Letters, We Get Mail, XVI
by A. Orange



[Mon, 19 Apr 2004, Thomas P. wrote:]

I BET YOU STILL GET DRUNK EVERYTIME YOU RESEARCH AA. YOU CANNOT AND WILL NOT EVER BE COMPLETLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF TO OVER COME YOUR PROBLEMS. TRY TO GET HELP AND MAY WHOM EVER YOU BELIEVE IN OR WHATEVER YOU BE IN OPENS YOUR EYES ONE DAY

Hi Thomas,

You would loose that bet.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Fri, April 23, 2004, Haywood wrote:]

Do you know of any links to other websites are like minded as yours ?
Thanks
Wood

"But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."
~ Carl Sagan

"When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." — Heinlein

Hi, Wood,

I don't have nearly as good a collection as I would like, but see the new page of links, here. I am still adding to it, so check back now and then.

Oh, and I love your Carl Sagan quote in your signature. Coincidentally, I put together a page of propaganda techniques after reading Carl Sagan's Baloney Detector in his book, The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, and I have that faulty syllogism listed here.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Sat, April 24, 2004, Rebecca wrote:]

Dear A,

I was just reading your article titled 'What's Not Good About AA'. You had referred to AA at one point as a cult. I was wondering if you could expand a bit more on this. I believe that I lost someone very near and dear to me to what I've come to think of as the AA cult.

At first he was in a drug treatment facility. He sounded scared, but still had his own identity and wanted my support and encouragement. As soon as he left the treatment facility and started attending AA meetings he almost immediately became cynical of all that wasn't 'AA'. He abandoned everyone and every activity with non-alcoholics and became completely absorbed by his AA world. Is this a common result of these meetings? Is AA powerful enough to turn an intelligent free thinking person into a drone who can only deal and live with other AA members and believe that this is healthy?

I have struggled to understand what has happened to this once very wonderful person and would appreciate any insight you could offer.

Thank You,
Rebecca

Hi Rebecca,

First off, for more information on A.A. as a cult, see the Cult Test, here.

The personality changes you are describing are just so typical that it is heartbreaking. That is precisely what cults do to people.

About the question: "Is this a common result of these meetings?"
Well, sometimes. I can't really generalize or quote exact statistics, but it sure happens too often. Look at this previous letter which describes a similar case.

"Is AA powerful enough to turn an intelligent free thinking person into a drone?"
Yes, sometimes. And sometimes no. It depends on the person. One of the things that cults do is play on people's weaknesses. Some people are more vulnerable than others.

For some more good information on getting someone out of a cult, Steve Hassan has a new book out: Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves. It contains a wealth of practical advice for how to get through to somebody whose thinking has been taken over by a cult.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Sat, April 24, 2004, Robert S. wrote:]

Hello,

I have been sober since Jan. 2nd 1977 and have only AA and the 12 steps to thank for that.

I pray each day to God and give thanks and ask for help.

I had a profound Spiritual Experience after I did my 7th Step. At first it frightened me because I had not experienced freedom from fear and guilt since I was about 12 or 13 years old.

Everything that AA said would happen did happen and it also happened to another fellow I knew about a year later and seeing the change in him was really astounding and wonderful.

I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit, God, the Higher Power is directly responsible for these miracles and I do not get too concerned over the fact that Jesus is not mentioned in the 12 steps.

And when someone calls a material object his higher power that is usually people who have just come into the program and are having trouble giving up their pessimism regarding what they think of as a link to organized religion. They usually always change their attitude and thinking on this after they have been in the program a while and after they have done the Steps with Self Honesty.

Thanks for you Web Page and information.

God Bless, Regards,
Robert S.

Hello Robert,

Thanks for an interesting letter and congratulations on your many years of sobriety. You did the work, you deserve the congratulations (not some organization).

So you had an ecstatic experience after you did the 7th step? You got over a guilt complex?
Okay, good, but so what?
That does not prove that A.A. is a good religion, or an effective alcoholism treatment program.

You like A.A. because it makes you feel good. You could say the same thing in praise of the local whore-house.

You say, "I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit, God, the Higher Power is directly responsible for these miracles..."
First off, quitting drinking is not a miracle. It is a very good thing for an alcoholic to quit drinking, but it is not a miracle. A miracle is where somebody uses supernatural powers to break the laws of physics and change reality in impossible ways. No supernatural powers are required to stop drinking ethyl alcohol — you just don't put it in your mouth any more.

Then, why is it that A.A. members rate so highly in God's great plan? Sixty thousand people die of starvation on this planet every single day. Most of them have brown or black skin. Half of them are children. Your A.A. God doesn't bother to give them a miracle, does He? He just lets them all die.

Other dark-skinned foreigners are dying in wars — like in Afghanistan and Iraq — or are dying from AIDS, all over the world. But God isn't giving them a miracle, is he?

Apparently, the A.A. God is too busy worrying about whether some white Americans drink alcohol to care about the lives or deaths of foreigners.

Heck, speaking of white-skinned Americans, the A.A. God didn't even bother to give a miracle to the people who were trapped at the top of the World Trade Center on September 11, did He? Don't you imagine that some of them were praying like mad too?

I am reminded of a critic of the Oxford Groups, who criticized Frank Buchman's claims that God was answering his prayers and granting his wishes:

"I count it blasphemy for Dr. Buchman, or anybody else, to pretend to testify to what God has done for him while humanity is at this moment perishing."
Rev. John Haynes Holmes, quoted in The New York Times, July 16, 1934, page 9.

Don't you ever stop to think about the implications of your words? You would make God into a horrible dictator who caters to the needs of A.A. members while letting millions of little brown and black children starve, get sick, and die.

This issue is old hat. Bill Wilson broached the subject in the Big Book back in 1938, but he never answered his own question:

The wars which had been fought, the burnings and chicanery that religious dispute had facilitated, made me sick. I honestly doubted whether, on balance, the religions of mankind had done any good. Judging from what I had seen in Europe and since, the power of God in human affairs was negligible, the Brotherhood of Man a grim jest. If there was a Devil, he seemed the Boss Universal, and he certainly had me.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 1, Bill's Story, page 11.

Fitz M. mentioned the same issue in his story in the first edition of the Big Book:

OUR SOUTHERN FRIEND
What is life all about anyway?   ...   Religion is a racket. How could there be a loving God who would allow so much suffering and sorrow? Bah! Don't talk to me about religion.   ...

Steppers like to declare that such thinking is silly — that it's just the thinking of a beginner. "He will eventually learn to think right." (That is the cultish idea that Newcomers can't think right.)

But the true believers are just avoiding the issue. Neither Bill Wilson nor Fitz M. answered that question about how or why a micro-managing God would let such massive pain and suffering happen to most of humanity while helping only a few A.A. members. Bill and Fitz just blissed out and declared that having a spiritual experience is wonderful and everybody ought to get one. They got drunk on spiritual make-believe, and never answered their own question.

I have never heard a stepper sincerely address these issues and explain how their micromanaging God can be more than happy to take care of steppers' wills and lives for them (Step Three), and grant them miracles on demand (Step Seven), while ignoring millions of sick and starving children elsewhere.

Does drinking alcohol really make God care about you more?

More on that subject here.

You say of newcomers, "And when someone calls a material object his higher power that is usually people who have just come into the program and are having trouble giving up their pessimism regarding what they think of as a link to organized religion."

Is that really it? What is so bad about organized religion?
Why do we so often get this cultish game of spiritual one-upmanship from the A.A. true believers? — "Organized religion is bad, but A.A. is good."

I am far more concerned about A.A. being a cult religion than that it might be some kind of an introduction to mainstream religions.

Then it is a ridiculous heresy for a sponsor to tell newcomers that they can use a bedpan or a motorcycle or a Group Of Drunks as their Higher Power for a while — you know, just a training-wheels God — just something to use until they get converted to the standard A.A. beliefs. More on that "any Golden Calf" heresy here.

Then you say of newcomers, "They usually always change their attitude and thinking on this after they have been in the program a while..."
Do you have any idea how chilling those words sound to the rest of us?
What you are saying is that the A.A. indoctrination and brain-washing program really works after a while. Newcomers may think independently in the beginning, but they will eventually learn to conform and parrot the standard party line.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[April 26, 2004, somebody wrote:]

Agent Orange,

After I received the letter from Dick B. this e-mail showed up in my box unsolicited may I add. Please delete my name if you would but post it if you like.
Thanks

Dick had copied your question to me, and please allow me to toss in my nickel:

  1. Bill Wilson would cater to every audience he spoke in front of exactly what he thought they wanted to hear. Audiotaped talks at Akron Founders Days between 1954-1962 are an example. He often spoke of the Carl Jung — Rowland Hazard link to AA, and in front of the typical audience (i.e. International Conventions), he would allude to Rowland as having a "spiritual experience." Yet at one Founders Day talk, he said the same thing, but then added, "We can be frank here. He had a religious conversion."

    [The Jung debate continues here: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters67.html#Rowland]

    Bill would often speak of AA as being a "synthesis of religion and medicine." In these same Akron Founders Day tapes, he said, "By far the most influential source was religion." You will not find this anywhere else.

    There are several examples like this. He had always called the Akron-Midwest crowd the "ultraconservatives," and he did not shy away from being open about religion in front of them.

  2. Become familiar with the Big Book's First Edition stories. Here are some excerpts:

    >From Tom Lucas of Akron, "My Wife and I":

    "Here were these men who visited me and they, like myself, had tried everything else and although it was plain to be seen none of them were perfect, they were living proof that the sincere attempt to follow the cardinal teachings of Jesus Christ was keeping them sober. If it could do that for others, I was resolved to try it, believing it could do something for me also."

    >From Jim Scott of Akron, "Traveler, Editor, Scholar":

    "I had never, since the believing days of childhood, been able to conceive an authority directing the universe. But I had never been a flippant, wise-cracking sneerer at the few persons I had met who had impressed me as Christian men and women, or at any institutions whose sincerity of purpose I could see. No conviction was necessary to establish my status as a miserable failure at managing my own life. I began to read the Bible daily and to go over a simple devotional exercise as a way to begin each day. Gradually I began to understand."

    >From Bill Van Horn of Akron, "A Ward of the Probate Court":

    "This doctor (Dr. Bob) in plain words was a wonderful guy — he spent many hours with me telling me his experience with alcohol. Others of his band, which then was small, visited me — told me their stories. They were all strangers to me, but treated me as a friend. I was impressed with their interest and fellowship. I learned the secret. They had a religious experience. I was willing, and renewed my acquaintance with God and acknowledged Him as a reality."

    >From Bob Oviatt of Akron, "The Salesman":

    "They made it very plain that I had to seek God, that I had to state my case to Him and ask for help. Prayer was something I had long forgotten. I think my first sincere utterance must have sounded pretty weak. I didn't experience any sudden change, and the desire for liquor wasn't taken away overnight, but I began to enjoy meeting these people and began to exchange the liquor habit for something that has helped me in every way. Every morning I read a part of the Bible and ask God to carry me through the day safely."

***IMPORTANT NOTE*** The latest AA Conference-approved offering, Experience, Strength & Hope (2003), contains the First Edition stories. HOWEVER, an editor took the liberty of writing this gratuitous statement (pp. 2-3)

"Much of the terminology is strange to us: they wrote of 'former alcoholics,' described their recovery as a 'cure,' and referred to alcohol in terms such as 'John Barleycorn.'... Some of the rough edges found in the first edition stories (the use of profanity, for example, references to specific religious beliefs, and several rather disorganized stories) would be smoothed out in those chosen for later editions... But with all their faults of style, the differences between the stories we hear today and those written in 1939 are not important."

Religion was "smoothed out" to the tune of a 5% success rate (at best)! This is according to AA itself ("Comments on AA's Triennial Surveys," 1989)

Here are some other important excerpts from notable folks who were witnesses to the early days:

>From Dr. William Duncan Silkworth, MD:
"A New Approach to Psychotherapy in Chronic Alcoholism"
>From the Journal-Lancet: Vol. 46, July 1939:

"This peculiar ability, which an alcoholic who has recovered exercises upon one who has not recovered, is the main secret of the unprecedented success which these men and women are having. They can penetrate and carry conviction where the physician or the clergyman cannot. Under these conditions, the patient turns to religion with an entire willingness and readily accepts, without reservation, a simple religious proposal. He is then able to acquire much more than a set of religious beliefs; he undergoes the profound mental and emotional change common to religious 'experience.'...It is paramount to note that the religious factor is all important even from the beginning."

If none of the above convinces, this one will do the trick. Whenever someone asks GSO for a response to the "religious" question (or about anything for that matter), the standard reply is "Nobody speaks for AA." On this note, I wish to give you a short article I wrote on Conference-approved literature and the "Voice of AA":

"AA General Service Conference-approved literature":

The Collective "Voice" of Alcoholics Anonymous States "AA is Religious"

In order to determine what is the "official" definition of Alcoholics Anonymous regarding its "religious" characteristics, it is vital to understand the role of the General Service Conference with regards to AA's literature. All books and pamphlets produced, published and distributed by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. are first reviewed and then formally adopted at AA's annual General Service Conference. The following excerpt is from the "AA Service Manual" (S129):

A.A. as a Publisher

"Very early, AA made the decision to be its own publisher, a decision that has meant a great deal to the unity and growth and general good health of the movement. By acting as its own publisher, AA can be sure that its highly successful recovery program is not tampered with by those who may be well-meaning but overzealous. The program and the Traditions go on unchanged — in essence and in presentation.

AA publishes all its own books and pamphlets and its own magazine. The addition of a new book or pamphlet is not approached lightly. First, the need is well researched by everyone involved in literature: Conference and trustees' committees, the publishing company, and all AA staff members. In many cases, the need does not appear to be urgent or broad enough to justify a new publication. If the need is strongly apparent, work is started. The first four books were written by Bill W. Since then, all literature has been written by AA's who take great pains to gather their material from all over the movement. From the first draft to the last (there have been as many as seven), committee and staff members — and frequently a broadly representative special panel — are free to criticize and to suggest, underlining what they feel will best express the AA point of view. This process takes time — months — but the results are worth the effort. When the pamphlet or book is finally completed, it is entitled to carry the "Conference-approved" seal, having fully earned it. AA World Services Inc. takes completed and approved manuscripts and prints and distributed them. It runs with business-like efficiency and provides additional funds, from literature sales, to help support services to groups and to carry the message to the public."

Equally important is the following statement from the AA Service Manual (Annual Conference Meeting) (S79):

"While no one can speak for AA officially, the Conference comes close to being AA's voice."

As expressed in the aforementioned excerpts, AA General Service Conference-approved literature represents the lifeblood of Alcoholics Anonymous, the movement. Though any personal stories, reviews, etc. within the literature may not have been written by the co-founders or by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, any and all material located within the literature, as expressed by the AA Service Manual, have undergone a thorough critique, analysis and approval before the General Service Conference. Hence, all "AA General Service Conference-approved literature" is deemed appropriate for representation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

With this in mind, the most important, and highly revealing, body of evidence as to the "religiosity" of Alcoholics Anonymous can be found in the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, first published in 1957. Under "Appendix E:d", a 1939 review of the text Alcoholics Anonymous by Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick can be found on pages 322-324. This document is an AA General Service Conference-approved indictment of Alcoholics Anonymous as indisputably being a "religious" program. Excerpts:

From "1939 BOOK REVIEW OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS"
By Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick; also a quotation from his autobiography

"The core of their whole procedure is religious. They are convinced that for the hopeless alcoholic there is only one way out — the expulsion of his obsession by a Power greater than himself. Let it be said at once that there is nothing partisan or sectarian about this religious experience. Agnostics and atheists, along with Catholics, Jews, and Protestants, tell their story of discovering the Power greater than themselves. "WHO ARE YOU TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO GOD," one atheist in this group heard a voice say when, hospitalized for alcoholism, he faced the utter hopelessness of his condition. Nowhere is the tolerance and open-mindedness of the book more evident than in its treatment of this central matter on which the cure of all these men and women has depended. They are not partisans of any particular form of organized religion, although they strongly recommend that some religious fellowship be found by their participants. By religion they mean an experience which they personally know and which has saved them from their slavery, when psychiatry and medicine had failed. They agree that each man must have his own way of conceiving God, but of God Himself they are utterly sure, and their stories of victory in consequence are a notable addition to William James' 'Varieties of Religious Experience.'"

The next excerpt from the same Appendix of Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age quotes Dr. Fosdick's autobiography, The Living of These Days. Referring to Dr. Fosdick's quotes as "generous" (and not "misleading"), in reads, in part:

"Month after month I read the Grapevine, AA's official journal — about the moving collection of testimonies to the possibility of personal transformation of which I know. Moreover, these testimonies bear witness to religion's reality, for Alcoholics Anonymous is deeply religious. That Eleventh Step is an essential factor in its program: 'Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.' The meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are the only place, so far as I know, where Roman Catholics, Jews, all kinds of Protestants, and even agnostics get together harmoniously on a religious basis."

Whenever an AA General Service Office representative is officially asked about the position of AA being religious, he/she usually gives this response: "I cannot speak for AA." At the same time, if the question was reversed, and if the representative was asked if Alcoholics Anonymous is a "spiritual, not religious" program, he/she will immediately verify that question with a "Yes, you're right" answer. This type of practice, hiding behind "anonymity" traditions to avoid so-called "controversial" topics, has been going on for years.

For the subject at hand, it doesn't matter. The "Voice of the AA Group Conscience," in the form of Conference-approved literature, speaks louder than words. And it cannot hide behind anonymity, for it is on print and available for all to see.

It speaks for itself.

I'd like to see someone show this one to GSO. They'd delete the entire section out of AA Comes of Age faster than a backwards bus can start beeping.

Thanks for the nickel!
God Bless,
[name withheld by request]

Thanks for the letter. That is an interesting essay.

I especially like the way that the author exposed the behavior of "I cannot speak for AA (except for when I do)". I hear the same thing too. People send me letters which begin, "I cannot speak for A.A., because nobody is authorized to speak for A.A..." and then they spend the next five minutes speaking for A.A., singing the praises of A.A., and justifying and rationalizing its doctrines and practices, all while "not speaking for A.A.".

And speaking of the first edition stories, there is even more, lots more:

THE SEVEN MONTH SLIP, by Ernie Galbriath — "A.A. Number Four"Doctor Bob's constantly-relapsing son-in-law who seduced Doctor Bob's daughter Sue Smith aginst Doctor Bob's wishes:

Then, one day I had a couple of visitors, one man from New York [Bill Wilson] and the other a local attorney [Bill Dotson].   ...
      Here was religion put to me in a different way and presented by three past-masters in liquor guzzling. On the strength of their stories I decided to give it a try. And it worked, as long as I allowed it to do so.

THE BACK-SLIDER, by Walter Bray:

In one hospital, a Catholic Institution, one of the sisters had talked religion to me and had brought a priest in to see me. Both were sorry for me and assured me that I would find relief in Mother Church. I wanted none of it. "If I couldn't stop drinking of my own free will, I was certainly not going to drag God into it," I thought.   ...

This doctor came and sat beside my bed. He tried to cheer me up about my future, pointed out I was still a young man with the world to lick and insisted that I could do it if I really wanted to stop drinking. Without telling me what it was, he said he had an answer to my problem and condition that really worked.   ...

He simply asked me to make a practical application of beliefs I already held theoretically but had forgotten all my life. I believed in a God who ruled the universe. The doctor submitted to me the idea of God as a father who would not willingly let any of his children perish and suggested that most, if not all of our troubles, come from being completely out of touch with the idea of God, with God Himself. All my life, he said, I had been doing things of' my own human will as opposed to God's will and that the only certain way for me to stop drinking was to submit my will to God and let Him handle my difficulties.   ...

AN ARTIST'S CONCEPT, by Ray Campbell:

"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
— HERBERT SPENCER"

THE above quotation is descriptive of the mental attitudes of many alcoholics when the subject of religion, as a cure, is first brought to their attention.

It was about this time that I began "flirting" with religion as a possible way out. I approached the subject in a wary, none too reverent, attitude. ...

There was, however, so much that seemed illogical or sentimental about religion in general — so many doubts assailed me, so many problems to be confronted — yet there was within myself a strong and urgent desire for spiritual satisfaction. The occasional periods in which I felt a spiritual emotion, I immediately examined with all the ardor of the inveterate analyst. Was this emotion just a form of religious ecstasy? Was it fear? Was it just blind belief or had I tapped something?
      "Most men," wrote Thoreau, "lead lives of quiet desperation." It was the articulation of this despair that led to my drinking in the beginning. Religion, so far, had only added to my desperation. I drank more than ever.

... He told me very little but what I already knew, in part, but what he did have to say was bereft of all fancy spiritual phraseology — it was simple Christianity imparted with Divine Power. The next day I met over twenty men who had achieved a mental rebirth from alcoholism. Here again it was not so much what these men told me in regard to their experiences that was impressive, as it was a sense or feeling that an invisible influence was at work. What was it this man had and these other men exemplified without their knowing? They were human every-day sort of people. They certainly were not pious. They had no "holier than thou" attitude. They were not reformers, and their concepts of religion in some cases were almost inarticulate. But they had something! Was it just their sincerity that was magnetic? Yes, they certainly were sincere, but much more than that emanated from them. Was it their great and terrible need, now being fulfilled, that made me feel a vibratory force that was new and strange? Now I was getting closer and suddenly, it seemed to me, I had the answer. These men were but instruments. Of themselves they were nothing.

How foolish I had been in my quest for spiritual help. How selfish and egotistical I had been to think that I could approach God intellectually. In the very struggle to obtain faith I had lost it. I had given to the term faith a religious significance only. I had failed to see that faith was "our common everyday manner of thinking." That good and evil were but end results of certain uniform and reliable spiritual laws. Obviously, my own thinking had been decidedly wrong. Normal most of the time, it was abnormal at the wrong times. Like everyone's thinking, it was a mixture of good and bad, but mainly it was uncontrolled.
      I had been sticking my chin out and getting socked by spiritual law until I was punch drunk. If one could become humble, if he could become "as a little child" before this powerful spiritual thought force, the pathway could be discovered.

The approaches of man to God are many and varied. My conception of God as Universal Mind is after all but one man's approach to and concept of the Supreme Being. To me it makes sense, opens up a fascinating field of endeavor and is a challenge, the acceptance of which can make of life the "Adventure Magnificent."

EDUCATED AGNOSTIC, by Norman Hunt:

On the third day a man came to talk with me. He was an alcoholic who had stopped! He talked about alcoholism and a spiritual way of life. I was deeply impressed by his seriousness, but nothing that he said made sense to me. He spoke about God, and a power greater than one's self. I remember being very careful not to say anything that might shake his faith in whatever it was he believed! I was deeply grateful to him for taking the trouble to talk with me, but what he had was not for me. I had thought much about religion and had come to rather definite conclusions. There was no God.   ...

The next day another man visited me. He, too, had been an alcoholic and stopped drinking. He pointed out that I had found myself unable to handle my liquor problem by myself. He had been in the same position, yet he hadn't had a drink in over three years! He told me of other men who had found sobriety through the recognition of some power beyond themselves. If I cared to I was to consider myself invited to a gathering the following Tuesday where I would meet other alcoholics who had stopped.   ...

May I stop at this point and address a few sentences direct to agnostic or atheistically inclined alcoholics: You can't take less stock in the references made to God in this book than I would have if this book had been available to me at that time. To you those references have no meaning. They have simply used a name that people give to a fond delusion.   ...   Some such thinking must have been going on in your mind as you have weighed these incredible experiences against your own inability to cope with a problem that is gradually destroying your personality. Rest assured that such questions were in my mind. I could see no satisfactory solution to any of them. But I kept hard to the only thing that seemed to hold out any hope, and gradually my difficulties were lessened. I have not given up my intellect for the sake of my soul, nor have I destroyed my integrity to preserve my health and sanity. All I had feared to lose I have gained and all I feared to gain I have lost.

THE EUROPEAN DRINKER, by Joe Doppler:

There are alcoholics who have been without any consciousness of God all their lives; there are some who are actual haters of the idea of a Supreme Being; there are others, like myself, who have never given up a belief in the Almighty, but who have always felt that God is far off. And that's the way I felt. I had a closer sense of God during the mass at church, a feeling of His presence, but in everyday life He seemed to be at a distance from me and more as a righteous judge, than an all-wise, pitying Father to the human race.

Then occurred the event that saved me. An alcoholic came to see me who is a doctor [Doctor Bob]. He didn't talk like a preacher at all.   ...

"You've been trying man's ways and they always fail," he told me. "You can't win unless you try God's way." I had never heard of the remedy expressed in just this language. In a few sentences he made God seem personal to me, explained Him as a being who was interested in me, the alcoholic, and that all I needed to do was to be willing to follow His way for me; that as long as I followed it I would be able to overcome my desire for liquor.

A FEMININE VICTORY, by Florence Rankin (the first woman in A.A., who relapsed and died drunk, a suicide in Washington, D.C.):

Gradually, however, God began to clear my channels so that real understanding began to come. Then was the time when full realization and acknowledgement came to me. It was realization and acknowledgement of the fact that I was full of self-pity and resentment, realization of the fact that I had not fully given my problems to God. I was still trying to do my own fixing.

ANOTHER PRODIGAL STORY, by Ralph Furlong:

I suppose there are many who feel a strong resentment against such a spiritual approach. Some of Alcoholics Anonymous whom I have met since that day tell me they had difficulty in accepting a simple, day to day, plan of faith. In my case I was ripe for such an opportunity, perhaps because of early religious training. I have always, it seems, had a keen sense of the fact and presence of God.

THE ROLLING STONE, by Lloyd Tate:

This doctor told me that unless I was sincere in wanting to quit drinking, I would be wasting his time and mine and also money in doing this. My answer was I would try anything that would release me. I went into the hospital and started to build my body up again through proper nourishment, and my mind through a different method than I had ever known of. A religious awakening was conveyed to me through some unseen force. I at one time would have laughed at such a possibility because I had tried it and failed because I had not applied it properly. I, at last, was shown the way by these men to whom I am now most grateful.

THE SALESMAN, by Bob Oviatt:

The meeting was informal, nevertheless I was little impressed. It is true they did no psalm singing, nor was there any set ritual, but I just didn't care for anything religious.  ...

Some six months later, after a terrific binge, in a maudlin and helpless state, I made my way to the doctor's home. He gave me medical treatment and had me taken to the home of one of my relatives. I told him I had come to the point where I was ready for the remedy, the only remedy. He sent two of the members to see me. They were both kindly to me, told me what they had gone through and how they had overcome their fight with liquor. They made it very plain that I had to seek God, that I had to state my case to Him and ask for help. Prayer was something I had long forgotten. I think my first sincere utterance must have sounded pretty weak. I didn't experience any sudden change, and the desire for liquor wasn't taken away overnight, but I began to enjoy meeting these people and began to exchange the liquor habit for something that has helped me in every way. Every morning I read a part of the Bible and ask God to carry me through the day safely.

OUR SOUTHERN FRIEND, by Fitz M.:

What is life all about anyway? The world is crazy. Read the newspapers. Everything is a racket. Education is a racket. Medicine is a racket. Religion is a racket. How could there be a loving God who would allow so much suffering and sorrow? Bah! Don't talk to me about religion.   ...

... Then he asks me if I believe in a power greater than myself, whether I call that power God, Allah, Confucius, Prime Cause, Divine Mind, or any other name. I told him that I believe in electricity and other forces of nature, but as for a God, if there is one, He has never done anything for me.   ...

I get in bed and turn out the light. But I cannot sleep. Suddenly a thought comes. Can all the worthwhile people I have known be wrong about God? Then I find myself thinking about myself, and a few things that I had wanted to forget. I begin to see I am not the person I had thought myself, that I had judged myself by comparing myself to others, and always to my own advantage. It is a shock.

Then comes a thought that is like A Voice. "Who are you to say there is no God?" It rings in my head, I can't get rid of it.   ...

I tumble out of bed onto my knees. I know not what I say. But slowly a great peace comes to me. I feel lifted up. I believe in God. I crawl back into bed and sleep like a child.

[Notice Fitz's use of several propaganda tricks in the line "Can all the worthwhile people I have known be wrong about God?" First off, he is using the propaganda tricks of Everybody Knows and Stroking Ploys. He is trying to imply that "everybody" who is "worthwhile'" shares his bizarre heretical beliefs about God and religion.

And then he is also trying to slip another couple of propaganda tricks in there: Assume Facts Not In Evidence and The Fallacy Of One Similarity. "All of the worthwhile people whom he has known" most assuredly did not believe in his strange cult religion, like he tried to imply, so whether they were 'right' or 'wrong' had nothing to do with Fitz's choice of religious beliefs. Believing in Bill Wilson's adaptation of Frank Buchman's fascist Oxford Groups cult was not at all the same thing as believing in generic Christianity, or believing in God in general, but Fitz glossed over the difference and tried to imply that it was all just "believing in God".]

TRAVELER, EDITOR, SCHOLAR, by Jim Scott:

I knew I was a drunkard. Enduring all the hangover-hells that every alcoholic experiences, I made the usual resolutions. My thoughts sometimes turned to the idea that there must be a remedy. I have stood listening to street-corner preachers tell how they did beat the game. They seemed to be happy in their fashion, they and the little group of supporters, but always pride of intellect stopped me from seeking what they evidently had. Sniffing at emotional religion I walked away. I was an honest agnostic but definitely not a hater of the church or its adherents.   ...

Indeed, I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere.

THE UNBELIEVER, written by Henry Parkhurst:

He raised my hopes so high; it looked as though he had something. I don't know, I guess I was so sold that I expected him to spring some kind of a pill and I asked him desperately what it was.
      And he said "God." And I laughed.   ...   He said that it sounded screwy but it worked, at least it had with him . . . said he was not a religionist . . . in fact didn't go to church much . . .

. . . his unconventionality attracted me . . . said that some approaches to religion were screwy . . .
. . . what a fine religious bird I'd be . . .
. . . imagine the glee of the gang at me getting religion . . .

He'd laid in this same dump . . . suffered . . . gone through hell . . . made up his mind to get well . . . studied alcoholism . . . Jung . . . Blank Medical Foundation . . . asylums . . . Hopkins . . . many said incurable disease . . . impossible . . . nearly all known cures had been through religion . . . revolted him . . . made a study of religion . . . more he studied the more it was bunk to him . . .

This is ridiculous . . . have I lost all power of logic . . . would I fall for all that religious line . . . let's see if I can't get to thinking straight . . . that's it . . .

I'll list every reason I couldn't accept his way of thinking. After laughing at this religious stuff all these years I'd be a hypocrite. That's one. Second, if there was a God, why all this suffering? Wait a minute, he said that was one of the troubles, we tried to give God some form. Make It just a Power that will help. Third, it sounds like the Salvation Army.

A WARD OF THE PROBATE COURT, by William 'Bill' Van Horn:

I was impressed with their interest and fellowship. I learned the secret. They had a religious experience. I was willing, and renewed my acquaintance with God and acknowledged Him as a reality.   ...

My acquaintance with God — lost and forgotten when I was a young man — is renewed. God is all-loving and all-forgiving.

THE APPENDIX, by William G. Wilson:

Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.   ...

Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it "God-consciousness."


Wow. And they still tell us that it isn't "religious".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Mon, April 26, 2004, somebody wrote:]
Subject: Dick B. speaks about AA and religion

Hi Orange

I recently have become embroiled in a controversy at an AA chat site about AA's deceptive recruiting practices. Mainly the "Spiritual Not Religious" AA lie. I decided to settle this controversy for all time by writing Dick B. and asking him what he thought about the subject. Dick couldn't have been more kind and gracious. He relied the same day to my query. He gave me permission to reprint it on the internet if I desired. It's a blockbuster! When I first printed this on the chatsite the AA members went ballistic. Anger, insults, diatribes, threats, everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at me. And I didn't even write the letter. One of their own members, Dick B, did! Some of the steppers turned on him like hyenas attempting to devour their own progeny! The whole scene was quite remarkable.

Here is the letter from Dick in it's entirety and you may use it as you wish. I know you are very busy but if you get a chance, write me a note and let me know what you think. Please delete my name.

Thanks for everything.

[name erased by request]

1.. Thanks very much for writing and for your astute observations.

2.. AA is a religion and a religious program. Five courts have so ruled. And you only need a dictionary to dub it "religious." As Mel B. wrote in his title "New Wine," probably no one in AA could define the difference between "religious" and "spiritual." Just trace AA from its roots: Christian Endeavor and the church influences from Dr. Bob's youth in St. Johnsbury (see Dr. Bob and His Library). The Oxford Group, which was called "A First Century Christian Fellowship. (See The Oxford Group and Alcoholics Anonymous). Anne Smith's writings and sharings (see Anne Smith's Journal). Rev. Sam Shoemaker, who was the major source of Big Book language and Step Language (See New Light on Alcoholism). And the religious literature such as The Upper Room, My Utmost for His Highest, The Meaning of Prayer, The Runner's Bible, Drummond's The Greatest Thing in the World (see The Books Early AAs Read for Spiritual Growth). See it all in Turning Point (http://www.dickb.com/turning.shtml)

3.. I personally agree with your analysis of why AA began talking about "spiritual" and trying to distance itself from "religion." There is the strong influence of "spiritualism" which was big in Wilson's life, in Lois's Swedenborgian background, in Rudolph Steiner, in William James's studied, and so on. Second, the Roman Catholic Church, for several reasons, opposed the early practices of AA (King James Bible, confession, a religion different from that of the Church, and the "heretical" Oxford Group teachings. They could swallow AA by calling it a "spiritual" program and by saying the Church was the place for "religion." Add to all this Nell Wing as a Buddhist, the atheists, the humanists, and the disenchanted Catholics, and AAs began to settle for "any god," "nonsense gods," "Something," "Santa Claus," and "nothing at all." That just ain't AA — past or present. But it feeds the ever-rolling AA publishing, the faltering recovery programs and treatment centers. And it adds fuel to the First Amendment argument that compulsory AA violates the "Establishment of Religion" clause in the U.S. Constitution.

4.. I'd like to think of myself as a writer, historian, Bible student, Retired attorney, and recovered (cured) AA who has spent 14 years trying to locate the Bible roots of AA and, collaterally, to define the other Christian roots of what began as a Christian Fellowship (what Dr. Bob often called it).

Was AA Protestant Christian? Yes.
Is it today? Certainly not.
Is AA a religion today and was it yesterday? It certainly is, just as the "humanist" organizations have been so ruled by the courts.
Can anyone join AA? Not in early Akron AA. Certainly today. They are arriving in droves and leaving in droves - atheists, humanists, Roman Catholics, Jews, Protestants, people on probation, people bussed in from treatment programs, new thought advocates, New Age advocates, and on and on. Anyone!
Is there a difference between the "program and recovery" and the "fellowship?" Certainly. And no one has taught the point better than the Big Book itself and also Joe McQ and Charlie P. in their popular Big Book Seminars.

5.. Publish away, my friend. There is nothing secret about my views. 22 published titles — more than 150,000 in print. Over 60 articles splattered all over the internet. A website with over 275,000 hits. Not a dime of profit, but the pleasure of realizing that lots of people (mostly AAs, and often Christians) are hungry for the facts of AA history — whatever anyone chooses to call AA.

God Bless, Dick B.,

Okay, thanks for the letter. Very interesting and informative.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, April 26, 2004, somebody wrote:]

Orange

I just whipped up this response to an AA "True Believer" about the power structure in AA. He was claiming that AA somehow "magically ran itself or somesuch nonsense. I couldn't resist so I crafted this response. Do whatever you want with it just take my name off or whatever. Edit it if you can think of something even funnier. I was laughing the whole time I was typing. Have fun!

[name erased by request]

To Marvelous:

Somewhere in the fray I managed to ignore your post. You bring up a very interesting point about the leadership in AA. AA is essentially a pyramid shaped power structure. First up the rung in the meeting structure, are the Big Book Thumpers and Oldtimers. They are the "Praetorian Guard" so to speak of the AA religion and philosophy. These sage individuals are also the "AA Political Correctness Police." When new thoughts, ideas or philosophies interfere with the dogmatic belief system of AA they are very often the first to intervene with some idiotic comment designed to humiliate the miscreant/heretic. I.E. "Keep it simple stupid."

Next up the ladder in the pecking order is the AA GSO. This organization is headquarters for the AA propaganda machine and makes sure it's wheels are constantly being greased by the "voluntary contributions" of the unwitting membership. These guys and the board of trustees really know how to spend the money wisely! Like on frivolous lawsuits and fancy broadway shows, expensive restaurants and hotel rooms. To the tune of one million dollars. MMM must have taken a lot of meetings and contributions to pay for that!

AA literature is routinely censored by GSO to make sure the "Huddled Masses" of Alcoholics" don't get any wild ideas or ask any valid and important questions! For instance, like

  • "What does rarely mean?"
  • "Is AA a Religion?"
  • "Is it possible to get sober without AA?"
  • "Will freedom of thought and Common Sense get me drunk?"

You know. The usual litany of questions that us "stupid, insane, powerless, drunks", aren't capable of answering or figuring out for ourselves.

Let's not overlook one of our most treasured tomes. The AA Grapevine. Yes, the monthly Mein Kampf or Pravda, as it were, designed strictly for the consumption of the AA "True Believer." This serves as the fuel to keep the AA propaganda train rolling down the tracks.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the AA Board of Trustees. The true "power behind the throne" as it were, (vacated by Bill Wilsons' death.) These "trusted servants" are the true intellect of AA. In the true spirit of the mysoginist tradition of AA there are 5 women and 15 men on the board. Give or take one or two. You get the point. The men get the seats on the 50 yard line and the women get the ones in the bleachers. These "trusted servants" are paid handsomely for their duties to the tune of $75,000 a year each or something in that vicinity.

Yeah Marv, it's just amazing how AA runs without anyone in charge!

P.S. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

All the best

[name erased by request]

Thanks for an amusing, and true, letter. You really nail the hypocrisy of A.A. claiming to be just a democratic grass-roots organization. The only thing you didn't mention was the A.A. headquarters committing perjury in two countries (Mexico and Germany) and getting A.A. members sentenced to prison, to suppress the little people who were printing their own literature.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

CORRECTION (2011.03.30): It turns out that the A.A. Trustees and Directors are not paid. But other people get lots more. The President and General Manager of A.A. Greg Muth gets $125,000 from both AAWS and the GSB (General Service Board of A.A.), for a total of $250,000 per year. And then his friend Thomas Jasper gets $469,850 for being a "Senior Advisor". And many others get salaries in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 each. Look here.





[Wed, 28 Apr 2004, Bethany wrote:]

Why so much animosity toward AA. Even if it is a cult, how does that hurt you? I only ask because you have obviously put a lot of time and energy into developing this website and it seems like there must be a very strong motivation for such dedication. There are many other groups that have cult like behaviors. Why this one?? I don't mean to belittle you, my curiosity just got the best of me.

Hi Bethany,

A.A. is not hurting me, but it has and is hurting friends of mine. We've been over this before, but here goes again. See these links:

I know of lots more stories of people who were not helped by the 12-step routine. In fact, it is very unusual to see someone recover while doing the 12-step dance. I am "in the recovery community", and most of the people who recover around here do it some other way. "Keep coming back, it works!" is a good joke for getting a laugh out of a room full of people.

I also criticize other cults. It's one of my favorite hobbies. See the Cult Test, here

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, May 3, 2004, Jon M. wrote:]

If I could, let me be honest in my observation of what I see:

At first I was intrigued by some of the alleged historical background you offered, until I examined it more closely and then I found myself in a web of intriguing deceitfulness and untruth, sprinkled with occasional facts unrelated to the passage under discussion. You are unable to support your hypothesis with any honest details!

Instead, I came away with this one opinion: I think you are in dire need of some medical attention and psychiatric intervention.

Your writing expression is insanely manic; your ideas, obsessively paranoid, exhibited with histrionic compulsivity. It seemed apparent from your style of communicating that you appear driven by the energy of a deep resentment . . . maybe even rage . . . for AA. It appears to be representative of your hatred of all you imagine — incorrectly — that is not within your grasp.

I believe the evidence is clear that people can and do recovery from addictions and alcoholism. More people do it with the help of AA or other 12 step structures. Some find other ways. Some just stop.

I suggest you seek out a competent psychiatrist as soon as possible. I hope you can find some relief soon before you hurt yourself or someone else. The kind of hysterical expression I saw on your website generally leads to some sort of destructiveness, if left unchecked.

Jon

Hi Jon,

Thanks for a most provocative letter.

Starting at the top:

  1. You claim that my writing is "intriguing deceitfulness and untruth, sprinkled with occasional facts unrelated to the passage under discussion".
    You talk like you have a better take on the truth than I have. Obviously, you must think that you have better, truer, sources of information than I have. What are your sources of information?

    I always clearly show where I'm getting my facts and quotes. I even use official A.A. council-approved documents like

    • The Big Book,
    • Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,
    • Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age,
    • PASS IT ON
    and almost-council-approved books like
    • Bill W., by Robert Thomsen
    • Bill W.: My First 40 Years, ostensibly by Bill Wilson, ghost-written by Hazelden Foundation staff
    • Children of the Healer, by Dr. Bob's children, Bob Smith ("Smitty") and Sue Smith Windows
    • Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Ernest Kurtz
    • Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder, by Matthew J. Raphael
    • Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, by Francis Hartigan

    See the bibliography for the rest of my sources.

    So, in forming your opinion of my writings, and my handling of the facts, what sources of information did you use?

  2. You say that I do not "support [my] hypothesis with any honest details!"
    Are quotes out of the Big Book not honest details? Are quotes from Bill Wilson not honest?

  3. I'll ignore your attempts to psychoanalyze me. I think you are just getting disturbed by what I have written. Remember that Bill Wilson wrote:

    It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us in A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.

  4. You say, "I believe the evidence is clear that people can and do recovery [sic.] from addictions and alcoholism. More people do it with the help of AA or other 12 step structures. Some find other ways. Some just stop."

    I agree that many people do recover from alcoholism and addictions. I have said that often. Look here. But A.A. is not the best way or the most-utilized way to recover, not even close. The Harvard Medical School says that 80% of those alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it on their own, alone.

    And Professor and Doctor George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., did an 8-year-long test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics which found that A.A. had a zero-percent success rate accompanied by an "appalling" death rate. Check it out.

  5. I notice that you did not supply a single fact to support your sweeping generalizations about how "deceitful" I allegedly am. Would you care to be specific? Please name the page, quote the line, show where I am wrong, tell what the truth is, and tell us where you got your "facts".

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Sat, May 8, 2004, 2nd letter from Jon M.:]

Like I said, your writing exhibit some significant mental health difficulties. But, there is treatment which will relieve them IF you decide to do anything about them. I certainly wouldn't want to be as miserable as you sound for very long . . . . Carrying around such a huge resentment can't be good for your back.

Good luck.
Jon

Hi Jon,

Carrying around such a huge resentment", huh? That is typical stepper pseudo-psychology. You think that being angry at criminals who kill people is a mental illness?

If some thugs were beating up and raping your wife, would you just smile and say that you aren't going to get disturbed or "have a resentment over it", because that would be unspiritual? What nonsense.

But that is the kind of pseudo-spirituality that Bill Wilson foisted on his gullible followers:

It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.

["Gee, duh... somebody just shot my friend dead in the middle of the street, and raped my girlfriend, and kicked my dog. But I'm not going to get disturbed about it, because Bill Wilson says that if I did, it would axiomatically mean that there is something spiritually wrong with me... Duh..."]

What a great program for reducing you to a wimpy, mindless slave.

Oh, by the way, it was Bill Wilson who nursed a bitter self-pitying resentment for 20 years after his wife Lois got mad and screamed at him and called him "a drunken sot" when he got drunk, tore up the house, and threw a sewing machine at her. Bill did that because he was suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and he just couldn't stand the least little bit of criticism. If somebody dared to criticize him, Bill would nurse a resentment against that person until he could get his revenge.

And as usual, Bill shoved all of his faults and flaws off on everybody else, and declared that all other alcoholics were full of resentments... Oh, and then Bill wrote in the Big Book that Lois was selfish and silly and dishonest while she worked in Loesser's Department Store to support his lazy, thieving, philandering unemployed drunken ass. (I guess that will teach her to keep her mouth shut, don't you think?)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Mon, May 17, 2004, 3rd letter from Jon M.:]

It appears even more evident from this reply that you have significant mental health difficulties . . .

You know, this is getting to be funny. The more I disagree with you and present you with facts that you don't like, including quotes from Bill Wilson, the more you insist that I am insane. That looks like a good defense mechanism. Why it sort of looks like ad hominem and minimization and denial

I hope you can find the serenity you seek. But, you know as well as I do, that you will not find the answer going down the path you have chosen . . . May I suggest, again, that you find help while it's still one of your options.

Actually, I am quite happy. And clean and sober. Heck, I don't even smoke cigarettes any more, thank God for small favors.

I sure as heck don't need any help from a lying cult religion.

And let me be clear. It appears to me that your primary problem is NOT alcohol. No, I think you exhibit all the signs of a mental disturbance, of such severity that it will not allow you to find stability or serenity if you pursue this course of action. If you do drink, however, it will only exacerbate your difficulties beyond any control.

Okay, this sounds like a fun game. Why don't you grab a copy of DSM-IV and diagnose what kind of mental illness or disturbance I have? You are so convinced that I'm nuts; you must have some idea of what kind of insanity you are talking about.

What kind of insanity is it to want to warn people about an evil cult like Scientology that offers people mental health but really just steals their money, their minds, their lives, and their souls?

What kind of insanity is it to want to warn people about an evil cult like Alcoholics Anonymous that promises people sobriety, recovery, serenity, and "a new understanding of God", but which really just steals their minds, their lives, and their souls?

There are those who can help you. But, like any other disease, you will not seek help until you are totally beaten. It is the nature of both mental illness and alcoholism . . .

Spoken like a true stepper. You've got all of the slogans and platitudes down pat.

That nonsense is quite untrue, of course. "You will not seek help with any disease until you are totally beaten"? That is so grossly unrealistic and obviously untrue that I can only call it insane.

In all life threatening illnesses, denial is the basis of all failure to ask for and get help.

Another absolute statement: "ALL ... ALL" That is typical cultish black-and-white thinking, as well as slogan slinging.

Is your statement always true? — is denial the basis of ALL failure to ask for and get help, in ALL life threatening illnesses? How about:

  1. Being poor, dead broke, and living in a country that does not offer universal health care?
  2. Deciding that one would rather die and leave an inheritance to his children rather than blow the family fortune on medical care that will only buy a few more years of suffering?
  3. How about just not knowing that one is mortally ill? Ignorance can be a reason for "failure to ask for and get help". (Just yesterday I was talking to a guy who had a cancer the size of a baseball in his belly, and didn't even know it. Fortunately, he's okay now.)

AA is not your enemy. The irony is that AA doesn't even care what you think about it, what you write about the fellowship. That's not what AA is about. You are your worst enemy.

I wish you well.

Jon M.
Raleigh

An organization that foists quack cures and voodoo medicine on my friends and then routinely lies about its success rate is most assuredly my enemy.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Fri, May 21, 2004, 4th letter from John M.:]

After my last reply, I made a decision, that if you should offer another response in this manner, I would not to go to your webpage again to read it as the last one was so energized with mania and paranoia that it made no sense. Grandiose, histrionic, dramatic displays are not uncommon symptoms associated with personality disorders.

Interesting. I point out that Bill Wilson was a certified nut case (even his psychiatrists said so), and you try to turn it around and claim that I'm suffering from Bill's signs and symptoms. You just can't stand to hear somebody criticize Bill Wilson, can you?

Bottom line is, that if what you are doing seems to work for you, and it works consistently, then why change? Right?

No, actually, the bottom line is that people are being illegally and unconstitutionally sentenced, pressured, coerced, pushed, and conned and deceived into a religious cult whose program does not work. You keep overlooking that ugly fact.

It is also felony fraud to foist quack cures and voodoo medicine on sick people and then charge their health insurance for "treatment". That is the bottom line.

(Incidentally, I was just reading the November 2002 issue of the AA Grapevine, and pages 32 and 33 summarized the results of the latest General Service Office membership survey, and it reported that 61% of the current members were pushed or coerced into A.A. by the courts, criminal justice system, or health care systems. If A.A. is so wonderful, why do you have to force so many people to join it?)

But, if it's not working (and only you can answer that question honestly to yourself — but from this end, I have to say it doesn't appear to be working), then there are other answers that may provide you relief and give you the results you desire.

What do you mean by "IT is not working"? I don't do the 12-Step cult religion routine at all. MY program is working great. (And so are my religious beliefs.) I have 3 1/2 years clean and sober now, even 3 1/2 years off of cigarettes, all accomplished without resort to the irrational superstitious ravings of Bill Wilson or Frank Buchman.

In fact, I'm not interested in making an attempt to persuade you. That's not my motive. I initiated conversation simply to make my observation of what seems to be evidence of your condition. I'm not invested in taking on the task of debating or influencing you to get help. I've said what I wanted to say. Help is available when/if you choose to ask for it.

Good luck.

Jon M.
Raleigh

Yeh, right. As soon as I criticized Bill and his "program", you flipped out and decided that I must be insane. Why, no reasonable man could possibly criticize a wonderful messiah like Bill Wilson or his new spiritual movement that will sweep the world, right?

Oh, by the way, you haven't answered a single one of my questions in the last three letters, not a single one. Don't you have any facts to back up your opinions?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Fri, May 28, 2004, 5th letter from Jon M.:]

Like I said, I'm not going to read your webpage any more. I said what I felt like I wanted to say, and for me the matter is done. If you wish to correspond, I'm available for private exchange only.

Thanks.
Jon

Aw, just when we were starting to have fun.

And you still aren't going to answer a single question?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Tue, May 4, 2004, Dan wrote:]

Dear Agent Orange,

Your site is one of the best sites I've ever seen which contains information on propaganda and debate techniques. I have captained a couple [of] debates whereby our team won not so much by our team's position or research quality, but by the fact we were able to show that the other team was appealing. I am glad to see such access-ease to so much practical information as I write dozens of letters to editors and politicians regarding societal issues.

After reading sections of the PROPOGANDA AND DEBATE TECHNIQUES, I feel additional empowerment necessary to win arguments or change a person's issue position. I will continue to draw from my newly-found resource, ORANGE-PAPERS. In the event I cite any of your material, I will certainly refer to you in my source list.

I want to thank all involved in the ORANGE-PAPERS' creation, and I will direct as many truth advocates as I can to your site.

Sincerely,
Dan

Hi, Dan,

That is really flattering. Thanks much.

And I know what you mean by the feeling of being empowered. As I put the page together, and gathered information about all of those techniques, I sort of felt like I had stumbled across a Rosetta Stone or something. All kinds of political garbage and speech stunts became transparent. I now listen to politicians with that list in mind, and say to myself, "Now he's using blah, and now it's blah-blah, and now it's this other thing..."

But it is kind of appalling when you see that some politicians' speeches are *nothing but* such propaganda stunts...

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Thu, May 6, 2004 Tom H. wrote:]
Subject This will blow your Mind Orangie...

Again we meet Mr. Orange,

You are a thinker. You are a rebel. You hate A.A. We are about the same age. I was a straight drunk with some LSD background in the 60's. I come from an abused home. I am a Viet Nam era vet. I am well educated and a professional. I "failed" at A.A. for 14 years. I have been sober for a good while. We do have some things in common.

You claim that you cannot ever pick up a drink again.... Hogwash...... That is A.A. fear and paranoia. With substantial sobriety (detoxifying) and never forgetting where alcohol has taken us, we can drink if we are careful. We can even get drunk once in a while. But the vast majority of us don't because alcohol doesnt work for us anymore. THAT is why we long timers dont drink anymore. It just isnt discussed in meetings at all. Or on your website.

I am in contact with Harvard University with this concept. (former student) Something biochemically changes with age and substantial sobriety. I do not agree that either you or I quit simply because we were sick and tired of being sick and tired. We quit because our bodies were able to because of age or whatever. If one will chat very secretly with old timers in sobriety, one will find out that most of them have tried to return to drinking and it "just didnt work anymore." (ever hear that one in meetings?)

My wife works in the medical profession and she allowed me (very nervously) to experiment with alcohol. (No, I didnt drive a motor vechicle at any time either.) My "desire" to drink is simply gone. The euphoria of the drunk isnt there. I do beleive that I could re- addict with enough effort just like anyone else. It will take many years for this "disease" of addiction to come directly to the floors of real medical science. Until then, it will take people like myself, experimenting with my body and mind, to get some kind of data for the professionals to work with. I personally beleive that someday, some form of LSD induced therapy, will prevail for the illness of addiction.

I am not as square as you may think Mr. Orange.

Tom H.

Hi Tom,

Well, I must certainly thank you for an intriguing and provocative letter, but I have to strongly disagree with your ideas about controlled drinking.

The truth is that *some* alcoholics can return to drinking and keep it moderate and under control, and some cannot. The Rand Corporation report on alcoholism, Alcoholism and Treatment, Rand Corporation Report R-1739-NIAAA, by Dr. J. Michael Polich, Dr. David J. Armor, and Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D., in 1978, found that about half of the alcoholics who recover from chronic alcohol abuse (i.e., "alcoholism") do it by total abstinence, while the other half do it by tapering off into controlled drinking.

The crucial trick for us alcoholics who want to live is to figure out which half we belong in.

In his book on SOS recovery, SOS Sobriety, The Proven Alternative to 12-step Programs, James Christopher interviewed Dr. Kenneth Blum, the doctor who discovered the first gene for alcoholism. Dr. Blum's take on this question was that genetic alcoholics cannot drink moderately. For them, drinking even just a little is "taboo". I think he's right.

I am undoubtedly a genetic alcoholic. My father killed himself on it; his mother was an alcoholic wreck too.

My own experience on the subject is that 15 years ago, I quit drinking and stayed quit for three years with no big problem. It was comparatively easy, after I got through the withdrawal.

Then, after three years of sobriety, I thought that I could have just one at a friend's birthday party. I thought that after three years of not drinking, no cheating whatsover, I had it under control. That one beer turned into three, which was still okay.

But what wasn't okay was that all desire to stay sober or maintain sobriety died right there. Three beers totally killed it. My three years of sobriety became meaningless and irrelevant. I no longer thought about staying sober; I was thinking about how to get more beer, and how to drink without suffering the negative consequences of habitual alcohol over-use. In other words, how to drink and just keep it down to a dull roar. I no longer desired to be sober; I desired to drink. All of my thoughts were along the lines of continuing a drinking career, not getting sober. I ended up drinking for another 9 years until things really got bad.

Perhaps alcohol stops working for some people, but that sure wasn't my problem. My problem was that it worked far too well. When I resumed drinking, I could almost hear the Democratic Party theme song "Happy Days Are Here Again" playing in my head. The little addiction monster was in his glory. He was singing and dancing. Nobody was complaining that the stuff didn't work.

The other nasty "gotcha" that I see is this:

  • If it is okay to have just one, or to get drunk just one night of the year, like maybe New Years, then it might also be okay to have one (or get loaded) on the Fourth of July.
  • If that works out okay, then certainly Easter and Halloween must also be okay.
  • Heck, one weekend a month will be okay. That never killed anybody.
  • Heck, every Saturday night would be okay. Doesn't everybody unwind on Friday and Saturday?
  • Heck, why wait until Friday? What's the matter with just one or two on Wednesday?

You see where it's going. Once I start down that slippery slope, all Hell breaks loose. There are very few things in life that are really absolute black-and-white issues, but for me there are two: tobacco and alcohol. I can either totally abstain, or I can kill myself on the stuff, but there seems to be no way to just drink a little, moderately, or to just smoke a little, moderately.

I can actually moderate on heroin and cocaine, but not on tobacco and alcohol. Now don't get me wrong, I don't do those things any more, and haven't done heroin in 30 years. The point is that I was able to just walk away from heroin, saying that I didn't want to do it any more. And I didn't even officially quit cocaine or make any effort to quit; I just stopped doing it because it seemed like a waste of money. Too many bucks for too little buzz. But I sure couldn't quit alcohol or cigarettes so easily.

The lesson there is just that different drugs affect different people in different ways. And obviously, when you find that some chemicals are extremely addicting to you, then you are better off if you don't consume those things.

Now if you can drink moderately, which you seem to be doing, then good for you. I wish you well. But I'm just not going there. I already tried that experiment, for 9 years, and didn't like the results.

Have a good day.

== Orange


[May 17, 2004, 2nd letter from Tom H.:]

Thanks Mr. Orange for your well thought out response. Sometimes I feel guilty about not letting you know of my REAL feelings about the cult of Alcoholics Anonymous. (maybe my use of the "cult" word gave me away) If you, my friend, are a genetic alcoholic then I might assume you cannot control your genes and their destiny anymore than say genetic homosexuality. The gay world has suffered terribly because of ignorance, as I might assume you would agree with.

Hi Tom,

Yes, totally agree. At the risk of sounding like a politician, one of my best friends is gay (and he has been enthusiastically cheering for the gay marriage court cases, lately).

I can't help but remember that I had no choice in the matter of my own sexual orientation. I didn't read the Bible and then decide to be a heterosexual. What really happened was, around 12 to 14 years of age, the girls started growing breasts and I started going nuts. They just looked so good, I wanted to get my hands on them. No choice in the matter at all.

I really feel for somebody who woke up at 14 and found that he preferred other boys.

If a gay person has no control over their genes, then would you not have any control over your alcoholic genes? Would that not make you "powerless" over alcohol? There are some concepts in A.A. that are hard to argue even though I would be first to nuke A.A. headquarters in New York.

I would say, "Watch out for the word games, and the twists in the sentences."

I would say, "I have no control over my genes, and no control over the fact that I just don't react to alcohol in the same way as normal people do. But that does not make me powerless over alcohol. That's a different thing.

"I am not powerless over alcohol; I am just powerless to change my genes. But I can choose to abstain from drinking alcohol, and that is what I am doing now, so I'm not powerless."

And do you know what is really twisty logic? I am still being very selfish. I abstain from alcohol because I want to feel good. I just don't want to suffer and die that way (alcoholism and lung cancer). So I'm being selfish, which according to A.A. theology, is unspiritual. (So I guess I should go drink to become more spiritual and less selfish...)

Probably one the most debatable issues with your site is that you nor anyone else can speak for ALL of A.A. Sad but true, there are some very hip and understanding meetings that take place. But they are as few as hens teeth.

Sad but true. And I know that I've said many times that you can't stereotype alcoholics, either in or out of A.A.. That came up in another recent letter, here. Every so often I have to say that I have known some good A.A. members. Unfortunately, they don't control the organization.

A.A. started out for hard core, down in the gutter alcoholics. Alcoholics Anonymous is out of control and is a dangerous religion. The biggest mystery of alcoholism is the word "desire." In my opinion, the "desire" word does not have to do with alcohol but some form of mental illness or genetic dysfunction.

Take care my friend.

Tom H.

Hmmm. I'll have to think about that one for a while. I don't think that just having desires, even intense desires, is necessarily a sign of mental illness. It might just be a sign of being human. (Now self-destructive obsessive compulsions are something else...)

Buddha spoke of desire as the source of unhappiness, and taught people to maximize their happiness by minimizing their unfulfilled desires. But you can't really get rid of all desires unless you are willing to become an ascetic monk. And then even that is another trap: "But Master, how do I get rid of my last desire, the desire to be free of all desires?"

In some of the letters that I receive, I hear stories of people who seem to have a chemical imbalance in the brain that drives them to self-medicate, in a vain attempt to fix what's broken. I don't know if we should call that "desire" or something else.

I'll have to think about that for a while.

Have a good day, and you take care too.

== Orange





[Thu, May 6, 2004, Brian G. wrote:]

I attempted to send you and email a few weeks ago and it was sent back.

Yes, my ISP is running a spam filter program that sometimes rejects perfectly good letters. Sorry about that.

Thanks for your reply. I have a few questions that I hope you will answer although you obviously are not required to do so.

1. Why are you so hell bent on the destruction of something that actually has provided meaning and value to a large group of people? It has obviously provided you more value than many of its members. Your life seems to revolve more around AA than mine and I am a member.

...provided meaning and value to a large group of people?
You are assuming a lot. Other people, including doctors, including one of the members of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., have found that A.A. does more harm than good. You also totally ignored the issues of deceptive recruiting and coercive recruiting.

Many cults, including Scientology, the Moonies, the Hari Krishnas, and even The People's Temple, also claim that they provide meaning and value to a large group of people, but it ain't necessarily so...

You seem to feel that there is something wrong with me if I do a thorough job and write a lot. If I did not do a thorough job, would you accuse me of being shallow and lazy and having barely scratched the surface? That sounds like a good double-bind.

2. When you make a mistake, within the documentation that you have presented, are you open to correction?

I am always open to correction. Getting the truth out is my number one goal. I always correct mistakes, and there have been a few — misspelling Henrietta Seiberling's name, and saying that King Leopold was Danish...

I imagine that you plan to immediately tell me where you think I am wrong.
Warning: you had best have a lot of documentation and facts to back up your statements — even more than I have — and it should come from fair, honest, reliable sources, not some A.A. propaganda mill or faked study. Also be very wary of quoting Bill Wilson — he lied like a rug and it isn't hard to prove it.

3. What is the purpose of your work? I have read the secrets to arguing you have listed and it really does explain a large part of your web site. It doesn't however explain the extent to which you have gone to research, prepare, and present information that some must view factual.

I've answered that many times before. Look here:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

4. Will you take the bait?

Brian

"Take the bait"? Funny choice of words. Bill Wilson used the same phrase when he described how he recruited for A.A.:
"You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait."

Well, I guess I have taken the bait. So what now?

Have a good day.

== Orange


[Tue, May 18, 2004, 2nd letter from Brian G.:]

I am really grabbing for words to express what I feel. Although feelings have no room in an intellectual world, they seem to go hand in hand with my thoughts these days. I suppose that is another handicap provided by AA or maybe I should blame my parents.

First of all, your view of value and meaning obviously carry completely different definitions than the way in which I have expressed them. Your response reminds me of many AA meetings I have attended. The debate of recovered verses recovering has plagued meetings for years. People will spend an hour arguing two completely different arguments, and neither side understands the position of the other. Therefore I will pass on the opportunity to debate here and will simply clarify my statement.

That propaganda technique is called Hit and Run.

Value, is a principle, a standard, or a quality to be considered worthwhile or desirable. Meaning, in one definition, is defined as, to have a purpose or an intention. Using these definitions, it is quite simple to PROVE that these things do in fact exist within AA.

There are many principles which are communicated and a standard that when practiced will provide a quality that is viewed within our society as worthwhile. I suppose these principles and standards could be deemed as a type of value and would provide something of worth to the person using them. You may not agree, but AA provides meaning to some people. It may be viewed as odd or crazy, but there are many people within AA that do have a purpose and a definite intention. You might view the purpose and intention as wrong however, it does exist.

That is a load of double-talk. You could just as easily argue that Scientology, the Moonies, and Heaven's Gate "provide value and meaning" to their members. You could even say the same thing for the Nazi Party or the Ku Klux Klan. The fact that some people enjoy group meetings does not prove that an organization is good, or that it has a good effect on its members.

In my first question I mentioned that AA has provided you with more value and meaning than many of its members. The cult like intentions, controlling purpose and religious principles have driven you to work, promote, and convince yourself and others that your view, supported by quotes, and pieces of data, are in essence the truth. I have met evangelical reformers like you in AA and out. They all have on thing in common. When the plate gets hot they never get off. They just dance.

Neat ad hominem attack, which proves nothing. What am I supposed to do, "get off it", surrender to you, and agree that you are right about everything?

That is also a cute double-bind:
If I continue to disagree with you, then I am wrong because I won't "get off it".
If I "get off it" and stop disagreeing with you, then you are right and I am wrong.
Either way, by your illogic, I am wrong.

In your responses, you neatly evaded, (and I know you like that wording), the basis of my first statement. Your life has revolved around AA more than mine, and why are you so hell bent on the destruction of this entity?

Wrong. What makes you think you know how much my life revolves around A.A.? Since you don't know me, and we have never met, you don't know what I do with my time. All you know is that I have written a web site. You could just as easily argue that my life revolves around the Oxford Group more than yours, or around Christianity more than yours, since I have also spent time studying and writing about those things, too.

And, using your same logic, you could also argue that an abolitionist who worked day and night to help runaway slaves (in 1860) was more involved in the slave trade than a slave owner who only occasionally beat his slaves.

I have read the quotes you have provided about the trustee and other doctors. I am aware that there are doctors and other people closely tied to AA that share opinions as truth. They are free to do so. If you feel the need to reference those that oppose and or condemn, don't you think it would be appropriate to quote those that advocate and endorse along with their supporting evidence? This would provide a more accurate representation of reality otherwise known as truth.....

Talk about dancing around the issue and trying to dodge the point — I quote A.A. leaders and you say that it would be more appropriate for me to quote somebody else?

I do often quote those who praise, advocate and endorse A.A., including:

I find that those who praise A.A. are often the best evidence for just how bad it is. (Even you complained that I was quoting A.A. trustees, like Prof. Vaillant, who praised A.A..)

If you have some more A.A. boosters whom you wish to quote, bring them on. But please be forewarned, just because somebody raves "I love A.A.", does not prove that it is a successful treatment for alcohol abuse. You have to count the failures as well as the success stories. Unsubstantiated praise is worthless. Proof by anecdote proves nothing.

Regarding the first question I addressed to you, I do not have any issue with your claims of deceptive and coercive recruiting. I am not sure why you chose to discuss these issues in your response.

I brought it up because you were trying to ignore it. You were claiming that A.A. provided meaning and value to a large group of people while simply ignoring the other side of the coin. There are plenty of other people who have been forced into A.A. and/or deceived about the real purpose of the program, who don't think that it was such a wonderful "meaningful" experience.

It's just like how some women do not find rape to be "meaningful sex". It is faulty logic to point to a group of women who enjoy sex and claim that they prove that forcing sex on some other woman is okay.

So now that we have both brought up the issues of deceptive recruiting and coercive recruiting, what about it? You say that "I do not have any issue with your claims of deceptive and coercive recruiting".
Okay, so what are you doing to stop it? Do you really believe that an organization that does such things is "spiritual"? Or even good?

People have choices and for someone to place blame for the way in which they chose to live their lives is not only foolish but is also a guarantee that continued failure will follow.

Now you are trying to use the propanda trick of Blame the Victim. "It's just the fault of those stupid addicts and alkies that they don't like having the 12-Step routine forced on them."

I tend to agree that it is pretty much someone's own fault if he continues to kill himself on drugs or alcohol — there is an element of choice involved because we are not powerless over alcohol or drugs — but your unsubstantiated statement has nothing to do with the merits of A.A. deceptive recruiting and coercive recruiting.

By your response, I gather that you are somewhat worried about being sucked in by this type of recruiting.

No, I just don't like seeing it done to people while A.A. boosters like you sing the praises of A.A. and tell everybody how wonderful A.A. is.

Fortunately for your followers, your intelligence is superior to the naïve "sots" (ha) that need to be rescued from the evil brain washing of twelve step programs.

Now that is the propaganda technique of sarcasm. You still have not given a single good reason for why people should be forced into A.A., or even join it voluntarily.

It has simply been my observation, but you seem to be (spearheading) a movement of sorts. Agent Orange is a pretty cool name. The orange papers! Certainly you are aware and have citied that one characteristic of cult movements is the idolization of its leader.

What absurd nonsense. I write a single book, and you claim that I am the leader of a movement? No — even better — I'm the leader of a new cult.

In response to your last claim, as part of evading my first question, I don't feel there is anything wrong with extensive study and documentation. Contrary to your assertion, I am impressed with your knowledge of the historical data of AA. I found your web site by seeking information about the historical past of AA. What I have found turned out to be, not a plethora of information or fact, but simply a feeble attempt to create another cult movement. Your extensive study is great for proving to the tired and weary that have fallen from the grips of AA that you have relief. You are like an (oasis drinkers are like that you know).

Again, to claim that one web site constitutes an attempt to create a new "cult movement" is absurd — especially since I spend a lot of time analyzing and criticizing cults and telling people how to not get sucked into one.

Moving on, you are very insightful to realize that I would provide you with a correction. I wish it were on a spelling or a grammatical error however I am not literate enough to make those adjustments. You have sited that there was not any stock sold and that this was a bogus and illegal transaction. You are partially correct however your presentation is absolutely wrong. The One Hundred Man Corp was in fact a business name that was created by Bill and Hank. This company never sold any stock. You are correct about that. Works Publishing did. There were a few shares sold to investors mostly within AA. There were also a large number given to the Alcoholics Foundation. This stock was sold for $25 per share and was repurchased later. The certificates have the raised seal of Works Publishing and are signed not only upon sale but also upon the repurchase. Your claims that this transaction was illegal are not correct. The securities act of 1933 and 1934 created by the Securities Exchange Commission clearly define the rules for selling stock in any entity. These acts speak of transaction made in public markets as well as private markets. In addition they discuss the rules that define who may sell stock and provide exemptions from registrations. This was not necessarily a public offering of a security and therefore would not require any registration whatsoever. Your claims are slanderous at best and are clearly delivered without any type of factual understanding of the laws defining the securities business. I do appreciate the way in which you fill in the blank when you have no idea what you are talking about. Never let them see you down. You Father was a tough man I bet.

Wrong. You are trying to weasle out of the whole thing on a technicality — "privately held, not public". You had best go read Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age again.

You are also trying to distort the time line of Works Publishing, Inc.. These are the facts:

The One Hundred Men Corporation was never publicly traded on an exchange. It couldn't be; it was never incorporated. But Bill was certainly trying to sell it to the public. Bill Wilson plainly, repeatedly, stated that he and Henry "Hank" Parkhurst were trying to sell stock to anybody and everybody who came along, including people fresh off of the streets, during the whole period of 1938 and 1939 when the A.A. members were busy writing the Big Book:

Among our new prospects a couple of the more prosperous variety had just turned up. Henry went after them, brandishing his pad of Works Publishing stock certificates. They did not want any stock, but they would take promissory notes signed by the defunct publishing company and personally endorsed by Henry and me. Quite unbelievably, Henry extracted $500 from them.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 174.

Bill Wilson was lying when he stated that he and Hank were selling stock in Works Publishing. Bill, Hank and William Ruddel were selling "One Hundred Men Corporation" stock in 1938 and 1939. They were not using the name "Works Publishing", and they were not selling stock in "Works Publishing". Read the Stock Prospectus again.

Works Publishing, Inc., a New York corporation, was not incorporated until June 1940, after Bill and Hank had collected and spent a small fortune from the sale of stock subscriptions for "The One Hundred Men Corporation", a Delaware corporation. (Well, the stock prospectus said that it was supposed to be a Delaware corporation, but it was never incorporated in Delaware or anywhere else.)

The name "Works Publishing" was not used until Bill Wilson fraudulently filed for the copyright of the Big Book on 10 April 1939, claiming that he was the sole author of the book and the owner of the publishing company, too — "Wm. G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co.".
See the copyright application of the Big Book.
Also see the back side.

The fact that other A.A. members later sold stock in a new corporation that was called "Works Publishing, Inc." is a different issue (both literally and figuratively).

No matter how you try to explain away the switch from "The One Hundred Men Corporation" to "Works Publishing, Inc." as a mere name change, it was undeniably dishonest and fraudulent of Bill Wilson to file for the copyright of the Big Book in his own name by claiming that he was the sole author of the book and that he was "trading as Works Publishing Co.". The publishing company was owned by everybody who had bought stock in it, not just Bill Wilson, and the company was not a sole proprietorship, "Bill Wilson, trading as...". Even Doctor Bob's daughter Sue Smith Windows stated in a sworn affidavit that Bill Wilson stole the Big Book publishing fund and the copyright of the book.

"Works Publishing, Inc." was a completely different entity than either "The One Hundred Men Corporation" or "Wm. G. Wilson, trading as Works Publishing Co.". One simple proof of that fact is that Bill Wilson had to sign over the copyright of the Big Book to Works Publishing, Inc.. If "Works Publishing Co.", which owned the copyright, and "Works Publishing, Inc." were the same company, then there would be no need to sign over the copyright. Here is the original Big Book assignment of copyright to Works Publishing, Inc.. This document proves that they were different companies.

[Note that even that assignment of copyright was invalid. Bill Wilson was not the sole author of the book, like he fraudulently declared on the copyright application. He didn't own all rights to the book, so he couldn't sign over "the copyright". There were more than 40 other guys, and one woman, who were co-authors of the book. They did not sign over their rights to their stories in that so-called "assignment of rights", so "Works Publishing, Inc." never got ownership of a valid copyright.]

"Works Publishing, Inc." was even incorporated in a different state than what Bill wrote on the copyright form — New York, rather than New Jersey. And the original stock prospectus stated that the "The One Hundred Men Corporation" was to be incorporated in Delaware, which never happened.

You are quibbling over details in complaining that "The One Hundred Men Corporation" or "Works Publishing, Inc." did not need to be registered with the SEC because it was not publicly traded. You act like my whole argument falls apart if you can find a technicality in the Securities Act of 1933. What I wrote was:

Somehow, some time after that, the name "The One Hundred Men Corporation" was simply quietly abandoned, and then the early New York Alcoholics Anonymous group issued a financial statement that purported to describe the operations of "Works Publishing Company". Such conduct would appear to be felonious stock fraud, selling shares of stock in a company — "The One Hundred Men Corporation" — that was never incorporated, never registered with the SEC, and never even existed.

Every word of that paragraph is still true, isn't it? "The One Hundred Men Corporation" was never incorporated, never registered with the SEC, and it never even existed. But Bill and Hank still went around selling stock subscriptions in it — all that they could. And that is a felony. Later, Bill tried to cover up what he had done by talking only about "Works Publishing" when he wrote the history of Alcoholics Anonymous in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age.

Would it really make your day if I deleted the phrase "never registered with the SEC"? I could do that. It wouldn't change anything.

It's also misleading for you to say that the One Hundred Men Corporation "never sold any stock." They sold stock subscriptions, didn't they? They took money for stock. The fact that they never got around to issuing those shares is a different matter (one that does not make things any better).

"Works Publishing, Inc." was so named as a cover-up. Bill Wilson had stolen the copyright, and had registered it under the name of "Works Publishing Co.", so that was the name that the other A.A. members had to use as they tried to clean up the mess that Bill had created. They did not want to make it glaringly obvious to everyone that Bill Wilson had stolen the copyright — the only asset that "The One Hundred Men Corporation" had — so they also used the "Works Publishing" name. But it was a new, different, legal entity.

You are correct in stating that the stock in "The One Hundred Men Corporation" was never issued; stock in "Works Publishing, Inc." was issued instead. You correctly state that the Works Publishing Inc. stock was repurchased. But even that was another crime, cheating the investors. Bill refused to share the profits with the stockholders when the book started selling:

      Now that the book was beginning to sell, some of the subscribers began to demand a share of the profits.   ...   Early in 1940, Bill and the trustees decided that the book should belong to A.A., not to the individuals who had subscribed for shares. By issuing some preferred shares, and obtaining a loan from the Rockefellers, they were able to call in all outstanding shares at par value of $25 per share.
'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, page 235.

The investors did not get a penny of the Big Book profits, not a single penny, as their reward for investing in Alcoholics Anonymous. They bought stock for $25 per share, and that's all they got back. Bill decided that the investors would not get the share of the profits that they had been promised in the stock prospectus to get them to buy the stock in the first place. That's felony fraud. Bill had no right to decide that the stockholders would not get their promised share of the profits. (It would all go to the Alcoholic Foundation, and then become his salary — undeserved "royalties". So by a slight of hand Bill diverted the Big Book profits from the stockholders to himself.) That is even more obviously a case of securities fraud than anything Martha Stewart is going to prison for.

As far as the bait goes, I will just say......... Fish On!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian

So what is that supposed to mean?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





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