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Old 01-13-2013, 08:59 AM
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It's hard not to get fixated on the terms/semantics of the language of AVRT, I think this has been the crux of my issue with the BP.

yes, i found that, too. because i conflated it (when i first got sober, or even just a bit before, when i was reading sobriety stuff but drinking) with commitment. of which i had made many, you know, the BIG DECISION. which could only be followed by entirely free will and free choice and total control.
i fell down there every time, though i stayed sober, this time, while still being of that mindset. but i wanted to figure it out, how come all my previous decisions and total commitments hadn't worked? i'm a bloody strong-willed person...it SHOULD have worked

OK, I get that if you make a BP and then drink again (which I did last year) then it wasn't a real BP.

yes, always that looking backwards at what felt totally genuine and committed at the time i decided it...crazy-making.

for myself, new-at-this, it took a couple of years of sobriety, to finish grappling with what i call "the choice-thing", which ties in with personal power, of course, and i ended up seeing that alcoholism had screwed up my access to choice/control/power with regards to drinking. neither my choices nor my will were anything like "free" there.

not trying to add to the semantics here, just that i think i see where you're pinned with the BP thing. seeing it in RobbyR's terms as something to...uh...gauge "the voice" against, a bit like a measuring stick: "oh look, no, this doesn't fit the BP, it's against it, so, must be AV" helps make sense of it for me, though it might not be the definition as set by Rational Recovery.

in any case, here we are, engaged in sobriety-talk with each other, tossing our ideas and experiences around, and ain't it grand?
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:45 AM
  # 62 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post

Originally Posted by NewAtThis
GT; Thanks for reminding me to think about what it was that occurred to kick start my drinking that I couldn't have foreseen. The answer is pretty mundane really, a friend visited and I used it as an excuse. Nothing unforeseen at all about being in such a senario in fact fairly predictable.
Now, put into complete sentences the thoughts that were going through your head between the time the idea of having a drink with your friend came to mind and the time you actually swallowed the first gulp of dilute flavored ethanol.
I'm repeating this exercise suggestion from last week because I think doing it will promote clarity about the simplicity of the Big Plan and how it can be made only once.

There were times during hangovers when I would promise to myself I never wanted to do that again, and when I finally made my Big Plan, I was able to reflect back and contemplate four particularly important points in time that had recurred over and over when I had just really wanted to quit, but hadn't really made the Big Plan.

1 - the moment in time I decided to try to quit for good (try out the Big Plan)
2 - the moment in time I thought about drinking again
3 - the moment in time I decided to stop trying to quit
4 - the moment in time I voluntarily poured the alcohol into my mouth and swallowed it

By understanding what I had been telling myself during those moments I understood how it didn't have to continue that way, and I understood that deciding to quit for good actually meant taking away from myself the very ability to choose whether or not to drink again. I no longer have a choice. I realized I was fully capable of doing that, and, of course, it can only be done once.
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Old 01-13-2013, 11:28 AM
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This thread is full of awesomeness!

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Old 01-13-2013, 02:05 PM
  # 64 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
your guys' conversation reminds me of something a little related, when i was a few months or so sober and decided it was the right time to go into a liquor store and just be in there for a minute or two. i'd thought about this prior to going for a few days or so, and i was sure it wasn't about drinking or not drinking, or being weak or strong, or about temptation and fighting. i was trying to understand something about this stuff, this liquid. to see if something would...uh..."happen to me"...and to see what that might be.

after being in the store for a minute or so,( which felt rather odd and foreign, though of course it had been a very familiar place) i decided that this wasn't good enough, and that i should buy a bottle. so i did. i wanted to sit with it in the car, and see what the hell it IS about the stuff that so got to me, what the so-called-by-so-many ENEMY really was.
so i sat in the car with this bottle, turning it, feeling it, looking at it, looking through it, opening to it, and what i understood was : the stuff was just liquid. there was no enemy. the mess about it has nothing to do with the stuff in the bottle.
i saw that the problem, whatever it might be, wasn't in the bottle, but in me.
nothing happened in that car other than that. i gave that bottle to one of my grown-up kids, told her it was the most special one i'd ever bought, and went to my regular LR meeting.

all this, started from a question about commitment issues.

Newatthis, how are you doing?
You say, "i saw that the problem, whatever it might be, wasn't in the bottle, but in me."

Daresay I, that you also saw (especially at that moment) that the SOLUTION to the problem, whatever it might be, wasn't in the bottle, but in you?
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Old 01-13-2013, 07:32 PM
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hm...shall i say a simple "yes, of course", even though in reality it was/is a bit more complex than that?
in a way drinking and getting drunk WAS the solution.

but this isn't the thread for such convoluted conversation, and at that moment in the car i'd already been sober a while, with no real difficulty as far as not drinking.

Last edited by fini; 01-13-2013 at 07:34 PM. Reason: went too far :)
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:27 AM
  # 66 (permalink)  
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I like the measuring stick analogy fini! Sometimes i wonder if the reason i get knotted up with terms etc is because i'm searching forensically for some flaw or inconsistency in AVRT so that i can say 'sod it' and justify drinking again. Strange how the mind works eh?

You make an interesting point about the notion of 'free' with regards to choices about drinking too. I guess if you start from the assumption that years of skewed/screwed-up thinking about alcohol has warped the ability to think logically about what it is you really want, then you maybe begin to see the obvious. Which leads back to the same place anyway - quitting for good. This is what I think is so great about RobR's approach to AVRT, once I begin looking upon it as a tool rather than a prescription or recipe to be followed to the letter I can put aside the feeling that I'm missing something or not getting it right. Surely the end result - sobriety and not only sobriety but a contented sobriety - is what matters most? Otherwise it's just debate for the sake of debate. Nothing wrong with that per se, but let's face it we could engage in a theoretical debate on AVRT while still getting pissed each night! Kind of a waste of time eh?! I'd rather be sober and maybe misunderstand bits and bobs of the theory!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:52 AM
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Sometimes i wonder if the reason i get knotted up with terms etc is because i'm searching forensically for some flaw or inconsistency in AVRT so that i can say 'sod it' and justify drinking again. Strange how the mind works eh?

ya hey! what's stranger still is that mine worked the same way!

but : i did have to come to terms with the choice-thing. and years of skewed/screwed-up thinking about alcohol has warped the ability to think logically about what it is you really want, then you maybe begin to see the obvious. Which leads back to the same place anyway - quitting for good. this was part of that, because logic and rational thinking about what i really want got me to a place of decision many times, but then every time i fell, i was left in the same place, with the same question: how could it be that i repeatedly did what i had firmly decided not to do? how could it be that apparently i freely chose to put that stuff past my lips on the very day that i had most certainly freely chosen not to? (you are starting to see why your thread title "commitment issues" got my interest, yes?). looking back,( which might be skewed, of course) i could finally quit the drinking itself quite easily when i woke up one day and saw i was a drunk, really GOT that on one level, but the other "levels", of understanding and accepting about powerlessness....that took a lot longer. and i needed to be able to 'understand" that with my rational mind, too. not just in my gut. it had to make sense to me, even in its senselessness. i had to make sense to me, you know?

but, one thing you can take away from my journey is the fact that i did much of my figuring out AFTER i was sober. it wasn't at all necessary to get all that in order to get sober.
a long time ago, i had convinced myself very conveniently that i had to, HAD TO, understand the "why" of why i drank and kept drinking. this was convenient because i didn't understand and so i could just keep drinking

just keep going, newatthis, the understandings will come/grow/change.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:45 AM
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Getting knotted up with terms is AV.
It means this, no it means this, no it means this, maybe ...it means this...or it could mean this, but maybe it doesn't mean that at all...all that creates doubt...the beast loves doubt.

It's all AV...
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:53 AM
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Thank you to fini and all on this thread. fini... i just posted on my blog that I need to understand why I relapsed. Really had to look at it. I had not made a big plan...because it intended for me to drink again and even the raional part of me, I, agreed apparantly... if I have this right? So, I too thought I made a big plan about a year and a half ago and now that I am back at square one I am terrified of making a big plan and failing again.
I can see Robbys point about a big plan being more of a tool but, I also see where I dont want to be able to use this as a crutch to keep on making BP's forever and ever... and failing.
Also, I get what you say fini about "the choice thing". I keep thinking am I capable of making and keeping a big plan?
Lastly GT... I like your four "moments". Those are the moments I keep looking at over and over. However, maybe taking away that choice by commiting to a BP and letting the rest go for now is best?
I am so confused.... please show me my AV in the above posting and any advice is welcomed. jkb
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:12 PM
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jkb, hello.

i'm not one who worked much with the AV concept, so it's best if i don't get in your way on that.

but i want to be clear on this point: when i talked about thinking i needed clarity on "the why of it", it refers to the "why" of my drinking. i told myself that i couldn't quit/stay sober until and unless i knew why i drank. see, looking back i see that as trying desperately to find a reason that was rational. well, turned out in a real way i drank and kept drinking because i'm a drunk. i know how that might sound: like no reason at all!
(i'm not talking about triggers here, but about causes)

when i talk of "the choice-thing",jkb, it's shorthand for a very long drawn-out torturous process of stubbornly trying to understand what happened to my power in regards to the decisions i made over and over. everywhere else in my life, i can stick to my decisions. and the little reading i did about BP and AVRT sounded to me like the BP was yet one more decision, and so what use was it to me to make one more? but RobbyR's way sees it more like the intention against which you can put any "voice" urging you to drink, or trying to convince you that you can moderate now, or that just one more time will get it out of your system or any other such nonsense.
for me, finally waking up to "oh **** i'm a drunk", knowing it unequivocally, has been the turnaround. grappling with the choice-thing was ongoing after that. took me a couple of years to come to a place with that where i had peace with what i figured out. i really do think there are no short-cuts for that one. and not being an AA member and having all my life balked at anything suggesting i did not have utterly perfect control over what i let pass my lips made it that much tougher. but yes, i am powerless over alcohol. knowing that freed me from battling, lifted the ambivalences and the driven-ness.
i think we all have to come to our own knowing it for ourselves; it comes from inside.
but of course that's an opinion

you're confused...confused is okay, you know...it beats certainty a lot of the time. once we're certain of something we so often end up vehemently opposing anything else...
reminds me of something i heard somewhere else once: we relapse because we already know how not to relapse!

rambling on again...the "choice-thing" is one of my favorite topics, neverendingly fascinating because it defies all reason.....you should never encourage me!
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:39 PM
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When I made my Big Plan, the debate about "to drink or not to drink" wasn't intensified, it was over. It was before I made the Big Plan that the debate went on and on. But the Beast didn't give up so easily. My AV then tried questioning my Big Plan, but since the Big Plan is so profoundly simple, it didn't have much to go on in that area, other than "You've said that before."

It was trying to take advantage of my past ambivalence - those years of knowing I should probably quit, tried quitting off and on, and tried to hide my drinking from others. I knew the difference this time, though, and AVRT clearly exposes all the Beast static.

As to the big WHY? Why did I keep drinking when it cost so much to me in so many ways. Well, there is a very short and quick rational line of reasoning to figuring it out. I drank alcohol to experience the effect that alcohol had on my mind and body. And I agree with AVRT on what to call that effect - DEEEEEP Pleasure!!

Why did I almost always drink more than I originally planned? Because the ME that made that plan to drink just one six pack of tall ones had "left the building" by the time the contents of the fourth and fifth can was in my body. Drinking myself into a "MIND ALTERED STATE" absented ME from the known universe - until I sobered up again. By chemically stupefying myself I had completely lost the original reasoning. "Oh my GOD, I LOVE this. Why on earth did I buy just one six pack? Screw that !! I'm going out to get some more! Yeah, I can manage. I'm no dummy. Just gotta be careful. Wow. Of course I can act straight while I'm feeling this fantastic GLOW, mmmMMMMMmm! OK, gonna get my coat......."

I'm totally impressed at the number of views here. The popularity of this thread has taken off like a rocket in the last 24 hours. I'm guessing the thousands of readers are practicing AVRT here, not just to flush out the AV in the posts, but to recognize it within themselves.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
When I made my Big Plan, the debate about "to drink or not to drink" wasn't intensified, it was over. It was before I made the Big Plan that the debate went on and on. But the Beast didn't give up so easily. My AV then tried questioning my Big Plan, but since the Big Plan is so profoundly simple, it didn't have much to go on in that area, other than "You've said that before."

It was trying to take advantage of my past ambivalence - those years of knowing I should probably quit, tried quitting off and on, and tried to hide my drinking from others. I knew the difference this time, though, and AVRT clearly exposes all the Beast static.

As to the big WHY? Why did I keep drinking when it cost so much to me in so many ways. Well, there is a very short and quick rational line of reasoning to figuring it out. I drank alcohol to experience the effect that alcohol had on my mind and body. And I agree with AVRT on what to call that effect - DEEEEEP Pleasure!!

Why did I almost always drink more than I originally planned? Because the ME that made that plan to drink just one six pack of tall ones had "left the building" by the time the contents of the fourth and fifth can was in my body. Drinking myself into a "MIND ALTERED STATE" absented ME from the known universe - until I sobered up again. By chemically stupefying myself I had completely lost the original reasoning. "Oh my GOD, I LOVE this. Why on earth did I buy just one six pack? Screw that !! I'm going out to get some more! Yeah, I can manage. I'm no dummy. Just gotta be careful. Wow. Of course I can act straight while I'm feeling this fantastic GLOW, mmmMMMMMmm! OK, gonna get my coat......."

Awesomely well said, GT. It also worked the same way for me with displeasure too. Feeling 'bad' felt 'good' in my later suicidal years. It all became extremely surreal either way - everything twisted into whatever it had to become for me to continue with my drinking. A drunk is as a drunk does.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:49 AM
  # 73 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
... well, turned out in a real way i drank and kept drinking because i'm a drunk. i know how that might sound: like no reason at all!
(i'm not talking about triggers here, but about causes)

when i talk of "the choice-thing",jkb, it's shorthand for a very long drawn-out torturous process of stubbornly trying to understand what happened to my power in regards to the decisions i made over and over. everywhere else in my life, i can stick to my decisions. and the little reading i did about BP and AVRT sounded to me like the BP was yet one more decision, and so what use was it to me to make one more? but RobbyR's way sees it more like the intention against which you can put any "voice" urging you to drink, or trying to convince you that you can moderate now, or that just one more time will get it out of your system or any other such nonsense.

for me, finally waking up to "oh **** i'm a drunk", knowing it unequivocally, has been the turnaround. grappling with the choice-thing was ongoing after that. took me a couple of years to come to a place with that where i had peace with what i figured out. i really do think there are no short-cuts for that one. and not being an AA member and having all my life balked at anything suggesting i did not have utterly perfect control over what i let pass my lips made it that much tougher. but yes, i am powerless over alcohol. knowing that freed me from battling, lifted the ambivalences and the driven-ness. i think we all have to come to our own knowing it for ourselves; it comes from inside.
but of course that's an opinion

you're confused...confused is okay, you know...it beats certainty a lot of the time. once we're certain of something we so often end up vehemently opposing anything else...
reminds me of something i heard somewhere else once: we relapse because we already know how not to relapse!

rambling on again...the "choice-thing" is one of my favorite topics, neverendingly fascinating because it defies all reason.....you should never encourage me!
Yeah. It's all there for the taking, lol. Really well said. Obviously you speak from deep experience, fini. I'm glad you're sober.

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Old 01-15-2013, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
looking back,( which might be skewed, of course) i could finally quit the drinking itself quite easily when i woke up one day and saw i was a drunk, really GOT that on one level, but the other "levels", of understanding and accepting about powerlessness....that took a lot longer. and i needed to be able to 'understand" that with my rational mind, too. not just in my gut. it had to make sense to me, even in its senselessness. i had to make sense to me, you know?

but, one thing you can take away from my journey is the fact that i did much of my figuring out AFTER i was sober. it wasn't at all necessary to get all that in order to get sober.
a long time ago, i had convinced myself very conveniently that i had to, HAD TO, understand the "why" of why i drank and kept drinking. this was convenient because i didn't understand and so i could just keep drinking
fini - thank you for saying that. that has been the conclusion i've been edging towards and something i think i have finally accepted. I think i've been guilty of putting the cart before the horse when it comes to drinking - figuring i needed to understand AVRT perfectly in order to quit. now i see that i needed to stop and allow the understanding to follow from there. i'm not kidding when i tell you that is a huge insight and breakthrough for me. thank you so much
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
.


Why did I almost always drink more than I originally planned? Because the ME that made that plan to drink just one six pack of tall ones had "left the building" by the time the contents of the fourth and fifth can was in my body. Drinking myself into a "MIND ALTERED STATE" absented ME from the known universe - until I sobered up again. By chemically stupefying myself I had completely lost the original reasoning.
So concise and simple really when you look at it like that. It seems like we just forget how twisted our reasoning becomes when drinking alcohol. It's like trying to run a race blindfolded and wondering why you come last!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RobbyRobot View Post
It all became extremely surreal either way - everything twisted into whatever it had to become for me to continue with my drinking. A drunk is as a drunk does.
Yes, totally agree with that.

Thanks everyone for talking me down off the ledge! Was so addled about the BP but now I feel much more secure in my understanding. Some clever folks on this thread!
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:31 AM
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thanks, RobbyR. i'm glad i'm sober, too.

but the ongoing "journey" sure hasn't turned out to be the way i thought it would be. at the beginning, i was convinced i'd just deal with this "thing" and that would be that, i'd leave it all behind. i hadn't seen how there was no "it" to leave behind.
glad you're sober, too, and hanging out here.
always glad when others are sober, or if they don't give up if they're not.
okay, that's plenty enough gladness for one day!
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:39 AM
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now i see that i needed to stop and allow the understanding to follow from there. i'm not kidding when i tell you that is a huge insight and breakthrough for me.
honestly, NewAtThis, i wouldn't have believed that insights and understandings follow and grow and deepen after quitting. i was SURE i needed them all before.
sigh. i was soooo sure of soooo much... still not sure exactly how i managed not to get stuck in certainty entirely. being open-minded has allowed a lot of good stuff to happen for me.
and when i used to read stuff like i'm now writing, i'd often poo-pooh it.
of course i believe you!

not drinking is what allows other things to follow.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:17 AM
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fini.. Huge insight for me as well. I truly appreciate this thread and everyone on it.
Newathis... I was just like you. I thought I needed to really get AVRT down in order to quit. Now I realize I will have to quit in order to really get AVRT down... I hope that makes sense....
My realization in all this came to me when I was reading RR last night and it talks about my plans for continuing to drink... how not planning to quit is planning to continue. I had never looked at it this way. I was like Virginia in the beginning of the book saying "well how can I just quit"... the story of that phone call really hit home with me.
Thanks again to everyone, jkb
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jkb
I was like Virginia in the beginning of the book saying "well how can I just quit".
Exactly. My sister and I were just talking about this the other day. In order to stop a problem behavior, you have to, well...actually stop the problem behavior. There is no way around that. AVRT is a very precise way to do just that. All "the other" can be figured out later...or not. Either way, it has no bearing on alcohol consumption.
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