Letters, We Get Mail, CCCIV



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#Craig_R ]

Date: Fri, April 27, 2012 8:50 pm     (answered 30 April 2012)
From: "Craig R."
Subject: Your article

I just finished reading your article about powerlessness over alcohol. I have to say I think you're an idiot. You dont believe alcoholism is a disease? Why don't you go on a fact finding mission about how it is a disease. It's only some of the most widely spread knowledge in the medical profession. I find it funny you call AA a cult, have you ever even cracked a book a read the defintion of a cult? You are an absolute moron with no credentials that I can find. If you want to hate and slander AA thats your business. But the very fact that you hang on every word of the big book and freely interpret it the way you see fit also makes you an idiot. I can't phathom what your problem but it's far worse than any alcoholic I've ever met. I really hope you do some valid research and quit resenting the AA name it hasn't ruined anyones life that I've ever heard of, alcohol on the other hand has ruined millions of lives. Find something worth slandering like scientology who's religion is based off a science fiction novel and costs ungodly amounts just to be involved in the church. Maybe you could enlighten me on why AA is so horrible but as I see it your the one putting out all the propaganda.

Hello Craig,

Thanks for the letter.

Starting at the top, you wrote:

I just finished reading your article about powerlessness over alcohol. I have to say I think you're an idiot. You dont believe alcoholism is a disease? Why don't you go on a fact finding mission about how it is a disease. It's only some of the most widely spread knowledge in the medical profession.
No, it isn't at all. Modern medicine has never established alcoholism as a disease. The only thing that happened is that the American Medical Association allowed a joint committee of two A.A. front groups to write a totally goofy definition of alcoholism that did not even say what causes alcoholism. And the AMA did it for political and financial reasons, the same way as they endorsed cigarette smoking as being okay for you, back in the nineteen-fifties. That was also the time when they first declared that alcoholism was an "illness", not a disease. Look here for the whole story.

Show me the research. What clinical tests and valid medical experiments established "alcoholism" as a "disease"? There aren't any.

So tell me, what is the etiology of this supposed "disease"? Is it contagious? Can you infect children with it? Is it genetic? If you inherit the gene for alcoholism, are you doomed to be an alcoholic, no matter how sin-free or religious or good you are? Will you be forced to think "alcoholic" thoughts no matter how saintly you are?

Then you complained,

I find it funny you call AA a cult, have you ever even cracked a book a read the defintion of a cult?

Speaking of books, you haven't read much of my web site, have you? You could start by reading the "cults" section of the bibliography, here. You don't have to read all of those books, like I have. That would take you years. Just read the list of books.

Then read The Cult Test where I list the common characteristics of cults in the form of a test, and then rate Alcoholics Anonymous on that test.

This is ad hominem — personal attacks on critics — which is a common propaganda technique, and also a common cult tactic. In fact, it is listed in the Cult Test as one of the standard characteristics of a cult. Rather than discuss the true facts of the matter, the cult members sink to scurilous attacks on the critic:

You are an absolute moron with no credentials that I can find. If you want to hate and slander AA thats your business. But the very fact that you hang on every word of the big book and freely interpret it the way you see fit also makes you an idiot. I can't phathom what your problem but it's far worse than any alcoholic I've ever met.

Then you finished with the baseless claim that I had not done any research on the subject. Again, read the bibliography.

I really hope you do some valid research and quit resenting the AA name it hasn't ruined anyones life that I've ever heard of, alcohol on the other hand has ruined millions of lives. Find something worth slandering like scientology who's religion is based off a science fiction novel and costs ungodly amounts just to be involved in the church. Maybe you could enlighten me on why AA is so horrible but as I see it your the one putting out all the propaganda.

In your last line, you asked me to show you why A.A. is so horrible. I really doubt your desire to see what is wrong with A.A.; nevertheless, I will point you to the medical tests of A.A. where A.A. was found to harm more alcoholics than help, where A.A. just raised the rate of binge drinking and raised the death rate in alcoholics, and more, here. And an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties just does not work as a cure for alcohol abuse.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**     indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**     world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
**     efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
**     mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
**     of proper separation between church and state."
**     == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**     The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#Ann_Marie ]

Date: Fri, April 27, 2012 10:01 pm     (answered 30 April 2012)
From: "Ann Marie"
Subject: right!

Dear Madame/Sir,

I have always thought many things you wrote. I just became overpowered by people trying to run my life.

Thank you,

*Ms. Ann Marie H.*

Hello Ann Marie,

Thanks for the letter. I trust that you are feeling freer now.

Just coincidentally, in the previous letter, the correspondent complained that A.A. was not a cult. But people overpowering you trying to run your life is a common cult characteristic, or rather, several of them:

Yes, I can see how that would get to feeling oppressive after a while.

(By the way, you can flip back and forth between the question and the A.A. answer by clicking on the number of the question.)

Have a good day now, and welcome to freedom.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
**     victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
**     robber barons than under omnipotent, moral busybodies. The robber
**     baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be
**     satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us
**     without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience....
**     To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not
**     regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet
**     reached the age of reason."
**       ==  C. S. Lewis,  "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment",
**           God in the Dock. William B. Berdmans Publishing Company,
**           Grand Rapids, MI, 1994.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Date: Sat, April 21, 2012 2:29 am     (answered 30 April 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: share

Hi, Orange,

I just feel motivated to write this to you. This is kind of personal. I hope that is ok.

The AA I know in north and central London now is simply nothing like the AA you describe in all your productions.

I go to 3, 4 mtgs a week. I am getting to know the regulars pretty well, some of them, who I was in rehab with, I know extremely well and I know their entire history in AA.

There simply is — apart from one tiny exceprtion I will metion in a moment — no attempted indoctrination or cultism of any sort. Everyone is there to get better and help others get better. That is, palpably the primary purpose of each member. Many of us also go for fun and company because we enjoy the meetings and we get on as people. There is in BB and 12 and 12 a lot of obviously good-sounding stuff about being honest, helping others and so on. We try to live by those principles. I speak for myself here and I know that I am right about myself! But I also speak for my personal friends in the local groups, and, as far as I can tell, for those who I know only casually from meetings. This is simply my observation of the reality of AA around me here and now. I can also tell you that it is my belief that we are all rather serene — on average more so than non-AAs, though it is a bit of a struggle being serene when recovering from serious long-term alcohol problems — and a lot of us are dual-diagnosis. Given that, we do really well on the serenity front.

I pause to make an interesting contrast. AAs around here are HUGELY more serene than people like WDR who are also recovering addicts but outside AA. WDR are extremely lacking in serenity, as well as honesty or ability to think for themselves or look at evidence and arguments with an open mind.

Around here although we regard the primary purpose of group meetings to be carrying the message, we also use them a lot as self-help group therapy. And when we carry the message we don't do it by parroting banal formulaic stuff — we give details of how we worked through personal problems relating to our alcoholism through AA principles.

Religion is on the whole not an issue. Got-talk is minimal. There are lots of atheists, agnostics and all kinds. There are a fair number — probably not a majority, I don't know for sure — who do think that they have had a spirtual awakening that involves conscious contact with God. But they hardly ever talk about that or mention God — they talk about real things, like what happened last time they relapsed or whatever. Occasionally they will spout God-nonsense, of course. But not a lot.I met one old-timer who clearly had no concept of atheist recovery at all. But that was just one old guy.

The exception — I think I mentioned it in a previous email. An MA group actually, not AA. The 'elders' there (about 4 individuals) were AA fundemantalists. They did not know better. I and a couple of other atheists just talked to them — intensely for a couple of weeks. And they learnt: recovery is possible without ever believing in God. All the 'God' posters have been taken down from the walls at those meetings, as a courtesy to us. And the ex-fundies now either use 'higher power' for 'God' or make a point of saying that they personally have God as their HP, but that is just their own thing. And they are happy with that and we all enjoy the mtgs together. This meeting is attached to a rehab, so we get 6-10 newcomers a week.

Ok — I want to mention again that 'you think you are different' document at aa.org. The fact is it has the story of a succesfully recovering atheist in AA who never came to believe in a supernatural HP. That is hugely significant. It is the only explicit recognition of recovery without God by AA other than Burwell's story in the 1955 edition of BB. It is npot insignficant.

AA cannot as whole be a cult because it is too disorganized. It is anarchic. All kind of groups arise. AA as a floewwhip now explicitly recognzises that recovery does not require belief in the supernatural.

That is all for now.
May you have serenity,
Hetu-Ahin

Hello again, Hetu-Ahin,

Thanks for the letter and the opinion.

You started with,

The AA I know in north and central London now is simply nothing like the AA you describe in all your productions.

Do they:

If so, then A.A. in London is just like A.A. in the USA.

It is nice that you found a pleasant group to hang out with. The problem remains that Alcoholics Anonymous is selling an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties as a cure for alcohol abuse, and it does not work, and they lie about that.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**  "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
**  You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful
**  to take the bait."
**  Bill Wilson describing early recruiting efforts for Alcoholics Anonymous,
**  at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

[The next letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]





April 22, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Goslings munching bread


Canada Goose goslings That curious examination of the bread is priceless.
Like, "What the heck is this stuff?"


Canada Goose goslings
The goslings are using a parent for shade.


Canada Geese goslings

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[The previous letter from David is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#David ]

Date: Mon, April 30, 2012 1:57 pm     (answered 1 May 2012)
From: "David"
Subject: Re: AA

Hi Orange,

Thanks for that.

I've had a wander through your website and applied for entry to the forum. I don't think that I hate AA per se as much as many seem to. I'd say that the meeting I've been going to is full of people who are not 'spiritually fit' by their own standards. They are so far up their own colons there's no chance they can see daylight. And that makes them dangerous to others who are struggling with a life threatening condition (call it disease, or whatever, it is certainly life-threatening and what you call it is just a word). There was another AA group a year or so ago that I went to for the first time. It called itself a 'Step Meeting' on the find AA card. I went along and asked some questions; one of the members said "This is a STEP meeting, I don't know why you are here". To which I replied "Well, I think I'm an alcoholic and I thought that this was an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting". There seemed to be reluctant acceptance in the meeting that I might have a point.

But I cannot believe that all meetings are as bad. Back in the early 1990s I went to a meeting several times and the people there, if my recollection serves me correctly, seemed much more engaging.

Common-sense and intuition tell us that it must be easier to cope with a drinking problem with others to help than to deal with it alone with friends and family who have no concept of what it's like not to drink....normal people who can for the most part take it or leave it....and say 'no thanks' when they've had enough. For me there isn't enough unless I buy it and drink it alone because I'd be ashamed to drink as much as that in company — yes, like you, I have never got to the stage where I'd do literally anything and be totally uninhibited.

Anyway, Orange, I'm not sure I can relate to the more vindictive anti AA comments. The worst of them are bad and dangerous to others. The best can help. For people needing some kind of spiritual cult, AA could fit the bill and as long as they don't cosh old ladies on the head to and from their meetings, does it matter — with the caveat that they don't screw up people with life threatening alcoholism to satisfy their beliefs.

Still, when you get a chance, please let me into the forum and I'll enjoy chewing some of this stuff over, and hope to find some support.

Best wishes, David

Hello David,

Thanks for the letter.

I never said that all A.A. meetings were bad. I have said over and over again that they are all different, and you will find some nice groups and some nice people — even the Newcomers Rescue League — and you will find some very bad groups where sexual predators rape the young women.

What I did say is that Alcoholics Anonymous is just selling an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties as a cure for alcohol abuse, and it does not work, and they lie about that.

The value of "group support" is highly dubious. Common sense may tell you that it is better to have a group than be alone, but most of the successful people did it alone, without any such group:

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

Likewise, American Health Magazine reported:

...people are about ten times as likely to change on their own as with the help of doctors, therapists, or self-help groups.
J. Gurion, American Health Magazine, March 1990.

The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical School, stated quite plainly:

On their own
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

Now I can understand how it seems like common sense that it would be easier to quit with the help of a support group. It might be nice to have somebody else who "understands" and who offers encouragement and who cheers you on.

But what if the "support group" is actually teaching some really terrible untruths about addiction and recovery? And what if they are even pushing an old guilt-inducing cult religion as the only way to recover? And what if they are teaching that people are "powerless" over alcohol or addictions, and only "surrender to God" will save somebody?

The results of those teachings are an increase in the rate of binge drinking, and an increase in the death rate, among other things. Look here for more on that.

The fact that some people are really comfortable at A.A. meetings and enjoy their delusions of spirituality does not make A.A. an okay organization. It is still killing more people than it is saving. I know that sounds like a radical statement, but the facts and the numbers support that statement.

By the way, if you want a support group, there are many others available, and better ones too. Here is the list of non-cult organizations and methods. And here are some suggestions for how to get and stay sober without any A.A. nonsense: How did you get to where you are?


P.S.: If you don't get approved for posting to the forum quickly, email me and let me know. I get anywhere from 30 to 100 fake spammers' registrations for every real human who applies for membership. It's easy for me to miss a real human in the mess. Those spammers are not even real people — they are just robotic computer programs that hammer forums around the world day and night, and if they get a working account, they use it to post spam advertisements for everything from fake Viagra to Russian girls who really want to come and sleep with me, if I will just send the money for an airplane ticket.

So if you don't get an approval notice soon, then email me and tell me about it. Especially make sure that you tell me what user name you registered. The forum software has one inconvenient limitation: I can only look people up by user name, not by email address. So I have to know the user name that people registered.

Anyway, if you don't get approved quickly — like in 4 or 5 days at most — email me and I'll fix you up. And the same goes for anybody else who is registering for the forum. I would love to have it wide open, with immediate approval for everybody, and that is how I started the forum. And then I got like 1000 fake registrations in a week, and spam everywhere. I had no idea that the spam problem had moved from email to forums and blogs. But now I know.

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 "witchcraft" and "heresy",
**     while the Pope sold indulgences and Bishops' offices.
**     And they all still claimed that they were trying to get people
**     into Heaven — their kind of heaven, some kind of heaven.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#GS ]

Date: Mon, April 30, 2012 5:17 pm     (answered 2 May 2012)
From: gs
Subject: AA

On searching for the failure rate for AA I wonder how current your info is. I came across your site while looking and after attending AA rehab and going to AA meetings I do think it is a cult.

Hello GS,

Thanks for the question. The information covers the entire range from the beginnings of A.A. to very recently, just in the last few years.

  1. This link gives information about the A.A. failure rate in the earliest days of A.A.

  2. This describes the failure rate and death rate from A.A. treatment of alcoholics for an 8-year period ending around 1984.

  3. This link gives information about the counts of sobriety coins given out about 12 years ago.

  4. This describes the dropout rate just three "triennial surveys" ago — that is, about 9 years ago.

  5. This spreadsheet gives the large numbers of newcomers and the few oldtimers in Omaha Nebraska just a few years ago.

And yes, I agree that A.A. is a cult too. You might want to check out the Cult Test, here.

Oh, and just so this letter isn't all negative, here is a list of good organizations that won't shove cultish dogma on you: the list of non-cult organizations and methods.

And, if you are interested, here's how I and some other people got (and stay) sober: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now, and good luck.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If the thought of quitting drinking forever makes you feel like you are
**     going to lose your best friend, then alcohol is probably your worst enemy.





April 22, 2012, Sunday: Fernhill Wetlands:

Canada Goose family
The Family
You might notice that, at this minute, the goslings have had their fill of bread and are eating greens. They have an amazing built-in sense of what constitutes a balanced diet, and they are very good about eating their greens. When I was feeding Carmen, she would insist on filling her stomach three-quarters full of grass first, and then she would finish with the last quarter full of rice.

Canada Goose goslings
Goslings using a parent for shade
Notice how the little gosling is standing on one foot, just like how its parents do.

Canada Goose goslings
Just hangin' out

Canada Goose goslings
The life of goslings: resting and eating

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters304.html#Ward ]

Date: Wed, May 2, 2012 10:21 am     (answered 4 May 2012)
From: "Ward"
Subject: Apparently never sent but maybe worth a gander....

I wrote this in response to you back in January but never sent....anyway better late than never.

Hello Orange,

I'm going to preface this reply by stating that my intent is not so much to address or correct statements that I consider (for lack of a better word..."wrong"), but rather to comment on that which tends incite passion inside of me. Even this explaination seems woefully inadequate... Orange, I want you to understand that this is not just a mental exercise for me. Much like yourself, I desire a better outcome for those of us who must live with drug addiction. The 5 percenters. Think about it, only 5 percent of us who acknowledge our addiction ever find our way into sustained sobriety. With or without detox, in patient or out patient therapy, NA, AA, religion, SMART recovery, SOS, intervention, family counseling, psychiatry, incarceration....truly any number of options available to the addict and yet the 5% statistic seems to remain a constant. How dismal of a prospect to look forward to when beginning the process of recovery.

Personally, I don't care how anyone gets sober. ANY METHOD has my blessing.(Pretty magnanimous for an athiest, doncha think?) If a person feels that the only way that they can keep straight is to mix purple dyed Crisco into their hair and recite the dialogue from every Marx Brother movie backwards into Swahilli...I say go for it!!! You see, Orange...that 5 percent, I want to give it any advantage at all.

Narcotics Anonymous calls itself a "fellowship" of recovering addicts. At it's best, pure fellowship is the most honest function that NA fulfills. As I've stated in my earlier e-mail (NA and the Big Bad Wolf) addressed to you, I have no need to subscribe to most of the dogma that courses through 12 step culture. I deny that any method is inherently superior to the simple application of the will where recovery from active addiction is concerned. I know that this runs counter to what the "Big Book" and the "12 Steps" recommends, however; as I constantly point out to the more "enthusiastic" faction of NA.... the only requirement for membership into NA fellowship is the "desire" to stop using. As I stated previously, I will defend NA to a point...and this is it; it is helpful for a recovering addict to have a support group of non using contacts. If only for an hour at a time, any addict can come in from the cold and gain some sort of prospective into beginning a personal recovery process. Please understand that I'm only commenting on NA as I have no associations with AA or any other 12 step programs.

Orange...you make some fine points concerning the insular nature of 12 step programs. I too, would like to see more emphasis placed upon supplying the immediate needs of recovering addicts for their survival rather than concentrating on fixing their "spiritual needs". Drug addicts need to learn how to function without reliance on drugs or any other "substitutions". Destitute drug addicts need to be sheltered initially until they are self reliant enough to soberly engage society on it's terms. In the absence of drug abuse, an addict must learn alternate techniques for dealing with the day to day struggles of simply living a sober life. A life without drugs is almost unimaginable for those of us whom have used drugs to ignore our destitution. Quite simply there is no program, 12 step or otherwise, that can fully meet the needs of an addict who has chosen to recover. And NA does not claim to offer any such services.

In fact, NA quite simply guarantees only one thing. The freedom from the complusion to abuse drugs, if you follow their program. Orange... you and I agree on this.... this is a lie. NA cannot deliver on that quarantee in good faith. Still, I will argue that if an addict truly desires to stop using... NA can be used as a resource. The integration into a society where sobriety is (one) of the primary goals as a working commitment MIGHT just be enough of a push to allow a addict entry into the 5 percent club. Orange... I'm simply not willing to cut this thread, thin as it may be, from the fabric of recovery.

I would argue that the defining point concerning the desease model of addiction is the addict's continued use of substances despite a concious knowledge that such usage may be eliminated only by exercising the will to stop. Most addicts in the midst of hardcore addiction want to stop using but quite simply maintain that no amount of self control will suffice. Using myself as an anectdotal example, I simply was unable to stop taking drugs. Powerless. I hate the concept; but the fact remained, that no matter how dismal my life became, I continued to abuse drugs. Even when I was not actively using drugs, my mind/body obsessed and craved not only the chemicals that I was denying it but also the process involved with procurring, using, storing, and administering my addiction. I had to bottom out. For many, death may be the only bottom that stops their disease. For many more, the knowledge that they have somehow managed to find themselves attending an NA meeting is a sufficient goad to begin recovery.

Until I exercised my will enough to attempt to change my behavior, I was suicidally using narcotics. Upon making the initial decision to live instead of die, I found my way to Narcotics Anonymous. In the fellowship, I became accountable to my companions concerning my sobriety and found the power within myself to emulate those who had sucessfully quit using drugs. Using NA as a model for society at large, I found the resources to reintegrate myself as a contributing citizen. At NA meetings I am able to witness, firsthand, the continued wreckage that drug addiction inflicts upon the addict as they stumble in usually hoping against hope that they may have found something that can help them. Under the auspices of the Narcotics Anonymous umbrella, I'm able to contribute to the well being of both using addicts and those in recovery by offering of myself in an altruistic manner. Orange, I want you to understand that I do not, under absolutely no circumstances, condone the court's practice of sentencing anyone to attend a 12 step program. This practice is unconstitutional. You and I are total agreement concerning this abuse of both judicial power and also NA's willingness to sign court slips to monitor attendance.

Orange, I have to address one last part of your reply. First, let me say that I have an aversion to written correspondence. It is so easy to misread what someone has written. There is no way to know if one's intent has been understood until a reply has been recieved. So... I sincerly hope that you do not believe that I find you somehow "at fault" for killing alcoholics or drug addicts by driving them away from 12 step programs. I was hoping to get you to understand that no matter how much we may feel that we have the "correct" solution to a problem, there are simply far too many variables that we don't fully take into account. Now I agree with you that Bill W had problems but, since we can't ask him ourselves we, can only attempt to surmise what his "true goal" was. Did he truly want to help alcoholics...I'm certain that he must have hoped to be of help at some level. Did he want to be acknowledged and profit from AA... of course. At the age of 52, one thing that I am certain of is.... we all feel about blindly more or less from life's beginning to it's end. The best we can hope for is to step lightly when dealing with others. I would never presume to offer an unsolicited answer to anothers dilemma and I would not want my life to be held up to the kind of scrutiny that you hold Mr. Wilson to. Orange... how would you look if the glare of public scrutiny were to be focused on you?

Personally, as an athiest, I feel that you are going after low hanging fruit. Why not address the gross misconduct of organized religion. My God, (to coin a phrase) has more pain and suffering ever been heaped upon members of an organization than what the clergy inflicts upon believers from it's pulpit on high? What about the abuses of the state? Men, Women sent to kill and die in war? Is this evidence of a higher form of civilization? We all march our whole lives through a mine field of corporations, institutions, processes,schools, programs, neighborhoods, friends, lovers, strangers, heroes, villians; all of whom claim they have our best interests at heart. In order to survive in this life, it seems that we all have to sacrifice some of our own ideals and independence. So NA is a cult? Well damned, if I can't find a little bit of cult mentality in all of man's dealings with his fellow man.

But, I have to ask, outside of your research, when was the last time you went to an actual meeting? You are very sceptical of my assertion that 12 step programs have the ability to self regulate and/or initiate progressive changes into the agenda. You point out two glaring examples of groups that have clearly gone off the rails. Frankly, those groups sound like AA groups from another planet to me. Are they still funtioning under the umbrella of World Services or are they completely rogue? What about the literally thousands of meetings that are held every week in which all that a person hears about is the possibilty of a life free from substance abuse? Does this truly have no merit? Man, I wish I could speak to you face to face. I wish you could have found something valid in fellowship. Orange...a guy like you would be an asset in any self-help group. Most of us are just people trying to do something better for one another. Like when you held your friend's hand before she vanished out of your life. It was probably the best that could have been done for her and, it happened because you were at that meeting. For all you know, Orange...she might just be a 5 percenter attending meetings in a different location. Anonymous...remember. Most folks (anectdotal) take what they need and leave when they feel that they have had enough. For some that means a return to substance abuse but for others ...they join the 5 percent club. As you know, I continue to attend NA meetings despite the fact that I feel that the 12 steps are generally unapplicable to my circumstance. I feel needed and necessary. I suppose that I'm really making the case for your argument for you at this point. Yes, it's the truth neither I, or anybody, needs a 12 step method to attain sobriety. Yes, this is what NA/AA sells. For all it's faults, I'm going to stay. For me, and thousands of others, it helps us to stay in the 5 percent club.

Oh Well, have a good day.

Ward

Hello Ward,

Thanks for the letter. I actually agree with most of it. We disagree on just a few points, but some of them are important:

  1. You mentioned "5%" several times. The recovery rate from drugs and alcohol isn't 5% total, it's five percent per year. Cumulatively, after a bunch of years, it adds up to about 50%.

  2. Whatever benefits come from associating with other non-using people in an N.A. meeting can also be gained by attending meetings of SMART, SOS, Lifering, WFS, HAMS, MM, or any other such group. And the benefit of all of those other groups are that they are not pushing an old cult religion as the solution to addiction problems. One of the big reasons that A.A. and N.A. have such low success rates is because they teach ideas about addiction that are just untrue, like the disease theory, and being "powerless".

  3. Speaking of which, you wrote about addiction as both a disease and a choice. In one paragraph you wrote:

    I would argue that the defining point concerning the desease model of addiction is the addict's continued use of substances despite a concious knowledge that such usage may be eliminated only by exercising the will to stop.
    ...
    For many, death may be the only bottom that stops their disease.

    Then, in the next paragraph you wrote:

    Until I exercised my will enough to attempt to change my behavior, I was suicidally using narcotics. Upon making the initial decision to live instead of die, I found my way to Narcotics Anonymous.

    That's it. That's the whole ball game. You exercised your will and you make a choice, and you stuck to it. And you made the big important choice BEFORE you ever went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. So did I. I quit drinking and drugging two weeks before I was sent to A.A. and N.A. meetings by a so-called "treatment program".

    It isn't a disease, it's a bad habit.

  4. I know it's hard to quit. Believe me, I know. You wrote:

    Using myself as an anectdotal example, I simply was unable to stop taking drugs. Powerless. I hate the concept; but the fact remained, that no matter how dismal my life became, I continued to abuse drugs.

    Right. I was also "unable" to quit drinking and smoking for a long time. I'd say to myself, "I really need to quit doing this stuff. It's killing me." But then I'd say, "But let me do a little more right now, because I'm in pain now. I'll quit later."

    I was "unable to quit" — "powerless over my addiction" — until I suddenly did quit. When it came down to a choice of live or die, I suddenly chose to quit both drinking and smoking (and also drugging) and improve my health. And I did. And that was 11 years ago, and I'm still quit and my health is good. Funny how that works.

    It was always a choice. It was just a difficult choice to make when pain is pushing you to kill the pain.

  5. You said,

    I would not want my life to be held up to the kind of scrutiny that you hold Mr. Wilson to.

    Yes, but neither you nor I hold ourselves up as prophets who talk to God and get infallible holy Programs from God to save all of the alcoholics. Neither you nor I have started a cult religion that lies about its success in saving alcoholics from death.

  6. Personally, I don't care how anyone gets sober. ANY METHOD has my blessing.(Pretty magnanimous for an athiest, doncha think?)
    ...
    In fact, NA quite simply guarantees only one thing. The freedom from the complusion to abuse drugs, if you follow their program.
    ...
    I'm simply not willing to cut this thread, thin as it may be, from the fabric of recovery.

    I understand. I am also for any and all methods that actually work. But that is the nasty gotcha. Does it work? Do Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous really work? Do they really help alcoholics and addicts? Do the alcoholics and addicts benefit from hearing the 12 Steps read out loud at the start of every meeting?

    The A.A. and N.A. "program" does not and cannot guarantee "freedom from the complusion to abuse drugs, if you follow their program." It can't. Doing the practices of a crazy old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties does not save people from addiction to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.

    The A.A. and N.A. program is just as ineffective as quackery like witchcraft and faith healing. And for the same reason.

    Here are the results of clinical tests of Alcoholics Anonymous. And here are some tests of Narcotics Anonymous.

    What saves people from drugs and alcohol is just the opposite of what A.A. and N.A. teach: Become powerful. Do not be powerless over your addiction. Do not be powerless over alcohol, or tobacco, or food, or sex, or anything else. Develop your will power and take charge of your own life. Over-ride the addictive voice that cajoles us to indulge.

    Bill Wilson called taking charge of your own life and taking care of yourself "Playing God", and he condemned it. Bill also condemned will power and self-reliance. Bill wanted everybody to be grovelling slaves of God. Bill was nuts.

    Again, there are other much better "support groups" that will help people to get and stay clean and sober without indoctrinating them with a lot of misinformation. Here is the list of non-cult organizations and methods.

  7. You wrote:

    Personally, as an athiest, I feel that you are going after low hanging fruit. Why not address the gross misconduct of organized religion. My God, (to coin a phrase) has more pain and suffering ever been heaped upon members of an organization than what the clergy inflicts upon believers from it's pulpit on high? What about the abuses of the state? Men, Women sent to kill and die in war?

    Oh, I quite agree, and have commented on all of those things repeatedly. Maybe even too much. I have to work on keeping my focus. I don't want this web site to turn into The Drudge Report. This web site is about addiction and recovery, and the "treatment" hoax, and cult religions passing themselves off as the salvation of mankind (or womankind), including as cures for addiction or insanity.

    Nevertheless, I have noted how Moses wrote in the Bible that it is perfectly okay to rob and murder your non-Jewish neighbors, and kidnap and rape their virgin daughters. And he killed hundreds of thousands of them.

    Child-molesting priests have gotten their fair share of mentions too. And jokes. And the medieval Catholic Church has gotten criticism.

    And George W. Bush and his wars didn't fare well, either.

    Still, I'm trying to keep the focus on addiction and recovery, and hoaxes that don't help addicts and alcoholics. And talk about what does help.

  8. I totally agree that alcoholics and addicts need help in establishing new sober lives. It is a huge adjustment to just suddenly switch from drinking and drugging as a lifestyle to being a tea-totaller. Unfortunately, most of the "half-way houses" in the USA are just hotbeds of 12-Step cult religion. We need to improve that situation too.

  9. Oh, and it's been nearly 10 years now since I've been to either an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting. And it's been 11 years since I went for any reason other than to collect coins and keytags as they came due. (Yes, I had a "drunk junk" habit for a while, and have quite a collection of A.A. sobriety coins and N.A. keytags. But I don't bother with that any more.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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





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Last updated 26 December 2013.
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