Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXCVI
by Orange



[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters396.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 14:36:34 -0400 (EDT) (04/03/2014 11:36:34 AM)     (answered 5 April 2014)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Newcomer Rescue League

Terrance,

I go to aa meetings out of boredom and for entertainment. However I find it hard to keep silent. Today I went to a morning meeting and I said god is a delusion and aa hurts more than it helps. I wait until the meeting is almost over to try to avoid feedback. I always say read the Orange-papers. If I am lucky a person will talk to me after the meeting and say they had similar thoughts, which happened today. A long-time member said she hopes to meet people like me at meetings. After the meeting she did not talk to me.

I am always out-numbered but if one person understands it was worth the effort. I usually preface my statements with something like "you are not going to like this" and "I have been doing this for over 33 years" because I know what is coming. In the past a member with more time would contradict me and feel they can trump me having more time. But that is rare now. I have found that some members agree with me but will not say so to other members. Some tell me.

I read that many members of the church know their belief is wrong but they are too old to admit it and become unemployed. I know a catholic priest who feels that way. He went yearly to Pattaya Thailand for sex but he is too old now.

Do the churches, which allow meetings in their properties, know that aa members can worship a doorknob instead of the church god? Do they turn a blind eye for the cash or feel non-believers will convert if they come to the church for xa meetings?

Thank you for all you do.
Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob,

Thanks for the letter and all that you do. It is good that somebody is telling the truth in meetings. It might really help a confused beginning now and then.

It's neat that you have 33 years now. They can't outrank you by bragging about their years. Not any more. But I'm sure that somebody repeats the "bleeding deacon" put-down behind your back.

About the churches: I recommend that people print the file about The Heresy of the Twelve Steps and give it to their local priest or minister. If the clergy knew what the theology of A.A. really was, I don't think they would be so quick to welcome A.A. to their basements.

I don't imagine that the churches let A.A. meet on their property for the money, because the money isn't usually very much. I think it's your second guess: that getting the alcoholics praying might make converts of them, eventually. The preachers imagine that any organization that gets the alcoholics praying must be a good organization. If only they knew. That is why they should read the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     You are in the wrong group if you are looking for Jesus.
**      ...  you are one blind fuckwit.
**       ==  Robert, in the Internet newsgroup
**            "alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism" (August 2003)





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters396.html#Rich_S ]

Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:23:41 -0700     (answered 5 April 2014)
From: Rich_S.
Subject: Re 12 step rant

No 12 step program, certainly not AA, claims to 'cure' anything. They are a support group.
Rich S

Sent on the new Sprint Network from my Samsung Galaxy S®4.

Hello Rich,

Thanks for the note. Actually, A.A. does claim to have a cure. And then they deny it. It's another bait-and-switch trick:
First, a cure, and then, no cure. First, hope of recovery, and then hopelessness.

The Big Book says:

I have no doubt that a man who has cured himself of the lust for alcohol has a far greater power for curing alcoholism than has a doctor.
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 320.

Though he is now a most effective member of Alcoholics Anonymous, he still smokes and drinks coffee, but neither his wife nor anyone else stands in judgement. She sees she was wrong to make a burning issue out of such a matter when his more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 135.

And Bill Wilson wrote that the wives of alcoholics were resentful because A.A. and the Big Book had cured alcoholics in just a few short weeks:

Another feeling we are very likely to entertain is one of resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism. We do not like the thought that the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic has accomplished in a few weeks that for which we struggled for years.
The A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, present in all editions of the book, from the 1939 multilithed manuscript through the 4th Edition, on page 118.

We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know one hundred men who were once just as hopeless as Bill. All have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
The A.A. "Big Book"Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, first edition multilith page 8 and the 1st edition hardback on page 27.

We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, page 17.

Since this book was first published, AA has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind. The majority have never returned. The power of God goes deep!
The A.A. Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, William G. Wilson, "To Wives", page 114.

...he was insisting that he had found the only cure.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 257.

...they had found the only remedy...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 259.

"The only cure"? That is a claim of a cure.

But when Bill Wilson was faced with a terrible track record and most of his converts relapsed, he changed his tune to saying that people were not cured; they only got a "one-day reprieve" from their death sentence:

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God's will into all of our activities.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 85.

Yes, it's a bait-and-switch trick. Bill Wilson talked out of both sides of his mouth.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     What's the difference between an Islamic fanatic in training,
**     diligently studying the Koran for justifications to be a suicide
**     bomber, and an A.A. member diligently studying the Big Book
**     for reasons to be a misguided A.A. fanatic and lie to sick people
**     about cures?

[The next letter from Rich_S is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters396.html#Abby_O ]

Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 06:26:35 -0400 (04/04/2014 03:26:35 AM)     (answered 5 April 2014)
From: Abby O.
Subject: Hi there

Just writing to say how much I appreciate you putting together this site. I don't have an addiction problem myself, but I'm a psychologist and in grad school I took a course on Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment. As part of the class, we were required to attend 2 AA meetings. I'm an atheist, and I came back from those meetings a little weirded out and told my professor that they had a very "cult-like" feel, and I could imagine them being very alienating for any atheist or agnostic with a substance abuse problem. He basically responded that any client who told me they didn't want to go to AA meetings because they were non-religious was a "liar" and just "looking for excuses" to maintain their addiction and I shouldn't pay any mind to their totally unfounded complaints. He also told me AA was "the only thing" that works. It didn't ring true to me then, and it doesn't ring true to me now, a decade letter.

More recently, in the past 6 months (just in time for the wedding — grand!), my fiance seems to have crossed the line into serious alcohol problem. His profession, unfortunately, involved selling alcohol. So he's in a high-risk environment every day. And because of debts owed to others to start the business, doesn't feel he can give it up (at least until everyone's been paid back). He's admitted he has a real problem, and has been attending AA for the past 6 weeks or so. Hasn't spoken at a meeting yet though. And being an atheist, like myself, has a lot of trouble figuring out how to get from Step 1 to, well, anywhere else. He's been able to manage about 2 weeks sobriety before relapsing, but that's it. We live in too small of a town to have any SMART meetings near by. I guess I'll buy him a copy of that Rational Recovery book you mention, and see if he finds it any help.

I'm angry and sad and frustrated that no one (including my therapist) understands my feelings about AA (and Al-Alon as well). People just think I am being hostile and contrary for the sake of it. It's a lonely world for the person who believes that the individual is the answer to their own substance abuse problems, as opposed to some benevolent rescuing higher power being the answer. Even intelligent agnostics we know who HAVE successfully beaten their addictions subscribe to the AA philosophy and tell me recovery is impossible without some great "spiritual revelation."

Don't get me wrong — I think support groups are helpful for probably any problem. The benefit of speaking to others who've shared your struggles cannot be understated. But there seems (to me) something inherently WRONG with a group that says "and you are ONLY allowed to talk about out 12 steps — any other program/method/idea that you've found helpful to your recovery... keep to yourself." Huh??? Exactly who does THAT benefit? (Other than the perpetuation of the cult itself.)

I don't really have anything helpful or productive to share with others at the moment. Just wanted to say thanks for being enough of a free-thinker and having enough courage to go against the grain on this one, and share your personal experiences and some alternative ideas regarding recovery.

Hello Abby,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And actually, you have said much that is intelligent and helpful. I think you understand the whole thing.

Your professor 10 years ago sure sounds like he was a hidden Stepper. "A.A. is the only thing that works?" Bull. A.A. doesn't work at all.

And you are quite right that any group that blocks outside information is not a good recovery group. Real doctors and real healers are eager to hear about any new developments in their fields, and they are always seeking improvements in their treatments, and they are delighted to hear about something better. People who want to censor the information stream are cult members or quacks or dictators or criminals, or similar low-lifes.

It is unfortunate that your fiancé is in the alcohol business. That really makes it tough to avoid exposure to alcohol. And I suppose his customers expect him to sample the wares with them. And drinking together is a male bonding thing.

The fact that he chose the alcohol business is itself an important fact. Of all the possible occupations in this world that he could have chosen, the one that attracted him the most was dealing with tons of alcohol. Yes, that is a little worrying. That might mean something.

Now the question is whether he can learn to drink moderately, or whether he has to totally abstain from alcohol. That's a hard one to learn. It took me many years and a lot of suffering to learn for sure that I'm one of the ones who has to totally abstain from drinking alcohol.

I empathize with you when everybody from your therapist to "intelligent atheists" thinks that A.A. works great and is the only thing that works. The A.A. publicity machine has done a very good job of hoodwinking millions of people. They have been spreading their propaganda for 70 years now, and publicity is undoubtedly A.A.'s strongest suit. In fact, Madison Avenue and politicians could learn a few things from A.A.

But "intelligent atheists" who believe that the A.A. program works to induce "spiritual experiences" are not "intelligent atheists"; they are superstitious believers in black magic. Sorry if that hurts their feelings, but that's how I see it.

If you are a real atheist, then you believe in psychological processes. You don't believe in the Fairy Godmother zapping you with her wand and making everything okay. You don't believe in "spiritual experiences" where God or some angel or saint gives you a big revelation.

And those people who claim that A.A. induces dramatic emotional experiences that make people quit drinking forever are deluded. No such thing happens. Bill Wilson first claimed that it did — that the 12 Steps induced great "religious experiences", or "spiritual experiences" — but then, when large numbers of A.A. members complained that they weren't getting the big Spiritual Experience from working the Steps, Bill reversed his rap and said that you don't get any such experience.

After many such complaints, Bill Wilson added an appendix to the second and third editions of the Big Book, "Appendix II, Spiritual Experience", where he explained that members should not expect "sudden and spectacular upheavals" or expect to "acquire an immediate and overwhelming 'God-consciousness' followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook", like Bill Wilson said that he had gotten (from hallucinogenic drugs) and had written about at length in the front section of the Big Book. No, Bill said, members should not really expect any such sudden or dramatic results; rather, they should just settle for small, slow, gradual changes, like an "educational experience", or like the hang-over slowly clearing, and then call that a "spiritual experience."

So the wonderful dramatic "electric" experiences that Bill Wilson wrote about in the front of the Big Book aren't going to happen for you, after all:

The terms "spiritual experience" and "spiritual awakening" are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
      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 our experiences are what the psychologist William James [in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience] calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 569.

So forget about the big "spiritual revelation". Even Bill Wilson said that it isn't going to happen.

There is much more about the "big spiritual experience — no spiritual experience" bait-and-switch trick here:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-bait-switch.html#spir_experience

Now then, having dispensed with the fantasies and the delusions, let's get real.

What will really help your fiancé?

  1. Well, for starters, the facts. The truth. True information. Telling people myths like that they have a disease over which they are powerless doesn't help them at all. And to say that God and A.A. are the only way is just one more church playing games of spiritual one-upmanship.

  2. Then there is the page where I answered the question, How did you get to where you are? I wrote that when I had nearly 10 years of sobriety.

  3. You mentioned alternative recovery organizations, and how there aren't any in your town. Ah, but there are online meetings on the Internet. You can at least get some sane fellowship and counseling there. Here is the list:
    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-alt_list.html.

  4. You mentioned the Rational Recovery book. There are more good books. Here is the Top 10 Reading List. There are books from SMART and SOS also available.

    I have a new candidate for that list. I haven't read it yet, but it is by Stanton Peele and Ilse Thompson, so I'm sure that it is good:
    Stanton Peele and Ilse Thompson: Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict with The PERFECT Program
    available: http://amzn.com/0738216755

  5. Now I'm thinking about some Cost-Benefit Analysis, which is something that SMART teaches. That is where you compare the costs and profits (or benefits, or risks) of any planned or projected course of action. Like, "How much fun do I get out of drinking, and what does it cost me?" And, "What will the costs of continued drinking be in the future?" That last one is the big one. If he is experiencing difficulties now, let me tell you that they are nothing compared to what is coming later. I lost everything and nearly died. Drinking wasn't worth it, and I wish I had quit 20 or 30 years sooner.

    To do a Cost-Benefit Analysis, write down lists of all of the plusses and minuses of drinking or quitting that you can think of:

     

    Positives

    Negatives

    Drinking

    Fun
    Wild and Crazy Parties
    Feels great
    Tastes good
    Social scene
    Relaxed and confident
    It's a pain-killer
    Better dancer
    Smoozing with customers is profitable.
    Doing pitchers with the guys after work is a male-bonding ritual.
    You find more brotherly love in a bar on Saturday night than you do in a church on Sunday morning.
    There is just nothing in this world like the warm glow of fine, smooth, 80-year-old sipping whiskey going down the back of your throat.
    Drunk driving arrests aren't fun
    Hung over morning afters
    Got really sick after years of doing it.
    Takes your $
    Loose jobs
    Get behind on the rent and bills
    Some chicks think drunk guys stink
    Blackouts
    Short-term memory loss
    Burned-out brain cells
    Health problems. Eventually, very serious health problems.
    Get into fights
    Big legal problems — jail, prison
    Nothing ever seems to work out right when I'm drinking.
    Worried that it's going to kill me one of these days.
    Can't seem to just have a few when I want to — I end up drinking more than I intended.
    Things seem to be getting worse.
    Alcohol is actually a rotten drug — it's really just a poisonous chemical.
    Finally, alcohol is likely to kill you.

    Sobriety / Not Drinking

    No DWI's.
    No jail.
    Saves $
    Not sick the morning after.
    No headache the morning after.
    Healthier
    Don't loose jobs so fast.
    Not so painful to get up in the morning.
    Wife doesn't bitch at me so much.
    Not so worried about dying.
    I get more stuff done.
    Feel proud of my health and clear head.
    There is more to my life than just drinking.
    Increased pride and self-respect for winning the battle against the bottle.
    Brain works better, and more clarity.
    Don't loose critical mental functions.
    Get to live longer.
    Boring
    No wild parties
    No getting whacked out at concerts
    No drunken orgies
    Lonely
    The guys might think I'm not cool.
    No ecstatic feelings
    Feel insecure in social situations.
    Cravings
    I miss getting high

    Notice that the benefits of drinking are all short-term, while the costs and damage are long-term, even permanent. And the costs of not drinking are mostly short-term, while the benefits are long-term, like for the rest of your life.

    Now that isn't what the Lizard Brain will tell an alcoholic. He will cry that, if you quit drinking, you will never have any fun for the rest of your life. That brings up the next item:

  6. Have him read "The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster" a couple of times, and then, occasionally, read out loud the list of Famous Last Words at the end of the file.
    "I can do just one now. One won't hurt anything. It isn't like one will kill me. It's been so long since I've had one, I've got it under control now. I can handle it. Just one for Old Times' Sake..."

  7. Check out Naltrexone and the Sinclair Method.
    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#naltrexone
    It's a treatment that uses Naltrexone to reduce the pleasant effects of alcohol. It makes people slowly loose interest in alcohol (or heroin, or some other drugs) because it isn't getting them high any more. I'm hearing a lot of good things about Naltrexone lately. It's worth suggesting as a workable solution to keep things from getting out of hand.

    Please note that Naltrexone is much better than things like Anabuse, which basically works like a poison. Anabuse just makes you so sick when you drink alcohol that you don't want to drink again. But your Lizard Brain is smart enough to figure out that if you don't take Anabuse, then you won't get sick when you drink. So you "forget" to take the Anabuse. On the other hand, Naltrexone does not poison you; it works by just taking the fun out of getting high. (It inhibits the brain chemicals that produce the ecstatic rush.) It makes drinking boring. And I have gotten letters where people said that their Lizard Brain wasn't making them "forget" to take Naltrexone.

  8. Your fiancé should consider whether he can do moderate drinking. It is possible for some, impossible for others.

    I learned the hard way that I am one of those people who cannot drink moderately. I can either totally abstain from alcohol, or I can drink myself to death, but I cannot drink moderately. But that is my personal problem; not everybody else's. Some other people can learn to moderate.

    Way back in 1976, the famous think-tank the Rand Corporation did a study of alcoholics in recovery, and found that the successful alcoholics who had stopped drinking self-destructively were evenly split between total abstinence and tapering off into moderate, controlled, drinking. It was about a 50-50 split.

    Our individual problem is to figure out which half we are in. "Can I drink moderately and keep it under control?"

    Dr. Kenneth Blum, the doctor who discovered the first gene for alcoholism (of 2 found), commented that he thought that genetic alcoholics cannot drink moderately. That makes sense to me. My father drank himself to death. His mother was an alcoholic. I don't know where it came from before that, but alcoholism definitely runs in my family and I discovered the hard way, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that total abstinence is the only thing that works for me.

    So your fiancé should check those facts and figure out which half he is in. What he must do next is determined by that.

  9. Then I would recommend a little self-analysis. Please do not get into self-criticism or self-flagellation — that is counter-productive, and not helpful at all. I'm talking about just looking at the facts and getting some understanding of the situation. Like was he an abused child? Physically abused, or mentally abused, or sexually abused, or whatever? That leaves permanent scars that cause lots of problems in later life. See the article on the shrivelled-up Cerebellar Vermises that sexually abused children have. That makes them prone to drug addiction and alcohol abuse in later life.

    Does he have feelings of inadequacy? Did his parents teach him that he wasn't good enough? Was his father impossible to please? Was his mother cold and distant? Was he the victim of physical violence? Does he suffer from PTSD? Does he have any condition that a doctor should look at? Things like that can leave people feeling just out-of-sorts and not quite right in later life. And they often turn to drugs or alcohol to adjust how they feel.

    So we have the question of why he feels the need to adjust his feelings with alcohol.

    Understanding such things will not instantly cure them, but it can help to deal with them.

  10. I just mentioned a doctor above. Seeing a doctor can't hurt, and can rule out a lot of conditions. Besides, you have to see a doctor anyway to get Naltrexone.

Have a good day now, and good luck. And don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions. Or just want to talk.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     Life is not living, but living in health.
**        ==  Martial, (Full name, Marcus Valarius Martialis, A.D. 42?—?102),
**            Latin epigramist born in Spain, Epigrams tr. Walter C. A. Ker 





April 1, 2014, Tuesday, Forest Grove:

Forest Grove street scene
Forest Grove street scene
Spring has sprung, and all of the trees and bushes are in bloom, and Dafodils and Tulips are up.

Tree in bloom
Tree in Bloom

Tree Trunk with Lichen
Tree Trunk with Lichen

Bush in Bloom
Bush in Bloom

[More bird photos below, here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters396.html#ChickenStu ]

Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2014 17:51:00 +0000 (04/04/2014 10:51:00 AM)     (answered 10 April 2014)
From: ChickenStu
Subject: A Letter From England

Hi Orange

I was a member of AA for a little less than four years. Had sponsors, sponsored people, worked the program. I was in a bit of a bad way when I went in with 6 days sobriety under my belt. I'll have four years sobriety in May.

I got my life back together and credited AA with everything. In the last fortnight or so I found out that two good friends of mine had left. I was incredulous at first — believing like all AA people would that them picking up the bottle and dying was inevitable. But I did what AA people generally don't do. Rather than "Detaching with love" I asked them why...

I was directed to the Orange Papers and eventually found this website. I realized that it was ME who got ME sober by putting the bottle down. I also realized how the 12 steps actually degrade people and make them feel worthless.

Did you know that the GSO in UK have £2 Million hidden in an offshore account? It should only cost a million a year to run, yet they have the two million slush fund which is hidden away, being sat on whilst some meetings are going bust?

One of those people who left told me that her sponsor had told her to quit anti-depressants even though they were prescribed by a Doctor for a very real condition completely independent of alcoholism. Her sponsor told her that she wouldn't be depressed if she was working the program properly.

I then realized that I'd been advising people to "not let the God word scare them" or tried to avoid it altogether until a later stage. I'd been telling them to use the rooms as the higher power and think of the word GOD as an acronym for "Group Of Drunks". Completely blindly without realizing the hidden (even from me!) occult message in my words. As someone who calls themselves a Christian I should have seen the problem here but I didn't. I was completely brainwashed.

It's Friday now. I got out of AA on Tuesday. Telling my sponsor was heartbreaking as was breaking it to my sponsees. One person in AA who I was friends with keeps harassing me telling me "I'm constitutionally incapable of being honest with myself" and the usual big book jargon.

I've been a fool. I went in there looking for help and was beaten down into thinking I was worthless so I could be controlled — under fear of certain death if I didn't do as I was told. And you know what? I BELIEVED IT.

I won't lie. The thought of drinking again does scare me. I don't want to do it. I've been very emotional this last couple of days but have been told that my brain is "de-programming itself" and this is why.

Basically I need help. I feel kind of alone and scared. I'm worried about Jesus The Lord And Our Savior not forgiving me for praying to the charlatan deity that AA had me subscribe too for the last four years. I feel violated and like a total fool.

These are strange times for me.

The hypocrisy is making me very angry. That person who's been texting me who I told you about earlier... he tried to make out the other two people who left with me have badmouthed me behind my back! One of those people is being blamed for it all. He also told me the AA is like the mafia in that "I'll die if I leave".

Yep. He really said that.

I'm really angry right now and am trying to keep in check. I feel violated. I know that revenge is a dangerous desire to succumb to — yet all I want to do is lash out at those who've fed me this bullshit for the last four years.

I'm a big fan of www.expaa.org (an abbreviated version of this letter I posted in the forums) and I like their style.

Like I said in my four years of membership — I did the steps. I did service. I experienced it from every different angle. I know it. I know how it operates and I know a lot of it's secrets. I was a closed mouthed friend. I was privy to a LOT of information.

Now I'm free of AA I'm going through a very transitional phase. However, I'm going to turn the anger into something productive. With what I know — I can be a very dangerous enemy to AA. They won't be able to fob me off or ignore me. I'm about to become a real problem for them. "John Barleycorn" ain't got shit on me.

I am the enemy already. Because I chose not to believe in 12 stupid steps. Instead I chose to believe in the human spirit. Good over evil. I am ALREADY the thing they fear. I'm going to carry THAT message to alcoholics. I will abide in that state.

If there is anything we can do for you in the UK in regards to AA let me know. You have a voice over here now.

ChickenStu

Hello ChickenStu,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations for breaking free. Free of both alcohol and the A.A. cult. That is good.

Please don't be too hard on yourself. You repeatedly said that you felt really stupid for having gotten suckered into the A.A. cult and believing the dogma. You weren't all that stupid. It was never a fair fight. A.A. did not even invent its conversion and indoctrination and brainwashing techniques, it reused the ones that it learned from Dr. Frank Buchman's "Oxford Group" cult religion. And he in turn did not invent them either. He reused conversion techniques and mind games and false theology that he learned from Prof. Henry B. Wright of Yale University, who in turn reused what he learned from Robert E. Speer, who got it from Henry Drummond. And who knows where he got it from.

Cult religion is a very old mind game that has been going on for thousands of years. When I was researching cults for the Orange Papers, I even found books that described cults in ancient Greece, more than two thousand years ago. Cult religion is a very, very old game.

Each new cult just builds on what came before. And they usually reuse the propaganda techniques and mind games that have worked for previous cults, and just make a few new improvements. You were just a babe in the woods, with no idea of what was coming at you. They had the advantage of centuries of experience in fooling people. You hardly had a chance.

I see that you have already experienced several other standard cult characteristics, like 85. Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider. Yes, now that you are not one of the true believers in the cult, you are the enemy, and presumably very evil, and you will lead the young into perdition, etc., etc. (And the answer to that cult test question for A.A. is here.)

And yes, they are really bad about telling people not to take their medications. They have killed a lot of people that way. They are as crazy as the Christian Scientists when it comes to imagining that they can heal any disease with prayer and their favorite cult religion. I have a whole list of such A.A. horror stories here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories. And I'm adding yours to the list.

Using a Group Of Drunks as your "god" is of course grossly heretical. I have a file of those things too: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

And yes, they insist that you will die drunk in a gutter if you leave A.A. That is also a standard cult characteristic. Several of them, even:

(You can flip back and forth between the Cult Test questions and answers by clicking on the number of the question or answer in the cult test).

I understand how the thought of drinking again is scary. Fortunately, it isn't like they make out. They keep telling you that you are "powerless" over temptation, and without them controlling your behavior, you will instantly relapse and die drunk in a gutter. There is no truth to that. You are not powerless, and they cannot control your behavior and keep you from drinking. You were always doing it yourself and keeping yourself sober.

My favorite slogan there is simply,

"Just don't take that first drink, not ever, no matter what."

I live by that one rule, and it works for me.

You might also like this letter about that. It was written just before I had my 10th anniversary off of alcohol: How did you get to where you are?

You asked if there is anything that you can do to help out. Yes, there sure is: Keep on telling the truth. Spread it as far and wide as you can. Tell your story whereever you can — Internet forums, letters to the editor of newspapers, call-in talk shows, your local politicians, officials who manage recovery programs — especially the politicians and bureaucrats who fund recovery programs. The A.A. monster feeds off of recovery money. They get it both from the government and from "rehab facilities" who sell 12-Step "recovery".

You noticed that the British A.A. organization has a few million pounds stashed away. The American A.A. headquarters also has several million dollars stashed, and they lie and steal and commit perjury and fraud to get more. Telling the truth about them and taking away their money is the surest way to kill the monster.

I will leave you with this quote. I found it while searching for a signature to end this letter:

Repairing the Soul

        When a person finally breaks from a cultic relationship, it is the soul, then, that is most in need of repair. When you discover one day that your guru is a fraud, that the "miracles" are no more than magic tricks, that the group's victories and accomplishments are fabrications of an internal public relations system, that your holy teacher is breaking his avowed celibacy with every young disciple, that the group's connections to people of import are nonexistent. When awarenesses such as these come upon you, you are faced with what many have called a "spiritual rape." Whether your cultic experience was religious or secular, the realization of such enormous loss and betrayal tends to cause considerable pain. As a result, afterwards, many people are prone to reject all forms of belief. In some cases, it may take years to overcome the disillusionment, and learn not only to trust in your inner self but also to believe in something again.

        There is also a related difficulty: that persistent nagging feeling that you have made a mistake in leaving the groups — perhaps the teachings are true and the leader is right; perhaps it is you who failed.

== Janja Lalich

(Janja Lalich has worked on a bunch of anti-cult books, including collaborating with Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer on several books.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**    Falsehood and fraud grow up in every soil, the product of all climes.
**        ==  Joseph Addison (1672—1719), English essayist, critic, poet





[The previous letter from George_R is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters396.html#George_R ]

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2014 07:04:19 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 12 April 2014)
From: George R.
Subject: Critique of Alcoholics Anonymous IV

Hello Again Orange,

Before getting on with my response to the Twelve Traditions of AA Interpreted, congratulations for staying sober for what? Three years? Whatever the length of time I have no end of admiration for anyone enjoying success in staying sober.

Hello again, George,

Thanks for the response. Actually, I've been sober for 13 years now, but who's counting? :-)

I would cite an AA slogan that seems to have faded away over the years: "If it's working, don't fix it." I have to admit that this part of your book is the one with which I have the least disagreement, and as always my intent is not to criticize, but to simply offer and alternative point of view based on my beliefs. In the meetings I attend there is little mention of the traditions, and I personally have given them little attention.They are touted as twelve steps for groups and in my experience there aren't many groups who honor them. In all events the traditions are subject to various interpretations, depending on the group.

Don't they read the 12 Traditions out loud at the start of every meeting? Those are supposed to be the guiding principles behind A.A. But I agree that they seem to be largely ignored, and the A.A. headquarters routinely violates them.

The first tradition suggests to most alcoholics that there is safety in numbers; the unity referring to members who may be contacted for help during difficult times." When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help I want the hand of AA to be there." It's all we have to offer and though there may be many things wrong with the program, that doesn't mean there is nothing right with it. I do my best, but there is no one in AA or anywhere else that could ever accuse me of conforming. As I mentioned in the last note I am never invited back to speak or do the steps at any group precisely that I say things that other members do not want to hear: it's called the truth. In that way I must be divisive and that is neither good nor bad; gossiping, badmouthing others, or being generally disruptive is certain;y divisive, but so is excizing a malignant tumor. Like the fellow at the Sunday morning meetings who kept insisting on written tenth steps. He sure didn't want to hear what I had to say, but everyone else in attendance did.

If I may suggest another interpretation of the first tradition and its relationship between "our common welfare" and "individual welfare." Many cities have Crime Watch Neighborhoods where residents are on the lookout for criminal activity; the neighborhood is safer and so are the residents.

The above illustration reflects only one instance of many that describe my successful recovery in AA and the fact that I did not blindly follow the program like a mindless robot. I have often stood alone against the religious dogma that is too often introduced into meeting; that this is a program of action, not prayer; that the twelve steps are a kit of tools laid at our feet, not doled out in any particular order as some gurus maintain; that patience and tolerance are half measures, patience waiting for something to happen that I feel must happen, or tt receive something I think I need, or tolerance — putting up with something I don't like while waiting for to stop or go away. Accepting the situation and moving on is the key to peace of mind. So, yes there are problems with the AA program but the difference lies in challenging these false and destructive beliefs and overcoming the fear and confusion. Something I don't hear any longer in meetings: "If it's working don't fix it" and the program should be worked "cafeteria style": take what you want and leave the rest — for later or forever.

Your Friend,
George

Hello George,

Thanks for the letter.

The problem I have with Tradition 1 is that it is a lie.

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

[Long Form]
Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of a great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

A.A. does not have to live in order for us to live. And I won't die if A.A. dies. A.A. does not work. A.A. does not sober up alcoholics or increase the sobriety rate of alcoholics. In fact, A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics who go to A.A.

Then what is the "A.A. unity" that we must supposedly maintain? There isn't any. That is just an appeal to not dissent — just conform and don't make waves. The angry A.A. members think that you are violating Tradition 1. They hate you for telling the truth and invalidating some of their cherished superstitions and false slogans, so you are shunned and ostracized when you tell the truth, I have received a lot of letters from people who say that they were abandoned by A.A. as soon as they took a drink. Or as soon as they stopped going to meetings, or said that they didn't believe the bull any more. There just isn't any "A.A. unity" to protect.

I'm glad that you don't blindly follow the A.A. commandments like a robot. Now if you would just realize how harmful the Steps really are.


Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2014 08:19:30 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 12 April 2014)
From: George R.
Subject: Critique of Alcoholics Anonymous V

Hello Again Orange!

The chapter on "snake oil" reminded me of an attitude I demonstrated while yet an untreated alcoholic which I call the "Shoot Anything that Moves" approach. Your breathtaking sweep sweep of 12 step programs is reminiscent of the First Crusade when the "soldiers of Christ" walked into a mosque filled with "heathens" and slaughtered the whole assembly: men, women, and children. Then they sloshed around in blood knee deep as they looted the place. You may not agree with the analogy and you have every right to disagree, but I have an equal right to disagree with your philosophy — without bitterness and rancor. And, honestly, I have to agree with some of the points you make.

As a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and an atheist, I had a particularly difficult path to follow in my quest for recovery. But when I finally surrendered (to win) it was in the throes of such desperation that I was willing to try anything to stop the pain and suffering. Then I discovered something very different about myself, a new attitude that I had never thought possible. Two examples;

About twenty years ago I had a gum boil that grew to the size of a small grape and hurt like hell. I went to a local clinic and in discussing the matter with the doctor, he recommended several options all of which I refused, until he said what I wanted him to say. One of my character defects has been manipulation of other in order to get them to do what I wanted them to, and here I was doing the same again. The doc said, "I can poke the boil with a needle and draw out the poison." My response was "Yes, do it!" Then he told me that he couldn't give me an anesthetic, to which I replied, "I don't care! It hurts so much that a little more pain doesn't matter as long as it solves the problem."

That was exactly how I felt on March 1, 1981 when I called AA for help. And Step Two changed from "came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity" to "something had better do something because I've run completely out of options." And then I discovered a surprising irony.

I'm an electrical engineer, class of '70, with experience in mechanical engineering as well. Lots of Math. In those days the Slide-rule was the tool used to crunch numbers, do trigonometry, and use logarithms. I didn't believe it. How could two scales connected in a frame, with a moving scale between them, and a cursor be used to solve all kinds of math problems? It didn't make sense to me- it was just too simple! So I set about trying to disprove the idea by learning how to multiply and divide. I tried everything and the right answers kept coming up. Oh, I did have the occasional Gotcha! moment when I though I'd found a mistake, but as I wanted a confirmed "kill" I went back over the problem -only to discover that the error was mine. I then progresses to trigonometry,multiplication and division using logarithms, and every time the "slip stick" got it right. The point is,like the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, the more I tried to defeat it the more I learned about it. Got so proficient with the slide rule that it became a valuable tool with which I could sail through math problems like a hot knife through butter.

Applying the lessons described above to the AA program I learned about it by trying to disprove it, and at each turn a little more denial was chipped away. Did I mention that I don't get invited back to a group to speak or do the steps? Maybe it's because my model in recovery isn't Bill W or Bob Smith. No, its a '40s era bank robber Willy "the actor" Sutton. Willy, beside being an accomplished thief was also a great escape (from prison) artist. In one instance it's said that he escaped through a hole in his cell floor, that he had cut with a spoon! It certainly too along time: scrape, scrape, chip, chip. That's what my path to recovery was like and I was eventually able to break out of my own prison. That's my story. So you don't agree with me, well neither do a lot of AA members; but it works for me.

Your Friend,
George

PS: I doubt that you will, but if you post this correspondence it might lead to some interesting discussion.

Hello again, George,

I try to post all of the letters that I receive, with only a few rare exceptions, like where the writer is obviously very mentally ill and doesn't make any sense, or it would hurt someone to post the letter. Or, the big exception is, people begin the letter by saying, "PLEASE DO NOT POST THIS LETTER."

(And people, please, if you don't want the letter posted, please begin the letter with those words. I have often gone all the way through a letter, formatting it and answering it, only to get to the bottom where someone asks, "Please don't post this letter." It will save me a lot of work in preparing letters for publication, and then throwing away the work.)

Now then, about your electrical example: This occurred to me as I was reading it: Joe's computer wasn't working right. So Joe thought, "Sulphuric acid makes car batteries work great. I don't see any sulphuric acid in this computer. That must be what is wrong with it, so I'll pour sulphuric acid all over the motherboard, and then the computer will work right."

Applying Dr. Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination and brainwashing procedures to the problem of alcohol abuse is the same kind of ham-handed incompetent treatment of what is really a mental problem.

The fact that you were puzzled by how you can add logarithms to multiply, and subtract logarithms to divide, doesn't mean that A.A. practices work right. That is a logical fallacy. There is no connection between the two things other than the fact that in the beginning, you didn't understand how either of them work.

The first example was just because you didn't know about logarithms and didn't understand the mathematical concept.

But in the second example, you were right. You didn't see how the Steps could work because they don't work. That is, they don't work to sober up alcoholics. They do work to convert newcomers into true believers in a cult religion.

Please read The Twelve Steps Interpreted for much more about that.

The mental process that you are describing in "coming to believe" that the 12 Steps work right is properly called religious conversion and brainwashing.

Also see Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's description of Chinese Communist brainwashing for the stunning similarity between the 12 Step program and Communist brainwashing.

They yammered the cult dogma and slogans and chichés at you until you started to believe them. They slowly wore you down, just like Willie slowly digging a hole with a spoon. You eventually suffered a mental breakdown and stopped your critical thinking and "accepted" the belief that the Steps work great. But the Steps still don't work.

A.A. doesn't work for you — they don't even want to hear you tell the truth. There is no brotherhood or fellowship when you tell the truth. What works for you is your refusal to drink any more alcohol. Congratulations.

And that is what works for me too.

Good luck, and have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
*
**     The way I see it, the real enemy is contagious mental illness.
**     The problem is, there are many such illnesses, not just one,
**     and many of them masquerade as respectable causes or beliefs,
**     like devout religions, or "conservative" political causes, or
**     "national policies", or "recovery methods", or "freedom fighters",
**     or "patriotic defenders of the homeland". And the people who are
**     victims of these contagious mental illnesses are all convinced
**     that they know the truth and they have all of the answers, and
**     anyone who disagrees with them is wrong, or insane, or evil or
**     treasonous or heretical. And they recruit, and try to convert
**     others to their insane beliefs. They attempt to use every
**     possible means to make converts, including making their beliefs
**     the law of the land, and forcing people to become their recruits.

[The next letter from George_R is here.]

UPDATE: Incidentally, Dr. Frank Buchman went to China as a missionary in 1915, 1916, and 1918, and taught his religious conversion methods to the Chinese. The local Communists learned the practices, and turned them into the infamous Red Chinese brainwashing technology that they used on American and British prisoners of war during the Korean War. Look here for Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's description of that brainwashing program:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cultinfo.html#Liftons8
You will see that the A.A. 12 Steps do all eight of Dr. Lifton's "Eight Criteria of Thought Reform".





March 21, 2014, Friday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Male Varied Thrush
Male Varied Thrush

I finally got some decent shots of this bird. And identified it. I've been wondering what it is for a couple of years. I first photographed one back on Valentine's Day of 2012, but only got terrible foggy shots then. Now I can clearly see what it is — a male Varied Thrush. They live in the northwest, in a narrow strip within a few hundred miles of the coast. They are about the size of a Robin, and behave like Robins, because they are related to Robins.

Male Varied Thrush
Male Varied Thrush

Male Varied Thrush
Male Varied Thrush

Immature Male Pine Grosbeak
Immature Male Pine Grosbeak
This little guy is maturing. The younger males, which I photographed a while back, have only a red head, and a brown body. The mature males have a body that is entirely red. You can see how this guy is turning red. You can see red patches on his breast and on the top of his tail stub. Eventually, only his wings and tail will be non-red.

Scraggly-Tail the Squirrel
Scraggly-Tail the Squirrel
I haven't seen his pregnant mate in a week. Perhaps she is busy giving birth, or caring for her babies.

[The story of the birds continues here.]





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