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Rational Recovery and PAWS

Old 01-22-2017, 11:45 AM
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Rational Recovery and PAWS

Iíve dipped my toes into AVRT for years, but Iíve just recently committed to really embracing the technique and learning more about Rational Recovery. Iím only 65 pages into the book but Iím already really glad that I ordered it.

I know I have a lot more to learn but Iím curious about something because I havenít seen it addressed in what I have read so far about RR.

RR encourages you to not keep track of time. This is something I havenít been able to embrace. I donít have any intention of ever drinking again. That said I am a little obsessed with how my body and brain is reacting to sobriety. After so many years of drinking I suspect I have a long road ahead of me with PAWS. Does RR recognize PAWS? Is there anything in the program that encourages recovered alcohol abusers to be aware of times our AV will be especially active because of changes that are happening in our bodies?

Iím wondering if RR believes PAWS is real or that the concept of PAWS is another part of the recovery movement that gives people an excuse to relapse. Thank you for taking the time to read this, I look forward to any responses.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:31 PM
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I don't know what the 'official' position is or would be, but curious to see if anyone has an answer.

My thoughts would be that any neurological/physiological/mental illness diagnosis and or pathologies would be directed to the requisite medical professionals. Questions as to whether or not alcohol consumption and or abuse caused the conditions could be addressed , but it would seem regardless of the causes the consequences would need the help and expertise of the professionals in those fields.

As to remaining abstinent using AVRT , the technique(s) work in the presence of the AV. no matter how prevalent. It has been my experience that the AV gets markedly 'quieter' with time, compared to when I first made my BP.

It is still there , but a mere pathetic little shadow of Its former incarnation
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:45 PM
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Oh and post edit ..
Congratulations turning the toe dipping into a full fledged plunge! Come on in, the water's grand and we will get a towel emblazened with a bold BAVBASA logo (Beware AV Badass Swimmer Aboard )
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Old 01-22-2017, 01:26 PM
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Thank you dwtbd. I have made my BP and my anxiety about drinking is all but gone. It is a beautiful thing. I'm 21 days in and my body is still adjusting. I am generally a happy, glass is half full person so when I start to experience depression/anger/annoyance etc. it bothers me. I get annoyed with myself. I say to myself, "my life is wonderful, why am I feeling this way?" It helps me to arm myself with knowledge about what could be happening as my body repairs itself from the abuse I put it through. But I know now that the Beast inside me is sneaky and I don't want to think in a way that will give it any leverage.
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Old 01-22-2017, 03:19 PM
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Hi Alaska girl -- welcome aboard!

I don't know what the official position is, but I can share my experience. AV activity has been somewhat unpredictable for me, although generally quieter as time goes by. There have been times when I expected AV activity (because of stress or events/proximity to booze, etc) -- and I heard not a peep. Other times I have been surprised by AV coming right out of the blue. It really doesn't matter -- the only thing I have to do is learn how to recognize it, so I can stare down the beast.

"I suspect I have a long road ahead of me because of PAWS" -- that sounds like the AV to me, because it suggests you're going to struggle and possibly fail. So my suggestion is to try to take things as they come ... your body and mind will go through healing and adjusting, and some of that will feel good and some of it might feel uncomfortable. But whatever you feel has no bearing on your decision not to drink.

There's really no need to fear what you might feel in abstinence ... whatever transitory feelings or symptoms you might have, the only way out is through. You can get medical or psychological help, if needed. Many people do not have difficult symptoms after quitting -- you might be in that group. I felt like a million bucks after I quit.

Cheers to you -- set your confidence arbitrarily at 100%. It really does work...took me awhile to believe that, but now I do.
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Old 01-22-2017, 04:40 PM
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tursiops999, thank you very much. I read and re-read your response several times.

"It really doesn't matter -- the only thing I have to do is learn how to recognize it, so I can stare down the beast"

You are so right. It doesn't matter what symptoms I experience, I will not drink. If I get to a place where my mental state is unhealthy, I will seek help from a professional. Thank you for pointing out the AV in my post. I'm still learning to recognize it in all it's forms.
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Old 01-22-2017, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AlaskaGirl View Post
I know I have a lot more to learn...
I'm glad you took up my suggestion to purchase the book and post any questions here, AlaskaGirl. You'll get up to speed quickly by doing this, especially if you also read through the AVRT discussion thread.

Bear in mind that one of the chief drawbacks of AVRT is that it appears "too simple, too good to be true", and that your Beast will be reading along with you, however, looking for loopholes.

Originally Posted by AlaskaGirl View Post
RR encourages you to not keep track of time. This is something I haven’t been able to embrace. I don’t have any intention of ever drinking again.
The underlined part in your post, above, is actually your Addictive Voice. It is similar to "I have no desire to drink" or "I have no plan to drink", both of which are also AV. It implies uncertainty about abstinence, and therefore, suggests more drinking. What if you did have the intention, or desire, to drink?

Regarding time counting, RR has always suggested to simply let the Beast count time. The Beast has always kept track of the length of deprivation while in addiction, often down to the hour, and it will continue to do so after addiction. AVRT simply recognizes this as Beast activity.

Originally Posted by AlaskaGirl View Post
That said I am a little obsessed with how my body and brain is reacting to sobriety. After so many years of drinking I suspect I have a long road ahead of me with PAWS. Does RR recognize PAWS? Is there anything in the program that encourages recovered alcohol abusers to be aware of times our AV will be especially active because of changes that are happening in our bodies?
Tursiops already covered the AV above, and the fact that PAWS would not have any bearing as far as AVRT is concerned. Triggers and PAWS, along with some other common recovery ideas, will be covered later in the book.

See "Chapter 13 - Lapses, Relapses, and Other Nonsense" in RR: TNC. PAWS is discussed on pages 193-194.

There isn't much discussion of brain chemistry in AVRT, but tracking Beast activity is discussion on page 151 in the book, and is one of the ACTION exercises. I would try not to skip over these.

I wouldn't be too concerned, though. If anything, your body can only improve by abstaining, no? Your body will be healing itself, and not getting worse by drinking, as you have already noted.

AVRT is powerfully simple, but the Beast will draw on ideas such as PAWS to undermine your confidence to abstain. All self-doubt about abstinence suggests the opposite, and is therefore the AV itself.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:11 PM
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Algorithm, thank you again for reaching out to me!!! I have been working my way through some of the threads you posted to another member (I'm currently on Tasty's) and reading the book you suggested. So much good! I won't skip a single page.

I'm starting to see the subtle differences in the turns of phrase that separate me from my AV. As you pointed out "I don’t have any intention of ever drinking again." leaves the door open. I will never drink again! Tricky that AV

You guys are awesome to give your time to those of us who are new to this. I can't thank you enough.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:17 PM
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I have happy tears in my eyes. My sense of peace and joy is incredible. I'm overflowing with it.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:35 PM
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Enjoy those good feelings, AG. And keep posting your thoughts and questions... I believe that although we do each have the power to do this on our own, we can save ourselves a lot of unnecessary trial and error by sharing what we've learned. And it does feel good to have companions along the way.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:40 PM
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Glad you are here AlaskaGirl
xo
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by AlaskaGirl View Post
I'm starting to see the subtle differences in the turns of phrase that separate me from my AV. As you pointed out "I don’t have any intention of ever drinking again." leaves the door open. I will never drink again! Tricky that AV
If it helps, another way to define the Addictive Voice is simply as any thinking or feeling that contradicts your Big Plan in any way. The Big Plan acts like a background or context against which the AV can easily stand out for recognition.

This is also why, without a Big Plan, there is no AVRT.

AVRT is essentially a logic engine that mirrors addiction itself, but in which the cardinal rule of addiction -- never say never to the possible future use of alcohol and other drugs -- is upended and reversed.

Addiction:
  1. I drink or use.
  2. IF ("any contradiction of 1")
    Example: I really shouldn't drink, it could cause big problems.
  3. GO TO 1

AVRT:
  1. I never drink or use.
  2. IF ("any contradiction of 1")
    Example: You can have just one drink, if you're careful.
  3. GO TO 1
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:49 AM
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Hi AlaskaGirl, I'm so glad you're learning AVRT! It saved me from a downward spiral which had been building up its negative vortex for decades. I'm just so thrilled to read your thread here.

Once my Big Plan was made and I'd read, reread and digested the detailed information in Secular Connections, to ensure that I was thoroughly conversant with the technique - it felt like I'd lifted off a backpack loaded with heavy rocks. It was such a relief, a very emotional feeling.

It's also truly liberating. No more internal debates, arguing, resisting, white-knuckling, counting minutes, hours, days:, and all the related internal angst: all removed. No more worrying about HALT, because I can be hungry, angry, lonely, tired, bored, sad and on and on. These are very natural feelings, however, if the question of alcohol arises on the back of those feelings as a way to 'fix' them, I instantly recognise the thought, feeling or image, as pure AV and instantly dismiss it as just the poor Beast wanting ITs fix.

No more fear, no more worrying, because I'm free from ITs tyranny and I'm a non-drinker.

Any questions, whatsoever, then please ask and I feel sure folks here can assist.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:29 AM
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I'm sorry AlaskaGirl, I forgot to respond to your PAWS question. I know my Beast likes PAWS, IT used to read with me when I researched the syndrome and frighten me into thinking it would be safer to continue drinking!

From my own experience, once I'd kicked the Beast off my back, I reviewed the PAWS information and just accepted that everyone is different physiologically and will respond, bounce back to normality at different rates, according to their physiology and probably the quantity drank. But as a daily drinker for years, of the equivalent of three bottles of wine/750 bottle vodka a day, I sometimes feel rather tired. But I view that as a positive sign, that my body's healing after the abuse I subjected it to.

Any Post Alcohol Withdrawal doesn't seem like a Syndrome to me, just nature taking its course and the body's functions reverting to normal homeostasis. Which is obviously aided by adequate nutrition, sleep and excercise etc. Nothing to be feared in my view, but welcomed as a sign of much needed returning health.
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Old 01-23-2017, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
Hi AlaskaGirl, I'm so glad you're learning AVRT! It saved me from a downward spiral which had been building up its negative vortex for decades. I'm just so thrilled to read your thread here.

Once my Big Plan was made and I'd read, reread and digested the detailed information in Secular Connections, to ensure that I was thoroughly conversant with the technique - it felt like I'd lifted off a backpack loaded with heavy rocks. It was such a relief, a very emotional feeling.

It's also truly liberating. No more internal debates, arguing, resisting, white-knuckling, counting minutes, hours, days:, and all the related internal angst: all removed. No more worrying about HALT, because I can be hungry, angry, lonely, tired, bored, sad and on and on. These are very natural feelings, however, if the question of alcohol arises on the back of those feelings as a way to 'fix' them, I instantly recognise the thought, feeling or image, as pure AV and instantly dismiss it as just the poor Beast wanting ITs fix.

No more fear, no more worrying, because I'm free from ITs tyranny and I'm a non-drinker.

Any questions, whatsoever, then please ask and I feel sure folks here can assist.
Hi Tatsy! I have to apologize, I was reading your user name as "Tasty" all this time, LOL. I've been reading your thread, it's been so eye opening. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. I love it when you quote your AV. The one about the dog digging up a dead body was especially creative! And when I read about your adventure in the cave I wanted to cheer!!!

I too am excited about all the things I'm going to experience with this monkey off my back. As you can imagine, living in Alaska I have incredible outdoor experiences in my back yard. I love to hike & kayak but I haven't done much of those kinds of activities the past 8 years. I was too drunk, too hungover and too out of shape. No more! I'm already working out with a trainer & focusing on healthy eating.

Thanks again for being here and know that you are an ispiration!
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:46 PM
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Oh thank you for your kind words, AlaskaGirl, I do appreciate them, it was heartwarming. ❤️

Yes, my AV is very creative, I can vividly recall my dog digging and the AV with its running commentary, becoming more and more hysterical. When I look back, ITs attempts to make me drink by using thoughts, feelings and images (that used to feel like my own before AVRT) can be outlandish or cruel. It often imagines crises, to include my illness or the illness and death of loved ones.......how horrid is that, visualising a death in the future just to get ITs fix.

I've been thinking more about your PAWS question and realised I have experienced a foggy, forgetful mind at times. But I don't worry and if something is important, I diarise it. I feel sure it's just my brain, healing.

I do hope you're doing well.
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Old 01-24-2017, 02:29 PM
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Tatsy, I am doing well, thank you!

It's interesting you mentioned your AV showing you crises, I posted about that very thing happening this morning.

IT showed me a scenario where my husband died, and asked what I would do. IT wanted me to say I would drink myself into oblivion. IT got quiet when I told it I WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN.

I'm going to calm down about PAWS. As you mentioned, my fixation with it could be my Beast looking for a loophole to justify the possibility of drinking again. I will get better and better without drinking. There are no PAWS symptoms that could cause me to drink again. The end.
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:28 PM
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PAWS is the belief that newly-abstinent people suffer a brain syndrome for up to two years after their last drink, and that they require supervision by qualified professionals at the hourly rate of $100 or more during that time. They've turned healing into a disorder requiring treatment.

Of course, Dr. Beast will try to use the "diagnosis" to offer up its very own treatment -- more drinks!
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:12 PM
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Concern over PAWS leads to fear and uncertainty about future sobriety and its success. This, according to our well worn definition, is simply AV. It lives in the same realm as HALT and triggers. These are not a heck of a lot more than uncertainty in one's ability to get and remain sober unconditionally. I feel this is a key point, one that AG correctly identified (nice shootin' there!).

AV: 'But what about if and when XXX happens? Surely we can drink again THEN, right? What about this PAWS thing? I hear it is going to be really hard for us.' Nope! Never. It doesn't matter if PAWS is or will become a perceived personal experience or not. It doesn't matter if it is even real or not. Agreed, some days are better than others, just like 'regular sober folks'. But it does not matter. The resolve has become unconditional.

The response, simple and effective, is our Big Plan: I will never drink again, and I am never changing my mind.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:18 AM
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I think I'm going through some PAWS lately. I have really low energy and I feel down a lot of the time. My memory hasn't been right, I've forgotten about 2 appts that I had just booked days before but they totally slipped my mind. I go out shopping and then stand in the store trying to remember what I was going to get. I don't feel like being around anyone, even my kids and my BF. I just want them all to leave me alone. I fake it and don't tell them to leave me alone but internally I know that I wish they would. Small trivial things seem overwhelming. I force myself to get up and exercise and go outside because I know doing those things will help and they do but the low mood quickly comes back.

I don't know.... I'm not myself. I am on midnights at work so I'm sure that's not helping. Thing is is that I've been working early morning shifts for years so it's not that much earlier. I think it must be PAWS which is good because it means that it will pass. Lack of sleep, grey sh*tty weather and the first year of sobriety with my body and emotions still adjusting to not being able to use some substance to lift my mood anytime it's gets low.....

My Beast is, of course, being opportunistic, no surprise there. Doesn't matter. The thought of returning to drinking is abhorrent to me and out of the question. I just have to ride it out and if I don't feel better in another month or so I'll go see a professional. I've always been anti medication which is weird because I used to use any kind of street drug I could get my hands on, but for some reason I have never trusted doctors. I think I've always had a sadness that I carried around with me, but then who doesn't? Who doesn't have some hole to fill inside? To me, that's just being alive. Sometimes we're up and sometimes we're down.
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