It is always good to get an email from somebody who has found the site helpful. I got permission from Tim who wrote this to put this on the site. I also used some of the ideas from Rational Recovery http://www.rational.org/index.php?id=36 in my early days of recovery when I was looking for alternatives to AA. I read the Rational Recovery book http://rational.org/shop/index.php and found a lot of the ideas linked in with many of the things I was taught in CBT counselling.
I think Rational Recovery really helped those of us who were not interested in the religious spiritual side of AA, and who did not think that God was going to do anything .
Thanks again for the email and if anybody else wants me put a piece on the site please get in touch. I really do not have the time to do that much these days and would really be repeating myself on many issues if I wrote about the same things. Most visitors to this site are thinking about leaving AA and are searching for alternatives.
Like your site! Thank you for your work and efforts in addressing this important issue. I’d like to get involved. I’ve latched on to Rational Recovery: Hope we can connect.
I was diagnosed at age 15 as an alcoholic. I’m now 52.
That diagnosis has been an ‘evil and corrosive thread’ in my life. It’s hard to admit I allowed myself to accept the disease concept but I did. It’s embarrassing – but it is reality. Here’s what I accepted and continued to believe for 37 years:
• I am afflicted with an unprovable, incurable, fatal and progressive disease
• I am powerless to treat it on my own
• The only prescription to treat this disease is constant support from:
A Higher Power
The AA fellowship
An AA sponsor
Consistent application of the 12 steps in my life
• This disease inexplicably causes me to reach a point where there will be no mental defence against the first drink.
• Unless I hand over my life to an unqualified sponsor, a God of my understanding, and the 12 Steps, I am guaranteed a life of jails, institutions, and death.
• If I do relapse, it can only be because I didn’t apply the above formula well enough or perhaps failing to disclose a deep dark secret somewhere in my life that I can’t identify or am unwilling to admit.
• If I do what I’m told, shut my mouth, and blindly follow my unqualified sponsor’s advice and AA’s program my reward is… wait for it…
• A good chance to stay sober for 1 Day!!!!!
While I admit that for some people, AA does help them stay sober. The issue for me was whether it was helping me achieve total abstinence. Evidence (repeated relapses over 37 years) suggests it didn’t help me then and won’t help me now. I actually believe AA kept me sick by providing an ideal setup/excuse to relapse. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry at AA and the Recovery Movement for the fear mongering that is so prevalent. The good news is that 37 years after that ridiculous diagnosis, I am free. Further, AVRT has allowed me to recognise that the anger I feel toward AA, albeit justified, can be a weak point for my addictive voice to target in hope of preventing me from flawlessly executing my Big Plan. That’s not going to happen. I’m on to my AV and look forward to showing it absolutely no mercy going forward!
Bottom line, it’s time to put on my big boy pants and take full responsibility for my past decisions to continue to ‘relapse’ – I don’t think ‘relapse’ is even the right word to use since it implies some force beyond my control caused me to resign abstinence and resume drinking and using. I drank because I love the effect produced by alcohol. Same thing with drugs. They worked. They allowed me to effortlessly change the way I was feeling. There really are no free passes left for me when it comes to drinking and using. The solution is 100% abstinence for the rest of my life. I’m 32 days in and the hope I feel is indescribable.
I actually went through an exercise of listing the 12 steps out and comparing what AVRT and RR’s alternative.
Here’s what I came up with for Step 1.
AA Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable
The truth – I admit that I love the pleasure of being intoxicated so much that despite clear and indisputable evidence of its guaranteed negative impact on my life – I continued to drink/use.
Let’s be honest here. I drank and used drugs because I wanted to feel pleasure. Alcohol and drugs have always immediately improved the way that I felt. Some of my most pleasurable moments of my life have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This is the ‘great fact’ for me. Drugs and alcohol work in that respect. They always have and they always will. History has shown me that the pain created by drinking and drug binges significantly outweighs the brief pleasure I experience when high and the escape I seek is always temporary. The after effect of drinking or using drugs is increasingly more negative and severe. I can no longer safely drink or use drugs. My addictive voice has been a cunning and powerful force in my life, but it has never had the power to compel me to drink or use. Those decisions were mine and I am responsible for them. Most of the problems in my life stem from my unwillingness to address the challenges that come up in life and face them effectively. Not addressing them has created pain and pressure to build up. When the pain or pressure of not effectively dealing with life became greater than the fear of escaping with drugs and alcohol, I decided to take the easy way out to change how I felt with substances.