Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXXVIII



[The previous letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Andrew_S ]

Date: Tue, February 7, 2012 8:49 pm     (answered 13 February 2011)
From: "Andrew S."
Subject: Re: AA's Problems

It's smarmy and condescending to say "Nice try at a debate point, though." when I accuse you of logical inconsistency. It's natural to want to defend Churchill. He was a remarkable man who embodied great virtues and vices. I wasn't criticizing you for defending Churchill, I was criticizing you for responding with "Nice try at a debate point, though" to a rational exposition of your flawed logic. That is clearly smarmy and condescending to me.

Hello again, Andrew,

Jeez, you are in a bad mood, aren't you? Now maybe that is smarmy and condescending.

That is a perfect example of your weakness as a debater. You misinterpreted the natural reading of my words so that you could readily refute something that I didn't intend. For a man who hates propaganda, you sure do love to beat a straw man.

Andrew, all of your complaining about my debating style has nothing to do with the simple fact that Alcoholics Anonymous fails to help alcoholics.

An intelligent audience can see through that readily. You think that I am making irrational, poorly-reasoned arguments defending AA. I could give a fuck if AA ever attracts another member. I sincerely don't care, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. My personal opinion is that motivational interviewing is the best addiction therapy.

You are distorting my arguments to suit your argument. There's a reason why the standard format for a debate isn't one person speaking while another can interrupt at will. In essence, that's the format of your letters section. You can interrupt at will. By the end of it, your opponent's argument has been defeated by having its logical underpinnings (the internal relationship of facts, opinions and arguments) knocked out from under it. You can interrupt the tempo of the argument, or attack one sentence dependent on the following sentences. THAT'S WHY YOU WON'T SEE THAT STYLE OF DEBATE IN ACADEMIC CIRCLES. You have used this one-sided format to distort and minimize rational arguments that I've made.

Again, Andrew, your letters have repeatedly said that you didn't like A.A., and you agreed with me, but then you slipped in false assumptions about how A.A. is really okay, and we should accept A.A. as it is, for illogical reasons like that they have "a compelling origin myth". That is what I have argued with. And you keep on denying that you are praising A.A., but your letters are full of surreptitious recommendations of A.A.

Similarly, when was the last time you visited a credible science website that had a laundry list of "propaganda techniques" listed prominently? Just linking a well-reasoned argument to the propaganda technique it happens to be closest to is misleading and petty. Nearly any thesis or argument can be tainted like this.

Actually, there is a web site that is totally devoted to logical fallacies and debating tricks. I learned a few things from it. I shall have to search to find it again.

"AA is a cult." Oops. Demonizing. The word cult is loaded. Generality: you are making a sweeping generality about a group that spans nations, decades and diverse opinions. And so on. Does this attack disprove the underlying facts and arguments? No. Not really. I haven't disproven or proven that AA is a cult in those last couple of sentences; that ultimately depends on objective facts.

It does not matter whether the word "cult" is emotionally loaded, A.A. is still a cult. You can read the Cult Test to get a thorough description of what a cult is. A.A. fits the description admirably.

You've cherry-picked a couple of quotes of mine and presented them out of context so you can discredit me as an AA defender. That's a demonstration of a logical tautology in your viewpoint: if someone is an AA-defender they must be lying, if someone is lying they must be an AA-defender. In your mind, anyone who has anything positive to say about AA is a filthy AA-defender and must be defeated at any cost. If somebody criticizes your logic, they are a filthy AA-defender who will stop at nothing to spread their lies and untruth. That's an un-constructive and unrealistic attitude, AO. You don't subject the people who agree with you to the same logical scrutiny. In your mind, you've accepted that they are on the same side of the debate as you, so you cut them some slack. Reality is rarely black and white, angels and demons.

I have not taken you out of context. I have answered almost every one of your sentences — especially where you were slipping in surreptitious praise of Alcoholics Anonymous.

And I did not say that you were lying, I said that you were starting off by declaring that you agree with me, and then you slipped in a list of arguments for why A.A. isn't so bad and we should accept A.A. as it is. Here is the list: Orange-letters279.html#Andrew_S

Any rational, objective survey of AA is going to find a little bad, a little good and a lot of mediocrity because that is the reality of social institutions. That's why AA can continue; if it were obviously evil and drove masses of people to suicide immediately, it couldn't survive that long. Rather, it subtly influences people and causes real harm here and there, willy-nilly, to relatively small percentages of people.

You are doing it again, right now. The argument "a little bad, a little good" is another attempt at Escape via Antirationalism, and Escape via Relativism.

And the line about suicide is a dishonest exaggeration. I never said that A.A. caused "masses" of people to commit suicide. I said that A.A. raises the suicide rate in alcoholics. How many suicides do you think is okay?

Your argument that A.A. only harms "relatively small percentages of people" is without foundation. What study or test or survey established what percentage of people were harmed by A.A. dogma and false teachings? Again, how many suicides, or how many girls raped, constitutes only a "relatively small percentage" which isn't worth worrying about?

I'm not interested in climbing on a soapbox and converting people to my pet philosophy. I'm interested in finding a sane, rational viewpoint on the recovery movement. Your responses have convinced me that you can't act in that role because you are a dogmatic zealot. You are still closer to reason than the 'old-timers' in AA, but I think that you are farther away from it than me. I think that you may be obsessed with AA. Obsession, by definition, destroys objectivity. Obsession is bad, AO. Are you sure that you haven't replaced one compulsive activity (drinking) with another (discrediting AA)?

Sorry you don't like my debating style. If you wouldn't repeatedly slip illogical praise for A.A. into your letters, and try to get me to accept false assertions about the good side of A.A., we wouldn't have so much to argue about.

Ultimately, true arguments can be used irrationally. False arguments can be used rationally — in fact, the whole history of science is a parade of such arguments. The theory of the humors, for instance, was a rational view of how bodily fluids influenced the human organism. It was rational, logical and consistent. The only weakness of the humors theory is that it is objectively false. I am very distrustful of contemporary science's view of the connection between the human brain and addiction. It may seem to be rational, logical and consistent, but it does a terrible job of changing behavior in a practical fashion. I am not even sure if addictions should be characterized as a medical problem. For me, personally, it has been a moral and spiritual struggle as much as a physical one.

This is an area of ongoing investigation. The genetics of alcohol addiction are being investigated and discovered now, and that is certainly physical. Look here: Dr. Kenneth Blum". And here: SOS book.

And there is this:

A researcher who found a gene for the tendency to abuse alcohol stated that there is evidence that "A Functional Neuropeptide Y Leu7Pro Polymorphism [is] Associated With Alcohol Dependence in a Large Population Sample From the United States". He explained it this way:
"This is only the second specific genetic mechanism ever identified that modulates risk for alcohol dependence."
(See: Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59:825-831;
http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/issues/v59n9/toc.html)

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

For the alternative view on the genetics question, you can read Stanton Peele: Peele on genetics of alcoholism.

I believe that contemporary science has very few meaningful things to say on how to solve sickness of the soul and spirit. It wouldn't surprise me if everything we believed about addiction was contradicted in two or three generations. That is not an appeal to irrationality — that is a pragmatic view of contemporary science.

"Sickness of the soul and spirit"? Don't you mean mental illness, like depression or bipolar disorder, or Narcissitic Personality Disorder? And brain damage from ethanol poisoning and malnutrition? Or are you making another appeal to irrationality, and trying to claim that spirits get sick? Are there spiritual bacteria and viruses? Evil spirits that overwhelm and take possession of good spirits? How do spirits get sick? When and where has "spiritual sickness" ever been established, besides in the Oxford Group and in Bill Wilson's demented mind?

By the way, you really should see the previous letter that talked about "a serious spiritual disorder", here.

Using my own home-grown bullshit scale I score you a 20 out of 100 and AA a 70 out of 100. I would score the Catholic Church a 90 out of 100.

So you dislike the Catholic Church more than A.A. So? That has nothing to do with the problem that sick people need good medicine, not quackery. And A.A. isn't good medicine.

You are very careful to be respectful to religion on your site, but wouldn't the Catholic Church score 1000 on your cult test with the same level of scrutiny? Particularly if you took it's history as a state religion into account? Or the Concordat between the Pope and Mussolini in WWII? Or its explicit dogma? Or the fact that they coined the word propaganda? This isn't a propaganda trick — it's reality. Coercion and power politics are part of the human experience. I say this not to minimize the evil of AA, but to create a context to understand persuasion and coercion. It undercuts your objectivity if you see AA as a cult but you cannot bring yourself to find the parallels in Christianity, Islam and Judaism. You always characterize AA's Buchman as a Nazi-sympathizer; to me it is as damning for him to find guidance in that menagerie of atrocities and sex crimes called the Bible. If we are to rid the world of the most pernicious and irrational cults, I would prioritize destroying the Catholic Church before AA.

Oh, I am very careful with religion.

That's my two cents, Mr. AO. I don't hold no grudge with you or wish you any harm. You're good people and I forgive you your zeal. I would gladly hoist a Jamaican Ginger Beer in your honor (I'm off the hard stuff for good),

Have a really great day (no irony or condescension), my brother in recovery,

Andrew

You have a good day too, Andrew.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He hath a poor spirit who is not planted above petty wrongs.
**        ==  Owen Feltham (1602—1668), English author

[The next letter from Andrew_S is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Stu_K ]

Date: Wed, February 8, 2012 12:26 pm     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Stu K."
Subject: Thank you

Greetings:

I have been a sober member of AA for over ten years now, and while I will continue to go, I have been seeing a lot of what your papers discuss. I will continue to go, as many friends I have made, great friends, don't see things like I do, and definitely not as you do.

I am open minded enough to be able to see the intelligence and logic in much of your writing, and will continue to read more. My "brain washing" has never held, and I have challenged AA from day one on many respects, and have taken grief from many a member for doing so. The great thing is that I have not picked up a drink it a long time, and as my friend Frank says, "If it is meant to be, it is up to me."

I will continue to go to AA, as I get a nice social aspect form it, and do hear some God felt messages. My favorite line of the entire Big Book is, "Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little." Amen to that!

Thank you again.

Regards,

Stu K.

Hello Stu,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your many years of sobriety.

You sound like a good candidate for the Newcomers' Rescue League. (Look here.) So please keep on injecting your note of sanity into a crazy world.

And I really like that saying,

"If it is meant to be, it is up to me."

Of course that totally contradicts Bill Wilson's sermons about how bad "self-reliance" is.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity
**     or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind (1954), p. 210.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Randy_S ]

Date: Thu, February 9, 2012 5:38 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Randy S."
Subject: AA

Do you sell copies of your website in book form?

Hello Randy,

Thanks for the question. And the answer is, "No, there is no dead-tree edition."

However, I make it easy for people to download all of the files for the web site, and then burn them into their own CDs.

The archive files are available from the main menu page, here: http://www.orange-papers.info/menu1.html#archives

No special installation is required — just make a new empty subdirectory ("folder" in Windowese) and put all 69 archive files in it, then unpack them, and then start browsing with the "index.html" or "menu1.html" web page.

Then, you can burn the files into a CD and have a "web site to go". Detailed instructions for burning a CD are here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates.
**     I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus.
**     And I put them in a book.
**     If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?
**         == Dale Carnegie





May 27, 2009, Wednesday:

Great Blue Heron Beethoven the Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, windblown


Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, windblown

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Dick_R ]

Date: Thu, February 9, 2012 11:02 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Dick R."
Subject: Bill Wilson and AA article

Who are you? What is your name?

I've been asked that question many times before, and already wrote down all of the answers. Look here: Who are you?.

By the way, my name is Terrance Hodgins and I live in rural Oregon.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "We are Freely giving away what was freely given to us."
**      "Pay up: That will be $15,000 for a 28-day introduction to A.A."





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Liane_F ]

Date: Thu, February 9, 2012 11:38 pm     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Liane F."
Subject: AA Religious Faith Rant

Wow Bill Wilson is sure renting some space in your head. I have to confess I didn't read the entire article word for word...my brain couldn't absorb everything. Yes I am a "member" of AA and wanted to let you know that I understand we are a baffling lot and misunderstood, I can handle that. I am So glad you have educated yourself on what "we" all think in AA. No religious nut here, just someone who had a desperate desire to stop drinking. I had a religious upbringing and was comfortable with the concept of religion that was forced upon me. I have to say my only intention to go to AA was for them to teach me how to stop drinking and to stay stoppped. The truth was I never got the answer I went in looking for. I was furious that Alcohol wasn't fun or making me numb anymore and furthermore... I could not stop drinking or thinking about when I would be able to get my next drink! My health was deteriorating rapidly and had 3 episodes of Anaphylaxsis within a 6 weeks time frame which my doctor could not determine was causing these near fatal allergic reactions after a battery of tests. I even told him I though it might be alcohol and he laughed (I have not had one episode since I quit drinking). I defiantly attended AA after all I was not ordered to go but I went because I knew they helped got the sponsor, made coffee at meetings etc... The result is my ability to finally grow up, take responsibility for my bad behavior (while drinking or not drinking), and stop thinking the world revolved around me. Most "members" of AA do not talk of the service work we do in our communities (in addition to the service we do in AA) because we don't HAVE to anymore. As in any "club" we have plenty of exceptions to this rule. The fact is something about working the program has made me act more sanely and has resulted in me not having the desire to drink, or force me ego-centered opinions on the world as I use to. I do not have to like everyone or fix your problems to avoid mine anymore. I also do not have to agree with everything Bill Wilson writes as well. I have my own opinion on the man...he was human, and flawed, just like you and me. I still find meditating awkward, but I do it anyway because despite my resistance I always feel better after I do. The fact is whether we like him or not the facts are the AA program of recovery has helped millions of people. Is it the answer for everyone??? I honestly don't even care, I am still self-centered and just I am just glad I haven't taken a drink since I walked into the rooms of AA in October 2004. I am also glad that the "GOD" of my understanding is not the same when I walked into the rooms of AA. I do not spend hours obsessing and picking apart why you or anyone else is wrong. I am no longer a danger to myself or society. I am much more open to learning about the power of living a purposeful, peaceful life. When I do pray I start the conversation with the word "God", it's short and surely a habit from my childhood, but whatever entity,(the spirit of unconditional love is my best description) seems to respond to it. I don't even try to figure it out... Now I don't know if AA is a Cult but I can tell you we certainly do not all have the same belief or opinions on "God", we don't all like each other or even play well with each other all the time. But I know this one thing for sure...even if "Dan the Athesist" as we call him, called me for help, I would go without hesitation.

Oh and by the way Bill Wilson is dead so he can't even read you article so I am not really clear on why you wrote it. He died in 1971 just weeks before my Dad entered the rooms of AA. My Dad stayed sober too and died 36 years later, surrounded by the friends he made in AA and many other friends and co-worker who had no idea he was a member of AA, they just thought he was one hell of a guy, a joy to be around, and had helped them too in one way or the other. The AA people had no idea my Dad was involved in other community service organizations, actually neither did I. I was only 5 when my Dad started going to AA so I don't remember what he was like when he drank (although believe me my mother has told me the stories) I do know my Mom has not drank in 20 years (she claimed 30 until just recently she remembered slugging down a bottle of Vodka while screaming at the top of her lungs at me in front of my 2 toddlers because I was pregnant with my third son and she wanted me to have a girl) She refused to go to AA and has done it with the occasional help of a therapist and she goes to church every day. All I knew is I didn't think AA would work for me either but I knew I didn't had to stop drinking and there was not way I was going to live the rest of my life without alcohol and white knuckle it like her. I do know my Dad didn't die drunk, and I will thank Bill Wilson for that and a few other drunks who were able to come together and against all odds come up with a set of imperfect instructions to STAY stopped drinking. Maybe it only work for dummies, so I think you are safe. It seems unless you are a "Real Alcoholic" the stuff I do as an alcoholic doesn't make much sense...so congratulations it seems you are not one of us. You will probably go insane or waste a lot of time and energy trying to figure us out...I use to do the same thing. I have found that even though I have tried to modify the AA "rules" and I don't agree with everything I read in the literature, when I do it as "suggested" I always feel better and I have not screamed at the top of lungs at anyone for a good 5 years. I save the energy I use to use on looking for a reason to justify a drink on doing all the things I would think about while sitting on a barstool.

Thanks for the interesting read...take a deep breath and smile at someone...you never know!

Hello Liane,

Thanks for the input. I'm glad to hear that you quit drinking. and restored your health.

What you have told me is that you went to A.A., and they indoctrinated you with all kinds of strange religious ideas and slogans and practices, and you learned to put yourself down, and jabber the standard lingo and sling the slogans. At approximately the same time, you got so sick that you were dying, so you finally got a grip and quit drinking. That does not mean that A.A. made you quit drinking, or even taught you how to quit drinking.

I also got so sick that I was dying, so I also quit drinking. And I did it without A.A. or any cult religion or any of that nonsense. It's a very simple matter of getting so sick that it becomes really obvious that you are dying, so you finally decide to do something different with your life.

Likewise, your story about your father is another attempt at "proof by anecdote". It is very good that he quit drinking, but his story does not prove or even hint that A.A. did anything good for him. You might as well give the credit for his sobriety to his job or his church or the kind of sports that he played. Or his diet, or his hobbies, or anything else in his life. There is of course no proof that any of those things had anything to do with it. That's why you cannot just assume a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists.

The simple fact is, "A.A. does not work, and A.A. does not raise the sobriety rate in alcoholics." A.A. just claims the credit for those few people who quit drinking while attending some A.A. meetings, while refusing to take the blame for all of those other A.A. members who don't quit drinking.

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties with your mother. You do realize, don't you, that she does not prove that refusing to go to A.A. makes people drink? It sounds like your whole family is a good argument for the genetic theory of alcoholism.

I wish you well. Have a good day now.

By the way, I smile at people every day.

== Orange

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





BLOG NOTE: 2012.02.14, Valentine's Day: The blue Jay has done it again.

Today, I was slow about getting around to feeding the birds. It was noon and I still had not gotten around to going out and putting out their oatmeal. Earlier in the morning, they still had some oatmeal left from the day before, so I let them eat that first. But then they ate it all and wanted more. So, when I went to the bathroom and the Jay heard the water running, he flew to a pine tree branch just outside of the bathroom window and perched there, where I couldn't help but see him, to remind me that he was around and waiting. Then he even plucked a tiny pine cone and held it in his mouth. The message was unmistakeable: "I'm hungry, and I need something better to eat than just a pine cone!"

The first time that happened, I thought it was just a coincidence, or just my imagination, that he was perching just outside the bathroom window and getting my attention because he wanted to be fed. Now I'm seeing that it is quite deliberate. Those little guys are smarter than we generally give them credit for. Especially the Jay. I learned that Jays are related to crows, and crows are very smart. Well, the Jay has noticed that I'm the one who puts out the food each day, and he figured out that I live on the second story of the building, and he is apparently even able to track my movements in my apartment, and he knows when I'm in the bathroom — which has a convenient tree right next to the window where he can perch and get noticed. How does he know? He just looks in the window. The birds sit in a tree in the back yard, and watch me right through another window. They see me laying back and watching TV, or typing on the computer, or going to another room, or whatever. (How's that for paranoid? "The birds are watching me." Except that sometimes, they really are.)

Likewise, I used to think that it was just a coincidence when the birds starting chirping when I went outside. And I wondered if it was my imagination that they chirped more when I sprinkled out the oatmeal for them. But it wasn't my imagination. I am a bit of a creature of habit, and so are they, and I usually feed them at about the same time every morning, and when it is near feeding time, the birds sit in the trees around my house, waiting for me to bring out the food. And they start jabbering excitedly when they see me pouring out the food. Especially when the ground is covered with snow. That is what really started it.

We had a snow storm a while back where everything was covered with snow, and the birds couldn't get anything to eat. It is winter, and the food supply is bad anyway. The insects are all long since dead and gone. Nothing is blooming or going to seed. Last year's seeds have already been found and eaten. There just isn't much in the way of a food supply. The little birds have to really dig and scrounge to find anything edible. And that's impossible when everything is buried under snow. So they really appreciated it when I put out food for them.

So I attracted a following very quickly. They seem to have a way to tell their friends about the food (yes, it is called "talking"), and more birds show up all of the time. Whole flocks show up. And more species are showing up, even things that I've never seen before. Just recently some orange and gray birds showed up. They are about the size of a Blue Jay, and I have no idea what they are. Beautiful though. In just the last week they have become regular visitors.

February 20, 2012, Monday, Forest Grove:

Bird

These are some mediocre photographs that will just give you an idea of what the orange and gray birds look like. These guys are so wary that I can't even get near them to photograph them. I have to use a telephoto lens from a second-story window, and so far, I've only gotten shots like this.

Bird

Bird

UPDATE: I finally identified this bird as a Male Varied Thrush. There is a much better photograph of this bird here.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Steve_S ]

Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 12:42 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: AA

Well thank you very much for the attachment which led to a plethora of other information. I will leave my story brief, very brief... because there is two realities, and then application which is contained in developing the part of myself (and most people) that is mostly ignored, despite its presence.

Hello again, Steve,

Thanks for the feedback.

The low down:
At the end of my drinking, I knew only one thing, and that was all I needed to know. I considered alcohol and what man calls it (Spirits) is just another testament to the ways of Man. Using Spiritual things and twisting and turnings them into earthly pleasures which leads always to separation from God. To call booze spirits by its own admonition is so typical. I considered booze, "The Great Separator" from my spiritual self... through a series of descending illusions and delusionary perceptions was the descent around and around the downward spiral. Toward the end, I realized this.. because, I had found God for sure in a personal sense (He is Always there afterall)... after saving a man's life in the ocean. Long story.. and very amazing (refer to A Course in Miracles). (ACIM).

I agree that booze separates you from your spiritual self.

I hate to disillusion you, but ACIM is a fraud. I have written about that at length before. Look here.

Upon that realization, and sudden humiliation (which I had felt in the past no doubt, only this time it was for only one reason... under the Hand of God).. with that, I only wanted to be what I was born to be, which was nothing of what I was at that moment. This also meant though, not being concerned with what I once thought I was meant to be, for that too was an allusion based on my particular circumstances since childhood. That realization should go in the ACIM curriculum.

With that, I quit. No desire to drink whatsoever. I always considered AA a trigger from day 1. I had not gone for a while at this point, so the 'aura of the room' no longer had its grip on me. I did not go for one full year.. and did not drink nor have a desire to. However, I knew there had to be more, my life as a straight-line with no real direction. I needed more of the Spiritual self. I went back, and it was painful at first. Not only that, I started over my entire belief system regardless of everything other than knowing only one thing.. the goodness of God. I did try total disbelief.. and then from there.. from the seed of my birth.. worked up and up to the finally all summation (two year 2 months later)... which as it were.. was the same belief system. Only this time, I found it out for myself through extensive research (of my own..).. which made it personal. At that point, I then and now continue to attend.

So you actually quit drinking without A.A., and stayed sober without A.A. That is good. Congratulations. Well done.

It is all fine and well to want a spiritual life. You can do better than A.A.

Why? Because whether ors not Bill was who he was or might be thought to have been... regardless of any of it... AA is for the bottom of the barrel people, who have nothing. Would not Jesus helped the lowest of the low, to help the blind to see? so if it is the work of the devil or a narcissistic type (And hey, there is a woman there now in our group who is totally a sociopath and no one seems to know this, or does not talk about it. She is ruining it for a few people there though, including myself.. long story)... I do know that Love conquers all. The great mystery to me is, I do not know if anyone else there knows the story as you have portrayed... and if so... then all the power to them. If it is a 'cult'.. then take that which is wrong, right... if exposing.. do something about it. Am I strong enough despite it all? I have Faith in God. But you know, it took over or nearly 2 years of not being tied to the program...

Actually, A.A. is not "for the bottom of the barrel people". A.A. isn't really for anybody. A.A. is harmful and makes more people worse than it ever helps.

The funny and victorious thing for me is.. and here is the clincher... despite the all in all.. it made me consider everything... to transcend all previous learning and experiences.. to now.. a Spiritual Awakening.. with more than one. Bill's 4 th dimension.. goes further. Alcohol was not my only dark place... I had another severe mental disorder for 25 years.. and it was not of a substance.. it was lack of any substance.

So know... it took a power most definitely greater than myself.. to restore my state of sanity. I was never insane... nor did I think so... I also did not think I was alcoholic... only someone who was searching for reason in a very unreasonable way... (insane?) no... so negative... For me, it was the sad state of soul searching... nor do I think so today. Alcoholic? I do not think so; however, I also will not drink again.. so some could argue that I am.

So did you get help from a doctor or a psychiatrist? Some of them are good "higher powers" too, you know. It sounds like depression is one of your problems.

Where I am at today, Just for today, I have a desire to not be separated from my Spiritual Self to the best of my ability... whether it be from booze or from worrying about anything. The failing part of AA is the disease concept.. which does not provide Hope as much as could be... but that is where I'd think.. some finally stop attending. I was there.. but felt.. it might be good to continue for a while.. my work there is far from starting... but some seeds are planted already. My faith is weak... the program tests it.

You are quite right in noticing that telling people that they have an incurable disease, and can't ever recover, is really depressing. That is one of the ways in which A.A. harms people. Some people commit suicide over it.

That is the paradox.. so why do I go? What they don't know won' t hurt works both ways... as long as it will lead to the road of Salvation.

Ah, but that is a key question, isn't it? There is no reason to believe that the A.A. path leads to Salvation. Have you read the file The Heresy of the Twelve Steps?


Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 12:58 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: AA

Oops one last thing... many isms... Buddhism, Atheism, Taoism.. etc.. belief systems. I am what I believe. An alcoholic is in the belief system of alcoholism. Therefore, they attend that 'church'... why? Because they have no other belief... they only thought they did (in my mind today). When I go to church, this is a statement that I am a Christian. My church knows only two things Jesus and God.. with little doctrine. I believe also we are on the verge of a breakthrough.. and that 12 Step programs are a Stepping Stone (Bills wife in her will donated all to the Stepping Stone foundation).

Umm, no, actually, Lois left 50% of her wealth from Bill's chicanery to her relatives and friends, and 50% to the Stepping Stones Foundation. Here is Lois' will. Half of the royalties from all of Bill's books, including the Big Book are going to people who have nothing to do with A.A.

The 12 steps are the first step... so how then, to attend and state I am an alcoholic when it goes so against my belief system? Redefine the term, alcoholic.... a state of mind which I participate for... for a greater purpose. A Christian ethic. I now can learn in my Spiritual journey how to apply much greater knowledge and wisdom into the rooms... but not to be engrained within disbelief. Very tricky and difficult, but it is making the journey beneficial because it keeps things in perspective with the rest of the world... I do all my work for growth outside the rooms, and attend to share and see the hope of some who before knew of none. To see God work, in spite of... to those who are willing to have eyes that See.

If you have to redefine the words in order to even be able to say the 12 Steps out loud without gagging, then you don't believe in the 12 Steps or the 12-Step "program". Better to discard it and get something honest and real.

One of my biggest inspirations... is in the music by "Yes" and Jon Anderson.

Yes, I love music too.


Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 1:05 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: AA

Please read this message LAST :-)...

Thanks, you will see why..note the title of the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLgtfW6QrW8

After hearing this, search or see over to the right.. the "Hidden ambient track"


Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 1:19 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: AA

haha..one last thing, I read this first thing today at 339AM....Ephesians 6

My question to you now is. are you a christian? or an atheist.

More of a Christian than an atheist. Definitely not an atheist, but not a hard-core Christian either. I'm not a "true believer" or a fundamentalist. My own personal religion is an amalgum of goodies stolen from all of the major religions of the world.

And I'm enough of a skeptic that I don't believe in Santa Claus.


Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 1:22 am     (answered 14 February 2012)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: AA

Dang.. there I go again.. will I ever learn!:... Such a mis-worded question I asked just then. I assume you have better things to do than to see all of these emails.. better asked would be: What is your solution or maybe even... were you ever a problem drinker that began to get acquainted with hell? I have been to hell... for myself.. it was the bottle.. but even much worse.. was another disease... lack of substance in all regards, literally.

Oh yeh, I was a "problem drinker". It nearly killed me. I finally quit drinking when the doctor said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

I have a lot of ideas about how to quit drinking and stay quit, and wrote them down already, so you can read them here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is
**     the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is
**     the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his
**     throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the
**     globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to
**     happiness and heaven.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

[The next letter from Steve_S is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Laurence_C ]

Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 6:01 am     (answered 17 February 2012)
From: "Laurence C."
Subject: Control Freaks/Sexual Predators Anonymous

Hi Orange

Are there any 12 Step Groups for Control Freaks or Sexual Predators ? And if so, who controls or preys on who, the Sponsors or the Sponcees, the Old-timer Guru's or the Newcomer pigeons?

I was just wondering............

Hi Laurence,

Those are some good questions. They remind me of one of my favorites:

If Workaholics Anonymous people do 90 meetings in 90 days and work a really strong Program, are they still being compulsive workaholics?

Shouldn't 180 meetings in 90 days fix the problem?

Somebody else was recently writing in and asking about, if you put a bunch of sex addicts together in an SAA meeting, how do you keep them from hooking up for a quickie after the meeting?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet."
**         — Saint Augustine (354—430)





[The previous letter from Barrett_B is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Barrett_B ]

Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 11:12 am     (answered 17 February 2012)
From: "Barrett B."
Subject: Re: who are you?

Hi Orange,

So .
What do you believe?

Hi again Barrett,

Geez. That is a huge question. Let's see, to start with, I guess that either reality is as we see it, or it isn't as we see it.

But if it isn't as we see it, then either we can do something about fixing our vision, or we can't.

Then, I guess I believe in the Law of Gravity, and electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces...

And I believe in awareness. That is pretty undeniable. Even if we are just aware of an illusion, as in Matrix, we are still aware. Awareness seems to be a fundamental component of the Universe.

You can get some more hints in this file: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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





RANDOM ITEMS, 2012.02.17

This is relevant: This article is not about A.A., it's about "self-help" organizations in general, but it sure has a familiar sound.
Five lies personal growth gurus love to tell





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Richard_B ]

Date: Fri, February 10, 2012 3:38 pm     (answered 21 February 2012)
From: "Richard B."
Subject: In a nutshell

Richard B. here again.

I just came across this. It was reprinted, I see, in the Canadian version of the Reader's Digest. Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect the U.S. version of same wouldn't have touched it with a ten-foot pole.

http://donewithaa.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/12-steps-to-nowhere.pdf

[Local copy here: 12-steps-to-nowhere.pdf]

While I'm at it ...

Has anybody ever thought of getting A.A. to be even more "monetized" than it already is?

What I had in my mind, for instance, was designer Sponsor/Sponsee accessories such as hairshirts and flagellant's whips, this on the grounds that the more things you're ashamed of the more spiritual prestige you have. I love love love it when my Sponsor puts his foot on my neck. S-and-M rules!

And vintage ashtrays from the good old days when AA — "as it was originally laid out" — killed off countless people in "the rooms" with second-hand cigarette smoke. Going going gone ...

OK, it's not very likely that the stained bedsheets from Bill Wilson's various 13th-Step assignations are still around in ordinary physical reality, but that's no reason they couldn't be, as it were, reconstructed, and cut up into handy sizes suitable for framing.

Next — A.A. prayer mats, set up by G.P.S. to be always pointing in the direction of Akron, Ohio.

Any lengths! Second to none! Or else!

Best
rb

Hello Richard,

Thanks for the input. Yes, that Canadian article is quite revealing. The guy successfully abstains from both alcohol and Alcoholics Anonymous.

I found the merchandising satire amusing. But actually, you aren't far off from the truth. There is an amazing amount of A.A. drunk junk out there. It's just like the medallions and holy trinkets of the Catholic Church. I seem to recall that the last item of drunk junk that I found at Goodwill was a leather double book cover that lets you bind your hardcover Big Book and 12X12 together into one really big holy book.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The test, surely, of a creed is not the ability of those who accept it
**     to announce their faith; its test is its ability to change their behavior
**     in the ordinary round of daily life. Judged by that test, I know no
**     religion that has a moral claim upon the allegiance of men."
**       ==  Harold J. Laski, in I Believe (1939), ed. Clifton Fadiman





[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters288.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sat, February 11, 2012 5:07 am     (answered 21 February 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Holy Motherfucking Shit

I've pretty much read your entire archives at this point, yet I find Hagar's story most horrifying. It's like watching someone get the keys to escape from a cage, and their captors not only take away the keys, they cut off the person's hands and tongue. I get a sinking feeling that this sponsor canceled Hagar's internet access, as well.

Hello again, Meatbag,

Yes, the Internet access is probably cut. His Yahoo account is deleted.

It's truly amazing what passes for just about any form of psychiatry here. I've been lucky enough to deal with legitimate therapists and psychiatrists, but I know others aren't so lucky. If they're kids, they might not even be able to escape, despite knowing what's wrong.

Yes, there is so much fraud. Have you ever heard of Jeffrey Masson? He has had a very interesting life. When he was a boy, his father got deceived by a phony guru who actually moved into the house and sponged off of the family for years. Jeffrey was the heir apparent of the cult, but he rejected that role, and wrote a book about his experiences.

Then he went after psychiatry in general. After describing the horrendous physical, psychological and sexual abuse to which a Dr. Rosen subjected his patients, Masson asked,

The point of this book is to raise precisely this question: Is Rosen an exception, or is there something about psychotherapy, something in the very nature of psychotherapy, that tends toward such abuses? Are these abuses or simply the use that is made of psychotherapy? A prison warden, a slaveholder, and a psychotherapist have in common the desire to control another person. (The analogy may appear inexact, for the person in therapy, many believe, is free to leave or quit. I don't believe this is true, though it would require a discussion of the concept of "informed consent." Nevertheless, the parallels are striking. We know for a fact that many slaveholders thought of themselves as kindly and argued that slaves were lucky to have them as masters, for others would be worse. Medical doctors at Auschwitz argued that if they didn't do what they did, others would do it more brutally. People who participate in causing suffering to others often employ this argument.)
Against Therapy; Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Page 147.

And obviously, an A.A. sponsor also falls into the same category — he or she also desires to control the behavior of another person.


Date: Sat, February 11, 2012 12:09 pm     (answered 21 February 2011)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Yet More Random Comments

I found a brochure in my therapist's office. It led me to a couple of interesting links:

http://www.alcoholanswers.org/

http://addictionsurvivors.org/

They are connected to each other. I've noticed that Alcohol Answers links to both AA and its alternatives. It seems that the people behind the websites are unaware of AA's cultish nature and ineffectiveness. Perhaps I will contact them and link them to your site, especially The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment, The Cult Test, and that letter from the batty sponsor.

Yes, quite so. There are so many of these so-called "experts on addiction" who just reprint standard A.A. brochures and propaganda, and actually think that they are giving out good advice on recovery from alcohol abuse. How little they know.

Have a good day now.
== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Good publicity does not manufacture itself."
**     Bill Wilson rationalizing how he manipulated Jack Alexander, the famous
**     Saturday Evening Post writer, to get him to do a very favorable
**     article on A.A. (So much for "attraction, not promotion".)

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





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