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Old 03-11-2012, 03:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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AA vs. RR/AVRT


As some of you know, I'm back on the "sober train" after a relapse last week, followed by a medical detox in the hospital. Today is Day 6 for the umpteenth time. I've not given up hope but I do realize that I need to do some things differently if I'm going to succeed this time.

I've been attending AA for a couple of months and have made some wonderful friendships there and received a great deal of support. I've read the Big Book, the 12/12, and have worked steps 1-3. It has been eye-opening for me in a lot of ways and has taught me a great deal.

I've also been reading about Rational Recovery/AVRT and just ordered the book. A lot of the principles there also make sense to me.

I've heard that people have had success using both AA and RR, but I'm trying to wrap my head around that because they seem diametrically opposed to each other in many ways.

So I guess I'm just wondering if it is feasible/possible to do both? Why or why not? I realize some folks feel passionate about this and I'm not trying to start any arguments, but would appreciate an honest discussion about it, as I'm confused about what to do ... whether to stick with AA, drop AA and go with RR, or try to do both if they are somewhat compatible with each other and would be of help to me. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.
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Old 03-11-2012, 03:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey DS...Now you have too many recovery plans...Go figure...It's good to see you...I've only used AA and it worked for me..I don't know why you couldn't work both or drop AA and work AVRT...I guess the important thing is to work the one that works for you...AA is based on a Spiritual Awakening as a result of doing the 12 steps...An entire psychic change...I needed that...My life was lacking in that department...I'm glad I found out about myself what I needed to find...And address it. So for that....I'm happy and sober...For today....Which is better?....Whichever one keeps you from drinking.....Simple answer....Best of luck to you DS...Just make it work...Whatever you choose...
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Glad you are doing well DS. I agree with Sapling. AA is my program, but the other programs seem to work for many as well. I don't think you can go wrong with either one as long as you put in the effort. The important thing is to get and stay sober and have a joyous, productive life.

Best wishes and God bless.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Didn't you ask me for the Rational Recovery info months ago?

The primary market for RR has always been AA refuseniks, so many people who start out learning AVRT are often still going to meetings. In AVRT, the definition of the Addictive Voice is:
"Any thinking, imagery, or feeling that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or drugs -- ever."
You should be aware that most of the lingo (eg, the slogans) heard in a typical run-of-the-mill AA meeting will be identified as addictive voice, since almost all of it suggests the possibility of more drinking. For example:

SLOGAN: "Meeting Makers Make It"

AV: If you don't make meetings, you might get drunk!

SLOGAN: "Don't get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT)"

AV: That happens every day, so you are a walking time-bomb ready to explode into drunkenness at the drop of a hat.

SLOGAN: "Drink till you're convinced."

AV: I think you can figure that one out.

SLOGAN: "If you don't want to slip, stay away from slippery places."

AV: Next time I'm in a slippery place, I can get drunk! (YAY!)

SLOGAN: "Think through the drink."

AV: You are obviously planning to drink, because if you didn't plan to drink, you wouldn't have to think through the drink you won't be having.

SLOGAN: "If you can't remember your last drunk, you haven't had it."

AV: You haven't had a really, really, good personal party yet. There's still time, though.

SLOGAN: "I needed every drink I took to get to where I am."

AV: Drink some more until you get to where we are!

etc, etc.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I knew I could count on you, TU.

And you've just pointed out all of the contradictions that I was thinking about. One of the things that I've been pondering is the idea in AA that if we stop going to meetings and stop doing the steps, we will probably drink again ... that the possibility of "going back out" is always hanging over our heads. That scares the life out of me because it just sounds so hopeless. 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.

I don't know. Lots of questions going through my head this time around.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also, the Beast of AVRT is the desire to get drunk/high. Step 1 requires acknowledgement of powerlessness over the desire to get drunk, which, by definition, is the Beast. If you are powerless over the Beast, does that mean that the Beast then is your higher power? I don't know how you would reconcile AVRT with that, which presumes that while the AV is very clever at getting you to drink, the Beast is ultimately powerless, since it can't directly control your muscles and pour that drink down your throat.

I think you'll find the RR book interesting, though, given your current situation. It has a section devoted to navigating the waters when you are in a relationship with an addicted spouse.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah, I found that point very interesting too. I just read through the RR website and it was a good bunch of info. And anything that can help me with the spouse is a good thing.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think you'll find any of those slogans in the Big Book TU...That's what I used to get sober.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sapling View Post
I don't think you'll find any of those slogans in the Big Book TU...That's what I used to get sober.
Yes, I know, Sapling. But some people certainly do like to spout them — ad nauseum.
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Old 03-11-2012, 04:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, I know, Sapling. But some people certainly do like to spout them — ad nauseum.
Don't tell me you don't have A-Holes that work your program too..?
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have heard some of those things said at meetings, but they aren't in the BB. I found some of them useful, some of them not so much. You hear a lot of things said in meetings but my sponsor told me to follow the BB and to disregard anything said in meetings that is contrary to the BB.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If it's not in the Big Book...It's not AA...That's the slogan I've heard that I go by...
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Don't tell me you don't have A-Holes that work your program too..?
I never said the sloganeers were A-Holes, Sapling.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I wish I could insert the theme song from Twilight Zone here.....

I am in a 12 step out-patient program by choice and they require at least two AA Meetings a week.

My husband reminded me a couple of weeks ago that I had "another book" on addiction, and had I read it again? He was talking about the RR Book I bought 6-7 years ago.....

So today I picked it up, read about 70 pages and literally was about to post the same questions as yours Desertsong....but here you are.

So thank you for the post and replies....I'm REALLY confused as well.

There are many things I struggle with in AA already and I'm only six weeks in right now.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I never said the sloganeers were A-Holes, Sapling.
I did...I think a lot of them send the wrong message...
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Since you asked for feedback...it seems unlikely having not done the work in one that you'll now do the work in two. AA suggests you give up fighting and seek a spiritual approach to life that changes your reactions enough to remain comfortable and in balance sufficiently to not need alcohol for it's illusion of a solution. Since 'once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic' you'll need to expend some efforts to maintain your balance and spiritual condition well enough, not perfectly for the rest of your life, or risk a return to drinking.

The other 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. You don't actually have the problem that has caused you to seek help. Should you drink again you have trespassed, have failed from a moral standpoint, and need to firm up your capacity for abiding by a higher moral standard than last time, being a person who keeps their promise to never drink again unlike last time when you fell short and were not of sufficiently high moral caliber.

Had RR been around I'm sure I'd have tried it, as I was trying everything I could to not have to do all the AA stuff. So, I certainly understand the attraction you may have to trying it on for size.

I'd suggest pursuing whatever strikes you fancy and only returning to AA after you are relatively sure you'll need to go ahead and do the whole thing. Shouldn't take too very long and your friends will still be in AA staying sober when you're done trying this variety of the self-will thing.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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lol Kamriz, glad to know there's another one out there.

Honestly, I love AA and I enjoy the meetings, but just feel like something is "missing." Maybe I haven't quite had the "spiritual awakening" yet, maybe I'm not fully committed to it, maybe this, maybe that. It's not AA's fault. Many, many of their principles totally resonate with me. And then reading portions of RR also really resonate with me. That's why I'm wondering if they can complement each other or are they at odds with each other? Am I trying to do too many programs at once? Or am I just over-thinking this like I do most things?
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I have no invested interest in either program. 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. There are people who work a variety of programs or therapies though. I know I do, but I have preferred not to play them off against each other or allow them to cross over with each other, which is not very productive - this is the way that I can manage it. There are people who do counselling as well as meetings, and it doesn't need to clash. I think if I'd continued meetings I would've wanted something to augment/supplement the 12 step approach.

I've read websites picking apart the 12 step approach, some of them take very extreme examples or scenarios from AA that weren't really the same as what I experienced in (my limited) practice.

Look at the options and then focus on what is best for your personal recovery, rather than getting tied up in these issues.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:24 PM   #19 (permalink)
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My husband reminded me a couple of weeks ago that I had "another book" on addiction, and had I read it again? He was talking about the RR Book I bought 6-7 years ago.....
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.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:25 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The rational recovery site I visited told the viewer to “forget about… nonsense jargon like relapse, triggers, and alcoholic”. It has disparaging things to say about other ways of getting sober. This is understandable given the framework within which it works and I say that to in no way to be critical of the method. I’m sure it has worked for many. It is, however, necessary to view things from that perspective in order to improve the chance(s) of success. As TU pointed out there are even ways to interpret slogans found in AA that are in keeping with the rational recovery method.

AA only requires 1 thing. A DESIRE TO STOP DRINKING. Yes you’re going to hear the word God in a meeting but it does not mean you need believe. If other people expressing THEIR beliefs in front of you is difficult, then it might be a problem to respectfully listen (or at least not speak at the same time). You're also going to hear suggestions that have helped others.

It’s not commonly known but the main person to write the AA basic text took LSD, multiple times, in the 50’s (before it was illegal). He was looking for a way a way to bring a spiritual experience, to people who just could not seem to get it any other way. Lots of people in AA think that’s a dirty little secret. I don’t. Within the context of the time that it happened it showed the lengths to which a founder of the AA program would go to help a suffering alcoholic. In my opinion it also showed a lot of open mindedness. But that’s just my opinion.

My opinion is also that you try something, ANYTHING, and do it with abandon. If it does not work move on to something else and try even harder. If you are spending your time on this site reading then both you and the world will be a better place without your drinking.
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