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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.
NASW Ethics Complaint

When you have reviewed the complaint, you may wish to examine the supporting document mentioned therein, a 750K Acrobat file:
The 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 abstinence.

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., bad company.

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 distorted.

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 themselves.

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 for addiction.

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 thinking authors.

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" (Gal. 5).

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 about.

TSgt Mark R. Marley

Sgt. 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, as truth.

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 policies.

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.

Jack Trimpey

Dear Jack,

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.

Carolee, NYC

Dear Carolee,

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.

Jack Trimpey


Dear Mr. Trimpey,

I bought your book yesterday and started reading it at 5 am this morning. I finished about an hour ago.

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 like to.

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.

Carolee, NYC


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.

Jack Trimpey


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)

Dear Therapist,

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.

Jack Trimpey


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 beliefs).

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

(Name Withheld)

Dear NW,

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 than ours.

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.

Jack Trimpey


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 disease.

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.

Jack Trimpey


Dear RR,

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 AVRT?

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 to AVRT.




Dear Kevin,

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 be.

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 through AVRT.

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 itself.

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.

Jack Trimpey, President


Dear Jack,

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.

Susan V.

Dear Susan,

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 12-step programming.

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.

Jack Trimpey


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.

Steven Farugie

Dear Steven,

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 achievement.

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.

Jack Trimpey


Dear Folks:

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 efforts.

Paul Rock Krech, CMSW

Dear Paul,

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.

Jack Trimpey


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


Dear Ralph,

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 of recovery."

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 go."

Simply direct people who wisely reject AA to AVRT, particularly by reading Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction (Pocket Books, 1996) or at http://www.rational.org/recovery.

Jack Trimpey


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 as disease.

Jack Trimpey


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 work.

(Name withheld), Attorney at Law.

Dear NW,

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.

Jack Trimpey


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),

Dear NW,

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 the truth.

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 reason.

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 behavior.

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 of mind.

I will be inquiring separately about administration's capitulation on various promises regarding the conditions of my employment.

Sincere regards,

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.


Rob Ellett

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 against.

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
Rational Recovery

(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.

Jack Trimpey


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.

Ben, NY

Dear Ben,

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 true."

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.

Jack Trimpey


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

Dear 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.

Jack Trimpey


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. Thank you.

- Bill Poynter, LCSW

Dear Bill,

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.

David Brito

Dear David,

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.

Jack Trimpey


Dear Jack,

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.

Gene Courter


If you will write a more coherent comment, I will be glad to respond to

Jack Trimpey


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

Gene Courter


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 in 1994.

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.

Jack Trimpey


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

Jorges M.

Dear Jorges,

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.

Jack Trimpey


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.

Cali Gressler

Dear Cali,

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 cult.

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 movement.

Jack Trimpey


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.

Linda D.

Dear Linda,

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 institutions.

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 whatsoever.

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 heard.

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.

Jack Trimpey


Dear Jack,

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

Dear Dave,

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.

Unconditional, "rational" 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 along.

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 with AA).

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.

Kimberly, WA

Dear Kimberly,

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 viewpoints.

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 graduate school.

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 bag.

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 about it.

Give my regards to your boss.

Jack Trimpey, LCSW

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