RATIONAL RECOVERY

Rational Recovery (RR) is a source of counseling, guidance, guidance, and direct instruction on self-recovery from addiction, alcohol and other drugs through planned, permanent abstinence designed as a direct counterpoint to Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and twelve step programs. RR was founded in 1986 by Jack Trimpey, a California licensed clinical social worker. Trimpey works in the field of treatment of alcoholism and other drug addictions. He admits to 25 years of "world class alcoholism", from which experience he developed his system of self recovery.


The program is offered via the Internet and through books, videos and lectures. The Rational Recovery program is based on the premise that the addict both desires and is capable of permanent, planned abstinence. However, the RR 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, bowel control.


Consequently, when the desires of this "voice are not satiated, the addict experiences anxiety, depression, restlessness, irritability, and anhedonia (the 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 for responsibility, success, delayed gratification, or moral obligation.

While nomenclature differs, the methods are similar to those used in Cognitive Therapy of Substance Disorders (Beck, et al.)


and other belief-attitude-and appraisal challenging and cognitive restructuring schemes.

The RR program is based on recognizing and defeating what the program refers to as the "addictive voice" (internal thoughts and 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 practitionerin control of the addictive voice, not other 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 regaincontrol over their life and never worry about relapses.


Although addiction is a life-long 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 reprecussions associated with a single relapse.

The notions that internal thoughts support self-intoxication and that the practitioner is in control of the addictive voice have become foundational in "evidence-based" treatment schemes at more progressive substance abuse treatment facilities in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK.


These facilities base their programs on the success of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. Cognitive behavior therapy, Cognitive Appraisal Therapy, and Schema Therapy for anxiety and depression, as well as for substance abuse.

While RR and AA promote abstinence, the programsuse radically different strategies. RR repeatedly make it clear that there is no better time to construct a "big plan" to abstain from drinking/using than now, and that AA's idea of "one day at a time is contradictory to never using again.

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* RR does not regard alcoholism as a disease, but rather a voluntary behavior.

*RR discourages adoption of the forever "recovering" drunk persona.

*There are no RR recovery groups (although meetings were held throughout the country during the 1990s).

*Great emphasis is placed on self-efficacy.

*There are no discrete steps and no consideration of religious matters.

RR has voiced the conscientious objections of tens of thousands of persons who have received unwanted, unconstitutional, religious indoctrinationsin the course of addiction treatment.


To them and others, we provide a program that is free from religion. By advocating for their religious freedom, and identifying the 12 stepprogram as a religion that competes with established religions, we have been accused by some of being irreligious, sacrilegious or evenanti-religious. Ain't so.

RR claims to remain neutral on the subject of religion and sobriety. RR founder Jack Trimpey explains, "....RR is not interested in havingpeople give up any of their religious beliefs; it's just none of our business what people believe about gods and saints.


The only exception here, of course, is when one is 'depending' on a rescuing deity in order to remain sober.


If that is one's preference, then AA is an ideal program."

RR claims that "AVRT has made recovery groups obselete." In 1998, RR announced, "The Recovery Group Movement is Over!...Beginning January 1,1999,,all addiction recovery group meetings for Rational Recovery in the United States, Canada, and abroad are hereby canceled and will not be rescheduled ever again, its just a waste of time and is completely unproductive."


Despite those remarks, there are still some groups in existence today, although the numbers are dwindling.

RR claims that "AVRT has made recovery groups obselete." In 1998, RR announced, "The Recovery Group Movement is Over!...Beginning January 1,1999,,all addiction recovery group meetings for Rational Recovery in the United States, Canada, and abroad are hereby canceled and will not be rescheduled everagain, its just a waste of time and is completely unproductive."


Despite those remarks, there are still some groups in existence today, although the numbers are dwindling.

In a 1993 research study led by Mark Galanter, a former president of both the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Associationof Addiction Psychiatry, attempted to measure the impact of RR on members.


The research found that RR succeeded in engaging substance abusers and promoting abstinence among many of them while presenting a cognitive orientation that is different from the spiritual one of AA. Its utility in substance abuse treatment warrants further assessment.


The results of the impact on this type of recovery are too few to make an educational assumption. This research was conducted before RR disbanded their meetings in favor of self-recovery treatment.


SMART Recovery split from RR just after this research and continues to offer these same groups.

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