Letters, We Get Mail, XXXVI



Date: Fri, February 3, 2006
From: "Brian D."
Subject: AA perspective

Hi,

I am fascinated by your wonderful website. What could be your basis for a largely anti AA apologetic.

Saul

Hi Saul,

Thanks for all of the compliments.

This is the usual list of start points:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
** routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
** or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
** between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
** treatment for medical diseases.





Date: Fri, February 3, 2006
From: "Steven G."
Subject: Your site

Dear Angent Orange,

I really enjoy your site, the amount of research that you have done, and the way you present the ineffectiveness of 12 step groups in a factual manner. I can't help to be ammused by those who write in to you without previously reading what you and your site are all about. I have had over 20 years of abstinence (somewhat healthy recovery) utilizing AA and that philosophy of recovery. Have I been brainwashed by the AA machine?? Probably. Do I have fears that if I don't continue to go to AA meetings I will get drunk?? Kinda, sorta. While I understand you view as AA as a recruiting force, I'm pretty much a failue in that area. Bill W. would have had me kicked out of his Oxford alcoholic squad for failure to recruit new members. I've been a failure as a sponsor as well. The only thing I seen to use AA for is to stay sober (and now I found out that I've been doing it my own all along). My unscientific sample of one shows me that if I believe that something will happen (AA leads to sobriety) then, even though there is no specific reason for the result, it happens anyway. Something like a placabo effect. If I think that adhering to Bill W.'s voodo magical cure will work for me, then I may (as Bill W. likes to say) get some positive effect. I just find it very hard to comprehend that of all my sober friends and aquaintances I have from AA, that we all had our drinking go into spontaneous remission, and then give AA the credit. Unless I take inot the cult factor... then, maybe this isn't such a difficult fact to comprehend after all.

Hi Steven,

Thanks for the letter.

Actually, there is no "placebo effect". Dr. Prof. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics World Services Inc. (recently renamed to just "Alcoholics Anonymous Services"), wrote about a placebo effect in his book The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery. He tried to claim that the A.A. program produced some kind of "placebo effect", but what he got from 8 years of treating alcoholics with A.A. was a zero percent success rate, above the success rate that comes from doing nothing. — In other words, a zero percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission. There was no placebo effect.

You say, "I just find it very hard to comprehend that of all my sober friends and aquaintances I have from AA, that we all had our drinking go into spontaneous remission, and then give AA the credit."

Yes, well, that is what comes from selective vision — that is, cherry picking. You are only looking at a few sober A.A. members who keep coming back, while you ignore the huge numbers of dropouts and failures who don't.

You are also ignoring the fact that the A.A. customs dictate that you must give the credit for your sobriety to the A.A. program, no matter whether A.A. is due the credit or not. People who declare that they are not powerless over alcohol and that they recovered without doing Bill Wilson's 12 Steps — who in fact think it is just a bunch of bull — are not welcome to share those views. Read this recent letter about that. So the fact that people around you are giving the credit to A.A. is pretty meaningless. (For a fair and balanced survey, you should also go interview all of the people who said "This is a bunch of bunkum and hog-wash!" and dropped out.)

I did want to share my take on powerlessness (step I). I believe that once I start to consume drugs/alcohol I have no power to stop, quit, or to control my use. I tried to quit, slow down and to control on countless occassions, but until I got into treatment, and into the AA felowship, my view was that abstinence was not possible for me. Once the chemicals enter my brain, I belive that there is a chemical reaction. I have noticed that while I believe that you do not think of yourself as powerless over alcohol, that you do advocate abstinence. If I missed that argument regarding this, treat me like one of the other idiots and give me a "here" link.

Now I agree with that interpretation of powerlessness. I wrote something similar in my interpretation of the 12 Steps.

But that is not what Bill Wilson wrote, and that isn't what he meant. Bill Wilson wrote that you are powerless over alcohol and you just can't help but relapse now and then. Occasionally, Bill said, you will suffer from strange mental blank spots where you just can't help but take a drink. The urges will just rise up and take control of you and force you to relapse.

That makes for a great 'morning after' excuse to tell your wife, but it isn't true. There is much more on that here.

By the way, that 'powerless' doctrine is one of the reasons for the high A.A. relapse rate. It's a perfect excuse for back-sliding: "Oh, I couldn't help it. One of those strange mental blank spots hit."

I should report that my initial approach to the AA philosophy was that of a skeptic. I started out to do all of those "things" like 90 in 90, get a home group, get a sonspor, read the Big Book, to prove that AA would not work for me, but, looking back, I guess that I got "hooked" somewhere along the way. I believe that as my body was healing, my brain was clearing, I was giving credit to AA. I believe that you have mentioned about all the time and energy it takes to work the steps, make an invntory, make ammends. Again, I may not have been doing it right, because I found out that my two 4th seps, shared with a sponsor in the 5th step were really not all that time consuming, haven't had to do it for over 15 years. I made 9th step ammends were I was wrong, not where someome took advantage of me, and I think it was my fault. I truely enjoy helping others in step 12. i do not believe that AA is the only was to get sober and to stay sober. I do think that spontaneous remission does take place, and that AA often gets the credit, but I think that you can understand that.

There is a lot more going on there than just doing the 12 Steps. You also get constantly exposed to all of the other A.A. dogma and beliefs — that's the reason for the 90 meetings in 90 days routine. To totally immerse you in the culture and saturate you with it. It doesn't actually matter whether you "do the fourth step right". It will induce feelings of guilt, inadequacy, self-doubt and powerlessness anyway. And the 8th and 9th Steps do more of it.

Of course you enjoy recruiting in the 12th Step. It gives you feelings that you are doing something important and helping somebody, passing on great wisdom, inducting a spiritual child into the eternal brotherhood, saving their lives. Too bad it isn't true.

I have seen some of the abuses that happens in AA with 13th stepping, sponsors telling the newbie's to quit taking medications, and the like. Stories of sponsee's being told they have to clean their sponsor's house, or babysit are tales I've heard before.

Yes, and it doesn't stop, does it? There aren't really any rules against it, are there?

Does AA work? Obviously, there are no studies that prove that it does. Is alcoholism (chemical dependency) a disease? I don't know if this can be answered based on findings of fact as much as the "Does AA work?" question. There are different theories to this issue.

Right. There are no studies that have shown A.A. to work, but there are studies that have shown that A.A. does not work. Check out the studies done by doctors:

  1. Dr. Brandsma, who found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and
  2. Dr. Ditman, who found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness, and
  3. Dr. Walsh, who found that "free A.A." made later hospitalization more expensive, and
  4. Drs. Orford and Edwards, who found that having a doctor talk to the patient for just one hour was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.
  5. Dr. George E. Vaillant the A.A. Trustee, who found that A.A. treatment was completely ineffective, and raised the death rate in alcoholics.

Likewise, there are actually no studies that show "alcoholism" to be a disease.

"Beyond the Influence, Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism" (Ketchum and Asbury) approach the issue of alcoholism as a disease. If you get a chance to read up on TIQ's (tetrahydroisoquinolines) and acetaldehyde in the area of alcohol, I would appriciate hearing your views on those topics.

Okay, I'll check it out.

I have been speaking up in the meetings, like the purpose of the Big book is not to help you stay sober, but "It's main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem." (page 45 Alcoholics Anonymous) I like to share that there are no studies that show AA is sucessful, and that AA really does not have much of a sucess rate at all. (Except for the millions and millions that have been helped, according to the anecdotal unscientific reports.)

Well, you know, that's another piece of double-talk that Bill Wilson wrote. It's also a bait-and-switch stunt. First, the publicly-advertised goal of A.A. is to help people quit drinking. Then it isn't. Then the real purpose of A.A. is...

At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God...
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 77.

Keep up the good work. I enjoy your thoughtful replies to the letters you recieve. Lizard Brain essay was very enjoyable. I am using that to help with my smoking reduction.

Later,
Anonymous Guy

Hi Guy,

Thanks for the compliments. And that Lizard Brain thing — half of it came from quitting smoking — all of that screaming about, "Oh, we've got it under control now. We can have just one now..." Ol' Lizard Brain was demanding a cigarette.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** 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.





Date: Sat, February 4, 2006
From: "chris e."
Subject: Irony and

Hey Mr. Orange,

You must realize how futile it is to have any type of reasonable discussion or debate with 12 steppers as many are completely irrational and obtuse. I don't think there is any point in conversing with them. I must say that it is quite amusing how they reveal their true colors when confronted and mildly provoked. They require a suffering alcoholic/addict to be open-minded (to their religion) while practicing just the opposite. "Open-minded"... to their way of thinking. What a load. What really pisses me off is how they claim some sort of esoteric knowledge and understanding when you dispute their success rates. Truth is you could present 12 steppers with undeniable evidence of AA's failure and they would still shake their heads in disbelief. Never a more self-righteous group of people.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, rejection of undesired information is the hallmark of a fanatic. Arianna Huffington described a fanatic as someone who simply rejects and disregards all information that conflicts with his chosen beliefs. That is also true of cult members.

It's really uncanny as to how many of them state the same thing over and over. For instance: how many times has it been suggested that you attend an AA or 12 step meeting? Of course then you'll understand what it's all about and shut down your website before killing more suffering addicts with all your misinformation.

Yes, it is really funny how they imagine that if I would just read the Big Book, or just go to a few meetings, then I would suddenly see the light and understand and agree with them about everything.

It reminds me of the original StarTrek episode where they landed on this planet that had a funny plant that would pop a spore pod in people's faces, and then the spores would invade people's brains and make them see that the most logical thing to do was spend the rest of their lives happy with the spore-plants. The people who had been infected schemed to get the rest of the crew infected.
"If only you will sniff this flower, then you will understand."
POP!
"Oh yes! I see now!"

From what I hear James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces has done just the same. These poor chaps ("chaps" ??- sounds rather Big Book) obviously didn't hire themselves a good enough Higher Power. You know, "one they could do business with". I too went to AA meetings... thousands before I came to my senses.

By the way I wish you had kept AA Deprogramming as your website title. It was most appropriate as I am still undergoing a restoration process.

AA Deprogramming wasn't my web site. It belonged (belongs?) to a woman named Apple. She no longer maintains it. The rumor I heard is that she simply got tired of doing it. I would mirror the web pages from that site if I could get in contact with her and get her permission, but alas, the old email address went away with the domain name.

I used to think that labeling AA as a cult was a bit extreme. Now I know why yourself and people like Jack Trimpey are so adamant. Naturally you are accused of being resentful and in need of prayer and a 4th step. It's crazy. Next time one of them announces that they will pray for you tell them "and I'll pray for you... that you get hit by a bus."

In the beginning, I was very reluctant to call A.A. a cult, too. My original essays on Apple's web site only used the word sparingly, hesitantly. But as the years pass, and I learn more and more about the 'Evil Empire', I no longer hesitate to call it a cult.

When people declare that they will pray for me, I like to tell them that I will pray that they recover, too.

Anyway I think your site is amazing and of vital importance. The research youv'e done is appreciated.

Thanks for the compliments.

It will take time and persistence to unseat all of the 12 step administrators and "treatment providers" (self appointed quacks) who have infiltrated the health care system. In the mean time more unsuspecting alcoholics and addicts will be duped.

No joke. I am involved in an exchange of letters with my congressman now. He is completely duped by the lobbyists and their propaganda. He says things like that treatment is better than ever. The ignorance of what is really going on is enormous.

Have you ever checked out Oprahs website and message boards?

I got into the James Frey squabble a little bit, way back when it started, and made a few postings on a Thursday and a Friday. Then the board went down for unscheduled maintainance over the weekend. On Monday, everything I had done was erased. My postings were gone, my list of bookmarked "favorites" — postings to answer — was erased, my little orange icon that I had uploaded was gone. Wiped clean. Absolutely nothing was left except my account name and password. At that point I figured that a stepper was working on Oprah's crew for her web site, and that it was pointless to waste any more time on it.

For instance I was reading comments relating to James Frey's book and the efficacy of interventions. Here is what one person dutifully wrote "I didn't start recovering until I hit rock bottom and lost everything. Rock bottom is different for everyone, some die. Some must die so that others may live. As tragic as this sounds it is a teaching of AA, and I fully believe it."

So revealing, isn't it? This is the mentality of many associated with AA. I went to NA meetings for a time (talk about a cult) and would hear similar comments like "better him than me" (upon learning of an addicts relapse or death).

Yes, steppers have a funny idea about who will be "the chosen" and who will die. It's really a kind of enormous egotism, only slightly masked. A.A. and Bill Wilson like to brag that they get rid of egotism, but that is just another hypocrisy. The truth is that A.A. members believe that they are so spiritual, the chosen people, the blessed ones whom God loved so much that He didn't let them die, not like the worthless others who did...

I could go on and I just may... some other time ;). Thank you for listening and thanks for the website.

Chris

And thank you for the letter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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





Date: Sun, February 5, 2006
From: "Lisa P."
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous

You know, I have read a lot of your personal thoughts and some of the others on the site and I think that what it all boils down to it this:

Okay, Lisa, hello.

If AA works for someone — then great — if not, then there are many other avenues that they can choose to explore in life. I don't understand all of this crap that goes on over the internet — the Scientologists bashing the psychiatrist, People pointing fingers as the scientologists, you and others bashing AA and Al-anon, non-scientologists bashing the scientologists, atheists bashing the Christians, Christians bashing the jews. All of it is just a bunch of personal opinions.

No, you are way over-generalizing and painting with too broad of a brush. What goes over the Internet is a lot of different stuff. It covers the entire range from enlightened knowledge to uninformed prejudices.

Everyone seems to be bashing everyone else and the reality of the situation is this?.whatever works for you, great. Go forth and do it.

That sounds okay.

Personally, for me, I enjoy going to AA meetings occasionally. I don?t make them my entire life?.I have been to good meetings and I have been to bad meetings. I have had a good sponsor who was helpful and I have also had people come onto me. But I don?t view the people who come on to me as a problem inherent in AA. Christians, Jews, Athiests and others have come onto me as well. I understand that they are just another human being. Being in AA does not automatically make anyone pure or honest or recovered. But therein comes the whole notion of ?take what you like and leave the rest.? No one has ever forced me to go to an AA meeting. And the ones that I have gone to, if what someone talked about did not pertain to me, I passed it by ? But there have been many times that people have shared their own experience strength and hope and have given to me the exact words that I needed to hear to go on to the next day.

That is classic minimization and denial. You may not have been forced into an A.A. meeting, but millions of other people have. You may enjoy some of the meetings you go to, but many other people do not.

There aren't any guarantees anywhere in life.

More minimization and denial, and well as slogan-slinging.

Sure, people who have been in AA have died ? perhaps even some have committed suicide.

More minimization and denial.

But then again, so have Christian, Jews, Muslims, Scientologists, Atheists, Agnostics, people under psychiatric and psychologists care, people not under anyone?s care?.and so on and so on.

More minimization and denial.

Is that proof of anything? Can any organization in this world really save the person who truly wants to take their own or another?s life?

More minimization and denial.

It is sad to see that so much of your time is wasted on this website. If you don?t like AA, then why even waste your time writing about it? Why not put your creative writing talent to a better use?

More minimization and denial.

The biggest problems in this world are related to hate and the lack of forgiveness for ourselves and others. When we spend all of our time defending those then we miss out on the opportunity to do something good for ourselves and for others.

That is an attempt to divert attention. "Don't criticize the fake healers down the street who are killing your friends with quack medicine; be positive and cheerful."

I have seen AA work for many people and I have seen it not work for many people?the same with Christianity and other religions. It?s okay if AA does not work for you. But who is to say that it wouldn?t work for anyone else? That is one of the great things about this country of ours?that we are free to believe or not in whatever God that we choose.

No, you have not "seen it work for many people". If anything, you have seen a few people quit drinking while going to some A.A. meetings. You have also seen the program not work for many, many more people.

What is the A.A. success rate? Out of every 1000 newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous, how many of them will become successful sober 10-year old-timers?

HINT: Isn't the number about 31?

[CORRECTION: That A.A. success rate, 31 per thousand, is actually way too high. I miscalculated it by getting some Narcotics Anonymous information mixed with the A.A. information. The real A.A. success rate is only 11 or 12 10-year old-timers per 1000 newcomers. See this letter.]

And what is the IT that supposedly works?

  1. Is it doing the 12 Steps? The Big Book says that they are optional; merely suggestions, so that can't be it.
  2. Is it going to lots of meetings? Those are also optional. You can go to as many or as few as you like.
  3. Is it getting a sponsor? That is also optional.
  4. Is it reading the Big Book? That is also optional. I've had Steppers brag to me that they have years of sobriety and still haven't read any of Bill Wilson's books, so that can't be it.
  5. Then you throw in that God thing. "Free to believe whatever..." Since that is also optional, that can't be the essential part of the program either.

So what is the essential core of the program that supposedly works?

What does the magic? What's the thing-a-muh-bob that does the job?

I was unable to gain an understanding of God or spirituality in a church. I found my spirituality within the walls of twelve step meetings. It was there that I learned to let go of the hate and resentments that I was harboring the negative emotions that were destroying my life. But since then, I have and continue to explore other avenues of spirituality in my life. God is a personal matter for all of us. AA is merely just another alternative towards spirituality. To say that it is a cult is a bit far-fetched. It doesn't cost anything but time, members are free to be there or not. And just as in ALL beliefs, programs and religions, it works for some and not for others.

Okay, so you prefer the Alcoholics Anonymous church over the other religions. So what does that have to do with quitting drinking?

And no, it isn't far-fetched to say that A.A. is a cult. That is yet some more minimization and denial. Read The Cult Test.

And people ARE NOT free to be there or not. That is why we are talking about coercion and people being sentenced to A.A. meetings.

I hope that whatever happened in your life that created such a hate in your heart can be healed somehow so that you can get on with the task of living rather than wasting all of your energy on your own propaganda-filled campaign against AA. But if not, then perhaps you have so much time on your hands that you can create more sites dispelling the myths of all religions and programs in this world. Whatever works for you.

That is just another standard Ad Hominem attack — the usual behavior for Steppers. Sooner or later, when you run out of anything else to say, it comes down to "you are angry", or "you have a resentment", or "you just hate AA."

It doesn't matter whether I have a hatred of quack medicine or fake healers. What matters is that A.A. is quacks and fake healers who are foisting old superstitions on sick people.

But just for your information, I am quite well and quite happy, thank you.

Blessings to you,

Lisa

You be well too.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.





Date: Tue, February 7, 2006
From: "Cliff Y."
Subject: WHO and WHAT are YOU????

Why are you hiding....and better yet: WHAT are you hiding???? Like who is really behind your obviously exhauxtive and sordid attempts to defame not only Bill Wilson,but Dr. Bob and almost anybody who had anything to do with the start of AA (Dr.Silkworth,Dr.Shoemaker,Father Dowling,Ruth Hockeven Sue Smith Windows,Mr.Richardson,Mr. Rockefeller,and on and on)...They all made up this BIG LIE so that Bill Wilson could become rich and then supported it! Are you trying to destroy AA and all the good it has done...knowing that you are "home free" because AA will never come after you legally,except in the matter of theft of copyrighted works? Most of these people are long dead and can no longer speak for themselves. Some of those who "raised hell" about various things,including Bill Wilson,obviously had their own agendas in mind,specifically Clarence Snyder and even Henrietta Seiberling (if only that she did not want AA to be anything more than a Christian Fellowship...and thus not open to ALL alcoholics!) I am indeed reading all of this with interest...and cannot help but wonder: WHAT is YOUR agenda??? Thank you.


[2nd letter from Cliff, minutes later:]

On top of everything else: Almost 50 years after Anne Smith died in 1949...almost 50 years after Dr. Bob died in 1950...almost 28 years after Bill W died in 1971...and WORSE YET,almost 11 years after Lois died in 1988...Sue Smith Windows (Was it REALLY her?),supposedly,writes her sworn statement about Bill Wilson and The Big Book. Why???? What doe this do???? This comes even 7 years after the book,Children of the Healer,which you use as a basis to defame Dr. Bob. What alcoholic parent (Father or Mother)has not had a dysfunctional home and possibly even tried to interfere (and done so!) in their children's relationships...and even marriage and family???? I have just read Children of the Healer again. One of my profound feeling was that Dr. Bob and Miss Anne would have had second thoughts if they could have seen Sue and Ray Windows' happiness together later in life and how Ray had turned out...along with the tragedies from Ernie and Sue's marriage including what happened to Bonna and little Sandy! Everybody can have their own opinions or perceptions of the "Truth".....

Hello Cliff,

What a mess of illogical statements and minimization and denial.

First off, lots of people have been dead for 50 years, and can no longer speak for themselves. So what? Must we refrain from any criticism of Adolf Hitler or Heinrich Himmler just because those guys can no longer defend themselves?

Besides, Bill Wilson has plenty of true believers like you to speak for him and defend him.

I notice that you did not offer any facts in defense of Bill Wilson's financial dishonesty, lying about the A.A. success rate, delusions of grandeur, sexual predations, or religious delusions.

You listed a bunch of names and then asked if all of those people could have conspired to make Bill Wilson rich and famous. The answer is, "Yes, that is how cults work." A cult leader needs lots of grovelling sycophants to sing his praises, and a successful cult leader is skilled at collecting them.

Look at L. Ron Hubbard or Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Hundreds of thousands, or even millions of suckers sing their praises. Hubbard even has John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Tom Cruise, Nancy Cartwright, and Lisa Marie Presley. Can you believe that all of those people conspired to make a paranoid schizophrenic science fiction writer rich and famous? They did.

They even declared that L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, was the greatest genius who has ever lived, the man with the plan, the answer to all of humanity's problems. It is truly amazing what a con artist can get people to believe.

Likewise, Rev. Moon's followers declare that he is the Messiah, the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, here to finish Christ's work.

Likewise, Bill Wilson collected his own chorus line of brown-nosers who declared that Bill Wilson had invented the magic cure for alcoholism, which is, of course, just as untrue as those extravagant claims of Hubbard and Moon.

It is absurd to engage in minimization and denial like "Doesn't everybody come from an abusive family?"
— As if all fathers are sadistic drunken brutes who sit around whittling a paddle with which to beat their children, modifying it so that it will hurt more.

— And then such brutes are supposedly spokesmen for God, veritable saints who are bringing us new holy messages?

The reason that Sue Smith Windows wrote her sworn statement to the German courts was because she was unhappy to see Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS) suing a German A.A. member over the copyright of an independent German translation of the out-of-copyright first edition of the Big Book. She declared that it was time for all of the early A.A. literature, including her father's writings and Bill Wilson's writings, to be placed in the public domain.

Oh, and the lawyers for Alcoholics Anonymous recognized in the German court that she really was the daughter of Doctor Bob.

When you mention "the theft of copyrighted works", you are bringing up the subject of the A.A. headquarters' participation in perjury in German and Mexican courts to extend the copyright of the Big Book, which is totally invalid. Some poor Mexican and German alcoholics were printing and giving away, or selling very inexpensively, their own versions (translations) of the out-of-copyright first edition of the Big Book. They had every right to. There is no valid copyright on the first or second editions. (That is why so many web sites in the USA have the Big Book online, downloadable for free.)

Bill Wilson invalidated the copyright on the Big Book two ways:

  1. He published a multilith edition of the Big Book which failed to include a copyright notice.
  2. He falsely claimed on the copyright form that he was the sole author of the book, when in fact the book was written by about 50 people. He also claimed that he was the publishing company "Works Publishing", when in fact the book was owned by "The Hundred Men Corporation" in which he and Henry Parkhurst had been selling stock.

Then the A.A. headquarters forgot to renew the (fraudulent) copyright in 1983.

Then representatives of AAWS declared in courts in Mexico and Germany that they had a valid copyright on the Big Book. They even declared in Mexico that the Big Book had been written rather recently by a "Wayne Parks", so it was still under copyright. They got a Mexican A.A. member sentenced to a year in prison because copyright violations are criminal offenses in Mexico, not civil offenses like they are in the USA.

And they essentially bankrupted the Germans who were "carrying the message" to poor alcoholics in prison. In Germany, the A.A. representatives committed perjury by declaring that Bill Wilson was the sole author of the Big Book, which is obviously not true. You and I both know that the stories were written by a lot of different people, and Henry Parkhurst wrote the "To Employers" chapter and contributed input to all of the first 164 pages, and lots more guys worked on editing and refining the product.

So yes, A.A. will come after you even if you have not broken the law or stolen their copyrighted material. It is the A.A. headquarters that broke the law and stole property by committing perjury. And they even did it to faithful A.A. members who were working to help poor alcoholics.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it
** — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an
** attribute of a 'have' type of self. It says: leave me
** alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities.
** The desire for power is basically an attribute of a 'have
** not' type of self." == Eric Hoffer





Date: Tue, February 7, 2006 14:21
From: "Georgia F."
Subject: So Glad you Took The time

to do all the research that you did... and stilllll.... it doesn't make a whit of difference.

Hi Georgia,

Actually, some people say that it does, that it helped them.

Still it certainly is an uphill battle, taking on the Evil Empire that has a 70-year head start.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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





From: [email protected]
Subject: helping hummingbirds
Date: Wed, February 8, 2006

Dear Agent O-Range

I read about your encounter with the hummingbird and was almost moved to tears. I have a very strong affinity for animals and for that reason, while a student in parochial school, chose St. Francis of Assisi as my patron saint. I'm sure you know that he is the patron saint of animals. I as an alcoholic ( I don't know if having this condition explains why I have been so mean to people) have been very cruel to humans but always very protective of animals. I too have rescued many animals in need. I find it very easy to see Gods love in the eyes of a cow, the slurp from a dogs slobbery tongue or the flicker of a hummingbirds wing and very difficult to find in my own species. Why is that? I ask you this because you seem very wise.

Hi Ace,

Thanks for all of the flattering commments.

Well, I'll try to answer that question. My guess is because the little wild animals are no threat to us and never hurt us. It's easy to trust a hummingbird, but a lot harder to love a person who might be sincere, or might stab you in the back if given a chance.

We also have a lot of memories of what people have done to us in the past, which contributes to our mistrust of people. Hummingbirds are cute, but when I think about it, I have also had better luck with rattlesnakes than with people. Literally. I made my peace with rattlesnakes when I was walking through a forest in Arkansas bare-footed, and nearly stepped on one. It reared back and buzzed like mad, but didn't bite. Some of the humans, on the other hand, did bite.

Now that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to trust some people, and try to love them and build relationships with them. It just means that it is harder.

I am off the wacky tobacky for 30 days by reading your web site every day. It is like a medicine to me.I have been unable to get clean in aa. When I get 90 days clean, I intend to go back to a meeting just to gloat, that what I have been unable to do in 5 years in aa and na, I've been able to do on my own. I know you believe I did the stopping but YOU were very instumental in this.I am not white knuckling as the old timers say I'd be doing without working the program. I feel free as that hummingbird you revived. I will not read one more word from Bills Big Book Of Bullshit, nor will I work the "verbose restatement of Buchman the nut's 6 practices". P.S. whether you agree or not' I've made you my sponsor!!! Yuk!YUK!! YUK!!! Keep upgading your site and helping Gods creatures that cross your path.You are far more spiritual than 99.9% of the phonies I've met in aa.

Well congratulations, Ace. Keep up the good work. I actually find it amusing for you to use me as a sponsor. But whatever. I'll try to live up to your confidence.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** 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.





Date: Fri, February 10, 2006 12:49
From: "Bob C." Subject: your article aboutt AA is without merit or fact are you a practicing alcoholic?

Bob C.


[2nd letter from Bob C., minutes later:]

Date: Fri, February 10, 2006 12:52
From: "Bob C."
Subject: Double talk and ignorance

Hello Bob,

The subject line of your first letter is illogical:

Whether my statements about Alcoholics Anonymous are true or not has nothing whatsoever to do with whether I am "a practicing alcoholic". (What is that supposed to mean, actively drinking alcohol? Well I am not.)

"Two plus two equals four" is just as true, no matter whether it is said by a tee-totaller or a staggering drunk.

Conversely, it didn't matter whether Bill Wilson was sober or drunk when he wrote this in the original manuscript of the A.A. "Big Book", Alcoholics Anonymous, before it was ever published:

We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
The A.A. "Big Book"Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, page 17.

But there were only about 40 sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous altogether — whom Bill Wilson grandly called the "First 100" — including all of the members of the groups in New York, Akron, and Cleveland, when Bill started writing the Big Book in late 1938; and there were only 70 sober members of A.A. worldwide when Bill Wilson finished writing his chapters in early 1939.

CORRECTION: In the manuscript for the first edition of the Big Book, Bill wrote "more than one hundred men and women" recovered. In the second edition, Bill changed that to "thousands".

The "thousands" number was a shameless, bare-faced self-promoting lie.

So drunk or sober, Bill Wilson was just lying and making up phony success rates, wasn't he?

So Bill Wilson's statements were just as untrue, no matter whether he was a practicing alcoholic or not, weren't they?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
** pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
** recovering their true sight, restore their government
** to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
** we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
** horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
** debt.  == Thomas Jefferson


[3rd letter from Bob C.:]

From: "Bob C."
Subject: RE: your article aboutt AA is without merit or fact are you a practicing alcoholic?
Date: Mon, February 13, 2006 9:02

What is your point? Why would you put down something that has helped and saved the lives of hundreds of people.

Are you an alcoholic or a drug addict? How could you possibly know the first thing about it when you have no point of reference.

Bob C.

Hi Bob,

I have a great point of reference. I'm an old alcoholic who has 5 years of sobriety now. I know the drinking game inside and out. And the drug game too.

Read these pages for starters:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

And Alcoholics Anonymous does not work at all.
A.A. merely exploits sick people for its own ends.
A.A. does not actually make people quit drinking.
Bill Wilson himself explained how the game works: Go recruit those people who are on the verge of quitting anyway:

"As a matter of fact, the successful worker [A.A. recruiter] differs from the unsuccessful one only in being lucky about his prospects. He simply hits cases who are ready and able to stop at once."
Bill Wilson, quoted in 'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, page 252.

You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

The normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics — the people who just quit drinking because they are sick and tired of suffering — is about 5% per year. The A.A. success rate isn't even that high. And then what about the elevated A.A. death rate and the high A.A. suicide rate?

Do you know what the success rate of A.A. actually is?

Out of each 1000 newcomers who come to A.A. seeking help or advice to quit drinking, how many end up being successful sober 10-year oldtimers?

Only 31.

How do I know that? Simple — Those are the sales figures for those sobriety coins. For every 1000 1-day coins given away, they only give away 31 of the 10-year coins.

    [CORRECTION: it's really only 11 or 12. See this letter.]

That is not a success rate. That is a failure rate.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
** try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
** enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
** (The Big Book, page 96.)





Date: Fri, February 10, 2006 18:44
From: "Steven B."
Subject: idiots!

orange,

i wrote to this idiot doug thornburn or something that is writing on myths of alcoholism talking concepts and he says yes i can see you are a practicing addict theres an 80% chance! he doesn't need a higher power apparently he is god! how can he determine that knowing nothing about me but my email? then he wouldnt answer any simple questions i asked not even the definition of alcoholism! how can he write books on a subject he can't even define?????? for the record i was over a month sober when i wrote him. of course he didnt even ask me just assumed. too bad he's not a doctor he could make diagnoses on serious illnesses just by reading patients' emails!

Steven

Hi again Steven,

Thanks for the note.

Okay, that's a new one on me. I had not heard of Doug Thorburn before, but did an Internet search and found that he is a guy who sells books about alcoholism like "How To Spot Hidden Alcoholics". (What a creepy-sounding title. Will he also do books on "How to Spot Hidden Homosexuals" and "How To Spot Hidden Communists"?)

Beware of confusion in the names. There is also a "Doug Thornburn" (two 'N's) who sells tapes about alcoholism. Is this the same guy with his name mis-spelled, or a different guy? It looks like the same guy.

http://www.theawareshow.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store;_Code=ST1& Product_Code=2-27-01+DT&Category;_Code=ASTFEB2001

So Thorburn says that there is an 80% chance that you are a "practicing alcoholic"?
Why does "practicing alcoholic" sound so much like "practicing homosexual"? That is old Moral Re-Armament terminology — "find hidden homosexuals" and "practicing homosexuals". All you have to do is substitute the word "alcoholic" for the word "homosexual", and you can play the same old blame game on a new set of victims.

So anyway, Thorburn says that there is an 80% chance that you are a "practicing alcoholic"?
Interesting. It sounds like he is just making up numbers out of thin air.
I would love to see his equations. How did he calculate that number? Based on what information?

Can you read somebody's web site or email and pick out key words and correlate them to probable alcohol use? That is a science that I had not heard of before. That would be quite a sophisticated computer program, one which I don't think has been written yet.

Now I can understand some key words. If someone writes,
"Hey ya'all! Let's all meet down at Kelly's Bar and Grill Friday night after work and watch the ball game and get loaded!"
Well then, I guess there might be about an 80% chance that the guy will relapse.

I agree with you that it is absurd for anyone to imagine that he can diagnose people through email. In fact, several letters to me have basically asked me to help people by doing that for them, and I always have to beg off and explain that I am not psychic and cannot do medical diagnoses through email.

I especially liked the line about, "he doesn't need a higher power apparently he is god!"
So if you don't join a crazy cult religion and grovel and wallow in guilt, then you suffer from delusions of grandeur and think you are God? That is an example of the Either/Or propaganda technique — reduce the argument to just two extreme choices and try to force people to chose one or the other.

It's also the propaganda trick of Sarcasm and Condescension, with a touch of ad hominem "Oh, he thinks he's God."

And this guy is selling books to tell other people how to get healthy and sane?

What a disaster area the whole "recovery industry" really is. Any fraud who claims to have a few years off of drugs and alcohol can set himself up as a guru and start selling books, tapes, and courses on recovery. Or he can be a self-proclaimed "expert" who has no experience with addiction or recovery, somebody who just read a few books and magazine articles about drugs and alcohol, and then went to a few A.A. meetings, and now thinks he knows all about it, and is qualified to teach. And he doesn't even have to be sane while doing it. He can even be a cocaine-snorting child molester, like my so-called "counselor" was.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent 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


[2nd letter from Steven B.:]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Subject: Re: idiots!

Orange,
i always say if im a practicing alcoholic its only cuz i need the practice. ha
Steven

I was just exploring this guy further, and am wondering, could the name be Doug Thorburn? Both names exist on the Internet.
The Thornburn guy sells tapes about alcoholism.
The Thorburn guy writes books like "Alcoholism Myths and Realities" and "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics".

I just want to get it right.

Have a good day.


Wed, February 15, 2006

he has 2 emails. he writes back quickly to insult you but stops dialogue until you agree with him. or get sober as he puts it. getting sober is a euphemism for agreeing with him i guess. i just can't agree that if only robert blake deflated his ego he wouldn't have been charged with murder but thats just me.

[email protected]
[email protected]

Steven

You know, after investigating further, I think it's the same guy, and some web sites just misspelled his name. Both the tape seller and book seller claim to be experts on recognizing hidden alcoholics. What a racket.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Another letter from Steven:]

Date: Mon, February 13, 2006
From: "Steven B."
Subject: dangerous people

orange,

we need to prevent the tragedy of this clown dispensing misinformation. here's what it says on his site:

This site is dedicated to helping people understand (a) why we need to identify alcohol and other drug addicts, (b) how to do so and, most important, (c) what can be done to /prevent/ tragedy. The method is simple, in classrooms or with self help: redefine alcoholism in such a way that allows for the tentative diagnosis of addiction in early stages by those in the best position to do this: /close persons. /All of Thorburn's books are available at Galt Publishing <http://www.galtpublishing.com>.

These include family members, friends and coworkers. Not included are most doctors, therapists and other medical personnel. Most of them are untrained in diagnosing alcoholism and besides, any alcoholic or other drug addict can change his stripes for an hour a week during a visit with a doctor or therapist. The redefinition proposed makes it apparent that those exhibiting destructive behaviors are usually alcoholics or other drug addicts, and that addiction is a biological-genetic disorder. In other words, they engage in poor behavior but are usually not innately bad. In fact, when in good, solid recovery, they are often wonderful. However, the goal is to show that where alcoholism is tentatively identified, non-addict and recovering addict close persons as well as the legal and political systems should /*uncompromisingly disenable*/.

In other words, we must stop protecting them from the consequences of their misbehaviors. This is not only for one's own safety (since we cannot predict how destructive the behavior of a practicing alcoholic may become), but also to increase the odds that intervention will lead to permanent recovery.

We increase the risk of dealing with people who violate our rights in unethical or criminal ways by allowing practicing alcohol and/or other drug addicts into our lives. This is true whether becoming involved personally or professionally. The former includes potential mates, parents, spouses, children and friends. The latter includes employees, employers, co-workers, tenants, landlords, partners and debtors. Take the TSARI? (our unique Addiction Indicator, intended to help diagnose alcoholism and other drug addictions in other people) with those in mind whom you are thinking about forming such connections. Even experts don't find alcoholism unless they look for it. If there are several signs and symptoms, assume that it may exist. Recognizing the /behaviors/ indicative of alcoholism is essential since use by itself doesn?t paint the whole picture. Addiction requires both use and destructive behaviors, so look for the revealing physical signs to confirm this.

Experts have long known that addiction causes bizarre, criminal (including acts of terrorism), unethical and/or psychopathological behaviors. The theme of this work is that we should reverse this idea: if such behaviors are observed, especially in serial fashion, alcoholism or other drug addictions should be suspected. Furthermore, while the practicing addict cannot "Just say no to drugs," we as non- and/or recovering addicts can "Just Say No to Addicts" (meaning, stop protecting them from the consequences of their actions). Due to distorted perceptions, a build-up of crises or "bottoms" is a prerequisite for recovery. Such consequences, combined with professional intervention, greatly increase the odds of raising that bottom for the alcoholic or other drug addict. In this way, we can help to /prevent/ tragedy.

what is he saying that he can diagnose "alcoholic behavior" before a person even drinks and then what? put a stamp on their heads identified addict? then they can be stigmatized and ostracized the rest of their lives and denied rights. maybe we should send them to concentration camps and kill them all so their genes arent reproduced! this guy is a dangerous fascist! when i wrote to him this is what he said:

doug,
if you can answer these questions ill read your book:
1. What is the definition of alcoholism?
2. What are the proven treatments of "alcoholism" if any?
3. What is the nature and efficacy of the 12 steps?
4. What is "ego deflation" and how does it benefit addiction?

thats good for starters
Steven

oh i just thought of another one. what tragedies have you prevented and how? and how did you come by your revelatory "scientific" information?
good day sir,
Steven

That's why I've written several books — not one paragraph explanations. Sorry, I won't oblige — not because I wouldn't like to see a former opponent come over to my side (which, _if_ you are sober, would likely occur) — but because I've written entire books on the subject supporting my views. Not a paragraph or two.

why not debate a simple point without writing a book? he couldn't even answer "what's the definition of alcoholism?" and he's writing books on the subject!

then he says this to me

"When you get sober, remember me. Then we'll talk."
"Yes, I can tell you are a practicing addict (well, I'll ascribe 80% odds. None of this is 100%). Good luck."

he can tell im drunk by my email! for the record im 1 month sober and was sober when i wrote him but he didnt even ask me. maybe he should be a doctor and diagnose medical conditions by reading peoples email! then he says this:

Hi Steven,
What were you smoking when you sent your email?

i must be smoking something since i disagree with him? also he says when i get sober well talk. thats just saying when i agree with him then well talk. well of course! then it wouldnt be a debate but just two crazies with the same religion. then he says this

Perhaps Steven, you should first read my books. Then we'll debate

why not debate the points i brought up and answer my questions?

so now i guess well start taking away peoples rights BEFORE they commit a crime something like the movie minority report. all we have to do is let mr Thorburn diagnose them as alchoholics and then we can lock them up for not going to aa.

what do you think of this pompous, hypocritical, cowardly, fool? by the way his name is Doug Thorburn and his site is preventragedy.com.

he pissed me of because i read an article of his saying how robert blake showed signs of alchoholism and his troubles were due to a lack of "ego deflation" whatever that is. he has the never to make sweeping statements like that and then when i call him on it he says im drunk and runs away! i guess thats hit and run huh?

i think he used several of the debating techniques that you describe on your site including hit and run and ad hominem. saying that someones drunk is just a fancy ad hominem attack anyway right. what does that have to do with the subject anyway? i cant be drunk and right? anyway i needed a good rant im still recovering from RGD from years in that nutty deceitful program. thanx for listening,

Steven

Hi Steven,

Wow. This is interesting.

First off, before I forget, let me congratulate you on your month of sobriety. That's the hardest one by far. The longest journey begins with just the first step.

Then, taking the last item first, you are right on in recognizing the propaganda techniques that Thorburn is using. Good catch.

  1. ad hominem,
  2. hit and run,
  3. divert attention — change the subject, refuse to debate
  4. sarcasm and condescension"you are just a practicing alcoholic who isn't worth debating",
  5. sweeping generalizations'because one alcoholic robbed somebody, all alcoholics are robbers',
  6. the fallacy of one similarity and stereotyping — "alcoholics are all bad people because they all drink too much alcohol — they're all the same",
  7. vague, grandiose language — (full of undefined words, of course) — "addiction is a biological-genetic disorder".
  8. Confuse With Technicalese -- TSARI... our unique Addiction Indicator...
  9. unsubstantiated claims "Even experts don't find alcoholism unless they look for it." My doctor found it in minutes, the first time I ever saw him. (And I wasn't drunk or smelling of alcohol, either. He recognized Spider Angiomas in the skin.)
  10. appeal to authorities "Experts have long known that addiction causes bizarre, criminal..." What unnamed 'experts'?
  11. fear-mongering "We increase the risk of dealing with people who violate our rights in unethical or criminal ways by allowing practicing alcohol and/or other drug addicts into our lives."
and on and on.

One of those links that I sent you in a previous letter was a book review by a Dick C., apparently an A.A. old-timer. He said basically that the Thorburn guy didn't know what he was talking about:

The author claims to have attended AA Meetings for a period of approximately one year. That is where he has assimilated much of his research and conclusions. It should be pointed out the AA Meetings are closed to the general public and everything discussed is held anonymously. At the beginning of each meeting it is read that this is a closed meeting of AA. The only requirement for attendance is a desire to stop drinking.

Apparently the author attended these closed meetings under a guise that he was an alcoholic. This brings into question the viability and or reliability of the research data.

It is of course possible that these were open meetings, in which case there would be no reliable research data. Nothing of any intimate significance is discussed at open meetings.

Dick C. brings up some good points. And he omits another: If all that Thorburn knows about alcoholics came from listening to A.A. members talking in A.A. meetings for a year, then what about all of the other kinds of people with drug and alcohol problems — or, more importantly, what about the other people who solved their addiction problems their own way, without a group or a cult?

What does Thorburn know about those "do it yourself" people — who just happen to be the vast majority of the recovering and recovered alcoholics and addicts?

Obviously nothing, because all that Thorburn is doing is perpetuating the myth of the nasty alcoholic.

The myth of the nasty alcoholic is also spread by Alcoholics Anonymous, constantly. Bill Wilson was a past master when it came to sneering at alcoholics and putting them down. Read the file The 'Us Stupid Drunks' Conspiracy for lots more on that.

It is actually a myth that A.A. wants to end the "stigma of alcoholism". No they don't. They parrot Bill Wilson's put-downs of alcoholics all of the time, while simultaneously declaring that they want to end guilt and stigma.

It's a bait-and-switch trick.

  1. To get people to join, A.A. tells them that alcoholism is a disease, and it isn't their fault — "It's genetic; you can't help it, so you shouldn't feel guilty."
  2. Then, after they have joined, A.A. makes them list and confess all of their sins and moral shortcomings and "defects of character" over and over again in Steps 4 through 7. And then in Step 8 they must make another list of everybody whom they ever harmed. That is guilt induction to the max.

This guy Thorburn seems to have learned that you can make plenty of good money by criticizing those nasty alcoholics and addicts. That's the same thing as Bill Wilson discovered.

You should see his test for alcoholics, the "TSARI". (http://www.10547.info/thorburn/tsari.html) It is just a reprint of all of the standard stereotypical nasty characteristics of alcoholics, just a collection of the standard Alcoholics Anonymous put-downs of alcoholics.

In the end, it seems to come down to an issue of the free marketplace. Any idiot can try to sell any crap that he wants to sell, and it's a free country. Let the buyer beware. Thorburn isn't the only one, not by a long shot. The whole "recovery industry" hoax is full of such con artists.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.


[And another letter from Steve:]

From: "Steven B."
Subject: southpark
Date: Mon, February 13, 2006

orange,

did you notice the alien in the bloody mary south park episode?

Steven

Yeh, I thought I saw one, just out of the corner of my eye. Round head, two antennae? It went by so fast that I wasn't sure what I saw. Your logical mind sort of goes "Nope. Did not happen. You're just seeing things." But of course this is South Park, so logic doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it.

I'll have to watch it again, and look for that little guy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "You go to war with the jokes you have, not the jokes
** you might want or wish to have at a later time."
**  == Our Secretary of Offense, Ronald McDumsfeld


[2 more letters from Steven B.:]

Date: Thu, February 16, 2006 0:46
From: "Steve B."
Subject: Re: dangerous people

Orange,

Thanx for responding. Is this guy even an alcoholic? I thought only an alcoholic could understand another one.

That's a good question. Apparently, he maintains that he is not an alcoholic.

I know that other people besides alcoholics can "understand" alcoholics — my doctor being one — but I don't think 'normal' people really know quite how it feels.

Equally curious is the question of why would a non-alcoholic Certified Financial Planner spend a year sitting in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, listening to the tales of alcoholics, if he wasn't an alcoholic? He says he was "conducting research". Why bother? What's the point? To figure out that sometimes alcoholics cheat other people out of money? Heck, I could have told him that in a 1-minute conversation. Not only do alcoholics sometimes cheat other people, so do Enron executives, and Wall Street brokers, and Republicans, and all kinds of people.

Ya that tsari thing is something huh. Number 3 "does she have loose sexual morals including adultery." How judgemental is that? So Thorburn is the great judge of peoples sexual morality now? Who decides what is moral and what isnt?

And what possible connection to addiction could that have? Wouldnt a good indicator of addiction be that someone is drinking or using a drug? I guess thats low on the list after "do they have mood swings." haha. Thats like saying a headache is an indicator of alcoholism because you get a hangover. What a bunch of crap.

Exactly. That's what's wrong with that test. Whether a woman likes sex too much has nothing to do with whether she is an alcoholic. When a competent researcher is designing a real test, he has to carefully consider every question and ask, "How does this question correlate with the thing being measured?" And he comes up with a number, the "coefficient of correlation", that tells him whether the answer to the question really relates to what is being measured.

Like, how does loose sexual behavior really relate to alcoholism? (And the answer is, there is only a very loose correlation.)

In a good test, you also have to avoid false positives. I noticed that a lot of the questions actually related more to a bipolar disorder than to alcoholism. All of the stuff about mood swings is classic bipolar disorder behavior. (The old name for bipolar disorder was "manic-depressive disorder", and I liked that name better because it is far more descriptive of what is happening — they cycle wildly between super-giddy highs and terrible depressions.) People who are suffering from bipolar disorder often drink too much, because they are vainly trying to self-medicate and fix what is broken, but alcohol just doesn't work. It is a terrible medication for bipolar disorders. Nevertheless, you will see lots of people who have been labeled "alcoholic" who are really just bipolar.

Thorburn mixes them all together by assembling a bunch of standard stereotypical images of "the alcoholic". And then he makes the outrageous declaration that just 3 positive answers, out of more than 30 questions, indicate that a person is an alcoholic.

And that is the wonderful "unique" new test that finds hidden alcoholics?

You know that TSARI indicator sounds suspiciously like the "E meter" in scientology. Nothing like passing off unsubstantiated BS as science huh?

Really. And the more I read of his stuff, the more I see that it really is just unsubstantiated BS.

  • He makes all kinds of sweeping statements, backed up by little or nothing.
  • He repeats old wives' tales, myths, and fallacies about alcoholism, and simplistic stereotypical slurs against alcoholics, while bragging that he is getting rid of "the stigma of alcoholism".

    Thorburn did his best to explain that too many myths about both processes currently pervade the national consciousness. For instance, he drummed home his believe that earlier intervention, rather than waiting for addicts to "hit bottom", would prevent untold amounts of damage to people, families and society. Thorburn also stated repeatedly, while reaffirming his belief in personal responsibility, that addicted people have a God complex which can make them "capable of the most horrendous acts imaginable."
    Author Doug Thorburn Creates Heated Tookie Debate Regarding Addiction On Two Stints with Bruce Elliot on WBAL Radio, Baltimore, http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire/default.cfm?Action=ReleaseDetail&ID;=11096

  • He makes bombastic, grandiose claims:

    Doug Thorburn has been told that his ability to spot alcoholism where it has never before been suspected is unique. Addiction experts, some with over 30 years experience, admit that they did not previously possess the tools with which to identify early-stage alcoholism. Doug not only explains the biological and behavioral differences between early- and latter stage alcoholism, but also provides over 150 questions for the observer to use to tentatively diagnose this disease. Experts and lay persons alike now have the ability to protect themselves and, in many cases, prevent tragedy.
    The New Criminologist, UK, http://www.newcriminologist.co.uk/news.asp?id=-952025650

    Yes, Doug's abilities are so unique that they are imaginary. Nobody else in the world, no other "experts", can spot alcoholics like Doug can. What an aid to law enforcement Doug Thorburn will be. The Millenium has arrived.

  • He even declares that alcoholism is the cause of all of our problems. No joke. I wish I were exaggerating. According to Doug Thorburn, alcohol is the panmalefic of American society.

    I just made that word up. A panmalefic is the exact opposite of a panacea. Where a panacea is one simple cure for all of your problems, a panmalefic is the one simple cause of all of your problems.

    The prefix "pan" means "over all" or "entirely covers" or "everywhere", as in pan-American, pandemic, and panacea.

    The word "malefic" is in the dictionary, and means "causes evil, bad things, ills, harm, or diseases".

    Put them together, and you have a word that means the cause of all of the world's problems.

    Simple-minded people like simple answers, so they love to hear that everything can be explained in terms of panmalefics and panaceas. Trying to declare that all of our problems are caused by alcoholics is just such moronic thinking.

    This is a quote from an approving book review of one of Thorburn's books:

    When alcoholics drink, however, their behavior in ALL stages of the disease is characterized by reckless, cruel, or destructive misbehaviors, whereas when nonalcoholics drink, their behavior is not. Doug Thorburn shows that an astonishing variety of misbehaviors are associated with alcoholism. Not only were most cult leaders, serial killers, and mass murderers alcoholics (including political tyrants such as Peter the Great and Joseph Stalin), but alcoholism is also common among con men, embezzelers, politicians, racists, and ordinary violent criminals. It is estimated that 80% to 90% of incarcerated prisoners, as well as perhaps 50% of the prison guards, may be alcoholics. Alcoholism is also more common among policemen, doctors, lawyers, and actors.

    That reminds me of another book, The Secret History of Alcoholism: The Story of Famous Alcoholics and Their Destructive Behavior, by James Graham, that declares that alcohol was the cause of all of the great problems in history, and that all of the bad world leaders, like Stalin, were alcoholics. And even though Hitler was not an alcoholic — he was a fastidious tea-totalling vegetarian — the author still tried to fudge him into that category, sort of like a "dry drunk". That is again the oversimplication that I call a "panmalefic" — one simple cause of all of our problems.

    And guess what? Doug Thorburn not only read that book, he wrote a review of it for Amazon. Thorburn declared:

    This is a phenomenally interesting work. James Graham describes the role of ego inflation in explaining behaviors in the alcoholic, something that nobody else had done before. This is extremely important, because it provides what is sometimes the only clue to alcohol addiction in the early stages of the disease-a massively inflated ego. This often results in extraordinary over achievement, even while the personal life is a shambles.

    Thorburn also reviewed the book The Medical Casebook of Adolf Hitler, by Leonard L. Heston, which tried to make Hitler into a drug addict. Thorburg declared that it was a "marvelous little book, which reads like a medical mystery novel, slowly dismantles every other explanation for Hitler's increasingly reckless behavior."

    Actually, there was another very good explanation besides drug addiction: Hitler suffered from progressive syphilitic paralysis. "The fate of the whole world depended upon a brain diseased to its core." (See The Man with the Miraculous Hands; The Fantastic Story of Felix Kersten, Himmler's Private Doctor, by Joseph Kessel, pages 134-7.)

    See http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/ABJR3WKBHXZGS/ ref=cm_pdp_reviews_see_all/104-1668672-5515154 for all of Doug Thorburn's book reviews. You can see where Thorburn got a lot of his goofy ideas about alcoholics.

He even had the gall to claim he wasnt making money off his books in his email to me. Does that remind you of Bill W.? He's just a saint trying to save mankind from itself kinda like that great humanitarian saint adolf.

Steven

Yeh, that sounds familiar.


Date: Thu, February 16, 2006 1:15
From: "Steven B."
Subject: Re: idiots!

Orange, I had to say one more thing. Thanx for the link. So even AA people are against this guy. Thats kinda funny. But the title of Thorburns book reminded me of that movie. Remember the movie where the guy can spot hidden aliens who are trying to take over the world by using special glasses? Maybe he has special glasses to spot hidden alcoholics. Maybe he can also spot hidden homosexuals and gypsies too and he can institute the final solution of addicts.

Really. You are touching on a thought that I wanted to mention in a previous letter but forgot — the inherent fascism in Thorburn's philosophy.

Thorburn says that alcoholics can't help it because it's genetic. They are born that way. Ah, but if they suffer enough (which you can help cause), get them enough DWI arrests and enough jail time and other bad experiences, they will change their ways. It's a kind of aversion therapy. Administer enough pain, and the animal will learn to avoid the situation.

So does Doug Thorburn get to be the new Dr. Mengele, entitled to decide just how much torture to apply in order to teach those Jews to stop being so Jewish — oops! I mean, teach those addictive personalities to stop being so addictive?

Speaking of which, this reference is downright frightening: Doug Thorburn lectures the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Office Of Homeland Security on alcoholism and addictions:
http://www.lasd.org/clepp/cleppnwltrs.html

February 2003
Recognizing the Early Stages of Addition — Mr. Doug Thorburn, certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and expert in Keirseyan Temperment explains the biological and behavioral differenced between early and latter stage alcoholism ...

Oh really? "A certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator"? What the heck is that and how do you get certified to administer it?

If you go to http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp, you can get an online personality test that Humanmetrics says is a "Jung-Myers-Briggs" test. "Online test based on Jung-Myers-Briggs typology provides your personality formula, preferences and the description of your type." Apparently, you are already certified to administer it to yourself.

Do a Google search on "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator" and you will find several more.

  1. http://www.mycareerassessments.com/myersbriggs? OVRAW=myers%20briggs%20test&OVKEY;=myers%20briggs%20test&OVMTC;=standard — for only $74.97 you can administer tests on yourself, and discover "the uniqueness of your personality". (Dead Link.)
  2. A free Myers-Briggs test at Tickle (although they like you to buy a detailed analysis of the results): http://web.tickle.com/tests/classiccareer/?sid=2003& supp=search_myerbriggs&test;=classiccareerogt
  3. There are a zillion more such tests listed here: http://www.wotbox.us/search?q=myers+briggs+test&s;=us

Likewise, a search for "Kierseyan temperament" is enlightening. Here are some pop-psychology ideas:

  1. http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=31672&page;=4 — Which Kierseyan temperament are you? Idealist, Rational, Guardian, or Artisan?
  2. www.books-online-store.net/favr/1RIYSQTWNX9UL.html& ei=Lvn0Q9KFDI-soQKg3pHiAg&sig2;=OOl7mcgJhCAhkuTC38Ar6A (Bad Link now) -- A review of the book Personality Type (Jung on the Hudson Book Series) by Lenore Thomson, which tells us that
    Keirsey disagreed with some of Jung's ideas, and he explained, in PUM I, that he'd "corrected" and "re-arranged" Jung's theory to conform with his own. Criticisms of "Personality Type" based on the assumption that its conclusions ought to be the same as Keirsey's are misinformed and undermine the value of both type and temperament systems as useful in their contexts. ...
  3. Here you can go straight to the source, and read the book by Kiersey: http://books.philosophyarchive.com/free.php?in=us&asin;=0960695400 — Apparently, David Kiersey just divided all people into 16 personality types. (Well, that's four more than astrology.)
  4. http://www.16typesuniversity.com/temperament.html == another explanation of the 16 types.

It sure looks like Doug Thorburn is using the propaganda techniques of Confuse With Technicalese and Pseudo-intellectual Bull to impress people with his non-existent credentials.

But he has a 2 week course in taxes why shouldnt that qualify him as an expert in addiction?

Yes, isn't that strange? I wonder which pays better, financial planner or self-proclaimed addictions expert?

When I was first doing Internet searches on the guy, I thought that the accountant named "Doug Thorburn" must be a different guy than the self-proclaimed addiction expert. Nope. They are the same guy. "EA CFP" means "Enrolled Agent, Certified Financial Planner".

See: http://www.dougthorburn.com/.

So Thorburn was an accountant/financial planner who for some odd reason decided to spend a year sitting in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, even though he wasn't an alcoholic (he says), listening to the A.A. members talk, perhaps to figure out "how early-stage alcoholism results in the financial abuse of others, and what those affected can do about it."

Hmmm. What's wrong with this picture?

Its always good to put letters after your name so it seems like you know what you're talking about even if the letters arent relevant to the subject.

Steven A.B.J.W.W. (annoyed by jackasses with websites)

Yes indeed.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** People whose own lives are not worth living desire
** the power to control other people's lives.


[2 more letters from Steve B:]

Date: Fri, February 17, 2006
From: "Steve B."
Subject: Re: dangerous people

Orange,

I like your new word. Maybe you can get it in the dictionary. I heard bootylicious just got in why not panmalefic.

I don't want to run this Thorburn subject into the ground but he makes a lot of assumptions I don't agree with and he seems to have blocked my emails or at least is ignoring them.

He is always speaking of alcoholic "behavior". The only alcoholic behavior is drinking!

Correct.

And when people talk about ego inflation and deflation (is the ego a balloon?) that makes my blood boil! If egotism causes societal problems isn't that egotism causing the problem not alcoholism? Why lump that together as a sign of "alcoholism" when a person isn't even drinking?! Is it just me or is that illogical and crazy.

Yes. It is really a demand that you surrender to the cult. Frank Buchman demanded it of his followers, and Bill Wilson learned that trick in Frank's Oxford Group cult. A.A. has been pushing it ever since.

It's really a very common cult practice. If you insist on thinking for yourself, rather than mindlessly believing the garbage that a cult recruiter is telling you, then he says that you are "egotistical" and "think too much of yourself" and "have a high opinion of your own thinking" and are "too big for your britches" and "Think you are too good to need God!"

When Bill Wilson's Step 3 says
"turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him",
that really means
"surrender control of our lives and our thinking to Alcoholics Anonymous".

That turns into several bait-and-switch tricks, including:

That's a lot to hide behind a slogan about how you need your ego deflated, but they manage to do it anyway.

See Dr. Harry Tiebout's papers on how all alcoholics must have their egos deflated, and how the 12 Steps work to do it. Dr. Harry Tiebout was Bill Wilson's first psychiatrist, and he also became the first mad scientist of Alcoholics Anonymous. Plenty of others followed.

Couldn't almost anything be defined as "alcoholic" behavior? How can a persons behavior be described as alcoholic if they never drink? Because its similar to other peoples that do drink? So if a person gets angry and kicks out door panels when they're drunk and I get angry and kick out door panels that makes me an alcoholic even if I never have a drink? Does this make any sense to anyone? Isn't that a door panel issue rather than an issue of alcoholism?

Yes. About 5 years ago, in an Internet board, a woman named Rita wrote:

Now, a person who has never had a drink, or never drank problematically, would never be called "alcohol dependent" — but you frequently find such people in AA meetings, saying that they "identify as 'alcoholics'", because they "have the character defects of alcoholics" or some such. There have even been reports of people calling their PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN "alcoholics", because they display "self-centeredness"! This rubbish is only possible in a world where "alcoholism" has a mystical, "spiritual" meaning that has nothing to do with alcohol. And it also explains why many people are suggesting that EVERYONE should be in a 12-Step program, whether or not they have any substance abuse problem.

"Alcoholism" = gambling = "sex addiction" = messiness = being married to someone who has any problem, etc. They are all the same "spiritual disease", all must be "arrested" by steppism.
— Rita

So true.

I don't agree with the idea of "stages" of the disease either. I found in my experience that alcoholism is not progressive but I actually get better with time just the opposite.

I agree with the way my doctor sees it as progressive. First off, you develop a tolerance. Where in the beginning 3 beers was enough to give you a buzz and satisfy you, later it takes ten or a dozen. Consequently, the damage to your body accumulates and things get worse and worse. That was my experience.

When my doctor called me a "late-stage alcoholic", he was pointing to specific things like odd discolored spots in my skin that he called "spiders" because of their shape. They are caused by zillions of broken capillaries in the skin. That is damage from alcohol. I also have a funny red-and-white speckled coloration in the palms of my hands. The skin of the palms is not uniformly pink at all. It's speckled — red and white dots. Same thing. Capillary damage. When a doctor sees that stuff, he tells you that the party is over and you must either quit drinking or die. Choose one.

I chose to live.

P.S.: The medical names for those things are Spider Angiomas and Palmar Erythema.

He's taking a lot of "facts" for granted here isn't he? Getting your science from the big book? Next time I want to know about chemistry instead of consulting a chemistry textbook I will just look in the big book for my chemistry education. Lets get all our "science" from quack religion from now on as a society what do you say?

Yeh, that's one of the biggest problems I have with Doug Thorburn — he believes the quack nonsense of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's like he went to an A.A. meeting and thought he was getting the real inside secrets of alcoholism and recovery, rather than listening to the ramblings of some cult members who were parroting the ravings of the narcissistic nutcase named Bill Wilson.

Also its kind of funny that he's exhibiting his own definition of alcoholic symptoms. He has a unique ability to spot alcoholics. Isn't that showing an inflated ego? We need to do an intervention on Thorburn and get him into treatment and convince him that his books are all just symptoms of his illness.

Oh yeh. I noticed that too.

It reminds me of the twilight zone episode where the guy makes all the evil people 2 feet tall and ends up 2 feet tall himself. Isn't he showing signs of McCarthyism spotting alcoholics (communists) hidden in the woodwork causing all social ills?

Yes. It's funny how much of the so-called standard "alcoholic" behavior of "alcoholics" Doug is displaying. And "alcoholic thinking" too.

And the McCarthyism aspect is really disturbing. There is practically no difference between these three sentences:

  • "Jews are the cause of all of our problems and are a great threat to our children and we must find all of the hidden Jews and destroy them before they do great harm to us."
    [Paraphrasing the Nazis in 1932.]

  • "Communists are the cause of all of our problems and are a great threat to our children and we must find all of the hidden communists and destroy them before they do great harm to us." [Paraphrasing Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-MN) in 1952.]

  • "Alcoholics are the cause of all of our problems and are a great threat to our children and we must find all of the hidden alcoholics and destroy them before they do great harm to us."

We really don't need another witch hunt. Those things do not solve our problems.

And that's circular logic. He seems to be prophesying that someone will drink in the future based on their behavior. But then even if they don't drink they are exhibiting alcoholic "behavior" so he's still right.

If I say I can spot homosexuals because they wear pink shirts and it turns out they are homosexuals then I'm right and that proves my system of identification is sound. But if I'm wrong and they turn out not to be homosexuals then I just say yes they are because all people wearing pink shirts are homosexual whether they show any actual signs of homosexuality! So I'm still right.

Exactly correct. It's the trick of changing the parameters of the question afterwards — something very similar to the Real Scotsman logical fallacy. It's sort of an inverse Real Scotsman trick. I'll have to add that to the Propaganda Techniques file.

What if a man makes yellow snow while he's drinking so then anyone who makes yellow snow is automatically an alcoholic? Don't people brush their teeth sometimes while drunk? So everybody is an alcoholic because everybody brushes their teeth. The cult is always right right?

Yes, and that's the logical fallacy and propaganda trick of The Fallacy of One Similarity.

Seems like Thorburn is a wannabe cult founder. He is exhibiting all the signs he claims indicate alcoholism. Usually AA proponents are at least members. And also saying alcoholism causes all our problems is like saying sin causes all our problems isn't it? So maybe he's trying to start a new cult of Thorburnism.

Or maybe he's just a halfways-good con artist who is making money. The world's full of them.

I think I will pass on those meetings. Do you think he is really stupid enough to believe all he claims or he is just stealing other peoples work for financial gain? Is there anything original in his work? Reminds me of Bill W. He's repackaging old stuff in a new box.

I don't know if he believes what he claims, but I do recognize the stunt of repackaging old garbage and selling it as a new discovery — which is what both Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson did.

Its kinda scary that this guy seems to have credibility in society and is influential. Of course so is dr phil so what can you do. I guess I wont let it keep me awake tonight and at least he's good for a few laughs.

Yes, it is scary. Look at the criminals who are running the USA now because almost 50% of the American people were fooled by them. Sometimes people are very gullible and are easily fooled. When I was writing up the file of propaganda tricks, I learned to keep those tricks in mind while listening to politicians talk. It was appalling to hear that some of the politicians spoke *Nothing But* propaganda tricks and logical fallacies.

Likewise, it is sad that the state of the art in "recovery" and "drug and alcohol treatment" allows so many phony con artists to make a comfortable living by foisting quack medicine, superstitions, cult religion, and pseudo-science on sick people who are hoping to get some help to survive addiction. See the introduction for the story of my so-called "counselor" who got paid lots of money by the State Health Plan to teach us how to recover and be drug-and-alcohol-free, and be spiritual too, with a "Higher Power" in our recovery plan, and then he went home and snorted cocaine and screwed his step-children.

I find it very disturbing that Doug Thorburn is getting his foot in the door at the LA Sheriff's Office of Homeland Security, but otherwise I just write him off as just another wanna-be.

Maybe I'll take your advice and have a good day anyway.

Best wishes, Steven

Yeh, you do that. Have a good day anyway. == Orange


Date: Fri, February 17, 2006 2:20
From: "Steve B."
Subject: Re: dangerous people

Orange,

I had one final thought on this Thorburn guy. How do we know he even attended those AA meetings? Maybe he's like L Ron Hubbard who just made up a bunch of stories and claimed they were 12 years of actual case studies. Can he prove he went to the meetings? Or can we disprove it? Maybe he just read a few books and claimed he did "research". By the way I've attended plenty of AA meetings and I have no idea what possible useful research could be obtained. Unless you consider listening to a bunch of disturbed people whining research.

Steven

You're right. There is no way to prove that he went to A.A. meetings. (Never mind Dick C.'s suggestion that Thorburn had no business snooping around in closed A.A. meetings by pretending to be an alcoholic.)

I suspect that Thorburn did go to a bunch of A.A. meetings, simply because he spouts so much of the standard A.A. bullsh*t like "needing your ego deflated" and "alcoholics think they are god". So this fool who knows nothing about alcoholism (and whose financial planning business must have been in a slump) went to a few A.A. meetings and picked up on the jargon and then proclaimed himself an expert on addictions? And started writing sensationalized books like "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics"?

Yeh, that's the state of the so-called "recovery industry". That's what Congress pays for when they fund "fair treatment for alcoholics and drug addicts" — more quack nonsense like that.

On the other hand, maybe Thorburn really is a hidden alcoholic, and that's why he sat in all of those closed A.A. meetings for a year. To use the goofy recovery-cult language, is Doug Thorburn really issuing a desperate silent plea for help by writing books like "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics"?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** My enemies I can handle, but Lord save me from
** those who would do unto me for my own good.


[another letter from Steven:]

Date: Tue, February 21, 2006 12:30
From: "Steven B."
Subject: Re: dangerous people

Orange,

I got some more mail from Thorburn.

I asked what science backs up his theories. His response:

"Read Terence Gorski's work. Observe behaviors of practicing alcoholics. Of course there is damage to the neo-cortex. They too often act uncivilized — a clue to the idea that the lower brain centers are not being restrained by the human part of the brain. We're done."

I looked up Gorski and he is just another AA promoter.

Quite correct. Look here and here for reviews of some of his books.

Then he refers me to Michael Shermer. I find it curious that he wrote a book called "Why people believe weird things" then he's promoting Thorburn and AA? Did Shermer refer to himself in the book as an example of believing weird things? And he's supposed to be some great skeptic? Shermer said this about Thorburn:

"Now is the time to abandon superstition and pseudoscience, to debunk the myths surrounding alcoholism, and to apply science to solving this problem. Doug Thorburn's book is a model example of how this should be done."

huh? What am I missing? Is this some kind of conspiracy of phony self promoters?

Yes. It may well be one of those circular back-patting clubs.

I find it both appalling and hilarious when the superstitious nuts call themselves logical, skeptical and scientific, and try to portray themselves as enlightened thinkers and critical debunkers of the previous age's fallacies, while they sell more nonsense of their own. But then again, that is just what Bill Wilson did too.

Here's an example of Thorburn abandoning superstition and pseudoscience:

"the alcoholic's need and ability to survive is magnified by the power of the reptilian brain" [What kind of technobabble is that?] "the basal ganglia, riding roughshod over the neo-cortex without the usual restraints. Screaming and insulting others is a significant indication of a lower brain center unrestrained by the neo-cortex, the seat of reason and logic in civilized humankind."

wow what a statement. Maybe he should add disagreeing with Doug Thorburn is a sign of brain damage. I guess the neorcortex gets too tired from all that alcohol to restrain the lizard brain. What medical journal discusses this phenomenon. I'd love to read it. Of course he can't cite one he just refers you to people who review his work favorably. Does he even know the definitions of words he uses or does he just copy things and jam scientific sounding words together randomly? I must have been absent that day in chemistry class when they discussed the reptile brain running roughshod over the neocortex. Why does that sound like self will run riot with technicalese frosting? Sounds like a horror movie the attack of the killer basal ganglia. By the way, this guy can also tell if someone is an alcoholic by how they fill out their tax return.

Right. You understand.

P.S.: But there really is a base-brain craving center — which I call the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster — that constantly yammers about how it wants food or sex or feel-goods. But it doesn't run roughshod over the neocortex, or control our lives. The upper brain is much more powerful and in control.
(Now I think that some pathetic people do just surrender control of their lives to their base desires and urges and cravings and addictions, but that is still the higher brain making a choice — the decision to indulge to the max.)
And you are right — Bill Wilson's rap about self-will run riot was just another flavor of his rave about "instinct run wild". It was another one of his attempts to declare that we are all just bad animals.

I'm going to invent an ego deflator and advertise it as a cure for the lizard brain running roughshod over the neocortex (self will run riot? instincts run wild? hmmmm where did I read that?) and revolutionize medical science. Do you know of any scientific paper that indicates that the neocortex restrains the lizard brain in a healthy person let alone that there is a condition of aberration where this restraint ceases to occur? When did the pseudoscience get abandoned? Did I miss that part? I don't understand Shermer passing himself off as some kind of voice of reason then going against his own statements. Do they get a cut of each others work for promoting each other? Seems we need debunkers to debunk the debunkers. This reminds me of Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now where he says "Oh man, the shit piled up *so* fast in Vietnam *you needed wings* to stay above it. *...*

*Steven*

Yep. Thanks for the letter.

And have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "You can fool all the people some of the time, and
** some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool
** all the people all the time." — Abraham Lincoln


Date: Fri, February 24, 2006 7:36
From: "Steven B."
Subject: alcoholism

Orange,

Did you know that if you tailgate there is a 50% chance that you are an alcoholic? And if you wear a blue shirt on tuesday there is an 81% chance that you are an alcoholic. I guess if you don't define alcoholism you can claim that any behavior gives you an 80% chance of being an alcoholic.

Steven

And breathing is also a big red flag. Careful statistical studies have revealed that 99.9% of all alcoholics regularly breathe, no matter whether they are aware of it or not.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
** has cured millions. RARELY HAVE we seen it fail...
** But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
** Take what you want, and leave the rest."

I got the book "How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics". It's just as bad as I imagined. It's so far out there that Thorburn actually lists being black as the first physical sign of alcoholism. I'm not joking. Review here





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