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Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) Discussion — Part 5

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Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) Discussion — Part 5

Old 09-08-2012, 07:47 AM
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Apologies in advance, if this is the wrong place to ptu this stuff - I've about 11 tabs open and lapping everything up.

Being a n AVRT discussion thread though, I wanted to bring up something I've read people discussing a lot, hope that's cool.

The AVRT definition of 'recovery' as permanent abstinence, and nothing more, have I got that right?

See, I've read criticisms of this definition as it 'doesn't address the underlying causes which lead to the addiction' etc. I see why some may feel that way , but personally, dissacosiating from the 'addict voice' for me has made it easier to listen to the other voices and address them. Voices or traumas or relationships, whatever, I've carried through life, largely blanketting or muffling with addiction. Now I feel empowered and able to remove that blanket, I can address what is underneath, not as a 'powerless junkie', simply as a rational human being aspiring to better quality of life. Hence, while AVRT does not suppose to be an 'addiction treatment' , ain't part of its potential success due to the fact it empowers addicts to once-again recognise themselves as something beyond addicts, to break their identity free from being 'just a junky' or encapsulated by being an addict? Anyone wanna' tell me I'm misunderstanding what I've learned so far of AVRT (lol) or got any thoughts / experiences of their own on that subject?

I've read a lot of thoughts on the subject on these forums, but would love to hear anyone with whom I can have a discourse, as many of the threads I've been reading have been long closed.

Otherwise, just wanted to say to anyone musing over or experiencing the whole 'my addiction's worse than yours' thing (someone above was discussing it and it caught my eye), check out Will Self's approach to all that malarky. He addresses those questions with this concept of 'drugs porn' (so hoping use of that word in 'ere don't earn me an automatic ban or something lol). Anyway, google videos had some interviews with him on talking through this and I think they're quite insightful, and witty, and not without humour either to anyone who's interested.

Cheers guys, great thread.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:46 AM
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Tsukiko, I think your understanding of what AVRT offers is absolutely correct. I will copy here from a related thread -
AVRT doesn't really care about you, your life, your moral failings, your childhood trauma, recent life events, they are all irrelevant. AVRT only provides the means to stay unconditionally sober, free from alcohol. You can devise and 'work' any self improvement program that strikes your fancy, and address any psychological, mental, emotional or spiritual issue you please. Maybe you should do exactly that, I dunno. You can actually get some traction in these pursuits if you are sober, something I could never do while drinking. I digress.

AVRT's sole focus is your big plan, I will never drink again and I will never change my mind. The concept that you must address your 'deeper issues' first, that you must have some sort of special experience or that you must do anything at all before you can stop drinking, or that you must do 'the real work' so that you never again drink, is nothing more than your alcoholic voice. Phooey.
Welcome.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:04 AM
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Reading that quote - I've been waiting years to hear that...ahh lol, what a wonderful opening too. The lack of bs or mollifying approach is so damn refreshing.

Cheers, Freshstart, v much appreciated.
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:20 AM
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Tsukiko, thanks, but the aptness of my post is due to timing, no more than that. I have been instructed and coached by folks whose considerable intellect is matched by their ability to communicate clearly and honestly. I just beat them to the punch this time, is all.
Please keep posting, let us know how you are making out. Anything we can do?
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Old 09-08-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tsukiko View Post
The AVRT definition of 'recovery' as permanent abstinence, and nothing more, have I got that right?
In AVRT, recovery (from addiction) is secure, permanent abstinence from all hedonic, mood-altering drugs, across-the-board, and nothing else. This should not be confused with tentative abstinence, i.e., temporarily stopping to 'to see how it goes'.

Originally Posted by tsukiko View Post
See, I've read criticisms of this definition as it 'doesn't address the underlying causes which lead to the addiction' etc.
We don't do problems with AVRT, which are considered the result, and not the cause of addition. AVRT is concerned with the proximal cause of the addiction -- the Addictive Voice. Distal causes are irrelevant, and when used to support or explain away drinking/using, will always be identified as AV.

Originally Posted by Jack Trimpey
AVRT distinguishes between the proximal cause of addiction, the Addictive Voice, and the distal causes, which are always incorporated into the Addictive Voice. The epidemiology and etiology of addiction are moot points, because we are only concerned with the proximal cause of drinking, the Addictive Voice, i.e., the Beast... In AVRT, these distal "causes" of addiction are recognized as "explanations" or "reasons" for why, why, why people drink or use drugs, and, I hope, assigned to the scrap heap we call "the Addictive Voice."

An analogy could be drawn from someone shooting a gun. There may be many "reasons" or "explanations" on why the person shot the gun (distal causes), but the proximal cause for the bullet flying over the hill is that the firing pin struck the powder, resulting in an explosion that sent the bullet flying. AVRT is akin to removing the firing pin from the gun so that no matter what distal causes exist... the drinking/drugging response will not occur. It's just not there.

Excerpt from the "Trimpey-Ellis Debate"
Journal of RR, Vol 7, #2, Iss. 38, Nov-Dec 1994
Copyright (©) Jack Trimpey
All Rights Reserved

Originally Posted by tsukiko View Post
Hence, while AVRT does not suppose to be an 'addiction treatment' , ain't part of its potential success due to the fact it empowers addicts to once-again recognise themselves as something beyond addicts, to break their identity free from being 'just a junky' or encapsulated by being an addict?
AVRT categorically rejects addict-identity. AVRT objectifies addictive desire as something that is "not me, but the Beast", and saying "I am an addict" is essentially saying "I am my addictive desire -- my Beast". It just doesn't add up. Once recovered, you are not something "beyond" an addict; you are not an addict at all.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ReadyAndAble View Post
Man, I so agree with you Dalek. I know you're right.

But I also totally get what Obladi is saying about being on firmer ground in recovery.
I hate to nitpick, R&A, but this is an AVRT discussion, so it comes with the territory. There is no "in recovery" with AVRT. It is simply a stage of addiction, whereby the problem has been identified, but has not yet been resolved. AVRT-style recovery is not a process, but an event, and you are either recovered, or not. There may certainly be a build-up to that event, some period of reflection prior to it, but it is an event nonetheless.

Originally Posted by ReadyAndAble View Post
I initially did it one day at a time, because I didn't know better... For many weeks, "never again" was more of a hope or ideal for me than a solid commitment. I tiptoed up to it.
I imagine this is the case with more than a few people, but it doesn't change the fact that it can also go on forever, or that waiting to build up enough confidence in one's ability to abstain is AV. You may have tiptoed up to it this way, but many who consciously leave the option to imbibe open, waiting for the right time to quit to 'just come', simply go back and forth between episodes of using and not using. We've all seen the revolving door, on forums and elsewhere.
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Old 09-08-2012, 06:18 PM
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Thank you Freshstart, once again, and Dalek.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dalek View Post
You may have tiptoed up to it this way, but many who consciously leave the option to imbibe open, waiting for the right time to quit to 'just come', simply go back and forth between episodes of using and not using. We've all seen the revolving door, on forums and elsewhere.
Yeah, no doubt, Dalek. One of the many reasons I consider myself lucky to be here. Definitely I realize now that a single, definitive step would have been a surer way to get here. What I was trying to get across to Obladi—because for me it was completely counter-intuitive—is that it also turns out to be the easiest way.

Your nit-picks are usually dead-on, so keep 'em coming.
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Old 09-08-2012, 10:40 PM
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The plot thickens...

As I reflect more on it, I realize I need to widen the view. In those earlier posts, I was simply looking at the tiptoeing that I did that last time, the push that got me through. But in actuality, I had been tiptoeing up to it, then falling back, for at least two years leading up to that. Two years, waiting for some magical moment.

There was nothing special about the moment I quit until I actually quit.
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:35 AM
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So the AVRT links I posted last week were removed. I had contacted the mods myself after being informed that a couple of the links were to an RR subscription service, and should not have been posted. I was hoping they would remove those links and leave the rest.

Unfortunately, SR has a problem with RR links in general. I suppose this is because it's a for-profit corporation. I respect the mods a great deal—but it is time to review this policy. Recovery is, thankfully, a lot more diverse than when SR was first formed. To post a link to a paid RR seminar program would one thing—but to disallow links to the free AVRT crash course? That runs contrary to the core of SR's mission, in my opinion.

I understand and respect why the mods did what they did. They are following the policies as they exist today. My beef is with the policies, not with the people who have a duty to enforce them.

In any event, I will be happy to PM anyone who wants those links. (Auvers and Jaz, look for them in your inbox.)
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:01 PM
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Could you send them to me, ReadyAndAble? Thanks!
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:20 PM
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Just did, Mrs. King.

I have received a bit more info; it seems there were some problems in the past with RR adherents, and even some back-and-forth with Jack Trimpey, that led to the policy.

I still believe it's worth revisiting; I think we have an exceptionally respectful and humble group of AVRT users here. But I don't have the full picture of what went on before, and place my trust in the mods. They've certainly earned it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:00 PM
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ReadyAndAble, I would appreciate a copy of the links as well. Thanks for all you do!
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ReadyAndAble View Post
Ooops. I said I disassociated from "my feelings". Sloppy language means sloppy thinking. Somebody pass the ammo; I gotta take care of this AV trying to sneak under the perimeter wire...
Perhaps not, R&A. Beasts do have feelings, and with AVRT, we recognize these as well. 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." (From the AVRT Crash Course).

This is specifically helpful with the Addicto-Depressive condition, which is not the same as true depression, but which can be the Achilles heel that trips up many who attempt to quit. The Beast is usually very depressed in newly-abstinent people, and it feels like your own depression. Early on, it often seems like this faux depression will go on forever, so it is crucial to recognize and objectify that as the Beast's depression.

My "litmus test" early on was to imagine having a few drinks, and if my mood lifted, even before drinking, but by just imagining it, then I knew that it was Beast depression, and not true depression. True clinical depression, of course, doesn't magically lift just by imagining a few drinks, and I could actually feel the Beast's mood rising and falling by shifting between "never again" and thinking about having a few drinks.

(See "The Felt Presence" and "The Addicto-Depressive Condition" on pages 183-189 of RR: The New Cure, and Figure 4 on Pg 183)

This said, I have seen some strange posts about what things are AV, some of which don't really fit the definition of AV. Your thoughts and feelings are not Addictive Voice unless they specifically steer you toward eventual self-intoxication. Anger, for example, is not AV, although "I drink because I am angry" or "I'm angry, I need a drink" would certainly be AV.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:55 PM
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Totally, Dalek. That's what I meant—that when I said I disassociated from "my feelings", I was being careless; what I meant was that I disassociated from the Beast's feelings.

This hits home:

if my mood lifted, even before drinking, but by just imagining it, then I knew that it was Beast depression
At the time, I wasn't yet hip to AVRT, and so I didn't connect the process of "mourning alcohol" with the Beast. But I do remember that before I quit, the mere thought of drinking was enough to lift my... er, the Beast's... spirits. In fact by the end, that was probably the only real pleasure left in it—the expectation of alcohol. After the first sip, it was just the same old exercise in futility.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:58 AM
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Was at a 12 step meeting last night. The theme was surrender. Something I dont get, if im surrendering my will why doesnt this higher power ensure that I stay clean?

I shared on what a difficult day I was going through. simplistically I put it that almost having the cartoonish devil and angel on the shoulders. That the angel won, but unless I figure out this surrender thing the devil will win the argument sooner or later.

It also bothered me in the meeting that the main share, a guy on 9 years was teetering on a relapse... crikey I dont want to still feel that fragile after 9 years.

Anyway, more bad stuff happened, on the way home from meeting ... relapse!

I was on the RR sight earlier , and it makes sense to me. So giving it a go. I do have other issues... so additional plans will also need to be made.

I am grateful for everything 12 stepping taught me, I had some
great insights.

Now my question is what are the differences between smart and avrt.

I know smart is okay with meetings. I really liked the comraderie of AA/NA , nad even a monthly meeting/coffee I would really enjoy

Ive read the AVRT introduction and flash cards , really cool , is Smart similar?
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:53 AM
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Welcome to SR and the secular threads, SDLY.

Powerlessness is a concept that works wonders for many. It wasn't for me. As you've already discovered, there are other options. Good options.

I'm not familiar enough with SMART to contrast it with AVRT. I'm sure someone else will take a stab at it.

I will say that the mindsets—the ways addiction and recovery are viewed—seem very similar to me. I often find myself nodding along with the observations of OnlyTheTruth and other SMARTies. (Did I just coin a new term?) I think quite a few people have comfortably merged elements of SMART and AVRT.

If fellowship is what you're after, SMART could be a great choice. AVRT doesn't include a fellowship component; if anything, it eyes meetings with a bit of caution. The idea that one needs meetings—that continued abstinence depends on it—would be considered a form of AV under AVRT.

That said, we're social animals. Addiction is a fascinating topic. And I find talking through the concepts very helpful. Not necessary, to my AVRT way of thinking, but definitely helpful.

One of our members, RobbyRobot, has successfully combined AA step work with a deep understanding of AVRT. But honestly, I don't know how he pulls that off. Seems like his head should just explode, then collapse into a black hole...
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:18 PM
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SDLY,

Welcome to SR. Since I'm a "SMARTie" I'll take a stab at contrasting RR and SMART.

First off...SMART and RR were founded as a single recovery approach (RR) about 20-25 years ago, with the idea that the world needed a recovery approach that is based on empowerment rather than disempowerment.

But a difference in philosophy developed, which, as I understand it, boiled down to the fact that Jack Trimpey (the RR guy) wanted to create a for-profit enterprise based on the idea of AVRT, whereas Joe Gerstein, Tom Horvath and others wanted to create a nonprofit group based on not just AVRT, but also principles of REBT and social support. I wasn't around then--this was way before my time, I wasn't even sober yet when all this was going on--but suffice it to say that there was a split and the groups went their separate ways. Trimpey kept the RR name and the AVRT idea and trademark, and SMART was formed.

So today, even though you can see the roots of AVRT in SMART, they have evolved in very different directions.

AVRT is much more straightforward than SMART. It's basically about making the Big Plan and AVRT--learning to recognize and ignore the voice of the Beast. It cannot be called a "program" because there is no real procedure, no tools or steps and certainly no meetings! It views abstinence as the entire goal. It is almost elegant in its simplicity and logic.

SMART's philosophy is that "recovery" is a process that occurs in stages (from thinking about quitting, to getting ready to quit, to actually making the decision and doing it, to maintaining the change afterwards), and there are tools for each stage. These are covered in meetings, where people talk about the tools and how they use them to first decide to quit, deal with cravings, and then learn to lead a balanced life. So meetings are an important part of SMART, and they are run by volunteer facilitators who are specifically trained in how to run meetings and use the tools. The idea is that the tools will be improved and new ones developed as research on addiction progresses.

So which is better? I don't think there is a "better", I truly do not. I like SMART myself because I find social support helpful. So I do see value in the social aspect that SMART provides, and I love that the SMART tools are meant to empower participants to quit and then move on with their lives (people are not expected to go to meetings forever or label themselves as "recovering" or "addicts" or "alcoholics").

But AVRT is great too. There's a simplicity about it that I really like, and quite frankly I did make a Big Plan even though I didn't know I was doing so at the time!

I hope this is helpful and I also hope you'll keep in mind that the key to this whole thing is figuring out what works FOR YOU. One thing I know for sure, it is that recovery is NOT the same for all of us. It can be scary for some people to contemplate that fact; I guess it would be easier and less threatening if there WAS only one viable way to go about it, but the reality is that recovery is a very individual thing!
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:54 PM
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That all sounds pretty SMART to me.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth
SMART's philosophy is that "recovery" is a process that occurs in stages (from thinking about quitting, to getting ready to quit, to actually making the decision and doing it, to maintaining the change afterwards), and there are tools for each stage.
Thanks, OTT. I had forgotten they had common origins.

As Dalek has observed on occasion, I often think about recovery as a process rather than an event. Not a lifelong process, of course, but not a clean line either. I did not realize that was one of the key distinctions between AVRT and SMART.

Hmmm. I'm a little old to be confused about my orientation, lol...
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