Letters, We Get Mail, XLIX
by A. Orange



[3rd letter from Jenni J. The previous two are here.]

Date: Wed, May 17, 2006 07:13
From: "Jenni J."
Subject: Re: Wow!

Orange,

All you seem to be doing is establishing a string of non-sequiturs. Do you know what that means? There is no logical procession from Point A to Point B.

Hi again, Jenny. Would you care to be specific? I do not see a "string of non-sequiturs". A non-sequitur is a chain of logic that contains broken links.

I make specific statements, like that Bill Wilson exhibited most all of the characteristics of delusions of grandeur and narcissistic personality disorder, and then I supply a lot of supporting information and evidence to back up my statements. That isn't a non-sequitur.

What is your beef against AA? Really now? You little juvenile diatribe reeks of unfulfilled desires. Did you get rejected by some girl? You went to AA, and you didn't get any, huh? You should have stayed, that would've changed my friend. I know this is the case.

Now that is a clear demonstration of the propaganda technique called "ad hominem". Don't address the actual issues or answer his statements, just attack the speaker and criticize irrelevant details. (You forgot to say that you also don't like my hair style or taste in music... :-)

What is my beef against A.A.? I've answered that already, too. Start with the file, "What's Bad About A.A.?"

I will answer you questions below. I am starting to have an affection for you, but only the affection of teacher to pupil. ;)

And that is the propaganda technique called "condescension".

See below answers.

Okay, good. Let's do it.

[from the previous letters:]

Orange, You are far too cerebral for your own good.
Hi again Jenni,

By the way, what do you mean when you say, "You are far too cerebral for your own good."

1. That I won't just flip out and mindlessly believe in a cult religion?

Seriously, you have not established any correlations to anything you say about AA or the Oxford Group and cultish behavior.

Jennie, are you blind? Are you in denial? I wrote an entire history of the Oxford Group and showed how all of the beliefs and practices of Alcoholics Anonymous today were created by Frank Buchman and his Oxford Group. Didn't you bother to actually read it?

I also wrote up a large cult test and scored A.A. on it. Didn't you read that? We have a lot more than just "a correlation" between A.A. and cultish behavior.

And your current mind-set, the minimization and denial, is a standard cult characteristic too.

If you want to go by the numbers, a cult is a shared system of beliefs. Does this mean the people who work at the Federal Reserve Bank are in a cult. They have a shared system of beliefs, do they not? Monetary policy, the discount rate, supply and demand of currency. Cult religions usually have strict rigid beliefs about God, AA has no such religious beliefs. In fact, it is not even required. AA's primary purpose is to help people get sober, that's all. The steps are merely suggestions. It has been the experience of those who tried everything and could not stop drinking by their own accord, that following the AA 12-Steps gave them sobriety they would not otherwise had. In order for me to take you seriously, you must establish a similarity between the goals of AA and the goals of another well-known cult, like Jonesville or the Jehovah's Witnesses or something similar. You haven't done that.

Jennie, don't be absurd. The Federal Reserve Bank isn't a cult. There is much more to a cult than just a "shared system of beliefs". That is the propaganda trick called "The Fallacy of One Similarity". Just find one or two points of similarity between two different things, and then triumphantly declare that they are just the same.

Read the Cult Test. There are 100 characteristics of cults listed there. Group-think and some shared beliefs are just two of them.

By the way, there is still a big difference between shared beliefs and unquestionable, unchallengeable irrational dogma, like cults and A.A. have.

And yes I have shown the similarities between Alcoholics Anonymous and cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Jim Jones's People's Temple. You just didn't read it. Read the Cult Test, the entire thing, questions and answers.

To make things easy for you: you can use the Search function at the bottom of most any page, and search for "Jonestown" or "Jim Jonestown" or "Jehovah". Then read the cult test questions that mention the search term, and then click on the number of the question and it will take you to the answer for Alcoholics Anonymous for that question.

If you open a new window by right-clicking the number, you can even do a side-by-side comparison of other cults to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh, and don't overlook Synanon. It was founded by a guy who got his cult training in Alcoholics Anonymous, and then he decided to use a lot of the A.A. practices to set up a program for drug addicts. It was another disaster.

You are continuing the denial routine with this: "AA has no such religious beliefs."
Get real. Six of the Twelve Steps specifically talk about God and how you must surrender to God and turn your will over to God and confess all of your sins to God and then spend the rest of your life doing séances and hearing the voice of God giving you your work orders and the power to carry them out. Of course it's a religion.

More standard cult propaganda: "The steps are merely suggestions."
No they aren't. That is just another standard A.A. bait-and-switch trick. They tell the newcomers that the Steps are only suggestions to get the beginners in the door, but later, the Steps turn out to be absolutely required, or else your fate will be "Jails, Institutions, or Death" "Work the Steps or Die!"

This is quite inaccurate too:
"It has been the experience of those who tried everything and could not stop drinking by their own accord, that following the AA 12-Steps gave them sobriety they would not otherwise had."
Actually, very few people — maybe nobody — in A.A. has actually tried ALL of the various ways to quit drinking. (There are a lot of them.) Many of the hard-core old drinkers may have tried two or three different programs before, but probably nobody has tried ALL of them.

You just like that fairy tale about the desperate loser alcoholic who "just can't quit drinking", and who has "tried everything and failed", stumbling into the A.A. clubhouse and finding salvation, sobriety, and God. "A.A. is the last house on the block."

The truth is that the vast majority of people who quit drinking do it alone, without A.A., but you don't see them because they don't stumble into the A.A. clubhouse.

And again, A.A. is not the accumulated experience or wisdom of a bunch of people who quit drinking. It is a repainted branch of Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult.

2. Why would degenerating into irrationality be "for my own good", or to my benefit? Please give an example of how AA thinking is irrational and I will glad swat that down too.

A.A. thinking is loaded with irrational garbage. Read the Cult Test, item 7, "Irrationality"

1. How could behaving in a brainless manner be good? Once again, please give an example of how AA's are brainless, and I will oblige. Right now, it appears that it is you who are being brainless, really irate more than anything.

Good? Did I say that acting in a brainless manner was good? I said that it was damaging and kills people. That is one of the big problems with cults.

[from the previous letters:]

Just yesterday, a friend and I were talking about how both Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult and Hitler's Nazi Party, which Buchman praised, were extremely anti-intellectual. They promoted their organizations with great emotionalism and hoopla, and giant spectacular meetings and rallies, and they encouraged everyone to stop thinking and just feel and believe.
They also condemned those people who were "too cerebral for their own good." Some of those condemned people died in Hitler's concentration camps.
The anti-intellectual tradition that you are promoting has a very bloody, sordid history.
Oh, and A.A. founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith learned all of that anti-intellectual stuff from Frank Buchman while they were members of his Oxford Group cult.

Funny thing is, you probably don't even understand what I am saying. You are not smart enough. You are what we would call in the intellectual circles at Princeton, a 'Grade B' thinker. You have some potential, but it's like you keep a poker face in your own head in order to bluff yourself into thinking that you've got it all figured out. But you'll never grow with that brand of close-mindedness.

Again, you are not saying anything. That's just a standard ad hominem attack.

Credibility is always on the table at a debate, always Orange. What is your credibility on the subject. Your obviously very young, probably a student, not much life experience. You know we always have to question our sources, so your motives must be questioned too. Why would some random guy just start attacking AA out of the friggin blue. Hobby? No no, I think not, that would be pathetic. Vendetta? Oh, most certainly. But why? A girl, most definitely a girl. Unrequited lust is the source of this debate, I think. Sad, very sad.

Again, you are trying to use the condescension propaganda trick along with a few more ad hominems "obviously very young, probably a student, not much life experience... Unrequited lust..."

Actually, I am counting the months until my 60th birthday, and I have had more experiences than I even care to list. (But I will say that I was married and my son is now 29.)

I don't "start attacking AA out of the friggin blue", either. Read the introduction. It's all there.

You haven't actually bothered to read much of my web site at all, have you? You keep asking questions to which I have already given the answers. You are griping and complaining about things that you haven't even read.

So I would just run circles around you, obvoiusly. And no, I don't need to reference fancy Latin terms.

And there you are demonstrating the standard A.A. cultish anti-intellectuality. Do you think that you are making a valid point by complaining about a few Latin words? Why don't you just learn something for a change? "Ad Hominem" is only two words, and they aren't hard to pronounce. It's pretty easy.

[from the previous letters:]

I can just use my own power of reason, something you don't possess yet. You are stuck forcing logical deductions out of concepts that don't exactly proceed into a valid point. You lack the power of inductive reasoning.

Please give a working example of the inductive reasoning that you think I am failing to see. Your rap is devoid of any actual facts or content.

*Inductive reasoning* is the process of reasoning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reasoning) in which the premises of an argument support the conclusion but do not ensure it.

I have already shown you inductive reasoning in my past answers.

No you haven't. Where? Get specific. What is logical about bragging about not having any evidence that A.A. actually works, but being sure that it works great just the same?

Here is some inductive reasoning:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous was a failure in the beginning. Bill Wilson confessed that A.A. had a terrible failure rate, and that almost all of the members relapsed.
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous is a failure now, and has a terrible failure rate today.
  3. Therefore Alcoholics Anonymous will be failure tomorrow, and it will have a terrible failure rate tomorrow, too.

Excuse me while I induce some more. AA uses the term "Alcoholic" to describe a person who cannot stop drinking no matter what they try. It is also used to describe a person who, when they drink, cannot stop drinking until they are extremely intoxicated or passed out. This of course is not debatable, as it is clearly what AA defines an alcoholic as.

If you want to debate the use of the term "Alcoholic", that is laughable. There is no known monpoly on language. New words are added to Webster's every year. Definitions are amended and in some cases actually changed. Oh but please indulge me.

Excuse me, but what is that nonsense? Are you saying that you are changing the meaning of the word "alcoholic"?

You don't get to just rewrite the dictionary so that words mean whatever you want them to mean. (That is the cult trick of "Loaded Language", redefining words at will.)

Since you brought up the subject, A.A. uses three very different definitions of the word "alcoholic", and freely uses them interchangeably, which is unfortunate because it confuses several different things:

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

  1. By definition 1, I stopped being an alcoholic five years ago.
  2. By definition 2, I will always be an alcoholic.
  3. By definition 3, I was never an alcoholic. I was always a nice drunk. People liked having me at their parties because I was so much fun to have around when I got high. (But, as one friend said, "Even nice drunks die of cirrhosis of the liver...")

By the way, you declared that an alcoholic is "a person who cannot stop drinking no matter what they try."
But lots of people actually quit drinking a few days before they come to their first A.A. meeting. Others quit before they have done even a few of the Steps. So how can alcoholics be powerless over alcohol, an unable to stop, when they do stop? And how can the 12 Steps be essential for sobriety when alcoholics quit drinking before they have done the Steps?

Then there are the vast majority of the successful quitters, 4 out of 5, who do it alone, without any A.A. at all. Are you going to declare that none of those alcoholics who quit drinking, in or away from A.A., was actually "a real alcoholic"?

If you are going to do that, then there aren't very many real alcoholics in this world. Just the dead ones, the ones who couldn't and didn't quit drinking. And there aren't any sober real alcoholics in A.A. — if they were able to quit and stay sober, then they weren't real alcoholics. So, by your funny definition of "alcoholic", A.A. still has a zero percent success rate with real alcoholics.

People who drink heavily sometimes go to rehabs and get sober and get on with their life, this is also true and not up for debate. However, it is a known fact that the medical community, that is doctors and psychiatrists, have observed throught the years that there is a type of heavy drinker who does not respond to therapy or drugs or any other conventional rehab regime or method. They keep drinking until they are dead. They do not stop. This has been observed for over a hundred years. AA allows people to achieve soberiety when thus far everything else has failed.

Wrong. A.A. does not save those people. Show me the evidence, real hard evidence..

Is this not true? Yes, it is and you know it. The recovery rate for these types of drinkers is about 5%.

Excuse me, but that is confused. Are you saying that the spontaneous remission rate in the suicidal alcoholics who kill themselves is 5%, or the spontaneous remission rate in the average alcoholics is 5%?

Fact. So this AA thing came along, and these people, this speical type of heavy drinker was all of the sudden not only able to achieve sobriety, but actually became a functioning healthy member of society. There was no empirical data to support this however. AA's method was not and is not scientific.

That's right. There is no evidence to support your grand claims. A.A. says that it saves alcoholics' lives, but there is no evidence that any of those grandiose claims is true. Alcoholics who go to A.A. do not quit drinking any more than other alcoholics who go it alone.

By the way, do you even know what the word "scientific" means? -- "AA's method was not and is not scientific."

But was the value of science of the face of misery and destitution? Well, what is the value of empiricism in this case?

Now you are clearly demonstrating cultish thinking. (Or non-thinking.) What is the value of true facts?
"Don't bother me with real facts; I already have my opinions and prejudices."

Your attachment to ridding the world of AA will most certainly have a dire consequence to the families of these special types of heavy drinkers defined as "Alcoholics" (for want of a better term), will it not? They will have to go back to drinking themselves to death because AA wasn't scientific. Good job, Orange.

Where are you getting your numbers? A.A. does not save their lives. Show me the evidence.

And your accusation that alcoholics will die because I told the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous is yet another standard A.A. ad hominem attack on critics. You guys are just so full of them.

The chances of you becoming a Buddhist are slim.

What the heck is that supposed to mean? And that is yet another ad hominem attack.

[from the previous letters:]

Just keeping it real.

Obviously, you are not keeping it real. Do you have any *real facts* that you would like to discuss, like the failure rate of Alcoholics Anonymous, or its suicide rate, or the drop-out rate, or the cultish nature of the organization, or its tawdry history?

So I have given you the basic, most important facts above.

Actually, I am the one who is keeping it real, and you are the one who wants to discard facts that you don't like, and who is bragging about being "unscientific".

I have given you a whole lot of real facts about the list of things there. You are simply going into denial and sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich and refusing to see:

  1. the failure rate of Alcoholics Anonymous: This is especially good, because it comes from a leader of Alcoholics Anonymous: Dr. Vaillant's failure rate and death rate in A.A.

  2. the suicide rate has not been measured, but see this list, and look again at the horrible death rate in A.A. that Dr. Vaillant wrote about.

  3. the drop-out rate: Look here and here.

  4. the cultish nature of the organization: See The Cult Test

  5. A.A.'s tawdry history: See the history of A.A. and the Oxford Group. Also see Bill Wilson's stealing all of the money and screwing all of the women who were seeking help to overcome an alcohol problem.

Alcoholics are sociopaths, the majority of them, I believe. They come in with 20 years worth of problems and many have depression. How can you hold AA respnosible for someone's suicide. Would you hold a doctor responsible for someone's suicide? No you wouldn't. A counselor? No.

Well yes, if someone foists quack medicine and bizarre voodoo counseling on the patient, and drives the patient to relapse or suicide, then the fake healer is guilty of malpractice and manslaughter.

By the way, that was a nice put-down of alcoholics. You are revealing the real attitude of A.A. towards alcoholics — just sneering contempt and condescension — "just a bunch of sociopaths".
(Do you include yourself in that category? Why not? Do you think that you are better than the other A.A. members? Big ego?)

See the file "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy" for much more of the same attitude towards alcoholics.

Why AA? Oh yes, let's hold AA to a different standard even though their goals are identical to the doctor and counselor.

Wrong. I am not holding A.A. to a different standard. Killing people with voodoo religion and quack medicine and fake faith healing is bad, no matter who does it. I also condemn Scientology, Jim Jones's People's Temple, and Heaven's Gate for the same things.

AA has a mehodolgy, which obvoiusly you see as invalid, even though the results speak to the contrary.

What results? You just admitted that there was no evidence to support your claims of good results: "There was no empirical data to support this however."
And there wasn't any scientific evidence, either.
There is no evidence that A.A. saves lives. The evidence is that A.A. kills alcoholics.

The same people who "drop-out" of AA are not made better by a doctor, a pill or a counselor. Fact. I worked in a mental hospital/rehab for 6 years. This is a fact. We sent these people back to AA because they were one of those special types drinkers that medicine and psychology couldn't help. Their case was hopeless. AA was able to save at least half of them. The other half went to jail or died drunk, or both.

Again, show me the evidence. And what is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in your patients? How many of them would have quit drinking and got their lives together without Alcoholics Anonymous?

Not coincidentally, the Harvard Medical School reported that slightly over half of all alcoholics eventually just quit drinking and save their own lives, and 80% of those successful quitters do it alone, on their own, without any treatment or support group or anything.

So all that you are doing is claiming credit for the cases where people were going to quit anyway — you are trying to claim all of the cases of spontaneous remission as A.A. success stories. No way. There is no evidence that A.A. made them quit drinking, or "saved them", and you just admitted that.

You are guilty of holding AA to a doulble standard of that of conventional medicine. AA's success is being scrutinized even though their end goals are the same as that of the medical commnunity. Remember, it was a doctor who really started AA, not Bill W. It was his work with "Alcoholics" that really got the ball rolling. He had to keep a low profile because it was not scientific. So now you must defend this double standard of yours.

Your history of A.A. is bogus. Bill Wilson and Frank Buchman started the precursor of A.A. in the New York Oxford Group — it was "the Alcoholic Squadron of the Oxford Group". Bill met Dr. Bob in Akron because they were both Oxford Group members. So was Reverend Walter F. Tunks who sent Bill to Bob. When Bill and Bob started up their "spiritual cure for alcoholics", it was just another part of the Oxford Groups. And Dr. Bob had no need to hide his affiliation with the Oxford Groups, or the religious nature of his new "treatment".

Perhaps you are referring to Dr. William D. Silkworth of Towns' Hospital. He did not start Alcoholics Anonymous — he just dosed Bill Wilson with a primitive quack recipe of poisonous hallucinogenic drugs — the belladonna cure — which made Bill Wilson think that he saw God.

I am not holding Alcoholics Anonymous to a double standard. I am holding A.A. to exactly the same standard as real medicine and real doctors, and that is what is bothering you.

Real doctors use real medicine that has been tested thoroughly in randomized controlled studies and shown to be effective. Alcoholics Anonymous is cult religion and quack medicine that has failed every valid test. A.A. has been consistently disproven, never proven.

Likewise, real doctors have gone through lots of years of tough medical school, and have been tested and retested, and the incompetent ones were flunked out. Then the graduates have to do more years of internship. Heck, watch the TV program ER. You should know at least a little something about that.

A.A. counselors, on the other hand, meet no such standards of excellence. Any bozo who claims to have a few years of sobriety can become a sponsor and start abusing newcomers with quack medical advice and cult religion and 13th-Stepping.

And they do. And that's one of the big problems with Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
** a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
** it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.





Date: Wed, May 17, 2006 10:18
From: Andrew V.
Subject: Back after some months of not reading you, Orange

Hi,

I wrote you a note some months ago, but didn't send it. It was a tale of woe from two Winters ago, living-down in a halfway house in central Indiana.

Not really sure why I didn't send you that mail, Sir? It was quite a tale, for sure. lol

I learned more about AA (downside) than I ever could've ever imagined. Alot of what I read about down there escapes me now...

Came back to your site today, and read your latest Letters on your site. Man, what a site you have, Sir ! I love it.

Mentioned AA in a Pogo site game room today, and 3 people came-out of the woodwork. I told this female roomie to check your site out... I think she might? :o)

The main reason I write you AO, is just wondering why some of your pages are off my puter screen? (have to shift side-to-side)

When I was down in Lafayette, at that house, I met this pill-popping alcoholic.... I started to like Him a lot. (not Gay-wise) He was reading books about what AA isn't, and I became totally absorbed with what AA "wasn't."

Haven't read anything about It, or you in months cuz I've poured myself back in the vodka bottle over the last year, or so. Boo-Hoo, who gives a flying fluck....lol

That kind-of blows my credibility now, doesn't it? Just got tired of being sober....

Look, Orange.... you have a great site ! That's the bottom line, and I hope you break-out of your anonymity soon. You could be a Gillionaire. ;o)

You have a great Summer, and catch us all some fish, eh? :o)

Andrew V.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments. I hope you are doing well. I'm glad you like the web site.

About those pages going off of the edge of the screen, yes, another person just told me the same thing too. It is caused by your screen being set to low resolution, like 800x600, and me having pictures that are 800 pixels or more wide. That forces my page to be bigger than your screen.

I will look into some kind of a fix, but it will take some time. If you could fudge your screen resolution up just a little, even just to 1024x768, that would help a lot.

Take care of yourself, and have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday,
** lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
**   ==  Redd Foxx (1922 - 1991)





Date: Wed, May 17, 2006 17:29
From: "Courtney R."
Subject: Re: question

are you sober?

Yes, very. As a matter of fact, I am so clean and sober that I haven't even smoked a cigarette in five years. Espresso coffee and aspirin are my big drugs these days.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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


[2nd letter from Courtney:]

Date: Thu, May 18, 2006 11:48
From: "Courtney R."
Subject: Re: question

that's awesome. thanks for e-mailing me back. i'm sober 8 years and have just gone through a really crappy experience with an aa sponsor — long story short, i'm bi-polar and went off my meds (because of aa guilt) and ended up in a mental hospital because i was going to kill myself. she hasn't made amends at all — she was determined that my depression was because i needed to just work a better aa program, etc. (which i do and have for the past 8 years) — and basically i feel like she tried to kill me, and better yet, she sponsors one of my best friends who has a severe neurological disease and this woman has been urging her not to take pain meds. my friend is having tia's, which are mini-strokes.

Hi again, Courtney,

I'm glad to hear that you survived your sponsor. Your friend sounds like she is in danger.

practicing medicine without a license is illegal. this is what this woman is doing. and i'm really pissed.

Yes, really. I'm surprised that no one has ever prosecuted A.A. sponsors for practicing medicine without a license. They have killed enough patients.

how do you stay sober without aa? are you happy? have you found peace?

I stay sober because my life is so much better and much happier now than it was when I was drinking and smoking. I just don't want to go back to that pain again. I was really sick and in pain; now I'm not.

It has nothing to do with A.A.; it's just like the song that Carly Simon sings, "I Haven't Got Time For The Pain".

Have I found peace? Yes, I think so. I can't claim to be 100% happy, but then, who can?

In fact, I remember some theologian or philosopher somewhere said that we should not be completely happy when there are suffering, sick and starving and dying people in this world. We should be a little bit unhappy about that. Just a little bit.

Nevertheless, I am enjoying life in a way that I never could before. I while away my spare time by going down to the river and feeding the ducks and geese and working on my suntan and playing the guitar. Look here to see my new lunch companions.

my other question is: has anyone ever sued an aa sponsor for giving them medical advice?

Not that I know of, but somebody should. Look at this story of a stupid sponsor killing his sponsee. That guy deserved to be sued for practicing medicine without a license and killing a patient with malpractice.

i know this e-mail sounds out there, i'm actually a very sane and rational young woman — and i'm doing great now that i'm on my meds again. i've just had it. i've had it with people in aa spouting their opinions on anti-depressants, etc. while i've been told "it's okay that you have to take meds, just don't tell anyone." what? you're kidding right? i've been a very active member of aa for 8+ years — going to 3 or more meetings a week, sponsoring girls, picking up girls from rehab, i've worked the steps twice.... the list goes on.

I don't think you are way out there at all. You sound quite sane and reasonable. What is insane is to allow fools whose only training is a few years of practicing cult religion to start working as doctors, psychiatrists, and recovery counselors. They even have the nerve to try to countermand the prescriptions of real doctors.

i don't hate aa — i hate people in aa. you're site raises some very interesting issues, though. and since you are an expert in this area, any help you could give, and insight, would be most appreciated.

Well, I don't really feel like a fountain of wisdom, but whatever... :-)

thanks for your time,
courtney

You are quite welcome, Courtney.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** At least two thirds of our miseries spring from
** human stupidity, human malice and those great
** motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity,
** idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on
** behalf of religious or political idols.
**  ==  Aldous Huxley


[3rd letter from Courtney:]

Date: Fri, June 2, 2006 11:40
From: "Courtney R."
Subject: Re: question

thanks for the great reply. amazingly, that aa sponsor finally did make amends to me last night, so it's apropos i got your e-mail this morning. i've learned so much from this experience — i am choosing to stay in aa, but i am not being silent at all about meds and how wrong and dangerous it is to play doctor in aa. i've had it, and i'm going to shout it out, and i don't care who doesn't like it. as an upstanding young aa member, i think i can make more waves by staying and fighting than running away. oh, and i'm ready to fight.

thanks again so much for your time — you have helped me immensely.

keep on keepin' on. i'm so glad you're sober, sounds like it's going great. say hi to the ducks!

all the best,

courtney

Okay, Courtney,

Good luck, keep up the good work, be happy, and have a good day.

Oh, and I will say hi to the ducks. Check these out.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend;
**  inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. — Groucho Marx





Date: Wed, May 17, 2006 21:38
From: "Carlos A."
Subject: AA

Thank you for your commentary, it gets people to think. I've been sober 11 years in AA.

Hi Carlos,

Thanks for the compliment, and congratulations on your sobriety.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Ronald Reagan: "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down that wall!"
**  George W. Bush: "Señor Fox, Build up that wall!"





From: "James G."
Subject: Re: Thoght this might amuse you...
Date: Thu, May 18, 2006 12:40

Here is a link I thought might entertain you.

http://surrealist.org/writing/handbook4.html

The weather must be good there!

Hope you are well.

J a m e s G

Yes, thanks. I have been interested in Nori J. Muster for a while now. I find her adoption of 12-Step nonsense to be tragic. She's just making the same mistake again. (She was a Hari Krishna slave for 10 years before.)

These two paragraphs are amazing:

The Addictive Organization, by Anne Wilson Schaef and Diane Fassel, explains that people who have addictive personalities may become addicted to undesirable organizations because they like the adrenaline rush from the group's drama. Thus, the organization becomes the addictive substance. Another concept Schaef and Fassel propose is that the organization takes on a life of its own, exhibiting the characteristics of an addict: it acts dishonestly, operating solely out of self-interest, and treats people with an uncaring and abusive attitude. Once the negative behaviors are institutionalized, they dictate the organization's behavior, even if there is a complete turnover of individuals.

People who want to break the cycle of addiction and co-dependence in their own lives may find help in the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The first is the most important:

She clearly described the Alcoholics Anonymous cult exactly, precisely, and then she went into denial and refused to see that Steppism is a cult religion.

Amazing.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

Oh yeh, and the weather is great here. 93 degrees and sunny the day before yesterday, 86 and sunny yesterday and today, and I'm on my way out the door with my guitar to go down to the river.

Have a good one.

== Orange

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


AFTERTHOUGHT: Years later, I ran into this quote that explained how people go from one cult to another:

Because cults are so clever at manipulating certain emotions and events — in particular, wonder, awe, transcendence, and mystery (this is sometimes called "mystical manipulation") and because of the human desire to believe, a former cult member may grasp at some way to go on believing even after leaving the group. For this reason, many people today go from one cult to another, or go in and out of the same cultic group or relationship (known as "cult hopping").
== Janja Lalich

Janja Lalich collaborated with Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer on a bunch of anti-cult books. Alas, Prof. Singer has died, but Janja continues the work.





Date: Thu, May 18, 2006 12:43
From: "JOHN M."
Subject: Re: CD of "Orange-Papers"

Dear Orange,

Will the directions you write for CD burning work for those of us accessing the web-site from Macintosh based systems (e.g. iBooks running OS 10.4-the Apple "Panther" software")? Your directions all appear to be "Windows, "Linux", and Unix intended. While I can read everything perfectiy on my Mac run OS, can I burn a CD of your wonderful information?

Thanks,
John

You should be able to. It's all just files, after all, and they basically read just the same on a Macintosh as on anything else. (There is one real difference — the carriage-return, line-feed at the ends of the lines. Linux uses just a line feed, Mac uses just a carriage return, DOS/Windoze uses both. Happily, your browser will just ignore the difference.)

Just burn a CD using all of the extensions, like Joliet and Rockridge file systems to allow very long file names. That is all very standard stuff. It should all just work okay.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

UPDATE: 2019: Now you have to burn a DVD, rather than a CD. The web site has grown so large that the pages are more than 2 GB now. Everything else is the same. It will work just fine.





Date: Thu, May 18, 2006 19:46
From: "Dan R."
Subject: About time

Orange:

I am so glad to see somebody putting out there the facts that Alcoholics Anonymous, and all affiliated entities, will not even discuss. It has been one year since I renounced my membership, after being ambushed in Grand Rapids, Minnesota at a convention by an A.A. member and an Al-Anon member. I told them they were wrong to try and convert people to their way of thinking, even when they want nothing to do with it.

Keep it coming,
Dan R.
Free from alcohol

P.S. — there is a big A.A. convention happening in Bloomington, Minnesota over Memorial Day weekend, maybe somebody should show up handing out alternative view pamphlets? Just an idea.

Hi Dan,

Thanks for all of the compliments. Alas, I've been playing in the sun and I'm a little slow here. Memorial Day just happened. Oh well, there's always next year.

In the mean time, one thing that you can do is send emails to your Senators and Congressman to insist that the government test drug and alcohol treatment programs, and not pay for any more that don't work. That will blow the 12-Step nonsense out of the water fast, because A.A. has never passed a single valid test.

See the page that describes how to email your politicians, here.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "To announce that there must be no criticism of the
**   President, or that we are to stand by the President
**   right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile,
**   but is morally treasonable to the American public."
**     ==  Theodore Roosevelt





Date: Fri, May 19, 2006 09:01
From: JON
Subject: Question !!

How long have you been putting this information together?

Thanking you in advance for your reply.

Jon

Hi Jon,

It's been a little more than 5 years now.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Outsource executive positions. Surely we can find qualified
** Mexicans and Chinese who will work at jobs like CEO of GM
** for only $150,000 per year. Just think of the savings!
** And they can't do any worse than the current management.





Date: Fri, May 19, 2006 13:46
From: "Harold S."
Subject: Question that is driving me mad

Orange:

I understand you must be very busy with this website. But there is a question that still nags at me: what the hell was Bill W's motivation?

Did he think: "How can I get loads of people under God control?"

Or: "Wow, this Oxford Group jazz could really save loads of alcoholics? why don't I do mankind a great big favour and save alcoholics this way?"

Or was it: "Mankind is so evil, they deserved to be punished with dogma and a brutal God (then laughs evilly ha ha ha)"?

Was it an evil act, or was it a good act? My just is still out.

But, eitherway, I fucking hated my time in that mind melting cult, and I thank you for giving me the info to make me wake up and get a life.

James

Hi James,

Thanks for the question. That's a good one. And thanks for all of the compliments, and I'm glad you are feeling better now.

With a question like this, I can only make an educated guess. I can't claim to be able to really get inside his head. I never met him. He's dead. I can't talk to him now and pick his brain. So all I can do is pick up on hints and impressions and see what the historical facts indicate.

So here goes:

One of the most driving forces in Bill's life was his inferiority complex. Bill Wilson spent his whole life trying to prove that he was just as good as — or even better than — everybody else. That seems to have developed into a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder during his childhood.

Self-aggrandizement was Bill's lifelong career. In his autobiography, Bill Wilson even bragged that in his childhood, he kept the whole town agog with his amateur radio accomplishments, and he claimed that he was the first American to ever make a working boomerang. He also claimed that his childhood exploits "marked me out for distinction" early in his life.

Bill's (probably alcoholic) father abandoned the family, leaving Bill with his mother and sister. Bill's mother then left the children with her parents, Bill's grandparents, so that she could study healing in Boston. Bill felt that she had also abandoned him, so he really got his head twisted around on that one. He went into a year-long period of depression. Bill seems to have had a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder by that time. Periods of terrible chronic clinical depression is a hallmark of NPD. Narcissists are either on top of the world, giddy, the "Number One Man", or they are at the bottom of the garbage heap, feeling that they are worthless. Long periods of clinical depression were also a recurring feature of Bill's life. (The worst was an 11-year-long period from 1944 to 1955, while Bill was sober.)

      We have had a much keener look at ourselves and those about us. We have seen that we were prodded by unreasonable fears or anxieties into making a life business of winning fame, money, and what we thought was leadership. So false pride became the reverse side of that ruinous coin marked "Fear." We simply had to be Number One people to cover up our deep-lying inferiorities.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 123, 124-125.

The truth is, Bill Wilson always had good care. He wasn't abandoned by his mother. She did the best thing that she could do at the time. Bill's grandfather was kindly and compassionate, and Bill always had the best and most expensive toys of any kid in the town. But Bill felt that he had been dumped.

Bill's grandparents sent him to the Burr & Burton Seminary (a former seminary), a private coed school in Manchester, Vermont. There, he managed to get himself elected the President of his class. But then his girlfriend Bertha Bamford died suddenly from a brain tumor and Bill went into a 3-year-long depression, and he failed to even graduate from high school.

Bill's mother wanted Bill to go to MIT — the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and become an engineer, but Bill totally failed the entrance exams.

After a make-up year of high school, Bill went to Norwich University, a very small military academy in Northfield, Vermont, that would take anybody with a high school diploma. Bill did even worse there. See the full story of Bill's education here.

Bill was in danger of getting kicked out of Norwich, but World War I came along and saved Bill from the disgrace of non-graduation. Bill enlisted in the Army. His ROTC experience at Norwich got him a Lieutenant's commission. Before he was shipped off to Europe, Lieutenant Wilson hurriedly married the village spinster, a girl several years his senior, Lois Burnham. Bill got into the war late enough that he didn't see any action. His biggest wartime experience was pulling his pistol out of its holster and pointing it at his own men, and demanding that they obey his orders. Nevertheless, Bill bragged that he had passed the test of war and came out of it a real man.

After the war, Bill odd-jobbed for a while. He thought of being a lawyer, and took some night school courses in law. But that wasn't his cup of tea. Bill found his greatest success in touting stocks. He investigated companies and guesstimated their potential for increase, and then recommended them to rich speculators on Wall Street. He met with some success in doing that, and soon Bill was living the high life. He got in with a gang of stock market manipulators who did what Bill misnamed as "Ponzi schemes". They were actually pump-n-dump schemes. Bill rationalized that it was okay because the stock that they pumped and dumped went back up later anyway. (See PASS IT ON, pp 74-76, 85-86, and 90-91, and Bill W. by Robert Thomsen, pp 146-147, 152-153.)

Bill made a lot of money, but was never able to keep any. As soon as he got money in his hands, he had to be seen eating in the finest (and most expensive) restaurants with "the best people". He inflated his status to "New York Stock Broker", something that he never was. And it was during this period that Bill developed a serious drinking problem.

The Crash of 1929 ended the party. During the Roaring Twenties, Bill had had no trouble picking stocks that would go up, because everything was going up with "irrational exhuberance". But after Black Monday, nothing was going up and Bill was out of luck. He worked for a friend who was a broker on the Toronto Stock Exchange for a short while, but Bill drank himself out of that job and he was penniless again.

The nightmare period began. Lois worked in Loesser's department store in New York city to support the both of them while Bill stole money out of Lois's purse to buy more booze. From 1930 to 1934 Bill was basically drinking to die. He went through Charlie Towns' upscale detox hospital four times, paid for by Lois's brother-in-law Dr. Strong.

There, Bill got the specialty of the house, a poisonous quack recipe that featured enough belladonna to keep the patients hallucinating. The last time around, in December of 1934, Bill thought he saw God.

In the previous month, something else had been happening: Bill's old high-school alumnus and drinking buddy Ebby Thacher had joined a cult religion — the "Oxford Group" — and he was trying to recruit Bill Wilson. Bill resisted their anti-intellectual babble at first, but knowing that he was going to die from alcohol, he began reconsidering things. Ebby took advantage of the situation to take Bill to Sam Shoemaker's church, Calvary Church at Fourth Ave and 21st St., where Bill was exhorted to "give himself to God". Then they sent Bill to Towns' Hospital to get detoxed.

The Oxford Groupers worked on Bill day and night, indoctrinating him with all of the standard O.G. propaganda, and filling Bill's head with pseudo-religious clap-trap. When the hallucinogenic drugs took effect, the result was predictable — Bill "saw God".

Bill also soon decided that God had chosen him for a special mission — to save all of the alcoholics in the world (or so he said).

Here we have an interesting juncture: Bill had a choice between believing that he had been stupid and foolish in the past, when he was drinking himself to death, or believing that his drinking career had simply been God's way of preparing him for a special mission. Bill chose to believe the latter, and he considered himself "uniquely useful" for helping other alcoholics.

Ministers and doctors are competent and you can learn much from them if you wish, but it happens that because of your own drinking experience you can be uniquely useful to other alcoholics.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 89.

Yes, I guess a lot of people would prefer to believe that they are one of God's Chosen People, a man with a special mission from God, rather than just another derelict old drunkard who has been foolish.

Bill immediately turned into a religious fanatic, and spent all of his time proselytizing and seeking converts. He moved a bunch of alcoholics into his (really Lois's) house, where he was sure that religion would sober them up. The alcoholics did everything from steal and sell his best clothes to commit suicide in the kitchen oven — everything except get sober, that is. And Bill didn't succeed in getting a single Oxford Group convert out of the bunch, either.

Bill made another stab at getting and keeping a straight job. He got in with a group of guys who were trying to pull off a hostile take-over of a rubber manufacturing equipment company in Akron Ohio (where the Firestone family had their famous tire factory). The scheme didn't work, and Bill found himself left behind in Akron with a weekend to kill. Fearing that he would drink, he called Reverend Walter Tunks, who was the most ardent Oxford Group preacher in Akron. (It is likely that Bill was given Tunks's name by Rev. Sam Shoemaker in New York before coming to Akron, because Tunks was one of Shoemaker's converts. The story about how Bill luckily called an Oxford Group minister by picking his name off of a plaque is probably apocryphal.) Tunks connected Bill with Henrietta Seiberling, another Oxford Group member, who arranged for him to meet a derelict alcoholic doctor in town, Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, who was also an Oxford Group member.

The two of them, Bill and Bob, really hit it off, and they decided that they could save alcoholics by converting them to the Oxford Group cult religion. So they started recruiting at the local hospital. Bill was so sure of his messianic role that he didn't bother to actually ask the alcoholics whether they wanted to get converted:

... they thought it a good idea to have a preliminary talk with his wife. And this became part of the way things were done in the early days: Discuss it first with the wife; find out what you could; then plan your approach. It should be noted, as well, that the alcoholic himself didn't ask for help. He didn't have anything to say about it.
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1980, pages 82-83.

So, after a summer of recruiting in Akron (leaving Lois wondering what happened to her husband), Bill became the leader of his own O.G. sub-group, "The Alcoholic Squadron of the Oxford Group", in New York City. But that created another problem: The Oxford Group didn't like Bill Wilson setting himself up as a leader without the cult leader Frank Buchman's permission, which Frank had not given. When Frank's lieutenants told Bill to stop working with alcoholics, Bill refused to obey orders, so they basically just pushed him out of the Oxford Group.

Bill kept on recruiting and enlarging his group in New York, while Dr. Bob continued going to Oxford Group meetings in Akron, and making alcoholic converts there. One of Bob's converts was Clarence Snyder, who went and started a group called "Alcoholics Anonymous" in Cleveland.

In 1938, Bill decided that they needed to write and sell a book about recovery from alcoholism, in order to make some money. (Bill was chronically unemployed and dead broke.) It was to be called "100 Men: The Story of How 100 Men Recovered from Alcoholism". (Even though there were only 40 A.A. members total, in all three groups — New York, Akron, and Cleveland, and lots of them relapsed.) See the stock prospectus, here.

In the book, Bill made a lot of extreme exaggerations and told outright lies about how well his Buchmanite program worked. My favorite is where Bill Wilson pretended to be his own wife, and wrote that the little women were jealous of A.A. because A.A. and its book had cured their husbands of alcoholism in only a few weeks (before the book was actually written or published):

Another feeling we are very likely to entertain is one of resentment that love and loyalty could not cure our husbands of alcoholism. We do not like the thought that the contents of a book or the work of another alcoholic has accomplished in a few weeks that for which we struggled for years.
== The A.A. Big Book, William G. Wilson, "To Wives".
That statement is present in all editions of the Big Book, from the original 1939 multilithed manuscript through the 4th Edition, 2001, on page 118.

Bill was obviously engaging in a lot of self-promotion and promotion of A.A. in order to sell the book and make some money.

Did Bill know that he was lying? Yes, at times he certainly did, but he felt entitled to do so to "save alcoholics". That's a classic characteristic of a narcissistic personality disorder.

Destructive narcissists categorized as "Manipulative" are particularly prone to use misleading statements and lies. Do they know they are lying? Yes. But, they feel they have the right to use any means available to achieve their ends.
Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner, Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC, page 67.

That creates a problem with circular logic, of course:

      "It's okay to lie and grossly exaggerate the A.A. success rate in order to promote Alcoholics Anonymous, because A.A. should be promoted because it's such a wonderful organization that has saved so many alcoholics."

The rest is history. Bill spent years grandstanding and promoting both Alcoholics Anonymous and himself. Through chicanery and deceit and back-stabbling a partner, he managed to steal the Big Book copyright and then trade it for an income for life. Bill devoted his life to writing books about Alcoholics Anonymous, and then promoting it some more.

So, back to your original questions:

  1. what the hell was Bill W's motivation?
    My guess is both self-aggrandizement, and the deluded belief that he was saving the lives of lots of alcoholics. Oh, and profit too. Let's not forget the money.

  2. Did he think: "How can I get loads of people under God control?"
    Probably a little bit of that too.

  3. Or: "Wow, this Oxford Group jazz could really save loads of alcoholics? why don't I do mankind a great big favour and save alcoholics this way?"
    Probably some of that too.

  4. Or was it: "Mankind is so evil, they deserved to be punished with dogma and a brutal God (then laughs evilly ha ha ha)"?
    Yes, and that one too. Especially read "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", where Bill raved for 192 pages about how bad those alcoholics were.

    Again, Bill was mentally ill, a narcissist who thought that he had to be perfect, so he hated his own dark side, and he projected it onto "the stereotypical alcoholic", and sneered, "Look at how disgusting he is!" Bill made many sadistic remarks about how alcoholics needed to get "beaten into humility".

          Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

    We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.
    "Gee, thank you Massuh. You mean that today I can grovel before you without getting whipped? You are so kindly, Massuh, even if it is just for today."

  5. Was it an evil act, or was it a good act?
    My guess is both. Bill was genuinely mentally ill, so part of the time he believed his own bull, and believed that he was saving alcoholics. Bill had a really bad case of delusions of grandeur.

    But at other times, in moments of clarity, Bill had to recognize that A.A. had a horrendous failure rate — that A.A. was basically no better than letting the alcoholics quit on their own. Bill even said as much, in moments of candid honesty.

    But Bill still had to protect his investment and keep A.A. going — he couldn't start telling people that A.A. was a failure and useless, so let's shut down the organization. (His healthy income would have gone to zero, and he would have been back to being just another unemployed bum again.) And his ego couldn't let him do that. To discover that your whole life's work was just a mistake?

    Heck, the cult true believers wouldn't have let him do it. Bill actually complained that the fundamentalists wouldn't even let him change a few lines in the Big Book. And that was true. There was a lot of arguing over the few tiny changes that were made to the text of the first 164 pages in the second edition.

    So no way would the true believers have let the organization be shut down or disbanded. They would have continued it even if Bill Wilson had quit the organization — and that is in fact just what happened.

    Bill Wilson moved out to the country and stopped going to A.A. meetings. His involvement with A.A. dwindled to just cashing the royalty checks. Francis Hartigan, who was Lois Wilson's private secretary, wrote a biography of Bill Wilson where he said that the hard-core A.A. members were rather disconcerted to see that the Founder was no longer really in A.A. any more.

    But the believers kept A.A. going anyway, and they still do.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.





More Letters


Previous Letters









Search the Orange Papers







Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 21 February 2019.
The most recent version of this file can be found at http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters49.html

Copyright © 2019, A. Orange