Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXXXIV

[The previous letter from Steven_I is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Steven_I ]

Date: Wed, November 21, 2012 4:13 pm     (Answered 7 December 2012)
From: Steven I.
Subject: Re: (No subject)

Thank you Orange, I was so afraid to open the attachment for fear of a virus or a blistering diatribe. I've seen some of your responses to letters and you do have strong mental prowess. I do agree fully that we should have way more available to any of us suffering from addiction because it is dire. I loved The Small Book and Smart Recovery's secular approach. It really eliminates the creepy factor. I have read about 70 pages of the ACA big book and was wondering what your thoughts were on it. I'm sure there's something on your site. Maybe I'll just find it there. Thanks again, it's nice to hear from you.

Hello again, Steven,

I'm happy to say that you don't need to fear any of those Windoze viruses or worms or Trojan Horses or Billy's Bugs in letters that I send, because I run Linux, which is immune to them.

But if you are worried about opening a file, you can also read the answer online, here:

Now, the question about ACA. I assume that you mean, "Adult Children of Alcoholics" (which is also abbreviated ACOA). They are nuts too. Really nuts. They believe that you suffer from the mythical "spiritual disease of codependency" because you once lived with an alcoholic. And the cure is to do the 12 Steps and confess your sins and put yourself down, and call that "spirituality".

I have written about them before, here:

The only truth to the whole ACOA thing is that lots of children of alcoholics were abused, and now they suffer from things like PTSD — Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But 12-Step groups and sponsors are not qualified psychiatrists, and they are neither trained nor licensed to treat PTSD. Twelve-Step groups attempting to treat mental illnesses that were caused by childhood abuse is another example of Steppers practicing medicine without a license. They aren't doctors. And trying to treat PTSD with an old guilt-inducing cult religion is really sick insane quackery that causes a lot of harm.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It may be difficult to determine where religious
**     beliefs end and mental illness begins.
**       —  Elaine Cassel

June 10, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The newer Family of 6, getting lunch.

Canada Goose goslings
The newer Family of 6, getting lunch. Father is standing guard while the others eat.

Canada Goose goslings
A goose and child

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and family

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and family, getting bread and oats

Canada Goose goslings
Gus and family, getting bread and oats

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Ctmjon ]

Date: Thu, December 6, 2012 6:45 pm     (Answered 10 December 2012)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Fwd: A Sad Passing...


Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community.

The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

Born and bread in Minnesota, Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.

Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

If you smiled while reading this, please rise to the occasion and pass it on to someone having a crumby day and kneads a lift.

Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thanks for the laugh, and you have a good day too. And a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I like nonsense — it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a
**     necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through
**     the wrong end of a telescope... and that enables you to laugh at all of
**     life's realities."
**        ==  Dr. Seuss

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Drew_N ]

Date: Thu, December 6, 2012 8:16 am     (Answered 10 December 2012)
From: "Drew N."
Subject: Suggestions for Alcoholics

I appreciate your web site and opinions on AA. I agree with it almost completely.

It has worked for me on occasion to be a help to not drink. And if it works for those few that stick with it, it is probably better than drinking.

Do you have any links you can send or post for alcoholics or those just struggling with drinking to go to for alternate sources of help?

Drew N.

Hello Drew,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliment, and congratulations on your victories.

And happily, yes, I have lots of suggestions. See this letter:
How did you get to where you are?
I wrote that when I had my 10-year anniversary off of alcohol, tobacco, and all other drugs. Happy day!

Not only does it answer that question, but it also contains pointers to lists, like lists of letters where we discussed what works and other people wrote about what helped them, and the list of alternative, better, groups and methods. I particularly like SMART and SOS, and hear many good things about them.

So I wish you well, and have a happy (and sober) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. (I'm going to.)

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to
**     the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.
**         ==   Thich Nhat Hanh
**     Health is worth more than learning.
**       ==  Thomas Jefferson (1743 — 1826),
**           letter to his cousin John Garland Jefferson, June 11, 1790
**     Strength of mind rests in sobriety;
**     for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.
**       ==  Pythagoras
**     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**     and that your will power is useless, is not
**     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Michael_W ]

Date: Thu, December 6, 2012 4:54 pm     (Answered 10 December 2012)
From: "Michael W."
Subject: AA

What is your personal interest in AA? I've been sober 17 1/2 years in AA an I can tell you personally that I have never seen anyone return to drinking that has worked ALL of the components of the AA program. Those who do not succeed do not work the whole program either because they cannot, in the case of people who have severe psychological illnesses, or they will not work the entire program.

Millions of peoples lives have changed for the better through AA so I ask you again, what is your deal with AA? Are you trying to somehow say that because your data source tells you AA only has a "40%" success rate or whatever the rate was that you calculated that this is reason for someone with a problem with alcohol should not seek out AA? I can tell you that AA is usually the last place people look for recovery after they already tried church, therapy, and just not drinking on their own.

You comments and so called "facts" are confusing people and so preventing them from looking into something that could change their life. AA does not have a monopoly on recovery and I personally don't care where someone gets help as long as they are happy and its working for them. But there seems to be a lot of negative press on the internet about AA and you are contributing to it.

How about I send you 20 hopeless drunks over to your house and tell me what your success rate is!!! There is some kind of underlying motive driving you in your decision to paint AA in a negative light. So why can't you find something honorable to do with your life?

Sent from my iPhone
Michael W.

Hello Michael,

Thanks for the letter. Congratulations for choosing to quit drinking and stay quit for so many years. Will power and self-will are wonderful things, aren't they?

Unfortunately, what you are doing in describing the A.A. success rate is called "Observational Selection" and "Lying With Qualifiers". You are only looking at and counting the people who participated in A.A. to your satisfaction, and who met all of your demands.

If the A.A. program is so disgusting and distasteful and heretical that most people won't do it, then A.A. isn't really helping very many people, is it?

And what are they really supposed to be doing when they "work the entire program"? What works? I mean, what is the essential core thing that someone absolutely must do in order to "work the program" properly?

  1. It can't be going to A.A. meetings. That is optional. You can go to as few or as many as you like. In the early days of A.A., Bill Wilson bragged about the "lone wolf" members of A.A. who just ordered the book and read it, and got sober, and never went to a meeting.

  2. It can't be working the 12 Steps, because they are only suggestions. You don't have to work the Steps. Bill Wilson said so in the Big Book.

  3. It can't be reading the Big Book. I've had people email me and say that my criticism of what is in the Big Book is irrelevant, because they have many years of sobriety and they have never read the Big Book.

  4. It can't be "Coming to Believe" in "Higher Power" (or Doorknob Almighty, or Baal Bedpan, or the Easter Bunny, or whomever it is). That is also optional. Bill Wilson said that you didn't have to believe anything. And A.A. defenders routinely brag to me about the atheist chapters of A.A.

  5. It can't be getting a sponsor. Lots of sober people tell me that they never had a sponsor.

  6. It can't be recruiting. Some A.A. members brag to me that they have never gone recruiting.

So, after you get done with the demands to confess all of your sins and wallow in guilt and go to a zillion meetings and parrot slogans and recruit more victims, the real demand is for people to quit drinking. That is what people must do in order to rate as "working a strong program".

So your statement boils down to:

"Never have I seen a person fail to quit drinking who has thoroughly quit drinking when I demanded it."

Well, yes, if they will quit drinking when you tell them to, it will look like your program works great. But you just don't count the ones who won't quit drinking. That makes your numbers worthless.

I never said that A.A. has a 40% success rate. The truth is that the A.A. success rate is far closer to zero percent. The success rate in A.A. is the same as the success rate of people who quit on their own, without any so-called "help" or "treatment". Even your own A.A. Trustee Dr. and Prof. George E. Vaillant said that.

All that A.A. does is steal the credit from a few people who quit drinking by using their own determination and will power. The 12 Steps don't work to make people quit drinking.

Since you think that A.A. works, please tell me:

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?

No qualifiers are allowed, like, "We will only count the people who worked the program right, or we will only count the people who really tried, and kept coming back." Everybody counts. No exceptions.

No excuses are allowed. When the doctor gives a patient penicillin, and it fails to cure the infection, the doctor doesn't get to say, "But he didn't work the program right. He didn't pray enough. He didn't surrender. He held something back in his Fifth Step." No excuses.

So what's the actual A.A. cure rate?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

A.A. has not "helped millions", or "improved the lives of millions". A.A. does not even have 2 million members in the whole world, and they are not all sober. Most of them will drop out soon.

The A.A. headquarters routinely manufactures more lies about the great success rate, but those lies are wearing thin. For example, the official A.A. web site claims that the average sobriety time of A.A. members is 8 years. That is obviously untrue, and physically impossible, because A.A. does not have one 16-year oldtimer to match with each newcomer so that the two of them average out at 8 years of sobriety each. Nor do they have two 12-year oldtimers to match with each newcomer, so that the three of them together average 8 years each. And so on. The A.A. web site is publishing lies. Period. (There is more on that here.)

The real A.A. numbers are so bad that the A.A. headquarters is not even doing proper Triennial Surveys any more. The last one was late and only surveyed several thousand selected members, and then the A.A. headquarters only published edited and massaged results. The A.A. leaders cannot establish what the world-wide A.A. membership is, or the membership sobriety rate, by only questioning 7000 or 8000 hand-picked people.

This is standard A.A. propaganda:

"I can tell you that AA is usually the last place people look for recovery after they already tried church, therapy, and just not drinking on their own."

Baloney. That is just another standard A.A. slogan, "A.A. is the last house on the block." Often, A.A. is the first place that people arrive — like when they are coerced into A.A. by a judge or EAP or parole officer or incompetent "treatment center" or "therapist" or "counselor". Remember that previous A.A. Triennial Surveys established that 61% or 63% of the membership was coerced into A.A. Look here. So it isn't like some beaten-down defeated alcoholics finally crawled into A.A. after having exhausted all of the alternatives. The truth is just the opposite.

Of course, the A.A. leaders stopped asking those questions in Triennial Surveys about coercion and pressure to join A.A. after I embarrassed them by pointing out the truth about A.A. recruiting methods. Just like how they stopped asking questions that would reveal the A.A. dropout rate after Charles Bufe embarrassed them by noticing that problem with A.A. that was revealed by Triennial Surveys.

Your claim that people stagger into A.A. for salvation after churches, therapy, and self-help have failed is a complete reversal of reality, and a standard A.A. public relations lie. The truth is:

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."

And before you claim that those successful self-quitters were not "real alcoholics", yes, they were. They met the DSM-IV standards for alcohol dependence.

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).)

Then you complained,

You comments and so called "facts" are confusing people and so preventing them from looking into something that could change their life.

Oh, the condescension. Those poor feeble-minded alcoholics just become so confused when you tell them the truth, so let's not tell them the truth. Like Jack Nicholson yelled, "The truth?! You can't handle the truth!"

Yes, it's true that A.A. can change people's lives, but not necessarily for the better. The A.A. Horror Stories say that A.A. does a lot of damage.

By the way, that accusation about "you are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety" (by telling the truth about A.A.) is such a common Stepper line that I put together a file of them, here:

And then you claimed,

AA does not have a monopoly on recovery and I personally don't care where someone gets help as long as they are happy and its working for them.

It's nice that you are so generous and open-minded. Unfortunately, A.A. is not so open-minded. In fact, the line about "we have no monopoly" is a bait-and-switch trick, or two of them, just some reasonable-sounding statements that Bill Wilson made to avoid scaring away the new prospects. But then the story changes:

Then you complained,

But there seems to be a lot of negative press on the internet about AA and you are contributing to it.

Good. There should be a lot of negative press about A.A. It's time that people learned the truth about it.

Lastly, you kept asking what I have against A.A. The answer is very simple:

It is a despicable heartless crime to foist quackery and old cult religion on sick people and lie to them and tell them that it works great when it doesn't.

In fact, quackery and practicing medicine without a license is a crime and a felony. And that includes trying to act as an amateur psychiatrist to treat those people whom you described as, "people who have severe psychological illnesses". You never went to medical school, did you? You aren't even qualified to talk to those people, never mind telling them to do the 12 Steps of Bill Wilson, who copied them from Dr. Frank Buchman's Nazi religion.

Yes, you can send 20 "hopeless drunks", and we will set up a SMART or SOS meeting, and get down to work. In fact, that would be good opportunity to do a genuine randomized longitudinal controlled study to determine how well SMART and SOS work, compared to A.A. So we will let A.A. have 20 hopeless drunks, too, and see what really works. Every time a test like that has been done, A.A. turned out to be the worst way to treat alcohol addiction.

And actually, we could also do just as well as A.A. with the Patty-Cake Treatment Program, or the Baskin-Robbins Cure, or the Tiddly-Winks Program. In those things, you play patty cake, or eat ice cream, or play tiddly-winks. Those programs work just as well as practicing an old fascist cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

Have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "AA is 'the last house on the block' for a reason: it's full
**     of arsonists who've been burning down the other houses!"
**       —  Madame Senga

[The next letter from Michael_W is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Fri, December 7, 2012 4:49 am     (Answered 10 December 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: Keeping Drugs Illegal Does Not Protect Children

Keeping Drugs Illegal Does Not Protect Children


Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

Hello Peter,

Thanks for the link and the article. I couldn't agree more.

My own experience is that my two kids were exposed to the drug culture all of their childhood, because I was a hippy — which means that they were essentially living in a society where drugs had been legalized — and yet, now, neither one of them takes drugs. Go figure.

Have a good day now. And a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it
**     attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a
**     crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes
**     a blow at the very principle upon which our government was founded."
**        —  Abraham Lincoln, 1840

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Dennis_M ]

Date: Fri, December 7, 2012 6:57 am     (Answered 10 December 2012)
From: "Dennis M."
Subject: Yet another film glorifying AA

Hey Orange:

Hope all is well. Life is great for me for the moment. Grand-babies are keeping us busy and I've been working on my health since my heart attacks last year. Hitting the gym 6 days a week and feel great. I intend to stick around a while.

Well, it seems we have another pro-AA film: "Smashed":


Unfortunately, what I've read about it indicates that the main character joins AA. Her struggles don't end there but I'm sure it depicts AA as a helpful organization and instrumental in her getting off of alcohol. I haven't seen it, but I'm sure it also fails to mention other ways to achieve this or any of the dysfunction and dangers one can encounter in AA .

Wouldn't it be neat to make a dramatic film about someone joining AA, and actually showing AA for what it is? Not a drunkalogue with a fictional happy ending of the character getting sober in AA, but a drama of a newcomer, or multiple newcomers getting pressured in by the courts ad their families, then depicting the sexual exploitations, suicides, divorces, etc. Then, perhaps an honest biographical film about Bill Wilson and Robert Smith instead of the white-washed fairy tales that have been done to date. Maybe in 100 years such films could be made and seen.

Take Care.

Dennis M.

Hello Dennis,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your heart attack, but I'm glad to hear that you survived it and are recovering. Good.

I'm puzzled by the "Smashed" title. Are they stealing Koren Zailckas's book, Smashed; Story of a Drunken Girlhood, and rewriting it to change history?

Koren was a teenage drunk who stayed smashed through high school and college, and who finally matured out of such behavior. I read her book from cover to cover and found it to be a very interesting read. And she never went to one A.A. meeting. She said very clearly in the introduction that she never considered herself to be an alcoholic; she was just someone who drank far too much for a while. She made it her lifestyle while it was fun and then quit it when it wasn't.

I'll have to see the movie, and learn what the director is doing with the story.

I would love to do an anti-A.A. movie. I have often thought about a remake of My Name is Bill W., where some brain-damaged alcoholics like Ebby Thacher, Shep Cornell, and Rowland Hazard go to fascist Oxford Group cult religion meetings in New York City while the leader Dr. Frank Buchman goes to Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies and Sieg-Heils Adolf Hitler and has lunch with Heinrich Himmler, and the two of them happily discuss religion and politics in German. Then Ebby, Shep, and Rowland recruit an insane deteriorating down-and-out alcoholic named Bill Wilson into their cult, and send him to Charlie Towns' Hospital for detoxing where he gets dosed with poisonous hallucinogenic drugs and "sees God". Then Bill meets Dr. Bob in Akron and together they go around Akron recruiting more members for the local Oxford Group, telling alcoholics that the Oxford Group has the only answer to alcoholism, and demanding that the alcoholics "make a surrender to God" on their knees before they can attend an Oxford Group meeting. Then Frank Buchman goes back to Nuremberg for another Nazi Party rally and Sieg-Heils Adolf Hitler some more, and has lunch with Heinrich Himmler again. And Bill and Dr. Bob do more recruiting for the Oxford Group in New York and Akron.

Then Frank Buchman goes to the 1936 Berlin Olympics as the personal guest of Heinrich Himmler, and comes back and declares to a New York newspaper, "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler..." Bill and Bob ignore that and keep right on recruiting for the Oxford Group.

Then the Oxford Group kicks Bill Wilson out for refusal to follow orders, so he hijacks the alcoholics' branch of the cult in New York City, and he makes himself the leader of a new cult. Then Bill steals the copyright of the Big Book and all of the money, and sets himself up as the rich High Priest of the Alcoholics, and collects a harem of alcoholic women and a bunch of deluded wet-brained followers who worship him... And he lies like a rug about how well his cult religion "spiritual cure" works on alcohol addiction. Then he sets out to arrogate the entire field of alcohol abuse treatment as his private domain, while claiming that nothing else works as well as his cult religion. He even gets to testify before Congress as a great savior of alcoholics, and gets the A.M.A. to endorse his quackery. And millions of people are forced into his cult. Judges sentence drunk drivers to A.A. meetings, and "counselors" and "therapists" who don't know any better send people to A.A. meetings. And A.A. becomes the most successful cult religion in the world.

Oh yes, that would make a movie. Unfortunately, I don't think Hallmark will finance it.

Have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.

There are more discussions of Borchert's movie "My Name is Bill W." here and here and here.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#ANONYMOUS ]

Date: Fri, December 7, 2012 10:17 am     (Answered 10 December 2012)
Subject: howdy

Mr Agent Orange,

After stumbling upon your site about 6 or 7 years ago I have a testimony that I am STILL sober after 2 decades. I had frequented AA and Al-Anon related meetings for almost 12 years.

You have been rather cordial and have published one or two of my letters on site.

In 1993 my then ACOA sponsor introduced me to AA after 2 years in ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). I was sober for 1 year at that time, but when I admitted that I was an "alcoholic" I felt as if I had arrived and the world had stopped for a moment. It was an ephiphany. But, a false one at that. I was hardly a problem drinker, much less than that of an alcoholic. But, AA deceptively led me to believe for a good decade that I was in fact one of them, a brotherhood of fine spirituality. I frequented meetings 3-5 times per week on average. I did the entire circuit; speaker meetings, home group, sponsoring, Group Rep, etc. I even managed to keep free from the opposite sex my first 2 years, although honestly I don't think it was by choice, I was just bad at dating.

It was an agonizing decision at the time to leave 12 Step rooms when I made my decision around 2007. I feared for the worst. I feared G-d's wrath would derride me from making such a decision after sincerely commited for over a decade. But as each week passed, the veil lifted from my eyes. My whole adulthood I have bounced around cults and New Age beliefs; to include Mormonism, Rashneesh and Led Zeppelin inspired Satanic philosphies. I'm getting past those issues (I hope) and hopefully pass my wisdom onto my son.

I've had marriage problems for almost a decade. Serious problems at first to include police visits. Rage and verbal abuse. My wife and I seek counseling together every so often, which is OK but the majority of counselors aren't that good and are 12 Step sympathizers, or denies my wife's condition. My wife closet drinks and we go through the drama of me finding her stash and her quitting. She is also BiPolar. We have found solace through Church more and more frequently. (I am military and frequently PCS and it isn't always easy finding the right Church.) I hope she gets the message of forgiveness and a living Christ. Throughout the years as we have gone through our trials, not once did I seriously consider her going to AA (to reiterate, after I had gone to meetings for over a decade and quoting literature verbatim). We have a beautiful child together and that is what keeps us together, honestly.

But the fact remains my life has improved over the years, in spite of Bill Wilson's Ouija board induced philosophy. And I am married by choice, and G-d willingly will remain so in spite of issues. I don't give AA or meetings a thought. Not for a second. I've filled in any mitigating social void with Martial Arts. And I'm not angry, either, except for maybe my marriage. I've let it go. Moved on where I didn't think I could. And my AA sponsor, he continues to immaturely embarrass me via Facebook.



Thank you very much for the letter, and the history. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. I wish you luck in your future.

By the way, I'm adding this letter to the list of A.A. horror stories.

So have a good day now. And a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The biggest truth to face now — what is probably making me unfunny now
**     for the remainder of my life — is that I don't think people give a damn
**     whether the planet goes on or not. It seems to me as if everyone is
**     living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few
**     more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming
**     of a world for their grandchildren.
**         ==  Kurt Vonnegut

June 10, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Gus and Canada Goose goslings
Gus and wife and children

Canada Goose goslings
That Bald Eagle, roosting in a tree. They stare at you with the most glaring stare.

Mallard Duck
A female Northern Pintail Duck, waking up from a nap. She is wondering if I brought her any munchies. Of course I did.
I think this is the same duck as I was feeding 11 days earlier, here. She is getting to be very tame and accustomed to hanging out around humans. She isn't even panic-stricken that I walked up to her while she was sleeping.

You know, this duck presents an interesting question: Why her? There are lots of other Pintail Ducks around, but they are all afraid of me. They fly away in a panic when I approach. I don't even have any close-up pictures of them, and they don't get much to eat from me. But here is this one duck who, rather than flying away in fear, hung around and watched and learned. She saw that I was feeding other ducks and geese and not hurting them. I didn't kill and eat them, I just fed them. The other ducks and geese gathered around me and got good things to eat and came away happy. Day after day, she watched and learned. Eventually, she got up the courage to come near with the other ducks and get some of the food too. That worked out okay, so she got up the courage to approach me and ask for some bread, and see if I would feed her too, which I did. So now she's cool with the whole routine.

Now the question is, is this a genius duck? Why, out of maybe a hundred Pintail Ducks, is she the only one with the intelligence to learn from observation, to learn to override her instinctive fears, and to change her behavior and profit from it?

Canada Goose goslings
The new Family of 4, here to eat oats.

Canada Goose goslings
The new Family of 4, after eating oats. Now they are stuffed, and are laying down for a nap.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Toni_L is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Toni_L ]

Date: Wed, December 5, 2012 7:02 am     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Toni"
Subject: Re: AA is a Cult

On Dec 4, 2012, at 9:53 PM, "Orange" <[email protected]> wrote:

> whatever- there is no leader in AA-

Likewise, the answer to that is in the attached web page.
Have a good day now.
== Orange

I have been I'm AA 25 years & sponser women all over the world and in the military! you are an idiot!

Hello again, Toni,

That is a demonstration of two more propaganda tricks, and two more cult characteristics:

  1. Propaganda Trick: Introduce Irrelevant Information as Supporting Evidence
    The fact that you have been in A.A. for 25 years has nothing to do with your previous statement that A.A. has no leaders. Nor does it have anything to do with your previous claim that A.A. is not a cult.

    Likewise, the fact that you sponsor women all over the world is also not evidence that A.A. is a good organization. It's irrelevant information, just irrelevant bragging.

  2. Propaganda Trick: Ad Hominem, Launch Personal Attacks On Opponents
    Your claim that I am an idiot is not evidence that A.A. is a good organization. Quite the opposite. You seem to be unable to discuss the issues in a reasonable, logical, manner. That is evidence that A.A. is a cult.

  3. Cult Characteristic: Personal Attacks On Critics is also a standard cult characteristic.

  4. Cult Characteristic: 39. Mentoring.
    The fact that you spend time indoctrinating new members does not make A.A. a good organization. That is just standard cult behavior. That is just more evidence that A.A. really is a cult.

    Scientology has mentors too, you know. Scientologists assign each newcomer a "Case Supervisor" who trains and indoctrinates and brainwashes the new member, and gets them to confess all of their secrets to a tin-can lie detector machine. That does not make Scientology a good organization — it makes Scientology a cult.

Now, for the most important issue: Since you think that A.A. works, please tell me:

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?

No qualifiers are allowed, like, "We will only count the people who worked the program right, or we will only count the people who really tried, and kept coming back." Everybody counts. No exceptions.

No excuses are allowed. When the doctor gives a patient penicillin, and it fails to cure the infection, the doctor doesn't get to say, "But he didn't work the program right. He didn't pray enough. He didn't surrender. He held something back in his Fifth Step." No excuses.

So what's the actual A.A. cure rate?

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

Have a good day now, and a happy holiday season.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.

[The previous letter from Paul_K is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html#Paul_K ]

Date: Sat, December 8, 2012 5:33 am     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Paul K."
Subject: from Paul again

Hi again Orange,

Thanks for replying to my recent email.

I agree with your reply but I think there are other factors that can explain how a person can become an alcoholic.

This might be stating the obvious a bit but one of the main features of alcoholism is the regular inability for the alcoholic to have, for example, just 2 or 3 drinks and stop. It is so very, very easy for the non-alcoholic to time and time again just have 1, 2 or 3 drinks and stop. They (non-alcoholics) can do this thousands of times with no real effort or struggle. But for the poor alcoholic, having 1, 2 or 3 drinks triggers an enormous craving to just continue on drinking more and more. Thus, don't you think that for most alcoholics on a straight out physical level there must be something wrong with how their bodies process/react to/respond etc to alcohol? While I agree with what you wrote about people who've been emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged etc being much more likely to become alcoholics, I think that apart from that or as well as that there is something that goes seriously wrong on a physical level with the alcoholic. Thus, I believe, there are some alcoholics who have suffered no significant abuse and have no serious emotional or psycholigical problems etc but they are alcoholics simply or mainly because there is something wrong how their bodies react to alcohol; ie- their bodies physically react to small amounts of alcohol with extreme cravings for large amounts of alcohol.

Hi again, Paul,

The simplest answer for me, about why an alcoholic doesn't stop at 1, 2, or 3 drinks is, he doesn't want to. I have a problem with the "inability" word. I think most alcoholics have the ability; they just don't feel like stopping at 2 or 3. They want to go to Heaven. They want it all.

I don't think it is accurate to say that "their bodies physically react to small amounts of alcohol". I think it's their minds that react.

Somebody taught me the "cellular cravings" idea about 25 years ago — it was popular then — but I haven't seen any good medical evidence to support the idea. On the contrary, Herbert Fingarette showed in his book, Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease, that alcoholics have a great deal of control over their drinking, and they can moderate if they have a good enough incentive.

For example, in one experiment, alcoholics in a facility were given tokens that could be exchanged for drinks. Some chose to cash in their tokens each evening, as soon as they got paid. Others chose to save them up, and get really smashed on Saturday night. That should not have happened if the alcoholics were just unable to moderate, and suffered from uncontrollable cravings.

I have read a lot but not all of the Orange Papers but I dont recall you ever writing about what you think of Dr Silkworth's views on the "phenomenon of craving", in the "doctor's opinion" at the beginning of the Big Book. So, can I ask you what you now think of what Dr Silkworth wrote back in the 1930s about how what the various types of alcoholics have in common is reacting to any alcohol with an extreme kind of craving for more and more alcohol?

Dr. Silkworth's ideas were just plain goofy. First off, the idea that alcoholism is a "disease" was really old. Silkworth didn't invent or discover that.

The disease concept of alcoholism is historically ancient. Dr. Benjamin Rush published the first edition of An inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits upon the human body and mind about 1785, where he designated addiction to spirits as a "disease of the will". There was a counterpart in Britain: the Edinburgh physician Thomas Trotter wrote in his doctoral dissertation, An essay, medical, philosophical and chemical on drunkenness, submitted in 1788 and published version in 1804, that "In medical language, I consider drunkennes to be a disease..." He also wrote that "the habit of drunkennes is a disease of the mind".

Now mind you, just because those doctors believed that alcohol abuse was a disease does not make it so. Contemporary doctors had such primitive ideas of medicine that they bled old George Washington to death to get rid of "bad humors".

Back to Dr. Silkworth: He thought that alcoholism was some kind of disease coupled with an allergy. The word allergy just isn't appropriate. An alcoholic's reaction to alcohol is not an allergy. When people are allergic to bee stings, they don't go seeking bee stings, trying to get another and another bee to sting them, unable to quit after getting just two or three.

Likewise, people who are allergic to peanuts do not go on binges of eating a dozen peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

What Silkworth may have observed is a toxic reaction where an alcoholic suddenly gets a splitting headache, a real migrane, from the first drink — that happens — it happened to me a few times — and the alcoholic responds by trying to get real drunk real fast so as to kill the pain. The toxic reaction is just the body's objection to getting poisoned some more, after it has already been poisoned too much.

The rest of it, the wanting more and more alcohol, is just wanting that big high. Wanting to get really high, and be in ecstacy. None of that piddling messing around with a little. Note that the same thing happens with other drugs, too, particularly cocaine. People just keep pushing it and pushing it, trying to get the ultimate high, until they overdose on speedballs and die. Nothing new there.

On another matter all together. In the past, on and off over many years, I have attended many AA meetings. I believe one of the worse bits of mis-information that many in AA promote and spread is the incorrect belief that the vast majority of alcoholics never get well and keep drinking till they die; while the small minority of "real alcoholics" who have got sober have almost all done it through AA. I know in the Orange Papers you have at times quoted research and studies that indicates many (as much as about 50%?) alcoholics do get sober and many do it without AA.

Yes. That's what the Harvard Medical School said, here.

I read a good book by a Dr Donald Goodwin titled "Alcoholism, the Facts". Dr Goodwin wrote that it is not just AA members who have an excessively pessimistic view of the problem of alcoholism. Many average people, including many doctors, believe the vast majority of alcoholics never get well, never get sober. But this is quite untrue.

Yes. I'll check out that book.

The fact that many alcoholics (not a small minority) do get sober gives me, an alcoholic, more hope that I can do the same.

All the best,


Yes, Paul, do have hope. I did it, and you can do it too.

Date: Sat, December 8, 2012 7:04 am     (Answered 17 December 2012)
From: "Paul K."
Subject: to add a bit more


I'd like to add a bit more to what I wrote in that last email.

I can look back on many years when I really abused alcohol; when I drank way too much, many, many times.

I can see now that whether it was those times when I just drank for the pleasure of inebriation or whether it was those times I was drinking because I was feeling anxious, bored, depressed or fearful etc then (for me) drinking about 8 to 10 glasses of cheap wine was really enough to achieve what I was after yet there were many times when I could drink double that- ie about 20 glasses of cheap wine and sometimes more over a day. Why? Drinking 20 or more glasses of wine did not really increase the pleasure obtained by drinking about 10 glasses of wine; likewise, there was no significant increased reduction in anxiety and fears etc with drinking about 20 plus glasses of wine compared to 10 but time and time again I would keep drinking after I had passed the 8 to 10 drinks amount. Why was I unable to see this over more than 20 years of alcohol abuse and why was I never successful in limiting my drinking to even that 8 to 10 drink level, which is still quite a bit of alcohol? Only the crazy, irrational intense cravings for more and more alcohol can explain why I drank as much as I did. The extra amounts of alcohol after the 8 to 10 drinks only caused double or triple worse hangovers and, what was worse, terible blackouts during which I could act in ways that at times caused me and others great pain, troubles and humiliations etc. Like most alcoholics I believe my body reacted to alcohol in a wrong way in that the presence of alcohol in my body created intense cravings for more and more alcohol. I can see now why many would regard it as a form of insanity to keep drinking at levels that caused so much problems over a very long period of time.

I have experienced what you are describing, and I call it "confidence", and "well-reinforced". That is, at that level of drinking, you are marrying it and making it your lifestyle. Drinking twice as much as is necessary to get drunk just insures that you will stay very drunk and are not in any danger of getting sober soon. It's also an attempt to milk the high for every possible little bit of ecstacy (long after the intoxication peak is over).

And at the time that you are drinking that much, you don't believe that it will end in a horrible hangover.

I know you and others have been critical of the over-use of slogans and cliches etc but I think there are some cliche/slogans that are SO true and it is for me quite important to often remember a few of them and repeat them to myself. like:

"It is the first drink that does the damage".

"Just never, never pick up that first drink".

For alcoholics "1 drink is too many, a 100 is not enough".


I like those slogans. There are good slogans and then there are bad slogans. The bad ones are intended to make you stop thinking and just believe nonsense. But the good ones convey truth, and can help you. In fact, my first and foremost rule for my life is:

Just don't take that first drink, not ever, no matter what.

I can abstain from drinking for years, easily, but I never had any luck with drinking moderately. It never stayed moderate for very long.

And I also use:

Just don't smoke that first cigarette, not ever, no matter what.

Same thing: just one is instant readdiction.

Play the tape to the end.

Imagine the situation as a movie on videotape. Don't just think about the next hour or two, and how much fun a little drinking may be. Play the tape all the way to the end, and see the full-blown relapse and readdiction and sickness and shame and poverty, and how disappointed you will feel with yourself, and how hard it will be to quit again...

That works for me.

Failure is not an option!

Never give up. Never give in. Never take that first drink. Failure is not an option.

Have a good day now. And have a happy holiday season. (Sober, too. I have a very good time sober, and it's a joy to be clear-headed and not hung over on New Years Day.)

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Wonderful little our fathers knew,
**     Half their remedies cured you dead —
**     Most of their teaching was quite untrue.
**       ==  Rudyard Kipling, Our Fathers of Old, Stanza 3

[The next letter from Paul_K is here.]

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Last updated 27 December 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters334.html