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The divided self

Old 06-06-2017, 06:56 AM
  # 41 (permalink)  
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I think the dissociation still is crucial but since there is no getting away from the AV there has to be an acceptance of IT being a part of you, albeit a part that is starved and ignored. You know that it's there but IT's desires don't matter. It's a rogue unwanted drive. For me I knew AVRT was working once my AV starting addressing me as You or Us or We rather that I. That's where the division of self happens. If I'm hungry I think, I'll get something to eat. But my AV will say, We should go to the bar.

I really like that analogy about grief. So true and also a good comparison to AV.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:29 AM
  # 42 (permalink)  
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Another perspective, and I kind of viewed the AV like this from the start, is the image of the old cartoons with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other - the conscience arguing with itself, basically.

So, am I the devil or the angel? Well, neither and both. The important thing is to raise awareness of cravings and what to do about them. By personifying the AV - by making it an "other" with it's own personality - we analyze the false logic it produces and can come up with counter-arguments.

I've come to believe (and this is rooted in mindfulness practice), that the AV is that part of the self that always wants things to be different. It always wants to feel different or be somewhere else. That's why I spoke of acceptance of the present. When we accept how we feel and sit with it or surf it, the AV has nothing to say.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:38 AM
  # 43 (permalink)  
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I find the separation to be crucial. The IT as opposed to the I distinction is paramount , for me.

The IT is the desire for alcohol( intoxication) .


IT, once born, will always be a 'part' of 'me', as are all my desires. The separation, for me, is the awareness of the discrete desire for intoxication that drives the AV (any thoughts , feelings, urges, mental images ect, of future consumption.)

The mere presence of the discrete desire , aka IT, is not what 'caused' my addiction, acting on and indulging that desire did.

"Listening to" ,"agreeing with" the AV , acting on the thoughts of indulging the desire was me choosing to consume alcohol.

Recognizing that the discrete desire exists and the awareness and compartmentalizing ,if you will, of any thoughts or feelings that if acted on will result in a positive result in consuming alcohol and then not acting on them are the end result of my BP.

I made my BP , I includes the desire (IT) , I decided to never indulge IT( the desire) again, because I can, best decision I ever made

The structural model defines the origin of the desire , and , for me, AVRT gave me the perspective on how to implement a 'metaphoric' separation .

For me , since the first sip it has been Me and/with IT, since my BP IT still is , but I've decided IT is no longer operable( IT actually never was operable, the desire itself didn't make me drink, but indulging IT certainly made it harder not to .)
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:04 AM
  # 44 (permalink)  
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Many people reject AVRT based upon The Beast.

They are emotionally ill-equipped to accept the construct of the structural model of addiction.

They whine and moan about not wanting to accept the existence of a second self, an evil beast-like one deep inside them. That of course is a gross misinterpretation of the structural model, but that is a commonly heard objection.

Meanwhile, they are All Beast, destroying their lives with alcohol, indulging freely in lupine nocturnal wilding, while simultaneously objecting to the correct description of their behavior.

Application of AVRT, quitting as a decision as opposed to a process, is largely a function of emotional maturity. Unfortunately, the disease model promotes dependence and emotional immaturity - the very traits that chronic drinkers must overcome if they are to have any chance. It is the institutional AV run rampant.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:20 AM
  # 45 (permalink)  
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The separation/dissociation is central and crucial to AVRT.

Otherwise, if I re-integrate IT, I'll hear the AV say 'I want a drink' and I'll either believe that thought is me and take a drink, or perhaps I'll urge-surf, argue, rationalise with the thought, or attempt diversions, from the thought and associated feelings, such as phone, meetings, ice-cream etc., to prevent a 'relapse'.

Whereas, with the Big Plan and the separation of the desire to drink (Beast and ITs AV) when I hear the AV 'I, we, you want a drink'. My brain's AV filter, automatically recognises IT as not ME, because I don't drink!

That's the easy part, now and forever. The hard part was performed and over last year - when I learnt AVRT and made my Big Plan.

No separation - no RR/AVRT.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:47 AM
  # 46 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
That's really interesting, thanks.

It's seems most people here are saying that it's important to them that they feel that they are an integrated whole and that this involves accepting the AV as a part of themselves rather than ego-alien. And of course to still recognise it as the AV and so not struggle or debate with it but just to allow it to come and go. This reminds me of a saying by the Bushman of the Kalahari desert about grief which is that you should draw up a chair by the fireside for your grief and make your peace with it because it's going to be with you for a very long time.

I must say that this a new way of looking at AVRT to me. I have been thinking that the I/IT dissociation was crucial but perhaps not then.
just to be clear: this is not the way i look at AVRT; it is the way i look at "me".
from my limited AVRT knowledge, the separating into i and it is indeed crucial. i just don't see myself separated into different "parts" like that.

if you find it useful...use it.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:16 AM
  # 47 (permalink)  
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dwtbd mentioned "metaphoric" separation, which I think nails it. The structure is the key, but it is only a tool. Just like the devil and the angel, the BEAST doesn't really exist, but personifying the AV is an effective strategy. So, we're talking about imagination a separation - we're not possessed.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:01 PM
  # 48 (permalink)  
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I don't know if I agree that the separation is simply metaphoric. My booze Beast or the party animal in me was very real. I separate from identifying myself with those past behaviours and that mindset of being irresponsible, selfish, hedonistic, immature etc. The person who used to get loaded and damn the consequences because I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. I don't know if I'm explaining myself well..... I guess what I mean is that there was the person I was when I was a drunk and there's the person who I am now that I abstain and there is a stark separation there. The BP is a defining moment.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:30 PM
  # 49 (permalink)  
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A metaphor? Pure nonsense within AVRT.

You have two choices.

You can either accept the existence of the Beast as a perverted survival drive that really exists and hijacks the better judgement when not recognized and ignored via Big Plan.

Or you can reject the structural model of addiction and accept the disease model of addiction and its incumbent powerlessness, embrace of victimhood and desire to be coddled by the state, people at large and the medical/psychiatric apparatus that profits from enslaving people in victimhood.

No middle ground.

The Beast is no more a metaphor than the hunger you feel is a metaphor after missing lunch after working all day. It is no more a metaphor than the desire for a quart of water after working in the yard for two hours in the summer.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:49 PM
  # 50 (permalink)  
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I isolate and separate from the desire and any thoughts of indulging the desire, when explaining that process and naming the objects that are separated out and giving IT a persona , I do not imagine that there is literally a separate entity (ies) residing autonomously 'inside' me, it's all Me in 'there'
For me, AVRT is the technique I use to achieve and keep the separation . I've got a rogue 'survival' drive that can run rampant," It's" just too dumb to realize it is worse than un-needed, but I finally figured it out. And put it in a metaphorical cage, meaning I don't feed IT anymore, I don't indulge that desire and contrary to what my AV 'said' no adverse things happened as a result, in fact quite the contrary
The desire really didn't go 'anywhere', it's still 'there', I just don't really care anymore.
Which isn't really true either, I do care , deeply , I care that I know I am worth more than simply existing to satisfy some desire whose outcome is only destructive. I care a lot about permanent abstinence, just not a toss for drinking anymore.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:59 PM
  # 51 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Greenwood618 View Post
A metaphor? Pure nonsense within AVRT.

You have two choices.

You can either accept the existence of the Beast as a perverted survival drive that really exists and hijacks the better judgement when not recognized and ignored via Big Plan.

Or you can reject the structural model of addiction and accept the disease model of addiction and its incumbent powerlessness, embrace of victimhood and desire to be coddled by the state, people at large and the medical/psychiatric apparatus that profits from enslaving people in victimhood.

No middle ground.

The Beast is no more a metaphor than the hunger you feel is a metaphor after missing lunch after working all day. It is no more a metaphor than the desire for a quart of water after working in the yard for two hours in the summer.

SHA-BAM! Awesome post!
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:09 PM
  # 52 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by zerothehero View Post
... The structure is the key, but it is only a tool. Just like the devil and the angel, the BEAST doesn't really exist, but personifying the AV is an effective strategy. So, we're talking about imagination a separation - we're not possessed.
This is how I look at it, as a truly useful fiction to help us get through the most challenging part of recovery, the early parts. "Normal" people who have never been addicts don't think this way, and I view addiction and it's aftermath as a temporary phase. At some point that is different for different people, I believe we're chemically past that phase and we're no different from everyone else - I don't view it as a permanent affliction or disease. Except, we can't drink again, because almost invariably that will set us back down the same old path. Fortunately I have zero desire to ever drink again anyways, no more than I yearn to drop acid again after 30+ years.
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:39 PM
  # 53 (permalink)  
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I see the AV as something to ring fence, or compartmentalise as dwtbd said, in my awareness and achieve separation in this way.

And I see the Beast in my minds eye as a lizard-like creature, unnatural and dark because it was created by drink, not God or the forces of life that created us. I picture it in a deep dungeon with my Big Plan high above it like a window shining light on it and protecting me.

I'm finding this passionate but polite forum really helpful so thanks guys!
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Old 06-06-2017, 01:41 PM
  # 54 (permalink)  
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My recovery was complete when I:

1. rejected the disease model of addiction and shook off the mantle of alcoholism, recoveryism and victimism, then;

2. learnt the structural model and decided to separate from my misdirected, rogue, alcohol focused, survival drive, then;

3. made my Big Plan;

Recovered. After more than two decades of addiction. Shame I can't rewind the clock and know then, what I know now; would've saved me from immense, unecessary suffering.
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:33 PM
  # 55 (permalink)  
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The desire for alcohol isn't a metaphor, naming it is.
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Old 06-06-2017, 04:07 PM
  # 56 (permalink)  
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This has been interesting. I would add that I don't see this as an either/or thing. There are more than two choices (structural model or disease model). I've utilized mindfulness more than either of those, and previous posts I've written in this thread point to that.

I can't "accept the existence of the Beast" any more than I can accept that a Higher Power will save me from my insanity (especially since I am quite sane and don't need saving). I'm not fully versed in AVRT, but I did use the AV tool in early sobriety quite a bit, and I made a plan. I also read the Big Book of AA and went to enough meetings to decide I disagree with the Steps and the approach. I wanted community, but AA meetings just made me want to get drunk.

Talk of the beast, though, reminds me of Jung's idea of archetypes, especially the Shadow. It gets very thick in my mind, but I've often thought about archetypes as being the result of evolution; through centuries of epigenetics people have created in their brains common themes that are woven into our DNA, and these themes have revealed themselves in mythologies, and continue to do so in our dreams, and at times in what we perceive to be our demons. The Beast may just be one of those genetically-encoded demons, manifesting in various people in similar but individually unique ways. While meditating I often get this sense that my thoughts are not entirely my own, and creative artists, particularly writers, have long referred to the Muse as if the lyrics to a song or an idea were a gift from elsewhere.

So, in early sobriety I engaged with the Beast as if it were an independent, nefarious creature. That was helpful. Now, when the Beast emerges, I just kind of say howdy and wave him on. When I sit in silence and observe the thoughts that bubble up, I would have to day there are numerous other characters. Archetypes? Deep-rooted aspects of Self?

These are thoughts from experience as influenced by Western traditions. The other view I often entertain stems from my Buddhist training; one that questions the nature and existence of Self itself. But that's another discussion that we already touched on here and admittedly kind of derailed fruitful discussion of AVRT...

But, there are those who posit that what some call multiple personalities may stem from a psychotic belief that the voices in their minds, the characters, perhaps the archetypes, are manifestations of separate selves or individuals inhabiting the mind. So...don't get too literal and crazy about this Beast thing. Just sayin'...
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:58 PM
  # 57 (permalink)  
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what i've found really useful is the concept of having different 'levels', not 'parts' or anything to separate from.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:41 AM
  # 58 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by zerothehero View Post

I can't "accept the existence of the Beast" any more than I can accept that a Higher Power will save me from my insanity (especially since I am quite sane and don't need saving). I'm not fully versed in AVRT, but I did use the AV tool in early sobriety quite a bit, and I made a plan. I also read the Big Book of AA and went to enough meetings to decide I disagree with the Steps and the approach. I wanted community, but AA meetings just made me want to get drunk.

So just out of curiosity, do you not hear your AV in your consciousnesses? I don't think of my Beast as an actual beast, it's just a term for that base animal drive and low down behaviour that accompanies addiction. For me as soon as I read about AVRT I thought YES! The real me is the one who promised in the morning that I'm wasn't going to drink that day and my AV was the voice that had justified drinking by the afternoon. I 100% believe I have an AV that talks to me from the booze Beast rogue survival drive that was born from feeding that desire to escape and feel good from substances. It has nothing to do with mythology or metaphors. It is a real drive. I can feel IT and hear IT in my thoughts. More, more, feed me more, enough is never enough, never say never.

With you about meetings and wanting to get drunk. They are an AV paradise!
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:55 AM
  # 59 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by zenchaser View Post
So just out of curiosity, do you not hear your AV in your consciousnesses?
I really don't. Maybe kind of in early sobriety. I think maybe because I had meditated some, and then regularly immediately upon sobriety, I was familiar with listening to my thought streams long before being introduced to the concept of an AV. Once introduced, I personified it to make it seem distinct, but I never really got a visceral sense of any Beast. It just seemed like a tool to help recognize faulty thinking. This was likely influenced by my familiarity with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is what SMART Recovery is largely based on; recognizing irrational thoughts and replacing them with more functional thinking, and thus, improved behavioral choices. The Beast seems like a CBT tool to me as opposed to anything that has objective reality.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:08 AM
  # 60 (permalink)  
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Yes I agree that RR is a CBT tool. I think RR and SMART used to actually be one but they separated when Jack Trimpey decided against meetings of any kind but I might be wrong. It also has a lot in common with mindfulness so that makes sense that you would already have been recognizing that voice or more aptly those thoughts.
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