Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXCI

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters391.html#Bill_N ]

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:28:40 -0600     (answered 16 February 2014)
Subject: What's your point
From: Bill N.

Occasionally I run across these amazingly long and detailed critiques of AA.

They're often rife with out-of-context snippets of from some book that appears to support whatever grievance you have against AA and it's founders.

What is your point? What are you trying to accomplish with this continuos attack on people, mostly long since dead?

Are you trying to disprove or tarnish the efficacy of AA? Do you ever balance your merciless grinding with the good done this fellowship? Are you trying to assert or prove it is some kind of cult?

Why do you continue to grind your axe against this organization?

Of what value is your contribution/obsession?

If Bill Wilson was as unfaithful as often as you portray him, that's a tragedy for Lois, for any woman he used and for Wilson himself. But how does this lessen the impact of the results of the fellowship that grew up around him.

Drunks are drunks. Sobriety doesn't confer sainthood. Maybe you've found a better way.

Do you revel in this negativity? Does it inspire you to troll in the failings of others?

If so, how sad.

Bill N.
Kansas City, MO

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 23:44:02 -0600     (answered 16 February 2014)
From: Bill N.
Subject: Addendum

By the way, the appropriate and grammatically correct expression is "I couldn't care less."

Do you know anything about the story of David in the Old Testament? Wasn't he a liar and a thief and a leader of genocides and an enslaver of conquered peoples? Was't he an adulterer? Wasn't he a murder conspirator? Didn't he live completely outside the Genesis 2 concept one marriage, one woman, one man?

And wasn't he called a man after God's own heart?

Wouldn't that make him something of a hypocrite by your standards? Or would God be the hypocrite?

Since you grab a chunk of the New Testament to create your strawman, you must know that most of the characters through whom God worked were deeply flawed nobodies.

God works wonders through the weakest sheep in the flock. Perhaps one of those sheep was a guy named Bill Wilson.

Maybe you've chosen to look at Wilson through a lens of your own design and thus can't see clearly that what he helped found was far greater than the man himself.

Just a thought.

Bill N.

Hello Bill,

Thanks for the letters and the senitiments. Alas, you are missing the point. It's very simple: It's a sin and a crime to foist an old quack cure on sick people and lie to them about how well it works. Period.

My introduction to A.A. (here) was from a so-called "outpatient treatment program for alcoholism". I discovered that the heart of the supposed treatment was sending people to cult religion meetings. That is, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. It didn't work. People relapsed left and right until there were so few of us left that I was making jokes about it being a game of Survivor. And guess what? I'm the survivor, the last one left alive in the "treatment program", and I did it without any A.A. or cult religion. (I have 13 years sober now. Also 13 years off of drugs, and even 13 years off of cigarettes.)

You don't need to worry about me "tarnishing the efficacy" of A.A. Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't have a cure rate, it has a failure rate. A.A. doesn't work.

You asked,

Are you trying to disprove or tarnish the efficacy of AA? Do you ever balance your merciless grinding with the good done this fellowship? Are you trying to assert or prove it is some kind of cult?
There is no efficacy to tarnish. I do balance my criticism. See the file What's Good About A.A.? Unfortunately, the list is short, and as another correspondent said, he could get all of those things in many other, better, places.

I am not "trying to prove that A.A. is a cult." I already have. Read the Cult Test: The Cult Test, and Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult

You asked,

Why do you continue to grind your axe against this organization?
Because A.A. continues to commit its crimes. A.A. still encourages coercive recruiting and sentencing people to A.A. meetings. A.A. continues to protect sexual predators who prey on the newcomer women. A.A. continues to lie about how well its superstitious nonsense works on curing addictions.

Of what value is your contribution/obsession?

Some people have told me that my telling them the truth helped them a lot, even saved their lives.

If Bill Wilson was as unfaithful as often as you portray him, that's a tragedy for Lois, for any woman he used and for Wilson himself. But how does this lessen the impact of the results of the fellowship that grew up around him.

That is classic minimization and denial. Many A.A. members claim that Bill Wilson was "Guided by God" when he wrote the Big Book. No, he wasn't. He was just another cult-leader crook and A.A. is nothing but his racket.

Then you rationalized some more:

God works wonders through the weakest sheep in the flock. Perhaps one of those sheep was a guy named Bill Wilson.

Nope. God wasn't working through Bill Wilson. Now maybe the Devil was, but not God.

Drunks are drunks. Sobriety doesn't confer sainthood. Maybe you've found a better way.
Now that is more minimization and rationalization. "It's okay for A.A. to be a criminal fraud because drunks aren't nice people." You are parroting Bill Wilson' constant put-downs of alcoholics. A.A. pretends to like alcoholics and want to "removed the stigma of alcoholism", as in "Let us love you until you can love yourself." But that is just another standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick. Actually, several of them:

A.A. really has no respect for alcoholics. Read The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy for a whole lot of Bill Wilson's stereotyping of "those disgusting alcoholics".

Yes, I have found a better way. Don't participate in cult religions, and don't base your life on their lies. If you really want to know about my better way, read this: How did you get to where you are?

Then you used the same minimization and rationalization again in trying to assert that David and Bill Wilson were similar kinds of disreputable people. And you used the propaganda trick of "Sly Suggestions":

Do you know anything about the story of David in the Old Testament? Wasn't he a liar and a thief and a leader of genocides and an enslaver of conquered peoples? Was't he an adulterer? Wasn't he a murder conspirator? Didn't he live completely outside the Genesis 2 concept one marriage, one woman, one man?

The story of David does not make it okay for Bill Wilson to be a lying thief and philanderer and fake holy man who deceived sick people.

And this is Sly Suggestions again:

God works wonders through the weakest sheep in the flock. Perhaps one of those sheep was a guy named Bill Wilson.
Maybe Satan works through the weak hands like Bill Wilson.

Maybe you've chosen to look at Wilson through a lens of your own design and thus can't see clearly that what he helped found was far greater than the man himself.

Bill Wilson hasn't helped anybody. He just wasted millions of people's time with an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

Now, for the single most important question:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

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

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

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

HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

Please answer that one simple question while you are hinting that A.A. works and has helped a lot of people.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Many of the demons of the darkness pretend to be creatures of the light.
**     Some of them are so dishonest that they have even fooled themselves into
**     believing that they are creatures of the light, and on the side of what
**     is true and right.  You can discover what they really are by shining the
**     light of truth on them, and seeing if they immediately scurry into the
**     shadows like cockroaches.

[The previous letter from Veauamil_P is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters391.html#Veauamil_P ]

Date: Friday, 07 February 2014 12:23     (answered 16 February 2014)
From: "Veauamil illè P."
Subject: Re: reply to last letter

Almost utterly hilarious...actually it's really insufferable. To have to search your website for responses of any kind, at least if one is looking for anything specific. But the truisms that stand out are:

Hello again, Veauamil,

My email system is still difficult to use because of problems from moving the web site to a new host. Nevertheless, you seem to have managed to find the answer to your letter without too much difficulty. (Hint: look in the last file of letters.)

1). Your absolute anonymity, which makes you at least as guilty as those "old timers" you slander.

Ah yes, here we go again. Bill Wilson wrote that anonymity was a great spiritual virtue, and two of the 12 Traditions even demand it, but Steppers routinely declare that if a critic of A.A. like me practices anonymity, that is "cowardice" and "hiding behind anonymity." Nothing like hypocrisy and a double standard, is there?

11 — Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
12 — Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

You haven't read much of my web site before complaining, have you? I broke my anonymity many years ago, and revealed my birth name many, many times. Like here:

My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in rural Oregon, west of Portland.

2). You unwillingness to reply directly to a personal email...other than to say "I am using this Inbox account to get email out ...As usual, the reply is in the attached web page" clearly demonstrates your unwillingness — and perhaps inability — to address, or redress a direct and personal conversation in any adult, intelligent, responsible manner...you hide behind the anonymity and vagaries of a website.

I did reply directly. And I said that I was sending out the email from an Inbox account because the email on the host machine wouldn't work right. (It won't send letters with attachments.)

I always answer letters with web pages, because that way the links work, and I use the same text in both the answer letter and on my web site. I don't format the answer two different ways, plain text and HTML. That is twice the work. I just use HTML for all answers. So everybody gets a web page for their answer. Surely you should be able to handle that.

3). You speak in generalities. You don't actually present any hard core, irrefutable evidence of anything, good, bad or indifferent. As a mathematician and engineer myself, I can assure you with 100% provable honesty that statistics — ANY statistics — are really nothing but nonsense. They can be, and essentially always are, manipulated to suit any one persons' or organizations'' or surveys' desired "proof" as it were. While 'numbers don't lie' every formula can only calculate the numbers that are input and input is always dependant upon human intentions. Any person with at least a high school diploma (so long as they paid attention in school) could speak in generalities such as you do, about any topic, and talk all day as if they actually knew something...in other words, if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with........ I'm sure you are at least bright enough to finish the last word of that beloved cliché, eh?

I present lots of specific information. The tests of A.A. done by Dr. George E. Vaillant the A.A. Trustee, Dr. Brandsma, Dr. Walsh, and Drs. Orford and Edwards are not generalities. They are specific clinical studies that showed that A.A. failed to sober up the alcoholics. Read this: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

Your attempt to dismiss all statistics as invalid is really typical A.A. behavior. They try to reject information that they don't like, such as evidence that A.A. does not work. And they use the lamest tricks to try to do it, like claiming that all statistics are worthless. (But when Bill Wilson made up statistics out of thin air, claiming that A.A. works great, those statistics are okay.)

I see from your signature below that you say that you have a degree in psychology. They must have made you take at least a few courses in statistics to get that degree, because statistics is at the heart of modern psychology. Did you sleep through them? Did you cut classes? Are you trying to claim that you don't believe in Gaussian distribution or the Bell Curve or Normal Distribution or Standard Deviations or P-values? Oh really? Do you also reject all of modern science as an illusion?

Are you ignorant of the difference between good math and bad math?

4). In your anonymity and generalities, you still have yet to produce any irrefutable proof that you yourself have any sort of real qualifications to present any of the comments that you post on your site...at the end of the day, all you are actually posting are your own opinions which really only have any true meaning to you. And opinions are derived from personal experiences — both successful and unsuccessful. Reading the opinions you post on your site, it doesn't take a mathematician or an engineer nor even a psychologist (oh...I also have a Masters in Psychology, for the record) to determine that you were unsuccessful.

You are trying to reject a lot of clinical studies of A.A. efficacy by complaining about my credentials. I don't need any credentials to report what the doctors found.

And your alleged Masters Degree does not invalidate what Doctors and Ph.Ds have established.

You spend immense amounts of time spewing your negatives "facts and truths" about the success rate — or lack thereof — of a 12 step "religious cult". For a person to spend THAT much time and energy devoted to slandering a group, or a category of groups, is a clear indication of intense angst. And that level of hostility never exists in any person without at least SOME measure of personal responsibility. The problem here is not with AA, not with NA, nor OA, GA, whatever A (anonymous, obviously) nor is it with at 12 step "program" or variation thereof. The problem here is obviously and clearly with the individual spewing the angst and so-called "provable facts" on the website...there is clearly something skewed with a person who desires to be known as Agent Orange to begin with — are you carcinogenic? You're certainly caustic...in a "polite and respectful" manner.

And that is a standard A.A. ad hominem that proves nothing about how well A.A. works.

Criticizing harmful fraud and quackery is not a neurosis, or "something skewed". If you had actually studied psychology you should know that.

What is wrong with you that you do not denounce fake medical treatment or "therapy" like Alcoholics Anonymous?

And you try to dismiss all criticism of A.A. and its 12-Step kin as merely 'so-called "provable facts"'. You can't understand doctors' reports of the results of clinical studies and randomized longitudinal controlled studies? You don't have a Masters Degree, do you? All that you have is a few years of indoctrination in a cult.

I am not supporting AA. nor any other facet of "self help"...my issue here is not whether AA is more or less successful than any other means of drying oneself out — Although, despite the 'low success rate of AA; and yes, the odds ARE against the majority of persons who genuinely suffer from alcoholism to EVER get sober, with or without AA, God, Treatment facilities, etc... Despite the low success rate of AA, they are provably the most successful means of helping Alcoholics to acquire sobriety — as opposed to the chains in the rock walls in subterranean basements of many a "hospital"...quite a lot of which still exist. As museums these days; but as recently as 80 years ago — the last "bastion" for the drunkard.

Actually, no, the odds are not against the majority of people who are quitting their addictions. You haven't actually read the web site that you are criticizing, have you? Try these reports: The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from the Harvard Medical School, said:

On their own
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

So much for the sayings that "Everybody needs a support group" and "Nobody can do it alone". Most successful people do.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, performed the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. For it, they interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

I am neither supporting nor denying anything about AA...the problem [with really all drunks — and people who hide...) is not "what program works and what program does not work". The problem is not whether "a cult can or cannot sober a drunkard". The problem is not even "Is God Himself strong enough — or does He even care enough — to sober up drunkards"? The problem is — plain and simple, and undeniably — a total lack of willingness to stand up and take personal responsibility for ones' own thoughts and behaviors. As long as a person spends all of his or her energy throwing blame, finding fault, slandering, pointing fingers, etc...add nauseam...as long as a person spends the bulk (if not all) of his/her energy wearing the robe of "victim" and :"saint" and blaming all that is wrong on someone else, then he/she will NEVER be free from whatever ails him/her, neither through AA, Medicine, Psychology, Science, not even God Himself. Playing the 'blame game' is a sure and proven way to remain locked into whatever emotional or psychic or spiritual prison that a person has (99 out of 100 times) inflicted upon him/herself.

You started off with a good premise: "take responsibility for your own actions and thoughts", but then went off on a tangent and declared that criticizing a cult religion that sells quackery and superstition is a bad thing to do. That is invalid logic.

And of course you are supporting A.A., by trying to discredit any criticism of it. So do you make money selling A.A. to the sick people? Is that why you are so upset with criticism of Alcoholics Anonymous?

And you — with your incessant blaming and supposed fact touting website, hiding in anonymity (as surely as those you verbally assault), speaking in generalities (because sure hard facts are not exactly what you are adept at producing) and presenting yourself as some self proclaimed expert (on what is anybody's' guess) — you, with your narcissism and hypocrisy, clearly and undeniably have a complete unwillingness to stand up and take full responsibility for any unsuccessful ventures you may have pursued during the course of your...life? No doubt about it...you are at least as guilty as those you slander, of the same coercive and 'self deceiving' behaviors as your apparent enemy.

Again, I'm not hiding behind anonymity. You really should bother to read something before criticizing it. That way, you might know what you are talking about.

I'm not speaking in generalities. I speak in specifics like, "The results with Dr. Vaillant's first 100 A.A.-treated patients, after 8 years of tracking them, was: 5 continuously sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking." That is not a generality.

Your continued Ad Hominem attacks reveal that you really can't stand someone criticizing your favorite cult. Do you make money selling A.A. to the patients? Or are you just an A.A. member?

I've read posts on your website where you also verbally assault various professions, pursuit of higher education, and a variety of [apparent] "status-quo" goals and achievements. All opinions to which you are entitled. And under the First Amendment, you are also entitled (unfortunately for the world) to present them publicly, via whatever medium you choose — obviously Internet. I myself won't defend status-quo...my political persuasion" is Anarchy (look it up — it's not what you [likely] 'assume' it to be...but I wouldn't expect you to know that unless you are able to actually perform research of your own. *shrug*). My "accomplishments" and "goals" and "achievements" are mine and mine solely for personal satisfaction, personal comfort, and the accomplishment of personal results that appeal to me — what society thinks of me on the way to...top? Bottom? Wherever...are no concern to me. So again — I will not defend Status-Quo in any way. But your 'assault' of said social guidelines and the professions that have created it, your unremitting efforts to "prove" [any system, it seems] bad or wrong or useless or otherwise unnecessary are another clear and obvious indication of your absolute inability — unwillingness — to own any form of personal responsibility for your life...other than, of course, the fervor with which you maintain your hate filled website; I'm sure that fills you with a [false] sense of [illusory] pride.

I wish you would be specific, rather than speaking in generalities. What various professions do I criticize? My main objection is so-called "Licensed Addictions Counselors" who make money by sending sick people to A.A. to get a dose of good old Nazi cult religion.

I do not criticize higher education. A.A. does. A.A. is guilty of routinely telling people not to go back to college and finish that degree. Also see this letter: "My sponsor wanted me to go to meetings instead of participate in my college major at school..."

So you are an anarchist. So what? I'm not impressed, and I do know what it means. Do you also read Ayn Rand and believe that she has all the answers?

Well, having now written a book exclusively for you — a person whom, even in the complete absence of actually 'knowing' you, I have a complete and total disdain towards — it needs to be said that; aside from feeling pity for you, I do wish you luck with whatever endeavor(s) you choose to engage in (although given your distaste for Status-Quo, I would imagine that all pursuits outside your website are clearly useless and too "established" for one with such Charisma, Intellect, Insight and various other Delusions of Grandeur as yourself). I am thankful for two facts; I am thankful that you put forth this effort only on a web page, because a narcissist such as yourself, with such [seemingly] endless anger would be a treacherous threat to society. And I am thankful that, outside the communication of email, you are not 'in my life' in any way, shape or form.

So you pity me. So what? You still have not presented any evidence that A.A. works, or that anything that I have said is wrong.

*shrug* You might or might not post this...hell, you probably gave up reading paragraphs ago. You'll probably even email me to let me know that "I am using this Inbox account to get email out ...As usual, the reply is in the attached web page". Don't bother. Since I already know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are not adult or mature enough to engage me in any meaningful manner, you are now relegated to SPAM. So have fun laughing about this letter on your website — a gift from me. LOL And have...whatever apparently passes for...fun spewing your angst and opinions and blaming & finger pointing and vague "facts" about how only you know what is really happening on the planet. Perhaps one day we shall all bow to your superiority.

Veauamil illè P.

MS Computer Engineering
MA Psychology
BA English

I will post this. It's odd how you make such a big deal out of me sending a letter from Inbox.com. So what? Why does it matter to you that I have to use an alternate mail sender while I get the new system fixed? If that's the best that you can do for finding fault with me, then that is really pathetic.

And I have to ask, are those "Jellinek" degrees? A BA in English doesn't even give you a start on an MA in Psychology and an MS in Computer Engineering. And considering how little you know about statistics, I doubt that you earned either one of those degrees.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He who attempts to make others believe in means which he himself
**     despises, is a puffer; he who makes use of more means that he
**     knows to be necessary, is a quack; and he who ascribes to those
**     means a greater efficacy than his own experience warrants, is an imposter.
**         ==  John Caspar Lavater (1741—1801), Swiss theologian

[The next letter from Veauamil is here.]

February 16, 2014, Tuesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

These two squirrels are feasting on all of the seeds left over from the storm. During the snow storm, I had to keep putting out more and more seeds for the birds because the birds' food was getting quickly buried under the falling snow. Now that the snow has melted, there is a wealth of seeds and grain just laying around.

Squirrel. This one is "Scraggly-Tail".

Squirrel. And this one is "Fat-Tail".

Scraggly-Tail, Caught in the Act
Aha! This is the culprit who breaks the bird feeders. He is after more sunflower seeds. When they have eaten all of the sunflower seeds on the ground, they look to the feeders for some more. I give them a bunch of sunflower seeds, but they want even more. They just love the sunflower seeds. The black specks in the wild birdseed mix are Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.

As you can see, this little squirrel will go through all kinds of gymnastics to get more sunflower seeds. They can hang there upside down and reach into the feeder and fish out the sunflower seeds. And they aren't above scooping out the tiny white millet seeds and throwing them onto the ground to get to the sunflower seeds. Fortunately, the seeds don't go to waste. There are many ground-feeding seed-eating birds that won't perch on a feeder and eat in midair — like the Dark-Eyed Junkos and the Mourning Doves. They insist on finding their seeds on the ground. So I sprinkle some of the birdseed mix on the ground for them, every day.

The next day, I saw the other squirrel, "Fat-Tail", doing the same thing. So they both raid the bird feeders for sunflower seeds.

I finally got over to the feed store and got another 50-pound sack of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, so now the squirrels are happy, and don't need to raid the birdfeeders for sunflower seeds.

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters391.html#Liz_T ]

Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 11:50:46 -0000 (02/04/2014 06:50:46 AM)     (answered 16 February 2014)
From: Liz T.
Subject: Not The Whole Picture

Hi Agent Orange,

I have just come across your anti-12 Step Program site and thought I would get in touch. I won't send a long email because your site seems pretty old and may no longer be active so don't want to waste my time.

Hello Liz,

Thanks for the letter. This web site is old, in the sense that it has been online for over 12 years now, but it is updated on almost a daily basis, and it also has an active forum, and it gets between 5 and 6 million hits a month.

Whilst having no reason to doubt the truth of any of the stories published on the site, and being able to see for myself that many of the members of 12 Step Programs are pretty flawed (as are people everywhere else), and also that the Program is vulnerable to criticism (the Big Book is pretty dated), I can't help feeling that you have a very distorted perspective.

An analogy I would use is of a woman who had been in a horrible abusive relationship setting up a website along the lines of 'all men are evil'. No doubt there would be thousands of women who would come across the site and add their horror stories. Does that mean that no woman should ever contemplate having a relationship with a man? Because some men do terrible things does it follow that all men are evil? That seems to be the basis for your argument against the 12 Step Programs.

Alas, that is bad logic. What about a web site that criticizes colloidal gold as a cancer cure? You have heard, haven't you, that some quacks were selling colloidal gold as a cure for cancer? They even pushed injections of colloidal gold, but one of the quacks was preparing the solutions in a barn under very dirty conditions. People died from that quackery.

Suppose someone set up a web site warning people about the quack colloidal gold cure. (And actually, somebody did.) Would you criticize that web site by complaining that the author was being unfair to colloidal gold? Would you argue for fair consideration of colloidal gold as a cancer cure?

The basis of my complaint is that Alcoholics Anonymous is just another quack cure. It is Dr. Frank Buchman's old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties. It was never a cure for alcohol abuse or addiction. That's why the 12 Steps don't even say that you should quit drinking. The 12 Steps are brainwashing techniques that tell you to surrender your will and your mind to someone else because you are so bad.

If they really offered nothing but pain, abuse and imprisonment in a 'cult', why has there been an explosive growth in these Programs across the world since AA was founded decades ago?

Quackery is often very popular. All kinds of frauds have been very popular for a while.

Your argument is the standard propaganda trick called Appeal to Numbers (Argumentum ad Numerum). Having a bunch of members or customers or victims does not make something good. Scientology uses the same argument to declare that the large numbers of people who have been deceived and cheated by Scientology prove that Scientology is good.

And there isn't any explosive growth in A.A. In fact, A.A. is shrinking and dying out. The party is over. More and more people are wising up and learning what A.A. really is, and walking away from it or avoiding it entirely to start with. We were just discussing that in a previous letter, here:

For many years now, I have been quoting the National Treatment Center in Atlanta, Georgia, which found in 1996 that 93% of the treatment centers in the country used the 12-Step model. Well, it turns out that they did another study in 2005, and found that only 75% of the treatment centers are now using the 12-Step model. That is a big drop.

1996 Study:

2005 Study:

Another nine years have gone by, so it would be good if they did another study this year. I'm sure that the number is even lower now.

Treatment centers are turning away from the 12-Step "therapy", even though it is ostensibly "free". More and more, you hear television commercials for treatment centers like Promises of Malibu that say, "Not 12-Step". (But I hear that Promises uses other hocus-pocus new-age nonsense, so I can't recommend that either.)

The 12-Step empire is a cult in decline. Doctors and insurance companies are wising up and learning the truth. That is the kiss of death to the 12-Step racket. They are toast. It's just a matter of time now.

Admittedly, it takes time. The monster is huge and has a lot of momentum. But it is a giant that is slowly falling over. The momentum is now downward.

By the way, there is also the issue of coercive recruiting. A.A. has lied to judges and misinformed them and made them believe that A.A. is a good way to sober up alcoholics, so judges sentence people to A.A. meetings. And parole officers force parolees to go to A.A. meetings. And so-called "counselors" at "treatment centers" also send people to A.A. meetings. The previous two A.A. triennial surveys showed that more than 60% of all of the A.A. members had been forced, coerced, sentenced, or pressured into A.A. by the criminal justice system or treatment centers, or employers, or family. That isn't popularity. Those people do not prove that A.A. is popular or growing or helpful. It really takes some special kind of gall to force people to go to A.A. meetings, and then claim that all of the people at the meetings prove that A.A. is very popular.

I get the impression you are quite an obsessive person (I can relate to that!), and I am wondering if you are open-minded enough to question some of your opinions. Maybe you could make your site more balanced and create a place where people could air their grievances against the fellowships and perhaps come up with some positive solutions? Why destroy something that does have some value when you could make it better?

People question my opinions every day. Your request for more "balanced and open-minded" attitude towards Alcoholics Anonymous is the standard propaganda trick called Escape via Relativism, as in, "Well, Joe has one opinion, and Fred has another opinion, and nobody is right and nobody is wrong. It's all relative. We should consider both sides." Wrong. All opinions are not created equal. There are such things as truths and lies.

A.A. is a fraud that does not work. People who think that it does work are misinformed and deceived. And those are the facts.

By the way, it would take too long to go into now, but the concept of 'powerless' on a deeper level does have its roots in all religions, particulary in Taoism, Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism. Interestingly, recent experiments in neuroscience have also discovered that there quite literally is no such thing as free will. The Serenity Prayer is a perfect encapsulation of the ancient Greek/Roman Stoic philosophy. Also the concept of the ego as being a problem for human beings is at the core or pretty much every religion. If you are willing to be open-minded and think for yourself you might be surprised at what is hidden under the apparently uninspiring surface of the Program. However, I gather you are an atheist ( and possibly not interested in philosophy either?) in which case 'a life examined' may hold no interest for you.

Sorry, but you couldn't be more wrong on that one. Being "Powerless" over drugs and alcohol is the path to death. Trying to equate powerlessness over alcohol and drugs with spiritual surrender is the worst kind of sophistry. They aren't the same thing at all.

**     To reason correctly from a false principle, is the perfection of sophistry.
**     ==  Emmons

Will you also sing the spiritual praises of being powerless over your desires for sex or fattening foods? Should people just "surrender" to their urges and wait for "Higher Power" to fix the problem?

The "Serenity Prayer" of Alcoholics Anonymous is not a great spiritual document. In fact, it is an unfortunate misquoting of what the eminent theologian Reinhold Niebuhr actually wrote. Bill Wilson and another early A.A. member misquoted and mangled Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer, and the narcissistic Bill Wilson couldn't stand to admit that he had made a mistake, so he claimed that it wasn't Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer. Ever since, A.A. members have been trying to claim that Reinhold Niebuhr didn't write the Serenity Prayer, that maybe it was found on the corner of a medieval church in Germany or something. It's pathetic, really, the lengths to which they will go to avoid admitting a simple mistake. Try reading The Serenity Prayer, by Elizabeth Sifton, Reinhold's daughter. There, he states that he wrote it, and to the best of his knowledge, he did not borrow material from anyone else. If somebody can find something written in German in the middle ages that sort of resembles The Serenity Prayer, that still does not absolve Bill Wilson of mangling Reinhold's prayer and refusing to give proper credit where credit is due.

In her book, Elizabeth Sifton declared that her father did not like the way that A.A. had changed his prayer. Reinhold's prayer was plural, a prayer for a congregation: "God give US... the courage... the strength... the wisdom...", etc. Wilson and A.A. changed it into a selfish "God give ME..."

Also, Reinhold wrote that we should work to "change the things that should be changed..." A.A. changed it into "change the things that I CAN change..." Reinhold said that we should not go around changing things just because we can. We should only change the things that SHOULD be changed. And then of course we need the wisdom to know the difference.

I am not an atheist. We have discussed that at length too. Look here and here and here and here.

Funny how Steppers routinely play the atheist card when someone says something that they don't like. That is yet another Ad Hominem attack: "You are just a stupid atheist and you don't know anything about spirituality!"


Read The Heresy of the Twelve Steps for much more about my religious beliefs.

The jabber about getting rid of ego is standard cult fare. Cults are forever declaring that people must be rid of ego, and "freed from ego", and "EGO is Edging God Out". It's all part of the routine to destroy someone's personality and self-confidence and turn them into a brainwashed cult member.
It's part of the Cult Test: 66. Calls to Obliterate Self
And the answer to that question is here: 66. Calls to Obliterate Self

Lastly, if there is no such thing as free will, then you cannot choose to surrender to "higher power", now can you? So Step 3 is invalid:
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
You can't do that if you have no free will, now can you?

As always, I have rambled on and written far more than I intended to. I hope you are feeling less angry about whatever happened to you in AA these days. Perhaps this website has been cathartic for you?



Liz, I don't do this web site as a catharsis. It's to tell people the truth. Some sick people really need to know what is going on, and what works, and what doesn't.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you talk to God, you are praying;
**     If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
**       ==  Thomas S. Szasz, The Second Sin,
**         Anchor/Doubleday, Garden City, NY. 1973, Page 113.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:12:48 -0000 (02/26/2014 07:12:48 AM)
From: Liz T.
Subject: Re: Your letter to the Orange Papers

Hi Orange

Thanks for your reply. I could come back with answers to your answers. Needless to say, I don't agree with much of what you say! However, I am soon going to move on from the OP site/forum. For that reason I don't want to get entangled in an email debate alongside the forum debates — I always like to have the last word (a bit like you, I suspect). This is a debate that could run for ever though and will never be 'resolved' because our viewpoints are so far apart it is hard to find common ground.

It has been an interesting experience. You have a good day too.

Best wishes

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters391.html#Squishy_Wish ]

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 01:40:35 -0800 (02/13/2014 04:40:35 AM)     (answered 16 February 2014)
From: Squishy Wish
Subject: 12 steps

Members of 12 step play doctor all the time. I have a friend who was sent (coerced) to a 12 step rehab. The first thing the councilors said was that he needed to change his meds from Welbutrin to Cipralex. When I told him he should only take medical advice from a qualified person they told me I could not talk to him anymore. That I can't phone him or visit him. That if I did they would call the police. Not wanting to make any waves I foolishly complied. He didn't tolerate the new medication well and started cutting himself. He later relapsed. The councilor Kat later told me that it's my fault because I had EGO which means to them Edging God Out that using your brain means getting rid of God. That telling him that he needs to only listen to doctor and not some power tripping bitch has caused him to relapse.

Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 02:41:58 -0800 (02/13/2014 05:41:58 AM)     (answered 16 February 2014)
From: Squishy Wish
Subject: Aa/NA

Hey Orange

Keep up the good work! I truly believe it is a cult. The residents of this rehab got tattoos of NA on their forearms. Luckily my friend chickened out the very last minute. You should see how the councilors are treated in meetings. Like Gods where their word is like gospel.

Hello Squishy Wish,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about the suffering that your friend is going through. I wish you had called the police as soon as they threatened you with calling the police. You were right and they were wrong. Practicing medicine without a license is a crime, a felony in most states, I think. And they were most assuredly practicing medicine without a license when they decided what medications your friend should take. They aren't doctors, and they are not licensed to prescribe medications.

    [Later: Yes, I just heard on the radio — NPR — that practicing medicine without a license is a felony. And those "counselors" are most assuredly guilty. And you should still report this incident to the police. The statute of limitations for crimes like that is usually three or seven years, so it isn't too late, is it? I mean really, report it to the police. Don't let those so-called "counselors" continue to do that to other sick people. It won't stop if we don't stop it. They are making money off of their crimes, so they will keep on doing it unless we put an end to it. I know it's scary to call the police and report a crime, but you will be saving somebody else like your friend. Maybe saving several such people. Please report that to the police.]

And of course they blamed you. They will never blame themselves for their misconduct and their incompetence. They never learn from their failures, or even admit that they failed. Like most cult religions, they claim to have all of the magic answers and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. Failures are always somebody else's fault, never theirs. And anyone who opposes their behavior is automatically evil.

And it gets even worse. I've received other letters where a sponsor told a sponsee not to take his anti-depressant medications, and the sponsee become so depressed that he committed suicide. And when such tragedies happened, other A.A. members have responded with slogans like, "Some must die so that others may live." That is where I feel like they are truly evil, not just mistaken or misguided.

Yes, it's a cult, and a fraud, and a criminal racket.

I'm adding this letter to the list of A.A. horror stories and the list of A.A. "no medications stories".

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.
**     If only Bill Wilson had gotten the right medications,
**     we wouldn't have the 12-Step quack cure killing people today.

February 15, 2014, Saturday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Pine Grosbeaks
More new birds are feeding in my back yard. If you look closely, you can see that the one on the left has a red head.

Pine Grosbeaks Pine Grosbeaks
Immature Male Pine Grosbeak

That name is my best guess for what that little guy is. The mature males have heads and bodies that are almost entirely red, but the juvenile males have only the red head. Forest Grove, in the Willamette Valley, is in the winter range of this species. Come summer, they move up into the mountains, in pine and spruce forests.

[The story of the birds continues here.]

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Last updated 18 April 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters391.html