Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXIII

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Chuck_B ]

Date: Tue, June 19, 2012 12:27 am     (answered 21 June 2012)
From: "chuck b."
Subject: Thank You from a recovering alcoholic

Mr Orange,

I've been battling alcohol for 3 years (formally). In patient and out patient and therapy and lots and lots of required AA meetings. I didnt like AA from the start. But I have to go. It's funny the things I have talked about that I didn't like, all laid out in the orange papers. I have told people about all the AA "sayings" many a time. I called them platitudes. Maybe not the most correct word, but it fits in some ways. Then I discover you listed 865 of them. And I bet I had heard 500 of them.

I've been thinking on my own addiction and recovery book. And so much of it is in your papers. My major problem with relapse was not lack of desire or lack of effort, it was very often withdrawal. My last crazy drunk I ended up in a lot of trouble, but got forced to a good intake at hospital. Got the right detox benzo, and immediately got better. I was PISSED. I actually came to the idea that it should be used, in very controlled manner, at clinics. I was able to get through major withdrawal and feel better, which helped everything get better. When I was [an] inpatient, they wouldn't allow benzos if you were past a few days of your last drink. They only gave a small amount in detox for safety (which wasnt me). I was miserable for the entire month. In fact, after screaming I had an adverse reaction to SSRIs, they gave it to me anyways, leaving me completely fried for days. I have been on a dozen drugs, all the wrong ones, until I finally found some really good people — after screaming with my PCA to get me to a drug doctor for months (I'm active duty). All I needed was proper medical care to get started on the right foot.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I came on my own to believe what you wrote. So much of addiction recovery is withdrawal issues. Now, there are a lot of other things someone has to face — for me, anxiety, boredom, insomnia. But getting the right medical care has put me in the best place I have been in in 5 years. (I also had PTSD and depression). AA didnt do any of this. Neither did therapy. Neither did in or out patient. Just a week of sleep to get through detox. I got detox and sleep and now I see that I have to

  • a) do it for me and
  • b) do it without alcohol.
It's not cosmic, it's just not always easy. There's my book — A and B. No one ever even told me, after all the treatment and therapy, what doing something for yourself meant. Took me 40 years of life to figure it out, and do it basically on my own. I'm still learning and still working to refine what it means. I know that getting sober because of the man, because of a woman, because of treatment, because of career, because of AA didnt work.

I have a masonic brother who let on he used to have a big problem drinking. Huge. His words "I lost every girlfriend I ever had because of drinking.' You know how he quit? He just did. He was tired of his life being chaotic. I tried this myself, but stayed awake for 9 days without drinking (this was before I met him) got desperate and scared, and ended up arrested drunk. That was round one with me in treatment. All I needed then was medical care from someone that *was a trained, knowledgeable doctor.* I'm not saying this is a formula for long term success. But I am saying getting through detox and likely several months (for some) of withdrawal is critical. I say "my brain is fried". I just need my brain to heal.

Which reminds me, I haven't found this yet, but AA tries to take credit for the Pink Cloud Effect. It's scientifically known the pink cloud is caused by one's brain detoxing and adjusting. AA has said it is because "you found a fellowship". I found message boards where people asked what the pink cloud effect is, with dozens of answers saying everything *but* a chemical reset in the brain. I like the term God's Grace myself, as it is in a way. It's good after initial detox you can feel better. But claiming its because you went to AA is just a flat out lie.

Last piece, one you address. People saying they are crazy. I have a friend that has found sobriety. He told me his story. He ended it with "I'm crazy but I know it now." He meant it. I'm sure you see the contradiction there. It scared me. He has a wonderful, understanding and devoted fiancee, he started getting his life in order, and he never looked at any of those reasons for sobriety. He claims it was AA and his acceptance of character defects. I think that plus my last meetings are how I revisited the OP.

Thanks for all that work. I noticed it has been updated even recently.


Chuck B.
Wichita, KS

Hello Chuck,

Thank you for the letter and all of the compliments. I'm happy to hear that you have found the way up. You've got it, I don't need to teach you anything.

About the Pink Cloud Effect: Oh yeh. How I remember those days. The first year of recovery was one big Pink Cloud. I was so wired up and energized that I would walk for miles up and down the river, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, and the energy rush that comes from real health. I remember one day when I walked 14 miles, during the Rose Festival, because it was all just a high-energy party, all up and down the river. (And I enjoyed that party without any alcohol or drugs, or even a cigarette, too, so that was another victory.)

The Pink Cloud Effect was the most intense at first, of course, and gradually faded, but it still dragged out for most of a year. I kind of miss those days — it was kind of like a free high. But then, as you said, the brain chemistry resets to normal, and the high fades away.

Oh and of course I got my Pink Cloud Effect without A.A. or doing the 12 Steps, or any of that. It's just a matter of the body being overjoyed that you aren't killing it any more.

Needless to say, I totally agree with your conclusions about the need to get a real doctor. A.A. sponsors are not doctors, and they are not trained in medicine, and they don't know what they are doing. They are most assuredly not "the experts on addiction". And the way that a lot of detox centers treat their patients is criminal — it is practicing medicine without a license when they countermand the prescriptions of a real doctor.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I'm insane, but that's okay, because my Higher Power
**     Doorknob Almighty is going to restore me to sanity."
**     Yeh, right.
**     One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have
**     is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
**          ==  Rabbi Harold Kushner

Date: Thu, June 21, 2012 8:49 pm
From: "chuck b."
Subject: Re: Thank You from a recovering alcoholic

Thank you Orange. I made one mistake where I said "no benzos in intake" and I meant no benzos in "in patient". Please correct. In patient was a step program btw. $25k for a step program and poor detox management.


[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Ray_S ]

Date: Tue, June 19, 2012 3:21 am     (answered 21 June 2012)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: Rodney King/ Dr. Drew

Guess Vaillant would count Rodney King as a success, he isn't drinking anymore.

"...fiancé Cynthia Kelly — who served as a juror in King's 1994 civil suit against the city of Los Angeles for his brutal 1991 beating at the hands of the police — called 911. Kelly has reportedly told authorities that King was drinking and smoking marijuana in the hours before his death."

Hi again, Ray,

Yes, well, he finally quit drinking and got "sober", didn't he? :-)

What a troubled soul.

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     ZEN STUDENT: "What happens after death?"
**     ZEN MASTER: "I do not know."
**     ZEN STUDENT: "How can that be? You are a Zen Master!"
**     ZEN MASTER: "But I am not a dead Zen Master."

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Ben_N ]

Date: Tue, June 19, 2012 9:19 am     (answered 21 June 2012)
From: "Ben N."
Subject: recoveringfromrecovery.com

Hello Orange,

As you've probably seen from the goings-on in the OP Forum, a number of us have endeavoured to move away from the constant warring and create a community that is solely aimed at aiding recovery. We had the usual teething problems and early day near disasters, but now feel that the site is up and running and ready to take off.

This e-mail is really just to formally invite you to join with us. Your expertise in the subject would be invaluable and you might even enjoy being just a contributor after your long years of running the show. Also, you're a pretty fun guy to have around — the place won't be the same without you.

We all hope you'll come over and join in. Most of what we are trying to do is the fruits of your labour after all. We'll save the "Orange" username just for you.

Hope to see you soon.

mfc66uk, Avo, btnben, Gunthar2000, JR Harris, PersephoneInExile.

Hello All,

Thanks for the note, and I wish you well.

I feel like I am on the horns of a dilemma: I know that there are some pro-12-Step people in the OP forum who are just carping and backbiting and kibitzing and doing their best to suppress all information that they don't like, but I am still philosophically opposed to censorship, so I don't ban them. (The only thing that I have banned people for is outrageous personal attacks on other forum members.) So we have a "war", as you call it, in the Orange Papers forum.

I can see the usefulness of a moderated forum where Steppers' interference is not allowed. That could be more helpful to people who are in early recovery, and shakey and unsure of things. I'll pop in there now and then, if I can, when I have the time. (As it is, I'm having a hard time keeping up with my own forum.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism
**      by those who have not got it."
**         ==  George Bernard Shaw

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Geoffrey_P ]

Date: Tue, June 19, 2012 9:54 pm     (answered 21 June 2012)
From: "Geoffrey P."

Hey there Mr Orange.

I like to write something positive to you, just to balance out the awful hate mail you receive. So much anger in those emails.

It's now been several months since I severed ties with AA and I'm still alive, employed, married and relatively happy. And not drinking. It's been the exact same length of time since I inadvertently but fortuitously discovered your web site. No coincidence there. I am grateful.

I live in a fairly small town, and I ran into an AA guru in the supermarket a day or two ago. We did not engage in a conversation, but if looks could kill, I would be in a body bag by now. I smiled and walked on by, and I think this made him even angrier for some reason. I did consider selecting a six pack of beer and walking back past him, but that would have been childish and provocative. But probably fun. And I would've put it back on the shelf, as I have no real desire to drink any more. I have just decided not to. A bit like being involved with AA. I have just decided not to.

It brought to mind the "seething cauldron of hate" that one of your correspondents mentioned years ago under the thin veneer of serenity.

My sponsor continues to call me now and again, so I text him back innocuous, generic but essentially genuine (but succinct) replies. I haven't spoken directly to him for months, but he knows where I live, and I'm not sure how I'll handle a home visit, should he decide to come around. Oh well, I'll cross that bridge if and when I come to it, I suppose. He is not a bad person; he was quite good to me at times, but he is still "AA," so I'm a bit wary of him. Ironically, it's a bit like defending yourself against a "relapse" (I hate that word) back into AA.

For some bizarre reason, I toyed with the idea of attending a local AA meeting last night, just to see what was going on and who was around. Then common sense kicked in, and I stayed home with my family instead.

A few days ago, my family and I drove to a nearby park and fed kookaburras and magpies, and I thought of you with your geese and goslings. The photos are great and I find them uplifting in amongst the vitriolic diatribes of some of your correspondents.

Hope you are well and happy, and thanks again for all the great work you are doing. I for one am very appreciative and grateful. I am confident from reading the thousands of letters written to you over the years that I am not alone with these sentiments.

Life is good. I am living it, at last.

Hello Geoffrey,

Thank you for the letter. It is positive and uplifting too. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

Yes, it is both sad and interesting to see how A.A. members view sober ex-members. You would think that they should be overjoyed to see that some ex-members are still sober and healthy and doing well, but no, they aren't happy at all. That reveals a lot of insecurity and narrow-mindedness. If you can really survive sober without A.A., then that blows up a lot of A.A. dogma about "Work the Steps or Die!"

Gee, you mean all of those A.A. meetings aren't really necessary? And you don't have to do the 12 Steps? And you don't have to babble about how "Higher Power" is holding your hand and keeping you from drinking?

One standard response is, "Well, you will still relapse." I can't count how many times I've heard that one: "You will still relapse. Somebody with a resentment as big as yours can't help but go back out."

Heck, one of the little things that keeps me sober is the satisfaction that I get from knowing that their prediction still hasn't come true, after 11 years. (So they don't repeat that line so much any more.)

Oh well, have a good day. And yes, one of the reasons that I love the goslings is because they are such a beautiful positive joyous little things. Also unbearably cute. The contrast between A.A. nonsense and hanging out with cute goslings is so total that it is literally two different worlds.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house
**     I lived in, what my bank account was, or the car I drove...
**     But the world may be different because I was important in the
**     life of animals and the creatures on this earth.
**       ==  Author Unknown

May 07, 2012, Monday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Mount Hood
Mount Hood behind the Fernhill Wetlands

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose goslings
A new Family of 3
I had to do a double-take to realize that this is a new family of 3. Notice how small and yellow the babies are. This is not the same Family of 3 as I've been photographing for a few weeks.

Canada Goose goslings
3 Goslings of the Family of 6

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Wed, June 20, 2012 6:17 pm     (answered 22 June 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Orange Papers as ebook

Yeah, it is a racket. Half of the expansion packs for the Sims 2 basically add in features that existed in the Sims 1 expansions. Most, if not all, of the Sims 3 expansions add in features that existed in the other two games. And there's absolutely no compatibility between the three. You can't transfer houses or sims between the games. To be fair, 1 to 2 is a big jump, since the objects in 1 are 2d and things like genetics and being able to sculpt faces didn't exist. Still, I think EAxis could have at least found a way to transfer TS1 sims to 2 with a tool or something, since TS1 sims are 3d models. There's really no excuse for not being able to do that from 2 to 3, since that's a pretty small jump.

Hi again, Meatbag,

Hello Maxis, are you listening? Pissing off your fans is not a wise business move.

A lot of creatures are smarter than what people give them credit for. If I recall, both the drake and the goose family were in no-wake zones, too, so they were less likely to get mangled by a boat.

Yes, that is what is forever surprising me about wildlife. Like how the Jay in the backyard sat in a tree just outside the window, where I would see him, and showed me in sign language that he wanted to be fed, by holding a small pine cone in his mouth and looking at me. Say what? I never read about that in the wildlife books.

Speaking of which, did you see the TV program about the intelligence of crows? It was some months ago, and I think on Public Television. Maybe it was Nova or Scientific American. Well, researchers had found that a small crow from a foreign country, maybe Australia, was the most intelligent bird in the world. He could logic his way through things and solve all kinds of puzzles to get food.

UPDATE: It is the New Caledonian Crow. Part of the footage and the story was reused in the PBS program Nature, broadcast on 20 Feb 2013.

He could not only use tools to get food, he could use a tool to get a tool to get food. And he could solve puzzle boxes to get them open and get the food inside. And he could watch a human open a puzzle box, and then copy the procedure to open the box himself. Then he could even modify the procedure to shorten it, because the humans inserted some do-nothing steps into the routine, and because the puzzle box was made of plexiglass, the crow could see what was going on in there and how it worked, and see what he had to do and what was a do-nothing move. So he dropped the do-nothing moves because he could see that they were just a waste of time. That indicated that the little crow was really thinking about how it worked, rather than just copying the human. He was quite an amazing little bird, and he blew away a lot of preconceptions about how animals can't use tools or think and solve puzzles.

Another animal that is suprisingly smart is the squirrel — they are champions at solving mazes. A fellow who had a bird feeder hanging from a tree branch in his backyard was annoyed at how a squirrel was raiding the bird feeder and eating the birdseed, so he started putting obstacles around the bird feeder, like hoods over the cord by which the bird feeder was hanging. So the squirrel just jumped from a nearby branch to the feeder, instead of climbing down the cord like he did before. So the human put more obstacles in the way, and the squirrel got around them. So the guy became even more determined to win, so he put up even more complex obstacles, and the squirrel still figured out ways to get around them. Eventually, it turned into an epic man versus squirrel challenge, and the guy became almost obsessed with outwitting the squirrel. The guy turned his entire backyard into a gigantic maze and obstacle course that the squirrel had to run to get the food, and the squirrel still solved the mazes and got over, around, or through the obstacles, and got the food. Humans, zero; squirrels, one.

It's actually quite natural, because squirrels think in terms of three-dimensional pathways: "Go up this tree, then out on that branch, then jump onto the telephone cable, and use it as your freeway to go across the street and down the block, and then jump onto another tree branch, and go to the trunk, and then go out on another branch and jump onto the roof of that house, then go over the roof to the other side of the house, then jump onto another tree branch..." They do that all day long.

And those geese are probably tamer than some of the feral cats I encounter around my dad's apartment building. I always wonder what it would be like if I bought a giant bag of cat food and scattered it around the parking lot. Too bad I don't have the income to try that.

Yes, feral cats are spooky. They are so wild-eyed and glaring. Still, some might be able to be tamed.

That is a very good point, about the bait-and-switch. I might actually have to try to think about updating those ebooks soon.

Yes, those bait-and-switch things just keep popping up. There are so many of them, and some of them are so subtle, that you don't notice all of them right away. Bill Wilson's muddled way of writing and twisted way of thinking hides a lot of illogic.

Anyhow, it's about time I took the medicine that makes my tongue tingle and me sleepy. Have a good evening.

Okay, have a good nap. And then have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb
**     because it is dumb to his dull perceptions. The fact that man knows
**     right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other
**     creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral
**     inferiority to any creatures that cannot.
**       ==  Mark Twain

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

May 07, 2012, Monday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Two Goslings of the Family of 6, including the new little one.

Canada Goose goslings
Four Goslings of the Family of 6

Canada Goose goslings
Three Goslings of the Family of 6, eating oatmeal

Canada Goose goslings
Three Goslings of the Family of 6

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Sarah ]

Date: Fri, June 22, 2012 6:46 pm     (answered 24 June 2012)
From: "Sarah"
Subject: Thank you!

Hi there Agent Orange,

I am so relieved to be out of the cult! Wow. I've been reading your website for a couple of months now. I found it after a conversation with an NA cult member who couldn't understand my reasons for not going to meetings anymore?

I have a disability that causes painful muscle contractions that will not release without medication. My arms are completely affected, my speech and ability to eat are affected about half the time, and my legs are on their way...good times! Not much is known about my condition nor effective treatments. My doctor does the best he can, but medication the bugger is a guessing game a lot of the time. Recently my doctor wanted me to try a medication change about 4 1/2 years "clean." When I told this so-called "friend" about this, she hit the roof! She said that I could no longer call myself "clean," and that I should be willing to go to any lengths to save my recovery. I explained to her that I even had the blessing of my sponsor, since I was under the care of a doctor for a condition that will otherwise cause me to be locked into my body until the day I die. She shook her head and said again that I would lose whatever I put ahead of my recovery, including my health. (Thanks for your concern for my pain and suffering, "friend!")

There were many other situations that prompted me to question "the program" as a whole, but this experience was the straw that broke the camel's back. I called my sponsor that night, who basically said that I had to make my own decision about what constituted being clean, and what constituted a relapse. I told her that I needed to step back from NA, to which she responded, "but you need NA now more than ever!"

I was researching cult mentality for some other reason, and your website came up. I really felt like the only person in the world who felt this way! I am in a very different place now than I was when I first went to NA, and really feel like I'm OK. I have a supportive family and an amazing husband and just don't feel like I need the conditional support of NA to succeed. I am taking my medications AS PRESCRIBED, and don't even feel tempted to do otherwise.

I will be honest and say that I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and stop at that. I'm not sure I was ever really addicted to alcohol... I just needed the acceptance of NA/AA at a very vulnerable time in my life. If that doesn't scream "CULT" I don't know what does!

Please keep telling the truth. You're not killing anyone and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise needs to take a hard look at what they're afraid of. HEARING the truth perhaps? I'll write again some other time about some of the other abuses I saw during my time in NA/AA, but I need a break from the computer. Please don't use my name/e-mail, but refer to me as Sarah.


Hello Sarah,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are well, and even free of the cult and thinking clearly.

Yes, so much of what you described screams "cult":

  • [My] so-called "friend" ... said that I could no longer call myself "clean," and that I should be willing to go to any lengths to save my recovery.

    Such extremism: "any lengths". And since when is not taking doctor-prescribed medications "recovery"?

    Demands for ultra-loyalty and total commitment and going to any extremes are a standard cult feature. Here is the Cult Test question:

    And the answer for A.A. is here:

  • She shook her head and said again that I would lose whatever I put ahead of my recovery, including my health.

    Again, what "recovery" do you lose by following the doctor's orders? And why do you lose your health by taking care of your health? Where is the evidence that you will lose whatever you "put ahead of recovery"? I mean real hard evidence. I want to see the medical tests and surveys.

    By the way, following the orders of a cult religion is not "recovery". That whole crazy line is just another 12-Step slogan. (Another one for my long list of thought-stopping slogans.)

    My 12-Step counselor told me that I must not put *anything* ahead of my recovery when I tried to tell him that I wasn't making my quota of A.A. and N.A. meetings because I had pneumonia and couldn't go out in the cold December night air to go to meetings. He wouldn't even listen, never mind think; he just quickly yammered a slogan to shut me down when I was halfways through the sentence. As soon as he heard the words "not going to meetings", the slogan came out. He regarded everything that followed "not going to meetings" as just an irrelevant excuse, not worth listening to. By the way, they put him in prison for raping children. Some counselor.

Oh well, have a good day now, and I look forwards to hearing the rest of your story. Be well.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Preserving health by too severe a rule is a worrisome malady.
**       ==  François, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613 — 1680)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#MXTC ]

Date: Thu, June 21, 2012 11:24 pm     (answered 24 June 2012)
From: "MXTC"
Subject: Mystical Origins of the 12 steps

Dear Orange,

I really appreciate the work you've done on researching AA. However my search for Emanuel Swedenborg, on your site yielded no results. I'm wondering if you are unaware of the connection, or have done more research than me, and found the connection to be unsubstantiated.

I came upon the mystical writings of Emanual Swedenborg, during my vast study of comparative religion, and the occult. I was already familiar with the 12 steps, and was quite surprised to see them mentioned 150 years before Bill W. So I did a little research and read Lois' grandfather was a Swedenborgian Pastor. Here is a link that may shed some light on what I'm referring to.

The original reference to the 12 steps to the kingdom of God was from Swedenborg's "Divine Providence" it's been quite awhile since I read it, but here's a link.

I hope this helps in your mission to spread rational thinking as a means to objective truth.


Hello MXTC,

Thanks for the information. Interesting, but I have to totally disagree with Barry C. Halterman where he wrote:

Twelve-step programs have been a tremendous help to many people, both for those trying to break free from an addition and for their families.

Again, another ignorant author is just repeating the myth of A.A. effectiveness: "millions saved". A.A. has been medically proven to be a total failure that hurts more alcoholics than it helps.

After that, it is a great stretch to imagine that there is much more than a superficial connection between Emanuel Swedenborg's "The twelve steps into the palace of wisdom", and Bill Wilson's 12 Steps to Buchmanism.

It is well known that Bill Wilson just wrote down the practices of Buchmanism — a.k.a. The Oxford Group — to get his 12 Steps. And he really only had 11 steps, so he fudged a do-nothing step in there — Step 6, where "we were entirely ready to do the next step" — so that he could have 12 steps for reasons of mysticism and numerology and symmetry:

  • 12 disciples of Christ
  • 12 months in a year
  • 12 hours on the clock
  • 12 things in a dozen
  • 12 is the lowest number that is evenly divisible by 4 other numbers: 2, 3, 4, and 6.
    (That property can produce all kinds of geometric patterns like: Take a cross, whose two bars have four ends, and put a trinity at each end, and you will have 12 things in a symmetrical pattern, like a Cathar Cross. You can even put a small cross on the ends of each bar of a cross, and you will get the Cross Crosslet, which has 12 points.)

    Cathar Cross
    Cathar Cross
    Cross Crosslet
    Cross Crosslet

But other than the number 12, and hints of confession and repentence, which is standard Christian guilt-inducing fare, there isn't really any connection between Bill Wilson's 12 steps and Swedenborgism. Bill's 12 steps are Frank Buchman's practices for brainwashing and indoctrinating new cult recruits, not "steps to wisdom". Conversion and indoctrination are what Dr. Frank Buchman created those practices for, and that is what they still do.

This happy jabber is just mindless fluff from another Pollyanna:

However, just as clear is the complete harmony between Swedenborg's teachings on spiritual growth and development and the fundamental principles of the Twelve Steps. AA's Twelve Steps make a wonderful outline of Swedenborg's teachings on the process of repentance, reformation and regeneration.

The author really should go read Dr. Robert J. Lifton's description of brainwashing techniques. The Cult of Confession is one of the eight standard brainwashing techniques for messing with peoples' minds and breaking down their will to resist. Chinese Communist brainwashing was also a "process of repentance, reformation and regeneration", making prisoners into "the new Communist man". And Dr. Frank Buchman's repentance and reformation routines were equally good at making true believers with fascist leanings.

The fact that Lois was the granddaughter of the Rev. N. C. Burnham, a Swedenborgian scholar, is a very distant connection. There is zero evidence that Lois Burnham converted Bill Wilson to belief in Swedenborg's teachings. All of the evidence shows that Bill Wilson got converted to belief in the crazy fascistic teachings of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman in his "Oxford Group". Bill Wilson even said so:

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
William G. Wilson, The Language of the Heart, page 298, published posthumously in 1988.

(Bill Wilson listed Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the American branch of the Oxford Group because he didn't want to mention Frank Buchman, whom the British and American people hated for his Nazi sympathizing and treasonous encouragement of draft dodging and his praise of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us,
**     'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our
**     elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.'
**     So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
**     Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary in Grateful To Have Been There, Nell Wing, page 22.
**     All of the advantages of the modern dictatorship?
**     What advantages? Advantages for whom?

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Mark_B ]

Date: Sun, June 24, 2012 4:01 pm     (answered 27 June 2012)
From: "Mark B."
Subject: BillW The Movie

Hi again Orange,

I see there is a new "documentary" about Bill Wilson making the rounds in limited release at theaters. The movie's website BillW.com redirects to Page124.com where there is an "about" page with the following "disclosure":

"The filmmakers are not members of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). This film does not have any affiliation with or endorsement from A.A. Neither the film nor the filmmakers speak for A.A. or represent it in any way. The filmmakers are deeply committed to telling an accurate history of the life and work of Bill W. and the founding and history of A.A. This film is not intended to promote or to criticize A.A. in any way."

But this same page offers this about filmakers Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino ... "are first-time filmmakers and life-long friends who had talked of making a film together since their days in high school. Both have seen first-hand the devastation of alcoholism, as well as the hope offered by Alcoholics Anonymous."

Hmm, sounds a lot like a couple of AlAnon Steppers (that's how they can claim to not be members of AA) who have put a lot of money and effort into telling the "AA Story" (as in fairy tale). Disclaimer: I have not seen the film. While I'm curious, I'm also suspicious that this is in no way a real objective examination of Bill Wilson and the origins and history of AA.

I really wonder if the film will honestly cover the Oxford link with Frank Buchman and his pro-Nazi, pro-Hitler activities, Bill Wilson's drug-induced "religious experience" while zonked out on that Beladonna-laced concoction Dr. Silkworth gave him, his later experimentation with LSD, his longtime affair with mistress Helen Wynn whom he left ten percent of his estate to, his ongoing addiction to nicotine that eventually killed him, etc.

I find myself more than a little concerned that this film is just another in a long line of slick propaganda by Steppers who think they are "helping". I would be interested to read m[re details about who Kevin Hanlon and Dan Carracino are, and their true motives in making this "documentary".

Mark in Dallas

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the tip. I had not heard of that movie before. This should be interesting. It sure does sound like a remake of the Hallmark made-for-TV movie, My Name Is Bill W., where William Borchert sanitized and rewrote history to an outrageous degree.

I agree with your conclusions and suspicions. The movie-makers do sound like undercover Steppers from their effusive praise of A.A., and if so, there is no way that they will reveal the truth that Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith were recruiting for Dr. Frank Buchman's fascist Oxford Group cult religion in 1935 and 1936, not for any "Alcoholics Anonymous", which did not exist then, while Dr. Buchman went to Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies and the Berlin Olympics as the personal guest of Gestapo and SS Chief Heinrich Himmler. And Bill and Bob and Clarence Snyder never objected to the Nazi connection; they just kept right on recruiting.

And of course we won't hear about any of the rest of the story either, like Bill Wilson seeing God with the help of belladonna, and his years of LSD use, and his constant philandering and his many mistresses, and sexually preying on the women who came to A.A. meetings, and stealing the A.A. money and the copyright of the Big Book, and his raving delusions of grandeur and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, thinking that God sent him to save all of the alcoholics in the world... Or the very high A.A. failure rate. Nope. We won't hear about that.

Now I have to see the movie to see what kind of a myth and fairy tale they are selling. At the least, I'll get another web page out of it, another critique of A.A. propaganda.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     William G. Borchert, author of the screenplay [My Name Is Bill W.], ...
**     also told me that he was aware that the scene in the Mayflower lobby
**     (see Foreword) could not have happened the way it has been written. But
**     the legend has become so deeply entrenched, he felt he had no choice
**     but to follow the myth rather than the facts.
**     Bill W. and Mr. Wilson; The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder, Mathew J. Raphael, pages 167, 199.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Jon_G ]

Date: Sun, June 24, 2012 3:38 pm     (answered 27 June 2011)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: you did it

great shot orange , what lens?

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Hi Jon,

Thanks. Yes, that shot turned out well, didn't it? That was shot with my old Panagor 500mm mirror lens on a Canon 5D body. (Pentax PK mount, using an adapter with a focus confirmation chip.) I got it from eBay (about $120, including shipping), suspecting that it might be good. It is. Panagor is another brand name, like Kiron, of Kino Precision Optical Co. of Japan, Ltd., who also made some of the legendary Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm zoom lenses. Kino Precision/Kiron is one of my favorite old lens makers. That's why I went for a Panagor lens. Happily, it has become one of my favorite lenses.

Catching those herons in flight, and getting the focus correct with an old film manual-focus lens is a bit of a trick, and a lot of luck is required, as well as fast fingers. (Practice makes perfect.)

What that heron was doing was flying around me. Where I was, there is a narrow strip of land with a single-lane dirt road between two gigantic ponds. The herons like to stand in shallow water and fish at the edge of the ponds. These herons are very anti-social (just the opposite of Beethoven in downtown Portland). They get very angry when you walk by, and fly off croaking hoarse curses at you for disturbing their fishing. The smart ones have figured out that humans always just walk along the road, continuing in the same direction, so, as you approach them, rather than just flying away, they will leap-frog around you and land behind you, so that you are now walking away from them. I caught this guy with a couple of shots as he was going around me. (And I have lots of other similar shots that aren't in good focus. So it goes.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
**     Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Forebearance

[The next letter from Jon_G is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#ctmjon ]

Date: Sun, June 24, 2012     (answered 27 June 2011)
From: "ctmjon"
Subject: Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Hi again, ctmjon,

Thanks for that. Isn't that so true?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If these suggestions sound somewhat onerous to the reader searching
**     not for nirvana or salvation, but simply for human happiness,
**     it is worth reminding ourselves that what brings us greatest joy
**     and satisfaction in life are those actions we undertake out of
**     concern for others.
**        ==  Ancient Wisdom, Modern World; Ethics for the New
**        Millenium, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, page 126.

UPDATE: 2012.06.30:
It seems that this nice quote is at best a misattribution, if not an Internet hoax. Look here for the rest of the story: http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters314.html#Mark_B

May 07, 2012, Monday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
Five goslings of the Family of 6. The new little one is on the right.

Canada Goose goslings
An American Coot

Canada Goose goslings
Three goslings of the Family of 6, including the new little baby.

Canada Goose goslings
Three goslings of the Family of 6. The new baby is in front.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html#Meatbag2 ]

Date: Wed, June 27, 2012 6:46 pm     (answered 29 June 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Orange Papers as ebook

I found a propaganda machine while looking up the word "sponsee": http://rumradio.org/ Have at it. Incidentally, I'm still not entirely convinced "sponsee" exists outside the AA dictionary. Oh well. It fits with the cult I'm building in my Sims 2 game. And I am using your cult test as an instruction booklet.

Hello again, Meatbag,

Now that's a laugh. I had not thought of simulating a cult. Sim-Cult. Now that's a new game. I can see it getting outrageous. A goofy reverend takes over the cult and they all drink cyanide koolaid... Or burn the house down. Or O.D. on barbituates while worshipping a comet. Or poison everybody else with Sarin gas.

If such a game could be freely distributed on the Internet, and built up and improved as a group project, I can see it developing a cult following (okay, horrible pun).

Strictly speaking, Maxis doesn't exist, anymore. And it hasn't been involved at all with the third game. 3 is also harder to mod than 1 and 2, which I'm sure is no coincidence. 2 isn't overall any harder to mod than 1, though. In some ways, it's easier.

Ah so.

As for the crow and the squirrel, that's amazing! I guess it goes to show that the smartest animals are not necessarily the ones that look the most like humans.

Indeed. And they aren't necessarily the largest ones, either.

I'm sure a lot of feral cats find humans very spooky, too. Sure, they know that humans = food, or they wouldn't be hanging around an apartment complex. But at the same time, humans are just so unpredictable to them, and they keep getting in the cats' territories. And some of the cats probably have horror stories about humans.

Yeh, probably. There are some feral cats that live on the shore of the Willamette River that want no contact with humans, not even for food. They are really wild, and wild-eyed. They just glare at you. They live on ducklings. Yes, unfortunately, they eat almost all of the ducklings.

Anyhow, I'm going to pick back up on my Sims obsession. Have a good evening.

You too. And have a good day tomorrow.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic
**     initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior."
**     The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in
**     American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

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Last updated 20 February 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters313.html