Letters, We Get Mail, LXXX



Date: Mon, March 5, 2007 1:46 am     (Answered 8 March 2007.)
From: "Alex C."
Subject: 6 years, on your own? Wow.

I came across your website. If I missed it, please tell me how to get to your personnal story. I want to know your life, your successes and failures, your good times and bad times.

Hello Alex,

Thanks for the letter.

While I have placed some autobiographical material on the Orange Papers web site, the web site is not really about me, and I don't plan to write my whole autobiography right now. For some information, see these links:

You sobered up at 54, I wonder how long it took and for how long you wanted it. How long doesn't matter, does it, because you did it.

How long did it take? The depends on what you mean by that, on what the words mean to you and what you think "quitting" really is.
On the one hand, it took about 18 years of drinking too much to finally get totally done with it and be really sick and tired of being sick and tired.
On the other hand, it took about 5 seconds to quit drinking, once I really decided to do it.

I believe that it takes people what it takes and not everyone that goes to A.A. makes it. That's a fact.

Not everyone makes it anywhere, any way.

I am a member and I have 70 days today, more than any other time except a year ago, when I did five months and relapsed on my own. It is honestly a million times harder on A.A. then on my own, a year ago, but I feel good because I am finally growing up, spiritually and emotionaly.

Are you saying that it is harder to quit drinking in A.A. than alone, on your own?

Who told you that involvement with A.A. was "growing up, spiritually and emotionally"? I disagree with that statement, of course.

It's real now for I am aware now of my human flaws which can be reverse, through service of others and serious action. I always been too smart for my own and I let God take over, my God you see.

That is cultish self-flagellation. That is bad for you. That is unfortunately the kind of stuff that A.A. teaches. It sometimes even drives people to suicide.

I was an atheist and that got me nowhere. I let an invisible force take care of things....how odd. But I believe in this invisible force of love, and it makes that world of difference. Faith.

Thanks for showing us that the cult has really gotten to you.
(Where was atheism supposed to get you, anyway? Do you choose your beliefs based on estimated profit?)

The steps only help you stay sober, it is a program of action, not just letting God do all the work.

So why do you have the slogan, "Let Go And Let God"? It seems like A.A. talks out of both sides of it's mouth on every subject.

I go to the Pacific Group, Los Angeles, which donates one dollar per year of sobriety of all members to the NY headquarters. Last year, PG donated over 11,000 dollars.

So why on Earth are you donating money to some criminals in New York who have even committed perjury against innocent A.A. members to get them sentenced to a year in prison?

What don't you fire those overpaid crooks and get some honest leaders?

We have about 1,500 members give or take, not all stay. Average, 4 to 6 years. My figures. For one year. I have 70 days. 4 years sounds like the place I want to be at.

Congratulations on your 70 days of sobriety.

Some members feel like they are good and ready and don't need the group and leave after a few years, and no one stops them. It's their sobriety they risk. A.A. is a cult in a way, really, but so where all religions.

No, that is simply not true at all. That is a standard dodge that cults use: "Everything is a cult. All churches are cults."
That just isn't so. That is just standard old minimization and denial, something that alcoholics are rumored to be good at.

A.A. is not a religion because the God is not defined, the monetary aims are only to support that group and operations, and A.A. gains members through just being there, not by force. Take it or leave it.

A.A. is most assuredly a religion, and "God" is defined as the patriarchal dictatorial tyrant who will restore you to sanity in Step 2, take care of your will and your life for you in Step 3, remove your defects in Step 7, and talk to you and give you work orders and power in Step 11. The A.A. "God" is also the monster who will make you die of alcohol poisoning unless you kiss his ass every day.

It seems to me that you are not familiar with corruption and how it prevails everywhere where good men do nothing. There are countless A.A. groups out there that suck big time. You just have to know if you seen both, good and bad.

Again, you are engaging in minimization and denial: "Everything is corrupt, so it's okay if A.A. is corrupt too."

I love A.A. — Pacific Group, Downey Group, and Bellfower Group. Good people and strict to the Book, Steps, Traditons, and truly there for service. I am 22 years old in a few days.

I was 60 years old two months ago.

I believe I can do it, for it's up to ME to do it. However, I need help for I am powerless over alcohol because I tried for years to quit.

You are not powerless over alcohol.

That is what got me to A.A. on my own, my bottom was of a deep human nature, not material. Knowing in my heart that I couldn't stop, no matter how hard I tried.

Baloney.

Working the steps and letting that alcoholic cloud clear from my head, allowing growth as a human, and being of service will give me the tools to not be powerless anymore.

Bullshit. The 12 Steps do not give you "tools". They are cult practices for recruiting and indoctrinating cult members. That is what Frank Buchman developed those practices for, and that is what they still do.

Yet, I can't drink my good man, not ever again without losing control for I love Alcohol. It might not be the first drink, for it's never that first drink, it's the one after the other that do me in, sooner or later, I will fall to the cycle again.

The fact that you should not drink alcohol or you will become readdicted does not make you powerless over alcohol.

Sobriety is sobriety and if you break your sobriety, I expect most people, in program or not, will drink excessively. It woundn't surprise me if I binged after relapsing, because I always binged, always. It ridiculous that you blame the first step on this one.

That is unclear. Blame the first step for what? Are you talking about the fact that some people binge worse after A.A. convinces them that they are powerless over alcohol? That is an established fact. Telling people that they are powerless over alcohol cripples them.

I used to binge drink before I joined A.A. I didn't binge when I relapsed a year ago, after 5 months of sobriety on my own, without a structure of any kind. I took me months before I lost complete control again. It's different for everyone. Well, I am glad you have 6 months, A.A. or not, you are in my respects.

It's 6 years, not 6 months. I think that's a typo.

The fact that your bingeing has diminished might mean that you are simply maturing out of such behavior.

I see your website as interesting, funny, and truly anti-A.A. That is your aim.

Well yeh. I think that feeding misinformation and cult religion to sick people is really low and disgusting behavior.

If it works for me, it works for me. A.A. works for me. A.A. will save my life, I know it. It will help me, not hinder me. It will do for me that that I truly would of struggled for years to do on my own, if at all.

Excuse me, but with your staggeringly huge 70 days of sobriety, it's a little early to be deciding what works and what doesn't.

It takes alot of work from my part, faith, and above all, surrendering to what has been proven to work in the lives to those close to me. I will keep you guys up to date with my progress, with whatever questions you have, for the remainder of my life.

Excuse me, but you are surrendering to what has been proven to NOT WORK.

I really want you to eat your stats, with the zero recovery rate.

Not gonna happen. Those are true facts. They were even established by one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Doctor Professor George E. Vaillant, who is on the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. After nearly 20 years of shoving A.A. on his alcoholic patients, and 8 years of testing A.A. and tracking his first 100 patients, Vaillant declared that A.A. was completely ineffective, with a zero-percent improvement in the alcoholic patients.

What A.A. really did was raise the death rate of his patients. The A.A.-treated group of patients had the highest death rate of any kind of treatment that Dr. Vaillant studied.

If someone dies while I stay sober in A.A., its because that person did not follow the program, and I did. A.A. is fatal.

"Following the program" is worthless. What matters is whether you quit drinking and stay quit.

And WHAT is fatal?

Alcoholism must be dealt with day by day, seriously and with diligence. I will keep you posted with my progress if you would like. If it works for me, I don't care if it doesn't work for most alcoholics.

Again, 70 days is far to early for you to be declaring that "it works". Write back in 5 or 10 years, and tell me how the A.A. program worked out.

If I am sober and I can help others stay sober through my experience and knowledge in A.A. as a I understand it, I will gladly stay in this cult and live a happy, LONG, sober life.

That is a very big IF.

P.S. I got one more request. To the main man, the 60 year old, take this challenge. Have a beer today. Just one. But buy a twelve pack. Just have 11 beers there while you drink your one beer. And tell us how it went. If you are powerless over alcohol, you will drink the whole bunch and prove that A.A. has some truth to it. If you are not, then you will just drink that one beer and effortlessly throw the rest away. I just want you to try it.

Do you realize how despicable your challenge is? You want me to give up 6 years of sobriety and risk readdiction and death just to amuse you? Why don't you also ask me to drink cyanide koolaid for you?

Is that what you call Alcoholics Anonymous "spirituality"?

Is that how you "help" other people to stay sober? Invite them to drink themselves to death if they disagree with you?
(Well, it's what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book, isn't it? Tell them to go out and do some more research on the subject if they disagreed with Bill and weren't willing to surrender to his cult? See the Big Book, page 95.)

I want you to prove to yourself your great debate. I really believe you don't believe that you are powerless. If you are an Alchoholic against A.A., then this little test will only prove one thing, if you are right or wrong about your own sobriety and convictions. Test your six years my good man, put your sobriety and life at risk to prove that A.A. steps and traditions are lame.

You are completely twisting the meaning of the word "powerless", and framing the argument in an incorrect manner. You are using the propaganda techniques of False Dichotomy and The Either/Or Technique to try to make it a choice between either being able to drink alcohol moderately, like an ordinary non-alcoholic person, or else being "powerless" over alcohol. That isn't how it is. That is a false choice.

The reason that I abstain from drinking any alcohol whatsoever is because when I start drinking, I fall in love with it and want more and more until I am readdicted and am in trouble. When I abstain from drinking, I can stay sober for years with relative ease. That is not being "powerless over alcohol".

Heck, I am very powerful and can decide whether to drink or not. And I consciously, deliberately chose to not drink any more alcohol.

What Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book is that alcoholics are so powerless over alcohol that they will just suddenly relapse and go on a binge because they think some silly thought like "Maybe I could mix whiskey with milk and it will be okay." Bill Wilson declared that sometimes you just cannot help but take that first drink, no matter how much you wish to stay sober. (Look here.)
That was just Bill Wilson's repetition of Frank Buchman's cult doctrines: "You have been defeated by sin and are powerless over it. Only God can change human nature. Only God has the power to defeat Demon Rum."
That is all just another hook to get you to join the cult.

If you don't do this test, I don't blame you. I wouldn't do it, for I would probably drink the whole lot, because I know I might. I'm an alcoholic and the taste of beer on my tongue and the alcohol hiting my brain would make me want to drink more and I wouldn't want to risk it. Don't knock it till you try it. Tell us how it goes old man.

Actually, I already tried the test you are talking about long ago, 15 years ago. I had 3 years of sobriety when I thought that I could have just a beer or two at a friend's birthday party. I thought that I had it under control because I had 3 years of sobriety, with no cheating whatsoever. Alas, I went down the slippery slope very rapidly:

  • "If it's okay to have one beer, then two is okay."
  • "If two is okay, then so is three."
  • "Heck, just one six-pack won't hurt."
  • "I can drink as much as I want and have fun for a while..."

Nine years later a doctor told me to quit drinking or I would die.

That still is not "powerlessness over alcohol". That is just readdiction to alcohol.

The thing is, when the doctor told me to choose between quitting drinking or dying, I chose to quit drinking and live. That was 6 years ago, and I am still quit. That is not being "powerless over alcohol".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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.


Date: Thu, March 8, 2007 11:12 pm (Answered 1 April 2007)
From: "Alex C."
Subject: Re: 6 years, on your own? Wow.

I have great respect for you. You responded to my email and took time to defend your point of view. A.A. might be corrupted, in fact I don't doubt it is corrupted. That's what kept me from going to a meeting in the first place. I thought it was a cult. Now I know it is. But it's not a cult that hurts.

Hello again, Alex,

Actually, the evidence says that it IS a cult that hurts. A.A. kills more alcoholics than it saves.

You are in good company in believing that A.A. is a beneficial cult. Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc., and he also loves A.A. as a cult. He openly declares that A.A. is a cult religion, but he thinks that it is such a wonderful cult religion that everybody should be forced to join it so that they can be "socially rehabilitated". (Look here.)

The God in A.A. is NOT defined. I have never gotten into heated debate over it and I know I won't.

Yes, the God of A.A. is most assuredly defined. The 12 Steps themselves define HIM as a micro-managing tyrant who will meddle in the affairs of this world and restore you to sanity in Step 2, and take care of your will and your life for you in Step 3, and listen to your confessions in Step 5, and remove your defects in Step 7, and talk to you in a séance in Step 11 and give you work orders and the power to carry them out. Those Steps explicitly describe a particular kind of God, one who is not universal to all religions. That is the God of Alcoholics Anonymous, not the God of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, or most branches of Christianity. That is pure Buchmanism.

Dwayne, who has 4 years does not believe in a God whatsoever, nor Does Jim, who has 35 years.

That is a simplistic attempt at Proof By Anecdote. That is bad logic. Two atheists don't prove that A.A. isn't a cult religion.

To counter act the childish, emotional, impulsive, and suicidal behavior of the alcholic and many times alcoholic/narcotic man, A.A. works just fine if you let it happen.

There is no evidence to support that statement. Show me the evidence.

I see your point where you have a choice, and you chose not to do it. It took you a few years and a doctor telling you drink and die or stop and live to stop.....if you are so smart and logical, why couldn't you stop before the tape came sooner to the end then you liked? It takes a wake up call, not logic.

Again, that is bad logic. Deciding to quit drinking is a process. It is a matter of drinking enough and suffering enough for enough years to get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and really become 100% convinced that the only way to win the game is to not play it.

I had a wake up call and I seeked help. I had many wake up calls, stayed sober for periods of time, and went back.

Yes, it is a learning process.

A.A. works.

Again, you offer no evidence that A.A. actually works.

It doesn't overpower my life, I go to 5 to 7 meetings a week and they don't request 10 percent of my earnings, and never have I felt, Fuck, these people are insane.

5 to 7 meetings a week is an obsession. Get a life.

They are from everywalk of life, I included, and I don't look like an alcoholic. In fact, anyone that knows me is shocked I am one. I am an alcoholic, who has an abnormal reaction to alcohol. I am addicted to alchohol and will always be because, I don't know how to put it, I drank myself mentally into an alcoholic womb of comfort.

You are not addicted to alcohol if you have 70 or more days of sobriety. You have gone through withdrawal. It's over. Please learn what the words actually mean. Alcoholics Anonymous does not get to redefine the language. You are not addicted to alcohol now.

Sure, alcohol is a drug. So is crack. I never used in my life, because I knew those heavy drugs get you addicted in a snap. I didn't get addicted to alcohol with one beer, it is not the same as any hard drug out there. It fools you. It's legal and it fools you into making you believe you can drink responsibly.

I agree that alcohol is a very toxic and dangerous drug. In fact, I have used ALL of the heavy drugs at some time or other, over the previous 40 years, including cocaine, heroin, and speed, and guess what I got hooked on? Alcohol and tobacco.

I only gave you that hypothetical test to tell you that. I believe you are powerless if you are to risk 6 years of sobriety with one beer.

No! I am not powerless. I am at risk of readdiction if I drink any more alcohol, yes, but I am most assuredly not powerless over alcohol. (Nor am I "powerless" over tobacco, heroin, cocaine, speed, or any other intoxicating chemical.)

You just keep repeating that cult mantra as if it was some kind of true statement, as if it had great meaning or wisdom, but it is nonsense. I am NOT POWERLESS over alcohol. I can hold it in my hand, look at it, smell it, and then pour it out on the ground. I have done exactly that several times in the last 6 years.
I am not powerless over alcohol. Neither are other alcoholics.

One beer does not get you drunk, but it will help you get drunk. It takes one if you are powerless. I see what you mean, that I am not powerless over alcohol, because alcohol is a choice. I am powerless over alcohol if I take the choice.

That is still nonsense. And that is not anything like what Bill Wilson wrote when he declared that alcoholics were powerless over alcohol. See pages 36 and 37 of the Big Book, where Bill Wilson declared that you would relapse no matter what kind of "defense" you put up against further drinking.

You stay sober Orange. You will stay sober, without a doubt, because if you don't, then there goes your theory of self knowledge and playing the tape forward, logic. I have 74 days now.

Congratulations on your 74 days. Good going. Keep it up.

The reason why I point the fact of my age is because I have a chance not fight, overthink, and struggle like so many people. I got a chance to have a long, sober, happy life now, not later. I have surrendered into this cult of sobriety, how bad is that? To promote sobriety.

Ah, but that is the gotcha. Is it really a cult of sobriety? Do people who go to A.A. get sober in greater numbers than other people like me who quit drinking and stay sober alone, in their own way? Even a leader of A.A. says, "No. A.A. doesn't help. A.A. is completely ineffective."

And they have a system, and if I was to look at it from your point of view, I Orange, I will have a website dedicated to debunking A.A....no, I woulndn't. I would just be drunk and wait till the doctor told me I had a choice, if it comes to that, and how I value my life to save it. It has nothing to do with logic. It's how much you care. You know, your stats are very true. A.A. doesn't do a dent into the alcoholic masses. Suicide in A.A. occurs just like out of A.A., because some people don't want to see another way, that is not the A.A. way, it is the sober way of life. So people can't live without the drink and in the face of relapsing, they do themselve in. You have to accept the fact that as fucked up as A.A. is to you, it has help many, many people have sober, sane, happy lifes.

No, A.A. does not work. You keep trying to slide back into claiming that A.A. is a success that has helped a lot of people when even A.A. Trustee Dr. Prof. George E. Vaillant declared that A.A. was a total failure that just increased the death rate of alcoholics.

Where I go, Pacific Group, Downey, and Bellflower Big Book are full of long term sober alcoholics.

Again, you are not looking at the whole picture. Dozens of sober old-timers don't offset the thousands of disaster stories where A.A. failed to make the alcoholics quit drinking, or drove them to suicide with the "no medications" nightmare.

And even thousands of success stories do not offset the millions of failure stories.

Besides which, you have not supplied any evidence that A.A. MADE those sober alcoholics quit drinking. A.A. just steals the credit for anybody who quits drinking in the vicinity of an A.A. meeting, no matter why the people really quit drinking. (And they have been doing that for a very long time, too. Look here for them doing it in Philadelphia in the 1940s.)

Again, you are ignoring the reason WHY people quit drinking. People quit drinking for quite a variety of reasons, like:

  1. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
  2. Don't want to lose marriage and children.
  3. Don't want to lose job and career.
  4. Don't want to lose everything.
  5. Doctor says I'm going to die if I don't quit drinking.
  6. Drinking is just ruining my life.
  7. I don't like how I act when I'm drunk.
  8. I want my self-respect back.
  9. I want my health back.
  10. I want my mind back.
  11. ...etc., etc., etc...
... So people quit drinking for all of those reasons, and then they visit a few A.A. meetings to see if A.A. has anything to offer, and then A.A. claims that those people quit drinking because of A.A. meetings and the 12 Steps. That isn't true at all. A.A. is just stealing the credit.

Even if some A.A. member has been brainwashed into believing that he really did quit drinking because of the A.A. "program", and loudly testifies and gives testimonials about how A.A. saved his life, that is still not valid evidence that A.A. actually works. Snake oil salesmen and quack healers have been using testimonials since the dawn of time.

You have to look at the big picture and count all of the alcoholics, both the success stories and the failures, when judging whether A.A. really works. When you accurately add up the numbers, like how Dr. Vaillant did, it is clear that A.A. is a complete failure. The actual A.A. success rate is the same as the success rate of alcoholics who are left alone to do it their own way, without any "help" or "support group". So A.A. does not improve the situation at all.

I plan to be one of them. And it's my life outside of A.A. that proves that A.A. works. I will be a great man one day, and A.A. is the start of my journey. And to clarify to you what a great man is to me, that's the opposite of what I was before A.A., a lieing, cheating, dishonest, immature, bitter, resentful, no good leaching lazy alcoholic. I wasn't as bad as some people but what I was was the worst person to be, because I knew how it was to be that person.

Congratulations on getting your life together. Now if you could just learn to be realistic about numbers and success rates....

Ok, one last thing, if it works then no one cares what those who say it doesn't work say.

That is a big IF. And since A.A. does not work, people do care about their loved ones getting harmed.

What works for you works for you, but believe me, some people need A.A. to stay sober and if that person gives in and follows what is in front of him, that man will be a happier person period.

Again, that is a groundless statement. Please show me the valid medical tests that show that A.A. has helped such people and improved their rate of sobriety. The truth is that all of the real tests of A.A.'s effectiveness have shown A.A. to be a failure that just makes things worse.

The day I feel that A.A. as a cult is making my life worse then it was or if I feel that it won't be as great as it would be on my own will, then it won't work for me. I don't see that happening because the A.A. I know has given sons and daughters, mothers and fathers back to their families as completely changed persons.....it works.

No, I'm not buying it. A few people stop drinking and improve their lives, and then A.A. steals the credit and crows, "Look how wonderful we are and look at what wonderful things we do."

And nobody in A.A. wants to talk about the sky-high failure rate, or the suicides, or the rapes and 13th-Stepping. Read these two recent letters for some stories of how well A.A. has helped other people: Treatment nightmare and Mike Q.'s Midtown Group. Also check out this horror story. That is also the real Alcoholics Anonymous experience.

Maybe I am just fortunate to go to A.A. meetings in Los Angeles county, where there are over 3000 meetings every night and the sober capitol in the world when it comes to A.A. To everything you responded to as weak thinking and bullshit, you have to accept that it works to many an alcoholic and that A.A. has saved the life of many.

No, it doesn't work and no, I don't have to accept your loose numbers as evidence of anything. If you imagine that A.A. actually works, please tell me the answers to these questions:

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will pick up a ten-year coin for sobriety?
How about the 11-year coin? What percentage of the newcomers go on to get an 11-year coin?
How many success stories are there really, out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A.?

How well does Alcoholics Anonymous really work?

Hint: the answers are here.

If the A.A. programs helps you to stay sober and alive, and foremost, happy in the process, does it work for you? I think you know the answer to that.

Again, that is nonsense. You try to fudge an IF into a declaration of success. Bad logic.

And you are assuming the major premise. You are assuming that A.A. makes people quit drinking and live sober. There is no evidence that supports that statement. What A.A. actually does is

  1. increase the rate of binge drinking,
  2. increase the rates of rearrests,
  3. increase the cost of hospitalization, and
  4. increase the death rate in alcoholics.
That is not "help".

And About my grand 74 days, I will email you in five years and fill you in. I won't think much about it, believe me. I will just write it in my to do list. Sober or not, I won't be afraid to email you. I am not afraid to be what I am.

Okay, I'll be waiting to hear how it's going. Good luck.

By the way, remember that it isn't just you that counts. All of the alcoholics count. So keep track of about 100 of the other newcomers who joined at the same time as you did, and see how many of them make it for 5 years. (And remember that you have to count all of them. You can't start scratching the relapsers off of the list because "they didn't work the Steps right", or "they didn't Keep Coming Back". Either the A.A. program really worked to make them quit drinking, or it didn't.)

Keep sober, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *

** "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.

** "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, ** but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling." ** == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of ** Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics ** Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, ** and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, ** 1983, pages 283-286.





Date: Thu, March 15, 2007 4:55 am     (Answered 2 April 2007.)
From: "Jeffrey B."
Subject: Dry Drunk Ramblings

Dear A. Orange,

Just came across your site while searching "dry drunk". My wife has been in AA for over 5 years now, sober for 2, yet preserves most of the dysfunctional and destructive attitudes and behaviors she exhibited while using. In other words she's just as hard to deal with as she ever was, maybe more so. I'm trying to figure out how she can reach true "sobriety", which I guess is code for not being a selfish, irresponsible asshole, as well as absence of substance abuse.

I am also put-off by the AA "religion". I haven't read everything yet, but you make a compelling case for spontaneous remission by many addicts. I think this can be explained by two different populations of users — those who had before using a fundamentally healthy personality and those who had a fundamentally dysfunctional personality. By healthy I mean having a well-inculcated ethical system based on honesty, personal responsibility, accountability, and self-esteem based on adherence to ethical principles. Generally such persons were truly loved and nurtured in childhood. Such folks may use due to trauma, stress, or just because they like it, and even enter an addictive thought pattern of entitlement, resentment, etc. But when the negative consequences become serious enough, they can stop using and "recover" their original healthy thought and behavior patterns fairly readily.

In contrast, the fundamentally dysfunctional folks, often raised by generations of addicts, have never been responsible or accountable. They were raised by self-absorbed irresponsible, untrustworthy people who didn't nurture them or truly love them. They were taught that love means not being held responsible for one's behavior, that self- esteem is based on what others think, that one gets one's needs met through manipulation and deceit, that denial, rationalization, and justification are the ways to deal with natural human failure (rather than accountability). When the consequences of using become serious enough for these folks to stop, they have no healthy thought and behavior patterns to "recover", no foundation on which to build. Everything they know is wrong. They need a complete personality rebuild, a step by step program to create an ethical system and accountability to it, and for them, the AA cult (or something like it) is necessary. Of course very very few actually succeed in overcoming powerfully impressed thought patterns from childhood. A person who is fundamentally healthy does not need a new religion just to stop drinking, and is put off by AA as you are. But I think the dysfunctional folks do need something that can make a fundamental change in their life, and only something as powerful as a religion or cult is going to work for them. Make any sense?

Jeff

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for the letter. I think you are right on with your analysis of the personalities of addicts. There really is a huge difference between those people who have had a happy, stable, clean and sober period of time in their lives and those people who have been stoned since puberty and who have never learned to live straight. (I feel very lucky in that regard. I didn't start drinking excessively until my thirties, so I had a good fall-back state of mind to go to when I quit all of my bad habits.)

About:

"But I think the dysfunctional folks do need something that can make a fundamental change in their life, and only something as powerful as a religion or cult is going to work for them."

Well, I agree that they need something, but unfortunately, the religion and cult routines have totally failed. They have produced spectacular failures. The two largest and most famous recovery cults of the sixties to eighties were Synanon and the Peoples' Temple. Both were highly rated as very successful drug and alcohol rehab programs. Both got awards and commendations from famous politicians and social service organizations.

Chuck Dederich's Synanon degenerated into an insane commune where wife swapping and child abuse were commonplace and a heavily-armed goon squad, the "Imperial Marines", attacked dissidents and defectors. Then they put a rattlesnake in the mailbox of a lawyer who was suing them on behalf of ex-members who had been abused. The rattlesnake's rattles were removed so that there would be no warning buzz before the snake struck. The guy nearly died. And they attacked the ex-member Phil Ritter, who had become disillusioned and quit Synanon. They attacked him in the dark of night, from behind, and smashed his skull with a baseball bat. He also nearly died.
When the police came to arrest the leader, Chuck Dederich, he was so drunk that he couldn't walk. They had to carry him out on a stretcher.
More on Synanon here.

Jim Jones's Peoples' Temple was a "Christian" church that ran the most successful and highly-rated drug and alcohol rehab program in California (for a while). They were literally grabbing addicts off of the streets of Oakland and San Francisco and getting them clean and straight.
The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner named Jim Jones the "Humanitarian of the Year". San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appointed Jim Jones Chairman of the San Francisco Housing Authority. Everybody agreed that the Peoples' Temple combination of religion and rehab was producing magical results.
Unfortunately, the magic went to Hell. Jim Jones went crazy and paranoid, and moved the church to South America, to Guyana, where they all committed suicide — 914 men, women, children and babies, all dead.
More on the Peoples' Temple here

I have often asked myself whether there is some way to make a good recovery cult. I've been to enough Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings to see the cultish energy and spirit and esprit de corps and cameradery. And I've wondered whether that energy couldn't be used to benefit alcoholics and addicts in some kind of good recovery cult. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be that the cult structure itself is harmful and leads to abuses and disasters. It seems that it always has so far.

Yes, those messed-up people really need something, but we've already tried religion and recovery cults. We must do better in the future.

About your wife, I hate to say it, but a lot of what passes for alcoholism is really a pre-existing condition. People are often messed up before they start drinking, not because of it. Alcohol just makes things worse. And when those people quit drinking, they really do have to deal with all of the stuff that was there before drinking. In fact, Alcoholics Anonymous says much the same thing, but couches it in terms of "spiritual defects" and "moral shortcomings", and only offers A.A. as the solution. And A.A. doesn't work.

One of the biggest problems in medicine is the fact that psychiatry often just does not work. Freudian psychoanalysis was an expensive hoax. Counseling is often useless. Modern psychiatry can fix some schizophrenics with pills, and some other disorders with other medications, but psychiatry is basically ineffective for a lot of conditions and character disorders — like everything from extreme selfishness to addictive personalities.

I don't have any easy fix. I wish I did.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
** has cured millions. RARELY HAVE we seen it fail...
** But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
** Take what you want, and leave the rest."





Date: Fri, April 6, 2007     (answered 14 April)
From: "Thomas C."
Subject: Dry drunk ramblings — Jeffrey B

Dear Orange,

I'm surprised at your reply to Jeff B.

Jeffrey B.'s wife was in AA for 5 years and remained sober for only 2. She deserves our compassion and understanding, yet YOUR understanding and compassion seem to be on the side of the husband who calls his own wife selfish, irresponsible and an asshole.

Josie

Hi Josie,

Yes, I did accept the husband's characterization of his wife at face value. Everything else he had said made so much sense, I had no reason to believe that he was lying to me or crazy when he described his wife. What if she really is like that, both drunk and sober?

That does not mean that I can't feel sorry for the wife, or appreciate her predicament.

And talking about compassion, what about the suffering of the husband who has to live with her? And who simply cannot fix her?

And cult religion hasn't fixed her, and psychiatry can't fix her...

It reminds me of Jean Paul Sartre's play No Exit.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Some cause happiness wherever they go;
**     others, whenever they go."
**        — Oscar Wilde (1854—1900)





Date: Mon, April 9, 2007 10:38 pm
From: Darien
Subject: Help!

I've been thankful for your website since I left AA. I was forced into rehab once; I knew something was wrong and your site clarified it for me.

I have spent a lot of money recently, and my parents are in financial distress. They have decided to blame it entirely on me, and have determined (w/o the input of a doctor or therapist) that I am an addict and they have taken everything I have and threatened to throw me out on the street unless I commit myself to a rehab facility.

I'm over 18, and I recently left law school. My parents said I could return home temporarily until I could get a job and find a place of my own in a different city. But I was only here a week before they verbally, emotionally, and almost physically assaulted me, demanding I go to rehab, shouting rehab was my only option, and that they would even call the police with a made up offense to legally commit me to a rehab if I dont voluntarily go.

I've never been so terrified in my life. I don't believe in anything AA has to say and I hate that my parents are using "rehab" as a place to throw me because they are angry. I don't drink heavily, but they seem to think so. To them, one drink is too many. They have also worked zealously to alienate me from my friends, who they consider "enablers". When my friends told them I had no problem, they cursed them and told them they weren't true friends. I think my parents have been to Al-Anon and are in contact with other AA nuts behind my back.

Do I just go along with it? But I'm a college-educated, independent, thinking individual who can not accept the mindless cult indoctrination of AA; I am even more frustrated when I question anything, I am met with a rebuke of "not being serious" or showing "addictive thinking" (that's what a counselor told me when I asked if I could bring magazines to read; she said to read only the Big Book, which I think is crap). They also told me to leave all my medication behind, even though it says never to miss a dose and they have been prescribed by a psychiatrist.

I'm very, very scared. They said I am to be sent Friday. I'm so scared.

—Darien

Hello Darien,

To answer your last question first, "Should you go along with it?" I don't think so. 12-Step treatment isn't good for anything, it doesn't work, and it just does more harm than good. Plus, as you say, 12-Step treatment is bullshit.

Two things really stand out:

  1. Contact your doctor immediately and tell him of this problem and see if he has any helpful advice about how to prevent them from taking you off of your medications. Perhaps he can telephone a judge and get an injunction or something. Remember that your doctor is your ally and he has your best interests at heart, and he should have some idea of how to keep you on your medications.
  2. When your parents threaten to call the police and make a false report about you, they are threatening to commit a crime. It is a serious offense to make a false report to the police. (Remember that Martha Stewart went to jail for it.) So protect yourself by calling the police yourself and telling them what is happening, and asking for their help. Heck, even go to the police station and talk to them. You haven't done anything wrong, so you have no need to fear them.

I am not sure how old you are. "Over 18" means that you have reached the age of majority in most states. That is the age where you can do what you wish and they cannot order you around. If you are (were) in law school, that makes you older than 18. They cannot just shove you into a rehab facility against your wish. That is kidnapping and false imprisonment. So you do not have to just go along with it. If somebody tries to force you into a facility, make it clear that you will press charges for kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Should they force you into some facility anyway, do not sign anything, no matter what, no matter how innocent it may seem. If you start signing documents, the next thing you will know, you have given them permission to "treat" you for as long as they wish, and they aren't responsible for anything, and you will owe them $10 or $15 thousand for the "treatment". So just don't sign anything. And keep stressing the fact that you are being falsely imprisoned. But hopefully it won't come to that.

That brings up a question: You say that your parents are in financial difficulties. Well, those 12-Step rehab centers usually charge anything from $7500 to $40,000 for 28 days. Payment must be made in advance. Where are your broke parents going to get that money?

Parts of your story are not clear. You say that you spent a lot of money recently, and apparently, you spent too much because that left you without enough money to rent your own place. You didn't say if it was your money or your parents' money. If it wasn't your parents' money, it's hard to see how they could blame you for their financial difficulties. If it was, then they have reason to be unhappy, but that does not make you an addict unless you spent the money on drugs and alcohol.

Again, I would contact your doctor and get his help in sorting things out. He will most assuredly want to keep you on your medications, and he will know whether you are an alcoholic or addict. And if your doctor talks to the police, they will believe him before they will believe either you or your parents.

I would strongly consider just getting out of there. Perhaps some kind of shelter can help you. Again, ask your doctor for advice.

Good luck, and please let me know what is happening.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
** guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
** also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
** having any medical education or training.  They have never
** gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
** residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
** life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
** is what you call quackery.





Date: Wed, April 11, 2007 6:24 pm
From: "Robert R."
Subject: Your opinion

Did you know that the best "propaganda" I have heard from AA in the last 25 years, is simply that opinions are like ass-holes, everybody has one, and in your case, you are one.

Bob R.
AA Member
(856)207-xxxx

Hello Bob,

That is called Escape via Relativism "Everybody's got an opinion, and one opinion is just as good as another".

No, facts are what matter, not opinions. Do you have any actual true facts to bring to the table?

How about the actual A.A. failure rate? Would you like to explain that?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Gandalf said, "The demons of the darkness howl in
** pain when you shine the light of truth on them."





Date: Mon, April 23, 2007 12:11 pm
From: "Michael McF."
Subject: AA opinion

Date: Wed, April 11, 2007 6:24 pm
From: "Robert R."
Subject: Your opinion

Did you know that the best "propaganda" I have heard from AA in the last 25 years, is simply that opinions are like ass-holes, everybody has one, and in your case, you are one.

This is the "best propaganda" that Bob R. can produce after 25 years in the program? Robert R. gave you his opinion. What does that say about him?? It goes to show the unlimited growth potential of a veteran AA member. A regular Oracle. I would really like for him to be MY sponsor! A real gem.

What happened to your spiritual side Bob R.??? Live and Let Live, blah, blah, blah.......

Actually, the phrase is that opinions are like ass-holes, everybody has one and they all stink! I guess Bob R. just hasn't been paying attention for 25 years.

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the comment. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed."
**      ==  Albert Einstein

[The next letter from Michael_McF is here.]





11 April 2007,

I'm sorry to say that Kurt Vonnegut died today. Like he wrote in Slaughterhouse Five, he isn't looking too good in this particular time frame, but he's looking great in lots of other time frames. So it goes.

"Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in Time..."





Date: Sun, October 22, 2006 (answered 12 April 2007)
From: "michael g."
Subject: METANOIA

Hi Orange

Steppers are continually captivated by their past memories (drinking stories) & are fascinated with the dead & unchanging image of what it was like for them as practising alcoholics. Why do they attend meetings? So they can hear the other Bill & Bob clones talk about the past & stay in the land of the dead. 12 Step programmes are the greatest horror story, because the Steppers have been so indoctrinated — they aren't aware they are lifeless robots. They can do nothing to save themselves while they continue to attend 12 Step meetings.

I have had a mutation of the mind (METANOIA) — through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Salvation is always the ending of the mind's fascinated identification with the dead & unchanging image of what it was". It is the complete reversal of the "natural" order of things, a METANOIA — the Greek word for repentance, meaning precisely a turning-around of the mind, so that it no longer faces into the past, the land of the shadow of death, but into the Eternal Present.

So long as the mind is captivated by memory, and really feels itself to be that past image — which is "I", it can do nothing to save itself; its sacrifices are of no avail, & its law gives no life".

Buchman, Wilson & Smith have done an excellent job; Wilson talked to "dead people" & if you too want to talk to dead people, attend an AA meeting.

Peace Be With You
Micky

Hi again, Micky,

Thanks for the note, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done
** it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
** ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)





Date: Tue, October 24, 2006     (answered 12 April 2007)
From: GuitarSteve
Subject: Addiction?

LOL! I'm not a recovering alcoholic — I'm done with that. I have far too many other concerns in life than to focus on old bad habits. If anything, I have an addiction to reading the "Orange Papers" !!! I love your site and spend far too much time reading it. So now it seems the only trouble I have with booze or drugs (Non smoker now too) is the reminders and the wonderful arguments and twisted letters that I read on your site from those in defense of something so horrible to the human psyche, which is AA. LOL! Oh my my my.......You've become endearing to me Orange. I send you all my love and all my respect for your hard work. You are a beautiful person.....I hope you never change what you're doing. It's helped me tremendously and I'm certain that it has been insightful and helpful to thousands of others.

Greenest of wishes to you always my friend,

Steve — (Guitar Steve) :)

Hi again Steve,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Iraq Is All but Won; Now What?"
**   == Los Angeles Times headline, 4/10/2003





Date: Tue, October 24, 2006     (answered 12 April 2007)
From: H.
Subject: support groups

Dear Orange:

A person may decide that they need a support group.

If that decision is taken:
Investigate each group that is available. Decide which groups which may fit you.
Try several.

Please understand that this problem is one that is defined by the individual concerned.

Please understand that the solution is defined by the individual concerned.

That is, both the problem; and, the solution belong to the individual. And, no one else.

When the problem is solved, the individual is ready to "graduate" from the support group.

When that realization comes to mind — the problem is solved — it is time to leave.

Then, just leave.

"H"

Hello again, H.

That sounds like really good advice.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Plato wrote that we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of
**  the dark.  The real tragedy is men who are afraid of the light.





Date: Tue, October 24, 2006     (answered 12 April 2007)
From: "Beth"
Subject: Thank you

Good Afternoon Orange,

Well documented site. I have 15 years of continued sobriety and have attended a good many meetings. I am, one of the slower one's to truly hit a wall on how sick this organization is. When I am pulled to my knees to say a prayer, and not asked what is really going on with me, it is frightening. When I decide to use my common sense and sit back and observe one particular meeting for three weeks and can note the following, shaming, shunning, invalidatating, belittling and abandoning behavior, on the part of the, "fellowship." I have to say to myself, "What the hell am I doing here?" Not to mention the non-stop perpetrator behavior on the part of those new to the AA and those that range in sober years from 15 to over 30.

I am working my way out of this, (I truly have been entrenched, and at the service level too, or enmeshed might be the better word). Keeping my sanity through this is no mean feat.

Mulling this over I wonder how far to go with AAWS, (letter), or the media.

I know you advocate for poltical action, which would not be my choice. Any thoughts on this?

My best,

Beth

PS If you choose to post this letter, please use the name Beth in the signature line. I am now involved with WFS and SOS, (transitioning), and do attend meetings, women only, with care.

Hello Beth,

Thanks for the letter. My first thoughts are about "...use my common sense and sit back and observe one particular meeting for three weeks..."
YES! Yes, yes, yes.
That is the whole ball game. Once you see, when you really see, then it's a done deal.
Once the little light bulb goes on in your head, it's all over now, Baby Blue....

You don't have to get involved in politics. Personally, I would prefer to not bother, either. It's just that politics controls everything from all of the funding programs for 12-Step "treatment", which is done by the quacks at your local treatment centers, to the judge sentencing people to A.A. meetings. It's all politics, and it would not be happening if the American people knew what is really going on, and the Congressmen and Senators knew what is really going on, or got told by enough voters.
Politics is just a necessary evil — a tool for change.
As long as the 12-Step empire uses politics to hand themselves more money, I have to get involved in politics too.

Something else that you can do besides politics is just keep telling the truth about recovery and the 12-Step routine. Just tell the truth to everybody in general. Now that doesn't mean that you have to be like the Ancient Mariner with an albatross around his neck, compulsively telling everybody your story, whether they want to hear it or not. But when the subject of recovery or A.A. comes up, it's good to tell the truth. Just to counter-act the river of misinformation that comes out of the A.A. propaganda machine.

And any letters that you want to write to media is a good thing. I don't think that a letter to the AAWS headquarters will accomplish anything, though. They stopped listening to the fellowship a long time ago.

And WFS and SOS sound good. I hear good things about them.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
**  stable world at peril.





Date: Tue, October 24, 2006     (answered 12 April 2007)
From: "Patric K.
Subject: Reading your published papers

Gday I have been reading your published papers online at orange .org

I have over the years had differing success rate with staying away from booze attending aa meetings

I have never truthfully felt totally comfortable in meetings or happy with these so called long-term sobriety people or 13 stepping The anger i have experienced from these people is terrible 'cause i had dared question their honesty about how truthful they really are about themselves or the programme they participate in.

If at any time i questioned or wasn't happy with cliches giving to me by people who were possibly more ill than i even though they had been off the booze longer, [they acted like] I was trying to tear the foundation of AA down.

That some members are treated with great reverence even though it states in the books we are equals is something i could never stomach so well, and the sickness of the 13th stepping i seen on young innocent women who were so ill they would have done anything to appease the men / women who were making advances to them — the carrying on of sick behaviour.

I thank you very much for your articles and plan on reading them more i think i read somewhere you were a practising alkie for 20 years

I wish you well in all your endeavours

regards

PK

Hello Patrik, and Gday to you too, mate.

Thanks for the letter and the good wishes. I couldn't agree with your statements more.

You are basically right about me being "a practicing alkie for 20 years". I just have trouble counting the years exactly. Like I drank for more than 20 years, but in the beginning it was normal, just a few beers now and then. But then the drinking grew and became more and more. So when did it cross the line into alcoholic drinking? Hard to say. It was probably around the time that drinking 2 beers a night turned into 6 a night too often. That would make it 17 or 18 years of excessive drinking. Oh well, whatever.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Every identity has its fundamentalists — the gatekeepers of what is and
**  isn't permissible for those who share that identity.  Since we all have
**  access to multiple identities — race, religion, nationality, ethnicity,
**  class — these fundamentalists usually have their work cut out trying to
**  keep everybody in line.  As the guardians of authenticity, their job is
**  to deny complexity and impose uniformity."
**   == Gary Younge, "To Fight These Reactionaries We Must Tackle the Crisis
**  That They Feed Off", in The Guardian/UK, August 21, 2006
**  http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0821-22.htm
**  http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329557728-103677,00.html





Date: Wed, October 25, 2006     (answered 12 April 2007)
From: "michael g."
Subject: AA PUSSIES!!

Sarcasm, Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes
Alcoholics Anonymous provides us with a wealth of examples of this technique — A.A. is almost "Condescension Incorporated".
"You anti-AA guys are a bunch of pussies who couldn't handle the responsibility that goes with being a member of AA."

Hi Orange
I don't attend AA meetings anymore — thank God. I imagine leaving AA becomes more difficult the longer one has been exposed to this evil, soul-destroying cult. In one of your earlier postings I read with some sadness of a Stepper who wanted to leave but found it difficult because AA was his whole life. One becomes trapped & I imagine most Steppers feel safe albeit quite isolated from the real world. I imagine most Steppers don't have the guts to quit (AA) because of the indoctrination ("If you quit AA — You will drink").

My process (recovery) started in 1994 (therapy, etc) but it took me many years to make a complete break from all 12 Step programmes (I was also going to SLAA, CODA, ACOA). I imagine most alcoholics are terrified of intimacy (emotional cowards) & attending 12 Step programmes is the ultimate escape (from intimacy). I would suggest that quite a few of the Steppers are "pussies" & people like yourself are more responsible & brave because your facing life "full on" without the "crutch" of 12 Step programmes.

Peace Be With You
Micky

Hi again Micky,

Thanks for the letter. While I don't want to get into stereotyping A.A. members, I have to agree that someone who is doing a meeting a day needs to get out and live in the real world. Too many people use A.A. as an escape and a drug. And it does seem to be addicting, or at least "habit-forming".

Have a good day.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.





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