Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXXIV
by A. Orange

[The previous letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Andrew_S ]

Date: Mon, January 16, 2012 11:13 pm     (answered 19 January 2012)
From: "Andrew S."
Subject: Re: AA's Problems

Agent Orange,

To my last letter you replied:

"I totally reject your argument. FDR and Winston Churchill did not give people "illusory confidence". Winston Churchill's "Blood Sweat and Tears" speech is a masterpiece of public speaking, but there was nothing illusory about it, was there? He wasn't lying to them and feeding them a load of untrue cult propaganda. He was telling the truth. Churchill rallied the British people and gave them hope and led them to victory. But he did not lie to them or deceive them or give them "illusory confidence". "

It is a historical fact that many of Churchill's most stirring speeches were delivered to the public via a BBC impressionist. Churchill lied. He had a voice actor portray him, a voice actor saying, "I'm Winston Churchill".
Don't you think the English would have felt their intelligences insulted by that? HUMAN INSTITUTIONS (even worthwhile ones) USE DISHONESTY, PROPAGANDA AND COERCION. This is not minimization or denial of the harm that AA is doing; rather it is a objective fact about human society. What distinguishes the positive from the negative is the capacity for the degradation of the human soul and the sense of isolation and insulation that a cult creates.

Hello again, Andrew,

Thanks for the reply. This is interesting, at least, although it seems to be "dump on Churchill week". The previous letter was about the same things (look here).

I do now vaguely recall something about Winston Churchill using a voice double. Still, on the scale of dishonesty and deceit, that is nothing compared to Hitler's false promises of a thousand-year empire of Heaven on Earth for the German people if they just killed all of the Jews and Communists and leftists, and invaded the neighboring countries. Now that was a real false promise.

I agree with this line: "What distinguishes the positive from the negative is the capacity for the degradation of the human soul and the sense of isolation and insulation that a cult creates." — Although I think there is more to it than that, like whether people die. Also, whether people waste many years of their lives on something that does not make them better.

What makes a cult is the context of culture. If you are a part of an Islamic Extremist group in Houston, Texas, there will probably be that insular "us vs. the world" feeling. In Afghanistan, you are a mainstream organization using the socially-accepted tools of political power. You will probably respond, "That's just randomly injecting moral subjectivity to bolster a weak argument." That's not the case... we live in a constantly-changing world where our concepts must be flexible, contextual and pragmatic.

Sorry, but I don't think the context has much to do with it. A deceitful murdering cult is a nasty cult no matter whether it is in the USA or France and Canada (Solar Temple), or Japan (Om Shinrikyo), or Guyana (Jim Jones' People's Temple). No matter what country a cult is in, they are notorious for demanding uncritical belief and obedience and conformity, and claiming that they have the only way. And they are notorious for doing harm to their members. The local culture is pretty irrelevant.

You think that when I point out that reality is ambiguous and confusing, I am defending AA. Really, I am just pointing out that reality is ambiguous and confusing.

But some things are not so ambiguous. When Prof. Dr. Vaillant found that A.A. had a three percent per year death rate, that wasn't ambiguous. That was very clear.

I think that you are fundamentally right. I also believe that your passion for this subject has warped your objectivity. To point out Midtown's problems as typical of AA is to use the fallacy of small numbers as well. It's also anecdotal evidence. These accounts aren't compared to sexual assault and harassment statistics in other organizations — perhaps they're lower. Without comprehensive statistics, it's anybody's guess. Shouldn't there be a controlled double-blind?

Sorry, but that is some heavy-duty Minimization and Denial. When people report the goings-on at Mike Quinones' Midtown Group, that isn't one isolated case, or The Statistics of Small Numbers. The story of the Midtown Group is just the start of the nightmare. The head of the whole mess is Clancy Imusland, who runs the Pacific Group in Los Angeles. Mike Quinones was Clancy's grand-sponsee. When Newsweek published its article and criticized the Midtown Group's sexual exploitation of girls, Clancy defended Mike and said that they weren't doing anything wrong. And the A.A. headquarters refused to do anything about it, too. Then I have received more reports of A.A. sexual-exploitation societies in Seattle, Minneapolis, Florida, Nevada, Montana, Wisconsin, San Francisco, New York, Arizona, and even England. Yes, Clancy sends out missionaries, and they have new groups all over the USA and even two in England now — London and Plymouth. They fully intend to take over A.A., and I think they may succeed.

It isn't physically possible to do a "double-blind controlled study" on the Midtown Group to see whether they exploit girls. A police investigation will do it, though. And the police were doing one, and Mike Quinones quickly moved half of his cult to Tampa, Florida, to avoid getting busted in Washington DC.

I highly recommend you read the German government's final report of the Enquete Comission on 'sektes'. The greatest sociological intellectuals of the very nation that suffered under Naziism concluded that it was exceptionally difficult to make firm decisions about what qualities make a religion and what qualities make a cult. As a matter of record, Scientology has been legally tethered and restrained in Germany because of its coercive practices. AA hasn't. In fact, the American service center has interfered more with German AA by prosecuting copyright cases.

Yes, I am aware of those things. The status of A.A. may change, due to the Nazi history of the Oxford Group. (Look here.)

"...when dogma enters the brain, all intellectual activity ceases. " — Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger 1: Final Secret of the Illuminati

The dogma of anti-dogmatism? The irrational faith in reason?

Now you are reaching. That was one of Bill Wilson's crazy arguments, complaining that we had "faith in reason":

Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
      That was natural, but let us think a little more closely. Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!
      We found, too, that we had been worshippers. ... In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, Page 54.

Bill Wilson wanted everybody to throw their thinking brains into the trash can and just believe his bull. That is the path to drinking the koolaid.

There is much more about that here: A.A. and Religious Faith.

The way you speak back to the people who mail you demonstrates your mechanical, dogmatic view about this complex subject. Instead of reading my letter as a whole, potentially finding a theme you agreed with, you attacked anything that was neutral or positive about AA with a pre-programmed list of accusations cut and paste from your prior writing. Anything that was negative about AA, you accepted wholeheartedly as the gospel truth.

No, that simply is not true. For example, read about the Newcomers Rescue League.

I even did a web page on What's Good About A.A.?

Now I am quick to disagree when someone declares that A.A. "helps" alcoholics by foisting an old cult religion on them, and telling them that they have to "get God" and confess all of their sins. That drives people to relapse and even suicide.

It is true that I occasionally just do a copy-and-paste job to answer another standard A.A. line. The problem is that year after year, they just keep on repeating the same misinformation, the same lines, over and over again for years. And I keep refuting them. (And how many times am I supposed to type the same thing in slightly different ways?) I don't know if the A.A. promoters just don't read the answers, or they are incapable of learning, or they just prefer their superstitions and beliefs to facts.

We have even joked about a system of shorthand to reduce the typing. Steppers can send in letters like, "Standard Slogan #3. Standard Slogan #9. Standard Slogan #17."
And I can reply "Standard Answer #3. Standard Answer #9. Standard Answer #17."
Think of the savings in time and space.

The proper way to gauge whether or not an organization is a cult is to map the axes of political control, coercion and groupthink that exist in benign, harmful and positive institutions. By definition, about half will be above the median, about half below. The colloquial definition of cult would probably involve only the most coercive and counter-cultural 5%. I would personally put the Hare Khrishna at that threshhold. I would put AA below that threshold.

That sounds like the Not As Bad As propaganda trick. Like, if A.A. isn't as bad as Scientology or the Nazis or the Hari Krishnas, then A.A. is okay. No matter how bad or good the Nazis or the Hari Krishnas or Om Shinrikyo may be, that does not make it okay for Alcoholics Anonymous to foist quackery on sick people, and lie to them about how well it works.

Your AA cult test is not objective. The guys who hang out at record stores and listen to "Guided By Voices" on vinyl would score an 800. "You're listening to an Abba record? Get the hell out of here!" "Nobody puts down Iggy Pop in my record store!" "The middlebrow listener just couldn't appreciate this record."

That makes no sense. And the Cult Test is very objective. You read the question, and you rate the group on that question. If you don't like my ratings, read the test and rate A.A. yourself.

That list of 100 questions is just a list of the characteristics common to most cults. See the introduction page for the list of those cults:
The Cult Test, and Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult.
When you notice that A.A. has a lot in common with Synanon, Scientology, the Moonies, the Hari Krishnas, and more cults, that is evidence that A.A. really is a cult.

Thank you for your research, your zeal and your public forum. Even if I disagree with you on some trivial matters, this dialogue has forced me to think rationally about both AA and my own personal program of recovery.

Well thanks for the thanks.

Have a good day,

Andrew S.

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/   *
**    A 2003 study by the American Psychological Association found:
**    "that conservatism can be explained as a set of beliefs and
**    behaviors that result from a psyche controlled by fear,
**    aggression, closed-minded dogmatism, and intolerance of
**    ambiguity, compounded by mental rigidity and decreased
**    cognitive complexity [dumbness]."
**       == Robert Weitzel, The Trouble With The Entire World Is A Guy Named Ron,
**     Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
**    And the same seems to be true of the fundamentalists
**    and true believers of any cult or religion.

[The next letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Herbert_W ]

Date: Tue, January 17, 2012 6:20 am     (answered 19 January 2012)
From: "Herbert W."
Subject: How dare I

Yes, it is a scornful road to be one of the 12 step cult detractors when in mixed company with religious fanatics but it also quite humorous to see these buffoons in action when they fumble and cannot answer the simplest of questions critical of their beloved cult or its leader(s)[Bill Wilson, sponsors, "old timers"].

I check in from time to time just to read some of the pathetic letters of those still trapped in the cult mindset and to see the hope in some of those who have escaped AA's hellish tentacles.

Yes, I am happily abstinent for years now without AA or any of its rubbish. I have only checked in to see how things are going and to thank you again for keeping this site up.

I would like to add one observation which I haven't seen mentioned on anyone here, though it is possible but impossible for me to know since this site has become so enormous.

I will not get into politics other than saying most of us adhere to some sort of political ideology more or less one way or another. Some are at the fringes of one end or another and most fit somewhere in the middle to varying degrees to one side or another. The political allegiance is not what interests me or the minutia of the issues which make one person this or that. All I am saying is not all people can all be right yet in AA it's as if everyone is right provided they "work" a "good" program and especially if they have been lucky enough to be one of the very few who attains a period of abstinence despite AA and its dangerous craziness.

Think about a hypothetical situation where ten people all have 10 years of abstinence but disagree with each other vehemently on every issue from abortion, the death penalty, legalization of marijuana etc, etc — of course, on a personal level as AA is not suppose to have opinion on outside issues, yeah right.

It has to be one strange and flexible god for these people because they claim, and believe, that god is working through them, you know the claptrap in step 11 and 12. I have a hard time understanding how anyone can believe in a deity which is so schizophrenic because if this god existed he/she/it would have to be just that because no god could be working through all of these contradictory personalities at the same time. The law of averages would mean that half of them would always be at odds with the will of god at any given time on just about every issue.

For me, I find the entire situation hilarious but I wish some of them could answer me about why it is this god of theirs doesn't break the chains of the imaginary constant contact and smite the half of the group who works against the will of god. I mean, half of them are always one way or another and it just figures.

Then think about some poor newcomer stumbling in on his first meeting all defeated and weak from a bout with the bottle and being forced to choose one of these freaks as his or her sponsor after intense coercion and think about all the complication which will surely ensue. Poor newcomer!

What a mess, a horrible, un "godly" mess LOL

Hello Herbert,

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

You make a great point about all of the conflicting opinions among the Steppers who are all allegedly hearing and doing "the will of God". And supposedly the same God too. (And no, I don't recall having put that in my web site.)

Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult solved the problem by requiring members to "check their guidance" with their sponsor or other group elders. Those higher-ranking members either approved of the junior members' received "guidance", or rejected it, depending on whether it agreed with the leaders' opinions. Thus, Frank Buchman was able to control everybody's "Guidance" from the top of the pyramid. He told everybody what they were really supposed to hear from God.

But Alcoholics Anonymous is not so rigidly organized, so it is possible to have sub-groups that are in disagreement with other subgroups. Not only possible, but it happens a lot.

Bill Wilson tried to implement the same checking of Guidance in Alcoholics Anonymous, but he was obviously not insistent enough, and the hierarchy wasn't rigid enough. (Look here.) Bill wrote these condescending instructions:

If all our lives we had more or less fooled ourselves, how could we now be so sure that we weren't still self-deceived?
      ... what comes to us alone may be garbled by our own rationalization and wishful thinking. The benefit of talking to another person is that we can get his direct comment and counsel on our situation, and there can be no doubt in our minds what that advice is. Going it alone in spiritual matters is dangerous.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 59-60.

Apparently, "talking to another person" can mean "any Tom, Dick, or Harry".

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/   *
**     If you talk to God, you are praying;
**     If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
**       ==  Thomas S. Szasz, The Second Sin,
**         Anchor/Doubleday, Garden City, NY. 1973, Page 113.

May 27, 2009, Wednesday:

marina The Marina
It's a stunningly beautiful day.

Those rusty steel vertical pilings on the right-hand side are what Beethoven the Great Blue Heron likes to roost on, while he vulches on the fishermen. Whenever he sees a fisherman with a pole and a bait bucket, Beethoven is right there, looking over the fisherman's shoulder and seeing what the guy is catching.

Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, up on a piling

Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven is getting all wind-blown. He doesn't like that.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Jennifer_K ]

Date: Tue, January 17, 2012 5:42 am     (answered 19 January 2012)
From: "Jennifer K."
Subject: what really compelled you to write this paper?

Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for the question. I've already answered that before, so here are the answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. history of the Orange Papers, and
  5. creation of the web site

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 gets us into trouble is not what we don't know,
**    it's what we know for sure that just ain't so."
**      ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens), 1835-1910

[The previous letter from Drew_O is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Drew_O ]

Date: Tue, January 17, 2012 9:21 pm     (answered 22 January 2012)
From: "Drew O."
Subject: Re: aa

Thanks its so amazing that no one in aa knows the truth...ive never thought or heard it as a cult but so much more cult than cure...any ideas on good programs ?

Hi again, Drew,

I don't think it's just a matter of nobody knowing the truth. Lots of people know the truth, but they don't want to admit it, and they certainly don't want to say it out loud to others.

  • For example, there are the Big Frog oldtimers, who are self-important big frogs in a small pond. They are the honored elders at every meeting. If A.A. shuts down, they will be the honored leaders of nothing. They will be reduced to being just some old fools who parrot a lot of slogans. So they rationalize that A.A. may not have a very high success rate, but that's because those failures "didn't work the program right", and "didn't keep coming back".

    Also see "Soberman's" essay on "Big Bills and Little Bills" for more on the authoritative oldtimers, here:

  • And then there are the treatment centers, making billions of dollars per year by selling an old cult religion to the suckers. Obviously, they don't want to give up that money.

  • And then there are the professional "counselors" who make a living by doing the selling. They have no desire to go join the unemployment line. And the truth is, they are not qualified for any other job. It takes basically no job skills to tell all of your patients to go to at least three meetings per week and get a sponsor. (That is what my coke-snorting, child-raping, "counselor" did.)

  • Then there are the shills for the treatment industry, who have built a reputation on publishing scholarly-sounding papers in professional journals that proclaim that there is an "association" between going to A.A. meetings and stopping drinking. They cannot afford to admit that they were wrong. They really cannot admit that they have built their careers on selling cult religion as treatment for an imaginary disease.

  • Then there are plenty of people who are in denial about what they are seeing, because they fear that they will die if they leave A.A. (or even admit that A.A. doesn't really work).

  • Then there are many more reasons why people choose to stay in cults. We discussed that before, here and here.

There are many better sobriety organizations and methods and techniques. Here is a printable list:

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 virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance
**     is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators,
**     but names and customs.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Self Reliance

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Peter_H ]

Date: Wed, January 18, 2012 5:26 pm     (answered 23 January 2012)
From: "pete h."
Subject: Drunks R Infamous-

I wish to express again my supreme gratitude for you work. It truly is a godsend to have AA's mendacity exposed, and to put to rest its falsehoods. I have made many submissions here based on my over 25 years of languishment in steppism, and will try to keep this one brief.

In my opinion, with no malicious intent involved, one persona above all of Damon C. exhibits by far and away the pure base hypocrisy of the stepper. He is a big-time mouth piece of the popular AA group Drunks R Us in Seattle. This group is full of young people and has splinter groups, but has markedly declined, and last time I attended 3/4ers of the group were outside smoking and quite noticeably gossiping about those who "went back out", and there was also a noticeable gathering of homeless people across the street openly mocking them. Damon was not there anymore as he has found Jesus; the same thing happened to my own sponsor who fell in with the religious right. This is a common trend in AA — graduating into far-right Christianity — and played a large part in the election of bush jr. And they say steppism doesn't lead to harder drugs!

When I first met Damon he was a notorious in-and-outer of Parkland Hall Tacoma. He has limited talent as a visual artist, which in part explains the latitude he received in the following incidents.

I am no Christian, and never pretend to be. I do however believe in the value of helping the sick and the homeless. Damon now operates the most humbly termed Tattoo parlor of C.'s Super genius Tattoo, and makes a big production of both his steppism and his faith. When Damon was homeless at Parkland Hall, and I had a spare room in college for the summer, I offered him a place to stay for 3 months. I left him alone there at the end of the summer, and in addition to throwing a large party he ran up a phone sex bill of over 900$. This is not the first time he has ripped someone off who took him in. Another friend of his Danny, drummer of grunge band rhino humpers, also put him up for a stint, and Damon robbed the place. He did the same thing to another guy named Mike, stealing a quarter of strong weed when he let him crash in his motel room.

The worst incident though was this poor lady named Cathy. Cathy had an abusive boyfriend who stalked her till he found the new place where she lived. Damon was flopping there when he caught up with her, and her boyfriend beat her to the ground on her own front door step. She was begging Damon to open the door, instead he shut the lights out, locked her out refusing open her door, and tried to pretend no one was home.

When the roles were reversed and I was homeless Damon would not let me stay a week, especially as I was unreceptive to his stepcraft. He bandies about as a born again Christian, yet when or where are his amends he entitles himself to make from "working the steps"? He never approached me ever about violating my trust or repaying the phone bill, though he claims on social networking to have an income of over $100,000/year. What was it that Jesus said about hypocrites? Indeed, does not everyone who brandishes his artwork on their skin bear the mark of such a Pharisee?

We are talking about a very public personage in a large meeting of steppers, and an icon of the born again Christian faith, yet he begs to be afforded the opportunity to practice what he preaches. Before anymore of the unwary are subjected by means of enforced attendance by the courts and treatment centers, we ought to have actual evidence of direct amends for such incidences, and proof of one's faith. Do we already have our answer here — What would Wilson Do?

Pete H.

Hello again, Pete,

Thanks for the input. That is very interesting, especially the first point about people graduating from A.A. to right-wing religion. And actually, when you think about it, it isn't much of a reach, transitioning from fundamentalist religion to fundamentalist religion.

The rest of your story really shows that mentally-ill people and habitual criminals are not the best recovery counselors.

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/   *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**      == Anonymous

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Barrett_B ]

Date: Fri, January 20, 2012 3:51 am     (answered 23 January 2012)
From: "Barrett B."
Subject: who are you?

Hello Barrett,

My birth name was Terrance Hodgins (and still is). I'm a 65-year-old veteran of everything who lives in Oregon. The autobiographical information is here:

  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. the story about "Rat Park"
  9. history of the Orange Papers, and
  10. creation of the web site
  11. censorship
  12. the "Orange" name.
  13. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**    The greatest of mankind's criminals are those who delude themselves
**    into thinking that they have done 'the right thing.'
**        ==   Rayna Butler

[The next letter from Barrett_B is here.]

[The previous letter from Hagar is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Hagar ]

Date: Fri, January 20, 2012 6:12 pm     (answered 23 January 2011)
From: "Hagar The Horrible"
Subject: Re: WTF???

Sir Orange,

Thanks you for sending a replay to my email.

This is what a mudblup is if you don't know

Hello again, Hagar,

Yes, I looked up "mudblup" on the Internet to find out what it was before I decided that I wasn't one.

I also do like the blue footed boobies and the bird you put the blue bird on you last letter page look like one a little.

Ah, you must be referring to Beethoven, the Great Blue Heron. Yes, he's beautiful, but not a booby.

I put pictures like that in the pages of letters because it gives a nice break from all of the negativity and arguing. I mean, so many alcoholics' stories are real heart-breakers, and then here is this wonderful natural world of beautiful creatures and cute little goslings and ducklings. It's just a nice change.

The story of going down to the beach and feeding the geese and ducks also gives one example of something else that people can do with their time instead of killing themselves with drugs and alcohol. I don't expect everyone to suddenly turn into nature freaks, but relaxing outside in the fresh air and sunshine sure beats being sick and hung-over.

Yes all the AA in my town is Christians because everyone in my towns is Christian. We in a little town in Ketucky and this is why thy drag my ass to church. The judge who make me go also go to the church. It is rally a small town.

I thnk I can drunk sometimes and be ok. I only made one mistake and got cot with the beer and licker at school but I didn't have to, I was just trying to shown him something and show them I can get it. But they at the AA get me all confuzed and thinking thins. Maybe you can see from my email but I ain't that smart. I don't not want to keep it after the judge don't make me go if I don't have to and I can drink whin I want and be ok.

I never met one with a horro story before so I thought you made up. I guess you didn't. I sorry.

That's okay. Actually, lots of people in and around and out of A.A. have horror stories. It's simple: Alcohol is poisonous, and if you drink too much of it, you get really sick. And that messes up your life.

My sponors found out I wrote you be she don't not know witch letter is mine. I had to tell her because she ask me and toll me that if I don't not tell her, she is going to tell the judge.

What do you think I shod do?

Hagar the Horrible

Can you switch sponsors? That sponsor is not your friend. If she is threatening to tell the judge if you don't please her, then that is bad. She isn't there to help you. Good sponsors do not threaten their sponsees. I'd get a different sponsor.

Perhaps you can also switch groups. That is, you should be able to go to SMART or SOS or Lifering instead of A.A. I'd really recommend that. The judge should not force you to attend the meetings of a cult religion. Here is a list of other groups:

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 one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in heart.
**     They submit because their strength is not adequate to resist.
**       ==  Mencius, Works (4th — 3rd c. B.C.), 4, tr. Chales A. Wong

[The next letter from Hagar is here.]

May 27, 2009, Wednesday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, scratching where it itches

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, getting all wind-blown again

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, getting all wind-blown again
He tries to get his feathers all neatly arranged, and then the wind just messes them all up again.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#causeandeffect ]

Date: Fri, January 20, 2012 7:03 pm     (answered 23 November 2012)
From: "causeandeffect"
Subject: one year

Hi Orange,

I've written to you before under a different name but all my friends know me as causeandeffect now. It has been just over 1 year since my last AA meeting and I'm not in jail, an institution or dead or drinking or behaving like a dry drunk. In fact I'm much happier than I've ever been. One reason for that is I found your papers which verified all my misgivings about AA. I used to wonder all the time how AA could possibly be healthy or helpful or even spiritual. It's all so masochistic. I think what got to me the most was the negative stereotype of the alcoholic that I was supposed to find in myself and it was causing me a lot of confusion and depression because I just didn't fit it. I'm not that kind of person. When I found out it was all just bill wilson's crazy projection of himself, it all started to make sense for me.

When I found out about the lack of effectiveness and all the rest, I could not be a part of it for much longer. Anyway, it gives me some level of confidence to know that I was able to see through it, at least in part. And my involvement with stinking-thinking.com before it closed and all those wonderful people deprogrammed me and gave me the courage to leave. I'm so sorry that site is not active anymore but it's still good reading.

Another thing that makes me happy is that, while in detox, I was prescribed the best antidepressant I ever had. Nothing to date had worked at all until this. As my neurotransmitters were reaching normalcy, being in AA was bringing me down. But now that I've left and I'm happy, it's really hard to describe. I have a full range of emotions now. And I had always enjoyed music, but it had always been kind of flat for me, much of it was just kind of noise. But now I hear all these dimensions to it and more instruments, more subtleties to the vocals. And colors are more vibrant to me. And sometimes when I laugh it feels so good, I tear up a little (it's a little embarrassing in public) and I laugh a lot. I know that sounds a bit like a really good acid trip, but after life-long depression, when everything was so grey and dulled by pain, even long before I drank, it's really weird now. And to think I had two different people try to get me off my meds, one was actually a member of my own family. I had been on one med for a decade that was somewhat helpful. When I tried to cut it in half, I nearly committed suicide. And if I had, they would have attributed it to the 'disease' or not working the steps correctly. They really have no right to monkey around with people's brain chemistry like that.

Here's an interesting article about detrimental confrontational therapy that evolved out of Dr. Tiebout's relationship with AA and it touches on the 'Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy.' As usual, Miller tries to appease his 12 step peers (or they'd have his head on a platter), this time by saying confrontation didn't come from early AA, but we all know how confrontational AA really is. The end of the article is particularly interesting when he talks about making amends for harm done. We all know who he's talking to.


Anyway, thanks again so much for all your hard work. I can't imagine spending the rest of my life like that.


Hello again, Causeandeffect,

It's good to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your year of freedom.

In defense of Prof. Miller, he had to be very diplomatic in that article, or he would never have gotten anything published in Counselor Magazine. That magazine is a mouthpiece for Stepper counselors.

The single worst promoter of confrontational "attack therapy" was Chuck Dederich, who used it as the core of his "Synanon" treatment for drug addictions. All of the rest of the nightmare attack-therapy organizations like Straight and Kids of North Jersey and the Drug-Free America Foundation learned their abusive techniques from Synanon and its descendants.

In defense of your opinion, guess who Chuck Dederich learned it from? Yes, Chuck Dederich was an alcoholic who learned the whole abusive "recovery" con game in Alcoholics Anonymous. Dederich claimed that he was taking the best parts of Alcoholics Anonymous and adapting and refining them for use on drug addicts. And then he produced something that was even worse.

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 a fact can be demonstrated, force is unnecessary.
**     When it cannot be demonstrated, force is infamous.
**       ==  Robert G. Ingersoll, Prose-Poems and Selections (1884)

[The previous letter from Jeffrey_S is here.]

[ Link here = http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters284.html#Jeffrey_S ]

Date: Sat, January 21, 2012 9:39 am     (answered 23 January 2012)
From: "Jeffrey S."
Subject: Re: You anti AA Page

I have no desire to go to your website again. I have never seen such a misrepresentation of AA and the 12 steps before. It is filled with things that are untrue and outright lies. There are so many that I could write a small book just pointing them out. I know what AA is like and what it teaches. You apparently don't. Every regular member I know would back me on this especially member who have 20 years or more sobriety. I don't know where you got all that misinformation from but if it came from any AA members or groups they/him/her don't represent what AA is about. Pointing out Bill W.'s faults and mistakes does not discredit AA as a whole. or its effectiveness. AA works IF YOU WORK IT. Those that have come to AA that don't remain or continue to drink do so because they are not willing to do all that is suggested to them. As said before no one makes or forces anyone to do anything. AA has been around a long time. There is a reason it still exists. Your warped and untrue version would have died out a long time ago. No one makes you believe anything either. It is no cult.either. To say it is is ludicrous and laughable. You apparently don't even know what a cult is or isn't. When I think of the stories I have heard from speaker meetings, of lives destroyed and all the pain and suffering family, friends, and loved ones went through, and how their involvement in AA has turned their lives around, saved their lives, restored relationships that were severely broken, etc. and then to read the garbage and lies on your website — it would outrage any AA member. I defend AA and the 12 steps not because I am some brainwashed cult member but because it has worked for me and thousands of members since its inception.Nothing else worked for me and others. Yes some people have done it without AA but they are in the minority not the majority as you state. If you strongly believe that what is on your website is accurate then you are delusional or incredibly egotistical or both. I wanted nothing to do with AA for a very long time. I called it a cult myself. I eventually found out I was wrong and had many misconceptions about AA. Doctors, physicians, psychologists, and counselors in the field of addiction or even just knowledgeable about it would disagree with you and all your lies. Believe what you want and create as many anti-12 steps as you want as it will not affect AA or NA. They have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. Misinformed, delusional critics like you will not stop AA from saving lives and helping millions stay sober. It has done that for me. I know what is true and what is bull crap when I see it. Your website is filled with the latter.

Hello again, Jeffrey,

  • Well, starting at the top, you declared that you won't look at the facts that you don't like — i.e., my web site. And you also won't supply any facts of your own, either. You declared,

    It is filled with things that are untrue and outright lies. There are so many that I could write a small book just pointing them out.

    Well please do. So far, you have not exposed one lie. Please write your book. Please start listing some facts.

    For instance, you claimed that I was lying when I talked about A.A. recruiting techniques. You claimed that A.A. never recruits. You totally ignored the recruiting manual that is all of chapter seven in the Big Book. And now, instead of addressing that issue, you just changed the subject and again accused me of lying.

    So what about the A.A. recruiting practices, as instructed in chapter seven of the Big Book? Are you accusing Bill Wilson of lying when he wrote that chapter explaining how A.A. members go recruiting?

    In the same way, you have not answered a single point that I brought up in the last letter. You just repeated your accusations of lies when you read facts that you didn't like.

  • Then you said,
    It is filled with things that are untrue and outright lies. Every regular member I know would back me on this especially member who have 20 years or more sobriety.

    Well of course the other committed oldtimer members will agree with you. That does not prove anything. Do you really expect them to admit that they have been living a lie for the last 20 years? Do you know what kind of moral courage it takes to do that?

    By the way, there are such people. Look here for the story from one. He had 33 years in A.A. before he quit it:

  • You claim that there is a reason that A.A. exists. Yes, and there is also a reason why Scientology exists, and Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, and Warren Jeffs' FLDS Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints church... and on and on. Care to guess what that reason is?

    (Hint: It has nothing to do with recovery from addictions.)

  • Then you went on and on with the standard rap and slogans, but did not introduce a single fact.

  • This is not a fact:

    "Nothing else worked for me and others."

    But in your last letter, you declared,

    Forcing someone into AA almost never works. You have to want to do it yourself.

    And I agreed with you that you have to want to do it for yourself.
    And then you have to really do it for yourself.
    You have to sober yourself up, and you have to keep yourself sober.
    Alcoholics Anonymous will not do it for you.
    A.A. cannot do it for you.
    It's crazy to expect "something else" to "work for you".

    Either you quit drinking and sober yourself up, or you don't. Playing tiddly-winks won't do it, going to "treatment" won't do it, going to church won't do it, and A.A. won't do it.

    So this slogan is quite irrelevant:

    AA works IF YOU WORK IT.

    Like I said before, eating vanilla ice cream works if you work it.

  • Then, you again tried the "proof by anecdote" propanda trick:

    When I think of the stories I have heard from speaker meetings, of lives destroyed and all the pain and suffering family, friends, and loved ones went through, and how their involvement in AA has turned their lives around, saved their lives, restored relationships that were severely broken, etc. ...

    A few happy stories do not show that A.A. works or does anything good. You have no evidence about WHY those people quit drinking and got their lives back together. You are also ignoring all of those unhappy stories where A.A. hurt people, rather than helped them.

    I also have a happy story of recovery, and a life turned around, and health regained, and it goes like this:

    I got so sick that I was dying, so I decided to quit drinking. I also quit smoking and doping at the same time. I went to some A.A. meetings, to see if they had anything to offer, and soon noticed that A.A. was a cult, so I just walked out and kept myself sober by simply not drinking any more alcohol. Now my life is great. I have 11 years of abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and A.A. meetings.

  • Then you just imagined something that you wished was true:

    Yes some people have done it without AA but they are in the minority not the majority as you state.

    Wrong. Totally wrong. You make these sweeping statements that are backed up by no facts or figures whatsoever. So what do you imagine that the numbers actually are? What percentages of the recovered alcoholics got sober in A.A., and what percentage outside? Do you have any idea? Or are you just blowing hot air?

    And how did you come to the conclusion that most recovered alcoholics did it within A.A.? What is your source of information? Rumor? Hearsay? Cult propaganda?

    Did you do a survey? If so, how did you locate and interview all of the alcoholics who quit drinking without going near A.A.?

    First off, Prof. and Dr. George E. Vaillant, who was a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Board of Trustees, declared in a Grapevine interview:

    But it doesn't hurt at the level of GSO for AA to have humility and understand that 60 percent do it without AA. It's also true that most of those 60 percent do it with[out?] the AA toolbox: their spirituality doesn't come from AA; their support group doesn't come from AA; and what I call "substitute dependency" doesn't come from AA.
    Look here for more on that: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters242.html#Daniel_S

    Even that 60% number is a gross understatement, and successful quitters do not use "the AA toolbox". A.A. uses superstition and cult religion and misinformation like the stuff that you are repeating here. I used common sense and the desire to live. I correctly reasoned that if I just didn't take the first drink, not ever, no matter what, then I couldn't get into trouble with alcohol.

    The NIAAA's (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

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

    And the Harvard Medical School reported that 80% do it alone.

    The vast majority of successful ex-drinkers do their quitting without Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is quite unnecessary, and A.A. does not even improve the sobriety rate of alcoholics.

  • You still have not answered the most important question:

    What is the A.A. cure rate?

    Out of each 1000 alcoholics who come to A.A., how many get a 1-year sobriety token a year later?
    (Or even 2 or 3 years later?)

    Since you are claiming that A.A. works, please answer that one simple question.
    Thank you.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*       http://www.Orange-Papers.org/forum/   *
**     The test, surely, of a creed is not the ability of those who accept it
**     to announce their faith; its test is its ability to change their behavior
**     in the ordinary round of daily life. Judged by that test, I know no
**     religion that has a moral claim upon the allegiance of men.
**       ==  Harold J. Laski, in I Believe (1939), ed. Clifton Fadiman

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