Actress Claudia Christian (Babylon 5, The Hidden, Clean and Sober) joins us to talk about her tell-all book about Hollywood, a new way of coping with an alcohol addiction, and more in Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of Love, Sex, and Addiction. Part two of our unabridged interview deals with her discovery of The Sinclair Method to treat alcoholism as well as her upcoming projects. (Part 1 HERE)
DIGBOSTON: To go back a bit and to change tone. Throughout the whole book, you talk about your struggles with alcohol, something you deem to call a monster that a lot of people struggle with, including myself. A lot of people go about their recovery in different ways. At the apex of the book you talk about your absolute bottom and your recovery. Mind talking about that a bit?
Claudia Christian: Not at all! My alcoholism struck when I was 37/38. I realized that I had a problem so I became sober. I tried everything. I went to AA meetings, which did nothing for me, I tried hypnotism, I tried psychotherapy. You name it. What happened to me, I was one of those people who would stay sober for six months and fall off the wagon. [I would] stay sober for 9 months and fall off the wagon. The problem with that is, there is a state of alcohol deprivation if you are an alcoholic. This is a scientific term.
The brain is in constant craving, even if you don’t realize it.
When I was sober. Every single day, all I could think of was the fact that I was sober, and I hated it. I just wanted to be normal again.
I wanted to be the Claudia that had one drink and could walk away.
I wanted to be the Claudia that had a dinner party, [could] have a couple of glasses of wine and be fine. It confused me that something changed in my brain.
I come from a family of scientists and doctors. I kept thinking there must be some sort of way to change the brain. There has to be. I ended up in a detox center with my absolute last, worst binge. It was a nightmare. It was the only time I had to have a medical detox. I was sober for 10 months and fell of spectacularly. Because that is what happens, the binges get worse!
As we tend to do.
And that’s how people die. You hear about these famous people who drink a bottle of vodka, and they die. You overdo it and you poison yourself.
I went to the detox center, they treated me horrifically, inhumanely. Most of the time that’s what it is, treating addicts with degradation, which is so not fair. I checked myself out in 24 hours. On the way out, I saw this flyer, for Vivitrol” “Get Rid of the Cravings.” It was a shot, $1000 a month. I called and no one ever called me back so I did my own research. I found out the key ingredient is called Naltrexone.
That lead me to the book by Dr. Roy Eskapa, The Cure for Alcoholism: The Medically Proven Way to Eliminate Alcohol Addiction.
I read the book and a magic light went on in my brain and I thought this makes sense. You use an opiate blocker, you take a drink an hour later, it blocks the endorphins, because alcoholics have very, very high endorphins when they drink.
To get scientific for a moment, an alcoholic takes a drink, the endorphins rush to the opiate receptor, the opiate receptor increases the neural pathways. Alcoholic’s neural pathways are like freeways, they are like superhighways. Normal people have little country lanes. What the opiate blocker does is block it from continuing to enforce that neural pathway.
What you do is you are unlearning the condition. Alcoholism in my mind is not a disease, it is a learned behavior. You aren’t born an alcoholic, you don’t go to a bar the first time, have a drink and become an alcoholic. You have to have the genetic predisposition, and you have to drink. Those are the two key components to becoming an alcoholic.
The more you drink, the longer you drink and you’ve got the gene, eventually you become an alcoholic. This literally undoes the alcoholism. Some people are scared to use the word cure, they think of snake oil.
I say as long as you are on The Sinclair Method, you are in remission. As long as you take that pill before you drink, you are in remission.
Forty-45% of people go completely sober on The Sinclair Method. The rest of the people go back to safe normal drinking levels. It’s extraordinary, and amazing it isn’t more well known.
One of the reason is that the FDA put a pamphlet inside the packages of Naltrexone with incorrect directions of how to prescribe it. Doctors are saying, take this every morning. If you take it in the morning, you are going to block the good endorphins like sex and working out and cuddling with your baby and eating spicy food.
You don’t want to do that, you want to take this and block the endorphins you want to kill.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it, it’s so easy. I’ve put over a hundred people on it, with 100% success rate. In clinical trials there is 78% long-term success rate.
Compare that to moderation or AA, with maybe 5-10%, and of course no one can track that.
This is a travesty that this is not more utilized all over the world. 80,000 people dying [of alcoholism] a year in the US alone.
Costing billions of dollars.
I did like that you referenced The Orange Papers in your book. The blog pits science vs. what it says in the Big Book of AA.
Do you know what Dr. Sinclair says about the moral issue of alcoholism when he was working with his rats? He said, “Moral issue? I’ve never known a bad rat.”
I just love that. That just sums it up, it is not a moral issue, quite frankly, I prayed for years. You can’t pray it away.
8% of the population can naturally quit anything on their own. They can quit heroin, cocaine, cigarettes, alcohol. 8% of the population have that lucky gene.
AA has the 5% success rate, and that’s right around 8%.
By the way, I’m not bashing AA. I believe it helps millions and millions of people. I am totally for it. I believe people can use The Sinclair Method with AA if they want. Or with therapy.
For instance you can get sober with The Sinclair Method and then go to meetings to have the support group around you.
Bill W. died begging for whiskey. That means he was still thinking about alcohol. The thing is, I don’t think about alcohol anymore.
That’s the difference. When you are sober you drive by a billboard with a glass of wine on it, and you think, “God, I want a drink.” Now I drive by and think, “Oh, that’s a glass of wine.”
You aren’t equating the drink with sin, or penance. It’s more science.
I’m not a bad person, and I didn’t fail at anything. With AA for me it was just so depressing, all these people standing up saying their sob stories, still in the rut. If you relapse, you are a failure. Dr. Sinclair doesn’t believe in that.
He believes this is a genetic predisposition, and we can undo it.
It is as simple as that. This doesn’t have anything to do with you, you are not a bad person. It is a compulsive behavior, it is an addiction. If you have never been an addict and you have never walked that road, you have no idea what an alcoholic goes through.
How long has it been since your sobriety, how long since you’ve been on The Sinclair Method?
We don’t call it sobriety, I’ve been on The Sinclair Method for four years.
Thanks so much!
Grab the DigBoston paper today to see more in the Arts Section.
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