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Joined: 6/8/2009
Msg: 1
rational recovery (aa alternatives)Page 1 of 1    
hows it going? I've been doing some AA stuff in my spare time, but I was wondering what the alternatives were like (rational recovery, lifering, etc)

The AVRT approach seems to shy away from meetings etc or comparing field notes on sobriety which I think is weird, but any of you got opinions on this stuff?
Joined: 2/2/2011
Msg: 2
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rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/22/2013 11:22:21 PM
I was never able to do the meetings. But, although I still drink, I kicked a mean heroin habit with the help of the book Rational Recovery. It's completely different than the whole AA/NA thing, and I liked that. Instead of giving yourself to a higher power and regurgitating 'war stories', it teaches you to change your thought patterns. If anything, going to meetings and hearing people talk about drugs, just furthered my urge to use drugs. Not to mention all the dealers that cleverly hung outside the meetings.

Although the book did help, what REALLY helped was a change in lifestyle; new hobbies, new friends... gave me a fresh perspective on things. Plus, going to enough of my friends funerals made me realize that wasn't how I wanted to go out.

Good luck man.
Joined: 7/5/2011
Msg: 3
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 9:22:13 AM
There is plenty of literature on the benefits of regular meditation on addictions..
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 4
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 1:39:47 PM
AA isn't a cult, and there is no organized religion to it.
They say " a higher power of your understanding"

It could be the doorknob- as in the door to the bar or the meeting
Or a judge- "higher power"
Or my phone- which is much smarter than me btw
They address and accept agnostics, who are unable to even decide if there is a higher power...

I have seen people stand up and say the hate god.
Also seen folks say they worship satan.
They are accepted.

Courts don't make people go to meetings. Neither do jails.
You sign a contract to be able to get out of jail. Part of the contract requirements say attend x amount of meetings.
You can opt to do your time instead.
There are many different types of addiction recovery services.... AA happens to be be free. Most just go and get their slip signed, whether they listen or even stay for the hour.

AA works for many people. Rational recovery works too. Like Lenny said- it's about changing your lifestyle. Playgrounds, play toys and playmates.... some just have had enough and do nothing but stop. Others need a tight support network. Others need cognitive restructuring.... some will drink themselves to death knowing they are dying and not care or be able to help themselves.

Op- if you want to change your lifestyle..... and can't seem to do it on your own, give AA a try. 90 in 90, do the steps, get a sponsor all of it. The 4th and 5th steps are the meat of the program. Give it some time, like a year. If after that time you want to go back out- they will gladly refund your misery. Look into RR and learn as much as you can, that won't hurt.

Bottom line- you have to WANT to change, and be willing to do whatever it takes. "doing some aa stuff" isn't really committing to it. Recovery is hard for many many people. Success rates are very low.

I have looked into AA, RR, NA, and some others.... MY life is better if I'm not drinking a gallon of wild turkey, kicking your azz, killing your dog, and fvcking your wife.

AA says you were once a cucumber but now you're a pickle. No going back.
RR says you can tame the beast and go on to be a responsible "normal" drinker.
It's an individual assessment...

Good luck
Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 5
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 1:52:05 PM
AA has a 50/50 recovery rate, or so they proclaim.

truth is 70% will fail, why?, because sobriety cannot, should not be the goal.

I'm a addictions counselor, I don't preach sobriety, I ask only that you know yourself, fuck this higher power bullshit, it's unrealistic, and furthers hidden agendas.

drink as you will, just understand who you are, come to grips with the past, have a beer, maybe two, but never forget what lives within.

the higher power is nonsense, we have created a program in our area that excludes this, I would encourage you to do the same.

Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 6
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 2:16:57 PM

As to the OP, I would think with new drugs like Chantix to treat smoking, something to treat alcohol addiction exists or is being developed.

(my bold)

you will never be able to control anything.

addiction is a complex problem, more often than not stemming from unresolved issues, a 'band-aid', if you will.

Joined: 9/20/2011
Msg: 7
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rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 4:24:42 PM

As to the OP, I would think with new drugs like Chantix to treat smoking, something to treat alcohol addiction exists or is being developed.

Having smoked for about 20 years and quit, I can assure you that quit smoking drugs are useless and often harmful. NRT is retarded just in the basic concept of it and the drugs the **** with your brain is worse. I quit using a book, Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking. It's pretty much like (and probably inspired) the book Lenny mentioned in post #2.

VVV This is the drug my doctor prescribed me before I read the book.

The key to kick any addiction is all in the brain and the ONLY way to ever get past it is to change the way you think about the addition, regardless of what method you use.
Joined: 2/3/2012
Msg: 8
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 9:43:57 PM
Jeffery- I read the first 5 hits from google....
not sure how you came up with something different.
courts are NOT doing this. ie: forcing anyone to attend some church or cult. laughable

The supreme court isn't ruling on this because it's clear- AA does not require you to believe in some god.
The wording is key: a higher power of your understanding= christ, buddha, mohammed, satan... whomever
Also: These are the steps we took and are suggested to.... not forced on

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. That is straight from the horses mouth.

Again- the premise of a suspended sentence or parole is that you agree to follow certain rules.... no guns, no drink/drug, no breaking the law... and yes- attending AA/NA or which ever they feel fits.
The offender signs a contract saying they will comply.
If they don't want to do what's asked- fine go to jail and serve your sentence. They are not forcing people.

Too many are just whining around that it's not fair because they don't want to change or do their time.
In effect it's hilarious, they could sign their own papers to prove they were there or go once a month and get all the signatures.

I have seen this stuff first hand and have real life experience with it.
The disease baffles the medical profession, one of the founders was a doctor.
The medication aspect is a bit funny.... a pill to make you stop taking pills.
If there was a pill for the booze hounds- it would be an industry standard. AA is over 70 years old.... problems with alcohol dates back even a little farther if I'm not mistaken.

@Truth: I have never heard anyone make a claim of success percentage in AA.
The official site does not give one. Nor do they have any in the archives.... I just did a search, none say 50 %.... or gave ANY number. They did say things like "astonishing" and "unparalleled".

Honestly- I'd say your 30 % success rate is high. My guess it's more like 10-20%.

They also say alcohol is but a symptom of our problem.... not THE problem. Giving up the drink is first, then fixing your past mistakes, then living better and trying not to create new problems and pain..
Have you ever been or are you basing your point of view on assumptions?

You're a licensed addiction councilor that advocates "drinking as you will"?
Oh... you didn't say licensed... you said "I'm a addiction councilor"....

I don't advocate a god to take away all your problems.
But have heard some drink to fill a god sized hole in themselves.
Take away the drink or drug and they still have a hole....
Not for me to say what someone else should do to feel good about themselves.
Power to them... it is an individual deal.
Joined: 7/5/2011
Msg: 9
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/23/2013 9:47:58 PM
^^ Sad thing is, there are pills.. antabuse, naltrexone..
Joined: 6/18/2012
Msg: 10
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/24/2013 9:52:35 AM
I've tried almost every (natural) substance which society deemed as "if you use this you'll be homeless", and mostly I considered a waste of money only. I have been successful enough not to ever bother with anything pharma, because I simply don't trust it, and alcohol is gross.

If I could constantly supply myself with e.coca, cannabis and opium without having to pay for it, i'd use it daily.
Joined: 6/18/2012
Msg: 11
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/24/2013 12:35:52 PM
Alcohol bevs are loaded with sugar with much less ethanol. Becide's getting wrecked mentally, could the sugar parhaps be more addictive then the ethanol itself? Studies "claim" high fructose sugars turn off parts of the brain that tell you to stop consuming! Most booze now day's have high- fructose contents because it's cheaper to make.....and parhaps, more addicting. Good for biz~

Something to consider..
Joined: 7/12/2006
Msg: 12
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/24/2013 6:36:14 PM
I think Shakti's idea of meditation is a good one to explore.
If you have any sort of unavoidable misery scheduled in...
It will help you to endure it.
get to the bottom of it.
and transcend it.

good luck.
Joined: 7/5/2011
Msg: 13
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/25/2013 10:18:11 AM
^^ It also helps you to get to the bottom of what you seek in a substance.. which, once you've discovered the real thing, is a very poor facsimile :)
Joined: 12/7/2010
Msg: 14
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/25/2013 1:14:20 PM
@Truth: I have never heard anyone make a claim of success percentage in AA.

The official site does not give one.

They did say things like "astonishing" and "unparalleled".

uh-huh, image that.

Have you ever been


or are you basing your point of view on assumptions?

hate to get all Socratic on you but, ever known someone to whom the program has failed?

and why, exactly, is that?

Honestly- I'd say your 30 % success rate is high. My guess it's more like 10-20%.

since no literature exists, I'd say we're both right. :/

They also say alcohol is but a symptom of our problem.... not THE problem.


You're a licensed addiction councilor that advocates "drinking as you will"?

alcoholism, from the purely physiological need, to me personally, is rare. I really don't care if you drink while seeing me, just know your limitations.

Take away the drink or drug and they still have a hole....

now you're catching on.

Joined: 10/6/2012
Msg: 15
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/28/2013 2:13:52 PM
Yes, people can be court ordered to programs. This is one of my posts from a few years ago... My obsessive research on this place lasted several years.. long read... sorry!!!
Separated from kids
Posted: 3/6/2010 946 PM
This summer will be three years since we were involved with the AARC program in Calgary, Alberta.

Two years since my son graduated and left. He hasn't looked back and is trying to carry on with his life.

He could have left after turning 18 in April of that year, but was held there via court order until AARC decided he could leave.

So much has happened since. Most of all we have been able to talk to each other.

Some things that were revealed:

- youth in the program are denied access to their own parents and family whether the family is involved in the program or not. After a period of time of no contact at all, any contact is strictly supervised. The program later decides when the youth are ready or when it is safe to allow unrestricted contact with the family.

- Generally parents have the option to remove their child if they so wish if the child is a minor, but in our case my child was ordered to stay by a youth provincial court judge whose own husband is a doctor who is/was on the program's board of directors and whose family has had a long standing relationship with the program spanning two decades.

At the time we were involved the judge's husband was not currently on the board, but had been in the past. At the time we were involved the judges husband was the physician the clients were brought to for examinations etc., It has come to my attention that after my son graduated the judge's husband returned to being a board member. I am unsure at the time of this post as to whether the doctor is currently seeing AARC clients or if he's a current board member, or both. They both attended my son's "graduation" ceremony at AARC as "special guests".

- As in our case, if the youth is ordered to this program with permission from the parents and that permission is withdrawn in court, the youth could be returned to the program with NO legal recourse by the parents. This is done with no medical consultation, and with no involvement from children's services. This can and does happen even though parental permission was/is required for a minor to attend the program. This can and does happen even though the parents may not have actually given informed consent, for they will not understand the program until they have been in the program.

Once experiencing the program, the parent may decide they are unhappy with the arrangement, or may be concerned for the health and safety of their child and may wish to pull their child out. But at that point it is too late because the judge could decide to send the youth back without the parent's consent. Should this happen, the parent can and will lose the ability to exercise their own parental rights. They will have no legal recourse.

The reason there is no legal recourse is because this action is handled in the youth provincial court and is the youth's case, not the parent's case. Criminal lawyers can represent the youth in court, but not the parents. Family lawyers can not get involved because it's not a family court and is not their jurisdiction. And there is no chain of accountability through the Ministry of Justice because they do not mandate or oversee the program in question. The program can not even be held legally responsible for any medical negligence because the program is not recognized as a health care facility and/or governed by the ministry of health and wellness. Again, not their jurisdiction. No one's jurisdiction.

- While in treatment clients are not allowed to see their own physicians, therapists, or other health care professionals. Clients are not even allowed to follow up on dental care, including emergencies, until the 4th level of treatment, which can take months to years.

At least two youth that I'm aware of (one suffering irreversible damage) suffered, and were denied care.

One youth was in excruciating pain and his teeth rotted past the nerve and to beyond the point of pain. Eventually, it no longer hurt. His complaints were met with being told to suck it up and being told that he is exhibiting attention seeking behaviour. After leaving the program his teeth crumbled and were eventually removed. He suffered.

My own son had impacted and emerging wisdom teeth. There was pain and there was a direct opening into his jaw and his surgeon worried it was a matter of time until infection could cause him to lose his jaw. Despite this, he was denied treatment and eventually had them removed in his fourth level of treatment. It was almost a year after he started the program.

The emerging teeth crowded his other teeth and they currently overlap, they will require expensive braces to correct the problem. This could have been avoided had the program allowed him dental care earlier on.

- Clients are entirely isolated from the community and everything they've ever known

- Clients have no access to an outside advocate, they have no avenue to report abuse, and they have no way to protect their human and civil rights.

Concerned parents can expect no intervention or investigation by the police (if they can't talk to their kid they can't know any abuse is happening) or by the ministry of childrens' services for the ministry protects youth from abuse in their own home, not in a program.

- clients have no access to media or material other than that related to and provided by the program

- these materials are developed by the program

- the youth in the program are in direct control and supervision of other youth in the program after as little as 2 months. (including overnight)

- male clients are generally overseen by other male clients, but on occasion male clients will over see female clients in and out of the host homes if there are no current female clients available to have a host home.

- youth are locked in the bedrooms of other youth in the program - and the entire household becomes an extension of the program.

- because these "host homes" are private residences they are not required to abide by fire codes, or licensing requirements as are other foster homes or youth care facilities - the program avoids all responsibility and accountability that would normally go along with being a residential facility. When a client is brought to these host homes each night by other AARC parents it is basically a "sleep over at Johnny's house" and not considered residential care. This is the case even though the host home has to make significant changes, undergo inspections from and abide by a strict set of rules set and enforced by the AARC program. The families in the program are required to, and their participation in the program is dependent on, opening and operating their own host recovery home. It is not an option, it is a requirement. The families receive a "Recovery Home" package provided by the AARC, and is required to follow it to the letter. There is no criminal record check, or child welfare check and the home is not required to obtain any sort of license, yet they are housing and following the program for minors who are not their own. The AARC program still maintains that they are "day treatment" and "outpatient", and not residential in spite of this.

- The program claims to be "outpatient" and claims to provide "therapy" yet is not accountable to the standards set out in the Health Professions Act. Why?

- The program emphasizes having a school component. They have teachers employed by the Calgary Board of Education and if you look in the phone book under Board of Education you will find an entry for the AARC. They have received an award from the city for their school component.

Youth held in care as long as three years at this program did not receive what we would view as an education. I'm aware of youth who eventually made it into the classroom and believed they were receiving credits, only to find they did not receive credits and the work they did do is not recognized. Youth can and do suffer substantial educational delays, eventually unable to graduate at all because they didn't receive any study there until the last month or so of treatment. From what I've been told it is the norm for the program to withhold the right to go to class until close to the end of treatment.

- Parents of school age clients are required to complete a BASC questionnaire. Those of school age are all categorized as a "Severe behavioural problem", being of a "danger to themselves and others", and requiring "constant adult supervision". As such the students/clients receive special funding from the school board in addition to the regular funding allotted a high school student. All this funding is awarded for youth who are only spending a fraction of their year actually in the school component of the program.

- These same youth who have been deemed a danger to themselves and others and requiring constant adult supervision of their own are put in direct control of and are responsible for the care of other similarly categorized youth.

- The Christmas present and stocking I brought to the program were opened by senior staff. My son was given the shirt I bought him and told it belonged to the staff member. The stocking was emptied of it's contents and the contents were given to him. He was told it was a donation to the centre.

- My son was told I abandoned him. Part of the breaking down process was believing I had had enough of his behaviour and no longer wished to be a part of his life. He was told I was sick and if I cared whether he lived or died I would be in the program along his side, and there to support him. And since I wasn't there supporting him, I obviously didn't care if he lived or died.

- The entire effort I put forth to contact my son was explained to him as symptoms of how unhealthy I was. He was under the impression I was "stalking" him and trying to mess with him psychologically by periodically interfering with his "treatment".

- My son was not aware that the program expected his brother to attend one on one counselling sessions and according to other clients this is the prelude to bringing the sibling into care. My son was also not aware that the program expected me to remove his brother from the home if he didn't attend the program. He was under the belief that it was my intention all along to ditch him there, and leave.

Despite everything, former clients have told me we are the lucky ones. That my son will recover better and faster than those whose parents are still emeshed with AARC and under the belief the program is saving their child's life. Some clients that leave and try to live life independent of the program are rejected by their parents. It's a part of the program to disconnect from your child if they don't stay with the program even after graduation.

Many youth have lost their relationship with their own parents and siblings, and are completely on their own with no support. Former clients have reported to me that they publicly support AARC, and continue to attend groups and dinners, so they will not be banished and lose their family. There are others that to this day, are living a double life. It's the only way they can cope.

There is much, much more... but I think I've demonstrated enough to indicate there is a big problem.

It is hard to imagine that what has happened to our family can not be classified as criminal, and harder to imagine that there are NO standards or regulations or governmental support to prevent this kind of abuse from happening to youth and families in this day and age.

Thank you to those who took the time to read this."
Joined: 12/20/2011
Msg: 16
rational recovery (aa alternatives)
Posted: 1/28/2013 5:56:20 PM
I don't know about success rates of any of the different types of recovery programs -- which is sad, because I am a licensed mental health counselor! However, I do know the AA premise is not necessarily spiritual, as someone pointed out; and I know that meetings are not for everyone.

It might help you make your choice about how to stay sober (there is no social using, BTW for substance abusers, contradicting what another poster said, the addictions counselor I believe!) if you learned more about Albert Ellis, a brilliant man who pioneered the whole therapy school known as Rational Emotive Therapy, where Rational Recovery gets its basic ideas; google him, You tube him, get some books on Half.Com by him -- you can't go wrong. He is a profane S.O.B. who will rock your world; he is my hero in the therapy world; other things to google similarly would be cognitive behavioral therapy -- looking at how our thought patterns mess us up -- but don't forget to address the issues your using served to bandaid -- get a good therapist as an adjunct to your recovery program. And best of luck to you, I know you can find your way.
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