TSM, nalmefene, selincro - trying to control my drinking!!!

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I'm really busy reading all I can all over here and the internet in general, about The Sinclair Method, Naltrexone and Nalmefene but as I took my first tablet last night, I thought I'd start my own thread about it too!


​Female, 40 years old, "functioning" alcoholic as in I work part time, I have a husband, children, own a house, am an active member of the community where I live.  I drink at home, evenings only but from 1 to 2 bottles of wine a night, every night.

​In August last year I realised my units had crept up from 60-80 per week to a record high of 135 (I log the next morning on drink aware ap).  I went to my GP and requested help, he told me not to stop drinking suddenly as I could be at risk of seizure, he referred me to Addaction.  I met with them and told them my drinking felt out of control, the levels were crazily high and I was drinking on work days with no regard for what was happening the next day.  She was brilliant, everyone was, so non-judgemental and kind.  We set a date for a home and dry detox which I did in September.  Took tapering does of librium for 7 days and then went onto acamprasate.  Stayed sober for 7 weeks.  Felt great, mornings were lovely, sleep was fantastic, sober days out with no headache or fog was brilliant but I felt like I was really missing out.  I went to some support groups and people there were in different stages of alcoholic / moderating / absteining / cutting down / on serious drugs etc...  Whole range of people and problems.

​I started questioning "was I that bad?" "why can't I just drink moderately?" "What's wrong with me?" Anyway, long story short I started drinking again, first just at weekends, bottle of wine, then some days a bottle a night, some days off, eventually back up to a bottle a night, every night but not as high as before.  All this time I'm still talking to addaction and being totally honest about my situation and spending all day googling alcoholic forums trying to figure out what to do.   AA was at the back of my mind as my last resort because I have tried it a few years ago and found it to be a bit cult like.  Its like "yes it can save you but it kind of takes over your life aswell". 

​When I stumbled across The Sinclair Method, C3 Europe, naltrexone and nalmefene I thought it was a joke.  I'm still not 100% convinced it can really work, it sounded too good to be true. 

​Anyway, I picked them up yesterday and took my first pill at 5.10pm last night.  I felt quite spaced out, it was almost like the feeling of coming up on a pill/trip from when I was a teenager!  I was sat chatting to my children and helping them with their homework but I was feeling a bit "odd".  Put them to bed and had some red wine about 7.00pm.  First couple of glasses went down as quick as normal but then I slowed down.  It was strange, I had the bottle next to me but I wasn't getting through it as quick as normal.  I wasn't racing to get the 2nd bottle out, ready to swap it over.  I felt really glad that I had an instant effect off it.  I decided to drink as much as I wanted to so probably did a bottle and 2 glasses but almost had to force myself to finish the last glass before going to bed (stupid I know).

​Woke up at 2am, went to the toilet which isn't that unusal anyway.  But this morning felt a little "removed" from myself.  Didn't want to eat anything.  Ended up having a banana at 10am and now I feel OK.  I'm going to take another pill tonight but drink a smaller amount (if I can control it). 

​I'll update later, would love to hear from anyone in a similar situation.

​Sorry for essay length of post!

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71 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, great post!

    You're very similar to me with your drinking. I am a 45 year old male who was also drinking one to two bottles of wine every night without any days off. I haven't done any Detox programme or tried AA though.

    I began Nalmefene in June and initially didn't notice any change in my drinking at all. It was very frustrating as many were reporting instant reduction in these forums. I was however taking two other medications which could have been counteracting the Nalmefene. The first was Esameprazole, a stomach acid med. The second an antidepressant called Venlafaxine. When I began taking Venlafaxine my alcohol cravings rocketed, increasing my urges to drink tenfold.

    I have now switched the stomach med to another one and am switching the antidepressant also.

    I am now finding I don't enjoy drinking as much as I thought I used to. I really notice when wine tastes bad whereas I obviously used to block out that thought! The big change though is that I have found seven months in that I am able to stand back and actually look at whether I want to drink that night. Previously I would think 'I shouldn't' but by early evening had convinced myself it was fine to drink again that night. Now, when I get that excited buzz about drinking that evening I stop and think 'is it actually wine you are excited about or is it the food you're cooking and the TV binge?'! More often I am realising it's not really the thought of drinking which I am excited about and so I don't.

    On the days I do drink I'm still hitting 15 to 20 units but I'm now on around three booze free days a week.

    And that's where I'm currently at. I am hoping that more and more I feel less like drinking and more like enjoying things without booze.

    I would say keep at it and always take your Nalmefene two hours before drinking.

    Good luck!

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  • Posted

    So pleased that you have found the C3Europe website beneficial.  I find it quite depressing that despite this medication and method being an approved treatment on the NHS since November 2014, it seems that Addaction did not discuss it with you.  It is wrong that someone is finding help through stumbling across something on the internet.  They are supposedly the experts and yet so often I hear that all specialists (not just Addaction) do not discuss this as a potential treatment plan.

    Feeling strange the morning after is quite normal, especially in the beginning so do not be concerned.  Just be careful about driving etc if you are feeling strange.  It should pass as your body adjusts to the medication.

    So, take the tablet prior to drinking (1 hour prior if naltrexone, or 2 hours prior if you are taking nalmefene) and then drink mindfully.

    By mindfully, we mean take the first drinks slowly and allow yourself to recognise that something is missing.  Then for every drink after, ask yourself if you really want another.  If you do, then drink it.  If you get the signal from your brain that you've had enough, then put the drink down.

    Getting in this habit provides a good foundation for the future.  If you drink through the medication out of habit (drinking when you don't really want to, forcing it down) then you will likely end up feeling quite rough the next day.  The medication is a tool to enable you to make better decisions, so you are aiming to make those better decisions as often as you can. 

    We are only human of course, so you won't always be able to act on the decision to put the drink down, but aim to do so the majority of the time and you will be on the ride track biggrin


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  • Posted

    Hi and welcome,  you will not regret this and you should find it will give you some control over your drinking. I am not going to go into detail about my own experience as you can read yourself about that amoung my posts in other threads. Stick at it as the side effects will disapate. Unfortunately with me, the less I needed to take a tablet the worse the side effects got again. That does not happen with everyone though. I am now looking at Naltrexone to replace Nalmefene. 
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  • Posted

    My last post disappeared so I'll update now on what happened last night.

    Took tablet at 5.00pm, no spaced out feeling this time, carried on playing with the children and started sorting them out for bed (they are 6 & 8). They started squabbling as they do, and I noticed the irritation rise inside of me like lava in a volcano, it really was quite a physical feeling. Now normally, that would have been my cue for walking to the kitchen, glugging some wine and carrying on with the task in hand, the wine would have "taken the edge off" the irritation and I would have been able to joke my way through it. Now I didn't do this a) because it hadn't been 2 hours yet since the tablet but also because b) I actually thought - oh how strange I get irritated and think of wine straight away, how funny... Never mind, I'll have it once they're in bed.

    So fast forward, just gone 7pm and I'm back downstairs with a glass of red wine poured. I'm doing some work on the laptop and the glass is just sat there. I'm like "why isn't this glass flashing / singing / dancing around / doing stunts / doing whatever it must have done before to have held my attention so much???!!"

    So hang on. Are you really telling me that day 2, tablet 2 and I'm already experiencing the kind of mindfullness that I thought was only true in fairy tales???

    Amazing : )))))))

    Went to bed at 9pm, had drunk 2/3 of the bottle of red. Fell asleep. Work up at midnight, had to go and brush my teeth as the red wine taste in my mouth was pretty offensive (that's a first). Then woke up at 2am, 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am, got up, felt OK. Actually at breakfast commented that I feel much better than normal because of the reduced intake of wine the night before.

    Am VVVVVVVVVVVVV happy : ))))))))))

    Night 3 tonight...

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  • Posted

    Brilliant post!

    Can I ask, what pills are you taking and did you get them from your GP?

    I've looked at Selincro, buying them online rather than going to the doc but I'm not sure if that is safe?

    I too drink up to two bottles of red wine per day. It's getting to the point now where I panic if I see that I only have a bottle left in the cupboard, and I dread emptying bottles into the recycling bin at the end of the week!

    I'd love a magic pill to help me stop drinking and your post has made me think that maybe it is possible after all.

    Please let me know how you are going with your journey on these pills.

    I work from home so have access to alcohol all the time unfortunately. I try not to drink during the day, but when my daughter gets stroppy (she's just started with the hormones!) I reach for a glass of wine. It would be lovely not to do that!


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    • Posted

      Hi jbgf2015,    Selincro are safe to take but the side effects can be a pain over the first few days. That wears off. Soemof us are experiencing problems with side effects when we start to require them less but most are okay.   I was drinking at least 70 units a week. Thats a bottle of wine each night more or less. Howver, I probably was exceeding that most weeks to about 100 units plus. I am now drinking only a couple of times a week and probably less than the new givernment guidelines of 14 units.  That at the moment is also unprotected as I had to stop the Selincro. I am waiting for Naltrexone now which are reprted to have less side effects.  Go for it and make an appointment with your GP.  My advise is to write to the GP first and ask if he is aware of Nalmefene ( Selincro ) and that it is now prescribable on the NHS. Include a link for the NICE guidelines.


      Explain that you would wish to be considered for this.  I would also see what support group / organisation is available for you in your area so that you are prepared if they state they don't have the support systems in place.   I used a local charitable organisation.

      Good Luck.



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    • Posted

      Great post, Ray.

      And just to confirm for jbgf, if the support side of things is an issue for you to get locally, C Three Europe provides the required support/counselling free of charge by skype.

      Google C Three Europe Free Counselling for more information on this.


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    • Posted

      I should add to that above that I ended up educating the support worker as I had the knowledge. She was great though and took it all on board. It was, my me, just a way of meeting the criteria and getting the drug prescribed by my GP.


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  • Posted

    I'm taking nalfemene / Selincro.

    Day 5 today.


    Night 3, took pill at 6pm, didn't have first drink till 8pm (later than normal but wasn't gasping for it as would have been previously). I'd bought a nice £9 bottle of chardonnay because I wanted to avoid the middle of the night red wine mouth experience again! I had 2/3 bottle of white wine, realised I could have more / didn't want more / didn't need more / but should I have it anyway? / this kind of whirled around and around in my head for a while until I just went up to bed quite happily. Slept randomly but nothing too bad. Felt great the next morning due to reduced intake of wine.

    Night 4, took pill at 6pm, had to go out to a meeting but was thinking I would take tablet incase I fancied a drink when I got back. Normal practice would have been even if I'd got in at 9.30-10.00pm that I would still drink a bottle + of wine, just quickly. At the meeting I actually felt a bit spooked by the tablet, it made me ultra aware of what I was saying and quite nervous of speaking in public. It wore off though by 9pm. As it was, meeting went on quite late and I walked in at 10pm. Thought about wine, was feeling pretty tired and caught myself thinking "do I have to?" Realised how ridiculous it was to sit down at 10pm and start drinking when I had work the next day. Had a glass of cranberry juice and went to bed. Was quite annoyed that I hadn't been able to have a drink even though it had been my choice, stupid!!! Woke up at 3.30am but dozed on and off, listed to a thunderstorm podcast!

    Day 5 - woke up, amazed that I'd managed my first night sober in 30 days, I kid you not! Very bright eyed and bushy tailed today. Bought another nice bottle of WW for tonight. It's nice to not have to think about needing 2 bottles. My drink aware tracker is already saying I have drunk 50 units less than I did last week. Wow. Just wow.

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  • Posted

    Wow thank you so much for posting this.  My drinking pttern was the same but somehow have whittled it down to zero for 13 out of 15 days in January.  

    Have thought about and discussed those meds with dr, but she just gave me  a phone number to call which I haven't done yet.  But you've given me food for thought.

    Well done! Am looking forward to following your posts smile

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    • Posted

      Thanks Sue,

      Glad you're doing well too : ) The difference between this and when I've stopped on my own is that I don't have that fizzing of excitement / dread in the pit of my stomach when I think about drinking. It has for a better word for it "normalised" it a little. It's such early days I'm hesitant to sing its praises too much but for anyone out there who is losing hope, thinking they are so out of control it's not funny, try this!!!!

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