Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXVII
by A. Orange

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Taylor_W ]

Date: Wed, December 7, 2011 8:23 pm     (answered 14 December 2011)
From: "Taylor W."
Subject: RE: HA, too kind

Hi Orange,

I'm writing regarding a portion of Emma H.'s letter:
as well as your response. I wouldn't wish to address all of it, as much of that was new info to me.

In regards to mental health and drugs/drink, I must disagree that "I'm self medicating" is an excuse. Or rather, is always an excuse, or even usually an excuse. I have no been diagnosed as bipolar, although it runs in the family, however I have been diagnosed with some other mental disturbances. And alcohol was an excellent means of self medication, at least for a while. It really was, with the anxiety and depression and mild delusions, it was just the thing. Sure, I liked to get drunk, but more often than not I was just trying to drink myself into the booze version of a K-hole to escape the racket in my mind. Alcohol ceasing to function as an effective means of self medication was one of the many factors that caused me to decide that abstaining from alcohol was the way to go for me. However, in my case, there's simply no denying that it worked, at least for a while.

I think cannabis is even more useful. I've been on the marijuana maintenance program since long before I had sobriety to maintain. And I have no desire to give it up, nor do I see adverse effects in my life beyond the fact that it involves inhaling smoke. Which is easily solved with the introduction of a vaporizer.

It's been my observation that the US (and certain other countries as well) operate much like a giant balance scale. The response is always too far in the other direction, and it takes a while for things to level off. That's part of what's wrong with the medical syndicate. Obviously, doling out mothers little helper and having everyone and their brother low-grade speedballing on oral stimulants and sedatives was bad juju. That said, now it's too far the other way. There are all sorts of people who would be better off with discretionary access to a benzodiazapine or some other kind of hypnotic or sedative drug, or even just a little grass, as opposed to SSRI's, MAOI's,, tricyclic anti-depressants, whatever the hot new thing I'm missing is.

All of the specialists I've seen have at least initially tried to foist those drugs on me, despite my having a long history of those classes of drugs being unsuccessful for treating my symptoms. When people need to ease their symptoms, they've sought help and been denied it (simply due to people being hidebound no less), it would be illogical not to seek to treat their own symptoms. The medical industry, while perhaps less fraudulent, is an even more successful racket than the recovery industry.

I must agree completely on your feelings regarding people who are doing a lot of talking and have no genuine interest in cleaning up their act. It might be a bit bleak, but more and more, I think (and this would go back to the gene thing) some folks snap out of it, some die. And I think it will always be this way, at least to some extent. Even miracle drugs would be useless until we could re-write someones psyche.

P.S. I realize now that you were careful in how you worded that statement I misread. SOME people absolutely do use self medication as an excuse. I should have known better than to think you'd make such a sweeping statement. But, well, now I've gotten this far, so I'm gonna hit send.

Rock on Orange and OP readers,

Hello Taylor,

Thanks for the letter. Last item first: Yes, I was very careful in how I worded that response. It's tricky. I don't want to appear to be just endorsing taking drugs, but neither do I want to condemn medications. If I appear to be just advocating smoking pot, then the rest of my message gets quickly dismissed or ignored or lost in the hubbub. (I hate to play politics, but sometimes you have to, at least a little bit.)

I'm actually a member of the Facebook group on marijuana as an alternative to addictions to drugs and alcohol. And I've gotten some flack for that. What the heck.

Personally, I'd much rather see somebody smoking pot than drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco. The annual death toll for just U.S. citizens is: over 400,000 dead from tobacco, over 100,000 dead from alcohol, and about 15,000 more dead from drunk driving fatalities — both the drunk drivers and the innocent sober people whom they hit. And the score from marijuana: approximately zero. Oh, there might be one or two guys whose lung conditions were made worse by smoking pot, but I cannot find any fatality counts for them.

I don't have a solid number for the death count from prescription drugs, but I know that it is sky-high too, maybe 200,000 or 300,000. Michael Jackson and Elvis are just the most famous ones.

I'm all for the medical marijuana movement, and I'm happy that Oregon is one of the states that has legalized medical marijuana. Still, I have not gotten a marijuana card, and do not plan to. I've done my years of smoking pot, many years ago, and now I'm saving my lungs for marriage. And I really like the clarity that I have now, and you have to admit, pot does intefere with crystalline clarity. So, the times they have a'changed.

But for those who do need some pot, it can be a big help. It's just another medicine, and one of the least harmful ones we have.

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/   *
**     Genesis:1:11: And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass,
**     the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit
**     after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth:
**     and it was so.
**     Genesis:1:12: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb
**     yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit,
**     whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that
**     it was good. 
**     Genesis:1:29: And God said, Behold, I have given you every
**     herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth,
**     and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding
**     seed; to you it shall be for meat.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#C ]

Date: Thu, December 8, 2011 5:16 am     (answered 14 December 2011)
From: "C."
Subject: Dangerous Rehab Facility for "Anon" Reporter

Dear Orange,

I was directed to you from the Expose AA site regarding a particularily dangerous and scam rehab facility in Battlecreek, MI.

It was originally a Narconon facilty but they closed down due to law suits. However the previous owner merely opened it up under another name, and the same Scientology nutjobs still run the place.

I am hoping one day a reporter will actually infiltrate the "A Forever Recovery" center and verify all the stories and conditions listed in the compliants on RipOff.com and elsewhere.

I can testify to the truth. A well meaning friend put me there a few years ago, but I escaped within a few days.

This place is extremely dangerous and needs to be shut down.

Here is a link to the stories and abuses that occur there:


Here is a brief about them as a scam:

Please pass this information along to Anon reporter.

Thank you,


Hello C.,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for your work to spread the word.

Scientology has a long history of trying to pass off their science-fiction lunacy as valid medical treatment for drug and alcohol problems. They call it "Narconon", and it features the teachings of the paranoid schizophrenic Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. They have a treatment called the "Purity Rundown" that consists of lots of sweat baths and strange diet and drinks. The U.S. Surgeon General has stated that their "Purity Rundown" is complete quackery, and may kill you.

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/   *
**   "Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release
**   form before you can receive its "spiritual assistance."
**   This assistance might involve holding you against your
**   will for an indefinite period, isolating you from
**   friends and family, and denying you access to
**   appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed
**   for this treatment — assuming you survive it. If not,
**   the release form absolves your caretakers of all
**   responsibility for your suffering and death.
**   Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
**                 —  Dr. Dave Touretzky

May 24, 2009, Sunday:

Canada Geese family
Carmen's Family. The big one is the father. Carmen is the little gosling who is sitting on the rock.

Canada Geese family
Carmen's Family
Carmen is the gosling that is sitting on the rock, and Blondie is the one that is looking at me. You can see how Blondie is so much lighter than the other two goslings. That is just natural variation. Some kids come out darker, and some lighter. Blondie is just a "blond-haired kid". Carmen, on the other hand, is one of the darkest of all of the goslings. She is a dark-haired beauty.
Sam has decided to climb up on the rock and join Carmen. The mother is nearby, just off-screen.
By the way, this is the first day that I noticed Carmen letting go of the mother's skirts and relaxing and being separated from the mother, by even a few feet. Previously, Carmen was pretty traumatized by getting orphaned at such a young age, and she clung to her new mother like she was glued to her, for fear of getting orphaned again. But it appears that Carmen is beginning to get over it.

Sternwheeler Rose
The Sternwheeler Rose, another party boat

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Cecily_G is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Cecily_G ]

Date: Mon, December 12, 2011 9:08 pm     (answered 15 December 2011)
From: "Cecily G."
Subject: Re: 75% recovery rates?

Hello Again Orange,

Thanks for the reply. I followed the link and found your analysis of the claimed recovery rates in the 1940s, which answered my question.

As I said before, I'm right on the verge of leaving AA, but I've been so intertwined with the culture for such a long time that it's proving to be very difficult. I'm pretty sure that no one in my family will speak to me if they know I've left, and my family is pretty involved in the local AA community. So much for "anonymity."

Anyway, I've been reading so much more on your site and I'm seeing that I'm not the only person who was dragged, kicking and screaming, into AA early on. When I was about eleven years old, my mother became a devout AA member. Even though I'd never had a drink in my life, she started telling me that I was an alcoholic anytime that she and I had an argument, which only got worse when I was a teen. There wasn't an Alateen group in my area at that time, or else she probably would have made me go there. As it was, she manipulated me into going to AA with her by the time I was thirteen. I trusted her because I had thought that as my mom, she knew me better than I knew me, and I wanted to be a good daughter and overcome my rebelliousness (even though the extent of it was a couple of times that I stayed at the mall with friend past 9pm... blows my mind now to think of how "bad" she thought I was). My mom urged me to get into the program myself, even though I still hadn't had a drink ever. As much as I wanted to please her, I knew that something was wrong. How could I say that I was powerful over alcohol when I was a thirteen year old kid who had never had a drink, and was terrified of alcohol? So I resisted and still went to meetings with her.

By the time I was seventeen, I was forced into the AA program in its fullness. I was spending the night with a friend my age who had made the unfortunate decision to steal a bottle of alcohol from the liquor store around the corner. I was scared to death when I saw her pull out that bottle, so I started to leave her room. As I opened the door, her mom walked in and saw the bottle. My friend, reacting in fear, told her mom that I had brought the bottle. This would change my life forever. Her mom called mine, and I was sent to a rehab. My mom never believed me when I told her what had really happened, and to this day my former "friend" claims that I stole the bottle. We're in our 20s now: you would think she'd have the guts to stand up for the truth now. Anyway, in rehab I was the most horrible patient — because I wasn't sick. Every day, at every meeting, I cried and asked to go home, stating again and again that I hadn't ever had a drink in my life. They kept me there, telling me I was in denial. After 30 days, I had made no "progress" — I had only become very depressed. When my mom came to take me home, I was so relieved... until she told me that we would be going to three meetings a day for as long as it took to get me to see my problem. To accommodate this, she pulled me out of school and began teaching me at home so we could go to a meeting whenever "I needed" (she wanted). I felt like a prisoner, so I made the very difficult decision to run away. Unfortunately, the police found me after my mom reported me missing, so I ended up back at home for a couple of days before she shipped me off to another rehab. Same story again: I cried my eyes out every day and tried so hard not to internalize the untrue messages I knew I was hearing. But during this stay, I reached my eighteenth birthday. I signed myself out immediately and went home, but my mom would not let me stay.

I ended up living with a couple of friends from my old high school who had graduated three years before. I lived there for about six months and barely made ends meet working at Long John Silvers and finishing high school at night. Still had never taken a drink — ever. Then, my mom hired an interventionist and staged an intervention — and one of the people who showed up was my old friend who stole the liquor! I couldn't believe it. I felt like I was going crazy. No one believed anything I had to say. The interventionist kept saying that I was in denial, my disease was talking, and I couldn't trust my own thoughts. I know now that interventions try to force people to hit "rock bottom," and I also know that since I was out of the house, my mom had nothing to take away from me in order to force a rock bottom. I figure the interventionist suggested that she start making promises of what she would do for me if I entered rehab. My mom talked about how poor and destitute I seemed — how I was such a smart girl, and it would be a shame to spend my entire life struggling financially at Long John Silvers instead of going on to fulfill my dream of becoming a scientist. So she promised that if I would spend another 30 days in rehab, then really work the AA program after I got out, she would pay for my college tuition and support me through college so I would not have to work all day and take night classes. I was so exhausted by this time, and it made me very weak. I started to think, "Maybe I can pretend to go along with this until I get through college. If things stay as they are now, I'll never afford an education." I gave in and accepted the offer. My mom cried, and I didn't know whether to sigh in relief or cringe at what was to come. I completed rehab, pretending I was a real alcoholic the whole time. Brainwashing is a funny thing: once you give in to it the slightest bit, even in pretend, it can start to take effect. Within 30 days, I was convinced that I was an alcoholic. Again, never a drink. I put myself fully into AA afterward, sponsor and all. I found myself making up past drinking stories to report to my sponsor, who praised me for my submission to the program.

I kept this up all through college, but God, I don't know how. My mom paid for everything, as promised. I wanted for nothing, all through my BS and MS education... except a bit of real sanity. I was so confused by the time I finished my MS that I didn't know whether my thoughts or the ones I made up for the sake of AA were true. It wasn't until I met another graduate of my MS program who was an ex-AA that I began to deprogram and process the horrible events associated with my AA experience. I'm so ready to leave AA for good. Now, I'm just afraid of what will happen if my mom finds out. After finishing my master's degree I am now financially independent, so it's not about that anymore. It's about the fact that I want to meet someone, get married, and have children, and I want my mom to be part of that. I know she'll refuse if I leave AA.

Thank you so much for listening and for your informative site. It nearly broke my heart when I read the part about parents accusing their toddlers of being alcoholics for being selfish, because in a way I could relate. How can parents do this to their kids? How can medical professionals condone this? You're doing a much needed work for mankind in maintaining this site. It's both comforting and chilling to know how many others have been hurt.


Hello again Cecily,

Thank you for the story. That says so much. I am glad to hear that you have escaped from the madness.

One thing that you really bring out is a giant problem with the 12-Step culture: People who are insane get to decide whether other people are insane. Anybody with some years in "The Program" is supposedly a fountain of light and wisdom, and qualified to decide who else should get what "treatment". That is quackery of the worst sort.

If your mother cuts you off and refuses to associate with you because you quit A.A., then that is her choice. And that isn't love at all. It never was. Foisting such a cruel old cult religion on children is not love. It is insanity.

Here is a frightening thought: Won't your mother try to shove your children into A.A., the same way as she did it to you? After all, her meddling and scheming worked with you, didn't it? She got her way once, so why won't she do it again? Won't she be calling the police on your children, too? Maybe even give false testimony to take the children away from you, because you are an "unfit alcoholic mother"? Can you imagine her going into a courtroom and telling the judge that you are such a terrible alcoholic that she had to put you into rehab repeatedly before the age of 21? All of those false confessions could come back to haunt you. Are you sure you even want her around? Do you trust her to behave any better with your children than she did with you?

I am reminded of another story of a relative trying to hijack a daughter and get her into A.A. and 12-Step "treatment":

I hope the rest of your life is much happier. 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/   *
**  "I do not know how to avoid the conclusion that a man who is capable
**   of taking the illusions of religion so literally and is so sure of a
**   special personal intimacy with the Almighty is unfitted for relations
**   with ordinary children of men."
**      ==  Sigmund Freud

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Adam_M ]

Date: Fri, December 9, 2011 2:42 am     (answered 15 December 2011)
From: "adam m."
Subject: alcohol abuse stuffs

Hi Orange.

The last time I wrote was in the spring. I want to say that your site and the associated community continues to be a valuable resource to my ongoing sobriety.

Before going on (long, long email), I want to mention that I would have probably posted this in the forums, but I haven't received activation for either of the two accounts that I registered three weeks ago. I don't think you moderate them, but if you do, hook me up :)

Hello Adam,

As you already noticed, it's fixed.

TO ALL: I hate to have to hand-approve each registration, but the Russian spam-bots are hammering the forum with attempts to post advertisements for everything from London call girls to fake Viagra. I get 30 to 50 bogus registrations from spam-bots for every real human registration, and I have to poke through them and guess which ones are real humans. I'm getting to be very good at spotting spam-bot generated account names and email addresses, but sometimes I guess wrong and overlook a real human. So if you are a human being, and didn't get your registration approved, the thing to do is email me and tell me, and I'll approve you. I approve all humans, even those who are crazy Stepper trolls who just kibbitz and slander everybody else. Oh, and please remember to tell me the user name that you registered. The forum software lets me find people by their user name, but not by their email address.

I want to take a moment to spread some information that I found. It's 4AM, so hopefully I'm mostly coherent. Anyhow, as a brief introduction, I made it to "The Rooms" at a fairly young age, and I have a considerable history of drug/alcohol abuse starting in my teenage years. From ages 14-24 I was at least partially suicidal with several attempts in the mid period. Given such a disposition, I have struggled with a concern that the drugs/alcohol I consumed (often with reckless abandon) would permanently affect my aptitude as an adult, in term limiting my ability to achieve happiness later on in life.

That led me to do some research. Before getting into some studies, I'd also like to say that my real recovery from alcoholism began some time after I left AA (as they say, "if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting," so I moved on). The paradigm shift that changed my approach came from reading a text that addressed the physiological aspect of alcoholism as opposed to the "spiritual" aspect. I can't speak for you, but we may agree that education of this nature would be more valuable than religious cult propaganda and psychobabble. I'll name the text here, even though it is a decade old and some of the science is outdated: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews Larsen, PhD. I don't follow the diet they outline, but I am grateful to the author regardless.

Generally, what I have learned (and I realize I'm stating the obvious) is that alcohol dependence/abuse has long-lasting (but seldom permanent) effects on the body's systems that make recovery difficult, mentally and physically. Appreciating some of these mechanisms has helped me tremendously. For example, although the sample size is relatively small, Dr. Larsen's treatment center found 88/100 patients had abnormal glucose metabolism(Larsen, Joan Mathews 2011). It's not hard to imagine that bombarding the body with pure sugar may throw metabolic systems out of balance. As you probably know, some symptoms of blood sugar problems include fatigue, depression, and panic attacks. Here's an article that discusses the topic:

(why didn't I learn this in my expensive rehab?). Ya'd think that with this information, AA wouldn't stock its rooms full of coffee, cake, and cookies — right? Guess they have to get that whole "attraction" element somewhere.

Now, I'm no neuroscientist. From what I've read, as far as cognitive impairment goes, it's well known that alcohol abuse/dependence does cause brain dysfunction, with emphasis on the frontal lobes (Kril, Halliday 1999). It is also known that in as few as thirty days, the brain shows notable improvements in the region, and long term abstinence can lead to at least partial reversal in lost functionality (Sullivan 2000). Emphasis on "at least." Although I don't have an article to cite, I previously found a few pieces that led me to believe that this reversal is so dramatic that permanent impairment is negligible (if existent), especially in the average alcohol abuse/dependence case.

So, what? Well, some symptoms of prefrontal cortex injury:

  • a decrease in voluntary motor behaviour
  • decreased will and energy
  • a tendency to engage in repetitive or preservative behaviour
  • difficulty in shifting response set
  • abnormalities of affect and emotion, particularly apathy, indifference, and shallowness

Cited in article as (Jacobson, 1935; Hebb, 1945; Nauta, 1964, 1971; Drewe, 1975; Damasio, 1979)
Extracted directly Hamdy F. Moselhy, George Georgiou, and Ashraf Kahn(2001) FRONTAL LOBE CHANGES IN ALCOHOLISM: A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE, Medical Council on Alcohol

Sounds like "dry drunk" behavior to me. Also, it reads like a relapse in list format. What I get from this is that these are symptoms to watch for and treat appropriately in the first year, which is roughly the amount of time it takes the body to heal (no citation; variable). Just KNOWING these facts is a huge thing for me. Knowing what I'm up against.. what to expect.. and that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and that it may be brighter than I can even appreciate now.. gives me a powerful sensation.

I certainly find these symptoms easier to treat than "resentment." I don't mean to discount psychology — just AA. I plan to continue taking wellbutrin for a year (bonus of helping me quit smoking, which has been shown to improve cognitive healing). I also am much more cautious about my diet.

Hey, I hope you have a good day.

Let me know in case I mucked the citations. These days, I write programs, not papers :)

I believe this auto-citation from kindle lists 2011 as the publish date because that was when the electronic version was released, but the actual content is from approx. ten years earlier.

  • Larsen, Joan Mathews (2011-08-31). Seven Weeks to Sobriety: The Proven Program to Fight Alcoholism through Nutrition (Kindle Location 68). Ballantine Books. Kindle Edition.

  • Kril, Jillian J and Halliday, Glenda M (1999)

  • SULLIVAN, E.V. Neuropsychological vulnerability to alcoholism: Evidence from neuroimaging studies. In: Noronha, A.; Eckardt, M.J.; and Warren, K., eds. Review of NIAAA's Neuroscience and Behavioral Research Portfolio. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Research Monograph No. 34. Bethesda, MD: NIAAA, 2000. pp. 473 — 508.

Thanks for the information, Adam. That is highly relevant, and like you said, far more helpful and realistic than confessing your resentments.

About the recovery from brain damage, yes, it really takes time. It took me 9 months before I could remember faces — any faces, even Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, and Peter Jennings, whom I had seen for 20 years. And it took 5 years before my ability to remember little factoids and details returned. But that stuff did come back. The brain really does heal itself. So yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I described that more here and here.

Someone else also mentioned Seven Weeks to Sobriety and hypoglycemia, and diet in recovery, here. Check it out.

Not coincidentally, I faithfully take vitamins twice a day. I take a big one-a-day like Centrum Silver, and B Complex with C, and more C, and Calcium with D, both morning and evening. It helps. I don't get a big dramatic boost from them. It isn't like a Popeye cartoon where he instantly turns into superman from a dose of spinach, but over the years, the vitamins really make a noticeable difference in the quality of life and health. (And I just had my annual checkup with the doctor again, and they made like a vampire and sucked a bunch of blood out of me and ran about every test in the laboratory, and all of my numbers look very good.)

Oh, and congratulations on the quitting smoking. That really does matter, too. It is much easier for the body to heal the damage and get healthy when it doesn't have to also survive chronic tobacco poisoning.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.
**     We call upon it to become a fact or we cancel our previous instructions.
**       ==  Stuart Wilde

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Renee ]

Date: Sat, December 10, 2011 6:45 am     (answered 16 December 2011)
From: Renee
Subject: Hi Orange!!

It's been a long time since I've written you!

Catherine's letter written on November 20th compelled me to respond.

I hope she can get the information I am giving to you. She probably does not know that there is in all probability a huge link between eating disorders and add/adhd.....this same link is being discovered in substance abuse as well..... I believe we are going to see so much more in the news about this!!

Frankly a 12 Step program for eating disorders is even MORE absurd to me than using one to cure drug and alcohol problems!!

Here are some links.....

Have a great day!!


Hello again, Renee,

Thanks for the input. That's a bunch of good stuff. Coincidentally, the previous letter was also talking about the connection between nutrition and addiction. When it rains it pours.

I'll pass this information on to Catherine.

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/   *
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          ==   Adelle Davis

May 24, 2009, Sunday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat

Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat

Sunday crowd in park
The Sunday crowd at the grassy bay.

Canada Goose family
The Family of 5, eating oatmeal

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Ward ]

Date: Mon, December 5, 2011 9:31 am     (answered 16 November 2011)
From: "Ward"
Subject: NA and the Big Bad Wolf

Hello Orange,

I have followed your site now for a few months and I'm amazed at the level of commitment and depth of the research that you have amassed in your endeavor to debunk much of the pendantic dogma that pervades throughout the 12 step culture. My hat's off to you. I'm certain you're aware that one of the most difficult things for a human can do is to push against the tides of ignorance/arrogance that courses through blind faith.

So having lauded your efforts, why will I actually have the timerity to defend (to a certain point) Narcotics Anonymous? Well, it certaintly has nothing to do with sponsorship, working the steps, or submitting the will up to an autocratic space ju-ju who doesn't give two fucks about whether you shoot,smoke,drink, or snort your body into a quivering piss stinking mass of pain or choose to live soberly. Nope, I'm talking about the simple decision that's made when we excerise our will. At a certain point, any thinking person must, when evaluating the consequences of continued substance abuse, finally weigh the pros and cons and make a choice. Live or Die. Simple.

If a decision is made to attempt sobriety, we can face substantial hurdles if our addiction has reached an advanced state. Often we are unemployed, mal-nurished, divorced from friends and family, spiritually/morally bankrupt, perhaps without shelter, possibly being investigated by law enforcement, and always, always, always aware that we have entirely contributed to our own destitution. We are to blame in toto. No one has forced us to abuse substances.

So what to do? Well....here's the rub. The price of NA is certainly right. One can come straight off the streets and into a welcoming group of people, who appear to accept us without reservation. The newcomer is showered (sometimes quite literally) with attention and affection. Now Orange...you and I know that this is the hook. But, in my case (annectdotal of course) it seemed like a reasonable compromise. So I went in. Eyes open. I took freely of their hospitality, never once conceding to accept their dogma and have returned the favor by offering my assistance when I could. I remain, to this day, an avowed strident athetist. I share at meetings and am truly accepted for my integrity. I have never given credit to Narcotics Anonymous for the remission of my addiction however; I do acknowledge that in fellowship with recovering addicts, I monitor and maintain my own sobriety. Hence, my "need" to continue to attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

I have no problem counseling either the atheist or the believer. If a person needs a method, I point them to the 12 steps and sponsorship. (with people that I'm absolutely certain have only the persons continued sobriety as a goal) If not, I discuss the power of the will and accoutability to self and community. I would like to point out that while my views are in the minority...I have never been told that I had to change them. I've not been ostracized or ridiculed. As a matter of fact, I often get sent the most hopeless cases. I sponsor no one. I do not believe that a person has any right to dance in another's head when they are sick and impressionable. I just let them know that, however they chose to clean up; it's the right way for them. And that a better life is available with a few choices and some hard work.

I guess this is where you and I part in our opinions Mr. Orange. I take umbrage with the statement that AA/NA has helped no one. While I agree with you that Bill W. was a two-bit con man with messianic pretensions. I truly believe that the program, at this stage in it's development, has the ability to self correct. I've seen evidence of that....no longer are people told to discount their doctors courses of treatment. Measures are being implemented to identify and purge predators. You see Orange...while I completly agree with you concerning the origins and some the continued garbage /pitfalls/ and dangers that this program harbours, I have to (gently) admonish your tone, my friend. I will ask you a rhetorical question. Have you considered the fact that your strident style may have actually steered a person away from an experience that could possibly have saved their lives? If one person dies because they believed in your message completly, do you not assume some culpability? You're obviously an intelligent man. But is your passion tempered with compassion? Only you can find that answer. That old phrase...don't throw the baby out with the bathwater comes to mind. I have read your bio and I empathize with your experience. Sometimes even the best of intentions fail. Have you ever pondered if the same drives that powered Mr. Bill Wilson vision may also reside in your personal crusade?

Going to end this now. I thank you for allowing me to have my say. I respect the fact that you will no doubt read this little missive and address me with a reasoned response. And that my friend, is the best we have to offer one another.

Best to you, Ward

Hello Ward,

Thanks for the letter. You make a bunch of good points. And thank you for your non-conformist work to help sick addicts.

These simple sentences are so true:

I'm talking about the simple decision that's made when we excerise our will. At a certain point, any thinking person must, when evaluating the consequences of continued substance abuse, finally weigh the pros and cons and make a choice. Live or Die. Simple.

That is also what SMART teaches. They call weighing the benefits and costs of any course of action a "Risk/Reward Ratio". (For some examples, look here and here and here.) I use the accountants' name "Cost/Benefit Analysis" for the same thing. And considering the dire consequences of continued drinking and smoking is basically how I saved my own life. My doctor put it this way, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." I thought it over for a while and decided to live.

Alas, that is at odds with 12-Step teachings. They say that you are powerless over your addiction and your thinking is screwed up and self-reliance is a bad thing, and you have to just surrender to "Higher Power". And Bill Wilson raved about how will power and self-will was evil, and against the Will of God. Those teachings do more harm than good.

What you are defending is common-sense sanity, not the 12-Step programs of A.A. or N.A.

Now this line is totally true:

Often we are unemployed, mal-nurished, divorced from friends and family, spiritually/morally bankrupt, perhaps without shelter, possibly being investigated by law enforcement, and always, always, always aware that we have entirely contributed to our own destitution.

So does N.A. conduct cooking classes? Give any education on nutrition? What a lot of addicts really need is a good meal, not a confession session. Coincidentally, the previous two letters both discussed the problem of malnutrition in addiction and ADHD cases.

Do A.A. or N.A. run any social service programs, the way that the Salvation Army does? Help people to get jobs? Housing? Money? Clothes? Medical care? No. In fact, Bill Wilson instructed the 12-Step recruiters not to be of service:

The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

So don't help the alcoholics, and don't perform any services for them. Bill says that they must learn to rely on God.

Your last phrase, "always, always, always aware that we have entirely contributed to our own destitution" does indeed describe a problem that recovering addicts and alcoholics have. The answer is not to repeatedly do Steps 4 through 7 and confess our "wrongs, moral shortcomings, and defects of character" to man and God. That just makes the burden of guilt worse, and drives people crazy by dwelling on the negative. A.A. and N.A. confession sessions do not erase guilt, like they advertise. The guilt often drives people to relapse.

This line seems to be describing the 12-Step organization on some other planet:

I truly believe that the program, at this stage in it's development, has the ability to self correct. I've seen evidence of that....no longer are people told to discount their doctors courses of treatment.

No longer? As of when? The last time I checked, "the program" had gotten worse. Ever heard of Clancy Imusland and his "Pacific Group", and Mike Quinones and his "Midtown Group"?

I never said that "AA/NA has helped no one." What I said is, that they kill more people than they save:

Though millions of people have attended AA, Orange will not admit that AA has helped a single one of them.

No, that is not accurate. I have said several times that it is impossible to prove individual cases from statistics. Four years ago, I wrote this in a response to a letter.

It is not possible to prove or disprove that one individual person was helped or not helped by A.A.; it is only possible to show that A.A. did or did not help A GROUP of people become more sober than another group who didn't get any A.A. treatment.

It is possible that A.A. helped one guy "Joe" to quit drinking, while pushing 5 or 6 other guys towards their deaths by indoctrinating them with horrible cult dogma like that they are powerless over alcohol, and can't quit on their own, and can't ever get cured, and are disgusting sinners who need to do a Fifth Step and confess everything to their Sponsor... "Oh, and you need to stop taking those pills that the psychiatrist gave you. Meds quiet the still small voice of God."

So it is theoretically possible that A.A. helped one guy in some way, while simultaneously killing five or six others. I don't consider that "helping people".

And I also wrote:

I never said that nobody was ever helped by A.A. What I said was that A.A. kills more people than it saves. A.A. does more harm than good. There may well be one guy "Joe" who was helped by A.A., while A.A. killed Tom, Dick, and Harry with bad advice and crazy dogma and misinformation and cult religion and telling sick people not to take their medications.

I'm sure that some people benefit from the moral support, but the 12-Step program does more harm than good. For every Joe who got helped by A.A./N.A. moral support, Tom, Dick, and Harry were made worse by the dead-wrong teachings of Dr. Frank Buchman and Bill Wilson.

Dr. Vaillant, for instance, tracked his first 100 A.A.-treated alcoholic patients, and at the end of 8 years, the score was 5 continuously sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. That is nearly a 6 to 1 kill ratio — 29/5.

Now we cannot blame A.A. for all of the deaths. I am sure that many of them were going to die anyway, from what alcohol did to their livers, and kidneys, and brains, and the rest of their bodies. But Dr. Vaillant studied several other ways of treating alcoholism, and no other method for treating alcoholics created such a high death rate. So A.A. is sure due the credit for some of those deaths.

Then of course Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased binge drinking, and Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests of alcoholics, and Dr. Walsh found that A.A. increased the cost of hospitalization of alcoholics.

What is obvious is that the 12-Step teachings are harmful. It's really not much different than teaching people that they can cure streptococcus and staphylococcus infections with prayer and incantations and confessions. The fact that some people survive that treatment and recover does not prove that the treatment works.

Now you mention that you are an atheist. That really does not change the nature of the 12 Steps or what they do. The 12 Steps are really the recruiting and indoctrination and brainwashing techniques of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult. They never had anything to do with quitting alcohol or drugs. They had everything to do with messing up people's minds.

The 12 Steps don't really have much to do with God, either, in spite of the repeated mentions of God in 6 of the 12 Steps. Remember that the Chinese Communists used the same practices on American prisoners of war during the Korean War, and they were not converting the soldiers to belief in some God. Rather, they were converting the soldiers to belief in Communism. In the Chinese program, the "Higher Power" that you surrender to is The Communist Party. It's still just the same program, with different labels slapped on things. (Click on that last link for a cheat-sheet on brainwashing.)

This line is classic:

Have you considered the fact that your strident style may have actually steered a person away from an experience that could possibly have saved their lives? If one person dies because they believed in your message completly, do you not assume some culpability?

Yes, I've considered it. I've also considered that I might have warned someone away from an extremely harmful cult that might have driven them to relapse and death. And many people have told me that, and thanked me for it.

The accusation that I'm killing alcoholics (or addicts) by driving them away from the 12-Step salvation is really an old over-used Stepper's line. I have a long list of such accusations here:

And not a one of those true believers who accused me of driving people away from the 12-Step cure has ever plainly stated what the actual A.A. or N.A. cure rate is. So I'll ask again,

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

(HINT: the answers are here.)

You may substitute the N.A. cure rate, and N.A. keytags given out, in the above questions if you wish.

Oh well, have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     If we allow the fundamentalist nutcases to take over America, then
**     those of us who believe that God is love and compassion will be
**     ruled by those who believe that God hates everyone but them.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#GFM ]

Date: Sun, December 11, 2011 1:49 pm     (answered 16 November 2011)
From: "gfm"
Subject: Even if he failed

As a human there is no denying the 12steps and this way of life has helped millions in the AA fellowship and every other step program inspired by AA. I can hear the anger in what you write about Bill and wonder why you have it. Good luck to you and I will say a prayer for you.

Hello GFM,

Thanks for the letter.

A.A. has not "saved millions", or "helped millions". That is a standard lie that A.A. constantly repeats, but there is no truth to it. The real answer is much closer to zero. The claims that A.A. is a great success that has saved millions is just Bill Wilson's bombastic grandiose lying. (Click on that link and check it out.)

The 12 Steps were not "inspired by AA". Bill Wilson copied them from Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion, the "Oxford Group". Dr. Buchman used those practices for recruiting and indoctrinating his new cult members.

Your subject line, "Even if he failed", implies that maybe Bill Wilson failed. No, he didn't fail at all. His goal was to set up a cult that would support him in comfort for the rest of his life and make him rich. Bill succeeded. He never worked a straight job again, and he retired to his country estate, driving a Cadillac, while the money rolled in. He spent the rest of his life collecting royalties for a copyright that he stole. Bill Wilson lied and he stole and he philandered and he raved grandiose lunacy and the suckers worshipped him for it.

I consider it a despicable crime to foist an old cult religion on sick people and lie to them about how well it works to cure their problem. That's why you hear some anger in my voice. Such behavior is not only unspiritual, it is beneath contempt. And lying to sick people in the name of God is really unforgiveable.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**    One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**    give, not out of demanding that I receive." Serving humanity
**    is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly, lovingly,
**    spiritually giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**    No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**    while you hand it out, it's still cyanide koolaid.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters277.html#Nick ]

Date: Mon, December 12, 2011 10:44 pm     (answered 16 December 2011)
From: "Nick"
Subject: Re: Please Explain

You're making more controversy than objective understanding. The criticism you have and fierce pursuit to lay AA in the dust forever is exactly what you accuse AA of doing to you. You are as bad as they are!!

Hello Nick,

That makes no sense. Criticizing quackery is not the same thing as foisting quack medicine on sick people. Criticizing quack medicine that hurts people is a good thing to do. And of course we want to lay the fraud in the dust.

AA is free. It is a mutual help network. In such, it attracts the worst cases. For people who can and want to work the program, people who have nothing to lose, it is a godsend.

  • A.A. is not free. It costs you your mind and your soul. And the 12-Step treatment center will be happy to empty your bank account for you.

  • A.A. is not a "mutual help network". It is a lying cult religion.

  • A.A. is not a Godsend. A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics. A.A. even drives sick people to suicide.

  • Everybody has something left to loose. Like their life and their mind. And their soul. And their morals. And their self-respect.

You act like the spirituality aspect of it is bad. That is okay. But think about how many people are grateful for that aspect. AA is like a book, if you don't like it, put it down.

Wrong. I am all for spirituality and spiritual behavior. Foisting an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties on sick people and lying to them about how it works as a cure for alcoholism is not spiritual.

AA is silent on the levels of press radio and film. They don't promise anything publicly. Court cards and connections to rehabs are at the desire not of AA, but those institutions.

A.A. is not silent. Their fake anonymous attitude is outrageous hypocrisy.

Don't you remember all of the plugs in Cagney and Lacy, Hill Street Blues, ER, Dr. Phil, Dr. Drew, The West Wing, The History Detectives... And then 28 Days, Clean and Sober, The Days of Wine and Roses...

Then the salesmen and promoters of 12-Step treatment plant fraudulent articles in every journal that they can.

Look here and here for much more on that promotion.

Of course the coercive recruiting in courts and rehabs is "at the desire of AA". They help to do it. Look here for quotes from the official A.A. policy statement.

I hope you'll include this in your site. Have a great day!


Yes, Nick, it's included in the site. The URL to the letter online is at the top of the letter.

You have a good day and a Merry Christmas too.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**   How many diseases does modern medicine treat
**   with a "spiritual cure"?
**   If you get cancer, does the doctor tell you
**   to join the Pentecostals and speak in tongues?
**   If you get diabetes, is the fix to join the
**   Mormons and eat chocolate cakes?
**   So why, if you get "alcoholism", should you join
**   Alcoholics Anonymous and conduct seances to
**   hear the voice of God giving you work orders?

Date: Sat, December 17, 2011 6:30 pm
From: "Nick"
Subject: Re: Please Explain

Love you.

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