The Rational Recovery Book

When you first pick up the Rational Recovery book it can be daunting but as somebody who has finished it and continues to re-read it I wanted to share a few things to those intimidated by the book. The book is the only piece of ‘kit’ that you need to successfully use AVRT – No meetings, subscriptions, donations or further books. It cost me around £10 off Amazon to buy the book which is priceless compared to how much I used to spend on alcohol each week.

The book is broken into ‘Three Parts’ but first of all the Author, American Social Worker Jack Trimpey kicks off with his back story which is one of alcohol addiction and many attempts to get sober using Alcoholics Anonymous. Section 1 covers WHAT AVRT is, Section 2 takes you through the ‘course’ of HOW to use AVRT whilst Section 3 is a broader (and optional look at) Gambling, Supporting family members in addiction, the politics of recovery and various appendices.

So anyways, the book itself can be a tough read in places – especially if you are not much of a reader so here are some ‘tips’ from me around how to approach the book and what to focus on…

1. This book was released in 1996 so when the author refers to a lot of the politics in the USA around Recovery I’d take this with a pinch of salt unless you are familiar with the US Addiction Recovery landscape. I’m British born and still live in the UK (the most I’ve experienced in terms of America was two weeks in Orlando back in 2009!) It may interest some folk but for me it was irrelevant in the main. There were a few similarities to the British Health and Recovery system but I skimmed these sections which seemed to dominate the opening and closing chapters.

2. The Author writes in a very blunt tone but I totally understand why he takes this approach. To use AVRT successfully we have to want to quit alcohol and commit to never picking up again. If you can’t do this he tells you to put the book down and come back when you are ready.

3. You will be asked to answer some tough questions such as ‘Do you want to drink alcohol ever again?’ ‘Are you ready to say I will never drink or use drugs again?’- If the answer in your own head is still blurred you will be warned that AVRT will be difficult to implement. This method of addiction recovery is based on our clear ‘all or nothing’ approach.

4. The Author will refer to alcohol primarily when using examples or sharing the techniques we are to use but Rational Recovery works in the same way for drugs too. There are references and examples within the pages of drug addiction and recovery but if you see the term ‘alcohol’ or ‘drug’ used and this isn’t your addiction just replace this in your own head with your substance. I’ve never been a drug user so for me ‘alcohol’ was the constant throughout the book even if Jack Trimpey was using an example of somebody addicted to crack or cannabis,

5. Gambling isn’t the same as alcohol and drug addiction in the sense of consumption and the physical dependency that develops from it but it is an addiction nonetheless and is sometimes exacerbated when using alcohol or drugs. You can use Rational Recovery to overcome your Gambling addiction by simply following Step 4 in this blog post and replacing the words drug use, drinking, and consuming alcohol with betting, wagering and gambling. There is also a Chapter in the book called ‘AVRT for Gamblers’ which provides additional context and support.

Ultimately it’s down to you to form your own opinion of the book and the workings of AVRT. We are all different and will respond to and interpret things in our own way. What I’ve shared today is my own opinion of Jack Trimpey’s Rational Recovery book now that I’ve read it front to back and back to front and everything in between.

The Green Highlighter is optional…

For those of you reading this who use Twitter – there is a Twitter Space (an online meeting) every Friday at 18:30 GMT and is hosted by some great individuals who have used Rational Recovery to overcome their addiction to drink and drugs. It’s free to come along to and you can choose to either just listen in or request to speak if you would like to ask any questions about AVRT or share your own story. Rational Recovery is not ‘Group’ based like AA or NA so whilst you won’t have access to daily meetings using this method we have a strong online community of advocates using this recovery programme and the weekly Twitter Space (which is also recorded to listen to retrospectively) is a great optional resource to bear in mind. You can find the space by searching under the hashtag #AVRT or alternatively I share each meeting via my Twitter handle @The_HappyDaddy

Why I won’t drink at Christmas

“Christmas time, mistletoe and WINE”

Not this year. I managed to avoid drinking last Christmas during my first festive period in recovery and I intend to do it again. It hasn’t been an easy 2022 and along with the current family problems with my poorly daughter (who has spent a lot of time in hospital) I’ve also relapsed in 2022 albeit it was only two days of drinking back in May and I managed to pull myself back out of it.

Sitting in the relative darkness of our living room (the Christmas tree lights provide what we need) I talk to my seven year old daughter on our 10 year old couch for the first time in what feels like forever about how she is and what she foresees her short term future as.

This in itself will raise concerns with many of you reading this. Why is there such a deep conversation unfolding with a child so young? What will be gained from this?

She’s been through so much in the last few months and it has been so scary and confusing for her. It still is. All she really understands is that her brain is poorly and that means she is struggling to do things she used to do like eating, drinking, managing her emotions and not obsessing over basic day to day tasks that we don’t give a second thought to.

I suppose last Christmas was easier. I was still on an upward curve after navigating myself out of issues which nearly wrecked my life. By the time Christmas came around I was loving this new feeling of long term sobriety (albeit white knuckling it) and I finally felt like my marriage and relationship with my little girls was in an honest and happy place. Significantly my oldest daughter didn’t have the health issues either.

I used to love a drink over the Christmas Bank holiday. Wine and Baileys on Xmas Eve with the wife as we wrapped presents. Prosecco on the morning of the big day followed by lager, ale, wine and cava throughout the day. Boxing Day was a ‘lad day’ at the football or pub so you can imagine how messy that got.

Getting sober is easily the best thing I’ve done for myself in my 36 years on this planet. I used alcohol for 17 years and in the main it had a negative impact on me both physically and mentally so I will always shout loudly about how great it is being sober. Christmas as an adult was always about boozing so to return to a kind of pure innocence around this time of year is so enjoyable and fulfilling.

It would be far too easy to use the current family landscape as an excuse to drink and I doubt many people would blame me but I own my sobriety and I need to protect it at all costs. I know first hand the cycle alcohol creates. It’s an enabler for mental health deterioration and irrational decision making and thinking. I can’t and won’t allow myself to return to that king of behaviour especially when my family need me so much.