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Wayne State College
Counseling Center
Student Center, Rm. 103
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Wayne, NE 68787

Phone: 402.375.7321
Fax: 402.375.7058



AOD Information > Effective Abstinence > Crash Course on Effective Abstinence


The following 200-word description of AVRT provides the information for the basis of EA and may be enough for you to break through and end your own substance addiction (1):

Observe your thoughts and feelings, positive and negative, about drinking or using. Thoughts and feelings which support continued use are called the Addictive Voice (AV); those which support abstinence are you. When you recognize and understand your AV, it becomes not-you, but "it," an easily-defeated enemy that has been causing you to drink. All it wants is pleasure. "I want a drink," becomes, "It wants a drink." Think to yourself, "I will never drink again," and listen for its reaction. Your negative thoughts and feelings are your AV talking back to you. Now, think, "I will drink/use whenever I please." Your pleasant feelings are also the AV, which is in control. Recovery is not a process; it is an event. The magic word is "Never," as in, "I will never drink/use again." Recognition defeats short-term desire, and abstinence soon becomes effortless. Complete sepaEAtion of "you" from "it" leads to complete recovery and hope for a better life. The only time you can drink is now, and the only time you can quit for good is right now. "I will never drink/use again," becomes, "I never drink now." It's not hard; anyone can do it (p. 6).


Using the concept of AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) as a starting point, Effective Abstinence helps you to gain insight into the nature of your addiction (1,2). Then you are in complete control over the decision to drink or use drugs. Some people do better learning on their own, and others learn better in group discussions. Reading this on-line may be enough information for you to make the necessary changes in your life to be drug-free. If you have questions, or would like to interact in a group with others of like mind, come to an EA meeting. EA is extremely simple, is based on common sense, and it's free.


Although EA is simple, learning it can be tricky at first. This is because your inner voice, what Rational Recovery calls your "AV," is determined that you will keep drinking or using, so it can survive. It is ruthless in its pursuit of alcohol or drugs, but it can also be quite subtle, forceful, seductive, persistent, and patient (1,2).


Rational Recovery and Effective Abstinence have several things in common. One does not have to be labeled "alcoholic" to participate. In fact, labeling of any kind is to be avoided (2,3,4).  EA, like Rational Recovery, advocates lifetime abstinence for those who cannot obtain moderation, but it does recognize that some problem drinkers can and do learn to drink in moderation (4).  The religious/spiritual element is not an issue in the Rational Recovery or the Effective Abstinence programs (5).  Similar to Rational Recovery, Effective Abstinence is based on REBT (Rational-Emotive Behavioral therapy) and is oriented in the present, not the past. Individuals are encouraged to create meanings in their lives, to develop purposes, commitments, and a philosophy of life (3,4,6)


Participants learn unconditional acceptance of themselves and others and are taught to evaluate their thoughts, feelings, and actions without devaluing their self (4).  EA goes further and introduces other concepts, such as the Recovery Medicine Wheel (7,8) based on Native American Spiritual beliefs and values. Effective Abstinence is an eclectic program that utilizes a variety of concepts to assist you in overcoming your addiction.

Part of you may be deeply skeptical of the idea of self-recovery. When you doubt this concept, you are only doubting yourself and your own ability to quit your addiction, right now, and for all time. You have nothing to lose, so give it a chance. Contact the Counseling Center at (402) 375-7321 for more information.

Effective Abstinence Links:


  — Crash Course on Effective Abstinence

  — Committment to Abstinence

  — Effective Abstinence Home




Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor




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