What if I take my pill and then don’t want to drink?
In this short video excerpt from our Tackling the Tough TSM Questions live stream on Twitch, C Three Foundation CEO Claudia Christian and Executive Director Jenny Williamson discuss the nuances that surround the highly controversial question, “What if I take my pill, wait my hour, and then realize I don’t want to drink?”
Watch the full video Tackling the Tough TSM Questions on our YouTube channel.
Jenny: So, what if I take my pill, wait my hour, then decide I don’t want to drink?
Claudia: Wonderful. Seriously. If you take your pill and you wait an hour, and then you say, “you know what? I don’t feel like drinking.” There are two schools of thought. My school of thought, and what I’ve noticed in clients is, that it’s a success, it’s a huge step in the right direction. You’re not obligated to drink. You don’t have to drink. Many people take naltrexone daily with abstinence. It’s not going to hurt you. It’s not going to create any disruption of your path on TSM. I think it’s wonderful. There were many times that I took my pill and decided not to drink, and I didn’t force myself to drink. Now, Dr. Eskapa and Dr. Sinclair both said to me, if you really feel like you want to, or if it makes a difference in your comfort level, you could have a small amount of alcohol and consider that a drinking session, but it’s not the end-all be-all. You should follow your own desires. That is what I heard from the proverbial horse’s mouth. You’ll hear a lot of people arguing that you have to drink if you take the pill. I don’t. I don’t agree. Jenny, what are your thoughts on this?
Jenny: Well, this is where it becomes, ‘well it depends’ for me. There’s for me the advice I give, the first thing I do when somebody asks me that, is I ask them are you pre or post-extinction? Because if you’re pre-extinction, then if you have, say, an alcohol-free beer instead, then you’re still, if you’re still drinking that out of the same glass, you’re still smelling what smells like alcohol, you’re still hearing that fizz when you open the can or the bottle, and you’re getting endorphin releases from other things. So I guess, in both cases I usually say if you don’t feel like drinking, congratulations, that’s the entire point of the Sinclair Method, is for you to have the ability to make that choice. But if someone is pre-extinction, I usually encourage them to have an alcohol-free drink that mimics what they would be getting from their favorite drink if it had alcohol in it, because it will get those other connective endorphins that are released from the drinking scenario.
Claudia: But a lot of people in this situation particularly say the thought of drinking alcohol just at that point totally turned me off, so why would they want to drink something that resembles or smells like beer. So in those cases, have some herbal tea, have a non-alcoholic beverage that doesn’t resemble booze, because they’re feeling like ugh I really don’t want to drink, and like you said, it really depends on the situation.
“We hear people who have similar scenarios where it completely stresses them out because they they’re afraid they’re doing TSM wrong.”
Jenny: What I’ve found is that, and we’ll cover an entire section on extinction a little later on, but typically those who say that they’re repulsed at the thought of drinking right now, even though they took their naltrexone and thought they were going to – those are people who are usually, even if they haven’t you know, quote unquote declared it yet, they’re probably at or very close to extinction anyway.
Claudia: Sure. And then there’s the people who they took the tablet, and now their kid broke their ankle and they need to go to the hospital and they’re going to be driving, so they just can’t drink. Their plans have changed. They’re not about to put a kid in the car after having a glass of wine or two, so they’re gonna say no my plans have changed, I’m not gonna drink but I took the naltrexone. Don’t stress out. Don’t drink. That’s the kind of scenario that you know it absolutely makes no sense at that point to force yourself into a drinking session, no matter how small. It just ignore the fact that you took the pill and carry on with life.
So there’s a million different situations. You could even show up at a so-called party after popping a pill like I did in the past, and it was an alcohol-free party because it was a bridal shower or something, and they decided since the bride or baby shower, since the pregnant mother couldn’t drink, nobody was gonna drink, and here I thought they were gonna be serving champagne so I took a pill, you know.
Jenny: And yet we hear people who have similar scenarios where it completely stresses them out because they they’re afraid they’re doing TSM wrong if suddenly they can’t take that, and then that fear of having sabotaged themselves by not drinking, which is mind-blowing when you think about it, can actually cause them to then want a drink in other cases.
“A lot of people who are binge drinkers can be very hesitant to simply take that one sip, or one small drink, when they don’t want to drink because of fear that it’s going to turn into a lot more than that.”
Claudia: I gotta share a quick story with you. I was in France, and this was like I guess year one or two or whatever it was on TSM. Still didn’t know all of the ins and outs. I was like highly obsessed with taking the pill and drinking exactly one hour later. For some reason in my mind it was like an OCD thing. I go on a wine tasting, and this is my first sort of venture like that. So I pop the pill and I go on this wine tasting, and it is hours and hours of educational walks through the wine cellars with no alcohol in sight. Hours, I mean I took the pill at like 12 noon and now by 3 pm I’m almost in tears. I’m so anxious because I’m thinking “oh my god I’m doing it wrong, I’m doing it wrong,” and I’m so upset, visibly upset, that the guy running the tour comes over to me and said are you okay? And I’m like “I found this treatment for alcoholism. I’m supposed to drink exactly one hour after taking this medication”. I mean spilled out of me, spilled out of me, and the guy’s like “Oh well the wine testing is coming up in maybe 20 minutes” and I was like okay, okay. You know I was petrified, petrified, and I wish I would have known that it’s okay. It was fine. I was fine. It wasn’t gonna wear off that quickly, but I just literally, even though I was told you’re safe for x amount of hours, for some reason I was obsessed with that drink, wait an hour, you know, take the pill, wait an hour, drink.
Jenny: Well, and I think that’s common though in a lot of people, because there are people who start the Sinclair Method 100% with the belief that it’s TSM or nothing for them. Nothing has worked so far. If this doesn’t, this is the absolute last chance, and so people who come to TSM with that mindset, they have a lot riding on this working for them, and they care so deeply about achieving lasting results, that they are terrified of doing absolutely anything that could undermine that success. And you know, and I try to remind people of that. That you’re getting stressed out over this because you care, because it matters to you, and because you really want this that badly, and so I mean this comes up for so many people, but a lot of times this can be somebody’s first alcohol free day.
Claudia: Sure that’s a huge boon. That’s a great gift. Take it. Enjoy it. Pat yourself on the back. Absolutely.
Jenny: Yeah. So. Okay, we do have one comment here. Belenkyboy says: I agree with Claudia. I think anything that gives you perspective today, that is different than what was yesterday’s behavior pattern, is a win. I’ve learned more from alcohol free days than Nal days, but Nal days are important, especially if you’re pre-extinction.
Claudia: Yeah thank you. Absolutely right David.
Jenny: So if you were going to concisely give just a closing answer to this question, as a summary.
Claudia: It all depends on the situation. Seriously, it really depends on the situation. Where you are in your TSM journey. What the circumstances are. If you’ve never had AF days. What, I mean if you’re driving somebody. You know it depends on the circumstance.
Jenny: Oh here’s one circumstance we haven’t touched on, which is also a reason to not drink if you don’t feel like drinking. A lot of people who are binge drinkers can be very hesitant to simply take that one sip, or one small drink, when they don’t want to drink because of fear that it’s going to turn into a lot more than that.
Claudia: Again that’s a huge win. You just had a massive win. You took the medication and it did what it’s supposed to do. It eliminated your cravings and the compulsion to drink. So great, count that up, chalk it up for a wonderful experience.
“This is difficult enough, so to sit there and judge yourself, or to slap yourself because you took the pill and didn’t drink is ridiculous. Every single one of these scenarios comes down to this. You’re trying to improve your drinking. You’re on TSM. Bravo. So don’t stress out about it.”
Jenny: So batmando says: I’ve taken my pill and then while waiting, I’ve forgotten to drink until many hours later, and then just didn’t bother. I’m glad to hear it’s not a big deal.
Claudia: Good. It’s not a big deal.
Jenny: So does anyone out there in the audience have questions, additional questions, about situations where, when you take your pill, and then you don’t feel like drinking. What to do. I’ll give a couple moments to see if there’s any other comments and questions coming through on this particular question. Because this has been a major touch point. I mean there seems to be a very hard line of people who, like your fear, of it has to be exactly one hour. You always have to have a drink. Now there’s definitely the benefits to having your alcohol free days also be naltrexone free days as well. So maybe while we’re waiting for a couple questions, maybe you can talk about why ultimately you want to aim for not taking the medication on the non-drinking days.
Claudia: TSM is a dual therapy, and the dual aspect of that therapy is producing good natural dopamine endorphins on your own, by doing good positive activities. So you really want to strive for those flush out alcohol free days, naltrexone free days, but you don’t want to pressure yourself into it, and you certainly, this is difficult enough, so to sit there and judge yourself, or to slap yourself because you took the pill and didn’t drink is ridiculous. Every single one of these scenarios comes down to this. You’re trying to improve your drinking. You’re on TSM. Bravo. So don’t stress out about it. Now if you can do an alcohol-free day, you know, when the naltrexone’s out of your system, and alcohol is out of your system, and you go for a lovely nature walk, yeah, you’re gonna feel great. But once again, if you take a naltrexone and don’t drink, that’s a huge win too. So let’s just take everything in perspective. Be kind to ourselves. This is a healing process, and the most important thing right now is to love yourself, and to be kind to yourself, and to heal, because there’s so much trauma that is associated with addiction that the last thing we need is just one more beat up session on ourselves.
Jenny: Exactly, especially when it’s something that should be celebrated instead.
Claudia: Exactly. I’m excited for the next question.
Jenny: Okay well I’m going to transition over to my little washout screen real quick while I change the question cards. And Claudia you can’t see it, but our wonderful graphics volunteers
have started giving me the backgrounds for the conference graphics and what everybody’s about to see here is a beautiful background screen that does a great job of adding our
logo’s gradient into the image.