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What is Rational Recovery?

Rational Recovery, also referred to as RR, is a substance abuse treatment program that is considered part of the self-help movement for addiction. It is not associated with AA or any 12-step program and does not involve meetings or support group treatments of any kind. According to the State University of New York, “The specific technique taught is known as Addictive Voice Recovery Technique or AVRT” which can be found on the Rational Recovery website.

How Does Rational Recovery Work?

rational recovery

Rational Recovery is a substance abuse treatment program.

The program works through self-discipline and a desire to quit. Unlike support groups, there are no mandatory meetings because RR teaches that these can cause co-dependency and other issues. RR states, “You can learn enough AVRT to fully recover” in their free crash course available on their website. This program is very different from other addiction treatments, as it defines recovery as an event where the person decides to stop abusing drugs rather than a long-term process.

Is Rational Recovery Effective?

According to a study by the NCBI, “RR succeeded in engaging substance abusers and promoting abstinence among many of them while presenting a cognitive orientation that is different from the spiritual one of AA.” However, most of the individuals who participated in the study were male. Because of limited research, it is difficult to know if RR is especially effective for female substance abusers.

Is Rational Recovery Better than Traditional Treatment/Support Groups?

This is difficult to gauge as well, as much more research has been conducted on the effectiveness of both traditional inpatient and outpatient treatment and support groups. While RR’s statements about independent recovery may be appealing to some women, others may decide that it is not the right choice for them.

Is Rational Recovery Right for Me?

Ask yourself the questions below in order to determine whether Rational Recovery might be an option for you.

  • Have I been abusing drugs for a short period of time?
  • Do I feel that I still have a strong amount of control over my drug abuse but need guidance in order to fully quit?
  • Have I attended AA, other support groups, or rehabilitation centers and been disappointed in the results?
  • Am I most comfortable working through my problems on my own?
  • Do I feel that I would be able to reliably follow the AVRT program on my own?

If you answered yes to the questions above, Rational Recovery may be right for you. Although most users of this program are male, there is a potential that you could benefit from RR, especially if you are looking for an independent treatment program where you can utilize your skills of self-monitoring. Also, if you are not able to attend treatment or feel that it is unnecessary, this may be a possible avenue for you to try.

It is important to note that RR has not been proven to be as effective as other methods (essentially because there hasn’t been a large amount of research on the subject). The program has, however, been found to be effective for some individuals and could be potentially beneficial for those women searching for a more self-reliant form of substance abuse treatment.

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