I’ve mentioned a few times lately that rather than go down the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) route I’ve embraced the aggressive self-recovery programme known as AVRT – Addictive Voice Recognition Technique. Like many (or most people) I hadn’t heard of AVRT until I was in recovery and started to see the term used quite often online. I assumed at first it was some kind of sober acronym in the same way we see ODAAT, AF, AA, etc.
It wasn’t until I started listening to the Recovery Twitter Space on a Friday evening that I understood it more as a programme, an alternative to the globally well known AA. Once I googled and got the jist that it was self-recovery via a book and not group lead I initially dismissed it as tosh. I’ve seen books over the years claiming this and that but have rarely heard of people actually achieving any long term success from the literature.
Fast forward many months later and a drip feed of AVRT into my interactions in recovery and listening to others talk about it in our Twitter Spaces I found myself agreeing with the principles and very blunt speak. It seemed to have the potential to offend and was a direct way of talking about addiction but it was different to everything else I’d experienced.
I bought the book ‘Rational Recovery’ by Jack Trimpey online and decided to put my preconceived opinion to one side.
I wasn’t blown away with the early reading and found that for the first 16 pages the author was just being a salesman for his programme and bashing AA whilst at it. He talks a lot about AA, the twelve steps and why it is flawed. I’ve only dipped in and out of AA fleetingly and read a little of their book but even that aside, I know it works for many and has saved them from destruction. I know there is a high relapse rate in AA too – but suppose you could say the relapse rate isn’t restricted to AA, there is unfortunately a high rate of relapse in any form of recovery because we are talking about highly addictive behaviours that our brains are wired to. Substance, gambling, sex, etc – it doesn’t matter.
So anyways, I put the book down and continued with my recovery but without investing time in AVRT (I didn’t read far enough into the book to get to the practical stuff) – I appreciated aspects of AVRT from what I heard in meetings online but that’s as far as it went. I didn’t attend AA either.
So as we know, I end up managing 15 months of sobriety by pretty much white knuckling my way through it before the subsequent relapse and then quickly getting back on the horse. I jumped head first into AA meetings and saw that as my way to stabilising my abstinence from alcohol and giving me a longer term protection from relapse – but whilst the people were nice in the meetings, it just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t fully get behind the whole concept of steps, one day at time, the higher power thing, etc. I’m not going to slag the programme off but I’m not going to invest my time into something that I can’t connect with. It just didn’t feel right for me.
I picked my ‘Rational Recovery’ book back up and on the advice of friends in the recovery community – was told to ride out the first few chapters. Trust us, they said. It will all start coming together.
I’m now on P.155 – I’m not rushing through it. It’s not that type of book. It’s a type of ‘read a few pages, digest, reflect and do’ kind of book.
I’m on P.155 and yes, I get it now. I really do. It has changed my whole outlook on my recovery and my future. I feel so excited about my future now. AVRT is changing my life. The book is 322 pages in total so I’m looking forward to learning more.
But how does it work? Why is it different?
Well, I guess that’s a blog for another day.