Rebirth of an alcoholic

I’ve struggled with alcoholism for almost twenty years now. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs: periods of sobriety and periods of pure chaos. When things are bad, I’ll drink a full 750 ml bottle worth or more of cheap vodka a day. There are even times I’ve kept a pint bottle in my pocket at work. I could go on, but that’s not the point. I’m just trying to provide some context as to the magnitude of my problem.

I’ve tried all sorts of things: counseling, AA, Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery, antidepressants, and on and on. Nothing has provided long-term relief from debilitating cravings—until now.

My wife came across a documentary on Netflix called One Little Pill. The namesake pill is naltrexone, an opioid antagonist. Essentially it blocks the brain’s opiate receptors, so when you have a drink, the subsequent surge of endorphin no longer provides that euphoric high. Over time, your brain unlearns years of drink-reward reinforcement and your desire to drink diminishes through a process called pharmacological extinction.

What that means for myself is that when I take a swig of vodka, there’s no explosion of pleasure. It’s no different than drinking water. In fact it’s much worse, because cheap straight vodka is disgusting. Where I used to get butterflies of anticipation in my stomach at just the thought of drinking, now the taste makes me nauseous.

In the months since I started down this road, my desire to drink has vanished completely. What’s more, I have been able to once again enjoy beer and wine for their taste, without worrying about not being able to stop. It’s amazing and has changed my life.

One thought on “Rebirth of an alcoholic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s