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Old 03-11-2012, 10:06 PM   #41 (permalink)
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I'm curious too. I've only tried AA and wow it was bad. Nothing could be as bad as my experience in AA. I've been thinking that I should have tried AVRT from the start, but I didn't know that there were more up to date alternatives at the time. It would have been nice to know that there were many alternatives out there. Please keep me updated and let me know what you decide. Best of luck mate.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:12 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter G View Post
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.
This has been my experience almost exactly. Thanks for posting this. The only thing that hasn't exactly been my experience is I've never seen "Saving Private Ryan."

I've had the spiritual awakening as a result of the steps (and I'm happily agnostic, so take from that what you will), but because of that awareness, I can now apply AVRT to the thoughts in my head. I go to meetings because I want to. Nothing can make me drink. Period. But without AA, I couldn't have reached this point. Believe me, I tried.

I think whatever works for people is what they should do.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:22 PM   #43 (permalink)
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I use identifying the addict voice myself and used the RR flashcards in early recovery. They were like another tool, but I didn't think I could use RR as a complete program.

Wish to say I have made comments just from patterns I have observed over time, with people in recovery. And I understand that people with varying beliefs go to AA meetings. Sometimes people do take AA statements out of context, not saying it's been done here but I've seen it done elsewhere and it confused me about the program.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:17 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sapling View Post
I have to ask you TU...Because I'm curious...Seeing how this is a business...And AA is not....
AA is indeed a business, it just doesn't pay taxes by calling itself 'non-profit'. They don't give away free Big Books, after all. Google "Spirituality versus Legalism in Alcoholics Anonymous" for a perspective from an AA member. The AA GSB has millions in cash reserves, and their employees get paid handsomely. As a 'non-profit', though, they have to disclose this to the public, which makes it very easy to look up, including their tax returns. Here you go:

Nonprofit Organization Information: GENERAL SERVICE BOARD OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS INC

I think RR is far more honest by actually paying taxes instead of evading that responsibility and letting the taxpayers pick up the tab, and I say good for them. I won't even bother linking to the astronomical figures for the Hazelden 'non-profit', which make AA look like an unemployed corner street beggar, but which, along with the 15,000 or so other rehabs, has become a career ladder for 12-Steppers who want to get paid for 12th step work.

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Originally Posted by Sapling View Post
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?
I have examples, Sapling, but no doubt the choir would come out with the classic "I've never seen that -- that doesn't happen in MY home group!" defense. There are other sites devoted to such examples, though, which you can probably look up. I will grant, though, that I came out relatively unscathed compared to others. To this day, though, I still recall my parents calling AA to ask if it was religious (which I knew it was), and they were told that AA was in no way religious, thus paving the way for 'tough love' and 'treatment'.

I will never forgive AA for that ridiculous "spiritual, not religious" lie. I doubt this will ever happen, but if AA ever stops lying to everyone and acknowledges that it is indeed religious, if not a religion in and of itself, I very much doubt I would personally have anything against it. I tend not to care what religious organization people affiliate themselves with, even if I don't subscribe to it myself, but claiming not to be religious so that you can get unwilling participants funnelled in against their will is unforgivable in my book.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:16 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Peter G View Post
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.
I will grant that many people need to detox first before they will be able to understand much of AVRT. Trying to do so drunk or while going through withdrawal is a complete waste of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter G View Post
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".
To go back to desertsong's original question, at one point, I had to attend AA, and I did use AVRT while attending meetings for a while. With the exception of the "by the book" crowd, I didn't see much 'recovery' going on. It was more like a 98% relapse club. Bear in mind that I was trained by an old-school BB thumper who correctly surmised from my disdain for "sharing" war stories that I would be more receptive to reading and study. In the end, I concluded that since I did have an effective mental defense against that first drink (AVRT), that I was not a 'real alcoholic', and did not belong in the rooms.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:02 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by langkah View Post
[RR] proposes you stay on top of any fleeting wrong thoughts and fight-fight and purposefully ignore your impulses to drink because you're in full control of your drinking.
Although I thanked your post, Langkah, since I agree with most of it, this 'fight-fight' thing is a common misconception. One of the basic strategies of AVRT is to stop fighting/debating with the addictive voice. Done properly, AVRT is not about 'white knuckling' or 'willpower', it is about detaching. Not that there's anything wrong with white knuckling per se, since it has to be done in order to get enough sober time under your belt to get started, and this goes for working the steps as well. As with learning AVRT, I have yet to meet anyone who has successfully read the Big Book or 'worked the steps' while drunk.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:38 AM   #47 (permalink)
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Thank you all very much. Your responses have been very educational and enlightening. I think Peter summed up what I was thinking in terms of combining the two. Given the way he described it all, it does seem that the two can work together depending on where you are in your recovery. I'm going to continue with AA and read about RR, and when/if I feel at a point where I can add AVRT into the equation, I'm going to give it a try.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:40 AM   #48 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Peter G View Post
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.
I appreciate what you're saying, Peter, I really do, and I understand that some people find a way to integrate the two approaches. I have only one comment.

I have had an "entire psychic change", too, since I quit drinking. My life is entirely different than it was. I am at peace with myself and others and am committed to many important social goals outside myself. I think that, in one way or another, most of us who not only quit drinking but who find a measure of happiness in life after having done so, have a similar experience. It's basically called...growing up.

But, does having such an experience mean that the power to recover comes from God/a Higher Power? I never thought so. For me, my mental health and even, yes, my spiritual growth were a result of quitting alcohol and working very hard to get better: they were and are not the result of God giving me a daily reprieve.

None of this to disagree with your own views and experience, but simply to say that there are many angles from which to view recovery and in particular the process and result of long-term recovery.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:46 AM   #49 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Raindance View Post
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... The CBT really helps me diffuse my feelings into what they really are and taking the reaction out of it.
For the record, although they sound similar, Rational-Emotive-Behavior-Therapy (REBT/CBT) is not what Rational Recovery teaches. AVRT violates almost all of the axioms of REBT, and is not 'rational' by the REBT/CBT definition of rationality. For example, there is the absolutist perfectionism of AVRT (ie, the Big Plan), recognizing the Beast as a rational entity, the (I/It) split, and finally, the concept of moral judgement. Also, with AVRT, you don't change your thinking or expose the irrationality of said thinking; you simply recognize the Addictive Voice, and then you objectify it as ego-alien (not you).

I have watched taped REBT sessions with addicted people conducted by the creator of RET/REBT, Albert Ellis, as well as taped AVRT sessions conducted by Jack Trimpey, and they are worlds apart. There was a 'debate' between Ellis and Trimpey back in 1994, discussing the merits of each approach, and Ellis (who should know) acknowledges that AVRT is a separate discipline. Incidentally, Trimpey is a trained REBT counselor at the supervisory level with decades of experience. As a result, Rational Recovery did once use REBT, in its early days, but eventually dropped it entirely in favor of AVRT.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:09 AM   #50 (permalink)
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Thank you, Peter G., for your post.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:22 AM   #51 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by desertsong View Post
I think Peter summed up what I was thinking in terms of combining the two.
There was a reason I suggested that you to contact Peter back when you originally inquired about AVRT, desertsong. Contrary to what some people might like to suggest, I'm not interested in telling those who seem to like AA not to go to AA.

I do love this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter G
AVRT remains the spec-ops guys that can quickly - and with deadly efficiency - root out any insurgent aggression and annihilate it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:51 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Thanks Peter G. Your post was awesome.
Love the war analogy.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:05 AM   #53 (permalink)
 

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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique
I will grant that many people need to detox first before they will be able to understand much of AVRT. Trying to do so drunk or while going through withdrawal is a complete waste of time.
Trying to do anything while in active addiction is a complete waste of time. That's why so many bemoan that "nothing" works. A period of not drinking/using is necessary for one to wrap their head around any method. That is true in or out of AA, whether it's acknowledged or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyTheTruth
I have had an "entire psychic change", too, since I quit drinking.
Me too. I think there is a huge misconception that a "psychic change" cannot occur without it being specifically "taught". Anyone who has come out of active addiction has "gone to any lengths" to do so. The hard work that individuals put in is often diminished if it is not specific program work. I was once addicted to substances, yes, but I was never stupid. Once my addiction was stopped (ie quit putting substances in my body) it was quite easy to figure out how I wanted my life to be and go about doing things to get it that way.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #54 (permalink)
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TU:'this 'fight-fight' thing is a common misconception. One of the basic strategies of AVRT is to stop fighting/debating with the addictive voice.'

So to correct this misconception then the fight-fight is not done by oneself at all but instead by one's inner Beast which is not actually the person involved or at least not the entire sum of the person, being maybe just the primitive part of the person trying not to drink. But that fight to drink is then expressed by the AV as an entirely human voice, in your thoughts, in your mind's eye, fighting to press the drinking issue favorably.

I knew someone was fighting very hard in there somewhere.

Out of curiosity, when the AV is talking for the Beast in a human voice, is it a voice we recognize? How awful would it be to hear Robin Williams or George Dubya chattering away continually aduring us to drink, pimping for the inner Beast.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #55 (permalink)
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So to correct this misconception then the fight-fight is not done by oneself at all but instead by one's inner Beast which is not actually the person involved or at least not the entire sum of the person, being maybe just the primitive part of the person trying not to drink.
No, the primitive part of the brain is trying TO drink, not trying NOT to drink. Fortunately, it can't control my arms and legs to reach for that wallet, pay for that drink, open the hatch, and pour it in. All it can do is use the AV to try and sucker me into a useless conversation, but I know better than to engage. The times I have engaged, the AV has readily played both sides of the same argument, which leads me to believe that the Beast ultimately doesn't care what the the AV says, or even if it's true, so long as it supports drinking.

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Originally Posted by langkah View Post
But that fight to drink is then expressed by the AV as an entirely human voice, in your thoughts, in your mind's eye, fighting to press the drinking issue favorably. I knew someone was fighting very hard in there somewhere.
That's right, the Beast is a Dry Drunk, perpetually miserable, depressed, and jonesing for a drink. I rather enjoy watching it suffer, though, much as I imagine a cat does with a mouse it bats around effortlessly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by langkah View Post
Out of curiosity, when the AV is talking for the Beast in a human voice, is it a voice we recognize? How awful would it be to hear Robin Williams or George Dubya chattering away continually aduring us to drink, pimping for the inner Beast.
It can be a 'human' voice, and it most often is, but it can just as easily be an image instead. Fortunately, it sounds like me, and not Robin Williams or George Dubya. That would indeed be scary.
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #56 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I appreciate what you're saying, Peter, I really do, and I understand that some people find a way to integrate the two approaches. I have only one comment.

I have had an "entire psychic change", too, since I quit drinking. My life is entirely different than it was. I am at peace with myself and others and am committed to many important social goals outside myself. I think that, in one way or another, most of us who not only quit drinking but who find a measure of happiness in life after having done so, have a similar experience. It's basically called...growing up.

But, does having such an experience mean that the power to recover comes from God/a Higher Power? I never thought so. For me, my mental health and even, yes, my spiritual growth were a result of quitting alcohol and working very hard to get better: they were and are not the result of God giving me a daily reprieve.

None of this to disagree with your own views and experience, but simply to say that there are many angles from which to view recovery and in particular the process and result of long-term recovery.
Really great share, onlythetruth

I'm well on my journey too with harmonizing AA program and RR. Its all so clearly doable. Thanks for that great inspirational share, Peter, in the thread.

I like on so many levels your words, OTT. In my AA my HP is not a supernatural deity or other such. As I progressed through the steps my HP became the "sober other" of my pysche as I groked my alcoholic mind. As the distinctions became sharper I began to enjoy a psychic revealation and revolution sans any supernatural forces. Having said that, I am now a Christian but being Christian has ziltch to do with my spiritual sobriety.

So yeah, you know it OTT, isn't quitting drinking and not ever again being drunk enough for its own sake?!! hahaha yeah, it so is enough!!
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:31 AM   #57 (permalink)
 

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Having said that, I am now a Christian but being Christian has ziltch to do with my spiritual sobriety.
ok, see I love this...
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Old 03-12-2012, 09:56 AM   #58 (permalink)
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What I have gotten out of the AVRT is: there is no 'fight-fight' to do when detaching from the Beast. For me its as simple as having a using thought, then moving my mind to heather thoughts. No fight there, unless having mental activity is a considered a fight by some. I guess some people fight with their thoughts about picking-up that first drug. And I think that where relapsing comes in, the person loses the fight with the AV. But with detaching from that fight or thought of using is simple and easy for me.
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:38 AM   #59 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Zencat View Post
What I have gotten out of the AVRT is: there is no 'fight-fight' to do when detaching from the Beast.
Quite correct, Zencat. This idea of "fighting" and "struggling" is not how it works. You only struggle if you think there is a point to struggling (uncertainty about possible drinking), but the Big Plan of AVRT takes care of that. Of course, people who can't imagine 'swearing off', and who believe that some harmless, impotent thoughts are the end of the world, will never grasp this.

Instead, they will demand that desire be removed, so they can then take the path that nature has laid out for them by default -- the path of least resistance. That's kind of like demanding to be neutered on account of those pesky thoughts about the neighbor's wife, if you ask me.

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For me its as simple as having a using thought, then moving my mind to heather thoughts. No fight there, unless having mental activity is a considered a fight by some.
I haven't always moved to 'healthier' thoughts, which in a way is fighting the thoughts instead of just detaching. I've often just passively observed the Beast's antics, gaining some interesting insight along the way.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:38 PM   #60 (permalink)
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What I see are 2 different schools of thought at play here. With Avert or mindfulness one assumes the role of non-drinker. With mindfulness the cravings aren't entertained because you're a non-drinker and there's nothing to debate. What you really are doing is seizing control of the power that is an innate part of all of us. That is the power to say no.

Others believe that they don't have the power to say no and they can only acquire it through supernatural forces, otherwise they are doomed to a life of constant relapse. The thing is though that through working the steps they do discover the power that was always there. So the million dollar question is was the power always there or was it bestowed upon them as a result of working the steps? That's like a zen riddle, how can you really answer that?
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