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AVRT Explained (long)

Old 04-14-2013, 06:51 AM
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:44 PM
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Thank you so much for your post. As I've been researching different recovery options I find the AVRT speaks to me the most. I have a very hard time believing that I don't have some control in my choice to drink or not. When I look back, I always made the decision on the first drink. What I can't control, is what happens once I have that drink.

I'm sober 49 days today and I think I've been using AVRT more or less. The big thing is I have said to myself and really meant the following: I will never drink again. Because I don't want to.

I ordered the Rational Recovery book and look forward to learning more. Does anyone know of anyone who has had long term success using AVRT? 10+ years sober? Would be inspiring to hear those stories.

Thanks again for this thread.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:35 AM
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Thanks so much for your post freshstart57...please know I never graduated from high school...but now have a PHD...I am thrilled.))
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:04 PM
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:55 AM
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:34 AM
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:36 PM
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Really appreciating your post today, thank you. I have only come to terms with my husband's substance abuse issues in the last 3 months and dove straight into 12-step Al Anon as that was the only resource I was familiar with -- and he wound up going to some AA meetings too....

But he's also said that it doesn't quite resonate with him. Based on what you shared here, I think AVRT may be interesting to my husband -- so I'll definitely be learning more about it. Thanks so much for your detailed sharing. I can really follow your train of thought and see what you're talking about.

I also see that the original post here is almost a year old...any updates you can give us about how you're doing? Would love to hear. :-)
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by shinebright7
I also see that the original post here is almost a year old...any updates you can give us about how you're doing? Would love to hear. :-)
Freshstart is very active here. If you click on his screen name you can see his most recent posts, or better yet PM him He's a cool dude.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
Freshstart is very active here. If you click on his screen name you can see his most recent posts, or better yet PM him He's a cool dude.
Thanks, Soberlicious - great idea. Appreciate your direction.

I didn't even know what was in these secular forums (had never heard the word before and hadn't gotten around to Googling it yet) but I just decided to peek in anyway. I'm glad I'm here.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:54 PM
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I'm glad you are here too. The Rational Recovery website has a section written for families and friends of the addicted. You may also want to see if any of that is helpful.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:45 AM
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I'd be happy to provide an update and maybe a little background. And thank you, ShineBright7.

I didn't choose the style as a sort of device, there was no hypothetical recipient. I really did write it to a real person, let's say, X. We started on our sobriety at about the same time, but X's was a little more protracted. It started from a heavy 2000 mg daily oxy addiction with a fifth of vodka, and moved through a medically assisted detox before a return home to family.

That was in September 2011, and since then, X has gone from near death to glowing health, gaining back almost 30 lbs. I went from nearly a fifth of vodka daily to zero back in August 2011 on that day, and haven't taken a drink since. My depression and anxiety have all but disappeared and my anti D meds have been replaced many months ago with healthy pursuits that some might describe as vital, absorbing and creative interests.

I wrote my note to X almost a year ago when X was trying to fit my ideas into a 12 step framework, and that explains why my note took the form it did. We talked about it, and we agreed to post it here.

Since that time, our thoughts about sobriety have grown more aligned with AVRT and changed a bit as mindfulness and acceptance have become a focus, but we have never wavered from the main tenets. Our Big Plans are secure from the vantage of a retrospective of our past hells, and our expectation of a life free from addiction is being met in every present moment. We don't really get urges now the way we did 20 or 21 months ago, and when a thought of a drink does blow in, it dissipates again quickly. We believe as a matter of self identity in our ability to remain sober for ever, and dismiss doubt as, well, you know.

X's sobriety is now a busy, engaged and present life, much too full to spend much time on SR now. No 12 steps for X either. My sobriety has a busy life for me too, and I am finding what I am looking for as I continue to grow and learn. I find it very satisfying to post here and I am thankful for the friends I have made.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:37 PM
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Thanks freshstart57, I do enjoy reading your posts, as well as yours soberlicious.

(Sorry about the Leafs, fresh, if I weren't from the Boston area I'd be routing for the Leafs myself - it's been too long.)
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:17 AM
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Brilliant post. Thank you.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by freshstart57 View Post
XXXXXX,
... I refused to accept that I was powerless, that I could not be responsible and stop this. I felt that way, and still do, because I believe that I make my own breaks, that I control my life, not some substance.... .
Good post Freshstart, thanks for taking the time to write that.

I can really relate to what you've written, although I am only 8 days into my second attempt at becoming a non-drinker. I honestly do not want to be a recovering alcoholic for the rest of my life - I just want to be a non-drinker, free from the grip of addiction. I believe that is possible (for me). I also believe that referring to myself as an ex-alcoholic just serves to remind me about alcohol and highlights my previous weakness, and so is in fact counter-productive in the long term.

As a somewhat ignorant newbie, I'm interested if my thought process is on the right track...

I've checked out the RR website and gone through the AVRT flash cards. I'm a fairly analytical and pragmatic person, and I have some trouble accepting the "Beast" terminology - there is no Beast in my brain, there is just my conscious and my subconscious. Am I right in thinking that the Addictive Voice simply refers to our subconscious thought patterns? I've actually read through it twice and don't recall even seeing the word subconscious (although I find the garish colours and uneven fonts incredibly difficult to read).

I have previously done some reading on re-programming the subconscious, and it appears the AVRT process is using our conscious thought to train our subconscious that we don't need alcohol. I've been using some of those techniques (eg visualisation, positive terminology, thinking as if my goal has already been achieved) and so far (I know, it's barely a week) it feels like it's working well.

I'm going in tomorrow to get a referral to a cognitive behavioral therapist, and I plan on discussing this with him/her. It will be interesting to hear what he/she has to say.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:15 PM
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and it appears the AVRT process is using our conscious thought to train our subconscious that we don't need alcohol.
With AVRT there is no training of the subconscious. Simply put, AVRT teaches one how to identify the addicted part of you as "not you" (the beast=desire to drink), recognize It's "voice" (AV=all thoughts/imagery that suggest drinking), and dismiss It. AVRT does not support the idea that we can rid ourselves of desire (the beast), or that we can train our subconscious. That would involve engaging to some degree with that "other" part of you. Engaging, convincing, arguing with, or training the beast would be considered AV.

You don't have to believe there is a real true beast inside your head for the technique to work.
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:01 PM
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Ok thanks Soberlicious, I thought I may be imposing my own prior thought processes onto AVRT and thereby reading it differently than it is intended, seems like that was the case. I'll try again....

I've since found the other very long threads on AVRT, I'll try to work through them as well.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:54 PM
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I think AVRT is about mindfulness, being aware of your thoughts without judging them or measuring them, or becoming worried by them or stressed by them. A drinking thought or urge comes by, even a faint one, and I can smell it because it starts to make me anxious. I try to stop my mind from racing along, and I just sit with this thought. And let it be what it is. It isn't me, because I don't drink anymore. The nervousness or compelling nature of urges then disappears.

The Beast is not our subconscious, it is in our lower brain function that these thoughts originate. AVRT works by bringing urges and self doubt thoughts into full awareness. The idea of beastifying our urge to drink or use is part of the separation process, of identifying it as 'not me'.

The CBT tools you are using, visualization, positive thought framing, and acting as though you have achieved the goal of sobriety are very useful to me too. Cost benefit analysis, and engaging in pastimes that require and foster mastery are other CBT / SMART tools that I have found helpful.

All of these things add to my life now and fill up the hole left by being plastered all the time. But first, I needed to get sober and prepare the way so that these other tools could be used.

Switch, all of this fell into place for me when I made that vow to stop. I found it useful to recognize that my last drink was my very last drink, as opposed to my next drink being my very last drink. That is just more drinking, sorta defeats the whole idea here.

Believe in yourself, believe that all self doubt is your addiction trying to pull a fast one, set your confidence at 11, and you will succeed.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:13 PM
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:53 AM
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My Big Plan starts now. 14.48, June 6.

A good friend said to me yesterday, after I had started drinking again after 5 weeks without: "You need to get all the help you can get. You need to do everything you can. You only want to have to go through this once."

Yesterday morning that did not chime with me. I told him I was an alcoholic, of course I was going to drink again and "relapse."

After soul-searching, reading SR and everything over the past 24 hours, I realise, and pardon my French, BOLLOCKS.

I'd been struggling to find a road to not drinking that didn't niggle or annoy me in some way.

I've just gone through the AVRT flash cards, and this post, FreshStart, yous have worked wonders!

Thank you. It begins NOW.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:16 PM
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BOLLOCKS is right Alicecat!!! I'm so glad you are seeing the truth!
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