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Confused by RR and the AVRT

Old 04-05-2014, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Greenwood618 View Post
I have no interest in any of the other topics raised in response to my original post, and I am sure no one else does either.
Sometimes it helps to share our experiences. So lets hear what you got.
Have you any advice for the OP, Greenwood? Anything that worked for you?
Or maybe Greenwood has something that works better than HALT and it just seems silly to them. If so do share.
Folks do seem to have an interest in your experiences with RR, but I will admit that there is a significant possibility that they might just be trying to be polite and welcoming to our new member.

This is one person's experience with AVRT and might be useful for folks who are curious about RR. AVRT Explained.

So Sam, I don't think I demonized the beast which I also called The Parasite. That metaphor might be more useful to you than The Beast as a way to describe the addictive drive for a drink.

Instead, I recognized and separated, and the act of making that Big Plan serves to cement the separation between self and addictive urge. Finally I came to accept the fact that my parasite will wave and ask for a beer every once in a while. No struggle, just acceptance. I don't fear the AV any more - it's powerless after all.
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Old 04-05-2014, 03:03 PM
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Thanks Greenwood I really appreciate the direct answer to my questions.
In light of what I read on the website and your answer it is clear to me what RR is now.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:20 PM
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I am very pleased you found it helpful and wish you a lifetime of prosperous abstinence. It is only one Big Plan away.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:21 PM
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Thanks everyone for sharing your posts. My never mind was after I looked up cbt as I was asking. This kind of thing is up my alley. I read step 1 in the 12&12 book tonight. I just cannot in any way agree to this at all. Tha aa steps that is.
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:35 PM
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I think critical thinking and healthy skepticism are good things samseb. I could not agree more that discovering what is real has made life rich and interesting. My take on your questions follow.

#1 As stated previously, there’s not a lot of science behind Rational Recovery. It’s a method, and a very useful one for many people, but it’s not based on empirical knowledge, at least as far as I can tell. As a matter of fact, neurological studies have shown that emotion is critical for good decision making (see the work by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio).

#2 I find it more useful to accept the parts of myself that I don’t like and seek to change them, rather than to split them off and deny they are part of my “self”.

#3 Whether you call it beast, parasite or anything else, and whether you view it as a part of your'self' or not, I think it’s important to recognize and to take steps to counteract the influence, in whatever way works for you.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:37 AM
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I certainly appreciate your curiosity. I guess I've never felt the need to "pop the hood" and take a look at the engine of RR or AVRT. It's enough for me that when I hop in and turn the key it starts and works for me. Going on 17 months or so it has worked, so far so good.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:11 AM
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I was sitting here kind of anxious about how to respond to peoples posts about RR. When I came back to this website I was happy to see secular connections and was keen in getting into some descent conversations about secular ideas. What surprised me was how many people were talking RR. During my thumper 12 step days it was easy to be anti RR mainly because the way RR was presented in my eyes was on an Anti AA platform.
As. I grew out of the delusions of spiritual recovery and become an atheist, a sceptic and humanist, I developed a very keen interest in human nature, how we behave act and re-act in the world as we negotiate life. I have learnt critical thinking skills and love science, through reading a book by Peter Soderman called "powerless no longer" I saw that the techniques of SMART recovery Were very similar to what has worked for me Genuine CBT techniques adapted for those with addiction.

So back to RR, I sincerely thought I was missing something about RR and possibly my own Prejudice from My 12 step days had stuck with me.(things can linger sometimes) so I have read what you all have said and of course read the literature and well I am kind of in shock at what I was reading. Under the Guise that this is just a method or technique which many of you have described in this thread, is belief system based on no evidence at all, a bunch pseudo science and absolutism with a hardline bitter edge. This is the last thing I am writing on this subject.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:26 AM
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Just because we haven't researched the CBT roots of AVRT doesn't mean there is no research. To reiterate my point, 99% of people who drive a car every day have no idea how to build or work on one. It's not necessary just to use one. AVRT is like that. I'm sorry I don't know more about it; if I did I would tell you. As for RR I don't know anything about it.

Why not try it for yourself? If it doesn't work then fine, it doesn't work. Alternatively you could probably write or email the author to see if he can explain the "inner workings".
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post
This is the last thing I am writing on this subject.
Speaking of absolutism with a hardline bitter edge...

I agree, it's usually better to post about what works than about what doesn't work. I just like irony.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:22 AM
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You appear overly enamored with critical thinking. It is of little value in abstaining from alcohol. Some of the world's most decorated thinkers died from long term alcohol abuse. Neither science nor intellect are decisive. A reawakened sense of human morality is.
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post
I sincerely thought I was missing something about RR and possibly my own Prejudice from My 12 step days had stuck with me.... This is a belief system based on no evidence at all, a bunch pseudo science and absolutism with a hardline bitter edge.
Maybe you had it right from the first, Sam. If it isn't a good fit for you due to your past exposure to an alternative belief system, or due to your locus of control being external, or for some other reason, I would suggest you find a different approach that works for you. There are plenty.

CBT/REBT/SMART share a common history with AA/AVRT, and a similarity in that they are both cognitive behavioural techniques.

There is a hardline absolute aspect to AVRT, you are correct, and that is that you are able to make this decision for yourself, and that you may choose to never drink again and never change your mind. People do it all the time, and you can do it too.
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Old 04-08-2014, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by freshstart57 View Post
snipped for relevance

There is a hardline absolute aspect to AVRT, you are correct, and that is that you are able to make this decision for yourself, and that you may choose to never drink again and never change your mind. People do it all the time, and you can do it too.
Yup. I will never drink again and I will never change my mind.


Not sure there is anything more bare bones than that. Worked for me.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by samseb5351 View Post

1) whats the science behind rational recovery?

2) when the AVRT is mentioned is that just a framework of identifying how we self justify or is it considered a separate entity to "self"?

3) Why call it a "beast" it looks like a word to describe something horrid and animal like, a word to create a target for self willed attacks, am I missing something here?
The science behind RR is just neuroscience. This as far as I know is fact so I don't know why anyone ever disputes it. Here is an article I haven't read yet but which looks interesting... Neuroscience of need - Understanding the addicted mind - 2012 SPRING - Stanford Medicine Magazine - Stanford University School of Medicine

AVRT is just a technique to help you identify what is the beast brain and what is you. The beast brain isn't a separate entity, it is still part of you, it just drives your basic needs, and it has mistakenly identified alcohol as one of them (because of the neurosciency stuff).

It is only called your beast brain as this is the part all animals have to drive their need for food water etc and also their ability to breath etc, all the stuff you don't have to make a decision to do. But the advantage of having a well developed frontal cortex is that once we identify that it is the beast/lizard/mid brain driving that desire it makes it easier to overcome.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:29 PM
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If RR doesn't fit you Sam and SMART does, go with SMART.
Start a SMART thread if you like

D
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:14 PM
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Thanks Dee thats a great idea.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:15 PM
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Somehow I doubt that a scientific grounding for RR's structural model of addiction wasn't what you were asking for, not really, anyway.

If I was wrong, just look up the term 'amygdala hijack', and if the similarity is not clear, compare the beast brain, or the lizard brain, to the amygdala.

Here is an excellent treatment of the subject of addiction and amygdala hijack, or the relation of addictive ambivalence to lower brain functions.http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsle...acks-the-brain
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:13 PM
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Dee, that was a pretty SMART answer.
Thanks again everyone for this most interesting read. Although I don't feel I really need to I am going to read some of the references posted in this thread. I did go through several hours of AVRT a couple weeks back - IT TOTALLY MAKES SENSE TO ME.

I got a chuckle to self when freshstart spoke of the amygdala. The IOP counselor 'drew' the brain on a whiteboard a couple months ago. I tried to explain how it worked - I was put on 'MUTE' - and was told to just listen. A series of boxes that collect alcohol use data. blah-blah-blah. I find it truly amazing how little most of these counselors actually know. That is why they preach AA is the only way. I am being told I am at very high risk for relapse because I explained some of my disdain for the methods of AA.
Anyway. Thanks again. Brian

BTW, I still go to AA meetings. I do find them helpful and find that I can also help others. But I do not believe at all in the 12 step process and much of the malarkey that goes on. Sometimes I get annoyed, otherwise I am mostly amused. But I will not deny it to anyone who benefits from it.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by hypochondriac View Post
The science behind RR is just neuroscience. This as far as I know is fact so I don't know why anyone ever disputes it. Here is an article I haven't read yet but which looks interesting... Neuroscience of need - Understanding the addicted mind - 2012 SPRING - Stanford Medicine Magazine - Stanford University School of Medicine
This is a great article -- everyone should read it!!
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:30 PM
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Yes that is a great article. And I agree learning about the science of addiction in particular neuroscience is important. My suggestion however is now go back and read the Rational recovery literature, look at the assertions made. Life is too short to debate this issue so I would invite people to do the leg work for themselves. By finding some Science within a pseudo science based philosophy does in no way make that belief true.
I would also recommend reading some books about the science of the brain. Articles are a good starting point however many Academics are now writng easily accessible books on the brain.
Not just about the structure of the brain but how thoughts, emotions and actions manifest within that structure. Here is a list of recommended reading.

The compass of pleasure by David Linden

The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner

The accidental mind also by David Linden

THEN BOOKS THAT LEAD INTO THE PSYCHOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR

The believing Brain by Michael Shermer

The Moral Animal by Steven Pinker

How the mind Works also by Steven Pinker

The Language Instict again by Steven Pinker (yes I am a steven Pinker fan)

Your Deceptive Mind series by Steven Nouvella

MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BOOK "mistakes were made but not by me" by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

And Finally a book I have just read and really enjoyed

Powerless No longer by Peter Sodeman.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:06 PM
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Sam, if you want anyone to read all of those books, be prepared to offer degrees! But I may be persuaded to read your favorite book if it isn't too expensive at Amazon. :-)

I liked the article because frankly I haven't before considered what happens physically to the brain with alcoholism. It's very intriguing, especially when you consider how many people talk about escalating symptoms with subsequent failures. This is a concern of mine because I keep messing up after short periods of sobriety.

Last edited by Holli; 04-15-2014 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Autocorrect is amusing...
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