Letters, We Get Mail, CCCVII
by Orange

April 28, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Many of my shots of Great Blue Herons are like this. Most of them are very anti-social, just the opposite of Beethoven in downtown Portland, and they leave as soon as I get near.

This day, I found the families with the goslings out back, on the far side of the biggest pond.

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose families
It looks like four adults are guarding these five goslings. In truth, the pair on the right are the parents of the three new goslings, who are just off-screen to the right.

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose families, with the new family of 3 goslings on the right

Canada Goose goslings
The family of 5
These guys have grown tame enough to take food from me out in "the wild" — that is, out back away from the parking lot. The family of 3 hasn't gotten there yet, but they will.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

BLOG NOTE: 2012.05.19:

Today is the start of day 33, so now I stop turning the egg. The articles that I have read say that now the gosling will be orienting itself for hatching, and turning it now will just confuse it. So I impatiently let it sit. And I sort of fret and itch and wait.

I have been carefully turning the egg several times a day for the past month. The idea is that the little embryo floats, and we don't want it to stick to one wall of the egg shell, so the mother goose (or me) turns the egg over often, so that the embryo floats towards one wall, and then towards another. But now, it isn't an embryo, it's a full-sized baby gosling in there, pretty much filling up the egg shell, and it isn't floating any more.

The egg is still hotter than its surroundings. The temperature inside the incubator is 99 degrees Fahrenheit at this minute, and the egg is 102.2 degrees. That baby is generating some heat.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Have a good weekend.

Later: When I saw the temperature of the egg going over 103 degrees, I started to get worried. So I went to the library and looked up the gosling body temperature on the Internet. I quickly got two scientific studies that said that goslings keep their bodies at 40.6 degrees Celsius. Another Internet tool translated that to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Yikes! That is hot. No wonder those little guys feel so warm when you pick them up. Previously, I thought their body temperature was only 102 or so, which is still lots warmer than us. Nope, they like it really hot.

I came home, and found that the temperature in the incubator had crept up to 100.8 degrees, which is still within the acceptable range. And the egg was at 104.7 degrees. Previously, I would have freaked out and worried that the egg would die from overheating, and immediately cooled it down a little. Now I saw that the baby gosling was establishing its body temperature quite accurately. If the external surface of the egg is 104.7, then inside of the egg it could easily be 105.0 degrees. Exactly right. So I just let it be. I guess that little thing is enjoying the warmth.

And later: The sun shone down on the incubator and warmed it up a little more, so that the temperature inside went up to 101.3 degrees, but the egg stayed at exactly 104.7 degrees. It didn't go up even a hair. The little gosling really has established its preferred temperature, and it is quite stable.

By the way, the incubator temperature can go up as high as 102.5 degrees. One web page that I was reading talked about raising the incubator temperature that high for about the last week of incubation. So 101.3 isn't too hot.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#John_C ]

Date: Sat, May 19, 2012 1:02 pm     (answered 19 May 2012)
From: "John C."
Subject: Re; The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Dear all, if a person has lived the life of an alcoholic and found recovery from this disease in the rooms of AA that person truly knows what being an alcoholic is like. Please stop talking out of your bums as you know nothing of the true alcoholic's mind.

God bless you all, J M C. MBM

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter. You began your letter with that very important magical word "IF". IF people recover. Everything that follows hinges on that one word.

First off, you are trying to assume that you know what it is like to be an alcoholic, and I don't. Wrong. I've been through that nightmare too.

Next, you tried to assert that drinking too much alcohol is a "disease". It isn't. Habitual excessive consumption of alcohol is behavior — bad behavior, even fatally stupid behavior, but still behavior.

Then you assumed that going to some meetings with other maladjusted people and maybe practicing an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties would somehow stop such excessive consumption of alcohol. It doesn't. There is zero evidence to support that belief.

And finally, yes, I do know about alcoholics' minds. Been there, done that.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.  You had
**     to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait."
**     Bill Wilson describing early recruiting efforts for Alcoholics Anonymous,
**     at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

BLOG NOTE: 2012.05.20:

I noticed that the temperature of the egg is not totally stable. It can vary a bit when the temperature in the incubator swings to extremes. Still, it is maintaining its own warmth and staying about 2 to 2.9° Fahrenheit warmer than its surroundings. That is good. It will exactly maintain its own temperature later.

I was just reading about goose eggs, and found the statement that the baby bird dissolves the inside surface of the egg shell to get calcium for its bones. As the baby grows, the eggshell gets thinner. That is brilliant. That accomplishes two things at once: it gets the baby strong bones, and it weakens the eggshell, making it easier for the baby to get out when it hatches.

I noticed that the eggshell of this egg is discolored. It started out a nice uniform white, but now it is kind of gray in places, and discolored and mottled. It isn't a pretty eggshell any more. That worried me, and I wondered if something was wrong with the baby. Nope. That is just the baby consuming the eggshell. That's actually a good sign.

Talk about efficiency. Those little guys are unreal. I also heard again about how the baby bird pulls the remaining yolk inside of itself. (Coincidentally, a home garden TV program was talking about chicks hatching.) The last act that the baby bird does before leaving the eggshell is to pull the entire remaining yolk and placenta inside of its belly, leaving the eggshell totally empty. The baby will use the remaining yolk for food and energy for its first couple of days of its life, and it dissolves the placenta and reuses the material to build up its body. Now I learn that the baby even consumes part of the egg shell. What a system. It is nearly 100% efficient. Almost the entire egg gets turned into baby bird.

I've been studying biology all of my life, and it still amazes me.

Goose egg
the goose egg
You can see how the eggshell is no longer really white. More like grayish. It looks like you can just barely see something very dark through the eggshell. The brown streaks are mud stains. When the mother dropped the egg on the mud flat, one side of the egg got muddy.

Those two wires are the thermistors — the temperature sensors. You can see how the right-hand one is wedged against the egg, so that I can read the egg temperature. The left-hand one is about half an inch away from the egg, so that I can measure the air temperature around the egg.

the thermometers
At this moment, the egg temperature is 104.0°, when the air temperature inside the incubator is 99.0°, so the egg is keeping itself 5.0° warmer than its surroundings. That is an unusually large difference. I guess the baby bird is taking control of its own body temperature and generating its own warmth more and more.

2012.05.22: Two days later:
The temperature differential is even more extreme. Right now, the air temperature in the incubator is 97.7°, and the egg is 105.6° — way up there. The egg is almost a full 8 degrees warmer than its surroundings. And it is six-tenths of a degree above the normal gosling body temperature. Ordinarily, I would cool it down, but it really seems to want to be that hot. The incubator is almost 2 degrees below the ideal temperature (which is 99.5°), and the egg is warming itself up a lot. I'm not over-heating the egg; the egg is doing that itself. Maybe that is how it prepares itself for hatching. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

By the way, the time for it to hatch is any hour now. It could start in 5 minutes, or it could dawdle for a few more days.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[The previous letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Date: Sat, May 19, 2012 8:48 pm     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: drug fellowships

Dear Orange,

What is your take on the drug fellowships — e.g. NA and MA?


Hello again, Hetu-Ahin,

Thanks for the question. I guess that MA must be Marijuana Anonymous?

I have the same problem with N.A. as I do with A.A.: It doesn't work, and it's just a cult that pushes the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps are not proceedures to quit drinking or doping, they are the recruiting and indoctrination practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult. The 12 Steps will just mess with people's minds and make them feel guilty, fearful, inadequate, and powerless.

I went to a bunch of N.A. meetings for a while, and I still have my keytags, including the 1-year glow-in-the-dark keytag. It was educational. At the start of every meeting, the group secretary asks, "Can we see a show of hands of people who have a year or more clean, to show that this program works?" And out of 50 or 75 people, two or three would raise their hands. On a good night, maybe 5.

I was always waiting for the group secretary to ask, "Can we see a show of hands of people who have a year or more clean and sober, without doing the 12 Steps or believing in Bill's Bull, to show that the 12-Step program is completely unnecessary?" That was when I wanted to raise my hand. But they never asked that. Notice how the group secretary's standard rap always assumes that people who are clean and sober got that way because of "the program", rather than by their own determined efforts. That is claiming undue credit for the 12-Step program. But that's how they propagate the myth that the 12 Steps work.

Marijuana Anonymous is a joke. Next I suppose they will have Vanilla Ice Cream Anonymous. Or Munchies Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     "There will always be survivors."
**       ==  Robert Heinlein

[The previous letter from William_B is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#William_B ]

Date: Mon, May 21, 2012 7:21 am     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "WILLIAM B."
Subject: FW: Ordford and Edwards/Vaillant

Hi Orange

Thank you for the reply and clearing up my query.

I joined AA in 1987. I had just puked up what remained of my stomache lining and was bleeding out of other places too.

I was surrounded by people who drank like me and did not know one single person who would admit to having a drink or drug problem. I was 24 years old. I know I would never have gone to a doctor for help as I did not believe my life was worth saving.

The group I joined was stuffed full of older men who had all been in 2 prisons and 2 mental hospitals each. They all told me it is OK to stay here, these things do not have to happen to you ~ just don't fucking drink any alcohol. And I believed them.

Since then AA in our area has grown enormously. There are lots of meetings but not many real groups. The local treatment centre industry has grown really fast and they send lots of newcomers but none of them ever seem to stay.

I did relapse after 13 years and found it really hard to stop again. Of course I can now see that AA indoctrination had led me to believe that I was condemned to drink myself to death. I did stop however and have 5 years now, but many many members in our area relapsed and died drunk after 15, 20 and even 30 years. There were a great many suicides also. I always wondered why.

Also the children of my friends were drinking themselves to death and killing themselves at alarming rates. This bothered me a lot and was very distressing. I can now see that having been mistreated and neglected by their alcoholic parents and then more or less forced to to go to Alateen to learn how to deny their feelings, some of these children did not have much chance. 12 step help actually hurt them.

Your site has really explained a lot I did not understand.

On your points about the causes of addiction, I promised myself If I was blessed with children I would never abuse them.

Partly because some of my friends in AA were brave enough to tell of the way they abused their families as well as the abuse they suffered themslves. My wife and I have a 10 year old son who is well balanced and happy. I was stealing the drugs from around the house and eating them like sweats at his age. But D asks politely for fruit and raw vegetables to snack on. Of course he has been utterly surrounded all his life by people who love him and give him lots of hugs and cuddles as well as doing anything posible to build up his self worth.

There's no doubt that if it were not for AA and my brave friends I would have died and D would never have been born.

But it is crystal clear that 12 step theory has been killing people under my nose for years without me notiicing.

Thanks for yours site.

I saw on Wickipedia that Prof Vaillant's father shot himself in the front yard when Vaillant was 10 yrs old. His son was the last person to see him alive. It seems likely that Vaillant turned to religion to help himself cope. This may account for his faith in 12 step theory in the light of it`s obvious failings.

Hello William,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. That is quite a story.

Nearly last item first: I am so glad to hear that you are not abusing your son. And you are right that child abuse has so much to do with children turning to drugs and alcohol. I went out of my way to not abuse my son (because my alcoholic father abused me), and now he just doesn't do any drugs, in spite of the fact that he grew up in the hippie culture. He just decided that he didn't want to do them. I never threatened him, or had "the big talk" where I told him not to take drugs. In fact, I just asked him to wait until he was older and could handle it better, and to be extremely careful about what he took. He decided that drugs were not worth the bother all on his own.

His big indulgence is a bottle of high-class wine now and then. (He is actually an expert maker of fine wines. That worries me, but so far he seems to be handling it just fine, and is very successful.)

About Prof. Vaillant: Thanks for that note. I didn't know that about Vaillant. That explains a lot.

I have to agree with your conclusions about A.A.: that having a group of people helping you probably helped a lot, but the 12-Step program/philosophy/theory/theology is deadly. I really hope SMART and SOS and Lifering get established in Great Britain and other foreign countries so that people can have good support groups without the insanity.

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/   *
**     Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
**       ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Elyse_S ]

Date: Sat, May 19, 2012 11:18 pm     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Elyse S. shared a link on your Wall.

He also took up golf to give himself a more productive hobby.

Alice Cooper — Cooper Got Sober Visiting Bars — Contactmusic News


Veteran hellraiser ALICE COOPER refused to attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings when he quit drinking, instead preferring to sip soft drinks in bars — ALICE COOPER News at Contactmusic.com

Hello Elyse,

Thanks for the link. That is certainly a different way of doing it.

**   "The best cure for drunkenness is whilst sober,
**   to observe a drunken person"
**     ==  Chinese Proverb

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Brian_B ]

Date: Sun, May 20, 2012 8:14 am     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "BRIAN B."
Subject: Wow Dude you need to get a recovery program for your AA Hatred/Fixation!

AA might have its failings but do not throw your life away in misguide hatred, go out into the world and find something positive to do with your research/web skills.

Set yourself free
Brian B.

Hello Brian,

Thanks for the letter.

Objecting to sick people being harmed by quackery is not "misguided hatred".

I do not need to "recover" from my objections to cults hurting people.

I am certainly not wasting my time hating Alcoholics Anonymous. As I have often said, I get no great joy out of arguing about Alcoholics Anonymous. I'd much rather be playing with cute little fluff-ball goslings. And I think I shall be doing that real soon now.

Oh, and I set myself free many years ago.

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/   *
**      He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
**      and all are slaves beside.
**        ==  William Cowper (1731—1800), English poet

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Robert_M ]

Date: Sun, May 20, 2012 2:54 am     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "Robert M."
Subject: AA

Dear orange person, Was just reading many of your comments on the web re aa and its delusions from your perspective and was bewildered at your egotestikal insights, i suppose you have sadly found a curdled platform for your views and have armored these with giblets of info true and false that give your tonsils bling and clarify your view, pity you have to work from the outside in but I suppose everyone has there weakness ) have a great day god bless

Hello Rob,

Thanks for the letter. Your use of language is really something else.

What I get from your letter is that you seem to think that my criticism of A.A. is incorrect, and you suspect my motives.

Well, am I wrong? What is the actual A.A. cure rate?

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 and here and here.)

Aren't the 12 Steps just Dr. Frank Buchman's practices for recruiting and indoctrinating new cult members? (Look here.) How is that supposed to help anyone?

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/   *
**     The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his
**     own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for
**     his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause.
**     A man is likely to mind his business when it is worth
**     minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own
**     meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Lynne_T ]

Date: Mon, May 21, 2012 5:31 am     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "Lynne T."
Subject: Naltrexone

You may want to look into the Sinclair method of dealing with alcoholism. I too was persuaded by an expensive rehab (who incidentaly take you up to step 4 and charge an extortionate amount of money for doing so) that I may have been an alcoholic.

Naltrexone works extremly well if you don't think you have the pure willpower to stop drinking. There is a method called the Sinclair method that has plenty of evidence that this works.

Worth looking into — I'm campaigning in the UK to get this more recognised as a cheap alternative to re-hab and AA time wasting. It worked for me!


Hello Lynne,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I've been following the Sinclair Method story with much interest. Here are some previous letters about the Sinclair Method:

  1. It seems the scientific studies show that when nalextrone is taken one hour before drinking people who normally can't control their drinking gradually unlearn that behavior.

  2. I am finally cured of alcoholism through medical science, not AA.

  3. One year ago, I found out about The Sinclair Method, which has cured me of alcoholism.

  4. ...of course you see the age old question of why haven't we heard of this before... Sinclair explains in his book ... Money is the main factor.

  5. A YouTube adaption of Intellectual Iceberg's segment from 2005 on a cure for alcoholism called "The Sinclair Method" or "Pharmacological Extinction".

I shall continue to follow this story with interest. It certainly looks promising for some people.

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/   *
**      The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited,
**      and cannot serve any one; it must husband its resources to
**      live. But health answers its own ends, and has to spare;
**      runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of
**      other men's necessities.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Poet and Essayist

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Jon_G ]

Date: Mon, May 21, 2012     (answered 21 May 2012)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: Re: wow orange

that blue heron shot is really awesome

Yes, aren't they beautiful? If only they were a little more friendly, then I could really get some shots.

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/   *
**     "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
**     It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
**       ==  Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Jon_G2 ]

Date: Tue, May 22, 2012 5:06 pm     (answered 22 May 2012)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: Re: wow orange

what lens was it shot with? wow the forum is really heating up, which isn't a bad thing, my theory is they are getting paid by rehab industry to disrupt, it happens all the time with other issues why not the multibillion rehab biz.

I do believe that was the Panagor 500mm mirror lens. Manual focus, of course. Fixed F8 aperture.

Yes, the forum is heating up, and the web site hits keep on climbing. It will almost certainly reach 2 million hits per month at the end of this month.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

P.S.: It did. On the 25th of May, traffic climbed to 2 million hits in a single month.


And at the end of the month, it had hit 2.5 million hits.

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

April 28, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose family
The goose families with goslings
The Family of 5 is gobbling down the oatmeal, but the Family of 3 is missing out because they are too timid to let me get close enough to give them any. Fortunately, that changed within a few days.

April 29, 2012, Sunday: Waterfront Park, Downtown Portland

I got into Portland this day, and found a couple of goose families that had goslings.

Canada Goose goslings
A family with two goslings approaching


Canada Goose mother + goslings
This gosling really likes oatmeal too. It was making the most beautiful little joyous chirps as it picked up each piece of oatmeal.

One of their little goslings

Canada Goose gosling

Canada Goose gosling

Canada Goose gosling

Canada Goose gosling
Canda Goose goslings
Now why does this picture look like a little angel and a little devil?

[The story of the goslings continues here.]


"The FIX" published an article about underage girls getting raped in Alcoholics Anonymous. It has started quite a debate. Start here:


[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Steve_E ]

Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 4:59 pm     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Steve E."
Subject: Re: AA and such.


I'm sure you've seen The Fix, the "recovery" website that is very pro-AA. The chatrooms there are priceless. This one summed it up for me:

Like the recovery industry itself, TheFix seems very pro-AA. That said, let's look at a few recent topics covered on the site: AA gave birth to numerous cults, including Synanon. AA biggest non-secret is the 13 step, which is so prevalent in some meetings that they border on being sex clubs. AA's steps can also be applied to ridiculous things like not reaching your full financial potential or eating too many donuts. AA does yet doesn't yet does yet doesn't yet does believe alcoholism is a disease. AA has its roots in the teaching of Frank Buchman and The Oxford Group, both which have very questionable histories. AA's founder, the man behind this spiritual conversion for drunks, had numerous affairs and died depressed and angry. And those are just starters. Look, getting together and supporting one and another is obviously a good thing, but there are some bad things, very bad things, in AA. It's time for the recovery industry to stand up and say Bill Wilson's work is not the gospel for recovery. If it works for you, great. If not, welcome to the vast majority.

Have a great day.


Hi Steve,

Thanks for quote. That's good. Coincidentally, I just got pointed to an article on "The FIX" about 13th-Stepping and rapes of underage girls in A.A., which has spawned quite a debate:


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/   *
**     "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
**     its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
**     blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
**        == Dresden James

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Shawn_K ]

Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 1:58 pm     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Shawn K."
Subject: What do I even say...


I have to admit that I have been completely enthralled and *addicted* to your collection of writings and letter correspondence since I came across it last Thursday. I have been a member of the AA cult for almost three years and just began starting to ask questions. For a long time I have felt uncomfortable about the helplessness and guilt waged on my psyche as a result of "the steps". I have sat in meetings with complete loons for the last three years wondering why I keep going and am still so blatantly unhappy in my life which has become centered largely around AA. In fact, last Sunday I brought up "alternative means of achieving sobriety" as a topic at a meeting — I was told that the topic sounded too much like an essay assignment in a college class. However, after discussing this, all the people said that AA was the only way for them; I have relied largely on Step 1 and consider myself an Agnostic with strong Atheist leanings which is probably another reason I feel like blowing my brains out every time I hear someone discuss how their spiritual experience or reliance on a higher power has lead them to a level of serenity previously unimaginable in their drinking and drugging careers. I don't have a real point for writing you except to express my deepest thanks for posting all of the information. I am undecided if I will quit AA, and don't want to make a rash decision. I have worked harder to stay sober than anything else in my life and am still struggling after all this time. I have tried Jesus, Taoism, Buddha, rational thought, nothing other than AA has kept me sober and I hate it. I don't know what to do friend. Thanks again.

Shawn K.

Hello Shawn,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and thanks for the thanks. I hope you find something useful here.

And welcome to sobriety and freedom. I know you will get there, if you aren't already there.

So 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/   *
**     Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
**       ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Carlos_F ]

Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 12:37 pm     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Carlos F."
Subject: FW: Every State ACLU suite treatment programs

Have you consider starting a campaign to have citizens from every state of the United State go to their local ACLU and complain that most "treatment" programs are using public funds (mainly made out of Federal Funds) to promote religious indoctrination?, rather than treatment that is based on science. While all other medical modalities are based on vast amount of scientific research. Substance Use Disorder Treatment programs are allowed to malpractice providing treatment which is not supported by quantitative empirical scientific research.

Nevermind that they are violating their own 6th 8th and 11th tradition. One day we will discover that we are in the Dark Ages of alcoholism treatment.

Hello Carlos,

Thank you for a great idea. I know that the ACLU has sometimes been involved in the struggle against state-enforced religion — that is, sentencing people to A.A. meetings — but they could do a lot more.

Personally, I've been talking to a local candidate for the state legislature about that. It's easy to argue that the state can save a lot of money by not paying for quackery that does not work.

I'll have to think about how to get the ACLU involved nation-wide.

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/   *
**     "We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man
**     shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious
**     worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be
**     enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body
**     or goods, or shall otherwise suffer, on account of his
**     religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be
**     free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their
**     opinions in matters of religion, and that the same in no
**     wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities."
**     == from the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia,
**          authored by, among others, Thomas Jefferson

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Wed, May 23, 2012 9:19 pm     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: More comments

All the news about the egg has me excited for you. Has it hatched yet?

Hi again, Meatbag,

Alas, no. I'm beginning to be pessimistic about it. It is way overdue. Still, I'm keeping it warm just in case it is a very slow egg.

I think Andrew might be referring to our conversations about psychiatry and anti-depressants in the last few lines of his letter. Of course, having reasonable, logical objections to FDA approval practices for anti-depressants is not the same as dismissing all medications. I'm actually still taking my Prozac. All of the logic, studies, and intuition in the world can't seem to get rid of the thought, "What if it actually is working?"

Exactly. I'm not against medicine, I'm against BAD medicine.

As for therapists, some therapists help; others help you into a corner. My current therapist actually does help. Since I'm doing relatively well, she checks with me to see if I am actually getting anything out of therapy. Admittedly, most of what I'm getting out of it is a human to talk to, given the no job/no school/no social life situation.

Yes. It's great that you found somebody good. I have just seen my share of arrogant condescending fools who imagine that they are sane and wise because they have some kind of diploma or certificate. (Oh, if only life were that easy. Remember the Scarecrow in The Wizard Of Oz? Especially at the end of the movie?)

On another personal note, I'm probably going to be referred to Roosevelt Warm Springs by a VR counselor. It's my decision whether I go, and I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it could really help me. On the other, it could be an institution that helps me into a corner. Will I be free to leave? How much autonomy will I maintain? How much say do I get over my own life? It seems nice enough from its web site, but is it all a facade? Are these questions unreasonable, given my history with paranoia and anxiety?

Those all sound like good questions to ask. And important questions, too.

Alas, yes, anybody can make a pretty-looking web page and put up a false front. What just flashed into my mind was a scene from the WWII mini-series War And Remembrance, where the Jewish heroine and her uncle in Italy were reading brochures for Terisienstadt, which was represented as an idyllic wonderful city for Jews, and asking themselves, "Why don't we go there? It sounds really good." (Terisienstadt the show-piece city was actually a gateway to Auschwitz.)

Yes, better ask those questions. I would also ask, "What is the basic underlying philosophy? What are the core assumptions? Core beliefs? Who created the original psychology or therapy? And what kind of a success rate did he get? And how do they define 'success'?"

Oh well, 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/   *
**     Wonderful little our fathers knew,
**     Half their remedies cured you dead —
**     Most of their teaching was quite untrue.
**       ==  Rudyard Kipling, Our Fathers of Old, Stanza 3

[The previous letter from David_J is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters307.html#David_J ]

Date: Fri, May 25, 2012 6:21 am     (answered 26 May 2012)
From: "Dave"
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous

Mr Orange:

The completion of my book on why wealthy individuals are pouring money into the Christian Right is nearing completion. I will see you get a copy. Below is a small section on AA which I assume you are interested in. Thanks for info although. I did not know that back ground but was able on my own to figure something was fowl about the program.

Before leaving Bachman, it needs mentioned when it comes to including religion in government, Bachman flew in under the radar to become the most unchallenged promotion of religion in government, Alcoholics Anonymous. Preying on veterans and citizens with drinking or drug problems, the Veteran's Administration and state hospitals across the nation indoctrinate hundreds of citizens with this spinoff of Buchmanism each year. The two people most credited as being the creators of Alcoholic Anonymous are Dr Robert Smith (Dr Bob) and Bill Wilson. Both Bob and Bill were long time members of Bachman's Oxford Group, long enough in fact that they took a carbon copy of Buchman's religious brainwashing methodology and wrote it into AA's famous twelve steps.

Frank Buchman's brand of evangelism emphasized both public and private confession of sin which when incorporated into AA became what is known as open and closed meetings. Open meetings designed to recruit new members features a speaker and is open to the public. The speaker usually blends humor, confessions of sin and guilt with his life story in the hope that someone in audience will relate to the speaker's story and decide "Hey — that speaker sounds like me" and therefore they too require being saved which the speaker gets around to normally in the end. This is a fairly successful method of getting people to accept something they may or not be (an alcoholic) or have (an illness or mental problem). For example medical school students studying the symptoms of different diseases have been known to suddenly decide that they or someone they know are suffering from the disease they are studying. This condition has become known as "hypochondriasis of medical students" 094 As they sit and listen to the symptoms, you might feel like this, a pain here — a pain there, or experience this or that, the listener begins to think "Gee — That sounds a lot like me. I must therefore be or have X (being whatever the speaker is quoting the conditions or symptoms of).

The closed meetings are conducted in the attendance of only members which involves featuring confessions of all the wrongs they did while drinking.

Step 4 — Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves

Step 5 — Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs 095

These closed meeting normally begin with the Serenity Prayer (God grant us) and a reading from AA's Daily Reflections often seasoned with a high dose of religion. The meetings I have been to always end with The Lord's Prayer (Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven). When I asked how ending a meeting with the Lord's Prayer with a heaven and everything could not be seen as promoting a religion, I normally either get a dumb look, pity, a prayer, or rejected.

Divine guidance was another request from members of the Oxford Groups and sought after by AA's membership.

Step 11 — Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out 096

Once achieved, which is not hard to convince people of, a complete surrender of one's will to an individual's own god is beseeched. Buchman's idea of god could consist of any idea of god as long as that god fell into the paradigm known as Christianity. Buchman did not subscribe to any sole Christian affiliation. It's like Bachman plucked Jesus out of the churches and let the churches to their infighting over which had the most perfect stained glass. AA calls Bachman's form of Jesus a Higher Power although they deny that a higher power that answers prayer, watches out over you, gives you strength, and guilds you has anything to do with religion.

Step 2 — Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Step 3 — Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God 097

It does however. A common clique in AA is "Let go and let god" which taken from the perspective of seeing god as the ruling elite takes on a strong social directive of accepting of the status quo. And it is that acceptance of the status quo that is religion in a nutshell.

And finally Bachman's followers were to make amends to those their sinful behavior may have harmed

Step 8 — Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

Step 9 — Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

Step 10 — Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it 098 and to carry their message to those still absorbed with sin. 099

Step 12 — Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs 100

Does AA work? Being a religion, it works as well as any other religion or prayer for the same reason. It works because it takes unto itself all its perceived successes while placing the blame for its failures on some external factor, usually the individual who continued drinking. If the person quits, AA is given the credit. If the person does not, obviously since AA works, the person did not apply the program correctly, refused to turn his life over to a higher power, or wasn't being honest.

BTW who is Paul Diener?

Interesting, very interesting. I like it.

Paul Diener was a rather acidic fellow who used to post on the Kent State U. forum called "addict-L", which is a mailing list forum, and it still exists. But I don't think Paul Diener does.

He had a Ph.D. in history, and was very well informed. I got a lot of leads and pointers from him. He was talking about us collaborating on a book.

And then I believe he died. He just went silent, and they cancelled his email account, and nobody could contact him. And that was years ago. Then I heard that he had been in poor health. So apparently he was dumping his screeds to the Addict-L mailing list as fast as he could before he died.

Watch out for the misspellings of Buchman. I see several instances of "Bachman" there. Fortunately, modern text editors have a global search-and-replace function.

Good luck with your book, 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 thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**         ==  Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman, founder and leader of the
**         Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.

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