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AA vs. RR/AVRT

Old 03-11-2012, 04:26 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Thanks for that, langkah. I agree, and I hadn't thought of it that way. Points taken.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:34 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by michelle01 View Post
There's some good stuff in RR if you can get past the anti AA rhetoric. But my thoughts? This could get pretty complicated and confusing at a time you don't need it.
Like many people who take this view, Michelle, you forget who usually ends up at RR. It isn't people who are happy with AA, and such people usually feel elated to see that they are not insane (or constitutionally incapable) because they don't 'get it'. People who like AA are going to stay in AA, not check out RR.

Originally Posted by Jack Trimpey
The primary market for Rational Recovery materials is to people who have suffered abuse and misguidance by the 12-step fellowship, and who find literature on AVRT extremely valuable. AA keeps us in business!
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:37 PM
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DS, the AA program will not work until you commit to staying stopped. Once stopped, then dig in to the AA program, and choose to work it fully. (I was giving options, but I only have AA experience)

AA never made sense to me, and at 300 days, it still doesn't "make sense" to me. I do know that working ALL of the steps has given me a psychic change necessary for me to want to continue working the steps in all of my affairs (to quote the big book). I've had an experience I've tried to explain, still doesn't make sense, & I owe my life to it. I have experienced and have witnessed people relapsing when they stop on any of those 12 steps.

I never worked the first 3 steps until I moved forward with the rest of the steps, which is why I have a guide (sponsor) I continue to work with. I am not told whether or not I should be in a relationship or how to do my taxes by this person, rather I am guided through my spiritual journey. Paradoxical, nonsensical, often illogical. This is the AA program in my life. Really odd, in many ways.

My sponsor doesn't repeat the slogans we hear in the meetings of AA, doesn't believe in daily meetings, but does advocate spirituality, working the steps, and maintain a continuous dialogue with sponsees. A dictionary is needed when speaking with this sponsor. Always an explanation of why a specific definition is more appropriate than another.

I don't know enough about any program other than AA, so I have no other personal experience to share. For AA to work, answer one question:

Are you truly committed to sobriety? If the answer is "yes" move through those 12 steps without stopping.

I wish you sobriety,
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:41 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by desertsong View Post
So much of AA makes perfect sense to me and has helped me a lot, but I guess I'm missing something somewhere. I guess I need to figure out what that is.
desertsong, you mentioned in an earlier post you worked Steps 1-2-3. It sounds like you balked at Step 4, which by no means is the fun Step. But, it takes working all of the Steps to have the obsession to drink removed, totally removed.
Try getting back into the work with a sponsor and take all of the Steps, I think you'll have amazing results.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:44 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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I'm in the same boat. I'm still trying to sort out things but to be honest I'm not diligently working either program.
I have alot of respect for both.
Yet there are things I can't fully agree to, also.
I kind of took things that I liked from each & made them work for me.

Though, I still have alot of work to do. And reading & educating.
All I can say is take what you need from each, if you can set aside the discrepancies between the 2.

I am a believer & like the spiritual side of AA. I think of the AV of AVRT as the devil, which to me it is.
But I don't like the AA belief that if you do this or don't do that, you're going to drink again. I have not attended a meeting, but love the BB. I have managed to stay sober over 2 months w/ hardly any cravings. The longest, most successful string in over 4 yrs.
I have not worked all the steps, but think they are useful to identify personality flaws & ways to fix them.
I surrendered my addiction to God, told the devil "AV" to get lost. I'm never drinking
again.
That's just me, though.
Some people need to attend meetings. To work the steps properly.
You have to figure out what works for you. I wish you the best, this is a complicated issue.
I know I don't have everything figured out.
All I know is I'm happy to not be drinking anymore or forevermore.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:48 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Yes I did step 4, it was painful but VERY enlightening. Made me realize how much anger I had & I had to let it go. Forgive & set yourself free. I believe this was an essential step toward my recovery & self awareness.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:49 PM
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Desert, you say you worked steps 1-3? Why not continue and work the rest of the steps. You've read the BB, then you know they key is a spiritual awakening. I know you had some doubts bout your progress and maybe this and maybe that...whatever you choose, my advise would be to make a commitment to sobriety and complete the program.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
This is common, it would seem. Recovery books collecting dust for years. If you finish reading it, there is an active thread on AVRT in the secular connections forum if you are interested. People often miss some nuances on a first read.
Thanks TU!

And yes, it collected dust because I wasn't ready to quit back then, I still had my rosy glasses on.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:31 PM
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I understand the big book was written so others could work the program while not accessing meetings, but from my experience, the full effect of step 4 was experienced with that of a sponsor. Anger, yes, I had it, but anger is fear, what kind of fears where they? That was found through a long and thorough discussion with sponsor.

Now knowing the sponsor's part, I don't see how anyone can fully grasp the intensity of step 4, a self centered step; move on to 5 with a knowledgeable guide, and truly become other-centered... my experience was what I required for me. 6, 7, 8, then 9 with a sponsor's guidance, again, thorough explanation of 10, 11, and 12. Again, my experience was what I needed.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:34 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Desertsong, I truly believe that it's the motivation to recover that will help you succeed, regardless of what program you follow.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:38 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Jack Trimpey
The primary market for Rational Recovery materials is to people who have suffered abuse and misguidance by the 12-step fellowship, and who find literature on AVRT extremely valuable. AA keeps us in business!
I have to ask you TU...Because I'm curious...Seeing how this is a business...And AA is not....Do you have personal examples of abuse you suffered and misguidance you were given by the fellowship?...Besides those worthless slogans you referred to earlier?
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:49 PM
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Let's keep the thread on track, which is to respond to Desertsong's question, please.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:53 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Sorry Anna...You can PM me an answer if you want TU....
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:48 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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I think it's difficult to work both AA and RR at the same time, because they really are based on diametrically opposed philosophies.

AA's philosophy is that the individual is powerless over alcohol and therefore requires the intervention of a Higher Power in order to recover.

RR's philosophy is that the individual has the power to quit and is quite capable of doing so once an irrevocable decision to quit has been made.

I think most of us find that we "fit" within one of these basic viewpoints, so from my perspective the thing to do is go with the approach that best suits you.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:33 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Each program has its pros and cons, I found the powerless concept helpful in recovery, other people may take it though and use it in a destructive/damaging way. ('I have a disease, therefore I have no control over what I do' etc.) I'm already religious so I have no trouble with the HP part, it's the middle steps I hesitated at, but then I think maybe if I'd done them properly with a sponsor, they may have made more sense.

I think a lot of people get confused about the spiritual awakening, thinking it must be some kind of awesome revelation (as a lot of us get the idea from traditional religion), when it's really about the process of doing the steps.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by michelle01 View Post
I think a lot of people get confused about the spiritual awakening, thinking it must be some kind of awesome revelation (as a lot of us get the idea from traditional religion), when it's really about the process of doing the steps.
In the Doctor's Opinion he calls it an entire psychic change...Which to me is just completely changing the way I think about myself and others...Putting the principles of the program to work....
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I think it's difficult to work both AA and RR at the same time, because they really are based on diametrically opposed philosophies.

AA's philosophy is that the individual is powerless over alcohol and therefore requires the intervention of a Higher Power in order to recover.

RR's philosophy is that the individual has the power to quit and is quite capable of doing so once an irrevocable decision to quit has been made.

I think most of us find that we "fit" within one of these basic viewpoints, so from my perspective the thing to do is go with the approach that best suits you.
At the risk of starting a riot, I have to disagree. Here me out...

It was because of an aversion to AA that I initially picked up the Trimpkey book years ago. What stopped me from moving beyond reading to application then was the anti AA rhetoric. I didn't get anything out of it because I wrote off the message as some bloke just pissed off at AA, which - to me - was neither here nor there. It just seemed to me that the author was more bent on breaking down AA than showing folks his alternative. Actually, I think it kind of hurt me because back then I agreed fully with Jack so I really didn't need to go through the paint by numbers part. I just took his writings on AA as redundant, unnecessary, and a little monotonous. I'd add that for someone not hip or not interested in recovery-ism (or the philosophy of AA), Jack's purveying message on AA can certainly fall on def ears.

After many years, I came to need sobriety to save my life. 'Bottom', as it were. AA helped me then, when nothing could, even in spite of my reservations and contentious opinion of it. RR could not have helped then, because I was beyond rational thought. Rational Recovery was entirely useless because by the time I needed something I was too punch drunk to read through it. My state was one of completely battered confusion. As such, the BB spoke to my soul, it spoke to my desperation in ways that few things ever have. I listened because it was talking to the ME that was knocked down fully, someone not able to pick myself up at all. However, as I delved deeper, AA taught me something integral through the act of surrender they required. It taught me that my opinions and personal slants were not always correct or even necessary. That I should be looking to take everything that comes into my purview with objectivity and a non-judgmental open mind. It truly was an entire psychic change, a new and much better way of living mindfully.

Fast forward to a point when I was 'out of the trenches' (as it were) I revisited RR. Basically I have TU to thank for my renewed interest. Low and behold I saw something extremely important within the RR book that I had missed. AVRT. Of course I'm still learning the finer points, but I now use AVRT quite successfully, and it is never contentious and not once has it interrupted or caused a conflict with my inherent belief that I am powerless over alcohol. The dichotomy is just not present, ever. Recognizing my addictive voice and Beast and knowing how to shut the damnedable things up, it is extremely useful, and as such I use it almost daily to quiet any internal dialogues, making it dead simple to recognize and objectify what AA calls "stinking thinking".

Seriously, once the program bashing and us/them paradigm is nullified, something I find very easy to do, both systems are not working at cross purposes at all. In fact when I look at both programs from that perspective I find many parallels within both AA and AVRT. Sure there is a fundamental polarization between the 2 teachings, as you've pointed out, but it only takes my ignoring such fodder to successfully apply the inherent qualities of both systems.

I'd even go so far as to say that now, with a number of months between me and my last drink, I use AVRT more for the daily mini-battles inside my skull, and the steps of AA as my "way of life". Working the steps each day I commit myself to something beyond ME. It's made me humble, selfless, and offers me a refreshing perspective, one that I was not ever exposed to as an alcoholic. It takes my ego out of most equations, shows me how dangerous an ego run riot actually is, and let's me see when I have missed the mark in my daily travels, sometimes doing so in beautifully poetic ways. AVRT, on the other hand, successfully offers me a specific skill-set necessary to instantly recognize and objectify the part of my dis-ease that is ever present. It's that part of the alcoholic mind that always lobs grenades at me, telling me drinking ISN'T the bad idea that it actually is.

Only speaking for myself of course, but within that preface, AA was the 'carpet bombing' I needed back when I was being overrun and wounded. AA was napalm. AVRT became the laser guided smart bombs that really started to become useful later on, after the opposing force was weakened by AA. Now, sober for some months and quite content, AA has become more like an occupational force, keeping a generalized peace, while AVRT remains the spec-ops guys that can quickly - and with deadly efficiency - root out any insurgent aggression and annihilate it.

That may not make sense for some, and it is very over-simplified if not comical, but for me I can't think of a more apt analogy - especially considering I just watched "Saving Private Ryan" again this weekend lol.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:34 PM
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Well said PG
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:41 PM
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Do whatever keeps you sober. It's your path, so it has to be one you believe in and will follow.

so, whatever you think is right, is right.
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Old 03-11-2012, 09:42 PM
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I've had some success with a bit of "both". I went to a treatment centre that was 12 steps, but also had a counsellor that taught cognitive behavioural therapy. I draw from both when dealing with stressful situations and maintaining my calm. The CBT really helps me diffuse my feelings into what they really are and taking the reaction out of it.
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