Letters, We Get Mail, CXI



Date: Fri, November 7, 2008 2:45 pm     (answered 13 April 2009)
From: "Mark L"
Subject: Orange Papers

Hello,

I just briefly read your Orange Papers. I'd like to ask a few questions, with the caveat that you keep my name and email confidential.

Okay, Mark,

I am actively involved in AA as well as another faith-based group (example = Overcomer's). I turned my life around 3-years ago after a typical downward-spiral. You probably know dozens of people like me. For 20 years I was generally healthy, happy, prosperous, and a good father. Over time, my problem worsened to the point of complete despair.

I am a strong proponent of recovery programs for those who want it and are willing to do the work. I lead a small group in my home town, and many people are there because of the courts or family; and are not yet ready to participate in the manner I previously described (i.e. willing to do the work). Regardless, they are always welcome and treated with kindness, love, and dignity.

I do not force my beliefs on anyone; but I have been called upon to help when asked. I respond to each request, and this does help me stay healthy (the 12th step, as you know). I have seen many success stories-probably more than 100 by now — just within my small community. And, based on my experience, my observation is that the AA program works 100% of the time for those willing to do the work. People who were near-suicidal are now living with joy.

I commend you for your desire to help.

When you say, "the AA program works 100% of the time for those willing to do the work", that is the propaganda technique of lying with qualifiers, and also cherry-picking. "Doing the work" really means quitting drinking. So A.A. seems to work 100% of the time on those people who will quit drinking when you tell them to.

In addition, just because someone quits drinking does not prove that A.A. works. Even 100 people quitting drinking do not supply any evidence that the A.A. program somehow made them quit drinking. It's easy to imagine cause-and-effect relationships where none exist.

Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D., wrote an article, Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work, where he explained how informal testimonials are erroneously accepted as proof of the success of bogus therapies:

Many dubious methods remain on the market primarily because satisfied customers offer testimonials to their worth. Essentially, these people say: "I tried it, and I got better, so it must be effective." The electronic and print media typically portray testimonials as valid evidence. But without proper testing, it is difficult or impossible to determine whether this is so.
From: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/altbelief.html

(More on that here.)

One of my favorite "cause stories" is something that I learned in college biology. My professor was talking about the old theory of spontaneous creation of life, which was a popular theory in the middle ages. It was the idea that life could just spontaneously arise out of non-living matter. One guy who supported that idea published this recipe for the creation of life — specifically, for the spontaneous creation of little mice:

"Just take a sweaty old shirt, put a couple of handfuls of grain into it, roll it up into a ball and stick it in the corner of the room. Come back a month later, and unroll the shirt, and hey presto! You will have lots of freshly-created little baby mice in there."

So, sweaty clothes and grain together cause baby mice to come into existence.

Another good one is this:

A bunch of people went to a Baptist church for years.
During those years, many of the women got pregnant and had babies.
That proves it: going to Baptist churches causes women to get pregnant and have babies.
Not!

Similarly,

A bunch of people went to A.A. meetings. A few of them quit drinking and stayed quit for years. So A.A. must have made them quit drinking.

Not!

Also notice how that argument ignores all of the other people who went to A.A. meetings and did not quit drinking.

And the argument that, "Well, it never happened before," is also invalid. It's like, "Well, Mary-Lou never got pregnant before she went to that Baptist Church. So that church must have made her get pregnant."

And, "Well, Joe never got sober before he went to A.A., so A.A. must have made him get sober."

Both of those arguments ignore the fact that there are a lot of other things going on at the same time, and other things can really be the cause of what happened.

Again, it takes careful controlled testing to establish whether one thing causes another thing. Read this.

Just glancing at your paper, I had difficulty keeping up with the number of discrepancies between your opinions and mine. I want to invite you into an email discussion in hopes we can learn from each other. You have obviously been very thorough in your research, and I'd like to be able to reconcile our differences in opinion. Please don't think of me as being self-righteous, as I wouldn't be emailing you if I didn't think I will learn from you.

I suspect you are contacted by a lot of angry people who want to goad you. That is not my intent. If you are interested in exchanging ideas and experience, I would very much be interested in doing do. If you're not interested in moving forward, then ignore the rest of my email as I am going to throw out a few topics for discussion. I truly hope that you'd be willing to read my points below and engage in a conversation.

1. 13th-stepping — you are sadly right about this. It is common for newcomers, particularly vulnerable women, to be preyed upon by men. This happens. It is also highly frowned upon and each AA Chairperson (I am one) is asked that women contact women and man contact men. And, when meeting schedules and phone numbers are shared, they are meant to be within the same sex. However, AA is loosely organized and there are sadly many exceptions to this and I find it harmful. 13th-stepping is one of the most common factors in relapse. The saying for men is "behind that skirt is a slip".

2. Insurance Money. One of your comments indicated that AA is motivated to recruit newcomers because insurance covers treatment. This is not true. I assume you are referring to professional treatment centers, which do have a financial stake in "new customers". You do not need to pay to join an AA meeting. We "pass the hat" to cover expenses, but this is voluntary.

Yes, of course it is the treatment centers, which are essentially the sales and recruiting arm of Alcoholics Anonymous.

3. Your point: AA groups tend to "hang with winners" and people who are in continuous relapse are considered outcast and frowned upon. This can't be further from the truth-in my experience at least. There is a saying that "we don't shoot our wounded". People who have recently relapsed are welcomed with loving and open arms. In fact, special emphasis is placed on newcomers or people who have relapsed.

That is not what I hear. In fact, I was just answering another letter a few minutes ago, and what he said was:

After the "love bombing" phase had worn off, my skepticism returned and I couldn't sit through a meeting without believing that everybody was lying. The steps NEVER made sense to me. I did a 4th step 3 times in hope that "something" would happen. Naturally at the end of 3 years, when I drank wine at a party, my world crumbled. My social system collapsed, my status within the group was gone, "friends" withdrew their friendship.

I've heard such stories more times than I can count.
Just a quick search brought up these letters with stories of being shunned for not drinking the koolaid:

  1. dumped
  2. shunned
  3. bad sponsor
  4. shunned
  5. shunned
  6. shunned
  7. shunned
  8. ostracized for thinking

4. Cultish and brain washing. Frankly, some people need their brain's washed. Please refer to a re-programming point in the AA program which you consider harmful.

You may think that phrase is cute, but the rest of us find it chilling. And what a rationalization it is for abuse.

Notice the similarity of that to other obnoxious cults:

What the cult leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Moonies said was "Americans' minds are so dirty, so full of sex and drugs and sin, that their brains need a good washing."

The leader of the Synanon pseudo-recovery cult, Chuck Dederich, said, "Of course, we brainwash in Synanon. The dirty brains we get all the time need to be washed for Chrissake!"

Oh yes, the cults are eager to wash your brain out for you.

Now, a reprogramming point in A.A. that is harmful:

  1. teaching self-denigration.
  2. teaching that you can never recover.
  3. teaching that you are sinful and full of character defects and moral shortcomings.
  4. teaching that people drink alcohol because they have sins that they have not confessed.
  5. teaching that practicing a cult religion will cure alcohol abuse or addiction problems.
  6. teaching people that they cannot trust their own thinking.
  7. teaching people to talk and think in slogans and thought-terminating clichés.
  8. inducing phobias and teaching people that they will die drunk if they leave A.A.
  9. teaching that the A.A. program is perfect, and if it doesn't work for you, it's because you were born defective and are constitutionally incapable of being honest with yourself.
  10. teaching people to distrust outsiders, and just associate with other A.A. members.
  11. telling people not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.
  12. telling young girls to have sex with older sponsors so that they will learn "how to have sober sex".
  13. teaching people to expect a miracle, and expect God to just suddenly remove the temptation to drink alcohol, "without any thought or effort on our part." The Big Book, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.
  14. teaching people that they are selfish and egotistical and thinking wrong when they see illogical contradictions in the sermons of William Griffith Wilson.

There are probably dozens more, but that's what I can think of off of the top of my head.

5. Religion. AA is very careful to avoid specific religions and spiritual world views. However, belief in a "higher power, which cares about you, and can heal you" is at the core of the program. This is a big obstacle for people who have had bad experiences with religion (and the flawed people that run then).

Umm, no. That is just more of the standard A.A. double-talk. Alcoholics Anonymous actually teaches a very specific, very peculiar, concept of God: a micro-managing vindictive male tyrant who tortures people with the lash of alcoholism in order to drive them into the one and only true religion — Alcoholics Anonymous, where the A.A. God will:

  1. make you quit drinking and manage your unmanageable life for you (Step One).
  2. restore you to sanity (Step Two).
  3. take care of your will and your life for you (Step Three).
  4. listen to your confessions and maybe give a Rat's Ass about them (and, presumably, then grant absolution without a priest assigning any penance) (Step Five).
  5. answer your prayers, and remove all of your "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" (Step Seven).
  6. answer your prayers, and teach you by sending you information and guidance, and sending you work orders for the day and the power to do the work (Step Eleven).
  7. give you a religious or spiritual experience (Step Twelve).

I do not know of any other religion in the world that describes God that way.

6. AA renders people to wallow in their guilt. That is completely false. People with drinking problems and addictions do bad things when they are actively drinking — lying, cheating, and stealing. Guilt and fear are barriers to healing. Therefore, the AA program has specific steps to bring past wrongs to light in a private, anonymous way. And, people are encouraged to make amends for past wrongs. This clears the way for a better way of living.

I totally disagree here. A.A. has people wallowing in guilt so much that many commit suicide. The whole purpose of Steps 4 through 10 is to induce guilt. They are all about your wrongs, and defects of character, and moral shortcomings, and more wrongs to other people. Then you do it all again and again, in an infinite loop. Not one line tells you to look at the bright side of life, or to be positive and cheerful, or to love. Not one line.

7. You cite a low success rate. However, the program does work, and the promises do come true, if people are willing. The revolving door is a result of people deciding they are not ready. Thankfully, "bottoms" are rising. At the time AA was founded, it was the hardest cases that went into AA and turned things around. Now, people are healing earlier in the downward spiral.

Again, you are lying with qualifiers — "If people are willing." And when the A.A. program doesn't work, I guess they weren't willing enough, right?

But if you are willing to quit drinking, and stay quit, by using your own determination and will power and common sense, and then give the credit to the A.A. program, then it will look like A.A. works. And then it will look like you are willing enough.

The story that A.A. worked in the early days is just another untrue myth. Read about the real historical A.A. success rate here.

8. You cite AA "leaders" who have been involved in criminal activity. That does not invalidate the program or the message. It simply points out that people are flawed and some resort to had behavior.

Now that is some classic minimization and denial. All those years of "spiritual practices", and the A.A. leaders still commit perjury against A.A. members who are "carrying the message" to poor alcoholics, in order to get them fined or imprisoned, so that the A.A. headquarters can illegally collect royalties on more expensive copies of out-of-copyright versions of the Big Book, and that's okay by you?

What are you going to do about it?

And more to the point, what can you do about it? Nothing, because A.A. is a fake democracy. You can vote all you want, and the criminal leaders in The Interchurch Center in New York City will just ignore you.

9. Abstinence versus recovery. You have an interesting point on this and I agree with you to some degree. Some people mature out of a drinking problem without being "dry drunks". However, my personal experience is that most people who are true alcoholics, who stop drinking on their own will, are not in recovery. They are still bound by fears and resentments, and are not living a serene life. They tend to me miserable until they "work the program".

That sounds like a very subjective view. Serene lives are something that I found to be entirely missing from A.A. meetings.

10. Your point: Absolving our responsibilities, duties, and obligations to "God's Will". The opposite is true. We teach "do the right next thing", "meet our moral and financial obligations", and "live our lives with honesty and caring toward our fellow man". I think what you are hinting at is humility. Human nature sometimes drives us to think we are more powerful than we really are. That is why we focus on the serenity prayer. This doesn't mean we shouldn't be good parents, work hard, pay our bills, and be charitable. It's simply recognition that a lot of us view life like a movie director — being able to position people, places, and things exactly the way we want them to be. That just doesn't happen and we need to know our limits and bounds of influence.

That is kind of garbled — "Absolving our responsibilities"??? Maybe you meant some other word than "absolving"?

As far as the rest of that paragraph goes, it is just the standard A.A. put-down of the stereotypical alcoholics. Bill Wilson delivered the same rap in the Big Book, about how we all want to be the director of the show. And Bill's answer was that we had to surrender to the cult (aka "Higher Power") and obey somebody else. That is pure cult talk.

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players his own way. If his own arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody would be pleased. Life would be wonderful.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 60-61.

Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 62.

Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 100.

Let me know if you're interested in exchanging ideas. I am open to the idea.

Regards,
Mark L
Oregon

Yes, Mark, I am open to a discussion. In fact, I think we are already doing it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
**    try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
**    enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
**    (The Big Book, page 96.)






May 27, 2008: Still in the park, Day 10.

This gosling is right there he wants to be: bedding down in a field of grass that is going to seed. He can sit there and casually pick grass seed, having breakfast in bed. And, from the way that his eyes are drooping, he looks like he is about to doze off.

Canada Goose gosling with grass seed

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





Date: Fri, November 7, 2008 11:39 pm     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "William T."
Subject: The AA Program

I am reading the "Orange Papers". Enjoying what you have to say. You have reaffirmed my thoughts on the AA program. The higher power of my understanding is Google, it led the way to your site. Looks like the old saying that knowledge is power may just be true after all.

2 years ago I got sick and tired of my drug use. I quit. Changed my attitude and behavior. I am currently living in a three quarter house that has rules that I must attend 4 AA or NA meetings a week. Well I'm moving next week. I haven't bought into the AA premise that their way is the only way. I just watched the Penn and Teller show bullshit that was on 12 step programs, very good. I've been going to a couple of meetings a week, but pretty much keep my mouth shut, the last time I went, the "table leader" and I got into it when I started talking about the real history of AA.

Well anyway, I'm glad you have your site on the web. Now I make the decision to use, or not use. Much simpler program.

Hello William,

Thanks for the letter. I trust that you are doing well.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have
**    is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
**         ==  Rabbi Harold Kushner





Date: Sat, November 8, 2008 8:15 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Malcolm K."
Subject: The word "Conception"

The word "conception" (incl. "Conceptions") is used 18 times in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. You claim this is bad english. Yet a quick reference to a dictionary yields:

Conception |k?n?sep sh ?n|
noun
1 the action of conceiving a child or of a child being conceived : an
unfertilized egg before conception | a rise in premarital conceptions.
? the forming or devising of a plan or idea : the time between a
product's conception and its launch.
2 the way in which something is perceived or regarded : our conception
of how language relates to reality.
? a general notion; an abstract idea : the conception of a balance of power.
See note at idea .
? a plan or intention : reconstructing Bach's original conceptions.
? understanding; ability to imagine : he had no conception of politics.
DERIVATIVES
conceptional |- sh ?nl| |k?n?s?p??nl| |k?n?s?p?n?l| adjective
ORIGIN Middle English : via Old French from Latin conceptio(n-), from
the verb concipere (see conceive ).

I submit to you, that the noun is meant in the second, rather than first, usage in this definition. It's not a major issue, just one of your many, many misunderstandings and misinterpretations on your site.

None the less, you do provide a useful (albeit partisan) archive of much that is useful.

All the best,
Malcolm K.

(If you want to publish this email, I would only ask that you do not publish my full name or email address. Malcolm K. is fine)

Hello Malcom,

Thanks for the letters.

Yes, I've given up on the argument about "conceptions". I still think it is archaic stilted English, using a long word where the shorter "concepts" will do the job nicely, but if Bill Wilson wants to write in a euphemistic, stilted style, well, I can't change him now.

Have a good day.

== Orange


Date: Sat, November 8, 2008 11:35 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Malcolm K."
Subject: The term "God"

Hi Orange.

I think it is number 82 of the 100 questions on weather AA is a cult that you reference God . An important part of that is of course your opinion and views on what "God" is. What is essential is to understand what Step 11 talks about when it uses the same word.

P. 46 uses some alternative terms "Creative Intelligence", "Spirit of the Universe" "Totality of Things". And, of course "Him" familiar in the abrahamic religions.

I read in a reply to one letter you quoted a great hero of mine "Ram Dass". He has an excellent Audiobook called "Experiments in Truth" which contains the talk "What isn't God?". It cleared up much confusion for me.

You make much ridicule of the idea that one may pick ones own idea of what "God" is by referring, and this is legitimate, to bed pans and doorknobs etc. On one level this is of course ludicrous, but it serves your agenda of ridiculing AA without referring to a very ancient spiritual belief still common in Buddhism, Shinto, Voudon, Hinduism and I believe Catholicism (as it is practiced here in Ireland), namely Animism. The belief that temporal objects do have an inherent spirit, independent of an external deity.

Before we come to the Steps on p.59, we are asked to consider some ideas in "We Agnostics". But the author makes clear on p.47 what he means when the term "God" is used:

"When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book."

You claim AA heretical, but to which Religion? Your assumption that it is Christianity is not borne out by a direct reference to that belief. Alcoholics Anonymous is a book, and no where in it does it refer directly to an organized religious doctrine. If you own a copy of As Bill Sees It, perhaps you will refer to 34 and Bill's views on AA being defined or perceived as a Christian movement.

Ah well,
Malcolm K.

(Please do not publish my email address if you feel like putting this email on your site)

Hello again, Malcolm.

I am specifically referring to the Christian religion when I say that the 12 Steps and other A.A. practices are heretical — look here. I refer to Christianity for two reasons:

  1. most Americans are Christians, and
  2. many A.A. members insist that the 12 Steps are based on the Bible.
Look at these letters, especially the last one, where somebody insists that the Twelve Steps are derived from a list of Biblical quotes:
  1. 12 Steps Biblical
  2. 12 Steps Biblical
  3. 12 Steps Biblical
  4. Biblical references

Now personally, I have no problem with people thinking for themselves, and deciding on their own ideas of God. In fact, I recommend it.

But it is the height of insanity to make up a God like Doorknob Almighty or Baal Bedpan or Magnificent Mountain, and then bet your life that It will perform miracles for you and save your life:

We will seldom be interested in liquor.   ...
We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given to us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it.   ...
We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 84-85.

Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, pages 58-59.

Once more: The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, page 43.

But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life or else.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 44.

By the way, you wrote, "...we are asked to consider some ideas in "We Agnostics"."

That last quote is from the We Agnostics chapter, and there Bill isn't asking us to consider ideas; he is hammering us with the demand that we convert to his religious beliefs, or else we die.

I do have a copy of "As Bill Sees It". I try to have a copy of everything that Bill Wilson wrote, or that AAWS published. (I don't have it all yet, but I'm trying.) In that book, I see that Bill was once again delivering his "any religion" speech. What Bill ignores is that the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous is totally incompatible with all of those religions.

Not Allied With Any Sect

"While A.A. has restored thousands of poor Christians to their churches, and has made believers out of atheists and agnostics, it also has made good A.A.'s out of those belonging to the Buddhist, Islamic, and Jewish faiths. For example, we question very much whether our Buddhist members in Japan would have ever joined this society had A.A. officially stamped itself a strictly Christian movement.

"You can easily convince yourself of this by imagining that A.A. started among the Buddhists and that they told you that you couldn't join them unless you became a Buddhist, too. If you were a Christian alcoholic under these circumstances, you might well turn your face to the wall and die.
As Bill Sees It, William G. Wilson, page 34.

Bill Wilson started off by declaring that A.A. was not officially allied with any church. That's politics. So was his boasting about restoring poor Christians to their churches. That is good for a few Brownie Points with the Christian churches. Then Bill bragged about converting atheists and agnostics. That's good for 10 more Brownie Points with the fundamentalist Christians.

Then Bill declared that the Buddhists would not have joined if A.A. had declared itself officially Christian. That's true. And that is just a recruiting trick: get more victims by raiding all churches and all religions, and insisting that the A.A. religion does not conflict with anybody else's religion (when it does).

It is all just a bait-and-switch trick. First, Bill declares that A.A. is not aligned with any church or religion, and then he sells you his own peculiar religious beliefs. A.A. is loaded with those bait-and-switch tricks:

Alcoholics Anonymous is really a Buchmanite religion. They practice the religion of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, which Bill got from Frank's Oxford Groups. Bill Wilson even admitted as much, later, much later, after the heat over Buchman's praise of Adolf Hitler cooled off:

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, page 39.

(Notice how Bill Wilson still avoided mentioning the name of Dr. Frank Buchman. Bill cited the name of the number-two man in the organization, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.)

The Catholic Church found Frank Buchman's religion to be so heretical that they banned his organization twice.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    An alcoholic is a fellow who is "trying to get his
**    religion out of a bottle... when what he really wants
**    is unity within himself, unity with God...."
**    "There is a definite religious element here."
**     ==  Bill Wilson at the Shrine Auditorium in
**          Los Angeles, in March, 1943


Date: Sun, November 9, 2008 1:42 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Malcolm K."
Subject: AA Recovery Outcome Rates

Hi Orange,In the interest of fairness, openness and balanced debate concerning the internal AA memo purporting to show a 5% recovery rate, could you please draw the attention of the readers of your site to the document "Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Recovery Outcome Rates Contemporary: Myth and Misinterpretation (January 1, 2008)" which may be found here:

http://hindsfoot.org/recout01.pdf

(Local copy here: recout01.pdf)

and the workshop "Has AA lost it's Edge" given by Bill C. and Jay S. on July 4th 2008

http://www.xa-speakers.org/pafiledb.php?action=file&id=2258
bill-c-jay-s-hasaalostitsedge200896.mp3

All the best,
Malcolm K.

(please do not publish my email address if you want to publish this email)

Hi again, Malcolm,

Thanks for the links.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "She generally gave herself very good advice,
**      (though she very seldom followed it)"
**     ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and
**      Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
**      1832-1898)





Date: Sat, November 8, 2008 4:12 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Thomas B. R."
Subject: AA news

Hi Orange

Thank you very much for the truth you bring to light. You already may know this piece of sad news but just in case you haven't and are interested here it is;

Long Beach man who shot his AA sponsor during a meeting sent to prison
11:30 PM Fri, Nov 07, 2008
Posted by: PE News

A Long Beach man who shot and killed his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor at an AA meeting has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Jurors convicted Scott Gordon Reynolds of the first-degree murder of 33-year-old Uriel Noriega and he was sentenced Thursday by Superior Court Judge Jesse Rodriguez.

The 29-year-old defendant testified he snapped after Noriega told other members at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting two years ago that Reynolds is gay, a secret confided by Reynolds to only his mother and AA sponsor.

Reynolds claimed he brought the weapon to the meeting at St. Luke's Episcopal Church because he planned to commit suicide in front of fellow AA members.

Prosecutor Patrick O'Crowley says "none of that was substantiated" during trial.

— The Associated Press

Hi Thomas,

Thank you for the story, and the compliments. Once again, we see that A.A. meetings are not the safe places that A.A. promoters like to claim.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**        == Anonymous





Date: Tue, November 11, 2008 9:45 pm     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "MiChael Clean"
Subject:

we have a disease, its not alcohol or drugs that is the problem...its a disease...clinically proven...medically proven that our brains are different ....

Hello Michael,

No, that has not been clinically proven. If you believe that it has, please point me to the clinical studies that established such a fact. Where were they published, and when?
Thank you.

no matter what book you quote no matter how much time you devote to your website...in all your honest work and hours upon hours you search and study the faults in these programs and in these books..alot of people who come through the rooms are lost souls...never seen a book or had normal human contact (due to people being scared of them, feeling out of place with their diseases mentally, emotionally, and physically ect.) in over 30 years...lost in their addiction..sometimes 10 years, sometimes 5...whatever the case may be... its a disease of the mind, of the brain, chemically different and we altered it even more by drugs and alcohol as well as by our enviornments that we were either raised by and/or accustomed ourselves to on a regular degrading level...on top of this disease of our minds that genetically is given and proven to us even prior to birth ... many of us have mental and emotional diseases/disorders that are also given to us prior to birth as well and/or by products of our upbringingings and/or drugs and alcohol

Again, there is no such disease as "alcoholism". There are just people who drink too much alcohol, for a variety of reasons.

Now it is true that many alcoholics suffer from mental illness, and that is why they drink too much. But that isn't "alcoholism". That is mental illness.

A couple of genetic factors have been found that increase the risk of alcoholism, but that is all. Just increase the risk. There is no gene that causes people to drink too much alcohol. There is no gene that makes people born alcoholics.

...whatever it may be...the reason why the vast majority fails to recover from alcoholism is because our overwhelming psychotic disease of alcoholism (which is only a title, has nothing to really do with alcohol in my perspective but no body really says it because it appeals to many and majority do actually have issues with alcohol because alcohol reduces the pain caused emotionally and mentally from our actual disease and other diseases ... formed by our chemically unbalanced brains) is the fact that no one who starts using serious drugs and alcohol and/or mixes the two, really wants to stop...that life is complete bliss ..

The American Psychiatric Association does not recognize the existence of any such disease as the "psychotic disease of alcoholism". That is an A.A. myth. Look here for the relevant page of the DSM-IV.

its not normal for an alcoholic/addict not to partake in addictive/alcoholic/drug things..chemically thats how are brains need to be to even be anywhere near close the level as anyone elses...

That is completely false.

PROBLEM DRINKERS are a whole different story...im talking about the physical DISEASE of the mind...doesnt matter which one....programs help plenty of people ,who are OBVIOUSLY anonymous (therefore you would not know of them or their success rate), live their lives better more holy and at least make them and their families and others around society feel better for whatever ammount of time they actually have to be normal and living normally sober (something you seem to do fine, something that is hard for plenty of people to actually achieve) free of obsessions to actually drink/drug....

Again, you are trying to declare that "alcoholics" are a different kind of creature than ordinary people. They aren't.

why would you ever bash on any such programs, not all the people in the rooms of programs are PROBLEM DRINKERS ...not all problem drinkers have this DISEASE ....its a DISEASE of the mind...and its free of charge...no body has to pay for it..why are you complaining it never hurt anyone...an alcoholic is always an alcoholic an addict is always an addict theres no changing .... you cant do it. its a chemical make up... something for you to easily grasp would be something like---maybe-- since you are so off ....ask any cigarette smoker even one who has quit ffor 20 years...same shit

Again, there is no such disease as alcoholism, and alcoholics are not fundamentally different from normal people. Sicker, yes, when they are drinking too much, but not fundamentally different.

..i feel so sorry for any young or mature human being that comes accross your page and gets the wrong message...because you obviously are not an addict or diseased in anyway otherwise you'd know the pain that comes along with addiction...its ffar more than the drug itself... .. you should look further into the medical makeup of brains and how they differ before you publish such harmful things that could possibly keep a suicidal or desperate person from help, you are selfish...i am being judgemental..but it is selfish

And there it is, the usual A.A. attack "You are harming those who are seeking sobriety by telling alcoholics the truth."

god bless

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "We AA's have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically
**     speaking it is not a disease entity."
**     ==  Bill Wilson,
**     speaking to the National Catholic Clergy Conference On Alcoholism.
**     April 21, 1960, in New York City





Date: Sat, November 15, 2008 9:22 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Catherine W."
Subject: my post was deleted from the sober recovery forums

Hello A. Orange —

I have been trying to go to some 12-step meetings just for support, though I know it is going to get on my nerves before too long. I am glad to have found LifeRing recovery meetings and will stick to those instead.

Anyway, someone posted in the "secular connections" forum about being disillusioned with their first AA meeting.

So I piped in on some of my own experiences throughout the years. I managed to post a link to your site in support of what I feel I need to be aware of and that a person is right to be a little wary of some of their propaganda.

So today, I get private message from the moderator saying my link was removed. "Your link was removed. We do not program bash here. Thanks for understanding" (my whole post was removed.)

So I replied to the whole thread:

"So somehow I get a private message from Alera saying my link to the orange papers was "program bashing" and it was removed. Plenty of people talk about what they feel is problematic about AA and I thought I was in the "Secular Connections" forum. I didn't write the orange papers. "We do not program bash here," like I am in kindergarten or something.

Anyway, I don't think the SR thing is for me either since you can't point to anything with independent analysis without it being considered "program bashing." I did not post anything with blatant stupid profanity or online porn. I posted something that helped educate me on some things.

You could have at least not dumped my whole post.

I am quite certain this post will be removed as well.

Take care everyone and best of luck!"

I also mentioned that I can understand if she is trying to protect other people's chances for recovery, but then added, "but there are two ways to look at that."

So, there is no real secular recovery on SR either. It is overrun with "program" people, even in the secular connections forum.

I am sticking to my LifeRing meetings and just not making my recovery such a big effing deal in the end.

Thank you for your service to people with an open mind.

Catherine

Hi Catherine,

Thanks for the letter. There is an incredible amount of censorship in the so-called "recovery movement", isn't there? If the program is so perfect, why is it so thin-skinned and intolerant of criticism?

Oh well, have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety!"





Date: Sat, November 15, 2008 10:47 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Courtney"
Subject: 12 step snake oil

hey — i just found your website on 12 steps as snake oil — interesting stuff, well put together, very readable website — what i am wondering is:how can something free be considered a snake oil?

why such a harsh critique of something that seems to help other people even if you find no value in it?

and do you have another method you suggest?

thanks for any response

Courtney

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." Amelia Earhart

Hi Courtney,

Thanks for the letter. Well, first off, it isn't free snake oil. They always want something — your money, or your mind, or your soul, or your loyalty, or your life, or your children.

Ann Smith, for instance, was selling very expensive in-patient "treatment" for the imaginary disease of "codependency". And Al-Anon will even help itself to your children and mess with their minds.

The quackery described in the "Snake Oil" web page has not helped so many other people. It has probably killed more people than it has helped. That is what quack medicine does.

You want a better cure? Well, there isn't any cure for codependency, because there isn't any such disease as codependency.

But if you want help with a drink or drug problem, here is a list of groups, methods, and organizations that seem to be good:

  1. SMART,
  2. Rational Recovery,
  3. WFS (Women For Sobriety),
  4. SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety), and
  5. LSR (LifeRing Secular Recovery)

You could also try reading some good books on the subject. Check out the Top 10 reading list.

And especially read the web page on "The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    If you get bubonic plague, do you go to a club composed of
**    other victims of bubonic plague, or do you go to a doctor?





Date: Tue, November 18, 2008 7:18 am     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "shlomo"
Subject: A.A as a cult.

Hi

The only reason I have for going to A.A is to become sober and feel good about it.

I succeeded doing that in A.A for more than 15 years.

Maybe A.A is a cult as you say. Personally I have not noticed it but what interests me is remaining sober.

In all your writing I have seen nothing about a method that will work in keeping me sober.

Maybe I missed it in all those writings but if you are aware of a method that works please enlighten me.

I do have an open mind and am ready to try any method that will help me.

Till now nothing helped except A.A.

I am open to suggestions and I hope you have some serious ones.

Sincerely
Shlomo

Hi Shlomo,

We are constantly talking about what works. Look here:

When you ask for "a method that will work in keeping me sober", you assume that something besides you will keep you sober. That is one of the biggest mistakes of A.A. dogma. There is no such thing. Either you will keep yourself sober by not drinking alcohol, or you won't. There is no method or group or thing that will do the work for you, and A.A. doesn't do it either.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence
**  over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."
**  ==  Richard Feynman





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Last updated 8 March 2013.
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