Rational Recovery founder, Jack Trimpey, has filed a class-action
ethics complaint to NASW, identifying conflict of interest
among social workers who are also members of AA/NA or other
12-step organization. This may be the first confrontation
between a professional counselor in good standing and his
professional organization, concerning the intrusion of 12-step
social cultism into professional practice.
Click below to download the ethics complaint, a relatively
small Acrobat file.
When you have reviewed the complaint, you may wish to examine
the supporting document mentioned therein, a 750K Acrobat
Journal of Rational Recovery, Jan. - Feb., 2001
If you are a member of NASW, you are invited to join Jack
Trimpey as a signatory in this important action.
If you are a physician, registered nurse, substance abuse
counselor, attorney, psychologist, or other licensed professional,
you are urged to initiate similar inquiries to the ethics
committees and boards of your own profession. We will gladly
asssist you in formulating your documents of inquiry and
providing guidance and advice based on many years of activity
in the addictions field.
Dear Counseling Professional,
Addiction treatment is invariably a harmful
practice, because the client is told that substance abuse
is a symptom of hidden causes, either physiological or psychosocial.
If the treatment involves participation in recovery groups,
the client faces misinformation, misguidance, and confused
notions drawn from pop-psychology, medical mumbo-jumbo,
and bad religion. The tools and paradigms common to our
professions are inappropriate to the task of helping addicted
people. The very best that can be done for addicted people
is to make available to them clear information on planned
Nearly always, treatment is based on a
psychosocial study that is totally irrelevant to why "alcoholics"
drink and junkies use, a study that is equally irrelevant
to how people normally cease and desist from using psychoactive
substances. And tragically, the client is usually referred
for group support, usually AA/NA, but also of the secular,
psychological kind. Always, such support is by people prone
to trouble who are unable to help themselves and have no
idea if or when they will resume their addictions, i.e.,
The psychological disease model serves
up diverse psychosocial remedies, most commonly cognitive
psychology, family systems, past-oriented, and supportive
therapies. These approaches were devised for purposes entirely
different from addiction recovery, and are often applied
by persons with no personal insight into addiction, or worse,
by members of AA whose perceptions of reality are grossly
There could not be a more confused, incoherent,
counterproductive, unethical, unscientific, and harmful
approach to addiction recovery than the disease/treatment/recovery-group
concept of addiction that prevails in our social service
system. Always presumed, are hidden reasons for habitual
self-intoxication; and that people who drink unwisely are
diseased and unable to self-correct. Never is it said that
drunks just love to drink, and that junkies use for the
sheer pleasure of it. Worse, addicted people are never,
ever expected, encouraged, or shown how to summarily "knock
it off." Instead, we are killing them with the kindnesses
of addictive disease and addiction treatment. There is no
longer any excuse for any person to be limited to the choice
of AA, for RR is well-known, and our methods show more genuine
value than AA ever has.
The widespread practice of professionals
forcing or intimidating clients into addiction treatment
services is an unsurpassed ethical catastrophe, one made
more ugly by the fact that so many who make use of their
professional selves to fill the ranks of AA are AA members
Because of us professionals, the public
believes that addiction is a treatable disease epidemic,
and will consequently tolerate endless expansion of the
addiction treatment industry, and the increasing, systematic
violation of addicted people's civil rights. In this, we
have betrayed the public. If you tell your clients that
addiction is or is caused by a disease, you are lying to
them because you know full well there is no evidence to
support that contention. That misrepresentation has a crippling
effect on addicted people, as it removes volition as a remedy
The American addiction treatment tragedy
will remain in the memories of our society long after Alcoholics
Anonymous has been sent back to Akron, from whence it came.
But even when "addiction treatment" professionals
find more legitimate work, there will be no way that the
damage done to millions, in the name of addiction recovery
and addiction treatment, can be undone. There is no way
that the professions can be forgiven for their intolerable
conduct during these frenzied years of freewheeling addiction
treatment funding. The burden of guilt for the public health
cataclysm of addiction treatment will remain a permanent,
dark stain on all of the health professions.
If you are a licensed professional engaged
in addiction treatment or counseling, I advise you here
to get out of the business. It is a matter of your personal
honor and professional stance. Substance abuse counseling
is a bogus occupation, newly created around 1980 to accommodate
rivers of federal cash. If you are a certified substance
abuse counselor, find new work in an occupation for which
you are qualified. Your certification is worthless, a kite
flown on the winds of discontent, misguided trust, missionary
zeal, and unwise legislation.
There is no help for addicted people, and
as a professional you ought to know this. Addicted people
will have to quit drinking and using, not a great accomplishment
for any of them, but your "help" is only a distraction
from, and often an obstacle to, their very serious task.
The way for their recovery has been figured out, and it
is called AVRT, freely available everywhere.
In my responses to the following letters,
I will take the professions, and perhaps you, to task for
the grievous error of offering services called addiction
treatment, and for the unforgivable error of referring individuals
into the social cult, Alcoholics Anonymous. If you are perturbed
by anything you read here, let fly your opinion, and send
it to us. Of course, I will respond with unbridled discourse,
so think your objection through carefully prior to submission.
Jack Trimpey, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
dba, former drunk
Founder, Rational Recovery
Dear Jack et al,
I have thoroughly enjoyed acquainting myself
with your material. It is always refreshing to read clear
I have been serving in the military as
a substance abuse counselor for the past 15 yrs. I along
with many of my colleagues have stomached most of the bologna
that we believed could be ingested by a human being and
have miraculously survived. We have been trained by all
of the "gurus" to include Johnson Institute, Hazelden,
Gorski, Wegsheider-Cruz, ASAM, and whoever else was in vogue
at the time. They have baffled us with obscure "facts"
and research of dubious origin for decades. I know that
if you ask the garden variety "CADAC," they would
anonymously admit that they don't buy much of it. I have
never bought into the disease nonsense. I really appreciate
your stance on addiction being completely a moral issue;
a result of habitual self-indulgence. I also concur with
your stance on AA etc. I wouldn't send someone to AA on
a bet. As a self-recovered individual (became a Christian
and stopped drinking) I remember humoring my colleagues
by attending 12 step meetings from time to time. I rarely
verbalized my observations (due to them being anathema)
that most attendees were court ordered degenerates or individuals
forced to go by their treatment regimens. I still harbor
some guilt over "failing" some of our patients
from rehab because they would do everything we asked except
go to AA.
I am preparing for the ministry when I
get out of the service and am presently taking my seminary
studies. I agree that AVRT fits nicely with Christian theology.
The Apostle Paul would call your "beast" the "flesh"
I have a few questions. Since I don't send
anyone to "treatment" any more and see all my
patients individually, what am I authorized to say? That
is to say, can I talk about AVRT that my patients learn
from your website? I have turned on many to your website
and they really seem to enjoy the dignity and freedom it
provides. I just don't want to do anything dishonest. I
get paid by Uncle Sam for doing whatever I choose to do
in my sessions, so I am not profiting from your material.
I have bought your book package and am actively sharing
it with my military counselor friends. Do we need a license?
Have you done any military training seminars.
If so I think you would be a breath of fresh air! At our
last annual training many were asking about alternatives
to AA. We are training with Hazelden currently and get a
steady diet of the disease concept crap. It is always the
same stuff. Baffled with BS! We all got complimentary copies
of "The Neurobiology of Alcoholism Simplified"
put out by Betty Ford. What a bunch of medical mumbo jumbo.
No one could even understand what Dr. Cowmanure was talking
TSgt Mark R. Marley
The tragedy, I think, is that so few
believe the 12-step crap, and so many are too cowardly to
say so. Part of the problem, is that most people have no
concept of what AA consists of, socially and philosophically,
and blindly accept bizarre pronouncements from celebrities,
politicians, and members of AA. America is in a collective
trance, accepting the suggestions of the hypnotist, AA,
The military's submission to AA is alarming
because members of AA place themselves so readily into positions
of conflict of interest. For example, the loyalty of physicians
to AA is greater than to their own credentials, as we see
in their support of the disease model and the travesty of
addiction treatment. They routinely disown their families.
vowing their allegiance to recovery (AA membership) over
their responsibilities to their families; why should we
not question their loyalty to their country? In my contacts
with ONDCP, I have gained every reasons to question the
loyalty of that administration to the USA, owing to the
incident (JRR, May - June, 1999) in which they actively
concealed the identity of a staff person I discovered was
an AA member who was very likely influencing national drug
In spite of their preoccupation with
traditions that convey honesty, sincerity, and purity of
motive, I have found AAers to be more prone to dishonesty
and corruption than others. For example, steppers in the
medical profession attempt to use the forms of scientific
discourse to lend intellectual respectability to such crazy
beliefs as the disease concept of addiction and the addiction
treatment scam. Although nothing substantial has changed
since last century, doctors now routinely refer for addiction
treatment, even under coercion or threats to withhold medical
services. AAers in the counseling professions follow suit
with medicine, citing medical authority instead of admitting
the lack of evidence for addictive disease. They participate
in hardball tactics with both their clients and peers, aggressively
foisting their creed on one and all. using the force of
law and administrative authority when possible.
You are free to tell anyone you wish
about AVRT; refer them to the books and website, and encourage
them as much as possible to accept full personal responsibility
for their recoveries from addiction. If you would like to
enlist me as a speaker or consultant for the military, give
me a call.
This is the first time I have been to your
web-site and I'm thrilled! I have read The Small Book and
attended 3-4 "Smart Recovery" meetings in NYC
and I agree with what you say. I say I am ready to quit,
but there is a small voice inside saying, no, you can sneak
some wine later this week, or if you don't do it this week,
just stop for a year or so, and then you can drink again.
I know that is crazy.
SMART Recovery is a spin-off of Rational
Recovery consisting of professionals who believe that addiction
is a psychological problem or has psychological origins.
They waste peoples' time disputing irrational ideas and
getting people to attend their recovery group meetings.
SMART uses my literary albatross, The Small Book, and they
refuse to recommend the later, and far better book, Rational
Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction, which takes
the reader directly to complete recovery within the time
it takes to read the book. The reason they won't recommend
the better book, is that it eliminates the need to attend
SMART meetings and makes fun of REBT pop-psychology. Stop
wasting your time with recovery groups, and get the Rational
Recovery book at your local bookstore or by calling 530-621-2667.
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
I bought your book yesterday and started
reading it at 5 am this morning. I finished about an hour
WOW! I was feeling such despair and hopelessness,
which I now realize was my AV talking, because if it was
hopeless, why not drink? I already recognized that I drank
because I liked getting drunk. I would just say all the
other stuff(excuses) because people who don't have a drinking
problem don't understand getting drunk just because you
This book is much better than The Small
Book, and SMART RECOVERY should focus more on AVRT.
I was recommended to SMART RECOVERY from Dr. Ellis's office,
so you may want to contact him and let him know your feelings.
Are there any RR Self-Help Groups in NYC?
I would be very interested, as I think the re-enforcement
would be helpful to me. Regardless, I will never drink again.
Thank you for your wonderful book. I may
contact you again to get involved in eliminating AA in its
current form, or just to let you know about my new life.
Your case is a good example of why Rational
Recovery doesn't use REBT, why we have severed our relationships
with the professional community, and why we have disbanded
our extensive recovery group network. Dr. Ellis and his
SMART cronies permanently damaged the movement against the
12-step syndicate that I started in the mid-1980's. They
understood clearly that AVRT contradicted their intention
to become a secondary recovery group movement, exploiting
the addiction treatment industry the 12-step syndicate had
already developed. They mutinied against my leadership,
and in 1994 attempted to take over Rational Recovery, using
unscrupulous means. None of them know much about addictions,
having no first hand experience with it, but sport their
academic credentials to assert credibility. They say they
oppose the disease model of addiction, but substitute their
own psychological disease model of addiction in which REBT,
they say, is good therapy. Worse, they are fully aware of
AVRT®, although denied permission to use it, and they
withhold information about it. They tell people SMART is
the same as RR, only better, and offer lame imitations of
AVRT. Amazingly, they attack my character because RR is
not a money-laundering, nonprofit organization.
Your need for reinforcement of what
you know about AVRT is the emergence of self-doubt, and
you can simply identify all self-doubt, including your desire
for reinforcement, as your Addictive Voice.
Dear Rational Recovery,
I am a psychotherapist with a client who
has been in a 12 step program for sex addiction. Recently,
he has been feeling as though this program is no longer
working for him. Can RR be applied to work on sex addiction?
If so, is there a resource in Boulder, Colorado I might
suggest to him?
Thank You, (Name withheld)
Groups of insecure people who cannot
predict their own future conduct are probably the worst
source of guidance or wisdom for people like your client.
We believe strongly that the group format is entirely inappropriate
to the task of addiction recovery, using the general definition
of addiction as "pleasure-driven stupidity." AVRT
is the common thread of self-correction among those who
have successfully recovered from various addictions. RR
is not part of the recovery group movement, nor of the addiction
treatment industry. AVRT is not a professional tool, but
the lore of self-recovery in a brief, educational format.
It introduces the moral axis of self correction, long lost
in American society to the disease concept of misbehavior.
The only RR resource in Boulder or any
other community is located directly between your client's
ears. AVRT is set forth at our website and in the book,
Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction
(Pocket Books, 1996). Refer your client to those resources,
and he may promptly decide to either reduce or cease and
desist from the behavior in question. A significant part
of his recovery is unlearning the 12-step program, one step
at a time, until he has regained his common sense and sanity.
It is doubtful that anything was "wrong" with
him in the first place, until he became entangled with the
12-step cult and accepted their sin-as-disease nonsense.
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
I can not begin to tell the horror stories
i have encountered working in a drug and alcohol detox.
I am a nurse, and a chemical dependency associate (C.D.A-
half the education and hours of a C.A.D.C.)
I also do not use drugs or alcohol anymore.
I was forced to attend AA, which i believe hindered my attempt
to "get sober." I felt as if there was something
wrong with me because I could not "get it" (AA's
I stopped drinking and using drugs because
I wanted a better life. There was no "miracle"...(although
it was easier to think that my "disease" caused
me to do all those terrible, stupid things) I believe in
God, but a higher power didn't make me drink, so how was
God or a higher power going to help me stop? I stopped when
I decided I wanted to be a responsible, productive person,
and raise a family. I view AA as an obstacle. I was pregnant,
stopped drinking, but, did not go to a "treatment center'
so when the baby was born, he was taken from me. Even though
I was not drinking, tested negative on all random testing,
those matters were not the focus; the focus was that I did
not go to a treatment center!
Anyway, everything is good now. I have
my son (I would do anything for him). Once I realized that
I had to attend A.A. and rehab in order to get him back,
I did. It did not help in any way.
I became a nurse to help people. I started
working in a drug and alcohol detox because I had been through
it and maybe, somehow I could help someone else. I became
a C.D.A, with plans on becoming a CADC, which I will not
do now, as everything is AA based. In a way, I wanted to
see why A.A. didn't work for me, as I was led to believe,
that without AA, I would drink and drug again....it was
just a matter of time. I was also misled into believing
that A.A. works. I have worked in the drug and alcohol detox
for 2 1/2 years now and see now that rehabs only adopt AA
into their programs because that is how they get money from
the state. I also see most of the people that come back
again and again....are struggling with A.A. they are in
AA, but "relapsing" because, they are told, they
are not working the steps, or some other excuse other than
the real reason. I think the real reason people don't get
better in AA is that AA prevents them from getting better.
I just wanted to share this with you. I
wish there was something I could do to change this awful
form of injustice, I just don't know what I can do.
If you think I could be of help somehow,
please contact me. Please don't publish my e-mail address
though! Thank you
Thank you, thank you, thank you! You
have done more to help addicted people in writing your email
to Rational Recovery than all of your 12-stepping colleagues
have, combined. I know that everything you say is true,
since I have been hearing similar stories for over a decade.
Sadly, the problem of AA abuse is worsening, but the numbers
we reach with our warnings about AA are also growing. I
would like to post your piece on the Horror of AA page,
with or without your name, and possibly link it to the Professional
Issues page as well.
We have broken the 12-step code, and
will be helping people to understand how the 12-step program
undermines and destroys the human spirit.
You can help your agency's clientele
by directing them to Rational Recovery books and materials.
You can take information on Rational Recovery from the website
and give it to any addicted person. You should read the
Professional Issues page because agency employees risk severe
retaliations from the 12-step syndicate if they speak out
against Alcoholics Anonymous.
Always commend people who say that they
don't get the 12-step program; say it is because they are
in their right minds, and that they risk losing their minds
by wading deeper into the troubled waters of the recovery
group movement. Tell them how easy it is to quit an addiction,
compared to facilitated recovery, and use your own personal
experience to support your stance. Always, direct them to
Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction
(Pocket Books, 1996), and warn them against recovery
groups, particularly 12-step groups. When they say they
don't think they have a disease, say, "Of course you
don't, and neither does your family!"
I am sorry you were caught in the 12-step
meat grinder, but perhaps your experience will prepare you
to truly help others. You discovered the truth about addiction
treatment, which is that treatment is a fraudulent practice
with the sole purpose of enriching the 12-step syndicate
and extending it power over people.
I suggest that you keep observing the
tragedy of 12-step treatment at your agency and write stories
or articles about actual cases in which people flounder
and struggle against the insanity of the 12-step program.
We hear from thousands here at the RR office, but your view,
working at an addiction treatment center, is quite different
Again, thanks for going to bat for the
truly desperate people who are crippled more by the recovery
group movement than by their addictions. I am sure that
with time our view will prevail, because the people will
make it so.
Dear Rational Recovery,
In Stanton Peele's "The Truth about
Addiction and Recovery," the appendix (p.383-386) tells
of how the Journal of the American Medical Association announced
in 1990 that the alcoholism gene had been identified, and
then eight months later JAMA discredited this theory because
it, of course, did not hold up under scrutiny.
In "The Real AA" by Ken Ragge,
on page 153, it reads, "the AMA...declared alcoholism
a disease in 1956." My question is, has the American
Medical Association changed its stance on "alcoholism
as a disease" since then?
I have read a number of books on addiction
and steppism by a number of authors (Jack Trimpey, Chaz
Bufe, Herbert Fingarette, and the two above) and would really
like to know the AMA's present view on the subject, considering
that there is no evidence whatsoever that addiction is a
I would really appreciate a reply. If you're
interested, I can relate to you a tale of lies and deceit
my family experienced at the hands of "the treatment
industry." This includes how a doctor all but told
me my father had cirrhosis ("...and his liver, well,
that's only a matter of time,") without having performed
ANY tests or biopsies, simply because my father was in the
hospital recovering from a DUI accident. There is more,
trust me, and the recriminations continue to abound. Sincerely,
Christine M. Evans
AMA is often cited as an authority on
the matter of substance abuse, particularly as a group whose
opinions on the etiology of addiction are definitive. However,
AMA is not a scientific organization, but professional guild
created to help its members swim in the stream of commerce.
They tend to matters of ethics, policies, and professional
integrity, but their charter holds them to be neither a
source nor arbiter of scientific truth.
In addition to the groping errors you
mention, AMA also endorsed the proposition that alcohol
addiction "is" a disease in 1987, during the final
session of their annual conference. Yes, by democratic vote
as members were starting to head home, they established
scientific fact by show of hands.
The membership of AMA's American Society
for Addiction Medicine (ASAM), a clanging word mixture,
is composed of 99% members of Alcoholics Anonymous whose
view of science is as distorted as Nazi Germany's was, i.e.,
the cause shapes science, and not vice versa.
I have spoken to hundreds of physicians
about the same question you have raised, and it is surprising
how intellectually unsophisticated physicians are across
the board. There was a time when physicians were regarded
as very wise men and women who carried the burden of pubic
health well, but manage care and other factors have greatly
diluted the integrity of American health care professionals.
As their personal foundations in science and liberal education
crumbled under economic and political pressures, so did
their ethical traditions. I think that medicine may regain
its former stature by admitting its errors in the addictions
field and disciplining members involved in the marginal
(quack) practice of addiction medicine. I have yet to meet
someone who has been substantially helped through addiction
treatment, although many display obsessive, obsequious gratitudes
thereafter. I do hear from many whose conditions worsened
from addiction treatment, as though their wounds had been
wrapped in dirty linen. Research has show an extraordinarily
high incidence of suicide following addiction treatment.
I have not inquired directly to AMA
about their current opinions about alcohol and drug addiction
because their opinions don't matter. Science matters, and
this week the following statement was issued by the director
of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Alan Leshner:
"Your genes don't doom you to be
an addict. They just make you more, or less, susceptible.
We've never found one gene that keeps you from being an
addict, or one that dictates you're going to be an addict."
But Leshner also insists, "Addiction is a brain disease,"
as he points to a TV set showing how in a PET scan certain
parts of the brain light up when cocaine is ingested. This
is carnival side-show stuff, pure snake-oil illusions.
So I have a drinking man's body, and
my wife cannot drink very much without getting nauseated.
This is hardly a matter for heated scientific controversy,
but the billions of dollars being released into the addiction
treatment industry make it so.
I am very interested in your experience
with the addiction treatment industry. Never has America
been so victimized by organized crime.
I am a clinical social worker; and while
I do not work specifically in addiction treatment, I have
many clients whose substance abuse is interfering with their
treatment for other issues. A few years ago, I might have
referred these clients to AA (with the hope of eliminating
the addiction so that we could better address the issues
that had brought the clients to treatment). Now, given my
own positive experience with AVRT, I would prefer to pass
this skill along to my clients instead. However, your website
indicates that I am not permitted to do this.
I understand that ending an addiction in
a personal decision and that I cannot impose abstinence
upon my clients. But I also know that for many reasons (e.g.,
illiteracy, poverty), my clients are not likely to stumble
upon the RR website as I did, or to pick up your book at
the local bookstore, or to be able to receive formal instruction
in AVRT at one of your centers. How can they find out about
You compare AVRT to another invaluable
lifesaving skill, the Heimlich maneuver. Information about
the Heimlich maneuver is readily available, and this skill
is taught in first aid and CPR courses worldwide. I'm wondering
what ideas you have as to how my clients might be introduced
Dr. Heimlich's insights were considered
medical heresy for many years, and only when his colleagues
started raising holy hell with their professional organizations
did that life-saving information finally become available
to the general population. Likewise, information on family
planning was once illegal throughout the land, and became
available only when individual field workers raised holy
hell with the political structures that were maintaining
the status quo. Dr. Kovorkian has also led social reforms
against his professional hierarchy, but thus far no one
is really raising holy hell about the laws against humanitarian
euthanasia. It turns out that professional guilds are often
public enemy number one, and they will feed on ignorance
until it is no longer profitable to do so.
Rational Recovery owns the technology
of planned abstinence, AVRT. We expend our energy and finances
trying to break the grip of the 12-step syndicate on mainstream
thinking and practice. We police the use of our protected
materials in order that AVRT is not altered, changed, or
corrupted by professional guilds. As it stands, AVRT is
a direct threat to the livelihoods of guild members who
provide services called addiction treatment and addiction
counseling. We have learned from repeated, direct experience
that professionals categorically are unable to grasp and
make proper use of AVRT. Therefore, we forbid even the language
related to AVRT to be used in an agency setting, e.g., "Beast"
"Addiction Diction(sm), Structural Model(sm), Abstinence
Commitment Effect(sm) (ACE[sm]). The exception, of course,
is if an agency chooses to enter into a proper business
relationship with Rational Recovery, a development that
never transpires for the reasons I have listed. Another
alternative is to open a Rational Recovery Center under
the provisions and regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Bootlegging AVRT is expected and appropriate.
This is when you take a client aside from the normal service
format and level with him/her, explaining that the disease/treatment
concept is a hoax, and that anyone can simply quit the use
of alcohol and other drugs by objectifying the voice in
the head that says "do it." Warn them against
hanging out with recovery groupers, and encourage them to
accept sole responsibility for lifetime (not one-day-at-a-time)
abstinence. In most agencies, you can lose you job for such
candor, and this is the fuel we hope will help professionals
to stand up for what's true, ethical, and right. To the
extent that you challenge your colleagues and power structure,
we will support your efforts through direct communications
and other active means.
Here is a blurb I send to people who
inquire about offering Rational Recovery.
Rational Recovery: A Guide for Professionals
Rational Recovery provides a means for
self-recovery from addiction to any mind/mood altering substance,
Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT). Based on the
successful experience of self-recovered people, AVRT is
not a form of counseling, therapy, or part of any psychological
theory, nor does it contain spiritual or religious guidance.
AVRT is simply the lore of self-recovery in a brief, educational
format. The following facts support the use of AVRT:
The large majority (+/- 70% to 80%)
of those who actually recover from serious substance addictions
do so on their own, without the aid of recovery groups or
professional consultation. They get fed up with the outcome
of drinking and quit for life.
Recovery is not an outcome of a process
of self-improvement, but personal growth is usually an outcome
of a commitment to lifetime abstinence. Following a personal
commitment to permanent abstinence, complete recovery is
typically accomplished within a matter of weeks, or with
some drugs with a persistent withdrawal syndrome months.
Addiction recovery, regardless of the
substance involved, the age of onset, the duration of an
addiction, or whatever other problems may co-exist, is much
easier and simpler than currently imagined or made out to
The ideal role of any professional person
is to encourage individuals that they are capable of self-recovery,
and to make available accurate information on planned abstinence
The group format is inappropriate to
the purpose of any individual's prompt recovery.
The notion of addictive disease is discouraging
to addicted people. Self-recovery is based on an understanding
that addiction is an expression of survival drives associated
with intense physical pleasure, and that self-restraint
of these drives is well within human capability.
The act of self-intoxication is an individual,
moral issue once a pattern of self-destruction or antisocial
behavior is established.
Persons who make a commitment to permanent
abstinence and acquire the abstinence skill of AVRT become
highly confident in their ability to abstain, giving rise
to uplifted feelings. These feelings are predictable, authentic,
and vital to the regeneration of life following an episode
of addiction. The goal of self-recovery is self-identification
as a normal, healthy person who simply never drinks or uses
for reasons that are nobody's business but one's own.
For obvious reasons, comprehensive information
on planned abstinence (AVRT) must be the very first consideration
when substance abuse appears, and the logical choice when
other approaches first appear difficult, unhelpful, or objectionable.
AVRT is educational material subject
to laws governing copyright and trademark laws. Although
anyone may distribute Rational Recovery materials and refer
individuals to our Website for Self-Recovery <http://www.rational.org/recovery,
AVRT is not a professional tool and may not lawfully be
provided by any professional person as a service to clientele.
Even the language of AVRT is protected under the same laws.
The reason for this protection is twofold: 1. To prevent
AVRT from being changed by parties other than Rational Recovery.
2. To prevent AVRT from becoming an instrument of the recovery
group movement and its business arm, the addiction treatment
industry. Rational Recovery is self-recovery, not mandated
recovery, institutional recovery, politically correct recovery,
or recovery facilitated by parties other than Rational Recovery
Rational Recovery is the name of a California
corporation and a trademark registered with the United States
Patent and Trademarks Office. Our method, Addictive Voice
Recognition Technique (AVRT), is also a registered trademark,
and some language related to AVRT is also service marked.
AVRT is not a professional tool, and not a counseling technique;
it is essentially the lore of self-recovery through planned
abstinence in a brief, educational format, without recovery
group involvement or professional services. AVRT may not
be provided commercially by any person for fees, salary,
or wages. We do not license agencies to provide services
called Rational Recovery. We are not part of the recovery
group movement or the addiction treatment industry, and
profess no knowledge of CD counseling or addiction treatment.
AVRT is fully set forth in the book, Rational Recovery:
The New Cure for Substance Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996).
Feel free to recommend this book to any addicted person
or suggest they visit our website, URL below.
RATIONAL RECOVERY LICENSES, INC.
Jack Trimpey, President
I am not an addict. I am a doctoral student
in psychology, and I just obtained a job as an addictions
counselor. The place where I work is 12-step oriented, but
some of my clients are telling me that AA/NA does not do
anything for them, and I do not really believe they are
in denial, because they readily admit they had a serious
problem with alcohol or drugs. But AA is not for them. My
training and orientation tells me that each person has the
wisdom inside to know what is right for her or him, and
that each person has the right to make the choice themselves.
One client told me he didn't like the treatment program,
and if not mandated by his employer, he would drop out.
I did not try to change his mind, believing it was his choice
(and I told him to read your book), but my supervisor told
me to call his psychologist to see if we could encourage
him to stay in treatment. WHY? Isn't that his free choice?
I am feeling a bit torn because I just got this job, and
I need to work right now, since I have been unemployed for
3 years while doing my doctoral program internships. I do
feel I may not stay after obtaining my PhD. But in the meantime,
how do I deal with the philosophical differences? I know
I will not try to coerce my clients to do anything.
You are caught in an ethical bind that
very few professionals can discern, and even fewer respond
to with honor. My own case is quite similar, except that
I was informed by first hand experience as a formerly addicted
person with knowledge of the 12-step program. I objected
to my employer for about a year, and actively attempted
to bring change from within the system, but it finally became
apparent that I would either shut up or get fired. I chose
to quit my job with county mental health, and Rational Recovery
ensued. Most people don't have the freedom to strike out
on their own as I did, or are unwilling to accept the risks
of self-employment. Consequently, professionals are easily
intimidated by the aggressive cowering tactics of 12-stepping
colleagues, allowing AA to bully its way to domination of
our social service system.
From my position in RR, no one can get
to me, e.g., fire me or silence me by threats. Many try
their stepcraft, attacking my character, spread rumors,
question my motives, etc., but quickly learn that I am not
afraid of their shenanigans. This also means that it is
easier for me to speak out against AA than for employed
professionals. Even so, Rational Recovery is the only unified
and organized voice of resistance to the 12-step syndicate,
and plays a very important part in subverting its influence
in our social institutions.
I have suggested elsewhere that one
of the best compromises for ethical professionals in a hostile
12-step environment is "bootleg AVRT," usually
conducted quietly behind closed doors for clients who are
serious about quitting the use of alcohol and other drugs.
One excellent measure of a client's motivation to quit drinking/using
is resistance to AA; if they are serious about resolving
the problem, they very quickly see how irrelevant12-step
programming is to their urgent need to become securely abstinent.
In other words, they cannot afford to have the "relapses"
that are said to be a normal part of 12-step recovery. When
informed of AVRT and given direct access to Rational Recovery
materials in books and at our website, they usually respond
energetically and achieve complete recovery in a matter
of days or weeks. Of course, they will disappear from your
caseload, and your agency will be the poorer for your ethical
actions, but that is not your problem, but a consequence
of the malfeasance of the public officials who oversee institutional
I admire your respect for individual
freedoms that were important to the framers of the U.S.
Constitution, and I believe you will navigate the troubled
waters of your 12-step agency long enough to complete your
graduate studies. Then you may possibly pursue this matter
further from a safer venue.
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
I have had the opportunity to review some
of your material at your web site and I agree with most
of what I read. I, like you, do not believe that addiction
is a disease but more like a compulsive disorder where the
individual can make the decision to engage or abstain. We
need to realize that the person who is addicted is not thinking
rationally but is, as you put it, going on his "AV"
and needs guidance. However, I feel that although your concepts
are good, they will not be enough. I believe the person
needs to establish a support system; via counselor, therapist,
psychologist, and/or support group where the stigma of addiction
is not a factor. I do not agree that AA/NA is the only way.
I believe that their concept has become problematic and
can do more harm than good. I can not dismiss the fact that
AA/NA has worked for many people. I myself got clean through
my faith in Jesus Christ and have abstained for several
years. You may be able to see my bias when I mention counseling,
because I am studying to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
Jack, I think you have wisdom on addiction,
however, I think by isolating that Rational Recovery is
the only way, your efforts are in vain. Maybe, you would
be open in working together (counselors, psychologists/therapists,
doctors, and/or recovery groups) and by doing so, perhaps
we can find a way to slay this beast of addiction.
Rational Recovery once welcomed professionals
as advisors to our recovery groups, and as board members
for a nonprofit organization. While their contributions
to addiction recovery were negligible (they knew not of
which they spoke), they provided Rational Recovery with
a rich experience that led us directly out of the morass
of the recovery group movement. The addiction treatment
field, to which the RR advisors and board members ordained
themselves, is simply an application of the 12-step program
of Alcoholics Anonymous to addictions. They, like you, believe
that recovery is a group process, that there is something
wrong with the way that addicted people think or believe,
and that certain counseling methods have value as a means
to reduce the desire to drink/use. They imagined Rational
Recovery as I originally conceived it - - as the second
party in the recovery group movement, akin to the two-party
political system we allegedly live under. But like the Republican/Democrat
illusion of diversity, the RR/AA recovery group movement
was predicated on a corrupt, monolithic disease concept,
with RR (then) offering a psychological disease model instead
of the more familiar medical and spiritual disease models.
When I set forth AVRT's Structural Model of addiction, the
professionals rebelled and attempted, unsuccessfully, to
wrest control of Rational Recovery from me. Although they
did not understand AVRT from their never-addicted viewpoint,
they did see that AVRT broke the rules of the addiction
treatment game, upon which their livelihoods depend. They
would not betray their service provider guilds, and saw
AVRT as you do - - insufficient to predictably defeat addictions
for the majority of people.
Rational Recovery now has the means
to defeat the Beast of addiction, AVRT. Anyone at all can
use AVRT with perfect confidence that it will lead to prompt,
complete recovery from addiction to any substance, regardless
of how long the addiction has existed, what substance is
involved, what hasn't worked, and what other problems may
exist. AVRT is the very best approach to recovery for all
addicted people because of its efficacy, its cost-effectiveness,
its simplicity, its ethical advantages, its respect for
self-determination and personal autonomy, its religious
and philosophical neutrality, and its dramatic conclusion
in the Abstinence Commitment Effect (ACE). When you doubt
AVRT, you are only doubting people's ability to make a decision
and stick with it, which for a human being is a rather modest
Regarding your relationship to Jesus
Christ, I am not aware of His mention of drunkenness as
a symptom of psychological duress or deficiency, or that
drunkenness is anything but sin, from which one can and
should repent. As I see it, Jesus believed in people's innate
ability to repent; otherwise He would not have suggested
repentance. Christian repentance is probably the most solitary,
individualistic, private transformation imaginable. It is
a wonderful coincidence that the stories of self-recovery
upon which AVRT is based correspond more closely with the
miracle of Christian moral regeneration than with the addiction
treatment paradigm. You doubt the ability of addicted people
to make a moral judgment and use their God-given ability
to abstain from alcohol and other drugs. I suggest that
you might also have faith in your fellow beings, rather
than upon doctrines forced on the populace by the U.S. government.
I am a clinical social worker who quit
drinking/using on my own about 12 years ago. It's been great
ever since. At the time however, I was also paranoid due
to available information, that I might "relapse"
so I began going to AA and have gone ever since. I still
think that "recovery" or choosing not to use is
a matter of making up my mind. I have "treated"
many, many people and honestly, really don't see much success
with the 12-step approach.
I had been hired last year to administer
and operate an urban tribal treatment program in Arizona
serving a Native American and Hispanic population, and given
the freedom to choose an approach. So far, I have been trained
in auricular acupuncture detoxification, while it does "keep
'em coming back" and the clients report a decrease
in cravings for their chemicals (mostly alcohol, heroin
and inhalants) there is still a lack of a clear working
model for something more effective in changing thinking.
I don't want to perpetuate the same AA
trip that has little positive outcome on this population,
and since reading the RR text (although it really slams
AA...but whatever) I think I would like to see what is possible
through your approach. My paradigm is probably shifting,
which is good. On our intake forms, a question "have
you ever attended 12-step, i.e., AA, NA...) the clients
give me the same grimace and repeat "No way!"
I'm really excited, and thank you for your
Paul Rock Krech, CMSW
It is possible that AA may have dulled
your sense of personal accomplishment, in that you may attribute
some of your success and happiness to your participation
in AA. Your reason for resorting to AA was a degree of self-doubt,
the same bond of self-doubt that holds the fellowship together.
Looking back, it is hard to tell if you would have done
as well if you hadn't used AA, and as you know, AA eagerly
claims credit for your continued existence, as well as any
success or happiness you have had. However, you can plainly
see how useless AA is to the people you serve, and you are
also aware that many people would much prefer the life of
addiction over the choreographed silliness of 12-step recovery.
I hope your paradigm has continued to shift toward the individualism
of AVRT, and that you routinely inform your clients about
AVRT. After all, your fundamental view, that recovery is
a matter of making up your mind, is the essence of AVRT.
Dear Rational Recovery,
please let me know where I can get information
about Rational Recovery in Phoenix AZ. I am particularly
interested in the East Valley area. I am a substance abuse
counselor and have clients looking for an alternative to
the 12 Step programs. Thank You
Our view is that the recovery group
is the worst possible format for solving addiction problems.
The only people who appear for meetings are those who have
no idea if and when they will drink/use again, ones who
blithely attribute their immoral conduct to a mysterious
disease process that no physician can treat, and which ironically
only God Almighty can arrest but not cure. Tragically, this
kind of horseshit is slung about by the professional community
as if it were scientifically sound, and the addicted population,
most of whom can see through the insipid content of the
12-step program but will not trust their own judgment, go
about searching for a different venue for the imagined "process
Rational Recovery proposes that it is
far more humane to tell each drunk or junkie, "There
is no help for you! If you don't want to repeat your problems,
you will simply have to quit once and for all. Anyone can
do it, and it's really quit easy if you put your mind to
it." But this is often not enough for people who have
been infected by the disease/treatment/meetings virus. They
should be told, "But stay away from groups of people
like yourself, who love to get drunk or high. Promise yourself,
'I will never, ever, attend another meeting of Alcoholics
Anonymous, nor of any other recovery club.' Notice that
this is nearly as difficult to say as to say you will never
drink/use again. That is because AA is the embodiment of
the desire to get high that we call the Beast. Your meeting
dependency is only the flip side of your chemical dependency.
To have an autonomous or self-determined life, both must
Simply direct people who wisely reject
AA to AVRT, particularly by reading Rational Recovery: The
New Cure for Substance Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996) or
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
You can't see the pollution in addiction
treatment until you speak out against it. I find the resistance
of people to look critically at AA is even stronger than
you communicate in your writings. I can understand why you
might be fed up with the intellectuals of this country when
even the universities will not address the AA problem. They
use the ad hominem argument: "You must have had a bad
experience with AA." Bullshit! Alcoholics Anonymous
IS a bad experience.
Bill Weber, RR Reno.
You have identified a very serious problem
in America, the mental laziness of John Q. Public that allows
horrific practices in our social institutions to continue
under the cloak of mainstream thinking. Rational Recovery
is an educational corporation that seeks to transform public
policy through open, rational discussion of the prevailing
ideologies, theories, policies, and practices in the addictions
field. Our purpose is to counter the deplorable propaganda
campaign launched on American society by the 12-step recovery
group movement, the health professions, our social institutions,
and the likes of Betty Ford, Cindy McCain, and other dim-witted,
celebrity-status addicts who dignify their self-indulgences
Dear Rational Recovery,
Before I begin, I must ask that you please
omit my e-mail address, name, etc., in the event you choose
to publish any of my comments. This is because I live and
practice law in an area of the country dominated by (I hope)
unusually mean-spirited Christian fundamentalists who are,
of course, rabidly opposed to any criticism of AA.
I grew up during the forties and fifties
in foster care and various institutions. Some were better
than others, but without exception, there existed a direct
relationship between the religious fervor of our "caretakers"
and the abuse heaped upon us. As a result, I have very little
tolerance for those who claim to speak for God.
I have always had strong reservations against
AA, but I've never read such a clear articulation of the
destructive nature of this cult, and the damage it inflicts
on unsuspecting individuals, as that contained in your responses
to letters attacking you and the RR program. Thank you for
saying what needs to be said, and please keep up the good
(Name withheld), Attorney at Law.
You are wisely protecting your livelihood
by concealing your identity. Millions of others simply hold
their tongues for fear of retribution and reprisals by the
12-step syndicate. I hear from many people who believe that
it is only in their community that AA has gotten out of
hand, and that 12-step oppression stems from Christian enthusiasm.
We think that a good number of people are highly authoritarian,
"true-believers," and gravitate toward opportunities
to use intimidation to control others. The people who browbeat
you as a child would probably also feel comfortable as treatment
specialists at an addiction treatment center. In fact, I
think of the addiction treatment industry as the contemporary
equivalent of the past religious abuses of which you speak.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Trimpey,
I am delighted to read today about the
progress in eliminating the recovery movement which only
serves to increase addictive behaviors, stunt personal growth
and line the pockets of many. I have been sentenced to 3
years of 12 step treatment in the intervention project for
nurses in Florida. I had an addiction to Xanax and alcohol
which ended in 1987. I have 12 years of abstinence and documented
safe practice in New Jersey with a clear license. The Florida
Board of Nursing insisted on a psychiatric evaluation, at
my cost, with a professional of their choosing. Despite
this psychiatrist 's indication in my eval that he believed
I was abstinent, I was forced into the IPN program, or to
choose not to practice. IPN has tried to cover their legal
backs by saying they will allow alternative programs, but
the conditions these programs must meet are not surprisingly
only fulfilled by twelve step programs (for example, attendance
at four meetings per week).
I would be interested to hear of any other
professionals, especially nurses, who have attempted to
fight this coercion. Although I am self recovered, I have
added in the last few years, the tools of AVRT. I thank
you for your contributions, both to me personally and to
society. Sincerely, (Please withhold my name.)
Dear (Name withheld),
We hear from a good many professionals
whose civil rights are violated, as your certainly have
been, in the course of impaired professional monitoring.
Yours is a perfect example of the mindlessness and arrogance
that characterizes the 12-step syndicate.
I hope you have reviewed the materials
at the website pertaining to your predicament, especially
the page, Have You Been Coerced? Everything depends on what
you are willing to do to defend your rights. The reasons
for the status quo is that AA picks on vulnerable people
and threatens whatever they cherish to coerce them. They
are bullies in spirit and at heart, and as such, they will
always back down when faced by a greater power, such as
If you believe you are a power greater
than the IPN, Rational Recovery can be of significant help.
I will start with the following template letter, drawn from
correspondence recently used in other Florida cases. You
may not use this letter without my permission. I may possibly
make some contacts for you to provide political support,
should you decide to go to the mats with your tormentors.
Your case is the business of Rational Recovery.
a corporation for social change devoted to the destruction
of the 12-step syndicate.
Jack Trimpey, President
Rational Recovery Systems, Inc.
(The following letter may be used as a
template or guide in
composing similar letters directed at the 12-step syndicate.)
Vicki L. Fitzpatrick, MS
P.O. Box 2478
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.
Dear Vicki L. Fitzpatrick, MS,
I am writing this letter to inform you
that after participating in the IPN for several months I
am rescinding the agreement to continue. After looking the
Agreement over very carefully, and participating in X meetings
over a three month period, I believe the following:
1. The Agreement is an illegal contract.
2. The program I am required to participate in is a violation
of my civil rights. 3. The program I am required to participate
in is harmful to me and to my family.
My rescission of the Agreement is because
I consider it null and void on the surface. An agreement
with onerous, hidden elements, signed under duress resulting
from intimidating threats to report me to the proper authorities
cannot be construed as "voluntary."
The IPN program consists of the 12-step
program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I have been fraudulently
told by representatives of IPN that AA is not religious,
but only "spiritual." All newcomers to AA, or
any casual observer, can see that AA is religious. It is
only under group pressure that this fact is denied. In federal
courts (2nd and 7th Districts), AA has been ruled "unequivocally
religious." The State Supreme Courts of New York and
Tennessee have outlawed coerced AA participation for this
The 12-step program of AA conflicts
sharply with my own religious beliefs. There is no allowance
in my religion to think of immoral conduct, such as the
incident leading to my involvement with IPN, as the result
of a disease over which I am powerless. To the contrary,
I must hold myself morally accountable for my conduct, and
never repeat the act of self-intoxication.
I have discovered that a good number
of IPN representatives, even the clinicians to which participants
are referred, are members of Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact,
it appears that the policy of requiring people to attend
AA meetings and endorse the 12-step program as a condition
of employment has been established and administered by people
who are members themselves of Alcoholics Anonymous. It appears
that IPN is operated by members of AA who are using their
positions of authority and the threat of criminal prosecution
to recruit new members for AA. If that is the case, then
a conspiracy exists to deprive me of my civil rights. For
this reason, should any adverse action be taken against
me for rescinding my Agreement to participate in IPN, I
will be asking each person involved with IPN if they are
members of AA or any other 12-step organization. To my knowledge,
no one has the privilege of anonymity when the matter of
civil rights violation surfaces. Also, when a complaint
of civil rights violation has been served, as in this letter,
those accused lose their immunity from federal prosecution
should the abuses continue after the complaint, and should
the plaintiff prevail.
The incident leading to my involvement
with IPN was a violation of nursing ethics, serious enough
to warrant dismissal from employment and possibly serious
enough to result in the loss of my professional license.
The latter, of course, is a matter entirely in the hands
of the Registered Board of Nursing. I am entirely responsible
for the infraction, and offer no excuses for my conduct.
I am grateful to the hospital and to IPN for the concern
shown for my well-being, for continuing my employment, and
for assuming that I have the human capacity to correct my
Very soon after the incident, I made
a personal commitment to lifetime abstinence from alcohol
and other drugs. Since then, I have learned Addictive Voice
Recognition Technique (AVRT), the method used by Rational
Recovery. As a result, there is no possibility that I will
ever consume alcohol or other psychoactive drugs. Although
I do not credit Rational Recovery with saving my life or
for my abstinence, I should point out that RR is an individual
approach to addiction recovery that is widely known and
highly effective. Federal courts have suggested Rational
Recovery as a viable alternative to AA.
The public's interest has been met by
my decision to abstain permanently from alcohol and other
drugs. I consent to random testing as needed to document
my continued abstinence, because I understand that some
credible, objective measure is needed by administration.
I have been told, I think fraudulently,
by IPN representatives and contractees that I am suffering
from a chronic, progressive disease that in the future will
cause me to inexplicably intoxicate myself with alcohol
and other drugs. I have looked for some evidence that such
a disease exists, objective evidence that can be understood
by any reasonable person, I thus far I have found none.
Therefore, I am requesting specific studies or documentation
supporting the existing addictive disease. I should explain,
that when I was initially told this, I reacted as anyone
else would to be told he/she is fatally ill. I have suffered
directly, both emotionally and physically, from the direct
effect of being told that I have a fatal condition, a stealth
disease that others say they can easily detect by talking
to me, but for which there is no objective evidence.
I hope you will evaluate the IPN program
in its entirety. Not only does it walk the edge of ethics
and legality, frequently falling through, but it isn't helping
people to defeat substance addictions. IPN and other similar
programs take credit for the extent of their participants'
successes, overlooking that independent recovery is commonplace,
and much more likely among employed people who have a lot
to lose by continuing to drink and use drugs.
For example, I was quite disturbed at
the suggestion that I might possibly drink or use drugs
in the future, but such conduct is tolerable if only I report
my drug use to a committee and call that behavior "relapse."
It seemed as if IPN wants me to "relapse," so
as to demonstrate to myself and others that I, too, am powerless
over the desire to get high. Again, I assure you that I
will have no "relapses," because I have decided
I will not.
As for the support group idea, there
is no wisdom among folks who, once caught in crime, cannot
say they will never drink or use again. The group members
seem intent on undermining my confidence in my ability to
think for myself, live my own life, set my own goals, worship
as I see fit, and abstain from alcohol and other drugs.
I am afraid I must withdraw from the group milieu, to avoid
disrupting their pleasant trance, and to preserve my soundness
I will be inquiring separately about
administration's capitulation on various promises regarding
the conditions of my employment.
Ms. XXX, R.N.
Dear Rational Recovery,
We are a recently formed charity, Streetwise
Charity, devoted to the detoxification and 1st stage rehabilitation
of addicted people.
We have recently purchased an "offshore"
site in a river estuary and are now in the process of applying
for the various licences required to operate in the UK as
a nursing home.
We have many people and organizations against
us because of the fear they hold from addicts. Any suggestions
your experience has given you in this area would be welcomed.
Our experience is that the public's
fear of addicted people is well-founded, since they describe
themselves as individuals who, for genetic reasons, are
unable to discern between right and wrong, or are unable
to restrain the bodily desire for the pleasure produced
by alcohol and other drugs. They express constant uncertainty
about whether or not they will drink or use drugs in the
future, and practice a strange, ersatz religion that claims
to be only "spiritual." Instead of seeking relationships
with well-adjusted, healthy people, they congregate almost
exclusively with their own kind, who also are quite undecided
about whether to continue or cease from the use of alcohol
and other drugs.
The behavior of addicted people is unbelievable,
in the sense that they drink and use drugs as if their lives
depended upon it, and the reasons they give for their preposterous
behavior are equally unbelievable, i.e., a mysterious disease
process for which the only treatment is divine intervention.
In other words, addicted people present themselves as freaks,
talking the odd dialect of step-talk, and as such make very
poor neighbors in any community. After all, who would want
to live near to a group of walking time-bombs who suffer
from a disease that produces inexplicable "relapses?"
The only way a group home for addicted
people can be established in most communities is with the
intervention of government agencies who use the pronouncements
of professional counselors to misrepresent the actual risks
associated with living near to a house full of irresolute
drunks and junkies who believe they are powerless to quit
drinking and using once and for all. Most last a few years,
until the neighbors are finally fed up with emergency lights
late in the night and take civic action against the outrage.
When this does not work, the neighbors usually sell out
and move to safer locations, allowing nearby houses to be
acquired by public agencies, and converted to equally offensive
government projects. The fact is, addicted people are dangerous,
unpredictable, and in the last analysis, ugly. That is why
they are seeking dependent living arrangements in the first
place -- no one wants them around.
I would suggest that any addicted person
first quit drinking/using once and for all time, and present
themselves as normal, healthy people who have learned the
hard way that there is no place in their lives for alcohol
and other drugs. It is commonplace for people to ignore
the crippling ideas of group-based recovery organizations
that project a lifelong instability resulting from the use
of alcohol and other drugs. They simply make a personal
commitment, "I will never drink/use again," and
find within themselves the ability to stick to that decision
come hell or high water.
Very quickly, the imagined causes of
their addiction disappear, and other problems begin to fade,
and within a few months they are restlessly in search of
meaning in life, and like the rest of us, find it with no
help from government or professional helpers. During that
transitional period, temporary housing is helpful, along
with transportation and some basic expenses, but to make
a decent neighborhood a site for such a project is inappropriate
and unfair to the citizens it may affect.
At any rate, such services must be only
temporary, and cut off completely after a few months, regardless
of the apparent prognosis for long-term sobriety. Addiction
and recovery both expand into the time and budget allotted,
as it is in the nature of the beast to resist abstinence
through all means.
Such a temporary arrangement will impress
upon the former drunk/junkie the necessity of obtaining
gainful work as soon as possible, to avoid starvation and
freezing in the winter. Some individuals will choose to
destroy themselves by continuing the use of alcohol and
other drugs, and the right to do so should be protected
as any other inalienable right. Along with the right to
fail, is accorded the right to succeed and the freedom to
pursue the good in life as an equal among men, as a first
class citizen who is trustworthy based on a mutual expectation
between them and society that recovered addicts are in no
way different from others, and should in no way be discriminated
Addicted people have a right to immediate
access to information on planned abstinence, now available
only through Rational Recovery. The best resource is the
book, Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance
Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996), which should be mandatory
reading for any addicted person on public assistance of
any kind. Our website, URL below, provides enough information
on planned abstinence for any addicted person to completely
recover in a day or so, and may be downloaded for individual
use by addicted people.
Although Streetwise Charity may freely
distribute Rational Recovery materials, and even require
addicted people to become familiar with Addictive Voice
Recognition Technique, you may not institute any formal
programming called Rational Recovery or make use of any
of our protected materials in your internal programming.
AVRT is a format based on the successful experience of self-recovered
people, so it is entirely inappropriate for public agencies
to incorporate it into any treatment plan or therapeutic
regimen. AVRT is simply a fund of information for the private
use of interested addicted people.
If you wish any further guidance on
building an addiction recovery program that could be the
envy of the world, do not hesitate to ask my assistance.
Jack Trimpey, Founder
(The was no response to this, even when
a followup query was sent.)
Dear Rational Recovery.
I am interested in Rational Recovery activities
in the Denver Area. I am a recently retired Presbyterian
Minister and have a part time counseling practice. With
any substance abuse issues I begin with an assignment of
the person securing a copy of Rational Recovery: The New
Cure for Substance Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996).
Rev. Joseph K. Woodson, D. Min.
Dear Rev. Woodson,
I think your use of AVRT as part of
a general counseling service is a good strategy. While you
do not provide AVRT, which is not a professional tool, your
clients have access to information on planned abstinence
by reading Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance
Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996). The RR Web Center is also
a good resource for AVRT and recovery related issues. Many
people completely recover after years of struggling in 12-step
groups by visiting there alone.
We do not recommend addiction recovery
groups, even our own. Where they exist, RR groups are primarily
political, encouraging members toward political activism
to end the American addiction treatment tragedy.
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
I read your books and they have helped
me make permanent changes to my life. I had a one-day lapse
2 1/2 years ago that led to involvement with the law, protracted
court time, great expense, you name it. I was ordered to
submit to a CASAC who said I was in serious denial, was
resistant to proper treatment, etc. Nowhere in her report
was the fact that I had been substance and alcohol-free
for 6 years prior to the incident and for 2 1/2 years since.
She blamed my so-called "relapse" on my refusal
to adopt the 12 steps (which had failed me miserably for
years before I discovered RR) and had the court order me
to see a CASAC until treatment was deemed no longer necessary.
The reason I am writing, in addition to expressing my need
to thank you for all you have done through your books and
web site, is to let you know I have found a CASAC in the
Long Island, NY area who is RET based and not a slave to
that cult. His name is (name withheld) and he can be contacted
at http://www.(address withheld). I have yet to meet with
him, but it sounds very encouraging. I will let you know
if this is too good to be true. I hope that information
can be of some use to you or others.
Regrettably, I am largely responsible
for the widespread, badly mistaken idea that RET is a good
means to recover from substance addiction. I wrote a book
in 1988, The Small Book, which alluded to this, and presented
RET along with our mainstay, Addictive Voice Recognition
Technique. Since then, I have set the record straight with,
Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction.
I urge you to obtain that book prior to seeing an RET therapist
for substance addiction. RET will have you attack your own
beliefs and values in order to quit drinking, in a fashion
quite similar to the 12-step program except that the backdrop
is secular humanism rather than theistic religion. They
see recovery resulting from self-improvement rather than
from moral action, as we do. The more you do on your own,
the better, but be cautious about accepting psychological
explanations or remedies for addiction.
I have just reviewed the website you
provided, and I must be honest. That therapist is fully
involved with the 12-step program, using all of the related
jargon, i.e., codependency, inner child, family disease
of addiction, dysfunctional families, and so on. You will
not get straight, concise information about recovery through
planned abstinence. Many therapists use the words "rational"
or even "Rational Recovery" to promote their services,
and many who offer "RET," do no such thing, or
do not adhere to the basic tenets of RET. RET is good in
a limited way for certain specific problems, but was not
designed for, nor is it effective with, substance addictions.
My opinion is that this therapist is "too good to be
Sine you are mandated to do something,
I suggest that you shop for a therapist who will simply
sign off that you sat in his/her office for the prescribed
number of hours, and who will promise not to invade your
psyche with any academic nonsense, scientific sophistry,
or psychological bullshit, regardless of what the "therapy"
is called. As you may know, AVRT is not a professional tool,
nor is it part of any psychological theory, and is not a
form of counseling, therapy, or treatment. It's just the
lore of self-recovery from addiction in a brief, educational
format. When you learn AVRT, you will then be able to "talk
right," so that you're not so easily pushed around
by professionals and the court system.
Dear Rational Recovery,
For me it is late at night. My beast has
insisted after a long hard day that I need I drink. I have
one salvation, thanks to RR , that I can say to myself "I
never have to drink again." It brings on a calm that
I cannot describe, much deeper than the buzz of booze. I
only have one problem and that is that I feel that I will
never forgive A.A. and the horrendous problems it inflicted
on me for almost 20 years of my life.
Suddenly I'm in touch with old friends
again, doing things I want to do, going places that I want
to go to with ladies that I'm proud to be with. Because
I'm no longer a falling down drunk, my friends are back
in my life. They really don't care how I did it but just
accept me for being myself again. IT'S GREAT! I am feeling
and experiencing parts of me that: I am,(See Popeye "I
am what I am and that's ALL what that I yam") without
guilt, just being me. What a complete joy.
However, I have developed a hatred of the
evils of A.A. that I can not get rid of. People so filled
with hatred cannot make sane judgments, and it bothers me.
I am becoming the pariah of the Step Cult all by myself
and am creating enemies everywhere, but my own experiences
will not let it rest.
Have you any idea of how many lives could
me saved if they were reached in time before they wound
up wounded as are lives have been? Sounds like an A.A. message,
I know, but in our case it's true. Would just get on with
my life again but l can't let it go. I can't help fighting
this menace where ever I see it. Who here needs the help?
And what help have I to give? I have never been a proselytizer,
always believing that everyone has his or her own agenda,
but I cannot leave this one alone. I don't know whether
my rage is constructive or destructive but I can't resist
entering the fray whenever I see such insane behavior going
on in the name of "Saving people from their own "sin"
or "disease" or whatever the Hell they want to
call it. Freedom is the most grateful thanks I will ever
be able to give RR. It's not enough I know, but for now
it's the best I can do. You gave me back my life. How do
I make up for that? Thanks for letting me sound off, Love
Ya All, Hal
Before I respond to your comments about
hatred toward AA, I should point out that there is some
mild corruption in your exclamation, "I never have
to drink again." While the spirit of that statement
is clear, it says nothing about whether you will or will
not drink again. It only states you are not compelled to
drink, which, of course, no one is. The clear statement,
"I will never drink again," pins the Beast down
hard, with the result that it will get the message and leave
you alone. It is very typical for the Beast to try to unravel
the Big Plan by using soft language or double-meanings.
For example, many people, when first attempting to articulate
a Big Plan, say, "I plan to never drink again."
That's about as firm as saying, "I plan to wash the
dishes immediately after dinner." No commitment, and
plans are just plans. That's why we capitalize the Big Plan,
to denote its formality and depth.
Now, for your anger problem: you don't
have one, Hal, and neither does a wounded, snarling dog.
You were injured by a cult that uses its members in the
health professions to advance its agenda. You were exploited
financially by attorneys and doctors who used their fictitious
disease concept to cripple you and then discredit you before
the courts. They took money from your accounts without your
permission, implying that you should be grateful for their
compassion, and used their spiritual program to subvert
the spirit of laws designed to protect truly disabled people.
Now, you are attempting to rebuild your life, with the disadvantage
of advanced age and the stigma of addictive disease looming
over you. When you look back, you can see that, while you
were simply drunk, you were gullibly led down the garden
path by health professionals and other self-ordained experts
who could not even define the word, "addiction."
Once they sucked you dry, they moved on to "help"
other vulnerable souls, leaving your hollowed carcass and
bank accounts in a jumbled heap they called "the disease."
And still, the steppers keep coming back to hound you with
their insipid cultism. You are fully recovered from your
addiction, not a great accomplishment in itself, but your
recovery group disorder remains a smoldering madness.
If your rage were not there, it would
mean you aren't paying attention to what really happened,
and for that, you would have to deny the facts. Were you
now in recovery, you would deny that you were cheated of
the best years of your life by a sophisticated cult using
a diabolical mind trap, the disease model of addiction and
its 12-step "recovery" program. You would deny
that your attorney was a 12-step plant, and that your doctors
were practitioners of the occult. And you would be grateful
as hell, Hal, for the little cage of AA, from which you
would view a painted scene.
Outrage is constructive. Bob Dole's
abject campaign message was, "Where's the outrage?"
He was amazed at how little outrage there is in contemporary
America about social injustice and the emergence of social
evils. Bob's main problem is that he wasn't outraged over
the lack of outrage. Review "It's Good to Speak Out
Against AA" at the website, and go at it. Tell steppers
you know they are crazy and shouldn't be inflicting their
own craziness upon others. Warn everyone to avoid recovery
groups like the plague, because no one gets better there,
and let it be known that recovery groups are bad company
since obviously none of them knows right from wrong.
The idea that angry people cannot make
sane judgments is just more AA hangover. If you recall,
the recovery groups always suppresses dissent by telling
critics they are angry, a sure symptom of addictive disease
or mental disorder.
Cherish your anger; you earned it the
hard way. Your rage will dissipate, since it is based on
the truth of what happened to you, and it serves an important
purpose. Be true to yourself, including your rage, and don't
let people tell you that you have an anger problem and need
to dispute your irrational beliefs. When you hear people
complain about "AA bashing," remember that the
term "bashing" always has its origins in political
correctness serving special interests. Those complaints
are rarely innocent objections based on ignorance of AA's
debauchery, but intended to suppress criticism of a core
belief system of the American social services system --
the emerging tyranny of behavioral health and disease.
You may be down, but you're certainly
not out, and you're still good to set the record straight
about Alcoholics Anonymous for as many people as you meet.
Dear Mr. Trimpey,
Thank you for a very informative web site.
However, I was unable to find phone numbers or locations
for meetings. I will be teaching a seminar to behavioral
health professionals from various parts of California, and
I would like to acquaint them with access points for Rational
Recovery which they can then pass on to their clients. Please
send me a list of phone numbers &/or contact people.
- Bill Poynter, LCSW
You apparently did not read far enough
into the material to find that Rational Recovery does not
facilitate relationships between addicted people. Like many
who first discover Rational Recovery, you may think we are
an alternative to AA, carrying forward the belief that recovery
is a group project. We aren't an alternative to AA, but
an alternative to addiction, and we provide explicit guidance
to any addicted person on how to promptly end the addiction
with relatively little effort.
Neither the government nor the helping
professions have any legitimate business in the addiction
treatment business, which itself is a fraudulent practice.
We severed our ties with the professional community years
ago, when it became apparent that the counseling professions
have abandoned their traditions and values in order to cash
in on a seemingly endless river of cash provided by taxpayers
and third parties. An ethical catastrophe has ensued, that
I hope you will bring to the attention of your colleagues,
using whatever material from the website you wish.
We guard our property, Addictive Voice
Recognition Technique (AVRT), very closely, to prevent any
professional person from offering a service by that name
or offering services under the banner of our corporation,
Rational Recovery. The sooner counseling professionals withdraw
from the addiction treatment racket, the better, because
the body count is rising. When the addiction treatment era
is over, there will have been sufficient warnings available
to the professional community that the whole misadventure
will become a permanent stain on the health professions.
We are more interested in you confronting
your colleagues than telling them how to refer to Rational
Recovery. People have been finding out about us through
underground avenues very well now for over a decade, and
we are here to stay.
Jack Trimpey, LCSW, dba, former drunk
Dear Rational Recovery,
I am interested in bringing rational recovery
to Plainview, Texas. I have been approved for visiting priveledges
to the state prisons and county jails. These people need
to get away from AA, how can I help? I have 9 years of recovery.
I am a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and I need
something besides AA for my clients.
I'm glad that you will be telling prison
inmates about Rational Recovery. It looks to me like our
prisons have become holding centers for substance abusers,
rather than legitimate penitentiaries for criminal offenders.
The addiction programming offered in prisons appears to
me worse than nothing, because the expectation is that addiction
is a lifelong condition that will persist long after one
has left the walls.
We receive about 20 letters per week
from inmates all over America, all of them protesting either
the fact that AA is religious, or that it does not work
to make them securely abstinent. Many, as you might imagine,
have returned to prison numerous times purely on account
of their addictions to alcohol and other drugs. I can tell
you that when inmates find out about Rational Recovery,
they become very excited, with renewed hope that they can
lead normal, satisfactory lives as men and women who simply
do not drink or use drugs.
People are normally quite surprised
to learn that AVRT-based recovery requires no general self
improvement or personal growth in order to defeat serious
addictions. This, of course, negates the purpose of recovery
groups and addiction treatment. Needless to say, prison
officials sometimes subject to Rational Recovery Because
it appears to be too easy, too simple, or just too good
to be true.
Please remember that AVRT is not a professional
tool, and that it does not resemble counseling or addiction
treatment. It is simply the lore of self recovery in a brief
educational format that can be read, or explained by someone
who most likely has used it to recover himself. Rational
Recovery® Is a registered trademark that we police carefully
in order to prevent social agencies and prisons in particular
from using our material in the context of addiction treatment
that is delivered in an illegal or unethical context, as
practically all addiction treatment services presently are.
The best way to introduce Rational Recovery
In a jail or prison is to tip the inmates off that there
is something new and very interesting that they should know
about. Let them know that it is entirely up to them to obtain
the materials pertaining to Rational Recovery. In other
words, if a prison is to stock our book, Rational Recovery,
in its library, it should be upon the request of inmates,
and not initiated by prison staff or administration. Communications
concerning Rational Recovery should remain informal, between
inmates, and not in scheduled group meetings or classes.
There are some printed materials that
you are free to download from our web site and distribute.
One in particular, is titled, Letter to Inmates, should
be of interest to any inmate with a substance-abuse problem.
We expect that parole boards would honor
the word of inmates who explained that the have used Rational
Recovery Materials in order to defeat their addictions while
in prison, but this is not often the case. Very often inmates
are forced to attend AA meetings as a condition of parole
even though they have made a personal commitment to permanent
abstinence, and have a very good likelihood of sticking
with it under all circumstances. Some inmates refused to
attend AA and are discriminated against quite severely,
even though their objections are purely on religious grounds.
Rational Recovery may be an outside resource for inmates
and you to draw upon, should there be misunderstandings
on the part of the parole board or prison administration.
Rational Recovery books can be ordered
through this office by calling the number below or you may
order them directly through Simon and Schuster. I believe
that having an ample supply of books available for inmates
is probably the most productive action that any prison or
jail can take to prevent criminal recidivism.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
It looks as if Albert Ellis Ph.D. has hooked
you with his REBT method to recovery. He should be the one
getting the credit for this program, not you, talk about
the deception of reality to the unsuspecting drug addict.
You should be ashamed of your little pee brained self! Gene
Courter MA/MSW. Tell the truth and you might be set free
from your Rational Self.
If you will write a more coherent comment, I will be glad
to respond to
In other words, stop taking the credit
for some great insight into recovery Jack. Albert Ellis
did this type of work in the 60(s). I sense you have collaborated
with Albert on some level, at least that's what Al tells
me. Coherent is a pretty big word for you Jack, It would
be in your best interests to look a "big" word
like coherent up in he dictionary first before you us it
in a sentence again. G.Courter MA/MSW
I am amazed at your unprovoked attack
on me, but I will explain. Dr. Ellis wrote the Introduction
to The Small Book, which implied that REBT was a
good avenue for defeating addictions. Our experience proved
otherwise, and I moved forward with AVRT as a comprehensive
approach to self-recovery. Ellis posits the psychological
disease theory of misbehavior, saying that substance abusers
are trying to cope with personal problems and emotional
disturbances by getting high. Our view is quite different,
that substance abusers drink/use purely for the pleasurable
effect the substances produce. While we suggest that people
aggressively quit once and for all, using AVRT as a means
to stick to the decision, REBT focuses upon one's irrational
beliefs and rationality in the same general way that AA
focuses on character defects and spirituality with the expectation
that the desire to drink/use will fade or vanish as a result
of working the program. We see the waning of desire more
as a function of time and steely resolve to abstain, and
have found that the result of a commitment to abstinence
produces more general self-improvement than the most optimistic
hopes of any kind of therapy or group process. REBT and
AVRT are highly contradictory and different, as you can
see by reading the Trimpey-Ellis debates that transpired
While REBT is an empirically founded
theory that predicts results in a wide range of untested
diagnoses, AVRT is phenomenological, based on the reporting
of self-recovered people. As AVRT came to the fore, and
I was observing disappointing abstinent outcomes in the
recovery groups, our nonprofit board, consisting largely
of fellows of the Ellis Institute, mutinied against my leadership
and attempted to heist our name, Rational Recovery®,
using sensitive legal documents. I sued and prevailed, expelling
the board from Rational Recovery.
There was no real collaboration between
Ellis and me, just an ill-fated crossing of paths that helped
me to understand a great deal about the involvement of the
counseling professions and medicine in the addiction treatment
industry. We have severed all relations with the professional
community as a result of the unscrupulous actions of our
nonprofit, professional advisory board.
AVRT isn't a great insight into addictions;
it's been around for eons, and self-recovery in that style
is commonplace. I do take credit for discovering and naming
the Abstinence Commitment Effect, and introducing the Structural
Model of Addiction to the addiction field. Prior to Rational
Recovery, RET had practically no track record in addictions.
The materials were extremely oblique and frankly stupid.
My observations that it doesn't work
were strongly supported by Project MATCH, which in 1996
found that REBT is no better than 12-step recovery, hardly
a recommendation at all. I have said that never-addicted
Al Ellis knows very little about the nature of addiction
and recovery, and I stick with that today. REBT, when applied
to addictions, appears to be the secular flip side of the
religious 12-step program, which Ellis insists is compatible
and "mixable" with REBT. AVRT mixes with neither.
I think if you would look into AVRT
yourself, you could figure out these things yourself.
Dear Rational Recovery,
I am currently mandated to attend 12 step
gulag therapy and am not prepared at this time due to lack
of courage to challenge this mandate because I need to keep
my profession. Until such time that I am prepared, I would
like to know what you think about leaving pamphlets or posting
things surreptiously around the "Treatment Center."
You sent me some recently by mail along with some back issues
of The Journal of Rational Recovery.What do you think about
this idea, and what information do you think would be most
helpful to people? Sincerely & Best Wishes, Al
If you want to be a revolutionary, you
must be willing to get shot. You are dealing with a bunch
of ruthless thugs will not hesitate to destroy you if they
discover you are opposed to their agendas.
I will not incite you to take risks,
but if you choose to do so I will back you any way I can.
Dear Mr Trimpey,
Thank you for Rational Recovery. I am a
psychiatric rehabilitation supervisor of a small hospital
in the Bronx, New York. For several years I have been using
AVRT with my patients or loaning them copies of your book.
I have made numerous professional presentations
(albeit to much criticism and disbelief) regarding the sheer
lunacy of our current practices (Hazelden and step programs).
Recently one of my therapists came to me and asked me for
help in pursuing a CAC and I told him not to waste his time.
My explanation is founded in the knowledge that the programs
are shams and I see no point in inflicting those tenets
on our very needy patients. He, knowing of your work, and
from listening to my advocacy of AVRT over these years wanted
to know if there was a career path for him as he is sincerely
interested in addiction. I had to be honest and say that
I did not know.
Can anyone be trained to run rational recovery
sessions? I would find the funds for him to pursue this
and encourage his efforts greatly. Since all that I do is
impart the AVRT and share your literature I can not surely
be qualified as an addiction counselor, but if there is
formal training I would very much like to send him for this.
Please advise me further.
Thank you again for your time and energy with all your efforts
as go addiction.
Thank you for the wonderful letter!
This is exactly what I am hoping will happen throughout
the health care industry. You apparently have a deep understanding
and appreciation of AVRT, which I will summarize. Please
correct me if I am wrong.
1. You understand that AVRT is not a
professional tool, but simply the lore of self-recovery
in a brief, educational format. You find it easy to explain
the truth about addiction and recovery, based on AVRT's
Structural Model (sm) of addiction, and you find it easy
to teach Addiction Diction(sm).
2. You explain AVRT to addicted people
at your place of work, which is not an addiction treatment
center, but a psychiatric hospital where substance addiction
co-exists with other legitimate mental illnesses and disorders.
You do not attract clients by advertising your services
as addiction treatment, nor do you offer your facility's
legitimate mental services as a treatment for addiction,
and you do not list AVRT® as a billable service.
3. You educate your addicted clientele
about the madness that prevails in the addiction treatment
field, and warn them to stay away from recovery groups of
all kinds, and avoid relationships with irresolute drunks
and junkies commonly found in AA/NA.
4. In your supervisory capacity, you
set professional standards based upon the traditions of
your profession, rather than drawing upon the faddism and
opportunism of the addiction treatment industry and its
feeder system, the recovery group movement. You probably
forgive 12-step involvement by members of your staff, provided
their skills and practices reflect professional values,
ethics, and standards, but actively prevent staff from disseminating
12-step propaganda, distributing 12-step tracts and literature,
and recruiting your vulnerable clients into their social
5. You educate your colleagues about
the madness of 12-steppism, understanding the possible risks
to your own reputation and job security. This is professionalism
at its finest, in my opinion, placing the needs of your
clients before your own.
6. You safeguard the professional development
of your supervisees by discouraging them from entering the
dishonorable vocation of substance abuse (CD) counseling.
You probably warn them that stipends and other apparent
"freebies" intended to lure them into 12-step
practices will result in long-term job dissatisfaction,
when the absurdity of addiction counseling becomes apparent.
As matters of activism and advocacy,
you might consider sending some AVRT-recovered back to the
sources of previous 12-step programming, to inform those
administrators of the harmful effects of their services.
I often send people who call here back to treatment centers
to demand their money back or simply to give feedback on
the harmful nature of 12-step programming.
Again, thank you for describing your
use of AVRT. By not professionalizing or vendorizing AVRT,
you are able to help addicted people help themselves and
avoid trouble, while you avoid conflict with Rational Recovery.
Consider subscribing to The Journal of Rational Recovery,
as it is loaded with material from self-recovered people
and articles pertaining to the insurgent recovery group
Dear Rational Recovery,
I am a family nurse practitioner. I work
in a family practice clinic as a primary care provider.
I have been approached by substance abusers who want to
change their lives. I never have felt comfortable referring
these patients to 12 step programs. I really haven't seen
good results from these referrals. I also am uncomfortable
with the victim mentality of these organizations. But until
now I never knew there was an alternative. A patient of
mine who has been trying to quit drinking told me about
your web site. I am very impressed with what I have read
so far. I would like to know more.
I would like to know how I can help in
my role as a health care provider. Any advice you can give
me would be appreciated.
First, keep in mind that AA is a cult
and its member are loyal to AA over their professions. This
is because AA convinces members that their survival literally
depends upon that unswerving loyalty. Accordingly, they
pursue their group roles and responsibilities with the same
vigor and single-mindedness as they did their original addictions.
Therefore, they will not hesitate to destroy you or your
career if you are a threat to AA's supremacy in our social
It will comfort you to know that there
is virtually no likelihood of violence, as the grouper identity
is laced with passivity, nobility, and self-abasement. But
you can expect dirty tricks, including spreading rumors
intended to remove you from your position. If you read the
Objections pages, you will see how criticism of AA most
often triggers a "kill the messenger" reaction,
which in most cases amounts to character assassination or
pathologizing your attitudes and actions.
Professionals who are wise to the social
cultism of AA can do much to return our agencies and institutions
to their original purposes. It will help for you to gain
the support of other like-minded souls who also see through
the veneer of 12-step activities. If you are on committees
that affect policy, you can submit materials from this website
to support your objection to the incorporation of AA/NA
into agency programming.
A key point to emphasize in your agenda
is the absence of abstinent outcome statistics. That's right,
no agency collects data measuring the only outcome that
is relevant to addiction services programming, the number
of clients who abstain, and for how long. Ask for the data,
and you will have won your point, for the absence of abstinence
data indicates fundamental corruption in the services being
offered. Express alarm and indignation that services to
persons troubled by the use of alcohol and other drugs are
not evaluated using measures of abstinence, but using measures
of outcomes unrelated to the original problem, such as "feeling
good," program compliance, and psychosocial functioning.
Insist that addiction treatment services have only one legitimate
measure -- abstinent outcome. Ask why services are extended
to addicted people without establishing their desire to
totally abstain from alcohol and other drugs. The large
majority of agency services are provided to people who have
no intention of quitting, but only stopping one day at a
time. Complain that such persons deserve no public largesse
Focus also, on the systematic withholding
of information on planned abstinence (AVRT) from agency
clients. Most addiction treatment professionals are quite
informed about Rational Recovery, but only acknowledge its
existence when asked by a client. This is typical of cults,
which deprive members of information that might lead to
weakening the cult's grip on newcomers. Ask administrators
if the agency's mission is to spread AA, or encourage people
to quit drinking/using.
Be alert to who is an AA member. If
you aren't sure, ask the person directly, "Are you
a member of AA/NA or other 12-step group?" If they
hesitate to answer, assume they are members, as no non-member
would hesitate to dissociate from the 12-step syndicate.
When you discover someone's 12-step affiliation, "out"
him or her on the spot. Don't go for the "privacy"
ruse; at work, they are in an intolerable conflict of interest,
and everyone has a right to know who's pulling the strings
on policy, programming, and practices. Never back down to
a 12-stepper. Bullies, all of them, they back down when
confronted with the truth, regardless of the institutional
or professional authority they wield.
When 12-steppers proselytize AA at work,
openly challenge them. Ask, "Do you actually believe
that? That's crazy talk!" If they try steptalk ruses,
like the "spiritual-not-religious," use ridicule.
Laugh. Say that's the most ridiculous thing you've ever
If you have direct patient contact with
addicted people, tell them to trust their own best thinking,
and not be taken in by the steppers. Tell them about Rational
Recovery, and let them know that AVRT offers them prompt,
complete recovery without selling their souls to AA or any
other group. Commend any resistance they show to 12-step
indoctrination, and encouage them that they have all it
takes to recover right inside themselves. Tell them to avoid
recovery groups of all kinds like the plague, for that is
exactly what they have become -- a place of moral sepsis
where the disease of disease abounds.
Know who your friends are in the community,
and spread the word among them that something is seriously
wrong in the local addiction service complex. Accept any
help from them that is offered, and you may accomplish a
great deal toward making your community a recovery group
free zone where people are expected to expect themselves
to recover in the most obvious, human way, planned abstinence
al a AVRT.
Keep in touch with us, and we will offer
you guidance in any matter relating to the resistance to
institutional AA, and AVRT programming. Thanks for your
interest in RR.
I read your comments in The Journal
of Rational Recovery. "Rational Emotive Bullshit
Therapy," eh? Do you still view REBT as a most economical
and effective method of addressing problems other than those
covered by AVRT?
Dave Hester CO
For a narrow range of problems, in the
hands of a skilled clinician, yes. You are aware that certain
professionals are still attempting to launch cognitive therapy
as a new wave ideology for use by volunteers promising to
"help" addicted people in recovery groups. It's
very disappointing that those psychologists did not learn
from our experience in the early 1990's, when RR groups
proliferated. We drew disgruntled AA groupers into our organization,
where they persisted with the same unproductive activities,
i.e, endless self-analysis, placing self-improvement before
abstinence, and fostering the unwholesome, "keep-coming-back"
mentality. RET is a good vehicle for solving some problems,
but it has lost its integrity in the addictions field, where
it does not belong.
Many people wonder why I included RET
in RR's original programming. It's simple. I like RET, and
I didn't know any better. I forced addiction into the RET
paradigm without any evidence it belonged there. When Albert
Ellis approved this application, that seemed sufficient
justification to move forward with it.
My own personal experience with RET
played a part in the RET error. I had a "rational epiphony"
during my 30's, stemming from disputing the idea that because
my behavior at times stunk, I was not a stinker. I learned
to tolerate frustrations emerging from my own patterns of
self-defeat, and to accept myself as a worthwhile entity,
regardless of others' opinions. I came to believe that others
would be better off if they would also think rationally,
especially my clients who tended to rate themselves rather
harshly for a number of reasons.
I became proficient in RET, as it was then called. and persuaded
many others to accept themselves unconditionally, and to
stubbornly refuse to get angry about anything -- yes, anything.
I wondered what a world of rational thinkers would be like,
or at least a world where self-and-other-rating was less
pronounced, and in which everyone tolerated everyone else's
annoying and antagonistic behavior.
I lived a fairly rational life, although drunk more often
than most others I knew, and finally I quit drinking when
the pleasure was outweighed by my losses. For a number of
years after that, I lived in a bubble with wonderful images
on its inner surface. Rational Self-Acceptance, Frustration
Tolerance, Guiltlessness, and a wonderful insight into other
people's emotions -- They Are Only Disturbing Themselves.
It was wonderfully serene within the Bubble, but finally
it very quietly burst, flitting tiny droplets in my face
one day. Then, I felt something very familiar and good,
nothing transcendental or profound -- kinda like going home.
It goes like this, Dave:
I am not worthwhile or even acceptable
to myself because it cannot be objectively proven otherwise.
I believe that actually am my behavior, for all practical
purposes. When I think of the harm I've done others, I feel
absolutely wretched. I will try to act better. There are
certain things that are terrible, awful, and catastrophic
in everyone's lives. These horrible things have to do with
what is most meaningful to each person. Guilt and shame
have enormous pro-social implications, in fact civilization
probably depends upon guilt and shame. Anger is a healthy
emotion that proves people are paying attention to reality.
Worthless people do, indeed, exist, and I can show you a
list of them. You are not on it. Some acts are inherently
wicked and evil --- just plain wrong. Scumbags should be
blamed and moralistically condemned for their misconduct,
at least until they knock off whatever it is I don't like,
and possibly for a good time longer.
self-acceptance is a cowardly evasion of moral responsibility,
and when combined with high frustration tolerance, is the
moral equivalent of sociopathy. Nobody in their right mind
really "gets" rational self-acceptance, but they
wear it like a loud tie. Rational self-aceptance rolls off
the tongue like wisdom's finest string of pearls, but it
always clangs with moral intuition.
There are some people who are exceptionally
harsh towards themselves, who create a dark pit into which
to cast and bury themselves, and they may benefit from some
philosophical modulation of their exaggerated self-excoriation.
But to summarily reject the concept of rating oneself on
a moral axis may even be too radical for them.
RET, now called REBT (B for behavior),
is an argument against human nature as well as upon our
civilizing values. It seems intolerant of frustration, in
that it alienates worthy sentiments from itself, "Irrational!"
It can breed an in-group/outsider disparity not unlike other
cults that share a grand weltenschuaang unknown to the heathen.
It is difficult to REBuT RET in any way. Case in point,
the Ellis/Trimpey debate, JRR circa 1994. RET is dogma first,
arguments to follow, even from its creator.
RET (forget the B part for now) is ideology,
espoused by a priesthood of ideologues, all. It is self-conscious
counter-propaganda aimed at traditional beliefs and values, which
is not necessarily bad. But its adherents tend to ridicule the
cherished, "irrational," beliefs of others, often with
a clinical aloofness approaching scorn, "Here, believe this
for your own good." RET is also a pre-digested creed that
claims scientific objectivity. This allows RET to be forced upon
the unwilling and the unsophisticated, just as the 12-step program
is, but seeming to circumvent the annoying contradiction of the
U.S. Constitution's ban on forced religious instruction. My rationale
for jettisoning REBT from RR is partly described in the 1993 article
in The Journal of Rational Recovery, "The
Shortcomings of REBT in Addictions."
I don't want to see a rational world,
nor a 12-step, Catholic, Baptist, humanistic, or Buddhist
world. Higher powers corrupt, absolute higher powers absolutely
corrupt. We need only look as far as the nearest prison,
to find inmates struggling with incomprehensible 12-step
treatment and REBT programs in order to satisfy parole boards.
To think that we must invade the conscience of a prisoner
in order that he be free is deplorable, but ideologues always
believe their scheme is worth forcing on others. Herr Doktor
Ellis has certainly found his captive audience, upon which
he can foist his unconditional self-acceptance. Many people
think Bill Wilson would turn in his grave if he saw institutional
AA today. I, frankly, do not. I think he wanted this all
Rational Recovery? You bet! Not the
psycho-rational process of self-discovery that would make
a logician of every saint or sinner, but Rational Recovery,
using human steam to turn the engine, that's all.
Hey, this is quite a lengthy rant. Thanks
for the good question!
Dear Rational Recovery,
I am currently a Social Work student interning
for a drug and alcohol program contracted with Federal Probation.
I am interested in learning about becoming an AVRT educator.
I am trying to get a grip on what I believe will work, and
I believe I have found the best answer in AVRT. Obviously,
it is politically and governmentally correct to approach
drug/alcohol use from the disease model. I have never been
comfortable with that model. Actually, I went to OA and
wondered how I could be powerless over a piece of food.
Since I read Rational Recovery 3 weeks ago, I have
not varied from my eating plan. It does not match the one
you use in Taming the Feast Beast, but it is the
one that I believe will make me healthiest.
Well, enough of my little story. My boss
is willing to have AVRT as part of the information made
available to the probationers. She is an LCSW, and not so
egotistical to believe that the 12 step model is the the
only model of recovery (even though her husband is 15 sober
Is there something I can do so that I can
legally present the educational material of RR? I am in
San Diego, and am willing to read and complete any materials
needed. However, there can be no money involved because
the federal government will not support my efforts financially.
I am using a back door to get the information to the people.
Your field placement may become more
educational than you bargained for if you contradict members
of Alcoholics Anonymous who have control of your academic
fate. You are already aware of the political correctness
of disease thinking in public institutions.
Rational Recovery is a direct contradiction
of the fundamental tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous, and we
are arch-rivals in the addictions field. It cannot be otherwise,
because to two philosophical positions are natural enemies.
At stake is human survival, and each approach makes grand,
universalistic claims to be the best way for all people.
The addicted person is caught in the middle, having to make
choices between the AA and RR, and there can be little compromise.
Many people are uncomfortable with the
conflict and controversy created by Rational Recovery. They
ask, "Why can't we all get along?" Sometimes they
say, "We're all doing the same thing but calling it
by different names." The underlying message of these
peacemakers is to avoid controversy that will expose the
truth. Many jobs depend upon the acceptance of the 12-step
approach, so there is strong political opposition to contradictory
The addictions field is a very sick
arena, for both the professionals and their clients proclaim
themselves to be diseased. If you continue in your field
placement, or develop a career in addictions, the system
will be your client, and you will be treating the real cause
of your caseload's problems, the recovery group movement,
and its business arm, the addiction treatment industry.
There is little need for addiction or chemical dependency
counselors, except possibly to persuade people to quit drinking
or using drugs. There is no treatment for addiction, because
there is no disease; addiction is the voluntary pursuit
of pleasure, and not a symptom of hidden, treatable causes.
It is early in the academic year, and
you might consider asking your advisor for a transfer to
another field placement. As your 12-step colleagues become
more aware of your penchant for Rational Recovery, they
will be prone to attack you. The penalty for open disagreement
with members of Alcoholics Anonymous is usually discrimination
of some kind, ranging from being "diagnosed" with
codependency, deep denial, or addictive disease, to receiving
failing grades and/or being "counseled out" of
I consider the addiction counseling
professions to be dishonorable because of the massive deceptions
and unethical conduct intrinsic to those vocations. You
should consider withdrawing entirely from the addictions
field, for more productive and honest work.
This is not to say that there isn't
a lot of work to be done in the addictions field, and if
you really want a challenging career, your field placement
with Federal Probation may be an excellent learning experience.
I do several hours of social casework in an advocacy role
each day, acting on behalf of recently addicted people who
are being discriminated against by the social service system.
It is exciting and challenging to confront the disease/treatment
system with recently addicted people who are still regarded
as diseased and congenitally defective, and re-define them
as normal, healthy people who never drink or use for moral
reasons. The greatest threat to the American way of life,
I think, is the creation of a recovery ghetto into which
substance abusers are segregated and "served"
by a professional class which feeds itself by offering treatment
that is actually cult indoctrination. The corrections industry
is the most flagrant example of the American Therapeutic
State, which Rational Recovery has undertaken to dismantle.
(See "Coerced Treatment: Fast Track to the American
Therapeutic State," The Journal of Rational Recovery,
Nov. - Dec., 1998.)
Be advised that Addictive Voice Recognition
Technique® is trademarked and we guard it very closely.
Unless an organization enters into a proper business agreement
with Rational Recovery, they may not offer AVRT to their
clients. This may sound counterproductive, but we have learned
that professionals are incapable of doing it right, and
they invariably obfuscate AVRT with pet theories and other
irrelevancies. When people catch on to the simple concepts
of AVRT, the are completely recovered, they know it, and
they walk out of treatment facilities and won't pay their
bill. AVRT is incompatible with the treatment format, and
those gleaning personal income from addiction treatment
are very cautious about letting the AVRT cat out of the
Another JRR article of interest to you
may be "Bootlegging AVRT," which encourages persons
like yourself to become undercover agents of RR at their
places of employment. Back-room AVRT sessions are common
in treatment centers that would fire people for introducing
AVRT to their addicted clientele. Although bootlegging AVRT
is technically illegal, we encourage it because human life
is in the balance. Properly done, we will never find out
Give my regards to your boss.
Jack Trimpey, LCSW
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