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Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) Discussion-Part 1

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Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) Discussion-Part 1

Old 09-09-2011, 08:24 AM
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Terminally: Thanks for this thread. I've got a copy of Jack's book and am reading it with interest. I am particularly interested in one thing. That is any recent scientific evidence of how alcohol or other addictive substances affect the more primitive parts of the brain, such as, perhaps, the so called "midbrain" (discussed in Chapter 10 of the book). I am under the impression that this happens and that the "inner voice" which Jack refers as coming from the "Beast" originates in or is largely influenced by this primitive part of the brain. Subjectively I feel that, despite years and years of sobriety, there is something there which tries to "set me up" and cause me to act against my best interests. Did Freud happen upon this when he referred to the "Id."? A sort of inner child? Pleasure seeking, selfish, duplicitous?
What intrigues me is that, despite my years of sobriety and my being quite comfortable with not drinking, despite all that I still sense that there is a "Beast" there which has to be watched carefully. I've built a sort of doghouse for it and keep it tied out there. Needless to say I don't put any booze in its water bowl or doggie dish.

W.
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Old 09-09-2011, 09:23 AM
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Terminally: May I add one further query about Rational Recovery? In reading this book of Jack's I sense a certain ambivalence about the necessity, or even advisability, of meetings, group discussions, etc. And I see by Googling Rational Recovery sites that this has become an issue in some cities, such as Boston, where there have been several meetings but where it has been said some of these meetings may be discontinued.
So my question is this. What's wrong with meetings? Does this have to be a "loner" Big Plan? I've found meetings very helpful and for the most part enjoyable. Indeed, isn't this website, SR, a sort of a meeting? Am I not "meeting" with you and the others on this thread? I can't see how this does any harm or is somehow inconsistent with the basic principles of any Big Plan.

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Old 09-09-2011, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
Terminally: May I add one further query about Rational Recovery? In reading this book of Jack's I sense a certain ambivalence about the necessity, or even advisability, of meetings, group discussions, etc. And I see by Googling Rational Recovery sites that this has become an issue in some cities, such as Boston, where there have been several meetings but where it has been said some of these meetings may be discontinued. So my question is this. What's wrong with meetings? Does this have to be a "loner" Big Plan? I've found meetings very helpful and for the most part enjoyable. Indeed, isn't this website, SR, a sort of a meeting? Am I not "meeting" with you and the others on this thread? I can't see how this does any harm or is somehow inconsistent with the basic principles of any Big Plan.

W.
The Rational Recovery Self-Help Network no longer exists, and there are no longer any Rational Recovery meetings anywhere. Some where not happy about this, so they regrouped under the banner of SMART Recovery. SMART covers much of "old school" RR, with the RET/REBT materials, but not AVRT.

AVRT is a distillation of the methods addicted people have used to naturally quit on their own. Trimpey literally "lifted" the method from addicted people he was in contact with for 17 years or so, augmenting his own experience. He has often referred to it as "street-wise" recovery.

As for meetings, RR advises against associating with other people who have not quit their own addictions. You know that if you put a bunch of addicted people together, for long enough, there's a good chance that eventually they may do what comes naturally. I've seen it many times.

It's up to you, though.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
Terminally: Thanks for this thread. I've got a copy of Jack's book and am reading it with interest. I am particularly interested in one thing. That is any recent scientific evidence of how alcohol or other addictive substances affect the more primitive parts of the brain, such as, perhaps, the so called "midbrain" (discussed in Chapter 10 of the book). I am under the impression that this happens and that the "inner voice" which Jack refers as coming from the "Beast" originates in or is largely influenced by this primitive part of the brain.
Yes, there is evidence of this. It is usually referred to as the "Lizard Brain" theory of addiction.

Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
Subjectively I feel that, despite years and years of sobriety, there is something there which tries to "set me up" and cause me to act against my best interests. Did Freud happen upon this when he referred to the "Id."? A sort of inner child? Pleasure seeking, selfish, duplicitous?
What intrigues me is that, despite my years of sobriety and my being quite comfortable with not drinking, despite all that I still sense that there is a "Beast" there which has to be watched carefully. I've built a sort of doghouse for it and keep it tied out there. Needless to say I don't put any booze in its water bowl or doggie dish.
In my experience, once the brain has been physically altered by the alcohol and the Beast of addiction has been born, so to speak, it never completely dies. It may go away for a while, and it will become weaker, but it can also come back.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:34 PM
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P.S.for Terminally (sorry for any redundancy!) Would I be correct in concluding that this program consists in "outsourcing" the desire to drink to its origin, namely the Beast. "I", namely my conscious self, has been for years tormented by the Beast, which resides in my midbrain. Tormented in the sense that my conscious self didn't sufficiently realize that it had a beast to train and that this animal was playing all sorts of tricks to get its own way for years and years. So it's time that we get in a little bit of dog training, pit bull that is, and say to the Beast, "You're the one who wants to do the drinking. Not I!" And we're not going to do any more of that. You'll have to be satisfied with something else. (But that presents further problems- what might the Beast want to do? Better keep a close watch on this creature and do some real serious crate training.)

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Old 09-09-2011, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
P.S.for Terminally (sorry for any redundancy!) Would I be correct in concluding that this program consists in "outsourcing" the desire to drink to its origin, namely the Beast. "I", namely my conscious self, has been for years tormented by the Beast, which resides in my midbrain.
Yes, outsourcing is one way of looking at it.

Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
Tormented in the sense that my conscious self didn't sufficiently realize that it had a beast to train and that this animal was playing all sorts of tricks to get its own way for years and years. So it's time that we get in a little bit of dog training, pit bull that is, and say to the Beast, "You're the one who wants to do the drinking. Not I!"
That is correct. The insight is that the Addictive Voice appears to be "you," and so you tend to follow what it says as if they were your own ideas. The key is to dissociate from all addictive desire by recognizing the addictive voice, which is the expression of that desire, which in AVRT is called the Beast.

Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
And we're not going to do any more of that. You'll have to be satisfied with something else. (But that presents further problems- what might the Beast want to do? Better keep a close watch on this creature and do some real serious crate training.)

W.
Careful with the "we's" - the point of AVRT is to separate yourself from the Beast. You aren't going to drink. What might the Beast want to do? Why, drink, of course! Who cares what it wants to do, though? It can't control your arms, legs, or muscles, can it? Only you can do that.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
So my question is this. What's wrong with meetings? Does this have to be a "loner" Big Plan? I've found meetings very helpful and for the most part enjoyable. Indeed, isn't this website, SR, a sort of a meeting? Am I not "meeting" with you and the others on this thread? I can't see how this does any harm or is somehow inconsistent with the basic principles of any Big Plan.

W.
Yes, I have though about this as well, although it is fairly obvious that SR, with the exception of this forum, is not intended as an alternate approach to recovery. I enjoy coming to this forum and the daily support threads with my july group, but I find the main forums a wee bit depressing at times. the same rehashing of the same issues by the same people and I have been thinking that is the part of groups that RR is talking about avoiding. I am glad SR is here, especially in the very early days- I learned a lot of stuff I actually didn't know. But sometimes the main forums make me feel depressed and somewhat hopeless so I generally avoid them unless something catches my eye.
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post
Yes, outsourcing is one way of looking at it.



That is correct. The insight is that the Addictive Voice appears to be "you," and so you tend to follow what it says as if they were your own ideas. The key is to dissociate from all addictive desire by recognizing the addictive voice, which is the expression of that desire, which in AVRT is called the Beast.



Careful with the "we's" - the point of AVRT is to separate yourself from the Beast. You aren't going to drink. What might the Beast want to do? Why, drink, of course! Who cares what it wants to do, though? It can't control your arms, legs, or muscles, can it? Only you can do that.

Yes, Terminally, I get you now. Maybe I was using "we" the way a nurse might talk to a naughty child (e.g., " We're not going to have any of that now or ever!") But the nurse child idea doesn't fit because in this situation, the child (i.e. the Beast) is trying to get the nurse drunk.So here one should say, "I'm just not going to listen to you any more when you talk this way."

W.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
What's wrong with meetings? Does this have to be a "loner" Big Plan?
If you're never going to drink again what is the point in attending a meeting? Not only will it do you no good you may end up a "one day at a time"er.

You're self-recovered. Do anything you want so long as it's not something that keeps the back door open for the Beast. The RR book presents some good examples of this.
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Old 09-10-2011, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by wpainterw View Post
So my question is this. What's wrong with meetings? Does this have to be a "loner" Big Plan? I've found meetings very helpful and for the most part enjoyable. Indeed, isn't this website, SR, a sort of a meeting? Am I not "meeting" with you and the others on this thread? I can't see how this does any harm or is somehow inconsistent with the basic principles of any Big Plan.W.
I'll leave it to others to explain RR's point of view on meetings. In my view, however, there is nothing wrong with meetings as long as one is realistic about the purpose of attending those meetings. They can be (for some, not all) a great way to receive social support and encouragement in the early, difficult days of abstinence. They do not, however, bestow sobriety on a person who isn't interested in achieving it.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I'll leave it to others to explain RR's point of view on meetings. In my view, however, there is nothing wrong with meetings as long as one is realistic about the purpose of attending those meetings. They can be (for some, not all) a great way to receive social support and encouragement in the early, difficult days of abstinence. They do not, however, bestow sobriety on a person who isn't interested in achieving it.
It has to do with the definition of the Addictive Voice. Remember, the addictive voice is any thinking, feeling, or imagery that supports, or even suggests, the future use of alcohol or drugs. Viewed through the lens of AVRT, all pre-conditions for abstinence are also potential reasons to drink/use in the absence of those pre-conditions, and AVRT is ruthlessly efficient at exposing them.

For example, OTT, you recently addressed the issue of 90 meetings in 90 days in another thread, where someone was told that if they didn't go to 90 meetings in 90 days, they were "pretty much doomed to fail" (their words, verbatim). Such thinking obviously suggests that someone is going to drink again if they don't go to 90/90, and that can very easily become incorporated into their Addictive Voice.

What happens if they don't make the quota? Well, the clever Beast is probably going to say something like "so... you didn't make 90 in 90, and you know what they said, you are doomed to fail now, so you may as well go out and drink. No use trying to fight it, may as well give up. You are doomed anyway."

This is not limited to any particular recovery group, BTW, and the same thing happened with the Rational Recovery Self Help Network meetings. People would become afraid to stop going to meetings, since they had come to believe that if they didn't go, that they would drink again. It's ironic, but AVRT effectively destroyed the RR self-help network.

I suppose the question people need to ask themselves is: has meeting attendance become a pre-condition for abstinence? Has it become part of your Addictive Voice? I sometimes still hear my Addictive Voice telling me "well, we haven't gone to meetings in 'X' amount of time, we are on thin ice. Just a matter of time before we cave."

Naturally, I immediately recognize it for what it is, and I think "Nice try, Mr. Beast. You may cave, if you can ever figure out how to get to the liquor cabinet without my help, but I never drink, meetings or no meetings."
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:45 PM
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I get the logic here AVRT and I too read the thread about someone being told they "are doomed to fail", but in all fairness this same sentiment has been expressed by Mr. lastnamestartswithT that you are doomed to fail if you do attend meetings. hmmm. lots of dooming to failure all around. And I'm not beating a dead horse and bringing him up again, but I firmly believe his stance on meetings of any kind is strongly based on his own negative personal experiences.

I don't regularly attend meetings, but I'm not gonna lie. I like getting a chip for another year. I like celebrations, clapping, smiling... LOL the same way I like red patent leather peep-toe pumps, but neither one is the cornerstone of my sobriety. I guess how I feel is...I am a non drinker. I can go any place I want to. A bar, a meeting...not a threat to me. That said, I have chosen to not attend "double vowels" because my beliefs have become so vastly different that there really is no reason to go. and my beast never even mentions not going...I think even she was bored to death there LOL

Lastly, while I realize the beast really never dies, I refuse to live in fear. I am vigilant, obviously, but not hypervigilant...for me that is counter-productive. If I am constantly looking over my shoulder and around the corner watching for the beast, I am not living my life. I may as well be beating a bible to ward off Satan...no thanks.

Secular connections is my favorite forum on the whole site. The people here are cool and AVRT, I think you are well spoken and knowledgable and have helped many who come to SR looking for something to help them.

I think we may have just had a meeting in this thread LOL and there it is
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:06 PM
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You can go to meetings, but based on the definition of the AV, you are going to hear a lot of it at meetings, just like on any recovery forum. I'm immune to it, but I do notice it. Again, it depends on whether or not you feel you need meetings, and whether or not that troubles you, which doesn't seem like the case for you.

AVRT is about walking free, though, from addiction and all of its holdovers. If you're a meeting junkie and want to kick the habit, AVRT can help. Remember, in AVRT, no one can define what is right or wrong for you, only you can do that. Addiction is using in spite of your own better judgement, not anyone else's, and the same is true of any other behavior included in the "Big Plan," which again, is entirely your own.

Regarding vigilance, there is no need to be vigilant and avoid triggers or "slippery places" like bars. I'm using an example of what I might hear from the AV from time to time, but once you get the hang of it, AVRT is always reflexive, and kicks in only if the AV starts talking. If it stirs, dissociate and carry on. If it doesn't stir, just carry on.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I think we may have just had a meeting in this thread LOL and there it is
If addiction recovery forums ever become a problem for me, I will make a new Big Plan:

"I will never spend time on a recovery forum again, and I will never change my mind !" :-)
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:11 PM
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Agreed. Walking free is what it's all about for me. I'm not going to pretend to know all the fine points of AVRT, but I do have an understanding. I think my main interest in it is that it so closely mirrors what I did when I quit drinking some years ago before I even knew anything about AVRT. I did what they told me to initially in treatment, and subsequently went to xx mtgs but that was just placating others and easing myself back into the real world from the fog, to be honest it was all just fluff because I already knew I was never going to drink again. I made a big plan on my own I suppose. It wasn't well received in the meetings but oh well I didn't lose any sleep over it...
While I employ parts of AVRT, I can't say I "do" it. I am allergic to dogma, so I have to be careful if I get to close to it. I know one thing and one thing only. I don't drink. Beyond that everything else changes.

If addiction recovery forums ever become a problem for me, I will make a new Big Plan:
"I will never spend time on a recovery forum again, and I will never change my mind !" :-)
LOL right on...embrace impermanance!
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:46 AM
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I can see your reasoning. I'm relatively new to this but I'm already at the point where I feel things can only bolster my Big Plan rather than weaken it. For example, I enjoy going to pubs and dinner parties so I can not drink. In the context of AVRT it's like torturing the Beast (not that really even tries much now) to the point of kicking it when it's down. So I could go to a meeting without it affecting me — it would just be a huge waste of my time. Of course, that's not to say that's the same for everyone.

I come on this forum in the hope I might share with others what worked for me, and to refine my use of the technique itself. I'd never come on because I'm struggling.

As the late, great allen Carr said, you cannot have a problem with alcohol if you don't drink it.
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Old 09-11-2011, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post
I suppose the question people need to ask themselves is: has meeting attendance become a pre-condition for abstinence? Has it become part of your Addictive Voice? I sometimes still hear my Addictive Voice telling me "well, we haven't gone to meetings in 'X' amount of time, we are on thin ice. Just a matter of time before we cave."
In my own, perhaps inept way, AVRT, that was exactly what I was trying to say. Getting social support is one thing, and is in fact exactly what we, ourselves, are doing here.

But when you start thinking that the meetings are actually CAUSING your sobriety, so that indeed the meetings become a precondition for staying sober, then yes, that is nothing more than the voice of the Beast.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I don't regularly attend meetings, but I'm not gonna lie. I like getting a chip for another year. I like celebrations, clapping, smiling... LOL the same way I like red patent leather peep-toe pumps, but neither one is the cornerstone of my sobriety.
Hope this isn't too far OT, but I recently passed an anniversary and did absolutely nothing to commemorate it. Same thing for the last few years. I figure if I'm not in a chip-giving program, why would I show up to get one of their chips?

But I know many others who, even though they are not in a chip-giving program, do show up at a meeting of that program to get a chip each year.

I'm not judging what anyone else does, believe me, I'm just interested in knowing what, if anything, my secular friends do on their anniversary. I don't want to get a chip, but I'll admit--the anniversary of the day I quit drinking is an important day for me. The day I declared my freedom.
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:59 AM
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I for one am glad that Rational Recovery did away with meetings. Given the nature of the recovery ecosystem, where everyone else is saying that nobody can quit on their own, somebody had to do it.

Granted, Trimpey was unable to completely shut it down the meetings, since the RR Self-Help Network mutated into SMART recovery. He views this as a bad thing, but I don't. I think it was the natural, logical outcome.

As long as the option of completely independent and completely private recovery is available as a counterpoint, it really doesn't matter what other people or programs do. The problem, as with any system, exists when there are no options, and because of this, AVRT is crucial, IMO.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
I'm not going to pretend to know all the fine points of AVRT, but I do have an understanding. I think my main interest in it is that it so closely mirrors what I did when I quit drinking some years ago before I even knew anything about AVRT.
You have to remember what AVRT is. It is simply a refinement of the methods that people have naturally used to quit addictions on their own. It has always existed, and people have been figuring it out here and there ever since addiction reared its ugly head, and many still do today.

"AVRT is the lore of self-recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, essentially some common sense I swept off the street." -- Jack Trimpey
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