Letters, We Get Mail, CDXIV



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Steve_C ]

Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 00:17:54 -0700     (answered 6 October 2014)
From: Steve C.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Powerlessness

We are powerless over alcohol after we take the first drink if we are truly alcoholic. If we are not an alcoholic then we are just problem drinkers. I know this to be true for myself, so I don't take the first drink. End of discussion Orange boy.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

--

Steve C

Hello Steve,

No, we are not powerless over alcohol. I notice that you added the qualifier, "after we take the first drink." And no, we are not powerless after the first drink either. Taking the second drink is a choice, just like taking the first drink is a choice.

Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that alcoholics are "defenseless" against "the first drink".

I now remembered what my alcoholic friends had told me, how they had prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come — I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly defeated. I knew then. It was a crushing blow.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 41-42.

Those "friends" (actually, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith) "prophesied" that alcoholics would suffer from "strange mental blank spots", where the alcoholism would seize control of their minds and "will power and self-knowledge would not help," and they would be drunk before they even realized what was happening. That is a great excuse for indulging whenever someone craves a drink, but it is totally untrue. It is ridiculous pseudo-science.

Now by the time someone gets to the twelfth drink, the guy is pretty drunk and has little will power or self-control left. But getting from drink one to drink 12 is a choice. Drink two is a choice. Drink three is a choice. So is drink four. And so on.

Bill Wilson created the goofy "powerless over alcohol" idea by repeating Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion nonsense. Buchman declared that we are powerless over sin, and have been defeated by it, and only surrender to his cult religion will save us from a life of sin. Bill Wilson said the same thing, just changing the word "sin" to "alcohol". Now A.A. says that we must join the A.A. cult religion or else we will die, because we are "powerless over alcohol."

That is not true at all.

The proof that people are not powerless over alcohol is the fact that many tens of thousands of alcoholics just quit drinking every year. And most of them do it alone, without any treatment program or so-called "self-help group".

The NIAAA's (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions 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."

Now I agree that some of us have poor impulse control after we get a few drinks in us. Alcohol attacks the frontal part of the brain that is used for logic and rational thinking, so clear thinking and self-control are the first things to be impaired. And even just a few drinks of alcohol really awakens the monster and you want more and more alcohol. I have the same problem too, so that is why I do not drink any alcohol at all. Not even a little bit. But that is still not powerlessness. There were zillions of times when I only drank a few drinks. Unfortunately, there were also zillions of times when I drank until I passed out, and that wrecked my health. It's a choice. And I choose not to poison myself any more.

The doctrine that you are "powerless over alcohol" is really bad, and has killed a lot of people. It is a formula for disaster that is often a self-fulfilling prediction. When people really believe that they cannot control their own drinking because they are powerless over alcohol, then they don't. They tend to go on prolonged binges, imagining that they have no choice in the matter. (Well, stupid as it is, it sounds good when you are drunk.) The idea that you are powerless over alcohol and can't help yourself is an alcoholic's ready-made rationalization for taking a drink whenever the urge comes along. In one controlled study of A.A.'s effectiveness, court-mandated offenders who had been sent to A.A. for several months were doing five times as much binge drinking as the other alcoholics who got no such Alcoholics Anonymous "help".

We have discussed this issue before, many times. I wrote a whole web page on the subject:

  • Powerless Over Alcohol

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
    **     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
    **     and that your will power is useless, is not
    **     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
    **     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.
    *
    **     When I "graduated" from the so-called "treatment program" at the
    **     local "treatment center" (because the health insurance funding ran
    **     out), they congratulated me for my continuous sobriety and for "achieving
    **     the goals" of the treatment program. That starkly contrasts with the
    **     A.A. dogma that says that you are powerless over alcohol. If I were
    **     really powerless, then I couldn't have chosen sobriety, and I couldn't
    **     have accomplished anything. The so-called treatment is contradictory:
    **     They demand that you go to 12-Step meetings and get a sponsor and
    **     join the 12-Step cult religion, and declare that you are powerless
    **     over alcohol, but they also demand that you act like you have the situation
    **     totally under your own control, and abstain from drinking or drugging as a
    **     matter of choice.
    *
    **     You may believe that inspiration is something that arrives
    **     in some mysterious way that's beyond your control,
    **     but it's clearly best to rely exclusively on your decisions
    **     to act in ways that will intensify your awareness of Spirit.
    **       ==  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Inspiration Perpetual Flip Calendar, October 22.
    **     Notice how that contrasts with declaring yourself powerless,
    **     and denouncing self-reliance.
    *
    **     To say that we are powerless over alcohol is as stupid and wrong
    **     as saying that children are powerless over candy bars. While the
    **     temptation to consume may be strong, none of us is powerless.
    *
    **     When they tell you that you are powerless,
    **     that just means that somebody else gets the power.
    **       ==  A cynical and astute reader
    

    [The next letter from Steve_C is here.]





    [The previous letter from Mike_B is here.]

    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Mike_B ]

    Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 02:31:44 -0500 (09/16/2014 12:31:44 AM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Mike B.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: reply to your reply on Aiken

    Orange,

    It still appears you have not actually listened to or read the interview in question. Aiken never said that "rape cannot result in pregnancy unless the woman secretly wants it". And pointing out your obvious error is not some kind of "apology" for him; it's a simple fact. Here's his quote:

    "Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
    — Todd Aiken, Aug. 2012

    He clearly said that getting pregnant from rape is possible (albeit rare), contrary to your propaganda. Furthermore, he never said a woman shouldn't be able to get an abortion because it is her fault, contrary to your unsubstantiated claims. So my original point stands that you yourself are engaging in the very propaganda you write against.

    The argument against abortion is simple; deliberately killing a baby is wrong, whether in the womb or out of it. One does not have to hate women to believe murder should be outlawed. It doesn't matter if the baby was a product of rape or just old fashioned fornication. A woman has no more right to kill an unwanted baby in her womb then she would to kill an unwanted infant that she came across as a result of someone breaking into her house and placing it in her living room.

    And please, don't ever use health care and abortion in the same sentence. Murdering a child in the womb is about as far from heath care as one can get. It's pure Orwellian double speak to suggest abortion is health care.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

    Hello Mike,

    Thank you for revealing your dogmatic bias.

    And you are proving my points for me. You declared that Aiken said,

    "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

    That is not true at all. That is completely delusional. That is just crazy cult religion dogma. Aiken is not basing his statements on medical facts, he is indulging in wishful thinking and believing what he wants to believe. (But when he gets very sick, he will eagerly embrace that atheistic science and modern medicine, won't he?)

    You complained that I haven't listened to the interview. That's because the link that you sent does not work:
    http://www.hark.com/clips/byqzjkgqpp-todd-akin-on-rape-and-abortion

    I even wrote to the webmaster and told him about the broken link because I really would like to hear the interview.

    By the way, a small clump of cells that looks like a blob of snot is not a baby any more than an acorn is an oak tree. And an egg — even a fertilized egg — is not the same thing as a chicken. When you buy a dozen eggs at the supermarket, they don't charge you for 12 chickens, do they?

    Trying to make a fertilized egg equal a child is the standard propaganda and debating trick of Conflation — assert that very different things are the same thing. That is dishonest.

    Here is some homework for you:

    5 craziest things Ted Cruz just said at the Values Voters Summit

    http://salon.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=71cb3e8a6e9639c81023cd427&id;=dc3e329c2c&e;=19475b1a9b

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     "I'm not a monster. I'm a decent person. I'm sick.
    **     I have an addiction.  Just like alcoholics have an
    **     addiction. I need therapy."
    **       ==  Ariel Castro, who kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped
    **         three women for 10 years, including beating one of them
    **         into a miscarriage because he didn't want the baby.
    **         And who then committed suicide in prison.
    





    September 01, 2014, Monday, a street scene in Forest Grove:

    Monkey Puzzle Tree
    Monkey Puzzle Tree

    Monkey Puzzle Tree
    Monkey Puzzle Tree, detail

    [More bird photos below, here.]





    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Chris_L ]

    Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:36:58 -0400 (09/15/2014 07:36:58 PM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: chris l
    To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
    Subject: Thank you

    I was unfortunate enough to do a drug court in 1999 and in San Diego PIR in 2001 (probationeers in recovery). It still bothers me to this day how fucked up those people are and you put exactly why into perspective. Fortunately there are people in the field of addiction treatment(heard some promising opinions on NPR) who aren't the one person out of a court ordered program who loves the context and just gets off on imposing the will of bill w so much that they want to do that job.

    By the way in both drug court and PIR out of maybe 100 people someone got their wisdom teeth pulled and "I'm not even going to take a Tylenol" also one person wants to be an addiction counselor. That Tylenol will mean that this person will relapse and it will be exponentially worse because clean time is just getting worse. This is so crazy they all smoke cigarettes and drink coffee for the most part.

    I was crucified for being real. Those people are terrorists. You know these things I'm sure. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work.

    Chris
    Sent from my iPad

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for the letter and the compliments. Of course I totally agree. Those people are insane, and power-mad, and are selling a crazy old cult religion. I hope you have escaped from their clutches.

    And yes, the hypocrisy of chain-smoking cigarettes and guzzling coffee while declaring that they are in recovery and so pure that they won't take a Tylenol is both appalling and hilarious.

    I have spoken to some members about that, and they rationalize, "Well, I've got to keep something." And then they begin the meeting by reading "Half measures availed us nothing" out of the Big Book (page 59).

    Oh well, have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "... Ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but
    **     within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity..."
    **       ==  Matthew 23:28
    





    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Emily_P ]

    Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:23:36 -0400 (09/17/2014 07:23:36 PM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Emily P.
    To: Orange <[email protected]>
    Subject: Cult confirmation

    I thought you and the community might like to know that the complaints against the Clancy groups are being heard and validated by cult experts all over the country. Several of us appeared at the International Cultic Studies Association's annual conference in DC this past summer.

    I look forward to these groups being investigated further and hearing people speak up more now that we have the cult expert community on our side.

    If you believe you have been affected by an AA cult and are still struggling, feel free to get in touch with me for more info on how to get proper help. Do not go to a therapist until you understand how to seek counseling for this issue. Most therapists are not trained in mind control and can cause unintended further harm.

    Hello Emily,

    Thank you for the note. That is encouraging. Really. Now I wonder how long it will take the popular cult experts to extend the cult definition to Alcoholics Anonymous in general. Meaning: to also include the non-Clancy_Imusland and non-Mike_Quinones/Midtown_Group parts of A.A. as cults.

    If other readers want to contact you, I will happily forward messages. I hesitate to publish your email address because of spammers and vicious character assassins.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     You can say that some groups are cults. LaRouche's bunch,
    **     Moonies, Scientology, Heaven's Gate, etc. There are
    **     published scales to measure how much some group is a cult.
    **       ==  Keith Henson
    *
    **     "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
    **     indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
    **     world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
    **     efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
    **     mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
    **     of proper separation between church and state."
    **       ==  A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
    **           The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.
    





    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Chris_M ]

    Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:21:59 -0500 (09/19/2014 10:21:59 AM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Chris M.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: The Twelve Step

    I understand your criticism of the Twelve Steps, but I have in my experience not ever seen it used as literally as you seem to think it is used. People in Twelve Step recovery tend to see it as a set of ideals, it is even jokingly referred to by people in the program as a "bait and switch" program for drunks. There are many people in the program who are not religious and in many ways the fellowship of the program trumps anything that Bill W. ever wrote. I like what you have written on cults and found it very accurate. I just don't understand your position on Twelve Step recovery considering it does seem to help people without harming them.

    Chris M.

    Hello Chris,

    Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are being moderate and reasonable. Really. I know a bunch of sane people who still go to A.A. meetings. Some of them are even in the Newcomers Rescue League, an honorary organization of good-hearted people who go to A.A. meetings to save the newcomers from bad sponsors and religious fanatics.

    Alas, the 12 Steps deserve all of the criticism that they get. The 12 Steps are not anything good. They are not "spiritual guidelines". They are cult indoctrination and recruiting practices. Practices, not "principles".

    Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman created and refined those practices for his "Oxford Group" cult religion. Buchman taught them to both the Oxford Group, and the Chinese, when he was a Lutheran missionary to China in 1915, 1916, and 1918. The Chinese turned the practices into "Red Chinese" brainwashing, which was used on U.S. and British troops during the Korean War.

    In the USA, Buchman taught those practices to William Griffith Wilson, Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, and Clarence Snyder, who were all members of Buchman's "Oxford Group". Bill Wilson wrote them down and called them "The 12 Steps".

    Compare the 12 Steps and the 12-Step "program" to Red Chinese brainwashing, as described by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, who was one of the pioneering doctors who studied the victims of that brainwashing after the Korean War:

  • Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's description of brainwashing

    I analyzed the 12 Steps here:

  • The Twelve Steps Interpreted

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     MITCHELL: "Hey Tilk, how did you resist that brainwashing?"
    **     TILK:  "To resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is most important."
    **       ==  Stargate SG-1
    





    September 06, 2014, Saturday, Fernhill Wetlands:

    Canada Goose goslings
    Dabbler's Marsh drying up.
    I don't know whether the "Tualatin Valley Clean Water Association" is deliberately drying up this pond, or it's just lack of rain, but it never dried up totally before.

    Canada Goose goslings
    The bottom of Dabbler's Marsh

    Canada Goose goslings
    Mud hole, the last traces of water in Dabbler's Marsh
    I just rescued a bunch of tadpoles from this mud hole. I found them flopping around like fish out of water, and scooped them up and put them in a plastic bag, and took them to the next pond where they would have some water.

    Saved tadpoles
    Rescued tadpoles
    I dumped out the rescued tadpoles and small frogs here. Unfortunately, most of those tadpoles were already dead. But not all. Obviously, the small frog there is alive, and some of the tadpoles that you can see are. The live ones swam away, into deeper water, soon.

    Domestic Ducks
    The domestic ducks, swimming away after getting their fill of bread and rolled oats.

    [The story of the birds continues here.]





    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Brian_W ]

    Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:03:35 -0700     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Brian W.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Thanks

    Dear Orange,

    Thank you for your work. I think it has helped me. I had developed a drinking problem a few years back and after one horrible night a very close friend wanting to help me told me that she thought I was an alcoholic and suggested I go to AA. Realizing there was a lot of truth to what she said I agreed. I was getting very drunk most nights of the week, felt sick most of the time until I started drinking again, would have blackouts, shakes in the morning etc. I was drinking 100-150 units a week. Any health specialist would say I had an alcohol abuse disorder (I now know competent ones would not say I was an alcoholic because it is not an accepted diagnosis). I had realized I was no longer controlling my drinking and it needed to stop. Hearing another trusted person confirm this was very important to me. In retrospect I wonder if that was what I truly needed, rather than "recovery" in any form. I came to AA very open, there was no "contempt prior to investigation." But immediately, things did not feel right. I found "How it works" fear-mongering and shaming. It seemed paradoxical that in order to work the program, one needs to stop drinking. Therefore, to take the cure, a person has to have already cured herself of the root of the problem, which is failing to resist the urge to drink no matter what. However, I met a lot of friendly people, who had gone for a long time without drinking, so I decided to go with it. I went to meetings once a day, helped clean up afterwards, fellowshipped, found a sponsor, purchased and read AA literature and started working the steps. My sponsor was a nice guy and not controlling in the slightest. He met with me to only do step work. I have heard horror stories about bad sponsors, and I respect my former sponsor for his sense of boundaries and appropriateness.

    But things still felt strange. I think relapse is not a helpful concept. I have a friend that contracted malaria. When he relapses its because plasmodia that doctors have never been able to eradicate flood his body. He gets fevers, chills, turns funny colors, quits eating and smells bad. I found it eerie talking to people who spoke of a relapse as happening to them, rather than what seemed to be choosing, however unwisely, to drink. I reflected on my earlier attempts to stop drinking and it seemed that I had simply chosen to drink, against my better judgement or thoughtlessly. When I had a few rough things going on in my life, and some people offered to talk with me. While I appreciated the offer, I respectfully declined. I was then told "if you don't talk about it you know you will drink, right?" I responded "Only if I choose to." This was met with sighs, head-shaking and tsk-tsk-ing. When I began to less frequently attend meetings, I had similar encounters when I ran into other members on the street.

    One thing I noticed about many AA's is that they seem to be remarkably poor listeners. That is what happens when one "listen for similarities not differences." If you are only listening to things that you can relate to, you really aren't listening. I am a scientist by trade and when people would hear this they would immediately assume I am an atheist (I am an agnostic, but not very devout) and start asking if I had read "We agnostics" and quoting Dr Bob's statement about intellectual pride. Mind you I had disclosed nothing about my religious beliefs, nor anything that was prideful, intellectually or otherwise. If anything, declaring one's belief about a higher power seems more prideful than expressing simple disbelief or skepticism.

    In meetings people would share about about their own traits that they found undesirable, prefaced with a "We as alcoholics..." I found this irritating. "We as alcoholics... generalize our personal experience to other people" would be a far more accurate statement. What I found most pernicious was the sense that any negative emotion or less-adaptive impulse I might have is not simply being a human being, but intimately tied up to some ill-defined and all encompassing disease. I decided to quit drinking because I wanted to be human and whole, not to assume a new identity as a fundamentally flawed being.

    If AA and the disease model has helped to reduced the stigma of alcoholics as a whole in society, which it can be argued to have done, it has come at the cost of making individuals struggling with drink stigmatize themselves. Rather than offering a platform for growth and progress, alcoholics in the AA model get stuck with a progressive disease that touches everything in their lives, from which they can only get a daily reprieve. Talk about incomprehensible demoralization. This subtext to the program and my moral inventory was making me depressed and really beat up on myself. I didn't even feel like I had screwed-up; I felt completely screwed-up.

    Becoming concerned about AA I found your website, which confirmed my suspicions, and also alerted me to many other problems and funny things about the program. I checked out the articles and books you cited, and verified what you posted. I still was open to AA, I thought maybe working the steps completely can help a person be happier. Then I started looking around the room and realized that many of the people that had worked the steps were not especially unhappy, but they didn't seem especially happy either. They seemed like normal people, who were maybe a bit too hard on themselves. I decided if AA doesn't treat alcoholism, or make people happier (Dr. Vaillant's work suggest it makes some people unhappy enough to kill themselves) I would not attend. I felt nervous, that I was perhaps making a mistake, but I could not justify going to meetings that made me depressed. And things have been fine. Strangely enough, since I have stopped spending an hour each day listening to people about drinking, I now seldom think about drinking. Sometimes a beer seems nice, even very nice, but I know that is bad news for me, so I don't have it. And I think that is recovery. You and your site helped get me there and I am grateful for that.

    Best regards,

    Brian.

    Hello Brian,

    Thank you for the encouraging and positive letter. That really brightens my morning. I love to hear from the people who have really recovered. Both recovered from alcohol, and recovered from "recovery".

    I agree with so many of the things that you said. You hit on a lot of the high points.

    • Confessing all of your sins and moral shortcomings and wrongs and defects of character is very depressing, and it is self-harming behavior.

    • I'm not even an atheist, and I find praying for the goodies to be silly. I don't believe in Santa Claus, or Casper the Friendly Ghost, who will bring you the goodies if you beg on your knees enough. But A.A. says that some vague "Higher Power", like Doorknob Almighty or Baal Bedpan, or "Him", will stop you from drinking alcohol if you beg and confess enough. Not only that, but they tell me that "Higher Power" will give you a new job, and a new apartment, and a new wife or mistress, and a new car, and all kinds of nice things. That is nuts. Not even the Bible says that. That is essentially "black magic", using demons to do your bidding and get what you want.

    • They try to take away your choice to not drink. They claim that you are powerless, and only joining their cult will save your life. That is not recovery, that is slavery.

    • They do not "reduce the stigma of alcoholism", they constantly work to increase it. They talk non-stop about how bad alcoholics are. And like you said, they project all of their personal "defects of character" onto the Generic Alcoholic, and then declare that, "We are all like that."

    • And yes, they are very poor listeners. Facts that they don't like are ignored. In one ear, and out the other. They only listen for repetition of the correct buzz-words and slogans.

    • Like you said, A.A. offers no "platform for growth and progress". They don't have a path out of the darkness. You are supposed to stay in the darkness forever, and keep on talking about how bad you are, and how you are powerless, and how you cannot think right.

    • About: "I wanted to be human and whole, not to assume a new identity as a fundamentally flawed being."
      Yes, yes, yes! That new bad ego is a real bitch. It will make you much less happy. That is not recovery, or healing, or growth.

      In fact, such self-flagellation is so destructive and harmful that it drives people to suicide. I count Robin Williams as one of the victims of the 12-Step self-criticism routine.

    • RE:

      I was then told "if you don't talk about it you know you will drink, right?" I responded "Only if I choose to." This was met with sighs, head-shaking and tsk-tsk-ing. When I began to less frequently attend meetings, I had similar encounters when I ran into other members on the street.

      Oh yes, the condescending, know-it-all attitudes are really something else. That is several of the standard cult characteristics:

    • Speaking of relapse, you are right. Choosing to drink a beer is a choice, not a relapse. "Relapses" don't "just happen" to "alcoholics". When the cancer returns and grows worse after chemotherapy, that is a relapse. Deciding to stop off at the pub and have a cold one after work is a decision, a choice.

    • And yes, simply choosing not to drink that beer is real recovery. Now you are free to do something else that is more fun and healthier.
    Have a good day, and a good life, now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
    **     undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make
    **     what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving
    **     better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
    **     ROLLING IN THE MUCK IS NOT THE BEST WAY OF GETTING CLEAN.
    **       ==  Aldous Huxley
    *
    **     Robin Williams: 'I was shameful, did stuff that caused disgust —
    **      that's hard to recover from'
    **     == The Guardian Newspaper, "The G2 interview",
    **     http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/series/the-g2-interview
    





    September 07, 2014, Sunday, Waterfront Park in downtown Portland:

    Canada Geese
    Canada Geese in Waterfront Park
    The goose in the lower right is eating rolled oats that I just put out for her.

    Canada Geese

    Canada Geese

    Canada Geese
    Canada Geese eating bread

    Canada Geese

    [The story of the birds continues here.]





    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Richard_B ]

    Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:56:55 -0400 (09/19/2014 08:56:55 PM)    (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Richard B.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Today

    Hello Orange Papers people —

    Eeech can sanity and taking care of one's sanity be a challenge!

    I've had a life, with a not bad-looking resume despite the crummy familial alcohol-soaked upbringing, but all that stuff can come back at you and hurt, oh does it ever if there's been depression in your background.

    Frankly, It's been close to destroying me lately. No firearms at hand no dangerous chemicals but still ..

    Tonight, at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge I was at what turned out to be a regular, closed-in, chummy "As Bill Sees It" catechism-class meeting.

    My mistake was that I said what was on my mind. I was suicidally depressed! Could anyone be of practical help?

    Someone afterwards chided me for my "negative energy"

    Drinking is better than that — very seductive, but I've been holding on —

    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, it's been said.

    I'd be very appreciative of anybody's positive thoughts and feelings. Help!

    rb

    Hello Richard,

    Thanks for the note. I'm sorry to hear that you are feeling depressed. I hope you feel better soon. Sorry to take so long to answer your letter. I've been battling with big computer problems. I'm tempted to say, "Never upgrade a working system." Also, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."

    Obviously, the 12-Step routine is not helping you. It's disgusting how they hypocritically declare that they are there to help, and you are among friends, and you can talk out all of your issues at a meeting, but then they accuse you of spreading "negative energy" if you try to do it. That isn't much of a "support group". In fact, that is no support at all. As usual, A.A. is selling quackery, not therapy.

    Yes, suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem, and it's also a poor answer. There isn't actually any guarantee that your suffering will stop if you commit suicide. We all assume that suicide ends the suffering (except in horror movies), but nobody has reported back and said for sure what happens.

    I wish I could make like a big Pollyanna and just gush a lot of positive slogans, but I can't think of any that don't sound hollow and insensitive.

    What I can talk about is how I handle depression or negative moods. I get outdoors and take joy in the beauty of nature. It's no accident that my web pages are loaded with pictures of beautiful little goslings and geese and rivers and landscapes and wildlife. I get a lot of positive feelings there. The great outdoors and the sunshine and fresh air have good effects on my mood. The sun on my skin feels good and elevates my mood. It's very hard to be depressed when you have a beautiful little baby bird eating out of your hand.

    May I suggest, go feed the birds and the squirrels? Even feeding the lowly pigeons can be entertaining. If you are in a hospital, then it might be difficult to get out, but perhaps they have a yard? Whole wheat bread is better than white. And they just love sunflower seeds. Everybody, including squirrels and birds, loves those Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. Get them cheap at a pet store or farm feed store. And jays love peanuts.

    Beyond that, take joy in beautiful things however and whereever you can. Beautiful things can cheer you up. They can be anything from music to art to photographs to new clothes. When is the last time you dressed up in a new outfit? I mean new from head to foot. Do it up right. Dressing up in beautiful new clothes can really cheer you up.

    (HINT: you can get new clothes cheap at Goodwill. That's what I do. I am so spoiled that I largely ignore the used stuff, unless it's spectacular, and just get new stuff at 80% or 90% off. I'm so cheap that I even wait until it goes to half price — half of Goodwill's price — so it's really like 90% off. Stores donate brand new stuff to Goodwill because someone ripped the packaging open to look at it, and now they can't sell it as new. Or a kid with candy fingers touched new clothes and left sticky fingerprints on it. They can't sell it as new, and they can't afford to pay an employee to wash it, and if they wash it it isn't new any more, so they just can't win, so they donate it to Goodwill and take a tax deduction. I buy the stuff for 90% off of list, and wash it at home, and the clothes are good as new. Actually, they are new. Gotta love those kids with candy on their fingers.)

    Also, read joke books. Some joke books are terrible, with really bad old cornball jokes, but some are really funny. You have to pick and choose. I remember the story of one guy who had cancer. He cured himself by reading joke books and humorous books all day, every day, and watching classic old comedies too, until his mood lightened and he got over his cancer. He laughed his way out of cancer. (Now I'm not saying that jokes will cure cancer, but they certainly can help to elevate your mood, and that can help your recovery. He was convinced that the humor cured him.)

    While we are on the subject of funny, Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a bunch of classic cosmic humor. There are five volumes in the series. Just start at the beginning — HHGG — and they are all good. What I like about them is that the humor is almost Zen-like. Much of his joking around is like "kidding on the square". For example, on one planet, they execute people by putting them in a chamber where they see their true microscopic utter insignificance in the big scheme of things, and the criminals die screaming as they get lost in infinity.

    Now I assume that you must be under a doctor's care, since you are in a hospital. I won't try to second-guess the doctor and say whether you should get medications. I just hope that the doctor comes up with a good answer.

    If other people come up with some ideas, I'll gladly print them and pass them on to you.

    And I wish you the best, so have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite. Do you know what Doorknob
    **     Almighty is vulnerable to? Rust. Rust and tarnish and corrosion.
    **     Don't let your Doorknob rust, or you will lose your immortality!
    *
    **     A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities,
    **     as well as those of other people, will keep him from the
    **     commission of all sins or nearly all, save those that are
    **     worth committing.
    **       ==  Samuel Butler (d. 1902),
    **           "Lord, What Is Man?" Note-Books (1912).
    *
    **     Man — a creature made at the end of the week's work
    **      when God was tired.
    **        ==  Mark Twain
    *
    **     Gandalf said, "The little orks don't like humor. They
    **     cringe in pain at the sound of laughter. And they really
    **     can't stand it when you poke fun at them. So they howl and
    **     growl and scowl and get all bent out of shape."
    





    [The previous letter from Rebecca_T is here.]

    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Rebecca_T ]

    Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:54:11 +0100 (09/22/2014 06:54:11 AM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: Rebecca T.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Fwd: Reply from Orange Papers

    Orange

    Thanks so much for reading my letter and replying. I think we can take the answer even further. Not only do some alcoholics metabolise alcohol differently, but some people with metabolic problems who are having strange responses to alcohol might not be alcoholics at all. They might just be ill.

    This is certainly what I believe now, I believe I was never an alcoholic and I look back and feel very sad I ever put that label on myself on AA's say-so (let alone disclosed it to a medic!!). I think this is why AA's 'you can quickly diagnose yourself' line is so dangerous as you are under so much pressure to 'identify don't compare' and you are warned about 'YET' and 'Denial' (it's not a river in Egypt and other such 'truisms'). It is very hard to be a minority of one, and hang on to your own thinking and express any doubt, particularly if you are vulnerable and lonely and you arrive in AA's highly charged emotional atmosphere. I was told emphatically, 'No one arrives in an AA meeting by mistake!' — it's hard to stand up to that when you are desperately looking for answers.

    Right from the start I was told I was a 'high bottom' who had arrived in AA 'just in time' and I had only felt 'the first nip of the wringer'. But I was not properly assessed. I was already ill by that point and my strange reactions to alcohol and my state of agitation and anxiety have since been fully explained by my medical diagnosis. And completely resolved.

    That's my point, I think there are lots of people in AA who are ill, or who are a bit mixed up and might be abusing alcohol for a time, or who have metabolic problems they are inadvertently trying to self medicate with booze, but they are not alkies. There must be lots of people like me? I moderate very successfully now — deadly allergy my backside! I had a drink (after two years of debate and discussion with a highly skilled addictions therapist who also had experience of Graves disease patients) and absolutely nothing at all happened. Turns out I'm totally normal :-)

    I'm not suggesting people with alcohol problems go and have a drink, but I think there are a lot of 'misdiagnosed' people in AA due to over eager sponsors labelling symptoms 'your disease' or 'your stinking thinking' and the insistence that people 'diagnose' themselves. I think it's important to find a competent non-brain-washed professional who can help people come to the right conclusions about their drinking. Sometimes addictive behaviour can be a passing phase and people do regain their equilibrium, sometimes there is an underlying physical problem driving the behaviour. Does that make sense?

    Best wishes, keep up the good work,

    Rebecca
    x

    Hello again, Rebecca,

    Yes, that makes perfect sense. I'm quite sure that you are right. There are many people who get misdiagnosed as "alcoholics" just because they drink some alcohol, or tried to use alcohol as a painkiller for a while.

    In fact, it is entirely possible that the majority of people who get diagnosed as "alcoholics" — or more correctly, as cases of Alcohol Abuse or Alcohol Dependency — are really suffering from something else like brain damage caused by child abuse, or bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders, or PTSD, or ADD, or thyroid disorders, or dysthymic personality disorder, clinical depression, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or Schizophrenia, or other mental or physical illnesses.

    Renee and Mary wrote great letters about how once a patient is diagnosed with "alcoholism" or "alcohol abuse", then all investigation stops. Doctors or counselors often assume that all observed mental problems are caused by the alcohol, rather than that the problem with alcohol is caused by an earlier underlying condition. Mary said, "After one starts drinking the diagnosis of alcoholism comes before anything else."

    See these letters:

    I don't think your suffering is at all unusual. The field of drug and alcohol treatment is rife with incompetence and malpractice and quackery. Still, even today, 75% of the drug and alcohol counselors in the USA sell an old pro-Nazi cult religion as the cure.

    I'm glad to hear that you are winning your battle anyway.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     "It is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the
    **     drinking, but if the headache came first and the drunkenness afterwards,
    **     it would be moral to get drunk."
    **       ==  Samuel Butler (English novelist, essayist and critic, 1835-1902)
    *
    **     Man is subject to innumerable pains and sorrows by the very condition
    **     of humanity, and yet, as if nature had not sown evils enough in life,
    **     we are continually adding grief to grief and aggravating the common
    **     calamity by our cruel treatment of one another.
    **        ==  Joseph Addison (1672—1719), English essayist, critic, poet
    





    [The previous letter from Ed_F is here.]

    [ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html#Ed_F ]

    Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2014 12:30:10 -0400 (09/22/2014 09:30:10 AM)     (answered 6 October 2014)
    From: ed f.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Fwd: Thank you.

    thIs the link to the original letter we corresponded on

    http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters413.html#Ed_F

    You were very thorough in your response to me.
    I am goodheartman

    I ALWAYS direct AAs to your website so they can learn the truth, but MANY do not want to know the truth. Sometimes when I tell the Truth in AA.. some hard ass will get up and walk out.. So be it. But usually I get positvie response from newer people who have not been indoctrinated yet.

    Once again.. LOVE LOVE LOVE your website
    and it's obvious you have done your homework.

    Yes, I am what you would call part of the Newcomer Rescue League. We are growing...... Some of us still need contact with other sober people that we find in AA, but don't get on with a book written by other newcomers (,most of whom relapsed) as you know.. haha.

    So once again.. You have done a great service for many people who have been hurt by AA or are looking for other ways to stay sober, and obviously some people do not need to stay clean and sober, and can go about their life.

    Just this week, I had a friend call me and say his son needed meetings and a sponsor. His son was 33.. After I talked to him, I recommended he not go to meetings as it would turn him off, and also according to his story he was not an addict.. But his girlfriend thought he smoked too much pot.

    Some hardliner would have told him,, that means your life is unmanageable and you need ... blah blah.

    Also you are right.. some of the people who have had bad experiences with AA, and I am one who has at times--- are extremely hostile here.. No matter what I say, or how positive I am about OP, they berate me, even after I shared about a friend of mine who died of an overdose.. they posted some really nasty things
    Just mean and really rude.
    So I am not posting further on the blogs site.

    I don't feel I promoted AA.. I'm not a thumper.. Only mentioned that even though I am not all God and 12 steps, but more just staying in touch with a few like minded people who want to stay clean and sober, that I go to some AA meetings still after many years sober, and sometimes it's cool and sometimes it's a drag.. But mostly, I just meet with a friend before the meeting or leave and go to lunch, or stay and listen sometimes.

    Keep up the good work.

    Peace always,
    Eddie F.

    Hello again, Eddie,

    Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and the vote of confidence.

    I'm really sorry that the hard-core anti-Steppers drove you off of the forum. That does not help the cause.

    The one big important rule of the forum is, "No personal attacks on others." Alas, enforcing it is a bitch. I'm offline most of the time, and do not even have an Internet connection into my house, and don't read the forum as much as I would like.

    Thanks for all that you do. And have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     The Progressive viewpoint is not a matter of dominating
    **     the conversation and allowing only one voice or one
    **     opinion; it is a fact-driven conversation where we seek
    **     to establish the truth by examination of all of the facts.
    **        ==  paraphrasing Jeff Smith, who was talking about the
    **        soon-to-be-born X-Ray Radio station. NPR/OPB 2012.12.23
    





    More Letters


    Previous Letters









    Search the Orange Papers







    Click Fruit for Menu

    Last updated 24 December 2014.
    The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters414.html