Letters, We Get Mail, CCCLXXI
by Orange

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#exhausted_wife ]

Date: Sat, October 5, 2013 2:01 am (answered 5 October 2013)
From: "exhausted wife"
Subject: exhausted wife signs on

Hi Orange,

I'm a PhD student and uni lecturer (Aussie btw) on religious fundamentalist terrorists and have read & taught stuff on cults and power-crazed fascists and/or religious nutters for years and years.

Also child of, sibling of, friend of, wife of, in-law of addicts (mostly horrendously abused children of course) of all colours.

Your site is without question, the most insightful and comprehensive I have ever read.

You are truly a god amongst men for the work you have done here. Many, many thanks!!!

(registered as) exhaustedwife

Hello Exhausted Wife,

Thank you for all of the compliments. I try to do good work.

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/   *
**     Ringo Starr wrote the song "An Octopus's Garden" after he learned that
**     octopii like to collect shiny things and decorate their yards in front
**     of their caves with them.  Ringo found the idea that an octopus would
**     tend his under-sea garden so trippy that he wrote a song about it.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Anon ]

Date: Fri, October 4, 2013 8:14 pm (answered 7 October 2013)
From: "Anon"
Subject: Orange Papers post sets off b.s. detector

Hello Terrance —

Anon here again.

Whatever Richard Maybury may think, the British Empire was still around for a good half-century after Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) departed this life.

Some important dates. It was only in the late 1940s that the Union Jack came down in Palestine and India.

Ghana became independent in 1957. And Harold Macmillan delivered his prophetic "Wind of Change" speech in Capetown, South Africa, in February 1960, signalling a general African emergence from colonial status.

As to Gladstone — in the words of Harvard historian Crane Brinton ("A History of Civilization," 1960), he "regretted and no doubt even neglected the Empire; but he kept it."

If RM is untrustworthy about such matters as these, what else, you wonder, can he be getting wrong?


TH — if you want to use the above, that's fine, but I'd prefer that it not get personal. Re-write it as you please and call me "Anon" if that's allowed.

That's because RM strikes me as an out-and-out crackpot. His language is a dead giveaway. I was in the newspaper business for 30 years and believe me I know the type. Can't be argued with.

Okay, Anon,

Thanks for the information. What I find really interesting is the possibility that someone can be a crackpot and also be correct about something. There is no doubt that the empires are coming down. The old Soviet Union has fallen apart. And yes, the British Empire is gone. And the American Empire (which many Americans insist does not exist) is also rapidly disintegrating. At the same time, the Chinese would love to build up their own empire. But the world may run out of oil just in time to prevent that. The future is going to be very interesting.

(Remember that "May you live in interesting times" was an old Chinese curse.)

By the way, PBS (Public Broadcasting System, i.e. television) just ran a series here about Queen Victoria and it featured the Gladstone versus Desraeli rivalry, and described how whether the British empire expanded depended on which of them was Prime Minister. And how Prince Albert was against expansion of the empire, but he died, which totally changed British history, because Albert was replaced by Desraeli as Queen Victoria's advisor and close friend, and Desraeli was very pro-empire. So it goes.

It's frightening how the course of history can be altered by a germ.

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/   *
**     "Great empires do not die by murder, but by suicide."
**       ==  Arnold Toynbee

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#CJ ]

Date: Mon, October 7, 2013 3:11 pm (answered 8 October 2013)
From: "CJ"
Subject: My partner thinks everything is a trigger

Hey orange,

Good to read some stories here, I thought I was alone. My now ex partner who I had known for almost thirty years decided after a breakdown due to synthetic marijuana and alcohol addictions to join aa. Of course I thought this was great, however after about a week they told her I was a trigger? Even though I don't smoke any sort of drugs and only drink socially. They then went as far as saying sex and even seeing me was a trigger and to leave me asap. I told her I understand and have tried to stay out of her life. She has changed drastically, to the point I don't feel I know her any more, and all she talks about is the 12 steps always texting me saying I'm an alcoholic and trying to give me advice. I have had to delete her off my phone, facebook and even email. She is a zombie brainwashed by bullshit and I'll never get my girl back. AA sucks.



Hello CJ,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Alas, that story is so commonplace. I've heard it so many times. Crazy A.A. members actively seek to destroy new members' outside relationships — that is, any relationship that is not with another A.A. member. That is just standard cult behavior — socially isolate the new members.

Then they make the new members obsessed with the cult. It becomes their whole life. Cult members walk around reciting the cult's "holy dogma", and they spend all of their time in meetings, or "Bible study" (or whatever book is the cult's "holy book"), or recruiting, or fund-raising.

And outsiders are the enemy. You will "trigger her", they say. In other cults, they would say that you tempt her to sin, and lead her away from Heaven, or distract her from the goal, or make her forget her dreams, or pollute her with impure and insane thoughts, or some such thing.

(By the way, if you click on the above links, they will take you to questions in the Cult Test. You can go to the answers for A.A. by clicking on the number of the question.)

Then apophenia sets in and they see everybody who takes an occasional drink as a hard-core alcoholic who is in need of their program of salvation.

By the way, they say that you having sex with her is supposedly a trigger? But I'd bet that their next lesson for her is that sex with them is not a trigger. What a bunch of digusting creeps.

Oh yes, that is all standard A.A. behavior.

I wish I had some easy magic bullet to fix the problem, but I don't. Once the cult gets its claws into somebody, it really has her. It may take years for her to get out. She is not listening to reason because she does not want to. They have convinced her that to question A.A. dogma is to die. And A.A. is the only way to survive.

I'm adding this story to the list of A.A. Horror Stories.

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/   *
**     "Every identity has its fundamentalists — the gatekeepers
**     of what is and isn't permissible for those who share that
**     identity.  Since we all have access to multiple identities —
**     race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, class — these
**     fundamentalists usually have their work cut out trying to
**     keep everybody in line.  As the guardians of authenticity,
**     their job is to deny complexity and impose uniformity."
**     == Gary Younge, "To Fight These Reactionaries We Must Tackle
**     the Crisis That They Feed Off", in The Guardian/UK, August 21, 2006
**     http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0821-22.htm
**     http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329557728-103677,00.html

September 2, 2013, Monday, my back yard in Forest Grove:

Anna's Hummingbird
A female Anna's Hummingbird, filling up with sugar-water at a hummingbird feeder.
You can tell the males from the females easily: the mature males have a bright red head, and the immature males have a splash of red on the throat, while the females always have green heads and throats.

By the way, how these hummingbirds got that name is simple: The ornithologist who named them had a girlfriend named "Anna", so he named this hummingbird after her.

Anna's Hummingbird
A female Anna's Hummingbird

It is easy to attract a bunch of these hummingbirds: just put up a bunch of hummingbird feeders. I have four up: three in the back yard, and one hanging from the front porch, and they all get a bunch of visitors. Hummingbirds are very intelligent when it comes to remembering where to find food. Once they find your feeders, they won't forget them, and you will find that some hummingbirds will visit the same feeder at the same time every morning. Like 7:30 in the morning, every morning, the front porch feeder gets a hungry visitor who wants breakfast. And the feeders in the back yard get visitors every evening. Your feeders become a regular part of their daily route.

PBS Television had a program about hummingbirds where they said that hummingbirds were so good at remembering food sources — because they have such high energy needs — that they will remember what kind of flowers bloom where, and when they come into bloom, and how often the hummingbird can visit those flowers to get another meal. In other words, how soon the flowers can refill themselves with nectar. And they remember all of that on a flower species-by-species basis. So a hummingbird does not just bumble around looking for flowers, he has a whole flight plan in his head. Wild animals are not as stupid as some people think.

The hummingbirds learn that my feeders have a limitless supply of sugar-water. They cannot drink enough to empty the things. And if they do manage to empty one, they can just go to the others. That is an advantage to having four feeders out — Even if they empty one, they can still get a meal from the others.

Also, having multiple feeders out there means that they don't have to fight over one. Hummingbirds are very territorial and agressively defend their food supply (for good reason), but with several feeders around, one hummingbird can be feeding at the front porch while another feeds in the back yard, and they don't need to fight over the food supply. They don't even see each other.

The formula for the sugar-water is simple: 4 to 1. That is, four cups of water to one cup of white sugar. Heat it to a boil to sterilize it, and then cool it down (so that you don't melt the plastic hummingbird feeders) before pouring it into the hummingbird feeders. Also clean the feeders thoroughly between refills to remove all traces of algae and bacterial growth.

Which leads to the question of honey. The most knowledgeable people say that you should not use honey because it ferments quickly. Honey-water will start to ferment in as little as 8 hours. And it can be poisonous in a couple of days. If you put honey-water in the feeders, you need to dump it and replace it every day. That is a lot of work, and a lot of waste. White sugar works better. And brown sugar is too heavy for their stomaches. Besides, the authoritive people say that white sugar is actually more similar to their natural nectar sources.

Still, they like the taste of honey. When I was caring for my sick hummingbird, I alternated between giving her sugar-water and honey-water. She seemed to like both. But I was keeping the honey-water refridgerated to prevent fermentation, and warming it up to room temperature in the microwave just before feeding with a baby eye-dropper (really, a baby feeding tool) — only heat it up to room temperature — not hot — don't burn their little mouths. And I was discarding the old solution every day or two to remove the danger of old honey-water fermenting. She did great on that diet, and recovered nicely.

But lest anyone get the impression that you can keep hummingbirds in captivity, remember that nectar is only half of the hummingbirds' diet, and with Anna's Hummingbirds, it's the smaller half at that. They also need to eat lots of tiny insects like gnats and fruit-flies, for the protein. They cannot live on just sugar. If I had it to do over again, I would have used old fermented fruit to attract fruit flies, and put the bait in the hummingbird's cage where she could snack on the fruit flies when they flew into her cage. As it is, she did okay anyway because I kept her for less than two days. Any longer than that and she would have started to get sick from protein deficiency.

Anna's Hummingbird
A female Anna's Hummingbird

By the way, hummingbirds chirp. They have a tiny high-pitched little squeek. Once you learn what it sounds like, you can tell when you have a hummingbird in your yard. (Provided that you have your windows open, and live in a quiet neighborhood.)

September 10, 2013, Tuesday, my back yard in Forest Grove:

Anna's Hummingbird
An immature male Anna's Hummingbird
This young fellow has only a splash of red on his throat. His whole head will be red when he matures.

Anna's Hummingbird
An immature male Anna's Hummingbird
These pictures are so speckly because they were shot in dim light, in the shade of a tree, and I had to turn the ISO up to maximum to get acceptable brightness, and that amplifies the sensor noise. With these conditions, you have to choose the worst combination of settings: You have to use a telephoto lens, which reduces the brightness that the sensor gets, then you have to set a very fast shutter speed to keep the hummingbird from being just a blur, and then you have to set the ISO to maximum. All of that maximizes the sensor noise. Next year, I'll make some way to hang the hummingbird feeders in the sunshine, rather from tree branches in the shade of a tree, and that will improve the photographs.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Annette_G ]

Date: Sat, October 12, 2013 9:42 am (answered 16 October 2013)
From: "Annette G."
Subject: Quit hating ass hole

AA works......if you work it. People fail because they don't work the program.

Sent from my Windows Phone

Hello Annette,

Thank you for the letter. That subject line is very revealing. It sounds like you have quite a resentment there. Didn't Bill Wilson say something about how you cannot have a resentment?

Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 64.

But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 66.

So I guess you need to work on that resentment while you are "working the program".

Speaking of which, how do you define "working the program"? Lots of Steppers parrot that line about working the program, but they don't say what they mean.

So what do you have to do to work the program?

  1. It can't be going to A.A. meetings. That is optional. You can go to as few or as many as you like. In the early days of A.A., Bill Wilson bragged about the "lone wolf" members of A.A. who just ordered the book and read it, and got sober, and never went to a meeting.

  2. It can't be working the 12 Steps, because they are only suggestions. You don't have to work the Steps. Bill Wilson said so in the Big Book.

  3. It can't be reading the Big Book. I've had people email me and say that my criticism of what is in the Big Book is irrelevant, because they have many years of sobriety and they have never read the Big Book.

  4. It can't be "Coming to Believe" in "Higher Power" (or Doorknob Almighty, or Baal Bedpan, or the Easter Bunny, or whomever it is). That is also optional. Bill Wilson said that you didn't have to believe anything. And A.A. defenders routinely brag to me about the atheist chapters of A.A.

  5. It can't be getting a sponsor. Lots of sober people tell me that they never had a sponsor.

  6. It can't be recruiting. Some A.A. members brag to me that they have never gone recruiting.

  7. Now here is the most important question: Do you have to quit drinking in order to work the program? If so, then you have a circular definition there. You have to quit drinking in order to work the program, and then you have to work the program in order to quit drinking.

    That is nonsense, of course. It's like saying that you have to eat vanilla ice cream in order to eat vanilla ice cream.

    On the other hand, if you don't have to quit drinking in order to work the program, then how does the program make people quit drinking?

So what do you mean when you say, "work the program"?

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 predominantly AA-based culture of rehab in America has become one
**     of imposition and tautology:
**     If the program doesn't work for you, then you didn't work the program.
**     If you succeed in staying sober, then you did a good job working the
**     program; ergo, the program works.
**       ==  Sacha Z. Scoblic
**           http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112255/why-rehab-fails#

Date: Thu, October 17, 2013 3:07 pm
From: "Annette G."
Subject: RE: Quit hating ass hole

No resentment here, "ass hole" it's your new nickname! I'll pray for you, since you are so sick (that's in the BB too).

Sent from my Windows Phone

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Sara_K ]

Date: Sat, October 12, 2013 9:08 am (answered 17 October 2013)
From: "Sara K."
Subject: Concerning your website


I was looking for alternative information about A.A. and I came across your website, which I love. I'm doing an essay for a class, concerning Alcoholics Anonymous and I love everything that you have written, however, I have ran into a problem, my instructor has told me that I can not validate your website because it has no information on the author, such as background studies, this is exactly what she posted to me.

[This source cannot be used because it is impossible to determine who A. Orange is, what is professional and educational background is, or what qualifies him as an expert in the topic. I found his site; he or she offers no profile or explanationof expertise. Nor could I find his biography by searching on Google.]

Is there any place that I can find your information so I can use what you have found for my essay. Either way I can validate the information, but I'd rather give you the acknowledgement for finding all of the sources. I would really appreciate it and would of course be willing to donate to your cause.

Thank you,
Sara K.

Hello Sara,

Thanks for the question. Actually, I've included a lot of autobiographical information in the web site, more than I wanted to, really, because the web site is about A.A. and recovery from alcohol abuse, not about me. The biographical information is just spread out here and there.

My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I'm a 66-year-old guy who lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, which is a small town west of Portland. And I'll have 13 years of sobriety in three more days. That includes 13 years off of drugs and cigarettes too.

Here is a list of pieces of autobiographical information. The most complete autobiography is the one written for SOS.

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.

  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick

  3. another friend goes missing

  4. who are you

  5. who are you, again

  6. really an alcoholic...

  7. definitions of "an alcoholic"

  8. Rat Park and Other Children's Stories

  9. How did you get to where you are?

  10. A biography written for SOS

  11. Why did I make all of these pages? For a lot of reasons.

  12. About the motivation for creating the site, that is funny. I never set out to create any such thing. I was just going to write a 30-page essay about A.A. and what I saw as its failings and why it was inappropriate for use in treatment programs.

  13. history of the Orange Papers, and

  14. censorship, the Orange Papers censored and erased by Yahoo Geocities

  15. the "Orange" name.

  16. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Oh by the way, speaking of credentials, definitely read the file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment, because it is loaded with doctors' and professors' reports on the ineffectiveness of A.A. and 12-Step treatment. Even if your teacher won't let you quote me because she doesn't like my credentials, you can quote the people in that file because they all have letters like "M.D." and "Ph.D." after their names.

Have a good day now, and good luck with your work.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     "What a long strange trip it's been."
**       ==  Truckin', The Grateful Dead

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#S ]

Date: Mon, October 14, 2013 7:19 pm (answered 18 October 2013)
From: "S."
Subject: dui teachers

Orange, many of the DUI teachers in California have criminal records and the owners don't bother to run a background check. Some of them are very dangerous and students have no idea that their counselor has criminal record.

Date: Tue, October 15, 2013 8:13 am (answered 18 October 2013)
From: "S."
Subject: Dui counselors

Most people who get one DUI are not alcoholic and they are forced into 6 AA meetings and have to sit and listen to 12 step counselors who are very often felons as their DUI teachers in class. The school owners don't run back ground checks on these counselors. Most of the teachers just spew AA jargon. No regular business would hire these people but people who are caught drinking and driving have to suffer months listening to these ignorant cult members.

Please do not include my name due to revenge by AA members.

Hello S.,

Thanks for the letters. I can only totally agree. "Drug and Alcohol Counselor" is often the only job for which those burned-out old alcoholics and drug addicts are qualified. All that they can do is jabber slogans about addiction and recovery, and imagine that they have some great wisdom. And to get "qualified" to be a licensed D+A counselor, they only have to take a course of training that teaches them how to recruit for Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Heck, my "counselor" in outpatient "drug and alcohol treatment" here in Portland jabbered 12-Step slogans at us,

  • "I'm teachable today."
  • "I don't know if I will relapse tomorrow."
  • "Your disease wants to kill you."
  • "You need a Higher Power in your recovery program."
  • "Go to at least three meetings a week and get a sponsor."
  • "Don't quit smoking. If you put too much on your plate, something might spill off."

And then he went home and snorted cocaine and looked at child pornography on his computer and then raped his step-children. And the taxpayers actually paid for all of that.

They busted him, and convicted him, and shipped him off to the state penitentiary. Yes, that was quite an education I got at taxpayer expense.

The situation really has to improve.

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/   *
**     Ye shall know them by their fruits.
**     Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
**       == NEW TESTAMENT, Matthew VII, 16

August 24, 2013, Saturday, my back yard in Forest Grove:

The squirrel in my back yard, being cautious. He isn't sure whether he can trust me, so he runs for it when I come near.

The squirrel is watching me from the roof of the shed, just waiting for me to go away so that he can climb down and go back to eating the sunflower seeds.

Still watching and waiting.
"Little Brother is watching you."

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#David_L ]

Date: Mon, October 14, 2013 2:54 pm (answered 18 October 2013)
From: "David L."
Subject: Approve New User Account

User: born2kill

Wow! Note the similarity to your response to Agent Green!!! Holy hole in a doughnut!

Disturbing Experience in AA chat room

Hi guys,

13 days sober here and was spending the past week or so in an iPhone AA chat room getting support and making new friends. I'm also in an intensive outpatient group program for three hours per day as well (by my own choice), and have attended two AA face to face meetings so far.

After talking with a young girl last night for about two hours, sharing some of my experience with her and relating with her about my college years and dealing with parents and such, we finished up and she went about her way. A guy who who holds online meetings must have been following our conversation. He came in and typed the following: 15 years of experience vs 12 days, lol... !!! I was shocked and then became enraged at what I thought he meant: that you bring no experience or wisdom to the table whatsoever though you have lived 36 years.

My question to you is this: does AA teach people to devalue life experience gathered along the way? Because I've gathered plenty. As we all have I'm sure. I was very very insulted and felt belittled by his comment.

Not looking forward to interacting with or attending any more meetings...

[Agent Orange replies]

About the respect, the only one to comment on is the years of sobriety. You are displaying a typical A.A. attitude where people are worth more if they have more years of sobriety. I reject that idea, even though I now rate as one of the "holy old-timers". The virtue of a person is not determined by how many years he has abstained from drinking alcohol. Heck, even Jesus Christ turned water into wine and drank it.

By the way, I just had another anniversary, so it's seven years now. So that makes me even holier and wiser, doesn't it?

Hello David,

You are authorized in the forum now. Welcome.

About the A.A. game of one-upmanship — yes, they still do that, don't they? They aren't about to knock it off. Heck, many years of sober time (or claimed sober time) is the only rank and status that some of them have in their lives. And it's sad that they feel so inadequate that they have to flaunt it and lord it over newcomers.

Oh, and coincidentally, in two more days I'll have 13 years sober and off of drugs too. And in three more weeks, 13 years off of cigarettes. I must be almost a God now. :-)

J.R. Harris saw that same A.A. put-down of the newcomer and posted it in the forum, here; http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/node/4016

The one thing that puzzles me is, "Don't the old A.A. members get it? Can't they see that they are driving people away from A.A. by treating newcomers like that? Are they blind?" No wonder A.A. is shrinking.

So much for A.A. offering the newcomers unconditional love and wise, compassionate, advice and counseling.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**  You believe in God. I believe in God, too. But I also believe
**  in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy, so I
**  am obviously more religious than you, and morally superior to
**  you, because I believe in a lot more supernatural stuff than
**  you do.
**  Next, I'm going to come to believe that the world is flat, so
**  I can really be more religious than all of you.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Denise ]

Date: Tue, October 15, 2013 5:23 pm     (answered 15 October 2013) From: "Denise"
Subject: Application

Hi, my user name is Denise. I look forward to reading more and being able to contribute. Thanks, Denise

Okay Denise,
You are in. Welcome.
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/   *
 ** "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.

Hi Orange, I look forward to reading on this great site. Been sober 25hrs and literally have had little to no depression since I started the deprogramming process about two weeks ago. I really had no idea, although, I've questioned aa for years. I just thought it was the only way. That I'd be doomed to drink without it. Thank you, Denise

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Lizard ]

BLOG NOTE: 15 October 2013:

I found another mention of the Lizard Brain here, in a commentary on the government shutdown:


A Rationality Shutdown

By Bob Koehler
The government's reptile brain remains in full operation. It hasn't shut down war, just compassion and common sense.

This is the sly, primitive, irrational part of government: its reptile-brain function. That's still in full operation. We're continuing to raid, bomb and terrorize Fourth World countries and pointlessly harvest global metadata. We're still "completing our mission" in Afghanistan. We're just phasing out the government functions that have value. Perhaps what we should talk about is a rationality shutdown.


[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Erin_G ]

Date: Tue, October 15, 2013 9:23 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Erin G."
Subject: Questions

Hello A. Orange,

Are you an alcoholic? If so, were you able to stop drinking without AA? If so, do you feel content in your life without alcohol or do you long to drink and actively fight the urge? Any information would be helpful.


Sent from my iPad

Hello Erin,

Thanks for the letter and the questions. And the answer to pretty much every question is "yes".

  1. I am, or was, an alcoholic. Whether it's present or past tense depends on your definition of "alcoholic". A.A. uses multiple definitions of the word "alcoholic", and mixes them up, which confuses the issue.

    The definitions are:

    1. An alcoholic is someone who habitually drinks far too much alcohol.
    2. An alcoholic is someone who is hyper-sensitive to alcohol, almost allergic to alcohol, perhaps a genetic alcoholic; someone who cannot drink even one drink or his drinking will spin out of control and he will become readdicted to alcohol.
    3. An alcoholic is somebody who cannot quit drinking — he is "powerless" over alcohol.
    4. An alcoholic is an insane sinner who is full of disgusting character defects and moral shortcomings and resentments and barely-contained anger, and is a prime example of self-will run riot and instincts run wild and selfishness and self-seeking and the Seven Deadly Sins, although he doesn't think so... etc., etc., ...

    When I call myself an alcoholic, I usually mean definition 2, and only occasionally definition 1, but never definitions 3 or 4.

    1. By definition 1, I stopped being an alcoholic 13 years ago.
    2. By definition 2, I will always be an alcoholic.
    3. By definition 3, I wasn't an alcoholic, because I could quit drinking, and I did. I was not "powerless over alcohol". I even quit drinking without any help from A.A., because I quit drinking two weeks before I was ever sent to an A.A. meeting.
    4. By definition 4, I was never an alcoholic. I was always a nice drunk. People liked having me at their parties because I was so much fun to have around when I got high. (But, as one friend said, "Even nice drunks die of cirrhosis of the liver...")

  2. Yes, I stopped drinking without A.A. Tomorrow, I shall have 13 years of perfect sobriety. Yes, it's my "birthday". Also 13 years off of drugs. And in three more weeks, I'll have 13 years off of cigarettes, too. And I did it, and do it, without A.A.

    I totally reject the entire A.A. program and their goofy ideas that unconfessed sins make you drink alcohol, and if you confess enough, God will make you quit drinking. And you must "surrender to God", which really means that you must surrender to your sponsor and the other A.A. elders and do what they say. And don't take medications, trust the 12 Steps to heal you. And you are just a disgusting sinner, full of selfishness and resentments, and you are manipulative and always wanting to do it your way, and you are dishonest and in denial. That is crazy. That is raving insanity. That is just Dr. Frank Buchman's old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

    And I haven't been to an A.A. meeting in almost 12 years. After about 3 months of exposure to A.A., I said that I didn't need it, it's just a crazy cult, and only went to meetings to pick up sobriety coins as they came due. The one-year coin is the last one that I ever went and got.

  3. I feel content with my life. I'm relatively happy. I'm not crawling the walls for a drink. I did have more urges and desires and cravings before, for the first couple of years, but they faded out. If it weren't for this web site, I could go days or weeks without even thinking about drinking. I have fun doing other things.

What helped me a lot in the beginning was coming to understand the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. That is the primitive part of the base brain that just wants food and sex and feel-goods all of the time. He will always insist that having just one is okay, and we deserve to relax and feel good tonight. It doesn't matter whether he wants sex or food or a cigarette or a hit of dope or a drink, he always wants "a little something". Remember Pooh Bear? As he hungrily rubbed his belly, he said, "I just need a little something."

Discovering what the Lizard Brain's game was, and how he would try to fool me into thinking that his thoughts were my thoughts, and his desires were my desires, helped me a lot to detach from those thoughts and desires and refute them. When you realize that the urges and desires and thoughts in your head are really just the yammering of a thirsty toad brain who is actually very stupid, then they lose their power over you.

So go ahead and click on this link and learn about him: the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

Also, I wrote up this reply three years ago, about the time that I got 10 years of sobriety, and it's still true: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day, and a good life now, and don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions. You can also join the forum if you want more people to chat with, and another way to ask questions and discuss ideas.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     The problem with a philosophy like, "Eat, drink, and be merry, for
**     tomorrow we die!", is that tomorrow we aren't dead. We are still
**     alive, just wrecked, sick, hung over, and broke.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Kurt ]

Date: Tue, October 15, 2013 10:08 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: kurt
Subject: 13th stepping movie

Hi Terrance,

It has been a while since I last wrote. I keep reading your web site after now about two years, and still I am amazed. I had been in AA/Al-Anon for over 18 years and found for the last couple years I attended that I felt like a trained parrot repeating the same bullshit over and over. I stopped attending meetings in October of 2011 because I just could not keep repeating that same crap over and over. Each time I 'shared' it felt empty and did not ring true any more.

I am so glad that I was able to step away from it all and even more glad that nobody pursued me to ask why I left. No one even called me for almost a year! So go the great friendships of the program. I guess I had a lot of acquaintances who I thought were my friends.

Your web site has really been an eye opener for me about the cult called AA. I have been reading other web sites and came across this one describing the 13th step problem in AA =>


It sure is a nightmare that the justice system (if you can actually call it that) sentences many fairly normal people to AA and exposes them to the unbelievable collection of criminals and sociopaths that attend meetings. I am sure glad that I did not ever become a victim in these meetings to the hustling and scheming members. However I always viewed the people there with a lot of caution, and I did not leave my critical thinking skills 'at the door'. Somehow I could never believe folks who said that they were instantly transformed to become so wonderful when they would describe their seedy past lives during their 'shares'.

Keep up the great work on the web site, and thanks for helping me to better understand and deal with the brainwashing that I got from all of those years of attending meetings. Life is too short to keep dwelling on the past and to watch the passing parade of AA failures.

Best Regards,

Hello Kurt,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

About the 13th-Stepping movie: Yes, a woman named "Massive" is working on that. She was also another A.A. oldtimer with a zillion years, who saw through it all one day and quit A.A., and now she's trying to tell the world about it. She needs more money to complete the movie, so if anyone can chip in a few bucks, please do.

This forum thread is relevant, too:
AA meetings in print, the September 2013 AA Grapevine admitting that 13 year olds are being stalked in meetings with "Unacceptable" and joking about using Ouija Boards to write the 12&12 in 2011

I agree that sentencing people to A.A. is a nightmare. It's bad enough that it is illegal and unConstitutional to sentence people to a religion, but to send youths into the Devil's Den where they can be sexually exploited is inexcusable. Judges should be impeached and disbarred for doing that.

Sending youths to A.A. and N.A. meetings is actually counter-productive. The youths get a higher education in drugs and alcohol from going to A.A. and N.A. meetings. The hardened old reprobates teach the youths all kinds of things that the kids didn't know about drugs and alcohol. Many of the youths didn't even know about all of the hard drugs that are available until the oldtimers taught them the ways of the world, and introduced them to the "grown-up" stuff. And that is really to be expected, when the judges and parole officers are routinely sending hardened old criminals to A.A. as part of their parole. The criminals don't always suddenly get holy; they often pull others down to their level.

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-letters371.html#Jim_B ]

Date: Thu, October 17, 2013 1:09 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Jim B."
Subject: Hi!


My username is Bumr50 and just wanted to drop by and leave some commentary from a Catholic who can't stand AA.

For reals.

Even if you don't get to this, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the effort.

You're objective, and don't bash either religious adherents OR atheists which I've found to be a problem when trying to find discussion sites about how ridiculous AA is, and how attending AA meetings (for me) is one of the surest ways to depress me and send me on a bender.


Jim B.

Hello Jim,

You are in. Welcome.

Thank you for the compliments. I try to be fair and even-handed on the subject of religion. I am neither an agnostic nor an atheist. More like a bit of a mystic. I know that there is more to this Universe than meets the eye. As Baba Ram Dass put it, "The physical universe is only a tiny part of the Cosmos."

At the same time, I like atheists because they are almost always far more truthful and realistic than the crazy cult true believers who drank the koolaid.

Ah, how to walk that fine line inbetween? It reminds me of the old Zen stories about the difficulty of rolling a sewing needle down a thread.

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/   *
**     "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's
**      clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
**        ==  Matthew 7:15

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Ctmjon ]

Date: Thu, October 17, 2013 3:16 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Fwd: The Miracle of Wine

"And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the Earth."

Then he made the Earth round.

And he laughed and laughed and laughed."


Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thanks for the cosmic wisdom, and a good laugh.

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 spam email subject line says,
**       "Take off inches instantly!", it's for the wife.
**     If the spam email subject line says,
**       "Put on inches instantly!", it's for the husband.

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Ctmjon2 ]

Date: Thu, October 17, 2013 3:33 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Fwd: Doors — Who Knew??

And all this time we've been blaming ourselves.

Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was?

Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses. Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an Event Boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It's not our age, it's that damn door!

Did I send this to you already?

Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thank you. Finally, the answer to my problems. I'm not getting older. There are just more doors.

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/   *
**    Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
**         ==   Albert Schweitzer (1875 — 1965)

August 24, 2013, Saturday, my back yard in Forest Grove:

A female Anna's Hummingbird
A female Anna's Hummingbird

A female Anna's Hummingbird

A female Anna's Hummingbird

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Max ]

Date: Fri, October 18, 2013 11:30 am (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Max"
Subject: Good web site

AA certainly has it's faults. We could fuck-up a two car funeral. Keep up the good work.


Hello Max,

Thanks for the compliments.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.orange-papers.org/forum/   *
**     "You should always go to other people's funerals,
**      otherwise, they won't come to yours."
**         ==  Yogi Berra

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters371.html#Jonathan_A ]

Date: Fri, October 18, 2013 1:30 pm (answered 19 October 2013)
From: "Jonathan A."
Subject: Well, its an interesting web site.


Truth is that AA works for me. And I am unwilling to risk another way. Life is really good.

I did find the site informative and eye opening, and it does make me think. In many places it is exactly correct. There is a schizophrenia about the disease concept, about character defects, etc. I think as the program matures these things will smooth out. It is a human enterprise, and humans are fallible.

Hello Jonathan,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

About the "schizophrenia", I think those things are actually places where the A.A. dogma contradicts itself. And alas, A.A. has already "matured". The growth period is over and A.A. is shrinking now. So I don't believe that those problems will ever get fixed. A.A. will simply fade away, and will be replaced by other things.

But you will be okay. You don't really need A.A. telling you that you are diseased and cannot ever recover. It sounds like you have actually already recovered.

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/   *
**     Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
**     routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
**     or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
**     between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
**     treatment for medical diseases.
**       ==  Ken Ragge 

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