Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXXII



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Carl_C ]

Date: Sat, January 7, 2012 7:59 pm     (answered 11 January 2012)
From: "Carl C."
Subject: AA Document...

Interesting read.

Personally, I have found AA to be quite helpful for me to break the habit.

Do you have a personal grudge against the program?

Carl

Hello Carl,

Thanks for the letter.

The fact that you like A.A. does not make it a good organization with a good cure rate.

Do I have a grudge? Start here, at the introduction.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The Sagan rule:
**    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
**    The far-fetched claims of Bill Wilson that Frank Buchman's
**    cult religion could cure alcoholism have not been backed
**    up by even a little ordinary evidence, never mind some
**    extraordinary evidence.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Daniel_L ]

Date: Mon, January 9, 2012 1:16 pm     (answered 11 January 2012)
From: "daniel l."
Subject: My Story

Dear Orange,

I am a 44 year old man living St. Louis, Missouri. For the second time in as many years, I was just released from the hospital after being treated for Major Depressive Disorder.

My depression has consumed and destroyed my life in recent years. I am a recovered alcoholic with 26 years of complete abstinence. I spent the first 23 years of my sobriety very active in AA. It would be hard to find a person that has "worked the program" more vigorously than myself. My recent depressive episode was so severe that I became suicidal. I was in so much pain that I was compelled to buy a bottle of vodka. As badly as I wanted to drink, I ended up throwing it out.

Desperate and afraid, I called an old AA "friend" in an effort to save myself. Predictably, he offered up the breath-takingly arrogant response that my condition was due to the fact that I was given the gift of sobriety and that I had not even begun to "repay the interest" on my debt to AA, and concluded that I was a "drama queen".

I was the owner of lucrative construction business that became a casualty of the economic downturn. I ended up in federal bankruptcy court. The consequences were devastating. I lost everything, including my beautifully restored Victorian home. My sponsor pointed out that my failure wasn't a result of the macroeconomic landscape, but rather to the fact that I was "selfish and self-centered".

I joined AA at the tender of 18. I was extremely vulnerable and willing to do anything to alleviate the suffering associated with my addiction. Needless to say, the damage done by years of guilt indoctrination and self-loathing fostered in the rooms of AA is incalculable.

As the years went by in AA, my depression deepened. Several years ago I sought the help of a Psychiatrist who happened to be in AA. I gave him my complete trust. His prescription for depression was going to meetings rather than "feeling sorry for myself" and "carrying the AA message".

At that point I was completely demoralized and every instinct told me to run like hell away from AA. I did and I found another doctor who was horrified by the way I was treated by the "wise" AA psychiatrist. If I could prove the indescribable suffering at the hands of this incompetent doctor I would sue him for medical malpractice.

In hindsight, I recognize that one of the primary causes of my depression was the constant cognitive conflict created by trying to "practice the principles in all of my affairs". The cult of AA instills fear, self-doubt, excessive guilt, and self-loathing — all of the primary components of depression. I am not alone in my experience. My research has confirmed my suspicions of the correlation between long term affiliation with AA and mental illness. I have perused your website extensively and I agree with most of your conclusions regarding AA. At one point I felt that AA was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I never would have suspected that it would end up nearly destroying me. Depression is not a "character defect. It is an illness.

I have thrown away the poorly garbled screed known as the "big book" and have walked away from AA. I am not an atheist. I do believe that there has divine grace in my life and recovery from addiction. I pray that the same God that saved me from my addiction will save me from AA.

Not Anonymous,

Daniel Loker

Hello Daniel,

Wow. Thank you for an impressive letter. I can't think of anything to add, except "I hope you are feeling better now".

And, "The first rule of the Hippocratic Oath is, 'Do No Harm'."
Obviously, your first psychiatrist did not follow that rule. It was also grossly unethical for him to shove his favorite religion on his patients. That is a blatant conflict of interest.

So have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "A useful idea has turned into a religious movement —
**     and a hindrance to research, psychiatry, and to many
**     alcoholics who need a different kind of help."
**        ==  Dr. Arthur H. Cain, Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?,
**      Harper's Magazine, February 1963.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Richard82 ]

Date: Tue, January 10, 2012 1:45 am     (answered 11 January 2012)
From: "Richard 82"
Subject: Atlantic Group

First of all I would ask that you indeed keep my email address anonymous and that for all tense and purposes refer to me as "Richard 82".

In response to the letters 244-245 by Ms Anonymous and George M, if I could contribute any additional experience on Atlantic Group it would indeed be helpful.

In this instance I would like to set the record straight on Atlantic Group.

I had begun my relapse back in August 2011 and it ended on October 14th of that same year. While I had been active in Atlantic Group (I had five service commitments and over a year sober) prior to my having relapsed, I was not rigorously honest with myself and continued to hold on to those destructive behaviors that lead me out to drink once again. That being said, my experience at Atlantic Group was:

Not as great as it could have been because I was not willing to open up honestly and let my sponsor in as to what was going on with me and take advantage of the fact that I was in a place where there were people willing to help me and who wanted to get to know me.

Atlantic Group is just like any other group in Alcoholics Anonymous. I never saw any impropriety as far as what was described with the Midtown group on your page, mixed gender sponsorship (although there were women who sponsored and still sponsor gay men as some gay men do not feel comfortable with having straight male sponsors which is understandable) insofar as Men sponsoring Women, or anything remotely cult-like. The tradition of "each group ought to be fully autonomous", well Atlantic Group may be pretty rigid, however it works for those who do what is ask of them, have faith in God, clean up your affairs, and help someone else do the same.

I was fortunate during my time at Atlantic Group to hear of stories of men and women who overcame serious obstacles in their lives and are now happy and contented individuals who smile because they have something to live for. I think there is something to be said for the adage, "it works if you work it"

Sincerely,

Richard 82

Hello Richard,

Thank you for the letter and the input.

You are blaming yourself for your failure to stay sober. Yes, you are responsible for your sobriety. But the fact still remains that the A.A. program did not work for you. You can make excuses for the program's ineffectiveness like, "I didn't let my sponsor in", or "I wasn't rigorously honest," but the fact still remains that the A.A. program did not work. If you have to do all of the work, and you get all of the blame for failure, and A.A. gets all of the credit for successes, then that is just fraud. They are playing a game of "Heads I win, tails you lose" with your life.

You are just assuming that the A.A. program would have worked, and would have helped you if you had done better and "worked a strong program". Where is the evidence for that? What is the real A.A. cure rate? (Look here and here.) You are overlooking one obvious conclusion: The reason that the A.A. program didn't work for you is because the A.A. program doesn't work.

By the way, how can you be so responsible for your failure if you are also powerless over alcohol? It takes a lot of double-talk to explain how you can be powerless over alcohol and unable to control your behavior and unable to manage your unmanageable life, but you are still responsible for controlling yourself and doing everything right.

Hearing some happy stories from people who quit drinking does not make A.A. a good program, or good treatment for addictions. It doesn't even make their dogma true. Lots of people just quit drinking because they have matured out of their addictive behavior, or they got sick and tired of being so sick and tired. The fact that some of those sober people got fooled into believing that they quit drinking because of some cultish practices only proves that they can be confused about what causes what.

If you are still working on getting sober, may I suggest some other organizations and methods that may help you more? Here is a printable list:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-alt_list.html

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     During my eighty-seven years, I have witnessed
**     a whole succession of technological revolutions;
**     but none of them has done away with the need for
**     character in the individual, or the ability to think.
**       ==  Financier Bernard Baruch





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Anne_I ]

Date: Sun, January 8, 2012 9:42 am     (answered 11 January 2012)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Anne I. shared a link on your Wall.

The video on this page titled, "Aspartame, MSG, and Excitotoxins" is very informative about many different aspects of diet and a long list of toxins and how they are related to behavior. The part I like is the use of the term "behavior" vs. saying behaviors are diseases. He even mentions AA's low rate of success, because it fails to address the root cause of deficiencies. I am going to use this video to alter our diet even more to see where it helps to improve brain function related to over-all health.

http://www.experimentalvaccines.org/dr-russell-blaylock/

Dr. Russell Blaylock on Vaccines
Bio Weapons Experimental Vaccines

To see your Wall or to write on Anne's Wall, follow the link below:
http://www.facebook.com/n/?orange.papers%2Fposts%2F342780535752024&mid=573d2a8G25f2680eG92082feG3a&bcode=EOZaD1Dj&

Hi again, Anne,

Thanks for the input. This bears investigation.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The principles of Washington's farewell address are still sources
**     of wisdom when cures for social ills are sought. The methods of
**     Washingtons's physicians, however, are no longer studied.
**         == Thurman Arnold





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Rooster_J ]

Date: Tue, January 10, 2012 8:49 pm     (answered 12 January 2012)
From: "Rooster Jack"
Subject: RE: The Bait And Switch Con Game

Hahaha..

I feel sorry for you A. Orange. (or who ever wrote this crap).

Jack

Hello Jack,

That sure sounds like Denial. Do you have any specific statements or items to refute?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
**         ==  Mark Twain (1835—1910)





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Moritz_G ]

Date: Wed, January 11, 2012 12:49 am     (answered 12 January 2012)
From: "Moritz G."
Subject: Propaganda website

Thank you for this great site about propaganda.

So many examples too.

Could you work on the design to make it even better? There is so much on one page.

I found one, not error, but too harsh judgement :
The claim about the focus of small cameras is not BS. The two advantages are portability and wide focus dept.
This is due to the short focus and small lense.
Tiny cameras are simpler to focus and have no zoom. That is why spy and button hole cameras work. The smaller the camera the closer it is to the theoretic camera obscura or pin hole camera.

yours
Moritz

Hello Moritz,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

I would like to break up the Propaganda Techniques web page into dozens of smaller pages. I need to sort the tricks by type, into categories, and make a bunch of web pages that only list half a dozen or so related propaganda techniques on each page. It is just a ton of work, because then I will have to go back through all of the other web pages, especially the letters, and fix all of the links that refer to propaganda tricks. I'll do it as soon as I get a Round Tuit.

About the small camera: I agree that tiny cameras can have better focus, because of the pin-hole effect that you mentioned, but that isn't really what I was thinking about when I wrote that. Maybe I should make it clearer. I was thinking about the cheap plastic film cameras that I find being sold surplus at Goodwill. They feature flimsy plastic bodies that contain one roll of film, and low-quality plastic lenses that cannot be focused — the lens won't move — and they are intended for only one use: Expose the roll of film and then send the camera in for developing, where they just break the camera body to get the film out, and trash the camera body. Guess what the cardboard box around such cameras says? "Focus-Free! No focusing required." That is spin-doctoring, turning a low-quality limitation into a "feature". And that is Making a Virtue out of a Fault.

(And see, those two techniques are related — they are variations on the same theme — and they should both go onto the same web page in the future.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910


From: "Moritz G."
Subject: Re2: Propaganda website
Date: Fri, January 13, 2012 1:39 am     (answered 16 January 2012)

Ah, I get it. I now know what you mean.

Just call them "one-way", "disposable" or "one-film" instead of "ultra-cheap cameras". Nowadays there are so many types and young people might not even remember them. I misunderstood because those tiny digital cameras in mobile-phones and webcams were on my mind.

I bookmarked your page and will return when I forget.

I strongly believe that this needs to be taught in high school. Here we have a class that is called "Ethics, Standards and Values" and one "Politics". It needs to be the subject of one of them.

Have a good weekend
Moritz





May 25, 2009, Monday:

Canada Goose family The Family of 4


Canada Goose + gosling
Canada Goose and Gosling


the bay
Goslings

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creatures that cannot.

      == Mark Twain

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Wed, January 11, 2012 4:23 pm     (answered 12 January 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: please check this

http://www.ericsfight.com/

Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong
http://www.peterferentzy.com

Hi again, Peter,

Well, assuming that this is a true story, rather than a scam, it's a good thing to publicize. The parents and the child have my sympathy.

What I find appalling is how the Republicans cry about "Obamacare", and how government funding of health care will lead to "Death Panels". Well, the Death Panels are really located in the office buildings of the "free enterprise" profit-making health insurance companies. Every so often, they decide that it will be more profitable to just let a child die rather than to pay for an expensive operation or treatment.

I am lucky enough to have some of that "horrible" single-payer health care. That is, I'm an old veteran who gets health care from the Veterans' Administration. Yes, I enjoy Socialized Medicine. The "Big Government" owns it all. It's wonderful. I don't pay a penny. I show up, flash my plastic card, and get free treatment and free medications. If they are "rationing" my health care, I can't find where they are doing it.

In fact, the situation is so far the other way that just last month I went to the doctor again for an annual checkup because he was complaining that it had been like 21 months since I'd seen him. He was demanding that I come in for an appointment, just to see what condition my condition was in. (Sorry, Kenny Rogers.) Well, when you are healthy, there is no rush to go see the doctor. So I went in, and they ran a zillion tests on me, and everything is great.

If that is "rationed health care" and "death panels", I like it. I wish that kid could get the same treatment.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The selfish pursuit of self-interest does not necessarily lead to
**     any "greater good".  "The Market" does not magically transform greed
**     into something that is good for the country, or good for society.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Elizabeth_B ]

Date: Fri, January 13, 2012 10:33 am     (answered 16 January 2012)
From: "Elizabeth B."
Subject: The Orange Papers

I have just read through "The Orange Papers" and am intermittently laughing my ass off or shaking my head saying, "God, that poor f-ed up soul who wrote this needs help!".

What I got from the Orange papers:

1) The writer of them has spent an enormous amount of time being a "hater".

2) The writer is every bit as much the zealot and narcissist as he/she accuses Bill W. of being! Sure — I am willing to hear your opinion but, quite frankly, it's being "preached" and delivered with the exact same zealotry and insane level of intensity you accuse the 12 Step co-founders of possessing! Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, isn't it?

3) Who are you trying to convince of all this stuff anyway...others *or yourself?* And, the bigger question is, *why?*

4) If you don't believe in the 12 Steps, the co-founders, the principles, the "cult" nature of the organization...don't go to the meetings or read what they've written! Geez...doesn't take the IQ of a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Why does all of this stuff "rattle your cage" to the point of making you a raving crusader against it?

Carry on with your crusade!! It is glaringly obvious that you have some serious need to hate and spread hate with great intensity. I feel sorry for ya, man. The writings you offer, if nothing else, beautifully illustrate the viewpoints of someone who is *way, way, way *extreme. Not balanced. Fanatical. Again — the very words you use to describe Bill W. If this is your true opinion of him, you guys sure have a lot in common!!

Hello Elizabeth,

Thank you for the letter.

I know that you think that you are making good points there, but you actually have not made any points at all. To start with, laughing something off is a defense mechanism to avoid your real feelings and to avoid dealing with the actual facts. It is a standard propaganda technique. Look here: Laugh It Off.

Then, for your numbered list of objections:

  1. I am not a "hater". I am actually relatively happy and tranquil. The one thing that I do hate is seeing sick people decieved and fed a pack of lies and told that those lies will cure them, or not cure them, but "help them". Spending a lot of time refuting lies is not a bad thing.

    By the way, that is another standard propaganda technique: Ad Hominem. Don't answer your opponent's facts and logical arguments, just attack him personally and call him names.

  2. No, I am not "every bit as much the zealot and narcissist as he/she accuses Bill W. of being!"
    I do not steal all of the money that sick people contribute to an "Alcoholic Foundation". I don't seduce sick women who come for help. I don't claim to be receiving messages from God or some dead spirits. I don't throw screaming temper tantrums when someone disagrees with me. I haven't set myself up as the leader of a religious cult.

    Again, you are indulging in name-calling, which is also another standard propaganda trick: Engage in Name Calling.

  3. Who am I trying to convince? Well, it may surprise you, but a lot of people really want to know the truth. I've even received letters and messages telling me that I saved people's lives by telling them the truth.

  4. It isn't a matter of me not going to meetings or not working the Steps. Other people are getting sentenced to A.A. meetings, and people who go to treatment centers get the 12-Step cult religion sold to them as "the best cure". That has to stop.

    And people are being misled and misinformed and told that the ravings of a mentally-ill religious maniac are the real truths about alcoholism and addiction. That does not help them, and that has to stop too.

Most important of all, what is the actual A.A. cure rate? All of what you called "believe in the 12 Steps, the co-founders, the principles, the "cult" nature of the organization" is quite useless if it doesn't actually save the lives of the alcoholics. So please answer this one simple question that no true-believer 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 and here.)

Obviously, if A.A. does not actually sober up the alcoholics, then it is useless and a waste of time. It is also very harmful because it induces guilt and feelings of inadequacy and powerlessness, and increases the failure rate.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Just because people say that they are working for a good cause
**     does not make them good people. Remember that both the Nazis
**     and the Communists were "working for good causes." So was the
**     Medieval Catholic Church that burned girls and men to death
**     at the stake for "heresy" and "witchcraft", while the Pope
**     sold indulgences and Bishops' offices.

[The next letter from Elizabeth_B is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Thomas_S ]

Date: Fri, January 13, 2012 10:43 am     (answered 16 January 2012)
From: "Thomas S."
Subject: Funny Spirituality, Etc.

Dear Orange,

I am reading with great interest your critique of AA, cults and blind-faithers in general. In your "Funny Spirituality of Bill W and AA", however, I notice something that runs counter to my experience.

Bill was apparently attempting to plead for leniency early in recovery. Let the man stay off the booze for awhile since it was his main problem. Back when that was written, many people smoked and drank gallons of coffee on a daily basis, and there was not so much research indicating the full extent of tobacco's dangers.

I was sober for 24 years in and out of the program, BTW, made a decision, stayed fairly drunk off and on for a year, and then sobered myself up. Originally I was disgusted with the fact that I was in a crippling atrial fibrillation which my VA docs were either unwilling or unable to do much about. After several years of greatly reduced physical activity, I said what the hell and decided I might as well get a little relief somehow, and started on the vodka again. I'm sober now, but I enjoy a new ability to see through AA somewhat. AA didn't turn off the blaming/scapegoating mechanism in me that seems to be looking for a culprit to drink at. Since I've been sober, and stopped blaming fate or sundry devils for my problems, the "Higher Power" has "miraculously" got me an A/V node ablation and a pacemaker. I still have the unstoppable atrial fibrillation, but not the consequent ventricular irregularity, just a steady, regular beat. A tremendous improvement, for me.

Now, you could say I still have a big problem. But it's one that that is apparently beyond the scope of current medical science. Meanwhile, the ventricular thing, which was slowly causing my heart to be unable to pump blood at all anymore, is, for the present time, relieved.

This guy in the story must have been a holy terror while drunk; most drunks are, when they end up in a position susceptible to AA or treatment or any of our society's woefully inadequate "answers". The idea Bill is trying to promote in that instance is that we get him off the booze and continue to let him numb himself down with caffeine and tobacco. Surely these are the lesser evils, in a sense? I'm not willing to argue whether lung cancer or emphysema or heart disease are better or worse than any of the diseases that can be traced back to alcohol abuse.

But, at least as far as my many years of familiarity with AA is concerned, I never knew anybody who was pitching AA to a drunk (as you call it, an "AA recruiter") in the way of a "twelfth step" (usually at the drunk's invitation, these days) who would do anything other than accept it as "a valid excuse" when a hungover drunk (we never 12-stepped drunks while they are still drunk) frankly said he wasn't ready to stop drinking; what's the use of carrying on when someone is unwilling to try things differently, or at least recognize that alcohol's a problem, or listen? If you would rather be miserable when you realize it's the booze that is the greatest source of your misery, you're welcome to it.

And yes, an alcoholic who is drinking himself to death can (and they do, all the time) say, "Frankly, I'm over-doing it, but I'm just not ready to stop, right now?" and there is no one in the world that can do anything about it. So at this point, although you go on, and get yourself in deeper, it seems that you have already done as much to undermine and disprove your argument, as you have to truly critique AA's "funny spirituality". That is, their spirituality may be funny, the reader says, who knows? but your means of exposing it seems just as funny.

I get the idea from this that you're willing to use the same tactics you're attributing to Bill W., who was certainly a charlatan in many ways, just to expose him. And you're right, in many ways, about AA's "funny spirituality". But in this case, you are making a false attribution, in this example, and all Bill W. was saying was that maybe if you get someone to sober up you can put some of his other addictions that aren't making him shit-faced on the back burner for awhile.

Nowadays, a lot more is known about smoking and drinking, and I can only think of a rare few drunks who sobered up in the program who didn't after a few years give up smoking and eventually coffee and other stimulants. My own experience is that you get tired of hawking up phlegm and having that jittery feeling over the years and just eventually stop. What a lot of people discover at that point is that they have a hard time staying away from snacks and simply overeating.

You go on to say the "spiritual" AA member "became annoyed at his wife's attempts to save his life". For one thing, some recently sober drunk is not to be considered any more or less spiritual than any other bloke off the street. And who says "spiritual" people can't or don't become annoyed with the actions of others? It's a long and winding road, isn't it? Furthermore, the wife isn't saving anyone's life — she's just nagging about something that annoys her. If the guy is so screwed up that he gets drunk because she's nagging him, I guess he's no better than I am, although it took me 24 years to get tired enough and pissed off enough.

But I'm afraid the substance of this little article, though well-intentioned, is based on some false attributions and a "mountain of bull" and "untruths" rather as insidious as those you are trying to expose. The funny thing about this, the feeling I get, is that you won't even get this or listen to it in your attempt to argue your way out of it or prove me wrong. In some sense you've lost self-perspective. I guess that's because you have succumbed to another error that seems as bad as anything a bunch of misguided falsely-pious drunks could ever do to themselves or a newcomer. You are condemning the whole because of its parts. No matter how much I detest some of the things that go on in AA, and some of the attitudes it propagates, I remember a lot of very good stuff as well, simply the kinds of things that go on between people engaged in some effort to better themselves or help others. Human interactions can't be snuffed utterly by dogma or the mechanics of superstition.

But if you didn't get the foregoing about the reasons why a "recruiter" (never met or knew of one in AA) wouldn't bother pressing someone who frankly didn't want to quit drinking, I don't know if you ever had much real life experience with AA anyway before you decided to start your attack on it. What's funny is, as Morton Kelsey notes in one of his books, you can be just as happy and fulfilled being, for example, a hater who runs a white supremacist organization and passes out pamphlets about the blacks and the jews, as you can being a pro bono civil rights lawyer working for the justice project in the deep south. Since most of human perception, including yours, is based on delusion and altogether murky as the cloud of unknowing always is, just finding a way to be happy or to feel useful is some kind of miracle, I suppose. That Aquinas or you would argue (as I would) that anything which proceeds from a "bad" motive must be bad, that no wrong can make a right, doesn't stop anyone from doing it?and it doesn't take away from the goodness of the effects as they are experienced by the unknowing beneficiaries. That's simply common sense, and seeing theings the way they sometimes are.

I will continue to read your stuff, but maybe first, if you're at all interested in pursuing cogent arguments relatively free from deceptive tricks and false attribution, get hold of a text on the principles of argument and the nature of fallacies. After all, anyone who spent any time at all studying rhetoric, persuasion, or forensics could tear your house of cards down with one breath, even if they didn't know a damn thing about AA. Now, when you run into someone who knows a lot about AA, and about fallacious argument, you're perpetually going to be in trouble. And that's not really going to help dismantle the black, real evil, the badness that cults represent socially.

Yours,

Thomas Smith

Hello Thomas,

Congratulations on your sobriety, and I hope you are doing well and feeling healthy.

Thanks for the letter. Alas, I have to disagree with your major points:

  1. Of course Bill Wilson pled for "leniency" on the issue of smoking. He was a tobacco addict who insisted on smoking himself to death. He never quit smoking, nor did he ever quit making excuses.

    I don't consider it a happy event when somebody switches from the third-deadliest addiction in America (alcohol) to the most deadly, tobacco. Alcohol kills 100,000 Americans per year, and tobacco kills 430,000. (Prescription drugs are number two, with 200,000 or 300,000 deaths.)

    And quitting drinking is not a matter of either drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

    The only good things that you can say about tobacco are that tobacco addicts do not tend to become as violent as drinkers, and it often takes them longer to die. Tobacco addicts often become low-energy and lethargic, and sit on their front porches and watch their wives shovel the snow on the long driveway until she has a heart attack, which is what Bill Wilson did to Lois.

  2. Then you declared,

    there was not so much research indicating the full extent of tobacco's dangers.

    Sorry, but that one doesn't wash. I hear that excuse often, but it just isn't true. Doctors knew full well that tobacco was very bad for your health. It's true that the Surgeon General had not gone on television yet, and declared that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer, but much was known about the bad health effects of tobacco, and way before 1939, too. Mark Twain got lots of jokes out of discussing his arguments with his doctor back around 1870 and 1880:

    My doctor tells me that I must be more moderate in my smoking. I can either completely quit smoking, or I can smoke like a chimney, but there is no way that I can be "more moderate" in my smoking.
    == Mark Twain

    Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.
    == Mark Twain

    ...when they used to tell me I would shorten my life ten years by smoking, they little knew the devotee they were wasting their puerile word upon — they little knew how trivial and valueless I would regard a decade that had no smoking in it!
    == Mark Twain, in a letter to Joseph Twichell, 19 Dec 1870

    [Mark Twain, when he was sick:] So I can stand but little fatigue and am not downstairs much. I was warned to stop smoking, which I did, for two or three days, but it 'was too lonesome, and I have resumed — in a modified way — 4 smokes a day instead of 40. This will have a good effect. On the bank balance.
    == Mark Twain, MEMORIES OF MARK TWAIN IN BERMUDA, CHAPTER XIII, June 1909.

  3. I'm glad to hear about your years of sobriety. I'm sorry to hear about your health problems. I wish you well.

  4. I have to strongly disagree with this:

    I get the idea from this that you're willing to use the same tactics you're attributing to Bill W., who was certainly a charlatan in many ways, just to expose him. And you're right, in many ways, about AA's "funny spirituality". But in this case, you are making a false attribution, in this example, and all Bill W. was saying was that maybe if you get someone to sober up you can put some of his other addictions that aren't making him shit-faced on the back burner for awhile.

    First off, no, I do not wish to use Bill Wilson's objectionable dishonest and deceptive propaganda tricks.

    Then, it isn't a false attribution. Please pay close attention to the first ten sentences at the top of page 135 of the Big Book:

          Whether the family goes on a spiritual basis or not, the alcoholic member has to if he would recover. The others must be convinced of his new status beyond the shadow of a doubt. Seeing is believing to most families who have lived with a drinker.
          Here is a case in point: One of our friends is a heavy smoker and coffee drinker. There was no doubt he over-indulged. Seeing this, and meaning to be helpful, his wife commenced to admonish him about it. He admitted he was overdoing these things, but frankly said that he was not ready to stop. His wife is one of those persons who really feels there is something rather sinful about these commodities, so she nagged, and her intolerance finally threw him into a fit of anger. He got drunk.

    Bill Wilson was so deluded that he introduced this story as an example of an alcoholic chain smoker living a spiritual life while his clean and sober wife does not, and convincing the family of his new sober status — by smoking and getting drunk and throwing screaming temper tantrums. That is some very strange spirituality. And that was the whole point of the entire file The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.. What Bill Wilson called "spirituality" was really insanity — a very serious case of insanity.

  5. RE:

    Nowadays, a lot more is known about smoking and drinking, and I can only think of a rare few drunks who sobered up in the program who didn't after a few years give up smoking and eventually coffee and other stimulants. My own experience is that you get tired of hawking up phlegm and having that jittery feeling over the years and just eventually stop. What a lot of people discover at that point is that they have a hard time staying away from snacks and simply overeating.

    First, you just repeated that excuse that Bill Wilson and gang didn't know about the harmful effects of tobacco. But the doctors knew, and they told Bill Wilson to quit smoking. In the end, he pretended to quit, but he hid cigarettes in his car, and kept right on smoking until he died. That comes from Frances Hartigan, Lois Wilson's secretary.

    I don't know what meeting you were looking at, but I saw a lot more smokers than that at my meetings. The rush for the front door during smoke breaks told me that. And they don't all quit smoking. Like Bill Wilson, many smoke until it kills them.

    The fact remains that it is wrong to rationalize smoking and say that smoking is okay. Heck, it killed Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. (Yes, I know that Dr. Bob died from cancer. Tobacco makes cancer worse. Heck, tobacco causes cancer.) When A.A. and N.A. members declare that smoking isn't so bad, all that they are doing is parrotting Bill Wilson's excuses for not quitting smoking, and doing the minimization and denial dance one more time around. So A.A. degenerates into a "sobriety society" that argues that dying from alcohol is very unspiritual, but dying from tobacco is okay.

  6. This is excuse-making and Minimization and Denial:

    ...some recently sober drunk is not to be considered any more or less spiritual than any other bloke off the street. And who says "spiritual" people can't or don't become annoyed with the actions of others? It's a long and winding road, isn't it?

    Bill Wilson was not more spiritual than the wife who supported him while he stole money out of her purse to go buy more booze and then philander with other women. And selling Dr. Frank Buchman's fascistic religion to the suckers does not make someone "spiritual". Bill Wilson's claims of being spiritual reveal incredible delusions of grandeur and narcissism.

  7. Then you tried another personal attack:

    But I'm afraid the substance of this little article, though well-intentioned, is based on some false attributions and a "mountain of bull" and "untruths" rather as insidious as those you are trying to expose. The funny thing about this, the feeling I get, is that you won't even get this or listen to it in your attempt to argue your way out of it or prove me wrong.

    Sorry, but you have not even made a valid point. Making excuses for Bill Wilson's behavior does not prove me wrong on any point. I am not wrong to notice that Bill Wilson was really insane. There were some good reasons why Bill Wilson was under the care of two psychiatrists for many years: Dr. Harry Tiebout and Dr. Frances Weeks.

    And what "false attribution"? There was no false attribution. I correctly sourced every quote.

    And a "mountain of bullshit"? More quotes in that file come from Bill Wilson than from anybody else.

  8. RE:

    In some sense you've lost self-perspective. I guess that's because you have succumbed to another error that seems as bad as anything a bunch of misguided falsely-pious drunks could ever do to themselves or a newcomer. You are condemning the whole because of its parts. No matter how much I detest some of the things that go on in AA, and some of the attitudes it propagates, I remember a lot of very good stuff as well, simply the kinds of things that go on between people engaged in some effort to better themselves or help others. Human interactions can't be snuffed utterly by dogma or the mechanics of superstition.

    That is another kind of Minimization and Denial. That is as lame as declaring that Scientology is a good thing because we can find a few things about it that aren't too bad. For instance, Scientology also encourages people to quit drinking and drugging. But that doesn't make Scientology good.

    We have to consider that whole result that comes from Alcoholics Anonymous, not just the pretty picture of a sponsor holding hands with a drunkard. And the overall result of A.A. is that it makes the problem worse. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased binge drinking, and Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests of alcoholics, and Dr. Walsh found that A.A. increased the cost of hospitalization of alcoholics. And Dr. Vaillant found that A.A. increased the death rate of alcoholics. No other way of treating alcoholics produced as high a death rate.

  9. RE:

    But if you didn't get the foregoing about the reasons why a "recruiter" (never met or knew of one in AA) wouldn't bother pressing someone who frankly didn't want to quit drinking, I don't know if you ever had much real life experience with AA anyway before you decided to start your attack on it.

    I have no illusions about how the recruiting game works. Bill Wilson was quite clear about dumping alcoholics who would not kowtow to him and do what he said:

    If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets hurt some more.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 96.

    The fact remains that A.A. still engages in coercive recruiting and forces unwilling people into A.A. meetings. Sometimes they do it directly, but most often they use judges, parole and probation officers, and so-called counselors and therapists to do it for them. The Triennial Surveys have revealed that nearly two-thirds of the membership were coerced, pressured, or forced into A.A.

  10. Then you mentioned something about the perception of happiness that is true:

    It's funny is, as Morton Kelsey notes in one of his books, you can be just as happy and fulfilled being, for example, a hater who runs a white supremacist organization and passes out pamphlets about the blacks and the jews, as you can being a pro bono civil rights lawyer working for the justice project in the deep south. Since most of human perception, including yours, is based on delusion and altogether murky as the cloud of unknowing always is, just finding a way to be happy or to feel useful is some kind of miracle, I suppose. That Aquinas or you would argue (as I would) that anything which proceeds from a "bad" motive must be bad, that no wrong can make a right, doesn't stop anyone from doing it?and it doesn't take away from the goodness of the effects as they are experienced by the unknowing beneficiaries. That's simply common sense, and seeing theings the way they sometimes are.

    But alas, you are still just making excuses there. The fact that people can feel deliriously happy at either a Nuremberg Nazi Party rally, or a Ku Klux Klan cross-burning party, or an A.A. meeting, only shows that people can be deluded.

    Then you tried to argue that good things can come from bad organizations. Sorry, but A.A. still does not produce good results. A.A. fails to sober up the alcoholics, and raises the death rate, remember?

  11. Then you finished with another Ad Hominem attack:

    ... if you're at all interested in pursuing cogent arguments relatively free from deceptive tricks and false attribution, get hold of a text on the principles of argument and the nature of fallacies.

    Sorry, but you did not find a single dishonest or deceptive propaganda trick or logical fallacy in that file about The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.. The main propaganda technique that I used there is the first one in the list: Tell The Truth. I recall that I also used Appeal to Authorities (Argumentum ad Verecundiam) when I quoted the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. And I used Refute By Example a few times. But none of those techniques are dishonest and deceptive, are they?

    Actually, you should read the whole file on Propaganda and Debating Techniques. I've already read a whole lot of books on propaganda tricks and logical fallacies, and included their tricks in that file. You can also examine the list of books about propaganda in the bibliography, starting with Darrell Huff's How To Lie With Statistics.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**     and that your will power is useless, is not
**     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.





May 25, 2009, Monday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Carmen the Canada Goose Gosling and Family
Carmen and siblings
Carmen is the one in the middle. Blondie is on the right, and Sam on the left.

Canada Geese and Goslings
Carmen's family
Carmen is the one in the middle. Blondie is on the right, and Sam on the left. I can't see for sure which parent that is.

Carmen the Canada Goose Gosling
Carmen and siblings
Carmen is the one in the middle. Blondie is on the right, and Sam on the left. Blondie was forever looking at me like that. If I had to guess what he was thinking, I would guess that he was wondering if I had some bread or other munchies for him.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Peter_F2 ]

Date: Fri, January 13, 2012 8:28 am     (answered 16 January 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: The Future of Occupy: Love, Respect — and Name-Calling

This fight is far from over:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/../../dr-peter-ferentzy/occupy-movement-canada_b_1190849.html

Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong
http://www.peterferentzy.com

Hi again Peter,

Thanks for an interesting article. You make a bunch of good points there. I won't repeat them all; I'll just let people read the article themselves.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue
**     of their currency, first by inflation then by deflation, the banks and
**     the corporations will grow up around them, will deprive the people of
**     all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent
**     their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the
**     banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."
**       — Thomas Jefferson





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html#Peter_F3 ]

Date: Fri, January 13, 2012 4:59 am     (answered 16 January 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Toronto Public Health — FREE Harm Reduction Workshops

Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong
http://www.peterferentzy.com

From: canadianharmreduction.com
Subject: Toronto Public Health — FREE Harm Reduction Workshops
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 2012

Please share this announcement with friends & colleagues in Toronto.

Harm Reduction 101 Workshop

Working with substance users from a harm reduction perspective
This two day workshop is organized by Toronto Public Health Sexual Health Promoters and community partners. It is designed for people who work with people who use drugs.

The main focus of the workshop is to raise awareness about:

  • Safer drug use and risk reduction to prevent the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis C and other infections
  • Strategies to reduce the stigma and barriers experienced by people using drugs that prevent them from accessing equitable services
  • The policies and politics that affect the lives of people who use drugs and their communities

Date: February 8 / 9, Place: Metro Hall, 8th 310, 9th 314

February 29 / March 1, 25 Cecil Street — Free Parking in Rear

April 4 / 5, Metro Hall, Rm 314

May 9 / 10, Metro Hall, 9th Room 314, 10th Rm 310

June 13 / 14, Metro Hall, Rm 314

September 5 / 6, Metro Hall, Rm 314

October 17 / 18, Metro Hall, Rm 314

November 14 / 15, Metro Hall, Rm 314

Location: Metro Hall is at 55 John Street (South of King St, West of University)
Fee: This workshop is free. No food or drinks provided.
Time: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

For more information and to register, please contact: Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600

** In respect to limited space please give notice if you cannot attend as planned.
** Please avoid wearing scented products to the workshop.
** If you would like PDF copies of current research bring a memory stick.

Please visit the Canadian Harm Reduction Network's Website and support us by becoming a member.
Check us out on Facebook ... and on Twitter

Okay, Peter, I'll be happy to publicize this.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Imagine how people will interact with each other when they know they
**     cannot harm another person, place, condition or thing without harming
**     themselves.  Imagine the difference when people, everywhere, accept
**     the divine truth:  as they give, so shall they receive.
**       —  (Mayan) Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj





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Last updated 15 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters282.html