SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information - View Single Post - My Notes from AVRT Discussions
View Single Post
Old 11-29-2012, 12:04 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Music Junkie
DejaVu2's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 63
Blog Entries: 4
Post My Notes from AVRT Discussions

(There were plenty more helpful posts this copy/paste was originally done so that I could "take notes" for my husband to read through
so these things are the ones I found would be most helpful to him and his personal struggle with addiction)

You are nothing but a monster that has no control over anything that I do.
I will never use/drink again and I will never change my mind.
"Always say Never"

These are all posts/statements made on the discussion thread found here:

I personally copied and pasted the things I felt were most helpful in my journey. To "highlight" what helped me understand best.
For a fuller more in depth discussion it's best you refer to the link above.

There are two other "tricks" in the AVRT toolchest I'd like to touch on.

The first, vertigo, is mentioned on page 156 of the RR book. If it feels like you the Beast has taken control of the "I," and you sense that you are on autopilot, on the way to the liquor store, the book recommends giving that feeling a label, and calling it "vertigo," as in "I am in vertigo!"

In a later book, "The Art of AVRT," it is recommended to change the tense, so rather than telling yourself "I am in vertigo," you would tell yourself "That was vertigo!" This sleight of hand with the wording is an interesting insight, and by referring to it in the past sense, you can trick your mind into snapping right out of it.

Another technique, mentioned on page 202 of the RR book, is called "shifting," whereby you alternate between how "you" view something, versus how the Beast sees something. For example, in my case, the Beast would see a bottle of scotch as a source of relaxation, fun, but I can "shift" into how "I" see it, which is as poison - a source of pain.

As another example, suppose I see people waiting in line at the liquor store to cash their paycheck. On payday in certain areas, this line can be around the block. How does the Beast see these people? As "my kind of people," willing to start the party before they even get home, and before their families can stop them. How do "I" see them? As being up to no good, getting ready to waste the family's income on drink before the paycheck can even be deposited.

Think of your favorite drug dealer. How does the Beast see this person? As a great guy, of course. He gets you your stuff, and to the Beast, it is a shame that he lives so far away. How do "you" view this drug dealer? As bad company, as someone you probably wouldn't want your mother to meet.

You can employ this "shifting" tactic in almost any social situation, such as at a party. For example, the Beast will see someone who is making a fool out of themselves at a wedding as a potential drinking buddy, as someone to get to know. Shift into your right mind, though, and "you" will know better.

It is useful to try this "shifting" technique on your own, at home, by imagining the things that get the Beast fired up. This way, if and when you run into them "out there," you will be prepared.
If you want to really drive a stake through the Beast, think about this. If addictive desire is not you, but the Beast, then you can decide that you are also perfectly happy to never drink again. It is the Beast that feels deprived and unhappy, not you.

That would be good for you, and bad for the Beast.

If it helps, you can think of it as payback for trying to ruin your life. :-)
Look at your hand and wiggle your index finger. Go ahead, and do that. Easy enough, right? Now, challenge your mighty Beast, over which you are supposed to be powerless, to wiggle the same finger. Can it? You might feel it struggle inside you, trying to gain control, but now you can see for yourself. Can the Beast wiggle your finger? Of course not. You are safe from your bodily desires! You are safe from yourself!
Never let the Beast take control of the first person pronoun, "I" always keep it separate, an IT.
Post about IT, and we can expose IT.

You can then recognize IT.

Separate the Beast from everything in your life; isolate that SOB.

Once you do, IT is finished, and YOU are free.

So, go ahead, post the head noise...
Members' Personal Experiences::::
"When I watch with this silent mind the AV just puffs away like an illusion."
⦁ (Refering to the above statement) this wording...this idea has been key for me in my sobriety. "I" am not afraid of "the beast" because I am the one in charge now. I find that if I give in to the panic that the AV tries to create in me and I am fearful then I begin running around like a chicken with my head cut off making all kinds of crazy decisions. Fear means that I am engaging with the AV on some level which gives it a foot in the door so to speak. Buddhism also speaks to "sitting with" temptations/distractions as opposed to running from. I translate this to "yep...I see you. I know what you are up to. It's not gonna happen" I have experienced the same "'s gone" feeling you described
The shifting tool has also worked well for me." .
(Shifting tool mentioned above)

It's seriously as close to effortless as i am willing to let it be, it's only if i let my attention wander and start debating/arguing with the 'av' that i have a tough time, and as soon as i realise what i'm doing and stop, it becomes a lot simpler.
i think the 'all or nothing' absolutism of avrt works because it replaces the need to assess each seperate urge (internal image, emotion, or external trigger etc) to drink with a simple rule - 'i will never drink again, and i will never change my mind'.

if you consider the statement from the 1st book that the addictive voice exists to channel every event in your life into 'a causal pathway towards drinking', it seems a bit more reasonable that since your 'beast' is a one-track-mind merchant with only one answer to everything, you have to be similarly dogmatic and inflexible in cutting it down before it can even get started on the why's and wherefore's of drinking.

heaven knows i went years thinking i could examine each craving on a case-by-case basis and 99 times out of every hundred i'd lose, the 'beast' of my addicted mind/body knew my specific triggers and weak points only too well and unlike me it didn't give up until it got that one thing that it wanted.
I don't know if it was because I was both tired and stressed, but out of nowhere, I thought "you know what would help take the edge off this waiting? A drink!" (I have alcohol in my house).

I should know better by now, but for a second there I started debating ("white knuckling"), and then I snapped out of it. I thought "No, a drink would help you take the edge off, but it's going to make me very anxious later." I could almost visualize the smarmy Beast scurrying away as if it were a cockroach running from the light, and I felt an almost instant calm.

Old habits die hard, I suppose, but they key is not to debate or argue with the thoughts. I wish there were a way to properly describe how this feels subjectively when applied, but I know I didn't "get it" at first myself. I'll just say that once you do, there is no "white knuckling" with AVRT.
People often think I am making it up or somehow being dishonest when I say there is no struggle. There are certainly thoughts of escaping through drinking/using for me at times, but when I apply this strategy there is no struggle, no hanging on desperately until it passes. This sounds even wierder to people, but I almost feel sorry for my beast. It's a colossal idiot...LOL Kind of like Mr.T "Pity the fool..." can definitely work.
I have a different 'structural model' i use, hope it's not too off-topic - i see the addictive voice starting up as being like infected files on a computer (ie my mind), so the original addiction was the 'payload' executable file that delivered the destructive coding, but the little sparks of av are my own files that it's now corrupted.

eg the thought 'i've had a tough day' may be factually true, but the beast echo of 'therefore i need/deserve a drink' is an infected addition to a specific train of thought.

or 'this meal is lovely, i must visit here again' is a genuine thought, but 'and try something off the wine list, this food is so good i'd enjoy it even more with a few glasses of wine' is another corrupted process...

best way to avoid reinfecting the whole shebang again is to spot these thoughts and not 'run them' ie not get into a dialogue about them, or try to see if they have any merit - just hit 'quarantine as addictive voice' and proceed with whatever i was doing before.

okayyy.... this post made sense in my head as i was typing it, not so sure it turned out well lol - but my point is, 'structural' with the brain doesn't have to be about physical regions, it can be the structure of your cognitive processes as well, because the end game of any stream of thinking or internal dialogue for your addictive voice will always be 'and this requires a drink.'
My own AV has previously told me "Well, you seem to have the hang of this AVRT stuff, you can quit any time you want now. Why not drink all you want during vacation? When your vacation is over, you can just make a new Big Plan."

Sneaky, and pure AV, so watch out for that. :-)
Love freedom, hate the prison of addiction.

When the Beast surfaces I now focus on my reaction which is a cringing tension inside.

Then I think to myself 'that is not me'. I do not want the booze. It wants the booze but I am the ************ in charge so it is free to die.

I am watching.
I use imagery for the beast. I can "see" her. She is a pathetic mess...mascara down her face. She is either angry or sobbing. She cannot make a decision, cannot form relationships, she's weak, she's promiscuous, she's manipulative, she lies, she's toxic. She cares for no one...even though she says she does. She thinks she has others fooled, but they only pity her.
She is everything I will never be.
The analogy I used was that I was a bus, and I'd been letting a drunk drive that bus for too damned long. I threw him (it was a him, even though I am a her) out of the seat and took over--and when tempted to drink I'd think to myself "it's that damned drunk again" and imagine myself tossing him out of the driver's seat.
When considering the "addictive voice", I am reminded of the autopsy scene in the movie "Men in Black".

In that scene, an autopsy is being done on an alien who is disguised as a kind old gentleman, who was killed by another alien trying to find "the galaxy on Orion's belt".

The old gentleman is on the autopsy table, and the pathologist (a beautiful brunette) and Will Smith are shocked upon opening the skull to find a tiny little alien in a little cockpit inside the guy's head, at the wheel in the cockpit, and in his death throes.

I imagine myself at the wheel of the cockpit inside my head, and I am the one driving.

Personally, I am not going to let my "addictive voice" take the wheel.
A second visualization that comes to mind that I employed was the "sleeping tiger". Basically, the tiger represents alcoholism, and once I removed myself from the obsession, the tiger becomes a sleeping tiger. It is always there, but it is silent. All I have to do is add alcohol, and the tiger stirs and comes fully awake; ready to take over my life. That visual embraces the disease model of alcoholism

⦁ (Refering to the above post)
This is accurate. The Beast will eventually weaken from starvation (abstinence), but it is still there. If you feed it, even years later, it will certainly come back to life, as if rising from the ashes.

Explanations & Notes::::

That's basically the "key" insight of AVRT. All addicted people hear voices tell them to drink/use in a thousand different ways, or see pictures in their mind of their favorite stuff. Most chemical dependency counselors are well aware of this phenomenon. The AV normally appears to be "you" until you recognize that the AV is just an expression of base urges, not necessarily originating in your rational mind.
It is assumed that there will be situations which bring on thoughts of drinking or using, and that they may come up at any time. With AVRT, you don't avoid these thoughts, or try to get rid of them. You simply dissociate from such thoughts by recognizing them as coming from a separate entity, and they lose their power. Over time, they become weaker and less frequent.

This is a semantics game, of course, but within the paradigm of AVRT, addictive desire does not belong to me, so from my perspective, "I" don't want to drink. That said, though, the desire itself does get weaker over time, and comes up less and less often, and might eventually disappear entirely. I'm not going to lose sleep over it either way, though.
The AV is simply trying to do it's "job' so to speak. So it should never surprise me when it is doing just that (ie when a thought comes in). I am not thrown off because the AV is soooo predictable. It's aim is always the same. I simply have to do my job, which is "the answer is still no". I think when *I* remain predictable, the AV comes around less. It's lke my kids...LOL they don't even ask about certain things because "she's just gonna say no". ok, does that make sense??
Regarding vigilance, there is no need to be vigilant and avoid triggers or "slippery places" like bars. I'm using an example of what I might hear from the AV from time to time, but once you get the hang of it, AVRT is always reflexive, and kicks in only if the AV starts talking. If it stirs, dissociate and carry on. If it doesn't stir, just carry on.
This seems to be the essence of what is going on in AVRT. The beast with its primitive desire to drink seeking the help of the conscious part of the brain to put this into words- hence the addictive voice. The object is to isolate the beast (because it's not "you") and convince the "you", namely the conscious part of the brain, not to pay any attention to the beast, to ignore the beast so that over time the thing loses all vitality and withers away.
As for "success" and how that should be "defined". What I am hearing is that this depends on who is trying to define it. If a person wants to start out with a Big Plan it's best not to try, since the key is to reject the notion of a gradual "recovery" and replace it by a commitment to a Big Plan. But if "success" is being defined by someone who is watching this, or counseling someone with a Big Plan and that someone is asking himself or herself, "Am I having any "success" here with my patients, i.e. are they not drinking, is their Big Plan working?" then I think that we enter into the realm of statistics
Everyone has a Limbic system, which responds to pleasure in order to reinforce behaviors, yes. Even eating or drinking water releases some amount of Dopamine so that you keep doing it. However, the Limbic simply was not designed to deal with the obscene amount of Dopamine and other analogues released by synthetic drugs. It literally gets overwhelmed, confused, and believes that it needs the drugs to survive. The Beast is this new, perverted survival drive.

I can see how some people try and re-created that rush with other activities, but they are never going to get to the same kick out of it that they would with drugs. The amount of Dopamine released by eating cake simply can't approach the amounts released by the ingestion of alcohol, or other, more potent drugs. I drink a lot of coffee when I feel down, and it seems to help in the short term, but it is nowhere near as strong as say, whiskey.
⦁ (Refering to the above note)
Yes, and the brain reacts by producing less dopamine naturally and getting rid of receptors...effs things I would think it would take a while for things to be balanced again after quitting...and for some maybe it never balances out?
Objectify your desire - you're not your thoughts.

Nothing wrong with hearing the addict voice in your head. It's normal. Acting through it can't happen whilst you objectify the AV.
One of the prime functions of the Addictive Voice is to conceal the Beast's existence, so that you don't even know it is there. Think about how your hunger drive works. It feels like "you" want it, and when hungry, all of your thoughts will be organized around getting some food. If you want a more complex example, think about how your sex drive works.

Once you can objectify your desire (the Beast) and observe it, though, it's game is almost up. Observe your thoughts, both pro and con, towards your DOC. If you are unsure about who is calling the shots, use this shifting technique; ask yourself how you see something, versus how your Beast sees it. Pretty soon you'll have her card, as soberlicious put it.

I used to watch my cat hunt at night, trying to outmaneuver his ever-elusive prey, sometimes for hours, and I've gotten to the point where I can visualize myself "watching" the Beast. Kind of like watching a nature documentary. Of course, instead of chasing mice, the Beast chases whiskey bottles. :-)

Remember, at the end of the day, no matter what explanation or grand scheme it may come up with, your Beast has only one answer to all questions: drink!
AVRT is recovery with an attitude, though, and goes straight for the jugular to get the job done right.

If you hesitate to kick your Beast's ass, it certainly won't hesitate to sacrifice you in order to get its fix, so why show it mercy? In fact, it is better if you enjoy kicking its ass. Be ruthless - it's payback time! What is it Trimpey told me yesterday? Something along the lines of "if you're not having fun with AVRT, you're not doing it right."
Personal problems don't cause addiction; addiction causes personal problems. Most people will hear their AV rail back at them saying "that's not true! that can't be be true! I drank/used for a number of reasons, and my [insert laundry list of woes] caused my addiction..."

There are two ways of looking at things, though; through your eyes, and through the eyes of your Beast. If you spend some time shifting back and forth between the two, you should be able to more easily recognize Beastly thoughts.

What do YOU think about this statement?

What does IT (your Beast) think about this statement?
Another of the primary functions of the Addictive Voice is to conceal the real purpose of getting drunk or high, which is to get that deep pleasure. It will twist and manipulate any and all circumstances into excuses for further drinking/using.

Just read the newcomer's forum for a whole gauntlet of them. Many will go around in circles for years trying to discover the mysteries of the "underlying causes" of their addiction, all the while never actually quitting. If you turn the tables on the Beast with this reversal, though, all of its excuses become not only obvious, but irrelevant, and you can focus on the task at hand.

To get an idea of where I am going with this, consider this riddle: if personal problems caused your addiction, when new personal problems inevitably come up again (and they will), are they going to cause you to become re-addicted?

Your Beast certainly hopes so...
The Beast harvests it's AV from our own collective thoughts. So, how we answer the Beast, can either make things worse, or better, depending.

I don't normally challenge my Beast, because to do so simply makes things worse. I don't "talk" with my Beast. It cannot be reasoned with, and it cannot be fooled or deceived either. It can not be anything but what it is -- an unnatural and abnormal animal desire for alcohol/drugs. There is nothing there for me to work with.

Some people love to humanise their Beast, and they become distinct personalities. This creates an atmosphere of pleasure for the Beast, and since the person too feels what the Beast feels, everbody is seemingly happy and so on.

Unfortunately, a happy Beast is a stronger and more powerful Beast, and so the actual difficulty in staying alcohol and drug free becomes conditional on staying happy. The Beast then can play with feelings that have nothing to do with addiction itself, and the Beast becomes larger than life, so to speak. Eventually, the person simply succumbs to the onslaught of desire and AV, which brings ultimate plasure for the Beast. So, give the Beast an inch of satisfaction, and it will demand more and more.

Better to starve the Beast of all pleasure, today, and for always. Period.

It is a cruel mistake to talk with one's Beast as if they are taking with one's own heart. The Beast is best left alone to suffer alone. Have no sympathy for the Beast. It's not a cute friend who has turned angry, lol, or a backward child who is throwing a tantrum.

The Beast is a human life destroyer with the cunning and resources of an instinctual vicious animal drive for survival at all costs.

I care about the existence of my Beast. I don't care about it's suffering. I care about my AV. I don't care what it's core message is; it's always the same message said a million different ways.

A paradox is difficult to explain.
Have you ever observed two drunks/junkies who meet for the first time? Even though they may have nothing in common except for their use of hedonic substances, they are usually magically drawn to each other as if they were long-lost friends, with an instant rapport. What is really going on is that their respective Beasts are keenly aware the other's Beast, and it is their Beasts, not them, that have an instant rapport.

This is why friendships and relationships based on addiction often quickly end after one member gives up their precious stuff, and is also why newly-abstinent people always want "support" from other who are newly-abstinent. What they fail to realize is that it is their Beast that wants support, a ****{HUG}}} when it "relapses" and does what comes naturally, which IT will interpret as "Congratulations!" and think "Wow, isn't this nice? I get tanked and get a hug for it! We'll have to remember this!"

There are a few sections in "RR: TNC" which deal with this phenomenon. See "Mingling of Beasts" and "The Society of Beasts" on page 161 and "Beasts in Love" on Pages 164-169.
Quotes From RR Books::::

Originally Posted by The Art of AVRT, Pgs. 79-80 Although "it" (my Beast) may strongly want to drink, "I" will neither drink/use, nor even want to drink/use because addictive desire is not me but the Beast.

To catch a monkey you need to put something the monkey wants in a jar with a narrow neck. The monkey will reach in and grasp what it wants and make a fist, holding on tight and, because of the fist, be unable to get its hand out of the jar. If the monkey only knew that all it had to do would be to let go, relax its fist and it could get rid of the jar it would be very simple to get away, but, wanting the thing, he keeps his fist tightly closed...
"I will never use again and I will never change my mind." This reminds me of something someone advised when I was in treatment a few months ago: convince yourself that "using is not an option -- ever!" His thinking was that if it's regarded as an option under some circumstance, an addict's mind will figure out a way to make that happen.
"The voice in the head has a life of its own....When you are identified with that voice, you don't know this, of course. If you knew it, you would no longer be possessed because you are only truly possessed when you mistake the possessing entity for who you are, that is to say, when you become it." from A New Earth ~Eckhart Tolle

Will post more notes from the other discussion threads as I finish them.
DejaVu2 is offline  
The Following 10 Users Say Thank You to DejaVu2 For This Useful Post:
freshstart57 (11-29-2012), GerandTwine (11-29-2012), Kateg (11-30-2012), MissyShelle76 (11-29-2012), Quinnleigh (11-29-2012), revognuh (11-29-2012), RobbyRobot (11-29-2012), soberlicious (11-30-2012), tabasco (11-29-2012), tammy711 (11-30-2012)