Addiction and Recovery, Through the Lens of AVRT®
©2014 Jack Trimpey, all rights reserved.
Ever wonder why alcoholics and problem drinkers drink so much? It’s because alcohol produces in them a pleasure greater than all others — an unspoken pleasure far greater than the normal survival drives of sex, eating, family life, the desire to succeed in life, and physical safety. The resulting drive to repeat that pleasure is proportionately stronger than normal survival drives. Alcohol is a synthetic, man-made substance, among a group of synthetic drugs that produce pleasure greater than evolution has prepared us to manage, a disorienting pleasure that causes one's moral compass to point south toward death rather than toward true north and life.
Ever wonder why alcoholics never really get better, but only stay sober one-day-at-a-time? It is because addiction makes lifetime abstinence appear intolerably boring, hollow, meaningless, a terrible deprivation. Alcoholics believe they have a disease, alcoholism, makes them powerless over the desire to drink/use. Instead of saying, “I will never drink again,” they say, “I won’t drink just for today,” and then rely upon group support and traditional doctrines of addicted people to see themselves through until bedtime. They renew their commitment to one-day-at-a-time sobriety for as long as possible, producing a cyclical lifestyle called, “in recovery,” or perhaps better, “recoveryism.”
While sobriety may look good on the surface, it reserves the option to drink under conditions called, “relapse.” Most alcoholics admit that relapses are very gratifying, although others deny that their relapses are for the sheer pleasure of it. Such an admission would raise questions not only about the disease concept of addiction, but also about the character of people in recovery.
Many problem drinkers, however, quit drinking/using altogether, once they see the writing on the wall. Usually their first line of defense is to attempt moderate drinking or switch to another means of getting high, but when they finally face unacceptable losses, they knock it off altogether, out of sheer desperation. In a powerful burst of self-determination, they quit once, for all time, "I will never drink/use again." Immediately, they reap the rewards of freedom from the darkness of addiction, and the dignity of solving a very serious problem based upon their own native beliefs and values. We call that sense of renewal the Abstinence Commitment Effect, a surge of uplifted spirits that lasts a lifetime. Fully recovered, the former addict learns to live comfortably in the here-and-now and confidently in the long run with residual desires they never act upon as matters of principle and personal integrity. AVRT focuses one's attention toward any thinking that supports or even suggests the possible future of of alcohol and other drugs.
Any recovery grouper will agree, “If you can quit on your own, you aren’t a real alcoholic.” When problem drinkers/users quit drinking/using for life, they prove they are not “real alcoholics” because alcoholics go to meetings, and problem drinkers don’t. They do not take on new addictions or become miserable dry-drunks because they do not feel deprived of something they have chosen to forsake for the rest of time. Instead, they get a new life and pursue the good in life without the cheap thrills of self-intoxication. Very importantly, they do not join a surrogate family consisting of sober alcoholics. Instead, they build bridges back into the families they have betrayed in pursuit of the high-life. This is profoundly different from expecting the addict's family to accept life under the dark cloud of tentative sobriety. In AVRT-based recovery, the addict does not make amends for drunken behavior. He/she abjectly apologizes for the vile act of drinking/using which he/she commited countless times, knowing full well the harm it was causing in the family. This is not the easier, softer way, but a bitter pill of remorse that is taken for as long as the addiction is remembered in the family. Your squirming discomfort over your past as a perfect ass is well-earned. By accepting the pain of being human, you will gain entry into the human family.
People in recovery often do take on new addictions because they are expected to, and bacause they see nothing seriously wrong (disgraceful or reprehensible) about intoxicating their brains with other substances in the pursuit of pleasure. Because they reserve the Option to have gratifying relapses, they remain in chronic state of frustrated addictive desire that accumulates as a constellation of misery — depression, anxiety, irritability, resentment, sleep disorder, and so on. We call that constellation of misery the addicto-depressive condition, a condition that is universal among addicted people. The ADC is not treatable by psychiatric medication because addicted people have earned their miseries. In other words, alcohol is a physiological depressant, and addiction brings about very depressing conditions in life, so addicted people really should be depressed. If they aren't depressed, they either aren't paying attention to what's happening (seeing through the eyes of addiction), or perhaps they simply cannot imagine a better life than the high-life affords.
Problem drinkers and real alcoholics are all addicted, however. Although alcoholism is a disease identified in group recovery doctrines, addiction is not a disease. Addiction is simply any behavior that persists against one’s own better judgment, a love/hate relationship with the high-life. Chemical dependence is the liberty to use whatever substance one chooses for the desired effect, “I depend upon salt to make my potatoes taste good,” and substance abuse is just an opinion that someone else drinks/uses too much for his own good. Addiction is the real killer, because it kills the human spirit, leaving the darkness of the high-life in its place.
Although there are vitally important medical treatments for symptoms of acute withdrawal, especially DT’s, there are no treatments, per se, for addiction. Services for “addiction treatment" are actually treatments devised for other related problems such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, irritability, and so on. It's no wonder that addiction treatment doesn't work, but only reinforces the clinical illusion of innocence. Although many believe that addiction is a symptom of those conditions, it is not. Addiction is a primary, functional disorder (not a disease) that may be willfully abandoned through a personal commitment to permanent abstinence.
This is an abundant, rich resource on AVRT that offers more than enough information for anyone to fully recover in as short a time as one chooses. Any moron can decide to never again commit just one, vile act — the act of self-intoxication — and find within himself the ability to stubbornly stick to that decision no matter what. Many thousands of persons have achieved immediate and lasting freedom from addiction through the programmed instruction on AVRT, The Crash Course on AVRT®. Here is an excellent summary and study guide, AVRT in a Nutshell, which you may download and print out. If you are a friend or relative of an addicted person, you can avoid the pitfalls and misdirection contained in mainstream thinking about addiction recovery at the Crash Course on AVRT for Families. It is particularly important that you avoid the intervention approach made famous on daytime and cable TV programs, described in this article.
There is no good reason anyone must pay money in order to permanently discontinue the use of alcohol and other drugs. On the other hand, there is nothing about addiction that suggests eligibility for charity or tax subsidized services and materials. The AVRToolStore provides the central books on AVRT and offers pay-per-view videos on AVRT-based recovery. The Rational Recovery Discussion Forum is a subscription area that also contains the Advanced Crash Course on AVRT® and an extensive database of AVRT oriented articles and literature. Direct instruction on AVRT-based recovery for addicted people and their families is described at AVRTeleConference.