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If we truly made a Big Plan, what are we doing here?

Old 05-12-2015, 07:26 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Me Giving Me A Break

This Thread, and the simultaneous, thoughtful one on 'Secularity', got me thinking about what constitutes a reasonable level to set 'The Bar' at re: AV background noise, and Memories.

'I've experienced too much to believe you can make decision and then just shut off your brain about it forever...' ~ JeffreyAK

For quite some time, I've read on other Threads here some interesting Accounts of AV thoughts, and what is deduced from them. What perplexes me is the POV that any AV activity is deemed as imminent failure. The proverbial Close Call that almost dragged the Writer back into Drinking because an AV thought existed at all... Such Incidents are also written about as though they're Thoughts requiring a double-down on whatever Program or Regimen is being used. I find that assumption worth reexamining.

Nothing succeeds like success. My own AV 'Bar' is set at a more modest, forgiving, and achievable level. Once implementing The Big Plan categorically and comprehensively removed Drinking as an option fo evah, the seductive Siren's Song of Drinking again was not viewed as some Close Call I need to flagellate myself over. No need to Electro-Shock that part of my Brain out of existence.-) For me, the trick was to instead set actually ingesting Alcohol as the sole indicator of setback.

By this Standard, I put Alcohol use alongside other Fantasies like wanting to punch out a Boss. Or, finding and keeping a Wallet with a bunch of Cash in it. By positioning Alcohol Thoughts at the same level as these other unacceptable Thoughts - which I don't consider the mere existence of as some Behavioral or Moral failure - it's easy to forgivingly Urge Surf past inevitable Alcohol Thoughts. This also helps relegate to irrelevance all the Alcohol Ads we are bombarded with in this Culture. Looky Ma! Another Ad! Yawn.

Further, I reexamined the role of past Thoughts. Because I drank for 42 years, I sparingly recall Drinking Episodes. How could I not do so? However, I also recall old times at SoCal Beaches. Old times in the Hills, and Orange Groves. I find it inevitable to recall those old times, including subsequent times involving Alcohol. I made the conscious decision to not attach to Alcohol Memories some unique, negative association that would cause me to recoil, and have to 'forgive myself' over. This is a Game Changer POV.

No More Fight = Inevitable Victory.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:06 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
For me, the trick was to instead set actually ingesting Alcohol as the sole indicator of setback.
Agree completely, but since you quoted me I hope you didn't misunderstand me. Thoughts come and go, "What would it be like...", "That looks good...", etc. I've found the frequency dropped drastically over the years, mostly over the first couple years, but it's not zero and I'm comfortable with the idea that it will never be zero. That's fine, they're just thoughts. Actions matter.

What I'm wondering is, how people with 20+ years of sobriety (Philip Hoffman comes to mind) come to justify drinking again. His brain was fully healed, no diagnostic could tell he was once an alcohol addict, alcohol wasn't part of his life and hadn't been in decades, yet for some reason he decided it was ok to take one drink at a party, and in his case that led to his death.

If I look back 20 years, what was important to me then mostly isn't anymore, and I was a different person in most respects. Decisions I made then, that seemed so important at the time, mostly seem pretty inconsequential now. Can I guarantee that in 20 years, without keeping a toehold in recovery world, I won't look at addiction differently, and particularly that I won't look at it as a consequence of a less-mature me who didn't have the wisdom and control to keep on top of it? Maybe that's what Hoffman thought, I have no idea.

So I won't make forever statements, my horizon is long but not infinite and I can't see that far in the future. Along the way, at least as far ahead as my crystal ball goes, I'll keep a toehold in meetings, forums, and other addiction recovery venues so I don't make a total break with the past and maintain a continuity. Maybe someday that won't seem important to me, but for the forseeable future at least it does.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:16 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Nope, no misunderstanding...

I'm very much a 'Shades Of Grey'-type Thinker Dude. Not '50 Shades', mind you.-) OK, well, maybe if I were younger.-)

Your well-written Sentence I quoted encapsulated the Sidebar Issue I wanted to delve into a bit more above. Further, your 1st paragraph perfectly represents my Thinking.

Agonizing Whiplash that we Re-habbed from a few Decades ago has forever changed our perspective. What I can lift; what consitutes a 'comfortable' Chair to use while Dining; etc.. In a like manner, and as you observe, past Drinking also defines who I am today. I expect to forever hang out on various Recovery Sites; even as pungent AV Thoughts subside over time..

For just a few minutes/day, I recall the 'Episodes'. Puking in the Shower. In the Dog Parking Lot. Hiding/manipulating several 1.75 L 'Handles' of Vodka simultaneously. Planning when Liquor Stores were open. Hiding Hand-shaking so pronounced, I couldn't even sign my name. A smidge of that every day is my solution to never forget.

To recycle a Phrase a Tech Pal and I have used for ~30 years: 'We're in violent agreement'.

Many thanks for the Thought provoker...
.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:26 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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You folks are thoughtful, well spoken, generous of spirit, and most important, have a sense of humor. Kinship is so important to any and all of our works on the planet. I am grateful to be here making music together with the blips on our radar screens.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:59 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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I had to interrupt my reading of this thread to post something I think may be relevant. Or it may not be. Yeah, I just quit drinking before I ever heard of what a "Big Plan" was. I quit drinking before I discovered this website.

But why, since my "Big Plan" was to never drink again no matter what, do I still frequent this site? Because making a plan and carrying out the plan are two different things in my belief.

On September 12, 1962, a "Big Plan" was made. I equate the "Big Plan" to a decision. One thing I noticed when watching this condensed clip of Kennedy's speech was the people in the background wiping the sweat and exhibiting discomfort while sitting in the Texas heat that day. The man giving the speech, the man whom it would seem to be most affected by the heat, was as cool as a cucumber. He was declaring his "Big Plan" and was confident it would be carried out. But just because he said it, didn't mean it was a given. It took a lot of hard work and dedication for this plan to come to fruition.
That is why I still show up on this site almost every day since I made my "Big Plan". Saying it and living it (proving it) are two different things in my mind. When I said it, I meant it. And I was not concerned about failure. I was as cool as a cucumber when I declared it. But if I were to just assume that by saying something and doing nothing else... The old cliche', actions speak louder than words.
And what others have mentioned too

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Old 05-12-2015, 09:14 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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I love threads like this which engage the thinking process. It is the thoughts put into action that produces results. Capital thread, my friends!
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:07 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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It can be really hard to change thought patterns and it takes some time and practice. This is a great video
You think you can ride this bike, but you really can't - Thrill On
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:17 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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JeffreyAK, Mesaman and Lbrain,

Your conversation on this subject has been some of the best I have seen in a long while, very real, full of integrity and very well written. I enjoyed it immensely.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:29 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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very cool silentrun. Even crossing your arms while attempting to ride a bike will bring about the same results. As Johnny would say, "That's wild stuff."
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:06 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
... I made my "Big Plan". Saying it and living it (proving it) are two different things in my mind. When I said it, I meant it. And I was not concerned about failure. I was as cool as a cucumber when I declared it. But if I were to just assume that by saying something and doing nothing else... The old cliche', actions speak louder than words.
I like your incomplete sentence which I highlighted above. But I like it for a different reason. It sums up in about as short a sentence as I've ever seen, the exact potency of what The Big Plan truly means for me. "...DOING nothing else..." Immediately following making my Big Plan, the chill factor involved those exact three words. This was going to work and my life was going to change because even though I was going to have thoughts and feelings, I was going to be DOING nothing else regarding alcohol/drugs, then much later caffeine/chocolate, then more recently manmade sweets.

When I made those Big Plans, I was at a particular peak of emotional intensity and chill factor. Then - it was done - like when Neo lies prostrate and plugged into the mainframe at the end of the last Matrix movie and the mainframe bellows out "It is done." I chose to remove any future choice about drinking. I feel there is nothing to prove to myself and I know it is impossible to prove it to others.

The "rationality" of the "Big Plan" is that it goes up against an irrational bodily appetite, The Beast, "Feed me as if life depended upon it" with what turns out to be an irrational plan. Yes, the Big Plan is irrational. No matter what the future may bring, I will never drink again - clearly irrational. Fight fire with fire. Using irrationality against irrationality makes sense to me. That's rational in overview, my rational recovery.

I like the name "Big Plan" because it emphasizes what I believe is its ONLY big feature. The Big Plan lasts until the end of time. That's a big, big, big, continuous string of days. That sole big feature is its true value.

All other features of the Big Plan are actually quite small, as I understand it. And these small features also have great value for me.

1 - It takes a very tiny amount of time to make the Big Plan. Making the Big Plan is an event, not a process.
While there is a lot of trial and error before making it, making it can take as few as five seconds. "I will never drink again". There will be Beast activity following those five seconds, and it will come and go and fade over time, but having made the Big Plan, that Beast activity is rendered impotent - no crossroads - no choices.

2 - It ends what was a very tiny range of behavior, swallowing alcohol.

3 - It takes a very small amount of intelligence to understand...
a. what it means.
b. that I can make it only once.
c. that I can't lie to myself about having made it.

4 - It takes an extremely small amount of energy to make a Big Plan; the calories one burns while at rest for five seconds.

5 - It takes the very smallest cost to make a Big Plan, zero cents.

6 - There is a very, very tiny chance that I will ever unknowingly swallow alcohol especially in an amount that would mean anything since it has such a noticeable taste, and it would have to happen one inch from my nose, and three inches from my eyes, and involve bringing something to my mouth with my hand and opening my mouth and consciously swallowing something.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:23 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by silentrun View Post
It can be really hard to change thought patterns and it takes some time and practice. This is a great video
You think you can ride this bike, but you really can't - Thrill On
That is a really great video. I've compared Recognition of the Addictive Voice as somewhat related to Learning to Drive on the Other Side of the Road. What used to be right is now wrong. But that's just dealing with thoughts. The Big Plan is what changed the action to inaction, and AVRT just made THAT a lot easier.

The video reminded me of something I always wanted to do at a party someday when an inebriated person might pester me to take a drink. (It hasn't happened in the decades since I quit). It was going to go like this.
Other - "Here, I even had the host fix it for you. You said Chevas heavy on the rocks was what you used to drink."
Me - Wellll? I've said over and over I don't want it, though.
Other - Come on. Here. I know you'll like it.
Me - Ok, but I'm sure it's not going to work. Help me a bit here. Let me put my arm on your shoulder just in case.
Other - What? Oh, Ok.
Me - Here goes.
And I bring the tinkling glass up to my mouth and then at the last second I move it over a little and pour a bit down my cheek and the rest over onto the other's clothing.
Me - Ohhhh, sh*t!! See, I told you it wasn't going to work.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:27 PM
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I agree with you GT. However, in the early days of my life sans alcohol, there were times I needed to take action in order to fulfill my 'big plan'. Whether that meant removing myself from a situation/temptation or whatever, there was still some sort of effort required at times.
Just as having alcohol three inches from my eyes or being able to taste it, there must be some action to prevent/undo that situation. If I start to drink something and realize there is alcohol in it I have a choice to stop and put it down or to continue to drink it. Stopping and putting it down is taking action. We can analyze and break this down to the molecular level if we want. The bottom line is that abstaining from alcohol does require action on our part no matter how insignificant it may seem. I'm sure there are those who do not have the need for action as they are never faced with a situation where a choice must be made.
In the grand scheme of things however, I do agree with you that doing nothing is enough.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:42 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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I just like being around other abstinent folks. since so many ppl moderate it's nice talking to others about how it's best (necessary)to abstain. I love hearing people's stories and gaining insights and referring people to resources that may help them. Alcohol has been off my radar for years but I still like this forum . Maybe I just have too much time on my hands 😜
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:55 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LBrain View Post
I agree with you GT. However, in the early days of my life sans alcohol, there were times I needed to take action in order to fulfill my 'big plan'. Whether that meant removing myself from a situation/temptation or whatever, there was still some sort of effort required at times.
Just as having alcohol three inches from my eyes or being able to taste it, there must be some action to prevent/undo that situation. If I start to drink something and realize there is alcohol in it I have a choice to stop and put it down or to continue to drink it. Stopping and putting it down is taking action. We can analyze and break this down to the molecular level if we want. The bottom line is that abstaining from alcohol does require action on our part no matter how insignificant it may seem. I'm sure there are those who do not have the need for action as they are never faced with a situation where a choice must be made.
In the grand scheme of things however, I do agree with you that doing nothing is enough.
Choice about drinking or not rarely needs action. And the sort of life-involvement-action you refer to "setting down a drink" by extending the arm and unclasping the fingers is pretty small compared to the type of life-involvement-action of programs in the Recovery Group Movement.

That reminds me of something I said in answer to a question I gave my science teacher in high school. He was showing how two hanging strings with a weight at the ends a distance apart are parallel, and how that could be useful. And, I asked him, "Well, wouldn't they both meet at the center of the earth meaning they are not parallel? I thought that was a slick question, but he didn't. He was angry and said "Mr. soandso, I want you to write a 100 word paper on Pettifoggery and turn it in to me next class." Wow! I was so shocked, embarassed and furious, that I still remember it today. I did it, but now I wish I hadn't. I was too much of a grade grubber back then.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:17 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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I like to think I'm awesome but awesome is as awesome does. After reading the awesome posts here I'm coming back for more!
This place and people are great, I feel among friends who are able to make interesting and informed observations and insight which is valuable to help me learn!
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:33 PM
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You could even have done a little simple math and told him exactly what the angle between the two hanging strings was. I don't call that pettifoggery, I call it trigonometry.

I am reading Gabor Mate, who comes close to the neuroscience behind mindfulness and addiction, how the cortex has a few hundred milliseconds to assert itself over the limbic system. I would like to hear his take on AVRT.
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:58 PM
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silentrun, thanks for that cool video. reminds me much of first learning to back up a trailer. all backwards. plays havoc with the brain.
but this would be much much tougher with the bike.
yes, much relevance there.
i hope you'll post it in the more general alcoholism forum, too, since so many folk seem to never visit this corner here who'd probably find it informative. plus entertaining.
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Old 05-13-2015, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by fini View Post
silentrun, thanks for that cool video. reminds me much of first learning to back up a trailer. all backwards. plays havoc with the brain.
but this would be much much tougher with the bike.
yes, much relevance there.
i hope you'll post it in the more general alcoholism forum, too, since so many folk seem to never visit this corner here who'd probably find it informative. plus entertaining.
I saw the correlation too. I am not much of a thread starter so if you want to that would be great.
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Old 05-13-2015, 06:39 AM
  # 39 (permalink)  
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I log in daily as a reminder of where I was and what I can go back to if I don't keep taking action to stay sober. SR is the softer, gentler way........
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Old 05-13-2015, 08:22 AM
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If I ever come up with the idea or feeling that I have to take any kind of physical action to prevent alcohol from going into my mouth, I immediately recognize that as part of the original problem. This is an inevitable AVRT conclusion.

Going back to the OP:
Originally Posted by WhatBeast View Post
If we truly made a Big Plan, what are we doing here?
Shouldn't alcohol be entirely off our radar?
I think the only AVRT compatible answer to the first question is we are in line with the Mission: stated on the RR website's "World Services" page:
The mission of Rational Recovery World Services is to make independent recovery from substance addiction through planned, permanent abstinence a viable option for addicted people, worldwide.
Other than that, reasoning to be here is the Addictive Voice.

My answer to the second question is: Since it's impossible to obey the command "Do NOT think about alcohol right now!" the real question is, what happens after it blips on the screen. Do AVRT - BINGO! and that 5 seconds is over.
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