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Old 01-09-2018, 03:34 PM
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New AVRT'er

Heyo,

I've been doing this now successfully for 30 days. I ordered the Rational Recovery book and found it very helpful. While it didn't say much beyond what was said on the website, it was certainly worthwhile for me to have all the repetition to counteract all the Recovery Group Movement information I've always been flooded with.

My question for those of you who do choose AVRT and a Big Plan, as opposed to AA (again, I have nothing against AA or SMART or any other group, I just identified and connected with the AVRT philosophy, for some reason). My question is that there have been quite a few posts I've read today on SR (some recently posted, some not so recently posted) by people who have been upset about how life it still hard after a year or even two years for them, they're still not seeming to be able to have "fun" anymore, there is a just a general malaise in their lives. That saddens me. I want to believe, if I am able to apply AVRT and a Big Plan successfully, that with this mode of not recovery (I know AVRT doesn't use the word "recovery"...this mode of "moving on to the next stage in my life"??) - I can go forward and NOT have a negative feeling/struggle within me for so long. Just after reading all these sad posts about difficulties after a year and after 2 years, I'd love if ANYONE out here in AVRT had a story to counteract that. That you were good to go and enjoying life much sooner? It'd be good for me, as a newbie, to hear about.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:26 PM
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I'm a recent convert too, Soard, but this really feels so "right" to me.

There are no cravings, I feel as if I've already succeeded and I truly believe that I quite simply won't drink again and I'll never change my mind.


Why should that simple yet powerful statement be questioned?
Why should it be a lifelong struggle?
Why should I be made to feel that I have a disease?
Why do ZZs want me to feel that I'm morally reprehensible?

I am an ex-alcoholic and I'm perfectly happy to label myself as such.
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Old 01-09-2018, 04:47 PM
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When I made my big plan, I felt a joy and peace I hadn't felt in decades. It was as a great weight had been lifted, knowing that not only did I no longer 'need' to drink, I would never drink again. There, at that instant, was an end to the shame and guilt, to the depression and anxiety, to the sickness of mind and heart and soul.

I think *all* of us AVRT folks feel much the same way. The dark past has indeed passed, and we are free to say yes to any and every new opportunity and challenge that we are fortunate to receive. It is through these new experiences and challenges that we grow and find meaning once again. This is how we find joy and beauty and our own measure of happiness.

I know you will feel the same, SoHard. Congratulations to you on this most profound achievement. Onward!
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:48 PM
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SoHard, welcome!

I started experiencing many benefits soon after quitting. Within weeks and months I felt better physically, mentally and emotionally. A lot of it comes from choices ... choosing to focus on the benefits, to be open to new things, and to view changes as opportunities. A gratitude list specifically helps me cultivate that.

I think that much of the doom and gloom, struggle, and fear of missing out is just the old AV, trying to convince us that there's no way to be happy without booze. It's simply not true.

To be clear tho -- thoughts of drinking may arise occasionally. But once I understood that they have no real power and can just be observed and released, they no longer caused difficulty.

Wishing you joy and happiness SoHard -- it is yours for the taking!
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sohard View Post
I'd love if ANYONE out here in AVRT had a story to counteract that. That you were good to go and enjoying life much sooner? It'd be good for me, as a newbie, to hear about.
What if there are no super-fun, positive, neat-o stories out there to cheer you up? Plan on drinkin' again?
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:15 PM
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No booze is infinitely, daily better , just is

Using AVRT and making a BP means committing to permanent unconditional abstinence , making that commitment means you know/accept all the way down , that such a choice is possible to all and you decided you want that for yourself.
The Beast can be locked up permanently, but IT doesn’t disappear, part of what makes IT so , makes it a permanent fixture. A Big Plan means that isn’t a problem for YOU , just for IT. No booze ever again isn’t a problem for a purposeful non drinker , nor is a latent desire .
Of all the stories you read , how many would be improved by more booze?
Some people are constitutionally unable to allow themselves happiness, people can change , don’t allow yourself to be constitutionally incapable of appreciating joy and I’m sure you’ll find happiness , contentment and peace
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:25 PM
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Full disclosure, the above was posted by a self described misanthropic curmudgeon, some change is slow and halting
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:59 PM
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AVRT only teaches us how to quit and stay quit, the rest is up to us as to how we want to improve our lives. I have found that with the option of drinking having been permanently removed my life has naturally improved in every way that matters. Is it all sunshine and roses? No, of course not. We all have ups and downs, that's life. When I hear the stories of people who are still struggling after years of sobriety I often think it is because they are still being plagued by unrecognized AV, something that a lot of recovery group thinking perpetuates.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenwood618 View Post
What if there are no super-fun, positive, neat-o stories out there to cheer you up? Plan on drinkin' again?
Nope. Not at all. But everyone likes an uplifter, right??
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:09 AM
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Hi Sohard and welcome to AVRT!

For me, the crux of the alcohol ‘addiction’ problem, and how to solve it, is to recognise and thereby conquer the ‘ambivalence’ (part of me wants to drink, part doesn’t) and to fully subsume the part that doesn’t want to drink any more, and to fully realise that therein lies my power, over the part of me that did want to drink. Because after all, the pro-drinking part is just a bunch of habituated neuronal paths in my brain, whereas the anti-drinking part is ‘me’. Once that distinction was made, I was able to recognise the alcohol addicted neuronal links thoughts and cravings (Booze Beast and its AV) and separate from them. Then, sobriety was a given.

After sobriety, in my experience, there’s no cookie-cutter life. We were all unique prior to becoming addicted and our want and desires for our future, life post-addiction, will differ also.

But the mere fact that, I fully embraced AVRT and stood 100% behind my BP, drawing a line in the sand (pre BP a drinker - post BP a non- drinker, no matter what) without a shadow of doubt, made the difference between being sober one day at a time ( will I won’t I, white-knuckling, scared of attending social events, concerts, walking the wine aisle - I recently read that a person needed to phone a friend to go shopping after 3 years in recovery, because they were afraid of the wine aisle!) and my permanent, strong, ontent, comfortable, grateful sobriety.

Because I can’t long for and hanker after and romanticise a drink that I made the choice, not to ever want. If I do have that thought, it’s not me, but the dumb, deluded booze addicted part of my brain. I’ve read around today, and some people with years of sobriety seem to think they’re missing out by not drinking, they don’t recognise their AV.

After more than twenty years drinking, the last five were pretty much all day (life threw some spanner’s into my works and I used my familiar thought deadening coping mechanism, sadly - never thought it would afflict me, but it did) I made my BP in September 2016.

AVRT doesn’t promise you the land of milk and honey or serenity, but it does promise the addicted person the most important thing......which in my experience, is the fact that I will never drink again and therefore I don’t need to worry about any person, place or thing causing me to drink, because I’m immune to outside triggers, as I’ve become a permanent non-drinker: unconditionally.

Therein lies its strength and its vulnerability, because the person has to decide, choose, unequivocally, never to drink again. The easier softer way it certainly isn’t.

When I made that decision, I can’t find the words to express to you, Sohard, the utter relief, that the drinking madness was over. I knew it deep in my soul. It also gave me enormous self-belief, if I could defeat my addiction, I could attempt anything. It was the foundation for the next stage of my life, the possibilities were exciting, I was like a prisoner released from addiction prison, rejuvenated.

I’ve achieved more in the last 16 months than the 10 years prior. I still have some ‘meh’ days, but they’re just part of the rich fabric of a human life, in which not all colours are bright, some are dull and mundane.

I wholeheartedly love my new non-drinking life, it leaves me free to explore and experiment ways to raise myself towards the best version I can be, of my authentic self!
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:29 AM
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Just thank you Tatsy, thank you.
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Old 01-10-2018, 07:14 AM
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Thanks everyone. Great to read your thoughts.
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Old 01-10-2018, 09:02 AM
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Excellent post Tatsy!

As others have intimated, making the decision - THE DECISION - to never drink again was a relief and experience that can hardly be expressed. As silly as it may sound, it was a 'light bulb moment'. I don't have to do anything or listen to others telling me what I needed to do every day. I only needed to make a commitment to myself that I was never going to have another drink - no matter what. Game, set and match!

As for stories or 'pink cloud' moments, all I can say is that my life and outlook have changed (improved) dramatically since I quit drinking for good.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:52 PM
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Today represents my 4th Year Sober, and these Posts wondering about 'next Sober steps' are perfect for me to reference to frame some vaporous thoughts I had this Morning.

1. Trust your Mind. Ignore any/all 'advice' to not do just that. Our Minds generally clear up 'some' after a few Weeks, and we can start to formulate an Action Plan thereafter. In my case, I was lucky a few Months in to stumble across SR from my Search, and the Secular Minds here. Absolutely invaluable!

2. A whole lot of 'Conventional Wisdom' I ran across was of no use to me. So, I set it aside. As in, I'm bound to Relapse. Fear-based 'existence' doesn't cut it with me. That 'thinking' keeps a Person on edge and - IMO - results in the malaise seen in plenty of Posts. This is just one of many bits of 'Wisdom' one is flooded with. Once 'inevitable' Relapse is tossed onto the Scrap Heap - thanks to making and keeping The Big Plan - all kinds of Psychic Energy is freed up to enjoy Sobriety, IMO.

A Mod here has noted that things really solidified after about 3 Months in. I concur. It was not all Unicorns boofing Rainbows at that point, but I had re-grounded myself to my emerging Sober Reality about then, too. Yah, plenty of diligent work to completely re-tool myself had to be developed and executed, but that challenge took on manageable form thereafter. Why? Because more Drinking was irreversibly off the Table. Free at last... free at last.

3. Because I weigh in on the Introvert side of Life, I enjoy digging into one or two things, and really enjoying the moment as I do something. Read below about how we Introverts are Genetically wired. F2F groups generally don't help me. Such settings can stress me out, actually. Gradually digested Wisdom, as I've gotten from Secular Soberists here, does. Read. Reflect. Integrate. I learned to read here, and discern what sort of Sobriety I wanted to develop; based on the apparent maturity of Sober Members. And, what they did to get to where they are [or, to where they aren't].

I like blazing hot Food. So, imagine that I take someone to a Thai Restaurant and declare what 'too hot' Food really is? Well, my take on that - as though my POV is somehow universal - is somewhere between silly and arrogant if such Food is burning up the Palate of my Dining Partner. Treat your Recovery the same way: decide for you what's best for you. Fearlessly.

~ Why Introverts And Extroverts Are Different ~

I could likely come up with more, but there's already plenty of substantive Gem-quality insights in the Posts above!

After Sunrise here this Morning. I find that Inner Peace is created from within.
.
.


.
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Old 01-11-2018, 05:21 AM
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These accounts are really encouraging. This encouragement really helps, helps me anyway, because like a lot of the biggest choices we make in our life, making a BP is not a purely rationally made decision.

While we're still drinking, we can't possible know what it would be like to be someone who has permanently quit. Making a BP is a transformative experience and as far as drinking goes we may feel like we've become a new person. This is obviously great but the downside to its transformative nature is that we can't know what it would be like to make a BP until we've made it. Our future non-drinking self is fundamentally different as far as drinking goes, in our values and in what we enjoy for example, from who we are while we are still drinking. This difference is that our future self has undergone the experience of making a BP and until we have that experience we are simply unable to view drinking from out future, post-BP perspective.

But reading accounts like these may encourage us to take a step of faith/trust and make a BP even though rationally we may be feeling unsure as to whether or not it is the best plan for us.
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Old 01-11-2018, 06:01 AM
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That's an interesting take on it, Aleric. I know that I made my BP after "reading" the RR flash cards and I think I knew intuitively that I identified very strongly with its beautifully simple approach.
However, it's not the first method I have used. (Having failed on the others.) I wonder if any of us came directly to AVRT?
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Old 01-11-2018, 09:40 AM
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Congrats MesaMan on 4 years!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sha-bam!

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Old 01-11-2018, 11:08 AM
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Congratulations on Four Years MesaMan!

As you know, I view you as one of my Mentors, I wanted what you had and read your posts and followed your guidance, avidly. I cannot thank you enough for your words of wisdom, of which the above post is another example. Nor can I applaud you enough for achieving your milestone and continuing to shine your beam of hope forwards, for others to follow......fearlessly!
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Old 01-11-2018, 02:56 PM
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Wow. Congratulations on 4 years, MesaMan. That is a really amazing achievement. At just one month along, it is hard for me to look that far ahead but I'm thrilled and relieved to know it can happen. I am so, so grateful I stumbled upon AVRT, which clicked with me. However, my Big Plan seemed so much sturdier and more secure at first, for some reason. I'm not sure why it just seems shaky, now. I find myself questioning my alcoholism, which is crazy given my withdrawal when I tried to quit. So, I tell myself it's my AV and to ignore it. Then I find myself thinking, 'okay, I was an alcoholic, but maybe I can moderate it now,' which I know darn well is impossible. Once the addiction is developed, it's always there if you go back. Then I find myself thinking it's not fair I developed this addiction, because I should have been on anti-anxiety medication all along so I didn't have to self-medicate with alcohol. But, as we know, "fairness" has little to nothing to do with life. So, I am trying to tell myself over and over that these are all the voice of the AV, not me. It was worrying me to read all the thoughts of struggle, so I like hearing the more positive vibes coming out of the secular side of SR. The fact you have made 4 years is such a wonderful reality to hear about. Congratulations.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:27 PM
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My Beast struggles every single day and will continue to do so , I don’t care .

I don’t drink.
My AV is incredulous , It’s incredulousness is tedious and boring , I barely hear it, even if I hear /heard it won’t matter , I’ve decided to quit . I prefer being a nondrinker, billions of people do
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