Letters, We Get Mail, CCXIII
by A. Orange



Date: Tue, December 21, 2010 4:48 am     (answered 25 December 2010)
From: "Mike K"
Subject: Ignorance/Denial

Well, you really showed me orange. I mean, after all, I'm a person in recovery and I lived with obsession, compulsion and an emptiness in my soul for my whole life. But what do I know?

Clearly, I'm talking to someone who either has no idea what chemical dependence and hopelessness are really like, or someone who refuses to look at themselves honestly and do something about their problem. In either case, my words fall upon deaf ears.

I find it frustrating that a person with your brain and your drive actually spends as much time as you do on pointing out whats wrong with everything rather than putting that towards a good cause. Then again, were not perfect. I'm well aware.

As far as resentment is concerned, of course people are resentful. Alcoholics and addicts will tend to hang on it and it will result in drunkeness and misery. Thats why we try to live without it. We focus on other things.

I will humbly admit that you definitely have a higher IQ than I do. And that you will most likely win any argument that I bring to the table. I hope that youll find a way out of your situation and find some form of inner peace. And I hope your holidays are full of joy, not just monetary bandaids and schitzophrenic conspiracy theories.

Hello Mike,

Thanks for the letter. It is educational. Your whole letter is just one big fat ad hominem attack. You have not presented any evidence that sending people to Alcoholics Anonymous makes them better off, or more sober, or healthier, or saves their lives.

And there is zero evidence that "resentments" make people consume drugs and alcohol. That is just one of Bill Wilson's crazy superstitions.

Actually, it appears that you are the person who is "in denial".

I'm sorry to hear that you have "lived with obsession, compulsion and an emptiness in your soul for your whole life." But devoting your life to a cult religion is not the answer to that problem. You have an emotional problem, and the answer to that problem is not Scientology, or the Moonies, or Alcoholics Anonymous, or any other cult religion. Have you seen a doctor, or a psychiatrist, or even a competent counselor, to see what help they can give you?

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth
**       is not worth many regrets.
**         ==  Arthur C. Clarke





May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose gosling, stretching
Another stretcher

[More gosling photos below, here.]





Date: Tue, December 21, 2010 2:17 pm     (answered 25 December 2010)
From: "Chase T."
Subject: Quick question

Hi

My sponsor in AA brought your site to my attention this year. Although I disagree with a huge amount of your conclusions, I really enjoy the challenge your theories present to me. When you are at your most convincing, I am always stuck at the following impasse:

If AA misrepresents the truth, what then do you offer as the best solution to an addict.

Unfortunately, for me, I only know 17 years of uninterrupted sobriety (on my first attempt at quitting) and AA, it message and its members were there from the very start. I say this as a real fan of your work, just totally unable to find anything in my experience to convince me that I have been deluding myself and that you present a viable alternative message for recovery. Is the purpose of your work simply to debunk a myth? Please help me to draw a useful conclusion to the overwhelming quality of your research.

With respect,

Chase

Hello Chase,

Thanks for the letter. And congratulations on your 17 years of sobriety. As I so often say, you did it. No cult did it for you. Nobody held your hand every Saturday night of the last 17 years but you.

When you ask for "a viable alternative message for recovery", first off, you have to realize that A.A. is not "a program for sobriety", or "a message for recovery", whatever that is supposed to be. A.A. does not work. It is quackery. If you have any doubts about that, read The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

So you quit on your first try. Congratulations.
And you also went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
And you did both of those things for the same reason: you wanted to quit drinking.
Assuming that A.A. somehow caused you to get sober and stay sober is Confusion of Correlation and Causation — assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists.

Now, about something that "works better":

  • The first problem is that there is no such "disease" as "alcoholism". That term is a catch-all label that covers a multitude of problems, including Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, PTSD, chronic pain, clinical depression, and more. The previous correspondent, an A.A. member, complained that "I lived with obsession, compulsion and an emptiness in my soul for my whole life." What do you call that emotional illness?

    Since there is no single cause of excessive drinking — no "panmalefic" — there is no panacea.

  • There are, however, many ways of treating alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction that work better than Alcoholics Anonymous. Professor William Miller of the University of New Mexico Center for Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Addictions graded the various ways of treating alcohol abuse by success rate. The most successful method was "Brief Intervention", where a doctor talks to the patient for just one hour, telling him to quit drinking or die. A.A. 12-Step facilitation scored way down the list, 37 out of 48, and Alcoholics Anonymous was 38 out of 48. You can read all about it here

  • Now if you want a list of other recovery groups that work without asking people to believe in superstitions from the nineteen-twenties and -thirties, here is the list.

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Evidently God can cure cancer and tuberculosis, but cannot
**     grow a new leg...  This is blasphemy, but not mine — the
**     priests and faith healers are guilty of limiting God's powers.
**          ==   Abraham Myerson
**     And the same goes for curing "alcoholism",
**       but not curing a thousand other ailments.





[The previous letter from Taylor is here.]

Date: Tue, December 21, 2010 9:40 pm     (answered 26 December 2010)
From: "Taylor W."
Subject: RE: Thank you

Orange,

I'm somewhat late in my reply, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to reply to my e-mail. Your site made such a favorable impression on me, and continues to be a source of interesting information (I've only scratched the surface with the letters). Aside from the thank you, I just wanted to throw some random ideas out there. Honestly, it's because I'm bored, can't sleep, and have used up most of more bored/can't sleep options, so feel free to stop reading after this sentence.

  • I find it interesting that health issues were what finally got you to clean up your act. In my case, while health threats loomed on the horizon (they do for anybody who does drugs, drinks or smokes) there was nothing immediately wrong with me. Or anything that would indicate something might be wrong with me soon. The same is overwhelmingly true of the behavior I've observed in other addicts. I'm no doctor, but after a few non-fatal OD's, you'd think at very least the basic health risks like that would be something of a deterrent. But not so much. Of course, it always boils down to individual desire, but it seems to me that very few people find that desire because their health is failing. No real point here, just surprised, and a minor anecdote to illustrate the idea that no one "method" is going to "fix" anybody.

    It took me a long time to quit too, a long time. I also OD'd on smack, and that still didn't stop me. Oh I did quit smack soon after that, but not because of the OD. It was just that SMACK wasn't really my cup of tea. But when I OD'd, all that I thought was, "I have to be more careful. Don't just double your dose to get a bigger kick."

    I didn't finally quit all of my bad habits until I was 53 years old and very sick. Very sick. So sick that when the doctor told me to quit drinking or die, choose one, I believed him. So sick that walking two blocks carrying a backpack and guitar and sleeping bag left me huffing and puffing and tired.

    My doctor was trying to impress me with the seriousness of my condition. One of the tests that he did was take a fold of skin on my arm and pinch it, and see how long it took for the skin to recover and the white fingerprint to disappear. The skin was like thin wet leather, and when pinched, it just stayed pinched flat for nearly a minute. The white finger print took nearly a minute to disappear, too.

    I did not understand the significance of what I was seeing. I didn't have any normal baseline to compare those test results to.

    The skin gives a window into the body. When the blood circulation in the skin is bad, the blood circulation is also that bad in all of the internal organs of the body too. Imagine what happens when the blood circulation in the liver and kidneys and heart and brain is also that bad.

    I recently repeated the test. I couldn't even do it the same way. The skin is now so thick and tough and rubbery that you cannot pinch it that way. You can get a fold of skin between your fingers, but it is so thick that you just have a big bulge about one and a quarter inches thick between your fingers, and it won't fold flat. And I couldn't even see the white fingerprint. I discovered that I have to move my hand out of the way very fast to see the disappearing fingerprint. The blood rushes back in and erases the fingerprint in a fraction of a second. It is so fast that you can't even time it with a stopwatch.

    It wasn't until I saw how normal healthy skin acts that I understood just how bad the situation was 10 years ago.

  • While I saw some rather heated messages that seemed to express an opinion opposite mine on this matter, I really appreciate what I believe to be a non-biased approach. Let's put it this way, nobody told me I had to come up with your website, it may have been that I typed "alcoholics anonymous cult" into google (OK, I only got the first two words in before it auto-filled the last) though. Especially given the way you break up the text and use different colored fonts, a reader afraid of bias could easily just read the source material and come to the same conclusion. Well, a reader with a mind both similar in function and horsepower to your own.

    Thanks.

  • That first late night when I poured through vast sections of your site, I was so caught up in AA backward thinking, that I was honestly concerned I was being caught up in some other scheme to alter my thinking. Luckily, while you did give voice to myriad negative feelings I had, there's only been one genuine change of opinion since I found your sight. Prior to reading, I would have been well placed in the "But it works for them" camp. And I can't believe I'm saying that, having been a drug addict prior to being given my new identity as an alcoholic. The things that were being said at AA meetings would certainly have had no effect on my cocaine or opiate addictions. All that would have happened is that I would have continued to use, only I would have felt bad about it for the first time in my life. When I thought about all the people like me who were looking for a real support system, and were being given a one way ticket to Heaven on the Hale-Bopp comet, it made me furious.

    Yes.

  • Vows and solemn vows. What the hell? I always thought a vow was a fairly solemn thing to begin with. Something that became clear to me early on (both in the BB and at meetings) was that most of the AA crowd had tried to stop drinking before. I had not. I had tried switching beverages, I had tried cutting either the frequency or the intensity of the drinking, but not once had I thought to just stop altogether. AA deserves some credit for this realization, because it probably would have taken at least a few more years for me to figure out that I might just go ahead and not drink. Given my experience with drug addiction, I'm familiar with my reptile brain, and also how what it wants conflicts with what I want. And despite knowing that (although I wouldn't have phrased it so well), I let AA convince me that what worked with drugs would never work with alcohol. Maybe that was because it gets it's own classification somehow, drugs AND alcohol.

  • Re: tobacco, I thought (and still do think) the exact same thing your child diddling, coke-head counselor said about quitting smoking. I'm beginning to realize how the whole thing is part of the same issue, really. I continued drinking on the grounds that if a bottle of whiskey kept me away from pills or coke it was OK. And now cigarettes are ok, because they keep me away from alcohol. I can see the addictive thought process there, I'm aware of it, but as long as I'm making forward progress in eliminating my demons, I'm in no huge hurry. You probably know what Meat Loaf said about 2/3. But it also could be better, I suppose.

    I see your logic there, but I really wish I had quit smoking like 30 years earlier. It really affects the quality of your whole life, not just your health at the end.

  • I don't recall which article this was in, but at least once you mention the complete lack of honest discussion of how much fun getting drunk and high is at 12 step meetings. I found myself wondering about the same thing. I've always broken it down like this: I'd do it differently given the chance, but I don't exactly regret that it went down how it did. And what I mean by that is by and large, I've had a hell of a lot of fun. The vast majority of my time spent using drugs or drinking was a lot of fun, that's why I kept doing those things long enough to establish an addiction to begin with. Sure, it was less fun after I realized I was an addict, but somehow I still managed to have a lot of fun. Obviously at some point it stopped being fun or I wouldn't be where I am now, but the fact remains that 90% of my overall experience with mind/mood altering substances has been enjoyable. I guess I have rose-tinted glasses glued to my face, because when I look back (I'm talking mostly drugs at this point, haven't been dry long enough to have a retrospective there) I tend to remember the enjoyable parts first and most vividly.

    I think it is human nature to remember the fun parts the most. That is a big part of the addiction problem. People remember the ecstacy and want to feel it again and again. It takes a lot of suffering before you remember the bad stuff first.

    The refusal to talk about the good parts seems to be a kind of denial. I've been to N.A. meetings where they said that talking about the pleasure of drinking or doping will cause "ecstatic recall" in other people, and then instructed us to not do it. Personally, I think it is good to look at the whole thing. Part of the recovery process is a grieving process where people see what they are giving up in trade for sobriety. And they have to accept that they are giving that up.

    Of course then you have to also recognize that you aren't really giving up the great times because things changed and dope and alcohol weren't fun any more, they were suffering.

    A long time ago, somebody warned me, using a Beatles song, about not noticing when life changes:

         "He blew his mind out in  a car.
         He didn't notice that the lights had changed."
            == The Beatles, A Day In The Life Of
    
    She said that we must not fail to notice when the lights change. Well, the lights changed on alcohol, and it stopped being fun. And tobacco was never that much fun to start with.

  • I was really able to relate to that bit you wrote (that I think was from one of your top ten books) about the gratification we get from fulfilling primal, survival instincts. Obviously, drugs are able to give a person the same feelings of accomplishment with none (or little) of the work. At the risk of being written off as a meathead, one of the only things that makes me happy, sober/clean or not, is powerlifting/strongman. It's been that way since I was a teenager. It wasn't hard to train and do drugs (in fact, a line here, a pill there, could be considered PED use, I reckon). But as the drinking got worse, so did the training, until it no longer made up a part of my life. Now, I have to wonder why I stopped at all. Everything I got from the other stuff is right there, and sometimes more still. With lifting, I get both instant and long term gratification. I'm able to feel a sense of power that's important to me. I feel like I matter. The only difference being that those feelings have a basis in reality when I'm training hard, as opposed to partying hard.

    I think you might be referring to the gratification we get from fulfilling primal, survival instincts that was mentioned in the web page Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

    I can see how you get a kick out of power lifting. That isn't an illusion. That also ties into basic survival. Feeling strong is part of feeling really alive, and being a man. Who wants to feel weak and helpless? That's no fun.

    Oh, by the way, just to give you some incentive, tobacco will destroy your strength. In the end, you will be huffing and puffing just trying to carry the weights out of the closet.

    If you actually did read all of that, like I said, I didn't really have a purpose. I was bored.

    — Taylor

    Okay Taylor,

    Have a good day and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **    O, it is excellent, To have a giant's strength;
    **    but it is tyrannous, To use it like a giant.
    **      ==  William Shakespeare (1564—1616)
    





    Date: Wed, December 22, 2010 6:35 pm     (answered 22 December 2010)
    From: "P. Bierings"
    Subject: picture with Himmler.

    The picture said, Himmler with Karl Wolff and left Sepp Dietrich, in Mauthausen is Not correct.

    The man on the left is Oswald Pohl, inspector of the concentrationcamps and chief of the SS-WVHA [SS main bureau [for] administration and economy.

    I hope that I help you.

    Peter Bierings.

    Heinrich Himmler with an SS entourage at Mauthausen in 1941
    WAS TITLED: "Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS, chief of the German Police and head of the Gestapo, shown with an SS entourage at Mauthausen in 1941, including Sepp Dietrich (left) and Karl Wolff (center)."

    Thank you, Peter.
    I'll check that out. I want to get every detail correct.
    Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.
    == Orange

    Okay, I have checked it out, and I think you are right. I forget where I got the picture originally; but that is how it was labeled there, wherever I got it. But apparently that was in error.

    I found the same picture at the Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team, and it is labeled "Pohl with Himmler". (http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/pohl.html)

    Other pictures of Pohl are not terribly clear, but they do look like the guy on the left in the first picture. Whether the other SS officer is Karl Wolff is another question.

    Oswald Pohl

    Himmler+Pohl-Touring_the_Buna_Plant
    WAS TITLED: "Himmler and Pohl, touring the Buna Plant"
    IS ACTUALLY: Heinrich Himmler, unknown civilian, and Rudolf Hoss in front row.

    Oswald Pohl

    That guy was the chief administrator of the whole concentration camp system where so many millions died. He was hanged by the Allies in 1951.

    Have a good day and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "There is a road to freedom. Its milestones are Obedience,
    **     Endeavor, Honesty, Order, Cleanliness, Sobriety, Truthfulness,
    **     Sacrifice, and love of the Fatherland."
    **      ==  Message, signed by Adolf Hitler, painted on walls of
    **          concentration camps; Life magazine, August 21, 1939
    


    Date: Tue, December 28, 2010 4:16 pm     (answered 30 December 2010)
    From: "P. Bierings"
    Subject: Re: picture with Himmler.

    Dear Orange,

    The officer in the middle is Karl Wolff, that's correct in the first picture. He was adjudant between Hitlers headquarter and so to speak the SS [Himmler].

    Second picture is Left Heinrich Himmler, middle not identify and Rudolf Hoss {first campcommander at Auschwitz}. Looking down second row is maybe Oswald Pohl.

    Third picture in the car is left Oswald Pohl and Richard Bear the third campcommander of Auschwitz, after Rudolf Hoss, then Liebenhenchel, Bear.

    So i hope its richt now,

    Thanks for the reply,

    Peter Bierings from Holland.

    Geen virus gevonden in dit bericht.
    Gecontroleerd door AVG — www.avg.com
    Versie: 10.0.1191 / Virusdatabase: 1435/3344 — datum van uitgifte: 12/28/10

    Hello again, Peter,

    Thanks for the information. It is good to get all of the details correct.

    I am a little confused. Are you saying that the picture labeled "Himmler and Pohl, touring the Buna Plant" is actually Himmler and a civilian and Rudolf Hoss in the front row?

    If so, there are a bunch of mislabeled pictures on the Internet. The other picture of Rudolf Hoss was supposed to be Oswald Pohl, too. All of those pictures were labeled as being pictures of Pohl.

    Thanks again, and you have a good day and a happy holiday season, too.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *
    **     I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator.
    **     By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work.
    **       ==  Adolph Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936
    *
    **      "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
    **      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
    **      ==  Dr. Frank Buchman, founder and leader of the
    **          Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.
    


    Date: Thu, January 6, 2011 3:19 pm     (answered 11 January 2011)
    From: "P. Bierings"
    Subject: Pohl pictures

    Dear Orange,

    Your letter from 30 dec, you was suprised that the man in the front was Rudolf Hoss, yes the man grabbing his throath with his left hand is sure Rudolf Hoss, the first campcommander of Auschwitz. The man a step behind looking down with his face could be Pohl but it is difficult to see, but it is a high ranking officer something like Oberstgruppenfuhrer, what Pohl was.

    And yes the pictures on the internet are a lot Not correct so watch out.

    But as you see there are always people who are looking and see that it is false.

    I study the 2nd World War for more than 35 years, especially the SS.

    So this is it for the moment and thank you.

    Greetings to you and God bless Amerika.

    P.Bierings from Holland.

    Hello again, Peter,

    Thank you for the information. Yes, obviously, there are a lot of mislabeled pictures on the Internet. But I think we have it straightened out now, thank you. Finally.

    So have a good day.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]...
    **     I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy
    **     Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian
    **     spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments
    **     in literature, in the theater, and in the press — in short, we want
    **     to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our
    **     whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the
    **     past ... (few) years.
    **         == The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922—1939, Vol. 1, pg. 871—872
    **             (London, Oxford University Press, 1942)
    





    Date: Thu, December 23, 2010 7:55 am     (answered 27 December 2010)
    From: "Danielle T."
    Subject: Thank you for this information

    I want to thank you for this information. I have always felt there were many contradictions in AA and questioned them with members. I was considered someone who was defiant. Needless to say I am no longer attending. I can not and will not turn my will over to a human let alone to one of them. I told them that their biggest contradiction is that people are not turning their will over to God but they are turning their will over to their sponsors. And as for those "suggestions" they are nothing more than orders given by egotistical people who want to break down new people, telling them that they need to give up their egos. I said to myself I will keep my ego then and move on. I have not desired a drink since. I definitely do not want what those brainwashed people have as they always say to try to keep new people there. "If you want what I have." I just laugh.

    Hello Danielle,

    Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on your sobriety, and I'm glad to hear that your mind is still alive and thinking for itself.

    And isn't it sad how they consider asking intelligent questions to be "defiant", and "egotistical"? I'm glad that you saw through that nonsense.

    So have a good day, and a good life now. And Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     And the cult said, "If you want what we have,
    **     and are willing to go to any length to get it,
    **     then, here, drink this koolaid."
    





    Date: Thu, October 21, 2010 6:13 pm     (answered 10 November 2010)
    From: "Sandi K"
    Subject: Thanks

    I just now found your site. Whew. What a relief.

    Thanks......

    sandi

    Hi Sandi,

    Thanks for the thanks, and you have a good day too.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **      George Orwell said,
    **     "In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
    


    Date: Sat, October 23, 2010 2:02 pm     (answered 27 December 2010)
    From: "Sandi K"
    Subject: So, anyway....

    I've been reading this site since I found it a few days ago. Believe me, there is much that I could tell you of my personal experience with AA, NA, OA and all of the A'...........s!

    I've been struggling w/addiction since I was 12.5 yrs old and I'm 60 yrs old now. I've been clean/sober for going on 6 years — the only years I spent OUT of AA.

    Imagine this: A 60 yr old Jewish Alcoholic Woman sitting in any of the "A............s" groups? I'm actually chuckling at the thought as I'm typing. And *they* were trying to tell me I felt uncomfortable, isolated, out of placed, and overly sensitive because I was 'an alcoholic'. No wonder I struggled for so many years.

    I remember going to a 'pool party' at a member's home. It wasn't long before the anti-semetic remarks began and when I'd finally had enuff of them, I told them so. Because I'm blond/fair/etc., the bigots didn't have a clue I was a "Jewess" <s>. I remember being told by my sponsor after that party that I was being overly sensitive, didn't have a sense of humor about myself and to lighten up and not take myself and life so seriously. So, of course, I blamed myself..... continued internalizing and could not stay c/s.

    There were tons of anti-semites that were there when I first started going to mtgs in 1976 and are still there in even more abundance (many under the guise of being "Christians"). Another pretty picture was me, living in a half-way house because I'd become homeless (again) and had no place else to go that I knew of at the time at age 48, and being given a member of the "Grace Gospel Church" as a counsellor.

    I swear, I'm just starting to see things more clearly now after all this time. And, the sad thing is, that even now as I type the word "time" the first thing that comes to my mind is "Things I Must Earn" — talk about being brain-washed.

    I now am just beginning to understand that I didn't 'become an alocholic/addict' because I was a bad, dishonest, simpleton who deserved to spend most of her life in the miseries of addiction, and who surely didn't have the right to be angry — furious in fact because I could not afford the luxury of anger. As it's been mentioned several places that I've read (so far) anger can be a great motivator. And, again, once I got good and angry at AA and stopped being angry at myself, and said ENUFF — THERE HAS GOT TO BE ANOTHER WAY — I was not able to get sober and STAY sober.

    One of the things that's so odd (to me) is that I am not, nor have I ever been a religious woman. I was not raised in a religious home. But, my "Jewessness"<s> became a real issue for me when I began going to AA meetings and now I'm beginning to understand why.

    Thank you again,
    sandi

    Hello Sandi,

    Thank you for a very revealing letter. Yes, isn't it sad how people who are supposedly "in constant communication with God" cannot get over such petty things as racism and religious bigotry? That says a lot.

    Sorry to take so long to answer your letter. I don't know how or why it got overlooked. Now that I am finally caught up on my email, just in time for the New Year, I'm going back and finding the old stuff that got set aside for one reason or another — usually because I needed to download something more or look something up to be able to answer it. But there was no such problem with your letter. Well anyway, I finally got it answered.

    So, belatedly, have a Happy Hannukah and a Happy New Year. Oh, and congratulations on your six years of sobriety. Have a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "Only two things are infinite, the universe and
    **     human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
    **         == Albert Einstein (1879—1955)
    





    May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

    Canada Goose goslings
    A gosling scheming to get into the middle of the pack
    This is the family that adopted the two orphans.

    The gosling that is standing appears to be the girl of the family, and she is trying to figure out how she can climb over one of her larger brothers in order to shoe-horn herself into the middle of the pack of goslings. The preferred place for a little gosling is right in the middle, for both warmth and security. The smallest orphan is already in there; you can just see part of a little yellow head in the middle of the pack. The other orphan is the small gosling on the left, on the edge of the pack.

    Canada Goose goslings
    The girl gosling, not in the middle of the pack

    Apparently, she couldn't see a way to wedge herself in there, so she settled for snuggling up against one of her larger brothers. But the smallest orphan is in there, happily buried in the middle of the pack, with just its head sticking out.

    [The story of Carmen continues here.]





    Date: Fri, December 24, 2010 12:26 am     (answered 28 December 2010)
    From: "Tom"
    Subject: AA

    Orange,

    I quit alcohol two and a half years ago after a nearly dying from alcoholism. After getting out of the hospital, I started attending AA meetings on a regular basis.

    Much to my surprise my obsession with drinking was lifted and I thought AA was the answer. My sponsor was elated and told me to, "Just keep coming back."

    In the two and a half years, I haven't done a single step. I haven't been able to put my finger on why, I just knew they didn't make sense to me. I have felt like an outsider looking in this whole time.

    My sponsor says it doesn't matter to him if I do them or not. He says he can't make me do anything I don't want to. However, when he shares he constantly touts the virtues of doing the 12 steps in a timely manner.

    Having just finished reading your "12 Steps, Interpreted" I finally found someone that feels the same way I do! Kudos to you.

    I've always given myself some credit for my sobriety, which is completely contrary to the preachings of AA. I now realize that I was, sick and tired of being sick and tired and made a conscious decision to stop drinking.... Myself! The fact that I started going to AA at the same time, in hindsight, is merely a coincidence.

    I've gotten so tired of the trite cliches...."Take what you want, leave what you don't." "Let go and let God." "Acceptance is the answer." You know them all.

    My favorite is people who believe, "I have no control over people, places or things.".... Bullshit! I have plenty of control over all three.

    I would love to print your interpretation of the 12 Steps and submit it to my sponsor as my 12 step work.

    It's safe to say I've attended my last AA meeting. I will continue to work on my sobriety using my very sane mind to not pick up a drink.

    Thank you.

    Hi, my name is Tom, and I'm an alcoholic.

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your sobriety. And congratulations for keeping your thinking, rational, mind alive too.

    By the way, you revealed the essense of the entire A.A. "success rate", when you explained how it was a coincidence that you quit drinking and started going to A.A. at the same time. That's exactly how they get their success stories.

    And it isn't exactly a coincidence, more like a correlation. People want to quit drinking because they are so sick and tired of being sick and tired, so they do. And they also go to A.A. meetings because they have decided to quit drinking, and somebody told them that A.A. was "helpful" or even necessary, or even essential, for quitting drinking. (The A.A. propaganda mill never sleeps.)

    Please feel free to print "The 12 Steps Interpreted" and show it to your sponsor. He might learn something, or he might have a hissy-fit. Hard to say.

    If you really want him to have a hissy-fit, try some sheets of jokes. I formatted them for easy printing. Go to the bottom of the jokes page, here, and there are links to sheets to print.

    Oh well, have a good day anyway. And a Merry Christmas season and Happy New Year.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     I am not powerless over alcohol.
    **     I can drink it, or not drink it, as I choose.
    **     I can let it sit on the table and look at it.
    **     I can burn it to heat up a cup of coffee.
    **     I might even be able to juggle it, but that one is tough.
    





    Date: Fri, December 24, 2010 11:14 pm     (answered 28 December 2010)
    From: "Matt W."
    Subject: Hello Mister Orange

    Hi Mr. Orange

    I thought it would be worth my time to send you an email after a significant event in my life just happened.

    I have recently being going over many writings you have on your site, and I have to admit that the wealth of information is quite intimidating to say the least, not the mention your constant referencing to the facts listed. I am so happy that I've gone through much of the literate on your site, it has taught me quite a bit I was unaware of.

    I was court-ordered into inpatient rehab approximately a year ago in January, where I was introduced to the 12 step program. Of course being very vulnerable and being forced to live AA 24/7 for the 60 days I was in there, I quickly abandoned my former beliefs and logic, and started living the true stepper way. I knew I was going to have to get into what I was told to do, to make my moving through there as quick as possible. It was also the first time I had been clean from opiates/heroin for a very very long time, and I was desperately looking for help and I unfortunately fell into AA's hands.

    It wasnt until the end of October after my second inpatient rehab (got kicked out of the first one, then kicked out of 2 halfway houses after that place) that I started to notice all the bullshit in AA and the Big Book that I ignored before, because I was told to not question the program of course (hmm doesnt sound like a cult at all.... *sarcasm*). Basically I knew that the 12 steps were not going to work for me because I could not come to believe that God was gonna save me from shooting up heroin. I knew it because it had never worked in the past, every day I wasnt locked up in rehab I was using!! It was insanity, and I was extremely open minded and finished the steps 3 times. I had given this program more than a fair chance, but it simply was not working for me in any way, I had not benefitted whatsoever, aside from memorizing many portions of the big book (useless). After graduating from inpatient rehab (after being forced to stay an extra week...) in the beginning of November, I looked into a different, far more effective form of treatment; medication assisted treatment.

    I began attending a methadone clinic on November 8th, and for the VERY FIRST TIME since I had quit using illicit opiates that got me high, I felt *normal.* It was great to feel normal. I firmly believe that 4 years of abusing opiates/opioids has caused me to acquire a brain chemistry disorder called Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome. One who has this syndrome experiences such symptoms as these when sober: anxiety, depression, dysphoria, boredom, loss of energy, etc. The brain no longer produces endogenous opiates like a normal brain does. Medications such as Methadone allow to brain to function normally, allowing the person to feel NORMAL again. The symptoms of EDS are no longer felt. However, methadone cannot 'cure' this disease. It may allow to brain to, one day, produce endorphins naturally, because the action of methadone in the brain allows this to happen.

    Hello Matt,

    Thank you for the letter. Congratulations on your recovery, I'm happy for you.

    I have to jump in here, right at this one, because it's such a good point. Yes, there is such a thing as Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome, and a common cause is shooting opiates for a while. The more opiates are shot into the system, the less the brain makes its own beta endorphins (the body's natural pain killers). The body cuts down its own production to try to balance things out. Even worse, chronic overdosing of opiates — overdosing in the sense of taking much more than the body would have produced naturally — burns out the opiate receptors in the brain, making the remaining natural beta endorphins work less well.

    People who quit an opiate addiction can be extremely sensitive to pain and discomfort. And I hear that it can take up to seven years for the brain to grow a new set of opiate receptors so that the natural beta endorphins will work properly again.

    So there is a very good medical argument for taking Methadone.

    I am so incredibly grateful to have found evidence based treatment, logical treatment, and to have escaped from the clutches of Bill Wilson's crazy fucking religion. I greatly appreciate all the writing you have done, and I extremely impressed at the sheer volume of writing you have done here. I am glad to see that some people are willing to work their hardest to spread the truth. Today I came across my big book which I hadn't looked at in a very long time, and decided it was time to destoy it. I felt it would be most appropriate to burn the recruiting section of the book, "Working With Others". See attached picture.

    I have begun attempting to spread the truth to some of my hardcore stepper friends that I met through rehab. It hasnt worked out so well yet, but I think one day they will have to face to music. They are brand new in sobriety and to the program, they will eventually fall back into old ways because they are not ready to fully quit, I know it. At that point, I will forcefully reference them here.

    Thanks AO!

    *Attachments:*
    BigBookBurning.png
    Size: 2.2 M
    Type: image/png

    Big Book burning

    Thanks for all of the compliments, and thanks for spreading the message.

    Have a good day, and a happy holiday season. And have a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     It is not true that suffering ennobles the character;
    **     happiness does that sometimes, but suffering for the
    **     most part, makes men petty and vindictive.
    **       ==  Somerset Maugham
    





    Date: Sat, December 25, 2010 9:17 pm     (answered 28 December 2010)
    From: David
    Subject: I agree

    Hey orange I just got out of rehab and we attended a.a meetings every night. Those meetings were absolutely pointless and disgusting. I told people in process groups that I hate meetings and they called me out saying what am I doing in rehab when I don't want to be clean. That's a bunch of crap. I had a year clean before I chose to smoke weed and speed as those are my drugs of choice. I was sober for that year wit no a.a. I only went back to rehab to get papers to cover my time off work and to get away for a month. I just wanted to thank you because your article confirmed many things for me. I have been sending my rehab friends the link to your 12 biggest secrets of gay a excuse me I mean a.a. I have been clean for 2 months now without gay.a. I don't need that hogwash because I don't want to use anymore period. Don't worry about all the gay a people that must send u hate mail. Keep educating people.

    Thanks, David

    Hi David,

    Thanks for all of the compliments and the thanks, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and thinking for yourself. And yes, you can make it without the cult.

    Please find some other term of derision for A.A. than "gay a", though. The gays don't deserve to be associated with Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Besides which, most of the sexual predators in A.A. are not gay. They are heterosexual pedophiles, very much into the young girls.

    Have a good day and a good life.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Anyone who has begun to think
    **       places some portion of the world in jeopardy.
    **         ==  John Dewey
    





    Date: Sun, December 26, 2010 6:47 pm     (answered 28 December 2010)
    From: "Facebook"
    Subject: Pete H. sent you a message on Facebook...

    Pete sent you a message.

    Subject: Saw this exchange on your web site

    I know what is going on here:

    Order of the Silver Star or Alcoholics Anonymous

    The Desire Chip for the alcoholic that wishes to try this program one day at a time is silver in color.

    Secret Orders have troubles hiding as we move along in this timeline.

    ISis RA ELohim is another.

    Ummm, okay. I honestly don't know what to say.

    Have a good day now.

    I say it sounds like this guy just got his 30 year chip!

    Thanks for the laugh, and you have a good day too. And a happy holiday season.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **    "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
    **    "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here.
    **        I'm mad. You're mad."
    **    "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
    **    "You must be," said the Cat. "or you wouldn't have come here."
    **      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
    **          and Novelist, especially remembered for
    **          Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 1832—1898)
    





    Date: Sun, December 26, 2010 1:13 pm     (answered 29 December 2010)
    From: "Prus Goose"
    Subject: 12 biggest lies of A.A.

    Check your facts. Reading the big book, especially if you were going through it with a sponsor who had a working knowledge of the volume and the 12 steps, would be immensely useful before making snap prejudice judgments.

    For instance lie # 20 for you: The 12 steps are about quitting drinking. Nowhere in the book does it say that. In fact there are multiple lines that say what the main point and purpose of the Big Book is. Here's a clue... It's all about building and maintaining a relationship with a Higher Power of your understanding and being of maximum service to God and all of his other children.

    If you're not an alcoholic it is probably very difficult to understand that drinking and using drugs is the solution to the internal problem real alcoholics have. The steps are a guide to a replacement solution where people like me find a God-based solution.

    There is a very distinct difference between the real alcoholic and the problem/heavy drinker. The Big Book describes this. For a real alcoholic the only way to stay sober is by having a deep and effective spiritual experience (Carl Jung). I have found the quickest and easiest way to have this experience for me is by working the 12 steps. I'm happy due to this and so are millions of other people.

    I believe the reason A.A. has such lower success rates these days then 70 years ago is because of how many people are forced into A.A. before they actually want to stop. Back in Bill W.'s day they found the bottom of the barrel homeless man who couldn't function without booze to introduce into this program. Nowadays every middle class parent who catches their kid with a joint sends them to rehab. They're probably not even addicts, much less want to quit.

    I am very curious why you would bash something that you really only have misguided and bias information about. If this works for people, even only a small percentage, why would you want to turn anyone against this or other 12 steps programs before they even try it?

    All I'm asking is that you please don't spread the idea that A.A. is a lie without doing a sufficient amount of investigative research. I'd be happy to mail you a big book if you want to read it... it will definitely clear up a lot of the foggy points and "lies" you believe exist. have a wonderful day, ~Goose

    Hello Prus Goose,

    Well, your response is pretty standard:

    1. First off, I am not prejudiced. "Prejudice" is a standard accusation that Bill Wilson used in Chapter Four of the Big Book, accusing everyone who didn't believe in his weird cult religion of being "prejudiced". No, I actually began learning about Alcoholics Anonymous with a very positive attitude. I thought that A.A. was the biggest and best self-help group in the country. I changed my mind only because of what I learned by being involved with it, and seeing it in action.

    2. The claim that only an A.A. member can understand A.A. is also standard cult fare. The cults routinely claim that "Only another member understands". As if the cult is so special and so spiritual that the regular people outside of the cult just cannot comprehend how wonderful the guru is, and how wonderful the teachings are.

      And the claim that you have to do the cult practices — like the 12 Steps — for a year or two before you can understand them is another standard cult characteristic. But if you do their practices for a year or two, you will be so brainwashed that you will believe all of their garbage. It certainly is possible to understand cults without joining them and participating in their practices.

    3. I do not need a sponsor to teach me what the Steps mean. That is also standard cult fare: mentoring. See the Cult Test question here, and the answer for A.A. here.

      I know what the Steps mean. Read The Twelve Steps Interpreted.

    4. I do not make "snap prejudice judgments." I have spent the last ten years studying A.A. and recovery and cults.

    5. About:

      For instance lie # 20 for you: "The 12 steps are about quitting drinking."
      Nowhere in the book does it say that. In fact there are multiple lines that say what the main point and purpose of the Big Book is. Here's a clue... It's all about building and maintaining a relationship with a Higher Power of your understanding and being of maximum service to God and all of his other children.

      I know all of that — except that the Big Book most assuredly does say that it "has a solution" to the problem of alcohol addiction. I said that the A.A. lie was that A.A. is about quitting drinking. It's a bait-and-switch trick. First, the goal is supposedly to help people to quit drinking — at least, that is what they advertise on the radio and TV, and that's what the recruiters tell the prospects — but then the real goal is to convert people to the A.A. cult religion. See "Bait-and-Switch: Shifting Objectives". And also see the web page Recruiting Mind Games for much more on that.

      By the way, you pulled another switcheroo bait-and-switch trick right there in that paragraph:

      • First, you said that the goal was "building and maintaining a relationship with a Higher Power of your understanding",
      • but then suddenly the program was "being of maximum service to God and all of his other children".

      Who says that the "Higher Power of my understanding" wants anybody to be "of maximum service to God"? Where did that loaded three-lettered word "God" come from? How did the "Higher Power of my understanding" suddenly get changed into your "God", in the same sentence yet? Bait and switch.

    6. Likewise, you said:

      The steps are a guide to a replacement solution where people like me find a God-based solution.

      In other words, it is a religion. And a dishonest cult religion that will not even tell the truth about itself is not a working cure for alcohol abuse.

    7. About:

      There is a very distinct difference between the real alcoholic and the problem/heavy drinker. The Big Book describes this. For a real alcoholic the only way to stay sober is by having a deep and effective spiritual experience (Carl Jung). I have found the quickest and easiest way to have this experience for me is by working the 12 steps. I'm happy due to this and so are millions of other people.

      Your attempt to divide alcoholics into "heavy drinkers" and "real alcoholics" is a false dichotomy. In A.A. dogma, those who quit drinking without devoting their lives to the A.A. cult were merely "heavy drinkers", while those who joined A.A. were "the real alcoholics". That is just a lame attempt to claim that A.A. is essential for some people. Not so.

      Carl Jung did not even say that alcoholics need religious mania as a cure for alcoholism, or a "spiritual experience". Bill Wilson screwed up that quote. William James said it in The Varieties of Religious Experience. Footnote 1 on page 263 of Varieties says:
      '"The only radical remedy I know for dipsomania is religiomania," is a saying I have heard quoted from some medical man.'

      William James published Varieties in 1902, but he didn't meet Carl Jung until 1909, so it is very unlikely that James got that line from Jung.

      Furthermore, it is wrong. Many millions of people like me have quit alcohol and drug addictions without joining a cult religion and becoming a religious maniac.

      Lastly, your claim that "millions" of people are enjoying happy sobriety by practicing the 12 Steps is blatantly, obviously, false. The most that A.A. can claim is two million members worldwide, including all of the duplicates who go to multiple meetings, and 95% of the new members drop out in the first year, and many more drop out in the following years, so that only leaves a few hundred thousand people, at most, who stay and practice the Steps for multiple years. The number of people who stay and work the Steps for 10 or 20 years is microscopic, really tiny. (Another recent correspondent was bragging that there were 450 A.A. oldtimers at the A.A. convention in Texas. Only 450 with 20 or 30 years, out of "millions".) And the truth is, they stay sober by refusing to take a drink, not by doing the practices of an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

    8. Then you wrote:

      I believe the reason A.A. has such lower success rates these days then 70 years ago is because of how many people are forced into A.A. before they actually want to stop. Back in Bill W.'s day they found the bottom of the barrel homeless man who couldn't function without booze to introduce into this program. Nowadays every middle class parent who catches their kid with a joint sends them to rehab. They're probably not even addicts, much less want to quit.

      That is the same old fairy tale about how wonderful things were in the "Good Old Days". There weren't any good old days. There never was any Golden Age of Alcoholics Anonymous when it worked great. When Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that 50% or 75% recovered, he was just lying again, to make A.A. look good. We have covered this many times before, too. Look here.

      I agree that forcing kids into A.A. is a very bad thing. Nobody should ever be forced to attend the services of a cult religion. That is illegal and unConstitutional.

    9. And you finished with:

      I am very curious why you would bash something that you really only have misguided and bias information about. If this works for people, even only a small percentage, why would you want to turn anyone against this or other 12 steps programs before they even try it?

      I am not "bashing" Alcoholics Anonymous. I have very accurate information. I have spent years doing research on the subject. For example, here in this paragraph you make the false claim that A.A. works. A.A. does not work. It is a fraud and a hoax. Read The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

      I criticize Alcoholics Anonymous because I want to get the truth out there and let people know what the choices for recovery really are.

    Have a good day and a Happy Holiday Season.

    == Orange

    *             orange@orange-papers.org        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with
    **     the object of making men happy in the end ... but that it was
    **     essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny
    **     creature ... and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears:
    **     would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?
    **     Tell me, and tell me the truth!
    **       == Feodor Dostoevski (1821-1881)
    





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