Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXII



Date: Fri, June 4, 2010 3:43 pm     (answered 20 June 2010)
From: "Soussherpa"
Subject: Hi Orange

A PBS Show called 'History Detectives' did an episode called: Alcoholics Anonynous letter. Here is a brief summary:

A man from Laurel, Maryland owns a mysterious letter that was written in 1942. It's a tribute addressed to his grandmother on the occasion of his grandfather, Herbert Wallace's death, acknowledging Wallace's support for the organization Alcoholics Anonymous.

I only saw the last 5 minutes of it, and it was a puff piece. I guess I couldn't expect an exposé on AA.

You might find somethin' in it though; Here is a link, It might have the whole episode on the site (They're only like ten minutes long). Maybe you can find some of things you wanna get.

http://www.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/investigations/407_aaletter.html

Hello Soussherpa,

Thanks for the letter.

Yes, I saw that episode when it first aired more than three years ago, and I taped it then. I have been meaning to write up a criticism of it — another thing to do.

That episode was disgusting, so bad that I lost my taste for the series "History Detectives". Up until then, I thought that "History Detectives" was pretty good, and that they actually cared about accurate history. But that episode was so bad that it was a serious departure from the truth. There was no attempt to be accurate or truthful. They had Mel Barger ("Mel B.") on the show, breaking his anonymity and telling a bunch of lies, and Gwen was just gushing propaganda like "And A.A. is the best thing in the world for alcoholics..." I had to wonder if Gwen is another hidden member of A.A.

The Alcoholics Anonymous propaganda machine never rests.

The "History Detectives" never used their "detective skills" to ask the important questions like,

  • "Does A.A. actually work to make alcoholics quit drinking?"
  • "What is the A.A. success rate?"
  • "What is the A.A. suicide rate?"
  • "What kind of a con artist was Bill Wilson?"
  • "How is Dr. Frank Buchman's pro-Nazi cult religion supposed to cure alcoholism?"

Now, if they want to do some real sleuthing, they can do another show to discover the answer to the question, "How did we allow a cult religion to dupe us into broadcasting their untrue propaganda?"

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Don't compromise yourself.
**      You are all you've got.
**        ==  Janis Joplin (1943—1970), American singer





Date: Wed, June 2, 2010 4:07 pm     (answered 20 June 2010)
From: "john b."
Subject: thanks.................the "real" AA

What a body of work, and very well organized and explained in detail. I have recently reached a problem drinking crisis, and started back into AA after a 14 year hiatus. I saw all the creepy, dysfunctional, and cult-like behavior that sent me packing back in '96. Glad that someone has taken the time and effort to document and discuss this as well as you did. I think that a paperback edition would sell very well, and would be the first in line to buy one.

In my estimation, AA is almost as creepy and pathetic as the Catholic Church clergy that I grew up with. Just glad that I didn't have to be molested by either.........Sheesh! BTW, your You-Tube stuff is great!

cheers, John

Hi John,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliments.

But there is one compliment that I cannot accept — the videos are not mine. I've never done one video yet (and when I do, the first ones will be about cute little goslings). Those videos are done by James and Mike and Blame DeNile.

Oh, by the way, here is a list of what other people have found helpful for quitting drinking.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If only we'd stop trying to be happy,
**     we could have a pretty good time.
**        ==  Edith Wharton (1862—1937), American writer





Date: Wed, June 2, 2010 8:55 pm     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "W. David P." <w.david.porter {at} qpsu.net>
Subject: Publishing a Book

Hi Orange,

I've written to you before. I am in AA in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I love your site. I am an atheist and I am not doing the steps. As long as there's a Third Tradition, I'll keep going to AA because I need to be reminded what alcohol does to me. I can easily forget. If I forget what alcohol does to me, I'll drink it. If I remember what it does to me, no way will I drink it. You don't have to be insane to forget, you just have to forget.

The real point of my letter is this: I know you've been asked many times about writing a book. I appreciate the answers to this. But I believe you've made a very important contribution to human knowledge with your site. I'd love to see you rewrite this as a doctoral thesis. I think you deserve it for the work you've done. The contribution to society you have made needs to be formally recognised. I hope you reconsider.

(please retain my email address. I'd love to hear from others in my city who are also atheist)

Kind Regards,
W. David P.

Hello David,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the compliments. And hello, Australia.

My reaction to the book was, "Oh God! More work to do. I also have to get the forum working, and get caught up on email, and all that I want to do is retire and go down to the beach and play with cute little goslings."

Hmmm, I'll have to think about it, and try to enhance some motivation. A doctoral dissertation sounds tempting, considering that I dropped out of college at Berkeley in the 'sixties, and never even got a B.A.

Speaking of "enhancing motivation", that is actually a phrase from SMART. The is one of the goals of SMART training. When you were talking about remembering what alcohol does to you, I was thinking, "Cost-Benefit Analysis". That is a technique that SMART teaches. The idea is just to list both the benefits and bad results from drinking, and compare the two lists, and ask, "What do I really want?"

There are examples of cost-benefit analyses here and here and here.

I also like the slogan,

"Play the tape to the end."

You envision the situation like a movie on videotape, and you don't just look at the next few hours and how much fun drinking may seem to be; you play the tape to the end and see suffering and sickness and poverty and shame, and even death.

Works for me.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Life is what happens to you
**       while you are making other plans.
**          ==  Betty Talmadge (b. 1924), American meat broker





June 21, 2010:

Happy Summer Solstice, y'all.

Oh, and aren't you glad that you are not a member of the Solar Temple?

No need to commit suicide today.





May 18, 2009, Monday: Day 18, continued:

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose goslings
One gosling has a cheese puff, and the other one wants it — or at least some of it.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





Date: Mon, May 31, 2010 1:00 pm     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "John"
Subject:

wondered if you have seen this:

http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/447/1/Alcoholism-is-not-a-Disease/Page1.html


Date: Wed, June 2, 2010 9:09 pm     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "John"
Subject: another link

http://francoistremblay.wordpress.com/2006/09/11/piece-of-propaganda-3-the-aa-12-steps/


Date: Wed, June 2, 2010 9:41 pm     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "John"
Subject:

one more:
http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/deck.php

i think you will probably not learn much from this as it sounds very much like stuff you are already aware of, but i thought you might be interested anyway.

Hi John,

Thanks for the links. I'll have to check them out. I like François Tremblay, I've read some of his stuff before.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      One wonders what would happen in a society in which
**      there were no rules to break.
**      Doubtless everyone would quickly die of boredom.
**         ==  Susan Howatch (b. 1940), British writer





Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 2:31 pm     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "Steve C."
Subject: AA comics !!!

http://www.ep.tc/aa-comics/01.html

Hi Steve,

Yes, and they also have Al-Anon comics, and drug comics, and all kinds of stuff. And aren't those just some of the worst comics in the world?

Al-Anon comic

Hmmmm, Daddy has "a disease", she says. So does she take him to the hospital to get his "disease" fixed up? No, they go play in the park, and leave him to rot. Al-Anon gives such good advice. Not!

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that.
**     Your mind must know it has got to get down to earth.
**        ==  Pearl S. Buck (1892—1973), American writer





Date: Fri, May 28, 2010 10:57 am     (answered 21 June 2010)
From: "adrian s."
Subject:

Hi Orange,

Thanks for putting together a very interesting website. Glad to know I'm not the only one that thinks AA is a cult and based on lies. The trouble is that a good lie always contains a grain of truth. When they said if you don't have the first drink, you can't get drunk, that was true. The rest was bullshit. Anyway, I wasted nine years in AA. Your website has been very helpful in helping me to deprogram.

From the first time I heard How It Works I knew something wasn't right. I was expecting a medical definition or something based on empirical research, not religious indoctrination. I guess I was just too messed up to fit in anywhere else.

I'm a great believer in deductive reasoning. (It's much more reliable than the paralogic I used to hear in AA.) Didn't Arthur Conan Doyle write 'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth' ?

It really used to piss me off when people made assertions that they couldn't back up. I figured that if I really wanted to stay sober, I just had to avoid having the first drink, but they wanted me to do all sorts of weird stuff. I set out to prove that staying sober was solely dependent on not having the first drink, as a living example by:

  1. Refusing to get a sponsor

  2. Refusing to do the 12 steps

  3. Observing that I have enough power over alcohol to say no every time someone offers me a drink and that learned helplessness does not teach people to be responsible for their behaviour

  4. Pointing out that pretending to believe in something that I really don't believe in is an act of self delusion rather than the beginning of a restoration to sanity. Psychiatrists call that magical thinking.

  5. Pointing out that handing my will and my life over to the care of what I consider to be a figment of other people's imagination is a further act of insanity.

  6. Noting that self abasement does not lead to self esteem. Setting appropriate boundaries, achieving goals and making good life choices does.

  7. Suggesting that giving a higher power credit for me getting off my arse and doing something about my life also stunts development of any sort of healthy self esteem.

  8. Suggesting that as I generally wear the consequences of my decisions, it would be more productive to actively think about the consequences of my behaviour and seek qualified advice when necessary, rather than waiting for God or some other AA do-gooder to give me unqualified, unsolicited advice.

  9. Noting that if I ever start to hear God's voice or anyone else's talking to me inside my head that I am in severe need of psychiatric care.

  10. Listening to multiple hours of blatantly Satanic heavy metal every day. (The urge to do this seems to have dissipated since I've left the foul taste of AA's brand of spirituality behind me.)

  11. Literally wiping my backside with well over 50 pages of AA's sacred big book, (Mainly Chapter 3 and How It Works)

  12. Literally burning the remaining pages of AA's big book.

  13. Flagrantly spouting profanity, heresy and blasphemy from the floor of meetings.

  14. Pointing out that no one ever got lung cancer from swearing too much.

  15. Suggesting that smoking kills far more alcoholics than swearing and noting that I quit successfully smoking 12 months before going to AA and ever hearing about the 12 steps. I used to suggest not having the first cigarette... but that was too simple.

  16. Pointing out that How it Works should really say 'Rarely have we seen a person succeed'

  17. Suggesting that if the omnipotent deity mentioned at the end of How It Works has failed to intervene in the plight of the six million Jews exterminated by the Nazis or the starving children around the world that die every three seconds, He is very unlikely to intervene in the plight of the average alcoholic.

  18. And finally refusing to go to meetings anymore..... Day at at time, I haven't been to a meeting in two years, nine months and 11 days, and I'm still sober, but who's counting?

It reminds of that story about the emperor's new clothes..... There's just some aspects about AA that make any rational person want to stand up and holler "it's bullshit". Apparently, Penn and Teller did just that. Strangely, members always used to talk about how mentally unwell people were that didn't go to meetings, but AA has the highest concentration of mentally unwell misfits I've seen anywhere.

In my time in AA I saw some of the most dishonest/parasitic/amoral/psychotic people I've ever met stay sober and I've seen people that could recite the big book word for word go out and get drunk..... I guess they missed the part about not having the first drink.

I remember sitting in a meeting where they mentioned God 56 times in an hour, but didn't mention not having the first drink. I was the last speaker so I posed the rhetorical question 'If a minister mentioned alcohol 56 times in a sermon but didn't mention God, would churchgoers begin to feel like they were in the wrong place?'. People just didn't get. It was like the logical part of their brain was switched off.... Needless to say they finished with the serenity prayer.

There's something disturbingly Orwellian about it. Have you read the book 1984? Winston Smith is being interrogated and he's in such pain that he's willing to make himself believe that the interrogator is holding up five fingers instead of four, just so that the interrogation will end. I used to see a lot of that in AA. It was like people were so desperate to belong that in the end they would prostitute their mind and give in to the dogma just to be accepted.

I'm still a misfit. I still crave acceptance. I'm still wearing the consequences of bad life choices I made when I was younger, but I'm so glad that I don't have cult religion masquerading as self-help exacerbating my problems anymore. Having released a couple of years of vitriol on AA, I suppose I should try to think of something positive to end on.... Now that I think about it, I do remember an older member suggesting two requirements for enjoying a sober life, both of which appear to be true.... Don't Drink, Don't die.

Regards,

Adrian.

Hello Adrian,

Thanks for a great letter. That really nails it.

And yes, I've read 1984. In fact, I just used a quote from it as a signature recently. Oh what the heck, I'll use it again. See below.

And yes, Penn and Teller did a really funny program that just shredded A.A. Try these links:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tPNgHrIkgo == Penn & Teller, Bullshit, 12-Step Programs, part 1
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uwx2P5LJgk == Penn & Teller, Bullshit, 12-Step Programs, part 2
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PjpOsE3xoY == Penn & Teller, Bullshit, 12-Step Programs, part 3

UPDATE: 2013.01.13: Here is the entire episode of Penn & Teller in one file:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU2YliYttnQ&feature=share

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     "Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range
**     of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year
**     2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who
**     could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole
**     climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no
**     thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking —
**     not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
**         ==  George Orwell's 1984, Syme, pages 46-47





Date: Thu, May 27, 2010 6:58 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Linda C."
Subject: Orange You Glad I didnt say BANANNA?

I searched for U turn 4 Christ and your Paper #51 came up about They resect NOONE?

ARE YOU AGAINST U TURN $ CHRIST?

I am on the fence THUS FAR THEY HAVE BEEN LIARS AND SCReY
They have been disrespectfull.
and abuseive.

THEY have abused and scared children as well as adults!

linda ann c.

Hello Linda,

Thanks for the letter. That was as little hard to understand. I'm not sure what "paper #51" you are referring to.

But to proceed in general terms, I think you are objecting to how A.A. respects no one. Yes, that is a problem. I think Penn and Teller said it best in their criticism of A.A. — They said that "A.A. has absolutely no respect for alcoholics."

The web page that you will probably like the most is The Heresy of the Twelve Steps. There, I go down the list of ways in which the A.A. theology is incompatible with Christianity.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one
**     of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
**        ==  Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:40)





Date: Sat, May 29, 2010 5:18 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: chiro
Subject: Your critique of Bill Wilsons Big Book

It is easier to destroy that to create.

Why not start your own version of recovery, write your own Big Book and call me in 70 years if you have even close to the following or success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous around the world.

Until then, youre just another Critic, and not a Creator...

FYI

Jesus is alive and has saved many a hopeless drunk. Who have you helped lately, other than yourself?

Hello Chiro,

Thanks for the letter. I have, in fact, started my own program. It is called "Do It Yourself Without Heretical Cult Religion". (Actually, that isn't very original; lots of other people have done it too.)

In addition, there are many other methods and groups that work better than A.A., and I list and recommend them often. Here is the list.

So I really don't need to start another group.

The reason that I criticize Alcoholics Anonymous is because they foist a complete failure of a "sobriety program" on sick people and lie about their success rate.

If you want to talk about Jesus, then you really must read the file: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps. You should be aware of the fact that A.A. theology is in direct conflict with the teachings of Christianity. A.A. theology resembles Satan-worship more than it resembles Christianity. (Does "G.O.D. = Group Of Drunks", or does "G.O.D. = Good Orderly Direction", or does "G.O.D. = Group Of Devils"?)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are no more thorough prudes
**     than those who have some little secret to hide.
**        ==  George Sand (1804—1876), French writer





Date: Sat, May 29, 2010 6:29 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "S"
Subject: Pacific Group

I read your 9 items on the Pacific Group. I am curious if you are still sober and living in Southern California. I was wondering if you would like to speak at a function.

Steve

Hello Steve,

Yes, I am still sober, but I don't live in Southern California. The smog drove me out of there in 1969, and I haven't lived there since.

I guess I wouldn't mind speaking at a function, but it would have to be closer. And when it comes to the Pacific Group, I think that someone who was in it would be a better choice.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The power of accurate observation is frequently
**      called cynicism by those who don't have it."
**          == George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950)





Date: Sat, May 29, 2010 10:31 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "ric g"
Subject: are you for or against AA?

are you for or against AA?

Hi Ric,

Is this a trick question, or are you joking, or have you just not read any of my web site?

Well, the answer to your question is: I am opposed to quacks foisting ineffective fake medicines and treatments on sick people, and lying about their success rate.

That means that I am opposed to both Scientology and Alcoholics Anonymous, and a bunch of other frauds and charlatons, too.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Good judgement is usually the result of experience.
**     And experience is frequently the result of bad judgement."
**        ==  Anonymous, saying passed from Robert Lovert to
**             Robert F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.





Date: Sun, May 30, 2010 7:05 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Carrying the Message

After reading of the bashing of SMART Recovery in a NY Daily News article I began to wonder if the steppers are getting worried about alternatives becoming more well known. Up until now their line was that if a different approach works for some then they accept it. However in many on line forums posts critical of AA get deleted or it is implied that differing from AA endangers lives. It may be dawning on them that when people go to a search engine to seek help with addictions that they find many non 12 step resources. I predict that some steppers will become more frantic and desperate to silence voices like SMART, SOS, and RR. because in an open discussion where all sides get a hearing their approach comes to look rather dated and ineffective. If they had there way the First Amendment would be replaced with the words "no cross talk."

I recommend that people intervene in some of the open forums about sobriety that exist on sites like tribe dot net and other social networks. Those forums get many people who are looking for answers and if presented with alternatives to AA they will listen. Those of us opposed to the AA cult need to carry the message.

Gary

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the letter, and I couldn't agree more.

I think that the Steppers are afraid of several things:

  1. If people hear the truth about all of the various treatment modes, they may well choose something besides "Twelve-Step Facilitation".

  2. That can lead to unemployment for the A.A. members who work at the 12-Step "treatment center". And that can lead to the loss of millions or billions of dollars for the quacks who run the treatment centers.

  3. A.A. members do not wish to hear that they wasted many years of their lives in a stupid cult religion. That thought is unbearable for many. They also can't stand the idea that they are just plain old wrong.

  4. If everybody quits A.A., then the hard-core Steppers will be left alone to talk to themselves. And they fear that without a "support group", they will die.

  5. Besides, God will get mad if they don't make lots of newcomers "Seek and Do the Will of God".

  6. And some deluded Steppers actually believe their own crazy dogma about how "A.A. is the only thing that works", so steering a sick person to a different treatment program is supposedly sending him to his death.

  7. If the groups don't have a stream of newcomers coming into the rooms, then who will worship and admire the old-timers? Who will listen to the bragging and pontificating of the old-timers?

  8. A.A. members do not wish to be embarrassed by people laughing at their superstitious nonsense. A.A. members do not want people to think that Steppers have wasted years on stupid cult religion. And Steppers really don't want people to think that Steppers are just promoting quack medicine.

I agree that posting to forums is a very good idea. We have to keep getting the truth out there. The A.A. propaganda machine never sleeps, and never stops broadcasting their misinformation and lies. We have to counter that stream of falsehoods by telling the truth often.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     All things are at odds when God sets a thinker loose on the planet.
**        ==  Edith Hamilton

[Next letter from Gary here.]





[Matt's previous blog page, to which he refers in this letter, is here.

Date: Sun, May 30, 2010 9:33 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Matt Mirmak"
Subject: Follow up on Minneapolis Foxhall AA group

Hi Orange:

Love your work and this exposure that you giving has inspired me to work harder on my campaign to reform our nation's drug policy laws, including legalization of all drugs and stopping judges from automatically referring people to AA.

A follow up to my story about the Foxhall AA group in Minneapolis which was a lot like the Midtown AA group in Washington DC. I no longer attend AA meetings nor do I wish to ever enter that room full of self loathing and self defeating personalities again. What you website and people like Stanton Peele did for me was realize that I am not powerless at all. I needed some self confidence to empower myself to change my own behavior. While I still do not choose to drink, I give credit to one person who made this possible. ME. I do believe in a God and that he/she/whatever gave me a brain to deduce logic and make reasonable assumptions about what is right and wrong. In other words, I have been given the power to set my own destiny.

It's been three and half years since I set foot in a meeting and I feel like the weight of self doubt and defeat has been lifted from me. Thank you for your web site and the only thing I have to say is that you and others helped me realize that life is not confined to meetings and repetitive drunkalogues. Why it took me 14 years to turn the corner I will never know. But as Satchel Paige once said "Don't Look Back." And I intend to keep on walking living my own life indepedent of anybody who wishes to impose their will on me for the purposes of enslavement.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I don't care if you use my real name. I fear no human being.

Matt Mirmak

P.S. I moved from Minneapolis 4 years ago and now life a happy family life in Irvine, CA. Away from the AA freaks mind you. I tried to go to meetings here and they sucked ass worse than the cult in Minneapolis.

Hi Matt,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on your new sanity and freedom. And thanks for the thanks. I'm glad that you found something useful in my pages.

So have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I have always noticed that people will never
**     laugh at anything that is not based on truth.
**       ==  Will Rogers





Date: Tue, April 20, 2010 6:19 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Terri"
Subject: Hi Terry! Found some photos & Article

Hi Terry,

I hope this note finds you doing well. All is well here, very well in fact. After three and a half years of putting myself back together, I am ready to begin job hunting soon. Damn the economy, full speed ahead!

Please forgive me for this long space between making contact. News: I have located one roll of prints that I took at Dr. Bob's house. However, there are more to be found. I plan to work on photos for a couple of hours tonight. I will try and get what I have so far in the mail to you soon. I will send an email when they are on the way. Maybe I should also get verification of your address before I mail what I have since it has been a while.

I thought this article in the NY Times today would be of interest to you. Several interesting things here. The questions in the last paragraph got my attention! So did the comment about people don't really care whether Bill W's spiritual awakening was drug-induced or not!! Oh, so funny!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/health/20drunk.html

By the way, occassionally I speak with professionals who refer people to AA. I always let them know that I quit. That brings up good discussion. Most seem very puzzled by my candor. When they question me, I remind them that I was in the cult for 4 decades (including childhood) and that I attended over 3,000 meetings. That seems to get their attention! Oh, I never miss an opportunity to have some fun....really though, my intent is to just make them question AA a little. I am very respectful when I speak to others about my experience.

While writing this email, a peace came over me. I am truly appreciative of being free from AA. I'll be sober for 28 years in May, free from AA for 3.5 years and happier than I have been in a long long time. Thank you so much, Terry for Agent Orange website. It was tremendously supportive after I made the break, gave me needed facts, validated and reinforced my decision to just quit. That just might be the best decision I ever made. Thanks also for accepting all my "stuff" (cult literature). It made me feel very good to pass it on to you.

Cheers,

Terri

Hi again, Terri,

Thanks for the letter and compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling good, and healthy and sober. And cult-free.

And thanks for all of the A.A. swag. And those photos will be interesting.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as
**     those who steal from the public purse.
**        ==  Adlai Stevenson, speech in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1952





Date: Tue, June 8, 2010 2:47 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Annette P."
Subject: Love it love it!!! LOVE IT!

Hi.

LOVE The Orange Papers.

Thank you so much for your work.

No time to waste. Reading.

Best Best BEST regards,

Annette.

( HUG )

Hi Annette,

Thanks for the good thoughts and the compliments.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    He only earns his freedom and existence who daily conquers them anew.
**       ==  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust, 1832





Date: Sat, June 5, 2010 8:03 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Sarah D."
Subject: A FRIENDLY hello from an AA gal

I do swear to you that I mean for this email to be completely friendly — I'm sure that you get quite a few verbal assaults in your inbox from various members of AA, and I don't think that's particularly fair to you.

First, a couple of things about me. I have been in AA for just over 11 months. I was sent to rehab -> AA by the courts, as a condition for getting custody of my children. At the time, I didn't really question it, I just kind of was doing whatever I had to to make sure I got custody and not my mess of an ex. I am a fairly smart girl though (I am a member of MENSA), and my rational mind often makes me question the "how and why" of the program.

I was honestly wondering about your personal background — if you have personally had any experiences with being a member of AA or have an addiction to something that you had a tough time conquering.

I also am a copy editor, and as far as your AA-cult website goes, I have to give you honest feedback in that while your arguments do make good, rational sense, they are not very well cited. Obviously, the links work, but when you cite books, you are supposed to list the page number. Many things do not list the page numbers so that people are able to find this information to back up your arguments, and in a 500 page book, that can be kind of important. You will probably be able to make many more people see at least the VALIDITY of your arguments if you have more clear and valid citations for quotes and whatnot.

Other than that, keep up the good job of playing devil's advocate, good luck, and I'll keep trying to rationally figure this addiction thing out on my end, maybe without the help of AA.

Thanks for what you do, sincerely,
Sarah D.

Hello Sarah,

Thanks for the letter.

Well, starting at the top:

  1. My personal history is that I am an old hippie who has taken most of the drugs known to man, and I smoked tobacco for 30 years and drank too much alcohol for nearly 20. And yes, I've been to A.A. and N.A. meetings. The list of biographical items is here.

  2. About page numbers on quotes and footnotes, I honestly don't know what you are reading. I always put page numbers on those quotes and footnotes. I can only remember two or three citations in the whole web site where I was not able to supply the page number, due to an error in taking notes.

    Now there are usually no page numbers on the quotations that I use for signatures to letters. That is just because I get those quotes from books of quotations that don't tell the page numbers of the original source.

  3. Please keep on thinking for yourself, and using your intelligence, and asking, "How the heck is this thing supposed to work? God will grant my wishes because I confess what an unspiritual slob I am? And exactly which church or religion teaches that?"

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     No civil liberties battle is ever won — permanently.
**        ==  Roger Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union





Date: Sat, June 5, 2010 11:35 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Sally T."
Subject: aa

Hello

wow...interesting reading..could you please tell me in which countries you have attended aa meetings in?????? they sound alot more interesting then what we have here in New Zealand

thank

Sally T
good luck with your soberity

Hi Sally,

I attended A.A. and N.A. meetings in the U.S.A., in Oregon and New Mexico. I'm sorry to hear that meetings in New Zealand are so boring. But then again, the New Zealanders that I have met were always a nicer grade of people. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone from
**     barbarism to degeneracy without the usual interval of civilization.
**       ==  Georges Clemenceau, quoted in the Saturday Review, December 1, 1945





Date: Sun, June 6, 2010 10:14 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Kristin McN."
Subject: Your AA bashing.... http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-secrets.html

All I can say is WOW and you must have no clue as to what you are talking about. The only reason I am sober today is that God gifted me the program of AA.

This (http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-secrets.html) is the most ridicules thing I have read in FOREVER!! No wonder why some people think badly of AA. From what I have seen...my own personal experience.* THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT FAIL HERE* in the rooms of AA, are the ones who are incapable of being honest with THEMSELVES.... or they just haven't figure it out. Alcohol is poison to an alcoholic. This is the most important part of the book...... "*Rarely* have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people *who cannot or will not completely* give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest." PERIOD in the nutshell..... it is pure laziness and an inability to get honest and a fear of what one will find when the alcohol is no longer there to mask who we really are as alcoholics that keeps most from doing the work that is needed to be done to stay sober.

Quitting drinking is NOT about the alcohol for an alcoholic..... anybody can quit...but can you stay quit? This is the key. And no my friend this is not about "willpower". That is the whole point of being an alcoholic, the willpower is no longer there AT ALL.

The only people who will understand this point are alcoholics. NO man or woman who does not suffer from this disease can ever understand the true meaning of being an alcoholic, ever. That is why that us alcoholics must stick together. I became saddened to read this and wonder how many alcoholics have died after reading this.

Hello Kristin,

Thanks for the letter.

Well, you certainly are spouting the party line, aren't you?

  1. "From what I have seen...my own personal experience.* THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT FAIL HERE* in the rooms of AA, are the ones who are incapable of being honest with THEMSELVES...."

    And exactly how did you determine that the drinkers were not being honest with themselves, and the sober people were? I mean, I might be able to believe that you were able to tell when people were being dishonest with you, but "being dishonest with themselves"? How did you get into their heads and listen in? Did you conduct some kind of formal poll or survey to see how many people — and which people — were being honest with themselves?

  2. "Alcohol is poison to an alcoholic. This is the most important part of the book......"

    Now I agree that alcohol is poisonous. Actually, it is poisonous to everybody, not just alcoholics. It is great for killing germs, too. Alcoholics are not a separate species of human. And the Big Book says a whole lot more than that.

  3. "*Rarely* have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people *who cannot or will not completely* give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

    That is, of course, a direct quote from page 58 of the Big Book. We have discussed that paragraph many, many times. Bill Wilson was just lying (with qualifiers) to fool people into thinking that his Oxford Group cult religion quack cure for alcoholism really worked.

    Which it didn't. Even Bill Wilson said so.

  4. "it is pure laziness and an inability to get honest and a fear of what one will find when the alcohol is no longer there to mask who we really are as alcoholics that keeps most from doing the work that is needed to be done to stay sober."

    That is pure cult dogma — just blaming the individual people when A.A.'s "Program" fails.

    So please prove that statement. What study or poll or psychoanalysis found that alcoholics who don't quit drinking in A.A. are "lazy, dishonest, and afraid"? I mean really, where is that documented? Where did you get that? Or are you just regurgitating the standard A.A. slogans and holy scriptures?

  5. "Quitting drinking is NOT about the alcohol for an alcoholic..... anybody can quit...but can you stay quit? This is the key."

    That is more double-talk. If they don't stay quit, then they didn't really quit, did they? Quitting for a week or a month isn't really quitting.

    It's just like quitting smoking. If you only quit for a few weeks or a few months, then you didn't really quit smoking, did you?

    Personally, I have 9 1/2 years of sobriety now — that is, 9 1/2 years free from any and all alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. And I did it without joining a screwy dishonest organization.

  6. "The only people who will understand this point are alcoholics. NO man or woman who does not suffer from this disease can ever understand the true meaning of being an alcoholic, ever."

    Thank you for that final note. That really puts the frosting on the cake. That is one of the key characteristics of a cult. It is even listed in the Cult Test:

    And since I am an alcoholic, I guess that means that I do understand, right?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times."
**   ==   Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)


From: "Kristin McN."
Subject: Re: Your AA bashing.... http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-secrets.html
Date: Fri, June 25, 2010 5:49 pm

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Hope your having a great day. :)
~Kristin





Date: Sun, June 6, 2010 11:57 am     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "John OM."
Subject: What's Not Good About A.A.

I honestly cannot believe you took as much time as it must have taken to write that ridiculous dribble.

You are obviously a bright individual. Use it for the benefit of those who need it. Don't waste it.

Hello John,

So alcoholics aren't worth the bother? I shouldn't work so hard to tell the truth to alcoholics? So who is worth the bother?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Where your treasure is
**    there will your heart be also
**      ==  Luke, XII, 34





Date: Tue, June 8, 2010 6:30 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Russell"
Subject: For a change, (I hope) A simple question

Hi Agent Orange.

I've seen a lot of your corespodance with people who want to argue over facts & figures. This does not interest me after I've heard both sides of an argument stated.

I'm genuinely much more interested to ask you simply why you have spent such a huge amount of your time and effort to put this site together? What motivation is so strong in you to get this painstakingly detalied info online?

Hello Russell,

My mother told me that "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Blessed is he who has found his work;
**     let him ask no other blessedness.
**        ==  Carlyle, Past and Present





[The following three letters arrived at the same time, before I answered one, so it is not a back-and-forth conversation.]

From: "Dale L. D."
Subject:
Date: Tue, June 8, 2010 6:45 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)

This must have taken a long time to write.. Wow.

Hello Dale,

Yes, I've been at it for 9 years now.


Date: Tue, June 8, 2010 6:47 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Dale L. D."
Subject: RE:

Your AA scorecard as to whether it is a cult, that is, must have taken a long time to write. I wonder how, e.g., Christianity would compare against your tome/checklist. What a constructive endeavor.

Hello Dale,

Yes, it took a long time, and a lot of work.

There is no one sect called "Christianity" that we can score on that test. There are huge differences between the Baptists, the Episcopalians, the Catholics, and the Mormons. And all of the other various sects. We would have to test them individually.

Here in Portland there is a fundamentalist sect of people who call themselves "Christians" — "The Church of the Followers of Christ" — and who do not believe in doctors and medicine. They only believe in prayer. When a child gets sick, they pray over the child, and if the child dies, he dies. Every couple of years, they kill another child. Just recently, the parents of a dead child were tried for manslaughter, and convicted. The father got two years in prison. The mother got off with probation so that she could care for the surviving children.

Now I think that particular sect of so-called "Christianity" will pass the Cult Test easily.


Date: Tue, June 8, 2010 7:27 pm     (answered 22 June 2010)
From: "Dale L. D."
Subject: i thought the 12 steps

Were a "suggested" program of recovery. Ironically, I think "suggested" which according to you as it is in the first 136 pages of the Big Book and therefore would be Bill Wilson's word has been re-defined (one of your criticisms of Wilson) in your diatribe to somehow mean "mandatory."

It was not me who redefined the word "suggested". That is a standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick. I already described it in detail, here:
First, they will tell you that the Twelve Steps are only suggested as a program of recovery, but then you hear the slogan "Work The Steps Or Die".

By all means, if you have a way to sobriety that works for you please follow it, and good luck, if sobriety is what you desire. But your relentless criticism of a program, whatever the effective rate, whatever the warts in its original leaders — which turned the organization over to others well over 50 years ago — that has in fact worked for thousands is unfortunate. I have read the book Sober for Good, which discusses long term sobriety and the many different ways folks have arrived there. Sober for Good makes clear: AA has been proven effective for some, and at its core, at least according to the book, is one of many ways long-term abstainers have succeeded.

You think that quack medicine should not be "relentlessly criticized"? Should we not criticize Scientology for selling quack psychotherapy? You do know, don't you, that Scientology claims to have a never-fails "cure" for drug and alcohol problems in NARCONON? In fact, Scientology will tell you that A.A. does not work; only Scientology works. So, should we just remain silent while Tom Cruise goes on TV and claims that Scientology knows more about the human mind than all of the psychiatrists in the world?

And now you are just sinking to claiming that quack medicine really works great. A.A. has not "been proven effective for some". Having some fool yammer about how he drank the koolaid and was instantly cured is not "proof" that a medicine actually works to heal sick people.

Just a few letters back, we were discussing how you do proper clinical tests of medicines and treatments. Look here.

I have read the book "Sober For Good", and it is listed in the bibliography, here. It is not "proof" of anything. It is merely a collection of anecdotes. All that the book proves is that some people say that they have not had a drink in years, and it did not matter much what organization they were hanging out with when they quit. The author did not do any tests to determine the actual efficacy of any method of treating alcohol abuse.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul
**     When hot for certainties in this our life!
**        ==  George Meredith, Modern Love


Date: Wed, June 23, 2010 8:30 pm     (Posted 2 July 2010) From: "Dale L. D."
Subject: RE: i thought the 12 steps

You are possibly one of the most fucked up, hateful assholes I have ever come across.

I try to avoid hateful. Have fun tying yourself up in knots the rest of your life.





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Last updated 27 May 2014.
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