The Recovery Programme I’m following is known as Rational Recovery but many will refer to it as AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) which is the nuts and bolts of how this approach to overcoming addiction works.

I’ve had a few people ask me how it works and quite often when we discuss this pathway they are surprised there is an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous out there. All we ever see portrayed in film, TV and the media is this vision of an alcoholic sitting in a community hall with a group of other ‘drunks’ sharing their story. AA is recovery to a lot of people. This is still the most common and most used programme globally but it’s just never quite clicked for me, and as I’ve since found – many others too.

So first off, I have no issue with AA and in fact there are many elements to it which I like but I’m of the opinion I need to give my all to something as significant as my abstinence and I never fully believed in the words of the AA’s big book.

So what is the difference between AVRT & AA?

Firstly, the Twelve Steps of AA are presented as a suggested self-improvement program of initially admitting powerlessness over alcohol and acknowledging its damage, the listing of and striving to correct personal failings and the making of amends for past misdeeds. To stay recovered, AA suggests maintained spiritual development through the Steps.

The Rational Recovery program is based on recognising and defeating the “addictive voice” (internal thoughts that support self-intoxication) and dissociation from addictive impulses. The specific technique of Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) refers to the practice of objectively recognising any mental thoughts that support or suggest substance use as AV (addictive voice). This passive recognition allows you to realise that you need not do what the AV says, but can effortlessly abstain.

So after reading both of those short statements you can already see a significant difference. The overarching aim is the same (abstinence) but the approach and how we go about it differ massively.

With Rational Recovery there is “no better time to construct a “big plan” to abstain from drinking/using than now” and that AA’s idea of “one day at a time” is contradictory to never using again. Rational Recovery says, if AA proposes that you are never going to drink again, then there isn’t a reason to keep track of time. One day at a time (something I based my recovery on once over) works for so many though and by breaking down sobriety into daily goals, it can make the journey feel so much less overwhelming. So I do get it!

Rational Recovery does not regard alcoholism as a disease, but a voluntary behavior.

Rational Recovery discourages adoption of the forever “recovering” drunk persona.

There are no Rational Recovery recovery groups and whilst I personally connect with others using the programme via social media, it isn’t group or meeting led. From what I’ve read so far in the book we are encouraged not to surround ourselves with others in recovery. (The opposite to AA).

Finally, there are no discrete steps and no consideration of religious matters, or requirement to put one’s trust in any sort of higher power, whether it be a god or a group of people – something AA is based on.

I hope that by providing a brief breakdown of the two programmes it’s a little clearer as to how both work. I haven’t written this post to slag one or the other off and I have no interest in causing divide in the recovery community. I have borrowed alot of the above words from the horse’s mouth – it’s not my opinion, it’s what the programmes say about themselves.

Can you use AA & AVRT together?

I couldn’t. Or I’ve certainly been unable to up to now. I find that they are too far apart with their approaches that it is very difficult and counterproductive to commit to both. Commit is the key for me and if I’m giving my all to the ‘Big Plan’ how can I also commit to the twelve steps? It’s only my opinion but for me, you should explore both by all means but then choose the one that fits for you.

I’ll be back with more on this subject because it does run deeper than the brief synopsis I’ve given today but I hope you’ve found this post of interest as a starter for ten.

Author: Happy Daddy

A married thirtysomething Dad of two young daughters navigating my way through life a day at a time

4 thoughts on “AVRT vs. AA”

  1. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks!


  2. You could definitely see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.


  3. Very well said! I’m tracking with how you are involved in this conversation n detached from it at the same time! Leaving yourself free from someone else’s choice! Just responsible glfor giving out information! It’s like going shopping!, you see something you may like so you pick it up n try it on. If you don’t like the fit you take it off n keep it moving! No attachments. Easier to run this race called life with no attachments!

    Liked by 1 person

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