Naltrexone is an opiate blocker that in simple terms is used to block the pleasure signals back to the brain and is used in the treatment of alcohol and opiate dependence. Interestingly, alcohol and opiates work in similar ways in the brain.
When the specialist first explained it to me I was very sceptical about the efficacy of the drug -and so I did not want to try it at first. I had Heard of the “Anti-abuse” drugs which made people vomit and feel extremely sick if they drank whilst taking the drug – however the Doctor explained to me that these are rarely ever used anymore as they simply dont work. People just stop taking the drug instead of stopping drinking.
Taking it For the First Time
You are supposed to take the drug each day to block the craving signals which go to your brain, however, as I had gone cold turkey I hadn’t used it. When I went for a long weekend in Ireland I thought it would be the perfect place to try it out. I started taking it 2 days before I arrived so that my body could get used to it.
It is difficult to describe how it makes you feel. I wouldn’t necessarily say it makes you feel sick, but it’s makes you feel a bit unpleasant, (I guess if my body was used to it then these unpleasant feelings would go away).
I cautiously drank my first beer, (beer not being something I used to often drink – just neat vodka or wine),and waited. I decided I was going to try and drink at the pace of everyone else -and that by doing that I wouldn’t end up getting wasted.
A few beers in and I realised I wasn’t feeling any effects from the alcohol, and it was actually unpleasant drinking. I carried on drinking all night without feeling almost any effects. I could feel my body being drunk and more, “sloppy”, but I had none of the false euphoria and energy that alcohol gives you. I also noticed that every so often I would really crave neat vodka, but that the thought would literally disappear, and I would start thinking about something else – this continued in a sort of cycle every 10 or 15 minutes. From the airport I had brought with me a bottle of vodka, a bottle of rum and a bottle of gin – as a present for my friend whos house I was staying at / a present for myself.
No Desire To Drink
At the end of the night I was sat in his living room with the alcohol in front of me and it actually disgusted me to look at it. Usually if I had a bottle of vodka sat in front of me it would be gone within about half an hour. I forced myself to take a swig of it and it I hated it. I was getting none of the pleasure or kick that I would usually get from doing this. As the night continued I started to notice myself starting to feel hungover, even though I continued drinking.
When I woke up in the morning, instead of starting to drink again straight away which I would usually do – (I often used to leave a bottle of wine next to my bed so that I would have to even get out of bed to start drinking) – the thought of drinking again actually disgusted me. I took the Naltrexone again and did the same thing again that night – not out of desire but out of curiosity and to put it to the test.
I used naltrexone on another 5 or 6 occasions when on holiday and it was always the same story. I wouldn´t feel any, “drunkness”, or any real positive effects from the alcohol, just notice the bad effects.
I realised how much I HATE alcohol – I think the taste is disgusting. Originally I thought to myself that maybe one day I would be able to learn to drink responsibly, but then I thought WHAT IS THE POINT?
Why force yourself to start liking something that causes nothing but damage to your body and brain? Why try and “drink responsibly” ie spend my time craving more and not enjoying the moment?
Using Naltrexone made me realise that there really are very few positives to drinking alcohol and that for the high it gives you it 100% is not worth the negative effects.
I have not experienced being “drunk” since September 26th 2017, (when I decided to quit), and have not drunk any alcohol at all since mid-June 2018.
Knowing that I dislike the taste of alcohol – and realising that it has nothing positive to offer me, I am fairly positive that I will not return to drinking. If I were to drink again in the future it would be as a test of my self-will – but then this is something I am not sure is even worth it.
Helping People Who are Struggling
I had never heard of Naltrexone before and didn’t even know drugs like this existed. I want to try and spread the word, so that people realise there are things that can be prescribed that can help people. Alcoholics/drug addicts often feel lost and hopeless and like no-one understands them but there is a wealth of knowledge and help out there. You just have to be brave and seek it out.
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