Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXIV
by A. Orange



Date: Thu, June 10, 2010 9:42 pm     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Groovecat"
Subject: 13 step wink-wink

hi orange---please don't post my email addy.

look what i found, you may have seen it already. i will copy and paste it in the body of the email, i know some folks don't like to open links from unkown persons.

pretty sad, huh? the good ole boys club...this attitude and worse still prevails today.

don't know if/how you can use this for your site.

here's the link

http://silkworth.net/magazine_newspaper/confidential_sep_1954.html

regards,

groovecat


American Mercury, October 1954


Alcoholics Anonymous
No Booze But Plenty of Babes

Some AA’s go to meetings to hear how to stay dry. The others — well,
many have discovered their club is a faster spot for a pick-up than the
best saloon in town!


An Ozarks mountain boy who had a hankering to write before he ever saw a typewriter, Homer H. Shannon graduated from the University of Missouri and set out on a newspapering, free-lance writing career interrupted only by service in both World Wars. Like many another excellent scribes before and after him, Shannon has occasionally looked at life too heartily from the bottom of a highball glass and recently gave AA a whirl, as a corrective measure. His disillusionment is told with wry (or rye) humor in this penetrating report.

by HOMER H. SHANNON

The twentieth Anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous — most remarkable hoax of this generation — will be celebrated next December. Tens of thousands of cups of coffee will be downed by the membership of this noble order of sometime drunks in honor of the event. And, no doubt, a considerable number of the brothers and sisters will be so inspired by the historic occasion that they’ll take off on a prolonged bender.

The AA hoax not only has proved its durability, but it is especially notable for the aura of sanctity it has assumed in the minds of do-gooders and otherwise level-headed citizens who have swallowed — with or without chaser — its brand of fairy tale. These include ministers of the gospel, social workers, municipal judges, personnel executives of great industrial enterprises and even a scattering of medical and scientific gents who know the bottle babies by reputation.

Love to Be Humbugged — by a Pious Fraud

Such good souls love to be humbugged — as long as it’s a good, clean, pious fraud. They’d probably be horrified to know that many an AA still drops around to the club house for the sole purpose of picking up a date, rather than to boost his new-found and oh-so-temporary enmity towards John Barleycorn. It’s true, though. I can give you some proof in my own experiences and a whole lot more from what other AA’s have told me.

But we’ll get into that later. First, let’s take a look at AA’s proud claim that it has accumulated a membership of 150,000 around the world. At least that’s the figure put out by the zealous boys who run the show. No one has ever seen the membership books because there just aren’t any. It’s Alcoholics Anonymous remember.

But even if there are 150,000 who stay sober long enough to be called members, it’s scarcely a drop in the family beer bucket. In this country alone there are about 4,000,000 alcoholics, periodics and problem drinkers. They are all fit subjects for AA, even though a real AA makes it important that he is an alcoholic, not a namby-pamby second or third-grade addict.

The AA version of the long series of cults dedicated to the salvation of over-eager tipplers was the brainchild of a fellow named Bill Wilson. It isn’t quite cricket to use last names of alkys who affiliate. But Bill has been making speeches around the country for so many years, it can’t be much of a secret his last name is Wilson. With that exception, I’ll play the game according to rule and won’t mention out loud the names of any other members I know. From here on it’s Bill and Jane and Harry and Lucy.

While I was a member, I toured meetings of half a dozen groups scattered about the various boroughs of New York. That’s regulation. It affords a greater variety of horror stories than if you stuck to home base. At every meeting three or four speakers — male and female — tell in sordid detail how low they had sunk while clutching the bottle and how high they’ve climbed since they relaxed their grip on the foul-smelling thing.

By visiting various groups, you not only get to hear more and better stories, you also meet more and sometimes better people of both sexes. If you are a man, it’s especially nice to meet better people of the female sex, since your wife probably isn’t a member of AA.

My home group was in Brooklyn, a few blocks from where I live. Naturally, I know that gang a lot better than the others. The chapter boasts a club house over a garage — open every evening, plus afternoons on Saturday and Sunday. At one end of the long room is a “bar” where you can buy a good cup of coffee for a dime. Heavy drinkers are given to plenty of coffee when they are off the hard stuff, in or out of AA. There are comfortable chairs and divans scattered about. Also, old magazines and books. Even a radio, which is rarely turned on because it would mess up conversation which, next to romance, is the main business of the place.

Up close to the coffee bar are a couple of tables which we called “Lovers’ Nook.” Romance was all over the place, but that was where it really got organized. At ten cents a throw you could buy drink after drink and not be hurt too badly.

Lady Lushes May Get Extra-special Treatment

It must have gotten around the neighborhood that our romance corner was pretty good. A middle-aged gal, slightly off her rocker, began occupying a chair there every evening for several weeks. She had plenty of company until a male regular she had turned down got around to asking her if she were an alky. She didn’t quite understand the significance of the question but pleaded not guilty. In a firm sort of way she was invited not to come back.

Genuine lady lushes get all the loving treatment accorded the males, however, and sometimes extra-special care if they’re good looking. Until recent years, it was commonly believed among non-members that AA was strictly for the boys and the general public still has a childish opinion that the only females who ever join a swearing-off society are wrinkled old trollops who spent their youth in second rate brothels.

I wish all those who have fallen for this idea could attend one of the many big parties tossed by the Manhattan-Uptown branch of AA. The first time I went, I met two girls who had been in the chorus of New York’s famed Copacabana line only the year before. Later that same evening, I was introduced to a pair of top-flight models whose beautiful faces had graced the covers of leading fashion magazines.

There were some 250 persons at the party and the men outnumbered the girls slightly — a ratio of three-to-two, I’d say — but there was plenty of femininity there, much of it under 30, and many of the samples would have had to be very potted, indeed, for the average man to pass up.

One thing encouraging about a female AA is that it doesn’t take much coaxing to make a date and then get even better acquainted.

Maybe they figure that after seeing so many spotted snakes and pink elephants they have nothing left to fear.

Have to Watch Lady AA’s

AA’s are like call girls in one way. As soon as two get together, one or the other always asks, “How did you ever get into this racket?” Swapping yarns with reformed binge babies. I discovered there’s a deep maternal instinct in a female AA. If you say you were led down the primrose path by a heartless dame who’s still lapping it up and still torturing other men, you’ve got your new sweetheart hooked. Maybe it makes her mad to think of some other gal who can down a Martini without climbing right into the bottle; I don’t know.

You have to watch them, though. The minute they feel they’re in love, they get a deadly urge to celebrate. First thing you know, neither of you can find yourselves, much less the black-coffee-club where you met. I slipped off the wagon hard a couple of times before I learned not to toast a new romance with anything stronger than 7-Up.

In its most insidious form, this danger looms when you’re “twelfth stepping a brother or sister AA,” as the members call it. The “twelfth step” of the AA credo is:

“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of previous steps, we try to carry the message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

In other words, when the phone rings, and an alky needs a helping hand to get him out of the gutter, it’s your duty to report to the scene of the accident and lend as much moral support as you can muster. All too often, if you answer the fire bell for another man, it means two guys get drunk instead of one.

Gals Sure Had a Good Time

Girls who fall off the AA wagon aren’t supposed to call gentlemen AA’s, nor are they supposed to go to the aid of a plastered renegade, unless they’re accompanied by another woman. I know hundreds of cases where it didn’t work that way in actual practice, though I can tell of one case where a fun-loving blonde obeyed the rules to the letter. She had a buddy — Sue and Rita were their names — in the Downtown-Manhattan branch. If either got an emergency call, they’d team up on the rescue. They didn’t exactly save many guys, but they sure had a hell of a good time and answered more alarm bells than a Bellevue Hospital ambulance.

I’m not a member of AA anymore and I don’t drink. Sometimes it’s hard for me to decide which I miss most-those binges before I joined or all those cozy evenings afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, though. There’s a fair sprinkling of reformed souses who manage to stay dry for years, once they make contact with AA. Of course, I’ve always suspected they just got tired of falling down subway stairs and, maybe, sick and tired of waking up every morning sick and tired.

I did. Anybody want a cup of coffee?

 

(Source: Confidential, September 1954)


Hi Groovecat,

Thanks for a great article. I had not seen that one yet. (There is just so much to read and explore.)

It is interesting that by 1954 people were already recognizing A.A. as a popular hoax and a pious fraud.

I like the way the author just nailed it:

Of course, I’ve always suspected they just got tired of falling down subway stairs and, maybe, sick and tired of waking up every morning sick and tired.

That's what did it for me. Just too many sick morning-afters.

The one part of that story that I found both amusing and unexpected was kicking the lady out for not being an alcoholic. I guess she must not have been very good looking, in addition to being "slightly off her rocker". I can understand the rejected fellow "having a resentment" and wanting her gone, but I don't understand why some other guy didn't take her out and get her drunk, thus demonstrating that she was "a real alcoholic" after all. And then, when she said that she was not an alcoholic, that just proved that she was an alcoholic who was in denial. Welcome to the club, babe.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Amoebas at the start
**     were not complex —
**     They tore themselves apart
**     and started sex.
**        ==  Arthur Guiterman, Sex





May 18, 2009, Monday: Day 18, continued:

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose goslings
This is 7 of the Family of 9.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





Date: Sun, June 13, 2010 5:20 pm     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Randall G."
Subject: AA paper

I am having a tough time reading your papers, coming out of a cult or two after finding new life in an old farm house, I too got indoctrinated into all sorts of junk, but what is the point of your papers, does cutting down anothers success make you any better, are your assumptions any more accurate than anothers, is it OK to be selective and gracious with our speech and written words? I do feel that I know you, I could be just like you, even to the point of using this note to prove it, so I will hope you do well, and that you let AA be what it is; imperfect, yet so very helpful to many millions of people, I being one.

Thank you for your time,

Looking up,

Randall G.

Hello Randall,

I don't know what to think of your letter. You claim to have "come out of" a couple of cults, where you "got indoctrinated into all sorts of junk". And then you ask why I would criticize a cult? If you had really escaped from a cult, you would not ask that question. You would join in the criticism of cults.

And I am not "cutting down anothers success", I am criticizing frauds who do not produce success. A.A. lies about its "success rate". A.A. does not produce success.

You actually want me to be "selective and gracious with our speech and written words" and not tell the truth about lying quacks who are foisting old garbage on sick people who are really suffering?

And then you ask that I "let AA be what it is"...

Come on now, you are really just a Stepper, aren't you? You never escaped from a cult. You drank the koolaid.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A little learning is a dangerous thing.
**     Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.
**       ==  Pope, Essay on Criticism, II





Date: Mon, June 14, 2010 6:21 am     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Todd W."
Subject: why?

You have let AA turn you into a stark-raving, obsessed fanatic. Whatever you need to do to vent, but man, I feel for you.

Oh, don't you worry about me, Todd, I'm doing just fine.

You subject line asks, "Why?" Here is why.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     God loves an idle rainbow
**     No less than laboring seas.
**        ==  Ralph Hodgson, A Wood Song





Date: Tue, June 15, 2010 2:12 am     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Sam"
Subject: Your web site

Hello Mr. Orange,

I found I must comment on what I have read on your site. I find it interesting you hide behind a nom-de-plume instead of using your real name. I'll do the same so we can both feel good. Please refer to me as E. Orange.

It is clear you have feelings about AA. I think that is wonderful you have expressed them in such an open manner.

I am drawn in to your descriptive narration. I can see how you have used what you say you have learned about AA. You use the tactics well in your discourse about AA, that you claim that AA has used to convert persons to your understanding of AA.

From what I have read there seems to be something missing in your presentation. Maybe I missed it in your writing, I don't think so. I have not seen anything discussed about what the purpose of the AA program is. After all, if you are going to attack AA as a whole in the manner and fashion that you have done, without discussing the purpose of AA, (not your concept) then you are simply ranting with great passion.

I'll try to help you out here and see if I am able to explain the purpose of AA, the reason it was created in the Book, if you will allow. Please do not get upset at me for my simple observances. I am sure you will find some way to present an argument no matter what I say.

The program of AA, the information in the book, was created so a person like me, who needed to recover from a seemingly hopless disease of mind and body would have some way to do so. This was how those who followed the instructions in the book recovered, unlike yourself.

Please note as history shows life and recovery is a bit different today than before the book was written or during those early years after the book was printed and used by so many to recover.

One must understand who the book was written for. The book was not written for you. I am assuming you are not the type of alcoholic that needed the book from your descriptions of yourself. The type of alcoholic this book was written for is the hopeless varity of alcoholic. The one who was not able to recover by any other means.

You will not find many of this type in large numbers in treatment centers of today. What you will find are huge numbers of people who don't actually want to recover and that are not alcoholic. Those are the same drug addicted or non-alcoholic people who fail to recover in your treatment center.

I submit to you, it is not AA who has failed, it is what AA has become in treatment centers and what is brought out of those places to the real world. That is not AA for the hopeless variety. That is an adulterated version of AA changed by the treatment center.

If the skewed numbers were corrected and only those AA members who were hopeless, like those of the type who recovered when the book was written, the rate of recovery would be very high.

It is the hopeless alcoholic that has recovered from this seemingly hopeless disease that this program was created for. It still works for that hopeless person. It may or may not work for someone who is not hopeless. Someone who has tried everything else and has not recovered is hopeless.

If you were not a hopeless alcoholic that is reason enough that it did not work for you or so many others. I do not believe that many non- hopeless alcoholics will recover in AA. Some will recover, most won't as they are not hopeless.

I believe only those who were hopeless will ever understand what it means to recover from such hopelessness. It's the truth of only someone who has been there will know what it was like.

It is pretty clear that you do not have that understanding. Please note this is my obervance and not an argument. It is based upon your statements about your self. You were apparently able to recover on your own. I also wish to point out in your introduction you are claiming AA treatment being given to you in the treatment center.

What you experienced is not AA. That is treatment-center treatment for recovery. It is in the treatment center where the biggest problem understanding what AA is and is not occurs. Incorrectly taught AA recovery by those in the treatment centers creates problems like yours. A completly misunderstood version of what AA is has left you bitter and angry. It shows in your writing sense of style.

I do understand what you have published is your truth. I have no problem with what you believe. You have every right to do so and to say so, as do I. Remember my concern was having no information presented on who the book was written for.

Without that vital information people might believe the book was written for you and it, (the book) and AA failed you. The truth is your treatment center failed to give you what you needed. AA is not the treatment center and never has been. Your presentation of wrong doings of members of AA is not AA. I should also mention there are no alcoholic members of AA in the NY Central Office of AA that handles any funds that belong to AA. Also, there is no single member of AA that represents AA as a whole and therefore represents no one in AA other than themselves.

Your early feelings began with the treatment centers and how you were treated by an employee of that treatment center. That person does not represent AA in any way. It is the treatment center that is responsible for their employee; not AA. Being forced to attend AA by whomever forced you to go has used your thinking AA is responsible for that also.

I think you are so obsessed with your belief that AA failed you and therefor is so bad, has allowed you to color what you write in the most negative manner that you are able to create. Your understanding of you circumstances has given you reason to place inapproprate blame on AA. You might consider discussing the treatment centers abd not AA. I don't think you will change your thinking. Again this is my observation of your writings.

You color everything about AA in a negative way, even Lois's legal right to dispose of her assets as she wishes, so you can show that even she is evil. Lois is not AA nor is most of what you have written about.

I have read many letters of people telling you that you should write a book. Your ego is the same as Bill Wilson's ego. You really are not so different in your obsession of your AA story.

Please keep in mind I have sent you my observances of you site and you as you present yourself. I hope you do not take anything I have said as an attack on you or what you believe your truth us.

Respectfully,
E. Orange

Hello Sam,

It is actually very simple: Alcoholics Anonymous was created so that Bill Wilson would never have to work a straight job again. And it worked, too, for that.

Other people keep A.A. going now for a variety of different reasons. We have discussed their motives before, here, here, and here.

Your special "hopeless alcoholic" for whom The Book was written is a myth. Bill Wilson manufactured a false stereotype of "the hopeless alcoholic" so that he could be the noble knight in shining armor who saved the poor wretches.


"Bill Wilson, converting a fawning moron."

Bill Wilson posing for a staged "Man On The Bed" publicity photograph, where Bill allegedly performed miraculous faith healings, making the drunks "pick up their beds and walk."
Notice the cross on the wall. This photograph was very carefully staged for best effect.

And of course everybody who quit drinking without joining Bill's religion "wasn't a real alcoholic" after all. That is just dodging the truth that A.A. is unnecessary, and lots of alcoholics quit drinking without A.A.

And, in claiming that we are only supposed to count that special type of alcoholic, you are actually trying to skew the numbers in favor of the non-existent A.A. cure. My numbers are not skewed. I have gone to great lengths to get the numbers correct. A.A., on the other hand, routinely lies with qualifiers and fudges the numbers.

Your attempt to dissociate A.A. from the 12-Step treatment centers is just another dodge. Those centers are A.A.'s recruiting agency, and they are staffed by A.A. members who are doing their "12th-Step Work".

Then you said, "I do understand what you have published is your truth."
No, it is not a matter of "your truth versus my truth". There is only one truth, and A.A. does not tell it.

By the way, the first time I heard somebody arguing with that "my truth versus your truth" propaganda trick, it was a Pentecostal who was trying to insist that my facts were irrelevant because Pentecostals had "their own truth".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
**        ==  Senator Patrick Moynahan


Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 12:26 am     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Sam"
Subject: More on your site

Hello Mr. Orange,

I have found many interesting things

on your web site like be following:

FROM you pages......

The whole idea behind the "recovery movement" is bogus. They hint that they will make you stop drinking, or make you want to stop.

........ Your statement is not true at all. I don't know of any person that has used the Steps to recover hint at any such thing. It is a fact that no one in AA can MAKE anyone stop drinking.

They cannot do either.

...... Yup you are right... AA can't make anyone do anything.

Only you can quit, and only you can want to quit.

.? Right again-- only that person can stop drinking when they choose to. AA clearly says this.

You will quit when you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

? AA says this also. When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you can recover.

You will quit and stay quit when you become totally convinced that you cannot drink even a little bit because it just starts you back down that slippery slope again.

? My oh my, have you worked this AA program? Seems like you have picked something (alot) and left some things. Just read that huge list of stuff to try instead of AA.

I find this so interesting. I am amazed you use information like the above. You say you refute AA entirely yet you use exactly the same words used in AA.

Except reliance on G-d.

I find you have used many words and put in many ideas that are in AA in your web site trying to convience others that they can quit drinking without AA. Yes, it's true they can. AA has never said AA is the only way. You say AA does not work. AA has never said AA is the only way.

Your centerfuge reasoning is nothing more than your version of Spin. You use this Spin to brain wash people to believe your way works.

Personally I hope people will recover on your way, using willpower. As a long term AA member, (you are so proud of your 9.5 years, you say it to convince others that your way is better. After all look at you) I've been sober for over 30 years. (Please, before you say I am brainwashed as you have to so many others, allow me to make my point.)

For you AA did not work. For me it has. I congratulate you for being able to stay sober for as long as you have. I am grateful that I have been sober for over 30 years. Each of us are examples of finding a way that released them from alcohol.

Most of what I read on your site is, sadly, an out right attack on what you disagree with. I don't find fault with disagreeing and posting factual information.

What I find distastful is finding information on your site that is used by members of AA to recover, that you clearly used to recover, then debunk what was used by AA members.

Your wording is very biased and has tones of anger. Sometimes your facts are changed and colored to make you sound right instead of showing the truth of that fact. You add information that you say is AA that is factually not AA. You add confusion and diversion all over your information. Your information to show others what working the steps.

The biggest problem is what you are saying gives no release from the bondage of self that so many people need in order to recover. You offer only recovery without release. Without that needed release no one could ever get rid of the guilt and remorse You will again say I have been brainwashed. I say if you look at every group that believes in a higher power you will find they all talk about the release of the bondage of self in some manner or other. Have they been brainwashed. When you do that you show how selfserving you have become with your long term obsession with AA.

On a side note if you think that AA has harmed you so badly then why not file legal action against AA. I suggest you would find no one to sue. I am certian you will find a way to use that truth to color some thinking to put on your site. I can see it now, AA sued for not working.

AA has in fact helped many many people. AA will only work if the person is willing to go to any length. You agree in what you have written, in what you offer that works, the exact same thing. You discuss at length when the Lizard brain is talking to you, use all your willpower, no matter what to be released from the lizard.

Really, nothing you say or offer isn't or hadent been used to recover in AA. Nothing. My recovery came from using the steps offered in AA as a way out. The only difference between your preferrd way is my reliance on G-d.

I'm not a Christian. I am Jewish. And I have recovered. I do not believe in christian teachings and I have recovered. AA is just one way. Your's is another.

I don't object to you disagreeing with AA. You have the same freedoms of expression as I do. I object to how you take things that you find to change them and color them as to be a plan to hurt people. AA today is not the same as it was so long ago. You are taking information from 75 years ago and saying it is the modern AA to prove AA is bad or evil.

You use the same information for your personal recovery that is in AA. Then you color it to make you right. You have not stated anywhere that literally thousands have and do recover using AA. I am a long term example of long term recovery.

Hopefully, you will not find your Lizard has eaten you for lunch and someone finds you drunk, once again trying to recover. You say you quit drinking. I have not quit drinking. I just don't drink today. You are the same person as you were when you were drinking.

I am not that same person that I was when I was drinking. You tell people what you believe won't work. I tell people to try everything that they can until they find something that works for them. You say AA does not work.

I say it is just a different way than your way.

Debunk all you wish. Remove your anger, bitterness and tainted beliefs from what you write. Go ahead an tell your version of what you see as the truth.

There is a big difference in writing from your heart as truth and writting from anger, discontentment and fear. I already know you will do what you can to discredit my words here. I have no doubt about your doing that. Not to do so would show that there is truth in what I have said here. However, keep in mind by doing so you shoe how fearful you are of anothers opinion of you writting. That is what you represent in everything you try to argue with when you add your comments over what they have written to you about. You have to debunk what they say to show them wrong and you are right. All that shows is how fearful you are of others.

I challange you to post letters as written. If you need to argue with their points do so in the information on your web site in how you present that information. If what you say on your site it true it should be able to stand the test of outside critics on it own merit.

Allow other their opinions about what you write. If what you write is the truth, that will be seen by those that read your site. It will show as the prevelant attitude of support on it's own with out your covering their comments with yours.

Respectfully,

Eric S.

Hello Eric, or Sam,

You are pulling a standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick when you declare that A.A. cannot make people quit drinking. Actually, it's more than one trick:

When A.A. is advertising on radio and TV, A.A. most assuredly does not tell the public that the A.A. program cannot make anyone quit drinking. There, they claim that A.A. is the best thing in the world, and some kind of solution or answer. But gradually, the story changes to:
"You have to do all of the work, and A.A. will take the credit for it."
"First, doing the Steps will make you quit drinking, or 'help' you quit drinking, and then you have to quit drinking or else the Steps won't work."

So what use are the Steps if they won't make anybody quit drinking?

Then you tap-dance again: "AA has never said AA is the only way."

That is another bait-and-switch trick:

You don't really expect me to believe that you never heard the slogan, "Work The Steps Or Die!", do you?

Your talk about "release from the bondage of self" is pure Buchmanism. It is also a very common, standard cult characteristic. It is in the Cult Test. Here is the question:

and here is the answer for A.A.:

Then you made the completely unsubstantiated claim that,
"You offer only recovery without release. Without that needed release no one could ever get rid of the guilt and remorse".
The 12 Steps increase guilt; they do not get rid of it. In A.A., people have to constantly be listing and confessing their sins, "wrongs", "moral shortcomings", and "defects of character". That routine drives some people to suicide.

Show me one valid psychological controlled study that found that the A.A. confession sessions get rid of guilt. And how much more guilt-free were the A.A. members than the other alcoholics who did not get the A.A. "treatment"? I mean really.

I never claimed that A.A. had harmed me. What I have said repeatedly is that I got out of there fast, as soon as I saw what kind of a cult it is. I have never done the 12 Steps, never had a sponsor, never believed in Bill Wilson or the Big Book.

It is friends and acquaintances who were hurt by A.A. If you read the letters that I receive, you will see a lot of their stories. Here is the list.

Then you complained about me using historical information about Alcoholics Anonymous:
"You are taking information from 75 years ago and saying it is the modern AA to prove AA is bad or evil."
That is just another dodge. We are constantly subjected to a stream of propaganda from A.A. that brags about how wonderful the "good old days" were, and how saintly the Founders were, and how wonderful the creation of A.A. was. We just got subjected to another phony Hallmark made-for-TV movie about that — this time, Lois Wilson got canonized. But when somebody tells the real history, and points out what a bunch of lying psychos the Founders really were, you complain that is unfair, and has nothing to do with what Alcoholics Anonymous is today. It is totally fair, and it has everything to do with what A.A. is today. Bill Wilson made A.A. into the dishonest Buchmanite 13th-Stepping organization that it is back then, and it has not changed since.

Oh, and since Bill Wilson was a certified nutcase who was under the care of two psychiatrists, there is no reason to take his ravings as the Word of God, or even as wise teachings from a sane man. There goes the Big Book.

My emotional tone as I write does not change the facts. Apparently, A.A. teaches people to be incapable of dealing with emotions. (You are supposed to be just "serene and grateful" all of the time, right?) Well, foisting quack medicine on sick people is a real crime, and it really hurts people, and yes, I do get angry when I see the immensity of the fraud. But the facts are still the facts, and A.A.'s failure rate remains the same, no matter how emotional I am.

You claim that A.A. has helped some people. The actual results do not support that claim. If you are going to take the credit for every sober person who attended some A.A. meetings while getting himself or herself sober, then you have to also accept the blame for all of the people who were made worse off, or driven to suicide. And you can't just shove the blame for continued drinking on the individual alcoholics while simultaneously claiming credit for others' sobriety. That is just a "Heads I win, tails you lose" con game.

No, I do not "use the same information that is in A.A." And you know it. You have sneered that I don't use "G-d" in my recovery. So you recognize that I don't practice or recommend the Buchmanite cult religion as a way of getting and staying sober. You know, "getting rid of self by surrendering to a Higher Power", and all of that.

And you have also declared that I do not demand that people "get rid of self". In fact, you think that is a flaw in my arguments — that I don't have "a program" to obliterate self. I say that obliteration of self is just another cult technique to oppress people.

I always post Steppers' letters as written. I do not practice censorship. I am morally and philosophically opposed to censorship. I am not afraid of what Steppers have to say. You can read your letters here, and see that I have not censored you at all. So you have had your 15 minutes on the soap box.

I do "allow others their opinions." But we should not allow people who have nothing but irrational opinions to dictate the treatment of sick people who are trying to recover from addictions. And that is what A.A. is doing.

And now, finally, the big question that you have avoided all through both of your letters: This is the most important question of all:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

(HINT: the answers are here.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "This is a program of rigorous honesty."
**     "Fake it until you make it."
**     "It's Our Way or the Die Way."
**        == Popular A.A. slogans





Date: Wed, June 16, 2010 12:13 am     (answered 24 June 2010)
From: "Jack N."
Subject: A note on Success Rates

Just a quick note on the success rate of A.A.

My wife is an alcoholic to who attends A.A. meetings regularly. She goes to several different groups. She just received her one year chip in a couple of the meetings. It is important to note that she has been drinking periodically during the last twelve months. She lies at the meetings saying that the people are so judgmental that she doesn't want to tell them about her relapses. I wonder about success rates based upon attendance at meetings and claimed sobriety.

Hi Jack,

Thanks for the note. Yes, there is good reason to wonder about the numbers, and A.A.'s published sobriety averages. There is no doubt that some of those old-timers who claim a lot of years of sobriety really don't have that many years of continuous sobriety. But there is no way to figure out who is fibbing. And A.A. sure won't tell us.

And you bring up another important point: The shaming that goes on in A.A. People are ashamed to have to admit that they slipped. At every meeting they ask, "Can we see a show of hands of people who are in their first 30 days of sobriety?" and the people who slipped last weekend have to hold up their hands (if they are being "rigorously honest").

That is a real problem. Some people feel like they have lost everything if they have one drink, so might as well really do it up right tonight, because we already lost all of our sober time. That occasionally leads to uncontrolled binge drinking. That may be a big part of the reason why Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma discovered that alcoholics who were treated with Alcoholics Anonymous were doing five times as much binge drinking as other alcoholics who did not get the "treatment".

I like the idea that is taught in SMART: "If you slip and drink, then the wise thing to do is just stop drinking now, and get back to being sober. Just minimize the damage."

Nobody announces their sobriety time or slips in SMART meetings. People never introduce themselves like, "Hi, my name is Tom, and I'm an alcoholic, and by the grace of God and A.A., I have three years of sobriety now."

So nobody knows how long you have been sober, or whether you slipped and had a few last weekend. Nor do they really care. Sobriety isn't a status game; it's just a matter of health.

Have a good day, and I wish your wife well.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     'After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one
**     to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman,
**     "Lies — damn lies — and statistics," still there are some
**     easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest
**     cannot wriggle out of.'
**       ==  Leonard Henry Courtney, the British economist and politician
**          (1832-1918), later Lord Courtney, New York, August 1895.





Date: Wed, June 16, 2010 10:15 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "grrammmpa s."
Subject: A.A. does work

Interesting article on Alcoholics Anonymous. Just wanted to say, I know alot of people who are in the program (as they call it) who it does work for, very well. I know teenagers with 3-4 years clean and sober, people with 10-15 years sober and clean, and even people with 20-30 years under their belts. Of course it's not for everybody (like anything on earth is) But for those who it helps, it is invaluable.

Thank you for your time.

grrammmpa s.

Hello, grrammmpa,

Thank you for the letter.

Yes, there are some sober people to be found around A.A. meetings. But that does not prove that A.A. works. There is zero evidence that A.A. makes, or causes, or even helps alcoholics to quit drinking.

Assuming that A.A. makes people get and stay sober is the same faulty logic as this:
"Mrs. Smith went to the hospital for cancer. Her cancer got worse and worse, and then she died. Therefore, hospitals make people die of cancer."

The way to determine whether something cures a disease, or even treats a disease in a beneficial manner, is to do controlled tests, or randomized longitudinal controlled studies. When A.A. was tested that way, it was a disaster.

  • Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. indoctrination greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics.

  • Dr. Keith Ditman found that A.A. involvement increased the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness in a group of street drunks.

  • Dr. Diana Walsh found that A.A. just messed up a lot of alcoholics and made them require more expensive hospitalization later.

  • Drs. Orford and Edwards conducted the biggest and most expensive British test of Alcoholics Anonymous, and found that having a doctor talk to alcoholics for just one hour, telling them to quit drinking, was just as effective as a whole year of A.A. meetings and a full-blown "treatment program".

  • AA-Trustee Doctor George E. Vaillant (also Professor of Psychology at Harvard University), clearly demonstrated that A.A. treatment kills patients. For eight years, his A.A.-based treatment program had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied. Vaillant also admitted that his A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate, above normal spontaneous remission.

Lastly, you are ignoring the natural tendency of people to help themselves. Teenagers who have three years off of drugs and alcohol are good examples of kids who finally decided to grow up and behave in a more responsible manner. A.A. is not due the credit for that.

Likewise, those other people had every reason to get sober and avoid death by ethanol. The more sensible ones did. A.A. isn't due the credit for that, either.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Humans always do the most intelligent thing after every
**     stupid alternative has failed.
**        ==  R. Buckminster Fuller





Date: Wed, June 16, 2010 8:12 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "April"
Subject: Hi

Not sure if you will email me back, but I thought it was worth a try. Please email me at xxxxxxx@xxxx.com.

I am actually going to AA meeting only for like a month now, and was just wondering if you had more info or websites about what AA truly is. I am trying to be open minded, but when a lady stands up in a meeting and says HI I am a DRUNK and has been sober for twenty years, it does not sit well with me.

Thanks April

Hello April,

Yes, I will email you back. And, oh sister, do I have more information for you.

First off, we were just talking about that "I am an alcoholic" problem a few letters back, here and here.

It is psychologically unhealthy to spend 10, 20, or 30 years saying, "I am an alcoholic" or "I am a drunk." It warps your feelings about yourself after a while. Why can't you go to a meeting and say, "Hi. My name is Terry, and I'm a sober person now."?

For example, I could constantly chant, "I am an alcoholic." Or, I could say, "I am a photographer who loves to go down to the river and feed and photograph the cute little fluff-ball goslings." Imagine the difference in feelings between those two things. Imagine the difference in levels of self-respect and self-worth.

And, fortunately, us photographers don't have to go to meetings and confess all of the bad, out-of-focus photographs we have taken.

Now, for more information: First off, you should see the list of other sobriety methods, groups, web sites, and forums. I just reprinted it again, so I will point you to it, here.

Then there are more sobriety web sites listed on my links page, here.

Then, of course, there is my own web site. Here is a list of discussions about what helps people to get and stay sober.

Have a good day, and a good life. And don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Did you hear the one about Descartes in the bar?
**     The bartender asked him if he wanted another drink.
**     Descartes said, "I think not", and then he suddenly disappeared.





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