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Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) Discussion

Old 08-15-2011, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
and AVRT...i must respectfully disagree... Trimpey does in fact openly discourage conventional views on addiction/treatment...
I know he does, so I don't see where we would be in disagreement. He does not view addiction treatment as any more effective than the way people have normally quit. It should be noted, though, that current views on addiction are hardly conventional - addiction was traditionally viewed as sin.

Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
...and most certainly openly opposes group support of any kind...
he goes on to give "facts" as to how other approaches doom one to failure. Not only can you do it alone...you must if you want to "truly" recover.
He certainly does oppose group support, at least as pertains to quitting an addiction. His underlying assumption is that to rely on anyone else for your abstinence necessarily creates a condition for failure. What happens if you lose the support for some reason, for example? What then? Do you drink again?

I will grant that he is dogmatic in that respect, though. He does not appear to view those who continue to rely on support for their abstinent state as being recovered. Whether correct or not, I don't know. I imagine some people benefit from support without it being a necessary condition for abstinence.

Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
He does exactly what he faults others for doing.
To a large extent, he does, and I've said before that he appears to me somewhat reactionary.
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:43 PM
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avrt, I meant "conventional" as in a widely held belief but guess I might have said current conventional belief (ie disease model, etc). Yes, conventional beliefs certainly change over time...just a mere 60 years ago the medical community would have told me my son's autism was a direct result of me not loving him enough (lack of bonding) and they quite possibly would have removed him from me and from his home to "help" him. Scary what "conventional wisdom" can do....but I digress...


Trimpey's still cool though in my book...I dig people who say what they think.

and I'm glad that AVRT has been successful in helping people stop suffering...anyway you slice it finding some relief and peace is what it's all about.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:03 PM
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I would like to add another suggestion to the original post.

7. This is not a place to discuss Jack Trimpey.

SR and Jack have a history. Can we stick to AVRT and teach the techniques without unnecessary discussions about Jack?

Thanks,
MG
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post
I know he does, so I don't see where we would be in disagreement. He does not view addiction treatment as any more effective than the way people have normally quit. It should be noted, though, that current views on addiction are hardly conventional - addiction was traditionally viewed as sin.
As were homosexuality and women wearing pants.

"Conventional wisdom", as soberlicious has mentioned, is not the most useful way of determining truth, especially when examining non-normative behaviors within a society.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:50 PM
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Hopefully this will put the absolutism of AVRT in perspective. Naturally, the black/white all-or-nothing paradigm of AVRT, if applied to other areas, would cause problems. Trimpey once wrote:

"Absolutism is ugly, I think, because by definition it deprives people of liberty. The words, autocratic, despotic, tyrannical, dictatorial, and arbitrary, are distasteful and even revolting to most free people, and rightly so. But I use them frequently to describe AVRT. Chemical dependency is an individual liberty, but when people find themselves in the grip of addiction, facing a relentless enemy within, they may choose to deprive themselves of one, single liberty through the specially-constructed, absolutistic logic of AVRT."
Within the AVRT paradigm, addiction is defined as "chemical use or dependence that exists against one's own better judgment, and which persists in spite of efforts to control or eliminate the use of the substance."

At the end of the day, one is free to choose total, absolute mental war against one's addiction, or not.
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Old 08-16-2011, 01:50 AM
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Whilst we're discussing the plan and not the man, I think AVRT comes down to this.

Don't ever drink, ever! Isolate all thoughts to the contrary.

Drinking sabotages personal liberty. It shrinks the mind into a prison cell that's collapsing inwards on itself.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ElvisInASkirt View Post
Whilst we're discussing the plan and not the man, I think AVRT comes down to this.

Don't ever drink, ever! Isolate all thoughts to the contrary.
Essentially, yes

Originally Posted by ElvisInASkirt View Post
Drinking sabotages personal liberty. It shrinks the mind into a prison cell that's collapsing inwards on itself.
The Beast is the warden of this prison, and warden Beast doesn't want to let you out of your cell. :-)
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:30 AM
  # 68 (permalink)  
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Shfting and Vertigo

There are two other "tricks" in the AVRT toolchest I'd like to touch on.

The first, vertigo, is mentioned on page 156 of the RR book. If it feels like you the Beast has taken control of the "I," and you sense that you are on autopilot, on the way to the liquor store, the book recommends giving that feeling a label, and calling it "vertigo," as in "I am in vertigo!"

In a later book, "The Art of AVRT," it is recommended to change the tense, so rather than telling yourself "I am in vertigo," you would tell yourself "That was vertigo!" This sleight of hand with the wording is an interesting insight, and by referring to it in the past sense, you can trick your mind into snapping right out of it.

Another technique, mentioned on page 202 of the RR book, is called "shifting," whereby you alternate between how "you" view something, versus how the Beast sees something. For example, in my case, the Beast would see a bottle of scotch as a source of relaxation, fun, but I can "shift" into how "I" see it, which is as poison - a source of pain.

As another example, suppose I see people waiting in line at the liquor store to cash their paycheck. On payday in certain areas, this line can be around the block. How does the Beast see these people? As "my kind of people," willing to start the party before they even get home, and before their families can stop them. How do "I" see them? As being up to no good, getting ready to waste the family's income on drink before the paycheck can even be deposited.

Think of your favorite drug dealer. How does the Beast see this person? As a great guy, of course. He gets you your stuff, and to the Beast, it is a shame that he lives so far away. How do "you" view this drug dealer? As bad company, as someone you probably wouldn't want your mother to meet.

You can employ this "shifting" tactic in almost any social situation, such as at a party. For example, the Beast will see someone who is making a fool out of themselves at a wedding as a potential drinking buddy, as someone to get to know. Shift into your right mind, though, and "you" will know better.

It is useful to try this "shifting" technique on your own, at home, by imagining the things that get the Beast fired up. This way, if and when you run into them "out there," you will be prepared.
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Old 08-16-2011, 07:36 AM
  # 69 (permalink)  
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Is it possible to integrate AVRT and the disease theory/model of alcoholism/addiction into a coherent recovery program?
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MickeyAnMeisce View Post
Is it possible to integrate AVRT and the disease theory/model of alcoholism/addiction into a coherent recovery program?
Bearing in mind that I don't speak for Rational Recovery, in my opinion, yes. The easiest way to do so would be to simply replace "Beast" with "the disease." Indeed, I have run into some people who object to AVRT on the grounds that to them, the Beast of RR bears a little too much resemblance to "the disease," just with a different name.

That said, if the disease model becomes part of your Addictive Voice, it will get caught in the cross-hairs of AVRT. For example, if I read an article on how addiction is a "relapsing disease," and I hear a voice that says "There you have it, even the experts agree. You will drink/use again because you have a relapsing disease, so you may as well just throw in the towel," that would fit the definition of the Addictive Voice.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:59 PM
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This is my 1st post....have been lurking for a few days in different forums but what I am reading here is really resonating.

If you could recommend 1 book on AVRT or RR for a beginner, what would it be?

Also, once you separate yourself from "The Beast" or addictive thoughts and recognize them/it as such....do you then replace the thought with something else? Or is simply recognizing it enough?

I have been in and out of AA for almost 20 years with maybe at most, 15 months of consecutive sobriety (and that was because I was pregnant and HAD to be sober - at least in my head). Without going into my whole story, I have been sober for 3 months now and am doing okay....but I suspect a lot of what is going on right now (based on history) is me "coasting". My main issue is that I do not have urges or cravings - but once I have the thought to really drink: bam, it's done. In looking back, it always seems "decided" by the time I think the thought.
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Old 08-16-2011, 09:06 PM
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Welcome to SR freethinking

D
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
If you could recommend 1 book on AVRT or RR for a beginner, what would it be?
AVRT is described in detailed in the following book:
"Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction" by Jack Trimpey
Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
Also, once you separate yourself from "The Beast" or addictive thoughts and recognize them/it as such....do you then replace the thought with something else? Or is simply recognizing it enough?
Recognizing it and objectifying it as "not you" is enough, usually. Logically, anything that you can recognize and identify is "not you," since you are the observer and not the observed. I will send you some links on AVRT via Private Message which should give you an idea of how it works, though.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
This is my 1st post....have been lurking for a few days in different forums but what I am reading here is really resonating.

If you could recommend 1 book on AVRT or RR for a beginner, what would it be?

Also, once you separate yourself from "The Beast" or addictive thoughts and recognize them/it as such....do you then replace the thought with something else? Or is simply recognizing it enough?

I have been in and out of AA for almost 20 years with maybe at most, 15 months of consecutive sobriety (and that was because I was pregnant and HAD to be sober - at least in my head). Without going into my whole story, I have been sober for 3 months now and am doing okay....but I suspect a lot of what is going on right now (based on history) is me "coasting". My main issue is that I do not have urges or cravings - but once I have the thought to really drink: bam, it's done. In looking back, it always seems "decided" by the time I think the thought.
And I bet if you try to overturn the decision you immediately feel a shot of dismay/despair/disgust/rebellion at trying to deprive yourself of the booze!

That's how it was for me.

Who is the person that is observing those feelings of disgust and what exactly is being observed?

I've been trying to distill AVRT and make it my own through understanding it and have concluded that the AV is any voice that suggests/hints future use of alcohol no matter how indirect and that my real 'voice' is silence underpinned by a sense of peace. When I watch with this silent mind the AV just puffs away like an illusion.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:26 AM
  # 75 (permalink)  
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Thanks very much AVRT and Dee.
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Old 08-17-2011, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ElvisInASkirt View Post

Who is the person that is observing those feelings of disgust and what exactly is being observed?
Hmm, I guess I feel the person observing is my true self? That voice I go to when ruminating on a big decision and am not sure what to do.

I think it's interesting AVRT refers to it as The Beast. I just got done reading a religious-based book: Battlefield of the Mind. It talks about the same thing, but refers to these thoughts as "Satan" talking to us. There really must be something to becoming programmed to objectifying these thoughts as it seems to be a trend in things I happen to fall upon reading these days.

AVRT, thank you for the PM and the info in it - I could not respond via PM b/c I do not yet have 5 posts under my belt.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:56 AM
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"When I watch with this silent mind the AV just puffs away like an illusion."

wow...love this wording...this idea has been key for me in my sobriety. "I" am not afraid of "the beast" because I am the one in charge now. I find that if I give in to the panic that the AV tries to create in me and I am fearful then I begin running around like a chicken with my head cut off making all kinds of crazy decisions. Fear means that I am engaging with the AV on some level which gives it a foot in the door so to speak. Buddhism also speaks to "sitting with" temptations/distractions as opposed to running from. I translate this to "yep...I see you. I know what you are up to. It's not gonna happen" I have experienced the same "poof...it's gone" feeling you described.

The shifting tool has also worked well for me.

Also...I will stick to the plan and not the man. My comments really had nothing to do with anyone on a personal level...only that narrow-mindedness in any form has been very dangerous to my recovery in the past.

peace
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:05 AM
  # 78 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
"When I watch with this silent mind the AV just puffs away like an illusion."

"I" am not afraid of "the beast" because I am the one in charge now. I find that if I give in to the panic that the AV tries to create in me and I am fearful then I begin running around like a chicken with my head cut off making all kinds of crazy decisions.... Fear means that I am engaging with the AV on some level which gives it a foot in the door so to speak. Buddhism also speaks to "sitting with" temptations/distractions as opposed to running from. I translate this to "yep...I see you. I know what you are up to. It's not gonna happen" I have experienced the same "poof...it's gone" feeling you described.

The shifting tool has also worked well for me.
That's basically the "key" insight of AVRT. All addicted people hear voices tell them to drink/use in a thousand different ways, or see pictures in their mind of their favorite stuff. Most chemical dependency counselors are well aware of this phenomenon. The AV normally appears to be "you" until you recognize that the AV is just an expression of base urges, not necessarily originating in your rational mind.

Trimpey basically repackaged the "lizard brain" theory of addiction and called it the "structural model" of addiction. Some rehabs, notably Caron, have lectures on this paradigm. What I find interesting is that NIDA and others are presumably "discovering" this now, and giving it some more weight than usual. If you google "lizard brain addiction" you'll find all sorts of "new" articles on it.

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Old 08-20-2011, 09:52 AM
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great stuff!!!
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:25 AM
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Thumbs up

i just checked in quickly to say avrt (the method! lol) is working better for me than i could ever have hoped possible... it's seriously as close to effortless as i am willing to let it be, it's only if i let my attention wander and start debating/arguing with the 'av' that i have a tough time, and as soon as i realise what i'm doing and stop, it becomes a lot simpler.

to be fair i have had some intense physical cravings and beastly whinings now and then about 'deserving' a drink etc but 1. they're easy to recognise now and 2. not one single emotion or physical state i have had since i made my 'big plan' (after a lot of thought and doubts) has been anything like as gut-wrenchingly bad as most of my hangovers.

the main way my beast got to me in my previous efforts to quit (or just cut back) was to flood me with emotions about 'deserving' the stuff after a hard day at work or even 'needing it' to unwind and be social, and recognising those for what they are is the cornerstone of my recovery and sobriety.

i think the 'all or nothing' absolutism of avrt works because it replaces the need to assess each seperate urge (internal image, emotion, or external trigger etc) to drink with a simple rule - 'i will never drink again, and i will never change my mind'.

if you consider the statement from the 1st book that the addictive voice exists to channel every event in your life into 'a causal pathway towards drinking', it seems a bit more reasonable that since your 'beast' is a one-track-mind merchant with only one answer to everything, you have to be similarly dogmatic and inflexible in cutting it down before it can even get started on the why's and wherefore's of drinking.

heaven knows i went years thinking i could examine each craving on a case-by-case basis and 99 times out of every hundred i'd lose, the 'beast' of my addicted mind/body knew my specific triggers and weak points only too well and unlike me it didn't give up until it got that one thing that it wanted.

but i can't really do this method justice, other people on here esp. avrt (the member) write better about this stuff than me and thank you for that twist on 'vertigo' - had that a few times and i will be using the new phrasing for sure!! i'll definitely be getting the new book when i get home.

anyway, score one person's life changed for the better here, thank you jack t - he may not be the cuddliest teddy bear on the planet but i could kiss the guy for what his book has done for me.
i never thought i'd be where i am today, or that i could feel so free and secure in sobriety.

debs x
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