue drinking.  There is, however, a major proviso: you must only drink while on the endorphin-blocking opioid antagonist medication, naltrexone or nalmefene.  As shown in chapter 3 on the hard evidence for the cure, if you abstain from drinking alcohol while taking naltrexone or nalmefene, you will not meet with success because you will not trigger the physiological mechanism causing de-addiction.  As you proceed through the treatment, you will notice a gradual reduction in craving and drinking levels within the first few weeks.  While this will encourage you to continue, the clinical trials prove that you have to continue drinking while taking naltrexone, or nalmefene, for at least three to four months until you meet with real success.



Like many problem drinkers and alcoholics, you may have come to believe the following about your addiction:

  • You are hopelessly incurable.
  • Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.
  • You have a weak ‘addictive personality’.
  • Trying to control or reduce your drinking is a delusional pipe dream.
  • In general, while about 10% of alcoholics are able to stop on their own, the only way to beat your drinking problem is through a total abstinence regime for the rest of your life.  This means you must continually battle the demons that cause craving through the use of some form of willpower to achieve abstinence – your only realistic goal.
  • Advanced alcoholism is usually a terminal illness.
  • You are born an alcoholic.
  • The only way to conquer alcoholism is to tough it out, through the Twelve Steps, Tough Love, or similar total abstinence program.
  • Alcoholics must go through a rigorous, difficult detoxification and drying-out process.
  • You have to come out of denial by hitting rock bottom before you will seek help.

Until the discovery of the Sinclair Method, these statements made sense.  Prior to the Sinclair Method, alcohol addiction was incurable.  Once acquired, the addiction tormented you for the rest of your life.  No doubt about it, you had to struggle for lifelong abstinence.  Research proved that nearly all attempts at controlled drinking for alcoholics were disastrous.  Old-fashioned willpower, an external higher power, or various rehabilitation programs based on total abstinence were the only way to do.  Sadly, whatever the treatment and despite the best intentions, the majority of alcoholics invariably ended up relapsing.

Before the discover of the Sinclair Method, difficult and often dangerous inpatient detoxification (drying-out) procedures were compulsory – they simply had to be endured.  But now with the Sinclair Method, there is a safer, cheaper, and easier way to remove the physiological dependence.  With the Sinclair Method, you need no longer fear the dreaded customary warnings – ‘incurable’ and ‘85% relapse rates’ – so endemic to traditional rehab environments.

The Sinclair Method puts an end to these dangerous myths.  You can now expect to beat your addiction:

  • Clinical trials show you have reason to anticipate a full reversal of your addiction, in other words, a cure.  If you are a heavy drinker or addicted to alcohol, it does not mean you are condemned to remain so for the rest of your life.  Your addiction can be conquered through Sinclair’s discovery of pharmacological extinction – the formula of Naltrexone (or Nalmefene) + Drinking = Cure.
  • Heavy drinking and alcoholism has nothing to do with ‘personal weakness’ or immorality.  Rather, you may have inherited an ‘addictive brain biochemistry’.
  • Research proves that controlled drinking is a realistic goal with the Sinclair Method.  The formula of Naltrexone (or Nalmefene) + Drinking = Cure means that your craving and drinking levels will either end completely or be reduced to safe levels.  Even the most severe cases no longer mean a slow death sentence.
  • You are not born alcoholic.  Excessive drinking is caused by a combination of an inherited genetic predisposition and learning the addiction – installing it into your brain – over many drinking sessions.
  • Abolishing the craving and the heavy or addictive drinking no longer demands ‘hitting rock bottom’, ‘Tough Love’, or ‘Toughing It Out’ one day at a time through the Twelve Steps of A.A. or other total abstinence programs.  No doubt such programs have helped some alcoholics, but the Sinclair Method offers you a more effective and far less drastic alternative.
  • Alcoholics who have managed total sobriety for years without relapsing are in the minority and deserve praise.  But they all remain at risk for relapsing to dangerous drinking – 85 to 90% will relapse within the first year following treatment.  A single drink for an alcoholic can lead to a major relapse, even after years of abstinence.
  • People who attend A.A. regularly report that they encounter fellow alcoholics who have relapsed even after decades of total abstinence.  As we saw in chapter 2, the Alcohol Deprivation Effect in the brain means that the addiction remains in the ‘always on’ position.  Until Sinclair’s extinction treatment, nothing could be done to remove the factor causing alcoholism, to delete the fundamental neural circuitry drinking your addiction.  No amount of willpower or conventional rehab can remove the over-strengthened addictive wiring in your brain.  Without access to the Sinclair Method, the addictive wiring remains intact throughout the brain for life.  Thus, even if you have not had a drink for thirty years, you are still addicted and always at risk of relapsing.  ‘One drink and it’s over’ is your First Commandment for life.  The Sinclair Method changes this by removing the addictive neural pathways from your brain.  After completing de-addiction treatment, your craving will be gone, and you will be cured.
  • Detoxification through the Sinclair Method is a gradual, relatively painless process.  You will continue to drink while on your medication and your craving and actual drinking levels will subside automatically.  Indeed, the ideal way to detox is to do so slowly, bit by bit, so the body gradually adapts to life without alcohol.  Pharmacological extinction provides an easier, more dignified way of accomplishing this.selincro tablets


The scientific research from animal and human studies proves that loss of control over drinking, craving, and addiction happen for two major reasons:

  1. You probably inherited a powerful genetic predisposition that enabled you to be particularly good at learning to drink alcohol.  In other words, you have inherited a particularly powerful endorphin (opioid) system in your brain.  Drinking alcohol causes the morphine-like substances known as endorphins to be released in your brain.  Dr Candace Pert, the acclaimed Johns Hopkins and National Institutes of Health neuroscientist who, in 1973, discovered opioid receptors in the brain, describes endorphins as ‘Molecules of Emotion’.
  2. You had considerable experience drinking alcohol.  The genetic predisposition or alcoholism combines with drinking experience to produce addiction to alcohol.  After you drink, the endorphins progressively strengthen the pathways wired throughout your brain that had recently been active, the pathways that are neural circuitry producing craving and drinking.  Each time you drink, the resulting endorphins make this circuitry stronger, especially if you have the genetic predisposition for alcoholism and receive large amounts of reinforcement from the endorphins.  These neural pathways become etched into your brain, just as paths become permanently established as people tramp through the mountains.  The more drinking you do – the more you trample down the path – the wider and stronger the pathways become.  Eventually, the super-strengthened system becomes so established that craving and excessive drinking are no longer under your conscious control.  Now you are addicted to alcohol.


The Sinclair Method can prevent or inoculate against alcohol addiction before it has taken root.

Genetically predisposed rats soon go on to become addicted if allowed free access to alcohol.  If, however, the rats are given naltrexone before gaining free access to alcohol, they never develop the wiring that drives alcoholism.

So what should you do I you think you are at risk of becoming addicted?  Let’s say that you fee you simply drink too much at parties, on aeroplanes, on your own, at restaurants, or while driving.  Or maybe you say things you later regret or wish you had not had so much to drink, and that this has happened once too often.  Moreover, you know that some of your relatives have become alcoholics and you suspect you may have inherited the same heightened risk of becoming addicted.  If you want to make sure your drinking does not increase, or indeed if you would like to reduce your drinking to safer levels or stop altogether, say goodbye to hangovers, improve your self-esteem, health, and overall life – the answer is to always take naltrexone or nalmefene before you drink.  If you do this, you will soon stop the development of excessive drinking in it’s tracks.



One of the main advantages of the Sinclair Method is that you do not need to have a serious drinking problem or be an alcoholic to take advantage of extinction treatment.  If you tend to drink too much on certain occasions and simply want to reduce your intake, begin taking naltrexone or nalmefene before drinking.

The research proves that you will find yourself more in control, and you will begin to drink less.  You can still drink, moderately and safely – if you chose to do so.  The Sinclair Method is easier than dieting because you do not have to avoid the temptation to drink.  Naltrexone (or Nalmefene) + Drinking works automatically – it is your formula for successful de-addiction.



It is also important that you be aware that you may encounter a certain amount of controversy surrounding the Sinclair Method.  The treatment might not make common sense to everyone – especially if they are unfamiliar with the science behind it.  After all, how can instructing compulsive drinkers to continue drinking possibly be helpful, even if they have been given naltrexone or nalmefene?  You will probably find people especially sceptical if they know you already have a problem and see you drinking, even if you tell them about the medication and the way it works.  You must, above all, have faith in the research data.

You might also encounter professional health workers and lay counsellors who proclaim aggressively that ‘you can’t cure a drug addiction with another drug.  Rehab, cold turkey, A.A.’s Twelve Steps and total abstinence are the only way.’  You may get negative feedback from some health professionals when you tell them about the treatment because knowledge of pharmacological extinction has not yet been widely disseminated around the world.

If you are told that you should not be a ‘guinea pig’ for such a treatment, you can safely reply that the guinea pig stage of research has long since passed; tens of thousands have already been successfully de-addicted through Sinclair’s Naltrexone or Nalmefene + Drinking formula.  The scientific data overwhelmingly support the position that pharmacological extinction is the most effective de-addiction treatment ever put into practice.

Other treatment methods have helped some people to cope with craving.  They have employed the most powerful tools known to psychology for an individual to overcome drives and desires.  However, once the addiction is fully installed in the brain, none of the earlier methods has been able to remove the hard-wired neural circuitry that produces the drive and desire for alcohol.  Apart from the Sinclair Method, all current treatments leave your brain in a state of permanent addiction.  Prior to extinction treatment, your addiction meant a lifelong battle for abstinence, which was the basis for the truism ‘once an alcohol, always an alcoholic’.  That’s why, for an abstinent alcoholic, even a small amount o alcohol is exceedingly dangerous.

Unlike pharmacological extinction, traditional treatments have never been able to cut the addictive mechanism out of the nervous system.  Indeed, the NIAAA, WHO, and other governmental bodies confirm that standard treatments for alcohol prevent relapse for only 10 to 15% of alcoholics.  Because alcoholism has not been curable, the majority of alcoholics relapse – 85 to 90% relapse within the first year of treatment. They relapse at the point when the Alcohol Deprivation Effect and environmental stimuli have increased craving to particularly high levels, causing dangerous bingeing.  This is when alcoholics are most at risk of harming themselves and others.

Be prepared to face initial puzzlement when explaining how the Sinclair Method actually works.  Interestingly, many people who are in the midst of the battle with alcohol seem to grasp the logic behind extinction treatment more readily than those without first-hand experience of what it is like to cave in to craving, bingeing, and addiction.



Pregnant women should not be drinking alcohol, nor should they use naltrexone or nalmefene or numerous other medications.

If you have an addiction to an opiate such as heroin, morphine, or any synthetic opiate such as oxycodone, you should inform your prescribing physician because you could precipitate and opiate withdrawal reaction if you take naltrexone.  This is critical because precipitating opiate withdrawal could be fatal.  Do not take naltrexone or nalmefene if you are physiologically dependent on opiates.

If you are currently abstinent, unless you are relapsing, there is no valid reason for you to start the treatment.  You are to be commended – stay with your current treatment if it is working for you.  The Sinclair Method is intended for those who are currently drinking excessively, whether frequently or infrequently, or wish to prevent an escalation of the drinking.  Naltrexone of nalmefene do not cause withdrawal reactions from alcohol.



It is now widely accepted that about 10% of the normal population inherit the genetic potential for alcoholism.  Even though you may have the genetic predisposition for alcoholism, you will only develop the addiction if you begin drinking.  At this stage, you are able to chose whether or not to drink.  Most people are not genetically predisposed to alcoholism.  When they start social drinking, they generally do not get enough reinforcement from endorphins to go on to compulsive addictive drinking.

However, if you are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and you begin drinking, the compulsion creeps up, gradually becoming programmed into your brain.  As this programming becomes more firmly entrenched over several years, you drink increasing amounts.  You may notice that two or three drinks are not enough so you drink more.  Even though you might not set out to become intoxicated, you find this happening way too often.

Your craving for alcohol, the conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings, and sensations telling you that you really need a drink, starts building to higher and higher levels.  Whether you notice it depends on your style of drinking.  If you drink in a Mediterranean style, that is, drinking every day, along with meals, you may never feel the craving until you try to stop drinking.  For many people, the motivation for alcohol is all a matter of scheduling.  It is a product of the Alcohol Deprivation Effect and Mediterranean-style alcoholics may never feel the overpowering craving until they have been deprived of alcohol for a few days or more.

At this stage in the learning of the addiction, you may realise that alcohol is interfering with your life and try to limit the amount you drink.  After one too many hangovers, perhaps after doing and saying regrettable things, you swear that you will never touch a drop of alcohol again…. until, or course, the next time.

By this time, you have lost control over alcohol, and drinking has become a powerful unconscious biological reflex.  It is as though in addition to the normal drive for food and water, a new drive has been installed into your body, in this case for alcohol.  Once this has occurred, the drive for alcohol becomes permanently entrenched as a physiological addiction, and you being to ‘need’ alcohol as though it were water.

You no longer drink out of choice.  Just as your brain is wired to instruct you to drink water when you are thirsty, you drink  because your brain has become wired to crave and drink alcohol – the choice is no longer yours.  Instead, your addiction brain makes the choice for you.  You are ensnared and enslaved because drinking has now become an unconscious, automatic, uncontrollable ‘learned reflex’.

You probably did not realise you carried the genetic potential for compulsive drinking when you took the first drink of your life.  But years later, by the time you had lost control, taking a drink for you was different than it was when you first began your journey.  You find yourself unable to stop at your second or third drink, which have now become just like throwing gasoline on a fire.  Your drinking flares up uncontrollably, with a single drink being enough to ignite a serious bout of drinking.  In chapter 13, we’ll see how recovered alcoholic David, a telecom programmer, explained how he considered his own alcoholism in terms of computer programming.  The programming is like the addictive wiring – the neural circuitry in your brain causing craving and drinking – and the software programming is the repeated learning to drink with endorphin reinforcement from alcohol over many sessions.

As you proceed through the Sinclair Method, remember not to be hard on yourself – as so many alcoholics tend to be – for your addiction.  You are not a weak, immoral person.  No amount of self-recrimination can de-addict you.  Like millions of others, you are no more responsible for compulsive drinking than you are for any other inherited illness.  But, just as a diabetic is responsible for regularly taking insulin – or the use of a condom is absolutely necessary to practice safer sex – you are responsible or your own cure.  Always take your medication before drinking alcohol.

By now, you should appreciate that the Sinclair Method works by blocking reinforcement (which is not the same as pleasure) from the endorphins released by alcohol in your brain.  You were programmed to crave alcohol through repeated reinforcement from endorphins over many drinking sessions.  More precisely, the neural pathways that cause you to think about alcohol, to want it, and to drink it, became progressively more powerful each time they were used and then bathed in endorphins.



Certain neurons in the brain release substances similar to morphine and other opiates.  These substances are called endorphins and enkephalins.  They fit into the same receptors as morphine and heroin.  The release of such substances also occurs in the most primitive organisms.  Even some bacteria release and opiate-like substance, apparently as a signal to other bacteria that something has disturbed the integrity of the community.  In higher organisms, the natural opiates play a role in intestinal contraction.  They also can block the transmission of pain, such as from injury or child-birth.  This is why morphine is effective as a painkiller.

In the brain, the endorphins are generally released into the open space between neurons, rather than being confined to a small space within a synapse.  Thus, one neuron releasing endorphins is able to affect hundreds or thousands of neurons in its vicinity.  Endorphins, therefore, do not act like synaptic transmitters such as glutamate, serotonin, or acetylcholine and might instead be called local hormones.  Both external opiates and natural endorphins provide reinforcement.  That is, they strengthen the connections within the pathway of neurons that have just recently been used; therefore, whatever behaviour occurred just before the opiates or endorphins appear becomes more likely to occur again in the future.  (Some researchers have speculated that endorphins produce reinforcement by releasing dopamine, but it now seems more likely that the endorphins have a direct reinforcing ability themselves.)  In other words, each time you use a pathway that produces a behaviour that, in turn, releases endorphins, the endorphins make the pathway stronger by reinforcing it.  As a result, it will take less stimulation to get that pathway activated again in the future, and it will be harder for some other pathway to inhibit it and prevent the behaviour from occurring.

The opioid system has evolved the function of reinforcing behaviours particularly on the basis of sensory input.  For example, putting a drop of sugar or saccharin on the tongue causes sensory neurons to fire and eventually produces a release of endorphins in the brain.  This provides a very useful survival function from an evolutionary perspective.  Instead of having to wait until after a food has been digested to reinforce the behaviour that produced the food, we have developed an instant chemical dipstick – our tongue.  We stick it into a good.  It analyses the amount of sugar present.  if there is a lot, endorphins are released, and we quickly and efficiently learn to eat ripe fruit with the nutrients we need rather than unripe, unhealthy fruit.  The endorphin reinforcement requires only the sensory input, rather than the actual ingestion of the nutritious substances.  Consequently, although it is a useful shortcut for learning, it can be fooled, for example, with saccharin that produces the sweet sensation – and the endorphin release – but no nutrition.



Ingesting sugar, saccharin, and alcohol causes endorphin release in the brain.  Naltrexone or nalmefene has the ability to completely block the effects of the endorphins diffusing around the brain – which would otherwise be activating billions of opioid receptors resulting in reinforcement or strengthening of the pathways or circuitry producing craving and the drinking.

However, each time you drink while on naltrexone or nalmefene, the reinforcement from endorphins will be blocked in your brain.  Taking naltrexone or nalmefene will not only prevent the opioid pathways in your brain from being reinforced and strengthened, but each time you have a drink while on naltrexone or nalmefene, you will be weakening the endorphin-reinforced pathways – the super-highways that became hard-wired into your brain and now control your drinking and your life.  The Sinclair Method progressively reverses your addiction, ultimately removing it from your brain by trimming back the super-highways so that they are restored to their original condition as the narrow pathways you started our with before you began drinking.

The solution to your problem is not through abstinence – it is through Naltexone or Nalmefene + Continued Drinking.


Legal Disclaimer Notice: The rules for obtaining opioid antagonist tablets such as Naltrexone vary in different parts of the world so always consult your Doctor. Some countries require a prescription while in others the medication can simply be purchased over the counter in a Pharmacy. There are often different terms used when this solution is used as treatment. For example although not generally referred to as the Sinclair Method, the method has now been approved for use with nalmefene (Selincro®) in all of the European Union member states. There are many different methods to help somebody stop abusing alcohol and your Doctor may advise you that an alternative method would be more suitable in your case.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.