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AVRT and Relapse Struggle

Old 03-10-2019, 02:35 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
Galatians 5:13
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Tursiops999 - that bit of GT’s post stood out to me too.

I, too have little negative consequence of drinking beyond personal issues - weight gain, ruddy complexion, less energy to do the things that I really want to do, etc.

When GT quoted Daredevil about “permanently getting rid of all the positive reasons for drinking” - that definitely struck a chord.

I would love more information on how to do that! GT’s sig redefines the AVRT acronym and since seeing it I have been realizing I need to better articulate any positive reason I have for drinking. That has been difficult beyond the childish, “I just want to.”

I am more intelligent than that 4 year old level answer. I am working on my response to the positive reasons for drinking. That way I can address them and work to eliminate them. I hope.

Struggling. Still drinking.


——————
I am not good at being vulnerable. I forgot how good it feels to share candidly and hear/read genuine feedback. It’s priceless actually.

While actively addicted I am able to camouflage myself in lies so easily IRL. I like to be the helper, not the helped. But when I need help, I often don’t know how to ask for it.

Thank you, SR community. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:19 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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yes, the articulating of any “positive reason” has been very helpful to me. not so much for stopping me from drinking, but for disentangling my kneejerk gottadrink!response from what my real needs in the moment of that urge are.
cause there is no need to drink.
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:43 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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One of the mosr useful exercises in outpatient rehab was to make four lists:

Pros of drinking
Cons of drinking
Pros of not drinking
Cons of not drinking

Compare the lists. It's very revealing.
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:40 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MindfulMan View Post
One of the mosr useful exercises in outpatient rehab was to make four lists:

Pros of drinking
Cons of drinking
Pros of not drinking
Cons of not drinking

Compare the lists. It's very revealing.
We did this too, they called it a Ben Franklin table. If you put some real honest effort into it, it's very helpful in sorting out your thoughts.
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Old 03-11-2019, 04:15 PM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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.
Hi Tammy ~

I've followed your Posts and progress here on SR, and will try to offer a few insights...

The critical variable in your Opening Post that jumps off the Page at me is that creeping sensation that '[you] know you're going to drink'. That Self-Sabotage reads like pure AV that has been got under control for long periods. As in, a stretch of several Years.

As with most all others, I used to play all kinda Games with myself. Take just a 'few' glugs of Vodka from one of 3 - 1.75 Liter Handles of Vodka I had stashed in assorted hiding places. Drink early in the Day to be kinda-functional when my Wife got home from Teaching High School. Rotate purchases between multiple Liquor Stores. Taper down to drinking 'only' a Liter of Sake, since it's 'only' 15% Alcohol. The crap we do to ourselves, eh? None of these Games are ever overcome by pure Logic, IMO. As logical a Guy as I am. Logic might enable us to more-clearly see such BS Constructs, but Logic doesn't get us through all such episodes, right?

I know a full-on Kleptomanic. She's stolen her Sisters' valuables for Decades. Even a Friend's Money from their House, when invited to a Party. The planning and stealth and conniving moves of this Oxy Addict are thought through in a weird way. So is planning in advance to drink 'just one' at a Wedding. So were my bizarre Coping Mechanisms. This malarkey is what Addicts descend into doing. No shame in it really; IF Addiction Games are understood, and accepted for the bizarre Behaviors they are.

Acceptance creates understanding.

When I finally got a lucid period of getting a grip on such idiocy is when I could put together a forceful Plan to fully purge such Self-Sabotaging out of my Life. Otherwise, it was gonna continue until my premature Death. 'Boy, I'll show me! I'll play my clever Drinking Games until it kills me'!

I was then relentless about avoiding Boozy Socializing. For a while; however long it took. For me. I also knocked off the weird Construct of playing Games with myself to enable Daytime Drinking. It had long become 24/7 Intoxication. For Years [12]. Early Retirement at 48 made such Drinking even easier. No Job to lose. I had several minor Car Wrecks, but these were solo incidents. No other Drivers. No Witnesses. This gave me time to fabricate BS scenarios as to what had happened in these wrecks.

Being a fairly bright Guy, I found I enjoyed thinking I was SO clever, I could pull off such 'aren't I clever' Games. This realization was a huge part of ending the Self-Sabotage. Like Binge Eating on the QT. How the Brain both justifies and executes such Games is a truly-bizarre aspect of Addiction.

I saw that digging deep and challenging myself was the Core Challenge. THEN, any Program or composite Tool Kit I needed to work diligently after that Epiphany was likely to succeed. So, although I'm a RR/AVRT Guy, this component of deep change from within was critical. AVRT is 'just' the Tool. At the end of the Day, staunch commitment summoned up from way down deep is what got me through decreasing episodes of Self-Sabotage. It was not unlike Training for the Olympics: I had to go >all in<. As is often acknowledged here in SR 'Secular', 'it ain't easy, but it is simple'.

To distill all this verbiage down to a phrase for your Tablet, may I suggest 3 words:

Don't Self-Sabotage

I hope this helps somehow. Your prior 2 Year Sober Stint is amazing. Your Mind is your Friend. Let it lead as you create periods of clear thinking. You've done it before. Stay close to SR, here.

All the best to you! Create the Life you deserve.
.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:21 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tammy711 View Post
When GT quoted Daredevil about “permanently getting rid of all the positive reasons for drinking” - that definitely struck a chord.
I would love more information on how to do that!
Notice how the Addictive Voice in some of the posts has changed my mentioning the “positive” reason to “positive” reasons, plural. The AV loves to try to complicate the very simple “positive” reason that people put the volatile drug ethanol into their blood stream. That one singular reason is to experience the effect of that ethanol on the physical body, especially the central nervous system. How could there be any other reason? Get the ethanol. Get the buzz. Get drunk. End of story.

Ethanol is a drug like any other drug. People take it for the specific effect of that specific drug. For me, putting ethanol in my body created a profound and deep pleasure. When I became highly habituated to the cycle of inebriation-hangover-anticipation-inebriation lots of bad things happened which created a huge list of reasons to NOT drink and they finally won out over that one, singular “positive” reason, when I decided to NEVER drink. Deciding to “NOT drink” is temporary and just part of the hangover and trouble shoooting phase of the appetite cycle.

I know some very classy, sober people who are up in their years and have had one or two glasses of wine almost every day of their adult lives. They are definitely drinking for the effect ethanol has on them, but that effect for me would have been a worthless, tantalizing taster-teaser. I say would have been because I cannot remember what it feels like to be under the influence of alcohol in any degree any more.

I think it’s possible to start to loose that limbic memory after two years of not drinking. So it’s rational to think “What was that like?” “I just want to have a few drinks to remember.” “If I can keep my plan to only have two, cool.” “If I decide to keep drinking after two, not cool.””But, let’s see what happens anyway.””You only live once, right?”

What the Big Plan does, is to completely cut off FOREVER any connection between thought and action about taking more of the drug ethanol. I know that IF ethanol were in my body THEN I would feel a deep pleasure. But, for me, that is an utterly impossible eventuality, not because I don’t want the bad things to happen again, but simply because I cannot forget that I decided “I will never drink again.”
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Old 03-22-2019, 05:48 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
.
Being a fairly bright Guy, I found I enjoyed thinking I was SO clever, I could pull off such 'aren't I clever' Games. This realization was a huge part of ending the Self-Sabotage. Like Binge Eating on the QT. How the Brain both justifies and executes such Games is a truly-bizarre aspect of Addiction.
I find my ability to manipulate situations (never thought of them as games, but that makes sense) does make me feel intelligent and part of is it fun because there is risk. But, when I am honest with myself, I kind of feel sad manipulating situations and perceptions so often. It creates a very lonely place.

Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
.
I saw that digging deep and challenging myself was the Core Challenge. THEN, any Program or composite Tool Kit I needed to work diligently after that Epiphany was likely to succeed. So, although I'm a RR/AVRT Guy, this component of deep change from within was critical. AVRT is 'just' the Tool. At the end of the Day, staunch commitment summoned up from way down deep is what got me through decreasing episodes of Self-Sabotage. It was not unlike Training for the Olympics: I had to go >all in<. As is often acknowledged here in SR 'Secular', 'it ain't easy, but it is simple'.
.
I have arrived at the place where I know that is just what I have to do. I have to dig. I know what I need to do as you put it: "it is simple".

There is a line in the RR book, that I have read and re-read several times. "If a plan for permanent abstinence does not come from one's own intelligence, as a personal decision, then it will not come at all."


Originally Posted by MesaMan View Post
.
Don't Self-Sabotage
.
I won't. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It has benefited me a great deal.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:10 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
Galatians 5:13
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Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
Ethanol is a drug like any other drug. People take it for the specific effect of that specific drug. For me, putting ethanol in my body created a profound and deep pleasure.
I have been playing mind games with myself all week, well actually ever since I broke my Big Plan a few years ago. But this past week, I decided to take some advice and when I wanted to drink I forced myself to provide one good reason that was even half logical.

I couldn't, but I still wanted to drink. I just kept asking myself, "why?"

I transposed "I" to "it" and all that... still I wanted a drink, but without any logical reasoning.

I realized I had (have) a deep physical craving. Tonight is my first night sober. I haven't made my Big Plan (or reinstated it) formally. I will be alone tomorrow and plan to get up and put my Big Plan back in place.

I know in 4 or so days I won't think much at all about drinking, but I will be aware that my AV never stays quiet for long.

Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
I think it’s possible to start to loose that limbic memory after two years of not drinking. So it’s rational to think “What was that like?” “I just want to have a few drinks to remember.” “If I can keep my plan to only have two, cool.” “If I decide to keep drinking after two, not cool.””But, let’s see what happens anyway.””You only live once, right?”
I definitely know this is possible. I am excited about getting sober again for good. At my two week mark or three week mark when my AV attacks feel strong and I get that "feeling," I plan to reach out here if needed.


Originally Posted by GerandTwine View Post
What the Big Plan does, is to completely cut off FOREVER any connection between thought and action about taking more of the drug ethanol. I know that IF ethanol were in my body THEN I would feel a deep pleasure. But, for me, that is an utterly impossible eventuality, not because I don’t want the bad things to happen again, but simply because I cannot forget that I decided “I will never drink again.”
In the RR book I have the explanation of the "Again" portion of the Big Plan double underlined.

"Again means that the past is a good predictor of the future, and you now have enough experience to make this very import decision to never drink again."

Truth.

Thank you for taking time to respond so thoughtfully.
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:52 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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Hi Tammy,

I've read your posts since you first got sober and was impressed (still am) at how you just took the leap with the Big Plan and ran with it. I'm just ten days in now, and I'd like to say something self-deprecating about that little amount of time, but realize that time doesn't matter at this point because I am now a non-drinker. All disclaimers aside, we're very close in our recent decisions to quit after a long period of drinking, and I want to offer my support.

For what it's worth, I spent years searching for the "why." Wise people here suggested that I forget about the why and just get on with it. I couldn't, I was stuck. Then, after about 5 days sober, after having made the decision to stop forever, I had a hard think about how I would explain alcohol dependence to someone who wasn't an addict. And I hit on, "It's like if you decided you could never have sex again." This flipped the switch for me! I could do that. I wouldn't necessarily be happy about it and I would miss it like hell in the short term, but long periods of abstinence have proven that the memory fades. Not sure if that's helpful, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

I think that the reason "you" can't come up with a why for drinking might be one of two things (or maybe a million, but I can only think of two at the moment). "You" are doing the thinking, but you are not in charge. You are feeling the Beast doing its thing and the anxiety and related physical sensations that generates are overwhelming. And/Or you are having a hard time (as I did) breaking it down to it's simplest form. As GT points out, there is only one reason to drink. I believe now the rest of it is rationalization, and maybe in part a perverse enjoyment of playing the game that MesaMan wrote about. In retrospect, I certainly did that.

Congratulations on making the decision to take action. You've done this before and you can definitely do it again with lasting success.
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:43 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Tammy and everyone- just wanted to pipe in as an AA person that I try to read threads on other people's programs and this has been a very useful one for me.

One reason I need to hear about this logical (in a nutsell) program AVRT/RR outline is because I do believe I can learn/add things from so many sources to my fundamental (spiritual) program. Another is because the non-AA/NA group I lead for the restaurant world includes keeping a database of resources of every kind possible!

Thanks for starting it and best to you as you keep going on your path.
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Old 03-23-2019, 05:53 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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The AV of RR seems to be it's greatest insight, at least around here. And it is a clever way of describing the subconscious motivation that causes relapse, even in alcoholics with long term sobriety. I got interested in RR enough to check out their website because they are mentioned so often.

Their explanation of causes and reasons to quit are straight forward and to the point, but even most practicing alcoholics understand most of these insights already. You can recognize your cravings, mind games, and the need to stop or control your drinking from now until the cows come home, but no matter what program, self styled, court ordered, spiritual, rational, or popular, at some point the actual rubber meets the road for any alcoholic, where they have to quit for good. Quitting and restarting is not quitting. It's just drinking sporadically, and solves nothing.

Quitting is the hard part. Recognizing the AV is easy; Quitting is not. It takes more than words and thoughts. It's behavior change without intellectualizing. It must be forced with strength of will and commitment. Mind over body. The time for spinning thoughts while sitting in a chair in "intellectual heaven" becomes part of the irrelevant past. Now we have to stand up and do the actual housework.

You would rather drink? You would rather not commit? You would rather not to the necessary house cleaning? That's fine, but don't expect the house to clean itself. You will not receive the benefits of either a clean house or sobriety if you don't take the action.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:29 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Recognizing the AV is a very important component but the recognition does nothing for you without the separation.

Separation is what allows for living a comfortable , aka normal, life with residual desire.
Separation is the vehicle that allows for actually questioning the idea that quitting is hard. No more booze ever is hard ? for who/what?

AV as concept , insight is very powerful but outside of the structural model/paradigm isn't very useful or durable, yeah ? Perpetual recovery is an AV frame for keeping options open.
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:16 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Lightbulb

You are exactly right, dwtbd! Separation was the key piece (peace ; ) I have been missing. I’ve been listening to The Small Book on my commute, and it always got me hyped to quite (in the morning). I would quite, but I seemed powerless under any AV attack.

A few days ago I started the RR book from the beginning instead of just thumbing through to my favorite quotes or sections.

The separation was the part I lost sight of. I remembered how easy it seemed back in 2012... what I failed to remember when trying to get sober with AVRT again is the separation.

I have only been sober a few days and have encountered minor AV thoughts with only one strong one. The only thing that makes me call it strong is that it took me longer than it should have to recongnize my AV in that incident, but once I did - it was gone. By “it” I mean my AV, my craving, my excitement to drink, my anxiety that I would - just gone upon recogniztion that it was my AV; it was not me.

I have this overwhelming sense of confidence right now in my sobriety. I keep thinking I should hear an AV echo effect because I failed so many times. I even ask it, “Hey AV, whatcha got, now that I am never going to drink again and will never change my mind?” Crickets.

I don’t know how to describe it. It’s as if I lost something very, very precious that I thought I’d never find again. But, I found it!!

I am never letting it go.




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Old 03-24-2019, 12:25 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
Galatians 5:13
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Originally Posted by dwtbd View Post
"No head space or attitude or event or anything will make me drink because, the thought that it might make me drink is not me, not true, not real and I don't have to listen to it, I will never listen to it, it is my addictive voice. My resistance to my AV is iron clad, it is bullet proof. This is AVRT and Rational Recovery in a nutshell."

That was your thinking in 2012 , it could be tonight too, yeah?
Rootin for ya
Yeah!

~ Big Smile ~


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Old 03-25-2019, 06:09 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by dwtbd View Post
Recognizing the AV is a very important component but the recognition does nothing for you without the separation.

Separation is what allows for living a comfortable , aka normal, life with residual desire.
Separation is the vehicle that allows for actually questioning the idea that quitting is hard. No more booze ever is hard ? for who/what?

AV as concept , insight is very powerful but outside of the structural model/paradigm isn't very useful or durable, yeah ? Perpetual recovery is an AV frame for keeping options open.
Gosh that was well put. I never thought about separation, as opposed to quitting before. Quitting presents a challenge to be sure, but separation is the ideal state that you eventually find yourself in. If you don't find that, you are in a state of perpetually quitting (perpetual recovery).

Am I still a recovering alcoholic? By definition, I suppose, but I don't really care. I see myself as just a guy who doesn't drink.
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Old 03-30-2019, 02:54 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
Galatians 5:13
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Smile not me

That is all it takes a simple, “not me.” Whenever a thought or feeling related to drinking surfaces, I quickly respond, “not me.” I say it with confidence and maybe even a little amusement, but the AV seems to shut right down and I am on with other things.

I started doing that last weekend to help with the separation of the real/true me and AV/beast. I am trying not to be skeptical of how well it works. I have had a stressful week, both at work and home. Honestly - those stressors didn’t bring about any real desires for stopping to get a bottle.

My new go to phrase kind of reminds me of the end of the last Hunger Games movie when Peeta would have to ask Katniss, “real or not real” in order to confirm his visions/thoughts were real or just in his head.

I know my beast lay asleep with one eye half open, but I am living with both eyes wide open. My energy levels are back (at least in the mornings). I actually walked into work a couple days last week with this huge smile on my face saying to myself, “I feel fantastic!”

I wanted to thank those again who helped me. I am very excited and optimistic about my future again.

I hope everyone is well.



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Old 03-30-2019, 04:53 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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I have nearly completely overcome even the desire to drink. If I'm honest with myself the feeling of alcohol intoxication isn't all that pleasurable. Memory lapses, falling, dizziness, fatigue, dangerous situations...nothing really great about any of those things. I don't need to run the negative consequences tape any more...that's a given and has been pretty much incorporated into my mental status quo. I learned the Benjamin Franklin list above very well.

Two situations arose recently that made me think and analyze. I was to meet a friend at an event at a bar. There was loud music, and he was over an hour late. I was miserable. Being alone at a bar where I couldn't communicate and couldn't numb myself with a few beers was miserable. However, it didn't make me want to drink. It made me want to leave. Once he got there, it was fine, and we didn't stay all that long. We're meeting at a leather party tomorrow, and he has sworn that he won't meander in an hour later, plus a few other friends are going, including some people from work.

The other challenging event was the death of my dog on Tuesday. Otto was my best friend and companion, and I first met him when he was a day old. He got lymphoma and died at 7 years old, apparently lymphoma is common in rottweilers. The depth of my grief terrified me. For the first time in over 18 months I had the urge to drink and use, preferably a few klonopin and some hard liquor, until I blacked out. Now, I'm no longer a drinker, so actually doing this obviously wasn't an option, and thankfully the urge didn't last long, once I looked at it and thought about it, poof it was gone (which is how my cravings worked when I used to still have them....they have gradually faded away).

I didn't want to drink for any "positive" reasons like enjoying a nice glass of sauternes with some foie gras or to loosen up at a social event or even feel a bit euphoric. No, I wanted to render myself unconscious, as quickly as possible, to escape all of these feelings around the grief over Otto's death. Once I realized that, I allowed myself to actually feel them and work through them. I'm still in a very bad place, but it's an understandable very bad place.

I am no longer a drinker or benzo user under any circumstances, and I just added uncomfortable feelings to that list of circumstances. My counselor and I said in early sobriety that given my naturally outgoing and uninhibited personality, it wasn't going to be those reasons for cravings, it was going to be 'self mediction.' And it was.
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:51 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Oh MindfulMan,

My heart breaks deeply for you. I am so sorry about Otto. Our fur babies embed themself so deep in our hearts that when they are gone, the pain is really indescribable.

I am also know that pain is different for each of us because our relationship with our dogs is so unique.

It sounds like you are doing what you can, feeling your feelings, no matter how hard. You’re an inspiration in how you handled the bar scene too.

I wish I had better words to tell you how sorry I am about your Otto.

Take care and thank you for all your advice, wisdom, and sharing.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:22 PM
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so very sorry to hear of the death of your dog, MM.
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:38 PM
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Sorry for your loss MM.

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