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Recoveryism: Life According to Addiction

©2007, Jack Trimpey. All rights reserved.

Notice in the top menu, there are three aspects of AVRT-based recovery — My Recovery (defeating the primary addiction), Families of Addiction (protection and reconciliation of the family), and understanding recoveryism (the peculiar, inverted lifestyle common to all addicted people).

 

Definitions:

 

  • Addiction: Persistent use of alcohol and other drugs against one’s own better judgment.
  • Big Plan: A personal commitment to lifetime abstinence, “I will never drink/use again.”
  • Addictive Voice: Any thinking that supports or suggests the possible future use of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Recoveryism: The way of life arising from the Addictive Voice.

 

 

Although AVRT® automatically exposes recoveryism as a product of the Addictive Voice, it is important to give that lifestyle a name, so that recoveryism may be identified as part of the problem of addiction rather than as part of any solution to addiction. Understanding recoveryism aids addicted people in defeating the residuals of addiction, and protects their families against the many cultural supports for chronic addiction. 

 


A very simple example of recoveryism is attending recovery group meetings. There, the Addictive Voice is taught to addicted people, along with a constellation of character defects that correspond to addiction, defend addiction, and perpetuate addiction. There, addicted people learn to call their recoveryism, “alcoholism,” and make their self-intoxication appear to be a result rather than the cause of their personal problems. Another hard-core example of recoveryism is one-day-at-a-time sobriety, looking good while retaining the option to have “relapses.” Yet another example is the disease concept of addiction, “Once an addict, always an addict.” These are simply ways of putting off the painful decision to quit drinking/using altogether, right now, for life. 

 

Recoveryism extends addiction far beyond the time when an addicted person would very likely discontinue his addiction altogether. For example, many criminals would gladly surrender their drinking licenses in exchange for court leniency, but instead of focusing on the obvious need for abstinence, judges sentence criminals into recovery groups where they are required to form subordinate relationships with chronically addicted people and reserve the option of having “relapses,” i.e., drinking/using. Indeed, recoveryism has destroyed more lives and families than addiction itself, because recoveryism is the very host of addiction — a system of perceptions, beliefs, values, traditions, language, social attitudes, social policies, and political causes surrounding addiction and recovery.

However, for our immediate purposes in AVRT-based recovery, recoveryism is the state of unresolved addiction, when the problem drinking/using has been identified, and the addicted person has, perhaps grudgingly, accepted responsibility for the problem, but fails to take decisive action to end his destructive self-indulgence. Because addiction is persistent, and mobilizes the mind for its own long-term survival, the addict will openly take measures to convey sincerity while he is privately reserving the option, or actually planning, to eventually get drunk/high under certain undefined conditions. Because he reserves the option to continue intoxicating himself, he will rigidly avoid taking two key actions, (1) he will not apologe for his past self-intoxication, because he sees nothing wrong with drinking and reserves the option to continue it, and (2) he will not guarantee permanent abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

 

In recoveryism, there remains much well-deserved uncertainty about the problem drinker’s personal character, because in his private thoughts, he believes that drinking/using is an innocent act, and that only his drunken behavior is subject to moral judgment. Of course, this is exactly the moral issue which lies at the core of addiction. The problem drinker’s denial that his drinking is immoral conduct opens the gate to unbridled self-indulgence in addictive pleasures. Consequently, his tears of remorse about the effects of his drinking may fall into the beer in which he is attempting to drown his sorrow. Worse, he wastes his life struggling with massive character defects that would promptly fade and disappear if he were to summarily quit getting high.

 

Here are some examples of recoveryism, followed by a reality check:

1. Gerald has been attending recovery groups for about five years. He’s been sober now for three years, after his first and only relapse which followed the death of his beloved pet, Rover.

This is common recoveryism. Gerald has not quit drinking, and he never will as long as he is only sober, one-day-at-a-time. Even though he has caused his family much suffering by drinking, he still has not figured out that, for him, the act of self-intoxication is immoral conduct, in itself. He follows the impaired reasoning of other addicted people like himself, who say that they drink due to an unidentified disease, and drinking is just an innocent symptom of that disease. He claims the privilege of having yummy relapses whenever he really feels like it, and expects his family to accept the uncertainty of not knowing how long it will be until he explodes once again into drunkenness.

 

2. Patricia’s dad is an alcoholic and needs treatment. The family is planning an intervention because he’s in denial.

This is family recoveryism. Patricia’s dad denies nothing. He knows he’s a problem drinker and has been to recovery groups but still struggles to stay sober. Patricia's personal counselor referred her to an interventionist, who will orchestrate a surprise party for her dad, during which he will be abducted into a treatment center. The melodrama’s cast will include family members from all over, friends, and possily employers and clergy. The players are scripted and rehearsesd to confront him with numerous examples of his disagreeable conduct, punctuated with love bombs intended to fend off his predictable anger. At the end, father will be tearfully led to a rehab van idling outside. The family is loyally pitching in together to pay for his very expensive treatment, but they aren’t yet aware that only about half stay sober for six months, that only about 5% are consistently sober after 5 years, and that interventions are highly destructive to family relationships.

3. Sabrina is finally getting help after many years of alcoholism. She’s been to about a dozen meetings, but doesn’t have a sponsor yet. Her husband finally got her to attend meetings, after he joined Al-Anon two years ago. He’s feeling much better that she’s getting help, although she is still having relapses and sometimes talks of suicide.

This is malignant recoveryism. Sabrina is becoming hopeless, facing two equally unacceptable alternatives — active addiction and life in recovery. In Al-Anon, her husband has become remote from her, withholding affection on the condition that she attend AA meetings. She hates AA because it violates her native beliefs and values, because it gives zero information on how to quit drinking and stay quit, because the recovery group lifestyle is weird and depressing, and because she does not want to become like the others who attend meetings. She is at risk of self-destruction by her own hand, by drinking or by other means.

4. After spewing a bigoted, racist tirade upon a sheriff’s officer who was arresting him for DUI, Mel Gibson has apologized for his behavior, stating that he is not a racist or a bigot, but simply an alcoholic who has struggled against the disease of alcoholism for many years without succes.

This is cultural recoveryism. Mr. Gibson is a chronically addicted man who would likely have quit drinking long ago had he not followed his fellow Hollywood lemmings into the recovery group movement. There, where the beliefs and values of addiction rule, habitual vice is elevated to the status of disease, and perfect asses like him become poster boys and girls for the disease of alcoholism. Mr. Gibson has the morals of a snail, unable to figure out after several DUI’s that, for him, the act of self-intoxication is profoundly immoral conduct. Therefore, when he gets into trouble, he does not apologize for turning himself loose upon humanity as a dangerous, wild animal, but only apologizes for the animal conduct that invariably results when he drinks. Everyone is impressed to some degree that he apologizes for essentially harmless name-calling, but no one is outraged that he excuses himself for the one, vile act that places everyone in danger, over and over, year after year.

5. James takes Antabuse® every day so that he won’t resume drinking. He says, “It’s like insurance. I take my ‘good-boy’ pills so that I don’t have to keep deciding over and over to not drink.”

This is iatrogenic (harm caused by medical care) recoveryism. James is not only gullible, lazy and stupid, but he’s doomed to more troubles. Antabuse® is the brand name for disulphiram, which, when mixed with alcohol, creates a poison. Disulfiram is an industrial solvent used to vulcanize rubber. Its poisonous nature was discovered when tire factory workers turned up sick, en masse, at a Swedish hospital. The violently ill workers had all stopped for a drink after work, where they had absorbed disulphiram through the skin. The addiction treatment industry has borrowed from the tire industry to create its perverted “Antabuse®” therapy, which is now prescribed by physicians to fend off addictive desire, as if their patients are actually powerless over addictive desire. Of course, addiction treatment doesn’t work, whether by the spoken word or by using drugs to fight drugs. It can’t work, because addiction is willful, purposeful, immoral conduct, not a “treatable” affliction or condition. Addiction treatment is a perfect example of iatrogenic recoveryism.

6.While out drinking with her friends, Susan has twice gotten lost in the city while in a state of alcoholic blackout. Each time, she was returned home by unidentified persons. On her latest outing, it is likely she was raped, but she cannot recall her experiences. She is now seeing a psychologist in order to cut back on her drinking. Once she proves she no longer needs alcohol as a coping mechanism, her desire to drink crazily will fade or vanish. Then she can carefully monitor her blood alcohol content to make sure she doesn’t exceed a safe amount of alcohol.

More iatrogenic recoveryism. Susan is being raped by our social service system, which permits this kind of insanity to pass as professional service. Susan must never drink again, as if alcohol were cyanide. She will likely die of acute alcohol poisoning or violence while under the influence long before she learns to drink “moderately.” Recoveryism is just as deadly as addiction itself.

7. A high executive is found to be engaged in an office-based sexual affair with a young employee. After lying to his board of directors and outside investigators, he announces that he’s getting personal counseling and talks about growing up with an alcoholic father.

This is political recoveryism. Such public figures are common, and exemplify the arrogance of recoveryism, e.g., they feel entitled to behave in any fashion that is not concretely harmful, use elaborate legal and political defenses, are quite resentful when caught in serious ethical or legal struggles, and shift responsibility for what they are “falsely” accused of onto remote conditions and circumstances.

Recoveryism is actually a stage of addiction, a defensive position when the addict has been found out, has gotten into serious trouble with his family, employer, or the law, and is struggling to solve those serious, practical problems while reserving the option to continue drinking/using. One of the most significant strategies in this struggle to guarantee perpetual access to alcohol and other hedonic drugs is to enlist fellowships of other like-minded, addicted people in the task of providing cover for the addiction’s hedonic (pleasure-seeking) agenda. There are hundreds of these in the United States — mostly non-profit organizations advancing the disease concept of addiction, professional counselors offering “addiction treatment” services, and social support networks to help “alcoholics” and other addictive disease victims adapt to that allegedly crippling affliction.

 

There’s something wrong with “sober” people.

Recoveryism means about the same thing as “in recovery,” that delicate state when an addicted person is struggling with the problem, trying to “work on the problem” by cutting back, limiting drinking times, and very likely attending in recovery groups, counseling, rehabs, or special readings. In summary, recoveryism is trying to look good while doing nothing about the core problem, which is the impending harm of continued substance abuse.

 

Recoveryism also means about the same thing as “sober.” The word, “sober,” is a perfect example of how the Addictive Voice can change the meaning of words to serve addiction. In its strict sense, sober means “not drunk.” Sobriety checkpoints illustrate this meaning well, simply making sure that drivers are not drunk while at the wheel. However, in the world of recoveryism, the word “sobriety” is foisted upon the human family as if it were a spectacular accomplishment, possibly a miracle accepted from God Himself. In recoveryism, sobriety exists only today, “one-day-at-a-time,” in the current, fleeting moment, as if unseen forces may strike at any time, resulting in renewed self-intoxication. In recoveryism, this daily drama continues endlessly, as if it is entirely unreasonable for others, such as one’s family, employer, or community, to expect a personal guarantee of permanent abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

 

If you hear someone introduced as “sober,” you immediately know that his personal history was otherwise. It would be unwise, or at least quite risky, to vote for, to marry, to loan money, or to hire someone whose personal history has caused such an unremarkable fact to be mentioned at all, let alone included in his description or introduction. If you were told that someone does not rob gas stations, or beat children, you should certainly consider that comment as a warning, and avoid close encounters with that individual. However, learning that someone never drinks, or never uses drugs, would give you little reason to doubt that person’s character or to discriminate against him in matters requiring trust.

 

Recoveryism is a natural product of habitual vice, the mindset that supports the antisocial, anti-family nature of addiction to substances and other intense pleasures. Recoveryism can be heard on the airwaves of mainstream broadcast media, seen on Internet support group sites, received from our health care and counseling professionals, and directly experienced by the families of chronically addicted people.

 

Having destroyed more lives and families than addiction itself, recoveryism is dangerous, disgusting, and deadly. As long as addiction remains unresolved, bad things can happen, and in recoveryism, Murphy’s Law is definitely in effect. Because recoveryism is just another phony face of addiction, AVRT-based recovery ends recoveryism altogether. The prizes of AVRT-based recovery are freedom and dignity, neither of which may be achieved in recoveryism. When you make your Big Plan, as in the Crash Course on AVRT®, you will abandon your familiar, addict-identity and what’s left over is you, the original soul you once were, but seasoned by your struggle against the dark side of your nature.


When your addiction is over, it’s really over, and it’s for you to know and for others to find out. You can help them find out by first defeating the Beast of addiction, and then returning to your family, employer, and community as a solid, predictable character upon whom others can depend. If your family has a problem drinker or drug addict, let it be known to him or her that one-day-at-a-time sobriety is not good enough, and that common decency and family loyalty both demand a personal guarantee of lifetime abstinence from alcohol and other hedonic drugs.

© Copyright, 2017, Rational Recovery Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.