Letters, We Get Mail, CCXL
by A. Orange



Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 4:36 pm     (answered 27 May 2011)
From: "BlogTalkRadio"
Subject: Show Reminder — stop13stepinaa — Sexual & Financial Predators in AA Part-2 Stop 13 stepping

Hello,

You are receiving this email because you requested that BlogTalkRadio.com remind you when select shows are about to air.

Show Details:

Show: Sexual & Financial Predators in AA Part-2 Stop 13 stepping

Date/Time: May 24, 2011 5:30 PM PDT

Listen: Click to listen.

Or copy and paste the link below:

http://www.Blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery/2011/05/25/sexual-financial-predators-in-aa-part-stop-13-stepping

And do not forget, if you want to call in live and speak with the host, be sure to dial (818)475-9211. You will be placed into the caller queue where you will still be able to hear the show while you are on hold.

If you miss this above event you can listen to the archive anytime by clicking on the same link above.

Enjoy the show,

The BlogTalkRadio Team

This is a good show, interesting and informative. I caught the last broadcast, which was an interview with Stanton Peele. Fortunately, Mike of BlameDenial got an email to me just 11 minutes before the show started, tipping me off. How's that for timing? It was worth catching.

Then, I found that you can download and save the entire broadcast after it is over, and listen to it again, several times, which I've done with the Stanton Peele interview.

Enjoy. And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     Many Americans suffer from a conviction that the past has nothing
**     to teach the present. That attitude is both arrogant and stupid,
**     and it assumes that we are so special that what we are going
**     through now is completely different from anything that the human
**     race has experienced during the previous 10,000 years.





[The previous letter from Renee is here.]

Date: Wed, May 25, 2011 8:02 am     (answered 27 May 2011)
From: Renee
Subject: LOVE THE PICTURE

Hello Terrence (Orange)

I love the picture of the little boy with the duck. It is beautiful. You are quite an artist!

Have you ever thought of finding a venue to show these beautiful pictures? I mean other than at the OP's

My father was a photographer, and a very good one at that. I know talent when I see it.

Too bad I didn't inherit the photographer gene from him... LOL.

When I see your photographs I can see your soul....your heart, the "good" and peaceful inner you.

Serenity and peace, yes those are the words I'm searching for... but you aren't supposed to have those without AA, right?

You most certainly could teach a lot of those angry AA people who write to you every day a thing about serenity and living the good life!! I imagine they wouldn't listen to you anyway.....

Take Care,

Enjoy the weekend!

Renee

Hi again, Renee,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and I'm glad that you enjoy the pictures.

I don't really feel like a great photographer. I just have great material to work with. The reason that I got into photography was because I was hanging out with the goslings, and they were so beautiful that I wanted to take some pictures and share the beauty. One thing led to another. I got an inexpensive used point-and-shoot camera from Goodwill and that was okay for a little while, but I soon found myself wishing for a much better camera with a telephoto lens, so I got one. Now I'm again wishing for a better camera, for really good image quality, so I've been saving my sheckels, and I think next month I'll get it — a used professional-quality Canon.

My photography style is to just take a zillion pictures and pick out the good ones. We don't have to pay for film with digital photography. The digital pictures are almost free. I can go out and shoot hundreds of pictures, and come home and dump them into my computer and it costs maybe two cents in electricity.

So I just shoot like mad and ignore all of the bad ones. And when you are photographing wildlife, you get lots of bad ones. Those animals very rarely pose for you. They are usually jumping around, or running around, or flying, or something, and sticking a head or wingtip out this way or that, beyond the edge of the picture, cutting it off. I have hundreds of "almost wonderful" pictures of them, slightly cut off.

But still, if you shoot a thousand pictures, and get ten really good ones, I'd call that a successful photo session.

About the serenity: Yes, that's a big part of it for me. I get some really serene and wonderful feelings from hanging out with the geese, and especially from having the goslings accept me and eat out of my hands. And then there is just something eternal about seeing generation after generation of the cute little fluff-balls getting hatched and growing up. And then the giant river just flows on and on forever. I never ever got any feelings like that from attending an A.A. meeting.

Have a good day now, and a good weekend too.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     "All the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass
**     greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly
**     industrious for millions of years, yet their productiveness
**     nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has
**     been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has
**     brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the
**     planet. Nature doesn't have a design problem. People do."
**                             William McDonough
**                             architect & visionary





May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck

[More gosling photos below, here.]





[The previous letter from Ted_D is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Ted_D ]

Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 9:11 pm     (answered 27 May 2011)
From: "Ted D."
Subject: Re: Mr. A Orange, I've been reading your writings on AA and the Oxford Group...

Hey,

I still have more of your site to go through, before I come to a definite conclusion concerning it. That being said, the most important part I need go through, are the studies conducted that state that AA does not work. At present, I am still undecided as to whether or not you are 100% correct that AA causes more harm than help.

Hi again, Ted,

Yes, please read the entire file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment. That's the single most important file on the entire web site, because that reports what the doctors actually found when they tested A.A. to see just how well it works.

You make some good points on your site, however, not all of them hold true, at least not to what I've seen, in the groups I attend. For example, the mention that all people in AA say you should go off your meds (if you take any) and that the twelve steps should be enough to suffice. Just a week or two ago, the speaker at a meeting I was attending said to *not listen to people who tell you to go off your meds*, and that she had received *much help from taking anti-depressants prescribed for her depression.* That certainly doesn't mean that people in AA don't say that, she wouldn't have mentioned it if it didn't happen, the point I am trying to make, is that not everyone in AA has that opinion. Certainly if it was a cornerstone of the AA program to stop taking all of your prescribed meds, the speaker would have gotten into a large amount of trouble for saying so, or would have been interrupted on the spot. She wasn't, and when the 'sharing' began, other's agreed with her in response. That being said, I'm sure you have a ton of horror stories you could provide links to that say otherwise, but the point I'm trying to make, is that not all of your claims, apply to every group out their. More importantly, Not every study conducted on AA applies to every group in the world.

Yes, on all of your points.

I know that the attitudes about medications vary widely from one group to another. Eleven years ago, some people did a survey on A.A. members' attitudes towards medications, and they claimed that A.A. members were not at all dogmatic about medications — only 17% of the sponsors were against them. What the writer of the article did not seem to be able to realize is: that meant that any person with both a psychiatric and a drug or alcohol problem had a 17% chance of getting a bad sponsor who just might kill him or her with stupid orders and bad medical advice. Those are the same odds as you get in Russian Roulette if you put one bullet in a Colt 45 6-shooter and then spin the revolver and point it at your head and pull the trigger.

See: Alcoholics Anonymous and the Use of Medications to Prevent Relapse: An Anonymous Survey of Member Attitudes. ROBERT G. RYCHTARIK; GERARD J. CONNORS; KURT H. DERMEN; PAUL R. STASIEWICZ. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Jan 2000 v61 i1 p134.

Right now, the most militant and aggressive and rapidly-growing parts of A.A. are the most dogmatically opposed to the use of psychiatric medications. Check out Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group and Mike Quinone's Washington DC "Midtown Group" for a bunch of stories about newcomers being told to stop taking their medications.

And you are right about me having a bunch of A.A. horror stories. Here is the list.

I do recall reading somewhere on your site, that you said, not a lot (or not enough) studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of AA, you then went on to provide the studies that had been done, which is fine, but you still proceeded it by saying that not enough had been done, which in itself, is an admission of the lack of evidence collected.

Nope. Bad logic. I still say that the government should do a bunch more tests. But that does not invalidate all of the tests that have already been done, ALL of which found A.A. to be a failure and very harmful.

I still want to see the government, maybe the NIH or National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conduct a good multipart randomized longitudinal controlled study that simultaneously tests A.A., N.A., SMART, SOS, Lifering, WFS, CBT, RBT, the Baskin Robbins Cure, the Tiddly-Winks Cure, the Patty-Cake Cure, and anything else that is handy, just to provide more undeniable evidence of what is really going on.

A.A. boosters strongly resist such valid testing because they know it will again show A.A. to be a fraud and a hoax. They managed to sabotage Project MATCH, and make it into a meaningless and worthless study by having no control group, and cherry-picking who went into what group, and paying the participants to come to meetings. I fully expect that they will try to sabotage the next test too.

Also, you mention the Harvard fellow's study quite a bit, what doesn't sit well with, is the fact that it was a study conducted on only 100 people. Equally unsettling that the doctor admitted his findings were appalling and kept on promoting the group, yes.

No, no, no. The Cambridge-Sommerville [Massachusetts] Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation (CASPAR) featured 24-hour walk-in services with medical treatment for detoxing, and it treated 1000 new patients per year, did 2500 detoxifications per year, and had 20,000 outpatient visits per year. And Vaillant worked there for many years. In the 8 years that he tracked his first 100 patients, he treated 8000 new alcoholic patients, and then treated them again and again, repeatedly. Vaillant just tracked his first hundred patients because the work load of tracking several thousand patients would have been overwhelming.

Notice how Dr. Vaillant got 1000 new patients per year, but he did 2500 detoxifications per year. He was detoxing the same patients over and over again, while unsuccessfully treating them with Alcoholics Anonymous.

You can bet money that if Vaillant was getting great successes with some other alcoholics, with some different group of 100 or more alcoholics, he would have tracked them and reported their success rate. But he didn't. He stated quite flatly that A.A. failed all the way across the board, not just with the first 100.

But my concern is not with the Harvard professor, my concern is with the fact that his study was only conducted on 100 people. That simply isn't enough people to come to a final conclusion about the program as a whole. Especially since the program operates in separate cells or families that intermingle from one meeting to the next. It is very difficult to measure the success rate of AA, period.

Again, it wasn't 100, it was more like 8000.

And it is not at all hard to measure the A.A. success rate. Just count heads and see who has quit drinking, and who has not.

I will read your studies, and draw a conclusion. However, there is one thing I must tell you that turns me off about your site. It is the anger issue. It is certainly alright to be angry about AA, but when presenting your info, you must understand that a person reading your site for the first time, doesn't know what you know, and therefore, doesn't share your same point of view, or your anger. Since many of your first time readers will happen upon your writings from the middle of your site, as I did. And many will not get to the part where you actually state that you are also an alcoholic, until much later in their reading. It is safe to assume that the anger on your part, is a turn-off. People will not understand your anger until they are fully brought up to speed on the subject you are presenting. Therefore, I think it is best that you leave your anger out of the site. Simply present your evidence and factual arguments, and if what you are saying is true, people will get angry on their own. Remember, I didn't say you couldn't be angry about AA, I only said it doesn't benefit new-comers to your site, to be angry. And since there is no way of telling what part of your site new-readers will enter, I think it is best to keep all anger out of the site, and let the readers get it on their own. It makes you sound less biased, simply because new readers do not share that anger from the moment they begin reading. (Unless of course the readers have been wronged by AA, but from the amount of hate mail you receive as a result of this site, I would say that not every new-comer to your site, shares your anger.

Yes, well, I don't think my attitude is going to change. I just have a lot of contempt for fake counselors who foist cult religion on sick people and lie to them and say that it works great. I consider that a crime against humanity.

In addition to that, don't you think you receive hateful letters from people who the program has helped stop drinking? Do you think people who haven't been helped by the program would take the time to write you hate mail?. You said you get a lot of letters from angry AA members. Do you think those angry members are writing to you to tell you the program has not helped them? In other words, would you consider angry letters, from AA members angry about your site, to be a kind of evidence to the contrary? I know it can;t be proved whether or not a person is still drinking, based on a letter, but honestly, what would motivate a person to write a letter to you, telling you that you're wrong, if they didn't feel that you were wrong, because the program helped them. Unless of course they wrote the letter when they were drunk.

Again, the assumption that A.A. helped those angry people to quit drinking is without any supporting evidence. To assume that A.A. meetings made those people quit drinking is the same bad logic as assuming that going to church makes teenage girls get pregnant. Well, they go to church and pray every Sunday, and then one day they are pregnant, so obviously going to church made the girls get pregnant, right?

The same illogic applies to going to A.A. meetings and then quitting drinking.

It takes very carefully conducted tests and studies to separate fact from fiction, and to avoid confusing coincidence with causation.

And who's this guy? http://www.green-papers.org/rebuttal.htm

Still thinking this over,

-Ted

"Agent Green" of the "Green Papers" is a woman who is in Al-Anon. She is not an alcoholic, and has never had to quit drinking or detox or anything like that. She just loves the 12-Step cult religion routine, so she argues that A.A. is the best way to quit drinking, as if she knew anything about it. We have exchanged letters before. Look here.

I suppose I should rebut her "rebuttal" someday, when I have nothing better to do. But all that she is doing there is repeating the same logical fallacies as she used in her previous letter.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     If you've sold your soul to the devil, in effect, it's
**     profoundly human to talk yourself into believing that
**     what you got in exchange was worth the price.
**       ==  The Archdruid Report
**       http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2011/05/tyranny-of-temporary.html





[The previous letter from Ben_N is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Ben_N ]

Date: Wed, May 25, 2011 5:22 am     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "Ben N."
Subject: UK Treatment Centres

Dear Orange,

Six months free of the cult today. My life hasn't changed much but, between my ears, it's as if the sun has come out after a long, long winter. Isn't it strange how you can walk around with an underlying fear (AA induced) and not realise it until it is gone. Now that's what I call a spiritual awakening.

In the spirit of "All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing", I've decided I want to do something. I've had a few of the, seemingly, inevitable "head ons" with the serene fraternity. The last one was someone I considered a friend. We met in a local supermarket and I have always taken the stance "Don't say anything about AA unless asked". He brought the subject up and, in the interests of "rigorous honesty" I told him the truth. Jesus — like a red rag to a bull! The upshot was that I had to walk away in the end — he was getting very "un-serene". I left him shouting at me that I was evil for breaking his anonymity — He was the one doing it, not me.

I told this little story because I don't think there is much point of approaching the converted with the truth — might be fun at times, but it's not very productive. I'm from the UK and, after reading many of your letters, I got the impression that people didn't think things were so bad here as in the US. Just out of interest, I started to look at the treatment facilities available here and what they have to offer. My "research" has been very limited — I just wanted to "get a feel" of what was going on here. So far, they are all at it! 12 steps I mean. Some of the websites try to hide it and you need knowledge of AA terminology to recognise it, but it's there.

What I want to be able to do is to approach funding agencies and have them make treatment facilities declare an "expected success rate". If they underachieve they have to pay the money back. Simple enough to monitor. The little "research" I have done has been very time consuming (You really have to read through a lot of BS to find the truth on some of these places). I hate the idea of "reinventing the wheel" and wondered if you would mind getting this idea out to others in the UK who may be interested in doing something. I"ve set up a throwaway e-mail aa12stepstoriches@yahoo.co.uk should anyone have any ideas, or info that may be relevant. May I add that I have absolutely NO interest of being any kind of leader or guru — God forbid. I'm a great believer in "No-one made a bigger mistake when they did nothing because they could only do a little". This lie is affecting a lot of people, so let's get a lot of people telling the truth (with a quiet nod of the head to Orange who got the whole ball rolling)

I wrote to you a couple of weeks ago and you mentioned liking the e-mail signature. Wish it was me but it wasn't. It's from P J O'Rourke. Forgot to add the source. My God — will I go to jail if I go to Mexico?

Ben N

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

Hello again, Ben,

Thanks for the letter. That says a lot. And congratulations on your 6 months of freedom.

The idea of collecting information on the British treatment center success rates (or really, failure rates,) sounds interesting. And perhaps you can also bring the failure rate and cult religion aspect to the attention of your Member of Parliament. There are actually a lot of people who are very opposed to wasting more money on something that does not work, and just lies about it. And with everybody in the Western world having economic troubles, defunding worthless crazy cult religion is an easy budget cut.

And I'd love to hear what you come up with.

More and more people are demanding results. Here in the USA, some people (not many, but a few important ones) are getting tired of us paying billions for "rehab" and "treatment", and getting nothing but failure as a result. They are talking about requiring "evidence-based treatment".

And speaking of British rehab facilities, I was just rereading this bit this morning: Griffith_Edwards and his "National Addiction Centre". Griffith Edwards is one of the propagandists whom you might examine.

About the "unserene" Stepper: Yes, they do pop a cork when their favorite superstitions are challenged, don't they? I suspect that such behavior reveals that deep down in their heart of hearts they know that A.A. is a sham and a fraud, but they don't want to hear it. — Probably because they are full of those induced phobias, and scared that they will die if they quit the cult.

Jeffrey Schaler described their behavior perfectly more than 10 years ago:

Cult Busting:

One way of testing the cult nature of a group is by challenging the ideology binding the group together. We can discover something about the nature of a group by how well its members tolerate opposition to the ideology that holds the group together. How well do members tolerate difference of opinion, opinion that challenges the very ideological heart of the group?

Members of the cult are like a colony of insects when disturbed. A frenzy of activity and protective measures are executed when core ideologies are challenged. The stronger the evidence challenging the truthfulness of the group ideology, the more likely members of the cult are to either lash out in a more or less predictable fashion, fall apart, or disband into separate cult colonies.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     "If you think you are too small to be effective,
**      you have never been in bed with a mosquito."





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Mark_B ]

Date: Wed, May 25, 2011 7:23 pm     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "Mark B."
Subject: Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult?

Hello again Orange,

Recently I completed my 1 year of probation for my only DUI conviction. Which means I am no longer compelled to attend AA meetings as I was (unconstitutionally) required by the county judge who sentenced me. Hooray.

Now that I am free from threat of revocation and reprisal, I am seriously considering file complaints against the authorities for mandating AA attendance. I will probably stop going to AA altogether, even though I did meet some nice people there. I will definitely continue attending the support group where I completed an excellent IOP treatment, which was NOT based on 12-step groupthink dogma!

I've been free from alcohol for nearly 21 months now, and did so without "working the steps" or working with a "sponsor". I did however benefit greatly from working one-on-one with a qualified therapist who is a recovered "alcoholic" and trained in modalities such as REBT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_emotive_behavior_therapy

Together we explored the underlying issues behind my self-destructive drinking behavior. 12-Step nonsense was never part of that dialogue.

I found an excellent essay today titled
"Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited" by one L. Allen Ragels:

http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/aacultbk01.htm

Wherein I read this interesting quote from George E. Vaillant, a Harvard researcher, psychiatrist and a supporter of AA [who] acknowledged that:

"AA certainly functions as a cult and systemically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over."

Vaillant, G. (1995). The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, page 266.

I thought you and your dear readers might appreciate that.

What an odd set of contradictions Vaillant's attitudes AA towards present considering the results of his own research which you, Orange, have abstracted here: http://orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant

By Vaillant's own admission, AA harms more than it helps. Yet Vailant continues to support and promote AA while at the same time conceding that AA functions as a cult, even concluding and admitting that AA is ineffective at increasing long-term abstinence, and even worse that it increases rates of binge-drinking!

Peace,
Mark in Dallas TX

Hi again, Mark,

Thanks for the letter. I trust that you are doing well.

That article by Ragels is a good one, isn't it? It has gotten around the Internet a bit. I also have this link for it, in case the other one expires:

http://freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/groups/a/aa/is_aa_cult.htm — "Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult? An Old Question Revisited", by L. Allen Ragels

Yes, Dr. Vaillant's behavior there, admitting that A.A. does not work, and it's a cult, and A.A. has the worst death rate of any kind of treatment for alcohol abuse, and then praising A.A. and insisting that everybody should get shoved into A.A. so that they can get "an attitude change" by "confession of sins to a high-status healer", make me think that Dr. Vaillant is insane. Not just a little bit funny in the head, but genuinely insane.

It's a common occupational hazard. Many people get into the field of psychology and psychiatry because they know, somewhere deep down inside, that their minds are not working right, and they hope to learn how to fix themselves. Then, some time during their education, somebody tells them that they are qualified to fix other people. So we end up with a lot of nutty psychiatrists.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**
**    "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**    but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**      ==  Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of
**    Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**    Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**    and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**    1983, pages 283-286.

UPDATE: 2014.08.11: William B. wrote to me and informed me that the Wikipedia page on Dr. George E. Vaillant tells us that as a boy, George watched his father commit suicide in his front yard by putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger. That is enough to give anyone PTSD.
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#William_B
So Vaillant turned into a religious nutcase in response. Sad. And this is one of the "leading authorities" in the field of "alcoholism treatment"??? That is really sad.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Tom_M ]

Date: Fri, May 27, 2011 10:49 am     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "Tom M."
Subject:

Hello again,

Can you tell me, in your opinion, what the three best books you have read about cults are? I am now fully convinced that AA is a hardcore cult religion. I would like to learn some more about cults in general. I find the topic fascinating. It seems that a cult can be anything that uses deceptive recruiting and mind-control techniques. It doesn't have to be religious or about belief in god.

I don't know if you have heard of Business Networking International
http://www.bni.com/
There guru is Dr. Ivan Misner. It seems to me to be a cross between a commercial cult and a pyramid scheme. I know a few people here who have been brainwashed by it, and are spouting vacuous, thought-stopping slogans to beat the band, just like AA members. It is eerily familiar to my time in AA.

Best wishes
Tom M.

Hello again, Tom,

Quite right. Cults do not have to be about God or religion at all. Amway and Scientology both immediately come to mind. Amway is about making money, and they worship wealth. Scientology is ostensibly about psychology and self-improvement, but it is also really about power and money.

And yes, there are political cults, commercial cults, pyramid schemes, and "self-realization training" that have nothing to do with religion. The Landmark Educational Foundation is the renamed "est" cult of "Werner Erhard", and they are still around. Now they selling "corporate training".

I don't know anything about the new cult that you found. I'll have to check it out.

Now, for the tough question: The three best books on cults. Ouch. That is actually a very tough question. There are so many. Check out the "cult" section of the bibliography, here.

But to narrow it down, let's look at the "cults" section of the "Top 10 reading list", here.

If I have to pick just three, maybe it's these:

  1. The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad

  2. The Wrong Way Home, Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.

  3. Cults In Our Midst, The Hidden Menace In Our Everyday Lives, Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich

I have just one little reservation there: As I mentioned in the Top 10 reading list, Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer actually wrote that A.A. was not a cult. She knew about cults, but she just didn't know much about Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, she died of old age and there is no way to talk to her about that now. RIP.

Oh, and I guess I should mention the Cult Test, which is a sort of book in its own right.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**      True information, human intelligence, and reason
**      are the mortal enemies of cult leaders...





May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Mallard Ducks
Mallard Ducks
This is the same couple as the ducks in the preceeding pictures. They were a very good-looking pair, and they hung around for a while, seeing what other munchies they could get from me.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Anon1 ]

From: "Anonymous"
Subject: anger
Date: Sat, May 21, 2011 10:48 am     (answered 21 May 2011)

Hi I just wanted to ask you this personally, I don't want it posted on the site thanks. But I am now almost 8 months sober and stopped going to AA about 2 months ago now I think. And I see a therapist once a week, but I still have a lot of anger issues and I don't know how to deal with them. I used to just suppress my feelings with drinking so everyday was very predictable and comfortable. Now it is work having to deal with these problems. So i guess my question is did you have problems managing your anger when you got sober and if so what did you do you help? Thank you

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the question. Did I have problems managing my anger? Oh yes, and I still do. That just seems to come with the territory. I have a lot of residual anger from childhood abuse, and there is of course no way to go back and fix it. There is no way to get revenge or set things right.

Then, alcohol does a lot of damage to the brain and it takes time to fix that, too.

First off, let me tell you that things do get better with time. Your brain is in the process of healing. It may take months or years, depending on how much you drank, and how long. But still, things will slowly get better. (And alas, it is really slow. It took me five years to get my memory working right again.)

Thus, take care of your physical body. Take lots of B vitamins. They are necessary for growing new brain cells. Don't drink too much coffee. When you do drink coffee, put milk in it. The calcium helps to buffer the caffeine. I prefer Latté Breve. Try to eat a balanced diet.

Then, physical activity helps me to get out of bad moods, like going for long walks, preferably in beautiful places, especially when the weather is good. Or, if you are young and athletic, running or jogging or something like that is a possibility. Or something off the wall like roller skating. Or sports. Whatever. But get outside, and get your blood circulating.

One of the things you will notice is that when you are angry, it is usually not about what is happening right now. Sometimes, yes, but not usually. I find that when I am feeling angry and frustrated, even though it may seem on the surface like it's about the stupid politicians and what they are doing, or something that happened yesterday, the anger isn't really about what is happening here and now. The real underlying cause is almost always something that happened many years ago. Or at least about something that happened last week, but not today.

Thus, what helps me to overcome the anger is to bring my awareness back to the here and now. Just be right here, right now. I just keep pulling my awareness back to the here and now. The present moment is really quite okay. I'm not angry about that. I'm furious about what was done to me as a child, and there were plenty of other times that I wasn't too happy about either, and that are painful to remember, but the present moment is quite okay.

So anything that helps me to stay in the here and now helps with getting rid of the anger. That is one of the reasons that I like photography. I always have a camera slung from my neck when I am out and about, and I'm always looking around and watching for pretty shots. If I just walk around in a fog thinking about the past or the future, I won't see the possible shots. So photography becomes a sort of Zen art of staying aware of my surroundings.

So that brings up one technique: When you are angry, ask yourself, are you angry about what is happening right this minute, or are you angry about something that happened last week, or 20 years ago? If it's what happened 10 or 20 years ago, there is no profit in ruining the present moment by fretting over the past that you cannot change.

Then, I find that I really have to ration my dose of political radio. It seems that both right-wing and left-wing talk radio are designed to make people angry, and they do a good job of it. I used to listen to a lot of political talk radio, but now I have to limit my dose to just a few minutes of it per day, like maybe while I'm in the shower in the morning, just enough to hear what the current issues are. If I listen to much more than that, I can become good and angry in just 15 minutes.

And then I remember Dr. Hank Robb's brochure on "How To Stop Driving Yourself Crazy", which is some of the stuff that SMART teaches. I cannot find that thing at the moment, but will reprint it when I can. One of the core points that he makes is about expectations. Like you can say, "Things should be this way!" Or you can say, "I would prefer it if things were this way, but I'm not going to get all twisted into knots if they aren't." In both cases, you are dealing with the same reality, but your emotional reaction to that reality is very different. And you will notice that you can actually choose which emotional reaction to have by how you think about things.

All of these words invoke a hidden value system: "Should, ought, must, deserve, entitled". As in:

  1. People should do this.
  2. People should not do that.
  3. People ought to be nicer.
  4. Everybody must do this.
  5. I deserve this, and I don't deserve that.
  6. They are entitled to get all of the money on Wall Street because they are smarter than us.

Some people have huge unexamined value systems hidden in their closets, and they just assume that the rest of the world should go along with their beliefs and their values. And of course they are very unhappy when the world does something else.

We can drive ourselves crazy trying to push our own unconsciously-held value system onto the rest of the world — a value system that we probably got shoved on us by our parents, and that we have often not even examined closely to see how realistic or sane is really is. The world is sure to disappoint us by doing whatever it wishes, rather than what we wish, and that can be the source of some more anger.

The best self-defense there is to avoid those words like "should" and "must", and to say instead, "I would prefer it if..."

This is such a great question that I'd like to publish it and the answer, totally anonymously, of course. Lots of us ex-alcoholics have big anger issues, so it's really a relevant question. But I won't publish it without your permission. Fair is fair.

Have good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**         Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
**           —   Benjamin Franklin (1706 — 1790)


[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Anon2 ]

Date: Wed, May 25, 2011 2:41 pm     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Re: anger

Thanks for the answer, it really helped me put things into perspective and helps me realize I am not alone. I would be fine if it were put on the website anonymously, I didn't even think of that actually.

I also wanted to know how you felt about the term recovering alcoholic. I know it's used in AA, but I don't mind applying it to myself because I feel that since I will only be able to drink alcoholically if I ever drank again that the only real option is to abstain completely. To call myself a former alcoholic I feel I would have to be able to drink socially which I am not willing to risk, it is far to dangerous of a gamble. I am OK with this since it's obviously a better life for an alcoholic, but I wanted to know how you felt about the term and it's meaning. Thanks

Hi again, Anonymous,

Thanks for permission to publish your first letter. It's a really good question.

So is this one. It's really a loaded question. That is, Alcoholics Anonymous uses several different definitions for the word "alcoholic", and they really mean very different things, ranging from somebody who habitually drinks too much alcohol, to somebody who is a disgusting sinner. A.A. interchanges the definitions freely, which confuses the issue and makes for some slick bait-and-switch tricks. I just reprinted the definitions again, here, so check them out.

Well, the term "recovering alcoholic" also has several different meanings in A.A. There is no doubt that alcoholics are recovering their health and rebuilding their bodies during the first months of sobriety, even the first years in many cases. Alcohol does massive damage to the body and brain and it takes time to repair the damage.

But A.A. says that you never recover, that an ex-drinker is always "in recovery", for the rest of his life. That is of course a bunch of bull. They just don't want people graduating and leaving the cult.

One definition that they use is to claim that because an ex-alcoholic cannot ever drink like a normal person, that the ex-alcoholic is always "in recovery". That is nonsense. I cannot drink alcohol in moderation, but then again, I also cannot drink cyanide koolaid in moderation like a normal Jim Jones devotee, either. Both are toxic to me. Does that mean that I am forever "in recovery" from cyanide koolaid?

Then another definition of "in recovery" that they push is the idea that alcoholics are morally and spiritually inferior to "normal" people, and alcoholics need the 12-Step program and a sponsor telling them what to do for the rest of their lives, because alcoholics are incapable of running their own lives. Bullshit.

Then that definition often gets perverted into just the opposite meaning: that alcoholics who are practicing the 12 Steps are more spiritual than normal people. Somebody who is "in recovery" is a paragon of wisdom, spirituality, and holiness. Bullshit.

They also claim that because ex-drinkers often get tempted to drink, that they are still "in recovery". Again, that is a bunch of bull. So we get tempted. So what? That does not mean that we have a disease from which we are forever recovering.

I had a good strong attack of temptation just last weekend. It was a beautiful hot summer day, and I hiked out to the Fernhill Wetlands to feed the goslings and get photographs. At the end of the day I was hot, tired, thirsty, and sunburned. As I was walking home, I noticed a pub across the street with a big neon "Budweiser" sign in the window. I suddenly had a really intense twang of desire. The thought hit me that a tall cold one would really go good right now. Oh it would be so cold and wet. Oh it would be so refreshing. And I had money, and there was no one around who would object, or even know, or care.

But, fortunately, a saner little voice won out with, "That is the doorway to Hell. Been there, done that. You know what that leads to. You will just end up hungover with a headache."

I walked a few blocks further up the street, and went into a 7-Eleven kind of corner store and got a Coca-cola. It was also cold and wet. End of story. End of problem.

That just isn't a "disease" from which I am "in recovery".

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**   The so-called "recovery industry" has more quacks
**   than a flock of ducks.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#A ]

Date: Thu, May 26, 2011 8:19 pm     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "A."
Subject: speculation about the lizard brain

Hi Orange,

I've been avidly reading your website (even all the letters!) for several months, ever since I found it.

My search for a solution to alcohol dependance came at a time when my mother was once again admitted to the hospital because she had been drinking and not eating and had fallen down and couldn't get back up (she has classic "wet brain"- keeps asking the same question over and over, can't remember where the bathroom is when she visits my house, etc). I was also having to face the fact that I had developed an alcohol dependance, and I really didn't want to end up like my mother.

In my somewhat frantic search for answers, or help, or a solution, I found both your website and the Sinclair method websites. I know you are familiar with the Sinclair method, because you have responded to letters about it and posted links to many of the websites that I've found most useful. Because of my background in science, including genetics and neurobiology and biochemistry, I found the Sinclair method to be very sensible and scientifically sound, so I've been using it for a month and a half, and having good results. The description you have developed of the "lizard addiction brain" has also been helpful for me, and completely compatible with my understanding of the Sinclair method.

One of your earlier letters (I'm sorry, I don't remember which file number or year) expressed a healthy skepticism about the Sinclair method, and specifically wondered whether the "lizard addiction brain" would respond to the necessary pill taking with a message of "hey, let's just get plastered this one night, it'll be fun, it's ok if you forget your pill this one time"...yes, I'm paraphrasing, but that is the general gist of it.

I want to share with you my experience of using the Sinclair method to outwit the lizard brain, and my speculation about why the necessary pill-taking is not susceptible to the lizard brain's yammering.

My experience with drinking at least an hour after taking Naltrexone has been that the drink still tastes good (I enjoy my good wine), and I still get buzzed. The buzz is slightly differant, still pleasant, but I get sleepy sooner and I am likely to forget for a while that I have a drink sitting next to me (that never happened before!). The removal of alcohol's effect on the Lizard Brain has little effect on my concious brain's enjoyment of the drinking experience.

I think the reason that the Sinclair method works is that the Lizard Brain has no concept of time. Something that the concious brain did an hour ago (take a pill) is irrelevant to the lizard brain. Similarly, the fact that the concious brain knows that drinking too much will lead to a massive hangover the next day simply does not matter to the lizard brain. This is also why antabuse (the pill that makes people sick if they drink alcohol) doesn't work.

Interestingly, after a few weeks of taking Naltrexone before drinking, many people (including myself) experience an "extinction burst" that is characterized by drinking more, back up to pre-naltrexone levels. I think this is similar to how the Lizard Brain responds to the body's increasing tolerance of alcohol ("well heck, let's just drink some more!"). It is only after the Lizard brain is consistently deprived of its reward for drinking that it finally gives up.

It is actually quite fun out-witting my lizard-brain. Every time I hear it saying "oh, but this would be a good way to drink", I say to it, "ok", take my Naltrexone, and drink that way...and that poor lizard brain is soooo disappointed!

My alcohol intake has dropped by half, and I've shed a few pounds because I'm not taking in all those excess calories. I also feel more engaged in all the other aspects of my life. This method is working for me.

Thank you again for all the wonderful and important information you've posted on your website. I will be forever grateful to you.

A.

PS the goslings are adorable!

Hello A.,

Thanks for the information about the Sinclair Method, and congratulations on your success. I'm interested in anything that works, and the Sinclair Method is sounding good.

All of the stuff that you said in relation to the Lizard Brain sounds correct. It is encouraging to hear how you can outwit the Lizard Brain. It's neat that you can separate the pill from the lack of a high. Doing that end run around old Lizard Brain means that the method has a real chance of success.

Please keep me informed about how it's working.

And yes, the goslings are adorable. I have more new pictures from the last couple of weeks. We have a whole new crop of babies now. And for some unknown reason, the goose parents out here in the country tend to have more babies. I see families with 3, 7+1, 8, and 9 goslings. (That "7+1" means that they have 7 of their own, and actually adopted an orphan, too.) I'll get a few of the pictures up ASAP.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**    Once there were intellectuals who thought the mind existed above
**    the body, but that's been blown away by evidence. In fact, it's
**    easiest to change the mind by changing behavior...
**      ==  David Brooks, "Pitching With Purpose", New York Times, 1 April 2008.





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters240.html#Carl_S ]

Date: Thu, May 26, 2011 8:31 pm     (answered 28 May 2011)
From: "Carl S."
Subject: AA and Female Predators

So I'm in Saint Paul, MN. 12 Step Central. I went to the famous treatment center just north of there, and ended up in a Saint Paul sober house. I was required to do the AA thing. In about my 4th month, I met a woman with more than 4 years of sobriety who was a sober house manager and a well known person in the community. We met when she was still dating another guy who had like 7 years of sobriety. After cheating on him for a while she broke up with him and we started going out. After six months we got married.

We divorced 7 months later because soon after the marriage her real side came out. She was seriously mentally ill — personality disorder probably. She hit me, stole money from me, had a serious gambling addiction, was chronically unfaithful, was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive, etc. etc.

So I'm in domestic abuse therapy now, broke, and suffering from the after affects of this monster. Her? She denies everything, is still a sober house manager, and tells the people in the community that I am in fact the psycho. No one in the community has any interest in holding her accountable, even though I can prove that I am telling the truth. I told the guy who runs the chain of sober houses, and he basically ignored me so she is still happily managing a group of vulnerable women.

So basically the whole scene and all the love and steps stuff is basically a lot of lip service. I think if you get a few years sober and talk the talk, you can probably get away with anything, especially if you are a female. It was a nightmare, and just classic cult bs.

Carl S.

Hi Carl,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I can believe it though. One of the most notable characteristics of the so-called "recovery industry" is that the looneys really are running the insane asylum. The crazies recruit more crazies.

Please have a good day, and a good life, in spite of everything.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**      == Anonymous





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