Important Books

If you’d like to read more about medications for the treatment of alcoholism there are very few books available on the topic.

But the few that are available provide some incredibly insightful, moving descriptions of life with alcoholism, and what it is like to finally find a medical treatment that works. There are also a few that provide other interesting and relevant points of view.

Below is a list of authors and books that I read while researching A Prescription for Alcoholics. Each is linked to their Amazon page where you can read descriptions and reviews.

Babylon Confidential – A Memoir of Love, Sex & Addiction

Full disclosure:  I’m a huge fan of Claudia Christian and the work she has done as an advocate of naltrexone, nalmefene and The Sinclair Method. Her documentary, One Little Pill, was outstanding.

And truthfully, anyone who played a Commander in the Star Trek franchise has a leg up in my books to begin with.

Babylon Confidential is Christian’s memoir, so it covers a lot of racy topics and is not just a book about alcoholism. But it does detail her struggle with alcoholism, and also how she came across naltrexone and ultimately The Sinclair Method.

Anyone interested in naltrexone, nalmefene and ‘as needed’ forms of medication may find the parts of Christian’s book related to these medications and methods very relevant.

The End of My Addiction: How One Man Cured Himself of Alcoholism

Dr. Olivier Ameisen is a French doctor who resolved his own severe alcoholism through the use of high-dose baclofen.

Ameisen spent the rest of his life advocating for the use of baclofen. Today in France the drug is used on-label by doctors for the treatment of alcoholism – and this victory can be traced directly back to Ameisen’s work.

For anyone interested in trying baclofen this book provides detailed instructions on how to take baclofen, when to take it, why (to the best of Ameisen’s understanding) it works, and what to expect in regard to side-effects.  It is also a touching and poignant, and at times, heart-wrenching story of Ameisen’s struggle. I highly recommend it – I read it quickly and couldn’t put it down.

The Cure for Alcoholism – The Medically Proven Way to Eliminate Alcohol Addiction

I want to get this out of the way up front here… I’m thankful that Roy Eskapa wrote this book. It’s probably saved countless lives. But I really wish he had not named it ‘The CURE for Alcoholism’.

Because natrexone is NOT the CURE for everyone for alcoholism. It just isn’t. And for those for whom it does not work – to find out that THE CURE doesn’t work, is pretty devastating. It also casts the credibility of naltrexone and The Sinclair Method into question. Which is a shame – because it DOES WORK for many people – just not for everyone (or even possibly for the very high percentage of people that Eskapa’s book lays claim to).

And it’s that title that was probably one of the many little itches that led me to write A Prescription for Alcoholics, and include numerous medications in it – because there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. And medication may not even be the way that works for you at all – and that’s fine too.

But now that gripe is aside, if you are interested in pursuing naltrexone, or its sister medication nalmefene, in the method known as ‘The Sinclair Method’ (or the ‘as needed’ approach as it is termed for nalmefene), then you’ll find this book extremely helpful.

As with Ameisen’s book for baclofen, this book will tell you when to take it, how to take it, what to expect, when to expect it, and much much more.

The foreword for the book was written by the late great Dr. David Sinclair – the grandfather of naltrexone and the ‘as needed’ approach to alcohol addiction medication.

The Thirteenth Step – Addiction in the Age of Brain Science

Dr. Markus Heilig is the author of The Thirteenth Step. He is a beautiful writer. He is also a brilliant scientist and one of the most highly cited and credentialed addiction researchers in the world. He holds a very senior position at the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

I was reading journals one day – these journal articles are exceptionally dry – but one of them stood out – and it was the only journal article that ever stood out to me simply for the enjoyable quality of its writing. I wanted to read more by the author. I found out that he had just published a book. I thought – ‘Well, I probably don’t have to write my book anymore – he will have written all about medication since that is what he has spent his entire career researching and advocating for.’ He’s a scientist, a medical doctor, a senior NIAAA official. He couldn’t be more credible and well-positioned.

So I read the book to confirm my assumption.

I was puzzled. First, the book is called ‘The Thirteenth Step – Addiction in the Age of Brain Science’. ‘Thirteenth Stepping’ is the slang term AAs use to describe how male oldtimers prey upon vulnerable younger women. Why would he call his book that? This was disconnect number 1.

And yes – he mentions a lot of the medications. But they are mentioned by him sort of in passing…. like supporting characters in a bigger show. Like they are kind of boring and we all already know about them right? Disconnect number 2.

So why do I even mention his book here? Well, there are some parts worth reading. His writing is still wonderful, and his descriptions of his work on the ground are poignant. Of the hundreds of researchers whose research I’ve read, he may be the one whose work I respect the most.

It’s also interesting to get the perspective from a man who has spent his entire life solving the puzzles of alcoholism and these medications. It can’t be an easy job – I wouldn’t want it.

And maybe I just want him to email me back. And I think he still could write the book. Literally THE BOOK on these medications – and do a far better job than I. Maybe one day he’ll do that too.

My Way Out – One Woman’s Remarkable Journey

My Way Out was a pioneering book.  It was the first and still the only book to be written about a personal journey with alcoholism and topiramate. If you are considering using the medication topiramate for your alcoholism this book is a great resource. It was written by an Alaskan resident under the pseudonym Roberta Jewell.

If you are considering using the medication topiramate for your alcoholism this book is a great resource. It was written by an Alaskan woman under the pseudonym Roberta Jewell.  Jewell combines topiramate with several other tools, including the herb kudzu. The book has a partner website which spawned a very popular forum called MyWayOut.

The Sober Truth – Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs

Dr. Lance Dodes and I don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. But then, who does?

I do however defer to his findings from The Sober Truth about AA and 12-Step Programs many times in A Prescription for Alcoholics.

He’s the guy that says:

“I’m not trying to eliminate AA…I’m just saying it should be prescribed to that tiny group who can make use of it. It’s terribly harmful when you send 90 percent of the people for the wrong treatment advice.”

Dealing with Addiction: Why the 20th Century was Wrong

If Peter Ferentzy had a middle name it would be ‘Outspoken’. His book is packed full of truths that need to be screamed.  Like this:

“The kind of serious knowledge we need is constantly sidelined because the system is packed full of uneducated, or semi-educated, loudmouths who overestimate the importance of their own stories.”

And this:

“With no other medical condition does the favored approach involve allowing—or actively encouraging (!)—a disease to do as much harm as possible.”

If you suspect you’ve been brainwashed, you’ve got to read his book.

Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink and How They Can Regain Control

Gabrielle Glaser’s book is not quite as relevant to A Prescription for Alcoholics as some of the books above are. I mention it here though because I want to draw well-deserved attention to her excellent article, published in the Atlantic recently called The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous.

I quoted from Glaser’s work several times in the book and her article also led me to an exceptional report called Addiction Medicine: Closing the Gap Between Science and Practice, which can be downloaded for free here and here.

The B4a Baclofen Handbook

The B4A Baclofen Handbook was written by Dr. Phillip Thomas (who, like Dr. Amiesen), also published a self-case report about his recovery from alcoholism due to treatment with baclofen. I have not read Dr. Thomas’ book but as it is the only other book I’m aware of on any medication for alcoholism I felt it might be useful to someone interested in information about baclofen.


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