Letters, We Get Mail, CCCLXXXI



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters381.html#Jim_B2 ]

To Jim:

Okay, here is the response to the claim of "absolute moral standards" from the Bible:

Jim, you recently posted an article about "Why Liberals Hate Christianity".

Well, I'm a Liberal, and I do not tell lies to get people to believe whatever I wish.

I also noticed the claim that Christians had absolute moral authorities, like the commandments in the Bible. Alas, that is wishful thinking. The truth is that people just pick and choose what they like from among many contradictory statements in the Bible, and ignore the rest.

Coincidentally, I was just reading the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and he had a whole chapter that talked about the Christians' claim that the Bible gives people absolute moral authority and standards. You should read it. You might find it to be enlightening. Now I had already figured out the following things long before learning about Richard Dawkins, but he is still very relevant to the subject being discussed.

The simple undeniable fact is that no Christians actually do what the Bible says. They can't. It would be mass murder and genocide, not to mention unChristian cruelty and unloving treatment of neighbors, to do what the Bible actually says in places.

For example, in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses ordered us to rob, rape, and murder or enslave all of the people who aren't Jewish. (By the way, Jim, you aren't Jewish are you? You don't look Jewish.)

In chapters 2, 3, 7, 13, 17, 20, and 25 of the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses says that the Lord our God commands us faithful followers to practice religious bigotry, racism, mass murder, genocide, and ethnic cleansing, in order to keep people from worshipping the wrong God (which meant, "any God besides the blood-thirsty monster that Moses liked").

  • "We met Sihon and his army in battle at Jahaz, and the LORD our God helped us defeat them. We killed Sihon, his sons, and everyone else in his army. Then we captured and destroyed every town in Sihon's kingdom, killing everyone, but keeping the livestock and everything else of value." (Deuteronomy 2:32-35)

  • "The LORD our God helped us destroy Og and his army and conquer his entire kingdom of Bashan, including the Argob region. His kingdom had lots of villages and sixty towns... We completely destroyed them all, killing everyone, but keeping the livestock and everything else of value." (Deuteronomy 3:3-7)

  • "... you must destroy them without mercy." (Deuteronomy 7:3)

  • "... you must stone them to death. ... Don't show any pity." (Deuteronomy 13:8-10)

  • "You may hear that some worthless people there have talked everyone there into worshipping other gods... ... you must take your swords and kill every one of them..." (Deuteronomy 13:13-15)

  • "... kill all the men. Take the women and children as slaves..." (Deuteronomy 20:14-15)

  • And then the book of Numbers gives us helpful instructions at this point — it tells us to kill everyone in a neighboring city, even the baby boys, except for the virgin girls, whom we shall keep and turn into our sex slaves:

    "Moses became angry with the army commanders and said, "I can't believe you let the women live! They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor.   ...   You must put to death every boy and all of the women who have ever had sex. But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.   ...
    Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions, and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included   ...   32,000 young women who had never had sex.
    (Numbers 31:14-35)

    If Moses' army kept 32,000 young virgins for themselves, then they must have slaughtered at least three or four hundred thousand other people — married older women, widows, younger girls, men, boys, and infants, because virgin young women were pretty rare, because the girls married very young, soon after puberty. There wasn't much of a time window during which girls were virgin young women. So 32,000 virgin girls implied the existence of maybe 400,000 other people, who were all murdered in the name of the Lord. If Moses were alive today, he would be taken to the Hague in chains and put on trial for war crimes, right beside Slobodan Milosevik and Robert Mugabe. "Genocide" is the only name for such racist immoral conduct.

  • "Whenever you capture towns in the land the LORD your God is giving you, be sure to kill all the people and animals. ... If you allow them to live, they will persuade you to worship their disgusting gods, and you will be unfaithful to the LORD." (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)
    Now that is downright wacky. The livestock will persuade you to worship false gods? Somebody is insane.

  • "The LORD your God will help you capture the land, and He will give you peace. But when that day comes, you must wipe out Amalek so completely that no one remembers they ever lived." (Deuteronomy 25:19)

And then chapter 21 of Deuteronomy, verses 11 to 14, handily teaches us how to make sex slaves out of the surviving enemy women: If she is beautiful enough to make you want her, then cut her hair and fingernails, dress her in Israelite clothes, and give her a month to mourn for her dead husband or father (whom you killed). Then you can drag her into your bed and keep her as your sex slave for as long as you wish (they call it, "marry her"). If you grow tired of her, you can get rid of her at any time you wish (they call it "divorce her"). But if you have had sex with her — "if you have slept with her as your wife" — then you have destroyed her cash value — you have "dishonored her", and you cannot sell her into slavery any more. You will have to give her her freedom — just boot her out into the streets when you are done with her.

Oh well, I guess that's just the price of getting laid while keeping people from worshipping the wrong god.

Now I know that many Christians try to promote themselves into honorary Jews when they read those words. They try to escape from their death sentence by playing word games. They say, "Oh, Moses didn't really mean us, he meant those other people who worship a different god. We worship the same God as Moses did, Jawveh." But Christians do worship a different God, Jesus Christ. Moses would have considered Jesus to be a very evil man, and not a good Jew. The Jewish leaders were very clear when they condemned Jesus for blasphemy, for saying that he was the Son of God, and they got the Romans to crucify Jesus for that. The Sanhedrin priest even quoted scripture as he condemned Jesus: "Hear, Oh Israel, The Lord our God is one!"

So to claim that Jews and Christians are just the same, and Christians don't need to get hacked with the sharp edge of the sword, is dishonest, and quibbling.

By the way, Jim, the Bible says that you should be the slave of a Jewish warlord. That's if you are lucky. Actually, you will almost certainly be killed with the sharp edge of the sword for inviting people to a non-Jewish church. Then your whole family will be killed, and everybody in your whole city will be killed, and then the city will be burned to the ground, not even salvaging the livestock or any other things of value. Everything must be destroyed because you invited someone to the church of a blasphemer — Jesus Christ — who claimed that he was the Son of God.

If you hear it said ... that wicked men have arisen among you and have led the people of their town astray, saying, "Let us go worship other gods" (gods you have not known), then you must inquire, probe, and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true... you must put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. Gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It is to remain a ruin forever, and never be rebuilt.
(Deuteronomy 13:13-16, New International Version)

Jesus Christ was not a "god" whom Moses knew or recognized. Nor do the Jews recognize Him today. Moses would kill you for leading people away from Judaism and Jahweh, the one and only true religion.

The Bible also tells us that there is a commandment against wearing wool and linen together. See Leviticus 19:19.

19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.

When was the last time that you punished someone for wearing wool and linen together? Why not? Don't you believe in obeying the absolute moral standards in the Bible? And of course you punish people for letting their cattle cross-breed, or for planting mixed crops, don't you?

Moses also outlawed any kind of sexual practices that would reduce the number of Jewish children being produced. Thus Moses condemned homosexuality and "onanism". But Moses' whole strategy was just to outbreed the other religions. Moses even declared that if a married man died, one of his brothers must marry the widow, so that she can keep on producing children in his name. (Even if the brother already had a wife — bigamy was okay.) Do you follow that Biblical rule in your church? Why not?

If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow may not be married to anyone from outside the family. Instead, her husband's brother should marry her and have intercourse with her to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law.
Deuteronomy 25:5, New Living Translation

You see, Jim, there are no absolute moral rules in the Bible. People just pick and choose what they like, and do whatever they wish to do. And they ignore all of the other parts of the Bible, which they often recognize are wrong or evil, or at least distasteful and unstylish.

Oh, and you do realize, don't you, that the Ten Commandments only apply to Jews? Thou shalt not kill Jews. Thou shalt not steal from Jews. It was perfectly okay, and even desirable, to rob and rape and murder non-Jews. And you can covet the virgin daughters of non-Jews, and enslave them, just for the fun of it.

The current Israelis also do the same thing. They ignore the parts of the Bible that they don't like, while emphasizing the parts that they do like the sound of. Moses clearly predicted that the Jews would lose their land when they displeased God, and God would give the land to someone else. Nevertheless, the current Israelis claim that God gave them the land, and it's all still theirs. Israel currently argues that they have God-given right to steal the Palestinian people's land and water because God gave that land to some Jewish ancestors 4000 years ago — and they didn't lose the deed to the Romans 2000 years ago, like Moses and Jeremiah predicted that the Lord would make happen, if the Israelites weren't good enough:

"If you ever make idols, the LORD will be angry, and you won't have long to live, because the LORD will let you be wiped out. Only a few of you will survive, and the LORD will force you to leave the land and will scatter you among the nations." (Deuteronomy 4:26-27)

"Israel, today I am giving you the laws and teachings of the LORD your God. And if you don't obey them all, He will put many curses on you.   ...
The LORD will let you be defeated by your enemies, and you will scatter in all directions."
(Deuteronomy 28:15,25)

They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His presence ... 2 Kings 17:17,18

The LORD said,
      People of Judah, I am the LORD your God, but you have refused to obey me, and you didn't change when I punished you. And now, you no longer even pretend to be faithful to me.   ...
      You have disobeyed me by putting your disgusting idols in my temple, and now the temple itself is digusting to me. At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built alters where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this. So watch out!
Jeremiah 7:28 and 7:30-32

The LORD said,
      I destroyed the land because people disobeyed me and rejected my laws and teachings. They were stubborn and worshiped Baal, just as their ancestors did. So I, the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel, promise them poison to eat and drink. I'll scatter them in foreign countries that they and their ancestors have never heard of. Finally, I will send enemy soldiers to kill every last one of them.
Jeremiah 9:12-16

"I'll scatter you all to foreign countries." Yes, it was called "The Great Diaspora". The Romans got fed up with the Jews, so they kicked the Jews out of Israel and Palestine, and sent them everywhere else, like to Egypt and Persia, and Europe, and the Ukraine and Russia. But the Isrealis ignore that history and claim that they still own all of Palestine because God gave it to them. That is wishful thinking, ignoring what the Bible actually says, and denying what really happened.

And giving the Jews poison to eat and drink, and sending enemy soldiers to kill every one of them does sound a lot like the Nazis exterminating the Jews in Auschwitz, doesn't it?

Have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth"





December 15, 2013, Sunday, Fernhill Wetlands:

Various ducks
Various ducks, walking on water
There is some liquid water in the background. Just enough.

These are mostly Mallard Ducks, with a sprinkling of Pintail Ducks in there. The Pintail Drakes have pure white breasts. Look center, left, and right. The female Pintails look so much like female Mallards that it's difficult to distinguish them at this distance. The only obvious difference is that female Mallards have a stripe of irridescent blue on their wings and the female Pintails don't.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese hanging out on the frozen shore

Wild Ducks
Various Wild Ducks
The stunning ones with white breasts are Pintail Drakes. The ones with reddish-brown breasts and green heads are Mallard Drakes. The plain brown ducks are females, either female Mallards or female Pintails.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese on shore

Ducks Wintering
Ducks Wintering

[More bird photos below, here.]





BLOG NOTE: PROPAGANDA TRICK OF THE DAY: Framing the Argument:

President Obama's press conference, 20 December 2013:

While he was trying to minimize the damage caused by revelations that the NSA is spying on everybody's phone calls all of the time, and a Federal judge declared that the NSA surveillance program was an illegal violation of the American peoples' Constitutional protection against unwarranted searches, President Obama said, "...Whatever benefits this program has, may be outweighed by the concerns that people have..." (about their privacy and rights). Obama didn't say, "outweighed by the gravity of egregious violation of our Constitutional rights", he only said that some nervous nellies were "concerned". As if there was really nothing wrong going on, it's just those silly people who worry, and now Obama has to soothe their hurt feelings.

Those childish worrying twits are such a bother. Having secret police spying on everybody all of the time didn't hurt the people in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia, now did it? Didn't the Gestapo and the KGB do a good job of defending their countries, and respecting their peoples' rights?

You can trust the secret police. Really. They always have your best interests at heart.





Wacky News: Too Funny: Australian dogs hooked on toads

Dogs in Australia Hooked on Psychedelic Toads
Licking the hallucinogenic sweat off cane toads has led to a rash of canine addicts.

http://www.thefix.com/content/dogs-australia-hooked-psychedelic-toads

Cane Toad

Dogs in Queensland, Australia are struggling with a new addiction, and it has nothing to do with bones or chew toys. Instead, dogs are getting high on toad sweat and, just like your run-of-the-mill human addicts, they are going to great lengths — risking health and life — to get their fix. The dogs hunt the toad in order to trigger the excretion of the poisonous hallucinogenic (bufotenine) perspiration, and then they lick it.





BLOG NOTE: 2013.12.21:

I was just perusing this document from the U.S. Government:

"Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality"

(This publication may be downloaded from http://store.samhsa.gov/home, or in archive form from this web site:
http://www.orange-papers.info/SAMHSA--2012_NSDUH_Summary_of_National_Findings.zip

I examined what they had to say about treatment. It was less than enlightening, to put it mildly.

The report says:

7.3. Need for and Receipt of Specialty Treatment

This section discusses the need for and receipt of treatment for a substance use problem at a "specialty" treatment facility. Specialty treatment is defined as treatment received at any of the following types of facilities: hospitals (inpatient only), drug or alcohol rehabilitation facilities (inpatient or outpatient), or mental health centers. It does not include treatment at an emergency room, private doctor's office, self-help group, prison or jail, or hospital as an outpatient. An individual is defined as needing treatment for an alcohol or drug use problem if he or she met the DSM-IV (APA, 1994) diagnostic criteria for alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse in the past 12 months or if he or she received specialty treatment for alcohol use or illicit drug use in the past 12 months.

They came up with two reasons for someone "needing treatment":

  1. People "needed treatment" if they "met the DSM-IV (APA, 1994) diagnostic criteria for alcohol or illicit drug dependence or abuse in the past 12 months". But they did not establish that treatment did anything good. They did not establish any real need for "treatment", nor did they establish any standards for what constituted good treatment. They might as well have declared that someone needs Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse if he qualifies as an alcohol abuser by the DSM-IV definition.

  2. They classify someone as needing treatment if he got treatment. That is nonsensical loopy logic. "He got treatment so he must have needed treatment." And again, they supplied no standards for treatment. Reciting Grimm fairy tales could be the treatment program. Or, attending meetings of a cult religion could be called treatment.

And again, there was no information about whether "treatment" actually works.

I expect such incompetence and double-talk from so-called "treatment centers", but not from taxpayer-funded U.S. Government agencies that are supposed to be solving our problems.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters381.html#1Stepper ]

Date: Wed, December 18, 2013 10:00 pm     (answered 21 November 2013)
From: "#1 Stepper"
Subject: I can't get enough of your site (please exclude my name)

Dear Orange,

Thank you for giving me the *strength* to seek pleasure again in life! I have been on your site for the past three days now and I can't get enough of your witty responses to the angry letters written by AA fanatics. It's funny to see how many 12 steppers are 'resentful' against your resentment against AA. Let's only hope a thorough tenth step provides these members some relief.

I love how you use logic in your arguments and point out the fallacies in AA literature. I am a college graduate, with a bachelors degree in Sociology from a top ranked university. I took Philosophy of Logic while I was in college and it was one of my favorite classes. Having a degree is something I am proud of, especially because I know (and feel free to say now) that AA doesn't encourage self-confidence and pride in one's own achievements.

I have a mental health condition, specifically Bipolar Disorder, as well as fibromyalgia, and have some self-esteem issues and social anxiety. I feel a lot of my health problems resulted not from genetics but environmental factors. I lived with a father who was addicted to alcohol and drugs and a mother who had severe anxiety issues. To say the least it was a not a supportive environment and I grew up with a lot of screaming at my childhood home. I didn't learn how to cope very well with my own feelings and my parents' display of anger.

To jump ahead to adulthood, where I moved past my insecurities and dove into academics, I enrolled in College. I graduated in 2007 and decided to work as an executive assistant before applying to grad school. I had a very demanding boss and felt humiliated by the way he would yell at me in front of my co-workers. Not feeling supported by friends or having the correct mental health diagnosis at the time, I was feeling physically and emotionally drained. I had a mental health episode and went to a psychiatric hospital, then an intensive outpatient program. At the intensive outpatient program I was introduced to a chemical dependency class. My psychiatrist and therapist were hesitant about me taking the class and didn't think I had a 'chemical dependency' issue, that my issue was mental health only, but the LSCW who facilitated the class felt I belonged there because I told her I was still having a glass or two of wine a night to calm down and fall asleep (which I was, even though she may have believed it was more than one or two).. she told me to go to AA for help and support in quitting and that I was chemically dependent. I was very emotionally vulnerable, and didn't have many friends at the time who wanted to be around me in my depressed state, so I went to AA.

At my first meeting I was shocked by how cult-like the whole atmosphere was. I was disturbed by the writings on the wall which spoke about God's will and trusted servants (The 12 steps and traditions), the Speaker in tears saying how he just couldn't stop drinking bottle after bottle, talking about numerous blackouts. I thought *wow I don't belong here..*

What really got me was a person's introduction as, "Hi, my name's Joe Blow, and I'm an alcoholic." Then the everyone in the audience responding all at the same time with, "Hi Joe Blow!"* What the fuck..(I thought).. they all respond at the same time.. this is creepy. *

Anyway, the counselor at the intensive outpatient program kept coaxing me to go back, and since I was feeling very vulnerable, I decided to go back and get a sponsor.. my sponsor was 6 years younger than me (I just turned 24). I only picked her because she was the only other young woman in the room.

During our first visit the sponsor suggested, strongly suggested, I do 90 meetings in 90 days. That people who didn't do 90 and 90 'went out' and relapsed and didn't come back.. that people who leave AA die from this disease. She kept saying 'disease' over and over, and even asked me to agree with her that it was a disease. I simply nodded. She said that I must be willing to do whatever it takes to save my life.. This seemed like a raving lunatic pushing an agenda on me, and I questioned my safety being in close proximity with her, so I tried to hide my fear and doubt in my eyes.. I didn't feel safe around her, even in a public setting.

I didn't say no to her.. I obliged begrudgingly. I thought she would come after me or hurt me if I said no right then and there, which may have been an irrational fear looking back, but I have had trauma in my past and she triggered me. I have now been diagnosed with PTSD which I didn't know I had at the time. I was only a few weeks out of a short-stay at the mental hospital, and this young-lady was very unstable. I felt I had to say yes or she could potentially hurt me.. anyway after a few more AA meetings and phone calls with her I called her up and told her I was done.. we had a few back and forth exchanges and as she sounded more and more panicky I hung up on her. I never spoke to her or saw her again.

I ended up returning to work and getting laid off after finishing the intensive outpatient program, which I now believe had to due with my physical limitations of working in a high-paced office environment. My chronic physical pain limited my productivity, and I was emotionally distraught from the fact that my Dad had a severe stroke. This was a few weeks after I had returned to work after the outpatient program. He was paralyzed on the left side of his body and he had suffered significant brain damage, his cognitive functioning declined.. he had a condition similar to Dementia, which made him the mental age of a 5 year old.

After I was laid off and didn't have much savings or unemployment money, and hadn't found a new job after a few interviews, my mother pushed me into getting on Disability, and as a result I moved into a mental health rehab facility..then a transitional mental health facility which was co-ed.

At the transitional facility I was hit on quite a lot by one guy in particular, who I didn't realize had a history of crack-cocaine abuse in his past. I started a relationship with him and one day he offered me a beer, then he pulled out a glass pipe.. he offered me a hit. I said no, but he kept insisting it was coke (which I had tried a few times at the clubs shortly after I graduated college and had enjoyed), so I thought fuck it, and tried it. I kept coming back for more.

I acted out in ways I hadn't before. I didn't keep up with responsibilities in my transitional house and only called my mom to dip into my savings. Honestly I felt the drug use was sort of a nice cop out from the responsibilities of life. It was a good excuse to avoid dealing with people and a living situation I wasn't happy about. Even in a drug addicted state I came to this realization that while I didn't want to keep up this lifestyle forever I liked escaping responsibility and getting some pleasure out of drug use, even though it was only a pleasurable high for a short time.. My then boyfriend had recently gotten his own place, and with no curfew at my transitional house, I felt I could keep it up for awhile until I was 'done' with it.

That was two years ago. As an agreement to keep the housing I had (since I had come clean to the case manager that I was using when there were complaints about me not keeping up with chores, not being around for house meetings etc.) I entered an inpatient drug rehab. I did well there, I was the 'star client.' I honestly liked it so much because even though I suffer from chronic physical pain and social anxiety, I love to learn and I like school settings. I thought the readings they handed out in group were intriguing for the most part. However, an unfortunate part of the program was that I adopt a lot of the 'disease' mentality and 'belief' that I am powerless.. this was because of the 12 step program to a certain level.. but I always had doubts that it was a spiritual disease in nature and that the only remedy was a 12 step program for life.

While I was there I had a discussion with a counselor about how the transitional housing was too 'triggering to move back into' because other people weren't sober there and we decided that I should move to a clean and sober environment in order to stay clean. I had doubts and felt that this fear of mine was irrational, but I went with the decision anyway, which looking back on it was a big mistake. I went into another inpatient facility because that's what they recommended, telling me there were weekend passes and you could work while attending the program and that there was a lot of 'freedom.' It was the complete opposite when I got there and I struggled with finding housing afterward. I wasn't happy with the choices I was making and had trouble with standing up for what I wanted to do.. as all the counselors and my family members now knew that I was in 'recovery' and 'vulnerable' and needed 'guidance.' I ended up going into a transitional housing for women only in a very bad neighborhood and contacting my ex and using again because I really didn't feel done with my drug of choice.

At present, 12/18/13, I have over six months sober from drugs and alcohol, and haven't had a cigarette in over a year (I never liked cigs, only took drags off them occasionally). I was attending AA and NA off and on until three weeks ago. Leading up to the past year and a half I have made a lot of bad choices and was in a very unhealthy relationship. I used drugs with him for about 5 months the last time and afforded my it by gaining access to a credit card with a high credit line and a cash advance option. I made bad choices and was physically addicted, but I am not powerless over a disease of addiction, I've never bought that.

I still struggle with my self esteem and setting boundaries, but I know I don't have to do a 12 step 'remedy' for the rest of my life to stay sober. So many of the men attempted to '13th step' me and I honestly have never left a meeting 'feeling better' than before, as many members have said.. most of the time I've felt worse or about the same. While some of the women I find are nice people, I believe they were nice people to begin with and not because of a spiritual awakening or psychic change like the big book talks about. While there are nice members, many of the members have come across as very judgmental and self righteous. I find a lot of narcissistic, self-righteous types in there tend to gain more and more shallow self-esteem from using the program to gain followers. Being able to chair meetings or speak with no cross talk gives them an audience of their supposed admirers. They give detailed emotionally driven speeches of their gratitude for the program and amazing life, talking in circles with emphatic language and tears at times even. While sensitive types like myself are told to just accept them and not have any type of 'resentment' against them. That feeling resentment or judging their behavior is 'taking their inventory.' When in reality, by stuffing strong emotions and feelings, my esteem drops and so does my self worth. I like the saying, and believe it applies to many self-help support gurus and the 12 steps in general, "Hell is paved with good intentions." The advice of members to newcomers and sponsees to not hold resentments, is what many would consider a good intention on their part to help the newcomer..but it has negative consequences.

Today I have over six months of sobriety. I know it's because I made a choice to stop using and stuck with it. At the moment I am attending a drug and alcohol outpatient which I joined after I detoxed six months ago and needed housing. I then transferred to a different transitional housing, the one that I lived at before, where the case manager is a minister in a Christian church and likes the philosophy behind 12 steps.. he said I could move in so long as I completed the drug and alcohol program. I agreed. But now I'm wondering that since I am not court-mandated to go to a drug and alcohol program, and since the transitional housing facility I live in is a county-subsidized housing, if he can legally require I go to a faith-based treatment center. I honestly think he can't. The outpatient I am at doesn't require me to attend outside meetings now that I am no longer in their housing, which is a big plus.

This last Monday I told the AA circle at the outpatient program that I am done with meetings and AA and how I couldn't go through with what I felt was a religious program claiming to heal a mental and physical health condition. That I found out the success rate for AA was 5% which was the same as the spontaneous remission rate for the disease. That I am not just my addiction and when I quit this time I quit for good and haven't relapsed. After the discussion portion was finished and a group member was asked to read the promises, she said, "These promises only come true if you work an AA or NA program." I held my breath. I realized I was now an 'infidel.' These promises, which are intangible and subjective at best, are not going to come true for me now that I've left AA. If only I was a true believer and could of surrendered to the program. Now I'm doomed and not given this blissful state the promises guarantee. At worst I'll relapse and die from this deadly disease, and at best I'll live in an angry state of abstinence and die a dry drunk.

However, what about doing Yoga, going to the gym, eating right, and waiting for my brain to heal? What about just thinking about the negative consequences when I do have a thought or an urge to use drugs or alcohol again? Because that's what I've done the past six months and that's what's worked for me. By playing the tape through and avoiding high risk situations I've kept sober. Not because I surrendered to a higher power's will for me. I just know that while drugs and alcohol might provide temporary relief and a sense of pleasure in the short-term, in the long run I'm likely to overuse them again and end up becoming physically sick as well as emotionally and end up around unhealthy people again. My promise to myself is not to pick up again.

The promises sound like a promised state of 'peaceful bliss,' sort of an enlightened euphoria that a lot of self-help gurus use to keep newcomers coming back to the program. A promise to keep you there as an obedient servant to the cult.

AA definitely fits the criteria for a cult, and even the pop culture psychologist Dr. Phil has a page on his website with advice on how to spot and stay away from a cult. I found out that his criteria was quite similar to yours.

http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/581

CORRECTION: TRY http://drphil.com/articles/article/578

Thank you Orange :)

Sincerely your #1 Stepper.


Date: Wed, December 18, 2013 10:52 pm     (answered 21 December 2013)
From: "#1 Stepper"
Subject: One more thing (I sent you the wrong link)

Here is Dr. Phil's cult warning signs, which I thought were similar to the cult criteria you listed:
http://drphil.com/articles/article/578

#3 really 'hit home' with me..

Instill new sense of identity: New identity is reinforced by the group environment, where you get no feedback except from other members who tell you that they understand the right behavior and the right way of being.

Sincerely your(s),

#1 Stepper


Date: Wed, December 18, 2013 11:01 pm     (answered 21 December 2013)
From: "#1 Stepper"
Subject: Messed up on a bit of editing there

My email came out a bit longer than I wanted it to be.. When I re-read it I realized that I messed up on editing it.. I stated I had six months twice. Oh well :). I really just wanted to share that I like your site and about my own personal experience with AA.

:)

#1 Stepper


Date: Thu, December 19, 2013 12:56 am     (answered 21 December 2013)
From: "#1 Stepper"
Subject: last few things

Please don't post my name on the site — just as #1 stepper, and leave out my email address. When I re-read Dr. Phil's warning signs of a brainwashed victim #4 struck me, 4. Loss of spontaneity: A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

I've had this problem since my mother put me into therapy as a young child. I felt traumatized by what was going on at home, and being told I had 'mental illness' and that I was different from the other kids I constantly felt 'alone' and 'different' and only felt good about myself during sports and physical education.. When I was able to get out of my head and was a good athlete.. later because of my Dad and Mom splitting up moving into a new town I felt 'different' again and was bullied at school. I have looked for ways to feel 'comfortable' in my own skin and drinking at social gatherings helped.. but I didn't really do that in excess or on a regular basis.

I was hoping that even though I knew 12-step support groups didn't provide treatment for drug addiction I would gain better social skills and self-esteem but I've felt worse.. I have gotten naturally better at communicating with certain people but I constantly have this inner critic that feels judged.. and the 'group-think' characteristic of that AA circle at my outpatient program just makes me cringe. I just have fallen so much for charismatic charming instantly loving people who really have a hidden agenda or hide under the guise of helping me when I really think I just need to learn and maintain my independence again. I feel that being exposed to AA and counseling I learned to trust authority figures too easily and to conform to them when they did show me compassion and love..despite evidence that they were pushing opinions on me.

I don't like big groups of people or cliques and being exposed to them constantly isn't helping my anxiety but making it worse.. I feel better overall from when I did when I first came to the treatment but I think that's the natural course of my brain recovering from using drugs and alcohol in such excess.

Anyway I just really like your site. I used to blog and journal quite a lot, and write out essays and statements and liked research papers in school. I think grad school or a good type of job that I can handle physically and mentally would be beneficial to me.

Hello #1 Stepper,

Thank you for the letters and the history. I'm sorry to hear about the suffering that you have been going through, but glad to hear that you are getting better, and also getting freer.

The first thing that I saw in your letters was that the so-called "treatment programs" actually made you much worse off, what with drug addicts introducing patients to drugs and then 13th-Stepping them.

That is just so typical. But then again, good help that will happily work for very low wages and only have the patients' best interests at heart are just so hard to find. Ex-cons who want to smoke dope and get laid are a lot easier to hire.

You wrote:

They give detailed emotionally driven speeches of their gratitude for the program and amazing life, talking in circles with emphatic language and tears at times even. While sensitive types like myself are told to just accept them and not have any type of 'resentment' against them. That feeling resentment or judging their behavior is 'taking their inventory.' When in reality, by stuffing strong emotions and feelings, my esteem drops and so does my self worth. I like the saying, and believe it applies to many self-help support gurus and the 12 steps in general, "Hell is paved with good intentions." The advice of members to newcomers and sponsees to not hold resentments, is what many would consider a good intention on their part to help the newcomer..but it has negative consequences.

Oh that is so true that it bears repeating. "Stuffing your feelings" is self-damaging behavior. So is the idea that you are defective because you have those feelings. That is in the Cult Test, in several ways:

You mentioned the baloney about the Promises, and how they won't materialize for you if you quit A.A. (or so they say). That is a blatant lie. I don't want to brag about myself too much, but I have 13 years clean and sober now, and I haven't been to an A.A. meeting in about 12 years. And I never worked the Steps, and I never had a sponsor. And I don't believe in the Big Book or Bill Wilson's "Higher Power", and yet, I haven't had a drink or a hit of dope or even a cigarette in 13 years. And I'm happy and I have more serenity than any of those Steppers who write those hate-mail letters to tell me how wrong I am.

Incidentally, "The Promises" that Bill Wilson wrote are a real put-down. They say that you are currently a real spiritual slob, and not happy, not serene, you don't understand, you don't feel useful, and on and on.

Here is Bill Wilson's list of promises:

        If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
        Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, pages 83-84.

Not a single one of those promises is true. It's a shame that that stuff doesn't really work. We could be cranking out saints on an assembly-line basis if it did.

Notice that The Promises actually say that you are a real spiritual slob. You are not happy or serene or grateful. You are selfish and you regret the past. You are not free. You don't see. You are self-seeking. You are afraid. You feel self-pity. You feel useless. You don't know how to handle situations, and you can't do things for yourself. Geez. You are a real loser.

And if The Promises don't materialize in your life, it's because you are a defective loser who didn't work The Program right, and you weren't "painstaking about this phase of our development."

The Program is perfect; you are a loser.
Yes, it's a cult.

Another critic noted that "The Promises" were written in the future tense, not the present, and asked "Why?"

A possible answer that he suggested is that the early AA members were themselves still waiting for the great results of doing the Twelve Steps when they published the Big Book. Bill Wilson and his colleagues were trying to reassure themselves that the Promised Land lay just around the corner...

About this question:

I'm wondering that since I am not court-mandated to go to a drug and alcohol program, and since the transitional housing facility I live in is a county-subsidized housing, if he can legally require I go to a faith-based treatment center.

The answer to that is super-simple: No he cannot. That is illegal and unConstitutional. (And it would still be illegal even if you were court-mandated. No one can legally force his favorite religion on someone else.) Also, the 12-Step "faith" is heretical and unChristian, so that minister doesn't even have his theology straight. That "minister in a Christian church" who "likes the philosophy behind 12 steps" should learn what he is talking about. He should read The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

Well, I don't feel like I have to give you a lot of advice, because it sounds like you have things pretty well figured out already. So I'll just wish you a good day and Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     "Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination,
**     acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for
**     harm done, and working with others straight from the
**     Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their
**     former leader in America, and nowhere else."
**       == Bill Wilson,
**         Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, page 39.
*
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.





December 15, 2013, Sunday, Fernhill Wetlands:

American Coots
American Coots
They are timid and cautious, and running for the safety of the water. That's ice that they are walking on.

American Coots
American Coots

Duckscape
Duckscape

Coot and Ducks
Coot and Ducks
This Coot is coming towards me. He was one of the Coots who was running away from me, but now he sees me putting out some rolled oats, and he knows what I'm doing, so he turned around and he's coming back. He probably remembers me from last summer. Like so much of the wildlife, Coots are pretty sharp. They quickly learn who their friends are, and who their enemies are. Coots like rolled oats too, especially now in the winter when everything else is frozen, and good food is hard to find, so he's coming to get his share of it.

[The story of the birds continues here.]





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Last updated 28 December 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters381.html