Letters, We Get Mail, CCCIX



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Geoffrey ]

Date: Wed, May 30, 2012 5:57 pm     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Geoffrey P."
Subject:

Hello, Orange.

I hope you are well and happy. It is winter here in central Australia, but the temperature rarely gets below 15 degrees C (not sure what that is in Fahrenheit); I'm sure your winters are significantly colder. Anyway, I'm sure you are busy; apologies for the platitudes about the weather.

Hello again, Geoffrey,

Thanks for the letter. The weather has been cool and rainy here too, most of the time, even though it is supposedly summer.

It's now been three months since I have attended an AA meeting, after having been somewhat reluctantly involved with AA for about eighteen months, off and on, after attending an AA based Rehab. I have not been arrested, incarcerated, detained under the mental health act or admitted to any medical institution. I am, as far as I'm aware, also well and truly alive and kicking.

I state this because I was told by several AA members that if I failed to attend meetings on a regular basis I would, and I quote, "die from drinking or end up insane or in jail." This was but one of the incidents that led me so fortuitously to your web site and the decision to sever all ties with AA. I decided any organisation that was essentially fear-based, in my opinion, could not be of any assistance to me in attempting to stop drinking, which, of course, was the reason I was advised to attend in the first place. For me, AA did not work — sometimes the meetings actually made me want to go leave and head to the nearest pub. The prospect of listening to the same rhetoric, meeting after meeting for the rest of my life almost drove me to drink. So in a nutshell, I got out, stopped going to meetings, and I feel better. Pretty simple, really.

I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Me too. I notice that the Steppers have stopped telling me that I'm going to relapse real soon now. Well, it's been 11 years, and the Big Bad Booze Bogeyman still hasn't ambushed me in a dark alley at night. That monster sure is slow, isn't he?

I've had several people report that A.A. meetings made them want to drink, and I've felt it myself too. I would get out of an A.A. meeting and shake off the yucky feeling and say to myself, "Oh God! Would I like to get a big fifth and really tie one on." I was fine before the meeting, but the meeting reawoke the old desires.

Likewise, Narcotics Anonymous meetings made me want to get some dope and get really high. Funny how that works.

Fortunately, I didn't give in to tempation. But I also find it easier to just not go to those meetings. Except for answering letters and managing this web site, I can go for days at a time without even thinking about drinking or drugging. I'm busy with feeding and photographing the cute little fluff-ball goslings, or going shopping, or doing any of the routine tasks of life like washing dishes and doing laundry. Drinking and drugging just aren't a part of it any more, and I don't need to talk about it all of the time.

I have spent a lot of time reading the letters you receive, and I simply cannot believe the vitriol, anger and hateful tone of some of them. Rhetorical question; do you think these correspondents are actually frustrated and angry with themselves, and unload all of this in your direction? I admire the calm, logical and rational way you reply, and negate some of the incredibly irrational allegations, claims and statements in the emails you receive. Unlike many correspondents, I personally rarely detect overt anger or bitterness in your writings. In fact, you appear to have a lot more "serenity" than most people I encountered in the shadowy rooms of AA.

Thanks for the compliments. I think there are a lot of things going on in the minds of the fanatical Steppers. Some are afraid of death. Some are afraid of losing their guaranteed ticket to Heaven. Some are afraid of relapsing. Some are afraid of having no "program" to live by. Some are reluctant to admit that they have wasted years of their life on nonsense.

I am reminded of this quote:

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

Alas, I have no idea who "G. Gaia" is, but I like the way that he or she thinks.

I did come across a couple of decent, well-meaning people in AA. I also encountered some very unusual individuals, to put it diplomatically, some of whom had many more personal issues than simply a drinking problem. And your writings about "the churn rate" are, in my opinion, spot on. Apart from a handful of die-hards that seemed to be at every second meeting I attended, the constant turn-over of new faces was quite mind-boggling.

I've also encountered good people. I call a bunch of them the the Newcomers Rescue League — good people who go to A.A. meetings and save the newcomers from the insanity and the bad sponsors.

Alas, yes, many of the attendees are insane. Literally. They range from neurotic, all the way up to full-blown psychotic. A couple of psychiatrists attended A.A. meetings and analysed the A.A. members, and found only about 10% of them really sane. (More on that here.) Actually, it's common sense, isn't it? A bunch of people who have been drinking themselves to death really do need their heads examined, don't they?

And yes, the churn is unreal. I learned the hard way that if you see somebody that you would like to get to know, you have better introduce yourself and make contact the first time you see her, because she won't be at a second meeting. You will never see her again.

Since abandoning AA meetings, I have had the odd text message from my self-appointed sponsor, and one call from one of the aforementioned "decent" people, who, believe it or not, told me she had also quit meetings recently after a member with ten years of alleged sobriety became a little too friendly towards her.

I do not in any way miss the meetings or the "fellowship" at all. In fact, I now feel quite liberated and free to get on with my life. I am spending more time with my family, have become more diligent and productive at work, and am generally just enjoying the moment and living life as it comes. The most important thing is I have stopped drinking. Not only do I feel 100% better, I am slowly regaining the trust and respect of my family and work colleagues, after doing my very best to self-destruct for several years whilst binge drinking.

Good. Congratulations.

I write essentially to thank you for creating this forum, and to say, without attempting to be patronising, to keep well and happy and keep up the good work. I believe your motives are pure and that your on-going work is very worthwhile.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Jeff from Australia

Thanks for all of the compliments, Jeff, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Happy the man, and happy he alone,
**     Who can call to-day his own:
**     He who, secure within, can say:
**     "To-morrow do thy worst, for I have liv'd to-day."
**        ==  HORACE, Odes, III, 29. (Dryden trans.)





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Saul_R ]

From: "Saul H. R."
Subject: I am impressed and glad I found your website
Date: Thu, May 31, 2012 5:09 am     (answered 2 June 2012)

Hi, just found your website a couple of hours ago while researching for my book, if ever I write it.. Anyway two things. One to congratulate the great effort you have made to get all that information and the way you connect people who are addicts. I have been reading different theories on addictions, specially recovery treatments. some go for religion, others combine religion and "science" and others try to relate to "science only".

Oh! but forgive me, haven't introduce myself, my name is Saul, I am Mexican, living in a small city, Campeche just about 300 miles from Cancun. I am an alcoholic, Next August I will not celebrate my 27th anniversary of life without alcohol and drugs. I am currently living in a rehab center and I decided to be a 24/7 sponsor about 9 years ago. In all these years I have learned that all groups have flaws and have qualities (would this be the proper word? I am not a native English speaker) AW, what I am trying to say is that all groups seam to work for some people and not for others. Some people need and come to love boot camps, others hate it to the point of relapsing immediately after the period of time they where in. Others find abstinence, I believe the first stage to sobriety, in a Christian group, others in AA, others in a new form of anonymous groups who are considering all compulsive behavior as addictions (bulimia, vigorexia, gambling, drug and alcohol addiction, and the so called neurosis). And it is my belief, of course I could be wrong, that almost all addicts of any kind, will relapse several times (I struggled for 4-5 years) before finally giving up to some recovery.

My idea is to research about what has worked to stay sober for anyone who might want to share. So if anyone want to help me I would like to hear from people who have been sober for more than 2 years. What matters to me is to learn more of the inner dynamics that create the inner scenario to finally fight for sobriety and stay sober (How I hit bottom, how I fought the anxiety of abstinence and what have I done to stay without using and how have I coped with secondary addictions if any). My email is zhaulh ...NOSPAMMERSat... gmail.com (you may post it right away if you agree to publish this email).

BTW I loved the article The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. It gave so much pleasure that I am tuned with you. The way I explain the same thing is different but the same. And WOW! the list of inner thoughts about the cravings, good writing.

And now I have a new addiction, your website, it is 6;56 am should have been in bed hours ago... Well... we are what we are addicts. Also liked your concept of there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good, didn't finished reading but I will later, after a few hours sleep. The great thing about being the "head master in charge" is that I don't have to work on a tight schedule, so I can go to sleep now and nobody will bother me unless is absolutely necessary. Anyway great job you are doing with your website.

Regards

Saul H. R.

Hello Saul,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety, and thanks for your work.

I agree that some people need a lot of social support, like a support group or a camp or something. Fortunately, that has nothing to do with practicing Bill Wilson's crazy old cult religion.

I have often thought that my ideal treatment program would have a camp out in the woods, in a really beautiful place, that would remove people from tempation and also from their old environments and habits, and just place them in a new life and a new lifestyle. It would not be an abusive "boot camp" with military disciple, just the opposite. The counselors would be nice to the patients. Some people might need to stay there for many months, or for a year, or for several years, or even for life. It depends on the person.

For more stories about what has worked for people, this page has lists of stories from me and other people: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time."
**          ==  Arnold H. Glasgow


Date: Sat, June 2, 2012 7:55 pm     (answered 5 June 2012)
From: "Saul R."
Subject: RE: I am impressed and glad I found your website

hey, thanks for your reply, and yes the idea of a country site place sounds so good, more like a summer camp for recovery. And I also agree that cult practices are not so good for recovery, but like I stated some seem to like it though.

BTW, have your read about Hypoism? if you have let me know via email, not posted on your web, what do you think about his ideas.

Cheers

Saul

Al buen entendedor......OHSA

Hi again, Saul,

I had not heard of Hypoism before. I'll have to look that up.

Yes, the people who actually like cults are a bit of a problem, aren't they? Those people are the reason why cults still exist. Cult leaders wouldn't get anywhere if there were not a bunch of willing and eager recruits available.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.
**     It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
**         Walt Whitman (1819—1892), Song of the Open Road





May 05, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Goose Families with Goslings
The Family of 5+1 (Family of 6, now, I guess) is in the foreground, and the Family of 3 is behind them.

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, with the cute little one just behind the mother's neck.

Canada Goose goslings
The 6 Goslings of the Family of 6.

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Michelle_N ]

Date: Thu, May 31, 2012 11:42 am     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Michelle N"
Subject: You're funny!

Your stuff on Bill W and Dr. Bob is hilarious. Thanks! ;) ~M

Hello Michelle,

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
**        ==  Voltaire  (1694—1778)





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Ryan_W ]

Date: Thu, May 31, 2012 1:06 pm     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Ryan W."
Subject: the effectiveness of twelve step treatment

I recently read your report on "The Effectiveness of Twelve Step Treatment", and I was thoroughly confused on the purpose of the paper. I really didn't see the point you were really trying to get across. Your personal opinion of Alcoholics Anonymous and your own agenda was clear through this whole paper. It left me feeling as though you have an untreated alcohol or drug problem and were in a severe case of denial. Why were 80% of the materials used pre 1970? Comparing Alcoholics Anonymous to a cult is quite comical. In fact I thought AA was more anti-cult than anything else. They do not want you there unless you want to be. I would suggest you recheck alot of your data used and maybe get current and also lose a little of your bias.

Thank you,

Ryan W.

Hello Ryan,

The purpose of the file The Effectiveness of Twelve Step Treatment is:

  1. To show that A.A. does not work to cure alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction.

  2. To show what the real A.A. cure rate actually is.

  3. To show that A.A. has been lying about and faking its success rate since the nineteen-thirties.

  4. To show what kind of propaganda A.A. has been manufacturing for the last 75 years.

I have materials from the entire time span from 1938 to present. A.A. has been lying for that long.

Of course A.A. is a cult. That is painfully obvious. Have you read The Cult Test?

There are a lot of people who are not at A.A. meetings voluntarily. Every time you see someone putting a slip of paper in the collection basket, that is another victim of coerced cult religion. Look here for a list of people sentenced to A.A. meetings in just one small town in Massachusetts in a short time.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The less reasonable a cult is, the more men seek to establish it by force.
**         —  Jean Jacques Rousseau





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Dana_K ]

Date: Thu, May 31, 2012 3:27 pm     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Dana K."
Subject: THANK YOU FOR TELLING THE TRUTH AND BEING REAL

Dear Agent Orange,****

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, for your site. Have been reading over this site for the last couple of weeks, as I tried to prepare myself for what may be a bumpy ride with my husband's alcoholism and his new preoccupation with Alcoholics Anonymous.****

After my husband graduated from Intensive Outpatient Program for alcoholism this winter (admitted through detox on Christmas Eve — don't ask), he started attending 4-7 AA meetings every week. The rehab facility really pushes Al-Anon to the wives and family members, and I attended 7 or 8 Al-Anon meetings. There was just something wrong (with AA and Al-Anon) that I couldn't quite get a handle on, and your site really helped me identify the issues that were bugging me.****

What really nailed it for me, were your statements that AA is *bad religion* , *bad medicine*, and *bad psychology*. Those were exactly the vague impressions I had but couldn't quite identify. ****

My husband's new AA sponsor is also big on wives and family participating in Al-Anon. (His wife is founding member of the Al-Anon group I had attended.) I can now say unequivocally that participating in Al-Anon is not compatible with my Christian faith, and I don't need to worry about getting pushed or talked into giving it another try. Am armed with good solid reasons why I am not going back, not just that I was vaguely uncomfortable and the literature was outdated and sexist.****

If my husband does relapse again, I am going to strongly suggest the SMART recovery group to him, rather than going back to the same thing (AA). At this point he is still such a sincere, true AA believer that I haven't been able to bring myself to say I think it's all just a crock. Just saying I wouldn't participate in Al-Anon anymore was enough of a disappointment to him.****

Thank you again for your efforts to get the truth out about this organization. You have definitely made a positive difference in my life and I'm sure many others.****

(PS, love the little gosling pictures.)

Thanks again,

Dana

Hello Dana,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I hope you and your husband do well.

And while it may be impossible, I'd suggest that he try at least a few SMART meetings now. If the steady diet of A.A. dogma were thinned out by even just a little common sense, it might help him.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
**     If all you have is cult religion,
**       everything looks like a spiritual problem.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Noreen_W ]

Date: Thu, May 31, 2012 8:05 pm     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Noreen W."
Subject: I'd like to add a letter

Do not consider it proof just because it is written in books, for a liar who will deceive with his tongue will not hesitate to do the same with his pen. — Maimonides.

Hello Noreen,

Yes, please send a letter. And you have the correct email address.

I like your signature. I'm not sure which way that is supposed to go: criticizing the "Big Book", or anti-A.A. books, or neither or both. In general, I have found that what most books prove is that it really is possible to make black ink to stick to wood fibers.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The man who does not read good books has no advantage
**    over the man who cannot read them.
**      ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens), 1835—1910





[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Fri, June 1, 2012 9:46 am     (answered 2 June 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Orange Papers as ebook

I converted the entire website to both EPUB and MOBI formats using Calibre:
http://www.mediafire.com/?zccq17scn3lbm

It's far from perfect, but functional. I can confirm the MOBI version works on a Kindle Touch. The links are intact. It's not difficult to do the conversion yourself. Just download Calibre, click on Add Book, and add the index.html. After that's done, use the Convert option to convert to whatever format you please. The process does take a long while, and the progress bar is an even bigger liar than the Windows XP one.

Incidentally, these ebooks are huge. I had to upload the EPUB in two parts. If you ever made The Orange Papers into a dead-tree edition, that would be a lot of dead trees, and it would put The Big Book to shame in terms of size.

Hello again, Meatbag,

Now that is very interesting. Thanks for your efforts.

Coincidentally, I've just been looking into getting a "reader tablet". A friend showed me his "Pandigital Novel" reader tablet, and was telling me how it is really an entire tiny computer running Android, which is really Linux. Actually reading books is only one of its many functions. It will also browse the web and email and run a zillion apps. It's sort of the same thing as an iPad or Kindle, but at half the cost. Best of all, he "rooted" his, which means that he downloaded a hacked version of the Android operating system that allows him to get root access and use it like an ordinary Linux computer.

I hate to say it, but my old back has been complaining about the weight of a laptop in a backpack all of the time (heavy battery). I feel sort of bad about that. I remember when computers weighed many hundreds of pounds. (I owned a few of those monsters, and moved them around.) Now my back complains about 20 pounds? Oh well. Welcome to reality. And old age. Being able to upload and download files and web site updates from a tiny light-weight tablet looks very attractive.

And I think Pandigital is about to come out with a new model, because Newegg is all out of the current latest and greatest model, the "Supernova". They only have refurbished units. That is very odd. So it sounds like Pandigital has stopped production of the current model, and will release an even better model any day now. Something with even more memory would be better, I think. And I wouldn't mind another inch or two on the screen. And definitely a USB port so I can plug a full-sized keyboard into it.

I tried to read the files that you produced, but couldn't yet. Linux knows about the "mobi" file, and knows what it is, and started up a reader program, and then I got treated to a blank screen. I shall have to experiment and investigate further and figure out what is happening there.

Still, the idea of putting out the Orange Papers in eBook form is intriguing. I can see a lot of people who would like to get freed from the desktop and go read under a tree or at the beach.

The only drawback I see is that the web site changes so often that the eBook will be obsolete every month or so. Oh well, it's free, so people can just keep downloading updates when they want the new version.

So it goes.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
**        == Mark Twain  (1835—1910)

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





May 05, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 3

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6
The new baby is on the left.

Coot bathing
A Coot Bathing
When this little guy takes a bath, he really gets into it. The water is flying everywhere.

Coot bathing
A Coot Bathing

Coot bathing
A Coot Bathing
Now the little guy is drying his wings by flapping like mad.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Meatbag2 ]

Date: Sat, June 2, 2012 6:14 pm     (answered 5 June 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Orange Papers as ebook

Strangely enough, I've had the exact same problem with the MOBI on my computer, but once I put it on my Kindle, it worked fine. The only noticeable issue is that some of the tables don't display completely, but that has a lot to do with the dimensions of the Kindle. Maybe it'll work under Kindle for PC in WINE.

The EPUB seems to work fine, though. If you want to try the EPUB, download p7zip from your repository and extract both files at the same time. I picked the 7zip format due to its high compression ration and ability to split a file into multiple parts, which was necessary to get the EPUB on Mediafire (200MB file size limit).

Hi again, Meatbag,

I'll have to try that.

The Pandigital looks interesting. There are still new units on Walmart and Amazon, but that could be just the last of their stock. Either that, or Newegg decided to stop carrying Pandigital for some reason. A tablet is great for people who can't haul around a laptop for any reason. And you are probably going to really want that USB port, since typing on an onscreen keyboard is kind of annoying.

Newegg is still carrying lots of other Pandigital stuff, so it doesn't look like they stopped selling Pandigital. They just have only refurbished Supernovas (the best model), and no new ones. That sure sounds like lack of new supply.

I haven't found a Pandigital web site yet, to see if they have hints of a new model. But it's a fair guess that they have a new model coming out. Those kinds of things always have a new model coming out, real soon now. It's such a race to be the best and the fastest and the biggest or the smallest (at the same time, even).

I know that some manufacturers like to stop making the old model, and sell off the existing inventory, before they reveal that it's obsolete because they are making a new model. If you pre-announce the new super-duper model, it discourages people from buying the current model. Mentor Graphics actually went bankrupt from making that mistake. Nobody would buy the current version of the software, because they wanted to get the new improved stuff, but the new version was buggy and the release was delayed and delayed while they fixed it, and Mentor Graphics was selling nothing until they ran out of cash and went under.

Yes, a small tablet is really convenient if you are going to be carrying it around a lot, like all day long. And I forgot to mention the weight of the power supply. The battery in my laptop is old and the laptop only runs for 15 minutes at most off of the battery. These new tablets can run on the battery for hours. Unreal.

I don't think that drawback will be too much of a problem. The conversion process is something that can easily run overnight, and downloading an updated ebook really isn't much different from downloading the updated website. I personally love opening up the ebook when doing reading just before bed. For the more impish types or the poor souls who got coerced, they can be easily read in an AA meeting for a dose of good sense. If anyone asks, just say you're reading the Big Book. Or just share it with them. There's no DRM, so the ebooks are easy to share.

Yes.

Speaking of DRM, I have a few DRMed EPUBs I bought on Google Bookstore a couple years ago. Calibre doesn't work on DRMed files, sadly. There are plugins that are supposed to remove the DRM, but they don't seem to work with the Linux version of Calibre. Maybe I'll have better luck with Windows (talk about irony). I've done this before with the same books with my old Sony PRS-350 (which could handle EPUBs, but not DRM), but that's too dead for me to just pull the books off of it.

Bummer. I've seen that so many zillions of times over the last 30-plus years that I've been programming and using computers. Copy protect always ends up meaning that you can't use the program or file or disk after the company goes belly-up. (Just try to get fixes or updates or Linux ports for Supercalc 5 or Word Perfect, both of which were excellent programs.) The software companies rarely have the common decency to open up their stuff and release the sources and declare it public domain as they go bankrupt. Nope, the customers are just left screwed, with orphaned products.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Murphy's Law: Any software old enough to be
**       thoroughly debugged is obsolete.

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Adrian_S ]

Date: Fri, June 1, 2012 11:05 pm     (answered 5 June 2012)
From: "adrian s."
Subject: AA's primary purpose

Hi Orange,

Four years, nine months and fourteen days without a meeting and I'm still sober, (day at a time). It would appear that not taking the first drink has thus far proven more effective than the spiritual baloney in AA, as is often spruiked by serial relapsers clinging onto their last kernel of delusional false hope......

Anyway, somewhere in the murky depths of the past, I seem to recall hearing at AA that its primary purpose was to 'stay sober and to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety'. Many years ago, I was sitting in an overly spiritual meeting of AA and the group got severely sidetracked......

Out of curiosity, I decided to count how many times the word 'alcohol' was mentioned in the course of the meeting and also to count how many times the word 'God' was mentioned. Over the course of fifty five minutes, 'alcohol' was mentioned two or three times. 'God' was mentioned fifty one times.

I was the last speaker, so I posed the question to the group 'if a Christian went to church and the preacher mentioned 'alcohol' fifty one times over an hour and 'God' three times, might they think that they had mistakenly slipped into an AA meeting rather than a church service?' Unfortunately, the group didn't see the irony.....

It was very unspiritual of me to say it...... After all, I was told but for the grace of God go I.... But then again, but for the grace of God, roughly 18,800 children have starved to death in the developing world in the fifteen hours and forty minutes since last midnight, so it would appear that God is somewhat short of grace, even for the pious..... Of course, Francis Galton came to a similar conclusion back in 1872.....
(http://galton.org/essays/1870-1879/galton-1872-fortnightly-review-efficacy-prayer.html

If leaches, exorcisms and other quack cures have been consigned to the dustbin of history by modern medicine, why can't they do the same thing with AA's quackery? Why are taxpayers' dollars being wasted on a treatment which is overall worse than a placebo?

Is it really so hard for people to face up and take responsibility for their behaviour as adults?

Regards,
Adrian.

Hello Adrian,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on both your sobriety and your freedom of mind. And I couldn't agree more.

RE:

...if a Christian went to church and the preacher mentioned 'alcohol' fifty one times over an hour and 'God' three times, might they think that they had mistakenly slipped into an AA meeting rather than a church service?

Oh, that's beautiful. Thanks for the laugh.

And why do we still have judges and government agencies and so-called "therapists" and "counselors" selling cult religion as quack medicine? That's a good question. Hopefully, we can put an end to it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Oh God, save me from your idiots.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html#Paul ]

Date: Sun, June 3, 2012 6:54 pm     (answered 5 June 2012)
From: "paul"
Subject: put a lot of work into this. Why?

Very well done. Well investigated, doucumented and presented. There is not doubt you have convinced yourslef and your peers that the 12 Steps of AA are not effective.

So, we then allow all who suffer from Alcohol and Drug additction to end up in we brain insane wards? I did not see you solution.

There are a number of holes in your presenation regarding AA. Just one is Alcohol is an Solution not a Problem your have not delail with that. Secondly, the purpose of the 12 Steps is no specifically to stop drinking. It is to clear away the wreakage of the past and find a God personal to you.

Finally, the 12 steps have shown conclusively in decades of studies at LCLA and LA Social Services to provide significant help with other personal problems from wife beating and pediphilia to shoplifting and croinic lying. So, what is wrong with that? Any group with a spiritual basics can be difined as a Cult. Congratulations....we know that.

So I think I will continue to recommend the 12 sTeps along with reasonable professional help instead of going back into the Dark Ages. I do know that for the past 3 decades I have had a fruitful, constructive, successful reasonbily happy life and AA has helped that. I trust you can say the same for yourself.

Just another fool who attends meetings of AA.
paul

Hello Paul,

  1. Your subject line asked, "Why?" The answer is, "Because somebody has to tell the truth."

  2. I have more than "convinced myself" that the 12 Steps do not work. I have collected all of the valid tests of A.A., and they prove that A.A. does not work.

  3. Then you tried the Either-Or propaganda technique:

    So, we then allow all who suffer from Alcohol and Drug additction to end up in we brain insane wards? I did not see you solution.

    It is not a matter of either give the alcoholics the 12-Step religion or leave them to die of brain-rot. Those are not the only two choices. I have often — hundreds of times — mentioned better treatment methods, and so have other correspondents. Start here: How did you get to where you are?

  4. This is simply not true:

    Finally, the 12 steps have shown conclusively in decades of studies at LCLA and LA Social Services to provide significant help with other personal problems from wife beating and pediphilia to shoplifting and croinic lying.

    I am aware of the badly-done "research" from Robert Fiorentine in Los Angeles, and I discussed it and analyzed the flaws in the logic here:
    http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-propaganda.html#Fiorentine

    Mr. Fiorentine made the mistake of confusing causation with correlation. He did not do a properly-conducted randomized longitudinal controlled study to prove that A.A. does anything good. There was no control group. There was no group of people who got no treatment, or other treatment, to test just how good A.A. therapy really is. He just assumed that any improvements that he saw in the clients were due to practicing the 12-Steps or going to 12-Step meetings. That is a groundless assumption, especially when he did not also assume that failures and relapses were caused by practicing the 12-Steps.

    Just because people in A.A. meetings are less drunk than the people in bars does not mean that the 12-Step religion reduces drinking. It means that some people who wish to stay sober go to A.A. meetings, while some other people who wish to drink alcohol go to bars. It is really a measure of people's desires, not the effectiveness of quack medicine.

    Now what other studies or tests are you talking about? —Especially the ones that found that A.A. reduces "wife-beating and pedophilia and shoplifting and chronic lying"? It sure didn't work on my 12-Step counselor. He spouted 12-Step slogans at us all of the time, and then went home and snorted cocaine, and looked at child porn on his computer, and then raped his step-children. So much for 12-Step spirituality and slogan-slinging.

    I mean really. Specifically, what are you talking about? What tests are you referring to? When you cite "research", you are supposed to supply all of the reference information like the name of the researchers, and the name of the peer-reviewed journal where the results were published, and date, and page numbers, so that other people can go look up the report and analyze it and see what it really says. Just vaguely referring to "something" at UCLA or Los Angeles social services doesn't make it.

  5. This is also not true:

    Any group with a spiritual basics can be difined as a Cult. Congratulations....we know that.

    That is standard Mimimization and Denial, something that Bill Wilson swore alcoholics were very good at. That is a common cultish rationalization: "Oh everything is a cult, churches, schools, government. It's all a cult."

    Here are some examples in previous letters that I received:

    Not everything is a cult. Not all religious groups are cults, far from it. Read the Cult Test if you want a description of cults.

  6. Then you wrote:

    So I think I will continue to recommend the 12 sTeps along with reasonable professional help instead of going back into the Dark Ages.

    So what success rate do you get from that routine?

    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 and here.)

  7. Then you finished with:

    I do know that for the past 3 decades I have had a fruitful, constructive, successful reasonbily happy life and AA has helped that. I trust you can say the same for yourself.

    Actually, you don't "know" that at all. You assume that practicing an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties did something good for you. I would suggest that you really benefitted from your decision to not drink any more alcohol, and then sticking to it. That is what saves your health and your life. Congratulations for making the healthy choice and sticking to it.

    By the way, I now have 11 years of unbroken sobriety, without any cult meetings or 12 Step practices, or any of that nonsense. But who's counting? We aren't really playing ego games of spiritual one-upmanship, are we?

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.

[The next letter from Paul is here.]





May 05, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family of 6

Canada Goose families with goslings
Canada Goose families with goslings
The Family of 6 is in the foreground, and the Family of 3 is in the background.

Canada Goose fleet
Canada Goose fleet
These are some of the other geese that are just hanging out.

Canada Goose flock
Cackling Goose flock
These are some of those Alaskan geese who are slow about going home to Alaska.

pondscape
Pondscape

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family of 6

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family of 6

Canada Goose gosling
A girl of the Family of 6
How can I tell it's a girl? Her face looks like Carmen. And it looks like a brother is behind her. I can tell by the shape of his larger head, and the set of his beak, and his larger body.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]





BLOG NOTE: 2012.06.06:

OBITUARY: Ray Bradbury, 1920—2012

Ray Bradbury was one of the world's best science fiction writers, because he didn't really write about science fiction, he wrote about life. Everybody on radio and TV who is talking about his death today is mentioning Fahrenheit 451, but I haven't heard anybody mention The Martian Chronicles, which is also a masterpiece. Hint: For those who think they don't like science fiction, The Martian Chronicles is not about Mars, it is about the human race. And Bradbury had a rather pessimistic view of the human race. The general drift of The Martian Chronicles was that the human race will probably fuck up Mars just like how they fucked up the Earth.

I saw Ray Bradbury live one time, when he spoke at UCR (U. of California at Riverside), in 1965 or '66. He described life as, "In front of you there is a mountain of bullshit. Here, they are handing you a shovel. Your job is to try to get through that mountain of bullshit."

He also spoke about trusting your feelings. In the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen-sixties, there was a big Civil Defense scare, where everybody was sure that the Russians would nuke us real soon now, and lots of people were digging holes in their back yards and building bomb shelters. Ray Bradbury said that certain businessmen approached him, wanting his endorsement on a line of bomb shelters, because he was a famous science fiction writer. Bradbury said that he didn't go for the deal, because it somehow just didn't feel right. He couldn't see life in a bomb shelter as a good future. Later, of course, the whole backyard bomb-shelter thing turned out to be a giant bust. Bradbury said that what saved him from a lot of embarassment was his stomach. It just didn't feel right in his stomach. He instructed us to always trust our stomachs.

May he rest in peace.





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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters309.html