Rational Recovery/Addictive Voice Recognition Technique

Discussion in 'Pornography Addiction' started by NewTerritories, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. NewTerritories

    NewTerritories virtual

    Official Site
    Wikipedia article

    I found out about this system years ago, long before I saw evidence that porn addiction was a legitimate problem. It's an approach to recovery from addiction, and it seems most of the material is written to apply to alcoholism. It's somewhat of a counter to the famous Alcoholics Anonymous.

    The basic principles, as I understand them, are (intellectually and practically) appealing to me:
    -Addiction is not seen as an illness, but a behaviour subject to your choices
    -The reason you engage in your addictive behaviour is for pleasure
    -To start recovery you make a decision to quit once and for all
    -Recovery is done alone, not in groups

    A primer/walk-through on AVRT

    The kernel of AVRT is to conceptually separate oneself from one's addictive urges, to consider them as other, not a part of who you really are, the 'Addictive Voice', or the 'Beast'. Instead of "I want to watch that porn video", you switch to saying "It wants to watch that video". I find this point less than entirely satisfying, because I'm not convinced that there is any true essence that makes me what I am.

    Metaphysical quibbles aside, I've largely internalised this model of addiction and recovery. Because it just seems to make sense - the system is rooted around recognising human choice of action as the cause of and the solution to the problem.

    Now in some cases, the realm of voluntary actions may not contain the whole problem. I don't know much about chemical dependency, or non-voluntary tics and compulsions, except they'd be quite outside of this area. In these cases, the RR/AVRT approach wouldn't be sufficient.

    But I don't think porn use is a non-voluntary phenomenon. I determine this from introspection and reading the accounts of the struggles of fellow recoverers (here). An erection is non-voluntary, obviously, but searching for porn seems quite deliberate. Edging is deliberate -- it's an intentional holding back from doing the natural, automatic thing, in order to extend the pleasure time. I've experienced one thing that seems kind of on the edge voluntary/compulsive: when 'hunting and gathering', so to speak, I found it hard to keep my hands off myself. I would notice what I was doing, but no, I wanted to save that for later. I was just intending to build my collection at that time. But again and again, I found my left hand reaching down and getting busy. Of course, the whole time I had the option to stop the whole thing by closing all the porn, and going and doing something useful instead.

    This repeated experience is one particular reason I'm kicking the habit. Because I want to be able to practice the maximum self-control. So clearly, I shouldn't put myself in positions where that part of me is diminished. Same reason I don't like drinking, I think.

    More AVRT links:
    17 minutes, radio interview with RR founder Jack Trimpey - Rational Recovery® -- What is AVRT?
    Trimpey talks to recovering crack user, 5 minutes. Clips from a DVD.

    Any thoughts?
  2. wrong rewards

    wrong rewards Member

    I'm bumping this thread because I just read about Rational Recovery on Wikipedia, and this makes a whole lot of sense to me, particularly in how it explains the anxiety-addiction loop:

    "The Rational Recovery program is based on the premise that the addict both desires and is capable of permanent, planned abstinence. However, the Rational Recovery program recognizes that, paradoxically, the addict also wants to continue using. This is because of his belief in the power of the substance to quell his anxiety; an anxiety which is itself partially substance-induced, as well as greatly enhanced, by the substance. This ambivalence is the Rational Recovery definition of addiction.

    According to this paradigm, the primary force driving an addicts predicament is what Trimpey calls the "addictive voice", which can physiologically be understood as being related to the parts of the human brain that control our core survival functions such as hunger, sex, and bowel control. Consequently, when the desires of this "voice" are not satiated, the addict experiences anxiety, depression, restlessness, irritability, and anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure). In essence, the RR method is to first make a commitment to planned, permanent abstinence from the undesirable substance or behavior, and then equip oneself with the mental tools to stick to that commitment. Most important to recovering addicts is the recognition of this addictive voice, and determination to remain abstinent by constantly reminding themselves of the rational basis of their decision to quit. As time progresses, the recovering addict begins to see the benefits of separating themselves and their rational minds from a bodily impulse that has no regard for responsibility, success, delayed gratification, or moral obligation.
    The RR program is based on recognizing and defeating what the program refers to as the "addictive voice" (internal thoughts that support self-intoxication) and dissociation from addictive impulses. The specific techniques of Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT) are concerned with demonstrating to the practitioner that the practitioner is in control of the addictive voice, not the other way around.

    In his book, Rational Recovery, Trimpey calls the addict's addictive voice "the Beast". He proposes that this is the sole reason why addicts continue their self-destructive ways. Furthermore, by recognizing any feeling, image, urge, etc. that supports drinking/using as "Beast activity", the compulsions will fall silent, and the person can eventually regain control over their life and never worry about relapses. Although addiction is a lifelong battle, it is much easier to say "no" to the addictive voice, than to give in. Moreover, this separation of the rational self from the relentless "Beast" will, Trimpey says, enable addicts to always remain aware of the repercussions associated with a single relapse.
    Internal thoughts support self-intoxication, and the practitioner is in control of the addictive voice."

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