How Effective Are Rational Recovery Meetings?

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : December 08, 
| 4 Sources

What is AVRT?
Who Is Jack Trimpey?

A unique and controversial alcoholism treatment program devised by Jack Trimpey

"Addiction recovery is secure, permanent abstinence. Nothing else. No issues, no shrinks, no groups, no rehabs. You just quit, then learn the ability to stick to that decision under all conditions."

So writes Jack Trimpey, the founder of Rational Recovery and Rational Recovery meetings, a for-profit company unique in the world of addiction recovery. There is a variety of options for the treatment of alcoholism, and his approach is different than the others. 

He came up with his theories and his program after successfully ending 25 years of what he calls “world class alcoholism”.

  • Trimpey's system is considered by many to be the antithesis of Alcoholic's Anonymous as the two philosophies combat alcoholism from widely different viewpoints.
  • Trimpey's system includes a website, books, videos and lectures.

An important starting point mentioned is that you begin your work with the program sober. It is encouraged that if you are currently under the influence of alcohol or any other substance, that you return when you are sober. The second recommendation is that you remain sober enough to learn the AVRT(Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) program that they use.

Some signs of a person struggling with alcohol include an inability to stop drinking once they start, drinking in dangerous situations and developing a tolerance to alcohol. Drinking tends to interfere with family, work and other obligations.

"Let one of our support assistants help you on your way to sobriety. With many having first hand experience, they have been in your shoes and understand the struggle. The free chat is confidential & they are available 24/7."

No Meetings and No Treatment Centers

Approximately 17 million individuals in the United States struggle with Alcoholism. The typical medical approach includes treatment, which tends to have a behavioral approach. Some may be encouraged to use medications to aide in withdrawal or to curb cravings. 

While in the early years, group meetings were a component, they were discontinued in the late 90s and there are no meetings in Jack Trimpey's program today.

The basis of the system is on the belief that alcoholism is definitely not a disease and that the entire concept is harmful to those attempting to stop drinking.

Trimpey encourages individuals who use his program to avoid recovery groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous), Mental Health Professionals and your Physician. He does not see any of these resources as a benefit to a person struggling with alcohol addiction.

If you look on the Rational Recovery Website (, you will find the reasons why attending recovery groups and following the AVRT program do not mesh well together.

When we look at the focus of the program, we see that there are significant differences. For example, family vs. individual, independent work vs. group work and how relapses are viewed. 

Trimpey insists on his system not being involved in the social service system whatsoever and does not allow his AVRT to be used by professional alcohol rehab specialists.

One thing to note is that many, if not most, treatment programs would not align with the AVRT program that Trimpey has developed even if it was available to them to use. 

AVRT focuses on individual recovery and Trimpey feels it would be “diluted as an adjunct to any other recovery methodology or treatment”. Simply meaning that his program focused on your own values which he feels would be muted or dulled down by other common treatment approaches.

The Heart of Rational Recovery

The foundation for the Rational Recovery Program is AVRT. AVRT is based on the structural model of addiction. The training exercises are supposed to give you everything you need to overcome addiction through strengthening your own willpower.

One of the most radical things taught in this program, compared to other alcohol and alcohol addiction recovery programs, is that if you don't think you have a problem, then you're not an addict and therefore have no real need for sobriety.

The AVRT training starts by personifying your Addictive Voice or “the Beast” as Trimpey calls it.

Your Addictive Voice (AV) is the one that wants to keep drinking, not you. So any thoughts of wanting or craving alcohol or experiencing pleasure at the thought of drinking is your AV talking, not you. Your Addictive Voice has a million different ways of telling you to drink.

According to Trimpey, addiction is a function of a normal, healthy human being, not a disease. In fact, he teaches that there are no causes of alcoholism or contributing factors other than your desire to drink which makes addiction a voluntary behavior.


       Criticisms of Rational Recovery

If you are familiar with other options for alcohol treatment, I would imagine that you were able to pick up on some of the differences between those options and Trimpey’s AVRT program.

The way that addiction is viewed is a significant difference between the medical community. The vast majority of the Medical Community is in agreeance that alcohol addiction is a mental health disease. Due to this belief, and the support of clinical research, Alcohol Use Disorder is a diagnosis available in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition written by the American Psychological Association.

Another key difference is the viewpoint of focusing on the individual.

  • In most treatment programs, individuals participate in group therapy. 
  • While Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery groups are not therapy sessions, they too have a group approach. Part of the reason for this is that addiction thrives on isolation. By being in a group therapy session or a recovery group, you are giving yourself the opportunity to connect with others and learn from others. 
  • This is not possible in Trimpey’s AVRT program as you teach yourself the program, and follow through alone. There is a major difference in the social support available with the two different approaches.

The format of this option has changed over time. Initially, "The Class", as Trimpey calls it, is a prerequisite for those wishing to recover from alcoholism using this method. The downside to this was that it was only offered in Northern California and that there was a non-refundable deposit.

It required money and travel. Many addicts find it hard enough to scrape enough willpower together to get to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, SMART meetings and the like. Whatever the reasoning, available options have changed and are more convenient.

The Rational Recovery website recommends the following course of actions for individuals who are interested in trying the AVRT program:

1. Look at the free information and resources on the website. There is a site map guide to help you get a solid understanding of the programs design and principles.

2. Visit the bookstore for additional resources available to you. This includes books, DVD’s and pre-recorded videos.

3. Subscribe to their membership for a few months and have access to an improved resource, The Advanced Crash Course on AVRT.

4. Engage in the AVRT teleconference. This consists of five 1 hour sessions with instruction on AVRT by Jack Trimpey himself. This can be done with a webcam or Facetime.

If you are interested, the Rational Recovery store has a variety of products with a range of costs. Products include DVD’s, VHS, books, a movie and pre-recorded videos. Prices can be under $10 depending on the product and range up to $350 DVD AVRT set. While some products may seem a bit pricy, it pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of an in-patient rehab program. Depending on your insurance coverage, an inpatient treatment program can cost thousands of dollars or more depending on the program.

Rational Recovery seems to work for many people, particularly those who have tried AA and not found it effective. There are many testimonials from people who have recovered from alcoholism using Trimpey's method.

Courting Controversy

While Trimpey's program has helped many people to find sobrietythe company has also made enemies along the way.

Due to the strong language Trimpey uses on his website and his rejection of all other methods of alcohol addiction recovery, other agencies are not fond of him or his system. Examples of this would be his thoughts regarding the usefulness, or lack thereof, when working with mental health and other health care providers regarding addiction.

This does not mean his system does not work, on the contrary, it has a statistically better success rate than Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • There are many factors that go into the statistics, however some find the numbers are more important than others.
  • Limits to statistics with Alcoholics Anonymous is partly that the program is anonymous. Since it is a voluntary program, you cannot track attendance as easily as you could with an treatment program for example. 
  • Rational recovery would have similar barriers when establishing statistics regarding its effectiveness. 

As with all major decisions, be sure to do your research before you decide how you would like to approach your recovery. As stated above, there are different ways to approach addiction treatment, and it is important for you to find what is best for you. Think about what would fit best into your life and what you would ideally like your life to look like when you’re sober.

Recovery Is Possible!

It is not easy to fight alcohol abuse, but through treatment programs and options, sobriety is very much achievable. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider today.

"Let one of our support assistants help you on your way to sobriety. With many having first hand experience, they have been in your shoes and understand the struggle. The free chat is confidential & they are available 24/7."

Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction is the definitive guide to Rational Recovery written by Jack Trimpey himself. In the book he outlines his journey to sobriety and presents his aggressive and effective self-help program. Invaluable for those looking for an AA alternative.

If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More


Information about treatment for alcohol addiction written by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) (

Information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder: Alcohol use disorder - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

Additional information about the treatment of Alcohol Addiction: Alcoholism Treatment - Alcohol Addiction & How To Treat Alcoholism (

Signs of alcoholism for each stage of addiction: Signs of Alcoholism: Symptoms of Early, Chronic & End Stages ( 

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