Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXVIII
by Orange

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Kathy ]

Date: Sun, July 22, 2012 7:30 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "Kathy"
Subject: re: your wonderfully diverse website

Ok, so i cannot believe i stumbled across your website tonight. Funny how it happened actually...i was doing a search on " is the vineyard a cult" and of course as i pages thru my results in pops "is aa a cult"....so I clicked on it and....it led me to YOU.

I began to read...and read....and READ until my head began to spin actually. I a 45yo female who has been "sober" since August 12, 2011. I was introduced to AA again in May 2012 but my actual STOP date is 8/12/11. Anyway, for me....I have used AA to build a foundation for a different life. Now, I don't know if I would have ever had the STRENGTH to do what I have done alone...I mean, my husband (who I do not live with ) is actively drinking and I do not have a support system. The ppl of AA have helped me to see that I can do this...and the steps help with cleaning out all the stuff I did to ppl when I drank. I haven't finished the steps (actually am stuck on the AMENDS) ...anyway, I guess it confused me enough to send this email to you...

The more I read your pages (that are so very complex and informative) I can see there is another side of the coin...not saying that you are right or AA is right...just I am seeing a different side. And I also see you have a large amount of documentation to support your thoughts (almost like an attorney getting ready to go to trial, very prepared and out for a win) which is very impressive.

There is so much of your site that i have not even touched into that I will but for now I am most curious...like a child trying to find out if SANTA is really real...I just have to wonder WHY are YOU so into this? What are you hoping to achieve...were you done wrong at some level by AA and needed to tell others? I guess it is none of my business to ask such a question other than I was so wondering that when I was reading these pages...it just seems like you are SO MAD. (i could be totally off base).

Either way, I appreciate all of the time and dedication you have for this...your passion screams out in your writings and I will continue to read what you have. And hopefully, I will continue to not drink. J

Anyway, have a good day


Fort Mitchell, KY

Hello Kathy,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations for your sobriety. And yes, I try to be thorough.

The fact that people were nice to you when you came to A.A., and gave you encouragement and moral support, doesn't make A.A. a good organization or an okay cult. (In fact, that is the standard cult recruiting trick called "love bombing".) It also doesn't mean that the 12-Step program actually works to get people sober. (And it doesn't.)

You can find similar moral support in a variety of other organizations like SMART, SOS, WFS, and Lifering. Here is the list of them:

You ask why I'm doing the web site. The short answer is, "To tell people the truth about A.A., alcohol addiction, drug addiction, and recovery." I've answered that question many times before, and here is the list of answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. history of the Orange Papers, and
  5. creation of the web site
  6. A biography written for SOS
  7. My 12-Step counselor was arrested again.

By the way, it doesn't matter whether I am "SO MAD". My being angry or happy won't change the A.A. failure rate by one single percentage point. Really.

A.A. people telling you that you cannot "have a resentment" is just more A.A. cult indoctrination, Bill Wilson wrote that you are "axiomatically spiritually in the wrong" if you are angry. That is just a standard cult trick to cripple you and keep you from feeling your feelings. (Especially, they don't want you to be angry about someone deceiving you and feeding you a pack of lies.)

Here is the list of previous accusations of "resentment".

And here is the Cult Test question
68. Don't Feel Your Own Feelings..

And the answer for A.A. is:
68. Don't Feel Your Own Feelings..

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     If the truth is that ugly — which it is — then we don't have
**     to be careful about the way that we tell the truth. But to
**     say somehow that telling the truth should be avoided because
**     people may respond badly to the truth seems bizarre to me.
**       ==  Chuck Skoro, Deacon

Date: Thu, July 26, 2012 4:23 pm     (answered 1 August 2012)
From: "Kathy"
Subject: RE: your wonderfully diverse website

Thanks so much for your response.
Idk how you do it!
And i apologize that i didn't read enough to know that you had answered these questions so many times previously.

I have so much to read on your site. I am glad i stumbled across it... must have been "destiny" lol (that's not a cult statement, is it?)

Anyway, no need to reply...

Okay, Kathy, thanks and have a good day now.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Greg_B ]

Date: Sun, July 22, 2012 12:56 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "Greg B."

Who are you?

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Greg,

My name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in rural Oregon. "Who are you?" is a common question, and I've answered it many times before, so here are some of the answers:

  1. Who are you?
  2. How did you get to where you are?
  3. A biography written for SOS

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 number of drug overdose deaths has more than tripled in the US
**     since 1990. More than 100 people die of a drug overdose in the US
**     every day.  This increase was not caused by illegal street drugs
**     — the number of deaths from heroin overdose remains relatively
**     constant. The majority of drug overdose deaths in America today are
**     cause by prescription painkillers.  Sales of prescription painkillers
**     in the US have tripled since 1999 — paralleling the tripling
**     of drug overdose deaths.
**     == Project Lazarus, by Kenneth Anderson,
**        blogtalkradio.com, Thu, Jan 5, 2012

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Stacey_J ]

Date: Sat, July 21, 2012 6:45 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "stacey j."
Subject: hello there!

Hi Orange,

I have not written in many years, (2006?) and am stopping by to say "hi" and congratulations on the site being so large, etc. How wonderful!

I have (25) years now, and can count on one hand the number of meetings I've been to the past half-dozen years. I think it must have been in 2003 or '04 that I started questioning AA and somehow found your site, and found it quite a respite from the insanity I'd fearfully assumed to be truth for so long. You've done so much for so many people; I am one!

I stopped by your forum — it's a beautiful layout; I'm nuts about the blue color.

Hope all is well with you and yours — I will drop another line here and there.

Very, very best,
S.J. :D
(I'd formerly write in as "regina" under an old faux hotmail account — not that you'd remember, but that is to write that "stacey" is my real name, etc.)

Hello again, Stacey,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. Yes, the web site is just steadily growing. I'm glad you like it.

So you wrote as "Regina", huh? Like here and here?

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/   *
**      It is easier to stay out than get out.
**        ==  Mark Twain, "Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar",
**            Following the Equator (1897), 1.18

Date: Thu, July 26, 2012 4:16 pm     (answered 1 August 2012)
From: "stacey j."
Subject: Re: hello there!

oh, ba ha ha!
you are so funny!


Thanks, Stacey. Some people have told me that I should do stand-up comedy. Unfortunately, most of the time I don't feel funny at all. Just once in a great while, the Humor Devil gets into me, and I start looking at cult religions with a wicked twist.

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/   *
**     Gandalf said, "The little orks don't like humor. They
**     cringe in pain at the sound of laughter. And they really
**     can't stand it when you poke fun at them. So they howl and
**     growl and scowl and get all bent out of shape."

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#VS ]

Date: Mon, July 23, 2012 12:23 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "vs"
Subject: You should consider working for the "enemy"...

As the relative of an alcoholic, I have enjoyed perusing your site, as it seems to be a very rational (though biased) view of AA.

But I think you are doing your readers an inadvertent disservice...by not talking about other methods which have a better recovery rate than AA.

In particular, I've done some research into the Sinclair Method, and am struck by the mass of scientific (rather than anecdotal) data to support their claims.

The Sinclair Method involves the use of opiate antagonists such as naltrexone or nalmefene while continuing normal drinking habits in order to decrease the craving for alcohol over time. It relies upon a mechanism called pharmacological extinction, which works by blocking the positive reinforcement effects of ethanol-triggered endorphins in the brain.

It seems to me that, if you really wanted to hit AA where it hurts, you might want to consider supporting the alternatives.

Just a thought...

Have a great day!

Date: Mon, July 23, 2012 12:39 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "vs"
Subject: Re: You should consider working for the "enemy"...I WAS A BIT WRONG

To be clear....

I *know* that you speak of alternatives to AA (recent quote:)

"And you most assuredly did not "try everything". That is a common over-used old A.A. cliché that A.A. members parrot mindlessly without even thinking about what it means. Did you try SMART? SOS? Lifering? Women For Sobriety (WFS)? Rational Recovery and AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy)? The Veteran's Administration program? The Catholic CALIX or St. Vincent de Paul programs? The Salvation Army program? Naltrexone?"

I suppose what I want to suggest is that you consider devoting the same effort into promoting those other methods (and, yes, Naltrexone is most interesting to that side of my brain that enjoys logic and rationality) as you do in denouncing AA.

Hope that makes a little more sense.

Keep up the great work!

Hello Steve,

Thanks for the letter and the question. I do not feature the Sinclair Method or Naltrexone front and center all of the time, but we have discussed it repeatedly. I sure don't suppress knowledge of it, or ignore it, or try to keep people from learning about it. I'm very interested in how it's working, and I want to see many properly-done clinical tests of it, genuine randomized longitudinal controlled studies, to prove for once and for all how good it is.

Here are some previous letters where we discussed Naltrexone and the Sinclair Method:

  1. I've been through rehabs, Naltrexone, Antabuse, etc. and it doesn't last.

  2. what do you know of Naltrexone treatment for alcohol addiction?

  3. There are a lot of new science based treatments for alcohol dependence out there these days including acamprosate, naltrexone, and topiramate that can reduce or stop drinking.

  4. There is a cure for alcoholism called naltrexone

  5. I couldn't resist and spent a few hours on the internet looking into this sinclair method using naltrexone.

  6. Just an update, I got my naltrexone.. You wouldn't believe what I had to go through to get it legally..

  7. My psychiatrist eventually prescribed me what he considered to be the least effective drug he had, Naltrexone.

  8. Furthermore, recent successes with naltrexone, acamprosate, buprenorphine and varenicline hold promise for future medications development for addiction.

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

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

  11. I noticed a few letters talk about the sinclair method.. I know you like research and I highly recommend the book... Its called The Cure For Alcoholism by Dr Roy Eskapa..

  12. Found this Audio of the sinclair method.. There's 4 parts on youtube altogether.. Very interesting stuff.. This is the Book I mentioned..

  13. Objective: The purpose of this study was to systematically assess the attitudes of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members toward the newer medications used to prevent relapse (e.g., naltrexone) and to assess their experiences with medication use, of any type, in AA.

  14. You may want to look into the Sinclair method of dealing with alcoholism. ... Naltrexone works extremly well if you don't think you have the pure willpower to stop drinking.

  15. Old Lizard Brain figured out a way around Naltrexone.

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 principles of Washington's farewell address are still sources
**     of wisdom when cures for social ills are sought. The methods of
**     Washingtons's physicians, however, are no longer studied.
**         == Thurman Arnold

[The next letter from VS is here. It contains a long bibliography of research and clinical tests of Naltrexone and the Sinclair Method.]

May 12, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6 and the Family of 3, cruising for burgers

Canada Goose goslings
The two families, relaxing on an island.
The three goslings on the right are the Family of 3. The others, on the left, are part of the Family of 6. You can see the new small one in front. The other goslings are hidden behind that wood.

White-fronted Geese
A flock of White-fronted Geese
These guys are just passing through. They will remain for a few days, resting and feeding, and then continue on their way.
Notice the one small Cackling Goose, left of center. It may be traveling with the flock of White-fronted Geese, or it may be staying here for the summer. A few of them do, each year.

White-fronted Geese

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#JG ]

Date: Mon, July 23, 2012 2:02 pm     (answered 25 July 2012)
From: "J.G."
Subject: Hey Orange...

Hi Orange,

I just finished reading through most of your very long "The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment" article. Really an eye opener for me.

I've been a drinker for most of my 20's. By myself, with friends, my girlfriend. I've had plenty of fun nights drinking with my friends and really only had one terrible night where I got far, far too drunk and almost required a hospital visit. I've had lots of hangovers. I've been drunk and drove. I've specifically gotten drunk before driving so I could go cruising the road late at night. I've been pulled over while drunk, with open beer in the car, and the cop never noticed, just gave me a speeding ticket.

As I'm writing this down.. I don't know why I'm telling you this. I guess I'm always looking for someone to forgive me my sins. I don't believe in God, though I was raised Catholic.

The point is, these are things that I did on my own. No one forced my hand, not the booze, not my genetics, in the end it was up to me. They were stupid and reckless things and I did them anyway. I put others lives in danger, repeatedly, and I thank my lucky stars that my stupid actions never caused anyone their lives.

I used to think that if I wanted out of this, I'd just go to A.A., work the steps, and be cured. I think I used A.A. as a safety net. Like, I would think "I'm not drinking too much, because I don't need A.A.". It's like I was searching for "rock bottom" but never really finding it. Then, when I started reading about how ineffective A.A. really is and the kinds of failures rates as compared to "spontaneous remission" rates... I was shocked.

Now I'm starting to change my thinking about the whole thing. I used to always hear about these rock-bottom, "I lost everything" stories of alcohol abuse and I always feared that would be me someday. Well, that fear is getting smaller by the day, and I'm becoming more confident in myself. I use to think that the messages coming out of A.A. were right: "You are powerless". I'm coming to find that I'm not powerless, I'm not hopeless, and I don't need a "cult" to kick the habit of abusive alcohol use. I think I'm starting to realize that I don't need to be some broken shell of a man to be "worthy" of turning my life around.

I'm going to stop using A.A. as an excuse to stay a hopeless drunk, and start taking responsibility for my own well-being.

Thanks Orange, I hope you are well and I hope you don't mind reading my long rambling email. I appreciate any advice or comments on my situation you can give me.


Hello JG,

Thank you for the letter. Has it ever occurred to you that you might not be an alcoholic at all? Isn't it entirely possible that you are just a normal American male who partied hearty and drank too much in his 'twenties, and who is now simply maturing out of it? That really sounds like the story of millions of young American males.

Now, if you've been talking to some A.A. members, I'm pretty sure that they will put on sad knowing looks and solemnly announce that you are hopeless and doomed to die drunk in a gutter unless you join their organization and let it run your life, but I'm not buying it.

You are quite right. You aren't powerless. Heck, even I am not powerless, in spite of the fact that I drank until my fifties, and drank until I was sick and homeless and lost nearly everything. I still just snapped one day and decided that I wasn't going to die that way. And I'm not. I have 11, almost 12, years of sobriety now, by working no program other than, "Just don't take that first drink, not ever, no matter what."

The A.A. guys say that you can't just quit like that, but it happens every day. And that fact has even been measured and counted and documented by such organizations as the Harvard Medical School and The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health.

I'm pretty sure that you can also just cut down or quit when you want to. It sounds like you are already doing it.

Note that I have to totally abstain from drinking alcohol because that is my personality, and my physical make-up. I was never able to moderate, and just have a few. But plenty of other people are okay with just cutting down, and drinking reasonably. It really depends on the individual person which he should do.

Way back in the nineteen-seventies, the famous government think tank called The Rand Corporation did a study of alcoholism that found that half of the alcoholics who successfully stopped self-destructive drinking did it by total abstinence, and the other half did it by tapering off into moderate controlled drinking. The point there is just "Different Strokes for Different Folks". "Alcoholics", or excessive drinkers, or whatever you want to call them, are not all alike. And they sure don't fit the stereotype of "The Alcoholic" that A.A. pushes.

Each of us excessive drinkers has the problem of figuring out which half we are in.

It also occurs to me that the question of whether someone is "an alcoholic" is not a yes/no question. There are zillions of shades of gray in the middle. A more realistic question is simply "How much are you drinking, and how much is it hurting you?" Score the answers on a scale of one to a hundred. If the total score is too high, then the answer is to cut down or quit drinking alcohol, whichever works best for you. We don't really even need the label "alcoholic". I mean, it gets kind of ridiculous if we start talking about how someone is a 30% alcoholic, or a 50% alcoholic, or a 70% alcoholic.

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

P.S.: I forgot to even mention the other usual answers to how to get sober:

  1. How did you get to where you are?
  2. The list of non-cult organizations and methods

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     When they tell you that you are powerless,
**     that just means that somebody else gets the power.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Jon_G ]

Date: Wed, July 25, 2012 7:21 am     (answered 26 July 2012)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: beautiful

really great shot

Canada Goose goslings
Gosling Portrait. This is one of the Family of 6 goslings.

Yes, they are beautiful, aren't they? I feed them all of the time, so they have become very tame. They just walk up to me and look at me like that, and ask for more goodies.

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-letters318.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Sun, July 22, 2012 12:08 am     (answered 26 July 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: More Adventures in Slackware

Did you ever get that long email I sent about setting up the Sims 1?

Hi again, Meatbag,

No, I don't think so. I know that I don't have it handy. (Meaning: I don't know where to find it, if it ever did come in.)

Anyhow, I discovered the hard way that I did not have the 64-bit version of Salix, after several failed attempts at installing Virtualbox. Turns out they didn't have a 64-bit live CD that had Fluxbox as the default window manager. So, I use the regular installation CD to reinstall. When I did, my wi-fi actually worked out of the box. I was shocked.

Ah, working wifi. Good.

I've also gotten my fingers burned on 32-bit versus 64-bit executables. I have some programs that I compiled and linked on a 32-bit Linux system many years ago. When I tried to run them on a 64-bit AMD Athlon, I got error messages of "file not found", in spite of the fact that the programs were right there in the path. It took me a while to realize that the 64-bit system was rejecting and ignoring the 32-bit applications as unusable, so it was complaining that it couldn't find a 64-bit program by that name. I thought that 64-bit systems could run 32-bit applications, but apparently not so.

Now, I'm looking at getting the core, GUI-less version of Salix working on that old laptop. One of the developers on that forum actually tested a VM with the specs of my laptop. It turns out the installer won't run on it, but it'll work once it's actually installed somehow. That makes sense, since it's pretty much the same as a minimal Slackware install. Now the trick is figuring out how to get it installed.

Oh yes, those "custom" installation jobs. Oh can that be a pain. Been there, done that.

One of the other developers linked to a set of tools he wrote. Apparently, one of them installs the ISO to a directory. It doesn't handle partitioning, fstab, or installing a bootloader, so I need to do that stuff manually. I'm still reading up on fstab and lilo. I plan to start out with Damn Small Linux to handle that stuff. DSL doesn't display properly on the laptop, or I would be installing that. But I can put up with eyesore for a while.

Also read up on "chroot". To make the stuff install properly, you have to make it see a different directory as the root directory.

I guess I could also take out the hard drive, hook it up to my desktop, and install it that way, but I'm not particularly willing to dismantle my laptop. After all, if I fry any of the components, it would be very difficult to find replacement parts. Impossible, in the case of the motherboard.

Yes, and the installation would still be a problem. Again, you would have to chroot and install. As long as you can read a CD on your laptop, I don't see any particular advantage to removing the hard disk.

And I've think I've figured out a use for this laptop once it's all set up. IRC. I've always wanted a second display for IRC purposes, but I don't have the money to buy one. A second computer will work just as well. Run a fullscreen game on my desktop, while chatting on the old laptop. I can even do something else on the newer laptop at the same time. Maybe run another game.

Ah, interesting. Does your laptop have a VGA socket on the back? Mine does, and I just got two very nice LCD flat-panel displays from Goodwill, for $10 and $13. Nearly new, too. Beautiful, bright, and clear. Pretty colors too. One monitor was a little shop-worn and needed some minor cleaning. (Literally just a damp sponge.) The other monitor just looks brand new. Sometimes stuff like that shows up at Goodwill — some store dumps their surplus, or they donate stuff that has a few tiny scratches on it, or something like that — and you get lucky about the pricing where Goodwill doesn't price it high. Not to put anybody down, some of the pricers at Goodwill are not computer experts. To them, a monitor is a monitor. So an old, obsolete, nearly-dead CRT monitor and a new, bright, LCD flat-panel display get the same price. I love it.

Linux and Xwindows are good for running multiple monitors, so right now the second monitor is displaying a slide show of cute gosling photographs. Now if I could find a PCMCIA card that is a display controller, I could have three monitors. Or a USB display controller. But I never heard of anybody making those things.

Say, have you ever thought about setting up an IRC channel? I know you're having problems with your forums (personally, I say whip out the banhammer; there's plenty of places that allow stepper nonsense, and you're not obligated to be one of them). But an IRC channel might be easier to manage. Set up a bot and recruit some people you trust to be operators. Maybe set up one channel where stepper nonsense is tolerated, and one where it isn't. Make the latter invite-only or require a password.

Now that sounds very interesting. I'll have to see what can be done with IRC.

I agree about the banning. I started off intending to never ban anybody from the forum, and to allow unfettered freedom of speech. Unfortunately, there are a few mental cases out there who will take advantage of the situation to persistently attack and viciously slander other people on the forum, rather than discuss ideas. Their goal is obviously to disrupt the discussions, and keep the facts that they don't like from being heard. At least one person seems to keep returning under aliases to continue the attacks after he gets banned. Welcome to the real world, rather than an idealized world.

But then again, I have to remember that even the U.S. Senate, where men are supposed to solemnly debate the issues intelligently and respectfully, has seen an angry Senator pull out a cane and nearly beat another Senator to death. That was just before the Civil War, while they were debating slavery and States' Rights. 150 years and nothing much has changed. (Talk about divisive dogmatic partisan politics...)

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/   *
**     Wars are precipitated by motives which the statesmen responsible
**     for them dare not publicly avow. A public discussion would
**     drag these motives in their nudity into the open, where they
**     would die of exposure to the withering contempt of humanity.
**        ==  David Lloyd George, former British Prime Minister

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

May 12, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, resting and munching grass on an island
The new little one is the second from the left.

Canada Goose goslings
The older Family of 3

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, at the parking lot
They are looking at me expectantly like that because they are hoping that I will give them some more good things to eat. I did.

Canada Goose goslings
Three of the Family of 6 goslings, eating rolled oats

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Meatball2 ]

Date: Thu, July 26, 2012 4:36 am     (answered 31 July 2012)
From: "Meatball"
Subject: Re: My Adventures in Slackware

So, I installed the 64-bit version of Salix a few days ago. Now, I've decided to go back to 32-bit Salix.

My wifi works out of the box. I get Virtualbox working. Only one thing missing: WINE. So I try to install it from the site. The wine command doesn't work after it's installed. I try to install it from Sourcery. It tells me I need 32-bit libraries. So, I look into solutions. I discover multilibbing. It doesn't seem overly difficult. But why do all that to get the functionality of a 32-bit OS when I can just install the 32-bit OS?

Now, the laptop has an i3 processor and 4 GB RAM. I don't even use a lot of those resources most of the time. So why do I need a 64-bit OS? If I was that concerned about the bleeding edge, I would have installed Fedora or Arch Linux, and my /usr/local and /home partitions wouldn't be formatted as ext3. I use WINE a lot more than I use programs that benefit from a 64-bit system.

Hello again, Meatbag,

I'm running both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux (on different computers), and I find the 64-bit stuff to be basically more bother than it is worth. Which is sad.

It is odd: For most of the entire computer revolution — more than 50 years now — everybody was racing to have the biggest and fastest and best gizmos and systems. But with 64-bit systems, suddenly almost all of the players have turned their backs on progress and gone off in other directions. The Linux gang is the only people I see who are fully supporting 64-bit systems. Microsoft is a joke. They just put a few patches on their 32-bit XP system and called it a 64-bit system. We had to wait for many years for a Macromedia/Adobe Flash player that would work on 64-bit systems. Likewise, most browser plug-ins don't work with 64-bit systems. There are immense numbers of software packages that don't work on 64-bit systems.

It's a shame. I specifically got a pair of AMD 64-bit systems in order to have the horsepower to make videos. Little did I know how limited the available software would be. I've been waiting 4 years now for the software world to catch up with 64-bit hardware, and that is an eternity in the fast-moving computer world. The real underlying message seems to be that the software companies don't plan to ever support 64-bit systems.

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/   *
**     Programming today is a race between software engineers
**     striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs,
**     and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better
**     idiots.  So far, the Universe is winning.
**       ==  Rich Cook

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Frank_K ]

Date: Thu, July 26, 2012 7:56 am     (answered 31 July 2012)
From: "Frank K."
Subject: AA

Dear Mr Orange,

My prayers and thoughts are with you. I hope recovery from your addictions is going well. You have put a lot of hard work into your research into AA's history.


Hello Frank,

Thank you for the good wishes.

Happily, you don't need to worry about me. I'm doing great. In another 3 months, I will have 12 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and all drugs. And my health is good, and in a few hours, after I get these letters sent off and updates uploaded and all of that busywork done, I'm going ride my bicycle out in the sunshine to go feed the geese and their children at the wetlands. It's a beautiful sunny summer day and life is good.

The people to worry about are those unfortunate souls who are still going to 12-Step meetings. I do worry about them.

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/   *
**    Learn true joy and you will meet God.
**        ==  Rabindranath Tagore

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Carl_L ]

Greetings Orange,

This, my letter, appeared today in the North Bay Bohemian (Santa Rosa, CA).

Peace, Carl

From: Carl
To: letters@bohemian.com
Subject: 12 Step Monopoly
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2012 02:52:32 -0700

A Different Path

In regard to "Not About God": the writer claims that ending a monopoly held by 12 step programs as the only form of "treatment" available to court-ordered drunk drivers and victims of drug law "justice" is somehow unfair and counterproductive. The new approach allows choice in a variety of treatment options. 12 step programs are still an option, just not the only one. The writer states that the "12 step process has proven itself for many years as the most successful recovery tool there is today". This myth is as pervasive as the many slogans and platitudes that circulate endlessly and exclusively as answers to all of life's problems among the more absolutist cult minded members. To them abstract critical thought and existential doubts are simply manifestations of "stinkin' thinkin" or "the disease". Others in the program "read between the lines" and take things with a grain of salt and are open to and practice critical thought, including rational criticism of the program.

If lifelong abstinence from recreational drug using, coffee and tobacco greatly excepted, is the measure of success, the program is a dismal failure statistically. This is how the program measures itself, lifelong total abstinence. Secular programs may avoid both the "spiritual" and "disease theory" approaches entirely. These programs have a statistical success rate, I believe, as high at least as does NA/AA. So does no treatment at all. Many people have gone to or through AA/NA and benefited, and in more ways than just achieving drug/alcohol abstinence. Some have remained abstinent after discovering they enjoyed life to it's fullest that way. It works great for some people, but not for everyone. It kills some people. I have witnessed this. At least one study suggests that AA members are more likely to engage in binge drinking upon cessation of abstinence, than are those outside of AA. It is suggested that this is a result of the promotion of all alcoholism as "terminal disease" in AA.

I was a drug abstinent member of NA for 8 years long ago. I chose a more crooked path after that. My experience in NA was very good overall. And the crooked path I have walked since is tempered with more maturity, self respect, and self restraint than before I kicked a long term heroin, methadone, heroin again, and then speedball (heroin/cocaine) habit 26+ years ago in my youth. I kicked on my own, at home and work, with a full time job (ouch). I went to NA on my own. I was not court ordered.

The NA literature alluded to people like me in stating that the success of NA should not be judged entirely on it's numerical or statistical achievement of individuals maintaining complete lifelong drug abstinence, but also on the positive effect "spiritually" NA also had on some of those who "relapsed". That some who took up drug using again no longer exhibited the negative or antisocial behavior previously associated with their using. A "kind of honesty" had permeated their characters. This was written by NA's founder, Jimmy Kinnon, based on empirical observation. In the 1980s this politically and therapeutically incorrect observation was removed from NA literature and replaced with correct absolutism.

A rational criticism of 12 step programs and 12 step history, information about objective studies of 12 step efficacy, statistical success rates and a list of alternative secular recovery programs can be found at www.orange-papers.org.


(Please withhold my name if published. Thank you.)
Sincerely, Carl L.

Date: Thu, July 26, 2012 10:54 pm
From: "Carl L."

Here's a link to the paper:


Hello Carl,

Thank you very much. That is great. Well-written, clear, logical, good.

Such letters to the editor are very valuable because they reach the people who do not read this web site, which means the vast majority of the citizenry. It is important to let the "average people" out there know that A.A. is perpetrating a fraud and mythology, as you pointed out. About all that the average people know about A.A. or N.A. is what they heard on TV or in a movie: that it is supposedly a very good way for alcoholics or drug addicts to get clean and sober. They really need to be told the truth.

So thanks, 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/   *
**     If someone has cancer or diabetes or coronary disease,
**     we don't use a quack doctor to treat those sick people —
**     a quack whose only qualification is that he used to drink
**     too much alcohol or take too many drugs, and who is now
**     a member of a cult religion. But with the so-called
**     "disease" of addiction, the standard treatment is
**     to have former alcoholics or dopers dispensing their
**     platitudes and slogans, and insisting that "spirituality"
**     is the cure.
**     The fact that it is difficult to break established bad habits
**     does not mean that those bad habits are diseases.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters318.html#Wendy_S ]

Date: Tue, July 31, 2012 6:17 am     (answered 1 August 2012)
From: Wendy S.
Subject: Synanon

I just read your article online about 12-Step Programs and Synanon, and I have to say, it seems that no matter how many "reliable sources" you interviewed when writing this, it is still quite wrong and irresponsible. It's easy to base an article on only the negative things you find and keep it completely biased, because, of course, that makes for a much more interesting article.

I grew up in Synanon, from the ages of 9-17, and it was a wonderful experience. My mother, who was a Game player before we moved in, liked the community lifestyle, so we left our suburban house and moved in. What you described in your article was so over-exaggerated and incorrect on so many points. Certainly there were things I didn't like — having a shaved head — being one, and certainly some aspects of your article were correct. There are SO many more people who moved into Synanon with drug & alcohol issues that are now completely clean and sober and very successful than there are that reverted back to drugs. All of my best friends in the world are people that I grew up with there.

I'm 46 years old now and believe I can see all of this very clearly. No, it wasn't perfect and there were issues, but it wasn't like you wrote. Yes, when Chuck Dederich decided he could drink and introduced that into the community, it was the downfall of Synanon, but seriously, if Synanon were around today as it was at it's best, thousands of people could be saved.

I just thought you should know this.

Thank you,
Wendy S.

Hello Wendy,

Thank you for the letter.

Alas, you are glossing over so many important issues,

  1. like attempted murder, and vicious attacks on neighbors and strangers and ex-Synanites who became disillusioned and left. The Synanon "Imperial Marines" thugs beat up the neighboring rancher just because they thought he was "against them". They attacked the Synanon ex-member Phil Ritter from behind in the dark of night and smashed his skull with a baseball bat and he nearly died. They even beat up Synanon members who objected to what was going on. They put a rattlesnake in the lawyer Paul Morantz's mailbox because he was suing Synanon on behalf of some of those injured people, and Morantz nearly died from the snakebite. The leader Chuck Dederich rationalized the attacks with these words: "Nonviolence was just a position we took. We change positions all of the time." In the end, Synanon became very violent.

    Chuck Dederich and two of his goons were even arrested for attempted murder, to which they pleaded guilty.

    This has all been established in court proceedings. It sure does contrast with your description of a wonderful happy camp. And that isn't just "some issues".

    To try to reduce all of that to just "they had some issues" is a classic example of Minimization and Denial.

  2. You did not say what years you were at Synanon, or which of the three bases you lived at. Apparently, you managed to escape the beatings and child abuse that the runaway children suffered. Did you not see any of that?

  3. The fact that some people got themselves clean and sober in or near Synanon does not mean that Synanon did it. That is assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. That is a couple of logical fallacies:

    That is just like saying that I was never able to ride a bicycle when I was a kid. I fell down every time that I tried. But then Jimmy loaned me his lucky rabbit's foot, and it worked. I didn't fall down. So that proves that lucky rabbits' feet make children able to ride bicycles.

    Saying that Synanon made people able to quit drugs is like that.

    It's also like saying that church weddings make girls get pregnant. Well, they do, don't they? The girls go to church, and stand in front of the preacher or priest while he mumbles some magic words, and the next thing you know, the girls are pregnant. So church weddings make girls get pregnant.

    And Alcoholics Anonymous and Synanon and all of the other rehab frauds cure alcoholics and drug addicts the same way.

  4. Multitudes of other people who did not go to Synanon also got clean and sober. In fact, the vast majority of recovered people did it without any kind of program or "treatment". The simple truth of the matter is, at least half of all of the alcoholics and drug addicts simply mature out of their addictive behavior and get straight and go on to live healthy lifestyles.

    The Harvard Mental Health Letter, from The Harvard Medical School, stated quite plainly:

    On their own
    There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
    Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
    (See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

    The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health, performed the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. For it, they interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

    "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

    So, for Synanon to be a success at treating addicts, it would have to produce a success rate that is greater than the normal rate of spontaneous remission. — Which leads to the next point:

  5. You did not supply any numbers to support your claim that lots of people not only got straight in Synanon, they got straight because of Synanon. There is zero evidence that Synanon had a recovery rate greater than the natural recovery rate of people who just quit on their own.

    Perhaps you saw this quote:

    In 1964 a New Jersey Drug Study Commission opted not to give Synanon any funding after reviewing rehabilitation statistics supplied by Synanon Foundation. Out of 1,180 addicts who had entered Synanon in its first five years of operation, only 26 had graduated! World renowned Berkeley sociologist and "thought reform" expert Dr. Richard Ofshe used Synanon's own data to compute a cure rate for heroin addicts at Synanon of only 10%. This is the only available scientific study ever done on the effectiveness of Synanon.9,10

    9. Mitchell, Dave, Mitchell, Cathy, Ofshe, Richard, The Light on Synanon, pp.143 — 145.
    Gerstel, David, Synanon, Paradise, Inc., p. 37.
    10. Dr. Richard Ofshe and noted Berkeley psychologist and "cult expert" Dr. Margaret Thayer Singer were called in as expert witnesses in Ohio state's successful court action to close down Straight-Cincinnati.

    — from the web page http://www.thestraights.com/synanon-story2.htm

    Also note that the trio Cathy Mitchell, Dave Mitchell, and Dr. Richard Ofshe won the Pulitzer Prize for their journalistic work in exposing the evils of Synanon. See The Light on Synanon; it's good reading.

    In addition, note that the only people whom Synanon kept off of drugs and alcohol were the people who stayed at Synanon (and then not all of them). Just like all of the other cults, you couldn't ever leave Synanon, and return to normal life, or else...

    So, again, I ask, what was the actual Synanon cure rate? And after Synanon collapsed, what percentage of the former members kept themselves clean and sober? Do you have any solid, documented numbers?

    By the way, back in the 'sixties, I personally knew two Synanon graduates (or "non-graduates", since Synanon wasn't using the "graduate" word then), who had gone through Synanon for excessive drinking. I saw one of them go back to drinking in Taos, NM, and both of them had their lives fall apart. All that Synanon seemed to have really taught them was how to play manipulative mind games on people, and how to have a lot of contempt for both themselves and others. They were very damaged souls. What sad cases.

  6. And that leads to the question: How could you possibly have tracked all of the former Synanon members as they moved around the country, to see how many of them got straight and stayed straight after they left Synanon? You couldn't, and you didn't.

    So you are either assuming that the ex-Synanites stayed clean and sober, or you are just looking at a few acquaintances who are clean and sober, and only counting them. That is the logical fallacy of Observational Selection.

  7. Also note that Synanon did not even work for the Synanon founder Charles Dederich. He was, of course, a former member of Alcoholics Anonymous who decided that he could fix the A.A. program and make it better for addicts. That's what Synanon was: just a rehashed A.A. program with Dederich's vicious, confrontational, psychologically-damaging "game" added on. Late in the life of Synanon, Dederich decided that a little "ceremonial" drinking on "special occasions" was quite okay. Pretty soon, every day was a special occasion. "Chuck" Dederich was so drunk that he could not even walk when the police came to arrest him for attempted murder. He had to be carried out on a stretcher. That's quite some recovery program, isn't it?

    By the way, the thought that "just a little drinking on special occasions will be okay" is classic Lizard-Brain thinking. Look here.

  8. I've been doing these web pages for over 11 years now, and you are the only Synanite to ever write in and complain that my writings about Synanon are not accurate. If Synanon was so wonderful, where are all of the happy ex-Synanites, and why aren't they defending Synanon? Why are all of the history books about Synanon very negative?

  9. Guess who has written in? Paul Morantz, the lawyer whom the Synonon "Imperial Marines" tried to kill by putting a rattlesnake in his mailbox. Look here and here and here. The funny thing is, he seems to think that my descriptions of Synanon madness are pretty accurate.

Now if you want to tell me more about your experiences in Synanon, please do. But some kind of documentation or hard numbers would help a lot.

By the way, my sources of information that you call biased and inaccurate are here, in the bibliography:

There are some more quotes about Synanon here:

  1. Synanon was a crazy cult.

  2. The fawning hero-worshipper and sociology professor Dr. Lewis Yablonksky praised Synanon's mind-control tactics.

  3. This was William Olin's exit experience.

  4. As Synanon degenerated from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program into a crazy cult, graduation ceased.

  5. No Exit: Olin said, "The only subject you could never talk about in Games was splitting".

  6. As Synanon degenerated from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program into a crazy cult, dissent was suppressed.

  7. Dederich took over control of all of the members' sex lives and marriages.

  8. Cloning: The circle of sycophants known as "the little Chucks"

  9. Money-grubbing scams.

  10. The Synanon "Game" was a reverse confession session.

  11. Synanon punishments

  12. Synanon interfered in marriages to the point that the leader Chuck Dederich ordered everyone to get divorced and marry someone else. Then they had a new Game, Changing Partners, where women were auctioned off each evening for a one-night stand.

  13. Synanon games

  14. Chuck Dederich said that drinking was okay.

  15. Synanon gave us a good example of the reversal of reality.

  16. Synonon's isolationism.

Would you care to comment on any of that? Do you have any proof that those statements are untrue?

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/   *
**     "Don't mess with us — you can get killed dead, physically dead."
**     "Yes, I do want an ear in a glass of alcohol, I really do."
**     "Of course, we brainwash in Synanon. The dirty brains we get
**     all the time need to be washed for Chrissake!"
**       ==  Charles "Chuck" Dederich

May 12, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

White-fronted Goose
White-fronted Goose

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose goslings
Two of the Family of 6 goslings

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6, foreground, and the Family of 3, in the background, at the parking lot.
Most of the goslings of the Family of 6 are hidden behind the father, on the left, and sitting on a pile of rolled oats, and casually eating. The Blackbirds are getting in there and getting some oats however they can.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

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