Hanover Park, IL - (630) 372-6599
South Elgin, IL - (847) 488-1999
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Rational Recovery: An Alternative Treatment Model to 12-Step Programs for Substance Abuse

Publication Date: 
January 17, 2013


For years, Jack Trimpey struggled with his addiction to alcohol.  He started attending AA meetings in the late 1960Â’s, but continued to drink.  He saw that many other addicted people were unable to remain sober, no matter how diligently they attended 12-Step meetings and worked “The Steps”.

In 1986, Mr. Trimpey “…decided to go to bat for people who simply wanted to recover from their addictions by using their own natural abilities”.  (Trimpey, 1992).  He created several self-help groups in California, and called them “Rational Recovery”.


“The central task in the rational mode of recovery is to help the rational voice of survival and personal gain to grow in strength so that it may dominateÂ…the addictive voice that argues endlessly for intoxication”.  (Trimpey, 1992).  Rational Recovery teaches addicts Addictive Voice Recognition Training (AVRT)— to recognize and to dispute irrational thoughts that encourage substance abuse.  Trimpey refers to the addictive thoughts as the BEAST:

Boozing opportunity

Enemy voice recognition

Accuse the voice of malice

Self-control and self-worth reminders

Treasure your sobriety



  • Rational Recovery disputes the concept that addicts are powerless over their addictions (Step 1 of the 12 Steps)
  • The Rational Recovery model does not endorse the concept of a “Higher Power” (Step 2 of the 12 Steps)
  • Rational Recovery opposes the philosophies of “fearless moral inventory” (Step 4 of the 12 Steps), and “defects of character” (Step 6 of the 12 Steps)
  • Rational Recovery does not use sponsors
  • Participants in Rational Recovery make a “Big Plan”—never to use again; 12-Step program members take their sobriety “One day at a time”
  • Successful Rational Recovery participants are considered “recovered”, while sober 12-Step program members are called “recovering”


If you or any of your loved ones are struggling with substance abuse, and have not found 12-Step programs helpful, please consider Rational Recovery as an alternative treatment model! 

Rational Recovery books:

Trimpey, Jack (1994). The Final Fix For Alcohol and Drug Addiction: AVRT  Addictive Voice Recognition Training

Trimpey, Jack (1992). The Small Book

I became a Certified Rational Recovery Specialist in 1994.  Please feel free to arrange for a consultation with me at Village Counseling Center: 630.372.6599 Extention #121

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Hanover Park, IL - (630) 372-6599
South Elgin, IL - (847) 488-1999

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