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Fellowships of Addiction

<br /> FellowshipAdd.txt copy<br /> ©2007, Jack Trimpey, all rights reserved.

In the handout materials for AVRT: The Course, is a sheet titled, “Guidelines,” which sets some ground rules for the four-day trek to AVRT-based recovery. Item 3 is:

3. You will probably enjoy the company of the other participants. However, this is not a good place to form relationships. At the onset, you have nothing in common with the other participants but the love of addictive pleasures and a history of bad judgment. I will discourage some kinds of interaction.

Some are uneasy with this notice, particularly the ones who have had substantial exposure to recovery groups, substance abuse counseling, and addiction treatment services. I always explain that AVRT: The Course is not addiction treatment, nor a kind of counseling or therapy, and that I am neither interested in hearing about the problems caused by addiction, nor in hearing about anyone’s personal or social background. I explain that everyone present has suffered greatly, inflicted suffering on others. I make the sweeping assumption that all participants are currently depressed because of the direct effects of alcohol and other drugs, and because of the depressing situations that always attend addiction.

I suggest that AVRT: The Course is more like an algebra class, although the subject matter is considerably simpler and easier to learn. Because learning AVRT® is an individual, sink-or-swim responsibility, compassionate comments, supportive statements, and empathetic helping are inappropriate, just as in algebra class.

Occasionally, a magnetic fascination develops among certain participants. They tend to sit together, seek eye contact with each other, and make sidelong comments to each other during the presentation. They are quite supportive of each other, coming to quick agreement on elusive issues while others continue to struggle. They are also quite defensive of each other when called on a point of learning. Ignoring my advice, they exchange email addresses and phone numbers, and make plans to stay in touch even though they have no good reason whatsoever to get in touch.

Fellowship of the Beast
This unwarranted familiarity and loyalty is a fellowship of addiction, a spontaneous meeting of minds among substance abusers who share a common life agenda, common beliefs, and common values. AA is a fellowship of addiction spawned by its currently-addicted founders, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith. If there were no such thing as AA, addicted people such as these would still discover each other, share fellowship with each other, have similar beliefs and values concerning substance abuse, defend each other against common standards of decency and moral conduct.

The camaraderie of addicted people, coupled with their circle-the-wagons defense against the civilized world is nicely summed up by notorious imbiber, W. C. Fields, “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.” Mimicking Jesus, Bill Wilson stated more doctrinally, “Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group.” However, I say that when two or more substance abusers get together, especially after dark, they’re up to no good.

Heavy drinkers and other substance abusers enjoy a rare kind of camaraderie, which Bill Wilson called the “herd mentality.” They tend to view each other’s shortcomings with gentle understanding, and are quick to forgive each other’s offenses. They are united on certain principles, such as that self-intoxication is not a moral issue at all, that there are many causes of excessive self-intoxication, and that one can never be sure one won’t resume self-intoxication under certain, “perfect” conditions.

The social gravity between addicted people holds true even when addicted people are making great efforts, at significant personal expense, to defeat their addiction, such as when they register for AVRT: The Course. In addiction treatment, the natural cohesiveness of addicted people is idealized and regarded as therapeutic. In AVRT-based recovery, however, it is identified as mingling of Beasts, the joining together in fellowships of addiction, without awareness of the pathological tie that binds them together.

Such is the case in Alcoholics Anonymous! I have named AA the Fellowship of the Beast because it is a gathering of addicted people who have built a subculture based entirely upon the beliefs and values of addiction. All 12-step doctrine, and all of AA’s official literature fits the definition of the Addictive Voice, which is, “any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs.” From the first meeting, when quitting altogether is forbidden as “denial of disease,” to the last meeting, the recovery grouper’s life is meticulously organized around Addictive Voice, using religious and medical terms to create the illusion of disease.

Even without AA, addicted people will join together in the common cause of dignifying their self-intoxication, creating spectacular excuses and explanations for self-intoxication, defending each other against the unreasonable world-at-large that condemns and punishes degeneracy. Drunks have always gathered in taverns, pubs, and wherever spirits freely flow, celebrating their common love of addictive pleasures, while nursing resentment for any authority that would interfere with their hidebound plan to continue getting high.

The Beast defends fellowships of addiction, for as Bill Wilson said, “Without AA we will perish.” In other words, when the Addictive Voice is exposed, the Beast defends itself by invoking the name of its holiest of holies, Alcoholics Anonymous, much in the same way that, in vampire movies, a crucifix is used to ward off evil.

Mingling of Beasts
Everyone who registers for AVRT: The Course already knows that AVRT® is a contradiction of everything that AA stands for, i.e., the group, sponsors, the one-day-at-a-time part, the dependency part, the blaming family part, the disease part, and original denial. Even so, some participants become very uncomfortable with what they construe as “AA-bashing,” even when AA is not mentioned by name. In other words, it becomes obvious that AA’s staunchest defenders are not protecting an organization they love, or to which they are loyal; instead, they are raging at having the protective veil of AA torn away from their comprehensively immoral lifestyles.

Occasionally, one or two participants may have a Beastly aversion to AVRT®, which they construe as my pathological aversion to AA. When I explain that AVRT® exposes the Addictive Voice without regard for its source, including AA, they look quizzically, without comprehension. They do not ask for any clarification, but merely want me to stop teaching AVRT®.

In a recent session of AVRT: The Course, I noticed two men in their 30’s, not exactly adolescents, forming an addictive bond. When talking with me separately, they conducted themselves with normal manners and conversation, but when seated together, or on break, they were preoccupied with each other, laughing, smirking, telling tales of past degeneracy, engaged in Beastly humor. Each had come with the serious purpose of recovery, and both worked diligently in the educational dialogs of the first day.

On the morning of the second day, I introduced the concept of mingling of Beasts, and used the two disorderly men as an example. Interestingly, they agreed that they were emotionally fueled by the other’s involvement with drugs. Nevertheless, they continued to giggle and laugh as though they were seated in a junior high school study hall. I took the liberty of dubbing them, “the Beastie Boys,” which failed to deter but only cemented their common bond, and the rest of the class looked on with astonishment.

The rest of the day was a very good learning experience for the rest of the group, who got the rare opportunity to observe the flagrant mingling of Beasts as they each pulled the other down into hopeless resignation to a common fate. Each time I came to them, I would turn their attention to the fact that they were each sabotaging their own recovery, not the other’s, and that they should attempt to see the other as bad company rather than as a natural, loyal comrade.

Neither of the Beastie Boys appeared for the third day of AVRT: The Course; they were very certainly involved in an excursion into Sacramento’s drug district where drugs are expensive and life is cheap. The embrace of the Beast of addiction is a death grip, and will pull down all who cling to fellowships of addiction. That is why the very first action of AVRT-based recovery is not to make a Big Plan, not even to delve into AVRT® literature, but to sever from all fellowships of addiction.

Herbal sacraments
In a more recent session of AVRT: The Course, a man painfully complained about the AA-bashing. I pointed out that I had not mentioned AA by name, but had only attacked a few ideas such as the disease concept of addiction, dependence upon group support, and tentative, one-day-at-a-time sobriety. This did not satisfy him; he soon complained again that I was attacking AA. This time, three other participants chimed in, “Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking. We want to get on with Rational Recovery, not all this AA-bashing.”

I promised them I couldn’t possibly be deterred from exposing the Addictive Voice, and that the angry feelings in the room were those of several frightened Beasts, afraid that their hosts, who had paid substantial fees, would figure out that AA is truly the Fellowship of the Beast, largely responsible for their one-year-at-a-time, worsening addictions. Despite this, they remained loyal, saying that AA is good for some, if not for them.

The wild card came during day two, as one of the AA defenders was attempting a Big Plan for permanent abstinence. A self-described “hippie,” she presented herself as a practitioner of New Age spirituality, complete with meditation and occult rituals. She prefaced her Big Plan, however, with the comment that she used “certain herbs” to consummate her meditative rituals, and of course, her Big Plan would accommodate her continued use of religious herbal preparations.

I answered her, “You are free to do that, but a Big Plan means total abstinence from all psychoactive drugs, including pot. I won’t endorse your plan to continue getting stoned.” Her Beast went into bug-eyed rage, and after quite a confrontation, she left the meeting room, not to return. Very interestingly, two of the other AA defenders capitulated later that afternoon, explaining that, in her absence, they were better able to see their defense of AA, and of her, as the Addictive Voice. Their fellowship of addiction had been busted by observing one of its members flip out.

While AVRT-based recovery is commonplace, and quite ordinary in many respects, the regeneration of life is a wonderful drama to witness. When fellowships of addiction form for all to see, it becomes an object lesson in why we warn participants to stay away from recovery groups of all kinds.

Many ask, “What can you possibly accomplish in just four days?” The answer is, “Complete recovery within the time allotted.” Each participant has a 100% chance of success, and a 100% chance of failure as well. It’s a matter of free will, based on your native beliefs and values.

As the participants leave on day four, they are no longer depressed. They walk in freedom and dignity, fully recovered, fit for their families, and ready for life.

9 Responses to “Fellowships of Addiction”


  1. Jim Heckel

    As someone born in the 1970s, I missed out on the whole hippie thing. So please forgive me if my question sounds stupid.

    I noticed you mentioned a “hippie” woman who announced her plan to use “herbal preperations” in her religious rituals. Tell me, how did you know that was a reference to illegal drugs? It sounds like it could just as easily refer to Tazo herbal tea, Starbucks spiced chai, or patchouli scented incense.


    Jim,

    You are forgiven.

    Jack Trimpey

  2. George Smith

    My addictive voice says that you are a “prick”. My spiritual voice says, “what a breath of truth!!!!” You have completely exposed the beast within. I knew that I could never ever get sober, that I could never stop drinking, ever. I’m in my sixth month of a new life and I will never drink again, and I will never change my mind. I haven’t even thought of the beast and his issues for months. I shudder to think what my life would be like had I chosen to put the beast on a diet of “AA” rather than to starve him. Thank-you, Jack and please do whatever you can to get this information out to as many as possible whom are fooled by the ” Recovery Movement”. What a travesty of justice it all is!!!! What a falsehood. The farther I get from it, the clearer I can see how impotent is the treatment and how damning is the philosophy. I am not my Beast and I never was, he just fooled me.
    George


    George,

    If 12-steppers knew what they were revealing about themselves when they write me hate mail, they would have no need to continue in AA. They would be recognizing their own inner enemy, which fears and loathes anyone who would pass moral judgment on the act of self-intoxication by problem drinkers. The Beast hates me, as you make very clear, but people in their right minds have no good reason to try to silence my AA-bashing, attack my character, pass terrible rumors about me, and write me hateful emails. Who could possibly be harmed by or object to being encouraged to accept moral responsiblity for the act of self-intoxication, and for becoming permanently abstinent? What is so awful about being warned to stay away from recovery groups of all kinds, when their complete lack of abstinent outcome is very well known?
    Like most who emerge from AVRT-based recovery, your view of the world is radically changed, and you can see the Beast running wild in society, infiltrating the health professions, and destroying our social service system with the sweet venom of 12-step recoveryism.

    Bravo to you for finally taking control! Your good feelings are a natural reward for accepting full responsibility for your personal conduct. Be sure to let others know about AVRT® so they can avoid the difficulties and misguidance you had to overcome.

    Jack Trimpey

  3. Tina

    The addictive voice is “any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs.” I love this definition. I am, however, wondering if you support ANY thought that society has for the use of alcohol by NON-addictive people?

    I personally have never lived a life of addiction and use to participate on rare occasions by having a drink(only one or two) with friends or at parties. I have since decided from my research on the use of alcohol that I will never drink again due to the damage that even ONE drink does to the body. This research was initiated from having an addicted person in my life….also why I found AVRT.

    I would appreciate hearing from you how you would answer peoples argument for the occasional use of alcohol by NON-addictive participants.

    I would like to thank you for having the best solution to addiction available with this website. AVRT is life altering once someone “gets it”.

    Thanks for your insight.
    Tina


    Tina,

    Drinking is an individual liberty, the pursuit of pleasure with very well known risks. While some drink without ill effects, others continue to drink even after a predictable pattern of destructive or high-risk drinking has been established. Those individuals are problem drinkers, whose pursuit of addictive pleasure presents a danger to others, especially to their own families. By any sane system of moral thought, any further use of alcohol and other drugs by problem drinkers is immoral conduct.

    However, our society has abandoned the moral sanity of its founders and accepted the disease concept of immorality, with the sad result that there is no expectation from society nor from our court system that alcohol and drug related offenders refrain from intoxicating their brains with alcohol and other strong drugs.

    The moral injunction of AVRT® applies to problem drinkers and drug addicts, and is not a call for a return to the external controls of Prohibition. The Big Plan of AVRT-based recovery is a commitment to life time abstinence enforced by inner controls, i.e., individual moral judgment.

    Jack Trimpey

  4. Faye MacAlister, 31 Allentown, PA

    This is all based upon the negative views of AA. Granted, AA is often a subculture which many people define their whole will and lived under, but this is rare. You have exposed every part of AA which is bad. The good parts such as the instant acceptance, the self-esteem you achieve from associating with other “rational” AA participants, and the lifelong friendships, are the parts of AA you forgot to mention. Your program promotes isolation, self-centeredness, and the inability to have the strength to ask for help when needed. Recovery for the fearful and those too afraid to look within themselves. How’s that for a mingling of beasts?
    Faye K. MacAlister, Counselor, two years three months clean, traveling spokesperson, chairperson, lots of true friends, works a free program.


    Faye,

    I don’t know if you’re a “two-hatter” or not. I also do not know what kind of “counselor” you are. If you are attempting to serve two masters, your profession and AA, then you are in an intolerable conflict of interest.

    The exception, of course, is if you are a substance abuse counselor certified by some non-profit organization rather than by a university department of one of the traditional, learned professions or offering a terminal, post-graduate degree program. In that case, I will simply dismiss you as part of the 12-step syndicate, doing your own 12th stepping for money. “Traveling spokesperson,” suggests you’re an AA circuit speaker, sharing tales of recovery with audiences you then offer your business card.

    To use the authority of credentials to refer addicted people into the fellowship of addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, is a violation of the most basic professional ethics. That creates a dual relationship, suppressing informed consent to addiction treatment services and recovery group participation. It also uses the scientific and clinical discourse of professional disciplines to lend intellectual respectability to otherwise bogus ideas that otherwise would fail the giggle test.

    You’re still counting time, Faye, as if you’re measuring the time between drinks! Are you setting new records every day? Can you imagine knowing for a fact that you’ll never drink again? If you had that part down, you wouldn’t be counting the weeks since your last blessed drink.

    You can‘t even guarantee your own family you’ll never drink/use again, Faye. You expect your family and the whole world to live under the dark cloud of your own uncertainty about the future use of alcohol and other drugs. Then, if you counsel addicted people, you teach them the same arrogance, so they, too, may reserve the privilege of drinking/using any time they really want to.

    I’m afraid your “true friends” will only have you as long as you remain loyal to AA. Bill W’s injunction, “AA unity before all else, for without AA we will perish,” means your recovery comes first, and if you ever try to “go it alone,” you’ll be without your AA friends from that moment on. Try it; you’ll see.

    Jack Trimpey

  5. Jim Heckel

    Here’s my response to the good Ms. McAllister, above:

    Neither the good Mr Trimpey nor Rational Recovery promote “isolation, self-centeredness, and the inability to have the strength to ask for help when needed”, as you put it. Rather, they promote individual courage, independence, and the ability to take care of oneself without living as a parasite upon others.

    Finally, did you know that Trimpey himself has over a quarter century of “clean time”? If he was still in AA, you’d call him an “old timer” and speak every bit as highly of “my friend Jack T.” with the same fervor used by a North Korean army officer praising Kim Jong IL. Instead, you’ll probably dismiss him as “dry drunk” or “never really addicted” instead. A pity – you could learn from him.

    I could go on, but I do have to go to work soon – see, I have a productive job where I contribute to society, as opposed to begging for a living or wearing my clean time on my sleeve.

    Rgds,
    Jim H.

  6. Karen

    Dear Mr. Trimpsey,

    I found your website by searching for alternative methods to Gambler’s Anonymous Recovery Groups. I was intrigued by the information that I had read about AVRT. I bought your book called Rational Recovery and just finished it. I feel like I have my life back, having been so indoctrinated by being told that I had a disease that could not be cured, but rather by following the 12-Step Program it would be arrested. I had only been gambling for five months, when I decided something was wrong with what I was doing. I went to a GA meeting. I was searching for answers about what was going on with my excessive and expensive problem. I was told that I was in the right place and handed the GA book. I needed to identify myself as “My name is Karen and I am a compulsive gambler.” I was horrified by the horror stories and was amazed that I had succumed to an illness and disease. I questioned everything in the book during meetings and continued to gamble. The parts I had trouble with were with being powerless,having a higher power,surrender and accept , and told I was not working the program by questioning the things I did not understand. I was told I was in Denial if I thought outside the book. Finally, after being in the program for six months, I stopped gambling for 8 months. I had sponsers, did the stepwork and attended three meetings per week. I was determined to beat this thing. I did much research about gambling addiction and the mechanisms in the brain that supoosedly go on. I also read statistics on recovery-which was very low. I lived the One Day at a Time rule. Always living in fear that I may go back out, since the majority of people did in the program. Sure enough after 8 months I did go back out and continued gambling to the point of no return. I tried to get back into meetings, but my heart could not get into it. I was told that I really did not want to quit. The last meeting I went to, I said that I did not want to continue gambling and I did want to continue GA. Members would call me and say get back in the program, since it worked for you once , you can do it again. I said I do not believe in GA and the response was that I will never make it out there by myself. I am proud to say that I am never going to be a loser again. I am never going to bet on slots again. I know what my Beast tries to do to me and I do not listen to the tricks it plays. I have my will and power over it-it can only get me if I let it. I am in control of who I am and that is the most exhilerating feeling I have had in 3 years. Yes, I have everyday life to deal with and yes I have debt as a result of my behavior-but now I can take care of my problems in a responsible manner because I recognise the Active Voice. I have told GA folks about Rational Recovery and they think I am crazy, but I tell them Recovery Programs are crazy and I am doing just fine.
    Thankyou for helping me to help myself.
    Karen

    Karen,

    Sadly, the casino industry is part of the 12-step syndicate. They benefit greatly from the idea that the risks of gambling apply only to persons with an unidentified disease, which may be diagnosed only after great, irrevocable losses. That way, they can appear to be good samaritans by referring big losers to sensitive, compassionate resources such as Gamblers Anonymous and worthless addiction treatment programs that often cost more than the original losses to gambling.

    Tragically, GA does not work, and very often results in recovery group disorder, including the “hitting bottom” concept that practically invites continued desperation at the wagering tables, the track, or the slots. That obviously happened in your case, and this tragedy is repeated in the lives of many thousands of men and women who cannot afford the obligatory “relapses” of 12-step recoveryism.

    Your comments will definitely inspire other losers to quit gambling, stay away from recovery groups of all kinds, set their confidence for lifetime abstinence arbitrarily at 100%, recognize all self-doubt as the Addictive Voice. They will be overjoyed to discover, as you did, that all they need for recovery from “gambling addiction” was learned during childhood, and those original family values may now be put to very good use.

    Because AVRT® applies very well to gambling, there is an entire chapter on the Gaming Beast in Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction. In the Rational Recovery Discussion Forums, gambling addiction is the topic in the Other Addictions folder.

    Enjoy the freedom and dignity of independent recovery! Enjoy the relief of now being safe from yourself, from the casinos, and from the lowlife of Gamber’s Anonymous.

    Jack Trimpey

  7. Todd

    Hello all, I stumbled on RR after thinking there has to be a better way. Well, I read the entire web site, ordered the book “Rational Recovery A New Cure For Addiction”, and made my “big plan”. My last AA meeting was March 15th and I feel great! Funny, but out of all the support in AA, two people have called to see where I have been. It is important to note that I went to 6-8 meetings a week for almost two years. Do you want to know the best part of the last month? My wife and family say I’m not a dry drunk any more. In fact they say I’m my old self again, I just never drink anymore. Did everone get that, I’m the old person that everyone used to love and want to be around, except I never drink now. Man, do I feel liberated. RR is the best thing to happen to me since I stopped drinking…when was that again?


    Todd,

    Congratulations on your independent recovery! Enjoy the good feelings, which are you reward for accepting adult responsibility for your personal conduct. I’m sorry it took so long for you to accidentally discover Rational Recovery, but information on independent recovery is suppressed in our society. Stay away from recovery groups of all kinds, set your confidence for lifetime abstinence arbitrarily at 100%, recognize all self-doubt as your Addictive Voice, and you’ll do fine.

    Cheers,

    Jack Trimpey

  8. Thomas

    I landed at my first AA meeting 3 months after my first drink at the age of 16. I asked for help, and that’s what I got. They helped me dignify and excuse 16 years (I am 32 now) of hazardous, deplorable, and outright preposterous behavior. My family bought into it too and I easily manipulated them into tolerating things that nobody with any sense would tolerate.
    So here I am in a big pile of problems. Financial ruin, Destroyed relationships etc…(the usual stuff)
    Know what though? It’s over. The NIGHTMARE is OVER.
    Thanks for the tough love Jack, wish I had met you 16 years ago.

  9. JOE

    My RR adventure began the day of my first and only DUI, May of 2006. The day after the incident I began rehearsing a way to quit drinking. A trip to the bookstore led me to stumble, excuse the expression, onto Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction. A weel later I made my Big Plan, and I was a recovered individual. I could feel it in my bones. The concept of AVRT is simple. The variables are eliminated and the choice to relapse into stupid behavior is eliminated. In fact, the term “relapse” doesn’t exist in AVRT. I learned to recognize the source of my misguided behavior and tell “it,” the Beast, where to stick it.

    Joe,

    You are the example that all addicted people should live up to. The purpose of the laws against drunk driving has been met, and you have far exceeded the meager standards set by the 12-step syndicate, which writes the laws, policies, and regulations of our court system. The public has a very strong interest in abstinence among drunk drivers, but no legitimate interests in how you become abstinent.

    The state has given every drunk driver two licenses — the license to drink (age of majority), and the license to drive. Drunk drivers are usually very good drivers but incompetent drinkers. In every jurisdiction, however, courts now suspend and revoke the drivers license but refuse to revoke the drinking licenses of drunk drivers. Even more amazing, is that drunk drivers may not revoke their own drinking licenses; the state assumes that offenders will continue drinking unless they affiliate with AA, where they may not summarily quit drinking, but must reserve the option to have “relapses.” Then, they must admit they are powerless over their desire for the pleasure of alcohol and in need of endless moral guidance from irresolute substance abusers. Once these hideous oaths are made, their driver’s licenses are restored.

    The recovery group movement is the fellowship of the Beast, into which millions of citizens are funneled each year. Recovery group beliefs and practices are about what one would expect of a collie or other friendly-looking animal. In a society where the dividing line between human beings and animals is becoming more blurred, it isn’t hard to guess why this is so.

    All anyone needs to defeat any addiction in a matter of days or weeks may be found in their original selves, their original family values which contained their ancestor’s codes of survival. AA recoveryism, however, is nothing more nor less than the Code of the Beast.

    Jack Trimpey



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