Letters, We Get Mail, CDXVI



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters416.html#Peter_J ]

Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2014 13:18:08 -0600 (10/07/2014 12:18:08 PM)     (answered 22 October 2014)
From: Peter J.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Your facts...

To Whom it may Concern:

I am not going to go into all the 'errors' cited on this web-page; only to say that articles like this contribute to an individual remaining in their disease, rather than helping the still suffering alcoholic. I will be the first to admit that A.A. is not for everyone. People do recover using alternative methods, i.e., joining a church, getting involved in service work, 'white-knuckling' it for the rest of their lives, etc. There is a vast difference from simply abstaining from alcohol and changing your way of life, i.e. your old habits are what keep you in active addiction. What seems to 'work' for the individual who 'still suffers' is to get them out of their own isolation and getting him or her involved with other healthy individuals in recovery. This is the core of A.A.'s mission statement: To share our experience, strength and hope so that others may recover from alcoholism. 2.1 million people worldwide have recovered from alcoholism using the twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA Membership Survey, 2011). The bottom line is that the program has worked for individuals who were deemed hopeless ever to recover.

Hello Peter,

Thank you for the list of A.A. slogans and misinformation.

  1. "Alcoholism" is not a disease. It is a bad habit.

  2. Going to A.A. is not "getting help". A.A. increases the rates of binge drinking, rearrests, and death, while failing to improve the sobriety rate.

  3. This statement,

    "There is a vast difference from simply abstaining from alcohol and changing your way of life, i.e. your old habits are what keep you in active addiction."
    reveals that you agree that alcohol abuse is a bad habit.

    In addition, you simply assume that people who quit drinking without A.A. do not improve their lives. That is the cult talking, claiming that only by practicing Bill Wilson's religion will you change your way of life. The truth is, anyone who quits drinking too much alcohol is improving his life and changing his old habits.

  4. This is false, and just an excuse to go join a cult:

    What seems to 'work' for the individual who 'still suffers' is to get them out of their own isolation and getting him or her involved with other healthy individuals in recovery.

    Who says that people who drink alcohol are isolated? There are bars and pubs full of drinkers who are not isolated. Alcoholics routinely drink with drinking buddies. (Ah, but Bill Wilson said that alcoholics who would not go to his meetings were "isolating", so you have to repeat that now.)

    A.A. is not filled with healthy individuals. Rather, it is filled with sick individuals. Three psychiatrists and psychologists who analyzed the A.A. membership found that 90% of them were mentally unhealthy. They ranged from merely neurotic all the way up to full-blown psychotic. And those are the people who are supposed to help you to create a wonderful new life?

  5. This is false:

    This is the core of A.A.'s mission statement: To share our experience, strength and hope so that others may recover from alcoholism.

    The real mission is to convert people to the A.A. religion.

    Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 45.

    Indeed: the main object is to get you to believe in God, Wilson-style. Quitting drinking seems to be secondary.

    Likewise, in Chapter Five, Wilson declared:

    Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, pages 58-59.

    The file on Recruiting Mind Games clearly shows many of the religious conversion tricks. Here are a few of them:

    1. In his history of Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, Bill Wilson wrote:

      When first contacted, most alcoholics just wanted to find sobriety, nothing else. They clung to their other defects, letting go only little by little. They simply did not want to get "too good too soon." The Oxford Groups' absolute concepts — absolute purity, absolute honesty, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love — were frequently too much for the drunks. These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets.
            Besides, the Oxford Groups' "absolutes" were expressions peculiar to them. This was a terminology which might continue to identify us in the public mind with the Oxford Groupers, even though we had completely withdrawn from their fellowship.
      Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 74-75.

      The alcoholics (whom Bill Wilson deprecatingly called "drunks" who didn't want to be good) just wanted to quit drinking; they didn't want to join Bill's crazy Buchmanite cult religion with its ridiculous Absolutes. So Bill Wilson's answer to that problem was to deceive the newcomers, and hide the intense religiosity of A.A., and to also hide the Buchmanite Oxford Group cult religion roots of Alcoholics Anonymous, until after the newcomers had been indoctrinated and brainwashed enough... Mr. Wilson candidly admitted that he was practicing deceptive recruiting, not honestly telling the newcomers what membership in his group would really entail. And now, the A.A. slogan "Teaspoons, Not Buckets" teaches standard A.A. recruiting procedure.

      Destructive narcissists categorized as "Manipulative" are particularly prone to use misleading statements and lies. Do they know they are lying? Yes. But, they feel they have the right to use any means available to achieve their ends. Further, some will have an assumption, much like that of "Suspicious" narcissists, that everyone is lying, and thus lying is fair play.
      Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 67.

      Notice how Bill Wilson claimed that the prospects' reluctance to join a cult religion was "clinging to their other defects". In Bill Wilson's mind, the alcoholics had to both quit drinking and join his religion in order to be good people.

      Also note that the absurd "Four Absolutes" were not exactly restricted to the Oxford Groups. The popular terminology was, but the thinking wasn't. Most cult religions encourage irrational absolute black-and-white thinking and impossible, super-human standards of perfection.

    2. Bill Wilson continued with his recruiting manual, and implied that A.A. was better than other religions:

      Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 93.

      That is a vicious mind game of religious one-upmanship: If someone is having troubles with alcohol, claim that it proves that his religious beliefs and faith are inferior to those of the Alcoholics Anonymous members: "his own convictions have not worked", and "his faith was insufficient".

      • Who said that the goal of all religious convictions is to treat or cure alcohol abuse?
      • Who said that religious convictions are supposed to "work" at all? Who says that religious beliefs are supposed to function and work in a certain manner? We are not talking about cars or computers here.

      Note the slick propaganda tricks:

      1. "He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient."
        You get a soft "Sly Suggestion" followed by absolute dogma:
        "He may be an example of one of Bill Wilson's unquestionably-true religious beliefs."
        And Bill also slips in, as if it were established fact, his religious belief that "faith alone is insufficient" — to stay sober, members must also constantly go recruiting. That is the technique called "Assume the Major Premise".

      2. "his own convictions have not worked and ... yours seem to work so well."
        That is two more examples of "Assume the Major Premise" and "Sly Suggestion". Bill suggests that the A.A. recruiter's religion must be working much better than the prospect's, because the recruiter isn't drinking.

    3. Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out another alcoholic and try again. You are sure to find someone desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. ... To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny some other alcoholic an opportunity to live and be happy.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 96.

      Indeed. We aren't trying to save alcoholics here, we are trying to get more cult members. Don't waste your time on the ones who won't join the cult. Keep fishing, and you will find someone desperate enough to grab, like a drowning man, at anything you hold out. And you will find somebody; that's how this cult succeeds in getting new members.

      And note Bill Wilson's delusions of grandeur showing again: If you don't push some alcoholic into Bill's program, then you will be denying him the "opportunity to live and be happy." Bill actually claimed that alcoholics couldn't possibly recover, be happy, or even live, without his Alcoholics Anonymous program. Nobody else in the whole world had the magic. Just Bill Wilson. That is the standard cult characteristic of We have THE ONLY WAY.

    4. Ah, but don't give up too easily. Even if you can't talk the alcoholic into joining Alcoholics Anonymous, maybe you can recruit the rest of his family into the Al-Anon and Alateen branches of the 12-Step religion:

      Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.
      The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 97.

      So, all is not lost, even if he won't join A.A. — you can still recruit his wife and kids into the other branch of the organization, Al-Anon, where they will practice Bill Wilson's "spiritual way of life", doing his Twelve Steps, confessing all of their sins and hearing the Voice of God telling them what to do.

      Note, once again, that Alcoholics Anonymous is not really a quit-drinking program, it's a religion. Drafting the wife and kids into the program is a dead give-away. They don't drink, and they don't need a quit-drinking program.

      Note the subtle, veiled, hints of magic:
      "Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover."
      In other words, if the rest of the family joins Bill's cult and believes the right things, says the right prayers, incants the correct spells, and performs the correct Buchmanite rituals, it might make Daddy quit drinking.
      Oh really, Bill? How will that happen?

      Bill Wilson clearly said, "The family should be offered your way of life."
      And Bill's "way of life" is going to zillions of meetings, doing the Twelve Steps, wallowing in guilt, self-doubt, and harmful self-contempt, believing superstitious nonsense, and recruiting for the cult.
      No way does the wife need that...

      The argument that the family should be recruited because maybe the alcoholic will join A.A. later is pretty flimsy. And the claim that somehow, the family's life will be made more "bearable" by Bill's "spiritual way of life" clearly indicates that it's a religion that is supposed to somehow give you comfort and help you to bear your load of woes and suffering. (Even if it doesn't cure anybody of alcoholism.)

      So, just how IS the wife's confessing all of her sins to her sponsor supposed to make her husband's suicidal drinking more "bearable"?

      Also notice that Bill was laying the roots for Al-Anon when he wrote the original manuscript for the Big Book in late 1938 and early 1939. The official A.A. story is that his wife Lois Wilson founded Al-Anon much later on, so that the wives would have something to do while the men were in their A.A. meetings. That is obviously not true at all. Bill Wilson was already recruiting the wives and children into his religion when he wrote the front chapters of the Big Book in 1938. But of course. Bill was really pushing the Oxford Group cult religion, not a cure for alcoholism. Wives and children were always fair game for recruiting efforts. Wives and children made up a big percentage of the Oxford Group membership.

  6. This statistic is a standard A.A. lie:

    2.1 million people worldwide have recovered from alcoholism using the twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA Membership Survey, 2011).

    The real number is far closer to zero. A.A. does not make people quit drinking. Even one of the A.A. Trustees, Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, proved that.

    Since you believe that A.A. works and helps millions, please answer this simple question:

    What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

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

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

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

    HINT: the answers are here and here and here.

    Please answer that one simple question while you are saying that A.A. works and has helped millions of people.

    So many people have ignorantly parrotted that "millions helped" or "millions saved" claim that I have a long list of them. You made the list.

    By the way, I also noticed the conflation there in that quote from the A.A. headquarters: Being a member of A.A. equals "recovered from alcoholism". That is a false equivalency. The A.A. headquarters provided no evidence that 2.1 million people had actually quit drinking or recovered from alcohol addiction because of A.A. meetings or the 12 Steps or the Big Book, or Bill Wilson's religion. Just because people attend a few A.A. meetings does not mean that A.A. deserves the credit for their sobriety — if they even are sober, which has not been established either.

    To establish a cause-and-effect relationship between A.A. membership and sobriety, the A.A. headquarters needs to do a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study to measure the real cure rate. That is something that A.A. has never done, and will never do, because they know that the real cure rate is zero. Dr. Vaillant proved that.

  7. This statement is another untrue A.A. slogan:

    The bottom line is that the program has worked for individuals who were deemed hopeless ever to recover.

    What evidence do you have that the A.A. program has worked when Dr. Vaillant proved that it is a failure? Again, what is the A.A. cure rate?

    And who "deemed" some people "hopeless ever to recover"? And what do they know? That is the propaganda trick of Use of the Passive Voice, where things get done by nameless, invisible people.

We are not a religious organization. Our principals for recovery are based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (1939,1955,1976,2001) and are a spiritual guide/spiritually based to recovery. You do not make this distinction in your web-page. Nor, do you cite among your many other aphorisms of "God" that this "God" is in the flavour of that "Old Time Religion." It is a God of your understanding. This is explicitly laid out in Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood Him. Nowhere in our Book does it say we must "grovel" to a Medieval God, or any other Christian concept of who God is. I, myself, do not believe in a Christian concept of a 'god;' does that mean I will never get sober? As I type this, I am in my twenty-first year of recovery (and I do not 'white-knuckle' it), and I did not do it "on my knees," either.

  1. Of course A.A. is a religious organization. A.A. has a clearly-defined God who is a heartless tyrant Who will torture you to death with alcohol unless you obey Him and "seek and do His will" every day. And A.A. has all of the trappings of a religion, like beliefs and dogma and doctrines and practices and ceremonies and a holy book (actually, several of them), and a couple of dead prophets. And A.A. has church buildings and church services and talks about God non-stop.

    The A.A. religion uses many bait-and-switch tricks to get people into the religion, like starting off by saying that A.A. is not a religion and you don't have to believe anything. Bill Wilson started the bait-and-switch trick by soft-pedaling the religion:

    We have no desire to convince anyone that there is only one way by which faith can be acquired.   ...
    Those having religious affiliations will find nothing here disturbing to their beliefs or ceremonies. There is no friction among us over such matters.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, Chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 28.

    Note that Alcoholics Anonymous is an "acquire faith" program.

    In the recruiting manual for Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson declared that the goal was to "find God". Bill taught the recruiters to handle the prospective new alcoholic members this way:

    If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 95.

    Find God? The advertised goal, what the alcoholic's wife was told to get the A.A. recruiter in the door of the alcoholic's house, was that A.A. was a sobriety fellowship that would make the alcoholic quit drinking. The wife of the alcoholic was supposed to introduce the recruiter to the alcoholic husband this way:

    You should be described to him as one of a fellowship who, as part of their own recovery, try to help others and who will be glad to talk to him if he cares to see you.
    The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 90.

    But then the goal changed to "finding God" and "a quest for faith".

    Bill also declared:

    We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our daily activities.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

    And the Big Book also says,

    I had been brought up to believe in God, but I know that until I found this A.A. program, I had never found or known faith in the reality of God, the reality of His power that is now with me in everything I do.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, anonymous, page 341.

    Likewise, the goal of Al-Anon is supposed to be to help family members of alcoholics cope with life with an alcoholic (and to learn how to nudge him towards quitting drinking, and to learn to stop enabling him to continue drinking). Al-Anon advertises on the radio, "We are the family and friends of alcoholics, and we want our lives back."


    But an Al-Anon book of daily meditations tells us this story:

    When I first came to Al-Anon, I didn't care one way or the other about a Higher Power. When I read the Steps with all those references to God, I was a little skeptical. I wasn't even sure I wanted a relationship with a Higher Power or what to do with one if I had it.   ...
          Gradually, by keeping an open mind and heart, attending meetings, and using the program tools, I became willing to have, and then actually yearned for, a relationship with a Higher Power.
    Hope for Today, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 262.

    (A Higher Power? Any Higher Power? How about Beelzebub, Zool, Baal, Lucifer, or Satan? Will they do?)

  2. This is wrong:

    Our principals for recovery are based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (1939,1955,1976,2001) and are a spiritual guide/spiritually based to recovery.

    There is nothing spiritual about "Fake It 'Till You Make It", and "Act As If..."

    There is nothing spiritual about foisting Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman's old cult religion on sick people and lying to them and telling them that it works as a cure for a disease.

    And yes, the 12 Steps are nothing more than Dr. Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination techniques. They are tools for religious conversion.

    By the way, "principals" are the bosses of schools. Principles are ethical rules like "honesty is the best policy."

  3. This is also false:

    You do not make this distinction in your web-page. Nor, do you cite among your many other aphorisms of "God" that this "God" is in the flavour of that "Old Time Religion." It is a God of your understanding. This is explicitly laid out in Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood Him.

    I clearly understand that the A.A. "God" is a big bait-and-switch trick. First, the A.A. "God" can be anything, including a rock, a doorknob, a mountain, the ocean, or a motorcycle. But then the A.A. God is a tyrant who will torture you to death with alcohol poisoning unless you join and practice Bill Wilson's religion.

    Watch how the goal changes through this paragraph of instructions to the wives of alcoholics:

    There is another paralyzing fear. You may be afraid your husband will lose his position; you are thinking of the disgrace and hard times which will befall you and the children. This experience may come to you. Or you may already have had it several times. Should it happen again, regard it in a different light. Maybe it will prove a blessing! It may convince your husband he wants to stop drinking forever. And now you know that he can stop if he will! Time after time, this apparent calamity has been a boon to us, for it opened up a path which led to the discovery of God.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, To Wives, page 116.

    • Bill Wilson started off talking about how bad it will be if the husband loses his job.
    • Then Wilson rationalized that such a calamity might provide the impetus for the husband to quit drinking. (That is the propaganda trick of Sly Suggestions.)
    • Then Bill suddenly jumped to the completely illogical conclusion that
            "And now you know that he can stop if he will!"
      There is no logic to that statement. Nothing that Bill said before supports that conclusion. (That is the propaganda trick of Irrelevant Conclusion.)
    • Then Bill switched to babbling about how wonderful it was for many such husbands to get forced into a religious group "which led to the discovery of God."

    Is the goal to quit drinking and save the job, home and family, or is the goal to start believing in Bill Wilson's religion? Obviously, as far as Bill Wilson was concerned, the real goal was to get more members for his Buchmanite cult religion. Bill even said so:

    At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

    Also see:

    1. Shifting objectives: First the goal is to quit drinking, and then the goal is to "acquire faith" and "come to believe" in Bill Wilson's religion.

    2. First, A.A. is just a nice neighborhood quit-drinking self-help group, and then it's a hard-core religion.

    3. First, it's only a "spiritual" alcoholism recovery program, and then it's a fundamentalist religion whose 'real purpose' is to make you 'serve God'.

    4. First, God loves you, and then He doesn't.

    5. First, God loves you unconditionally, and then God won't save you unless you 'work a strong program'.

    6. First, God is your servant, and then you are a slave of God.

    7. First, you don't have to be perfect, and then you do.

    8. First, they tell you that Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of "rigorous honesty", and then it's gross dishonesty: "Fake It Until You Make It" and "Act As If" and "Don't tell the newcomers..."

    9. First, Bill Wilson declared that the A.A. religious dogma was just the perennial Christian philosophy, "common to all denominations", but then it isn't Christian at all. It's a strange kind of Calvinist social Darwinism that believes in pre-destination.

    10. First, expect a great religious or spiritual experience, and then expect nothing.

    11. First, you can keep your own religion, and then you can't.

    12. First, A.A. is completely compatible with Christianity, then it isn't.

    13. First it's "Surrender to God" and then it's "surrender to some A.A. members".

    14. First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God. You are 'confused' and 'prejudiced'."

    15. First, declarations of Religious Freedom, and then demands for Religious Conformity.

    16. First, a loosely-defined "Higher Power", and then an explicitly-defined "God".

    17. Redefine God. First you get one God, then you get a different God.

  4. This is blatantly false:

    Nowhere in our Book does it say we must "grovel" to a Medieval God, or any other Christian concept of who God is.

    Wrong. That is a complete reversal of reality. The demands for obedience and groveling, and the death threats, are all over the place:

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    And the Table of Contents in the same book declares:

    Absence of coercion works because unless each AA follows suggested steps to recovery, he signs his own death warrant.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 12.

    Then Bill Wilson declared that God is a vicious dictator who will kill you unless you do His will:

    "Then, too we have a dictatorship — and how! God constantly says to us, 'I trust you will find and do my will.' John Barleycorn, always at our elbow, says, 'If you don't conform, I'll kill you or drive you mad.' So we have all the advantages and more, of the modern dictatorship."
    Bill Wilson, quoted by his secretary in Grateful To Have Been There, Nell Wing, page 22.

    In A.A. there is active still another form of association, a form of which the world is today in great doubt. It has its virtues, nevertheless, especially for us of Alcoholics Anonymous: I am speaking of dictatorship. In A.A. we have two dictators, and we profit and grow through both. One is John Barleycorn, who is never very far from the elbow of each of us. The other is the Father of Lights, who presides over all men. God is saying to us, "Learn my will and do it." And John Barleycorn is saying to each of us, "You had better do God's will or I will kill you!"
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age William G. Wilson (1957), page 225.

    "Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world..."
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 100.

    Therefore we [AA] have the full benefits of the murderous political dictatorships of today but none of their liabilities.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, pages 105—106.

    Oh really? What benefits of murderous dictatorships, and what liabilities?

    And here is Bill Wilson's masochistic, groveling, Third-Step Prayer:

    We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
    A.A. Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 63.

  5. I, myself, do not believe in a Christian concept of a 'god;' does that mean I will never get sober? As I type this, I am in my twenty-first year of recovery (and I do not 'white-knuckle' it), and I did not do it "on my knees," either.

    Congratulations on refraining from drinking alcohol for 21 years. So what concept of "God" do you imagine is "managing your unmanageable life" for you in Step 1, and "restoring you to sanity" in Step 2, and taking care of your will and your life for you in Step 3, and removing all of your defects in Step 7, and talking to you in a séance in Step 11 and giving you instructions and power?

The Harvard Medical School says that "80% of those successful quitters do it by themselves, alone, without any 'treatment program' or any 'support group.'" Where is the evidence to support this claim? How, for example, does the Harvard Medical School justify these percentages? How many percent, I would inquire, are still sober 'on their own' after a year, five years, twenty years? The evidence for the 80% claim is not supported by on-going data; or if it is, you have not included it in your article.

The evidence is here: Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3. Also see Aug. 1995 for Part I, and Sept. 1995 for Part II.

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).)

Also see:

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

My final observation (I could go on for several more hours, but I will limit myself to these three only) is the statement "Notice that drinking alcohol is not on that list (Bill Wilson declaring that alcoholism is a "spiritual disease" that is caused by. . ." Drinking is but a symptom of our disease. The disease or illness is alcoholism. Why did I drink? Well, I drank because I was selfish, self-seeking, I had moral shortcomings, etc. If I had defective relations (number 19) it was because of my defective way of living. I drank to escape, not because I was one of the vast majority of other people who can drink for socialization, or to relax after a hard day at work, for example. So why would Bill W. want to include drinking alcohol in his list? I might also add that the vast majority of shortcomings/failings of alcoholics are experienced by so called "normal people," too. Everyone has addictions, every-one. Addiction is simply defined as being unable to control your behaviour, despite adverse consequences. What makes alcoholism such a taboo subject is for all the reasons you cite in your article.

  1. The list of causes of "alcoholism" that you referred to is here and here. Bill Wilson blamed every goofy cause from resentments to nagging wives, but did not ever say that "alcoholism" is caused by drinking too much alcohol.

  2. Again, "alcoholism" is not a "disease". You claim that you drank because you were selfish. That is not a disease, that is a behavior problem.

  3. If you drank because you were also self-seeking and had moral shortcomings, then that is also behavior, not a disease.

  4. Drinking to escape is also behavior.

  5. Your statement that everyone has "addiction" makes "addiction" a meaningless word.

    Actually, addiction has very specific meanings, and most people are not addicted.

    The statement that, "Everyone has addictions, every-one." is just another A.A. slogan. No truth to it.

    Will you next try to claim that everyone in the world must join Bill Wilson's religion and do the 12 Steps because they all have addictions?

  6. This definition of "addiction" is wrong:

    Addiction is simply defined as being unable to control your behaviour, despite adverse consequences.

    Try looking up the word "addiction" in the dictionary. A.A. does not get to redefine words.

    Declaring that people are unable to control their behavior is just another attempt to push the A.A. idea that people are "powerless" over alcohol. (Step 1.) That one bad idea has caused an immense amount of harm to this world, and it provides a ready-made excuse for going on a binge, and it's one of the reasons that A.A. increases the amount of binge drinking.

  7. "Alcoholism" is not "a taboo subject". In fact, there is no such condition as "alcoholism". There are alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction, but there isn't any such disease or condition as "alcoholism".

    And talk about alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction isn't "taboo". That is just another untrue A.A. belief, similar to how all alcoholics supposedly have to be "anonymous".

    Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are openly discussed on radio and TV. They are not "taboo". Night after night, the Hollywood gossip programs tell us which movie stars are getting busted for DUI again and getting sent to 12-Step rehab again. It's a circus.

Sincerely,
Peter J.

Have a good day, Peter.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*
**     "We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve
**     contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day
**     is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our
**     daily activities."
**       == The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson,
**             Chapter 6, Into Action, page 85.
**     
**     Not a religion, huh?





September 08, 2014, Monday, Downtown Portland Oregon:

Tree People, a whimsical sculpture
Tree People, a whimsical sculpture

Tree People, a whimsical sculpture
Tree People, a whimsical sculpture

brickwork
Old brickwork. They don't make 'em like that any more.

brickwork
Old brickwork, detail.

[More photos below.]





BLOG NOTE: 2014.11.12:

A bunch of people emailed to me to say that the web site was down. Thanks for all of the messages, although I didn't see them until it was all over.

It started about three weeks ago when Jeff, who owns and runs the servers that host the Orange Papers, emailed me and told me that the web site was under a Denial Of Service (DOS) attack, and it had caused problems and crashed a server, so he was moving the Orange Papers to another computer. He could still host the web site, but he needed to isolate the Orange Papers from other accounts because of the barrage of attacks.

Right after I got that message, I caught a cold which has had me down and out for three weeks now. So I didn't even know that there was a problem. I don't have an Internet connection into my house; I pack up my laptop computer and go to the library to get online. But with that cold, I didn't feel like getting out of bed, never mind riding my bike to the library. So I wasn't seeing the email messages about the web site being down. (Thanks for the messages anyway.) People reported that they were getting error messages about "Permission denied". Apparently, some permissions were not set correctly on the new server. But Jeff got in there and fixed it before I even knew about it.

I didn't know that there was a problem until one woman wrote to me with snail mail and told me that the site was down. But when I got it together to get to the library, I saw that Jeff had already fixed it. Thank you, Jeff.

A Denial Of Service attack means that an enemy does something to deny the public service from a computer. In this case, the service is serving out web pages to the public. The idea is to somehow overload or crash the server so that it is down and other people cannot read the web site.

One way to do that is to send out computer viruses around the world, and take over as many computers as possible. These are not ordinary destructive viruses, they are very clever single-purpose viruses. They never harm the host computer that they have infected. They do not do obnoxious things like delete all of your files on Friday the Thirteenth. They show no signs of being in there. They are very carefully designed to do no harm to their host. They simply seek to spread copies of themselves and get running on thousands of other computers out there somewhere. They may read someone's email address list and send virus-loaded emails to all of the recipients on the mailing list. Of they may use clever techniques for getting transferred from computer to computer through thumb drives. Or they may even live inside of another web site, hiding inside of a picture, and infect any Microsoft Windows computer that looks at the picture. (Yes, that is a terrible vulnerability in Windows: it will run any runnable code that it finds in the header of an image file. Stupid.)

So the virus keeps on spreading and spreading exponentially, and never harming the host computers that it has infected, and it never gives the owner of the computer reason to suspect that something is wrong. All of his programs still work correctly, he isn't losing any files, his computer doesn't slow down, he has no reason to suspect that his computer is hosting a virus. So he does nothing, and the virus continues to send out seeds, trying to infect other computers. And it succeeds.

And the virus does do one other thing after it gets installed in a new computer: it sends a message to the "mother ship", the criminal's home computer that is the headquarters for the virus. Thus the criminal gets a list of all of the computers around the world that are under his control.

When the criminal has accumulated enough slave computers that are under the control of his virus, he proceeds to the next step: Attacking the target. The criminal master sends out an order to all of his enslaved computers to all start sending requests for web pages to one specific web site, which is the real target of this whole project. Suddenly, hundreds or thousands of slave computers will all be streaming a high-speed series of requests for web pages. The web site is suddenly getting thousands or hundreds of thousands of hits per second, and it becomes overloaded because it cannot answer so many requests so fast. So it goes down. And even if the host computer does not go down, legitimate requests for web pages get lost in the overwhelming river of fake requests. So the public cannot any longer see the web site. They cannot read another web page.

That is what some Stepper did to the Orange Papers web host. So much for the A.A. "rigorous honesty" and "absolute purity".

So how could some stupid Stepper launch such a sophisticated attack? Well, it isn't a very sophisticated attack any more. There are web sites on the "dark web" where you can buy toolkits to commit all kinds of crimes, including that one. Even just relatively unskilled script kiddies can launch such attacks now. Just buy the already-written viruses and controllers, and customize them to do what you wish.

By the way, in the last few months, some people have been noticing that they would get funny counts of hundreds or thousands of page views within minutes of posting something on the forum. We thought that those counts were erroneous, just a bug in the Drupal forum software. Now I don't think so. I am guessing that that was the first wave of the attack, just the first sign of what was to come. The criminal master or some subroutine in a virus controller program would pick the most recent message on the forum and instruct his slaves to hammer it with thousands of requests. So it is possible that those counts were really accurate. We just didn't know what we were seeing.

Of course, that will play havoc with the system statistics, like counting how many hits per month the web site gets. It may have gone up to hundreds of millions of hits per month now.





BLOG NOTE: 2014.11.17:

Four days ago, on November 13, I had another "birthday", 14 years off of cigarettes and any and all tobacco in any form.

How good it feels. I have spent a little time thinking about that and reflecting and remembering. What I remember is that slowly dying from cigarette addiction was hell. And I wonder how I could have ever been so stupid as to have done it for 30 years? Why didn't I quit sooner? Actually, I did quit, many times, but I backslid and got readdicted every time but the last time. I've explored some of the thinking that made me backslide in the web page about The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. It's so easy to think, "Oh, I feel so stressed out. I need a cigarette to calm down." Or, "I have it under control now. I can smoke just one without getting hooked again." And on and on.

But now, on a happier note, it's been 14 years without a cigarette, and my lungs feel great. It's a whole new life to be able to just do things without wheezing and being out of breath. I am far more physically active now than I used to be when I was 20 years younger. My doctor listens to my heart and says that I have the heart of an athlete at rest. Low blood pressure and low heartbeat rate, the heart is just loafing along.

It used to be that my breath was the limit of my physical strength. That is, I could only do things until I ran out of air. Running, or climbing stairs, or carrying loads, or any physical work was limited by how long I could breathe. Which wasn't very long. When I ran out of oxygen, that was it.

Now, breathing is not the limit. I rarely have to stop doing things because I'm out of breath. The only times that I can think of are pedalling a bicycle uphill while carrying a heavy load on both my back and slung from the handlebars. Sometimes muscle fatigue and breathlessness hit at the same time and I have to stop and rest for a couple of minutes, but that is actually rare. And the stop is only for a couple of minutes, which is very different from needing to rest for a much longer time in order to get my breath back. Now, a 2-minute rest and I'm back together and can make it the rest of the way home without stopping.

And mind you, I'm 67 years old now. And I routinely carry heavy loads home on my bicycle because I don't have a car. I carry all of my shopping home on my back and on the handlebars, including groceries, books, computer gear, and 40- or 50-pound bags of sunflower seeds, millet, and rolled oats for the birds and ducks and geese. And I live at the top of a hill, so I'm always pedalling uphill when carrying loads home. Still, my lungs and heart are good for it.

What can I say besides, if you are smoking, please quit. It's worth it. It's not just a better life, it's a whole new life.





September 08, 2014, Monday, Downtown Portland Oregon:

baby Giant Sequoia
The scene in Halladay Park near the Lloyds Center, in downtown Portland.
That large tree trunk in the middle of the picture is a baby Giant Sequoia. There are two in this park. And they really are babies. They are less than 100 years old, and they will live for 2000 or 3000 years and grow to 300 feet tall. They are just magnificent trees.

baby Giant Sequoia
The base of the baby Giant Sequoia

new construction
New construction
They say that the economy is bad, but this stuff keeps going up.

new construction
New construction

[The sequence of Portland photos continues here.]





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Last updated 15 December 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters416.html