Over my few decades on this earth, I have discovered that I’m in that select group of people who seem to get very addicted to things. Everyone else seemed to happily have a few sneaky cigarettes after school, and then head off on a non-smoking life – not me. Thirty years later I finally kicked that particular habit into touch, after years of trying.
The same seems to be the case with alcohol, everyone else enjoys a relaxing drink now and again without it having to become an essential part of their lives. I know I’m not alone as I see my fairly addicts around in the similar situations. They are there in the morning of our local cheap bar, dragging on a smoke whilst awaiting their first drink of the day. Some unfortunately I see lying around park benches knocked over by whichever drug is cheapest in town that week. We are all a tribe, we are all vulnerable.
I am pleased of course that I am in the ‘functional’ section of this group. The ones who can still hold down jobs and families whilst battling their demons. Yet we all know that it wouldn’t take much to end up on the park bench too.
So I was interested to read about a treatment that is now being allowed on the NHS for dealing with alcoholism. Not the raving alcoholism that makes you wake up shaking for a drink. Rather the gentile alcoholism which slowly destroys people’s health over decades of gin and tonics or glasses of Pinot Noir every evening.
It is based on a drug called Selincro which is designed to do something rather subtle. Instead of making you feel ill when you go near alcohol it merely reduces the pleasure that you receive when you drink. The drug blocks the endorphins which are released in response to relaxing drink, that nice relaxing feeling you get as you unwind with a drink. The shock is that it actually does that, suddenly drinking seems a bit mechanical, like a glass of water or a cup of tea.
There are clinical trials of the drug which are claiming a 78% cure rate for alcoholism. However this should be remembered that is in tandem with taking the drug alongside a specific methodology – called the Sinclair Method. It would be interesting to see if it had a similar effects on smoking too!