Letters, We Get Mail, CXCIV



Date: Wed, August 25, 2010 11:32 pm     (answered 27 September 2010)
From: "Igor"
Subject: Fwd: Sheepshead bay Brooklyn NA cult story

Hi Agent Orange:

I wanted to share my experience with the NA cult. I started attending the Russian branch of the Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York NA in September of 2009.

In January of 2010, I quickly became the chairman of the group. I can attest and verify that everything you wrote about the cult is true.

Having been in a Christian cult "Exodus Church" in 2008, I immediately recognized NA as a superior cult. The skills I learned in Exodus let me take over and run my own little cult within that particular group.

I ran into countless drug addicts who claimed the program saved their lives and liberated them from addiction. Yet, the same people who made those outrageous claims had constant relapses every 3 months or so. I've seen people with 20-30 years in NA base their entire existence on attending the meetings. They kept going to meetings every day, 3 times a day. The very same people were on tons of addictive narcotic medications, yet they claimed that NA gave them the strength to beat the cunning, baffling and powerful beast called addiction.

As for myself — I got caught up in the cult, and almost fell victim to Bill W. and his faithful lunatics. My "homegroup" members tried every single trick in the book to get me to stay.

I lucked out, though — and stumbled upon your website. It definitely served it's purpose, as I had a "spiritual awakening" of my own and left NA without a trace in May of 2010!

Thank you, and keep up the good work!

Igor.

Hi Igor,

Thank you for the story. I trust that you are doing well, and are healthy and happy. And I hope you are enjoying your freedom.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    To have freedom is only to have what is absolutely necessary to enable
**    us to be what we ought to be, and to possess what we ought to possess.
**       ==  Rahel





Date: Thu, August 26, 2010 5:33 am     (answered 27 September 2010)
From: "Marianne M."
Subject: ?

You have taken all of this so far out of context that it makes me wonder why you are so bitter as to ridicule a program that has helped so many. Its as if you have made an attempt and failed terribly at sobriety or are just living a miserable life without alcohol. You've obviously done a lot of research, it just seems so misdirected. I feel kind of sorry for you really. Take care. From a grateful member of AA for 8 years.

Marianne

Hello Marianne,

I don't take things out of context. I am very careful about that.

The simple fact remains: A.A. does not work. It does not sober up the alcoholics. The success rate of A.A. is the same as the success rate of alcoholics who quit drinking alone, on their own. And that's about 5% per year.

Oh, by the way, I'm less than four weeks away from my tenth anniversary now: Ten years off of alcohol and all other drugs. And then three weeks later will be my tenth anniversary off of cigarettes, which is also a real life-saver. So I didn't "fail terribly at sobriety", either.

Your problem is just that you are so convinced that A.A. is wonderful that you can't understand why someone would criticize it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    True religion extends alike to the intellect and the heart.
**    Intellect is in vain if it lead not to emotion, and emotion
**    is vain if not enlightened by intellect; and both are vain
**    if not guided by truth and leading to duty.
**      ==  Tryon Edwards





May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19, continued:

Canada Goose gosling The two newly-hatched goslings and their mother, begging for more munchies.
I have two new friends for life, or at least until the supply of goodies runs out.

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[The previous letter from Herb is here.]

Date: Thu, August 19, 2010 6:05 pm     (answered 28 September 2010)
From: "Herb B"
Subject: RE: Having a Good day

Thanx for the update.

I realize that Alcoholics Anonymous is not responsible for my life today but if there had been no meetings and the subsequent support for me I am not so sure I would be keeping it between the lines today. The old farts who tried to guilt me did not have an effect after the first few meetings and the steps are impossible for me to do in any way near successfully. However, the spiritual guidance I found has helped me to a belief in a HP.

Science is studying the brain and it's relationship to 'religion'. Based on new evidence culled from their brain-scan studies on memory patients and mediators, their Web-based survey of people's religious and spiritual experiences, and their analyses of adult drawings of God, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, therapist Mark Robert Waldman, and their research team have concluded that active and positive spiritual belief changes the human brain for the better. What's more, actual faith isn't always necessary: atheists who meditate on positive imagery can obtain similar neurological benefits.

So, one day at a time, I will strive to understand myself and my relationship to the world around me. In the words of a person I would have dearly loved to spend time with. "So long it's been good to know you..."

A Dios,
Herb B

Hello again, Herb,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad you that you are feeling well.

I checked out Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, and said, "Oh, some more of them, huh?" Their research found that people who relaxed and gave their brains a break by quiet meditation or prayer or relaxation techniques felt better and had healthier brains. I won't argue with that. We know that chronic stress is a real killer. And centering and calming down your mind is a very good thing to do.

But then those two "researchers" suddenly made an illogical leap to writing books like, "How God Changes Your Brain", some nonsense for which there is no basis in fact. They do not have a shred of evidence that God is sticking his thumbs into people's brains and making them feel better. (But that's what the true believers want to hear, and those are the books that they will buy.)

Newberg and Walman's work is not scientific at all. It is junk science, fake science. They are cherry-picking their subjects, only studying people like Buddhist monks meditating, or nuns quietly praying in a convent. They are dodging the truth. How about studying these people to find out what religion and prayer really does to people's brains:

  1. Hateful Islamic suicide bombers. Let's analyze their brain waves as they say their final prayers, and then strap on the bomb, walk into a crowded market place, scream "Allah Ho Akbar!", and then push the button and detonate the bomb, killing a dozen innocent people around them. We can analyze the brain waves of both the bombers and their victims to see what effect religion and prayer had on them.

  2. The church in Topeka, Kansas, that screams "Got Hates Fags!" at the funerals of G.I.s who got killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is the "Westboro Baptist Church", which consists of basically just a guy named Fred Phelps and his extended family. What do their brain waves look like?

  3. And down South, how about that church in Atlanta that specializes in public spankings and beatings of the children in church? How is that influencing the brain waves of those children?

  4. And also down South, and West, how about the FLDS: The Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints? Let's study the brainwaves of the faithful teenage girls who are forced to become the fourth wife of a 50-year-old lech. Let's also study the brainwaves of the boys who are banished from the cult, cut off from their families forever, because the girls are more interested in the boys than in a decrepit old man.

  5. And how about the "Christian" church here in Portland that kills children by refusing to take them to a doctor when the children get sick? The parents insist that prayer is the only permissible medical treatment, and if God doesn't fix the children, then it is God's Will that they die. Let's analyze the brain waves of both the parents and the children, and see what "God" did for them.

  6. How about the brain waves of the Catholic priests who molest children, and the Bishops who protect them and let them continue doing it? How is God poking his fingers into their brains and making them happy? Oh and of course we must also analyze the brain waves of the molested children, too, and see how tranquil they are.

  7. Do I really have to continue?

You can find a bunch of links if you search for "Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman", including their books for sale on Amazon.

Speaking of which, these books reveal where they are really coming from:

  • Messages from the Archetypes: Using Tarot for Healing and Spiritual Growth by Toni Gilbert and Mark Robert Waldman
  • Dreamscaping : New Techniques for Understanding Yourself and Others by Stanley Krippner and Mark Robert Waldman
  • Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth by Andrew B. Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
  • Reinventing God: Finding Faith In A World Filled With Anger And Fear by Mark Robert Waldman

The Tarot and dream analysis, huh? They are just some more snake oil salesmen, selling hocus-pocus to the suckers.

And doesn't the Bible declare the death penalty for fortune tellers and mediums? (Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 20:27)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest.
**        ==  Havlock Ellis, The Dance of Life





From: "John M. B."
Subject: AA
Date: Thu, August 26, 2010 7:17 am     (answered 28 September 2010)

For what its worth,It worked for me and I have seen it work for many others.Its been 25 years sober for me .Ive seen it work for a lot of people so it is hard for me to believe it only works 5% of the time.

Best Regards

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter.

Of course you have seen a bunch of people sober themselves up. And how many people have you seen come to A.A. in 25 years, wishing to quit drinking and wondering if A.A. had any help to offer? I'm sure that it is a very large number. And out of that very large number, you saw a bunch of people sober themselves up. But you also saw a huge number of failures.

Yes, some people do get sober while attending A.A. meetings. The problem is, the A.A. success rate is the same as the success rate of other alcoholics who quit on their own, without any such "help".

It's only human nature to overlook the failures and concentrate your attention on the successes. That creates the impression that "A.A. works" (but only "if you work it".)

Plus, it's easy to forget the drop-outs, because you are not seeing them any more. You only see the ones who stay. You will remember someone who was around for a year much more than someone who only came to half a dozen meetings a year ago.

The only way to figure out if it really works is proper testing, rigorously-controlled, disciplined testing, with no fudging the numbers or not counting the failures.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "A well conducted professional study" (page 19) showed that
**     "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
**     after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
**     Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'" (page 2)
**     == Dr. Ron Whitington, Chairman General Service Board,
**     AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994





Date: Sat, August 21, 2010 5:59 am     (answered 28 September 2010)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Alternatives

Mister T,

Thank you for all you do. I expect to have the opportunity to start a new recovery meeting in a new building. What do you recommend? I have seen groups start and quickly dissolve. I have been a member of AA for almost 30 years and NA for a few years. I have see how quickly a small group becomes stale. The same people with the same story. Being an AA/NA group provides access to their meeting lists and exposure to people in our county on Long Island which is heavily populated. I have read your recommendations and been to one meeting that was not AA. Do you believe that it is better to not start any meeting?

When I have the courage I will use Pay Pal to help you. I am fearful to give my account numbers.

Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer this one; it got buried, and I just found it.

My opinion is, "By all means, start a meeting." If nothing else, it will give people a place to go other than 12-Step meetings. Some people get sentenced to A.A. by default. The judge says, "You can go to any kind of recovery meeting you wish, but you must go to one." And A.A. is the only thing available, so there they go.

SMART is a good choice. I don't want to slight SOS or Lifering; I've just never been to one of their meetings, so I can't really talk about them. I know about SMART, and I know it's worth doing. The SMART teachings and technology of the mind can definitely help.

The way to keep a meeting from becoming stale is advertising and publicity, so that more newcomers keep finding the meeting. You will of course want to connect up with the national SMART organization, and they will list your meeting on their web site. That alone will get you a lot of newcomers.

Then you can put brochures or little cards here and there. You will find that lots of people are sympathetic to what you are doing, and will let you put a stack of brochures or cards in a public place where people will see them. You can also put up notices on bulletin boards, or tape notices in windows. You can hit all of the places where alcoholics hang out, besides the bars.

The newcomers will keep the meetings from getting old and stale.

Good luck now, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**  give, not out of demanding that I receive."
**  Serving humanity is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly,
**  lovingly, spiritually, giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**  No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**  while you hand it out, it is still cyanide koolaid.





Date: Sat, August 28, 2010 12:55 am     (answered 28 September 2010)
From: "Kyle Nash"
Subject: !!!NEED YOUR HELP PLEASE!!! JUST ADVICE!!!PLEASE

Hey man,

I just started looking at your website tonight; and it's 3am here in New Orleans and I guess you can say you got me hooked. I started my AA stint 12 years ago; and you are ab so FUCKIN lutely spot on right about everything. I bought into the bullshit about being powerless and have had some MAJOR blowouts every time I relapsed.

Yeah, I been couped up in these God awful meetings for a long time; and they haven't worked. Left that thing with the prostitute out of my fifth step, didn't want it bad enough, wasn't working a good program, blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, you are never going to believe this shit... My sponsor tells me to pray about my mortgage problem for two weeks and something will happen. Well, yeah if I sit at home and pray on my couch for two weeks; something will happen... FORECLOSURE!!!

So here's what I need help with. Now that I know and see that it is bullshit; how do I get out? I'm not that long sober again, almost 5 months; but I have to go to these meetings for the state nursing board; because I was so fucking stupid and admitted to them and everyone else that I was an alcoholic and the exact nature of my worngs...This is now a stigma that I have to live with and probably a VERY damaging one at that!!

I have a 5 year probation on this license where these meetings are FUCKING mandatory. WTF!!! Anyway I saw how you recommend SMART but they don't have one in LA. Anything else you can recommend while putting up with this shit for another 5 years... Is abstinence still the way to go? I gotta tell you I would be scared to drink because of tests to be a nurse; but what should I do? Any experience you have will help; I guess it's hard to leave the cult, huh?

Regards,

Kyle N.

Hello Kyle,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, five more years of A.A. meetings is not an attractive future.

And praying about your mortgage is a laugh, isn't it? It's rather amazing how these brain-damaged believers manage to pass themselves off as "the experts on addiction". Incidentally, I was just hearing on the news last night about the many tens of thousands of people who are getting foreclosed and losing their homes right now, still, in spite of "economic recovery". I'm sure that a lot of them are praying too, but the banks don't care about their prayers.

Getting out of mandated A.A. meetings when you do not have an alternative meeting is really tough. It's hard to buck 70 years of propaganda that says that regular meeting attendance is necessary for getting free of addictions. Many well-meaning people think that they know what they are talking about when they parrot the slogans, "Nobody can do it alone. You need to get to a meeting. Millions of people have recovered that way. A.A. is the most successful program..."

The first thing that comes to mind is the book Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment, by Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky. That may give you some helpful ideas.

Another idea that comes to mind is, if there isn't a SMART meeting in New Orleans or Louisiana, then start one. Double-check the SMART web site to make sure that there are no SMART meetings there. You can also get helpful advice from the SMART web site. I would also ask on the other forums, too. Here are the links:

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

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

  3. SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
    SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious content of widely available 12-Step programs.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet, and they are also starting meeting groups in various cities.

  5. Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS)
    http://hamsnetwork.org
    HAMS is peer-led and free of charge. HAMS offers information and support via a chat room, an email group, and live meetings — as well is the articles on this web site.

  6. Moderation Management
    http://www.moderation.org/

  7. Rational Recovery
    http://www.rational.org/
    Rational Recovery is no longer "a recovery group", it's a book, and a technique — basically the same idea as the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

  8. And then there are these forums and message groups:

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

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
**     pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
**     recovering their true sight, restore their government
**     to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
**     we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
**     horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
**     debt.  
**         ==  Thomas Jefferson





Date: Sat, August 21, 2010 11:57 am &nbps;   (answered 1 September 2010)
From: wendy b
Subject: fascinating reading

Thank you for a very interesting treatise on alcoholism. Ours is a family of 5 female sibs (we're in our 50's and 60's now and have suffered from depression and related disorders — life with Dad was interesting, to say the least. Mom had her own, related issues.). Bipolar disorder is we believe the underlying cause of Dad's (and perhaps his own mother's) drinking- he finally quit in his late 70's — ON HIS OWN. Perhaps he knew he was running out of options (had he been living with me I would have asked him to leave but my sister had a different kind of relationship with Dad). Had he done so he would have been on his own, living in a very tiny travel trailer and getting drunk daily. His personality remains despite not drinking and he is more difficult due to alcoholic dementia (official diagnosis; don't some older people get dementia anyway?).

Mother's father was an depressed alcoholic who committed suicide in his 50's.

A therapist once urged me to attend 12-steps as I'm considered a "dry drunk"- interesting term. I have resisted and have done so when the going gets particularly rough. It's value in my mind is that attendees have a safe haven in which they are permitted to express themselves in whatever words or feelings they wish, as long as they don't hurt themselves or others. I don't see a lot of people in these meetings, considering the number of alcoholics and victims of alcoholism that must exist in a large city (but I also have not conducted a study and perhaps could not do as the groups and individuals prefer to remain anonymous), but those who do attend consistently are helped.

I agree that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Again, thanks.

Wendy B.

Save the planet . . . it's the only one with chocolate.

Hello Wendy,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are well.

I find your comments about A.A. meetings to be almost damning with faint praise. The benefits are really small, compared to the damage done.

I agree that a meeting where people can get together and express themselves can give some emotional comfort to some people. I also like the attitude that "we are all in this together, and you don't need to be ashamed of having had an addiction problem. We all have."

But the bad ideas are very dangerous and outweigh the good stuff:

  1. You are powerless over alcohol, or addictions.
  2. Your life is unmanageable. That is, YOU cannot manage your life.
  3. Only a "Higher Power" can restore you to sanity.
  4. You drank and doped because you have "defects of character" and "wrongs" and "moral shortcomings" that you must confess. So you really are a disgusting sinful addict after all, and you should be ashamed.
  5. Only surrender to a Higher Power will save you.
  6. If you surrender, Somebody Else will solve your problems for you.
  7. If you conduct a séance, God will talk to you and tell you what He wants you to do. You don't need to bother with thinking and figuring out for yourself what you should do.
  8. "God" will magically remove the desire to drink or dope.
  9. Self-reliance is a very bad thing.

The fact remains that one of the leaders of A.A., Dr. George E. Vaillant, found that A.A. actually raised the death rate in alcoholics. No other way of treating alcoholics that he studied yielded such a high death rate. So those bad teachings do take their toll.

Oh, by the way, I'm sure you see that A.A. is not a cure for illnesses like bipolar disorder.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A.A. is not a "self-help group", it's an
**     "elf-help group". You are supposed to pray
**     and beg for some invisible "Higher Power"
**     to solve all of your problems for you and grant all
**     of your wishes.





Date: Fri, August 27, 2010 5:17 am     (answered 1 September 2010)
From: "Joan C."
Subject: But that doesn't matter, cause my Dad got sober!

Hi,

After 30 years of marriage, when us kids were all grown, my mom told my dad that she was going to move back to be with her people, a conservative Mennonite community (not horse and buggy type), and he could come with her or not, she didn't care; but, if he did, he would have to get sober. So, he got sober, with the help of AA. I knew nothing of this; because I had had very little contact with them after I left home.

So, I was kind of non-plussed when, on a visit to their new home, my dad apologized for being an alcoholic and asked for my forgiveness. I had no idea what he was talking about and still don't. I told him there was nothing to apologize for. See, I didn't believe he was an alcoholic and besides, he'd never done anything to me when he was drunk. I found his fawning, appeasing attitude distasteful, and was offended by his single minded determination to get forgiveness from me. I told him there was nothing to forgive and tried to explain some of the things he had done wrong, things that couldn't be blamed on alcohol. He wasn't interested. He was doing his duty and expected a pat on the head for it.

In the thirty years since then, the family myth has been that Dad is all right now that he got sober. Oh, sure, he still has "a temper"; but, that's all right now cause he's sober. His temper terrified his children when we were young. In a full flood of rage, it was all too apparent that he hated and despised our weakness and perfidy in not being the perfect reflections of his greatness that he quite clearly deserved. Three of us were emotionally scarred and have been in and out of the social safety nets most of our adult lives. The fourth sibling has succeeded in channeling her anxieties into productive work and has become a workaholic.

Can you imagine turning to your 40 year old children and telling them: I should have beaten you more when you were children? My Dad did that less than ten years ago. He blames all our problems on the liberal school system. His father had beaten him with a cane on general principle — so no one else would have to. I relly think he believed was being liberal in giving us fewer beatings.

Throughout our childhood, my parents were so absorbed in surviving the hell they'd created for each other that they took no notice of its effects on their children. As long as we didn't draw attention to ourselves, they generally left us alone. My oldest brother used to run away from home twice a year, every year from the time he was seven. Of course, they beat him when they found him — cause that's how you make children and dogs want to stay home, right? He's been on disability welfare for two decades due to depression. He will never work again.

Their big ten year wedding anniversaries — 30, 40, 50 — are big celebrations of my mother's years of Christian martyrdom in the service of my father's sobriety, and celebrations of my father's life in service to Family Values. We used to get all sorts of literature from the right wing Christian groups my father subscribed to. They used to make good kindling in the wood stove in the cabin where I lived before my back went bad and I had to move to town. My sister told them to stop sending that stuff cause she's an atheist (we all are). Her formative years had been spent listening to him propound on the virtues of the human intellect, which he had considered to be God's gift to mankind. She can't quite wrap her mind around the fact that his "conversion" has required that he jettison all that. The rest of us can see that he is merely going through the motions to appease my mother. We don't believe he quite succeeded in convincing himself of his conversion.

We buried my father a few months ago. I attended so that my mother wouldn't have to explain to her relatives why 2 of her children didn't really want to attend the funeral of this great Family Man. The three of us who attended were rather shocked to see how well liked he'd been. The crowd that showed up filled the funeral home to capacity, with many left standing in the hall. He'd been financially generous — as generous as you can be on a sergeant's pension — to many needy people. I was surprised to see how many First Nations people and Franco Canadians he'd helped. I knew they'd be shocked if they'd heard some of the dinner time conversation that had involved their ethnicities in our house. I was saddened to think that his generosity had merely been his way of working out his own salvation. But my sister was particularly shocked to see how poorly her years of being Daddy's Girl had paid off in comparison to just being a financially needy stranger. She collapsed at my side and was actually speachless for a full 30 seconds — a record for my sister.

I could see that the new preacher had greatly admired my father. He was carefull not to say or imply anything that might offend the sensibilities of my siblings and I. We are all atheists. My younger brother and I spent some time after the next Sunday's service explaining to him that my father was not the man he appeared to be. He was genuinely shocked. My brother had a lengthy talk with him on a subsequent visit; and I've sent a couple of letters. I wanted to be sure that someone close to her understands why she won't get much assistance from her offspring in her old age. I am concerned about her; because, my father's abuse took a terrible toll on her. But I cannot stand being around her for more than a few hours at a time. I had to physically throw her out of my house once.

I've been soul sick in the half year since his funeral, hanging around the house not doing much of anything; and I have to go out and get myself a job. But none of that matters, now, cause my Dad got sober.

Hello Joan,

Thanks for the letter. That is a powerful story. I'm sorry to hear about your suffering. That sounds so familiar. Much of it is the same as my own childhood. I also had an insane vicious father who demanded perfect children. He was also a lifer sergeant. When he was a child, my father's grandfather beat him with a cane for the crime of playing with the garbage-man's children, because "Our class of people does not associate with that kind of people." Really. It was like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.

My father really was an alcoholic, but he was insane and vicious first. He turned to alcohol later. And yes, he also went to A.A. and started yammering slogans about "Years of sitting on the pity pot..." He never asked for my forgiveness though. He was stuck at the stage of denying that it was all that bad. Twenty years of terrorizing the children, until my mother kicked him out, and he didn't think that it was really that bad.

Oh well, upwards and onwards.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   The moving finger writes
**   And having writ, moves on.
**   Nor all your piety nor wit
**   Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
**   Nor all your tears wash out a word of it.
**      == Omar Khayyam





Date: Fri, August 27, 2010 9:09 am     (answered 1 September 2010)
From: "Robert J."
Subject: are you angry about something?

over 2 million members of alcoholics anonymous are staying sober and trying to live better lives as a result of what Bill W. and Dr. Bob S. started 75 years ago ( it is ALCOHOL anonomous NOT smokers anonomous) a couple points you missed due to your obvious bias (who knows what angers you about AA) is that WE as a group claim spiritual progress NOT spiritual perfection, that begins with, first a disire to not drink and then admitting powerlessness. That's right we do not have the choice and those who do not accept that are either not alcoholic or die drunk(as most do). Its not important to me, but i would be interested in knowing why anyone could find fault and openly criticize a program that is so successful all over the world. My only hope is that a person suffering does not read this and not give AA an honest attempt (and we are not "recruiters"). You seem to focus on the chapter to the family afterwords. Could it be that you have a family member who is an alcoholic and your carrying a resentment around with you? I would be grateful to be able to here from you.

Hello Robert,

Thanks for the letter.

Unfortunately, you are repeating a lot of untrue slogans:

  1. A.A. does not even have 2 millions members worldwide. The total membership is under 2 million, and no attempt is made to eliminate duplicate names, because there is no official membership list. Someone with three "home groups" gets counted as three members.

  2. "Trying to live better lives" is not necessarily the same thing as doing it.

  3. The remark about "A.A. is not Smokers Anonymous" reveals that you are doing the Minimize And Deny tap dance about a deadly addiction. Why is Suicide By Cigarette okay, and even "Spiritual", while Suicide By Bottle is not?

  4. This is pure cult nonsense with no basis in fact: "...then admitting powerlessness. That's right we do not have the choice..."
    That is a bunch of bunk. That is obviously untrue. The truth is, hundreds of thousands of alcoholics quit drinking every year, by using their own will power and intelligence.

    The NIAAA's 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:
    "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

  5. This is another standard slogan that is the exact opposite of the truth: A.A. is "...a program that is so successful all over the world..."
    Actually, A.A. is a failure that is no better than no help at all.

  6. Then you stated: "i would be interested in knowing why anyone could find fault and openly criticize a program that is so successful all over the world."
    The answers are here.

  7. Then you repeat the standard A.A. attack on anyone who tells the truth about A.A.: "My only hope is that a person suffering does not read this and not give AA an honest attempt..."
    Look here for a list of previous parrottings of that line.

  8. And then you became like the zillionth Stepper to make one of those ridiculous accusations about having resentments: "Could it be that you have a family member who is an alcoholic and your carrying a resentment around with you?" Look here for a list of Steppers who have complained that I "have a resentment". The idea that you cannot "have a resentment" is just Bill Wilson's lunacy. But he had plenty of them, and if you really want to see some resentments, check out Bill Wilson's diatribes about agnostics and atheists in the Big Book.

  9. Then you said, "I would be grateful to be able to here from you."
    Okay, your wish is granted.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob never got their thinking
**     out of the Middle Ages, and they seemed to resent
**     anybody else who had.





Date: Sat, September 25, 2010 3:20 pm     (answered 1 October 2010)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Predictable Blather

Dear Orange,

Whenever I read another stepper say stuff about you being a) a dry drunk, b) in denial or c) angry & resentful I realize that you have likely rattled someone whose grasp on abstinence (sobriety) is as tentative as Bill W. intended. In other words you hit a nerve and something you wrote resonates however much they wish to deny it.

I have taken it upon myself to post a link to your site on a number of blogs and self help websites because I am on a personal mission to divert people from AA and direct them to resources like SMART that will encourage self empowerment and will power. Steppers reading this should know that your efforts are working and that thankfully AA is being slowly, but surely undermined by your efforts and the efforts of others. I have personally diverted at least five people from the clutches of AA and helped some others get away from the 12 step religion. And yes to those loyal AA members reading this I am proud of that and AA should understand that this is truly something they are powerless to stop (so turn it over steppers).

Keep up the great work, Orange because you are making a difference and you probably only hear back from a fraction of those who you have helped over the years.

G.

Hi Gary,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and thank you for your work to free people from the cult.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those
**      three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of
**      conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them.
**          ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910





May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19, continued:

Canada Goose goslings, begging
The newborn goslings

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





Date: Sat, August 28, 2010 12:08 am     (answered 1 October 2010)
From: "D"
Subject: interesting informative website

Hi there,

So, I'm sitting on the toilet reading the daily reflection. Why? It was close at hand. I'm flicking through the various 'pearls' of wisdom. Every one I read I'm thinking, bullshit, bullshit, more bullshit.

I guess you could say I was dissilusioned with AA. Hahaha. I had been to a Primary Purpose meeting a couple of nights before, and I was shocked out of my complacency regarding the AA philosophy. At these groups they discuss the first 160 odd pages of the big-book word for word as if it is a holy and imutable scripture handed down by a devine god. It's really scary stuff. I saw broken alcoholics sitting there having to listen to this nonsense...I got up after 2 minutes and walked out, with shivers running up and down my spine...

I have noticed that you cannot criticise AA in meetings. You cannot discuss the steps in a rational way. You are expected to blindly accept everything about the 12 steps.

I had already come to the conclusion that the steps were bullshit. I could admit to part of part 1, powerless over alcohol. (My life was never unmanageable, I held down good, well paying jobs as a boozer UNTIL I decided to stop drinking and attend AA and 'go to any lengths to stay sober')... oh my god what a crock of shit! hahaha. I tried the making amends bullshit. I flew back to the UK from New Zealand to make amends to my ex-wife... that's an experience which almost left me on the streets, because I had convinced myself that GOD would look after me. And I only took back about 200 pounds....

Anyhow, things came to a head, last week. A new-comer of 5 weeks who is being indoctrinated quite nicely, sent me a txt "You need to get a proper sponsor, and WORK the steps". OK, i've been going to AA for about 4 years, on and off, and never have I succumbed to the insanity of getting a sponsor. It makes NO SENSE to me to allow a complete stranger to effectively run your life for you because you are INCAPABLE of doing it yourself. It's madness. Would I allow any random stranger on the street to control my thinking and actions? No, so why does AA insist that newcomers get a sponsor who then goes on to control their lives?

So, I shared that I will never ever get a sponsor, and that I thought AA is a cult. This was before I googled AA Cult on the internet. Hahahaha.... This message is not what people want to hear in AA rooms. At all. I've noticed over the years that if you "stay on message" the cult-members will love you for it. At one point I was trying the get down on my knees and pray scenario, and of course the members lapped this up when I shared about it. This never sat well with me because I DO NOT believe in GOD. It goes against everything that I believe in.

If you DO NOT tell AA members what they want to hear, they will all grumble behind your back, call you a dry drunk, and tell you to work the program, etc, etc, as you've pointed out.

I shared in meetings that I didn't believe doing a 4th step would help me at all. I think it's nonsense that you attempt to treat a drinking problem by doing a fearless and thorough moral inventory. Why don't diabetics do this for their disease? Again, i've struggled with the concept of the disease process...

Also, over the years, I've watched several members in AA who have convictions for fraud targeting newcomers, especially women, and giving them all the guff in the hope of either getting them into bed, or stealing their money..... AA attracts some very mentally sick people in my experience, not just so-called 'alcoholics'.

So, really, a combination of things led me one day to reject this load of bullshit, and google "AA is a cult" on the internet. I won't be going back, anytime soon. If I relapse and revert to binge-drinking, that'll be my choice, and if I decide to stop, I will do it by myself with will-power. I have been thinking about getting a counsellor, but the truth is I could probably teach them a thing or two about addictions because I have read so much about it, and I have a degree in Psychology.

When I started reading your website, I'd already told people that I wasn't coming back to AA. After reading it, I told a few of my so-called fellowship members that I thought AA was a cult, and I wasn't coming back. It was interesting how many of these fellowship members refused to meet me for coffee immediately afterwards to discuss this. I suppose they think I will brainwash them or something, which is the ultimate irony.

Remember, when a belief has an unreasonable basis, it can't be removed through reason. So, i am not attempting to influence any people I know who are in the cult.

Anyhow, I felt instantly better in my decision not to go back to AA. I feel really great actually. I often used to look at the cult members and think "is there anyone in this group I admire?" and invariably the answer would ALWAYS come back as a resounding "no!". AA does a great job on turning vulnerable people into mindless zombies who have turned their will over to the care of GOD.

I believe that if there is a GOD then He has given us the powers of debate and reason — gifts which AA tells us to give up....

Yep, it's definitely a cult.

My tactics for staying sober are to remind myself about the destructivenss of alcohol for me (hey, I don't mind if other people drink, which again seems to go against the AA creed), and the reward centers in the brain (e.g. which you call the lizard brain). I read a really cool book on Methamphetamine addiction which explains the physiological process of the addiction center really well. I tried to share this knowledge in meetings, but of course it all fell on death ears.

Please if you use this email, can you remove my name. Thanks

D

Hello D,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And the opinions. Of course I couldn't agree more. I'm glad to hear that you have kept your mind free of the cult.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

P.S.: I'm adding this letter to the list of A.A. horror stories.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
**     who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
**     has intended us to forgo their use."
**       ==  Galileo Galilei





Date: Sun, August 29, 2010 8:03 am     (answered 1 October 2010)
From: "PJ"
Subject:

Are you still sober? I had 6 months the other day and I hate AA. How did you do it?

Hello PJ,

Thanks for the letter, and the question. Yes, still sober. In fact, I'm closing in on my 10th anniversary, soon. Just 3 more weeks and I'll have 10 years off of alcohol and drugs. And in 6 weeks, it will be 10 years off of cigarettes, too.

How do I do it? Well first off, I don't go to A.A. meetings. When I had about 1 1/2 years sober, I went to an A.A. meeting to pick up my one-year coin. That was the first meeting that I had been to in almost a year — no meetings since I picked up my 6-month coin, and that was the last A.A. meeting I ever went to. When I learned that some people were claiming that my picking up coins proved that the A.A. program works, I stopped picking up coins.

I also couldn't stand the meetings. They didn't make me feel better. They just made me want to drink.

I went to SMART meetings for a while, and then stopped doing that too when I had gotten all that I could out of it.

How do I do it? Well, the big thing is just don't drink alcohol. I keep in mind the damage that it did to my body and brain. I remember the suffering and pain that it caused, and I don't want to go back there again.

I just answered that same question at length just a few days ago, so I'll point you to the answer, here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious
**     that there is such a thing as physical morality.
**         ==  Herbert Spencer, Education





Date: Sun, August 29, 2010 8:24 am     (answered 2 October 2010)
From: "Wayne M."
Subject: RE: On-Line Addiction Websites

Dear Orange-Papers:

I accidentally ran across a "copy-cat" site at www.orange-papers.com

I guess this indicates a certain mentality of those that disagree with us.

Respectfully,
Wayne M.

Hello again, Wayne,

Yes, it does. It's just a lame attempt to mislead people and keep them from reading my web site.

But it doesn't seem to be working. Google is still routing all of the traffic over here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Deceivers are the most dangerous members of society. —
**     They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and
**     violate the most sacred obligations.
**        ==  George Crabbe (1754—1832)

UPATE: 2013.08.10: When the orange-papers.com domain name became available, I registered it. Now it reroutes to orange-papers.info. That takes care of that problem.





Date: Mon, August 30, 2010 9:00 am     (answered 2 October 2010)
From: "william N."
Subject: Scary Times

Orange,

I felt like we were finally getting somewhere with the "AA-is-a-weird-cult-religion-masquerading-as-treatment" message when I realized Glenn Beck is a big recovery guy and has no shame in talking about it. The guy is all over the news lately and I'm really worried he'll sob and emote all over the media as he gives thanks to "this wonderful program." Can you imagine?

Bill

Hi Bill,

Yes, I guess he probably will. I think it kind of goes with the mind-set. But somehow, I'm not worried. The kind of people who would believe him are the kind of people who would have gone and joined a cult anyway.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The worst deluded are the self-deluded.
**        ==  Christian Nestell Bovee (1820—1904), American author and editor





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