Rational Recovery - Abstinence-Based Approach

Addictive Voice Recognition Techniques

Rational Recovery Book Cover
Rational Recovery Book Cover. Amazon.com

Rational Recovery, founded in 1986 by Jack and Lois Trimpey, is an abstinence-based approach to recovery that is the self-proclaimed "antithesis and irreconcilable arch-rival of Alcoholics Anonymous."

At the core of the Rational Recovery (RR) program is the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT), which appears to be a training exercise in simple will power. Based on a Structural Model of Addiction, a crash course in AVRT is presented on the Rational Recovery as a "public service" in the form of 28 flash cards.

Many people have been helped using this approach to dealing with their drinking.

If the Rational Recovery website merely presented it's AVRT crash course and stopped there, it would probably attract many more participants, who might possibly benefit from the use of willpower techniques to approach abstinence. But unfortunately, Jack Trimpey, the author of the pages on the massive website, does not stop there -- far from it.


The vast majority of the Rational Recovery website is used in an apparent effort to prove that RR is right and the rest of the world is wrong. Trimpey launches an attack on not only Alcoholics Anonymous, but against treatment centers, chemical addiction counselors, and any other governmental, medical, and professional organizations that do not agree with him.

Even many casual visitors, with no background with or loyalties to 12-step support groups, must be turned away by the iconoclastic and extremist nature of Trimpey's tirades.

First of all, Trimpey says, "There really isn't any such thing as an 'alcoholic,' except at AA meetings where they label themselves such. It is a folk expression to describe a person who drinks too much for his/her own good." Then he calls the concepts of denial, powerlessness, relapse, triggers, enabler, alcoholic, addict, and hitting bottom "nonsense jargon."

Trimpey also publishes a petition on the website calling for the abolition of all publicly-funded addiction treatment, he has an open letter to public officials in which he claims the inmates are running the asylum, and he calls any court that has ordered alcoholics or addicts to get treatment "kangaroo courts."

The RR website also features a Public Health Warning that "addiction recovery groups are hazardous to your life, your health, your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness." Remarkably, Trimpey claims that he has canceled the recovery group movement urging people with addictions to avoid all kinds of addiction recovery groups, including his own former Rational Recovery Self-Help Network.

Vehement Attacks

Trimpey's most intense attacks are launched against the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Rather than merely state that he believes the A.A. program is religious, he calls it the embodiment of the beast, while claiming that RR is a friend of organized religion worldwide.

Not only does he offer his opinion, "Of course AA is a cult!" he calls it a "radical cult, an evil cult, a widespread cult, and a dangerous cult" and a "cancer on the soul of the nation." He further claims, "Chemical dependency counseling is a professional guild created by AA in order for its members to practice step craft in public institutions and agencies."

Trimpey even attacks the Al-Anon Family Groups program, urging visitors to the RR website to withdraw from Al-Anon, claiming "... you will become vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by both the group and your partner. Remember, the only people who will ever ask you to surrender control, want control of you." He is a little vague on what possible motivation Al-Anon members would have for perpetrating this alleged control.

Those who have a desire to stop drinking and using drugs, and who believe they are not yet addicted, we suggest going directly to the AVRT Crash Course page, take the course...

and leave the rest.

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