Letters, We Get Mail, CXXV

Date: Sat, April 25, 2009 2:59 pm     (answered 9 June 2009)
From: "Sheila E."
Subject: who wrote the appendices?

Hi Orange,

I enjoy your web site immensely! I am very interested in the listing of who wrote each chapter of the Big Book — oh dear I used capitals! ! the "big book" I mean — can you direct me to who wrote the appendices?



Hi Sheila,

Thanks for the question. But I don't know the whole answer for sure. I had always assumed that Bill Wilson wrote the appendices. But it's possible that one of those anonymous elves had a hand in it too.

The ones that I am surest about are Appendix 1 — "The A.A. Tradition", Appendix 2 — the "Spiritual Experience", and Appendix 7 — The 12 Concepts.

Bill Wilson definitely wrote the 12 Traditions. In fact, the other alcoholics didn't even like them, and voted them down, and refused to accept them as "the A.A. Traditions". (For good reason — they weren't traditions at all, they were just some rules that Bill made up. Traditions are things that people have been doing for a long time, not new rules that somebody just made up.) Bill Wilson had to campaign for his "traditions" all across the USA for many years before he could cram the "traditions" down the throats of the other alcoholics.

And Appendix 2, the Spiritual Experience, is even funnier. Bill Wilson raved all through the Big Book about wonderful spiritual experiences, things that were similiar to his belladonna experience in Towns' Hospital where he "saw God".

... we have decided to go to any lengths to find a spiritual experience...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 79.

We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Chapter 6, Into Action, page 75.

We have found much of heaven and we have been rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence of which we had not even dreamed.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 2, There Is A Solution, page 25.

Well, after the first edition of the Big Book was published, alcoholics wrote to the Alcoholic Foundation from all over the country complaining that they did the Twelve Steps, but they weren't getting the spiritual experience or seeing God. So Bill wrote an appendix that explained that sometimes your "spiritual experience" is really more like an "educational experience". So no, you don't get "rocketed into a fourth dimension of existence". Darn! Just when it was sounding like a good LSD trip.

See the web page on The Bait and Switch Con Game for a longer list of Bill Wilson's lines about spiritual experiences, and a longer discussion of Appendix 2.

The other appendices are pretty minor. Appendix 3 brags about 5 doctors who endorsed Alcoholics Anonymous, one of whom was Bill's psychiatrist Dr. Harry M. Tiebout, who said that Bill Wilson was trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of "His Majesty the Baby." In other words, that Bill Wilson was suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Appendix 4 is just bragging about the Lasker Award.
Appendix 5 brags about Bill's favorite Catholic Priest Father Edward Dowling, and an evangelist Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, who endorsed Alcoholics Anonymous.
Appendix 6 is just "How to get in touch with A.A.".

And Appendix 7 is more rules: "The Twelve Concepts" that the A.A. organization is supposed to follow, but doesn't. I'm pretty sure that Bill Wilson wrote those things too. He was always writing about how "A.A., as such, ought never be organized", and then he organized it and legally incorporated it, and wrote the rules for the organization, like the 12 Traditions and the 12 Concepts.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast;
**     a wild beast may wound your body,
**       but an evil friend will wound your mind.
**         ==  Buddha

Date: Sun, April 26, 2009 7:06 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Angel"
Subject: Hmmmm...

You just freed me from the bonds of A.A. Your site was the perfect excuse I needed to go back out and drink guilt free.

One of your emailers said it all and I too would rather die a drunk than a sober cult fanatic.

This one is for you, CHEERS!

Angel P.

Hello Angel,

Thanks for the demonstration of the propaganda technique of sarcasm.

If you choose to commit suicide by ethanol, that is your choice. It's a stupid choice, but you can do it if you wish. It's not my choice. When I was faced with that choice, I chose to live.

And I don't need an "excuse" to either drink or be sober. I do what I choose to do, because of what it will get me. In this case, I choose to stay sober because it gets me health and happiness.

Oh, and if you choose to drink because somebody criticizes the quackery of a lying cult religion, then you don't have a very firm grasp on your sobriety, do you?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir,
**    at long last?  Have you left no sense of decency?"
**    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/welch-mccarthy.html

Date: Tue, April 28, 2009 1:46 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Shellie H."
Subject: why

Why do you have to bash AA so much. If it works for some, why can't you just let those people be happy?

Hello Shellie,

The answer is, A.A. does not "work for some". A.A. is a fraud and a hoax, and just another lying cult religion, noticeably similar to Scientology. The fact that some people enjoy cult religion meetings does not make a cult a good organization. The fact that a cult has some movie star celebrity boosters does not make it a good organization.

I'm all for "letting people be happy". But I will not condone forcing cult religion on sick people and drunk drivers as "treatment for alcoholism", or "treatment for drug addiction".

We've been over this before, many times. See: The Twelve Steps do not work as a program of recovery from drug or alcohol problems.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**    guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**    also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**    having any medical education or training.  They have never
**    gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**    residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**    life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**    is what you call quackery.

Date: Tue, April 28, 2009 5:55 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: DC
Subject: Why?

I stumbled across your webpage whilst searching for something else (complex adaptive system theory — ie AA) I read it and was compelled to ask a question — why?? Why go to so much effort and trouble to debunk, expose, reveal — whatever the term you would choose to use about a group that are benign.? My wife has suffered from alcoholism for many years and eventually joined AA — for whatever reason — coincidence, plaecebo, reality, support -whatever -? for her its provided her — and consequently our family — with emotional support whilst she has started on a the road to recovery from a truly horrible addiction.?

So I found myself wondering what is your own reason to place so much effort into your article — as often such an article says more about the author than the reader. Or perhaps try thinking about it another way — what if an alcoholic thinking about trying to do something to try and combat their addiction had also stumbled across your page and decided after reading your page to make the decision to not try this approach, and lets say that this one person may well have been influenced, helped by the process.? In what way would this justify your actions?? I would concur with your page if AA was in anyway sect like or malintentioned in some way — but having attended a few open evenings they are in reality attended by some of the most genuine, amusing, interesting and funny people I have ever met who provide a community of genuine shared affection and care without judgement.? If only other organisations could engender this philosophy the world would be a better place.

It might? be useful for you to try and look a little bit inside yourself and your own motivations and ask the question what value have you ultimately added in the grand scheme of things .


Date: Tue, April 28, 2009 6:00 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: DC
Subject: sorry one last point

forgot to mention — at no point at the three open evenings that I have attended has anyone said that the 12 step programme will cure them if they follow it.? On the contrary they are very clear in saying that the only cure is from within the person themselves when they really want to stop — the programme and the community are in my humble view therefore just enablers/supporters to help a person more rapidly recognise that it is possible to eventually re-take control of their lives/destiny.


Hello DC,

My answer is pretty much the same as what I just said in the previous letter. The fact that one person enjoys the meetings of a cult religion does not make it a good organization. A.A. promotes a quack cure to a deadly problem, and kills more people than it saves.

The fact that a few people do choose to quit drinking and live sober doesn't prove or even indicate that the A.A. program really works.

Then you repeated the standard A.A. argument about why you shouldn't tell the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous:

...what if an alcoholic thinking about trying to do something to try and combat their addiction had also stumbled across your page and decided after reading your page to make the decision to not try this approach, and lets say that this one person may well have been influenced, helped by the process.?

The claim that "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety" is such a standard old A.A. argument that I made a list of many of the times that A.A. members tried to use it, here.

Your assumption that somehow A.A. might have helped an alcoholic is groundless. It is more realistic to guess that A.A. might have harmed the sick alcoholic, and might even have caused him to die. When Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous [World] Services, Inc., and a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, tested A.A.-based treatment of alcoholism, the result he got with his first 100 patients from 8 years of A.A. was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking. Dr. Vaillant declared that A.A. was completely ineffective for getting alcoholics to quit drinking, and that the A.A. death rate was "appalling". No other way of treating alcoholism that Dr. Vaillant studied had nearly as high a death rate.

Warning people about that kind of a deadly crap shoot is not a bad thing.

You also stated that they were really nice to you at your three meetings. Well of course. That is the standard cult recruiting technique called "Love Bombing". That's how cults get the beginners to keep coming back for more indoctrination. And that's how they fool the relatives into thinking that the cult is really a great organization. If they had been nasty and cultish to you, you wouldn't have encouraged your wife to go back again, would you have? Obviously not. Well they know that, and they are on their best behavior with the newcomers and the beginners.

Other people have also recently described their experiences with Love Bombing:

Oh, and in your second letter you stated that

...at no point at the three open evenings that I have attended has anyone said that the 12 step programme will cure them if they follow it.?

Those three meetings were certainly unusual. At every A.A. meeting that I ever attended, and it was a lot more than three, someone incanted,
"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail, who has thoroughly followed our path..."
And then they said, "This is how we got sober", and then they recited the 12 Steps.

Later, they will not only tell you that A.A. works, they will insist that the A.A. 12-Step program is the only cure.

Lastly, you are assuming that A.A. is going to keep your wife sober and your marriage is going to be happy now. You should read some of the horror stories that I have received from other people who have had their marriages destroyed and their families broken up by A.A.: here.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A.A. says that alcoholism is a disease, not a
**    moral shortcoming. That's why you must list
**    and confess all of your sins and moral
**    shortcomings and wrongs in Steps 4 through 7.

Date: Wed, April 29, 2009 10:27 am     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Patrick M"

I believe in god, I believe in living in the moment, and I myself am in Alcoholics Anonymous, but I believe AA is an unnecessary crutch, like smoking. It mixes constant group re-inforcement and cult-ish techniques with a skewed form of reality therapy. It works for some people, but some people define their entire lives off of it. I don't agree with everything you've written, and that is fine; I tolerate it; and you've done a good amount of research that expands beyond social prejudices.

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

The only line I disagree with is, "It works for some people".

I think you are being too generous. A.A. has a few sober people, yes, but the A.A. success rate is the same as the success rate of people who quit without A.A. — five percent per year. So A.A. makes a zero-percent improvement on sobriety. So A.A. does not really "work for some people".

But A.A. does make one big difference: A.A. has an appalling death rate. (A leader of A.A. wrote that.)

When A.A. appears to work for some people, that's just the people who were going to quit anyway — the ones who were ready to quit. They would have quit no matter what kind of group or program they were in, and they would have quit anyway without any group or "program" at all. When those people quit drinking after a few A.A. meetings, or even before their first A.A. meeting, A.A. steals the credit for their sobriety and claims that "A.A. worked for them."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As a matter of fact, the successful worker [A.A. recruiter]
**     differs from the unsuccessful one only in being lucky about
**     his prospects. He simply hits cases who are ready and able
**     to stop at once. Given the same prospects, the seemingly
**     unsuccessful person would have produced almost the same
**     results.  In other words, you have to work on a lot of cases
**     before the law of averages commences to assert itself.
**        So cheerio, Jennie — it ain't your fault.
**      == Bill Wilson, in a letter to an unsuccessful A.A. recruiter, reprinted in
**       'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world,
**       Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, pages 251-252.

Date: Wed, April 29, 2009 2:15 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Arabella C."
Subject: Thank you

I have been member of AA for about 4 years. I knew there was an evil underlining story about Bill Wilson. After attending many meeting and revolted by the cesspool of scumbags just there to get a date, the men making comments "has anyone bagged her yet?" Total bullshit!

Thank you so much for enlightening me. I think I can do the sober thing alone.

Best regards,

Bella C.

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

Hello Bella,

Thanks for the letter. Congratulations on your awakening.

And you don't really have to do it alone, you know. There are lots of possibilities for socializing with other honestly recovering people. Things like SMART, WFS, SOS, and Lifering come to mind. And I think they all have online forums now. I just printed the list again, here.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** The finest structure can house the worst evil.

Date: Wed, April 29, 2009 4:51 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Gerald S."
Subject: similar website name (in name only)

Orange —

Check out http://www.orange-papers.com



Hi Jerry,

Thanks for the tip. Another name copycat, again. The previous one was www.orangepapers.org (without the hyphen), but it's defunct now. I suspect this one will be too, eventually. Google still routes all of the traffic to me.

One of those domain name squatter-hijacker companies grabbed the dot-com domain name when it became available, and then offered to sell it to me for $100. I refuse to pay those criminals anything. (Such schemes are illegal in Europe, you know, and they should be illegal in the USA too.) Then they dropped the price to $50. I still ignored them.

So some Stepper sucker paid the price, I see. Well, they went to a lot of expense and bother to put together a web site that will get no traffic.

So it goes.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Fanaticism consists of redoubling your effort when
**    you have forgotten your aim.
**       ==  George Santayana

UPDATE: 2014: The copy-cat web site was abandoned and neglected, and when the domain name registration expired, I quickly grabbed the domain name "orange-papers.com", and now it reroutes to orange-papers.info. Then I also registered all of the similar names that were available, like orange-papers.net, orangepapers.org, and so on, so I don't think there will be any more copycat web sites.

Date: Wed, April 29, 2009 6:12 pm     (answered 11 June 2009)
From: "Ron B."
Subject: Wow

I can't believe anyone would spend that much time and work on AA. You have bigger problems than alcohol. Look, I went to AA for quite a few years, it cost nothing unless I felt like putting up a dollar, if certain meetings had assholes or nazi's I didn't go to that meeting. But overall when I worked at the program and went to meetings I stayed sober.

I haven't gone in years and I'm clean on my own, I like to think prayer freed me from the cravings (It was a lot more heroin than alcohol) if you have a problem with God than lets say I aged out of addiction. I look back on AA with a big smile, I met good people and no one made me do anything I didn't want, I wasn't in a cult there were no group sessions. Maybe it's different here in New Orleans. Like they say I took what I liked and left the rest. But a cult??? Come on.

And to put that much time into debunking AA. I wonder about you a lot more than AA. That's a lot of effort. For what? Put that effort into something important like spreading word about our corrupt government, and the New World Order wack jobs. I hope you've found something better to do than mess with AA. Seriously!

Hello Ron,

Thanks for the letter. What we have there is a good demonstration of the propaganda technique of Minimization and Denial.

The people who have been hurt by A.A. don't think calling it a cult is excessive. Try reading some of their horror stories. Here is the list.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         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.

Date: Thu, April 30, 2009 12:16 am     (answered 12 June 2009)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: AA is really not what they say anymore is it...

Please erase any identifying name or content. This letter is sent anonymously

I am unsure of my purpose for sending this letter other than your invite to express it. I have read your information on this site and understood what you have said to be true. I was surprised at my level of agreement. I was further pleased to see that my impression of AA and how it has changed over the years is witnessed by others. Perhaps, just maybe I was right about my recent experience. My self esteem has always been an issue for reasons far beyond that of drink or addiction.

I have not had a drink or drug abuse for longer than I used. I am over 20 years sober. I used to travel and give leads, sponsor, etc. The thumper I was. Then I left the community because of reasons that centered around money and career. Not having enough sense to reach out for support through church or other forms of support, I felt alone and empty out in a world of strangers. Thinking nobody could feel the way I do.

I came back to AA meetings just a few years ago. I started to get involved and immediately saw a face of Social/Money kiss-kiss that I never saw before. I did not remember that most in AA are weak at best. Even in times of triumph, I have witnessed the Elders turn and feed among the young here too. But I kept going and soon found the "social" atmosphere and the easy drawing me inside. I wanted to be accepted, part of the crowd, a fellow among fellows. I got a Sponsor who had years above me (hard to find) and he was part of the "Club" that these meetings were held. I felt like there was a sense of security starting to develop but I also noticed a click, gang attitude between the "pretty" people. Gossip seemed to not only be part of the event, it seemed to be expected. However my Sponsor turned to be another part of this crowd and true colors never appeared.

I am a single man and have a streak of flirt in me. Always have and out here in the real world, not an issue. In fact my "real world" life is really awesome most of the time. I just have a few lonely issues to attend. A couple of the gals would have lunch with me (on my dime) and fellas would like it when I bought dinners too. I gave lots of food and money and time. Even helped out with some other "Club" stuff too. Thus my mistake, I stepped on an ego and toes that evidently did not like me too well.

I am not healthy, I am retired and disabled. My body is weak most of the time and perhaps I offend folks sometimes by my act or appearance. Either way, I became the target of a witch hunt. Once I found out about the gossip and the insanity, I stopped going to that building and have attended meetings elsewhere. Still go to AA meetings and have fun doing so.

Today, I got a notice from that same place 6 months after not even being there that suspended me from coming back. I was accused of "inappropriate behavior" of which there was none, nobody has to this date ever spoken to me and It was this reason (gossip and hatefulness) that I left anyway. Is it just me or has the "Fellowship" of AA become rude, insane, nasty and down right anti Social ? I don't remember AA as a place where you were allowed or not based on whether everyone liked you or approved of your lifestyle. My personal life is really good but my support & service life is currently filled with AA meetings. I may have been placing my reliance in a once good but now failed environment.

Is AA turned fake and foolish on the heals of our Economic growth and failings?

Are AA members like me ready to leave because of the stupidity?

Are the Social Clubs really like the Treatment Centers that Collapsed in the 80's & 90's ?

Is there an avenue of support that can provide real world interaction without the crazy's ?

I will always be grateful to AA for the entry and saving efforts of new. But as I see attitudes change, electronic Gossip destroy people without regret I can't help but think this is really wrong. I found that I never fit into "social" circles anyway so when I found myself starting to work at going to meetings, I knew it was time to change. I received a warm welcome at other meetings but I still can't help think I am placing my eggs in a broken basket. The Oxford Group failed for similar reasons as so did the Washingtonians. I would hate to see AA fail because they do help some and open doors for others. But I can not see myself gaining wisdom and support above entry level sobriety at meetings anymore. It just is not there and what is there appears to fall into the same issues discussed on this website.

I have marked this page and I must say, you have given me some strong thought. But also, in my immediate times of heart break and sadness over my best friend stabbing in the back (that's what it feels like) your website has opened my mind a little and comforted a lost soul. The drink has not nor will not return, that has been removed! I am truly aware of that God who works through people, Church and wisdom. I just cant find any true wisdom there anymore. I love, Just LOVE the beginners and seeing the light come on. But it seems the AA I recall was more about not drinking and improving rather than how to manage your relapses.

I am confused and hurt tonight as I write this letter. I have seen many people helped by AA but the quality of people I find, the lack of integrity at a real world level, the whining and the constant gossip and hate. Not a place I want to be. How can I grow there if I have nothing feeding me, just taking? It is Ironic the letter was sent after I am sure this person heard I wanted to attend a meeting to give a token away to someone. How timely on their part. How foolishly childish as most Idiots are?

Thanks, somebody sad...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the letter and the story. I hope you get to feeling better.

Again, I have to point out that you don't have to be alone in your recovery. There are other groups besides A.A., and they seem to be far nicer. (I know that SMART is; I don't have any experience with the others.) I just reprinted the list here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Although easily mistaken for candy, holly is quite poisonous."
**     "Although easily mistaken for real moral religions,
**          cults are quite poisonous."

From: José Y.
Subject: Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists — Irrational beliefs
Date: Thu, April 30, 2009 9:42 am     (answered 12 June 2009)

Hi, my name is Jose, I'm a spanish psychology student, and after all, I would like to apologize about my poor english.


Would like to say a few things about what you said about Sokka Gakkai, "cult" wich I'm part of.

  1. First of all, you said: "Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists (Sokka Gakkai) believe that..."
    We are actually split with the Nichiren Shoshu due by diverse reasons.

  2. Second: "...believe that a printed scroll, called a Gohonzon, will grant all..."
    People are taught that the scroll is just a paper, a mere, non-literal, representation of every human aspect, good ones, and bad ones, we pray to get the best FROM OURSELVES, and getting whatever we want BY OURSELVES, the scroll is just a reference point.

  3. Third: "Their core belief is that if you just chant the name of an old book of Buddhist wisdom, that you will get all of the benefits of the wisdom in the book. You don't bother to *actually read* the book or practice the philosophy; you just chant the name of the book: "Nam myoho renge kyo". (Is that judging a book by its cover? Or absorbing a book by its cover?) "
    well, we ACTUALLY STUDY, not only the book but the Nichiren Daishonin reflections about it, wich we call Goshos.

  4. Four: "They also believe that they can achieve world peace if one third of the people on Earth chant their chant. [...] They happily ignore the obvious possibility that even if one third of the world does chant peacefully, the other two thirds can continue to gleefully slaughter each other and blow each other off of the planet"
    Good point there, but still, a bit innacurate, maybe the asseveration is too lightly done, but it's true that one can make peace between two. And what we seek is not symple that one third chants, our people does their best about putting peace around them. Yeah, 33.333...% of the world population trying to stop wars may be not enough, but is good as a first goal...

I am aware about the controversies about Sokka Gakkai, and have had a few times where seriously habe doubts about what I was doing, repeating Nam Myoho Renge Kyo all over again, what good it can do? Actually, by itself, nothing. Only when you get the idea that this is a path to improve yourself, and as I said, getting what you want with your best effort, it becomes really usefull. Yeah, is true some people actually think that "singing to a scroll" will give them a new car, but members like me try our best to explain them, that to get a car, you need money, that you'll have to earn with your work, or getting a better paid one... etc.

Thanks for your time, and hoping it clears the diffussal image you may have about us, my best wishes (of peace, yeah).

Hello José,

It would almost seem that we are talking about two different organizations. I wrote about Nichiren Shoshu of America, which I attended for a while in 1970 or '71. It was also sometimes known as "Sokka Gakkai" in those years. I was very careful to tell the truth about the organization. It was exactly as I described it.

There was no studying of books or teachings. I asked, "Where is the Buddhism? What about the teachings of Buddha?" and got nothing. The whole point was to just get everybody chanting all of the time. And people were supposed to be chanting for their wish list, as if the Gohonzon was Santa Claus. Then, each Sunday, at the central meeting (I think in Aurora, Colorado), people got up and announced which of their wishes had been granted this week.

When I said that I wanted enlightenment, my mentor thought I was crazy. Why chant for enlightenment when you can chant for money or a new car?

And I heard about the organization splitting in two in a dispute with the Tokyo priesthood many years later, and the destruction of the Budokan headquarters temple in Tokyo as part of the squabble. If this new organization called "Sokka Gakkai" is so radically different and much better, then good, but I doubt it.

Now I'm all for people improving themselves. But I don't know of any valid test that showed that chanting "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" every day actually improves people. In most exotic religious groups, like ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (the "Hari Krishnas"), chanting is just another means to induce trance states and make indoctrination and brainwashing of newcomers easier.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Rule your desires or they will rule you.

From: "Lisa C."
Date: Thu, April 30, 2009 9:24 pm     (answered 12 June 2009)

What about NA??? is there deal more effective?

Hi Lisa,

From what I've seen, there is no difference between the two as far as effectiveness is concerned. At the meetings that I went to, they would, at the start of each meeting, ask, "Can we see a show of hands of people who have a year or more of clean time, to show that this program works?" And very, very few hands went up. Maybe two or three or four out of fifty or seventy-five people.

In fact, the only differences I saw between A.A. and N.A. were:

  1. In N.A., there isn't so much worship of Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob.

  2. In N.A., they end the meeting with the Serenity Prayer, and in A.A., they use the Lord's Prayer.

  3. N.A. considers itself cooler and more hip than A.A., apparently because you can talk about both drugs and alcohol in N.A.

  4. They use different books as their central text, but the N.A. book is just a clone of the A.A. "Big Book".

  5. In A.A., members declare that they are powerless over alcohol in Step One.
    In N.A., they declare that they are powerless over "our addiction".

  6. A.A. gives away colored sobriety coins for sober time achieved, and N.A. gives away colored keytags.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    And the believers said, "If you want what we
**    have, and are willing to go to any length to
**    get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Mon, May 4, 2009 7:04 am     (answered 16 June 2009)
From: "Sean P."
Subject: The Papers

Thank you for your in-depth, searching and fearless dissection of the 12. Ever since I went into the rooms — I couldn't find people who 'had what I wanted', I didn't agree with the disease concept, I saw it as one crutch replacing the other, I found the steps to be nothing more than a catholic trap, listening to a sponsor the most fallible form of 'therapy' imaginable.. I could go on and on.

I'm considered a heretic in my country, the old timers chuckle under their breath or shake their heads.. He'll learn they mutter. Because I have managed to recover (6 yrs thus far) DESPITE the 12 steps. They would say, despite not working the steps or doing any of the suggestions, he's still clean. And you can feel the disbelief and resentment.

There are a few basic ideas that worked for me (I like to analyse, and take out the value in my processes).

  • Don't pick up no matter what.

  • Doing it one day at a time (Although we disagree on this point, I had a long suffering run of cleaning up alone doing it 'forever', and I really found it helpful. Of course, it's not a maxim for recovery — it just eased the early days. Now I do recovery 6 months at a time, but still enjoy 'living in the moment', when I manage to find that elusive state. What is difficult to do for an extended or 'eternal' period of time is simple to achieve for a short space of time. Of course, I've only just discovered the concept of AV, so I'm digesting that process — I may, after careful inspection and research, change my mind on this ;-) But I doubt and question everything until I understand it.

  • Fellowship. Having support from people in a similar predicament really helps, as long as there's no fear-mongering, or little hitlers in the audience.

  • Personal growth. I think that concept underlies the process of recovery. Unfortunately the 12 clouds it in smoke and godsh*t. But the aspiration is personal growth.

  • And lastly, the concept of complete abstinence. It's the only way that works for me.

Anyhow, really I wanted to thank you. Some days it feels I must be mad to think like this when the flock does that, but then, I never aspired to be a sheep anyway. But it really steeled something inside me to read your site, I have devoured these pages. Thanks for standing up, and restoring some rationality to recovery.

I'm looking at implementing alternative programmes in our country (we have none as yet) to give people the option to get clean outside of the sickening monopoly that the treatment centres and the 12 have set up together over here (South Africa).

Have an awesome day, Sean.

Hi Sean,

Thanks for the letter.

Starting at the top, you are a heretic. You don't properly babble the dogma of the One And Only True Religion.     :-)

And congratulations on your 6 years. That's great.

I don't totally knock the idea of "one day at a time". I know that I criticize it, and say, "Quit forever, all at once", but you don't have to do it that way. I think what is important there is that people don't buy the idea that they are so crippled and weak-willed and powerless that they will totally freak out if someone suggests that they should quit for a longer time than just one day.

When I first quit, I actually planned to do it for just 3 months. That is, I said to myself, "I'll quit for 3 months, and get myself together, and get a job and an apartment again, and then I'll be able to drink again."

But everything caught up with me, and my health collapsed. I was sick for most of the following three months. I had like 5 kinds of the flu and colds, and then bronchitis, and then pneumonia. I found out just how wrecked my health really was, and how much damage I had suffered, and changed the schedule to "a year", so that I would have some time to get my health back together. But as time went on, I learned just how much damage I had suffered to things like my brain and my short-term memory. So before the year was up, I changed the schedule to "Three years. You've done that before. You can do three years."

At the three-year point, I just assumed that I would of course do another three years. It wasn't even much of a decision. I was still working on healing my short-term memory and getting all of my brain functionality back. Then sometime after that I had to recognize the fact that the quitting was forever — that there was no attraction in going back to being that sick again.

And I'm also one of the people who has to totally abstain from alcohol. I just can't drink "only a little bit" or "have just one". I tried that for 15 or 20 years, and it never worked. But totally abstaining from alcohol is actually easy, and works great.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Where the drink goes in, there the wit goes out."
**     ==  George Herbert (1593—1633), Jacula Prudentum, 187

May 11, 2009, Monday: Day 11:

For three days, Carmen's family was gone, and I couldn't find them. They apparently go up the river a ways on weekends, and stay away from the crowds and dogs that show up in Waterfront Park on the weekends. Of course I was worried, and anxious to see how Carmen was faring with her new family, and hoping that she was okay without my care. If they had rejected her, she could have been dead in three days.

But finally, on Monday, they came back. When I went down to the river, I didn't see them at first. I didn't see Carmen's family until I saw them running down the hill towards the river, fleeing from a dog. Some very inconsiderate dog owner let his dog off of the leash and let it chase the geese. (That is a violation of two city ordinances — the leash law and the law against harrassing wildlife. Unfortunately, it isn't enforced.)

Canada Goose family with 5 goslings
The geese and their babies are running from a dog.
There are actually five babies there, but one is hidden directly behind an adult.

The goslings all reached the water, and jumped into the water, to swim away from the dog. Then one of the goslings recognized me, and turned around and swam towards me, and said "Hello".

Canada Goose family with 5 goslings
One gosling swam towards me to say "Hello".

5 Canada Goose goslings
The gosling saying "Hello", detail.

I recognized this little gosling. It's easy to identify because it has the lightest coloration of all of the goslings in the family, and it's also the friendliest and most trusting little gosling. This gosling was usually the first one to say hello, and the first one to approach me. I think it's also smart enough to remember that I'm the one who brings goodies, so it really is happy to see me. ,

Carmen, on the other hand, was playing it cool. She seemed to say, "Don't blow my cover. Don't talk to me. I don't know you. I never saw you before." And I also wonder whether Carmen was afraid that I might grab her and take her home again. That isn't an unreasonable fear from her viewpoint — I always did before. She had an attitude towards me like, "Oh no. You'll grab me and take me home. I know you." So she wouldn't come near me. She didn't understand that I understood that she wanted to stay with her new family now.

Nevertheless, I was very happy to see that Carmen was still with the family, and doing well. She was just one of the kids — totally accepted in the family. The parents have probably already forgotten that there was ever a time when they didn't have her — that is, when their family was smaller. Now, having five goslings is the new normal.

As soon as the dog went away, the geese turned their attention to another subject — food. Specifically, me giving them some.

Canada Goose mother + 5 goslings
"Feed Me"

What those goslings are asking for is obvious.
I think Carmen is the gosling on the left side of the father. (I'm pretty sure that's the father, from the previous photograph that I took that shows him sideways, where I can see his head markings.)

Canada Goose father + 5 goslings
This is the previous photograph. Here you can see the father's distinctive head markings.
Carmen is the gosling under his head. She is obviously bonding with him, too.

Canada Goose mother + 5 goslings
Carmen's family eating oatmeal
Carmen is either the gosling with a foot on the oatmeal, or the one in front of her, behind the mother's head, but I cannot know for sure which one she is because too many details are obscured.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

From: "Bill M."
Subject: AA Member
Date: Tue, May 5, 2009 8:31 am

This coolaid is better then what I used to drink.

Love Bill M.

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the letter. I'm not sure which way you mean that — whether you like the A.A. koolaid or like being free of it.

My best guess is that you are claiming that you really like the A.A. koolaid, and that it is better than drinking alcohol. Well, lots of things are better than drinking alcohol, but that doesn't make them good things. And the A.A. koolaid still kills people.

So you are making it into an Either/Or Choice which gives only two bad choices from which to choose — A.A. koolaid or death.

Whatever happened to just living free of all addictions and obsessions, including cult religion?

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         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."

Date: Tue, May 5, 2009 9:56 am     (answered 17 June 2009)
From: "John V."
Subject: Thoughtful but missing the point

Your theories are interesting and well thought out but seem to be as much your desire to put forth your opinion as fact, which seems to me as dangerous as being coerced by a group or an individual. While I respect some of your arguments , I can't help wonder what kind of meetings and where you attended them because in 5 years plus I haven't had anyone force any of those implications on me , nor have I seen them forced on a single newcomer. And as far as questioning AA's founders and intentions ..it's done all the time by oldertimers and newly sober individuals alike. I myself have chosen very carefully what works for me on both an intellectual and spiritual as well as physical basis.

In AA I have questioned beliefs and dogma and have found nothing but support for finding my own way and when I share my experience I encourage anyone to find what works for them. Do I believe as many do that I have a disease or am somehow less mentally able than a person who has not gone through the experience of severe alcohol dependence? No way ... Some people in recovery may not like it but ..thats my belief.....and it works for me and share that with others. Again they can take it or leave it. But I never judge anyone else for believing what they want and what makes the able to lead a relatively happy life...just like real boys and girls..

Anyway ..just wanted to let you hear from someone who isn't a robot or offended by people who think differently from me... One thing I agree with you on...AA ..we are definitely what I call Small C communists ....I have seen such selflessness in the rooms of AA that I haven't much seen in other aspects of my life both personal and professional .

On a final note I do not know if you have personal experience with addiction, but as someone who has and as someone who had to watch a good number of loved ones lose their struggle with addiction, I applaud anyone...who in ANY way tries to change and escape that hell and it was a literal hell, I make no apologies for my experience that faith (my own brand) has worked and added a dimension to my life without drugs/booze whatever ...I also have friends in recovery ..(who lead very varied lives we don't just keep recovering) that use a completely different belief system...and I have to say who cares what they or me believe we are alive ...sober .. and happy and contributing in some small way to making the world a little nicer One day at a time !

Peace out homey !

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter.

Well, first off, I don't just write theories. I'm really most interested in facts, like the documented A.A. recovery rate (or really, failure rate). Like Senator Patrick Moynihan said, "Everybody is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts."

Then you are trying to use the logical fallacy of "If I haven't seen it happen, then it never happened."
Lots of things happen out of your sight. I would guess that you have never seen Mike Q.'s "Midtown Group" molesting young girls, either. Does that prove that they aren't 13th-Stepping the young girls? (Well, they would like you to believe that.)

And you ended your letter with a mild ad hominem attack, questioning whether I really have any experience with addiction. And the answer is, "Yes, I have. Far too many years of experience." Look here for some personal history.

Now for the core issue — the real point of it all that I am not missing — everything else is pretty irrelevant compared to this one issue: No matter how much you have enjoyed making up your own personal recovery program and having your own faith, and no matter how tolerant a few other people were of your "maverick" ways, the fact remains that A.A. does not work to make people quit drinking. A.A. just steals the credit from a few people who quit by using their own will power and determination and intelligence and common sense — like how you did.

Every time A.A. was tested to see if it really works, A.A. failed badly. A.A. even made the alcoholics worse off. A.A. even made them die. Look here for the list of tests.

I wouldn't care so much about A.A. being a cult religion if it actually worked to save the lives of alcoholics, but it doesn't. Alcoholics who go to A.A. are no better off than the ones who don't go. In fact, they are often worse off, because they have had their minds messed up by the 12 Steps which are nothing but standard cult recruiting and indoctrination procedures that Bill Wilson got from Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

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