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Addiction as ambivalence

Old 01-17-2018, 01:58 AM
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Addiction as ambivalence

The AVRT definition of addiction is that it is being in a state ambivalence about whether to drink/use again.

This makes it well-defined and takes away any mystery from it. The model emphasises that it's not the desire for drink/drugs, the Beast, that is the cause of addiction but the bark of the Beast, the AV.

AV causes our addiction then by putting us in a state of ambivalence. We both want to quit and don't want to quit. We want to quit for good because it is destroying our lives and everything we care about, but we also don't want to quit for ever because the very thought feels like death itself.

But if our addiction is our ambivalence, then ending our addiction means exactly the same thing ending our ambivalence. Once our ambivalence is ended, so is our addiction.

Reading through the posts on SR it's clear that AV never goes away even for someone who has stopped drinking for many years. How can you ever end your ambivalence then if you will continue to have have thoughts that will lead you to drinking again (AV) but at the same time you want to stop?

AVRT answered this question for me. I will never be able to stop an AV thought such as "I want to drink" from arising. The meaning of this thought is clearly "I want to drink" and as long as it carries this meaning for me then I will remain ambivalent and thus addicted, provided of course that I still want to stop. But although I can't stop the thought arising, I can change it's meaning. I can't deny that the conflicting thoughts "I don't want to drink" and "I want to drink" are both in my mind. But I can change the AV thought by changing the meaning of "I" in that thought. AVRT suggest using the word "IT". So I now have transformed the two thoughts to: "I don't want to drink" and "IT wants to drink". There is no ambivalence now and my addiction is over.

I'm sure this is just stating the obvious. It helps me to write things out though. I read a story once about someone who couldn't think things through without verbalising it and if no-one was about he'd ring people up and, if they were out, he'd leave a lengthy monologue on their voice mail. Perhaps that guy is me
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:48 AM
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I don't drink, IT will always want to drink, which is why I will never change My mind. Yeah ?
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
... So I now have transformed the two thoughts to: "I don't want to drink" and "IT wants to drink". There is no ambivalence now and my addiction is over.
...
Actually, it's not over. The "I don't want to drink" MUST be taken up two more notches to make the ambivalence anything more than just a pronoun trick.

First notch - "I" understand how competent I have been all my life at deciding literally thousands of things to "never" do.

Second notch - make "I will never drink again" another one on that long list, albeit there is some internal resistance, thus AVRT.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Actually, it's not over.
My addiction's over if I say it is, no? Only I know if I'm ambivalent about drinking or not.

I agree that what I've described is a semantics game, albeit a deadly serious one, with one player and the rule that you change "I" to "IT" in any AV thinking. This pronoun switching technique is described in the New Cure book but I don't have it to hand and forget what it names it.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:34 AM
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Surely, there is only ambivalence if one gives equal import to both the 'I want to drink' and the 'I don't want to drink' thoughts. Where one is beast thought and one is 'my' thought.

I do not think that AV makes one drink, rather it's how one reacts to AV.

If one clearly differentiates between the two thoughts, ie one is beast and one is mine, doesn't that remove any ambivalence?
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:56 AM
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I agree. Any method that allows you to clearly differentiate and separate from your AV will, by definition, remove your ambivalence.
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Old 01-17-2018, 11:22 AM
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Using AVRT one recognizes any thought of future drinks or inability to remain abstinent as AV , separates /assigns that thought as coming from the desire for more alcohol and ignores it.
Recognition and separation being the appropriate actions.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
... I now have transformed the two thoughts to: "I don't want to drink" and "IT wants to drink". There is no ambivalence now and my addiction is over.
...
Ok, let's try another tack. What if you changed the word "drink" in your above paragraph to "make a Big Plan". How would you adjust the pronouns then?
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Ok, let's try another tack. What if you changed the word "drink" in your above paragraph to "make a Big Plan". How would you adjust the pronouns then?
You mean how would you transform the thought "I don't want to make a Big Plan"?

Literally "IT don't want to make a Big Plan." of course. But to make it coherent "IT doesn't want me to make a Big Plan, but I do ".

Not sure why you are talking about trying different tacks.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:45 AM
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Just confirming ending addiction requires a Big Plan.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:50 AM
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Without a decision to never drink again there will be no AV suggesting the opposite, therefore no ambivalence and therefore no addiction, would you agree?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
Without a decision to never drink again there will be no AV suggesting the opposite, therefore no ambivalence and therefore no addiction, would you agree?
I wish I could agree. Wouldn't that be a wonderful world. I do agree that some people (probably a lot more than we know) decide to never drink again upon their very first twinge of ambivalence, but our society is so overrun by the Addictive Voice with huge industries coddling IT, that when the ambivalence finally surfaces in an alcohol/drug dependent user, it often takes a painfully longer period of time to finally get to making a Big Plan. And many don't make it there at all.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
when the ambivalence finally surfaces in an alcohol/drug dependent user, it often takes a painfully longer period of time to finally get to making a Big Plan.
It's not clear what this ambivalence is about in your example. It can't be ambivalence about quitting for good because you say they haven't made the decision to do that yet.

I don't think this is very constructive tbh.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:18 AM
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This is what we're really talking about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELpfYCZa87g

By changing your thinking and behaviors you create new neural pathways and the old weaken. So, by reinforcing the "I don't want to and won't drink" pathways, abstaining from alcohol (or other addictive substance or behavior), and negating the AV, Beast, or "I want to drink" pathways, the desire to use will subside with time, maybe never completely, but possibly. It's not instantaneous. It's not simply a matter of deciding and the addiction is gone. It's a matter of deciding over and over and over again and behaving accordingly over and over and over again until the old habit more or less dies out.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by AlericB View Post
It's not clear what this ambivalence is about in your example. It can't be ambivalence about quitting for good because you say they haven't made the decision to do that yet.

I don't think this is very constructive tbh.
I think you got it right in the first sentence of your OP.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:29 AM
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Deciding over and over and over again , is the exact opposite of a Big Plan. In AVRT wanting to, the Beast isn't even a factor in the decision.
Eg , Could you make a Big Plan and then never again experience Beast activity ? Even if you do experience Beast activity , can/will that change a Big Plan ?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:41 AM
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I view the Big Plan as a huge STOP 🛑 when I hear/feel AV. My ambivalence ended with the BP, because I separated from the ‘Beast’ therefore I had no mixed feelings regarding drink - the Beast wanted to and I didn’t.

Alcohol Addicted Habituated Neural Pathway (the Beast) via ITs AV “I want a drink” (because ITs Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Bored, Stressed, Excited, Happy etc). I feel those feelings, but they’re instantly highlighted against the rock solid backdrop of my BP, therefore I don’t act on the AV.

It’s a massive added bonus that through neuro plasticity, I now realise that every time I don’t act on that old neural pathway (habitual addictive drinking) I thereby cause it to wither, and at the same time, strengthen my new default pathway.....I do not drink.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:41 AM
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dwtbd,

I agree with what you say but you obviously think I have been saying something different. Deciding over and over again is clearly remaining in a state of ambivalence. Deciding to never drink again (the BP) clearly ends the ambivalence, which is what I have, or thought I have, been saying.

My answer to your questions is 'No' to both.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:50 AM
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I think you ran into a problem using the word "want."

What is the argument against the standard Big Plan language, Aleric? I think that's what is being argued here.

"I will never drink again and I'll never change my mind, " is a closed loop. "I don't want to drink, but my Beast wants to drink," seems to be still ambivalent. "Want," implies that there could be in the future some time when you want to drink. What will be your answer then?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I think you ran into a problem using the word "want."

What is the argument against the standard Big Plan language, Aleric? I think that's what is being argued here.

"I will never drink again and I'll never change my mind, " is a closed loop. "I don't want to drink, but my Beast wants to drink," seems to be still ambivalent. "Want," implies that there could be in the future some time when you want to drink. What will be your answer then?
I don't see how "I don't want to drink, but my Beast wants to drink," is ambivalent at all. The only thing it says about the "I" is that it doesn't want to drink. What's ambivalent about that?

I would also say that is standard AVRT language - it's the I/IT split.
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