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Am I too set in my way of thinking for AVRT to work for me?

Old 05-04-2017, 11:22 AM
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Am I too set in my way of thinking for AVRT to work for me?

Following a second relapse and a non stop desperation trying to get to the bottom of 'why' I took the advice I was initially given in my first post here and looked up AVRT. Been reading a lot of peoples posts and from what i've gathered it seems to be successful for those who do it properly and more importantly seems to help people over time quieten that 'beast' or AV until its not at all bothersome.

First let me say - how great for all of you. Well done!

I would love to adopt this method but im not sure if it would be of any use when some aspects of it goes against my ways of thinking and what I feel are my individual truths. Other aspects of it appeal to me and help me manage one particularly difficult side effect of relapse that i've been struggling with.

For example yesterday I posted here as i was becoming overwhelmed with frustration and confusion. I tend to always manage to somehow find even a tiny bit of logic to explain some of my behaviours away, after I first relapsed I reached the conclusion that it happened because i wasn't prepared for how strong the AV could be and how easily it could convince you and I told myself that it was a lesson which would help me realise next time that its all BS..

But after second relapse there was no explanation I could find and no logic to my actions. I went against all my common sense, logic, knowing 100% the only outcome is negative and yet somehow ssomething else overode all of that. It was driving me crazy trying to figure out why and attempting to find reason in it only results in such self directed negativity and anger.

I had heard the concept of the AV before but I didn't give it much thought however when it was brought up again in my post and I started reading up about it I realised that what I was attempting to do was impossible, that there is no logic to the AV and that most addicts experience the same thing. I have come to realise that attempting to explain it away otherwise is totally useless...

On the other hand regarding AVRT the concept I find difficult to wrap my head around is in the ability to treat it and think of it as something seperate from ourselves that we can dismiss. I would love to be able to do this... I feel certain that if you can manage to think of it in that sense then it would definitely help. Ive read alot of your stories which proves it does..

However much I would like to, I have a different opinion which is very set and which I very much feel to be true which makes me unable to seperate the AV and addiction from other parts of myself. I feel it is very much intertwined in all aspect of my personality and character traits, that it interlinks in all areas of me, my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my habits, and I wouldn't even know where to start to try and think of it as something separate from me. I feel it's a part of me, something i've created. I enabled it to develop, to grow, to intergrate itself into every part of my life. I see it as a product of the things which have shaped me and its also been a thing which has then go on to shape other parts of me which make me who I am today..

Is any of this making sense? I am set in that belief and that in order to manage and control it I must address the underlying issues to be able to manage it. I feel that without understanding the reasons behind why I even let this grow and consume me this way it will only bounce from one habit of mine to another.

But am I overthinking it? Could it work for me if lets say I take one destructive habit at the time and simply separate that? For instance I could start with cocaine and separate any thought/craving/justification from me as my AV and then work from there with each individual habits I do which stems from the same reasons and are driven by the same drivers as my other addictions?

Basically im wondering if it will work by separating each problem at the time in order to be clean and stop that destructive habit and in the meantime work on any underlying issues which causes me to seek these things out..

Would like to know your thoughts?

Have another question though on how this approach may work for addictions that you have to wean off from?

From what i've understood and read it works by telling yourself that from right now you declare yourself fully recovered with the idea in your head that you will NOT use it ever again. That it is not 'one step at a time' but abrupt and immediate. For cocaine use I much prefer this type of approach as believe that you shouldn't be thinking about taking it 'one day at a time' which somehow feels like you are doubting your ability to stay off it entirely. I like the firm and direct approach that under no circumstance should you be thinking in your mind that you will use again.

I am weaning off of Xanax however and its a slow process which I cannot from today just decide to never take again as stopping Xanax abruptly is never a good idea..

Based on all above can I still find a way to make this approach to recovery work for me or do I need to find another method?
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:20 PM
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I have reversed the order you posted the following two paragraphs.

Originally Posted by AlwysConflicted View Post
...
However much I would like to, I have a different opinion which is very set and which I very much feel to be true which makes me unable to seperate the AV and addiction from other parts of myself. I feel it is very much intertwined in all aspect of my personality and character traits, that it interlinks in all areas of me, my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my habits, and I wouldn't even know where to start to try and think of it as something separate from me. I feel it's a part of me, something i've created. I enabled it to develop, to grow, to intergrate itself into every part of my life. I see it as a product of the things which have shaped me and its also been a thing which has then go on to shape other parts of me which make me who I am today...
...

But after second relapse there was no explanation I could find and no logic to my actions. I went against all my common sense, logic, knowing 100% the only outcome is negative and yet somehow ssomething else overode all of that. It was driving me crazy trying to figure out why and attempting to find reason in it only results in such self directed negativity and anger.
Do you find it odd that the second paragraph seems so alien to what you are saying in the first paragraph?
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Old 05-04-2017, 12:37 PM
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Although I am an AA. The problem was my thinking almost killed me. It was when I opened my mind and did what I was told instead of what I thought I started down the road of recovery
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Old 05-04-2017, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AlwysConflicted View Post
I am set in that belief and that in order to manage and control it I must address the underlying issues to be able to manage it. I feel that without understanding the reasons behind why I even let this grow and consume me this way it will only bounce from one habit of mine to another.

But am I overthinking it?
I personally think so (you asked! ), but what you think is ultimately what will have to guide you. A lot of folks get caught up on the notion that they have to solve the whole problem all at once, drinking/using as well as why you drank/used, why you acted the way you acted, on and on, but that's actually not true - if you want to stop drinking and using, the only thing you absolutely must do is stop drinking and using, and in time (weeks, months) our thinking clears up and what seemed really important early-on or before we quit, doesn't always seem so important anymore.

I don't know your details, but when we relapse there's always something to learn to help us not relapse the next time, at least not the same way. Not necessarily deep answers, but maybe simpler things - what could I have done differently to prevent that outcome?
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Old 05-04-2017, 02:01 PM
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I believe that people may start for certain reasons but once they get addicted the why's don't matter anymore. They use because they use. Even if they find out why it doesn't matter because they would use despite it. I used to get high and drunk because I liked the way it made me feel, I came up with lots of excuses but the bottom line was that I was a hedonist. I like pleasure. I used coke for years and that first line!! Ohhh did that ever feel good. Didn't matter that I knew how bad the come down would be, how wired and spun out I would feel. I eventually quit and I used a version of AVRT although I didn't know it at the time. Every time I thought about scoring I would refuse to entertain the thoughts and distract myself with something else. Just slam the door the thoughts. NO.

AVRT teaches you spot you AV and to ignore those thoughts. You can't reason with those thoughts or make deals with your addiction, IT has to be starved.
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Old 05-05-2017, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AlwysConflicted View Post
I am set in that belief and that in order to manage and control it I must...
I find it is too much trouble trying to manage and control my AV. So much easier just to manage and control myself. If I choose NOT to pour alcohol in my mouth, what's my AV gonna do about that?
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Old 05-05-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AlwysConflicted
However much I would like to, I have a different opinion which is very set and which I very much feel to be true which makes me unable to seperate the AV and addiction from other parts of myself. I feel it is very much intertwined in all aspect of my personality and character traits, that it interlinks in all areas of me, my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings, my habits, and I wouldn't even know where to start to try and think of it as something separate from me.
Well, this line of thinking is def AV...as it puts you in a position to feel that you have no control over whether you use or not because it convinces you that it is "a part of your personality".

We all separate from thoughts and don't act on them all throughout the day without realizing it. Certain things (and for each of us they may be different) are simply not something we do, and while those thoughts may come, they are fleeting and they are dismissed automatically. I could cut in line at the grocery store, I could swipe someone's lunch from the breakroom, I could have an affair with a married person, I could cheat on my taxes, I could steal things I don't have the money for, I could post my ex's naked pics on line to get back at them...there are a million things I may entertain for a brief second that my morality guides me to avoid. I have put drinking/using in that category. While my mind may go there occasionally, it's just not something I do. I see AVRT as a tweaking of a natural process that we as humans already do, that is targeted specifically toward thoughts of drinking/using. Nothing more complicated than that for me.

The idea that we can separate from desire is not exclusive to AVRT, nor is it a new idea by any stretch. People have been doing this for thousands of years in one form or another.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by soberlicious View Post
We all separate from thoughts and don't act on them all throughout the day without realizing it.
I work for the gubmint. Yesterday we had to sit through some 'active shooter' training. What to do if someone were to come into the building with a weapon and start shooting the place up. How to hide, evade, and escape. Stuff like that.

As I was sitting there my mind started coming up with ways I could rack up the maximum body count if I were an active shooter in my building. Which exits I'd block, how I'd funnel people into a common area, etc. Horribly sick and morbid stuff.

Then the training was over and I went about my day. Never gave it another thought.

Brains are weird.
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Old 05-05-2017, 10:13 AM
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Nonsensical I stole your line about starving the AV!

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Old 05-05-2017, 11:21 AM
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I've been thinking about what possible illumination I could add to this Thread. Soberlicious pretty much spoke for me in Post #7 above.

My Mind healed me. I also knew when to 'set it aside'. I was burning through a 1.75 L 'Handle' of Vodka every ~2 Days. A 24/7 buzz from 3 Handles stashed behind the Guest Bed. Behind the Furnace. In a Plastic Carrier in my SUV. If someone says I was not 'A Real Alcoholic', I simply laugh at them.

When I drop something, I automatically try to deflect it with my Foot here, since we have polished, tinted Concrete Floors. Most times, I pull it off. In this, and in the situations cited above, my Response is automatic. No time, or inclination, to 'think'. And, I'm a Science-type, Rational Guy.

I think we can invoke this sort of Automatic Response to varied AV tricks that try to rope us back into indulging. In those Scenarios, I used this same sort of almost-Muscle Memory to simply do 'The Right Thing': isolate out the AV from 'The Real Me'. I would not have sobered up without my Mind, which started to work again some after ~1 Week of Sobriety. Not perfectly - obviously - but 'well enough' to slog on.

Thinking, and Autonomic Responses, can and do co-exist. If I think too much when I drop a Glass toward the Floor, it'll break; due to me not responding automatically.

If you can, work on developing this sort of default, automatic AV response, and think it through/analyze it later.
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Old 05-05-2017, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nonsensical
Brains are weird.
lol yes!! I have weird fleeting thoughts like you described in your post. I think honestly everyone does to differing degrees.

Once many years ago my ex was standing in front of my jeep after I dropped the kids off to him and I thought to myself "I could just gun it and mow him down in like 2 seconds" I wasn't even especially mad at him lol I would never do that. I'm not even a violent person.

The brain does do some very weird stuff, but we override it all the time. I mean if I have to urinate, I don't just do it in the middle of the aisle while shopping at Walmart. We all practice restraint daily in ways big and small and ways we often aren't even cognizant of, but for some reason when it comes to putting alcohol and drugs in our bodies society likes to tell us that this is beyond our control.

I would agree that if we have been giving in to desires/compulsions (drinking/using) for a very long time it may take a significant shift in thinking to break that cycle, but it is definitely within our capabilities. Without a doubt.

Feeling like something is impossible and something actually being impossible are two different things.
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Old 05-05-2017, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MesaMan
I would not have sobered up without my Mind, which started to work again some after a ~1 Week of Sobriety.
This!! I always feel uncomfortable when people say they can't "trust themselves" or things like "My best thinking got me addicted". A hijacked mind is not my best thinking.

Originally Posted by MesaMan
Thinking, and Autonomic Responses, can and do co-exist. If I think too much when I drop a Glass toward the Floor, it'll break; due to me not responding automatically.
I wholeheartedly agree. Sort of like a computer, I feel like I went into my settings, went to the drinking panel, and rest the default from drinking to not drinking. It's not something I have to reset or rethink every day.

I see a lot of musing on this board about underlying conditions and causes and "addictive personality" and it seems to me the AV has a field day with this stuff. "Let's go in circles, drinking all the while, until we figure it out!" I'm not saying that trauma doesn't exist, that bad experiences can't drive our behaviors, or that one cannot have several different drives gone awry. I'm saying that for billions of people with the same issues, it doesn't cause them to become addicted to substances. Jumbling that stuff together gives me a ready excuse for drinking that will never go away because I'll never have everything all figured out completely.

My stance is I don't drink period. Most of the other stuff will be figured out along the way, and the reality is that some stuff will never be figured out and that's ok. It remains separate from the commitment to never drink, so it cannot affect that commitment.
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