Letters, We Get Mail, CXXXI



Date: Sun, June 28, 2009 10:53 am     (answered 14 July 2009)
From: "Brian T."
Subject: I think I need to talk to you......lol.

Hello Mr. Orange,

What can I say, I'm glad to have found your web site and think that the work you are putting into your side of the argument is very interesting. Anyhow I have quite the story and could use some help connecting to others in my area who have left the 12 step program and what it was like for them.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the compliments.

Im going to send this email to see if you respond then I will send you my story should you be interested.

Okay, I'm responding. I'm always interested in stories. My personal experience is limited, but lots of other people have experiences too.

what do you know about therapeutic community models? I went to one, worked there for four years and had to leave as my intuition and that little voice in my head realized how messed up the whole thing was. I need to talk to other surviviors of these places, as I've been suffereing from PTSD since I left and still feel guilty when I speak badly about this place, the program and how I had to get out.........

Signed,

Convinced I'm going to die without them.....lol.....

"Therapeutic community models"... That sounds like either a technical term or a euphemism that could hide a lot of evil. Everything from Synanon to Miller Newton's "KIDS of North Jersey, Inc." to 12-Step treatment centers qualifies for such a label.

I may be cynical, but I tend to think that "therapeutic community model" means "Here's our goofy idea of group therapy."

And I recall that Dr. George E. Vaillant also bragged about the success of the Alcoholics Anonymous "therapeutic group processes" when A.A. had nothing to show from 8 years of "helping the alcoholics" except an elevated death rate.

But I'm very interested in hearing your experiences with "Therapeutic community models".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Out, you imposters; quack-salving, cheating mountebanks;
**     your skill is to make sound men sick, and sick men to kill.
**       ==  Philip Massinger (1583—1640), English dramatist, playwright, poet





Date: Mon, June 29, 2009 7:50 pm     (answered 14 July 2009)
From: "Antoine I."
Subject: thank you

Greetings.

I just wanted to say thank you for all the information provided in The Orange Papers.

I have had a horrible time trying to find information that supports what I've known all along about AA and like minded groups. And it was refreshing to come across.

Being Atheist and having difficulty with chemicals put me at odds with the seemingly only recovery method any health care professional knows of... 12 step. I state facts to people involved with it and am treated like I'm either not trying hard enough, simply don't want to be sober, or are just plain mad.

And I just wanted to say thank you for the glimmer of truth in the sea of bullshit.

Thank You Again.

AI

Hi AI,

Thanks for the thanks, and I hope you are doing well.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Credulity is belief on slight evidence, with no evidence, or
**    against evidence.  In this sense it is the infidel, not the
**    believer, who is credulous.  "The simple," says Solomon,
**    "believeth every word."
**        == Tryon Edwards





Date: Tue, June 30, 2009 11:56 am     (answered 15 July 2009)
From: "diamantino r."
Subject: I had a TBI, In 1989, Traumatic brain injury

I began to drink because initially I could speak better and get sleep. I have a BA and and AA but cannot do the type of work I have done prior. I did drink because I spoke better. In 1996 because I was ashamed of using alcohol I went to AA. I immediately feared the rooms, but was so desperate and afraid, I read everything. I know I am brain damaged, but not stupid. I was brain injured as a passenger in a car accident. I probably would have continued a nominal existence but AA drove me back into alcohol, they scare me. Thank you for your hard work.

Hello Diamantino,

Thank you for the letter and the story.

One thing that really rang a bell for me was the line, "...cannot do the type of work I have done prior." I know that feeling, because alcohol destroyed my ability to concentrate and be an excellent computer programmer. Now I just get a head-ache if I try to concentrate that hard, and I haven't written a line of code in 8 years.

Alcohol can and will make the brain damage even worse, so watch out for that.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We trust, that somehow, good will be the final goal of ill.
**         == Tennyson





Date: Tue, June 30, 2009 1:45 pm     (answered 15 July 2009)
From: "KEVIN O."
Subject: Doubts

Hello

Before I ask you a bunch of questions I would like to know if you are sober now and what is the source or reason for your cynicism against AA. I was approching my sixth step when I googled character defects and found your website. I agree with much of what you say but before I go up against the hard corps I need to know a little more of your reasons for your dislike of the program. The fact that the "think" sign was upside down when I first walked into the "rooms" gave me pause right of the bat but I kept an open mind and gave it a try. I'm about to "go out" of the rooms because I just don't agree with much of the "12 step mantra" but before I do I need some ammo and solid facts.

Thanks, KO

Hello Kevin,

Thanks for the question, and I hope your life goes well.

My biggest objection to A.A. is that it does not work. It is a hoax and a fraud.

And then A.A. lies about its success rate and tries to fool people into believing that A.A. is the best thing in the world for people with alcohol problems.

There are many other things, but those are the biggest ones.

I went into this in detail in a number of files.

The answers to your biographical questions are here:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Seldom shall we see in cities, courts, and rich families, where men
**     live plentifully, and eat and drink freely, that perfect health and
**     athletic soundness and rigor of constitution which are commonly seen
**     in the country, where nature is the cook, and necessity the caterer,
**     and where they have no other doctor but the sun and fresh air.
**        == South





Date: Thu, July 2, 2009 12:22 pm     (answered 15 July 2009)
From: "pr"
Subject: Hello...

I am deeply saddened by your experiences in AA (although a group counseling session isn't AA as I know it). I have been sober now for five and a half years, and while I did swallow a good deal of doctrine in my first year, I feel that the meetings, the step work, the taking meetings to people in detox, provided me enough time to have an opinion about the efficaciousness of the program of AA.

The AA group to which I belong is very different from what you describe (not least of all with regards to success rate), as there really is no dogmatism with regards to how you access (at least not what shape it's supposed to take) God as you understand God. I don't think I would have stayed, wouldn't have been able to swallow it, were it some form of Christian sect in disguise. We have, for instance, avowed atheists in our group with many years of sobriety, and they are well respected members.

I am glad that you have been able to stop drinking all on your own, with no help from anything but your own will and intellect. Perhaps you weren't (aren't?) an alcoholic. Perhaps there is no such thing as an alcoholic. My father died of symptoms resulting from his inability to stop consuming alcohol, but that might have been weak will on his part. It's strange, I used to either drink or obsess about drinking, and since going to AA, doing the spiritual work outlined in the twelve steps (for me, at least, there seem to be all the best parts of spiritual practices in there, although I choose not to debase myself for imperfection), I do not have this problem, and my life is, in all wises, much much better. I went a couple of years with no meetings, staying in touch with members of the fellowship, and didn't feel the need to drink. I think that maybe the only reason to keep going to meetings is to help those who are first showing up, as was done with me. Certainly my psyche has stayed aligned towards positive growth without much effort after the first couple of years.

Whatever the case, I wish you well. As a member of AA, I would like to apologize that AA was unable to help you. It doesn't take much to give an organization that, as I have been given to understand, only wants to help people get better, a bad name. Certainly, I wasn't interested in AA until it was the last thing I could think of to arrest my drinking and drug problems. I don't know why I felt the need to write you, other than it made me very sad to think of you however many years ago trying to get sober and not finding any help in AA, which saved my life.

Sincerely,

PR

Hello PR,

First off, congratulations on your sobriety. And thanks for the letter.

While you feel that A.A. and its practices somehow made you quit drinking, you have also said that you can go two years without any A.A. and still not drink, so A.A. isn't really necessary, is it?

You try to minimize my criticism of A.A. by inferring that it was just a corrupt treatment center that does bad things — bad "group counseling sessions". Not so. I'm talking about all of the 12-Step empire, not just obnoxious and dishonest treatment centers.

In the first paragraph, you speak of "the efficaciousness of the program of AA."
Sorry, but that is assuming facts not in evidence. There isn't any "efficaciousness of the program of AA.". Every time A.A. has been properly tested for efficacy, it failed the test badly. A.A. didn't help the alcoholics at all, and A.A. had very nasty side effects too, like increasing the binge drinking and raising the death rate. You can see the list of tests here.

In the second paragraph, you said that you would have left if A.A. was "some form of Christian sect in disguise."
No, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't a Christian sect in disguise; it's a Buchmanite sect in disguise. It's a bunch of stuff that Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman made up. A.A. theology is unChristian and heretical, and it is certainly not a part of Christianity.

In paragraph three, "Perhaps you weren't (aren't?) an alcoholic."
Oh, is that an old dodge. So many A.A. members try to explain away my sobriety by claiming that I'm not really an alcoholic. Funny that A.A. members just can't stand the idea that I have successfully quit drinking without joining Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems to drive them nuts.

For your information, my doctor said I was a real alcoholic. He said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

My family agrees that I'm an alcoholic. All of my friends who really know me agree that I'm an alcoholic. In fact, the only people in this world who declare that I'm not "a real alcoholic" are A.A. members who just can't stand the idea that I'm still sober without A.A., and who are grasping for some explanation to avoid seeing that their dogma is wrong — that A.A. is not the only way.

And note that those A.A. members know nothing about me except that I have 8 years of sobriety without Alcoholics Anonymous. But that one single scrap of information is enough for them to decide that I'm not a real alcoholic. (By the way, that is The Real Scotsman Logical Fallacy.)

    "My father died of symptoms resulting from his inability to stop consuming alcohol,..."
Inability to stop, or refusal to stop?

Just because someone says that he wants to quit drinking, and then doesn't, does not mean that he is unable to quit drinking. It just means that when the hangover wears off, getting high again looks very attractive. That is a common problem. What an alcoholic wants in the morning, when he is hung over and in pain and sick as a dog is totally different from what he wants at night when the beers are popping and the ice is clinking in the glass.

By the way, my father died the same way too, and I almost followed in his footsteps.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Half the spiritual difficulties that men and women suffer
**    arise from a morbid state of health.
**       ==  Harriet W. Beecher





Date: Fri, July 3, 2009 2:05 pm     (answered 16 July 2009)
From: "allison s."
Subject: your name?

hello,

i have recently come across your extensive writings about AA, and am curious to know who you are, what your background is, and what your personal experiences with AA have been. i am very much on the fence about "the program", and find your writings fascinating, but i think it's very important to consider the source of such information. i'm sorry if it's listed on your site somewhere, and i am just missing it.

looking forward to your response,

allison

Hi Allison,

Thanks for the question. My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Portland, Oregon.

You can find the usual list of autobiographical information here.

There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     All great ideas are controversial, or have been at one time.
**         == George Seldes





Date: Sat, July 4, 2009 3:04 am     (answered 16 July 2009)
From: Al L.
Subject: just found your site

you have an amazing site. your opinions are strong, and you back them up with solid research. i look forward to reading your works.

-al l.

Hi Al,

Thanks for the compliments, and I hope you enjoy the web site.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates.
**     I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus.
**     And I put them in a book.
**     If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?
**         == Dale Carnegie





Date: Sat, July 4, 2009 11:00 am     (answered 16 July 2009)
From: Naomi
Subject: AA Secrets

I was delighted to find this article, which corroborated my own views and gave me further insight and knowledge. I am grateful for what you are doing, but how can the members of the rehab community who believe only in the gospel according to Bill W be persuaded?

I recently spent 4 days in detox (my first time ever... I had begun drinking 2 bottles of wine daily) and when I was released the case manager insisted I do 90 AA meetings in 90 days. I told her that I had strong philosophical and intellectual issues with AA, since long before drinking had become a problem for me. She became huffy and hostile and told me that if I found a better way to please let her know and she would "shout it from the rooftops"....

I spent the next 3 days at home doing internet research, and have indeed found a better way. I called the case manager and offered to send her some information on that program (SMART Recovery) as well as other articles I had found debunking the AA myths. She wanted absolutely no part of it.

Finally I politely told her that I felt she was doing a great disservice to her current and prospective clients by being so closed minded and refusing to offer alternatives. She hung up on me.

Well, I tried. What can be done to get the word out? I know you are doing all you can, but how about others? any ideas?

Thank you.

Naomi

Hello Naomi,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are feeling better now.

How do we get the word out? Just keep trying. Write letters and emails to your Senators and Congressperson, telling them what you have discovered about the quackery that is rife in the "recovery industry", and requesting that medical fraud not be funded any more. Likewise, letters and emails to your local newspapers. Also, write to your local politicians. Often, state representatives and senators fund local programs.

Then you could write about your experiences in a blog on the Internet. Every little bit helps. Every voice that tells the truth helps to shift public opinion, and that, in the end, is what determines funding of taxpayer-supported programs, and misinformed public opinion is what allows the frauds and quacks to stay in business. The 12-Step "recovery industry" has an immense publicity and self-promotion propaganda machine that constantly cranks out more misinformation to fool the general public into thinking that Alcoholics Anonymous is a good thing and really works, and we have to counteract that propaganda by telling the truth.

You could also go on the SMART forums, and other forums, and talk to those people and get suggestions and news from them.

Check these out:

  1. SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
    http://www.smartrecovery.org/
    Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.

  2. WFS (Women For Sobriety) also has online chat groups:
    http://www.womenforsobriety.org/news_conferences/chat.html
    For local group meetings in your area you can also call 1-800-333-1606.

  3. SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
    SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious content of widely available 12-Step programs.
    http://www.sos-rochester.org/ — Rochester, NY, SOS on the web.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet:

  5. http://xsteppers.multiply.com/ — X-Steppers, have moved from MSN and found a new home on Multiply.

  6. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12-step-free — Self-described as: 'This is a large yahoo group of ex-AA and ex-"XA" (meaning any "anonymous" program based on the 12 steps originally created by AA) people. It is very open to debate and free thinking, but it's main point is for those needing to be free of the 12 steps.'

  7. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/without_aa/ — Without A.A.

  8. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.from-12-steps/ — the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps
    (This one is problematic, in that many 12-Steppers lurk and troll and attack posters.)

  9. And I hear that there is a hot debate on Craig's List:
    http://portland.craigslist.org/forums/?forumID=12 — A correspondent reported: About halfway down the page a guy named Jumpin Jehova posted some of your stuff. He posts "Daily Orange" in rebuttal to "Daily AA."

  10. You can also get some more links from the start of the links page.

As far as the "case manager" goes, some people just won't learn — they don't want to learn. Some of those so-called "professionals" are so incompetent that all they know is how to parrot a few slogans like, "90 Meetings in 90 Days. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, and read the Big Book. Don't steal today; don't use today; and go to a meeting." Obviously, such people are threatened by any new knowledge, or any knowledge at all, really.

And they should feel threatened. The times they are a'changin', and such simple-minded quackery isn't going to cut it much longer.

Even worse, many of those professional counselors are actually true-believer members of the 12-Step cult themselves, and that is why they will not tolerate hearing any criticism of the "The Program" or Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. And that's why they don't want to hear about alternatives or improvements. That's why they insist that "A.A. is the only way." So I don't expect those people to learn or change.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.





Date: Sun, July 5, 2009 7:23 pm     (answered 16 July 2009)
From: "Dale m"
Subject: AA

I've been in and arround AA for over twenty years. I have not heard any of the accusations you state here fullfilled except from the mouths of some have said this about them selves.

"If you can make the right about face and drink like a gentleman our hat's are off to you" is what I heard. Bill Wilson also stated many times that AA is not for everyone.

Are you trying to make up a fake boogie man for some reason?

Why don't you like AA?

If you're not an AA guy why do you care?

Are you an athiest?

Respectfully,

Dale M.

Hello Dale,

Thanks for the letter.

The fact that you haven't seen something does not prove that it does not exist.

Twenty years and you haven't heard about any of it? That must be some unusual, angelic, isolated group you go to. I heard about that kind of stuff in my first few months of attending meetings:

"Just go across the river, to the meeting at the St. Francis church, and there is a guy over there who manages to sponsor every woman who walks in the door. He gets them all. And he's teaching them more than just the Twelve Steps."

And,

"My first sponsor in Dual Recovery Anonymous had women all of the time. I couldn't even get ahold of him, because he was always out with some woman. I had to get a new sponsor just to be able to talk to my sponsor. And my new sponsor said that he doesn't think the other guy even is an addict — he just goes to the meetings to get the women."

And then my friend who was going to Dual Recovery Anonymous was told to stop taking his medications — by his sponsor and the other old-timers. That also happened in the first few months.

And lest you grumble that D.R.A. isn't A.A., the same stuff goes on in all of the 12-Step monstrosities.

Some of the problems with Alcoholics Anonymous are:

  • A.A. constantly pushes itself on other people, by a variety of means, including using the criminal justice system and health care system and treatment centers, in spite of what Tradition 11 says.

  • And A.A. promotes itself as The Only Way, in spite of Bill's disclaimers and bait-and-switch stunts.

  • And A.A. spreads a lot of misinformation about alcoholism, addiction, and recovery — like that the 12-Step program really works to make alcoholics quit drinking and dopers to quit drugging, and alcoholics are powerless over alcohol, so it isn't their fault and they shouldn't feel guilty, but alcoholism is really just a symptom of underlying sin and charcter defects and moral shortcomings, so it really is the fault of the alcoholics after all, so they should feel guilty.

  • And A.A. does engage in sexual exploitation of minors, and telling newcomers to stop taking their doctor-prescribed medications, and crimes like that. Just lately, that has been documented by many newspapers, magazines, and television stations. Look here for the information.

    And it's also happening in Phoenix, and California, and Minneapolis, and Bainbridge Island, too.

    And earlier, I read the newspaper story about sponsors sexually exploiting the newcomers in England. And there, the old-timer said the same thing as you — that he had never heard of such allegations before. How is it that these 20-year old-timers cannot see what is happening in front of them for 20 years?

  • And that is just for starters. You can get a more complete list from the file What's Not Good About A.A.?

Oh, and I'm not an atheist. (That is such a standard cultish A.A. put-down, as if someone's religion determined whether he was qualified to analyze sobriety programs.) Actually, it is none of your business what my religion is, and my religious beliefs do not determine whether A.A. is a hoax with a quack cure for alcoholism. Nevertheless, I don't keep my religious beliefs a secret either. When asked, I will tell the truth, and I already have, several times, like here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To treat your facts with imagination is one thing,
**     but to imagine your facts is another.
**         == John Burroughs





Date: Mon, July 6, 2009 12:09 am     (answered 17 July 2009)
From: "James B."
Subject: Thank You so Much

Dear Orange,

AA is not mandated in my state. However, if you wish to have a driver's license reinstated following a DUI conviction, participation in a "support group" is a legal requirement. A person can try a support group other than AA. Good luck ever driving (legally) again. Hell will freeze over first before the State will recognize a "non-traditional" support group.

I am such an unfortunate. Other than those occasions when I chose to impair my abilities with alcohol, I have always been able to depend on my reasoning. I quickly discovered that AA does not have a clue as to how to cope with the likes of me. I am required to attend meetings but I refuse to sit quietly and listen to utter bull-droppings.

The other day, I commented; "My best thinking earned an electrical engineering degree from a top big-ten university. My best thinking earned an MBA and built a career as an engineering manager. It was the worst of the worst thinking that resulted in me having to listen to this ridiculous AA nonsense". And the big book thumpers went ballistic.

I must confess to getting a bit of a twisted thrill from the thought that just maybe I can cause one of the old-timers to become so enraged that they stroke-out or suffer a heart attack. Well, if I must attend, might as well make a sport of it eh?

I suggested that we dedicate one meeting per week to driver's license reinstatement issues. We can all trade character reference letters (which the state requires as proof of having established AA support group network). I was sternly told that only "old-timers" were to give character references. So I summarily ignored the old-timers and announced an AA drunken legal problems support group anyway. Turns out that 80% of the regular meeting attendees are attempting to get license reinstated. The support group caught on like wildfire.

The old-timers hate my guts with a spittle invective passion. Talking about a group that can form resentment. sheez.

I truly enjoy reading the clear-minded observations you graciously share. I used to sit in AA meetings and wonder; "How can anyone possibly buy into this crap?" "What sort of deranged and deluded mind fabricated this dyslogia?" "Rigorous honesty my ass!" Orange my friend, at least you've help me understand where it came from.

I often find myself wanting to pass the message on to those who still suffer from compulsive meeting attendance. Your website an invaluable resource.

Ben B.

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the letter and the story and all of the compliments.

When it comes to that "best thinking" slogan, I like to point out that it really was my best thinking that decided to quit drinking (and also to quit smoking and quit doping). (It was my worst thinking that thought that I could consume large quantities of those things with impunity — without it harming my health and wrecking my life.)

And it was my best thinking that decided to examine whatever might help me to quit and stay quit.

So it was my best thinking that got me to an A.A. meeting.

But of course they don't want to hear that — they just want me to confess that my thinking is defective, so I should let a sponsor do my thinking for me.

The fact that 80% of the people in the meeting were just trying to get their driver's licenses back reveals just how much Alcoholics Anonymous is really a program of coercion and promotion, not attraction, like Tradition 11 says.

And the way that the old-timers hated you for taking the initiative and doing something practical and helpful reveals just how insecure they are. They want you to venerate them, and babble about how wise they are, and obey them, not set up your own support group... :-)

It reminds me of a cartoon from the sixties (that I can't remember the source of). In a courtroom, a long-haired scuzzy-looking youth is standing before an old judge, and the judge is snapping, "Show some respect, sonny! I had to kiss a lot of ass to get where I am!"

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who
**      falsely believe they are free.
**          ==  Goethe





Date: Mon, July 6, 2009 7:58 am     (answered 17 July 2009)
From: "Charlie w."
Subject: hi

thanks for your Web site. I think you have a very jaundiced view of AA. I agree with, and lament, some of what you document. However, I have 19 years' continuous sobriety since first going to AA. I arrived there an agnostic, and am still agnostic, and have never been otherwise. I have fought some of the things you criticize within AA groups, with success — such as eliminating "prayer cards" with "praying hands" (explicitly Christian) on one side and the group's meeting schedule on the other ... and I've successfully fought efforts to give leftover $$$ to churches where meetings were held, etc., etc. I have also been chairman of groups with a fair # of religious people — and in both cases, my term ended up being 3x as long as it was supposed to be, due to things running smoothly.

So, I would just like to convey that, in my experience it has been possible to disagree with folks within AA, and to participate without becoming tied in to religious brainwashing.

Just one man's opinions and experience.

Thanks,
Charlie W.

Hi Charlie,

Thanks for the letter and the comments.

Somehow, you seem to think that I am anti-religious, like that I would oppose giving money to churches. I am not anti-religious, and I don't oppose giving your left-over cash to a local church. Better to do that than to send it to the criminals at the A.A. headquarters in New York City.

Rather than erase all symbols of religiosity like the praying hands from all A.A. literature, why not just stop the coercion of people into A.A.? Stop sentencing people to A.A., and that will solve the Constitutional problem of a State-mandated religion. Then A.A. groups can be as overtly religious as they wish.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself.
**       ==  Bailey





Date: Tue, July 7, 2009 6:30 am     (answered 17 July 2009)
From: "Peter H."
Subject: Celebrity Rehab/Dog spelled backwards

Dear A.Orange,

What do you think of Celebrity Rehab? Is this not the end-game of the 12-Step movement — A modern form of inquisition? Look at how the mass media has treated Lindsay Lohan.. I heard her parrot some 12-step mantra about her life being unmanageable after one of her much publicized stints in treatment. What can be more personal than one's health care and spiritual beliefs?

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the letter. I think that Celebrity Rehab is wonderful — wonderful for revealing just how bad "treatment" really is. (I was recently talking about Celebrity Rehab in another letter, here.) Celebrity Rehab pulls away the veil of anonymity and lets everybody who reads the tabloids see who is going into treatment now, and how soon they relapse after treatment. When all of those movie stars and starlettes come out of rehab parrotting mindless slogans, and then relapse a month or two later, it shows the public what a worthless circus the whole rehab-treatment-center routine really is.

Stepism plays upon the wanton pettiness of the masses enjoying a high tech form of witch burning. This is the segment of society that fell for 8 years of the chest beater in a phony flight suit, and are still true believers in stepism. They have us mired in 12-step treatment centers like we are mired in Iraq.

Never is the basic question asked: What does having the big book have to do with getting one's drivers license back? How does finding God through the state-sanctioned 12-steps make the streets safer from drunk drivers? Instead, there is this hysteria to destroy the first amendment with oblique punishments like whiskey plates, like the scarlet letter, which all hearken back to the puritanical days of old.

This celebrity rehab seems an ultimate ad hominem attack; instead of answering the basic question of 12-step treatments' effectiveness, they offer up poor Lindsay Lohan as some sort of sacrificial lamb, denying her basic freedoms and the right of privacy — all under the aegis of the irksome sanctimony of the Stepists. They pillory celebrities instead of face their true comeuppance that people nowadays really question the cost and effectiveness of 12-step treatment.

Yes, and that questioning is good.

Ever since I was first sentenced to AA I have had my suspicions — starting with the fact that I had to attest to monthly attendance in open court in front of my peers — including my high school's civics class — about my "anonymous" meetings. Now I know, thanks to your web site, that everything in AA is two-faced and cultish. Only in AA, for instance, do you hear people brag about their humility.

Yes, isn't that a laugh? Bragging about one's humility. That's as good as a guy bragging about how he got rid of ego.

I just got done doing another round of enforced attendance. I could barely keep tight lipped after all I have learned — apparently they are now collecting phone numbers of AA members — so much for "what you see here, hear here, etc." — so I could not speak out lest someone report to the court or something spiritual like that.

I wanted to ask: in tradition seven of the 12/12 Bill brags how he gave 5 bucks to "our prize slippee", than uses that as an example of how stingy the rest of AAers are who are not giving enough at meetings. Was that Hank P that he patted on the head and sent on his way? Everyone in the meeting was hemming and hawing about the iconography of Bill W.'s grand gesture to this "prize slippee", completely clueless about the true history of AA: It would be easy to give away 5 bucks to anybody, especially Hank P., if one were Wilson at that point in time of writing the 12/12 — Did he not score some bucks in the murky business dealings already with the Big Book? What did Wilson "Do" for a living? — there seems to be a lot of money he left to Lois and his mistress in his Will? I would have brought all this up in the meeting, but like I said they are taking numbers now ( —and soon I bet there will be video monitoring!) When I heard all this I just bristled though; and then they brought up the anecdote of how Wilson asked for money from the Rockefellers, but he was told AA had to fend for itself. I thought he did receive some funds from the Rockefellers, but it was just not as much as he wanted?

Correct. In the early days of A.A., Bill Wilson pocketed a stipend of $120 per month from the Rockefellers, while lecturing about how A.A. had to be independent and make it on its own. And $120 was a lot of money in 1940. That was enough to live on, minimally, but enough.

In his history of A.A., Bill Wilson wrote that the younger Rockefeller, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., heir to the throne, hosted a dinner for Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous, which was attended by many of the richest and most famous men in New York City. And Bill wrote that none of them gave Bill any money, like Bill hoped. But Bill didn't mention his special side-deal arrangement with Rockefeller, where he got that stipend.

Then Bill Wilson had the gall to write Tradition Seven, declaring that A.A. should be self-supporting and not accept outside donations.

In general, what Bill Wilson did for a living was collect royalties on the books published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., like the Big Book, 12X12, A.A. Comes of Age, As Bill Sees It, and his Grapevine writings, and on and on. That was what made him a millionaire. And his wife Lois inherited all of that when Bill died. She in turn left much of it to her relatives who weren't in A.A.

And yes, Bill Wilson cheated his co-authors out of royalties on both the Big Book and 12X12. Tom Powers, who co-authored 12X12, quit A.A. in disgust when Bill cheated him, and moved to upstate New York, and started his own recovery group there.

In the earliest days of A.A., before the royalties on the books built up to a comfortable level, Bill Wilson was supported by the "Alcoholic Foundation" office funds, in addition to the $120/month stipend from Rockefeller. This link shows an old letter from the A.A. headquarters that explained the finances of the Alcoholic Foundation and Bill Wilson. What strikes me as a really glaring revelation is this line in the document:
"The arrearage of royalties payable to Dr. Smith has been cleared up, a large part of which he generously turned over to Mr. Wilson."
So Bill Wilson was even taking money from Dr. Bob, when Dr. Bob was desperately poor? And that was after Wilson had argued that Dr. Bob should get royalties from the Big Book because Dr. Bob was so poor and in dire straights. What a scheming con artist Bill Wilson really was.

Bill Wilson always had his hand in the till one way or another, like that he helped himself to, and frittered away, the publishing fund that was supposed to pay for printing the Big Book. See the files on Birth of BigBook, and Birth of BigBook II: Financial Analysis of the Creation of the Big Book.

I doubt if the fellow that you mentioned in the 12X12 anecdote was Henry Parkhurst, because "Hank" Parkhurst relapsed and quit A.A. when Bill cheated him out of his share of the money and credit for the Big Book. Hank wasn't hanging around, he was gone, and he only came back to sell his furniture to Bill, at which point Bill conned Hank out of all of his stock in the publishing company (that was really named "The 100 Men Corporation", not "Works Publishing"). Also, Henry Parkhurst wasn't "a prize slippee". He was consistently sober for four years, and didn't relapse until Bill betrayed him.

With anecdotal stories like that one in 12X12, we have no way of knowing if it even really happened. Bill Wilson loved to make up stories like that, where he bragged about how generous he was, giving $5 to a drunkard when his wife really needed that money for groceries. Bill Wilson had a whole lot of stories that showed how important and smart and selfless and generous and spiritual and brave and hard-working he was. Oh, and he was also very humble, too.

And notice that Bill Wilson had an ulterior motive in telling that story, and in talking about how people neglected to send money to the A.A. office in New York (12X12, pages 162 and 163): Bill was appealing for people to put more money in the hat, and for the individuals and groups to send more money to the "Alcoholic Foundation" central office, so that the office could give more money to Bill Wilson. Bill declared that if people didn't send more money to the A.A. headquarters, that the overworked staff of two people, a secretary (Ruth Hock) and Bill Wilson, wouldn't be able to answer all of the mail.

I don't know if Bill Wilson also got speaker's fees for touring the country and speaking at meetings, but they almost certainly at least compensated him for travel expenses. If he was collecting speaker's fees, he could have made a bunch of money that way too, because he spent years touring the USA and grandstanding for A.A.

If there is one thing I have regretted more in life it is every second I have wasted in stepism. For years I had reservations, but I could not even express the slightest dissent. Through your web site that I found that this is a phenomenon called cognitive dissonance — like singing out of key. Nevertheless, there were times and places there where cracks in the wall of deceit where the light of reason shined through, and one of which I wish to care and share with you — the monologue of Shaun the Alky Angel of Parkland Hall of how he found God.

Shaun had already distinguished himself as a spiritual titan by sucker-punching a minor named Toney who was talking to the same girl he was hitting on after a meeting. Later, I am told that someone got so fed up with Shaun's B.S. that they left a meeting after being cross-talked by Shaun, tried to walk it off, and then returned and got in a fist fight with Shaun right in the middle of it of the meeting. Parkland Group always was such a veritable wellspring of masterpieces of mental heath.

Once Shaun explained how he came to find God and deliver us the Truth in AA. He had been in and out of AA not "getting it" , and found himself riding down the high way footloose and carefree — "hip slicking cool" in the jargon of steplore — on his Harley one fine sunny day, and smuggling a ton of cocaine (drug talk in AA meetings, hmmm). All of the sudden a Dalmatian puppy ran across the road and he struck it, and he really stressed the symbolism of it being a black and white issue at that moment in time and space. Signs and wonders. The poor thing looked into his eyes and then died in his arms — died for his sins!, and right then and there he knew he had a higher calling, for Shaun the mental giant, in a stroke of brilliance, spelled Dog backwards, and it spelled God!

I had been in college studying all sorts of complex arguments about God's existence and then I found myself in a room full of 20 people and all were awe-struck by Shaun the Biker's spiritual experience of how fido became road kill. Instead of building a fence to prevent any more puppies from being run down, Shaun is in an AA meeting trying to recruit new members for his sober biker gang. To think that after all my studies of ontological, cosmological theories of God's being, the problem of evil, all I had to do was follow the revelations that infamous Alky Angel of Parkland Hall — spell Dog backwards, and there you have it.

"Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig looks man square in the eye and sees his equal." Winston Churchill.

Thanks for the story, and a laugh, and you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    There are well-dressed foolish ideas just as there are well-dressed fools.
**        ==   Nicholas Chamfort





May 12, 2009, Tuesday: Day 12, continued:

Canada Goose family
The Family of 9, taking a nap.
If you count carefully, you can really see 9 goslings in there.

Canada Goose family
Carmen's family
Carmen's mother and one of the goslings are stretching their wings.
It looks like Carmen is the dark-headed little gosling with her head down, front and center.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





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Last updated 13 January 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters131.html