Letters, We Get Mail, LII
by A. Orange



Date: Fri, June 2, 2006 12:20
From: "mark s."
Subject: I once was blind etc...

Hi Orange

I thought I'd write and congratulate you on a formidable piece of work. I got sober a little over 6 years ago in the UK at the age of 35. I won't bore you with a drunkalogue but my life while drinking was a fairly typical tale of woe involving trips to mental hospitals, para-suicide attempts, divorce, debt, getting fired etc, during which time I struggled valiantly to be a nice guy — which I am, mostly. I'd also suffered with anxiety from early childhood which was a big motivating factor behind a lot of it — I was just trying to "FEEL BETTER". One day I just thought "f*** this!" and stopped. I think my original reason for calling AA was to get some support with this decision (I knew myself well enough to know that my resolutions to do better were sometimes short lived!) and later that evening I found myself at an AA meeting in my hometown.

I can still remember the depth of that resolve to NEVER drink AGAIN and so I just gratefully absorbed everything I found there, prayers and all (I was an avowed but miserable atheist at the time) and decided there and then to buy the whole thing as seen. I was very frightened and impressionable and well used to being and feeling squarely in the wrong and with hindsight, the thing I loved so much (apart from the companionship and fellow feeling — which I still think are useful elements of AA life at the beginning) was the totally seductive pleasure of finding out THE TRUTH about MYSELF and EVERYBODY/THING ELSE!

After years of feeling like the lowest form of life I was suddenly given the chance to HOLD FORTH upon my own and everyone else's drinking problem — I set about immediately acquiring the smug glow of the OLDTIMER and beefed up my sober time by as much as I could get away with when asked. My sponsor was a big book fundamentalist (also a nice guy, also woken up to all this and still a great friend) who set about instructing me on REAL recovery and cautioning me against those who were merely DRY DRUNKS. I did a BIG BOOK STUDY, whacked through the steps and thereafter came 4 1/2 years of BEING RIGHT about EVERYTHING — even things that were NONE OF MY BUSINESS! — It was GREAT! I even got to pretend that my anxiety had completely disappeared, which wasn't true — but hey! THINK OF THE NEWCOMERS.

Like all good fundamentalists I set about boiling the stuff down to its essence, trying Oxford Group style guidance sessions for a while and devouring the work of new thoughters like Emmet Fox and Ralph Waldo Trine and sharing at meetings in such a way as to leave you in no doubt what YOUR mistake had been.

Of course, while all this was going on the nice bloke that I'd always really been was repairing his relationships, re-marrying (someone outside the fellowship thankfully) and starting to build a career in social care. The thing was that I'd always had a strong life outside of AA and despite my UTTER CONVICTION that the 12 steps were divinely inspired by an all powerful god, I'd never been particularly attracted to "3 meetings a day" or "phoning my sponsor daily" and so inevitably, and thankfully the cracks started showing. Even though I felt hugely better after 5 or so years I was finding that one or two persistent areas of my life failed to respond to PAT SLOGANS and BEGGING GOD TO REMOVE MY FEAR. In my career I was exposed to the ideas of solution focused brief therapy and the therapeutic techniques and philosophy pioneered by the Mental Research Institute in Milwaukee, particularly the works of Steve deShazer and Insoo Kim-Berg (have a look at Steve's book "Words Were Originally Magic" if you get time — I shut it in terror the first time I read it!), but slowly my refusal to countenance any opposition to AA teachings began to erode.

It was a difficult time — getting rid of that meme is like trying to get a barnacle off a rock. My old sponsor, who unbeknown to me for some time had STOPPED BELIEVING IN GOD suddenly, started sharing things in meetings that sounded like heresy but I began to change. Getting my challenges closed down by OLDTIMERS and having the phone go a bit quiet were weird at first but then of no consequence — I have (and always did have) plenty of supportive friends and family!

Now I feel strongly that there are as many paths to "recovery" (whatever the f*** that means!) as there are people and that received wisdom and one-size fits all pseudo religious claptrap is just that — claptrap. I believe that life is turbulent, complex and unpredictable and requires creative thinking to navigate rather than BLIND ADHERENCE TO CANT and PSEUDO-RELIGIOUS GROUP THINK. For some time now, I've felt that AA meetings fail to add anything meaningful to my life and several of my friends in our local fellowship feel the same way. We are discovering that it is emphatically NOT OK to share your experience if it is at variance to the ORTHODOXY and predictably the whispering and gossip machine is rolling, giving the lie to all this s*** about LOVE and TOLERANCE. It seems to me that AA groups are not especially interested in alcoholics as such, rather than converting them to Buchmanism (I like that term!). To be honest I'm glad AA was there when I needed help and support (which I certainly did) — I've come out of it pretty well, but being one of the pathetically few to do so feels like a feeble excuse for adopting the "AA RIGHT OR WRONG" dogma I've come to see all around me at meetings of late.

I love your site and wish luck for the future (which seems a much broader highway for me than it did!). thanks for helping me through what has sometimes been a painful transition from dogma to freedom.

Cheers

MARK S.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the compliments.

I just can't add anything to that letter. You said it all.

Have a good day. And congratulations on your newfound freedom.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
* If you wonder whether evil karma can be neutralized or not,
* then know that it is neutralized by desire for goodness.
* But they who knowingly do evil deeds, exchange a mouthful
* of food for infamy. They who knowing not wither they
* themselves are bound, yet presume to pose as guides for
* others, do injury both to themselves and others. If pain
* and sorrow ye desire sincerely to avoid, avoid, then, doing
* harm to others.
*    — W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa





Date: Sat, June 3, 2006 00:36
From: "David V."
Subject: Thanks...

I wanted to thank you for your "Propaganda and Debating Techniques" files — they are quite helpful. They are pretty much the only thing of any value I've found on your site. I hope it hasn't been too disruptive in your life to maintain your vitriolic demeanor. Bye for now, and have a nice day.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a good demonstration of the propaganda and debating technique called "Damning With Faint Praise", finishing with a stylish flourish of "Sarcasm and Condescension".

Have a good day too.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
** try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
** enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
** (The Big Book, page 96.)





Date: Sat, June 3, 2006 16:09
From: "David K."
Subject: Your view

Dear writer of the orange papers,

Thank you for all of your work on this.

Hi David,

Thanks for the thanks.

Do you think that one can be helped by doing Gods will?

Well, I can answer that if you can tell me who gets to say what "God's Will" is... That is really important. The last 2000 years of European and American history is a long list of battles between various groups, all of whom insisted that they knew best what God's Will really was...

Do you believe that God's will can be found in the Bible?

Again, it depends on which part of the Bible. The Bible has many different authors, who said very different things.

Here is Moses, giving us his version of The Will of God:

  • "... you must destroy them without mercy." (Deuteronomy 7:3)
  • "... you must stone them to death. ... Don't show any pity." (Deuteronomy 13:8-10)
  • "You may hear that some worthless people there have talked everyone there into worshipping other gods... ... you must take your swords and kill every one of them..." (Deuteronomy 13:13-15)
  • "... kill all the men. Take the women and children as slaves..." (Deuteronomy 20:14-15)
  • "Moses became angry with the army commanders and said, "I can't believe you let the women live! They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal-Peor.   ...   You must put to death every boy and all of the women who have ever had sex. But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.   ...
    Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions, and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included   ...   32,000 young women who had never had sex.
    (Numbers 31:14-35)

On the other hand, here is Jesus Christ:

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
St. Luke, 6:20-24 (King James version)

I like the tone of Jesus a whole lot better. Not so much emphasis on killing the people whom you don't like. (And making their daughters into your sex slaves.)

Are you angry about something? If so, what is it really?

It is a despicable crime to foist quack medicine on sick people and then lie about how poorly it works.
It is even worse to use taxpayers' money to force that quackery on sick people.

Thankyou, dk

You are welcome.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
** has cured millions. RARELY HAVE we seen it fail...
** But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
** Take what you want, and leave the rest."


[2nd letter from David:]

Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 14:45
From: "David K."
Subject: Re: Your view

Dear Orange

It is good to hear from you.

It is true that AA is far from perfect, but AA has saved thousands of lives because many who are powerless over mind altering substances do stay sober by attending structured, group energized, support group, meetings.

Hi again, David,

and hold it right there. Where is the evidence for that grand sweeping statement? There is none. A.A. does not have a success rate. You A.A. true believers keep on repeating that untrue jargon without a single supporting fact. You stubbornly ignore the truth that is in front of your eyes.

And that isn't just "my view", like your subject line implies. That is the view of Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., who found A.A. to be completely ineffective. It is also the view of every other doctor or researcher who has done a true valid unbiased test of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous for getting people to quit drinking.

Just because you have a club where people, some sober, some drinking, gather in a room and talk about drinking and sobriety doesn't mean that the room or the meeting made them get sober. Those few who stay sober do it by their own intelligence and will power and determination.

The steps and the group meetings do help the willing improve on their character defects which lead to drinking, etc. The biggest short coming of this spiritually based group is it's inability to provide spiritual direction, but being a, all are welcome group, I guess that is as good as it can get.

Again, where is the evidence for those statements? There is none.

What is the real A.A. success rate? Out of every 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will pick up a 1-year coin for a year of sobriety? How about a 10-year coin? How many?

Yes, the Bible is difficult to understand and as a nonbeliever you are not yet capable of understanding it, (1Cor 2:14). You are still running on your own understanding but that could change when you realize that knowledge is not enough and you begin to love God in his way. That can happen!

Now that is the propaganda trick called "ad hominem", combined with "generalize" and "claim special knowledge". It is also pure arrogance.

You imagine, just because I compared the teaching of Moses to the teachings of Jesus, that I am an unbeliever? And you imagine that you have some special knowledge that I don't have?

Where do you get off thinking that you know how much I do or don't love God? Where are you getting your information? (Apparently from the same place as you get your illusions about the A.A. success rate...)

Oh, and you didn't bother to actually explain the conflict between the Word of God according to Moses and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Are you going to just ignore that? You aren't going to just dodge that question, are you? To try to just avoid the question with a platitude like "the Bible is hard to understand" is a dishonest dodge.

That's an important issue, you know, so how about some of that much-ballyhooed A.A. "rigorous honesty"? Since you claim to have such great knowledge because of your spiritual accomplishments, please explain, with your superior understanding of the Bible, how it is Christian and the Will of God to slaughter a couple of hundred thousand people, a whole city, including the women and baby boys, and to take 30,000 virgins as sex slaves for the army. How is that Christian? Is that how you hear the Word of God, telling you what to do each day? Would you carry out such orders if you heard them in your head tomorrow?

Of all of the flawed organizations out there that don't help others and cause real harm, what happened to you, that you pour your hatred out on AA verses many other more deserving groups. Why is this so personal for you? _What happened,_ if it's not too personal? Your answer was not the real truth.

Actually, you have it backwards. I love the truth, and I am telling the truth for the sake of friends and strangers who are in trouble with alcohol or drugs. Didn't Jesus Christ say, "Learn the truth, and the truth will set you free."? So let's get some truth from you.

You are intelligent and you seem to have lots of time, why don't you put all of that energy to better use? Do you have active negitive campaigns against other groups working at the same time?

I am putting my energy to a good use. Why don't you?

May be you could put that energy to work for God.

May God's peace find you, (John 14:27)

David K.

I have already found peace. I hope that you do too, someday.

Oh, by the way, since you imagine yourself such a knowledgeable believer, why don't you read the file "The Heresy of the 12 Steps", and tell me whether I am right or wrong about all of the heresy that is inherent in the Buchmanism religion that is at the heart of the A.A. program?
Did Jesus say, "Worship anything as your Higher Power"?
Did Jesus say, "Sell your soul to a dictator in trade for sobriety"?
Did Jesus say, "Don't tell the whole truth about 'the God thing' to the newcomers. It might scare them away. Dole out the truth by 'teaspoons, not buckets'."?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
** telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
** and that your will power is useless, is not
** getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
** With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.


[another letter from David K.:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 12:16
From: "David K."
Subject: Re: Your view

Dear Orange,

I pray that you will whole heartedly accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, confess it with your mouth, find a good Bible based church and attend weekly, and that you will read the Bible daily.

Start here: Philippians 3:13.14

Please contact me again when you are saved.

God Bless, D.King

PS yes you can believe the whole Bible after you under stand it. Read The Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13. I pray that you will be good soil.

Hello again, David,

I suppose I could also pray that the Lord remove the scales from your eyes, but then again, who am I to tell the Lord what to do? Maybe He wants you that way.

I have no trouble believing the Bible. I fervently believe that when Moses said, "Kill them all with the sharp edge of the sword", that he really meant, "Kill them all with the sharp edge of the sword" — including the women and children.

You are just having a hard time facing the truth that the guy who wrote the Ten Commandments — Moses — was a monster, a mass murderer, a religious bigot, a racist, and a war criminal who practiced genocide and ethnic cleansing. It's all there in the Bible, and you could see it if you learned how to actually read what is in front of your eyes.

"The LORD your God will help you capture the land, and He will give you peace. But when that day comes, you must wipe out Amalek so completely that no one remembers they ever lived."
(Deuteronomy 25:19)

Oh, and your quote from Philippians is just another game of spiritual one-upmanship. I know that you are trying to imply that some people (like me) cannot comprehend the Bible like you do. (Ego, ego, ego...) But it's you who can't understand that "kill them all" clearly means "kill them all".

You have not answered a single one of the questions in the last letter, like "what is the A.A. success rate?", and "Out of every 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will pick up a 1-year coin for a year of sobriety? How about a 10-year coin?" You aren't going to refuse to tell the truth, now are you, while you wrap yourself in the Bible? How about some of that much-vaunted A.A. "rigorous honesty"?

And did you read the file on "The Heresy of the 12 Steps"? Well, what about it?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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


[another letter from David K.:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 15:16
From: "David K." Subject: anew

Dear Orange,

Please go to http://www.interviewwithgod.com and click on the free movies, faith, hope, etc., etc.. This may give you a sense of where you can go. Leave all of that other stuff behind. Right now you don't know God. With your gifts, you could bring many to him as a believer. You only think you know peace. You are in for a great surprise.

With love, In Christ, David King

Hello again, David,

Honestly, do you think that a few proselytizing movies are going to change my mind?

What about all of the important and sincere questions I have asked you? Those movies are not about, or answers to:

  1. "What is the A.A. success rate?"
  2. "Out of every 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will pick up a 1-year coin for a year of sobriety? How about a 10-year coin?"
  3. Did Jesus say, "Worship anything as your Higher Power"?
  4. Did Jesus say, "Sell your soul to a dictator in trade for sobriety"?
  5. Did Jesus say, "Don't tell the whole truth about 'the God thing' to the newcomers. It might scare them away. Dole out the truth by 'teaspoons, not buckets'."?

Please be rigorously honest and answer those questions. Thank you.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A well conducted professional study" showed that
** "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
** after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
** Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"
** == Dr. Ron Whitington - Chairman General Service Board,
** AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994


[another letter from David K.:]

Date: Sat, June 17, 2006 18:25
From: "David K."
Subject: Re: Your view

Dear Orange,

Once you are Born Again, you will understand me, love me, and understand the Bible better. I don't have to answer your questions because they are not important to anyone but you.

Hello again, David,

That is two propaganda tricks at once: Claim to Have Special or Secret Knowledge, and Sarcasm, Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes. The real reason that you won't answer any of those questions is because you won't be truthful about those issues.

You aren't the only one who has had spiritual experiences — even death and rebirth experiences. What you are ignoring is the fact that such experiences must be verified by the test of time. If someone thinks that he was "born again" but then does not tell the truth as a result of his experience, then his vision was false.

You claim that your special understanding of the Bible, as a result of being "Born Again", allows you to reverse the meanings of the words in the Bible: "Kill them all" really means "Let them live". "Give the virgins to the army" really means "Let the virgins stay virgins". "Burn their city to the ground" really means "Don't burn the city".

But if you continue with that reversing of the meanings of the words of Moses, then the Ten Commandments, which are also in the books of Moses, must read: "Thou shalt lie. Thou shalt kill. Thou shalt commit adultery. Thou shalt have other gods before Me."

Oh, no, you say. You have the power to decide which lines of the Bible should get reversed in meaning. Wow. Not even the Pope claims that power.

You don't actually believe in the Bible at all. You think you can just change whatever you don't like.

I have to thank you though Orange. Some of your ferver against AA has freed me from AA. I have attended 3-4 mtgs/wk for the past 4.5 yrs.. AA got me and kept me sober from my first mtg. I am an alchololic — it almost killed me. Thanks to AA I am free and healthy. Your convictions, yet wrongly motivated have freed me... it was time. I will probably go to one or so mtgs a week now and focus more on God purpose for me. I believe that if I stop going, I will forget about my problem and in a week moment, drink. I don't want to start that again.

Your claims that A.A. saved you from alcoholism are backed up by no more facts or logic than your claims that when Moses said, "Kill them all with the sharp edge of the sword, except for the virgin girls whom you may give to the army for their sex slaves," that really meant, in your "special knowledge", "Be nice and Christian to those people and don't hurt them."

You quit drinking because you chose to. Period.
You stay off of alcohol because you choose to. Period.

It is funny that you started off asking me whether the Will of God was found in the Bible. Now, finally, in your 5th letter, you start asserting that Alcoholics Anonymous works as treatment for alcoholism. Talk about beating around the bush before coming to the point.

Why can't you lighten up a little. I am still puzzled by you. Are you in prision and anti AA activity has become your thing. Maybe you are dirnking and can't stop. Can't you move on, "live and let live"? I have no conviction against you if your are in prision. In Christ all who accept him can be forgiven.. . He keeps no records of wrongs forgiven.

If you discovered that a quack cancer clinic down the street was giving your mother fake medical treatment when she was very sick, would you "lighten up" in your criticism of those criminals?

I am afraid that satan may have you.

Better look in the mirror, fella. And you still haven't answered the question about selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety. Why are you ignoring the file The Heresy of the 12 Steps and refusing to answer questions about the issues there?

I will open your next email if the Subject is: I have accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior

Then I guess you won't read this one, right?

Final food for tought. Do you know Jesus's last name?

Is this a trick question? Are you looking for "Christ", "Son of Joseph", "of Bethlehem", "of Judea", or what?

Does the answer to this trivia question make it okay for Moses to murder a couple of hundred thousand people because they were a different race or religion than he was?

And what do any of your Biblical claims have to do with the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous fails to increase the sobriety rate of alcoholics?
Or the facts that A.A. has a terrible drop-out rate, and an appalling death rate?
And the problem that you won't tell the truth about any of that?

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.


[another letter from David K.:]

Date: Wed, June 21, 2006 12:17
From: "David K."
Subject: Re: Your view

This is my last message to you.

God Sent Jesus to save you.

I hope you will come to believe.

Good by.

Okay, goodbye to you too. I also hope that you will wake up and recover some day.

In the mean time, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Important principles may, and must, be inflexible."
** == Abraham Lincoln





Date: Mon, June 5, 2006 07:54
From: noname

Agent orange:

Please make sure only my first name appears.

Hi,

Actually, since you gave me neither of your names, that isn't possible, but you sure don't have to worry about your anonymity. :-)

My first concern is substance abuse treatment. Nearly all of it is 12 step. 12 step is a failed doctrine of no merit. Why does a failed program survive?

I see several reasons.

Inertia. It is a habit; and, people in SAT are too lazy to think differently.
Profit. 12 step is cheap. It does not actually cost a lot of money.
Dogma. There are true believers in SAT.
Contempt. People who come here are merely drunks and druggies. They don't deserve anything better.

That is, the belief that "alcoholism" is a disease is fictive.

Using mandates to compel an AA doctrine and practice is unconstitutional and unprofessional.

AA, in and of itself, does not really concern me. Perhaps it should.
But, 95% do leave. That tells me that 95% do not join a fringe cult group.
Ultimately, AA is only a cult.

IF SAT centers evolve into professional places AA will wither. If mandated attendance stops, AA will vitually cease to exist.

Yep, that's the way it looks to me too.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
** routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
** or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
** between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
** treatment for medical diseases.





Date: Mon, June 5, 2006 09:31
From: "Tom H."

IT'S JUST MY OPINION, BUT I THINK YOU ARE VERY MISGUIDED, IN YOUR COMMENTS. TO BE ASKED TO HONESTLY LOOK AT YOUR LIFE AND WHAT ROLE YOU PLAY IN YOUR OWN REALITY IS SPIRITUAL IN NATURE, AND SPIRITUALITY AND MENTAL HEALTH ARE CLOSELY RELATED. MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY IT, AND NOT WORRY ABOUT HOW OTHER PEOPLE MAKE THAT ATTEMT. YOUR EFFORT TO MAKE A.A. LOOK LIKE A CULT IS REDICULOUS AND IF YOU WERE A PART OF IT; WITH AN OPEN MIND AND HEART. I THINK YOU WOULD FEEL DIFFERENTLY. I HOPE YOUR COMMENTS DON'T KILL TOO MANY PEOPLE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN HELPED.

TOM H.

Hello Tom,

I do not tell people not to honestly look at their lives. In fact, I keep telling Steppers to get real and practice some of that "rigorous honesty" that Bill Wilson bragged about on page 58 of the Big Book, and honestly look at the miserable failure rate of Alcoholics Anonymous as a quit-drinking program.

Try reading just this one thing: Bill Wilson's own statements about the A.A. success or failure rate.

And the slur that I might kill alcoholics by telling them the truth is just another standard A.A. put-down that the true believers parrot over and over again. Look here.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
** telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
** and that your will power is useless, is not
** getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
** With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.





Date: Mon, June 5, 2006 14:59
From: "Mike M."
Subject: About your site

Before I start I'd like to say this much to you, I come from a line of Alcoholics. My Great Grandfather was a big time Alcoholic infact he was drinking when he first came here to U.S. Shores. My Grandfather was an Alcoholic who died with a good amount of time in AA, my Father is also an Alcoholic who has 11 years sober. And I along with my Sister are Alcoholics, tho my Sister is in another program I myself am in AA along with my Father. I should also note that I have a high IQ, and am 27 years old as of this year. With in the next few weeks 10 years of being Sober in the Program...

Hello Mike,

Welcome to the club. My father drank himself to death, and his mother was an alcoholic too... There's a lot of it going around. And I have 5, going on 6, years of being sober while not "in the Program".

Now I really want you to tell me this much, if your site really did speak 'The Truth' then why are you not on 20/20 or Dateline telling the 'truth' about AA?

Because I haven't been invited to appear on 20/20. Actually, I've gotten a couple of invitations for other shows, but don't care to break my anonymity at this point. Maybe next year.

Granted there are groups like AA that are somewhat like a Cult, like out here in AZ we have a group called Pathways for kids that kinda plays on it. And I was in both Pathways and AA, however I didn't stay in Pathways. I was in it for about 2 months before leaving and going back to AA. And if you wish to know why, it's cuz AA works. I went from a punk ass kid who drank and did drugs and got sober.

What evidence do you have that A.A. works? I mean really, show me the evidence. A.A. makes all of these grandiose claims of success, but the success rate isn't there.

Of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many of them will become sober 10-year oldtimers? Since you are coming up on 10 years, you should know that answer to that question.
(Hint: the answer is 11 or 12.)

Here's the thing, your site has been showing up more and more in the rooms as of late. And I'm watching Newcomers use your site and say "Oh this guy says AA is...." Why don't you also post the good about AA, yes there are some who come in that really don't need to be in AA. However there are some who do need it, it's really life or death with them like it was with me. Believe me I'm better being sober and in AA, then being drunk or high sitting at a PC playing Doom and thinking about killing myself.

So you are complaining that the newcomers are better informed?
Why should that bother you?
Isn't A.A. supposed to be a program of "rigorous honesty"?
Shouldn't you be happy that the newcomers have been doing their homework?

I have posted the good about A.A. — Look here. And right next to it is the bad. The problem is, the bad far outweighs the good.

Again, when you make statements like "some who do need it, it's really life or death with them", you are assuming facts not in evidence. You are assuming that A.A. works better than no help or no program. It doesn't. Heck, a Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous even found that A.A. just increased the death rate in alcoholics.

The fact that you have mental problems and feel that you have to attend A.A. meetings or else you will contemplate suicide doesn't mean that "the Program" is really good for anybody.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could
** touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started
** giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be
** broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries.
** This was all a scientific thing."
** === Nell Wing — PASS IT ON, page 370.
** (Nell Wing was an early secretary of A.A. and Bill Wilson.)
** Apparently, for treating alcoholics, LSD works three times
** better than cult religion.





Date: Mon, June 5, 2006 21:39
From: "DarrylleMac"

you have to be the biggest bunch of assholes on the planet, something very vile in rose up when i read this that you call an article, and if i could cause you as much disdain...i would

DarrylleMac,

"You Dig"

Hi DarrylleMac,

Thank you for showing us what 12-Step Spirituality, Serenity, and Gratitude really mean.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Bacchus hath drowned more men than Neptune.
** == Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 - 1734), Gnomologia, 1732


[2nd letter from DarrylleMac:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 10:35
From: "DarrylleMac"

you see your problem is that you expect one to react rational...to personal attacks...which is what you launch when you assail somehting which saves lives...what with your zero success rate crap...those are personal blows and they are way below the belt...so your sarcastic comeback left me wanting...it was cute though...and therefore the only recourse you had...

Hello again, DarrylleMac,

Geez Louise, you are really something else. You send a letter full of personal attacks, and then you whine that I attacked you?

The zero percent success rate "crap" that you are complaining about was the statement of a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant. Would you like to write a letter to him at the AAWS headquarters and tell him that he is full of crap? After all, what does he know? He is just a doctor who spent more than 20 years treating alcoholics with the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

i now know what the A. stands for...Agent...it goes well with Orange...to form a combination...of guess what...Agent Orange...spewing forth poison...venom even...the most vile kind...you might as well be a member of the *KKK*...or are you...what you are doing sounds like an *aryan* screaming white power...i must know you are a unique individual...spreading doubt where there may be hope...i took what your online comments very personal...for i have been clean for 16 years...that would mean nothing to one such as you...you are a master flaw finder...i am doing a paper in class which is how i came upon your site...forgive the context in which i relayed my thoughts...yet realize this i truly meant them...because a person is sober does not equal being a doormat...and i realize that sometimes the only thing some people understand is raw unadulterated violence...which is what i was prior to...it is simply arrested i realize that...you take credit from something i owe my life too... i tried many years to combat on my own that thing addiction whether it be alcohol or drugs...when i came to a twelve step program they gave me hope...you say brainwash...my brain needed washing...they showed me how to cleanse myself...and i stand today a man of statue...today i live...no longer do i just simply exist...you keep spewing forth your negativity

Your thinking is still a little confused. It is good that you have matured out of "raw unadulterated violence", but there is no evidence that participation in A.A. or a 12-Step program "restored you to sanity". Apparently, you were doing a lot of drugs and alcohol and being violent and crazy, and then you decided to stop taking drugs and alcohol, so you did, so now you are not being so violent and crazy. Good.

When you say that "a twelve step program they gave me hope", it's all fine and well that you felt some hope, but there is no evidence that the 12 Steps made you get clean and sober. That is assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. It's just like Dumbo's Magic Flying Feather. The feather gave Dumbo hope too, but it was not the real reason that he could fly.

The simple truth is that more than half of all of the alcoholics and drug addicts just mature out of their behavior, and eventually stop it, and save their own lives.

The giant tragedy is that the other half don't quit — they die — and A.A. and N.A. don't save them either. In spite of the bragging and flowery talk, A.A. and N.A. do not save anybody. A.A. and N.A. are merely taking credit for a few of the addicts who were going to quit anyway, while ignoring the fact that the 12-Step programs have not actually raised the sobriety rate (or clean rate) of America at all. We have had 70 years of that 12-Step nonsense now and the problem is not one bit better than it was in 1935. If anything, the situation is much worse as a result of Steppism — higher death rate, higher suicide rate, higher rate of re-arrests, higher rate of binge drinking, and higher costs of hospitalization.

*Agent Orange*
/n./
A herbicide that contains trace amounts of the toxic contaminant dioxin, used in the Vietnam War to defoliate areas of forest

instead of vietnam you chose the internet and you defoliate twelve-step programs

and you too have a nice day

DarrylleMac,

"You Dig"

You have a good day too.

Oh, by the way, I know what agent orange was in Vietnam. I worked on the protest project to keep the surplus left-over agent orange from being dumped here in the USA and poisoning a lot of people's water. We have talked about the Agent Orange name many times before. Look here.

== 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.


[another letter from DarrylleMac:]

Date: Sat, June 17, 2006 12:59
From: DarrylleMac

It is vervious that a closed mind cant be fed, good day orange perhaps one day we will meet...i did not read your tour of my mind, however, i have s full view of yours...i will not be receiving anymore of your responses....that i assure you...the world is full of people like you and to expect you to have an open mind is to expect miracles where they never come...may God bless you and keep you forever safe...they say a first impression lasts forever...imagine mine of you...you sent me a few hyperlinks...i have 16 years escaped hell...and have no desire to visit a computerized one brought about by you...i came off quite the assasin in the beginning...and have no idea in fooling myself that you will think otherwise...i dont know you...you dont know me...i conclude our correspondence...with a blessing aimed at you...yes i have quite the checkered past and AA aside i have seen the successes of the world as well as those brought about by one person so afflicted...helping anothertake care agent orange...i am spamming you now

DarrylleMac,

"You Dig"

Okay, DarrylleMac,

You take care of yourself now, and have a good day.

Bye.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
** try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
** enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
** (The Big Book, page 96.)


[another letter from DarrylleMac:]

Date: Wed, June 21, 2006 13:20
From: "DarrylleMac"

i told you goodbye...i am not even gonna attempt to engage this...maybe if i need another negative opinion i will visit your site again...goodbye...great day...and all

DarrylleMac,

"You Dig"





Date: Tue, June 6, 2006 15:36
From: "Whitney B."
Subject: Lots of good facts, but AA isn't about not drinking

[no body to message]

Hi Whitney,

Actually, I knew that.

Years ago, I read, "Whatever A.A. is about, it isn't about quitting drinking." I forget who said it.

And Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book:

At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Into Action, page 77.

So A.A. is really a religion that uses the promise of sobriety as a hook to get people in the door.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Bill Wilson wrote that you cannot quit drinking by
** using your own intelligence and will power; that you
** must have a "Higher Power" doing the quitting for you.
** When I asked Jesus about that, He said,
** "Screw Bill Wilson.  I'm not gonna quit drinking."


[2nd letter from Whitney:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 12:15
From: "Whitney B."
Subject: Re: Lots of good facts, but AA isn't about not drinking

Thanks for responding, but there is no door. AA is nothing, that is why it can work.

Hello again Whitney,

That is nonsense. I suppose you think that it sounds mystical or something, but it is just nonsense.

A.A. does not work. It has a zero percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
** telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
** and that your will power is useless, is not
** getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
** With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.





Date: Tue, June 6, 2006 18:26
From: "Denise B."
Subject: Whitman on AA Meetings

Hey Orange:

Thanks for the goslings. Reminded me of a quote from Whitman:

I think I could live with animals,
they are so placid and self contained,
I stand long and look at them.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition.
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for theirs sins.
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God.
Not one is disatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago.
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

Song of Myself
Walt Whitman

Keep smiling!

Yes, that is good. Well put.

One of the things that I like about those birds is that they are so expressive and immediate. There is no pretense in them. They do not know shame. They do not hide their feelings. When they are hungry, they are really hungry. When they are afraid, they are really afraid. When they are displeased, they are really displeased. And when they are contented, they are really contented.

They make some entertaining lunch companions.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons.
**  It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.
**    ==  Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892), Song of the Open Road

   





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 00:35
From: "John M."
Subject: What would be the ideal society for you?

Hey:

It's been a long time since I wrote, a long time since I felt I had anything to contribute, but I'd like to ask you. Assuming that you were the grand dictator, what sort of rehabilitation program would you put in place?

Hello John,

That's a great question. Thank you.

I've thought about that for a while, and am of two minds about it.

First off, no "treatment" works on people who don't want to quit.
Ah, but what will make them want to quit?
It is usually suffering. — Sickness, pain, shame, loss — It eventually gets to you and you conclude that life might be better if you lived differently.

(A few luckier souls become willing to quit sooner, because they see that alcohol or drugs will eventually mess up their lives.)

That's where a lot of people decide that they think they might really want to quit, and then they discover how hard it is, and how easy it is to backslide back into old habits.

That's where some kind of "treatment" or "help" might come in.

My ideal treatment program would be something like this:

  1. Radical change of environment and daily routine. Changing places and usual activities helps to break people out of their old habits and old way of living. It's actually much easier to do a total change of lifestyle than to just tweak and adjust a little bit. Old habits can't get the same grip on you when you aren't doing the usual routines.

    In my ideal dream world, I'd set up a camp out in the forest, up in the mountains, sort of like a hippie commune without the drugs. It would definitely not be a "boot camp" where drill sergeants kick people around.

    (That is where Synanon and I part company. They also set up a "clean and sober" commune, but they had a dictatorial leader who constantly raved about how bad addicts were, and how they had to be knocked down all of the time to keep them from being bad. Synanon turned into an insane cult that tried to murder people.)

    Another good aspect of the mountain forest camp idea is that it is a stunningly beautiful place, which is a good thing to be seeing when your awareness opens up as you detox and your head clears.

  2. Quit everything, all drugs and bad habits, including tobacco. Half of the reason that I drank too much was because I was in a lot of pain from how tobacco was killing me. I think that the same is true of a lot of other people. (Considering that 430,000 USA citizens die from tobacco every year, and more than half of the alcoholics actually die from tobacco, rather than alcohol, I have to be right on that one.)

  3. Have doctors, psychiatrists, and really qualified counselors on hand (at least available and visiting regularly) to deal with the psychiatric or emotional problems that the patients have. Alcoholics really do have a lot of them, which is why a lot of them drink. Lots of alcoholics drink to kill the pain of other illnesses. And dopers are doing the same thing too.

    If we are going to detox people at the camp, then a doctor is an absolute must, of course.

  4. Teach the SMART and Rational Recovery stuff. That is, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy (or Training). Neither is a panacea, but both have very good aspects that can help a lot. (Look here and here and here for some descriptions of one of the SMART techniques, the cost-benefit analysis.)

  5. Have group therapy sessions where the goal is to figure out why people felt like they couldn't be happy without getting stoned. Again, the goal is not to put people down and declare that they are all a bunch of selfish sinners. It's to help people work through their problems and figure out why they had to get stoned so much, in order to feel good and have fun.

  6. No A.A. dogma like "you are powerless over alcohol", or "you drank because of character defects and moral shortcomings and the Seven Deadly Sins".

    Considering how pervasive the A.A. propaganda is, there probably isn't a doper or alky around who hasn't heard (and believed) at least some of the A.A. slogans and misinformation. I would have classes just to bring up and dispute that stuff, and to get at the real truth of the matter.

    Above all, I would teach that people are powerful and really can just get a grip and control their addictive impulses.

  7. Don't do the "28 days and you are out" routine. Some people might need to stay at the camp a lot longer. Maybe months, maybe a year, maybe several years. Maybe for life.

    That might lead to a more permanent part of the camp that is financially self-supporting.

    Again, I see the similarities to Synanon. What successes they got were probably due to the supportive clean and sober environment and society. Unfortunately, their design for a new society was fatally flawed — particularly in the "Chuck is the Fearless Leader" and "dopers are bad children", and "the way to make people be good is to attack them and put them down all of the time", and "we have the unquestionable panacea" ideas. (Never mind the fact that Charles Dederich was also pretty crazy and abusive.)

  8. I would give them hope. Not just hope that they can stay off of drugs and alcohol, but hope that their whole future life could be better. Sometimes that means just not going back to the city that they came from before — not returning to the world where their lifestyle was so unhealthy. Many people actually do not know that life can be better.

    We had the experience at our hippie commune up in the mountains of getting a black kid whose previous lifestyle was "armed robber". He was running from state to state, getting hotter, and he sort of got stuck at our place, which is the best thing that could have happened. Nobody had any intentions of reforming him. (Which is maybe why it worked.) We just told him things like,

    • "Here is how you swing an ax."
    • "Here is how you build a campfire."
    • "Here is how you use a chainsaw."
    • "Here is how you build a house."
    He built his own house out of deadwood from the forest and stayed for years. He ended up becoming a musician, and marrying and having kids, and living a life that was nothing like his first career. Later, he told me that he knew he would have been either dead or in prison if he had continued his former life. Time was running out. He was getting too hot.

    The point is, that before he came to that mountain commune, he did not have any idea that such a world or such a lifestyle existed, or that it was even possible. It just wasn't part of his reality, or of anything that he had ever seen or heard of. When he saw it, and saw the possibility of a better life, he took it.

    In essence, he was given hope.

    I think that is essential too.

Now still, when all is said and done, would we get a success rate any better than ordinary spontaneous remission? Maybe. Maybe a little.

Thanks for a good question, and have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If Jesus died for my picayune little sins,
** then He really overreacted. == Unknown Texan Band





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 03:56
From: "Bryan G."
Subject: Re: AA

So what is, from the guy who want even give his real name, your solution?

You are a very sick person. To go to all the trouble to bash a fellowship with complete bs reflects it to the max.

As one of my AA friends says, "I'm glad its you and not me."

To quote some stupid tv show reflects how immature you are.

Seek help. You need it.

Take care.

BG

ps Your website looks very unprofessional. Try coming into 2006. It looks like one from 1996.

Hello Brian,

Sorry to see that you are so bitterly unhappy.

It's funny how A.A. members rave about anonymity, and say how "spiritual" it is, and then they sneer at me for practicing anonymity. What gives there? Do you or don't you believe in anonymity?

I just answered the "solution" question in the previous letter, here. I have also answered it many times before. A list is here

So you don't like Nina's remark, "Now I know what it's like to be high on life. It isn't as good, but my driving has improved." ("Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006)?

I think that is both just plain funny and very true. It certainly is true for me. If I am to be rigorously honest about things, then I have to say that just being high on life is not as ecstatic and euphoric as rushing my brains out on really good drugs or intoxicants.

But being high on life has its own benefits, like that you can do it a lot longer, it doesn't cost as much, and it doesn't wreck your health, and it doesn't make you act like a slobbering fool. And the high is clearer, too.

I know that my web site looks unprofessional. Guess what? It is unprofessional. That is, I'm not in it for the money, I don't make money at it, and I don't have a graphic artist on staff, making cute illustrations. I do the web site simply because I have some information to get out there, which might help a few people by and by.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk.
** That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
**         Ernest Hemingway (1899 — 1961)





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 13:32
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Good job

Dear Agent Orange,

I've been reading your material for awhile and wanted to let you know I appreciate your research and dedication. With the exception of your info on the Oxford Group and Buchmann, I have seen most of what you have compiled elsewhere from other likely reliable sources, so I believe what you say to be accurate and truthful. You have compiled an encyclopedia of information about AA which is as extensive and as thorough as anything I have seen anywhere away from the revisionists, apologists, and crypt-keepers.

I won't give you a mini-lead, so here comes the encapsulated version. After getting jammed up with my wife, my employer, and the law over my alcoholism in 1981, I came into AA. I went to meetings for about five months, looked around, decided "this blows", and left to live happily ever after. After nearly twelve years clean, I had myself a mid-life crisis and went on a fifteen-month binge. Not so good. Went to commit suicide, had a spiritual experience, and went back to AA, determined to try harder to believe this time. I went to lots of meetings, learned the language (sort of), praised the program, the whole shot. After sitting there for awhile and noticing the ever-changing faces of the millions of recovering alcoholics, I did my own bit of research. Of the eighty people who signed up in my home group registry in 1994, all but three were back out there after one year. After 5 1/2 years, my best friend went back out, leaving only two of us with continuous sobriety. After teaching and preaching and sponsoring, he got drunk. The lie got to him.

Then I started researching, and went to many of the places you have been, trying to learn what the real deal is. Oddly enough, I inferred many of the same conclusions. I eventually learned the truth. The truth is, if you drink like I do, you shouldn't drink at all. If you go to two meetings a day, get a sponsor, read the books, work the steps, stop having sex for a year, and drink, you will get drunk. If you don't go to meetings, don't call your sponsor, don't read anything, don't do anything, and don't drink, you won't get drunk. No triggers, no causal relationships, no "musts". Screw Wilson, screw Buchman, screw AAWS, and screw anyone else who would substitute an agenda for our well-being.

I still attend meetings for several of the "Good Things" reasons you list, and I still have a great time. I don't participate in the prayers, I don't spout party lines, and I make a point of telling the truth as I see it whenever it is my turn to speak. The things you say on your pages are the things I say in meetings. I don't get asked to do a lot of leads anymore, but what the hey. Most folks know where I'm coming from. On the 12th, I will have twelve years clean, so it is all good.

I'll close with some things I have learned along the way:

Agreeing with you does not make me rigorously honest;
Disagreeing with you does not put me in denial;
Making you mad doesn't make me wrong;
Attacking me doesn't make you right;
Saying it louder doesn't make it right;
Everyone saying it doesn't make it true;
Just me saying it doesn't make it false.

Again, thanks for the good job.

Mike B.
Marion, Ohio

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the thanks, and thanks for the letter — especially your own observations of the state of affairs in the "recovery community". And congratulations on your sobriety and recovery.

And double congratulations on getting a handle on the truth and not being afraid to say it in meetings. It sure sounds like you qualify as another member of the "Newcomer Rescue League".

The relapse rate is really disheartening, no matter how you look at it or what program they are in. One counselor here told me that after 5 years, I'm the only one out of my group who still hasn't relapsed. While I could feel all proud and puffed up about it, the truth is, I find that a little depressing when I think about it. Some of those people were my friends and neighbors. In just the last 5 years, two next-door neighbors (in the "recovery community") died of overdoses, and lots of others just disappeared. Some are presumed dead. Bummer.

The one thing I'm sure of is that giving people misinformation and misleading slogans doesn't help them any. Making them confess all of their "defects of character", "wrongs", and "moral shortcomings" doesn't seem to help them any either.

Oh well, have a good day anyway. And keep up the good work.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        "No damn cat, no damn cradle"
**                Kurt Vonnegut





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 13:50
From: "Lou J."

"The greatest enemies of us alcoholics are resentment, jealousy, envy, frustration and fear".

Hi again, Lou,

Actually, I think our greatest enemy is the desire to get high by drinking alcohol or taking drugs. (And the desire to relax by smoking a cigarette.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Rule your desires or they will rule you.


[another letter from Lou J.:] Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 08:18
From: "Lou"

I forgot regret.


[another letter from Lou J.:] Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 13:33
From: "Lou"

non-alcoholics have a desire...alcoholics have an obsession.

And that is more nonsense. Is that a new A.A. slogan?

Again, we are getting told that alcoholics are fundamentally different kinds of people than the regular people. They are not. While addicted alcoholics have much stronger burning desires to get high and feel good, it is still all just a shades of gray thing. It's just like mental health. The difference between "normal" people and mentally-ill people is all a matter of degrees and shades of gray.

The idea that alcoholics are fundamentally different kinds of people is something that Bill Wilson started saying in 1935. It was untrue then, and it is still untrue.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** It is better to hide ignorance, but it is
** hard to do this when we relax over wine.
** == Heraclitus (540 BC - 480 BC), On the Universe





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 17:19
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Addictive Personalities & Moral Bankruptcy

Hi, A. Orange!

I really do think that one of the most dangerous aspects of twelve-step groups, including the ladies' auxiliaries (the groups for friends and loved-ones), could be seen in both the section of chapter 5 of the Big Book where it details exactly what's to be inventoried in the moral inventory, and the entire unredacted Serenity Prayer as originally written by Reinhold Niebuhr: " God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; Taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is not as I would have it; Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen." Probably the unusual word that appears the most often in Niebuhr's magnum opus, The Nature and Destiny of Man, is "transcend," and that's obviously the main idea of AA's spirituality. This is exactly the sort of moral bankruptcy that you're likely to see in addictive personalities in general, not just those whose brains were pickled with booze.

Chapter 5's description of "How it Works," goes on and on about how the confessors are supposed to confess their untermensch feelings, specifically resentment anger and fear. When the confessor mentions in his inventory such things as having an extramarital affair and padding his expense account, what he's really confessing to is feeling resentment about getting caught. In fact, the headings of the sample moral inventory, are, "I'm resentful at:", "The cause:", and "Affects my:", rather than, "I'm heedless about:", "Problems this causes:", and, "Affects others':". To hold accountable such übermensch character defects as having the drunken affair, or padding the expense account, might seem too resentful, angry and fearful.

And even before I knew the details of The Serenity Prayer, it was still obvious to me that if the only question that the person in trouble could legitimately ask about each aspect of his problem, would be, "Can I change this?", then this would mean that no matter what hardship, sinfulness, etc., impacts his life, he must simply have a morally bankrupt and self-responsible attitude toward his own problem. He must look at the consequences along the lines of, "I'm resentful at:", "The cause:", and "Affects my:". Where you could really see how literal this unconditional acceptance of hardship and sinfulness is, is in the conference-approved literature of the ladies' auxiliaries. Al-Anon even has a book, of members practicing their variety of self-responsibility, titled In All Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You. And the programs of the ladies' auxiliaries, were based on the spirituality of the original twelve-step groups.

The chapter for Gam-Anon, in the handbook of Gamblers Anonymous, says,

"Living or being associated with a compulsive gambler creates its own kind of hell. For most people, it is a devastating experience: family relationships become unbearably strained and the home is filled with bitterness, frustration and resentment. Emotionally, the stress takes its toll as the life of the Gam-Anon member seems to crumble and become unmanageable; tensions are aggravated because life, in material terms, is unstable. At any moment the house might be lost or the furniture repossessed. There may not be enough money to put food on the table or clothe the children.... Gam-Anon meetings provide an opportunity for a strong bond to form between those affected by the problem of compulsive gambling. The meeting is opened with a moment of silent meditation and closed with the Serenity Prayer.... Members are encouraged to make home life as pleasant as possible for the compulsive gambler. They are urged to make themselves attractive, both for the favorable effect on the compulsive gambler and for the therapeutic effect on themselves.... Because the only real happiness that one can be sure of comes from within, Gam-Anon encourages the member to build on his or her own inner core of spiritual strength and maturity as the best way to live with the gambling problem, rather than to depend solely on their gambling spouses for happiness.... The Fellowship's program fosters wisdom, serenity and courage, which leads to a better way of life. Through the growth that accompanies this understanding, the individual is able to meet old situations with strength and to face new ones with confidence.... When we accept the fact that serenity comes from within, our progress develops. Exploring further along this line, we gain insight. We see that with defects of character such as self-pity, self-justification, impatience and resentment, we will never find this peace of mind and serenity we seek."

Compared to this, the quote from chapter 9, The Family Afterward, that you included, "As each member of a resentful family begins to see his shortcomings and admits them to the others, he lays a basis for helpful discussion. These family talks will be constructive if they can be carried on without heated argument, self-pity, self-justification or resentful criticism," is pretty moderate! At least this is after the drinking stops! The message that Al-Anon would give even to family members of active alcoholics, would be that they should still choose to get their resentment under control, since no matter how bad things get in material terms, the family members would feel a lot better if they chose to replace their own resentment with serenity. This is the same level of moral bankruptcy, with which addictive personalities would see the world.

*/~Sharen/*

(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Hi Sharen,

Thanks for the letter. You make a lot of good points.

About the Serenity Prayer — there is a little more. Elisabeth Sifton, the daughter of Reinhold Niebuhr, wrote a book called (what else?) "The Serenity Prayer", a biography of her father. In it, she said that Reinhold was not pleased with the way that Alcoholics Anonymous mangled his prayer. In particular, he objected to changing the plural to singular, and "ought" to "can". That is, Reinhold's version asked that "God grant us" the wisdom, etc., not "me". Reinhold's prayer was for a group, like in a church, collectively asking for wisdom, serenity, and courage. Reinhold's prayer was not an appeal for personal gain.

Likewise, Reinhold's prayer asked for "the courage to change the things that ought to be changed", not "courage to change the things I can". Reinhold said that we aren't supposed to go around changing things just because we can; we should only change those things which ought to be changed. Then of course we need the wisdom to know the difference.

Thanks for your description of Gam-Anon. I didn't know about that. That is both sad and hilarious. "Wifey should make life pleasant for the gambler."

Good grief. Like Mr. Rogers never said, "Can you say 'male chauvinist pig'? I knew you could say that."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon
** devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive
** of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider
** god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do
** less easily move against him, believing that he has
** the gods on his side." — Aristotle


[2nd letter from Sharen:]

Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 17:56
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Why the Right Medication Could Help

Hi Again, A. Orange!

Regarding the possibility that Bill Wilson (and many other addicts) had bipolar disorder, it may be good to keep in mind that probably most of those who have it, usually have a dysthymic (chronically mildly depressed), hyperthymic (chronically mildly manic), or cyclothymic (fluctuating between the two), temperament. Judging from my own informal familiarity with this, probably most hyperthymic temperaments don't bring huge pathologies with them, but some do. The webpage on Hyperthymic Personality Disorder, at http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/cache/-986382297.htm, defines this as, "Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorders are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal. They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement."

And this rashness and poor judgment is of the sort that you'd expect from someone with a mild brain impairment, as if the person was under the influence of uppers that have the same disinhibiting effects that booze has. This is exactly what an addictive personality looks like. This is just the sort of person who'd be most likely to have a booze or drug problem in the first place, and the kind who'd be most likely to relapse if he became sober. This is also just the sort of person who'd be most likely to head the columns of a "moral inventory" with, "I'm resentful at:", "The cause:", and "Affects my:", etc. If these people got medication to get the impulsivity under control, this could very likely get the problem under control.

*/~Sharen/*

(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Thanks again, Sharen. It's a little disconcerting to think that if only Bill had gotten the right medications, that we wouldn't have 12-Step cults today.

Oh well, have another good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** To find everything profound - that is an inconvenient
** trait. It makes one strain one's eyes all the time, and
** in the end one finds more than one might have wished.
**   ==  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, section 158


[3rd letter from Sharen:]

Date: Sat, June 10, 2006 15:00
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: Usual Definition of Character Flaw

Hi Again, A. Orange!

The moral bankruptcy that you could see in Bill Wilson's self-indulgent worldview, really isn't unusual, as you could see in the fact that The Serenity Prayer is so universally popular. The fifth chapter of the Big Book, "How it Works," says about the character defects that the moral inventory is to inventory, "Resentment is the 'number one' offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else.... If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.... [Fear] somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it."

And a typical ad for antidepressants, the Learning About Depression webpage on the Zoloft website,
<http://www.zoloft.com/zoloft/zoloft.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=learning_about_depression>
says,

"If you have depression, this sad mood along with other *symptoms* can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It's a real medical condition, but there are ways to successfully *treat* *depression*.... Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults."

You could see plenty more quotes like this, on my webpage at
http://home.att.net/~s.l.keim/VictCorrSummary317.htm.
You obviously have the sort of empathy that could really sense what's wrong with this Zeitgeist.

Both the Big Book, and this logic that's typical of our current view of depressive disorders affecting about 34 million American adults, define "character flaws" as meaning untermensch character flaws. It seems that we must accept the übermensch character flaws, and aim to fix the untermenschen. This means asking whether our rampant depression consists of either 34,000,000 rather severe medical conditions, or 34,000,000 rather severe character flaws. This aims to fix the same people that The Serenity Prayer aims to fix. No matter what hardship, sinfulness, or anything else might impact your life, it would seem that your assessment of your problem, should be headed, "I'm resentful at:", "The cause:", and "Affects my:". It would seem that what you should focus your attention on, is how you could most expediently deal with your own problem.

*/~Sharen/*

(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Hi again, Sharen,

Yes. I always felt that focusing on "resentments" as the worst enemy of alcoholics sounded crazy — just some more of Bill Wilson's addle-brained quackery.

And it can't be just a coincidence that Bill Wilson was a chronic depressive. His last period of clinical depression lasted for 11 years, from 1944 to 1955, even while he was sober and supposedly reaping the benefits of many years of sobriety and "Working The Steps" — and writing books that declared that "dependence upon an A.A. group or Higher Power hasn't produced any baleful results."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** It may be difficult to determine where religious
** beliefs end and mental illness begins. — Elaine Cassel





Date: Wed, June 7, 2006 17:39
From: "KEN C."

you sir are an idiot

You have a good day too, Ken.

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Gandalf said, "The demons of the darkness howl in
** pain when you shine the light of truth on them."


[2nd letter from Ken C.:]

Date: Sun, June 11, 2006 08:34
From: "KEN C."

in my 25 years of experience working in and around AA and rehabilitation, it has been prov-en to me time and time again that those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism, as described by the AMA, have had their best chances of regaining their lives back Thur AA.

Hello again, Ken,

Would you care to provide some documentation to support that claim?

Especially please explain how you select who goes into the "treatment" program (cherry-picking) and who gets counted as a "graduate" (more cherry-picking).

We can save a lot of time and repetition if you read this letter to a fellow who was trying to talk some sense into the staff of a treatment center. We discussed all of those issues there.

By the way, what is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics, and how much better than that did your treatment program fare? You can't claim credit for the cases of normal spontaneous remission.

And don't you know that two A.A. front groups wrote the ridiculous "definition of alcoholism" for the A.M.A.? They didn't even bother to say that alcoholism is caused by drinking alcohol. (Well of course not, they couldn't say that — they want to reserve the space to later claim that alcoholism is a "spiritual disease" with a "spiritual" cause.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*                  Agent Orange               *
*             orange@orange-papers.org        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**  indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**  world over."
**  "...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy,
**  critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA
**  attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper
**  separation between church and state."
**  == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**  The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.





[from the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps, 28 May 2006 to June 9:]

28 May 2006

RE:
> "...the alleged connection between sobriety and theism..."

It has a long history. Here in the USA we had a bunch of temperance movements, starting in the 1800s, that advocated substituting God for alcohol. And in England there was the Salvation Army, which then came over here.

Likewise, in his book "The Varieties of Religious Experience", William James collected a bunch of stories of people having religious experiences that suddenly made them quit drinking. (That is probably where Bill Wilson got the idea for all of the autobiographical stories in the Big Book.)

More on those early temperance movements here:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-funny_spirituality.html#End_of_Affluence

And yes, telling people that they should do something because God wants them to do it is a very old trick. Moses used it a lot.

Have a good day.

*               Agent Orange              *
*          orange@orange-papers.org       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      http://www.orange-papers.org/      *
** People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it
** — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute
** of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and
** I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for
** power is basically an attribute of a "have not" type of
** self.  ==  Eric Hoffer


Jun 7

Wozza Ports wrote:
> And in any case, these anecdotes are no
> substitute for a "controlled longitudinal double blind study" (did I get
> that right) that Orange and others keep calling for.
>

Hi Wozza,
You got it almost perfect. You just added one term: Double-blind.
That is understandable, because the best tests of medicines are just what you said: "randomized longitudinal double-blind controlled study".

But double-blind means that neither the patient nor the doctor knows whether the patient is getting real medicine or a placebo. They are "blind", or the tests are "blind". In tests of medicines, a pharmacist or other doctor who won't talk fills the pill bottles for the patients, and only he knows who is getting what.

That is of course impossible with Alcoholics Anonymous. Someone would have to be both deaf and blind to not know whether he was in an A.A. meeting.

But we can still do a "randomized longitudinal controlled study" of A.A. as a treatment for alcoholism. — And we can test anything else the same way, no matter whether it is SMART, RBT, eating ice cream when cravings strike, or dancing in a ballerina's tutu. (The A.A. objections that A.A. cannot be tested scientifically because "A.A. is not scientific" is a load of bull.)

The other words mean:

Randomized: Take like 200 or 2000 alcoholics (however many you can get, the more the better), and randomly divide them into 2 groups. One group gets A.A., and the other group gets nothing. (No cherry picking, like putting all of the most promising candidates into one group, is allowed. Roll dice, or pick names out of a hat to decide who goes into which group. That's randomized.) Tell the untreated group to go home and drink all they want, or quit if they want to. It's their choice. At the end of a year, or 3 or 5 or 8 years, count heads and see who did better. In all of the real valid unbiased tests that have been done, it was a tie. A.A. didn't improve things at all.

Controlled: means there is a control group — a group that gets no treatment. That's what I just described above. The control group is necessary to cancel out all of the other factors, like the alcoholics deciding to quit drinking because they are just sick and tired of being sick and tired. It happens every day, and is nothing unusual. (A.A. just tries to take the credit for those people, and say that it saved them. That isn't true. They save themselves.) The difference between the control group and the treated group tells you what the treatment or medicine is really doing to the patients:
== If the treated group does better than the control group, then the medicine is good and is helping the patients.
== If the two groups fare equally well, then the medicine is completely ineffective and worthless.
== If the treated group does worse than the control group, then the medicine is harming the patients. Throw it in the toxic waste dump.

Longitudinal just means that the test goes on for a long time. Preferably for years.

Here are some of the best randomized longitudinal controlled studies of A.A.:
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Brandsma
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Ditman
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Walsh
http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant

In Dr. Vaillant's study, he didn't have a control group, but he synthesized one from a population of untreated alcoholics. He compared his A.A.-treated patients to another bunch of alcoholics who got no treatment.
That is a valid technique if you do it in an unbiased manner. Vaillant seems to have done it honestly: He found that A.A. and the untreated alcoholics had exactly the same rate of sobriety after 8 years.
But his A.A.-treated group had the highest death rate of any kind of treatment that he studied. At the end of 8 years, the score for his first 100 patients was:
5 sober, 29 dead, 66 still drinking.
Not coincidentally, 5% is also the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics. Each year, five percent just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, so they quit drinking. That's where all of the "A.A. success stories" come from.

Have a good day.

*               Agent Orange              *
*          orange@orange-papers.org       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      http://www.orange-papers.org/      *
** The USA and Great Britain still maintain that they can
** establish a stable government, peace, freedom, and
** democracy in Iraq. That's the Coalition of the Deluded.


Jun 7

kyle wrote:
> Orange wrote:
> > Likewise, in his book "The Varieties of Religious
> > Experience", William James collected a bunch of stories
> > of people having religious experiences that suddenly
> > made them quit drinking. (That is probably where Bill
> > Wilson got the idea for all of the autobiographical
> > stories in the Big Book.)
>
> That is very interesting. Is it known if Bill Wilson invented any of
> those stories?

That's a great question. Alas, without being able to get into the locked and sealed A.A. archives at the A.A. headquarters, we won't ever really know for sure.

My favorite candidate for a faked story is "Join The Tribe" (page 474 of the third edition of the Big Book), which was supposedly a story written by an Indian. It is written in "Tonto-ese", the fake Indian talk that Tonto used on the Lone Ranger programs:
"I proud to be Tall Man, American Indian, and member of A.A. for many moons."
"Never forgot magic in firewater."
"Tall Man now see Great Spirit in Big Group in sky."

See: http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-letters9.html#Tall_Man

The bosses at the A.A. headquarters silently removed that story from the Big Book when they put out the 4th edition.

*               Agent Orange              *
*          orange@orange-papers.org       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      http://www.orange-papers.org/      *
**  "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very
**  short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.'
**  And God granted it."  Voltaire (1694-1778)


Jun 9

Kyle wrote:
> That Indian story sounds hysterical — and utterly embarrassing for
> proponents of the Big Book. Is it known who is responsible for adding
> these stories to the Big Book at the time the Indian story appeared in
> it?

I don't know, other than the anonymous faceless AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.) staff who put together the Third Edition in 1976.

Bill W. was five years dead at that time.

*               Agent Orange              *
*          orange@orange-papers.org       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      http://www.orange-papers.org/      *
**  "...AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**  indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**  world over.  ...in the absence of proven scientific
**  efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that
**  mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure
**  of proper separation between church and state."
**  == AAWS Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**  The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.





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