Before I get to the book and the Foundation, a preface to why I am only reading this now.
I always believe that things in life happen for a reason. A few months ago, my friends MC and WP inadvertently started a slow rekindle of my love of Babylon 5. Or more specifically my love of Claudia Christian. Things started coming to a head with Claudia’s appearance in a recent Castle episode. I had no forewarning that she would be in the episode and when I saw her name in the opening credits (which I never normally read), I literally bounced where I was sitting. In the past couple of weeks I’ve had the good fortune to receive a copy of Babylon Confidential: A Memoir of Love, Sex & Addiction from my dear GC, met David Limburg, and been able to borrow Babylon 5 from JB on DVD so that I can rewatch it. Little did I know how much Claudia’s writing would spark something within me that made me want to share my thoughts with the world.
There are so many things I could say about this book. I could go on and on for hours about how compelling a read it is, about the way in which Claudia paints the story so vividly and at such a pace that sometimes you feel like you’re reliving her past alongside her, rather than reading about it. But, against my usual style of writing, I’m going to do this as succinctly as possible.
I found myself relating to the early years of Claudia’s life, the upheaval, the loss of a sibling, the parents who at one point had seemed so happy through children’s eyes. I had to stop reading for several minutes twice in the first couple of chapters alone as I calmed myself and stopped the tears from falling. Claudia’s writing has a way of enhancing the emotions you would feel on just reading the bare facts, and I’ll admit that bare facts can make me tear up.
I’ve never had the ‘monster’ (as Claudia calls it) that is alcoholism. But I have witnessed what it can do. How it can destroy not just the individuals but the family surrounding them. I know first hand how family ties are severed because it just becomes too much for those who are not the addict to watch the ones they love destroy themselves. It takes a strong person to keep trying to break through those barriers, and on reading Babylon Confidential, I was glad to find that Claudia had two strong women who stood by her, who kept going with her through it, even when she didn’t think her drinking was a problem.
My ‘monster’ is depression. A depression that comes from PTSD. Something I don’t talk about often, and certainly not one that I broadcast consistently. On reading Claudia’s struggle with her ‘monster’, even though they are different, they ultimately, at a fundamental level are also the same. That nagging little voice in your head that you try to fight and often lose against. It’s the one that puts you down and overrides your normal inner voice, screaming it down until you start to confuse the two. You have moments of clarity but often you find yourself being drawn back into that hopeless spiral. Something needs to change in order to help you keep the ‘monster’ at bay.
Claudia found her weapon and the strength to use it. A weapon that seems so simple and yet is not widely used. Naltrexone taken under The Sinclair Method (TSM). The below explains it more easily than I could and comes directly from Claudia’s C Three Foundation website:
TSM consists of taking Naltrexone or Nalmefene one hour before your first drink of the day for the rest of your life as long as you continue to drink. Naltrexone (or Nalmefene) chemically disrupts the body’s behavior/reward cycle causing you to want to drink less instead of more.
It also has a 78% success rate. You read that right, 78%. Yet it’s not readily used or prescribed because there just isn’t the awareness. TSM means taking the pills for the rest of your life so it doesn’t resemble a traditional cure in that sense, but it could mean the difference between a life lost to a terrible disease, which is what alcoholism is, and a life regained.
Claudia’s was one of those lives regained. And reading how desperate she was for that ‘cure’ broke me more times than I can say on reading Babylon Confidential. There were, as with most autobiographies, moments of brevity, but when push came to shove, the overwhelming feeling of desperation permeates a large chunk of the book. I went into this book, wanting to learn more about one of the Sci-Fi heroes of my youth, and walked away with a knowledge gained of a person, who like the rest of us, is susceptible to genetic disposition and learned behaviours. I’m adding the C Three Foundation to the links in the footer here, and hope that people will click on it out of interest and maybe even donate or spread the word.
I’m battling my ‘monster’ with good friends, talking and an amazing fiancée. Also by throwing myself into any charity work/fundraising I can and my writing.
This post has not been endorsed by Claudia or anyone within the C Three Foundation. You all know me by now, I see a cause I have the beginnings of a passion for/a full blown passion for, it’ll end up here on my blog.