Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXVII



[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 11:44 am     (answered 10 October 2011)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Random Comments

Aw, poor goslings. If I knew you then, I'd have offered to keep them on a farm I lived on at the time (let's ignore the fact I live on the opposite side of the country), with grass tall enough to hide a child or a short adult. Not really ideal, since they would have needed to stay in a pen to protect them from dogs and coyotes, and there's no nearby wetlands (except for an underground lake, which is why the grass grew so tall), but still better than what they got. Still, at least you made their lives better for a while, and I'm glad Carmen got a happy ending.

Yes, all I can do is hope that the month of growing that I gave them enabled them to survive. They had zero chance of survival when they were little 3-day-old fluff-balls. At a month of age, they are much larger and better able to survive the cold nights.

Still, goslings normally stay with their parents for two years. They don't leave the family until they marry. Much like human teenagers. So emotionally, it wasn't good for them.

Wow, Hyderman was that deceptive? I doubt he's even that good of a chiropractor. Even if he did have actual credentials, credentials in and of themselves are not a valid argument. Illogical assertions from a Ph.D. or MD are still illogical assertions.

Indeed. But they were illogical assertions from a fake doctor.

I was looking over your excellent Propaganda and Debating Techniques page, and I did notice a couple of inaccuracies in a few of the examples you used. Under "Everybody's Doing It", the leading university professors and Church authorities didn't think Columbus was crazy for believing the Earth was round. Educated Westerners and mariners at the time knew that the Earth was round. Rather, the issue was that Columbus miscalculated the route to India as being shorter than it actually was. Were it not for the existence of the Americas, he would have run out of supplies long before reaching India.

Good points.

In fact, a Greek correctly established the diameter of the Earth many centuries before by measuring the angle of the sun at two different places at high noon, and measuring the distance between them.

There was a peculiar very deep well in Arabia that was located on the equator, and there were only two days of the year when the sun shone straight down to the bottom of the well at high noon. The Greek figured out that at this day and time, the sun was exactly above that well.

On that day, at high noon, the smart Greek mathematician measured the angle of the sun where he was located, as far north of the well as he could get (without being in the Mediterranean). And he paid "pacers" to walk to the well, carefully measuring the distance to the well. Those numbers enabled him to calculate the diameter of the Earth by using simple trigonometry. (Okay, trigonometry was very "high tech" in those days.) He got an answer that was very close to 25,000 miles.

Too bad Columbus didn't read that Greek guy's paper. Alas, there was no Internet or Wikipedia then, so Columbus didn't know about that.

The key thing about the "Everybody Knows, and Everybody Says, and Everybody's Doing It" propaganda trick is that the statement isn't true. The assertion that the opinion is unanimous is false. The propagandist just points at a bunch of people and declares that "Everybody says..." And he ignores those people who disagree with him.

Of course there were some people who thought the Earth was round. But a speaker who didn't want to believe that just ignored them and made a sweeping generalization:

  • "Everybody knows that the world is flat."

    It's just like:

  • "Everybody knows that the best way to stimulate the economy is to let the rich people get out of paying taxes. Then they will happily spend lots of money and hire all of us as their servants, and we will all live happily ever after."

Also, under False Analysis of History, it's questionable whether Nero really did fiddle while Rome burned. According to Tacitus
<http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Annals_%28Tacitus%29/Book_15#39>,
Nero actually arranged for food supplies to be delivered to survivors, and he allowed those who became homeless to stay at his palaces. He also came up with an urban development plan to prevent more fires. That, and technically, fiddles didn't exist yet. However, he did blame Christians for the fire in order to deflect rumors that he started the fire. Honestly, the history of Nero's reign is kind of tricky, since there are no surviving contemporary sources, and the sources that do exist (Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Suetonius) contradict each other. Suetonius started the legend of "Nero fiddled while Rome burned"
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Suetonius/12Caesars/Nero*.html#38 .

Interesting. I'll take your word for it.

And on an extremely minor note, if Nessie is a dinosaur, it wouldn't necessarily follow that she would be cold-blooded, since it's still up for debate whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded, like birds, or cold-blooded, like reptiles
<http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/dinosaurcontroversies/i/warmblooded.htm>
Of course, that doesn't really change anything in your logic, since you did account for warm-bloodedness and give plenty of other reasons why Nessie can't possibly exist.

Yes. The latest evidence that I saw on PBS, just recently, was that dinosaurs were in fact warm-blooded. Cold-blooded reptiles have growth rings in their bones just like trees do. Rapid growth in the summer, and no growth in the winter, leaves rings. Well, the dinosaur bones that they studied had no rings. Ergo, warm-blooded dinosaurs that don't slow down in the winter.

But that of course means that "Nessie dinosaurs" need to eat even more fish to feed their warmth engine. They will have high energy needs. And they will quickly eat all of the fish in a small lake. So "Nessie" would have starved to death a long time ago. Poor Nessie.

Oh well, maybe there is still a Bigfoot. E.T. phone home.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety
**     (by telling the truth).  Everybody knows that those disgusting
**     feeble-minded alcoholics cannot handle the truth."
**     "Oh, and we are working real hard to remove the stigma of alcoholism."

P.S.: Eratosthenes — that was the name of the Greek guy. Except that he wasn't Greek, he was Egyptian/Libyan, with a Greek-sounding name. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 5:06 pm     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: "Peter Ferentzy"
Subject: Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy wrote a new post Tough Love is a Joke — Let's Start Enabling Drug Addicts Everywhere

Dr. Peter Ferentzy
October 9, 2011 at 7:00pm

On September 26, I posted a piece on tough love. It generated many remarks along with some discussion of enabling, to which tough love is apparently the remedy. The tough love...

To comment on this post, follow the link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-peter-ferentzy/drug-addiction-tough-love_b_1000184.html

Okay Peter,

Thanks for the tip. Got it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nor deem the irrevocable Past
**        As wholly wasted, wholly vain,
**     If, rising on its wrecks, at last
**        To something nobler we attain.
**           ==  Longfellow, The Ladder of St. Augustine





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#Rational_S ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 8:24 pm     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: "Rational S."
Subject:

Hello Orange.

Thank you for opening my eyes to AA. I have 7 years sobriety. Over the last 6 months have I started reading up on Alternatives to AA. AVRT and rational recovery makes a lot more sense to me then the 12 steps. The problem is that after going for 7 years I have met some good people (although brainwashed), and I find it hard to stop going to meetings altogether. I have cut down to only 2 meetings a week, although I was guilt-ed into going on a speaking Commitment today. When I spoke I actually brought up a few of the things that I learned from rational recovery, such as the behavior model as opposed to the disease model, and the psycho babel of discussion meetings. A couple of people actually gave me some positive feedback but I could just tell that I pissed of a few people.

The bottom line is that even though I know that AA is nonsense, after 7 years I have unwittingly turned it into my primarily source of socializing. Just wanted your opinion as to what is the best way out. Should I just immediately stop attending Meetings, or pursue a gradual release. What makes it difficult for me is the fact that, even though the program is a lot of bull, I have met a lot of good people as well, that I know I will never see if I stop attending meetings.

Thank you.
Rational S

Hello, Rational S,

Thanks for the thanks. I think that you have already started to solve your problem. You have cut down on the number of A.A. meetings that you attend, and are slowly detaching from A.A. That is the way to do it. Just burning all of your bridges suddenly will leave you in a lonely state, and that is no good.

You don't have to sever all connections with the people that you like. Can't you meet them someplace else, like for coffee or lunch, now and then? Or go to a show or something together? If you can't, if you can only see them at an A.A. meeting, then they aren't really your friends.

Likewise, those people who objected to you talking about any kind of rational recovery are not your friends. They just want to hear everybody repeating their favorite superstitions. They are not sincerely interested in the welfare of the people that they claim to want to help, or they would be interested in anything that might help.

Personally, I know some people whose religion I don't wish to share, or whose politics I don't agree with, but I don't have to totally cut them off. We just avoid those subjects.

The best solution for you that I can think of is to actively develop other social relationships. Really work on it. Devote one or two evenings a week to it. Or all of Saturday or Sunday. Instead of going to an A.A. meeting, you go to a non-A.A. meeting.

Not only can you go to other recovery meetings like SMART or SOS or Lifering or whatever (list here), but you can go to lots of other things that have nothing to do with A.A. or recovery. Bingo, bowling, tiddly-winks, hang-gliding, wilderness treks, whatever.

Pick up a dating guide at the used book store, or get one from the library. Like "Dating For Dummies". Not so much for chasing girls (although that doesn't hurt), but for the lists of suggestions of things to do, and places to go. Art museum, concert, movies, whatever.

The idea is just to go to non-drinking places and events and meet other people, and gradually get a new circle of friends. You will also find it a nice breath of fresh air to be in groups of people who have other interests in life than just recovery.

We also discussed the process of detaching from A.A. in some previous letters:

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     We are social beings.  We are absolutely hard-wired to fit in.
**     We don't want to be outsiders.  It causes neurological stress.
**       ==  M. Heffernin, "Willful Blindness"





July 20, 2011, Wednesday, a side trip to the Fernhill Wetlands this summer:

Ducklings
Ducklings, two siblings

They are a funny combination of black and white domestic duck and Mallard.


Duckling
Duckling


Duckling
Duckling

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#Kelly_B ]

Date: Sun, October 9, 2011 6:07 pm     (answered 11 October 2011)
From: "Kelly B."
Subject: de-programming the :"Evolutionary Impulse"

Hello Orange,

I have been in a cultish frame of mind for a while and its been anguishing. Its the Evolutionary Enlightenement process that Wilber and Cohen and others are teaching.

Tonight I finally got it: Andrew Cohen writes in his new book that "if you fail, the creative process itself loses a precious opportunity to evolve."

" I don't believe it's possible to to live a passionate and engaged spiritual life and contribute significantly to the evolution of consciousness and culture without this kind of profound commitment."

"It is essential to avoid self betrayal. If you betray that aspiration, which is your Authentic Self, you will lose your bearings. And if you betray yourself too many times, you will soon come to a point where you won't care anymore"

So I am at the point where I don't care anymore, but the emotional luggage that goes with this failure to evolve is rather messy and I am not feeling real well. Worse, I have felt like this before and been unable to pull myself away from still trying to "evolve." I need to get away from this.

any insight on this new kind of self induced cult?
Thank you very much.

Kelly B

Hello Kelly,

Thank you for the question.

It sounds like you are suffering from depression.

You have not failed in life, or blown all of your chances, or reached a state where you don't care any more. The fact that you are writing to me shows that you do still care, and you are still trying.

I totally agree with the old saying, "Unto thine own self be true." If you aren't true to yourself, then you are wasting your life being an extra in somebody else's movie. I think that's part of what Andrew Cohen was getting at there.

So, the first thing I recommend is something to cheer you up.

  • Can you get some counseling? Will your health insurance plan cover that? (Assuming that you are one of the lucky Americans who actually has health insurance...)

  • And see a doctor, and see if he thinks you are suffering from depression. Or a bipolar disorder. Or something.

  • And anything else that you can think of to cheer yourself up would probably help.

The situation isn't hopeless. You haven't failed and wasted your life. And life is really worth living.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Sitting around talking about being depressed with depressed
**      people does not make you better."
**         ==  NPR (National Public Radio), 1:23PM, 23 November 2009


Date: Thu, October 13, 2011 2:29 pm
From: "Kelly B."
Subject: Re: de-programming the :"Evolutionary Impulse"

Thank you Orange.

I suppope i will look and see who is in the area. Blessed I am with health care.

Have a good day yourself.

Kelly B

Good, and have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
**     It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
**     == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#Morgan_E ]

Date: Mon, October 10, 2011 5:36 am     (answered 12 October 2011)
From: "Morgan E."
Subject: Once again, Sending this again. Re: AA

Hi Orange,

I sent you a rather lengthy message a few years ago, and though promised, never got a reply. I understand being busy, and just thought of it again today to send it to you and hopefully this time begin a discourse with you.

Hello Morgan,

Thanks for this letter, and I'm sorry about the previous one. I don't know what happened, or remember. Perhaps I set the letter aside for special handling, and it got forgotten and lost. Sometimes I have to go look things up in order to be able to answer something, so that delays answering a letter. The incoming email is a river, and if I don't keep ahold of something, it can get washed downstream and lost.

I have been sober in AA for over 16 years, and pretty happily I might add. I agree (like any human institution) AA has many problems in it's fellowship. There are definitely some pretty sick people I have met in AA over the years... as there have been in other institutions I have been in contact with (including public schools, university, corporations, local, national and state government etc, ad nauseum). I hear your complaints, and as I stated in my earlier letter (attached) I really feel that if more of AA's membership practiced AA's 12 steps, and also practiced AA's 12 traditions, not dogmatically but practically, there wouldn't be a need for your site.

Congratulations on keeping yourself sober for 16 years. Nobody but you holds your hand every Saturday night.

I agree that if more people were more moral and spiritual that things would be better. If everybody would really practice Christianity or any other good religion, we would have Heaven on Earth.

Alas, there is zero evidence that Frank Buchman's cult religion practices (not principles) that make up the 12 Steps actually do anything good. All of the evidence says that Buchmanism was one bad cult.

I'm sure you are aware that there are many failures in Smart Recovery, and Moderation Management as well, most notably the founder of Moderation Management, Audrey Kishline, who in March 2000 drove her truck the wrong way down a highway, and hit another vehicle head-on killing its two passengers (a father and his 12 year old daughter).

You do know, don't you, that Audrey Kishline quit her own organization, Moderation Management, and went back to Alcoholics Anonymous three months before she relapsed and drove drunk and killed two people? Funny how not a single Stepper has ever mentioned that fact when criticizing Moderation Management or Audrey Kishline. Not one, in the 10 years that I've been doing this web site. Not one Stepper has admitted that Audrey Kishline was actually doing the A.A. program when she relapsed. They always try to claim that Audrey's relapse shows that MM doesn't work.

I am a member of an AA group that really encourages members to not listen to those in the fellowship who just suggest going to meeting as if that is somehow a cure for alcoholism. Our group instead encourages practicing AA's 12 steps as a way of life. Over the past 7 years the group has grown to 200+ recovered members and is regularly attended by members of other fellowships (NA, CA, GA, SLAA, ALANON, OA, etc) because they see the recovery rate in our group, and want to take it back into their own fellowships. All we do is AA, as it's program is outlines in the book, Alcoholics Anoymous.

The problem remains that the 12 Steps are just Bill Wilson's copy of Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination practices. They are not "spiritual", or even moral. They are occult and superstitious. They are also very damaging. They resemble Chinese Communist brainwashing techniques far more than they resemble any Christian practices. The 12 Steps also resemble occult practices like channeling and necromancy more than Christianity. The idea that you can conduct a séance and hear the Voice Of God telling you what to do, and giving you the power to carry out His Secret Mission is insane.

It's easy (again as in any human institution) to find fault, but it's quite one-sided just showing the bad.

That is an attempt at both minimalization and denial and escape via relativism.

"It's so easy to find fault with the Nazi Party. Why don't you look at the good work that they have done? Lots of organizations have some little problems."

"It isn't fair to criticize the Communists without recognizing the good that they did."

I have looked at the good that A.A. does. Here is the file: What's Good About A.A.?

Unfortunately, the amount of good done is very small, and it is totally outweighed by the bad that A.A. does, like raising the death rate in alcoholics, and raising the rates of binge drinking, and arrests, and cost of hospitalization, and divorce, and suicide... That is not good.

The stories about A.A. saving millions are lies. Period. They are not misunderstandings, or mere interpretations of the facts. The A.A. claim that it has saved millions is a barefaced lie. Bill Wilson started the A.A. tradition of exaggerating A.A. success rates, and A.A. has never stopped doing it.

I'd love to get your feedback on my previous letter, and also if you could read "A Member's Eye View of Alcoholic's Anonymous." I would love to discuss that with you too.

Do you have a link for that "View"?

I see that you included your previous letter below, so I'll answer it there.

Hope to (finally) hear back form you.

Best,
Morgan

dear orange, i came to find your site while doing some aa research. you bring up some interesting points, and i do feel that many aa members would actually benefit from some of them that you raise as i have.

i am a member of aa who has been abstinent for 12 years. i am not one however who has blindly followed the dogma that you speak of. for me the basic principles of aa, stripped of any of the sectarian religion, and other qualities that many members ascribe to them, have given a foundation to my life and a discipline that was sorely lacking previously.

i do understand the points that you bring up and agree that some of aa's "members" don't really practice aa, but claim that what they do, or at least what they talk about is aa. the short form of aa's traditions have a very loose membership policy, anyone with a desire to stop drinking can be a "member" of the fellowship. it's been my experience that i have benefited more from the other parts of the program, the 12 steps (again, as i believe they were meant to be experienced, minus any dogma, or sectarian religion.)these are the steps as i was shown, and as i have experienced, not "i am powerless over everything" "i am crazy in every area of my life" and "i will always be recovering, never recovered": step one for me was of three parts:

a) that when i take a drink, any ideas that i had about how much i'm going to drink after that go out the window. (believe me i have tried to control it, i certainly did not intend for all of the wreckage that happened out of my continued drunkenness to occur).

That is true for me too, but that does not mean that I am powerless over alcohol. Quite the opposite. I am very powerful, and can choose not to drink alcohol, and I do it every day. And without any cult religion, too.

b) that even though i might try to "think it through", "play the tape all the way out", that though that may work for a while, one day that defence would give way for some insanely trivial reason to just have a few drinks. that is the only type of insanity that the aa book talks about. and if by definition that insanity is "unsoundness of mind, senselessness; foolhardiness", or legally, "inability to understand the nature and consequences of one's acts or of events, matters, or proceedings in which one is involved". when i took a drink after periods of sobriety i never thought of the consequences. i believed it would be great, i'd have fun, relax, etc. that sometimes would happen, but i'd go far beyond "fun", even though i never planned to. to me that was insane. not in every area of my life, specifically in that area.

That is Bill Wilson's crazy sermon from the Big Book:

      ...we think we can render an even greater service to alcoholic sufferers and perhaps to the medical fraternity. So we shall describe some of the mental states that precede a relapse into drinking, for obviously this is the crux of the problem.   ...
      "Suddenly the thought crossed my mind that if I were to put an ounce of whiskey in my milk it couldn't hurt me on a full stomach. ...
The experiment went so well that I ordered another whiskey and poured it into more milk. That didn't seem to bother me so I tried another."   ...
      ...all reasons for not drinking were easily pushed aside in favor of the foolish idea that he could take whiskey if only he mixed it with milk!   ...
      Whatever the precise definition of the word may be, we call this plain insanity. How can such a lack of proportion, of the ability to think straight, be called anything else?
The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 36-37.

The guy wanted a drink, so he made up an excuse, and then drank. I described the same phenomenon in the file on The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster.

That was not an example of a guy being "powerless over alcohol". That was just a guy who wanted to drink, so he did.

Refusing to think about the consequences of drinking is merely a dishonest mental trick to get a drink. The guy really wants a drink, so he lies to himself and says, "Oh it will be okay." It is not powerlessness.

c) that internally my life had become unmanageable, and that although my solutions to the internal conflict that i suffered from caused external unmanegability the problem was internal and not conditional (external). because as i experienced, even when my conditions changed, my problem remained.

It's easy to bandy about that "unmanageable" word, but the reality for me was that after getting very sick and being unable to work, and going broke, and getting the utilities turned off, and getting evicted, and being homeless, I was suddenly very powerful and just quit drinking because I decided that I was not going to die that way. And that was 11 years ago, and I haven't had a drink or a cigarette or a drug since. So much for the unmanageability and powerlessness.

The truth is that the power was always within me. I just had trouble getting my will set straight.

step two: what i've found is that the process of the 12 steps have led me to discovering what the aa book calls "an unsuspected inner resource" an internal guidance system, that the "great reality" isn't "somewhere out there" it is, again as the book states, "deep down within me", though before the process of honest self appraisal (step 4), restitution to those i harmed (step 9), and an attention to those that i could be of service to, in and out of aa (step 12), i had a really hard time tapping into it. that internal compass (my conscience, consciousness of the interconnectivity of life) was obscured by pomp (my ego), calamity (problems in my life, mostly unsolvable by me, that i focused most of my attentions on anyway) and worship of other things (money, property, prestige, sex, security, position in society), so that i(as an individual apart from society) was all that mattered and all that i focused my attentions on. so coming to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity (again sanity being that perverse lack of judgment that i have concerning alcohol) meant that although the process to get there would require humility and perseverance, that there was a power greater than my ego deep down inside of me, and that the discovery and use of that system, connecting to a greater universal consciousness, through practice, would expel the obsession to drink.

That sure is a lot of fancy language to try to say what I just said above: The power was always within me. Getting my will power set straight was the real task at hand.

And "the power" that both you and I are describing is not an external "Higher Power" like A.A. sells. Here, you try to push the idea that the power is within you — an "internal compass". But that isn't what the 12 Steps say. They declare that "God" is outside of you, and you must beg "God" to grant your wishes and remove your defects, and then tell you what to do.

You know, that is another standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick. First the "higher power" can be within you during Step 2 — "Higher Power" can be any vague airy-fairy thing that you wish It to be — but then, in Step 3, It has to "take care of your will and your life" for you, and then, by Step 7, it's an Old-Testament Tyrant Who dictates orders from above and grants wishes and removes "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" and "wrongs", but only if you grovel and pray and confess enough. And then the Old Tyrant will kill you with alcoholism if you don't "Seek and Do His Will" every day.

Ummm, exactly how does an "inner compass" take care of your will and your life for you?

Also see:

step three: the first requirement was that i be convinced that any life run purely on self-will(acting in my own self interest without regard for the interest of others) would not lead to success or happiness for me or anyone else, as evidenced by the life i had when i came to aa. step three was a decision to begin the process of an active belief system; that i believe that since so far, my life run by me, has been run into the ground, that i would trust, and by trust, i mean begin to practice, the 12 steps as a way of life and that if i found that by going through this process of honest self appraisal, confession, restitution, meditation, and service, that i was restored to sanity,if that happened, as a result of this course of action and if i found the power that i had been missing to live life successfully, i would take an attitude of service with me into my life. i would live my life as i believe it was meant to be lived, with a consciousness of others, and of a power that holds us all together.

That is again parroting the sermons of William Griffith Wilson:

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good.
The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 60.

Right. You must unselfishly devote your life to Bill Wilson's cult religion.

Obviously, you and I mean very different things when we talk about will. I say that will power is a good thing — a life-saver in fact — but you call self-will an evil thing, and think that surrendering your will and being the slave of Somebody or Something Else is the best way to live.

Then you wrote: "step three was a decision to begin the process of an active belief system".
You decided to throw your brain into the trash can and just believe in the teachings of an old alcoholic con artist who sold Frank Buchman's cult religion as a quack cure for alcohol abuse. Yes, that is Surrender To The Cult.

step four: a fact finding and fact facing process. looking at what, so far, has been an unsuccessful life in many areas, and beginning to see that if i would be able to begin to live life successfully, that i would have to take a new view of the world. the discovery that many of my problems were self-created and that others, like me were not perfect either, and that in order to find happiness, i would have to accept their humanity, and my own as well. i discovered that there were some harms i caused that would have to be reconciled. i realized that my life had been primarily run on fear, and that fear brought with it most of the problems in my life. also i realized that in romantic relationship i had expected perfection from my girlfriends, and i had felt that they should forgive all my faults, and that i had been dishonest in all of those relationships and had been a contributing party to their ultimate collapse although at the time i blamed the other entirely. (all of this stuff, the "pomp, calamity, worship of other things" all of these things that through this process were brought to light, had separated me from any real relationship with myself or others.)

Self-examination is all fine and well, but what A.A does is closer to Chinese brainwashing than sensible self-examination. Look here for Dr. Robert J. Lifton's description of Chinese Communist brainwashing.

The sad fact of the matter is that this A.A. practice drives sick people to suicide.

the process of the forth step was not a getting down on myself and begging forgiveness, it was simply realizing what hadn't been working, and through that (and the remaining 7 steps that followed) my life has been really set on track.

That is really glossing over the humiliation involved in making a list of your every sin and confessing it to a sponsor (who might blab it all over town).

it is unfortunate that some courts require drunk drivers who are not alcoholics to go to a.a., that treatment centers suggest that their patients go to a.a. that some treatment centers say that "drug addiction" and alcoholism "ar the exact same thing" and suggest that former inmates go to a.a. groups and lie and claim to be alcoholics, when truly the patient was perhaps only addicted to methamphetamine. there is some weird shit for sure. very human very imperfect stuff.

True. Unfortunately, the A.A. organization — specifically, the A.A. headquarters — refuses to even try to discourage it. In fact they encourage it, and publish guidelines for "cooperation with the courts". See the pamphlet titled "AA Guidelines, Cooperating with Court, DWI, and Similar Programs". Also see the document on the A.A. web site: http://www.aa.org/en_pdfs/mg-05_coopwithcourt.pdf.

The reality is that the A.A. organization loves coercive recruiting. How else are they going to get fresh meat into the meeting rooms?

Without coercive recruiting, A.A. would be less than half the size that it is.

bill wilson, noted chain smoker and adulterer who died of emphysema and robert smith proctologist who fied of prostate cancer, founders of a.a. were very human. i have never read any a.a. material which suggests that either one should be looked on with reverence. in fact a.a.w.s.'s pamphlet "a member's eye view of a.a." condemns that idea all together.

Interesting theory. But in practice, the A.A. faithful make the pilgrimage to Dr. Bob's house in Akron each year, and worship Dr. Bob's coffee pot.

And then we have this garbage:


Saint Bill and Saint Bob healing Bill Dotson, the Man in the Bed


"Bill Wilson, converting a fawning moron."

Bill Wilson posing for a staged "Man On The Bed" publicity photograph, where Bill allegedly performed miraculous faith healings, making the drunks "pick up their beds and walk."

Notice the cross on the wall. This photograph was very carefully staged for best effect.

Alano Clubhouse
(click on image for larger version)

Yes, Saint Bill and Saint Bob sure do get their pictures on the wall a lot.
(See a discussion of that picture here.)

i'm not sure if you are aware of this, but many alcoholics who have just quit drinking, and have not begun at all a lifetime process to really clean up their lives, in my experience suffer from serious mental problems. including but not limited to: extreme neurosis stemming from an exaggerated sense of self importance, obsessive-compulsive disorder, delusion, and anxiety just to name a few. many are not well when they come to a.a. and many stay, only to hang out in the fellowship, get an ever deepening neurosis from being preached to by people that don't know what they're talking about.

Yes, I know that. That is why I keep mentioning the fact that A.A. increases the suicide rate in sick alcoholics.

I am very aware of how many alcoholics have mental problems. So are the doctors. Look here for a survey of mental illness in A.A..

Alcoholics Anonymous members and sponsors are not psychiatrists, and they have not gone to medical school, and they are not licensed to practice medicine, and they are not qualified to treat mental illness. But they keep on doing it, and killing people. And they keep on telling the newcomers not to take the medications that the doctor prescribed, which kills some more people. The A.A. slogan is, "Meds still the small quiet voice of God."

i feel like that is perhaps what you are against. my experience has been that aa is not, in it's purest form that way at all, my experience and the experience of at least many more that i know personally prove that.

Yes, I am defintely against that, but that isn't nearly all. It isn't just a matter of a few bad sponsors playing quack psychiatrist.

it took me several years in aa, not really knowing what was going on to find the group of people that i previously mentioned, years of going to groups including clancy i.'s pacific group (a group which provides ample ammunition for your aa cult claim); a visit to mike q.'s mid-town group (bizarre), the specific group in vegas, and others. that worship individuals and principles rather than actually applying the simple practical principles of the 12 steps. I feel that I have much more to write on this, but will send this to you now. i understand what you are saying on your site but wish that you would "with a brain" at some of the many things in a.a. which do work, when practiced.

Those really bad subcults are growing and taking over A.A., you know, don't you? And the A.A. headquarters in New York refuses to do anything to fix the problem. They keep yammering that "Every group is independent." A.A. is doomed. It will become more and more like Scientology and the Moonies.

i am not going to use this as another opportunity to misquote spencer. i would hope though that you would consider the possibility that a.a. though in need of reform, and obviously not for everybody, has helped some, and some that minority have in turn helped others, and by not a long shot the majority in the fellowship. this group primarily deals with low-bottom cases for whom the fellowship has failed. this group, of which i'm a part has fairly good statistics in working with others.

Please show me the evidence of success. A.A. refuses to publish any information about the real A.A. cure rate. They have actually been hiding and disguising that number for 70 years now.

Since you have been in A.A. for 16 years, you should have seen enough to be able to answer this simple question that no Stepper has ever answered honestly:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

(HINT: the answers are here.)

i feel like we are fairly level-headed and though not the majority, we don't practice our own principles, we just practice aa as i think it was meant to be practiced.

Excuse me? How was Buchmanism meant to be practiced?

the looseness of the a.a. traditions allow for alot of people to come into the organization and do what they please.

Indeed. A gigantic problem with A.A. is No Quality Control. No standards. No responsiblity or accountability. No Board of Examiners. Unscrupulous sponsors can rob and rape newcomers, and there are no penalties. In fact, the victims get slogans like, "When you point a finger at someone else, there are three pointed back at you." And, "Don't break someone's anonymity." So the victims think that they aren't supposed to report the criminals to the police.

Imagine a hospital where any felon can play doctor and do whatever he wishes. How well do you think that would work?

in order to properly access a.a. one has to recognize that a.a. is filled with people that are mentally ill, and are oblivious to their condition. though this may be a fault of the organization, it is not a fault of their "program", at least in principle.

That is a fatal flaw in both the organization, and "the program".

looking at the fellowship and the 12 steps as one entity is not really fair.

Baloney. As if the 12 Steps have not made "The Fellowship" what it is.

If the 12 Steps have not had an effect on The Fellowship, then what are they doing? Why do the 12 Steps if they don't shape the morality and behavior of the members?

You can't have it both ways. You cannot claim that the 12 Steps do such wonderful spiritual things to people, and give people "spiritual experiences" and "spiritual awakenings" and all of that, and then claim that it isn't the fault of the Steps when things go bad.

as a member of the organization which you have so carefully researched i would love to benefit from your storehouse of collected information and insight, so that i might better help or lead to help, those new confused people that i meet every day.

i would love to begin an open discussion with you and hope to hear back from you soon.

sincerely,
morgan

Okay Morgan, you have my response.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**      == Anonymous





July 20, 2011, Wednesday, a side trip to the Fernhill Wetlands this summer:

Ducklings
Ducklings

July 23, 2011, Saturday, another side trip to the Fernhill Wetlands this summer:

Duckling
Duckling

Duckling
Duckling

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html#John_A ]

Date: Wed, October 12, 2011 2:58 pm     (answered 13 September 2011)
From: "John A."
Subject: A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum

A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum..... I stopped myself before I even logged on.

What used to be a very informative place to interact with people who have had similar experiences with AA, has turned into a shit slinging match between certain subscribers. I don't necessarily feel that anyone should NOT be allowed to participate in any discussion... as long as they are civil. When they contribute nothing of substance and only contribute nasty vile remarks and become distruptive, I'm thinking maybe they SHOULD be blocked. I'm guessing you don't want to have to babysit and monitor everything that goes on there.... but the overall experience in the forum has degraded due to just a few (obvious) individuals.

It's NOT a place that I will frequent any longer as damn near anything I post is met with insulting replies and remarks.

PEACE Orange!

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter, and sorry to hear that you find the forum unpleasant or unbearable.

I suppose I am an idealist when it comes to freedom of speech. The real test of freedom of speech is not whether you let your friends speak, or allow others with whom you agree to speak, rather it is whether you allow those whom you despise to speak. Do we allow opposing viewpoints? Do we allow the obnoxious and stupid and dishonest and deluded people to have their say, too?

I am reminded of what I think was an old Gary Cooper movie, where some guys were tempted to take some money that they found in an airplane crash. No one would know, and the people losing the money were dead, so there was a good argument for taking the money and sharing it around, and enriching a bunch of poor guys who found the crashed plane. But the Gary Cooper character said, "You can't dig half of a hole. No matter how small of a hole you dig, it is still a hole. The same goes for being dishonest."

Well, suppressing freedom of speech is like that too. The way that I see it, either you have freedom of speech or you don't. If people can get banned for saying things that others don't like, then we don't really have freedom of speech. Speakers must be careful of what they say, or they may get censored or silenced.

I speak from personal experience there. I've been banned from forums because the moderator didn't like what I was saying. I seem to recall that Rick Ross and his "anti-cult" web site was the first one. And my posts were censored by the "Digital Journal" because somebody didn't like what I wrote. And Yahoo Geocities erased my entire web site one Sunday morning because — apparently — somebody complained that they were "offended" by something that I wrote. I don't have anything to do with them any more. And I don't want to be like them.

Where do we stop on that slippery slope? First we ban those who are obnoxious and who sarcastically attack the other posters. Call it a ban for not being polite, and not maintaining proper civility. Do we then ban those who post statements that we consider to be lies, or inaccurate information, or misleading or untrue, like the A.A. claims of great success in sobering up alcoholics? Then what? Where does it stop?

And do we have a forum if only one side is allowed to speak?

So far, I think that the backbiting Steppers are tolerable. Annoying, yes, but tolerable. And they should grow up and learn to be civil. (Fat chance, yes?)

The only thing that I ban now is spammers. And the truth is, they aren't people anyway. The Russians run robot computer programs ("bots", or "spam-bots") that create fraudulent login accounts and post advertisements for everything from fake Viagra to call girls. I get 30 to 50 new fake accounts each day, right now. They are gone immediately. Since I stopped authorizing them, their numbers have diminished, but they keep trying.

I just had to stop them. They were overrunnning the forum. Earlier, when authorization of new accounts was automatic and immediate, the spammers created literally thousands of accounts in just a few days and it was hard to find the real messages for all of the spam. So I block them.

But the humans I allow.

Sorry to see you go. Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**    Anyone who is different today faces harassment, whether it is
**    in the way he dresses, or in the position he takes on important
**    issues. And when the price of being different is a cold fear,
**    with good reason, then freedom as we peddle it in our international
**    publicity releases is gone. If and when it disappears, it won't
**    be stolen by big government, the tax collector, or the Supreme
**    Court. Fascism will be the people's choice. It usually is. We've
**    managed to avoid it so far only because nobody nutty enough to
**    give the people what they want has come along. Yet.
**      ==  Mike Royko, For the Love of Mike: The Best of Mike Royko
**      (reprint of column "Fascism Isn't Accidental" dated May 28, 1968)


Date: Thu, October 13, 2011 4:14 pm     (answered 18 October 2011)
From: "John A."
Subject: Re: A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to The Forum

Thanks for the reply Orange..... and it's a very civil one at that. I really wasn't expecting anything less from you. (HA HA HA)

Thanks.

Yeah... it's not that I felt it necessary to ban an individual for having opposing views... it's the vile and abusive manner in which they're being posted. Viewpoints are not be attacked per se..... but certain individuals are. It causes more disruption than good.

Actually.... it's kinda interesting to see just how nasty these "sober and serene" True Believers? act. Their behavior speaks for itself and shows off their true colors.

BTW.... I'm not going anywhere.... I'll just observe from the sidelines. 8-)

PEACE

Yes, the behavior of the A.A. true believers is one of the biggest pieces of evidence that the 12-Step program does not work to make people spiritual, or filled with "serenity and gratitude". It seems to make them filled with anger and resentments.

I am reminded of a letter that I got from an oldtimer A.A. member many years ago:

"Old timers in AA are often an angry lot: a mask of serenity with a seething cauldron underneath."

So I tend to think that the best approach is to give them enough rope to hang themselves.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**
**     The common dogma [of fundamentalists] is fear of modern knowledge,
**     inability to cope with the fast change in a scientific-technological
**     society, and the real breakdown in apparent moral order in recent
**     years.... That is why hate is the major fuel, fear is the cement of
**     the movement, and superstitious ignorance is the best defense against
**     the dangerous new knowledge. ... When you bring up arguments that cast
**     serious doubts on their cherished beliefs you are not simply making a
**     rhetorical point, you are threatening their whole Universe and their
**     immortality.  That provokes anger and quite frequently violence. ...
**     Unfortunately you cannot reason with them and you even risk violence
**     in confronting them. Their numbers will decline only when society
**     stabilizes, and adapts to modernity.
**         ==  G. Gaia





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Last updated 30 October 2011.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters267.html