Letters, We Get Mail, CCCCVII



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Ed_M ]

Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2014 16:55:45     (answered 12 July 2014)
From: Ed M.
To: [email protected]
Subject: "Disease of addiction" and "AA success rate is 100% if you do it right"

Hi Orange,

Thank you for your work in compiling so much information showing that AA is not the only way.

As a person who no longer chooses to use drugs or alcohol but still interacts with a number of people drinking the Kool Aid, I am often frustrated by the total refusal to engage in an objective discussion about our common problem.

As far as I can tell from my own research, the AMA voted to classify alcoholism as a disease in 1956 for insurance billing purposes. However, the 1998 Rush Study found that only 12% of doctors consider alcoholism to be "100% a disease".

Even when I was using, I have always believed drug/alcohol abuse to be a matter of choice (I enjoyed your analogy of the cost/benefit analysis). If we as a society start classifying bad habits, moral weaknesses and outright criminal behavior as "diseases", where do we draw the line? Nail biting? Overeating? Pedophilia (I am powerless over children and my life has become unmanageable, etc.)?

The most common response I receive is, "well yeah, but alcoholism is a disease and the cure is AA and it works 100% of the time if you work it correctly". As we both know from Vaillant, the NIAAA and even AA's own triennial survey, the real success rate hovers around 5% after one year. I have even met a man who works in a local treatment center who claims his success rate is "81%" but will offer no documentation or method of statistical analysis. I also suspect that he has not updated his figures in over 3 years. What do you say to someone who is convinced that AA's low success rate is due to the participant "not working the program correctly"?

Also, one of AA's popular slogans is "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". This quote is often misattributed to Albert Einstein but I cannot locate any instance of him writing or speaking such words. If this is true, why do we see countless people trying AA over and over again until "they work it right"?

Lastly, do you know of any demographic surveys or any type of general census for AA participants? I suspect that the perpetuation of the cult mentality is most likely driven by a combination of the youth and lack of education which seems to be prevalent in my local AA community.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated,
Ed M.

Sent from my iPad

Hello Ed,

Thanks for the letter and the questions.

Starting at the top:

  1. RE:

    I am often frustrated by the total refusal to engage in an objective discussion about our common problem.

    Yes, that is one of the common identifying characteristics of a cult. Cult members never want to objectively discuss the dogma, beliefs, tenets, practices, and standards of the cult. They may say that they do, but what they really want is you to agree with everything that they say.

    That shows up in the Cult Test in several ways:

    Wow. That's a lot of them, isn't it?

  2. RE:

    the AMA voted to classify alcoholism as a disease in 1956 for insurance billing purposes.

    And actually, the AMA did not call it a "disease" then, they only called it an "illness". I found this statement on the AMA web site, in the history of the AMA:

    1956: AMA declares alcoholism an illness

    Oh, an "illness", huh? Not a "disease", like the Steppers have been telling us? Those words are not the same thing. There is a big difference there. Food poisoning is an illness too, but it isn't contagious, or hereditary, or incurable.

    The AMA was simply responding to some very noisy A.A. lobbyists who insisted that alcoholics were misunderstood. And yes, they were probably after the health insurance money too.

    From 1956 to 1992, the AMA had an undefined "illness". They had never said just what "alcoholism" was. Finally, in 1992, they allowed a joint committee of two A.A. front groups to write a definition of "alcoholism, the disease". The definition is so goofy that it does not even say that alcoholism is caused by drinking alcohol. They never said what causes it. Look here: Two A.A. front groups wrote the AMA definition of "alcoholism".

    And the AMA certainly did not endorse the A.A. idea that "alcoholism" is a "spiritual disease" which only a "spiritual experience" will cure, so A.A. pulls a quick sleight-of-hand trick there, and claims that the AMA agrees with A.A. They never did. How could they? That would mean that you should hire a priest, not a medical doctor, to cure the disease.

    By the way, the AMA is not the final authority on medical issues, or even a trustworthy organization. The AMA is just a private club for doctors, and its main goal is to make more money for itself and its members. The president of the AMA who built it up into the big organization that it is — Morris Fishbein — was busted for racketeering. He ran a scam where pharmaceutical companies had to buy big expensive full-page advertisements in his JAMA (Journal of the AMA) or else he wouldn't approve of their medications. Here are some links to articles about that.

  3. RE:

    If we as a society start classifying bad habits, moral weaknesses and outright criminal behavior as "diseases", where do we draw the line? Nail biting? Overeating? Pedophilia (I am powerless over children and my life has become unmanageable, etc.)?

    Oh yes. Eventually, everything bad can be a disease. Being greedy and refusing to pay your workers a decent wage is "acquisitionitis". Cannibalism is merely an "eating disorder". Murdering people whom you don't like, or with whom you disagree, is "hypercriticality".

    Stanton Peele wrote a whole book about that, The Diseasing of America.

  4. RE:

    "well yeah, but alcoholism is a disease and the cure is AA and it works 100% of the time if you work it correctly".

    "It works IF you work it" is a textbook example of Lying With Qualifiers , which is a cheap, common, propaganda trick.

    And logically, it's a meaningless statement. Vanilla ice cream also works if you work it correctly. So does knitting. Just always eat ice cream and knit instead of drink alcohol. It works 100% of the time if you work it right.

  5. RE:

    I have even met a man who works in a local treatment center who claims his success rate is "81%" but will offer no documentation or method of statistical analysis. I also suspect that he has not updated his figures in over 3 years. What do you say to someone who is convinced that AA's low success rate is due to the participant "not working the program correctly"?

    Yes, that is a common treatment center trick. They only count the "graduates" because only the "graduates" worked the program "correctly" — meaning, that they quit drinking and drugging. So they are cherry-picking, and only counting their success stories. The truth is, only 10% or 15% of the patients (or not "patients", but "clients") at a typical treatment center actually "graduate". With that trick, they could claim a 100% success rate, but that would sound unbelievable, so they settle for numbers like 80%. Then they do no follow-up surveys. How many of their success stories are still clean and sober a year later? They never reveal that. You would think that for $20,000 or $40,000, you should at least get a guarantee of a year clean and sober. But no.

    Now what do you say to them? Nothing that I know of. They know what kind of a terrible failure rate they really have, but they won't admit that out loud. They won't be that honest. Thus, a frank and truthful conversation is impossible.

    Now you can talk to them about counting ALL of the incoming patients, no matter whether the patients "work a strong program", but they don't want to hear it. Being honest like that would ruin their numbers and spoil their advertisements.

    You could tell them that the proper way to test any medication or treatment is a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study, but I know that they won't do that in order to get valid statistics.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something
    when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
    == Upton Sinclair

    And of course, "working a strong program" and "doing it correctly" are just euphemisms for "quit drinking" and "quit drugging". So it's the same old trick of claiming the credit for the people who quit their bad habits, while disavowing any responsibility for those who don't. Thus the treatment program actually does nothing. People have to quit drinking and drugging as a matter of choice and their own will power, and then give the credit to some quacks who charge a whole lot of money for double-talk and nonsense.

  6. RE:

    Also, one of AA's popular slogans is "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". This quote is often misattributed to Albert Einstein but I cannot locate any instance of him writing or speaking such words. If this is true, why do we see countless people trying AA over and over again until "they work it right"?

    I don't know whether Einstein said it either. I know that I've seen some quotes that attributed the saying to him, but it could be a misquote. Once one of those misquotes gets started, it spreads like crabgrass. Like the misquote attributed to Sir Herbert Spencer about "contempt prior to investigation". Spencer never said it, but it was printed in the Big Book, so now many people think that he did say it. (Look here for the whole story of that misquote: Survival_of_a_Fitting_Quotation.pdf.)

    And yes, trying A.A. again and again, and imagining that it will start working the next time around, is insanity.

    Honestly, really, how could an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties work as a cure for a "disease"?

  7. RE:

    Lastly, do you know of any demographic surveys or any type of general census for AA participants? I suspect that the perpetuation of the cult mentality is most likely driven by a combination of the youth and lack of education which seems to be prevalent in my local AA community.

    Ah, now that would be interesting. I don't know of any such surveys. The A.A. headquarters likes to brag that all kinds of people make up A.A. — people that range from the local butcher, baker, and carpenter to doctors — but I've never seen a real demographic survey of A.A. members. Like you, I suspect that lack of education — and even hostile anti-intellectualism — would be a common characteristic.

    The closest thing that I know of is a study done by a trio of psychiatrists and psychologists who analyzed A.A. members and found that they ranged from mildly disturbed all the way up to full-blown psychotic, and only 10% of the A.A. members could be classified as sane and normal. We should also consider mental illness as one of the causes of cult mentality. Look here: Disturbed Followers.

    And while we are considering the causes of cult mentality, I'm reminded of this quote:

    Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior.
    The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.

    That leads into all of the various reasons why people join cults and insist on believing in cults, ranging from buying a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, to fear of death or madness, to enjoying being part of the in-crowd, to enjoying the fantasy that they are doing something great, and much more. We discussed all of that several times before. Look at: orange-letters40.html#LauriJean and orange-letters107.html#why_cult and orange-letters402.html#why_cult.

Have a good day now,

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**        The individual who clings tenaciously to unverified beliefs
**     confuses his beliefs with fact, and often inflicts this confusion
**     on others in his struggle to resolve it in his favor.  When many
**     people are persuaded to subscribe to the same pretense, of course,
**     it can gain the aura of objectivity; as British psychoanalyst
**     Ron Britton has observed, "we can substitute concurrence for
**     reality testing, and so shared phantasy can gain the same or even
**     greater status than knowledge." The belief doesn't become a fact,
**     but the fact of shared belief lends it the valuable appearance
**     of credibility. The belief is codified, takes hold, and rises
**     above the level where it might be questioned.
**       ==  Bush on the Couch, Justin A. Frank, M.D., page 61.





July 6, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Canada Goose goslings
A Family of 13
That is one productive mother. She has reason to be proud.

The mother is in the lead, and the father is near the middle of the flock. He's the tallest one. Look closely at the goslings. The first and last goslings are much bigger than the others, and much older, and have all of their feathers, and adult coloration. My best guess for what is going on there is that the two large goslings are the surviving children from last year, and the 11 smaller goslings are the children from this year. Canada Geese goslings prefer to stay with their parents for two years, so that makes sense. Also note how the older children take the lead and tail positions, to surround and protect the younger ones. The older children routinely help to raise their younger siblings.

Canada Goose goslings
Gus in front, and a Family of 9 behind him.
The other parent is just off-screen to the right.

Canada Goose goslings
Pondscape with Geese

Baby Carp
Baby Fish, almost certainly baby Carp, eating bread.
The baby carp are enthusiastically eating the bread. Earlier, we were discussing the merits of feeding the wildlife, and someone who was against it complained that old bread will just sink to the bottom of the pond and rot and poison the water. Nothing could be further from the truth. The only place that could happen is in a dead, stagnant pond that is devoid of life. Here, the baby fish will eat all of the left-over bread. That may seem unlikely, until you see that there are thousands of those baby fish. The shore is crawling with them. Just one female carp makes hundreds of eggs, which hatch out to hungry little fry. They fasten their jaws on the bread, and then twist their bodies with a strong flip of their tails, and rip off a mouthful of the bread. And then they do it again, and again. Thousands of them do it. In 24 hours, that bread will be gone — if a duck or goose or other bird doesn't get it sooner. A simple fact of life out in nature is that free food doesn't sit around for very long. Something comes along and finds it and eats it.

UPDATE: 2014.07.17: An interesting web site called "arkive.org" reports that a single female carp can lay millions of eggs in a single breeding season. [Link Here.] So saying that a female carp can make hundreds of eggs is a gross underestimate, and saying that there are thousands of baby fish is not an exaggeration at all. Rather, it's way too low. So there are hundreds of thousands, or even millions of those little baby fish, all hungry for that bread. Needless to say, it gets eaten before it can rot.

Likewise, Wikipedia reports [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carp] "a typical adult female can lay 300,000 eggs in a single spawn." Wow. Now that's a bunch of kids.

And "Carp Fishing Tactics" reports: "A 4kg fish could produce up to 1 million eggs, 90% of these are fertilised and more than 80% hatch.   ...   By the time the fish reaches 1/3 of an inch in length, it begins to actively feed." Okay, that's enough hungry babies to do the job.

[More bird photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Lisa ]

Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2014 20:42:35     (answered 12 July 2014)
From: Lisa B
To: [email protected]
Subject: AA

Loved your article. I've been destined to fail at staying sober since I quit going to meetings. I found the opposite to be true. I'm calmer, saner and living in the world as a "normie". I'm not obsessed with being weak and one drink away from a drunk. I just don't drink. I laughed all through your words and found many so sad.

Thank you,
My name is Lisa, just plain Lisa

Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm happy to hear that you are free from the cult and doing better now. So congratulations for both your sobriety and your escape from the lunacy.

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

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Look! Good fortune is around you.
**     It is better to be alone than in bad company.





[The previous letter from Gamine_H is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Gamine_H ]

Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:47:43     (answered 17 July 2014)
From: Gamine H.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Thought you may enjoy this essay destroying Astrology

Why Astrology is fake in 20 sentences!

The gravity that affects biological life (fish migrations, ocean tides) comes from different sources. The big 4 planets have less than 1% influence on us and their combined nodal cycle is hundreds of years long so there isn't a mentionable, cyclical influence. In short, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus have a negligible effect on Earths life! They are too far away and their gravity does not affect us, period! Read a scientific journal.

The Moon is the only significant celestial gravitational source. Gravity affection from above is approximately 80% lunar, 20% solar, and a tiny portion, jovial planets.
**The Moon is the only culprit who could potentially cause prenatal character development patterns that would resemble something loosely similar to astrology.
** For the Moon to cause the personality and emotional differences we would have to find indisputable correlations between its fluctuating gravitational influence and human behavior/personality. Contrary to people's ignorance and wishful thinking, no notable correlations have been found.

To find correlational data we have two difficult tasks. One is to perfectly graph chronologically and geographically, the Moon's fluctuating gravitational influence and the other is to do a 40 year, double blind, unethical and impeccable study of thousands of pregnant women and their children, on every latitude, longitude and elevation. The second will never happen unless someone finds remarkable correlational data and publishes it. Good luck convincing respected neuroscientists, pediatricians and astrophysicists that lunar gravity influences prenatal, neurological personality development in a detectable and harvestable way. The first task, to graph lunar influence, sounds reasonable, but it's a dead end too.

The lunar apogee and perigee (distance), its revolution, and its nodal cycle (18.61 years) make any correlation pointless. The Moon also has fluctuating gravity of its own according to region. The amusing zodiac charts (western and eastern) are not divisible into an 18.61 year timeframe. A cyclical, lunar gravity graph will never correlate to human neurology. Why?
**Because it would be an 18 year, 8 month, 15 day long 'zodiac' with sporadically fluctuating gravity influence and extreme geographic prejudice. Tracking its influence in humans would be a daunting task for people with 30 times our current technology and the data would suggest no less than millions of different 'star signs.
** We can't even surmise wind and weather patterns with perfect accuracy, good luck predicting how a brain with 150 trillion synapses will behave. A lunar gravity pattern of influence exists, but securing it to human personality is ridiculous, far-fetched, and insulting to our complex anatomy. There isn't a chart that can tell us who we'll love, how we'll behave, or when we'll face challenges. Our precarious moon isn't a reliable subject for a graph. It's always going out, coming in, spinning and nutating. The notion that 13 constellations, a handful of planets and the Moon's location dictates human sociology is deeply erroneous, a source of social prejudice and only rivaled in fantasy by the current world religions.

Hello again, Neil,

Thank you for that. That's a nice bundle of rational thought for the day.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth,
**     the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the
**     motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and
**     distances,...  and this knowledge he holds with certainty
**     from reason and experience.  It is thus offensive and
**     disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk
**     nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is
**     saying is based in Scripture.  We should do all that we
**     can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people
**     see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.
**         ==  St. Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim





July 6, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Gus the Greylag Goose
Gus the Greylag Goose, enjoying a bite of bread.

Gus the Greylag Goose + his Canada Goose wife
Gus the Greylag Goose + his Canada Goose wife
Gus is declaring his dominance with that head gesture, and declaring that he ain't gonna take no guff from nobody.

Pondscape
Pondscape

Pondscape
Pondscape

[The story of the birds continues here.]





[The previous letter from Patrick_D is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Patrick_D ]

Date: Jul 2, 2014, 10:09 AM
From: Patrick D.
Subject: Hey guess what I am still sober!

Hey guess what I am still sober! Wait I forgot AA does not work. Better run down to the bar. :) Just poking a little fun on your article. I was reading it again and I still stand on you have so much talent but choose to write so negative about a movement that has saved millions of lives. AA has killed no one. It is a simple program I have never met anyone too stupid for the program but people like you (smart in a good way I mean it) make it harder than it is.

Sober and Happy In Columbus
Patrick D

Hello again, Patrick,

Thanks for the response. Congratulations for getting your life together and staying sober. I'm genuinely happy to hear that you are doing well, and keeping yourself sober. But of course your sobriety doesn't prove anything about A.A. working.

It's like, suppose somebody joined Scientology and then spent all of his spare time at the Scientology Center holding two tin cans that are connected to a meter, and confessing all of his sins to his Case Supervisor (C/S), and also telling his C/S about every injury that he ever suffered. Then he wrote to me and bragged that he was still sober, so that proves that Scientology really works.

No it doesn't. Scientology is just another fraudulent cure for whatever ails you, just like Alcoholics Anonymous. If a Scientologist is sober, it's because he is controlling his own behavior and not drinking alcohol. And the same thing applies to A.A. members too.

By the way, both William Griffith Wilson and Lafayette Ronald Hubbard were certified lunatics (their psychiatrists said so), and they both imagined that they had invented a great new cure that nobody else was intelligent enough to see, and they both founded cults that maintain that they have the only cure for a human problem.

A.A. is not harmless and it has harmed a great many people. Have you read the A.A. Horror Stories yet?

And also see the A.A. Suicides and the A.A. "No Meds" Horror Stories.

And A.A. has not saved millions of lives. In fact, A.A. has killed more people than it has saved. A.A. merely steals the credit for the few people who, like you, quit drinking and stay quit by using their own will power and determination.
Look here: http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Bob_memorial

And A.A. refuses to take any blame for the millions of people who are hurt more than helped by A.A., and who suffer and die. That is called Observational Selection, which is a common propaganda trick where a conman only counts the hits and ignores the misses.

The slogan about "Nobody is too stupid to get the A.A. program, but some are too intelligent," is actually very revealing. You have to be a "low-information voter" to believe in the ravings of the lunatic William Griffith Wilson.

But then again, you also have to be a "low-information voter" to believe in the ravings of Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, so you are in good company.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, declared that A.A.
**     was a "bridge" to unquestioning faith.
**     (The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Page 53.)
**     Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, sold Scientology
**     procedures as a "bridge to total freedom".
**     Gee, in cults, everybody wants to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.


[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Patrick_D2 ]

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 09:47:35     (answered 18 July 2014)
From: Patrick D.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Way to skew your numbers. You must be in government

I am sitting in am aa meeting right now my home group anniversary there are over 120 people in the room more than 40 percent have 10 plus years we just did a count down. Another 30 percent had over 5 and yes 30 had less than 1 year. Yes people have died that I knew in the program. Your premise of true alcoholics are better without aa is laughable. Your stats continue to skew the truth. Yes people die in aa there are tracked so people like you can track them. You are better without aa is laughable. When alcoholics don't get treatment within aa or another program based treatment that outlines a better way of living will not recover. The true alcoholics that don't pursue treatment die you just don't count them in your stats. How many kill themselves from depression caused by alcoholism? How many car accidents and people die? How many unintentional drug over doses? Over eating? Obesity? The list of things true alcoholics die from is end less they are just listed under something else. How people have you heard that have died when they say they just lost the will to live! Many many of these are people that died from untreated alcoholism. Where are there people in your studies?

One of the most enthusiastic boosters of Alcoholics Anonymous, Professor and medical Doctor George E. Vaillant of Harvard University, who was also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), showed by his own 8 years of testing of A.A. that A.A. was worse than useless — that it didn't help the alcoholics any more than no treatment at all, and it had the highest death rate of any treatment program tested — a death rate that Professor Vaillant himself described as "appalling". While trying to prove that A.A. treatment works, Professor Vaillant actually proved that A.A. kills. After 8 years of A.A. treatment, the score with Dr. Vaillant's first 100 alcoholic patients was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking.

* (Nevertheless, Vaillant still became a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he still wants to send all alcoholics to A.A. anyway, to "get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer." That is cult religion, not a treatment.

Patrick D.
614.xxx.xxxx
iPhone Reply

Hello again, Patrick,

I'm not skewing the numbers, you are. You are again engaging in Observational Selection. You have not counted all of the failures who are not there at your meeting. You didn't count a single suicide who is now in the ground, rather than at your A.A. meeting. You didn't count a single relapser who took the "powerless" doctrine literally and drank alcohol uncontrollably. You didn't count a single one of the people who stopped taking her medications on the instructions of her sponsor and ended up in a mental hospital, or dead. You are only looking at the survivors of the cult.

You began your letter by writing,

I am sitting in am aa meeting right now my home group anniversary there are over 120 people in the room more than 40 percent have 10 plus years we just did a count down. Another 30 percent had over 5 and yes 30 had less than 1 year.

What you are describing is a filter. Only those few sober people remain out of the thousands of people who came and went in the last 10 or 20 years. You are only seeing one side of the picture. On the other side are the missing A.A. failures. You never went to the meeting at the graveyard to count all of the A.A. failures, did you?

By the way, a group that has that high of a percentage of old-timers is very unusual. Where are all of the newcomers? Where is the next generation of A.A.? Apparently, A.A. is shrinking down to a museum of old-timers.

This sentence makes no sense:

Yes people die in aa there are tracked so people like you can track them.

Who tracks the people who die in A.A.? Nobody that I know of. Please show me the records. I want to see all of the numbers. The A.A. headquarters most assuredly does not track A.A. fatalities, or A.A. murders, or A.A. rapes. They won't even admit that such things are happening.

This is grossly untrue:

You are better without aa is laughable. When alcoholics don't get treatment within aa or another program based treatment that outlines a better way of living will not recover.

Alcoholics recover without A.A. or "treatment" all of the time. I've already referred you to that information. Apparently you don't read things that you don't want to learn. Here it is again:

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."
http://www.spectrum.niaaa.nih.gov/features/alcoholism.aspx

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 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.

And note that the Harvard Medical School says that the support of a good spouse is more important than that of a 12-step group. But A.A. says just the opposite: "Dump your spouse and marry the A.A. group, because A.A. is The Only Way."

"I decided I must place this program above everything else, even my family, because if I did not maintain my sobriety I would lose my family anyway."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition — Chapter B10, He Sold Himself Short, page 293.

Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be.   ...   Your wife may sometimes say she is neglected.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

And a rehash of the Big Book that is targeted at youths tells this story of an allegedly-successful recovery:

Even after she remarries, she doesn't lose sight of her priorities. She places God first and A.A. second. Her husband is never more than the third most important aspect of her life.
Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, John R., page 107.

The husband is less important than A.A.? He rates third in importance? That is good for destroying a lot of marriages.

Now this is untrue, and a gross distortion of the facts:

The true alcoholics that don't pursue treatment die you just don't count them in your stats. How many kill themselves from depression caused by alcoholism? How many car accidents and people die? How many unintentional drug over doses? Over eating? Obesity? The list of things true alcoholics die from is end less they are just listed under something else. How people have you heard that have died when they say they just lost the will to live! Many many of these are people that died from untreated alcoholism. Where are there people in your studies?

People who die from obesity are not dying from "alcoholism". Unintentional drug overdoses are not caused by "alcoholism". People losing their will to live is not alcoholism. (In fact, the A.A. confession routines in Steps 4 and 5, and the constant put-downs in A.A. make many people lose their will to live. Suicide is rife in A.A.)

And people who are depressed often turn to alcohol to try to fix the problem; "alcoholism" is not the cause of their depression. That was Bill Wilson's problem — he was a chronic depressive even before he took a single drink. He suffered a year-long bout of depression when he was just a child, when his mother left him with his grandparents. Bill's first 3-year-long bout of clinical depression was while he was still in high school, when his girlfriend Bertha Bamford died, which caused him to flunk out and not graduate from high school. Long periods of clinical depression were a recurring feature of Bill's life. The worst was an 11-year-long period from 1944 to 1955, while Bill was allegedly sober.

"Alcoholism" is not a catch-all ailment that causes all other medical conditions. Often, it's just a complicating factor where people self-medicate with alcohol, vainly trying to fix what is broken.

And what you call "true alcoholics" do not die from lack of A.A. or treatment. As I just showed you, most of the successful recoveries happen without any A.A. or any treatment.

And yes, people do count all of the alcohol fatalities. The government is constantly supplying us with numbers. And I have reported many, many times that the annual death toll from alcohol — just in the USA — is over 100,000 per year, plus another 13,000 from automobile accidents. And the death toll from tobacco, which Bill Wilson said is okay, is 430,000 per year. On the other hand, the death toll from marijuana is near zero. People are counting everything.

Then you quoted me describing Dr. George Vaillant's Project CASPAR results, and asked, where are the people in Vaillant's studies? You mean now? Probably somewhere around Boston. How should I know? I'm in Oregon. Ask George Vaillant. As a true believer member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a former member of the Board of Trustees of A.A., I'm sure that he will be happy to tell you all about it. You can contact him through Harvard University. Write to Prof. George E. Vaillant, c/o the Psychiatry Department.

And you can try reading his book, The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery. You have apparently already seen my analysis of his book, here:
http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant

Please read it again, and again, until you understand what Dr. Vaillant was saying about A.A. treatment:

Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
**         ==  Mark Twain (1835—1910)

[The next letter from Patrick_D is here.]





July 6, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Wild Daisies
Wild Daisies

Pondscape
Pondscape
As you can see, much of this pond is not very deep. Only knee-deep for a goose is very shallow. This is bottomland, where all of the silt has settled for thousands of years, so that bottom is flat as a table.

Pondscape
Pondscape with Great Blue Heron

Pondscape
Pondscape with Island
That island is one good place for the geese to nest. They are protected from predators like the ermine/mink/weasel/whatever he is.

[The story of the birds continues here.]





[The previous letter from Ian_R is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html#Ian_R ]

Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2014 05:40:34     (answered 17 July 2014)
From: Ian R.
To: Orange <[email protected]>
Subject: Back to the Old Testament

Hello Orange,

It has been a while and I see you have published my ramble on the old testament, just to clarify a couple points you picked up —

My analysis of some parts of the ot are quite standard biblical scholarship, being "the documentary hypothesis", which is simply that the ot was written over hundreds of years by a multitude of different authors and schools of thought, these are:

1. The Yahwists, who refer to God as "yhw";
2. The Elohists, who refer to God as "ellohim";
3. The Preistly writers; these are the "p" or "d" source (Deuteronomic).

At one point Ellohim and Yahweh would have been separate cults and merged fully only around 600bce, in captivity in Babylon. The first five books of the ot have fairly late authorship and (look at all those rules!) indicate a settled people with a rather involved cult of worship.

Under the documentary hypothesis, the OT was compiled in babylon from obviously older sources — around 600bce.

So, the OT is not fiction, it just can't easily be read as history since it is compiled long after many of the events and there is so much drift (and each tribe is telling slightly different stories — that is why Goliath is killed by two different people: each tribe claims the kill).

Anyway, the ancient Hebrews would not have had a very fixed idea of history — these are the stories of the tribes and all. They do care about meaning.

Job is considered the oldest book because the literary structure is so primative, because it resembles other wisdom liturature of deeper antiquity and because the cosmology is God vs the Dragon, which is an older cosmology than genesis.

I occasionally like to break out actual biblical religion in AA meetings, always to debunk the 12 steps (which my rabbi regards as — harmless, ok, questionable, apostasy). Oh, how they hate that. I like to begin "I had my rabbi review the 12 steps (and they get mushy in anticipation); he judged it pagan worship. Haha.

It is a great conceit of Bill W's that christian-ish Oxfordism is a new, universal religion suitable for all. For God's sake; it is not even Christianity.

Yeah, you get to name your own God (which is apostasy for me!) but what of it? Bill W. has defined the attributes of God. A sort of saving God that does stuff for you. I rather stay sober in my own religious tradition. I hate the imperial reach of AA, and most any sane Jew sees it as a Protestant-lite tent meeting from jump.

Plus, Bill is a necromancer and we ought to stone him to death.

I do not make many meetings these days. The passive-agressive thrill is not worth the tedium.

Cheers,

Ilr

Hello Ian,

Thanks for the history lesson, and the laugh. I can just picture the A.A. members drooling in anticipation of what your Rabbi would say about the 12 Steps: "Yes, the 12 Steps are completely compatible with Talmudic teachings." NOT! Pagan worship, huh? That sounds about right.

And stoning Bill Wilson to death for all of the millions of people whom he has hurt sounds too kind.

Calling the A.A. God "a saving God" really sounds like an understatement. The A.A. God is Santa Claus. He will give you a new car, and a new wife, and a new job, and money, and a better apartment, and everything:

I have no other explanation for the many good things that have happened to me since I have been in A.A. — they came to me from a Greater Power.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Rum, Radio, and Rebellion, page 367.

I've heard a lot of such talk in A.A. meetings, how "Higher Power" gave her this, and that, and arranged things so that she would benefit. I even had a guy who was trying to recruit me as his sponsee telling me that it was wonderful that God had arranged things so that I was so poor and down and out that I was eating out of Dempsey Dumpsters. (The idea being that such poverty kept me from drinking too much.)

By the way, your history of the Old Testament reminded me of a lecture on the orgins of the Gospels that my friend "Dewisant" messaged to me one day:


There are two theories. The two-source and the four-source theories.
Two Source is the view that Matthew and Luke made use of two written sources - Mark and the "Sayings Gospel Q" - in composing their gospels.

Four Source is a common explanation of the relationships found in the Synoptic Gospels (MMLJ). Matthew used Mark, Q, and his own special source called M. Luke also used Mark and Q, but had another source called L, that Matthew did not have. The material in M and L probably comes from oral tradition.
Further:

(Correction. The Synoptic Gospels are MML)

Agreement between Matthew and Luke begins where Mark begins and ends where Mark ends.

Matthew reproduces about 90% of Mark, Luke about 50%. They often reproduce Mark in the same order. When they disagree, either Matthew or Luke supports the sequence in Mark.

In segments the three have in common, verbal agreement averages about 50%. (Further proof in the book, and I ain't typing that much. I can show it to you on Sunday, ironically.)

Said segments are called "The Triple Tradition".. In those segments in common, Matthew and Mark often agree against Luke, and Luke and Mark often against Matthew, but Matthew and Luke rarely agree against Mark.

Mark is responsible for the chronological outline of the life of Jesus represented by the Synoptics; Matthew and Luke do NOT have independant evidence for the order of events.

Mark is the earliest of the three.


I also have a timeline, if you want. I can give you a rough one for order of first appearance and earliest remaining traces.

Did you get all that? *LOL*

1 - 30 CE:
John the Baptist, the precursor and mentor of Jesus (died about 27CE)
Jesus of Nazareth, "traveling sage and wonder-worker" [ed. - my quotes, their words] (died about 30CE) {ed. - Date is actually highly questionable, given current research, but I didn't write it.]
30 - 60 CE:
Paul of Tarsus, chief founder of gentile Christianity (letters written about 50 - 60CE)
Sayings Gospel Q (first edition, about 50CE)
Gospel of Thomas (first edition, about 50CE)
60 - 80 CE:
Signs Gospel (eventually incorporated into John)
Gospel of Mark, the first narrative gospel (first edition, about 70CE)
Didache, first believer's handbook (first edition) [ed. - And actually, damned interesting, too!]

80 - 100 CE:
Gospel of matthew, incorporating Mark and Q (about 80CE)
Gospel of Luke, incorporating Mark and Q (about 90CE)
Dialogue of the Savior (first edition, probably 50 - 100CE)
Gospel of Peter (first edition, probably about 50 - 100CE)
Egerton Gospel (probably 50 - 100CE)
Gospel of John, incorporating the Signs Gospel (about 90CE)
Gospel of Mark, canonical edition (about 100CE)
100 - 150 CE:
Gospel of John, third edition (insertions and additions)

Secret Book of James, first edition (found at Nag Hammadi)
Gospel of Mary (found at Nag Hammadi)
Jewish-Christian Gospels (preserved in patristic quotations)
Didache, second edition (insertions and additions)
Gospel of Thomas, second edition (surviving edition)

Surviving fragment of Gospel of John (P52)
Surviving fragments of Egerton Gospel (PEgerton2 and PKöln255)
150 - 325 CE:
Emergence of four "recognized" gospels
Emergence of an official collection of Christian writtings ("New Testament")
Christianity becomes a legal religion (313CE)
Coucil of Nicea (325CE)
First official creeds
First surviving copies of "Bibles" (about 325-350CE)
{ed. - DONE! Whew!!}

I need a cigarette, after that. And think my WPM for typing just went up a few points. *LOL*

Couple of notes. The 'o' in PKöln255 has an umlaut. Also, on the manuscript numbers, P52, PEgerton2 and PKöln255, the numbers are always in superscript.
Got all that. *ROFL*

You now know more about Christianity than most American Christians. You are now, officially exempt from EVER having to go to church, ever again. :-P


Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 21:31:15     (answered 17 July 2014)
From: Ian R.
To: Orange <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Back to the Old Testament

Further to that —

I notice when you talk about Moses and the ot you make a typical error.

The 614 commandments (of which stoning necromancers and bashing your enemies heads are top picks) are only binding on the children of Israel: gentiles are not expected to follow Mosaic Law).

Gentiles get by on the much less rigorous 7 commandments to Noah — the Noahide Laws.

When people seek to fuss with religion they tend to pick the dumbest things in the ot and combine them with the dumbest of the nt.

They thence ask you "am I going to hell because I eat shellfish?".

No. The dietary laws are only binding on Jews and you can read the ot 1mn times and you will discover there is no mention of hell. Jews do not beleive in hell.

Cheers,

Ilr

Okay, thanks again. And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     The trouble with the age we live in is that it lacks consistence.
**     People start reasoning things out, and as soon as they begin to
**     get anywhere they drop everything and run.
**     ==  Ugo Betti, Struggle 'Till Dawn (1949), 2, tr. G. H. McWilliam

[The next letter from Ian_R is here.]





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Last updated 31 July 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters407.html