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What is the nature of AV?

Old 10-05-2017, 06:19 AM
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What is the nature of AV?

An interesting question for me is what is AV? Not what is the AV saying which is probably our usual relationship to it. We're usually trying to recognise it, or feeling lost in it or there's strong emotions about it but it's always about the content. But if we simply observe AV we can really look into it's nature itself. What is it as a phenomenon?

The reason I find this is interesting is that when I was drinking I wasn't aware of AV, I wasn't familiar with the term and had no idea about the concept of it. I was just being carried along by it, by it's trains of association and it's conditioning of my mind and actions, like always having to drink at social events, to relax and so on, all the usual. But now that I don't drink I can see it's nature more clearly. And when AV is happening and I'm observing it, looking into it's nature not the content, what do I find? That the AV in and of itself is little more than nothing. It's just like a little energy blip in my mind, as a phenomenon. Just wisps of thoughts, feelings and sensations about possibilities of drinking again.

I find it amazing that AV when unnoticed ran much of my life and when it is noticed I see that there's not much there at all. This has opened up a tremendous doorway of freedom for me because knowing it's empty nature, when the different content of AV presents itself it doesn't seem so powerful an opponent and not all that difficult to extricate myself from it - not to identify or get locked in and imprisoned with it. Life is simplified
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:25 AM
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Really good observations.

I think meditation changed the game for me. I didn't quit with AVRT/RR or any other formal program, but I recognize benefits and drawbacks of the different approaches, for me.

Meditation taught me the fleeting nature of my thoughts and the random places they go. Also it helped me be mindful of what I chose to actually spend time with, and how often in the past I would go down some negative rabbit hole of thinking, get myself all worked up - and then have to claw my way back out, sometimes days later.

Now I've learned to recognize, dismiss, move on. Very much an AVRT practice, I just don't name it. I often say to myself out loud, "Shh!" or, "Don't grab onto that!"
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Old 10-05-2017, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I often say to myself out loud, "Shh!"
I love the paradoxical nature of that statement!
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:01 AM
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A good Pal is a Viet Nam Vet also in his 60s, and is utterly chilled. About the most unflappable Gent you'd ever want to meet. His detached POV is that, say, someone cuts you off in Traffic. The essence is that an Event happened that can be described by a GPS location, and at a digitally-traceable point in Time. That is all. Many Folks will go on to say: 'Gee, I followed that jerk and cut them off in retribution'. And, so on. They will go on to describe how 'inevitable' or 'justified' their knee-jerk response was. Really?

He has none of that. An Event at a describable location and time happened. Any other response or emotion we ascribe to that Event is elective, and can be chosen or controlled with a bit of awareness, and mental training. While I'm no expert at this, I strive for this sort of bemused observation of, and Sober reaction to, Life Events.

This sort of rational decoupling is useful in detaching from purported Triggers, and our AV-driven reaction to them. Dealing with problematic Relatives [as I am right now]. Attending a Wedding Reception. Going to a Concert. Indeed, these lil AV 'blivets' are quite like wanting to cut someone off in Traffic as 'justified retribution'. We ascribe to Events that which we will. Such responses are elective, and ought rightfully to be pondered briefly and relegated to the insignificant status they deserve.

Further, my view is that Recovered Folks display Consciousness of this elevated manner when dealing with Triggers and Stressors; even if they don't yet act on them in this fully-detached manner. I find this awareness useful in evaluating if someone here on SR, or IRL, has the sort of effortless Sobriety I want. Or not. Then, I can apply the Mentor-ship of Recovered, Sober Persons accordingly. I can avoid wasting time emulating some Sober Charlatans who might make all the right motions, but who haven't attained Rational, Sobriety-reinforcing Consciousness. Even after Years in...
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:07 AM
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I also find it perplexing how I used to let those thoughts dominate me, they used to seem so powerful to me, and now they are meaningless. I still have them sometimes but I can simply let them be and carry on. I found it very helpful to understand about my Addictive Voice, it explained why I would drink even though I desperately wanted to quit. Why I found myself going against my own desire to be sober over and over and over again.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:11 AM
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MesaMan, there is a Jerry Seinfeld 2017 one hour standup special on Netflix right now you would enjoy. There is a bit in it that sounds very much like your post. It has to do with fingers. No spoilers.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:21 AM
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Thanks, Bim!

Back at MesaVille, I've finally got our ROKU TV 'Box' going well, and MesaMate is keen on a few Netflix Shows. So, I'll check out that Seinfeld Vid once back there.

For now, there's good 4G Cell Signal out here Nowhere Utah, NW of Moab. I'm lovin' Sober Life in this Solar-run Trailer while solo w/MesaDog next to an ancient Round-up Corral seen in the Pic below. Quite the Moonrise last Night in continuing fab Weather...
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:33 AM
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Well, shucks, can't get my Pic to 'stick'. O'Well. Back to our regularly scheduled AV discussion...
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Old 10-06-2017, 08:06 AM
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Very interesting observations, Aleric.

Learning and applying AVRT has given me a much better experience of mindfulness. I was a student of meditation on and off for many years, before my drinking became much of an issue. Despite hearing talks from many learned teachers and going on meditation retreats etc... there were things I just never really "got". AVRT has shown me I can release attachment to even very persuasive or seductive thoughts ... that there is truly nothing "there" of any substance.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:09 AM
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I think too that mindfulness complements AVRT and can help us in separating from our AV.

AVRT says to regard AV - any thinking or feeling that suggests or supports the possibility of future drinking- as being ego-alien, as coming from and belonging to IT, not 'I'. Mindfulness supports this because everything that we are aware of, that we hold in awareness, is 'not-I'.

E.g. if I'm going around on autopilot, a sudden urge to drink is going to catch me unawares and I'm quite likely to find myself drinking again without really knowing why. Both AVRT snd mimdfulness would say that the reason was that I experienced the simple urge to drink as me-wanting-to drink. But if I experience the urge in awareness I will see it for what it is, as just an urge, something that does not hold my identity, and this will create a space or separation between me and the urge.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:18 AM
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I've often said recovery (sobriety or other recovery) happens in that moment between the thought and the action.
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Old 10-06-2017, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I've often said recovery (sobriety or other recovery) happens in that moment between the thought and the action.
Absolutely, this is what AVRT or Mindfulness teaches. I've always been a fan of Mindfulness and I meditate prior to sleeping, it calms my mind down. For me, AVRT and Mindfulness are like a thought filtering system. With enough practice it can become automatic; maybe even sub-conscious.....but we wouldn't know!

This awareness, presence in the now requirement seems to be, from the neuroscience I've read (and Buddha cottoned onto this eons ago without science) the (principally) autonomous (due to conditioning, learning, reward feed back pathways etc.) operates slightly FASTER than the conscious awareness. As in the drink could be raised and swallowed almost before YOU realised, IF you were on auto-pilot or following a non-AVRT/Mindfulness path. But with AVRT that can never happen, because if it did, you'd have consciously decided to reverse your Big Plan.

Therefore learning AVRT or Mindfulness ensures that there's a sentry/bouncer on the door of the sub-conscious, filtering and rejecting automatic thought (AV) when it arises and tries to pass through the conscious door and instigate action - drinking. The conscious mind will immediately recognise, then dismiss the AV thoughts - before they gain momentum and enlist the army of feelings, emotions, images etc., which are contained in our previously conditioned, alcohol seeking brain memory banks.

The beauty of AVRT, in my experience, is that the Big Plan seemed to strengthen those thought sentrys/bouncers, to the point where they're akin to bulked up Mr. Universe.

Bimini, I laughed in recognition at your recollection of speaking to the AV. In the early days I'd tell it to **** off, I wasn't as ladylike as you.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
Therefore learning AVRT or Mindfulness ensures that there's a sentry/bouncer on the door of the sub-conscious, filtering and rejecting automatic thought (AV) when it arises and tries to pass through the conscious door and instigate action - drinking. The conscious mind will immediately recognise, then dismiss the AV thoughts - before they gain momentum and enlist the army of feelings, emotions, images etc., which are contained in our previously conditioned, alcohol seeking brain memory banks.
The sentry analgy is great. Perhaps a difference in how they operate is that while both recognise AV when it arises, the AVRT sentry acts like a bouncer refusing entry to an undesirsble guest whereas mindfulness acts more like a cop keepimg unwelcome passers-by moving along. Hope that's not stretching the metaphor too far!
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
.... the (principally) autonomous (due to conditioning, learning, reward feed back pathways etc.) operates slightly FASTER than the conscious awareness. As in the drink could be raised and swallowed almost before YOU realised, IF you were on auto-pilot or following a non-AVRT/Mindfulness path. But with AVRT that can never happen, because if it did, you'd have consciously decided to reverse your Big Plan.
Taking a drink is a conscious, volitional act, no different than copulation. It is an attempt to obtain the sensate signature (the feelings) produced by alcohol. Those feelings are interpreted sub-cortically by the Beast as necessary for survival, but all the structural model does is attempt to place things in context.

It takes a conscious person grasping this fact -- that no one pours drinks down one's throat -- to quit an addiction once and for all, or to perpetually wallow in the purgatory of indecision. AVRT identifies that unfortunate, ambivalent state as the state of addiction.

In other words, we don't do Freud with AVRT.

Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
Therefore learning AVRT or Mindfulness ensures that there's a sentry/bouncer on the door of the sub-conscious, filtering and rejecting automatic thought (AV) when it arises and tries to pass through the conscious door and instigate action - drinking.
The Beast screens our thinking for anything that might violate its cardinal rule of addiction -- never say never -- and then tries to intervene by 'barking' AV at us.

All we are doing with AVRT is emulating the Beast itself.

Originally Posted by Tatsy View Post
The beauty of AVRT, in my experience, is that the Big Plan seemed to strengthen those thought sentrys/bouncers, to the point where they're akin to bulked up Mr. Universe.
The Big Plan is a new cardinal rule that brings the Addictive Voice into consciousness, and allows for easy recognition. The 'nature' of the Addictive Voice is simply anything that contradicts the Big Plan, although the AV does have several auxiliary functions.

See:
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Old 10-09-2017, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I've often said recovery (sobriety or other recovery) happens in that moment between the thought and the action.
Good observation.

If we overlook the spaces around thoughts we can over-identify with their contents, with what they are saying. The equation “I = my thoughts about reality” creates a narrowed sense of self and when these thoughts are AV this becomes "I = my Beast".
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:13 AM
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The nature of AV has altered for me. Prior to learning AVRT and whilst still drinking, AV was horrendous. It's the reason I drank for so many years. Thoughts, emotions, urges, cravings, all welled up and subsumed me into a state of abject powerlessness. Every day I'd swear I wouldn't drink, but I caved in due to the overwhelming experience.

After stopping drinking, and once the physical dependance had abated (the equivalent of a fifth of vodka a day or more messes with brain/body chemistry) the massive depth of these urges and cravings, lessened. This was coupled by the negated physical dependance and the abating of the mind dependance, the latter due to realisation that "I" and not my programmed brain (Beast/AV) had full control. I a,ways had the power, I was just conditioned to believe I'd didn't.

Once the physical dependance was removed, the mental dependancy (the Beast via its AV) lessened in intensity. I no longer experience the physical cravings and the AV (thoughts of drinking) are, as you say Aleric, wispy; and they vaporise quickly once recognised.
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:06 PM
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I wonder if to some extent AV has a nature of individuality, i.e. what is perceived as AV by person A may not be AV to person B. And the same could be said for C and D for course

For example, A may expect his (he's male!) life to be better now that he's quit drinking. B may see that be as AV because it seems to contain a condition. If A's quitting depends on things being better for him what is his plan for future drinking if at some point they aren't? However to A there may be no condition in this. To him, his life will always be better. Even if he looses his job or contracts a serious illness, his life is still better because he's not having to deal with the added complication of drinking. He may end up on the street but still be happier because he has more self-respect.

As far as this forum goes I wonder if we don't sometimes put newbies off by making flat assertions about some else's AV when they may read it differently.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:06 AM
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It also has a poetic nature!

Or at least there's a poem called 'The Addictive Voice' on hellopoetry.

Some of it seems very AVRT-like and some of it less so.

This ends my detailed critique. Please read!

The Addictive Voice

The it upstairs
thinks it's God,
But it isn't.
Man or Woman,
It comes in a thousand genders.

It's only has one mind,
Its own pleasure,
The power of Now,
Well, that's what it's all about.
The cost,
Well, that's no problem.

It begs
It borrows
It steals
It pleads
It lies to you straight faced.

If you bleed,
When the consequences are paid,
It says, "Not me"
"We'll deal with it later"
"One more time"
"One more round"
"One more rodeo"
"One last time for the road."

It's pretty smug
most of the time,
Can't move your
arms or legs,
But whips up anxiety
if
you say, "No. "
It'll show you resistance is futile.

Though it only hangs
around
for little while,
It'll let you know.

It speaks to you
in the third person voice -
You deserve it
You need it
You've been so good.

It'll talk you into trances
strange self-destructive dances,
Twist you upside down,
Inside out.

It ain't God,
Somebody needs to talk to it soon,
Let it know,
These days of running the show
are numbered,
There's more to life than this slumber
Numbness has had its abundance,
Talk to it soon
While there's still time.

A whisper, though, says something different,
"How's about
one more
time. "
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:21 AM
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Wow, Aleric, that's such an apt description of my AV in AVRT terms. Did you write it and if not, who did? It's so incisive of the AV, it's simply a stunning poem in its portrayal of the brain's addiction, via desire and it's AV.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:30 AM
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Tatsy, I wish but don't have his, or your, talent! I can rhyme "love" with "dove" but go blank after that.

The poem's written by Sjr1000 on hello:poetry. He dedicates it "to those in Recovery. And those who say, "Not me, not yet."
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