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-   -   I am not my Beast. (https://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/secular-connections/416104-i-am-not-my-beast.html)

BillieJean1 09-17-2017 06:12 AM

I am not my Beast.
 
I was talking with a friend of mine and she said that she is an addict so whatever she does, she does it in an addictive way, whether it be food or tv or substances, and it struck me as what a powerful statement that is. To identify as an addict. I no longer do that, I don't say "I'm an alcoholic." I say, "I drank alcoholically." I think that's really important. This friend of mine has never drank in an alcoholic way and smokes a bit of pot occasionally, no other drugs. Yet because of past drug use she still calls herself an addict. It makes me wonder if that's why she thinks she uses food or tv in an unhealthy way, if by telling herself that she is an addict she then acts in an addictive way. In my own story, having gotten sober using AVRT, I am no longer my Beast, I no longer listen to my AV, which would love for me to be an addict for life. I think this way of thinking is a real hindrance to recovery, to label oneself as an addict. Once and addict, always and addict. It leaves the door forever open to more use because it suggests that it never really ended. I tried to explain to her how that thought and belief is her Addictive Voice, hopefully I was able to help her start to challenge those thoughts. The belief that I am not my Beast and that I have returned to my original unaddicted state is the most powerful part of AVRT and where the true freedom lies. I am not my addiction. It's such a different philosophy from the main stream recovery movement.

fini 09-17-2017 08:45 AM

Once and addict, always and addict. It leaves the door forever open to more use because it suggests that it never really ended.

for me, it works the opposite way: once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic is exactly the lock on the door, so to speak.

soberlicious 09-17-2017 08:55 AM

I agree, Zen. I used to use the old "addictive personality" as a catch-all for all my poor choices and impulsive behavior. Now I just call them "poor choices and impulsive behavior" and address them as necessary.

nez 09-17-2017 09:22 AM

I am not my thoughts.

BillieJean1 09-17-2017 10:07 AM

It just seems like such a huge AV trap to me, if once you are an addict you are an addict forevermore, then you can never be fully recovered because you can never not be an addict. So in that line of thinking, you are in perpetual recovery. At any time it could start back up again because you were always addicted, even when you weren't using. It's a very circular weird logic.

It bothers me that my oldest bestest friend believes that about herself. And she's not alone, that's a common belief system among former drinkers and drug users. I know that when I was actively partying it was totally part of my identity. That was who I was, I was a party girl. But now that I've decided to quit I choose to shed that identity like an old skin. I don't intend to go through the rest of my life as a sober person telling people, including myself, that I am an addict/ alcoholic.

I'll be honest though, during this conversation I did question myself. I'm guilty of binge watching tv and stuffing my face with food sometimes. I wondered, do I do that because I'm an addict too? Is that part of my sickness? Then I thought no. That's just me being lazy lol. Just poor choices like soberlicious said.

AlericB 09-17-2017 11:23 AM

I agree, not that you're lazy but about choices :)

Labels can sometimes be useful e.g. if we can label, or name, a thought as "AV" then we stand a better chance of letting go of the thought rather than spinning a commentary about the thought which is what we usually do when we are in addiction. But is it ever a good idea to apply labels to ourselves seeing that they are never who we really are? They are a bit like clothes in that sense and the extent to which we believe a label like "I am an addict" we are believing something that isn't true and that will prevent us from moving on.

Algorithm 09-17-2017 11:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fini (Post 6607723)
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenchaser (Post 6607601)
Once and addict, always and addict. It leaves the door forever open to more use because it suggests that it never really ended.

for me, it works the opposite way: once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic is exactly the lock on the door, so to speak.

Zenchaser is correct as far as AVRT is concerned, though, and I've posted about this very thing before. Her choice of subject line is most appropriate. Through the lens of AVRT, to say "I am an addict" quite literally means, "I am my Beast", and this is the precise opposite of what we aim for -- separation.

The Addictive Voice is concealing the Beast's existence, by taking control of the pronoun 'I', and then fusing its identity with that of its host. Remember, AVRT is not an "I can't drink" model, requiring 'acceptance' of a new self-identity as someone who presumably can't drink.

AVRT identifies "I can't drink" as the Addictive Voice itself, implying that one might certainly drink, if only one could get away with it.

I can't drink = I would drink if I could.

biminiblue 09-17-2017 11:43 AM

This is one of the big problems with traditional recovery systems, IMO.

When I quit, I quit. I meant it, it was solidly in my head and nothing was going to make me change that. Nothing. So when I went to meetings and had to call myself an alcoholic it rubbed me the wrong way. But you can't go to meetings and not say that, so there's that. That basically took meetings off the table for me.

However, I can look back at my past and see addictive behavior that I don't want to repeat so I have to be mindful to not start because my own past behavior shows that I cannot control with 100% accuracy what will happen if/when I pick up a drink. I know that I have addictive behavior around certain things, and alcohol is one of those things. So are certain snack foods. I know if I buy them, I'll eat the whole dang package within hours. But I don't tell myself I'm a snack food addict, because I know I can buy them or not and even if I eat the whole pack, I'm none the worse for wear.

"Addict/alcoholic" is a socially and culturally loaded term. In my mind I know sooner or later the wheels will come off with alcohol in my system. I don't have to use the words to know that.

dwtbd 09-18-2017 07:05 AM

I was.

Tatsy 09-18-2017 08:49 AM

Me too. I fell on my knees at the altar of my Beast for far, far too long, aided and abetted by the recovery group movement, the concept of powerlessness and one day at a time.

No longer. Now, I am not my Beast. It's no longer in control. I am in control and I no longer drink, no matter what. Freedom from addiction. Why did nobody teach this?

Calicofish 09-18-2017 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatsy (Post 6608581)
Me too. I fell on my knees at the altar of my Beast for far, far too long, aided and abetted by the recovery group movement, the concept of powerlessness and one day at a time.

No longer. Now, I am not my Beast. It's no longer in control. I am in control and I no longer drink, no matter what. Freedom from addiction. Why did nobody teach this?

Well there's no money to be made if people can recover on their own. Plus, I really think calling addiction a disease just fuels the helplessness people feel.

I was a addicted to nicotine, but quit smoking without any aids. I don't call myself a nicotine addict in recovery. I'm a non smoker. I don't identify as an alcoholic - never have. I'm a non drinker.

I also want to add that I too have to be careful what foods I bring into the house because I do binge eat and I also binge watch TV. Now, although binge eating food is not a great thing to do for various reasons, at least it doesn't make me do stupid things. But, I know if I buy a bag of cookies, I will eat them all at one time - same for a jar of peanut butter. So, with that in mind, I don't keep those kind of items in my house. I find refraining from eating decadent foods way harder than not drinking. I have booze in my house (for guests) - it's been sitting here since the day I quit drinking and I never think about it. It doesn't call to me - but put a cheesecake in my house and that thing will yell at me until I eat it.

CF

CF

JeffreyAK 09-18-2017 10:17 AM

I view it as a medical condition, addiction = chemical dependency. Stop the chemical intake and you end the dependency (though it takes time, lots of documentation on the brain function changes that occur under chemical dependency, that take months or maybe years to fully reverse), so the notion that once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, makes no sense to me. If someone wants to carry that cross, that's his or her choice, but it is a choice.

Predisposition to becoming an addict in other areas, I dunno. I've heard people say similar things, "I have an addictive personality", but I don't know what that really means to them. I do know for sure that if I were to drink again, I'd quickly become an addict again, so there's something there even in the brains of people who stopped being addicts many years ago. Perhaps that's what people really mean when they say "I'm an alcoholic", that they would become addicts again if they drank. I don't know, I don't like labels, myself.

BillieJean1 09-18-2017 10:48 AM

My food and tv binging were way worse back when I was drinking. I wasted too much of my life laid up on the couch recovering from hangovers. I am fairly certain though that I have a sugar AV since quitting. My thought patterns aren't that different when I indulge in my daily chocolate bar. I tell myself, it's not that bad, everyone deserves at least one vice, it's just chocolate and it tastes so good! It's definitely lighting up those same reward centers in my brain, the difference is that there is no stigma of having an incurable disease that requires some kind of treatment. Admittedly, sugar isn't having the kind of destructive impact on my life that drinking did, the only down side is that I'm not losing the kind of weight I would be with all the exercising I've been doing, and I feel guilty about it, I'm never happy with myself after I've eaten it lol. I'm going to have to address my sugar Beast one day soon.

AlericB 09-19-2017 02:24 AM

Maybe it's the same mechanism. We haven't evolved a way to cope with the intense pleasure of artificial foods such as ice cream and so it can spawn a misdirected survival drive in the same way that drink/drugs can. Or perhaps the sugar Beast is just our old friend wearing a different hat - a sugar rush may not be it's first choice of buzz but it's something at least.

Perhaps a purist would say that there's also a 'fit Beast' because of the buzz from exercise - the runners high for example. The body probably isn't meant to be athletically fit. But just as there's 'good' selfishness, such as assertiveness and a proper level of self-regard and self-care, as well as 'bad' selfishness, perhaps there's also a good buzz as well as a bad.

dwtbd 09-19-2017 07:03 AM

AlericB
You bring up interesting points. I'd suggest that 'evolution' has ' provided ' us a mechanism in what we call the neocortex. Although with all things scientific no matter how advanced our understanding at any current moment , 'we' are sort of just scratching the surface , yeah ?

Thanks to the many functions of the neocortex we have philosophy , a guide to action that can assist us even in the midst of bewilderment, eh? :)

We can vary the scope of any 'philosophy' , set principles and aim to adhere to them .
As long as I keep the caveat that all my philosophies need to have their principles amenable to new facts, I will have a better chance of success :)

For me , my alcohol philo is "Don't" :) with the proviso that my AV will always make it more complicated, I have yet to find a new fact that would alter following the principle of my philo "Don't" still covers IT :)

AlericB 09-19-2017 07:51 AM

Agreed. "Don't" is the simplest recovery model that answers all questions posed by addiction.

And if it sometimes seems too simple to be true it may help to remember that simplicity equates to elegance and beauty in science and so we also have an elegant and beautiful model as well :)

BillieJean1 09-19-2017 08:30 AM

I like how our addiction is called the Beast, we are just animals, smart monkeys, and all animals are driven by their instincts, our brains are wired to do things that feel good. But since we are really smart monkeys we can story tell and predict outcomes and learn from our mistakes and teach and evolve from our experiences, we are more than just beasts. We've created these intricate stories and called them religions to help us reign in our carnal desires, same thing with laws and justice. As a species we tame the beasts within us to not let our desires rule us. But at the same time we've got everything we could want at our fingertips, food, booze, drugs, sex, money, power, material possessions and those things make our brains feel GOOD. The world has changed so quickly that our brains have not adapted, my dad had an outhouse and a black and white tv as a kid. One generation and later and look at the world, it's crazy. What I've really been learning lately is self discipline, I think most of us were taught through punishment, break the law, get punished, sin, go to hell, get drunk, suffer an hangover, eat the chocolate, be fat. Self discipline isn't about fear of punishment, it's about doing the right thing for the greater reward, whatever that might be.

Tatsy 09-19-2017 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlericB (Post 6609147)
Maybe it's the same mechanism. We haven't evolved a way to cope with the intense pleasure of artificial foods such as ice cream and so it can spawn a misdirected survival drive in the same way that drink/drugs can.

It certainly appears so. I too have compulsively and excessively overeaten calorie laden, foods, to my detriment. Once I start, I can't stop, one chocolate down the hatch, and the whole box follows!

Although this book is aimed at men (apparently because the author thought woman were more amenable to 'love the inner child' and wouldn't appreciate 'demonising' the urge/compulsion to overeat/binge) I found it useful in curbing my eating excesses. It's a free ebook on kindle and free on his website, together with other material, if you provide an email address, by Glen Livingston entitled "Never Binge Again".

It is AVRT, with reworking, because of course, we wouldn't want to never eat, but he does recommend RR/AVRT for stopping drinking. He uses the "Pig" for the desire to overeat/eat the wrong foods and "Pigsqueal" as the Pig's AV. He states the Pig is powerless, you are its master and to disempower it you set a food plan, with food categories of 'always, never, sometimes and conditional'. For the first six months of sobriety, I put on weight. Since applying Glen's suggestions, I've lost almost 3 stone, and believe me, I'm not on a 'diet' I'm just aware of my 'Pig' and ignore its squeals, when it seeks foods which contravene my eating rules.

Edited to add: cross posted with Zen - fantastic, insightful post!

dwtbd 09-19-2017 08:53 AM

I count myself as one of Aristotle's rational animals, with a capacity for morality just not the guarantee :) ( workin on it , workin on it )

BillieJean1 09-19-2017 01:09 PM

Congrats on losing all the weight Tatsy! It's easy to gain and hard to lose, the exact opposite of money which is hard to earn and easy to spend lol. I've considered making a Big Plan for chocolate but I hesitate because I'd still like to be able to have some sometimes, just not every day. That's great for you though, you must feel way better. I've lost about 15 lbs and I feel better and fitter. I gave up meat and I have made a Big Plan about that, not because I was addicted but because I've made a choice not to be a part of how cruel and wrong it is for the animals and how destructive it is to the environment. I think it's bad karma and it made me think of all that fear and suffering the animals go though and we are eating that and then we wonder why there's so much mental illness and depression and disease.


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