Letters, We Get Mail, CLI

Date: Thu, November 12, 2009 6:05 pm     (answered 7 December 2009)
From: "A Lemon"
Subject: Sobriety: A. Lemon

Hey Mr Orange.

This is A. Lemon writing to you from SW MO. I am 56 yo and have struggled with substance abuse issues since age 15. I have attached a copy of a letter I sent to the MO board of nursing last year in an attempt to get back my nursing license that I surrendered a few years ago. Currently I have been "sober" for 10 months using a methadone maintenance program that costs $400/mo. I use the pseudonym A. Lemon because I often feel that's what I am. A lemon. Defective. Damaged goods. I go to AA meetings but my sponsor let slip that I take methadone to his sponsor and I can't help but think the 'gurus' and aa over seers would appreciate my abcense.


In order to provide the Missouri State Board of Nursing with a detailed description of the events and circumstances surrounding my criminal record, I must take us back to mid-1970. I became interested in the medical field when, as a college freshman, I was assigned to do college work/study in the clinical laboratory of Santa Cruz County Hospital in Northern California. I was fascinated by all the testing equipment and procedures performed there. My job was general lab clean-up. I washed the test tubes and petri dishes, as few of those utensils were disposable then (the Vacutainer system was pretty new).

My Mother was an RN and director of Central Supply at another local hospital. When she discovered my interest in the hospital she suggested I take an orderly training class (yes, orderly). I did that and started working as a nurse's aide. Once in a while I worked in the Emergency Room and was attracted to that atmosphere. Cabrillo College was the technical school close to me and I enrolled in the L.V.N. program there (see A.S. diploma). I wasn't the best student but did okay.

During my second semester of training I had to have my wisdom teeth (all four) extracted. I was still living at home at the time so we chose what is now called "Winter Break" to have that done. The procedure went well enough but I had to have some bone removed along with the teeth for some reason. Post-operative pain was bad and the Endodontist prescribed Percodan for it. Never had I experienced the feeling Percodan gave me. "Where have you been all my life"" is what I found myself saying mentally. I have talked to quite a few counselors and other addicts on the subject over the years and the consensus is that I was what am clinically described as a "Radical Addict".

Much to the disappointment, heartbreak, anger, fear, frustration, shame, guilt and remorse of myself and many close to me, I pursued that elusive feeling to the gates of insanity, prison and death from then until I found a less destructive alternative.

It wasn't long after I discovered opiate euphoria that I fell for a woman I had met. As I mentioned, school was going okay and in the fall of 1975 I graduated from nurses" training, passed State Board exams, got married, moved to another city and became an expectant father. Whew! We (my wife and I) moved to the Central Valley town where her grandparents lived because the hospitals in the towns near where we lived were not hiring new grads. I started working the night shift on the orthopedic ward of a 250 bed acute hospital.

Somehow, in spite of the warnings from my nursing school professors, I just could not stop myself from taking codeine, hydrocodone, demerol, morphine, dilaudid, and any other pharmaceutical that might get me the feeling that I so craved for a "test drive". Crave. That is the operative word I had to learn to deal with for the next few decades. I learned to "deal" with it by taking anything I could get my hands on.

Diversion of narcotics is the active phrase, I think. I became careless and was confronted about the increasing frequency of missing narcotics. I admitted my pilfering and was fired from my first job as a nurse. And so the pattern began. I found another job and started doing the same thing. My new wife had just delivered our first child a month or so earlier. She became suspicious of my unusual behavior and the marks on my arms and asked about them. There was no hiding the fact that I had been fired so I admitted the problem.

I subsequently overdosed on Demerol (respiratory arrest) and was revived and taken to the hospital where I first worked as a nurse. Of course, I was fired and the hospital reported me to the California State Board of Nursing (please see documentation printed from the BVNPT web site). Due to lack of information, proper procedure and profound humiliation, I did not contact the Board regarding this turn of events. My license was revoked in 1978. I was much ashamed of my behavior so for the next twenty years I did not work as a nurse.

I had a family to support so I took whatever job presented itself to make ends meet. We moved back to Santa Cruz. My father-in-law was a general building contractor and he hired me to do construction site clean up and carpenter/labor work. I found work after that as an elementary school custodian for over five years.

Meanwhile, my craving for narcotics did not stop when I removed myself from temptation. I suppressed the craving by drinking a lot of alcohol and using marijuana. During my time in the E.R. I had seen enough people over dose on heroin to avoid copying the example. I made the rounds of local clinics with the familiar "lower back pain".

In the mid-eighties I became reacquainted with a high school friend, John, when I took my family to visit the church I had belonged to when I was younger. He had become an Emergency Medical Technician and with the help of his parents and in-laws had bought a local ambulance company that went up for sale when the owners were forced to sell as a result of Medicare fraud. When John learned of my background as a nurse he encouraged me to get into the field of emergency medicine. Because of my training, experience and general aptitude for things medical, I did well in Emergency Medical Technician training and went to work full-time for John.

In 1985 the school where I had completed nurses" training began offering a Paramedic Training Program in association with the county and State Regional Occupational Program. I enrolled in and completed the program in 1986-87 (please see completion certificate).

The routine of drinking when not in class and off duty continued but it seemed as though I could not get enough alcohol and was starting to blackout some evenings. One bad night I blacked out, woke up a few hours later thinking I had over-slept and that it was morning and time for my paramedic shift. I hastily showered, threw on my uniform and headed toward work. As I drove the few miles to the station I noticed the sun was not where it was supposed to be for that time of day. By looking at my day/date watch it turned out to still be evening of the day before my next 24 hour shift.

Incidentally, while I was busy with work and school my wife decided to take up with a younger man that was willing to pay her more attention. We had by then separated and ultimately divorced. I accept 75% of the responsibility for this turn of events. Unfortunately, it is blameless children that receive the greater harm. I am grateful that my two adult children have turned out okay and do not hold any big resentment toward my ex-wife and myself.

By this time alcohol was starting to take its toll on me physically. Although I was not drinking at work, my paramedic partner could smell the remnants of the previous night's drinking and presumed I was drinking at work. My partner, Jeanne was fairly closely associated with the Emergency Medical Services" director and informed him of her suspicions. My friend John was caught in an unpleasant dilemma. He gave me the option of quitting or being fired. I quit.

For the next eight years I worked for a clinical laboratory as a phlebotomist. After a year or so rumor had it I could get blood from a stone (in other words, I was good at it).

My drinking continued to escalate. Overhearing talk at the lab of a confrontation, I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and stayed alcohol and drug free for the next seven years.

Good times, bad times... Don't we all share similar twists in the fabric of our lives?

During this stretch I got married to a woman with four children ranging in age from 9-21. In my naivety I thought we would have the perfect blended family. Wrong again. Joan and I did have 5 good years together.

It was during our second year that I wondered what will happen if I contacted the CA Board of nursing. I found out that I could petition the Board for reinstatement. In 1992 I did so and took and passed the NCLEX exam offered that year. By that time I was supervisor over six specimen collection centers for the clinical laboratory I started working for in 1988. Easing myself back into nursing by working in a convalescent home part-time worked out well.

One of the regrets that I have learned to accept is not having those seven years of quality sobriety stretch into eighteen. That would make it the year 2008. It was in 1997 that I picked up my first drug after my longest period of abstinence on record. I terminated my years of sobriety with 350 mg of Soma (Carisoprodol). I had heard it described at a nurse support group as "solid alcohol" and having never tried it, thought it might be relatively safe. At this point, I will refer to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Third Edition, page 35, "What sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic/addict (my word added but accepted in the recovery community) who repeats time after time the desperate experiment of the first drink/drug" Friends who have reasoned with him after a spree which has brought him to the point of divorce or bankruptcy are mystified when he walks directly into a saloon. Why does he"

Of what is he thinking"" The text goes on to give its first example of "... a friend we shall call Jim." Ha! Get it" James Lewis. Jim... Anyway, that always amused me a little over the past 25 years since I first read it.

Though published in 1939, the AA text book explains an important point. The point is that earlier in the book on page 23 it says, "Once in a while he (the alcoholic) may tell the truth. And the truth, strange to say, is usually that he has no more idea why he took that first drink than you have." "...in their hearts they really do not know why they do it. Once this malady has a real hold, they are a baffled lot."

Now we are at the jumping off place. Or the turning point. Before long I was to know depths of despair, frustration, bewilderment and humiliation I had never before experienced. Over the next ten years I bounced in and out of AA, and other Twelve Step programs gathering at various times between two and twelve months of irresolute sobriety.

With the idea of "helping" my then thirteen year-old son who had moved with his sister, mother and stepfather to the Mid-west eight years earlier, I moved to Harrison, Arkansas. I had not compromised my California nursing license so I applied for and received an AR LPN license. I took a job at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, a 150 bed acute hospital in Harrison, AR. I worked on the med-surg ward and things went okay for a while. That is until I decided enough Demerol flowed through the place that I could take some and not get caught. This, of course was nonsense. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

Ultimately, this new web I was forming darn near choked the life out of me. In due course I was found out and arrested. I spent two weeks in the Boone County jail with the meth cookers and dealers waiting for the authorities to figure out what to do with me. I was placed on probation, fined, etc. (Please see enclosed certified court documents from Boone County, AR.) Went to work in Mt. Home, AR until the AR board of Nursing said they didn't want me to practice in the state any more. That is an interesting fact because when I look up my AR nursing license status, it's like they never heard of me. On further investigation, it turns out the AR Board has a 1999 letter (please see enclosed copy) from my attorney which also contained my license. The letter says that I voluntarily surrender my AR license. It was my lawyer that gave me the idea to get a nursing license in Missouri. When I mentioned to him that I would probably not be allowed to work in Arkansas when all was said and done legally speaking, he said simply, "What's stopping you from getting a Missouri license"" I had developed little self-honesty by that time so nothing was really "stopping" me from applying for a Missouri L.P.N. By the time Arkansas had had enough of me I was all set to practice in Missouri.

My work in Missouri began on the eve of the new millennium. December 31, 1999 was my first shift at Beverly Manor Skilled Nursing. My work there went okay for a few months. A nurse I met at Beverly told me of another nursing home fifteen miles away in Forsyth, MO. Forsyth Nursing and Rehab Center hired me part-time. I would work day shift at Beverly, then show up and help with dinner and do the last med pass at Forsyth. Not for long. My old habits closed in on me and I was confronted at Forsyth about some missing oxycodone. Admitting nothing, I quit both nursing jobs and went to work at Wal Mart. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services contacted me about Forsyth and said that they were going to keep their eye on my work from then on (please see letter from dhss dated 4/29/2002).

While still living in AR I traveled one Sunday morning to my daughter's house with plans to make lunch for the family. At that time it was "normal" for me to have a few drinks in the morning if I lacked opiates. I had put down marijuana in 1990 and not picked it up again. The country road my daughter lived down had some gravel patches on it. I lost control on one of those, totaled my car and got a DUI (please see Marion County, AR certified court documents).

In January of 2001 I had tired of the physically demanding work at Wal Mart and again found nursing work in Missouri. Administration at Medical Employment Directory of Springfield was impressed at the variety of my nursing experience and hired me. I rotated from urgent care nurse at Family Medical Clinic to staff nurse at Cox North Medical Center. Again, things went smoothly for a while but what I have come to know as my 'disease' got the better of me once more. From the urgent care clinic I misappropriated some Demerol by signing it out to patients that never received it. As usual, I became sloppy in my actions and was confronted. This time it was pretty much a repeat of what happened in AR except Greene County, MO prosecuted me to "the full extent of the law". Although it took the county prosecutor over a year to come after me, I received what I deserved. Fines, restitution, chemical dependency treatment program (please see certificate from Sigma House), five years of formal Department of Corrections probation (See DOC discharge letter).

During the year between when I was confronted and prosecuted I voluntarily surrendered my Missouri nursing license. It was as though somehow for the first time I could comprehend what I was doing. I could see myself going to yet another state and doing the same thing. Or wind up in prison.

It was 2002. I had considerable building and landscape maintenance experience from the jobs my father-in-law gave me in the 1970's and went to work for Elliott Lodging doing maintenance at what is now Lamplighter Inn South in Springfield. The job was not bad. It was year round, paid fair, had benefits and was just physically demanding enough to help me lose some weight.

Then came February 4, 2003. An HVAC worker needed some help on Lamplighter's roof. The day before we had attended an all maintenance worker mandatory safety in-service meeting. Ladder safety was discussed at length. He went up the ladder first. I was on the ground and held the ladder for him, When he was on the roof I started up the ladder. He was supposed to steady the ladder for me as I climbed but failed to do so. I lost my balance and fell fourteen feet to the concrete.

I do not remember the first two days in the hospital. On my right side starting with my head, I had a closed head injury requiring several staples to hold it together. Eight of twelve ribs were broken and I must have had a collapsed lung because I needed two chest tubes to suck out the drainage. My left acromioclavicular joint was dislocated. My son said I looked like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Long story short, I was a mess.

Nine days later I was released from the hospital. Because of tolerance to pain relievers I had developed over the years of abusing them I had to have Fentanyl patches for pain. Ribs and head wound healed. Acromioclavicular joint dislocation did not. In July of 2003 it was surgically reduced.

Eventually my surgeon Dr. Christopher Miller said it was time to get off all opiates. Not good news for me. He released me from his care in January, 2004 (please see Dr. Miller's Final Evaluation letter).

In the mean time I did whatever work I could to make ends meet because after the accident Elliott Lodging did a background check on me discovered my Arkansas felonies and summarily fired me for falsifying my employment application.

When you read Dr. Miller's "final evaluation" you will note that clinically I have a 17 percent impairment of the whole person from my '03 ladder fall. I contacted the Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and after al lengthy evaluation began studying graphic design (please see records (grades and certificates) from Ozark Technical Community College). By staying out of the medical arena I stayed out of trouble.

At this time my Mother lived in Arizona with my older brother. She had cancer that was spreading and it finally took her in August of 2005. I received a sizeable inheritance when she passed and found that with enough money and my records from Dr. Miller, I could get all the Norco 10/325 (hydrocodone 10 mg, acetaminophen 325 mg) I wanted from several (up to four at once) shady web sites. I had bona fide prescriptions for all the Norco. Taking from six to twelve pills at a time I ran through my inheritance in about a year and was at the last door on the block, so to speak.

My friend Marie Sade (please see her reference letter) who is a Nurse Practitioner had watched me struggle through a year of craving every waking minute. The days between Norco shipments found me drinking whiskey. Marie saw a documentary on opiate addiction on HBO and suggested I check out methadone therapy. Having little money, sketchy work and no insurance left me with but one option: Methadone. I was skeptical but had little choice. I had no idea it would actually suppress my cravings. I welcomed the relief, although genuine "relief" in the form of cessation of cravings did not occur until my therapeutic dosing level was reached nearly a year later.

Words fail me when trying to express my gratitude to supportive friends (please see enclosed letters of reference) and the Higher Power I feel every day enabling me to live without the demands my mind and body made upon me for so many decades.

A. Lemon

Ozarks Technical Community College

Hello Lemon,

Thank you for the letter. I hope you are doing well with the methadone maintenance. I had not heard the term "radical addict" before, but your problem does seem to be extreme. It makes me feel like there are some people who are born with a deficiency in beta endorphines or dopamine, and they can't seem to ever feel right without a little "something"... I wish our society was a little more enlightened in dealing with such people. Obviously, your life could have been better if you had been given a steady supply of something by the State sooner.

Good luck, and have a good life. And Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If you persist in making criminals out of
** alcoholics and addicts, you will find that
** you have lots and lots of criminals.
**     ==  Orange

Date: Tue, November 17, 2009 3:05 am     (answered 7 December 2009)
From: "Seekingpurity"
Subject: 50 cult characteristics

Dear Orange

Thank you for your brilliant presentation. It's one of the clearest I've seen online.

I'm trying to research how many of these characteristics are also in mainstream religion. I need to figure out if what is going on in my group ... well my group has quite a few of these characteristics, but the leader is a traditional monk who has been celibate for 60 years. So many people conclude that HE is authentic — it's just the people working for him who are messing it up. Most of them are relatively new to it all & there is a high turnover of people who don't manage to keep celibacy. Anyway your site is helping.

I'm wondering how much of the problems in my group are due to people simply being no good at being good. People try to be good but they make lot of mistakes & then mistaken ways of behaving start to be followed by more & more people. The leader always is very humble & giving people freedom but the people attempting to understand what he is doing say 'Oh how wonderful our leader is! We are having all these incredible experiences & everyone else could be having these incredible experiences too!' They then become very fanatical and start pushing everything, themselves, each other, and new people.

People in senior positions get intense about doing a good job and if they come to a wrong conclusion a lot of people fawn over them and start saying we must follow this conclusion because it is from a senior teacher. Then often the teacher disrobes because they didn't manage to keep the celibacy vow (usually there was some transgression over a 10-20 year of ordination that gets exposed). So everyone except the leader is not managing to conduct themselves in a decent way.

Because of this many people say 'I still regard the leader as my teacher but because of the behaviour of the rest I am abandoning the organisation.' So many people only go to the leaders teachings & see the senior students as people who will inevitably end up letting people down & make bad decisions. But now the leader is retiring and is asking us to care for the organisation once he is gone.

So this info considered I don't know if I'm in a cult or not. The organisation admits to having some teething difficulties but the people running it are often stubborn and claiming the errors are in the past. Please let me know what you think.



Hello Seekingpurity,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are doing well.

Wow. I see a big problem. I'd get out of there fast.

First off, a life of celebacy is not necessarily holy or enlightened. Enforced celebacy has created more problems than just about any other Church doctrine. And historically, the guy who pushed celebacy was Saul of Tarsus (who renamed himself "Paul"). Saul was a raving paranoid schizophrenic nutcase who went around killing Christians. And Paul just hated women, so he said that you should have nothing to do with them. Jesus never said that you should remain celebate.

Look at what the doctrine of celebacy has done to the Catholic Church. For the last decade or more, it's one horror story after another of priests molesting and abusing children. Celebacy did not produce holiness; it produced perversion.

Then there is the problem of "You are always wrong." In your group, you have people putting each other down, and finding faults in others, and denigrating themselves too, and nobody is really holy except for the leader... On the other hand, the leader is always right. That is bad. That just reeks of "cult".

By the way, enforced celebacy is also an example of An Impossible Superhuman Model of Perfection. That is also good for guilt induction, and it sounds like a lot of people are getting denounced for not being superhumanly pure. That also just reeks of "cult".

You know, that has to be a very unpleasant and depressing environment, with people constantly proclaiming that nobody is pure enough. And the constant guilt induction is harmful too.

Why has the leader put together a group where everybody is wrong all of the time? What is wrong with his teachings? To blame all of the students all of the time, and say that they all fail, is the mark of a bad teacher.

You described how the newcomers follow the teachings and guidance of the old-timers, even if the old-timers are wrong. That is the system of "mentoring", and it's another standard cult characteristic.

I'm glad to hear that you are quitting the organization.

Have a good day, and a good life, and Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The great artists of the world are never Puritans,
**     and seldom even ordinarily respectable.
**       ==  Henry Louis Mencken [1880—1956], Prejudices, First Series, Chap. 16

May 17, 2009, Sunday: Day 17, continued:

Cackling Goose
A Cackling Goose in the foreground.

That small goose is not a child or a midget — it's a full-grown "Cackling Goose", which is the variety of Canada Goose that is native to northern Alaska. They just don't grow any larger than that in the harsh, frigid Alaskan climate. Cackling Geese have high-pitched voices that give them their name.

Every so often, one or more of the Cackling Geese that are passing through during migrations decides that it will stop at Portland and hang out in warmer climes. No more freezing its tail off. Occasionally, Cackling Geese will actually marry normal, full-size geese here, and produce a bunch of offspring with short necks.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Fri, November 20, 2009 9:23 am     (answered 7 December 2009)
From: Karmaslayer
Subject: A.A.= Jokes ;-)

"Since i joined Alcoholics Anonymous i have always liked the Big Book Study Recovery Meetings, You Meet a Better Class of Neurotics In them "...................
== Scottish Humour @ its Finest...................... From The King of Alba (= Gaelic for Scotland)

p.s. The Big Book fundamentalists are as Nutty in Scotland as they are in the U.S.of A. I believe when they go to their 1st Big Book Study Meeting, the New Member has his or her Sense of Humour removed. They need to Relax & Laugh & Chill out. They are Very Serious and Uptight.

Then you have to relate your Life to Bill's Story in Chapter 1, and if you can't do that, then you are not a "REAL" Alcoholic, what ever the Hell that means .........

Peace Be With Ya Bro

Hello KarmaSlayer,

Thanks for the letter and news from the other side of the pond.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    True wisdom is knowledge and humor combined.

Date: Fri, November 20, 2009 12:40 pm     (answered 7 December 2009)
From: "Steve"

I stay sober by having sex with women in the program. It's really great. It works for all of us!

Well, have a good day anyway.

C. Banana

*When the winds of change are at rest...I can't make up a proverb.

(Just kidding) I sent you an email about two weeks ago, and can see that you're very busy. I've been in touch with SMART Recovery, and plan on going to my first meeting. I've also become a part of their online forum. I'm glad that you've posted links to alternatives.

When I brought up SMART to a guy in AA he sarcastically said, "Let me know how that works out for ya". There was no support or interest whatsoever. He just expressed doubt. It's AA or no way.

"That's okay". Others might be more open to hearing about things that aren't AA related.

The program can make me feel so suffocated sometimes. I think I'll just keep my opinions to myself.

Once in awhile during meetings I've heard people speak of differing treatments, which is cool and surprising. It takes guts to utter such blasphemy at 'group level'.

My first sponsor said that maybe AA wasn't for me, and he showed me other forms of support in our county. That was nice. Did I listen? Hell no.

When I told my current sponsor about SMART he said, "Why would you want to start working another program? It might get you overwhelmed and confused". It was something to that effect. I don't think he's a proselytizing AA weirdo. He just cares about me. We've known each other for a few years. I just knew I could comfortably work with him. I'm going to try out SMART anyway. It's my life, right? Thanks again for the links.

Hi Banana,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. And I'm glad to hear that you are going to try SMART. I found it to be like a breath of fresh air after the "suffocating" feeling in A.A.

The thing that is sticking in my mind is,
"Why would you want to start working another program? It might get you overwhelmed and confused".

That is classic F.U.D. — plant Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

The SMART techniques are not overwhelming or confusing — they are pretty much common-sense logic, like,
"If I drink a bunch tonight, I'll wake up sick and hung-over tomorrow morning. Do I really want to do that again? Is that really so much fun?"

Not confusing at all.

Good fortune with your recovery, and have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be the proud captain still of thine own fate.
**       ==  J. B. Kenyon [1858—1924], A Challenge

Date: Thu, November 19, 2009 12:13 pm     (answered 7 December 2009)
From: "Matt B"
Subject: NIAAA Study...

Hi Orange,

I don't know if you've read about this recently, but thought you may be interested...

http://reason.com/blog/2009/11/19/niaaa-official-says-alcoholism? utm_source=feedburner&utm;_medium=feed& utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reason%2FHitandRun+%28Reason+Online+-+Hit+ %26+Run+Blog%29&utm;_content=Google+Feedfetcher


Longtime fan of your site and I hope that this is in some way a return on some of the great resources you've provided for me.

Thanks for your time.

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the tip.

So, alcoholism is not usually "a chronic, relapsing disease", and alcoholics can recover and become like "normal" people. And "the one-size-fits-all, abstinence-only approach preached by Alcoholics Anonymous is inconsisent with the evidence on drinking patterns."

Finally, some words of sanity and common sense.

I think it is especially important that a high-ranking official of the NIAAA said that — Mark Willenbring, director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. That is not just some ignorant bozo who can be ignored.

Have a good day now, and Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, 
**       he always declares that it is his duty." 
**          ==   George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950)

Date: Fri, November 20, 2009 9:56 pm     (answered 8 December 2009)
From: "G-force"
Subject: Knock Knock! Who's there? Orange! Orange who?

Orange you so damn funny! (Sincerely!)

So, so sorry, I really couldn't resist. Probably not the first, probably not the last — However all joking aside, I just discovered your website, and I must say that it is comprehensive, nay — exhaustive! And, while also somewhat exhausting — I've had to wade through more than a few repetitive rants — you are definitely on a roll with the 12 steps translations.

Very damn funny! Sincerely funny.

Here's my story in brief:

After several decades of being a rock'n'roll party girl, I realized that my drinking was out of hand, and probably had been for some time. While I do not consider myself an addict — I do not drink everyday, or even every week, and I don't get rip roaring drunk every time I drink — however, when I do get rip-roaring drunk (which I also wouldn't say was infrequent...) I sure can cause an awful lot of trouble for myself.

On a more serious note, I had started blacking out from time to time, and this is obviously scary. One hung-over morning, I decided I should get some help, so I looked up the local A.A chapter and decided, on my own to attend a meeting. I found everyone at the meeting to be quite friendly and sincere, and I was also initially moved by the level of honesty (or so I thought) in the room. However, I also found myself totally dismayed by the language, not just in the literature, but the lingo that A.A.er's used in and out of meetings.

The second meeting I attended, I raised some questions I had about the language, and one of the subsequent "sharer's" stated that "In A.A, we leave our brains at the door." Um, excuse me? And, "This is not an intellectual organization, it's 'spiritual' one."

I thought to myself immediately that those statements smacked of fascism. However, after many encouragements to "take what I can and leave the rest for later" I decided to keep going. While attending A.A, I was told to avoid mouthwash, and when I asked why, I was told that " I may want to drink it. " When I asked why on earth would I want to do that, I was told "Well because it has alcohol in it." I immediately responded by saying, "Um, no disrespect, but if I want to drink, I live 2 blocks from the store, and I can afford beer." I have never, ever, been tempted in any way whatsoever to drink mouthwash.

Whenever I raised any doubts, I was told, "Your best thinking got you here..." And I'd think, well, yes it did: I woke up with a nasty hangover one morning, decided I had a drinking problem, and thought to myself, gee, I should get some help." Seems to me my that my it was my best thinking that got me there, in a very un-ironic way.

Needles to say, I think I "relapsed" (i.e, went to a party and drank too much) before I found out that I was pregnant, whereby I quit drinking, smoking, or doing any other recreational mind benders. I kept going to meetings during this time however. While I was pregnant, I would go to dances on the island where I lived. I always brought some near beer and had myself a jolly fine time dancing. When I told my A.A friend about going to party's sober and having a good time, she was very, very, judgmental. She even asked me if it was "O.K for the baby with all that dancing."

Personally, I think that having the support of others who are trying to quit something that is harmful to them is very helpful. However, it is a shame that it has to be wrapped up in all this philosophical/religious dogma that I am that asked to swallow (more like, take little bites until I've eaten the whole Lamb of God.)

In the last meeting I attended, I once again spoke about being agnostic/atheist, and spoke about my misgivings with the language. I kept getting told to "take what I can..." Which, is not very much at all, and if I have to constantly change the language in my mind so that I can "work" this program, maybe the program doesn't work for me.

Also, at the end of the meeting, no less than 3 people attempted to debate what they called my "So called Agnosticism" and convince me of the existence of "God." Further more, there was something about this meeting that truly disturbed me. This meeting was held in a church on a Salish Indian reserve, and there where two native women present. One of the women was obviously high, but she rambled on about not being able to "understand this program, but that she was going to keep trying," and then she'd rant about the abuse that her people suffered under the residential school system, as well as her own physical and sexual abuse. She also talked a great deal about how all the buffalo were gone.

So in case your mind didn't go where mine did immediately while witnessing this: What a tragic Irony. Here is a native woman, sitting in the basement of a Christian Church, what you might call the very symbol of her people's oppression, trying to understand a recovery program created by white, Christian men — and she chastised herself for her failing to understand it. I have never been to another meeting.

Thanks, I just wanted to tell that story.



Hello G-force,

Thank you for the letter and the stories, and the compliments. Your letter says it all, so I can't think of anything to add.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

P.S.: But I just have to add this:

I trust that you are healthy and doing okay. And your child too.

I agree about the standard condescending A.A. put-down, "Your best thinking got you here."
My worst thinking got me to the liquor store again and again.
My best thinking told me to sober up and get healthy.
But A.A. does not want to give us any credit for good thinking. According to them, we must forever moan and groan about how stupid we are, and how we need our sponsor to think for us.
It's amazing how much they resist allowing people any feelings of self-reliance and competence.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "These are people who know God's will far better than God."
**         ==  Jan Baer, Lost in translation

Date: Sat, November 21, 2009 3:00 pm     (answered 8 December 2009)
From: "D.C. M."
Subject: howdy

Hi Orange,

I like your site and really have no beef either way. For me, the program works and I'm grateful. I'm sure I could have found other ways but I use AA and it works.

I, like you do not agree that our court system should impose anyone to propation tied with going to AA meetings. It wrong for a lot of reasons but no one should be mandated to attend meetings. It's bad for AA as well. I personally will sign anyones court cards before the meeting and they are free to leave. The program has no chance if they don't want to be there in the first place.

Here is something I wrote. Maybe if you have time, give it a read and let me know what you think.

Have you ever watch a world war two movie and the soldiers happened upon a mine field. Usually someone steps on a mine and an explosion occurs blowing someone up. Everyone else stops and the commander says something like, "Don't anyone move, we've happened upon a mine field.

To counter the danger, they slowly fall behind one another while the lead crawls forward while poking the ground with mine sticks. A rudomentery device that locates mines without having one go off. He marks it so others wont's crawl there and continues his way forward until the field is cleared. It's usually a zig-zag route the rest of soldiers take but by following the lead, they avoid harm and escape.

The pitfalls of any addictions is just this, no one starts off using a substance with the intentions of becoming an addict. Some are more prone to it, genetically or environmentally but one day they wake up and they're in the mine field. They have landed them selves smack dab in the middle. They had routinely taken actions over time that has warped their perception where they no longer can help themselves. Their is no way out as far as they see. They are doomed.

Lucky for some, they are shown a way out. By surrending to the will of continuing to walk in the direction they were heading and following a path that has already been blazed before them. A path of recovery. It's slow and work needs to be done. Over time, they fall in, discover a whole new way of thinking. A design for living that doesn't ask for anything in return except help the next soldier who hasn't found the safe path. It's simple but so complex. A soul searching ordeal that will unlock some truths about who you are and what you can do to change what's broken.

The path is all laid out in a book. Once completed with the guide from someone who has crawled out of the mine field before you, you too will have a new perspective, a new outlook on life where attachements will no longer dominate your thinking. (attachements meaning booze, drugs, women, men, money, prestige, fame etc.... It works it really does!

Hello D.C.M.,

Well, starting at the top, the World War II analogy is inaccurate.

The truth is more like this:

One hundred soldiers stumble into a mine field. They find out that they are in a mine field when guys start getting blown up. Some soldiers immediately panic and run around crazy. Other cooler heads turn around and back out fast and are gone. Of those who are running around crazy in the field, most get blown up. Some more wander out alive.

Finally, there are only five soldiers left in the field. Those guys label themselves "The Survivors", and "The Experts on Mine Fields".

And they offer to teach others how to survive mine fields. One holds up a lucky rabbit's foot and swears that rabbits' feet are the answer.

Another claims that constantly chanting "Hail Mary" is what saved him.

Another claims that God gave him Guidance, and told him where to place his feet.

Each of them insists that his method really works great, and there is no convincing them otherwise.

Alcoholics Anonymous does not have "a path of recovery". It is just a recycled old cult religion. A.A. totally fails to make alcoholics get sober and stay sober. The few sober people that you see in an A.A. meeting are just the five out of a hundred who didn't get "blown up".

When the actual results of A.A. involvement were carefully measured in proper clinical studies, A.A. raised the rate of binge drinking, and raised the rate of rearrests for drunkenness, and raised the death rate of alcoholics.

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Most folks are about as happy as they
**      make up their minds to be."
**         ==  Abraham Lincoln.

Date: Mon, November 23, 2009 12:46 pm     (answered 8 December 2009)
From: aatony
Subject: 12 questions i know you won't answer or post

Mr. Agent Orange,

1. pardon my Ignorance but what Is It you sand for?

Hi Tony,

I stand for telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

2. Its obvious to me you are against bill wilson am I wrong In this assumption?

I am against ALL lying, thieving cult leaders, including Bill Wilson.

3. do you always point out the flaws In others who disagree with you?

No, not always.

4. are you not demonstrating the same character flaws you are so quick to point out In others?

No. I don't lie to people and sell them cult religion as a quack cure for a deadly illness. I also don't take from $7000 to $40,000 from sick people for a fake cure.

5. are you not rationalizing your own point of view while calling bill wilson a rationalizer


6. Is agent orange a cult?

How can one person be a cult? A cult is a group of people.

7. why do you accept donations?

Because running a web site like this isn't free, and I'm not rich. (Notice that A.A. passes the hat or basket at meetings for the very same reason, and I have never criticized A.A. for that.)

8. who do you give an accounting to for money you receive?


9. have you ever spent donations on personal vacations, real estate, automobiles, prostitution, etc.?

No. (I don't have any of those things. They are expensive, and the web site doesn't quite break even, so there are no millions for palaces on the French Riviera with pretty French prostitutes.)

10. are you aware that bill Wilson Is dead and no one thinks bill wilson Is God except you?

I never said that Bill Wilson is God. That's crazy. And yes, I am aware that he is dead. Unfortunately, the evil that he did during his life lives on.

11. Is It possible you are as crazy as you claim bill wilson was?

No. Sorry, but I'm just not that crazy. Or heartless, or exploitative.

12. do you believe in God or Love?


best regards

You have a good day and a Merry Christmas too, Tony.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The evil that men do lives after them;
**     The good is oft' interred with their bones."
**        ==  William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Date: Wed, November 25, 2009 3:38 pm     (answered 8 December 2009)
From: "scott c."
Subject: great site

Mr. Orange,

Love your site. My Dad is at least a 15 year vet of AA. Quit talking to him in 2004. Gave him an ultimatum, me or the cult, he chose the cult. My parents divorced when I was 3 and he blew me off, so no big loss.

He wants everyone to kiss his behind for doing nothing, for being sober. We are supposed to feel sorry for him because he is handicapped with the self-inflicted drinking "disease". If it is an "affliction" he is not responsible. What a neat system for him, give him credit when he is sober, and sympathy when he "relapses".

With the unsolvable problem of continual "recovery", he is excused from having to be a parent or anything else.

Great study of the multifaceted nonsense that is AA.


Hi Scott,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. You aren't doing a bad job of telling the truth either.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To every thing there is a season,
**     and a time to every purpose under heaven.
**     A time to be born, and a time to die.
**     A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
**     a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
**     A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.
**        == Ecclesiastes III, 1-7

Date: Wed, November 25, 2009 8:47 am     (answered 8 December 2009)
From: "Jim J."

Dear Orange,

Do you use any measures other than picking-up 1,5,10 etc. yr coins for AA success ?

My last drink was Sep 1984 and I've never picked-up a coin for an anniversary. I'm sure there are several others like myself that don't get into the coin thing.



Hi Jim,

I use every source of data that I can get, and I am always looking for more.

Here are several of them:

  1. The famous unpublished A.A. internal report, here.
    Also see these discussions of it:

  2. A membership spreadsheet supplied by the Foxhall Group in Omaha Nebraska, that supposedly showed how great A.A. worked, but really showed just the opposite.

  3. And we have Bill Wilson's own declaration about how badly his recruiting efforts worked out:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952.


    At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

  4. And Nell Wing, who was a secretary of Alcoholics Anonymous for 35 years, and Bill Wilson's personal secretary for many of those years, as well as A.A.'s first archivist, reported:

    "There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries. This was all a scientific thing."
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 370.

    It would appear that LSD was three times as effective as Alcoholics Anonymous for treating alcoholism. Unfortunately, that doesn't work either, in the long run.

  5. Francis Hartigan, Lois Wilson's personal secretary, wrote a biography of Bill Wilson. Therein, he reported:

    During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety.
    Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

  6. And we have other reports, like this:

    Australian General Service Conference 1994
    Chairman's Opening Address

    "Our 1992 Survey showed that only 5% of newcomers to AA are still attending meetings after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic. Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"

    Dr. Ron Whitington — Chairman, General Service Board.


    ... The survey was a well conducted professional study involving 1,425 members from 123 of the country's AA groups ...

  7. And then we have the results of formal clinical tests of A.A. Involvement in A.A. has been shown to:
    1. raise the rate of binge drinking,
    2. raise the rate of rearrests,
    3. increase the costs of hospitalization later, and
    4. raise the death rate in alcoholics.
    5. In Great Britain, Doctors Orford and Edwards found that a whole year of A.A.-based treatment was no more effective than just having a doctor talk to the alcoholic and his wife one time for one hour, telling him to quit drinking or he would die.
    6. And although this has not been formally tested and measured, the evidence is growing that A.A. also raises the suicide rate in alcoholics.

  8. Personal observation. When you go to a bunch of meetings, you see that They come, they go. If you want to get to know a newcomer, you had better move fast, because they probably won't be there for very many meetings.

So, do you have some data to add to the library? Any official reports or spreadsheets or statistics? I'd appreciate any more valid data that I can get.

By the way, if you and your friends don't "do the coin thing", then you won't change the dropout rate at all. You just don't get counted one way or the other.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The way to love everything is to realize that it
**    might be lost.

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