Letters, We Get Mail, CXVII



date: Mon, March 16, 2009 10:15 am     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "John E."
Subject: UWP

Not my experience at all — UWP '73-'74.

We knew of the origins MRA, etc. but openly criticized this platform and took the spirit of inclusion with us as we toured.

The risk of your position is that it is accurate only within a 2-3 year window of the start. We saw Belk for what he was — a promoter; but that did not bother us, as we had our own agenda — enjoy a year of travel with people your age and see the world through families in communities we visited. The show was secondary to the relationships with the cast.....and not everyone got along, which was fine.

John.

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter.

You are still confusing the joy of your fun experiences with the actual virtues of the Up With People organization. I was a military brat, and grew up in the Air Force. I especially enjoyed traveling around the world and living in places like Puerto Rico, Guam, and Germany. So should I now praise the Vietnam War or Bush's "Pre-emptive War" just because I loved traveling around Europe? I think not.

You should notice just how silly the whole thing is, really. "Up With People"? What the heck does that even mean? Were you in competition with the "Up With Vampire Bats!" organization?

It's all fine and well that you enjoyed touring with a song-and-dance show, and making friends and having adventures and even speaking your mind, but the bottom line is still that UWP was a mindless fluffy show that promoted Frank Buchman's philosophy with a bunch of song and dance hoopla. And Frank Buchman's pro-Nazi fascist philosophy was a real nightmare. As Christ called such people, "a wolf in sheep's clothing."

Have a good day.

== Orange

P.S.: Speaking of J. Blanton Belk, I received a letter that told me that Belk stole all of the money that Buchman had accumulated during his life — that Belk basically usurped the leadership of MRA after Peter Howard died. I was told to search the legal records in Chicago, in the mid-sixties, for the court case where Belk was sued by other Buchmanites. Alas, I have no way to do such a search. Does somebody have an idea how to learn what happened there? TIA.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    
**    He [Frank Buchman] is a sail always waiting to be filled by
**    the wind, a man with a great and warm and humble heart, a
**    democrat who wants to set men free under God's dictatorship.
**    Herbert Grevenius, quoted in
**    Experiment With God; Frank Buchman Reconsidered, Gösta Ekman, page 21.
**    and
**    Remaking the World, the speeches of Frank Buchman, Frank N. D. Buchman, page 266.





Date: Mon, March 16, 2009 1:54 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Michael McC."
Subject: Important Info On The Lizard Brain

Hi Orange,

I am reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. On page 246 he talks about addiction. When reading it I thought of you and the description of the lizard brain that is on your site. You may want to check it out during one of your trips to the library. I hope you're well. Take care Orange.

Michael T. McC.

Hi again, Michael,

Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

And yes, I'm fine. The first families of goslings have just hatched out, and I've been getting some good photographs of the cute little fluff-balls.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know."
**     ==  from MERLE MILLER, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography
**           of Harry S. Truman [1974], ch. 23





May 28, 2008: Back in the park, Day 11.

The rain let up in the afternoon, so the goslings went back to the park. The best shot from this visit is that squirrel, again. I find it funny how the goslings are so afraid of this squirrel. It reminds me of Monty Python's "Killer Rabbit".

Squirrel

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





Date: Thu, March 26, 2009 12:10 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "don"
Subject: Your definition of a cult

I loved reading your definition of a cult page. When I finished it, I was shocked to realize it covered every aspect of the fundamentalist born again Christian doctrine in America.

Thank God I have been able to leave the church and discover that the real Jesus has nothing to do with organized "instant" born againism of America. The best example of this is the popular phrase WWJD. [What Would Jesus Do?] If you follow that, for example with gays, you find that Jesus would do nothing as he doesn't mention it in the bible. Too weird.

Thank you Jesus.

don

Hi Don,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, it is frightening just how much power and popularity some cultish groups have. Some cult expert stated that there are about 2000 cults operating in the USA. Most of them are tiny splinter groups that we never heard of, but some get quite large and popular. And the hateful, fascistic ones are something to worry about. They promote some really awful stuff in the name of Jesus.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped
**  in the flag, carrying a cross."  
**      ==  Sinclair Lewis





Date: Fri, March 27, 2009 1:25 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "A Concerned Canadian"
Subject: re; AA Cult

Keep up the good work. This is a sick group of people. They seem to have a weird interest in me. Years ago, I had quit drinking for over 4 years, had never attended meetings regularly, and was outspoken about how AA behaved like a cult. A old friend of mine, who was an active AA member, told me they were asking questions about me, weirds questions like who I dated in high school, etc. His father, an "Old Timer" told me around the same time, that AA had been "after me for years". Strange eh?

Around this time the small things started happening, my locker was broken into at the YMCA, though a camera covered the area, surprise, not working. My car was keyed, sometimes when I'd park, someone would park so close I couldn't get into my car, my laptop, camera stolen, on, and on. I was threatened with physical harm, and out of the blue, I was sitting on a bench, and an old woman walked up to me, looked straight into my eyes and said, "we're going to drive you insane!", then walked away. Well they didn't suceed, and it really seems to make them mad.

I could go on, but believe me, the horror stories are true, I've been there. I wouldn't have believed otherwise.

Sign me "A Concerned Canadian".

Hello Concerned,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to hear about your problems.

Have you reported this to the police? You really should, if only to document it. If the police start asking certain people questions, the harrassment may stop. And if something else happens later, you are already on record about it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Those who are not with us are against us."
**        ==  Comrade Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Russia, 1917





Date: Sat, March 28, 2009 1:38 am     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Stephen K.-T."
Subject: so, what's your point?

What is it you would like to accomplish with all of this work that you have done? Anything? Those of us who use AA to help stay sober and try to grow spiritually (in our own ways), are ALL critics of Bill Wilson. Just try to get two alcoholics to agree on the history and/or its significance on today, the here and now, and you'd have a ball.

So, Orange, I ask again, "What is it you are trying to accomplish that we AAs don't already know to a high degree (yes, many of us are highly educated, like myself, with a minor in English, emphasizing debate and argument and the rhetoric of both. Which, by the way, if I wanted to and felt inclined to waste time and energy I could use being happier, I could tear your "Papers" in half. You don't even know how to argue effectively.

What's the telling proof?

Again, what is it you're trying to accomplish? What's your point, man? Tell me in less than three sentences if you are able.

Namaste'

Steve

Hello Steve,

What am I trying to accomplish?

  1. Well, first off, I want to get the truth out there. People should know the truth about what they are getting into when they decide to go to an A.A. meeting to see if A.A. can offer any help with a drinking or drugging problem.

  2. People should know what the real A.A. success rate is, and how well the program really works.

  3. Then I want to put a stop to sentencing people to A.A. meetings, or to so-called "treatment programs" that basically consist of packaged A.A. dogma and meetings.

  4. Then I want to stop government funding of the 12-Step cult. Health insurance companies should not have to pay for 12-Step quackery, either.

  5. And then I want to see the treatment centers of this country start offering something more than superstition and quackery as treatment for a deadly condition.

  6. And finally, I want to give any help that I can to people who are suffering through addictions. That includes giving them any "strength and experience" that I have, and steering them towards any of the non-cult recovery groups or methods that can better serve their needs.

  7. I'm not trying to reform A.A., because I don't think it can be reformed. It's too corrupt, and beyond salvation, and was designed to be unchangeable. It needs to be retired, and replaced with something better.

I guess that will do for starters.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Although easily mistaken for candy, holly is quite poisonous."
**     "Although easily mistaken for real moral religions,
**          cults are quite poisonous."





Date: Sat, March 28, 2009 11:00 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Konrad H."
Subject: I got into an AA group last week.

It seems like most of the people who are there are pretty nice. But they seem really manipulative, and I don't really like that. It does seem like a cult to me when it comes down to it. So I am not going to go anymore and try something else. Alcohol has been a problem on and off but I have never been in jail or done anything like most of the people in the hall have spoken about. The guy who spoke tonight at a meeting sounded really healthy psychologically and seemed really wise, but then at the end he said that he had just been in jail for 20 days. Even after 15 years of sobriety. This was my clarion call to stop going. If AA really helps people be better people then shouldn't jail not really be a part and parcel of most of these people's lives. That just makes no sense.

One thing that would help your site would be following the money. And I don't mean the money and Bill Wilson during the 1940's. Who really cares about that story at this point. I mean some sort of detailed accounting of AAWS and their balance sheet for 2009. You should also try figuring out all the front groups and where they get their money from. I only saw like half the people putting a dollar in a basket the 6 times I went to the hall I was going to. This cannot amount to much money even if every one of them also bought a couple books. Where is the money? Who has the money? That is what your site should focus on. A cult has no reason to exist unless it can get power, which in the United States is money. You should try that slant, I think.

Hello Konrad,

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

I like your idea of investigating the current finances. Now, in the interests of accuracy, I must say that A.A. is an unusual cult in that money does not seem to be their primary motive. Oh sure, they have corrupt liars at the top who get healthy salaries, but they still seem to be more interested in spreading their religion than in making money. The really greedy money-grubbers are actually the treatment centers that sell 12-Step quackery to the suckers for prices that range from $1700 to $40,000 for a 28-day introduction to the 12-Step religion.

We were just recently talking about the A.A. finances, and between us managed to scrounge up a bunch of documentation. There are links to A.A. financial reports, here.

We already know some scandalous items. Like how representatives of the A.A. headquarters committed perjury in the courts of Mexico and Germany to collect more royalties on old out-of-copyright editions of the Big Book.

Another interesting item is the feedback I got on my analysis of A.A. finances for 2004, which is located here. There, I examined the Form 990 that the IRS requires from non-profits. Well, one of the items was the EDP Manager Lillianna Murphy getting $175,742 for the year. I questioned that, and wondered what on earth the A.A. headquarters was computing. It isn't that big of a job to keep a mailing list and a list of meetings.

Well guess what? Lillianna Murphy wrote to me and declared that she didn't get anything like that — not even half that much. So the AAWS is filing false reports with the IRS.

I'll post Lillianna Murphy's letter next, here.

More grist for the mill.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *





Date: Sat, August 18, 2007 1:16 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "LILLIANNA MURPHY"
Subject: what?????

Dear Whoever You Are:

My name is Lillianna Murphy and I used to be the IT Director for AAWS. I just now found your site and noticed that you have me listed as having been the EDP Manager and as making a salary that is more than double what I actually made. If I had made that much money I would have fought harder when Greg threw me out to bring in his boys.

Lillianna Murphy

Hello Lillianna,

Thank you very much for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer; the letter got buried in backlog.

That is very interesting. It means that the A.A. headquarters is filing false financial reports with the IRS, which is a crime.

By the way, did you notice that in the 2004 Form 990 financial report that I was quoting (local copy here), they didn't actually say what the President, Vice-President, and Secretary got in the way of salary or compensation? The report form requires that information, but instead of listing the information, they wrote, "See Statement 12." But the information isn't there in Statement 12. It isn't present anywhere. I wonder if that is another violation. I wonder if that could lose them their non-profit status. And I wonder what the real salaries are.

Are there any lawyers who want to get into the game and file a protest or complaint with the IRS?

Have a good day.

== Orange (really, Terrance Hodgins, since you wondered who I am.)

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    It's the American Work Ethic — work real hard for a long time,
**    and you'll get screwed (when the company offloads your pension
**    plan to the Federal government and some CEO takes the big money
**    home in bonuses, stock options, and a golden parachute).





From: "Fuzzy T."
Subject: who gives a shit
Date: Mon, March 30, 2009 9:22 pm

Why are you so down on AA. Who gives a shit. They are about as significant as pet roaches. Why don't you do you thing on something like the Republican party, Masonic organizations, or Mainline Funumentalist Churches... Now bud there is a bunch that really steal and lie .. Jump on them . Who casres about about a bunch of former or make believe drunks.

Fuzzy T.

Hello Fuzzy,

Well, I don't want to brag, but I did volunteer for Obama a little, to help to defeat the Republicans in the last election.

And I write about cults, and criticize cults, a lot. That occasionally includes fundamentalist churches.

I don't know a thing about the Masons or such organizations. They are just outside of my realm of experience.

But the fact remains that none of those organizations is foisting harmful quack medicine on sick people like how Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step treatment centers are doing it.

None of those other screw-ball churches have judges sentencing people to go to their church meetings.

A.A. is undoubtedly the most influential and most harmful cult in America.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Every identity has its fundamentalists — the gatekeepers of what is and
**  isn't permissible for those who share that identity.  Since we all have
**  access to multiple identities — race, religion, nationality, ethnicity,
**  class — these fundamentalists usually have their work cut out trying to
**  keep everybody in line.  As the guardians of authenticity, their job is
**  to deny complexity and impose uniformity."
**   == Gary Younge, "To Fight These Reactionaries We Must Tackle the Crisis
**  That They Feed Off", in The Guardian/UK, August 21, 2006
**  http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0821-22.htm
**  http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329557728-103677,00.html





Date: Mon, March 30, 2009 10:04 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Stanley T L."
Subject: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

Thanks for your research into AA literature, philosophy, and history.

AA was founded by some very fallible individuals who eventually turned the leadership over to the members themselves. Like most discoveries, AA thought was formed through lots of trials and errors.

I was especially impressed with your discussion of tobacco!

AA will survive honest critique. On the other hand, when people start turning AA into some kind of inspired religious movement, it puts both the members and the group at risk.

Respectfully,

Stan L.

Hello Stan,

Thanks for the letter.

Unfortunately, this statement isn't quite true:
[A.A. was founded by people] "...who eventually turned the leadership over to the members themselves."
That is the illusion, not the reality. The reality is that the leadership in New York does whatever it pleases, and the rank and file membership cannot vote them out. Look at this pamphlet, written by A.A. old-timers, for one story of that problem. The A.A. leaders basically told the membership to take a long walk off a short pier.

Then you say,
"Like most discoveries, AA thought was formed through lots of trials and errors."
That's the story that was spread in the Hallmark made-for-TV movie My Name Is Bill W., but unfortunately, the reality is that Frank Buchman made up far too much of the "AA thought". Bill Wilson just repackaged the Oxford Group dogma.

I have to agree with the rest of your letter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Always do right — this will gratify some and
**     astonish the rest."    ==   Mark Twain (1835-1910)





Date: Tue, March 31, 2009 1:09 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "heather b."
Subject: AA

If you are so sure about your convictions, why don't you leave your name? Why hind behind "orange"? Most authors state who they are. Just curious!!

Hello Heather,

You know, it really is funny how Alcoholics Anonymous makes such a big deal out of anonymity and even brags about the spirituality of anonymity, and the virtue of working for a cause while taking no personal credit for yourself, but when somebody else is anonymous A.A. members grumble that it's a bad thing. Strange, very strange.

As it is, I have already answered that question and broken my anonymity, here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    At least two thirds of our miseries spring from
**    human stupidity, human malice and those great
**    motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity,
**    idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on
**    behalf of religious or political idols.
**         ==  Aldous Huxley





Date: Wed, April 1, 2009 3:25 am     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Justin H."
Subject: new reader, AA old timer

Hi, I'm a 32 year old male, recovering alcoholic. I attend AA meetings regularly, and ended up on your site while doing some investigation online to supplement my reading of Susan Cheever's Bill W. book. I want to commend you on the amount of work you have done on your site, it is truly a phenomenal amount of research and synthesis, very impressive. I spent a couple of hours last night reading, and while I obviously didn't agree with everything, and found some arguments to be over the top, I must say that I agree with you much more than I wanted to/expected to. I've been clean and sober for 15 years (I know, I started young), but do not consider myself a dogmatic old-timer. I am familiar with many of the types of people you have mentioned, but I don't have a sponsor, haven't had one for 12 years, and go to meetings primarily for the reasons you listed on your list from table of contents "What's Good About AA?"

I'm very interested in continuing to look into the points you've brought up, some of them have bothered me for years, some of them were new to me. I'm on my way to my morning AA meeting in a few minutes, and am actually more interested and excited about going to a meeting than I have been in a long time, just to see how my outlook may see things a little differently. I don't expect to be converted out of AA, if for no other reason than superstition, but I am more inspired than ever to not simply follow the herd and drink the kool-aid at the meetings.

In fairness to my home group, it has been some outspoken old-timers at this meeting that first turned me onto to having a more realistic view of AA rather than simple blind worship of Bill W and the program. I still think it works for me, and can continue to do so, and I'm interested to find out more of yours and other people's experiences. Thanks for putting your site together, I'd be interested to begin a dialogue if you are interested at some point, let me know.

Sincerely,
Justin H.

Hi Justin,

Thanks for the letter. Sure we can correspond. You sound like your mind is still alive.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Abstinence isn't self-denial or deprivation.
**    It's just that I've already done my lifetime quota.





Date: Wed, April 1, 2009 9:45 am     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Gerald S."
Subject:

Orange-

AA is too sick to ever recover. And that's the way AA wants it.

Hi Gerald,

I'm not sure if they actually want to be sick, but A.A. sure is designed to make it nearly impossible to change. A double super-majority vote is required to change anything important. I think Bill Wilson's idea was something like protecting the alcoholics from themselves.

I was just noting in a previous letter how the A.A. leadership can ignore the vote of the membership, here. A.A. is a pseudo-democracy, and the membership cannot fix it by voting.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Where the drink goes in, there the wit goes out."
**     ==  George Herbert (1593—1633), Jacula Prudentum, 187 





Date: Fri, April 10, 2009 8:03 am     (answered 28 April 2009)
From: "Becky McC."
Subject: Your Work

Hello, I want to thank you for your paper here on the net. Well researched, & well written. My daughter is in treatment as I write this. Her issues include what appears to be a VERY bad reaction to alcohol abuse WITH Prozac & Xanax. I want to help her. Really help her. Programs with less of a success rate than NO intervention look MORE harmful. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate your response.

Thanks Again, Becky McC.

Hello Becky,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles.

You didn't say what kind of treatment your daughter is in. Something good, I hope.

My very first reaction was "alcohol + Prozac & Xanax"? I hope she sees a good doctor. I mean a really good doctor. Once who will ask, "What is she trying to fix? Why does she need to be taking that stuff? Let's get at the real cause, rather than just treat the symptoms."

After that, I have a list of recommendations that I just wrote up, here.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== 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





May 29, 2008: Back in the park, Day 12.

The next day, the weather was better, so the goslings went back to the park in the morning. Here one is, browsing and grazing as usual, seeking that "just-right" sprout of grass to eat.

Canada Goose gosling browsing

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





Date: Mon, March 30, 2009 2:47 am     (answered 22 April 2009)
From: "Greg S."
Subject: Couple of questions

DATE: 3/30/09
TO: A. Orange (Mr. Or Ms.)
RE: Who Are You?
FROM: Sally S.

Well-now that's a deep question (sarcasm). It's interesting to me that in the various references, articles etc. found on the net, there seems to be nothing about who you are, i.e. Background, education, credentials, etc.

Hello Sally,

Yes, it's remarkable how few articles or degrees you will find credited to oranges. Most of them just got juiced.

So, here are some suppositions...you're a member of Mensa, have a lot of time on your hands and likely have few individuals outside the internet that will listen to you for any length of time.

You are half right there. I could join Mensa. I've passed sample intelligence tests on the Internet, but I just never got around to joining. As W. C. Fields put it, "I would never join a club that would have me as a member."

I have some time on my hands because I'm retired now. I don't seek people who will listen to me. I'd rather go down to the river and feed the goslings.

"An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature" — William G. Wilson.
I know I certainly wasn't an unlovely creature in my cups for a very long time, and then I was. AA helped me through the fellowship to get sober, because I was tired of acting and performing for the outside world quite functional and successful and living at home hoping that I wouldn't wake up the next morning to have to get up, put the mask on and meet the world all over again. Honestly, I've never read the entire "Big Book", although there are passages that serve me well. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob don't need to be hero's for me, but some of the wisdom and support I find in the program from others helps keep me better centered. I have a brother with 25 years who is so pure in his AA program it's absurd...but it works for him. He told me he gave up listening to Jimmy Buffet! That's not going to happen for me, listening to Buffet and I'm in the Florida Keys mentally in a heartbeat. Meetings are important for me (maybe 1-2 every 2 weeks). My husband goes almost every morning, because of his pals and he was never the alcoholic consumer that I was. We each have our own program.

So you enjoy membership in a cult. That's okay, if you don't hurt other people by foisting misinformation and quack medicine on sick people.

Now, there's that word again, program. A program does not have to be a cult, a religion or a brainwashing. Most of us have a daily program of getting up and taking a shower or not, brushing our teeth, having breakfast...etc. It's not always the same everyday, nor is it the same for each individual. This very much the same as AA's program. You seem somehow concerned about the "god" thing. It's just a word and be anything you choose. It's simply a comfortable word used around the world in various versions. It's a personal thing, such as energy, spirit (attitude) or simply love and care for those who need it from you. It's no big deal. You can believe it's something or you can give something away — that alone is bigger than you are as an individual.

I know the word "program". I used to be a computer programmer. I've written a lot of programs.

I also know about programs that don't work right. And I know that they should get debugged and fixed.

A.A. does not work right.

  1. A.A. raises the rate of binge drinking.
  2. A.A. increases the cost of hospitalizing alcoholics.
  3. A.A. raises the rate of rearrests for drinking.
  4. A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics.

But A.A. does not allow changing the program. A.A. cannot be debugged. A program that cannot be debugged must be thrown into the trash can, and you start over with a blank sheet of paper, vowing to structure things differently and not make those mistakes again.

So you read a lot of books and articles, good for you. I read "The Power of Now" (took me a long time to absorb much of it and some of it was very valuable. I found it interesting that this guy had 3 years to sit on a park bench and observe people before he wrote it, but I took what I needed from it. I also read "The Four Agreements", which starts out a little scary with the roots coming from some type of cult, but the simple and basic principles added to my growth. "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" was a novel that helped me understand a parent who left when I was young because they were emotionally sick and needed to survive. We learn from so many things and people if were just aware, listening and observing. For me, no one thing is enough for the growth I'd like to achieve.

I'll have to check out those books.

AA helped me through the fellowship to get sober, because I was tired of acting and performing for the outside world quite functional and successful and living at home hoping that I wouldn't wake up the next morning to have to get up, put the mask on and meet the world all over again. Honestly, I've never read the entire "Big Book", although there are passages that serve me well. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob don't need to be hero's for me, but some of the wisdom and support I find in the program from others helps keep me better centered. I have a brother who so pure in his AA program it's absurd...but it works for him. He told me he gave up listening to Jimmy Buffet, That's not going to happen for me. I listen to Buffet and I'm in the Florida Keys mentally in a heartbeat. Meetings are important for me (maybe 1-2 every 2 weeks). My husband goes almost every morning, because of his pals and he was never the alcohol consumer that I was.

Actually, being "pure in the AA program" does not work. It's just that some people quit drinking by using their own will power and determination and desire to not die that way, and then they give the credit for their sobriety to the A.A. program, and say that they couldn't have done it with the A.A. program. It isn't much different from giving your mind or your money to the cult. You give the cult the best part of yourself and then declare that you don't have it.

We have friends that never drank, we have friends that drink reasonably, we have friends that may drink too much-that's not our business, unless they ask for our help. We also have good friends that don't drink anymore, never went to AA and are just fine and we don't consider them "dry drunks".

So, why have I bothered to spend far too long emailing you? Frankly, I'm not sure. #1 — I wasn't Tired and don't work tomorrow, #2 — I was reorganizing our bookmarks and came across the site I had previewed some time ago and #3 — It just seems like you need to get out and go bowling, find something else to do for a change and just get out of yourself for a little while.

Actually, Sally, I get out and spend time at the river almost every day. I'm photographing the new goslings now. And when the weather improves and it stops being so rainy, I'll be spending most of every day down at the river, working on my suntan and playing the guitar and drinking ginger ale and feeding the geese and goslings, and getting even more pictures. I hardly have time for debating Alcoholics Anonymous. It's low on my list of priorities.

But please notice that
"you need to get out and go bowling, find something else to do for a change"
is not a logical answer to the problem that a cult is shoving ineffective quack medicine on sick people. That is just the standard propaganda trick called Sarcasm, Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes.

Take Care, Sally S.

PS: Oh, by the way, here's a site you may want to check regarding Reinhold Neibuhr's "Serenity Prayer" and the possibility he did not actually author it entirely.
http://transientandpermanent.wordpress.com/ 2008/07/11/serenity-prayers-authorship-disputed/

Bill Wilson and another early A.A. member misquoted and mangled Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer, and the narcissistic Bill Wilson couldn't stand to admit that he had made a mistake, so he claimed that it wasn't Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer. Ever since, A.A. members have been trying to claim that Reinhold Niebuhr didn't write the Serenity Prayer, that maybe it was found on the corner of a medieval church in Germany or something. It's pathetic, really, the lengths to which they will go to avoid admitting a simple mistake. Try reading The Serenity Prayer, by Elizabeth Sifton, Reinhold's daughter. There, he states that he wrote it, and to the best of his knowledge, he did not borrow material from anyone else. If somebody can find something written in German in the middle ages that sort of resembles The Serenity Prayer, that still does not absolve Bill Wilson of mangling Reinhold's prayer and refusing to give proper credit where credit is due.

Oh, and in her book, Elizabeth Sifton declared that her father did not like the way that A.A. had changed his prayer. Reinhold's prayer was plural, a prayer for a congregation: "God give US... the courage... the strength... the wisdom...", etc. Wilson and A.A. changed it into a selfish "God give ME..."

Also, Reinhold wrote that we should work to "change the things that should be changed..." A.A. changed it into "change the things that I CAN change..." Reinhold said that we should not go around changing things just because we can. We should only change the things that SHOULD be changed.

PPS: My writing is windy and sometimes displays poor punctuation. Unfortunately, I did not inherit my Dad's genius (analytical Chemist), who wouldn't have bothered to take the time to take the Mensa test being a humble man.

Interesting jab there: Your Dad wouldn't have tested himself because he was "a humble man". Since when is testing yourself and seeing what you can do "non-humble"?
Is it non-humble if someone goes into a gymnasium and puts some weights on a bar and sees how much he can lift?
Is it non-humble if someone times himself while running around a track, to see just how fast he can go?
Or is it only "non-humble" if you take an I.Q. test to see how you will score?

That "wouldn't have tested himself because he was humble" routine really smells of the standard A.A. attitude that you must always put yourself down and never emphasize your good qualities — never talk about your good qualities; just bemoan how bad you are. See the file "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for more of that attitude.

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish
**   How could I seek the empty world again?"
**     ==  Emily Brontë (1818—1848) Remembrance, st. 8





From: "Valerie H."
Subject: What are your Credentials?
Date: Tue, October 21, 2008 8:51 am     (answered 28 April 2009)

Good Morning Mr./Ms. Orange,

My name is Valerie Hansel and am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Central New York. There are a few (30-40) of us members that believe in the original ways of Dr. Bob, Bill W., and Clarence Snyder. We are in the process of doing research of the history of AA. While doing research I came across your web site. Unfortunately, I can not see where you came up with some of your information for your writings. Could you please tell me a little about yourself and tell me why I should believe what you say to be true? I am in no way denying what you say to be true, I am just trying to understand you better.

Thank you for your time and look forward to hearing back from you.

Valerie H.

Hello Valerie,

Sorry to take so long to answer your letter. It got buried in the backlog of email.

Just a little while ago, I typed up a list of references, so I'll just point you to it. The list is here.

By the way, you mentioned "believing in the original ways".
That is the essence of every sword and sorcery fairy tale. The magic of the ancient wizards was always so much more powerful than that of today's wimpy magicians who know only a little of the ancient magic; and the wisdom of the ancient sages was so much greater than that of today's pundits; and the heroes were much bigger and stronger and braver in the good old days, and the maidens were fairer, and the kings were nobler....

But that's just a fairy tale. So is the story that A.A. worked better in the good old days. Check this out for the details of Bill's exaggeration of his and Bob's success.

As far as who I am, here is some biographical information:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense
  4. who are you
  5. who are you, again
Lastly, my real name is Terrance Hodgins, and I am 62 years old, and I live in Portland Oregon.

Have a good day.

== 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: Thu, October 16, 2008 8:59 am     (answered 28 April 2009)
From: "William C."
Subject: NA Child Rape

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/30958549.html

Manager of sober house accused of child rape

Story Published: Oct 14, 2008 at 12:16 PM PDT

Story Updated: Oct 14, 2008 at 8:33 PM PDT
By KOMO Staff

CENTRALIA, Wash. — The manager of a Centralia group home for recovering addicts has been arrested for allegedly raping two 15-year- old boys at the home.

Robert Darrell Strickland, 34, was arrested after a month-long investigation for multiple counts of investigation of child rape and child molestation.

Police spokeswoman Chris Fitzgerald said neither teen lived at the privately-owned group home. One victim lives in the neighborhood, and Fitzgerald said Strickland met the other boy through his parents at narcotics anonymous meetings.

Strickland lives at and manages the Lighthouse Community Home for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts at 1321 Crescent Avenue where the rapes allegedly took place.

When police searched the home at 7 a.m. Monday morning, officers found a 17-year-old boy hiding in a closet, Fitzgerald said. Investigators say Strickland had sexual relationships with two 17- year-old boys, but because they were at the age of consent, the criminal case is focusing on the alleged rapes of the 15-year-old boys.

The investigation began in September after the parents of the younger boys contacted police and reported the alleged abuse.

Fitzgerald said Strickland gained the trust of his victims, who were allegedly dealing with problems related to drug and alcohol, and lured them to his home where he molested them.

"Won their confidence purporting to be a friend and a support for them, and offering them a safe place where they could go and basically hang out," he said.

Lester Cates, who has taken over as the acting manager of the home, said he has seen Strickland with young boys around the house.

"Oh yeah. I saw them," he said.

When asked what he thought Strickland's relationship to the boys was, Cates said, "That he was molesting them. It wasn't right."

Cates said several residents of their home have called police about their suspicions of Strickland, but by then the boys had already told their parents who went to police.

Strickland is also under investigation for allegedly intimidating the residents at the adult home he operated. He allegedly stole food stamps from the residents and threatened to evict them if they reported him, Fitzgerald said.

"The problem is when you've got one person doing bad things to people in an environment that's meant to do so much good for others. It makes it really hard," Cates said.

Strickland is being held in the Lewis County Jail on $25,000 bail.

The Lighthouse Community Home will remain open as investigators believe Strickland acted alone.

Hello William,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to respond; it got buried in the backlog.

Wow, Centralia is just up the road from Portland, Oregon. That is local. I've been there.

The whole "drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry" is such a mess, isn't it?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Important principles may, and must, be
**     inflexible."     ==   Abraham Lincoln





Date: Tue, October 14, 2008 12:14 pm     (answered 28 April 2009)
From: "william n."
Subject: I Need Your HELP, please

Hi Orange, I've been enjoying your latest "release" of letters and answers... thank you for them.

I really need your help. I want to take on the local 12-Step Recruiting Center (halfway house) and take them to task for foisting AA on its hapless residents. I read something in your chapter 24 of letters in regards to treatment centers (I think) that said,

"Oh, by the way. Even if they tell you that you have to be in a 12-Step program and have a Stepper sponsor, it is illegal for them to push that point. They can lose their state or federal funding if they do that. It is blatantly illegal to force someone into a religion, even though the Steppers don't want to hear that."

How can I go about getting rid of the halfway houses' funding? To whom do I write? I would dearly love to pull the rug out from these two clowns. This place is a breeding ground for steppers and their twisted doctrine. Speaking of twisted, the CEO of the local male halfway house has a great gig: He set his wife up as CEO of the women's halfway house.I'm sure each of them takes home a nice salary.

Whenever there's problems in either halfway house they use the (male) residents who are unlucky enough to possess construction skills, or plumbing skills, or electrician skills, to do the work on weekends for nothing. They have built-in slave labor. The poor residents can't resist because they tell them it's "good for your recovery." Can you believe it? It's sickening... it's criminal.

I can remember every Saturday morning the guys going out to the van to work their asses off all day, virtually re-building a shell of a house that the CEO purchased from the local town for a song. This went on for months and months. He had the men completely renovate it. It was like the Nazi's during world war II. Albert Speer had nothing on these two opportunists.

Both of these ceo's take multiple trips each year too — to Denver, Florida, Hawaii, the Netherlands (oh yeah, they arranged a little deal with a halfway house there — they're "sister" halfway houses. Sweet, huh?) for "business." Somehow they always manage a little R&R like golf when they go on these trips.

So whatever/however you can help me, please do — this has to be stopped.

Thanks, Bill

Hello Bill,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer it; it got buried in the backlog of email.

Thank you for taking an interest in this matter. This is a good issue to investigate and do something about.

Slave labor is illegal in the USA. Do the workers get credit against their rent or living expenses for their work? At greater than minimum wage? I would tell the local labor relations board or the Department of Labor about this problem.

Do not overlook your local politicians. You have something like local city representatives of some kind — an alderman, or a city commissioner, or a district representative, or something. Different cities have widely varying kinds of governments, but you vote for somebody, and that somebody cares about your vote. Not only should they hear about it, but they can help you by explaining the bureaucracy and how the funding of halfway houses works. Or, if they are too busy, they have secretaries and assistants who can help you, and who may take up the cause themselves.

Also contact your state Senator and Representative. You can both notify them of the situation, and ask them how to proceed with the state bureaucracy. And they might be able to tell you what funding the halfway houses get from the state, and which agency administers it.

Notify the local unions — carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and the like. If the workers are union members, or used to be, and are not getting paid union wages, then that is a violation. Plus the unions will usually be more than happy to give a hard time to somebody who is using slave labor to do union work.

Also notify the local building inspector. It's another violation if electrical work or plumbing work is being done by unlicensed workers. Especially note whether the building is a private residence or will be rented to the public (or halfway house members). The laws are looser for some guy who is fixing his own residence. But when the house will be rented or sold or occupied by the public, then the more stringent regulations kick in.

And then there is the question of whether the halfway houses are tax-exempt registered non-profits. They usually are. That means that they must file Form 990 with the IRS, explaining their finances. (Look here for some Form 990's from Alcoholics Anonymous.) You can get a copy of their Form 990's from the Internet or the IRS or somewhere. Guidestar on the Internet lists some information about non-profits. Use Google to find such information. The Form 990's will tell you about their income and sources of funding.

You can even notify your Federal Senators and Congressperson. They are generally too busy with the big national issues to worry about little local issues, but then again, you never know. You might be pleasantly surprised. Again, one of their staffers or assistants will be of more help to you. I would try to make a connection with some of them. They might be able to help you in dealing with the IRS and Department of Labor.

Above all, collect all of the facts and documentation that you can. If you have access to the workers, get their names and statements about how much free work they have done, when and for how long. Signed statements help. Photographs help. Videotapes help. Document everything. That paperwork and evidence will be essential later, when you are dealing with officials.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday — but never jam today."
**       ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and
**     Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
**     1832-1898)





Date: Wed, October 1, 2008 6:56 pm     (answered 28 April 2009)
From: lynch
Subject: non religious program?

I am a recent AA drop out after many years. I find it is getting even more religious as time goes on. How can there be a claim of not being religious when they end meetings with the lord's prayer. Of course that is a religious prayer and not just any religion. It is taken right out of the christian bible. Maybe it is just christians who are drunks. I have never seen a member of another religion at a meeting, that I know of. I am sure they would wonder why a christian prayer is being said at a secular meeting. Do you know when AA introduced the lord's prayer into the program?

Hello Lynch,

Thanks for the letter. I don't know for sure when they introduced the Lord's Prayer into the A.A. program, but I think that custom started very early. It may well have pre-dated Alcoholics Anonymous. In other words, it was an Oxford Group custom before there was an Alcoholics Anonymous. I seem to remember that it was an O.G. custom to close the meeting with a prayer.

Both Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob were members of the Oxford Group before they broke off the "Alcoholic Squadron" of the Oxford Group, and made it into their own cult. So I suspect that the custom goes way back.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "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.





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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters117.html