Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXCII

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#ILR ]

Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2014 23:38:51 -0800 (PST)     (answered 20 February 2014)
Subject: Pre-biblical cosmology
From: ILR

This rambles a bit, chalk that up to the difficulty of composing and revising on a phone.

Hello again, ILR,

You typed all of that on a phone? Unreal. I refuse to text because it is about the most inefficent way to input text. I'm a touch typist and demand a real keyboard. I can't help but admire your determination to input all of the following with a phone.

I think you are a bit off the Mark on Moses and Dueteronomy and some textual aspects of the OT.

The firmament? Really, the children of Israel believed that the earth was more like a glass bubble floating in a dark and threatening sea (Hebrew: tehom — cf Babylonian tehamu, tiamet); and great serpents lived in this ink. They would swallow the sun or moon and yhw would kick their ass, per Job.

Indeed, the oldest book of the Hebrew bible is the book of Job and this contains an earlier creation myth than genisis — Yahwehs battle with the dragon beasts — lowatan (leviathan) and behemot (behemoth). Translation tends to undersell these creatures as more quotidian beasts, hippo and crocodile, respectively. Whatever, behema means fat girl in Yiddish.

For ready comparision to Job have a look at the Enuma Elesh, the first liturature in the western canon. It also contains a flood narrative and an ark. Interesting since it predates the story of Noah by an easy 1000 years. And well it should: babylons is by far an older civilisation than ancient israels.

Jews? Judaism? No Moses would not ask the children of Israel to kill all non-Jews for the simple reason that Jews did not exist, nor really did the idea of religion. I would argue that the cultic worship of antiquity has elements of magic and transport but falls short of religion.

Why? Too pagan to serve as ideology. Antiquity has the notion that different gods live in different places — sinai, Olympus et al.

Back to Moses. His children of Israel were a mixed bag of whomever wanted to drop bricks and get out. Semetic to be sure, but not entirely. Moses marries a Kushite (a black African) in the desert. Not a narrative in keeping with a "one people" exodus.

On this chain of thought the 10 commandments are a rough leveler of the various gods in play.

Relgion? As far as "religion", they would have thought "the Gods of Egypt", yes; and the gods that are our gods.

And they would not even have been monotheists: upon the demise of the pursuing Egyptians in the sea of reeds the prophet Devorah throws an ecstatic fit and exclaims "ywh, who among the gods (baal'lim) is thy equal". This is translated "who among the mighty is thy equal!"; a later cover-up to mask the polytheism of the children of israel.

Note: I am going with "israel" as the name of the people because it is consistent with exodus and because the name is in the egyptian record since about 1400 bce (200 years before moses) to describe the semi-nomads harassing the egyptian garrison at gaza. One has to be mindful of people names in deep antiquity since there is, not least in the hebrew bible, so much backdating.

An example that serves a dual purpose. How many are the children of israel? Well, Moses levels holy war (hebrew = herem, cf arabic heram "forbidden, protected") on the Amalekites. Not because of their worship but because they are fucking with the children of Israel something ferocious. So the Amalekites number a threat. Lets use that as a starting point.

But lets digress for a moment. The wars moses fights are not really wars of religion but wars. There is no need to apologise for the rich bloodlust. Killing your enemies and taking their stuff is the superbowl of beduin life. Do the children of israel rally under yhw the god of storm and war? Yes.

I think what you think of as wars of religion are a little colored by the ideology of later wars of religion. A key difference, and one you can sleuth out in a close read of Deuteronomy, is that these wars are also seen as wars between the respective gods of the warring parties.

Important here is that the gods of others are clear and tangible threats — not manifestations of "wrong" belief. Again, antiquity. The essentially secular greeks of classical antiquity (some 900 years post moses) fought the same way and unto the same end. That end being "androphorismos": exterminate the men, enslave the women. Witty Alexander the great considered that witholding genocide was an act of mercy.

Now back to Sinai and the Amalekites. Exodus presents us with some real textual problems. The chief of which is that it is written long after the actual exodus. For example, there are 600,000 adult men among the children of israel, per Exodus! Impossible for either the Sinai to support or the Egyptian army to oppose (in fact, it is less than the modern Israeli army can mobilise in extremis). So, the number is wrong, drafted out of a centuries later census. I think the census of David.

Likewise the casualty figures you draw on may be those given in the bible, but they can not be correct. The men Moses led did not have the power to fight on anything like this scale. I would guess that these episodes are from the wars of the conquest of canaan in later centuries.

This all may be tedious, but looking at the numbers given in this part of the Hebrew bible is a great way to draw an unsurprising conclusion. The text is not especially relible. I doubt the authors of the hebrew bible were much troubled by this since they must have known they were compiling a document. Must have. It can not have escaped them that Goliath is killed twice by two different people.

Moses, is himself a polytheist (who wants primacy for yhw, not exclusivity). He would not have been a supporter of limitless holy war. He would have supported war against enemies whom the children of israel could beat at acceptable cost. He would have killed jesus as a pest, not a rival diety.

How many, then, were the children of Israel? We do not know. Enough to get out of Egypt with some looting, but in flight from whatever troops were on hand. Few enough that the Amalekites were an existential threat.

Throw in some dry-land ecology and less than 10,000 in all is a good bet. I think 5,000 closer. We have to allow that Moses would have had a hard time controlling a greater number of nomads and escapees, but that the number was enough to survive adversity and skilled enough to do metalwork (the golden calf). Moses is an egyptian name (you see it in Ra'Mases and Tut'Moses, Pharoahs whom you know); so he could read and write.

For that matter the children of Israel would have had some literacy since proto-sinatic is a semetic script that predates exodus. That is the world's first alphabet and the parent of the hebrew script.

Yes, a cult of yhw (and other honorable mentions that are hard to see in translation) but not a cult of literalism. This ancient people enjoyed stories and poems as much as rape and pilliage. They would have described the world as they saw it. Their ideas as yet unfixed.

The wider point is to be careful not to judge antiquity by the yardstick of modernity. Modern people are far more dogmatic on the bible than the people who wrote it, by and large.

I need not add that grounding in my own religious tradition is a power irritant to select AA nutjobs. They aspire to the mantle of the biblical tradition but are tatty pagans.


Wow. That is a lot to digest. I'm going to have to do some homework.

One thing that I can't miss is that you refute a great deal of the text in the Old Testament. Apparently much of the printed history is fiction. I sort of already knew that, but you take it to another level.

The Book of Job is older than Genesis? That's the first time I heard that. Where does that come from?

About the numbers of Israelites, or enemies killed or virgins captured: I agree that the numbers may have been exaggerated — war stories always sound better if you killed a thousand enemies, rather than just ten or twenty. But I also wonder about the greater fertility of that region in ancient times. Ecologists understand that that area — I think they called it The Fertile Crescent — was much wetter and more fertile and produced much more food in ancient times. The whole region has been undergoing desertification for thousands of years. It's no accident that that particular region gave rise to many great cities and civilizations in ancient times. The land was wet and fertile and produced lots of food. Now it is little more than a desert. If it had been so barren in ancient times, no way could those civilizations have flourished. People would have gone somewhere else. So there may be some believability in the large numbers of people described in books of the Old Testament.

About this:

Jews? Judaism? No Moses would not ask the children of Israel to kill all non-Jews for the simple reason that Jews did not exist, nor really did the idea of religion.

But in the Deuteronomy and Moses's other books, he clearly commanded his followers to kill anyone who "worshipped other gods":

"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)
"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)

So what was it, just tribal warfare? Still, Moses, or whoever wrote Deuteronomy, clearly said that it was religious warfare. So are all of the books of Moses just works of fiction?

Yes, much to investigate and study. As if I didn't already have enough to do.

Thanks again, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It never says in the Bible, what the fruit eaten in the
**     Garden of Eden was, but it is just assumed to be an apple.

February 16, Sunday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Mourning Doves
Mourning Doves
Once again, the backyard flock of Mourning Doves is watching me wake up at dawn.

February 19, Wednesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

I can't see for certain, but I'm pretty sure that this little Hummingbird is the same guy as I first saw during the snowstorm, back on February 10th. This guy has chosen this tree in my front yard as his favorite perch — he is usually even on the same branch — and he sits there and surveys his domain. He is king of all that he sees. Well, except for me. He becomes very annoyed when I walk around the yard, or put out the trash cans. He flies around the tree in alarm, but lands right back where he was before. He has chosen my yard as his territory, and he can see and claim and protect the front-porch Hummingbird feeder from all intruders. Hummingbirds are highly territorial, and will drive away any other Hummingbirds that try to eat from their food supply. The obvious exception to that rule is that a male will tolerate a female in his territory.

There is a good reason for the ferocious protection of the food supply: Hummingbirds have such high energy needs that they can easily starve if deprived of food for very long. Most flowers take a day or so to refill with nectar, which is a long time to a Hummingbird. Having some other Hummingbirds eat up all of a Hummingbird's nectar supply can be a death sentence. So the Hummingbirds don't believe in sharing.

The Hummingbirds are not intelligent enough to understand that a human refills the Hummingbird feeder, and it's very large by Hummingbird standards, so they need not worry about the feeder getting emptied by a few Hummingbirds feeding from it. So this guy sits in his tree and guards the front-porch Hummingbird feeder.

But that's alright, because there are two more feeders in the backyard, and I have even more to put out.

February 20, Thursday, my yard in Forest Grove:

The next day, this little guy is still sitting on his throne, surveying his kingdom. And he still gumbles about me trespassing on his territory.

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Kate_B ]

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Kate B.
Subject: caroline180 requesting permission to join forum

also, im a bit interested in sharing a horror story with you. not sure what the appropriate way to do so is, like if i'm suppose to email you here or post on a forum or something. i'm website illiterate. my 70 year old parents are better than i, so i apologize if its a bit of a dumb or redundant question.

anyway, thanks for all the info. i knew a lot of it already, but its REALLY refreshing to come across other people that have been through this and realize that its a pretty damn screwed up program.

Hello Kate,

Thanks for the compliments. You are approved and authorized to post in the forum. Welcome.

I'd like to see your horror story. You can send your story to me in a letter just like how you sent this letter to me. You don't have to do anything else. You can post it on the forum if you like, but you may find that difficult if you are not "tech-savvy" and familiar with the world wide web and posting, and frankly, formatting a long document on the forum is a real pain. I usually format such postings in a text file on my own computer and then upload them. But that requires knowledge of HTML formatting, which you just explained you don't have.

Not to brag about myself, I have over 30 years of experience as a computer programmer and can do it in my sleep (and sometimes do), so formatting your story into a web page is easy for me. In fact, I even automated the process. A letter goes into the front end of a "machine" that consists of scripts and computer programs, and a finished web page comes out the back, in under one second. So it really is no bother for me. Let me do it for you.

Have a good day now, and I look forwards to seeing your story.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "There will always be survivors."
**       ==  Robert Heinlein

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2014 08:35:31 -0500 (EST)     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Religion

Mister T,

I just read this statement online: "Religion is the only contagious mental illness" and I am passing it on to you.

Thank you for all you do.
Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob,

Thanks for a nice quote. Alas, I immediately thought of several other similar contagious mental illnesses. The Nazi Party is the first thing that occurred to me. (Yes, I have a thing for the Nazis, don't I?) That can be generalized as any political dogma, which is similar to religious dogma. The key thing is that people just believe a bunch of statements which are not supported by realistic evidence. Like, "America will be a more successful and prosperous country if we suppress the workers' wages, so that we can compete with foreign countries like China." (That ignores the fact that America cannot be prosperous if the workers are poor.)

Then we have all of the various cult causes, like the Flying Saucer People, or quack cures like Scientology or fake cancer cures. Then we have various socio-economic belief systems, like Ayn Rand and Libertarians.

Then we can generalize the whole lot of them as, "Here is a set of beliefs and tenets, which our group fervently believes are all true, even without any valid supporting evidence." They even make a virtue out of such belief: "I am not a doubting Thomas. I believe without having seen."

Apparently belief systems are like contagious viruses. Or like vampires. Someone gets bitten and converted, so he runs around trying to bite others and convert them to his beliefs.

Sometimes I think the human race made a big mistake in coming down out of the trees. They weren't ready for prime-time.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is
**     the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is
**     the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his
**     throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the
**     globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to
**     happiness and heaven.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Joyce_G ]

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 23:13:09 -0500     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Joyce G.
Subject: Wow

The work that went into this is scholarly to say the least. I'm sorry or took me this long to learn of this incredible expose.

I've NEVER thought AA was rational or logical....I can't take seriously any philosophy or "program" that refers to god as " he", for one thing. Nor would I EVER take seriously any " suggestion" that I relive my "errors in judgment" TODAY by going back to someone in my past and apologizing or in any way making amends for something I may have or have not done or said while drinking or hungover which we everyone has likely forgotten...except me,.....and it is likely only I who hasn't moved on. Who cares?

Thank you for putting this fallacy to rest with facts.


Joyce B. G.

Sent from my iPad

Hello Joyce,

Thank you for the letter and the thanks. Yes, I try.

I can only agree that muck-raking your past is psychologically harmful, and not a cure for addictions. Happily, we are beyond that now.

So have a good day, and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
**     undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make
**     what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving
**     better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
**       ==  Aldous Huxley

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Bill_G ]

Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:32:41 -0800 (02/20/2014 12:32:41 AM)     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: bill
Subject: re: Great Site

How can I download all the links/files on your entire website, in one click?
Washington state

Hello Bill,

Thanks for the compliments. There isn't any one-click way to download the web site, but almost. The whole web site is contained in archive files, and they are listed on the main menu page, here:

You will notice that they all begin with "Orange", with a capital 'O'. They are the only files on the web site that do so. Thus, if you have an FTP program that can handle wild cards, you can download all files with names like "Orange*.gz", or "Orange*.zip".

There are two entire sets of archives, one for Windows (*.zip) and one for Linux/Unix (*.gz). You can download either set. You don't need both, because the files contained in both sets are identical. It's the same archives in two formats for the convenience of people with different operating systems.

If the FTP method doesn't work, then you have to click on about 160 files to download. Bummer.

Once you have all of the archive files downloaded, you can burn your own DVD copy of the web site. Detailed instructions for burning a DVD are here. Change the word "CD" in the instructions to "DVD". The web site used to fit on a CD, but grew too large for a CD. Now it fits on a DVD.

By the way, the archive system is designed to make updates easy. The "alpha" file contains the alpha-numeric text of the web pages, and it changes often. New pictures are always added to the last "img" file. Often, you only need to download the alpha file and one or two image files to update your copy of the web site.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     In A.D. 640, when the Saracens captured Alexandria, seat of
**     ancient culture, Greek scholars pleaded with them not to burn
**     the scrolls of the great library. Their reply, as recorded by
**     Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
**     remains a classic in theological logic. "If the writings
**     support the Koran, they are superfluous," ruled the warrior
**     tribesmen. "If they oppose it, they are pernicious; burn them."
**       ==  Richard Mathison, God is a Millionaire, page 33.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 01:13:22 -0800 (02/26/2014 04:13:22 AM)
From: bill
Subject: Re: Your letter to the Orange Papers

Thank you for the help!
I have a reply on sombody's quote below "classic in theological logic", and that is

"Classic Common Sense": make duplicates and store in a safe place.


> **     In A.D. 640, when the Saracens captured Alexandria, seat of
> **     ancient culture, Greek scholars pleaded with them not to burn
> **     the scrolls of the great library. Their reply, as recorded by
> **     Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
> **     remains a classic in theological logic. "If the writings
> **     support the Koran, they are superfluous," ruled the warrior
> **     tribesmen. "If they oppose it, they are pernicious; burn them."
> **       ==  Richard Mathison, God is a Millionaire, page 33.

February 22, 2014, Saturday, my yard in Forest Grove:

The male Annas Hummingbird
There is no doubt about it now. This little guy has claimed my front yard as his territory. I see him every day now. He sits in the tree in my front yard for most of the day, every day, and guards the Hummingbird feeder that is hanging from my front porch.

He really doesn't like me coming outside and being in my front yard. He becomes agitated and flies around the tree and then lands right back in the same place. His attitude is funny. I took pity on him in the snowstorm and invited him in. And I put a feeder full of warm sugar-water out for him to eat so that he wouldn't be starving and freezing. He liked that so much that he adopted my yard as his territory. And now he wants me to go away and leave the territory to him.

I haven't seen the female in a while, but I assume that she must be around. She is probably feeding at the backyard feeders when I'm not looking.

The male Annas Hummingbird, having lunch
Now finally a shot that shows some color. Notice how the red color depends on how the light reflects off of the feathers.

February 23, 2014, Sunday, my yard in Forest Grove:

The male Annas Hummingbird, flying around in agitation because I'm standing in his front yard.

The male Annas Hummingbird, flying around

[The story of the birds continues here.]

[The previous letter from Richard_B is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Richard_B ]

Sent: Friday, February 14, 2014 3:50 PM     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Richard B.
Subject: The Kennedy Clan Combats Addiction | The Fix

Does this link work? The one in my previous email didn't, I see, so you may want to fix it.


I also left out an "is" — right after "but 'definitive'" — in the graf that begins: "I don't know about anybody else."

My inner Miss Giles — she who taught us English in the 7th grade as if it were Latin — would likely give a go-ahead to the rest. Sigh.


Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:31:18 -0500     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Richard B.
Subject: Fw: The Kennedy Clan Combats Addiction | The Fix

Oh, something else! You probably caught this, but, quoting Lawford, I left out the "Anonymous" after "Alcoholics." These slipups sometimes make me wonder if I'm suffering from grained bandage.

That's a joke from an old Jules Feiffer comic strip.

Am I quite quite through?

Oh, by the way, did you know that you can find on YouTube a full-fledged AA "qualification" by Charles Jackson, the author of "The lost Weekend"? Sorry to say, he later came to a bad end via a drug OD.


Hello Richard,

About "The Kennedy Clan Combats Addiction": I see that Susan Cheever did the interview. Right there you know that it will be a piece of 12-Step propaganda. She wrote the white-washing biography of Bill Wilson — My Name Is Bill; Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous — that declared that it really was okay for Bill Wilson to be a sexual predator who practiced necromancy — besides, it's a secret. See quotes here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

I find it sad that the Kennedy family has been promoting the 12-Step cult. There is something a little odd about some notoriously heavy drinkers — many of whom have not or had not quit drinking — being the ones who decided which "treatment programs for alcoholism" were promoted by the U.S. Government? As if they knew the answers? And they got to vote on which programs would be paid for by the government or insurance companies? And foisted on all of the American people? Patrick Kennedy bragged about "I was the author of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which was signed into law in 2008 by George W. Bush. It means that every insurance plan in the country will now have coverage of some sort." What that means is that insurance companies have to pay for quack medicine that has been proven to not work.

Isn't that sort of like letting the lunatics run the insane asylum? And letting the lunatics decide which treatments the ill people will receive?

Oh and it's funny how they sidestep the issue of breaking anonymity: They are famous Kennedys, so they don't maintain anonymity, or keep their A.A. membership confidential. Gee, where have I heard that before? Didn't Bill Wilson declare that special people like him didn't need to stay anonymous? (Look here.)

Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:37:29 -0500     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Richard B.
Subject: The Leonard Lopate Show: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson — WNYC


Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:33:18 -0500     (answered 23 February 2014)
From: Richard B.
Subject: Charles R. Jackson — Alcoholics Anonymous speech (1959) — YouTube


Hello again, Richard,

Thanks for all of the links and the information. Now I have more homework to do.

I didn't know about Charles Jackson, the author of "The lost Weekend", dying of a drug overdose. Sad. That guy really did have problems, didn't he? Jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

What is so sad and so revealing is how he brags about A.A. and how wonderful it is, and how it saved him, and then he goes and kills himself.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Scars remind us of where we've been.
**     They don't have to dictate where we're going.
**       ==  Agent Rossi on "Criminal Minds"

[The previous letter from Mac is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters392.html#Mac ]

Date: Feb 15, 2014, 5:58 PM     (answered 4 March 2014)
From: Mac

Hi, Orange,

Well, it sucks. Many people are convinced this AA stuff is a cult; does that render it ineffective? It's hard to imagine what happened to you while you bounced around "out there" that produced such hypersensitivity to anything Buchman or Wilson.

I don't buy the cult of personality either.

I don't buy Wilson's incredibly oversized ego. There's a lot I disagree with. The one point that has been overlooked in most of what I've read, is that all of the principles have been borrowed from Old and New Testament writings. Certainly neither Buchman nor Wilson wrote those.

In searching for meaning, I've come across a wealth of authors with similar philosophies. It's an adventure.

I'd just as soon not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I like my recovered self fine. I like the flexibility of discovering a Power greater than myself.

Writing to you could become endless parry. But I'm not gonna let that happen. I read another book in which I find bits of wisdom. Proverbs 17:28.

Who knows? Who can judge? Who has that power? Not I. Is there a message for you, that your server is down? Who knows? Who can judge? For fun, read Ecclesiastes ch.2, all verses.

Have a great life. Live it to the fullest.


Date: Feb 15, 2014, 8:43 PM
From: Mac

Oh, and I'll bet only 3-5 of the hundred you hypothesize, will die sober. Philip Seymour Hoffman was a member of some 12 step program for 23 years.

Again, statistics are a slippery slope.

The best to you.


Date: Feb 16, 2014, 9:29 AM
From: Mac

I wasn't being mocking. I really mean that there's a chance that of the hundred, only 5% will die sober.

I'm fortunate to hang with people who are 30-60 years sober. Their lives show me that it can be done. I'm working on my second decade. I like conquering the odds.

Of the methods I'm familiar with to get sober, many, like the Passages in Malibu, California, are astonishing and very public failures, viz. Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. In another, the woman who began the moderation method, drove drunk into a car with a man and his child, killing both.

I believe there are many ways to sobriety, but I'm not God, so to project if they are "permanent", is out of my scope.

I've found it's fruitless to bash one method or another. If a person wants to get sober, that's a good thing.

In my own case, if I allow a person or people, the gain of material things, the pursuit of notoriety or any other material distraction to become disproportionately important on any given day, I might be subconsciously setting the stage for a possible relapse.

AA, even according to Bill Wilson, is not the only way. I believe that can be found in preface to the essays known as the 12&12.

I probably won't feel the need to write again for a number of reasons; primarily, it appears that you've no trouble making snap judgements, you've convinced yourself that AA practices are, of themselves, evidence of a cult based on the crazy-man, Buchman, and his misguided directives, and that the hoodwinked do everything they can to protect their cult-world.

That's where the sword cuts both ways. Protecting a belief system is the name of the game.

With respect, you have done so much to unearth the truth about Bill Wilson and his unconscionable treatment of his long-suffering wife, Lois, his experimental use of hallucinogens. I didn't think much of Bill W to begin with, based on his arrogance.

So go ahead and do what you need to do. The other book I read has amplified my own recovered state, being able to meet all situations with a measure of gratitude. Does it matter how I stay sober? It's more important to me that I find contentment in my sober state.

You are one of the few people able to get and stay sober without resorting to AA or any other "program". God makes that possible also.

God bless you and good luck.


Hello again, Mac,

Thank you for the responses.

First off, I am not a rarity. Most of the successful people who quit drinking do it alone, on their own. The A.A. claim that nobody can do it alone is just a standard lie to make people believe that they must join the A.A. cult or they will die.

The truth is, most successful people recover from alcohol abuse (and drug abuse) without any treatment:

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."

Likewise, American Health Magazine reported:

...people are about ten times as likely to change on their own as with the help of doctors, therapists, or self-help groups.
J. Gurion, American Health Magazine, March 1990.

The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical School, stated quite plainly:

On their own
There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free 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 statistics" are not at all confusing. That is also another standard A.A. dodge. It's the propaganda and debating trick called Antirationalism. Just declare that the facts are so confusing and controversial that nobody knows the truth for sure.

Wrong. We do know the truth. It isn't at all confusing. It is very simple. A.A. DOES NOT WORK. PERIOD. People who go to A.A. do not recover in any greater numbers than people who go to Baskin Robbins and eat ice cream. There is nothing confusing or uncertain about that. That has been proven over and over, again and again.

Likewise, the admonition to not throw the baby out with the bath water is just an appeal to keep an old cult religion that doesn't work. There is no baby in the bath water.

Then you asked, "Who knows? Who can judge? Who has that power? Not I."
That is more antirationalism. I can judge. I can tell the difference between quackery and lies and good medical treatment. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice the difference.

This is also antirationalism:

I've found it's fruitless to bash one method or another. If a person wants to get sober, that's a good thing.

Telling the truth about quack medicine is not "bashing a method". A.A. is not a method for getting sober. It is an old cult religion. It doesn't work as a cure for "alcoholism". (Now it does work as a cult religion, but that is another matter.)

Of course a person has to want to get sober. That is the key thing. That is the whole ball game. People who don't want to quit drinking won't, and people who do want to quit drinking will, and then A.A. will try to steal the credit for their work.

Then you stated that you think that only 3 to 5 out of a hundred will die sober. Is that A.A. members who won't get sober? Thank you for the candid honesty. You are only the second A.A. defender that I ever heard honestly admit that truth. (Dr. George E. Vaillant was the first.)

That is a program that is a total failure. It doesn't matter what kind of excuses you use, that is still a clear example of total failure. It is appalling that America spends $20 billion per year on "drug and alcohol treatment", most of which is 12-Step based, to get a failure rate like that.

I agree that Passages of Malibu also has a terrible failure rate. They charge something between $40,000 and $48,000 for 28 days of luxurious drying out, detoxing, and indoctrination in nonsense. They used to sell the 12 Steps, but now they sell new-age hocus-pocus. And they are infamous for having their clients relapse soon after leaving.

Then you mentioned moderation management, but left out all of the important details. Audrey Kishline, the founder of Moderation Management, found that it wasn't working for her, so she left her own organization in the hands of others and returned to Alcoholics Anonymous. After a couple of months of Stepping and A.A. meetings, she drove drunk and killed two people. Audrey was actually a member of A.A. when she drove drunk and caused a fatal car crash. A.A. members almost always forget to mention those embarrassing details, just like you did, when bragging that moderation management doesn't work.

So, doesn't Audrey's crash prove that A.A. doesn't work?
If not, then how can Audrey's crash be evidence that Moderation Management doesn't work?

The fact that you know some people who have 30 to 60 years of sobriety does not prove or even indicate that Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion works as a cure for alcoholism. It just means that some people — a very small few people — quit drinking. You don't know why they quit. Even if they insist that they quit drinking because they do the practices of a cult religion, that only proves that they have been indoctrinated with cult dogma, and fooled into believing false things.

Thanks for the clarification about Philip Seymour Hoffman. So he was a member of 12-Step groups for 23 years, and then died of a heroin overdose. That really needs no comment, does it?

About this:

AA, even according to Bill Wilson, is not the only way.

That is another standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick:

Then you made a statement that sounds like you have no goals in life except membership in A.A.:

In my own case, if I allow a person or people, the gain of material things, the pursuit of notoriety or any other material distraction to become disproportionately important on any given day, I might be subconsciously setting the stage for a possible relapse.

So you are afraid to work hard and become prosperous and successful in life because it *might* set you up for a "possible relapse"? That is sad. You allow fears to dominate your life. You base your life on what might go wrong. Maybe. Some day.

And such coded language: "any other material distraction". Distraction from what? Working the 12 Steps? Being an A.A. member? Devoting your life to A.A.?

I have not made a "snap judgement" about Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman and his cult:

"...you've convinced yourself that AA practices are, of themselves, evidence of a cult based on the crazy-man, Buchman, and his misguided directives, and that the hoodwinked do everything they can to protect their cult-world."

I spent many years studying Frank Buchman and his cult, and practically wrote a book on the subject: The Religious Roots of A.A. and the Twelve Steps

And there is no doubt that the A.A. practices are merely Frank Buchman's religious conversion practices. Bill Wilson even said so. I quoted that for you in a previous letter:

"Early AA got its 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."
== William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, page 39.

(Bill Wilson was of course being deceptive there. Bill listed Rev. Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the Oxford Groups. Actually, Sam Shoemaker was the number two man. Frank Buchman was the leader, and he is the man who created and promoted all of that perverted religious dogma. But Frank Buchman had a terrible reputation for his praise of Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler and the Nazis, so Bill thought it best to avoid mentioning the Buchman name.)

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

And that is why A.A. does not work. A.A. is merely reselling Frank Buchman's racket. But Buchmanism was not about quitting alcohol or drugs. It was about becoming the devoted follower of a fascist, and a true believer in occult nonsense like that you could conduct a séance and hear the Voice of God any time you wished. And Buchmanism was about supporting the leader in the lifestyles of the rich and famous. (And Bill Wilson made that work for him too. He also died rich.)

And then you stated that,

The one point that has been overlooked in most of what I've read, is that all of the principles have been borrowed from Old and New Testament writings. Certainly neither Buchman nor Wilson wrote those.

No, that has not been "overlooked". A.A. members routinely try to claim that the 12 Steps are based on the Bible, or derived from the Bible, or derived from the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Not true. Poking through the Bible and trying to find similar-sounding things does not change the fact that the 12 Steps, and all of the A.A. religious dogma, is just the heretical teachings of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman. Remember that the Catholic Church banned Buchman's organization twice, and declared it unChristian and heretical. They wouldn't do that if it was merely Biblical.

Buchman also liked to claim that his teachings were "Christian", or "based on the Bible", but that was just window-dressing, for the sake of appearances. Buchman was just dropping the names of God, Jesus and Christ the same way as he dropped the names of the rich and famous people. Queen Marie of Romania declared:

"I have met Buchman. I did not like him. He seemed to me to be a snob. He spoke of God as if He were the oldest title in the Almanach de Gotha."
All I Could Never Be, Beverly Nichols, pages 255-256.

Buchman also declared that when he and his followers conducted a séance and heard "the Voice of God" whispering to them, that their "received Guidance" was just as authoritive as anything written in the Bible. That is as great a heresy as you will find anywhere.

Likewise, the A.A. practices are not "principles". That is another thing that Frank Buchman did that Bill Wilson copied — call his mind-bending cult practices "religious principles". They are not principles. There is nothing principled about them. They are brainwashing practices, not religious or spiritual principles.

Oh well, have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When Bill Wilson made up the 12 Steps as instructions for people
**     to get a spiritual experience and stop drinking, why didn't Bill
**     include instructions for the alcoholics to go to Dr. William D.
**     Silkworth to get dosed with belladonna and see God? That's how
**     Bill Wilson did it.  Why isn't that also how other alcoholics
**     should do it? Why are the 12 Steps nothing like how Bill Wilson
**     actually quit drinking?

February 27, 2014, Thursday, my front yard in Forest Grove:

Male Annas Hummingbird
The Sentinel
This little guy is still guarding his territory. He sits there in his tree and guards his feeder and his space all day long.

Male Annas Hummingbird

Another hummingbird landed in the tree across the driveway, and eye-balled the one in the tree in my front yard. I couldn't see the sex of this new one. The species is almost certainly an Annas Hummingbird because the other species of hummingbirds flew south for the winter. The Annas Hummingbirds are the only ones that stay here for the winter.

I had a wide-angle lens on the camera, and needed a long telephoto lens to get a clear shot. When I went inside to get a telephoto lens, this one flew away, so I never got a good look at it.

I can only hope that the newcomer is a female who will stick around and produce some babies. It's highly possible. There aren't many feeders around, so the hummingbirds tend to cluster around what food sources there are.

Male Annas Hummingbird
The male Annas Hummingbird, still standing watch in his tree

[The story of the birds continues here.]

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Last updated 5 April 2014.
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