Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXCVII



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Rich_S ]

Date: Apr 8, 2014, 7:09 PM     (answered 12 April 2014)
From: rich s.
Subject: Re: your letter

Pay attention to what is actually practiced.
'Our book is meant to be suggestions. We know only a littlelittle.'
Bill does not represent alcoholics. We discover 'recovery' by applying the strps under guidance of 'sponsors' of our choice.
'What we are granted, is a daily reprieve, contingent on daily prattice of the ptgram. (ie the steps according to our own interpretation and pace)
No 'cure' is ever discussed or expected.

Hello again, Rich,

Thanks for the response. Alas, what you are doing is listing A.A. bait-and-switch tricks, like "First, we know only a little, and then, We are the experts on alcoholism."

Here is a list of links to them:

You would do well to consider how well AA works for those that embrace it rather than 'operate' as a litigious nit picker.
What do you derive from all your nay-saying ?
If you couldn't or wouldn't make AA work in your life, so be it. Many have, and are grateful for the guidance.
Peace
Rich

I have considered how well A.A. works, and the answer is, it is a total failure. Even your famous leader of A.A., Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant tested A.A. for many years and found that A.A. did not work at all, and just raised the death rate in alcoholics.

And I noticed that little qualifier: "those that embrace it". That is the standard propaganda trick called Lying With Qualifiers. A.A. does that all of the time too. When the Steps fail to sober up an alcoholic, the A.A. apologists start yammering,

  • But he didn't work the Steps right.
  • He held something back in his Fifth Step.
  • He didn't really try.
  • He wasn't constitutionally capable of being honest with himself.
  • He didn't have faith.
  • He didn't embrace the program.

And the A.A. slogan is: "A.A. is perfect; it's just the alcoholics who are imperfect." Yes, it's a cult.

What do I get out of criticizing A.A.? Not much, other than the satisfaction that I know a few people were helped by hearing the truth.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     In A.A., everybody is equal
**     (but some people are more equal than others). 





[The previous letter from Thomas_C is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Thomas_C ]

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 13:51:35 -0400 (04/10/2014 10:51:35 AM)     (answered 12 April 2014)
From: Thomas C.
Subject: Rants

What do we owe your rant to? What did AA do to you? It's going to go on and be effective for those who need and want it. Just curious, why would someone be so against something that has nothing to do with him, and He has no experience with.

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Thomas,

Thanks for the sentiments. Alas, they are all wrong. A.A. is not successful for anybody, not for "those who want it", and not for those who are sentenced to it, and not for those who get shoved into A.A. by "treatment centers" and "recovery programs".

A.A. is a total failure, just another lying cult religion that actually raises the death rate in alcoholics, and it is on the way out. A.A. is a cult in decline.

And I have plenty of experience with A.A.

As for why I'm doing this web site, I've answered that question again and again, even just recently:

You can read more history here:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. more about my Stepper pedophile counselor
  3. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  4. another friend goes missing
  5. who are you
  6. really an alcoholic...
  7. definitions of "an alcoholic"
  8. Rat Park and Other Children's Stories
  9. How did you get to where you are?
  10. A biography written for SOS
  11. Why did I make all of these pages? For a lot of reasons.
  12. About the motivation for creating the site, that is funny. I never set out to create any such thing. I was just going to write a 30-page essay about A.A. and what I saw as its failings and why it was inappropriate for use in treatment programs.
  13. history of the Orange Papers, and
  14. censorship, the Orange Papers censored and erased by Yahoo Geocities
  15. the "Orange" name.
  16. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
**       is for good men to do nothing."
**         ==  Edmund Burke (1729—1797)

[The next letter from Thomas_C is here.]





News Note: 2014.04.12:

Due to an error, all email from the afternoon of April 8 to the afternoon of April 9 was lost. Permanently erased, gone forever, before I even saw it. So if you sent a letter or request for approval in the forum during that time, please resend it. Thanks.

Hmm, and now the same thing happened on the 12th. All email from the afternoon of the 11th to the afternoon of the 12th didn't arrive right. So if you sent something in that time span, please resend it. Thanks.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Marc ]

Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 22:25:04 -0400 (04/09/2014 07:25:04 PM)     (answered 12 April 2014)
From: Marc
To: [email protected]
Subject:

you ARE A FUCKING ASSHOLE!!!!

Hello Marc,

Ah yes, A.A. spirituality. You gotta love it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The best proof that intelligent life in space exists
**      is that they have never tried to contact us.





April 06, Sunday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Spring has sprung, and the tulips are popping up.

Tulip

Tulip

April 09, Wednesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Tulips

Tulip

[More bird photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Melvin_O ]

Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 19:11:33     (answered 15 April 2014)
From: Melvin O.
Subject: Thanks for putting the website together!

Hi Orange,

I just wanted to thank you fort putting together the Orange Papers website. It must have been a lot of hard work and I'm really glad I found it.

I got into AA eleven months ago and have to say that it did help me recover from a pretty bad crisis in my life and that I also learned a lot of good things along the way.

However, about six weeks ago after ten month of sobriety I "relapsed" twice. The first one was just a day-long slip and shortly after I went on a real ten day binge. (Today I must say that these "relapses" were nothing more than self-fulfilling-prophecies. Because, hey, I was convinced that I AM an alcoholic who cannot drink normally.)

But three weeks ago, unsurprisingly, I attributed the slip to my not having lived the program, not having worked the steps. And so I got a sponsor and told everyone (inside and outside the fellowship) that I was now determined to really live the program and work the steps (I really believed it, which right now seems completely insane to me). After about two weeks of following some simple suggestions from my new sponsor like praying on my knees first thing in the morning, reading in the big book and going to as many meetings as I possibly could, I had a moment of clarity and realized quite suddenly:

"AA is a cult. And the goal of the program is to get me into this thing for life."

That was before I came across your website, so when I began browsing the articles it was a complete revelation and I'm grateful for that. Thanks again, I just felt compelled to share this story, I guess that's another side effect from going to so many meetings ;-)

best regards,
melvin

Hello Melvin,

Thank you for the letter and the thanks. I'm sorry to hear about your relapses, but glad to hear that you are coming out on top. And yes, teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. And the idea that after one drink, you have lost all of your sober time, just encourages binge drinking. "Heck, I already lost all of my time and have to start over collecting coins. Might as well really tie one on and make it worth it."

And yes, it's a cult that wants you to "keep coming back" for the rest of your life.

But you are free of that now. So have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Since mind control depends on creating a new identity within
**     the individual, cult doctrine always requires that a person
**     distrust his own self.
**    ==  Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1988, page 79.
**    And that describes Alcoholics Anonymous exactly.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Wade_K ]

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 21:29:42     (answered 15 April 2014)
From: Wade K.
Subject: You were right

I had found your site very early in sobriety and thought your views were a bit radical. I am writing to let you know my feelings about AA now are pretty much the same as yours are. I have spent several hours reading various pages on your site and have yet to find anything I disagree with. I need to put AA behind me, I can't stand the crap that comes out of all the old timers mouths. I remember going to my first Big Book study just weeks after sobering up and the chair person ask if I new what the purpose of the Big Book was and I said to help you get sober and he said no it was the instructions on how to have a spiritual experience. I should have got the fuck out of there and never looked back. I also asked why we were not supposed to think for our selves when one of the signs on the wall said "think think think". Wtf. such BS.

Hello Wade,

Thanks for the letter. Actually, in the beginning, I found my views a little too radical too. I was very hesitant about using the C-word "cult" in describing Alcoholics Anonymous. It took some time studying cults and comparing them to A.A. before I realized that A.A. was a fully-qualified cult. And it took longer before I didn't hesitate to call A.A. a cult.

And yes, the slogans become tiresome, don't they? (I have a list of 900 of them now.)

And, the statement that "the purpose of the Big Book is to give you instructions on how to have a spiritual experience" is something else. The irony is that Bill Wilson said that you will not get the big dramatic spiritual experience. In the Big Book, Bill Wilson first raved about wonderful spiritual experiences, like the white light experience that he got from hallucinogenic drugs in Charlie Towns' hospital in December of 1934, but when other A.A. members complained that they didn't get the big spiritual experience or see God as a result of doing the 12 Steps, Bill put an appendix into the second edition of the Big Book declaring that you won't get the dramatic life-changing experience after all. Funny how those know-it-all oldtimers don't know about Appendix II in the back of the book.

We were just talking about that in a previous letter, here:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters396.html#experience

Have a good day now, and welcome to freedom.

== 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?





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Samuel_L ]

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2014 15:14:19 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 15 April 2014)
From: Samuel L.
Subject: Effectiveness of 12 Step Treatment

Hello "Orange,"

I just wanted to take a moment to point out that you come across as being extremely biased, and cynical about the program that literally saved and improved the lives of MANY men, women, and children.

Seems you left something out of all that ranting, and it's this: What exactly is your definition of "success" when it comes to treatment for addiction?

Samuel L.
Drug Addict/Alcoholic

Hello Samuel,

Thanks for the letter. Unfortunately, you are grossly misinformed. Your subject line indicates that you were reading the file on The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment , but you don't seem to have learned anything from it.

A.A. does not work. Period. It is a hoax and a fraud. Your line about "the program that literally saved and improved the lives of MANY men, women, and children" is a standard A.A. Big Lie. (Just keep telling the same lie over and over again, until people believe it.)

The definition of success is very simple. It is the same definition as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) uses to test any other medication or treatment: Take a large group of patients, in this case alcoholics, and randomly divide them into two groups. One group gets A.A. and the other group gets nothing. (This is called a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study.) After a while, a year or two, or even 8 years, count heads and see how many in each group are sober. You can also ask relevant questions about quality of life: How many are in prison, how many are unemployed, how many are insane, how many are divorced, how many committed suicide? And how many have transitioned from suicidally-intense drinking to moderate, controlled drinking?

Now people recover in both groups, and not because of the group or the treatment or lack of treatment. It is because that is normal spontaneous remission at work. All diseases or illnesses or maladies have a spontaneous remission rate. People just naturally heal themselves. With alcohol abuse and drug addiction, the natural recovery rate is about 5% per year.

The question is, where do they recover more? Which group has a better outcome? If the same number of people get sober in both groups, then the treatment is completely ineffective and useless, and is not helping the patients. It is just wasting their time. Or worse: The treatment may be giving them false hopes that doing harmful unhealthy things will make them get better.

When we actually count heads and measure and see what A.A. really did, and how many people A.A. really sobered up, we find that A.A. has made no improvements whatsoever, and in fact A.A. raises the rate of binge drinking and A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics. A.A. also makes the divorce rate and the suicide rate worse. The alcoholics who got no A.A. "help" did better. This has been shown repeatedly in test after test. In fact, there is no properly-conducted controlled study where A.A. ever did better than the non-A.A. group.

How could you expect otherwise when A.A. is really just pushing the brainwashing practices of an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties?

Now I know that you are being fooled by appearances. You see a few people recover in A.A., and think that A.A. is the cause of their recovery. No it isn't. Those are the people who would have still recovered if they had been in the "no treatment" group. Heck, they would have recovered if we had sent them to Baskin Robbins and told them to eat ice cream as their cure. After a year, they would have been saying, "This Baskin Robbins cure sure works great, doesn't it? Keep coming back! It works if you work it, you die if you don't! So work it, you're worth it!"

Now I have just one question for you:

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 saying 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/      *
**     "Let conversation cease. Let there be no laughter.
**     For this is the place where the dead help the living."
**        ==  Slogan carved in stone above the entrance to the
**            New York Medical Examiner's Office





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#John_McC ]

Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 10:13:52 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 15 April 2014)
From: John McC
Subject: "OP" has been summarized! ;)

Hey Orange,

Just wanted to give a "reference" to you of Dr. Lance Dodes new book, "The Sober Truth". I swear it has EVERYTHING IN IT that "Orange Papers" has in 1 book, complete with footnotes (Ch. 3 is the most difficult to get through with the DETAILED ANALYSIS of nearly every "study"ever done that attempts to justify A.A.!). Please add this book to the "OP" reading list!

There is also one out (no publisher — but available from "Amazon.com") called "How Alcoholics Anonymous Steals Your Soul — Indoctrinating America in 12 Easy Steps" (written by Robert Wagner — the plaintiff of the "Wagner vs. Orange County (NY) Dept. of Probation" case). The book needs SERIOUS editing, as it is mostly a giant "rant" and "over — analysis" of each of the 12 Steps, but its worth a "reference" if nothing else.

Hello John,

Thanks for the tip. Yes, I've been hearing about that book, and have to get my hands on a copy of it and check it out.

And I like Robert Warner. (Is it Wagner or Warner? I have him as Warner.) I have one of his essays on my site, here: Robert Warner's page, "How A.A. Steals Your Soul"

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      True information, human intelligence, and reason
**      are the mortal enemies of cult leaders...





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Barry_H ]

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:29:38     (answered 15 April 2014)
From: Barry H.
Subject: The Orange Papers

Orange,

I find your website interesting and inviting. I've been sober for 20+ years practicing the CA 12 step program of recovery without relapse, which was adapted with permission from AA. It works for me. I'm not writing to criticize or condemn this website, your research or information. You have an enormous amount of information on this page which I like reading and I believe it really puts the fellowship of AA and the AA 12 step program into perspective. Some of it I agree with and some of it I disagree with, which in my opinion means you got it right. Have you ever thought about doing the same thing with the major religions of the world? Just curious.

Barry H

Hello Barry,

Thanks for the comments and the question. I haven't really felt inclined to do such an exposé or analysis of all of the major religions. I have studied them, but not with an eye towards condemning them. I was looking for what was good about them. Now, I am far more interested in analyzing and condemning cult religions, which are a very different beast, and vicious harmful beasts at that.

Someone asked me if I had run the Cult Test on the Catholic Church. I explained that I didn't think I knew enough about the Catholic Church to be a fair judge of it. There is certainly much about it that is cult-like: cover-ups of child molestation, claims of having an infallible leader, unquestionable dogma, guilt induction, unproveable beliefs and undisproveable beliefs, irrational beliefs, claims that the Church is the only way to Heaven, the policy that the Church is always right and you are always wrong, and a very weird sex trip.

But there is also much that is not cult-like. The current Pope just admitted wrong-doing on the part of the Church in covering up child molestation. And the Church runs a lot of charities that do good things. (Note that A.A. runs ZERO charities and has an official policy of not helping people in any way except trying to make them into more A.A. members, which they call "helping them".)

Still, I leave such analysis and criticism of world religions to somebody else. I don't want to get distracted.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "The man who invented the telescope found out more about
** heaven than the closed eyes of prayer ever discovered."
** — Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Great Agnostic" (1833-1899) 





April 09, Wednesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Flowers

Flowers

Strange Tree
A strange evergreen tree. I don't know what this thing is, but I love it.
It looks like something out of the age of the dinosaurs.

UPDATE: 2014.04.23: Correspondents tell me that this tree is called a "Monkey Puzzle Tree", and it is native to South America.

Strange Tree
The strange evergreen tree has yellow flowers.

Strange Tree
The strange evergreen tree has yellow flowers.

[The story of the birds continues here.]





OFF THE WALL: 2014.04.17:

The search for the pings from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370:

Searchers are not having any luck in locating the lost airplane. They have been hearing sporadic pings from the black boxes, but over a very wide area of ocean. They hear pings in one place, and then in another place that is hundreds of miles away, which doesn't make any sense at all.

The reason is: Minah Fish.

Minah Fish are natural mimics, just like parrots and Minah Birds and Lyre Birds. Male Minah Fish like to collect sounds, and they recite their collection of sounds in front of the females to impress them and look and sound like better mates.

When a male Minah Fish heard pinging from a black box, the Minah Fish said, "Oh what a neat sound! I never heard anything like that before." So he memorized the sound and learned to copy it exactly. Then he went and showed off his exotic new sound in front of the females, who were really wowed. Nobody had heard such a sound before. All of the other males had collections of bubble sounds, and gurgles, and whale calls, and seal barks, and Sea Gull cries, but nobody else had anything as odd and strange as an electronic pinging sound. So the girls all twittered their approval. This Minah Fish was like a rock star singing a new hit song while all of the groupies swooned at his feet (okay, at his fins).

The other male Minah Fish were jealous and envious, so they learned the pinging sound too, and they started performing it in front of the girls, and soon, they were like rock stars too. So now we have male Minah Fish swimming around a huge area of the South Indian Ocean, pinging in front of the females, while the navies of four nations listen to them with sonar gear and chase them and try to pinpoint their location.

NOTE: This is just a joke. More about Minah Fish here.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Matt ]

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 10:11:35 -0700     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Matt
Subject: Wow — thank you

Orange,

I am in awe of what you have created. I also have a history of alcohol abuse and recently had a particularly brief but ugly relapse that placed me in a state of desperation from which I chose to attend a 30 day rehab program. The facility's materials did not make clear their commitment to a 12 step framework and I ended up attending more than 20 AA/NA meetings over 30 days.

I am utterly shocked. I always knew AA was not for me and have participated in SMART for some 3 years now. But my understanding of AA was that it was reasonably progressive and that its cult-ish evangelical roots were a bit vestigial and that it had evolved into a more open framework of lite new-age spirituality. How wrong I was.

I am appalled that AA can get away with not labeling itself, at bare minimum, as a Christian recovery program. The line about creating your own higher power is so transparent and false and the underlying theology is so clearly still based on the Oxford Group's weirdness and original sin.

I wonder if your average man/woman on the street, who still seems to associate alcohol abuse pavlonianly, with AA, has any clue that the Steps refer directly to a male god who gets his pronoun capitalized. I wonder if they know the meetings almost always conclude with the Lords Prayer? I wonder if they know that at least 50% of speakers talk about dropping to their knees to ask God to change them, etc. I suspect they don't. And so your work is invaluable.

I admire you for putting yourself out there knowing full well that minions of cult devotees will be attacking you. I could never handle that myself, so thank you.

Respect.

M

Hello Mat,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliments. I can really relate to that shocked feeling, because that is what happened to me too. I signed up for an outpatient treatment program for alcoholism (in trade for getting a dry bunk in a homeless shelter) and was shocked to learn that "treatment" consisted of "Introduction to A.A. Cult Religion".

I also had no idea that in the 20th Century, quackery and crazy religious nonsense was the standard treatment for drug and alcohol problems. The situation is so bad that when a Veteran friend of mine went to the Veterans' Administration Medical Center in San Jose (California) to ask what they had for treatment of drug and alcohol problems, they had either Bible Studies or A.A. In other words, a government medical agency offered him religious fanaticism or religious fanaticism.

You are quite right that calling A.A. "Christian" is just plain wrong when you can make up any old "God" that you like — Doorknob Almighty or Baal Bedpan or Big Rock. — Who is of course, a heartless patriarchal male God who dictates orders and zaps you with a fatal dose of "alcoholism the spiritual disease" if you disobey "Him".

And yes, the general public is unaware of what A.A. really is. Most TV shows give A.A. the "Cagney and Lacy" coverage: The one with an alcohol problem finally admits that she has a problem, and she goes to an A.A. meeting where she introduces herself as "Hi, my name is So-and-So, and I am an alcoholic." And then they start reading the 12 Steps out loud, and the TV camera breaks away after Step One: "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, and our lives had become unmanageable." The TV-viewing public never hears the other 11 Steps, like that newcomers are supposed to surrender their WILL to "God, however you conceive of Him", and confess all of your sins to Man and God, and then demand that God removes all of your defects, and then conduct a séance and hear the Voice of God giving you work orders and the power to carry them out.

Whatever that is, that is not "treatment" for the "disease of alcoholism".

I am not bothered by the hate mail. That just goes with the territory. The people that I think are really brave are the ones who go to A.A. meetings and tell the truth (and get their daily dose of cult hatred in response). Now that takes some guts.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy
**     of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot."
**       ==  Czeslaw Milosz





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Nova_A ]

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:47:20     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Nova A.
Subject:

One of my classmates recommended your website for my research project, and I liked what I read. I hope to read up on more interesting stuff in the future. After all, the truth must be told.

Hello Nova,

Thanks for the letter and the approval. And yes, the truth must be told.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Christoph_C ]

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 11:09:29     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Christoph C.
Subject: Thank You

Hi there, I found your page via Google. "Is AA a cult?" was my query. I had been attending on an "off and on" basis and something was bothering my intuition. Having thoroughly perused your research, I have decided to never return to AA.

On the last meeting I went to, a man came in 20 minutes into the meeting. The chairman said, "What would you like to share?" The other guy said, "I am the superintendent of the building across the street. Two vehicles need to be moved." He described said vehicles and left. As he went, every single person but me in that room said in unison, "Thanks for sharing. Keep coming back." WHAT THE FUCK?!!??!!!

Anyway, I am ceasing my consumption of unhealthy substance and company via my own act of will and effort because there are so many interesting things to do and experience in this world. A cult like AA insults my intelligence and insinuates that a person can do no better. It teaches and reinforces learned helplessness.

I'm going to hang out with Zen Buddhists.

Best Wishes,

Christoph

Hello Christoph,

Thanks for the letter and the story. Congratulations for quitting drinking by your own will power and intelligence. And the Zen Buddhists sound like a very good choice.

So, was the Stepper an alcoholic before his mother and father were born? Was he constitutionally incapable of being honest with himself before his mother and father were born?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     One of the worst kinds of elevation of the self is playing the victim.
**     There are times when we actually are victims, when actual blame is
**     appropriate, but to take on the identity of a victim and be stuck blaming
**     is something else. Surprisingly, it is actually a subtle form of elevation
**     — I'm not responsible, you are. This is giving up all freedom.
**          ==  Nancy Baker, "The Seventh Zen Precept"
**          http://www.tricycle.com/feature/seventh-zen-precept





[The previous letter from George_R is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#George_R ]

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2014 06:38:43 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: George R.
Subject: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps

Hello Orange,

Hope you are well and happy. I just finished the chapter cited as the subject and once again found a great basis for identification with the points you make. I can look back over my experience with recovery and recall having many of the same arguments you express, and the one truth that emerges from all this is that I never had any idea how cunning, baffling, and powerful alcoholism truly is. I attended my first meeting in April of 1966; I was twenty-eight, suffered from hallucinations, and was a frequent blackout drinker. I spent the next fifteen years "slipping and sliding" until my level of desperation reached critical mass and I changed course.

What I mean by this is that I stopped approaching the program on the all to common monkey-see, money do basis: trying to figure out what the other members had and trying to conjure up something similar. What I finally came to understand is that it doesn't matter how someone else defines prayer and meditation, or God, or anything else for that matter. Today I have concluded that religion has no place in a program of recovery: it interferes more that it helps. I agree that it is stupid to use a doorknob or a Coke machine as a Higher Power, but fortunately the Big Book gives me an alternative that I can wholeheartedly accept: the Spirit of the Universe. Reliance on religious belief leads to a dependence on people, places, and things, and is remarked by those who "need a meeting" when the going gets rough, or who have to call another alcoholic when confronted with a distressing situation, ignoring the truth that recovery is an inside job. Members who fall into this trap are not working a program of recovery, but rather engage in crisis management. Yet may say, "I fired my old God" but continue to "pray" to what Emmett Fox compared to an Oriental Potentate: the angry old white man in the sky. Thus I suggest we might consider that people of this ilk are blinded to the potential for recovery the program has.

As I've mentioned I am not always accorded the "love and tolerance" of fellow members because I am not afraid to speak the truth as I have come to understand it. To the religiously fixated I say that this isn't a program of prayer, it's a program of action. But just saying so is not enough. I also raise the question; What is the one thing all people pray for? After a few seconds of blank stare I tell them the answer: People pray for a right result. Right actions produce right results, hurtful actions produce unhappy outcomes. This is but one argument I present based on logic and reason, two things I believe necessary to solid, happy recovery. As stated in Step Ten, "Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness." ; how effective can any program be without understanding? Yet newcomers are given a rote set of "instructions" to accept without question, as the religious "faithful" are presented dogmatic pronouncements for which no proof exists: Just take our word for it.

Again, there is much merit in what you have to say but I would make the point that even a poorly designed mechanism can produce something of value. Such a device can also be improved by eliminating its flaws; it's still a poor design but it works better. Thus are my efforts at attacking the apathy and misinformation that are all to prevalent in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Referring to your Lutherian list of 37 propositions, these accurately reflect the common understanding that results from the very misinformation to which I refer. The answer is to question everything, to resolve all conflicts by the "persistent diligence" that the Big Book recommends until it makes sense, or proves to be nonsense. For instance, why do many AA members with multiple years still have sponsors when the book tells us that we learn to stand on our own two feet? How do circuit speakers who travel to groups around the country, all expenses paid, square with the tradition that places principles before personalities?

In conclusion and with respect to my Higher Power which is the Spirit of the Universe, I refer friends in the program to where the book mentions that "still small voice" that we come to rely on. A fine analogy is Pinocchio; he had Jimiiny Cricket trying to guide him but fell prey to Lampwick, the Fox and the Badger. AA is full of foxes and badgers but by continuing to press for true understanding we can overcome the surface noise and the monkey chatter, and hear the voice that speaks through inspired thought.

Keep up the good work,
Your Friend,
George

Hello again, George,

Thanks for the letter. You bring up a bunch of interesting points:

  1. At the top, you started with "the disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful." I beg to differ, but there is no such disease as alcoholism. A.A. lumps a bunch of different diseases and conditions together and calls them "alcoholism".

    All of these things pass for "alcoholism":

    • alcohol abuse
    • alcohol dependency
    • bipolar disorder
    • clinical depression
    • schizophrenia
    • anxiety disorders
    • PTSD
    • various neuroses
    • borderline personality disorder
    • narcissistic personality disorder
    • poor health
    • vanity and selfishness
    • atheism and religious skepticism
    • argumentive temperament
    • loneliness, nostalgia, and longing for the familiar old drinking scene
    • bad logic ("If I mix the alcohol with milk, it can't hurt me." The Big Book, 3rd and 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 36-37.
    • guilty of the Seven Deadly Sins

    Then, alcohol has no brain, so it cannot be clever. Neither does the "disease of alcoholism". So they cannot be conspiring to kill you in very clever ways. Nevertheless, that is the nonsense that my child-raping Stepper counselor was spreading: "Your disease wants to kill you."

    No, it doesn't. There is no such disease, and alcohol does not have a brain at all, so it is not even aware that I exist, never mind scheming to kill me in clever, under-handed ways.

    Powerful? Okay, I'll accept that a big bottle of 190-proof Everclear is very powerful.

  2. Then you said,

    I spent the next fifteen years "slipping and sliding" until my level of desperation reached critical mass and I changed course.

    Yes, it is a learning experience. It has nothing to do with finally going to A.A. It has everything to do with finally getting sick and tired of being so sick and tired.

  3. I half agree with this paragraph. You were talking about people who believe that a tyranical string-pulling puppet-master "God" will save them:

    ... ignoring the truth that recovery is an inside job. Members who fall into this trap are not working a program of recovery, but rather engage in crisis management. Yet may say, "I fired my old God" but continue to "pray" to what Emmett Fox compared to an Oriental Potentate: the angry old white man in the sky. Thus I suggest we might consider that people of this ilk are blinded to the potential for recovery the program has.

    I gag on the last phrase: "the potential for recovery the program has".
    What the evidence shows is that "the program" causes more harm than good: A.A. increases the death rate, the divorce rate, the arrest rate, and the cost of hospitalization of alcoholics. And I believe that a good case can be made for A.A. increasing the suicide rate too.

    That is not a program of recovery.

  4. The paragraph where you said, "People pray for a right result." contains many good points. And the fact that they do not want to hear you speaking common sense or good logic reveals that it is really a cult religion, not a sensible recovery program. They don't want understanding. They don't want knowledge. They want blind belief. That is why the newcomers are presented with a list of things to do without question. The slogan is "Utilize, Don't Analyze."

    And of course that doesn't work. Your point that understanding is necessary for long-term recovery is a good one.

  5. You called the 37 items in the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps "your Lutherian list of 37 propositions", which strikes me as kind of funny. I didn't see myself as nailing documents to the church door. You continued,

    Referring to your Lutherian list of 37 propositions, these accurately reflect the common understanding that results from the very misinformation to which I refer.

    Yes, which is another way of saying that they believe a bunch of goofy, downright heretical, things for very bad reasons, like because Bill Wilson said so.

    When I look at that list again, I see that I didn't even mention faith healing. The problem with true believers who tell newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications and just trust the 12 Steps to heal them really rates an item of its own. That is goofy superstition at its worst. People die over that one.

  6. I like your phrase, "the Spirit of the Universe". I can live with that one.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If your beliefs fit on a sign, think harder.
**     == A sign at John Stewart's  "Rally for Sanity",
**          Washingon DC October 31, 2010

[The next letter from George_R is here.]





April 20, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Gus the Greylag Gander
Gus the Greylag Gander
I found Gus in the outback. As usual, he was happy to get some bread and rolls.

Gus the Greylag Gander + his Canada Goose wife
Gus the Greylag Gander and his Canada Goose wife
Yes, this is a happy note. That is definitely Gus's wife. You can tell by the shape of the white patch on the sides of her head. This is clearly the same wife as he had the previous four years.

Here is a picture of Gus and his wife on July 20, 2011:

Gus the Greylag Gander + his Canada Goose wife
Gus the Greylag Gander and his Canada Goose wife

And you can compare this goose with previous pictures of Mrs. Gus listed here:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters382.html#goslings2

I don't know why she disappeared last year, but I can guess. My guess is that the weasel/ermine/mink/whatever-it-is attacked her while she was sitting on her nest incubating eggs, and it ate all of her eggs. She escaped death, but her babies didn't. She got so freaked out that she flew away and stayed away for the entire summer and fall. But now she appears to have gotten over it and she is back with Gus again. I wish her luck this year.

Canada Geese
The whole flock is coming on over to get some munchies.
They all like a treat now and then. In this case, the treat is whole wheat bread and rolls. Whole-grain breads are good for them.

Canada Geese
Pondscape with Geese

[The story of the birds continues here.]





BLOG NOTE: 2014.04.23: HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAKESPEARE!

450 years. Gee, how time flies when you are goofing off.





[The previous letter from Thomas_C is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html#Thomas_C2 ]

Date: Apr 18, 2014, 7:35 AM     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Thomas C.
Re: reply from Orange Papers

Dude

I have 30 years, lots of friends who have same, we came in and made friendships. Of the 50 or so young people that flooded the rooms of AA in the Buffalo area 1982 — 85, 40 of us are alive, well and sober. We credit the program.

So, it works if you work it.

Sounds like you need serious help.

Tom

Sent from my iPhone

Hello again, Tom,

It is odd that you picked out just one four-year period of time that happened 29 to 32 years ago, and you claim an 80% cure rate for just that one small span of time.

  • Did you keep records? Do you have a history of who joined and when, and who relapsed, and when?
  • Did you keep track of all of the newcomers, not just the ones who, in your opinion, "really tried", or "worked a strong program"?
  • If you didn't keep accurate records, then how can you remember all of the people who only came to a few meetings 30 years ago, and didn't like what they saw, and left?
  • And how on earth can you tell whether those people didn't get sober on their own without A.A.?
  • And how do you know whether you are forgetting some chronic relapsers who "went out" and didn't come back?

Unsubstantiated claims like that just don't have any credibility.


Re: reply from Orange Papers     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Thomas C.
Date: Apr 18, 2014, 7:40 AM

Dude

Sorry I contacted you, you are seriously deranged. AA is not a religion, not a cult and we do not endorse any treatment plan or facility. Drug courts do what they will . We do not recruit, we merely share our experience.

I hope and pray that some light shed into that viscous mind you have.

Tom

Sent from my iPhone

Hello again Tom,

Thanks for the repetition of the list of A.A. slogans. They are quite untrue of course.

The only thing new is learning that I have a "viscous" mind that apparently flows and oozes slowly.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     Have you learned the lessons only of those who admired you,
**     and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you
**     not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves
**     against you, and disputed passage with you?
**         ==  Walt Whitman (1819 — 1892)

[The next letter from Thomas_C is here.]





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Last updated 17 December 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters397.html