Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXV



[The previous letter from Renee_C is here.]

Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 10:41 am     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: Renee C.
Subject: Once Again!!

Hello again Orange!! I only have one class this semester.... can you tell?

Your latest wisdom caught my eye.

What you think you are tends to be what you will become. Convincing kids that they are addicts can make them into addicts. Convincing them that they are low, vile, selfish sinners without any morality can make them behave like that.

I believe this is what Schaler identified as the "Self Fulfilling Prophecy. Here is an excerpt from a paper I wrote a few years back. You probably have his work archived.... in fact I may have found it there... but anyway it is so very important to share, and I am glad you brought it to our attention once again.

Jeffrey Schaler's (1996) belief which states, "Teaching that addiction is a disease creates a self-fulfilling prophecy." In addition Schaler (1996) writes, "When you teach people that they are powerless, they will act in a powerless way." The idea of admitting that one has no control over a chemical substance which they ingest or put into their body can eventually lead to feelings of helplessness. AA calls this powerlessness. AA immediately releases an alcohol abuser of responsibility and self-control in the first step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program.

The DEVIL made me do it... I am a sinner! I need redemption!

I was not a teenager when I was thrown to the wolves in AA, but I was close enough, I had just turned 22. I am going to be 49 in a month, I left AA a little over 3 years ago. I would hope that just ONE teen or young adult will read this letter.... to save them from the AA hell I lived for so long....

It is truly amazing how the "Self Fulfilling Prophecy" works, especially when it is introduced to the minds of vulnerable, scared and impressionable young people.

Time to stop the madness!!

Thanks again Orange... you are a valuable source of inspiration AND information!!

Renee

Hi again, Renee,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I didn't know that Jeffrey Schaler had written that, so thanks for the note. Of course I couldn't agree more.

And it was actually Maia Szalavitz who brought up the subject, in a TIME magazine article, here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A.A. says that alcoholism is a disease, not a
**     moral shortcoming. That's why you must list
**     and confess all of your sins and moral
**     shortcomings and wrongs in Steps 4 through 7.
**        ==  Huh?  Say what?

[The next letter from Renee_C is here.]





Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 2:41 pm     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: "Tom B."
Subject: a lot of what you say is true

You're Angry

ADDICTION RECOVERY SERVICES
TOM B., MS, LCADC, MAC, SAP
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Columbia, MD 21045

So?

How does me being angry or not angry change the A.A. failure rate?

How does my "anger" affect the failure rate at your treatment center?

Does your "service" amount to anything more than parrotting the delusional sermons of William Griffith Wilson?

'Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease...'
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 64.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "WHEN a pretension to free the world from evil ends only
**     in a new proof of the danger of a fanatic to the commonweal,
**     then it is not to be marveled at that a distrust is aroused
**     in the observer which makes sympathy impossible."
**         ==  Sigmund Freud





Date: Sat, February 19, 2011 2:44 pm     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Fwd: Requested NewsBank Article(s)

PRIMARY PURPOSE OF AA

Akron Beacon Journal (OH)-September 26, 2010

Last month, a good friend of mine went to his family doctor. The doctor determined that he had an addiction and put him on medication.

The doctor said, "You have an addiction and an addiction is an addiction — they are all the same." He then recommended that my friend attend alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

The judges, doctors, psychologists and other professionals who mean well continue to send people with addictions unrelated to alcohol to the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous here in the Akron area.

For more than 30 years, here in the birthplace of AA, I have watched the dilution of the fellowship before my eyes, to the point where AA has become the world's largest lost and found and dumping ground for every affliction and addiction.

We in AA have a common "problem," not "problems."

The program is to help alcoholics, only, as our Fifth Tradition clearly states: "Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers."

Better do one thing supremely well than many badly.

Around it, our society gathers in unity "for the alcoholic." The very life of our fellowship requires the preservation of this principle (Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, page 150).

The book tells us: "We of Alcoholics Anonymous could not be all things to all men, nor should we try."

It says: "Singleness of purpose, and our primary purpose, is to help another alcoholic."

You do not hear this at any Akron-area meetings anymore. Alcoholic lives are being lost.

Jon R. S.
Lakemore

Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thanks for the article. I find that article interesting from several angles. The author is assuming that A.A. works, or used to work. He thinks that watering down A.A. with "the wrong people" is making alcoholics die.

I agree that alcoholics are dying, but it isn't because A.A. is less effective now than it used to be. A.A. was never effective. The author is perpetuating the myth that A.A. was great in the good old days, and it is getting diluted now.

A.A. was just as much a failure in the "good old days" as it is now. I know that Bill Wilson bragged in the Big Book about how great his miraculous new invention was, and how many alcoholics it was saving, but that was just Bill's bragging, backed up by zero real facts or statistics or records. And Bill Wilson actually told the opposite story at Dr. Bob's memorial service. There, Bill bragged about what long-suffering saints he and Dr. Bob were, and how hard they had to work to get Alcoholics Anonymous started:

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

Bill Wilson also bragged,

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

So whether A.A. was a fantastic success — the greatest spiritual and medical discovery of the 20th Century, or a dismal failure with a success rate that was close to zero, depended on whether Bill Wilson wanted to brag about how brilliant his invention was, or brag about how hard he had to work to save all of those worthless alcoholics.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I'm getting tired of living on Planet Stupid."
**        == a caller to KPOJ talk radio, 9:56 AM 3 June 2010.
**     (And I don't mean that I want to die. I want "Stupid" to wise up.)





Date: Mon, February 21, 2011 9:10 pm     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: "Ds S"
Subject: More Unpopular opinions

Dear Agent Orange,

I'm sorry my ideas stick in your craw. I guess the point I'm really trying to get across in my earlier letters about Tibet, but not very sucessfully is if it is the public will of the Tibetan people for the return of the Dali Lama, then by all means return him, but I don't see that I see people supporting the Dali Lama on the basis that he is not Communist China.

You are correct their is no way to actually predict the future with absolute certainty. (The movie was called The Minority Report. You are correct the system did not work very well in the movie. It worked a little bit better in the short story by Phillip K. Dick. By the way isn't that an example of arguing by allegory) Never the less you have try to make the best prediction you can based on the available information. I have found no indication one way or the other in the Dali Lama's writing about how he intends to rule, for example fiscal policy, healthcare, education, etc. I also find no indication in his writing that he intends to include the people in his government. Thus based on the available information that he will do none of these things.

As for the argument that I am an imperialist trying to enforce my way of life on others, I would ask you why do you even have the Free Tibet banner. You see by the same logic you could say their is nothing wrong with the way China treats Tibet, because well thats there culture, and we shouldn't try to enforce our values on them. Unfortunately the "Not enforcing our values on other people", can be used as an excuse for moral cowardice to let attrocities occur. Consent of the governed is a basic value/morale/religious tennet call it what you wish that is prerequisite for all governments. Ofcourse on the opposite end of the spectrum (as you noted) you have the problem of tyranny against soveriegn nations. So in balancing the values of respecting the soveriegnty of foreign nations and consent of the governed I would argue that an unqualified support of the Dali Lama is wrong, or at the very least not the optimum way t o free Tibet.

On the NPR issues. First technically the F-35 joint strike fighter isn't pork barrell spending. Federal funding is being used on a federal military platform that will be deployed through out the entire country and used to enforce federal policy through out the world. Pork barrell spending would be like using federal funding to build a state highway or bridge. Never the less on the issue of funding the F-35 joint strike fighter your preaching to the converted. If we can't afford it and the boys in blue/green don't want it, then we shouldn't buy it. On the issue of corrupt politicians, you forgot to mention recent supreme court rulings granting corporations the constitutional rights as citizens, the ongoing issues with campaign finance reform, and how lobbyists can unduly influence politicians. Even as we speak I'm listening to a radio broadcast about how the governor of Wisconsin wants to recind all collective barganning power of teachers unions. Then theres the deficit. Then theres the two wars still being waged, one of then started under at the very least questionable pretences. I don't think my countrys way of life is superior. I'm very aware that my country has serious issues, and its going to take a long time to solve them. They are all brillian reasons why we should fix our own problems. They are not reasons why I should support the Dali Lama, if I suspect that he will become a totalitarian dictator.

Furthermore I'm also listening to NPR about the recent uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and about the current uprisings in Bahrain and Libya. Now I don't know what kind of governments are going to rise from the ashes. More than likely they will not be pro-American governments (due to the fact that we have supported a great many monarchs and dicators in the Middle East all in the name of "Not enforcing our values on other people") However these will be governments that have the concent of the governed which is more than the Chinese regime in Tibet can say, and more than the Dali Lama can say.

Just to shake things up I included a link that is actually about alcoholism and addiction. It is an argument by Stanton Peele asserting that "The kind of clear-cut model of the genetic sources of alcoholism perceived by the public and presented in popular tracts does not accurately reflect the state of knowledge in this area. No persuasive genetic mechanism has been proposed to account for accumulated data about alcoholic behavior, social differences in alcoholism rates or the unfolding of the disease. Biological findings about the offspring of alcoholics have been inconsistent and grounds exist to challenge the notion of an enhanced genetic liability for alcoholism that has been accepted wisdom for the last decade. Genuine attempts to forge data and theory into genetic models have been limited to men alcoholics and to a minority of severely afflicted alcoholics with other special characteristics. However, several investigators dispute the idea of a special type of inherited alcoholism affecting only such groups. Even for these populations, balanced genetic models leave room for the substantial impact of environmental, social and individual factors (including personal values and intentions) so that drinking to excess can only be predicted within a complex, multivariate framework. The denial of this complexity in some quarters obscures what has been discovered through genetically oriented research and has dangerous consequences for prevention and treatment policies.'

http://www.peele.net/lib/genetics.html

Finally I hope my remarks did not upset you. With few exceptions (such as Tibet), I agree with the content of your website. Additionally even if I didn't my aim was for reasoned debate about differing opinions rather than acrimony. Regardless of what you think of my opinions I hope we can accomplish that much.

With Much Respect and Appreciation,
No one of any importance

P.S. Please do not post my e-mail address

Hello again, "No one of any importance",

I'm not upset. To answer your points:

  1. Yes, I guess that is an example of arguing by allegory. Oh well, it worked for Jesus.

  2. You keep on falling back on the line about how the Dalai Lama won't establish "democracy" in Tibet, as if that would establish the virtue of the man. At this point, arguing what the Dalai Lama might do or would do in his government is pretty academic, considering that he doesn't have a government, and probably never will. The odds are that he will die of old age before he ever sees Tibet again.

    Then, the rumor is that, when the Dalai Lama dies, the Chinese authorities will pretend to find the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, somebody of their choice. I was just hearing that on a program about Tibet on Public Television. I wish I could remember what the show was.

    Are you aware of the fact that Tibet traditions and scriptures predicted that this Dalai Lama would be the last one?

  3. I don't think you are an imperialist. I just think your denunciation of the Dalai Lama is unfair and not based on facts.

  4. You keep complaining about that "Free Tibet" banner. You say that I should worry about restoring human rights to Tibet, rather than actually freeing Tibet from China. Odd, to say the least.

  5. You said, "You see by the same logic you could say their is nothing wrong with the way China treats Tibet, because well thats there culture, and we shouldn't try to enforce our values on them."

    The big difference is that the Tibetan people like the Dalai Lama. They don't like the Chinese Army killing them and blowing up their monasteries. Surely you can see that difference.

    Having a Dalai Lama is the Tibetan culture. Having the Chinese Army killing them is not their culture, or their cherished traditions.

  6. Your argument about the F-35 engine not being pork barrel spending is illogical. Whether something is pork does not depend on whether it is Pentagon pork or state pork. Even the Pentagon and Congress said that the F-35 engine was useless waste, and an odd-couple alliance of Tea Party Congressmen and Democratic Congressmen just passed an amendment to kill it. And it actually was state pork too: The Congressmen who wanted to continue the project, like Rep. Boehner, have defense contractors' plants in their districts that make the parts, so it's all about keeping local jobs. You know the old saying about "All politics is local."

  7. Yes, there is a war going on in Wisconsin. What few people are talking about is the sequence of events: First give a large tax break to the rich guys, which reduces the state's revenues. Then cry that the state is going broke, there is a huge deficit, so we have to reduce the teachers' salaries and bust their union. What a racket.

    And did you catch the news that there is a clause in the Wisconsin budget bill that allows the governor to sell the state's electric generation plants to his rich cronies in a no-bid sale? It's massive corruption, masked as "privatization".
    See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/25/opinion/25krugman.html?emc=eta1

  8. I am also watching the Middle East with interest. What a cascading blow-up. I also hope that they get good government this time around, rather than just another generation of criminals and dictators.

  9. I like Stanton Peele, and agree with what he is saying. There is no "genetic disease of alcoholism". Recent research, however, has found that there is a genetic factor to susceptibility to having problems with alcohol. We were just talking about that recently:

    A researcher who found a gene for the tendency to abuse alcohol stated that there is evidence that "A Functional Neuropeptide Y Leu7Pro Polymorphism [is] Associated With Alcohol Dependence in a Large Population Sample From the United States". He explained it this way:

    "This is only the second specific genetic mechanism ever identified that modulates risk for alcohol dependence."
    (See: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59:825-831;
    http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/issues/v59n9/toc.html)

    I like that careful terminology: Modulates the risk for, not causes, alcohol dependence. Having the gene increases your odds for having a problem with alcohol, but does not cause you to drink, and it does not make you an alcoholic.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If these suggestions sound somewhat onerous to the reader searching
**     not for nirvana or salvation, but simply for human happiness,
**     it is worth reminding ourselves that what brings us greatest joy
**     and satisfaction in life are those actions we undertake out of
**     concern for others.
**        ==  Ancient Wisdom, Modern World; Ethics for the New
**        Millenium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, page 126.





Date: Mon, February 21, 2011 10:43 am     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: MM
Subject: Bill Wilson's many failings...

Hello A. (Agent? Alan?) Orange

= Thanks to your research I have come away even more amazed and in awe of the recovery program presented in both The Big Book and The Twelve and Twelve. It's clear that Bill Wilson though highly intelligent and charismatic was a deeply flawed human being who it appears didn't work a very solid AA program. While it was definitely better for himself and anyone his life might touch that he was no longer a raging drunk, the selfish, self-centered, self-seeking behaviors you speak to are clearly nothing to emulate and caused much harm. No doubt the depression that plagued him was mostly of his own making and his refusal to consistently practice what he espoused. What amazes me is that a program such as AA which has not only helped millions to stop drinking (not to mention the myriad spin-offs that deal with drugs, food, sex, gambling, etc.) but to live more useful lives was spawned by such a flawed human being. They ought to make a movie out of that...oh, wait, as you said, they did. For those who sincerely practice this program which as you probably know encourages rigorous self honesty, consistent self searching of human failings, taking personal responsibility, confession to a trusted person, asking for God's help, and then passing the program to others seeking relief from their alcoholism, the quality of their lives change dramatically over time. I'm sad that you see it as simply a cult. Best to you and hope where you reside, namely the space between your ears, is mostly a good place to be...MM

P.S. I just wanted to mention that when I hit my knees, though grateful that Bill Wilson helped to create this program, he is not to whom I pray.

Hello MS,

Thanks for the letter.

You have obviously chosen to believe whatever you wish to believe, no matter what the facts may be.

But I do have to correct one grossly wrong statement:

What amazes me is that a program such as AA which has not only helped millions to stop drinking (not to mention the myriad spin-offs that deal with drugs, food, sex, gambling, etc.) but to live more useful lives was spawned by such a flawed human being.

There is no truth to that statement. Alcoholics Anonymous has not "helped millions" to stop drinking. I know that the A.A. true believers won't stop repeating that lie, but it is still a lie.

A.A. does not even have two million members worldwide, never mind two million sober. The truth is, there are only a few hundred thousand hard-core permanent A.A. members, and the rest is just churn. The churn is those people who come for a little while, and don't like what they see, and leave. Then more come, or are sentenced by a judge, and then they leave as soon as they can. Then more come, and don't like what they see, and then they leave. You can read more about the A.A. churn rate here.

Alcoholics Anonymous is no good at sobering up alcoholics. The real A.A. cure rate is approximately zero. (Click on that link.)

Those few A.A. members who did quit drinking did so by using their own God-given will power, not by doing the strange occult practices of Frank Buchman that are embodied in the 12 Steps. A.A. just steals the credit from a few people who were going to quit drinking anyway.

The 12 Steps are equally useless for fixing problems with drugs, food, sex, gambling, or etc.

There is nothing amazing about the fact that a mentally ill criminal like Bill Wilson was able to foist such a fraud on sick people. Con artists are a dime a dozen. And as P. T. Barnum said, "There is a sucker born every minute."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
**     have, and are willing to go to any length to
**     get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."





Date: Mon, February 21, 2011 7:35 pm     (answered 24 February 2011)
From: "Jack B."
Subject: Hello

I read with interest your paper on The Effectiveness of the Twelve- Step Treatment. I am sober now 21 1/2 years and I do not take issue with your statistics but what do you think is the best alternative to going to AA meetings?

Jack B.

Hello Jack,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on your sobriety.

And thanks for a great question. The answer is, "The best alternative to going to A.A. meetings is to quit drinking."

That is not a flippant answer. Most of the people who go to A.A. meetings do not quit drinking. They go to A.A. meetings, for months or years, but they don't quit drinking. A much better alternative is to quit drinking and not go to A.A. meetings. (And that is the path that I have followed for the last 10 years.)

Now if you really want a meeting or a formal organization, there are several alternatives like SMART, SOS, Lifering, or WFS. And there are a variety of techniques that may help someone. I discussed all of that a little while ago here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our
**     politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far
**     more important, for politics are only a matter of present
**     concern. A mathematical equation stands forever.
**       ==  Albert Einstein





May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings
The family with the adopted orphans

[More gosling photos below, here.]





Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 4:22 pm
From: "Peter V B."
Subject: Re: Talbott

Ever run across Dr. Paul Earley?

No, I don't recall having heard of him.


Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 5:36 pm
From: "Peter V B."
Subject:

Well, agent Orange, Earley is a devoted disciple of the great Talbott, and currently medical director of Talbott Recovery in Atlanta... the beat goes on


Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 5:54 pm     (answered 25 February 2011)
From: "Peter V B."
Subject: Re: Talbott

Forgive an old man...your writings revived old wounds...perhaps some scars are best left undisturbed after all these years...

Sent from my iPad

Hello again, Peter,

Thanks for the information. I didn't know that the Talbott "treatment center" was still in business. That bears investigating.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself
**     despises, is a puffer; he who makes use of more means that he
**     knows to be necessary, is a quack; and he who ascribes to those
**     means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants, is an imposter.
**         ==  John Caspar Lavater (1741—1801), Swiss theologian





Date: Tue, February 22, 2011 7:32 pm     (answered 25 February 2011)
From: "X"
Subject: Very Interesting

Wow! You definitely hit the nail on the head! I had some really creepy times at AA and a boarding school I was forced to go to as a teen (A Synanon offspring) called CEDU. I could write a book about that place. Went to AA for awhile last year, had a creepy obsessive sponsor who — Wow — if he's the model for AA then count me out! Also had a very AA devout aunt who ended up losing her life to a Methadone overdose in her late forties. I truly believe she became so obsessed with her "disease" that it ended up consuming her every thought and led her back to drink/drugs. What a waste.

The morning after the last time I went out drinking my best friend — also a hardcore AA member — said to me "you have a belly full of booze and head full of AA." I thought, yup, you're right. Now let's get rid of both. So I did. I quit drinking on my own. I began running, enjoying my life, joining normal activity groups, bought a car, and I am finally working my way through grad school. I definitely can't drink. I can go out and get a problem again real quick, but I don't. I use my common sense and the coping skills that I have had since I was child to get through the rough times. So far it has worked great for me. Yes, most AA'ers at this point would be super quick to remind me of the story in the BB about the successful man who quit on his own will only to drink many years later and was dead in a month. Whatever... That can happen to someone in AA as well. One can get hit by a car tomorrow, or god-forbid get diagnosed with cancer.

Anyway, very interesting reading.

Thanks much! And please redact any identifier if you put this up on your site. It looks like you do that already so thanks!

Hello X,

Okay, you are very anonymous. Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

I am also one of those people who just cannot drink alcohol. I do fine without it — I sure don't miss being sick and hung-over. I don't need constant meetings or "a program" to not drink; I just don't put any alcohol in my mouth because it makes me sick when I do. Problem solved.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Drunkenness is the vice of a good constitution, or a bad memory;
**    of a constitution so treacherously good, that it never bends till
**    it breaks, or of a memory that recollects the pleasures of getting
**    intoxicated, but forgets the pains of getting sober.
**       ==  Charles Caleb Colton (1780—1832), English writer and clergyman





Date: Wed, February 23, 2011 7:17 pm     (answered 26 February 2011)
From: "V. Thomas L"
Subject: Quote

Orange,

Thanks for writing back the last time I contacted you. I've been sober almost three years now and haven't been to a meeting in over two months. Once I realized that I was the one deserving the credit for my sobriety, not AA and those ridiculous steps (which I never did), the need for a meeting seemed entirely unnecessary. And you know what? I don't have any desire to drink, have not ended up in an institution and am not dead! Amazing!

Oh, and my sponsor? The one who cared so deeply about me staying sober....Haven't heard a word from him since I quit the meetings. I'd love to tell him that I've never been more "happy, joyous and free," but he would just tell me I couldn't have been a real alcoholic.

I now participate in my own program, and I work it very well. It's called, "No steps, no traditions, just don't drink." I highly recommend it.

For a long time I have felt a real connection to the following quote and now that I have dropped out of AA, I appreciate it even more and would like to share it with you:

"The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depend upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily."
.....Plato

Keep up your fine work. Have an outstanding day.

Tom

Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter. And of course I couldn't agree more. Congratulations on your sobriety and your freedom.

Isn't it just so revealing that your sponsor dropped you like a hot potato as soon as you wouldn't devote your life to his favorite organization? All of that talk about "Freely giving to others what was freely given to us" and "Let us love you until you can love yourself" just suddenly stops. The silence is deafening.

The fervent desire to save the lives of other people suddenly disappears. Now how is that?

I am reminded of the same thing in the Oxford Group, 75 years ago:

      They will bear — for a little time — with some criticism. But if you fail to acquiesce in conviction and that fairly quickly, then you are no longer interesting, and in the end, you find yourself exhorted from the platform to "pack up your criticisms with your luggage and GO — you are of no use."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable
**     ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.
**       ==  Henry David Thoreau





Date: Thu, February 24, 2011 5:46 am     (answered 26 February 2011)
From: "M."
Subject: correction request

Dear A. Orange,

I am an ex-Scientologist, I started reading your Cult Testing Questions site and it gave me new insights and better understanding of my involvement in that cult. Thank you! Impressive work, so far I love it!

I have a small correction request, in page http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-cult_q0.html you wrote:

"But for only $375,000 or more, Scientology will get rid of those pesky interplanetary cooties for you."

Actually this is incorrect. The auditing done to get rid of the BTs is done in 'Solo', that means you audit yourself — or better you audit the entities in your body getting them to leave. So, it would be more correct to write:

"But for only $375,000 or more, Scientology will teach you how to get rid of those pesky interplanetary cooties."

or better

"But for only $375,000 or more, Scientology will help you to get rid of those pesky interplanetary cooties."

Bye,

M.

Hello M.,

Quite right. Thanks for the correction. Yes, now that you mention it, I recall that those "higher levels" of being an "Operating Thetan" are "self-audited", which means that you hold the tin cans and read the E-Meter yourself, and talk to yourself and convince yourself that you have gotten rid of the ghosts.

Isn't modern high technology wonderful?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Alcoholics Anonymous and Scientology could get together and
**    do a joint venture: They can declare that alcoholism is
**    caused by interplanetary cooties — that is, by the
**    ghosts of unhappy aliens who were dumped into a volcano here
**    60 million years ago, and who are now flying around and biting
**    people and making them drink alcohol. And the cure is to give
**    all of your money to an Alcocon Treatment Center®, which
**    will perform a 12-Step exorcism and tin-can confession session
**    to help you to get rid of those bothersome ghosts, but only
**    if you really try and thoroughly follow our path.





Date: Thu, February 24, 2011 6:06 pm     (answered 26 February 2011)
From: "John M."
Subject: Not good

http://www.dlisted.com/node/40966

Charlie may have a point, but he is the WORST person in the world to say that.

John M

As always, withhold the full name if you would.

Hello again, John,

Yes, isn't this whole Charlie Sheen circus just such a classic example of getting agreement from people you don't want to be associated with?

It reminds me of the scene in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" where the protagonist was trying to describe his experience with a UFO to Air Force authorities, and he was getting interrupted by a loud-mouthed raving nutcase who wouldn't stop talking about alien abductions and Bigfoot, and on and on...

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Here's an object more of dread
**     Than aught the grave contains —
**     A human form with reason fled,
**     While wretched life remains.
**       ==  Abraham Lincoln, letter to Andrew Johnson, Sept. 6, 1846.





Date: Thu, February 24, 2011 7:18 pm     (answered 26 January 2011)
From: "0_o"
Subject: Charlie Sheen agrees with everything on your site.

Unfortunately, I am not Charlie Sheen and I don't know what his email address is.

Maybe you could get a written statement from him as a endorsement of sorts. Who knows?

Hello O_o,

Charlie Sheen apparently agrees with me about one thing.
That does not constitute agreement about everything.

The propaganda trick that you are trying to use is called The Fallacy of One Similarity.

(Not to mention Sarcasm.)

You are also trying to infer that Charlie Sheen is wrong about everything because he has a drug problem. That is a standard 12-Step cult characteristic — two of them, in fact:

Somebody having a drink or drug problem does not invalidate his whole life, and make him wrong about everything. But you would never know that from listening to Steppers.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You can get more stinkin'
**     from 12-Step thinkin'
**     than you can from drinkin'."





Date: Fri, February 25, 2011 1:37 pm     (answered 26 February 2011)
From: "Ian W."
Subject: News quote.....about a popular TV star...disses AA

Way to go, Charlie.

CBS and Warner Bros. Television have pulled the plug on the rest of Two and a Half Men's season after series star Charlie Sheen's shocking radio rant on Thursday.

"Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of Two and a Half Men for the remainder of the season," reads the statement.

It's about time.

Sheen's personal life has made headlines numerous times, from his marital problems to various substance abuse issues. This isn't the first time production on Two and a Half Men has been halted because of him. The first time was in 2010, when the actor entered a rehab facility; then again on Jan. 27, 2011, following his hospitalization (for alleged "severe abdominal pains") and another stint in rehab.

Things got a whole lot worse after Sheen sent an open letter to TMZ, responding to Men's suspension, and unleashed a verbal assault against Sheen's boss, Men creator Chuck Lorre. Sheen kept referring to Lorre by his "real name Chaim Levine," and it only went downhill from there.

In what is likely the boldest, harshest statement made by a series star about their showrunner, Sheen unloaded:

"I violently hate Chaim Levine. He's a stupid, stupid little man and a p---- punk that I'd never want to be like. That's me being polite. That piece of s--- took money out of my pocket, my family's pocket, and, most importantly, my second family — my crew's pocket ... You can tell him one thing. I own him." Sheen then challenged Lorre to a figurative duel: "If he wins, then he can leave my show."

His TMZ tirade comes after Sheen called into a syndicated radio show on Thursday, opening his mouth and unleashing a stunning tongue-lashing, attacking his hit show as well as Alcoholics Anonymous.

"I was told if I went on the attack, they would cancel the show and all that, and so I'm just sort of seeing if they're telling the truth or not," Sheen told the host of The Alex Jones Show, referring to his bosses at CBS.

"Are they happy with the $5 billion they already made off me or do they think they can turn it into $10 [billion] in a couple more seasons?" Charlie continued. "I'm just saying, you know [the show] is a runaway freakin' juggernaut."

Sheen made it clear that the show would fail miserably without him, citing the ratings decline the sitcom has seen in recent weeks, since he became tabloid fodder.

"Watch your ratings, dudes. Watch your stupid ratings," he ranted, before threatening, "Do what you've gotta do; I'll go make movies with superstars and not work with idiots."

Charming.

The problematic actor also targeted Alcoholics Anonymous during his interview with Jones, calling the organization a "cult" and "a bunch of losers," and claiming it has been "brainwashing his family."

Riiiiight.

"I don't know enough about what I call the 'Church of the Martian Idiots' truly to comment on what they profess to believe in. I always thought of [it] as like a really complicated long joke with no good punchline ... 22 years around those impressive clowns and losers — I just, you know, finally extracted myself from their troll hole and started living my life the way I want to live it because AA does not teach you how to live your life the way you want to live it.

"[AA] is vintage, it's outdated, it's stupid and it's worshipped by stupid people, and it is their fault," he continued, before adding, "They suffocated my soul, they hijacked my brain, they brainwashed my friends and my family. Now I hate them violently and I will use every soldier in my army to defend myself against them, 'cause they will come at me. They will come at me with all of their doctors, and their talking heads and all their other freakin' loser clowns."

A spokesperson for Alcoholics Anonymous responded to Sheen's comments in a statement to Access Hollywood, saying, "People have a right to their opinions. We've been around for 75 years and have helped millions of people obtain sobriety. There are many paths to sobriety, sometimes through spirituality, through medication, through therapy, a lot of different ways. We just know that AA has worked for millions of people. We are not a cult, but we are a powerful movement."

The feud has been growing for a while now. Last week, Lorre took aim at Sheen with one of his infamous vanity cards.

But since that only added fuel to the fire, Lorre decided to "take a break for a few weeks" from writing his post-episode thoughts, reports Entertainment Weekly.

Instead, Lorre announced on Monday (following an episode of one of his other shows, Mike & Molly), that he would "display a photograph of a part of my body that is entirely innocuous. No longer will I share some troublesome piece of my mind. Now I will share an actual piece of Chuck that is incapable of offending anyone." Lorre included a picture of his elbow.

And Lorre stuck to his word. After last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory, which he also created, Lorre's vanity card had the same message, except this time, it featured an image of his knuckle.

Lorre claimed the break was needed, after his musings were "getting scrutinized and criticized" by everyone from network executives to journalists and "it's gotten out of hand."

Sheen, and the rest of the cast and crew, planned to return to his show when production was originally supposed to resume on March 1, but clearly that's not happening. Hmmm, wonder who he's going to rant to next .

Hello Ian,

Thanks for the information. Yes, that is such a sad case, isn't it? I hate to see people self-destructing, no matter whether it's Mel Gibson, or Lindsay Lohan, or David Hasselhoff, or Glen Campbell, or Nick Nolte, or whomever.

There but for the grace of God go I.

It is still not clear if Sheen was drunk or stoned or neither when he went on that rant. There is a lot of debate going on about maybe he is bipolar and was off of his meds, or maybe he overdosed on benzodiazepine meds, or maybe he is suffering from serious brain damage from too many years of too many drugs. Us outsiders have little chance of accurately diagnosing him without some more evidence.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One must live the way one thinks, or end up
**     thinking the way one has lived.
**       ==  Paul Bourget, "Conclusions,"
**           Le Démon de midi (1914).





May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose family with 9 goslings
The Family of 9

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





Date: Fri, February 25, 2011 9:29 am     (answered 2 March 2011)
From: "Kim S."
Subject: Question on your article regarding AA

Dear Mr/Ms "Orange,"

Would it be possible for you to post the comments you have received thus far to your article on your analysis of the data supporting the AA 12 step program. I then went to your website and although you state you have received many email messages questioning or rebutting your review, you do not have these comments posted? I am requesting that you do so, since my questions are probably the same as the others you have already received.

Hello Kim,

Thanks for the questions. I post almost all critical letters that I receive. Start with the first file of letters, here. You will very soon find letters that criticize me and tell me to read the Big Book and find out what it's all about, and on and on. And then there are 224 more files of letters following that first one, and just about every one of those files of letters contains angry letters that criticize me and call me a sack of motherfuckers, and declare that I am killing alcoholics by telling the truth, and things like that.

I have major concerns regarding you inappropriate and down right WRONG interpretation of pharmaceutical clinical studies. Your ignorance with regard to how clinical trials are conducted and data interpreted is so ignorant it makes we question every other conclusion in your "analysis." I know there is a lot of trash on the internet and maybe I should just ignore your website and this article all together. However, we do have an alcoholic in our family and we are encouraging this person to get help and use the tools available- including AA. Assuming I agree with your conclusions (which I do not) here is my question to you, MR/MS ORANGE: If your family member was an alcoholic- what would you do? Hope this person is among the 5% that "spontaneously" recover? Or encourage that individual to seek out all help available?

I do not "interpret" clinical studies of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous. I simply state the facts that doctors found. You are trying to use the propaganda trick of Escape Via Relativism to turn the debate into an argument that is merely one opinion versus another, or one "interpretation" versus another.

It is not a matter of interpretations. It is a matter of doctors doing controlled studies and then stating what the results were. My opinion has no part in it. Facts are facts, and death rates are death rates.

Actually, you are the one who shows no evidence of understanding how clinical tests and controlled studies are conducted. You wrote:

I have major concerns regarding you inappropriate and down right WRONG interpretation of pharmaceutical clinical studies. Your ignorance with regard to how clinical trials are conducted and data interpreted is so ignorant it makes we question every other conclusion in your "analysis."

Tests of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous treatment are not tests of pharmaceuticals. Did you just throw that word in there to try to make your rap sound more impressive?

Furthermore, it isn't me who interprets the data, it is the doctor who conducted the test and wrote the report. Like when Dr. Vaillant wrote that the A.A. death rate was "appalling", that was his interpretation of the data, not mine.

You don't really know anything about clinical tests, do you? Go read this description of how a doctor or scientist or researcher conducts a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study.

If I had an alcoholic in my family (besides myself), I would recommend that he go to SMART meetings, and Lifering and SOS if they were in the area. I would also recommend that he read the book Rational Recovery, and also read a whole bunch of the other books on the Top 10 reading list. I would also certainly tell him about all of the suffering that alcohol caused me. And I would point him to the lists of links where we discussed what works, and what has helped people, How did you get to where you are?.

I would not recommend that any sick alcoholics or drug addicts go join a cult religion that claims to have a great cure for drug and alcohol problems, but that actually fails to help them. That includes Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Scientology, and Synanon, and Jim Jones's People's Temple (you know, where they drank the koolaid).

I don't know how you can live with yourself for writing such an incredibly bias and dangerous article.

And there it is again — the standard A.A. put-down: "Telling the truth about A.A. is doing a great disservice to alcoholics who are seeking sobriety."

I have a long list of A.A. parrots who keep repeating that attack. Welcome to the list.

Warmly,

Dr. Kim S.

Doctor? Doctor of what? Obviously not medicine. Real doctors know how to read the results of controlled studies and clinical tests. And real doctors know the difference between Alcoholics Anonymous and a pharmaceutical.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If someone has cancer or diabetes or coronary disease,
**     we don't use a quack doctor to treat those sick people —
**     a quack whose only qualification is that he used to drink
**     too much alcohol or take too many drugs, and who is now
**     a member of a cult religion. But with the so-called
**     "disease" of alcoholism, the standard treatment is
**     to have former alcoholics or dopers dispensing their
**     platitudes and slogans, and insisting that "spirituality"
**     is the cure.


Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 4:49 pm     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: "Kim S."
Subject: Re: Question on your article regarding AA

Happy to be in the list with other the rational people.

Sent from my iPhone

Uh, Kim,

That list is not a list of rational people. There is nothing rational about claiming that we should not tell the truth to sick people.

In fact, it is illegal to not tell the truth about suggested treatments for deadly diseases or disorders or conditions. Doctors are required by law to do "full disclosure", accurately informing the patient about the success rate of any suggested treatment, and the odds of survivial, and the death rate, and any possible complications — everything. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Everything. So that the patient can then make an informed choice. Since you are claiming the title of "Dr.", you should know that.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

[The next letter from Kim_S is here.]





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Last updated 19 January 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters225.html