Letters, We Get Mail, XVII
by A. Orange



[Sat, May 8, 2004, David wrote:]

after 10 years in aa, never a "true believer," i found your website and have been staring at it for 3 days.

thank you for your insight and illumination.

david

Hi. Thanks much. My ego can stand a little stoking now and then. :-)

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Tue, May 11, 2004]

Hello, my name is [name erased], I found your online book to be an amazing recourse of de-bunking all that is 12 step and AA, I thank you for it.

      I am beginning to write a few small pieces myself about treatment programs using the 12 step approach. I have worked in a treatment facility for over 4 years, and myself not being an alcoholic, was totally unaware when I started, just how insidious this system is. It's venom spread over time, and have realized that their treatment is killing people rather than helping them, it needs to stop.

      I was wondering if I may use your book as a resource in my writings, I have not finished reading it yet, but am totally enthralled, and my writings will not infringe upon the hard work you have done. It will be done from a different perspective, and I hope compliment what you have done.

      From my years of working in this quack industry, I have a few stories that you may find interesting, such as the center where I work is a private centre in Canada, that is considered one of the firmest in the world but.... most of the counsellors have little or no education, and for the most part are ego maniacs or worse. Meds and detox procedures are given out by staff that have 0 medical training! etc, of course it's not about the money though..hahahaha.

      Any way I hope you will respond to my e-mail, even if you are not interested in giving me permission to use your book, I think we could swap a few horror stories about the agony that is AA and 12 step "treatment".

      Thank you very much, keep up the good work
[name erased]

Hi, [name erased],

Yes, you may cite and quote and draw upon my web site in developing your writings. Have at it. Let's carry the message to the meeting maker who still suffers. (Besides, I am always quoting others too. Half of my good stuff is quoted from somebody else.)

Your stories remind me of "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" by Ken Kesey. I hope it isn't really that bad in residential treatment centers, but you never know. So tell us.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Tue, May 11, 2004, From "Pastor Brent"]

That is ok, God reaches all of us in a way that only He knows He can.

Huh? Say what? What does that thought-stopping slogan have to do with the price of tea in China (or the price of beer in Denver?)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Mon, May 10, 2004, Chuck wrote:]

Sir,

I must admit your writings are very convincing! Are you an ex AA? I have found what you have written to be very true. How does one break away from this cult?

Thanks,
Chuck

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the complements.

I am "sort of" ex-A.A., in that I was coerced into it for 3 or 4 months before I learned of SMART and switched over to going there. But I never really bought into the A.A. or N.A. routine, in spite of the temptation to just give up and surrender my mind to the cult and become a happy true believer. (I never worked the 12 Steps, I never got a sponsor, and I don't believe in the Big Book or Bill Wilson...)

How do you break away? Well, I just voted with my feet. I just walked out.

If you feel really hooked, you might want to read this exchange of letters from an Australian woman who is going through the quitting and cult withdrawal routine.

I feel that once you wake up and see the light, that it's all over. That is, the battle is won. Once you see that a cult is lying to you, it looses its hold over you. Your leaving is as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun.

What helps is just learning more about the cult, and about what the truth is. I hope that the stuff on my web site can help to inform you about such issues.

And should you wish to switch over to a different support group for some companionship in recovery, or helpful advice, or whatever, I often recommend SMART or SOS, or WFS or MFS (Women For Sobriety or Men For Sobriety). Or LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR) — the LifeRing Internet group.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, May 10, 2004, WATSBREN wrote:]

i can tell that you are very intelligent and thorough......i wonder , why such a 'mission', however.....? Is this subject 'that' important to you so as to consume so much time? why so against the twelve steps, bill w, aa, etc.... just curious :)

Hi, Watsbren,

Why such a mission? How about, because it's an interesting hobby and beats killing myself on alcohol and tobacco?

Why so thorough? That I think is just my personality. I like to get all of the facts, and all of the details. I would be the same way if I were writing a book about an obscure species of insect, even including the entire DNA code of the creature if I could get it.

"why so against the twelve steps, bill w, aa, etc.?"
Ah, now that's different. I have seen people hurt by the 12-Step recovery cult, and I find it maddening how such an ineffective quack cure is foisted on so many people while the perpetrators of this fraud tell lies about how good it works...

Read the introduction, and also this bait-and-switch trick, and also this.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, May 10, 2004, Randy S. wrote:]

WOW.......................

Excellent insight into the Truth about AA.

I personally do not believe anyone ever had GOD in their life to recover.

any books available, or other information?

Hi Randy,

Thanks for the compliments.

We could get into a great philosophical or theological discussion about whether God really cares so much about white alcohol drinkers in the USA while allowing millions of children to starve on the other side of the world, but I don't have the time today, so I'll let that one slide.

Other books or information?
Yes. First off, check out my Top 10 list of recovery and anti-cult books. Then check out the list of links.

Enjoy. Have a good day.

== Orange





[Sun, May 9, 2004, B. Paul wrote:]

Dear Agent Orange,

I am wondering if you sell a hard copy of your book on AA and if so what is the cost?

Hi B. Paul,
No, no hardcopy yet. People keep asking about it though, and I might have to think about that for real. I have been suggesting that people burn CD's.

I do know that the Fascist International (US and European oligarchs) installed the Nazis and European fascists to prevent a worker's revolution in Europe and to attempt to overthrow the Soviet Union. 28 million Soviets and 7.5 million Poles (alone) and the "left" (anyone for the workers) were murdered throughout the fascist/Nazi occupied countries. Jews were used as a demagogic scapegoat and were not a target at the upper echelons. A Red Army soldier with one Jewish grandparent is counted as a Jewish Holocaust victim in the fake version of history. Why do you repeat this fake history above?

What fake version of history? I don't follow. What are you getting at?
In one web page, I guessed that Hitler had gotten 35 million people killed in World War II (a number which included 6 million Jews). If we take your numbers, 28 million + 7.5 million + 6 million Jews, we get 41.5 million total dead, which is in the same ball park. I don't think I ever implied that only Jews were killed in World War II.

The Japanese fascists murdered and enslaved 30 million Chinese (Communists/ anti-fascists) alone and few to none were Jews.

Yes, no disagreement there.

Buchman was just another hired fascist goon pedaling Nazi mysticism, anti-causality, anti-materialism, anti-communism dogma.

That sounds about right.

Since WWII the fascist International centered in the US has murdered millions more of the "left" (anyone for common humanity and that could interfere with their parasitism of the human race). The fascist filth use religion to dupe the masses into praying to imaginary gods instead of identifying the real material problem: which is fascist, murderous, lying, warmongering mass murdering, parasites of humanity. Why do you not cover this?

Sincerely,
B Paul

The main reason why I do not cover it is because my web site is more about Alcoholics Anonymous, alcoholism and recovery, recovery cults, and quack medicine and medical malpractice in treating addictions.

However, I do not ignore the issue. The politics of addiction and recovery is a glaring issue. Read about the political connections in Children's Gulags. The Republican Party is really in bed with the child abusers.

And I keep talking about political issues so much that I feel like I'm in danger of getting distracted from my main focus. See another letter about that here.

And especially, you must read the letters of Paul Diener. Also see his essay on fascism at Oxford. You will love them, because he directly addresses a lot of the issues that you mention, and similarly denounces the ongoing murder of "the left". I am redistributing those things because I think that his voice should be heard.

Enjoy, and have a good day.

== Orange





[Sun, May 9, 2004, David W. wrote:]

has anyone ever looked deeply into aa finances?
i have been a secretary, treasurer, but
always wondered where all the money really went.

david

Hi David,

Now that would be a fascinating issue, but unfortunately, they don't let people like me examine their books. Some documents are publicly available though, because the GSO is a non-profit. We can get copies of the documents that they file with the IRS. Likewise, AAWS filings with the SEC are public documents. One of the anti-AA web sites has many such documents online, and shows that members of the Board of Trustees get about $75,000 per year.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Wed, May 12, 2004, Dustin wrote:]

Dear sir,

after reading some of your sight, i felt such an overwhelming sense of relief. i currently live in a recovery (read: half-way) house in maryland and, to play the game, must attend at least one aa meeting a day. there is even a spy-network of alumi who regularly come to the house and report to the staff whether or not we actually attended the meetings we sign-off on. i personally have never had faith in the program as a means to get well, but i was willing to pay attention in hopes of hearing something that might make me believe. i desperately wanted to believe in something that would help, despite the fact that i'm capable of rational thought and thereby know that it is very unlikely that anything from the outside will do it.

as i continued to go to meetings i realized that i hadn't heard anything new out of any of these people since the first meeting i went to. slogans, jargon, catchphrases, and the same basic message: you come here or you die. it was utterly disheartening. i found an outlet to vent this frustration in another resident of the house. he is an artist of sorts, and i'm a burdgeoning writer, so we started making comics about the meetings. for the most part we have to keep them hidden from the rest of the people who live with us, but our in-house counselor loves them. he has been clean/sober for more than a decade without attending meetings and is very supportive of thought in general. after we showed him the comics he gave us your web sight, and it was something of a revelation. it was encouraging to see intelligent discourse speaking out against the dangers of the program rather then the general "this sucks because it sucks" dissent that you find if you find any at all.

he and i would like to send you some of the comics if you'd like to see them. unfortunately we only have paper copies as we have no access to a scanner, but if you're willing to read them we're willing to send.

i also wanted to tell you about two of the most insane things i have ever heard in meetings. two examples of just how frightening the indoctrination of this program is.

1. the guest speaker at a meeting said: "...and it wasn't until i found this program that i realized my first drug of choice was books. they just totally let me escape from myself. if i pick up a book today, i may as well go get a drink because they have the same results..."

that was crazy. she continued to expound on this statement for a few more minutes, but i was a bit too stunned to retain anything after that initial blow.

2. just yesterday i heard someone (a legend in this area for his "strong program" and acetic devotion to the gospel according to bill) told someone that god gave their parents cancer so that he would have a chance to make proper amends to them.

i had to leave. i had never heard anything quite like that before.

thanks for letting me share, i'll keep coming back

Hi Dustin,

Wow. Thanks for a great letter. And thanks for the complements.

Taking everything in backwards order, the thing about God giving someone cancer reminds me of a quote that I found just recently, about Frank Buchman's doctrine of Guidance (which became A.A. Step Eleven):

Belief in Guidance is the same kind of "faith" as believing that someone gets sick because it is the will of God.

If you think about it, if God controls the entire world, every little detail of it, and is ordering everybody around and giving them secret messages and telling them what to do, then God also determines who will get sick. That conclusion is unavoidable, because God can do anything, and God controls everything. Then the true believers have to come up with some rationalization or excuse for why those people get sick — there must be some *good reason* for those people to get sick — or else God isn't a Good Being.

The commonest excuse is that people are bad and they deserve it. On the other hand, saying that it gives somebody else an opportunity to make amends is at least original, if not insane. Obviously, you have just stumbled across one of the fundamental theological flaws in Buchmanism and Alcoholics Anonymous.

And, as I know you have already figured out, the sick parents would most assuredly have preferred to not get cancer, even at the cost of also not getting any "amends". Who wants amends, if the price tag for them is cancer? No thanks.

Likewise, from the son's viewpoint, while it may be spiritually beneficial to him to be able to make amends, I imagine that he also would have preferred to suffer though an "unamended" life if it would keep his parents healthy.

Goofy theology, really goofy.


Then I like the "no books" item. It's a great example of the logical fallacy The Fallacy of One Similarity — just find one point of similarity between two different things, and then declare that they are just the same. "Reading books and drinking are just the same because both can be used as an escape from reality."

Yeh, but books won't give you cirrhosis of the liver or a wet brain, will they? In fact, you might end up getting straight A's in school while you are escaping from a bad environment. (I know, because I did during my childhood. I had an alcoholic father to escape from.)

Sure, I'd like to see your cartoons. And I get access to a scanner now and then, to add more pictures to my web site.

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Wed, May 12, 2004, "live for art" wrote:]

Thank you! very insightful site, recently I had a very disturbing occurrence in AA, one of many actually. This site has opened my eyes quit a bit, I will continue to read

J
Houston, TX

Hi J,

Thanks for the compliments. Enjoy, and have a good day.

== Orange





[Wed, May 12, 2004, "yoo" wrote:]

hi

i ran across your site looking for ways to answer some of the right wing rants on political message boards. the section on propaganda and debating tactics are interesting.

your oppinion about AA seems very harsh to me. i've managed to stay sober and feel good about myself for 15 years thanks to those people. the way you describe it as some radical cult is not what i have seen anywhere. you seem to forget that alcoholics who end up in AA are desperate people and masters of minipulation.

Your failure to see something does not mean that it does not exist.

While some things, like the "no medications" fanaticism, may be restricted to some other groups, you cannot fail to see the insanity of what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book unless you are in denial and suffering from deliberate blindness.

UPDATE: There is now an entire file of A.A. "No Medications" horror stories, here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

my question is are you an alcoholic? if so the only way the program will work is if you let it.

Yes. I am an alcoholic. (We've been over this many times before.) But I quit without A.A., and I have 3 1/2 years clean and sober now, so I have no need to "let the A.A. program work".

Read the introduction, and this item about "treatment".

i find if people are too critical of the program it means they are not trying to get better. it's easy to rationalize failure and blame the program. the program does not fail, only people fail.

That cuts both ways. I find that if people are too sensitive to criticism of their group, it just might mean that they are in a cult. It is easy to attack the messenger and go into minimization and denial when your favorite ox gets gored. You are trying to imply that people who criticize the A.A. program are all failures who can't get and stay sober. Wrong.

And the slogan, "the program does not fail, only people fail" is pure cult-speak. You are proving my points for me. Also see the cult test item, "You are always wrong."

any obsessive compulsive disorder is a tough nut to crack and a desease that tells you your not sick is even harder.

Yes, but millions of alcoholics quit drinking without A.A. anyway.

your statment that AA has a "failue" rate of 90% is misleading. there is no cure for alcoholism only remission "one day at a time". the success rate (medical 5 years) is something like 30%.

Nonsense. You are playing a word game, quibbling over the word "cure".

It's very simple: If A.A. fails to make people quit drinking, then the A.A. program has failed. Period.

And of course there is no "cure" for alcoholism, because alcoholism is not a "disease". Alcoholism is behavior — habitual drinking.

And the A.A. success rate is nothing like 30%. Where are you getting your numbers?

  • Prof. Vaillant, a member of the AAWS Board of Trustees, got a ZERO PERCENT success rate after trying for 8 years to make A.A. look good.
  • Likewise, the A.A. General Service Organisation established that the A.A. dropout rate is 95% in the first year. That only leaves 5% who could possibly be successes. That makes it impossible for A.A. to have a 30% success rate. And that information comes straight from the A.A. headquarters.
So where are you getting your numbers?

In fact, the A.A. "success rate" is so bad that not one newcomer in a thousand becomes a 20-year oldtimer. And you know that. You have 15 years of seeing that. Where are all of your old A.A. friends from your first year of sobriety? How many of the other newcomers who began A.A. at the same time as you also have 15 years?

the program itself works if the participant wants it to. it is as simple as that. i could ramble for hours but you have already made up your mind.

What you are really saying is that the A.A. program does not work.

The participant must quit drinking, and then give the credit for his hard work to the A.A. program. If he doesn't quit, then the A.A. program won't make him quit — and it won't "help" him quit. The program won't "work" unless he makes it "work". So the program doesn't really work.

i hope your not having abuse problems as nothing else works at all.

Baloney. You are just full of A.A. propaganda, aren't you? "The cult is THE ONLY WAY." Again, you are making my points for me, proving that A.A. is a cult.

For your information, the Harvard Medical School reported that 80% of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, on their own — without A.A..

take it from this ol dog "i'd rather have a bad day sober than a good day drunk." and that is from my experiance.

That is just another standard A.A. slogan. Can you possibly think without slogans?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Wed, May 19, 2004, 2nd letter from "yoo":]

hi,

i'm glad you were able to quit by yourself. one of my buddies in my group quit for 3 years on his own but came to AA because being a "dry drunk" is not being sober. some would be less miserable drinking than doing it on thier own. another cliche but true " i came for my drinkin but stayed for my thinkin."

Really now. Just because somebody is unhappy, or is emotionally disturbed, does not mean that he is "a dry drunk". In fact, there is no such thing as a dry drunk. It's just another A.A. bogeyman that the oldtimers use to scare the newcomers: "You must work a strong program and do ALL of the 12 Steps or else you will turn into a dry drunk."

If you are telling people that their unhappiness is caused by their being "dry drunks" and that A.A. has the cure or answer to their problem, then you are guilty of false advertising and pushing quack medicine. A.A. is not a cure-all psychological counseling service. Do you have a degree in psychology or psychiatry? Do you have any treatment program besides the 12 Steps?

Furthermore, A.A. does not cure mental cases, it just collects them (and sometimes makes them worse). One study of A.A. members found that the majority of the A.A. members ranged from "Overtly Disturbed" all the way up to psychotic. Your approach to giving people happiness is no more valid than Scientology.

>>I find that if people are too sensitive to criticism of their group, it just might mean that they are in a cult.<<

the cult thing is a non issue the way i look at it. it only comes up when people are having "doubts" (compulsion to drink) about wanting to continue "working" the program.

"the cult thing is a non issue?" Talk about minimization and denial, and trying to avoid the issue. It's a very big deal.

Again, you are trying to dismiss all criticism of A.A. by claiming that the critics just want to drink. Wrong. That is yet another ad hominem attack on critics. You really are doing a good job of proving that A.A. is a cult.

some people do take it to the cult level but usually even out after a while.

Where do you get that? What is your source of information? What study or poll or GSO triennial survey found that the people who behave in a cultish manner "even out" later? (The GSO surveys show that they are more likely to just drop out.)

even if it were an outright cult (i don't think so), what is the penalty for leaving? getting drunk? i could become totally inactive if i chose to do so but like watching the "newcommers" change for the better. some make it some don't. i get satisfaction from sometimes even helping some.

That is bad logic. You are trying to pick out only two characteristics of a cult that A.A. does not show extremely strongly, and then claim that that proves that A.A. is not a cult. Wrong. There are plenty of other characteristics of a cult, like 98 more of them that I have listed, and A.A. shows LOTS of them, strongly. Like:

— and many, many, more.

Just because A.A. does not shoot those who try to leave (like Jim Jones' People's Temple did) does not prove that A.A. is not a cult.

Besides, there are answers even to the two items that you mentioned:

  1. What is the penalty for leaving?
  2. The penalty for getting drunk? (i.e., disobedience, non-conformity)
    • You get shamed.
    • You lose all of your Sober Time.
    • You have to admit that you are back in your first 30 days of sobriety, again, and take another "Just For Today" token at the next meeting.
    • You lose all of your status as an oldtimer.
    • Other members assume that you aren't as spiritual as they are.
    • Other members will mumble behind your back, "He isn't working a strong program."
    • In the cases of people who have been coerced into A.A. by an Employee Assistance Program or municipal treatment program or court or parole officer, the penalties can be loss of job, loss of housing, or getting sent to jail or prison. If the sponsor sends in a bad report on the sponsee, he's screwed.

So now go read the Cult Test for the other 98 cultish characteristics.

mabee i'll address some more of your concerns later. i'm kinda busy living my life right now.

Marty

Yeh, me too. Later.

Have a good day.

== Orange


[Wed, May 19, 2004, 3nd letter from "yoo":]

Can you possibly think without slogans?
of course i can. the slogans are for people trying to relate thier drinking with thier problems.

That's a neat attempt to divert attention away from yourself. I was referring to your repetition of slogans, not some beginner's:

  • if people are too critical of the program it means they are not trying to get better.
  • "the program does not fail, only people fail"
  • the program itself works if the participant wants it to.
  • nothing else works at all
  • "i'd rather have a bad day sober than a good day drunk."

Slogans are powerful tools for keeping people from thinking clearly. Dr. Robert J. Lifton, who is famous for doing one of the first studies of Red Chinese brainwashing techniques, called them "thought-stopping clichés".

Lots of slogans is one of the big warning signs of a cult.
True-believer members who parrot lots of slogans is another.

before i even had any idea i was a drunk i read this one.
the idea of "we are who we THINK we are" is still valid.
http://www.netnia.com/lifeimprovement/cybernetics.htm

Nonsense.
If you believe that you are Napoleon, does that make you Napoleon?
If you think you are Einstein, does that make you Einstein?
If you think you are Jesus Christ, does that make you Jesus Christ?
People with delusions of grandeur obviously disprove that statement.

"We are who we THINK we are" is yet another slogan. Can't you see the degree to which your thinking is dominated by simplistic slogans?

Now I understand the point that you are trying to make: That we tend to become the kind of person that we imagine we are. If you think that you are a bad person, you will tend to become worse, because you will have less trouble in doing worse and worse things. On the other hand, if you think that you are a good person, you will tend to become that, or remain that (barring self-deception and hypocrisy). But that is saying something very different than, "We are who we THINK we are".

as long as your not suffering from the affects of alcohol and/or drugs, YOUR way is fine with me.

Well, "my way" includes working to end the illegal coercive recruiting practices of Alcoholics Anonymous and its many "fellow travelers".

Want to help?

"My way" also includes telling the public the truth about A.A. — the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth — so that people can be better informed about what might help them, and what might not help them.

Want to help?

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Thu, May 13, 2004, Bill E. wrote:]

Looking through your work - thanks!

Bill
former TM teacher, est participant

Hi, Bill, Thanks for the thanks, and have a good day.

== Orange





[Sat, May 15, 2004, Mick wrote:]

As a psychiatrist I surmise: 1. you really have a superficial understanding of the DSM and how to apply it and 2. you have an axe to grind and 3. so fucking what — a waist of cyber trees.

Mick

Ah, a real psychiatrist now, huh? Oh goody.

You now have the opportunity to teach us just how I have erred in diagnosing Bill Wilson with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Delusions of Grandeur. How do you explain his

  1. grandiose delusions,
  2. habitual lying,
  3. felonious dishonesty,
  4. callous disregard for the feelings of others, even his own wife even cruel disregard for their very lives,
  5. extreme resentment of criticism,
  6. constant philandering,
  7. grandstanding and self-aggrandizement,
  8. habitual falsification of his personal history,
  9. exploitation of other people,
  10. grossly inflated opinion of himself and his achievements,
  11. attitude that he was entitled to special treatment and
  12. dabbling with the occult, imagining that he was in communication with the spirits of the dead?


I find your "So what?" attitude disturbing. All of the real doctors that I have ever known care a lot when they are told that a commonly-used treatment is totally ineffective and even harmful to the patients (like, just recently, HRT, and now, prostate cancer tests). Good doctors don't say "So what?" I'm sure glad I don't have you for a doctor.

What is your real name, "doctor", where did you graduate from medical school, what states are you licensed to practice medicine in, and are you listed by the American Medical Association, and if not, why not?

I'll be looking forwards to seeing your diagnosis of Bill Wilson's insanity.

Have a good day.

== Orange

A month later ... I'm still waiting for the answer ...

Two months later ... I'm still waiting for the answer ...

Three months later ... I'm still waiting for the answer ...
Maybe he simply doesn't have a better diagnosis of Bill Wilson than the one that Bill's psychiatrist Dr. Harry Tiebout gave: Bill Wilson had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of "His Majesty the Baby".





[Tue, May 18, 2004, Claude wrote:]

Orange,

I am a recovering pain pills addict. I just love your site! I tried attending NA/AA meetings for several months and I never felt quite right about the things being said and the things that I said (!). There was always the smell of self-deception in the air. I'm now being treated with a substitute opiate and I think this will really help me. I must admit that I went to the meetings long enough to acquire the fear that if I don't go to meetings, I will succumb to my addiction and die. I'm doing my best to shake that. I just feel like these programs encourage people to feel bad and I feel bad enough about myself already. In fact, that is probably part of the reason — a good part — that I started using substances: to make myself feel better. I espouse the self-medication hypothesis and AA seems to be pushing a moral hypothesis i.e., that we are addicts/alcoholics because we are selfish. But, I think I am no more or less selfish than the next person. Maybe even less. I was just unhappy and wanted to do something about that. My doctor says that the self-medication view of addictions is the only one that makes sense. To think otherwise does not help anyone. We drink/drug to feel better. I think that is the source of compassion for people afflicted with substance abuse problems.

I do have one point of contention with you. I'm not sure Bill was simply a Narcissistic Personality. I think he may actually have been suffering from Manic-Depressive illness. The wild schemes, the impulsivity, the false confidence, the deep depressions fit more with that profile (in my opinion). People with this disorder can also be delusional. Bill was a driven man and that is the hallmark of manic-depressives.

Thanks for keeping me out of trouble. My therapist wants me to go to AA. I hope she doesn't make it a condition of my therapy as I like her. Anyway, thanks again.

Best,
Claude

PS I hope you are not opposed to opiate substitution medications. I'd be interested in your opinion on that. I hope to hear from you!

Hi Claude,

Starting at the bottom, no, I'm not opposed to opiate substitution medications. I mean, who am I to pass judgement or prescribe medications, anyway?

My only concern there is wondering if some friends will be able to get off of the stuff when they want to. I hear that methadone is terribly addicting, and that the withdrawal is worse than heroin. That's my major concern.

But if somebody's beta endorphin makers in the brain aren't working right, then I can sure see why somebody would want to get on synthetic opiates, just to get on an even keel and start to feel right.

About the diagnosis of Bill Wilson, yes, there is room for debate. I actually mentioned that in my analysis of Bill's head. (Look between "Delusions of Grandeur" and "Narcissistic Personality Disorder", and also after it.) I've heard other people mention a bipolar or manic-depressive diagnosis. The thing that tilts me towards a diagnosis of narcissism is Bill's extreme selfishness and abuse and exploitation of others, including his wife Lois. And too often, it seems like Bill was not delusional when he talked about how great he was or how great his "accomplishments" were — he was simply lying. And the way that Bill faked contacting the ghosts of Nantucket, and faked transcribing Latin messages from early Christians in séances, was far too clever for someone who was merely delusional during a manic phase. So I lean towards NPD, although there is still room for argument.

Well, take care of yourself, and have a good day.

== Orange





[Tue, May 18, 2004, Eric D. wrote:]
Subject: Steps may work without NA/AA

Hello, Your site is interesting. A lot of people forget that the 12 Steps are biblical. When you make your "higher power" a group, person, or a chair for that matter then what you have is a cult. If your "higher power" is truly God then the steps could work for some.

For example, Step 2 talks about "we came to believe that a power greater then ourselves could restore us to sanity". Well, if a person decides that that "power" is one of the leaders in their AA group, they are going to be really damn dissapointed when they are eventually let down by that person. Placing people or objects in a "higher power" status can be very dangerous.

The thing is, I have seen these steps work miracles in people's lives, many who were not even addicts — people just applying these steps to their lives. The authors of AA did not make these steps up. I am a recovering heroin addict. I am not an AA/NA member — BUT — I am applying these steps to my life. And I'll have to admit they work. And it is not the steps that are keeping me sober. The steps just have some very simple yet life changing results.

I can finally now admit that I had always refused to work the steps, and push them away because I didn't want to change anything about myself. Let's face it, people just don't like to make change. We can change the big obvious things like stop drinking. But it is all of the underlying crap that needs to be cleaned up. And the coolest thing is, everything that was cool about me is still in existence. But the change that I allowed to happen has brought me things that I had only dreamed of — music production, filmaking, exploring the world, etc. I really am a totally different person — and the steps didn't do it, but rather helped act as a map to guide me. Simple, not easy.

So thanks for listening (or reading). You may have already have seen this, but here is the 12 steps with their Biblical comparisons. For the person who believes in the bible you can see how these fit. You could probably use books from other religions to do this as well. But it is neat to see how these are ideas that have been around for thousands of years...

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors. That our lives had become unmanageable.

I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. (Romans 7:18)

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13)

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? (Romans 12:1)

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn again in repentance to the LORD. (Lamentations 3:40)

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16a)

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up (James 4:10)

7. Humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (1 John 1:9)

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Do for others as you would like them to do for you. (Luke 6:31)

9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. (Matthew 5:23-24)

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. (Colossians 3:16a)

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another man is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. (Galatians 6:1)

Hello, Eric:

What the author of that document did was pick quotes from the Bible that sort of sound like something in the Twelve Steps, and then claim that the Twelve Steps are based on the Bible. That is backwards logic. That doesn't mean that the 12 Steps are based on the Bible, it means that the quotes were hand-picked for effect. That is easy to do, because there is so much different stuff in the Bible to choose from. Heck, you can even pick out a bunch of Biblical quotes that say that God wants you to rob, rape, and murder your neighbors — see these quotes.

The Twelve Steps are based on the teachings of the fascist cult leader Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, not on the Bible at all. Frank Buchman created those practices to grow his cult and indoctrinate new recruits. (And they worked, too.)

We've been through all of this before. Look here.

Bill Wilson explicitly declared where the material for the Twelve Steps came from:

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298.

Read carefully, and notice that Bill Wilson did not use the words "Bible", "Christ", "Jesus", or "Christianity" anywhere.

Bill was also being dishonest in talking about Dr. Samuel Shoemaker, who was a deceitful flunky of Frank Buchman who routinely lied for Frank, as well as being the manager of the American branch of the cult. Sam Shoemaker did not create the "spiritual substance" of the Oxford Groups, Frank Buchman did. Bill Wilson just didn't want to mention the name of the real leader of the Oxford Groups, because so many people hated the Nazi-apologist Frank Buchman for his Hitler-praising ways.

Go reread The Religious Roots of the Twelve Steps, and pay close attention to how Bill Wilson derived the Twelve Steps from the cult practices of the Oxford Groups. Also pay close attention to what contemporary Christian leaders had to say about Frank Buchman's practices, and how they conflicted with Christian teachings.

And, speaking of conflicts, read The Heresy of the Twelve Steps for some of the gross problems with 12-Step theology.

Also read my analysis of the Twelve Steps to see what they are really designed to do to you.

Lastly, you claim that you have seen the steps "work miracles in people's lives". That is a grand sweeping statement. Precisely what does it mean?

  1. Just how were people's lives changed by practicing the Twelve Steps? Please be specific.
  2. How long did the changes last?
  3. What percentage of the people who "worked the Steps" were changed for the better? For the worse? No change?
  4. What, in your opinion, constitutes a "miracle"?

It is easy to be fooled by appearances. It's easy to be hoodwinked by charlatans and quack medicine and phony spiritual teachers. Read this. It is also easy to confuse causation with correlation. Just because two things happened at approximately the same time does not prove that one caused the other. The fact that some people change their ways and get their lives together does not prove that the Twelve Steps work, or that the Steps actually did anything good. It proves that some people can and will just get a grip and improve their lives.

Have a good day.

== Orange


[Sun, May 23, 2004, 2nd letter from Eric D.:]

Thanks for the response. I appreciate the time you took in the response. You looked read way to deep into what I was trying to say. I should have worded my e-mail differently. When I said the 12 steps were biblical I did not literally mean that "The 12 Steps" were biblical. But rather, there are ideas in the 12 steps that have been around for thousands of years. Those scriptures were indeed picked out to match a particular step in nature. So if it makes you more comfortable, forget I even said that I have seen the 12 steps work miracles in people. I have seen people make decisions to perform certain actions that just so happen to be sort of similar to certain sentances also known as "the 12 steps" — NOT Bill Wilson's cult. I am not a member of NA or AA.

Ah, okay. Part of the problem here is obviously just the language trap. When steppers talk about the 12 Steps being Biblical, they mean it quite literally, and insist that it is an indisputable truth that the 12 Steps were taken straight from the Bible, and that, essentially, A.A. and Christianity are one and the same thing. No way José.

I would still question how much Bill and Buchman's Steps even resemble traditional spiritual ideas. Now I know that some people like to reinterpret the Steps in their own minds to make them sound very much like tenets of Christianity, but that is not necessarily universal or even common practice in A.A. or N.A.. Someone who reinterprets the Steps and makes them into a Christian practice is doing a Christian practice, not Bill Wilson's or Frank Buchman's religion.

The big problem still remains that Frank Buchman's religion was not Christian, not even close, in spite of Buchman's deceptive claims that it was. Buchmanism was occult, fascistic, and heretical. And Bill Wilson simply copied the practices and beliefs of Buchman's Oxford Groups to write the 12 Steps. Nothing in them was original or Biblical.

(Frank Buchman was ostensibly a Lutheran minister, but the Lutheran Church disowned him. Many years later, when Frank Buchman died, the President of the United Lutheran Church in America, Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, criticized the MRA movement as "not Christ-centered" and said of Buchman that his connection with the United Lutheran Church had been "only minimal".)

Am I powerless over heroin? It depends on what powerless means to me, you, or anyone else. Powerless to me is that when heroin is introduced to my body — forget about it! I'm a gonner. I will not stop until something big gets in my way. In the past it was the law, being kicked out onto the street and living out of my car, or just not having any money and being so damn dope sick that I had no other place to go but rehab. I did not stop using in each and every one of those situations because I wanted to or made a decision that it was time to stop. If someone had given me a year's supply of heroin (or even a days worth), I would have chosen dope. For me, and keep in mind I am using the word "me", that is being powerless over heroin. And you better believe my life was unmanagable. I owed over $10,000 in unpaid bills, rent, borrowed money. I couldn't manage my money, my health, anything. So, for "ME", that is unmanagable. So that first step makes a lot of damn sense to me. Once I came to realize that (and it wasn't that hard to figure out, I kinda already knew it), I asked for help.

Again, I just have a problem with the language, not with what you are saying. I totally agree that after I get two six-packs of beer in me, I am then powerless over alcohol. My goose is cooked by then.

Likewise, I would not say that my life was "unmanageable"; I would just say that I was doing a very poor job of managing my life while I was drinking.

But that is not what Bill Wilson meant by "powerless over alcohol", and that is not what he wrote in the Big Book. What Wilson wrote is that you and I just cannot resist taking the first drink (or, by implication, the first hit of dope) — that we have absolutely no control over our consumption habits and that we just can't avoid relapsing now and then (so giving up and surrendering to the A.A./N.A. "Higher Power", i.e., really, surrender to the cult, is the only answer). In the Big Book, Bill Wilson wrote the story of a man who went on a binge, and afterwards, said:

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

Likewise, Wilson wrote in his second book,

"Sure, I was beaten, absolutely licked. My own willpower just wouldn't work on alcohol."
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 63.

That is simply not true. We are not powerless. We can resist taking that first hit. Otherwise, we could never get and stay clean and sober.

Will power is one of the most valuable tools for getting and staying clean and sober. I consider it essential for surviving alcoholism (or drug addiction). But Bill Wilson and his friends declare that

dependence on self-confidence or willpower in its treatment is seen as a "total liability".

And notice how defeatist the language is: You are "powerless", your life is "unmanageable", and self-confidence, will power and self-knowledge are bad...

The book "The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill" actually equates self-reliance, (managing your own life and taking care of yourself) with stubborn willfulness (disregarding orders from God). They are so insane that they think that self-reliance is a very bad thing.

Both Steps One and Three are demands for you to surrender to the cult: You are powerless over alcohol (or dope) and you cannot manage your own life, so the only thing you can do is give up, surrender, hand over your will and become a slave of your sponsor or the group, and hopefully, the group will save you from death. The goal of that language is to reduce you to dependency on the cult.

This is one of the most important points in the whole disagreement I have with the A.A. ideas about alcoholism and addiction. Bill's cultish dogma is an invitation to relapse. It's a ready-made excuse for failure: "I can't help it, I'm powerless over ____________." (Fill in the blank with whatever your drug of choice is.)

It comes as no surprise that Dr. Brandsma found, in his 5-year study of A.A. as a treatment program, that after several months of indoctrination with that A.A. dogma, alcoholics were doing far more binge drinking than other alcoholics who got no such "help". It's inevitable — it's built into the language.

You stated that you are not a member of A.A. or N.A.. That explains a lot of the difference between how you understand the words, and how well-indoctrinated A.A. members interpret them (and what the words mean when they write them to me).

In addition, the A.A. language is loaded. Meaning: many words and phrases have two or more meanings. They have one meaning to outsiders, and then take on a different meaning later as the new recruit is taught the real meanings of the words by the oldtimers.

I was already a believer in God, so the "God" steps were things I already had been doing and began doing better. The inventory step, well damn, what a suprise, is it a mystery that opening up your self might help? Whether the steps say it or not, I need to let some shit out. I felt a whole lot better when I got some of my old skeletons out. And you know what? Some of that old stuff I did was pretty damn shitty. So I admitted that, yep, it was wrong.

I still have some ammends to make, but you know why I haven't made them yet? Because if I had made them a week after "getting clean", they would have said go "jump off a cliff Eric". I am going to wait until they see that I am actually making real changes in my life before saying sorry for breaking their trust. That's why the ammends step is # 9 and not # 2.

Again, I have no problem with religious beliefs, or with introspection and self-examination, or with seeing where we went wrong in the past. But read the Steps again, very carefully. They say something different. Read my interpretation of the Steps. Notice how you supposedly do a searching and fearless moral inventory in Step Four, but you only confess your wrongs in Step Five. You don't talk about your good points, so it isn't really a complete and honest inventory, moral or any other kind, either.

Then, in Steps Six and Seven, your past errors become defective parts of yourself: "moral shortcomings" and "defects of character". There is a very big difference between saying, "I was really messed up and did some shitty things", and saying "I am inherently flawed with numerous defects of character and moral shortcomings — so flawed that only God can remove the defects" The language of the steps is an assault on your self-respect, shredding what little of it you may have left. That is not an accident. The goal is to induce guilt and make you weaker.

Also notice the passive approach to fixing yourself. Basically, you do not fix yourself when you do the Twelve Steps, you just wait for God to fix you. You do a lot of confessing and wallowing in guilt, but nowhere do the Twelve Steps tell you to get your act together and fix yourself and remove your own flaws. You just "humbly ask Him to remove your defects" in Step Seven. Well what if God doesn't feel like doing it, or God isn't that kind of a micro-managing being? Then you are in big trouble, because the 12 Steps aren't going to work.

My original point is this, I have seen people not just quite drinking or drugging, but actually become pretty cool people that I would actually trust, when living by principles that are similar to those in the 12 steps. I didn't read the BIG BOOK — don't live by it, don't plan to. I am looking at it in a much broader, much more basic, "take it how you wanna" way. I think you must have had a really bad experience with some people in NA or AA and for good reason have made it your purpose on this earth to destroy anything related. LOL. But seriously, I don't mean to make light of it, but not everyone who lives by principles even remotely close to "the 12 Steps" is a follower of the Bill Wilson cult.

Yeh, I have seen people recover too, lots of them. I live in a recovery community, and am surrounded by people in recovery. And you know what? Almost all of the successful cases have dumped the 12-Step routine and are using their own common-sense methods for staying clean and sober.

Don't overlook spontaneous remission. That is the phenomenon of people who just quit, without any "treatment" or any "support group", or any "program", or anything. They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, so they quit rather than die, and change their ways, and improve their lives. There are lots of them, millions. The Harvard Medical School stated that 80% of the successful quitters from alcohol do it alone, on their own.

If one of those people happens to be anywhere near an A.A./N.A. meeting or a treatment program when they quit, then A.A./N.A. or the treatment program will gleefully claim the credit for their success, which is quite dishonest, but they do it anyway, in order to bolster their numbers. So I am very skeptical of any claims that A.A. or the 12 Steps have made people quit. All of the fair and valid tests have shown that A.A. does not work.

Then, as usual, there is the confusion of causation and correlation. Just because people think that the Steps made them get sober doesn't mean that the Steps actually work or do anything good.

You say you haven't read the Big Book. Lucky you. You don't know what you have missed. (You don't want to know.) If you did read it, you would see that lots of words and concepts take on different twists, and that it isn't as innocent or as spiritual as you think.

You say that I must have had a bad experience with some people in A.A. or N.A... Yes, but even that isn't all of the story, not by a long shot. But for the usual short introduction, read these three items:

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

And then I went through a "treatment center" that was basically just a front for the 12-Step cult. That is a very common experience — 93% of the treatment centers in this country are 12-Step vendors. That is where I saw how foisting quack medicine and cult religion on sick people had become a very profitable business, as well as a very ineffective method of treatment and a big waste of time and money.

You think that it is my self-appointed "purpose on this earth to destroy anything related" to A.A. or N.A.. No, not at all. I'm just trying to get the truth out there. I actually still have my latest A.A. coin and N.A. keytag on my keychain, and attend meetings at least once a year.

I have said many times that I don't really care about the burned-out wrecks who gather in church basements and tell each other that they are God's chosen people, the only people given the gift of healing alcoholics... Such pathetic sad sacks are not the problem.

I have also said many times that if A.A. and N.A. would leave other people alone, then I would leave it alone. But they don't, and they won't. They need a constant feedline of fresh meat to keep their racket going. So they use the health care systems and criminal justice systems to force more people into 12-Step organization. I was just reading the November 2002 issue of the AA Grapevine, which summarized the results of the latest A.A. 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. That's nearly two thirds of the entire membership. Worse, those people think that since it was okay for somebody to force them into A.A./N.A., it's okay if they turn around and do it to somebody else. For their own good, of course.

(Way back in the nineteen-sixties, I made up my own slogan that said, "My enemies I can handle, but Lord save me from those who would do unto me for my own good.")

With my web site, I am trying to counter-balance an enormous propaganda mill that is cranking out a never-ending stream of lies and deceptions that tell the public that the 12-Step routine is the most successful treatment program in the world, and it works great, so all addicts and alcoholics should have it shoved down their unwilling throats, regardless.

The motives of the 12-Step promoters are both fanatical belief in their cult religion and money. There are hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars at stake in the recovery racket. A lot of people are making a lot of money by selling 12-Step cult religion as a cure for alcoholism and drug addiction. In spite of their hypocritical claims to spirituality, they have no problem with lying to get more customers and make more money. Their propaganda wouldn't be so bad if they told the truth, but they don't and they won't.

UPDATE: The New York Times reported that "rehabilitation" centers and treatment of alcoholics and addicts had become a $20 Billion per year industry, in just the USA. That's a huge amount of money for treatment that doesn't work.

I have been a very critical viewer of 12 step programs, still am. I can't rely on a program to keep me sober. That's why I put my focus on God, which is mirrored in my way of life. If I am my own God, you don't want to know me, because I will do anything to please ME. I don't pray and ask God to give me this, or help me do that.

Again, I object to the Stepper language: "If I am my own God..." Steppers say that you must either be a slave of their cult — "turning over your will and your life", or else you are playing God by running your own life. (It's another Either/Or mind game, present the target with only two poor choices.)

I know what you mean: That you are not a very nice person when you let your lower animalistic self totally control you, selfishly pursuing your own pleasures with total disregard for others. But that is not being a God, that's being a stupid little animal.

I ask God to give me the power and wisdom to do what God wants. Inevitably the outcome is far better then what I would have chosen. Since I have lived this way, I have been happier then ever. Years of depression treated with drug after drug has ended. So, the proof is in the pudding — FOR ME. If I found that picking up dog poop and smearing it on my face and singing Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds made me feel this way — then I would do that. That is just how I am. I tend to continue what feels good. Hey, if dedicating all of your free time to analyzing 12 Step programs makes you happy then hey, whatever works for you. In a wierd sick way, the 12 steps programs still have their claws in you. I don't advocate any particular way of living. I really do not care if someone wants to be happy or sit in their bathtub of negativity. As long as it doesn't seep into my side of the room. I have lived many different lifestyles. I am tattooed head to toe, produce underground music, and movies — much of most open minded people would be offended by. But I have found a way that works for me. I'd be a dummy if I did it any other way.

That doesn't sound too bad, even if the theology and psychology are questionable. But I disagree with the statement that the 12-Step programs still have their claws in me. And I do not "dedicate all of my free time to analyzing 12 Step programs". I'm doing many other things. Sometimes it takes me weeks just to get around to answering my email.

So with that said, don't read too much into my letter. There is no big bold right answer here. All I know is there are a lot of contradictions in this world we live in. Just the plain and simple fact that people exist means that the earth will always be screwed up. We can take something wonderful and simple and make it negative and complicated. If there is something to be screwed with, we'll screw it. But, all I can say today... my big bold statement if there is one is this...

I'll just try and do the next right thing.

I disagree with your negative assessment of the human race. We aren't all like the Republicans. We can do better than that. We can still learn and grow, and we will.

Have a good day.

== Orange


[Sat, May 29, 2004, 3rd letter from Eric D.:]

Thanks for your responses, I have learned a lot. Sorry if I ever came off with an attitude at any point, you know how it is when you start writing your beliefes out. Actually, the more I think about it, we really don't differ too much on a lot of things. Take care...

Eric

Hi Eric,

Okay, have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, May 17, 2004, Chuck wrote:]

Hi Agent Orange,

I came across your web site by typing in "bad things about AA" because I was having a tough time with some hardcore AA members that were putting what little self esteem I had down the tube. I have changed my AA group and even as an AA member I find your information very helpful and most professionally written; backed by writings and proofs. I am sober today and see that you are too! I am looking into other programs like SMART. Keep up your essays and writings and put some of these AA jerks in their place!

God Bless (Or who or what ever keeps you sober bless you!)
Thanks
Chuck W.

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the thanks. Keep the faith, don't let them bring you down.

And I'll even give some of the credit to God, I don't mind that.
I'm not an atheist or against God. I just tell the true believers that the Lord helps those who help themselves, and it is just plain stupid to "Let Go and Let God", because God might have other important things to do besides wait on you hand and foot... :-)

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Wed, May 19, 2004, Mary W. wrote:]

To depreciate a Book maliciously, or even wantonly, is at least a very ill-natured office; and a morose snarling Critic may, I believe, be suspected to be a bad Man.
Henry Fielding, *Tom Jones.*

Interesting quote. Was Henry Fielding complaining that some critic had really trashed his latest book?

I can't help but notice that Mr. Fielding said nothing about the merits of the book in question, or whether it deserved to be criticized. He simply complained about the manner in which some unnamed book was criticized.

Is it also bad manners to harshly criticize — maybe even to "maliciously, or even wantonly deprecate" — Mein Kampf or The Communist Manifesto?

I think not, because those two books have gotten a huge number of innocent people killed.

So where do we draw the line?

How about the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous? Is it sacred or open to criticism?

Have a good day.

== Orange





[Mon, May 31, 2004, Larry wrote:]

I'm sorry that you met the wrong people in AA

Larry

Hi Larry,

That isn't it. Even if I had met "the right people", A.A. would still be a completely ineffective program for treating alcoholism, as well as a goofy cult religion.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Mon, May 31, 2004, Ginger wrote:]
Subject: Lizzard Brain article

Excellent. I was looking for something to understand what is going on around my house with fiance and his 20 year old son and the favorite drink of choice these days... VODKA... seems to be getting his (Fiance) brain totally in an uproar like never before with a new load of stress dumped on the past two months. He went back to Bud, but Basic Brain seems to have won out and we are all the big loser now. Sigh.

Thanks for the insight. I will put some higher brain thinking to work on it and realize it is not my higher brain that needs to do the work, but his! I appreciate you posting this article.

Hi. Thanks for the thanks. Sorry to hear about your troubles. Stories like yours make me wish there was a magic potion that really would cure all of these addiction problems, but, alas, there isn't.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Mon, May 31, 2004, Serenity wrote:]

hello there

i've forwarded the yahoo mail to this NON PROXY address. please don't start spamming me. i can only address one subject at a time. my only curiousity about you is your utter contempt of the AA program that i have seen help a lot of people.

Hi Serenity,

I don't understand that at all. Non-proxy? I do not spam anyone, not ever. All I ever do is answer letters that people send to me.

I disagree with your statement that you have seen the program help a lot of people. People quit drinking and get their lives together, usually because they just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and then A.A. takes the credit for their hard work. There is no evidence that "A.A. helped them".

And A.A. denies having had any bad effects at all on the many more failures. Funny how that works: A.A. is responsible for the successes, but not for the failures. That is called "cherry-picking"

Less than one out of 20 newcomers quits drinking, and 19 don't, and A.A. claims that it is a great success... "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path."

As a treatment for alcoholism, A.A. has failed every honest test. It has a zero percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission (which is about 5%, one out of 20). Even A.A. Trustee Prof. George Vaillant found that to be true. He stated that A.A. had failed to help the alcoholics, and that A.A. had an "appalling" death rate.

anyway...

The Hazelden Coffee War             by A. Orange
...A.A. faithful are real fanatics when it comes to medications; they want to pretty much ban them entirely...

that subject comes up alot. my view is when taking "Psycho-active" drugs i always ask "what is your/my motive?" i had a hernia operation a few years ago and had to take a narcotic pain killer "as necessary" or suffer needless pain. the point is i didn't take them for "affect", just 3 grand total. a lot of "addictive" prone people would have taken 6 a day till they ran out.

I think I understand what you mean. But you did take them for the effect. Otherwise, what is the point of taking them? If they had no effect then they would be worthless. I think what you meant to say is that you wanted to kill your pain, rather than just indulge in getting high.

anyone who tells someone to stop taking ALL medications has no idea what they are talking about.

I totally agree. That kind of bad advice kills people.

doctors on the other hand have no clue or very little training about "obsessive compulsive" disorders and prescribe to the symptoms.

Baloney. That is totally untrue. That is pure 12-Step cult dogma:

Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, story "Promoted To Chronic", page 473.

I have found many doctors to be quite knowledgeable, and far more realistic and sane than Steppers. I got far better advice and information from my doctor than I ever heard from any Stepper. He said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." I chose to quit drinking and live.

The Steppers said, "The answer to all such problems is Work The Steps, Get A Sponsor, And Read The Big Book." After studying the situation for a while, I decided that they were nuts.

any drug that is psyco-active can be a trigger for the true alcoholic and it can be the "excuse" they are looking for to start drinking again.

Again, I disagree with the Stepper language and the stereotypes that come with it. Yes, getting high on one drug immensely increases the danger of a full-blown relapse on one's drug of choice, but that does not mean that alcoholics are "looking for an excuse to drink". You would have us believe that all alcoholics are low and vile and just scheming to get another drink. What you are describing is the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster, not alcoholics.

TRADITION 5.) Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

AA is not a cure all for whackos though it dose attract more than it's share.

cheers
SERENITY

Hello. I don't know why you are reprinting Tradition Five here. It's irrelevant. Those Traditions do not have much to do with how A.A. is really run. See my write-up of the Traditions.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





[Wed, June 2, 2004, Jim R. wrote:]

Age-ee,

Interesting site! I gather you have been sober for some time. As an ex problem drinker, I'm happy that you've found a solution to your problem drinking.

I've been sober for some time now and not only attend regular AA meetings, but try my best to be active and available in my community. The biggest gift I received from AA and the people that have helped me, in and out of the program, was the gift of "learning" how to give, as opposed to my old MO of taking anything and everything I could get.

I'm also somewhat of a history buff, Alcohol-related history, that is. I find that aspect of the "human condition/struggle" very fascinating.

I have to laugh to see that I'm not alone when it comes to being obsessed. You have built a glorious shrine to you own obsession via your website. Although some of your AA History observations are accurate and I have observed that you try to be objective, most of you arguments only point to the frail and often very fallible nature of those who try their best to do good in a world that usually gives two shits. You merely condemn those who try to make a difference by drawing attention to their human frailties.

Hi Jim,

You admit that my history of A.A. and the Oxford Groups is correct, and then you dismiss it as "a glorious shrine to you own obsession"[sic.].

You are engaging in stereotypical alcoholic minimization and denial. The faults of Bill Wilson and A.A. are a lot more than mere "human frailties".

I often wonder what real point you have to make accept to expose that we all make mistakes, especially in AA.

Yes, we all make mistakes, but we don't all then go promote voodoo medicine as a cure for a deadly condition like alcohol addiction. Again, you are engaging in minimization and denial.

The "real point" is to tell the truth, and counter-act the constant stream of lies that comes out of the A.A. propaganda machine.

AA as whole is not what you depict. You couldn't possibly know what the majority experiences in AA.

I don't care what "the majority experiences in A.A.". I care whether A.A. is a cult that aggressively pushes a completely ineffective cure for alcoholism. I care whether people are being illegally, unconstitutionally, coerced into a cult religion, being sentenced to A.A. by courts, and pushed into A.A. by so-called "treatment centers" that act as little more than recruiting agencies for the 12-Step cult.

Now I know full well that you can go to a lot of meetings that seem quite mellow, where people just talk about spirituality and then confess how stupid they were to drink alcohol, and then pray that God will keep them from drinking. They don't seem particularly radical or fanatical. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. That isn't all of the organization, not by a long shot.

The majority of people that actually work the program are too busy to judge those that condemn them. And the judgers are often too busy to do anything for others anyway.

Nonsense. That is just a lame ad hominem attack. Foisting 12-Step cult religion on sick people is not helping them. Voodoo medicine doesn't work; quack medicine doesn't work, and A.A. doesn't work.

Besides, you don't know what else I do with my spare time, or how I am involved with helping recovering alcoholics and addicts.

There is much good work being done by people who have recovered from the drink problem in and out of AA.

Yes, go to a SMART meeting, or SOS, or WFS or MFS (Women For Sobriety or Men For Sobriety). Or check out LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR) — the LifeRing Internet group. You will find many ex-alcoholics who are busy helping others, and doing it without foisting a crazy cult religion on them.

So good luck to you orangie, with your quest for truth.

I have already found, and printed, the truth, so I am not on a quest for the truth.

Maybe you will actually put all your good talents into something more constructive in the near future. In the meantime, What ever keeps you sober, bro.

Telling people the truth about recovery programs is a good, constructive thing to do. It might help a few people; it might even save a life or two, somewhere along the line.

One time I pointed out to my brother that he was drunk and he retorted.... "cut my head off and call me headless, asshole... I know I'm drunk." Seems that you like to call headless people headless, too. I slay me.

Have a day
Jim

No, I don't do that. If you would bother to read what I have written, you would see that I am very sympathetic towards those who suffer from drug or alcohol addictions. Been there, done that, I know how it feels.

I am criticizing bad organizations and cults and those who knowingly push quack medicine as a cure for addictions, not the addicts.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange


[Wed, June 9, 2004, 2nd letter from James R.:]

You are one sick puppy, but hey... So am I. Life would be really boring without different perspectives, wouldn't it? I laugh when I think about the thought of a well-oiled AA machine pushing it's AA dogma down peoples throats.

A guy came up to me last week after a speaker meeting and told me he was an Area 19 delegate, I looked at him and said, that's nice how about getting me a cup of coffee. He laughed his ass off and actually got me a cup of coffee. You're wound a little tight my friend... A mere boy whistling in the dark, checking behind every tree for the AA boogie man.

Boo!

Hello, James,

You are great at making accusations and name calling, but you still have not supplied a single fact to back up your opinions. Haven't you noticed that?

Why don't you go read what Professor George E. Vaillant, Member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., wrote about A.A.:
"failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism"...
"our death rate of three percent a year was appalling"
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant
(And yet he still loves A.A. and thinks everybody should be shoved into it, even though he proved that it doesn't work.)

Why don't you address those issues?

== Orange


[Sat, June 12, 2004, 3rd letter from James R.:]

I wish you all the best for you and yours.

That is not an answer. You are running away from the question. (That tactic is called Hit And Run.)

The well-oiled A.A. machine isn't such a funny joke now, is it?

Also look at Agressive Recruiting and Deceptive Recruiting, and Front groups, masquerading recruiters, hidden promoters, and disguised propagandists.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange





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