Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXV
by A. Orange



[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Fri, September 30, 2011 6:52 pm     (answered 2 October 2011)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Random Comments

Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked in the least if Google was already doing that. I get the feeling that Firefox will remain my favorite browser for quite a long time. Adblock Plus + NoScript + Ghostery = ad-free happiness. I am pretty willing to add an exception to Adblock Plus and NoScript for a site that needs the revenue, though, provided I can trust their ads to behave.

Hi again, Meatbag,

Yes, sometimes Google goofs up royally. My favorite is what I got when I searched for "mersa staphlococcus". That is a misspelling — I had just heard a story on TV about nasty superbug germs that are resistant to antibiotics, like the "flesh-eating bacteria", and I just spelled it phonetically, not knowing then that it was an acronym — MRSA — for "methycillin resistant staphylococcus aureus". So this is what Google gave me for search results:

  Shop and compare great deals on mersa staphlococcus and
  other related products at MonsterMarketplace.
  http://www.MonsterMarketplace.com

  Look for mersa staphlococcus on eBay
  Search eBay for mersa staphlococcus. Bid on auctions or use
  Buy it Now to purchase items from customer-rated sellers.
  http://search.ebay.com/

Shades of Frankenstein. Buy your spare parts and diseases at MonsterMarketplace.

And I can definitely see how BeOS and Haiku can both be mistaken as Linux distros. I'm not sure about BeOS, given that it's notorious for not running well in any VM, but Haiku's UI is probably closer to that of various Linux distros than any other major OS.

That John Barleycorn song is fascinating. It reminds me a bit of a version of Little Red Riding Hood that featured an ogre instead of a wolf. The ogre dismembered the grandmother and fed Little Red Riding Hood the parts. Of course, Little Red Riding Hood did not survive the story, either. If you want to take a look, it's the one titled Little Red Hat on this page.
<http://www.pitt.edu/%7Edash/type0333.html>
Maybe you can tell it to a little kid as a bedtime story.

Speaking of stories, you definitely seem to be quite the friend of feathered creatures. First, you saved the life of a hummingbird. Next, you adopted a group of goslings (how did they turn out, by the way?). Then, you found Carmen a family. Contrary to what those AA true believers tell you, you really are a good person. Definitely better than anybody who would wish for any alcoholic to take that first drink.

Yes, for some odd reason, I can't help but love those little feathered friends. And thanks for the compliment.

Alas, I had to give the first family of goslings to the Audubon Society. I kept them for a month, and they were getting big, and we were getting along great. I took them to the park every day, and they spent all day munching the grass and running around and having a good time. And then cuddling up with me.

June 8, 2008: My first family of goslings:

Canada Geese gosling
Gosling watching another bird in the sky


Canada Geese goslings
Taking my towel

These little guys are totally hedonistic little creatures. I got up from the towel that I had been sitting on, and they promptly decided that it was the perfect place to nest. And somebody had already pre-heated it for them.

A next-door neighbor in the apartment tower complained about the goslings chirping and squawking at dawn, and the building manager was threatening to call animal control and "write a notice" on me. She told me to just take them down to the river and dump them. I told her that the babies would die if I did that. She said that she didn't care, and she just wanted them out of the building. I had to do something immediately, because I was warned that animal control kills all of the goslings that they get. They just gas them along with the unwanted dogs and cats. They don't even try to find homes for them. No other friends that I could think of had houses with yards — they were all in apartments. The Audubon Society was the only option immediately available that I could find on short notice.

I spoke with a woman at the Audubon Society who was allegedly a "wildlife expert". She told me that they had a rewilding program that would reintroduce the goslings to goose society, and improve their "chances of survival". I mentioned Waterfront Park, where the goslings came from, and where they associated with humans, and she said, "Isn't that disgusting?" She thought that geese adapting to the situation after humans built a city on their feeding grounds was "disgusting". Apparently, she lived in a dream world where wildlife had no contact with humans. She said that the goslings would never be put back in Waterfront Park, they would go someplace else.

Then she asked if they followed me around. I said yes, that was the problem. They had no desire to associate with the rest of the flock, or follow them and go sleep with them. The goslings just followed me around and wanted to sleep with me. She asked how long I had had them, and I said a month. Then she said that she guessed that a month was long enough for them to imprint on me. Wrong. They bonded to me and stuck to me and followed me around after just 18 hours. The second day that I had them, I had taken them back to the river and released them, trying to reunite them with their parents. The babies just clung to my legs and wouldn't go anywhere. That was the moment when I realized, "Okay, it's you and me."

Then the "wildlife expert" told me that if I gave the goslings to the Audubon Society, that I could have no further contact with the babies, because they would just reattach to me each time they saw me. That's true.

When I took them to the Audubon Society, I learned that they didn't have any kind of yard or grass for the goslings to graze. They were just locked in cages and fed cracked corn. I didn't like the sound of that. That isn't the right food for them. The goslings didn't accept any food from me after their mouths got strong enough to eat grass. They just grazed the grass all day long.

But I had little choice in the matter at that point. I had to get them away from the Pacific Tower building and fast, before Animal Control got them.

With 20-20 hindsight, I would not take any goslings to the Audubon Society again. I would find something else to do.

Then, when a friend told me that the Audubon Society gives all of their extra birds to the county animal control to be gassed, that really cinched it. Although in all fairness, I haven't been able to verify that.

Oh, and then the next-door neighbors who did the complaining skipped out in the middle of the night and disappeared, and their apartment was empty for two months while the sherrif's deputy taped eviction papers on the door. So it was really bad building management. The goslings got mistreated, I was heartbroken, and the building owners didn't get their rent. Nobody was happy. I'm glad to be gone from that building.

Oh, and what about Carmen? Well, the building manager just never learned about Carmen. The new neighbors didn't complain about her chirping. And she is doing well. She flew away with her new family.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Say, is it just me, or is Rock Climber
<http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters60.html#Rock_Climber>
a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect?

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dunning-Kruger_effect

Yes, that sure does fit. It also reminds me of this quote:

The more incompetent someone is in a particular area, the less qualified that person is to assess anyone's skill in that space, including their own. When one fails to recognise that he or she has performed poorly, the individual is left assuming that they have performed well. As a result, the incompetent will tend to grossly overestimate their skills and abilities.
== "Unskilled and Unaware of It", Alan Bellows, March 25, 2006
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=406

Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't tend to believe people who prattle on about how smart they are, or how smart someone they know is (not even if that someone is me). And that's not mentioning that the concept of intelligence is questionable in and of itself.

http://disabledfeminists.com/2009/10/23/ableist-word-profile-intelligence/

For that matter, I'm even more likely to question someone who appends as many letters as possible to their name, like Hyderman here (http://orange-papers.org/orange-letters11.html#Hyderman) (chiropractors are physical therapists at best, not doctors). From my observations, actual experts don't tend to do that (see the Lenski affair <http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Lenski_Affair>, where Schlafly signs his name with every letter he can use, while Lenski simply signs off with "Richard Lenski"). Hell, I even have a professor who refuses to go by "Dr."

Yes, and another man who doesn't flaunt his credentials is Paul Krugman, who writes columns for the New York Times. He does not put "Ph.D." after his name, or mention the fact that he is a Professor of Economics at Princeton, or that he won the Nobel Prize in Economics. He just signs his columns "Paul Krugman". Heck, I didn't learn about his credentials until he won the Nobel Prize, and the newspaper published articles about Krugman.

Hyderman isn't a doctor, and never was. When he made up stories about having "MD" after his name, and having been educated at McGill University, the most prestigious medical school in Canada, and then giving out quack medical advice on the Internet, I think he was committing a crime — practicing medicine without a license.


Date: Fri, September 30, 2011 7:20 pm     (answered 2 October 2011)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: Random Comments

Oh, and just as another comment on Rock Climber, why on earth would I need an old dictionary to read an old document. I've read plenty of really old documents in my history classes, but I've never needed a really old dictionary to understand them. I definitely never needed a dictionary from 1787 to read the U.S. Constitution. U.S.-based true believers really need to review that particular document themselves.

Indeed. We have to go back to Shakespeare before we need those footnotes to explain what some of the words mean.

I also almost forgot about that Big Book story supposedly written by a Native American. Because pretending to be a stereotypical Amerindian (which any actual Amerindian would recognize) is a great way to attract Native Americans to some asshole white guy's cult religion. Besides, a white guy blaming a Native American for being miserable enough to drink after being forced onto a reservation by a bunch of other white guys just seems wrong. About as wrong as somebody pushing a guy in the mud, then blaming him for being filthy.

Yes, that "Join The Tribe" story was outrageous for its stupidity, and ignorant stereotyping of Native Americans. Only someone who had never hung out with any real Indians could have written such garbage — like maybe someone who never got out of New York City, and whose sole experience with Indians was watching Tonto on the Lone Ranger:

"I proud to be Tall Man, American Indian, and member of A.A. for many moons."
"Never forgot magic in firewater."
"Tall Man now see Great Spirit in Big Group in sky."

The A.A. leaders in New York silently removed that story from the 4th Edition of the Big Book without a word of explanation.

Part of me wishes that they had left it in. It really showed how phony A.A. actually is.

And I'm left wondering, "How many other 'autobiographical stories' in the Big Book are also works of fiction?"

We know that the story "Lone Endeavor", in the First Edition, was really a composite of stories that was assembled by the A.A. secretary Ruth Hock. It was loosely based on a story from Pat Cooper in Los Angeles, who allegedly got himself sober all alone, without either reading the Big Book (which didn't exist yet), or going to A.A. meetings. (So why give the credit to A.A.?) But after he showed up in New York City drunk out of his gourd, Bill Wilson silently removed that story from the second edition.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**    I would give nothing for that man's religion, whose
**     very dog and cat are not the better for it.
**       ==  Rowland Hill

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Anne_I ]

Date: Wed, September 28, 2011 11:00 pm     (answered 4 October 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: New messages from Anne I.

"Hello, hope things are doing alright! I am doing much better, except now that I am job searching with 25+ years experience & 8 years of higher ed: I am smart enough to see what a "joke" the system is in regards to "employment" ... Someone posted & a few people "shared" a sign about holding a grudge is giving someone free rent in your head ... I responded that it was one of 400+ brainwashing slogans used by the cult of AA & that in its context held no realistic problem resolving solutions to human relationships ... the response? (dead silence) ... No surprise, but I haven't debated AA on here much ... I hope it made a few people who think empty "quotes & sayings" are so profound ... to question their own acceptance? ... Hope I made sense, cuz I am tired tonight!"

Hi again, Anne,

Yes, you are making perfect sense. And their refusal to answer your questions is standard cult behavior. Like Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, the founder of Scientology said, if the criticism cannot be silenced, then the scientologist should cease all communication with the critic, or "disconnect". (Look here.) Just run away and avoid any further communication that might accidentally lodge a fact between the believers' ears.

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/   *
**  He is "obviously brainwashed, although a light rinse would
**  probably have been sufficient. Even worse, it's been Scotchgarded,
**  and is impervious to contamination by any idea which conflicts
**  with his prejudices."
**     == walter_map,  May 14th, 2007
**      Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Jason_S ]

Date: Mon, October 3, 2011 1:02 am     (answered 4 October 2011)
From: "Jason S."
Subject: About the "AA" article

I was reading the article due to my questions about AA. I read your whole article and it actually opened my eyes to something new. Ive been in and out of AA for almost 10 years (drinking on & off) im only 30 years old and there needs to be more than just AA. I cant agree more with this article. All day I get people trying to get me to "accept my alcoholism" and to "quit thinking so much". I cannot stand the propaganda and cliches they use AND THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT! Most of them dont care about their hygine, most of them have no vehicles, no wife or children. They are perdominatley living without a conscience or morals and nobody wants to be around them because they either spend too much time "indulging AA" or they burnt one too many bridges. My question is; since you seem rational and have your facts straight... What would your solution be to stay sober without AA? I would honestly love to figure this out so I can move on to a healthier, happier, better life for my family and loved ones. Thank You for your time.

--Jason S.

Hello Jason,

Thank you for the question. And you came to the right place to ask it.

And thank you for keeping your mind alive, and not accepting the nonsense that fools are trying to shove on you. I know that it takes some guts and determination to swim upstream.

First off, you don't really need any program to stay sober. The idea that you must devote your life to "working a program" is one of the more insidious ideas that A.A. spreads. That translates out to meaning that you must devote your life to Alcoholics Anonymous, and spend your spare time doing A.A. activities, including recruiting.

Not to brag, I have over 10, almost 11, years of sobriety now, and I don't work any program or belong to any organization. And I haven't been to any kind of a sobriety or recovery meeting in eight or nine years. I just don't drink any alcohol. Not any, none whatsover, not ever. I also don't smoke cigarettes any more, or take any illegal drugs. (And even the legal ones that the doctor gives me are boring and don't get you high.)

Now there are things that you can do, and groups that you can attend, if you wish. There is nothing wrong with that. I went to SMART for a while, and it's good people, and they teach good things. And there are also the groups like SOS, Lifering, WFS, and HAMS. I hear good things about them too. I made a list of all of those things and their addresses, here: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-alt_list.html.

I also talked about how I got sober and stay sober, and made lists of what other people found helpful, here: How did you get to where you are?

Good luck, and have a good day now, and if you have any more questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     "Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time."
**          ==  Arnold H. Glasgow





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Paul_K ]

Date: Mon, October 3, 2011 1:06 am     (answered 4 October 2011)
From: "Paul K."
Subject: hello again

Hello Orange,

I wrote to you about 6 months ago when I was almost 2 years sober. Unfortunately, shortly after that I lapsed back into alcohol abuse for about 3 months, but I am now sober again for a little over 2 months. I really hope and pray that this time I get more than 2 years sober time up and, who knows, maybe this time I'll stay sober permanently. When I was drinking on and off for that 3 months I experienced all the pain, loss, madness and troubles that I've been through before with active alcoholism.

I also suffer from bad episodes of bipolar disorder. I find it a lot harder to stay sober during the high episodes of bipolar than the episodes of feeling low. Unfortunately I am one of those people with bipolar for whom there are times when I can be 100% compliant with the bipolar meds yet I can still have bipolar symptoms.

Bipolar disorder and alcoholism are a bad combination! There have been many times over the years when I have drank too much and I did not just get drunk (which is bad enough!) but I became totally psychotic as well. As one psychiatrist once put in a report about me for court: "alcohol abuse has many times aggravated his underlying psychotic propensities".

I have spent time in 3 different maximum security prisons because of things I've done while both mentally ill and drunk.

I will not keep going on and on but I thought I'd write again to say thanks again for all your efforts to put together the Orange Papers. There is a lot in the OP that I've really enjoyed reading. I particularly like the history of AA parts, the letters section and the bits about the mad, crazy life of Bill W.

Bye for now.

Paul.

PS- For the past 2 months I've been seeing a D and A counsellor (sp?) for help with my alcoholism. This counsellor is not anti AA but he prefers the CBT approach. Also, this counsellor is very good about making me feel positive and having hope I might manage to eventually maintain permanent sobriety.

Hello Paul,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better and getting good medical care now. Bipolar disorder is a really tough one. And that so often causes people to drink too much. A friend of mine has that problem too. I wish you 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/   *
**      O health! health! the blessing of the rich! the riches of the poor!
**      who can buy thee at too dear a rate, since there is no enjoying
**      this world without thee?
**         ==  Ben Johnson, Volpone, II, 1





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Ray_S ]

Date: Fri, September 30, 2011 2:10 pm     (answered 4 October 2011)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: Up with people

This summer the Up With People International Alumni Association will hold a 45th anniversary reunion in Tucson (July 29 — August 1, 2010)

Read more:
http://failuremag.com/index.php/site/print/smile_til_it_hurts#ixzz1ZTLiNrIW

Hello again, Ray,

Thanks for the link. That's great. And very informative. More Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament/Up With People history, leading up to the present time.

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/   *
**     Boom, boom, boom, boom.
**     Okay everyone, let's try it again.
**     We are "BLOWING UP WITH PEOPLE!"
**       —  Unknown person's wise-crack





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Jim_C ]

Date: Tue, October 4, 2011 12:16 pm     (answered 5 October 2011)
From: "Jim C."
Subject: aa

why not put some of your angst and anger to a productive purpose? aa is not going to be diminished one bit regardless of how much you rant and rave against it. i do thank you, however, for consolidating alot of facts about aa history. so, i guess, your efforts were not entirely wasted.

one alcoholic sober now thanks to aa,
jim c.

Hello Jim,

Telling people the truth about recovery and recovery cults is very productive. I get a lot of letters from people who say that learning the truth helped them.

Oh, and A.A. is "diminished". It is an old cult in decline. The membership is shrinking, and the dropout rate is humongous.

Congratulations for your sobriety. You did it. Nobody did it for you. (And I know that there are many other people around you who did not get sober because A.A. didn't do it for them.)

The fact that you give the credit for your quitting drinking to A.A. is not evidence that A.A. actually works. It just shows that you have been fooled into believing it.

Precisely how did A.A. make you quit drinking? Did you get a fascist sponsor who followed you around day and night, holding a gun to your head and saying, "If you take that drink, I'll pull the trigger and blow your brains out!"

And you thought, "Wow. He means it. He really will pull the trigger. He shot his last sponsee. So I better not take a drink." And that made you quit drinking?

Ummm... I don't think so.

So did A.A. just tell you not to drink, and you said, "Okay," and that was that? If it's that easy to make people quit drinking then there wouldn't be any problem with alcohol addiction.

Or did confessing all of your sins and defects and moral shortcomings to your sponsor make you quit drinking? How does that work? How can Catholics — especially Catholic priests — possibly have drinking problems when they go to confession all of the time? So it can't be confession that does it.

It can't be making amends that makes people quit drinking. Lots of people pay their debts, and do pay-back, and even apologize, and they still drink.

It can't be having a sponsor reading your beads and telling you what a disgusting loser you are, or military boot camp would produce a bunch of tea-totallers. But we all know that military boot camp increases alcoholism. Veterans have well-known big problems with alcoholism and drug addiction.

Does praying to a rock or a bedpan or a doorknob make people quit drinking? I seriously doubt that. Praying to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny doesn't work either. And praying to a "G.O.D." who is a Group Of Drunks, and demanding "A Miracle", is sheer insanity.

Does going to meetings make people quit drinking? That can't be true, because millions of people go to all kinds of meetings, ranging from meetings of the Republican Party to the PTA, and they still drink.

Does jabbering the beliefs and slogans of a cult religion make people quit drinking? I don't think so, or else the Scientology Narconon scam would work. And Synanon would have worked. And Rev. Jim Jones' People's Temple.

And then there is the idea that "It's magical" — that, in some illogical, unexplainable manner, the magical incantations at the A.A. meeting really do change reality. It would seem that A.A. members are even better at casting spells than Harry Potter and Hermione.

Now such beliefs are okay for entertaining children, but they don't work out too well in reality. Here in Portland, we just had yet another trial of two more parents who are members of the Followers of Christ Church. They were convicted of manslaughter for refusing to take their baby to the doctor, and letting the baby die. Those people really do believe that they are magicians, and that their occult ceremonies will work. They think that all they have to do is begin their spells and incantations (called "prayers") with the magical words "Dear God", or "Dear Jesus", and then their magic will work and they can do faith healing. Well, it didn't work. The baby died.

So precisely how does A.A. make people quit drinking and save their lives?

The big problem remains that not only is A.A. a total failure, producing a zero-percent improvement in the sobriety rate of alcoholics, but A.A. makes matters worse: A.A. just raises the death rate in alcoholics, and raises the rates of binge drinking, and arrests, and divorce, and suicide... and on and on. That is not good.

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/   *
**
**     "What did you learn in school today?
**     Did you learn to believe, or did you learn to think?"
**       ==  Ralph Nader's father
**         PBS One On One, 3 October 2011, 1:05 AM PDT





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Graham_B ]

Date: Tue, October 4, 2011 6:03 pm     (answered 6 October 2011)
From: "Graham B-H."
Subject: AA

Mr Orange,

Mr Orange whoever,

I am an alcoholic sober 11 years. Of course Bill Wilson was "nuts". He was an alcoholic. I'm also "nuts", in fact I'm fucked in the head.

But you see whoever you are, I am sober and I am happy. Opinions are like arseholes, we all have one and you are entitled to yours. Bill Wilson said that his personal life was not exemplary but he never made a mistake concerning AA.

At least I know Bill Wilson even though I never met him because he was an alcoholic and I am one. I know what he was capable of because I was also capable of because he did not hide his insanities. The messenger has never been important in AA in AA. Always the message is what needs to be accepted or rejected as one sees fit.

What works for one may not work for the other.

I am sober because of God's grace and I believe that I found God as I understand Him in AA.

There is a God, and it's not you or me and it never was Bill Wilson.

I do not know whether you are someone who goes home and kisses the dog and kicks the wife, but I know that as an alcoholic, that is what I used to be capable of doing.

Whatever your story, before AA, alcoholics went to their destruction in disillusionment. Thank God that divine Providence gave me a man called Bill who passed on the message so that I can live a useful life 75 years later.

Sigmund Freud said "Any person who would work towards the emotional problems of someone else that they haven't suffered themselves, should be arrested." I guess you Could also come up with a story to tell us he was also "nuts."

Like all of us, in a hundred years time you won't be here and no one will really give a damn about what you had to say but I'm willing to bet you that AA will still be here.

Seems just like the alcoholics obsession and "allergy", the downfall and destruction of AA is your addiction.

Be well and take care

Kind Regards

Graham B


Date: Tue, October 4, 2011 6:40 pm     (answered 6 October 2011)
From: "Graham B-H."
Subject: AA

Hi,

Wow, the more I read your words and the words of the pros and the cons, the more grateful I am for the living skills that I found in AA. I can read them with absolute peace of mind. For a minute I wanted to react and then I remembered that it's okay. We have given up fighting anybody or anything. Happiness is an inside job and I will happily go my way with my beliefs and gratitude and happily allow everybody their opinions and beliefs as well.

The only question I have to ask myself on a daily basis is, "how am I feeling" and then deal with whatever. "You cannot dry todays washing with yesterday's wind." If you are happy, keep doing what you are doing and if I am happy, I will do the same. We have to agree to disagree because no one can win this argument. It's like politics and religion. The programme of AA needs no defending, it can look after itself. It's a perfect spiritual entity which is engulfed by imperfect people (down boy, no need to react) only my opinion.

I honestly wish you well. In fact, you would now be at the top of my list of people I would love to meet.

Once again I am happy if you are happy.

Graham B-H.

Hello Graham,

First off, congratulations on your years of sobriety. You did it, and no group or religion did it for you. Nobody but you holds your hand every Saturday night. Coincidentally, I have the same amount of sober time without believing in a cult religion.

Thank you for the letters. That is quite a stream of slogans and logical fallacies. To start with, you declared that you were "fucked in the head". Well, why on Earth would I then take seriously anything else that you have to say? If you really are as insane as you say you are, then why should I listen to what you say?

Nevertheless, I shall answer some of your statements:

  1. But you see whoever you are, I am sober and I am happy.

    It is good that you are happy. But that does not prove that A.A. is a good cult religion, or that it makes people happy.

  2. Opinions are like arseholes, we all have one and you are entitled to yours.

    Wrong. That is an attempt at escape via relativism, as if it's all just a matter of one man's opinion versus another man's opinion, and all opinions are equally worthless. Not so. All opinions are not equal. Some opinions are based on a careful examination of the facts, and some others are based on fervent belief in falsehoods and superstitions.

  3. Bill Wilson said that his personal life was not exemplary but he never made a mistake concerning AA.

    Baloney. That is absurd. Bill Wilson made a zillion mistakes, starting with selling Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion as a quack cure for alcohol abuse.

  4. At least I know Bill Wilson even though I never met him because he was an alcoholic and I am one.

    Now you are stereotyping alcoholics. They are not all alike. I am also an alcoholic, and I am not at all like Bill Wilson. About the only thing that we have in common is that we both drank too much alcohol, probably because of traumatic childhood experiences. Otherwise, we are as different as can be. For starters, I do not make grandiose claims that I got "A Message From God".

  5. I know what he was capable of because I was also capable of because he did not hide his insanities.

    Baloney. Bill Wilson denied and hid his insanity constantly. Bill was in denial:

    We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, The Family Afterward, page 133.

    We have found nothing incompatible between a powerful spiritual experience and a life of sane and happy usefulness.
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, page 130.

    But dependence upon an A.A. group or Higher Power hasn't produced any baleful results.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 38.

    Then Bill indulged in some more minimization and denial, and called his screaming raving temper tantrums mere "emotional benders", which he then blamed on his wife:

    The Family Group speakers asked and answered plenty of questions like these: "Weren't we just as powerless over alcohol as the alcoholics themselves? Sure we were." "And when we found that out, weren't we often filled with just as much bitterness and self-pity as the alcoholic ever had been? Yes, that was sometimes a fact." "After the first tremendous relief and happiness which resulted when A.A. came along, hadn't we often slipped back into secret and deep hurt that A.A. had done the job and we hadn't? For many of us, it was certainly so." "Not realizing that alcoholism is an illness, hadn't we taken sides with the kids against the drinking member? Yes, we had often done that, to their damage. No wonder then, that when sobriety came, the emotional benders in our homes often went right on and sometimes got worse."
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 33.

    The simple answer to all of those questions is, "No."

    And Bill Wilson complained that he was "damaged" by his wife criticizing him for drinking too much? Bill was nuts, and vain, and thin-skinned. And then he denied it.

    Also see:

  6. I am sober because of God's grace and I believe that I found God as I understand Him in AA.

    Gee, what a funny coincidence. I believe that I found Satan as I understand him in A.A. But I am not sober by the grace of Satan — I am sober because I don't drink any more alcohol.

  7. The messenger has never been important in AA in AA. Always the message is what needs to be accepted or rejected as one sees fit.

    Message? What message? The message that Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion works as a cure for alcohol abuse? The message that your thinking is fucked?

  8. Whatever your story, before AA, alcoholics went to their destruction in disillusionment. Thank God that divine Providence gave me a man called Bill who passed on the message so that I can live a useful life 75 years later.

    Bullshit. That is Bill Wilson's standard lie about how all of the alcoholics died before the wonderful Bill Wilson went to the mountaintop and got the 12 Commandments from God. Not true at all. Even Bill Wilson himself wrote about the Washingtonian Society that got hundreds of thousands of Americans sober in the eighteen-hundreds. The truth is that people have been successfully quitting drinking for the last five thousand years, ever since the Egyptians invented beer.

    Neither God nor "Divine Providence" gave Buchmanism to Bill Wilson. If any supernatural being did, it would have been the Devil, not God.

  9. Like all of us, in a hundred years time you won't be here and no one will really give a damn about what you had to say but I'm willing to bet you that AA will still be here.

    It is highly unlikely that A.A. will be much of anything in another hundred years. The A.A. cult is declining and falling apart now. The membership is shrinking rapidly. A.A. is being taken over by fascistic sexual-exploitation subcults like Mike Q.'s Midtown Group and Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group. And the A.A. headquarters in New York won't do anything about it, so A.A. is already doomed. Eventually, it will probably be illegal to send people to an abusive cult like A.A.

  10. Seems just like the alcoholics obsession and "allergy", the downfall and destruction of AA is your addiction.

    Funny how people can go to A.A. meetings all of the time, even one to three times a day, and you don't call that an "obsession". But if someone writes a book about what is wrong with A.A., that is an "obsession".

  11. Wow, the more I read your words and the words of the pros and the cons, the more grateful I am for the living skills that I found in AA. I can read them with absolute peace of mind. For a minute I wanted to react and then I remembered that it's okay. We have given up fighting anybody or anything. Happiness is an inside job and I will happily go my way with my beliefs and gratitude and happily allow everybody their opinions and beliefs as well.

    A.A. does not teach "living skills". Your pretend "peace of mind" is merely your refusal to accept any facts that you find uncomfortable or disturbing.

    And yes, you will not allow your opinions to be changed by mere facts.

  12. The only question I have to ask myself on a daily basis is, "how am I feeling" and then deal with whatever.

    That is a very shallow life. Apparently, you are still basing your life on chasing good feelings. Alcoholics who are drinking themselves to death are also mainly concerned with "How am I feeling? Am I drunk enough? Do I feel good enough?"

  13. "You cannot dry todays washing with yesterday's wind."

    That's a nice Buchmanite-sounding slogan — completely illogical and non-thinking. How about, "You cannot solve today's problems of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction (today's washing) with an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties (Frank Buchman's and Bill Wilson's "wind" — lies, hot air, grandiose bragging, and deceptions)"? Isn't that true?

  14. We have to agree to disagree because no one can win this argument. It's like politics and religion. The programme of AA needs no defending, it can look after itself.

    That is another attempt at an escape via relativism, as if it's all just a matter of one man's opinion versus another man's opinion. Wrong. It is a matter of facts, like the A.A. death rate. Whether someone is dead is not just a matter of your opinion versus my opinion.

    We can carefully examine all of the facts and come to some valid conclusions. Or at least, I can. My thinking isn't "fucked".

  15. It's a perfect spiritual entity which is engulfed by imperfect people (down boy, no need to react) only my opinion.

    That is delusional. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a perfect spiritual entity. It's a lying cult religion in decline.

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/   *
**
**     How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves
**     just what we shall think and just how we shall act.
**     William G. Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 36-37.
**
**     Don't worry, Bill Wilson will tell you what to think.

[The next letter from Graham_B is here.]





June 04, 2008, the original family of goslings:

Goslings sleeping
The goslings sleeping in my arms

Notice how one gosling was trying to shove its head under my arm. That is the instinctive behavior of wanting to get under my wing.

Canada Geese gosling
One of my babies browsing and eating the grass (2008.06.03)

[The story of Carmen continues here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Steve_S ]

Date: Wed, October 5, 2011 2:02 am     (answered 7 October 2011)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: SGI Buddhism

I just wanted to add my view on your experience of Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism. I'm a member of the SGI in the UK, and was really saddened to read of your experience of this organisation. I'm very "non-fluffy-bunny" when it comes to my faith (being a technical professional by trade, I've never once been drawn to airy fairy esoterics), but unfortunately, many eastern practices have been hijacked over the years both by corrupt priests at the top of the hierarchy, and also by people at the local level who have probably had more than their fair share of mental health issues, and shouldn't be in positions of leadership.

The SGI is NOT dictatorial. Yes, there is guidance from the top.Yes, we discuss life in our meetings. Yes, we tell of positive (and negative) experiences. The meetings should be a forum where we encourage others to achieve their goals, and improve their lives — ultimately to become truly happy — nothing more. Any sense of guilt for not attending any meetings, is truly self generated. Personally, if I miss meetings, it's because I have other more pressing matters with my family or job to deal with, and I feel no guilt whatsoever.

None of the negative factors you have asserted come from the Lotus Sutra — they are in fact machinations of the humans that have tried to bend this Buddhism to their own will and understanding of the world. Chanting for your own material gain was a delusion magnified by the west's pre-occupation with financial wealth.

We chant for happiness, and the happiness of others. We chant to find the wisdom to help us achieve positive change in our family, community, and country, and the courage to make it happen. Some chant for hours, some chant for minutes each day — it doesn't really matter as long as you are earnest in your faith. That change does not necessarily mean that everyone should join the SGI!

The SGI and the priesthood of Nichiren Shoshu did not simply split — it was truly a schism in the philosophical understanding of how Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism should be practiced. Of course, around the time of the ex-communication, many members were already practicing wrongly, being strongly influenced by the "cultish" tendencies of the priesthood. It took a long time for the SGI to truly rid itself of this legacy, and clearly (reading some of your observations), the mud still sticks quite well.

There remains an ugly shit fight of slander between the SGI and the priesthood, and this is most regrettable, but as someone who has personally blown the whistle on corruption in large organisations and paid the price for it, trust me when I say, if the SGI was rotten I would not be writing this now.

Take care, and have a great week.

Steve S. (UK)

Hello Steve,

Thank you for the letter.

The split and breakup of Nichiren Shoshu/Soka Gakkai that you described happened after my involvement with it, so I don't have much to say about that one way or the other, other than a big question about that red-flag word "excommunication". Who got excommunicated? Who has the power to excommunicate other people? I don't remember Buddha ever using the word "excommunication". That isn't what he was about.

But I do have some other questions:

  1. Chanting for the happiness of others? How does that work? How can you sitting in a room, chanting to a printed scroll, make other people happy?

  2. Do you really believe that chanting to a printed scroll — the "Gohonzon" — will get you things? Do you believe that the Gohonzon is able to grant wishes?

  3. You talked about not feeling guilty for failing to attend meetings. That implies that somebody else does. Why the heck do you have to go to meetings at all? Does the chanting not work if it is not done in groups?

  4. Do you believe that chanting the name of a book will make you absorb the wisdom that is in the book?

  5. Do you believe that if one third of the world chants "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" that we will have World Peace?

By the way, for another style of meditation, I just described silent meditation in a previous letter, 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/   *
**
**     Thus Have I Heard
**      "I am" is a conceiving;
**      "I am this" is a conceiving;
**      "I shall be" is a conceiving;
**      "I shall not be" is a conceiving;
**      "I shall have a physical form" is a conceiving;
**      "I shall be formless" is a conceiving.
**      Conceiving is a disease,
**      conceiving is a tumor,
**      conceiving is a dart.
**      By overcoming all conceivings, one is called a sage at peace.
**         ==  the Buddha, as translated in In the Buddha's Words
**         from More Daily Wisdom, edited by Josh Bartok, Wisdom Publications
**        (http://www.wisdompubs.org)

[The next letter from Steve_S is here.]





[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters265.html#Don_J ]

Date: Thu, October 6, 2011 6:08 am     (answered 7 October 2011)
From: "Don J."
Subject: Re: Verification on your writings

Hi Orange, how are you? I thought I'd take a moment and send you a link to my new facebook page. The page is called "The Truth Behind AA" and is at
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Truth-Behind-AA/206878912705239.
This page is still a work in progress, but is now live. The purpose of my pages was to give a decent overview of AA and 12 step programs without writing an entire book ;-).

Maybe you could take a look sometime and tell me what you think (assuming you use facebook). Anyways, once again, I appreciate the information you have provided as it has helped immensely.

Don

Hello Don,

Thanks for the link, and good for you for working to get the truth out. I haven't read the whole thing yet, so I'll withhold comments until I know what I'm talking about.

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/   *
**   "When in the company of deluded people,
**    keep your own counsel."
**        ==  Buddha





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