Letters, We Get Mail, CXXXIX

Date: Sat, August 15, 2009 9:11 pm     (answered 22 August 2009)
From: raymond I.
Subject: The Bill Wilson Spiritual Experience

Date: 28.07.2009 19:02 ? ? (answered 1 August 2009)
Subject: The Bill Wilson Spiritual Experience (Are You Experienced?)
Sender: Al

Dear Orange.

Would you possibly know the website where I could locate that hilarious Jimi Hendrix album-cover spin off starring Bill Wilson, Ebby Thatcher, and Quack... I mean, DOCTOR Silkworth posing as the Jimi Hendrix Experience album cover? I spend a lot of my downtime making up wallpapers and screen savers and I think that this one would be a goddamned hoot!!!



Hi Al,

That sounds like a fun spoof. I don't recall having seen it. Any readers have any ideas?

Have a good day.

== Orange


Hi Raymond,

Thanks for the link. That is a trip.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith,
**    I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
**        ==  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Date: Thu, August 13, 2009 8:58 pm     (answered 22 August 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Dr. Bob's Masonic Affiliations

Hey, Terry,

Regarding the recent discussions on Bill 'n Bob and the Freemasons, here is what the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Vermont told AAHistoryLovers:

Confirmation from Cedric Smith:

I have a Robert H. Smith who was a member of our Passumpsic Lodge No. 27 located in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He joined the Masons Lodge on February 12, 1903 and died on November 16, 1950.

I have a William B. Wilson who was a member of our Franklin Lodge No. 4 located in St. Albans, Vermont. He joined the Masons Lodge on December 4, 1849 and was dropped in 1860.

I hope this help in you with your research.

Cedric Smith

That was clearly Dr. Bob. As for Bill, I have never seen any conclusive proof that he was a Mason, although the daughter of a Masonic member of AA who had met them both told me her dad told her that they were both Masons. Bill was residing in New York, Virginia, and Massachussetts after he turned 21, before he shipped to England, and could have taken the degrees in any of those locations. He could also have received his degrees in a military lodge during his time in England.

There is one huge similarity between Masonry and steppism, the idea that a belief in some form of God is necessary for membership. Beyond that, not many other similarities.

Hope you are well, and good to see you back on the site.


Aha! Thank you, Mike.

That is very interesting. More grist for the mill. This does bear futher checking.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Prudence keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy.
**          ==  Samuel Johnson (1709—1784)

May 15, 2009, Friday: Day 15, continued:

Canada Geese gosling
Carmen resting and scratching her beak
Look at how big she is getting, so soon. This is only two weeks after I got her. She was just a tiny little fluff-ball back then.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, August 15, 2009 9:42 pm     (answered 22 August 2009)
From: "K."
Subject: Enough Drama, 26 years — cya...

Please remove name and info. I must say, this site and your information and the people who are sending this in, have almost comforted me in that there is a clear sign, AA has begun to fail and collapse. My experiences are not unique to myself and there is a clear movement here to either clarify the "cult" or movement back to a quality place of support, or stop spreading the illness. I saw the illness spreading in my experience of returning and the quality of emotional stability and lack of has made me completely broken hearted and clean all at the same time. Clean in that it feels like a rock has been lifted off my shoulders. I was more concerned about helping and fighting for the right. All along not realizing there is no way to push against this, AA has collapsed.

Here is my letter, above included and I am appreciative of your effort. I now see why this site is gaining strength. Sobriety is meant to BE Joyous, Free, SANE and emotionaly stable with a choice of Spiritual guidance. I cant find that anymore at AA. I cant find 30 years of sobriey to be my sponsor that can actually tell the truth. I cant find an honest effort of selfless acts of kindness anymore and I sure cant handle or need the Drama and Gossip. OMG, It has been like a friggin Elementary School. I left AA for many reasons including health and returned only last year. I thought many things but never thought I would see and find the kind of mean spirited, narrow minded isolated folks I saw. They down right think they are alone in this world and they are the only point of reference with no (AND I MEAN NO) tolerance for an objective or engaging point of view.


Dear Orange,

Once bitten, twice shy?

I wrote a letter to you once before about a year ago announcing my dislike of what I had discovered at a "Social Club" of AA that included a very few of those I had gone to meetings with 15 years prior. In my 25 years of constant and comfortable sobriety, I had no reason to think AA was on the verge of collapse not unlike the Oxford and Washingtonians. I now think that is a true prediction soon to be seen at the lack of quality and fundamental I see today.

I later started going to another club that appeared to have some more 'back to basic' AA but have since discovered, not true. I truly wish those who attend well and hope they find sanity and stability. I can no longer see the active, joyous, kindness that once existed. I have watched and read as the statistics continue to fail and dwindle for AA and its lack of ability to help. Recently I knew of a "business" meeting inside AA that was bankrupt, they are no longer able to support themselves either.

I am almost ashamed to admit that the very basic principles that once guided me are not able to support me. I LOVE to get active and be a part. The AA I see today is a collection of slackers and "let the other guy do it" folks that really seem to be more focused on themselves instead of going to any level of kindness to another person. I am overwhelmed at the lack of unity to support growth and involvement. My energy level is high and some folks find that offensive, got that. But, in AA of old when the recovery rates were high, energy was what it was all about. I am just in disbelief of what little kindness, generosity or action is cited as imposing.

I'm done, good-bye AA. I will occasionally stop into my old meetings in my hometown once a year or so. I may even go to the local meeting I call my feel good meeting still but I'll be damned if I am going to involve or consider a friendship inside AA again. I now see why there are no more QUALITY Old-Timers or 25+ people in the rooms anymore. I just never saw it coming. I was always the guy who would defend your own conception, live life to its fullest, be a part of — PARTICIPATE in Life! Sloth or slug type procrastination is the only terms I can find to describe what I have witnessed over the last year that I had chose to go back to AA after being gone for about 8 years because of health and lack of interest. I only went back to meetings because I felt a desire to fill my loneliness and perhaps, just maybe be of service. AA service is not what I was taught any longer and I really do not want the Drama. Every single meeting is Drama, no recovery, No Twelve Step Calls, no support, just how it DON'T WORK! I cannot believe I just wrote that. My heart almost feels relief even in the release of that burden.

Emotional Sobriety and Mental Recovery is what I want in my life. AA has the basic principles of spiritual support but I have to agree, the message has been turned into a Cult type approach and the people who are carrying this message are extremely sickened by the effects. More so, I can't fight that. If you throw a good apple into a bag of spoiled, guess who wins! They don't all turn sweet and clean, the illness and cancer kills the good. I'm Out! Enough, almost 26 years of sobriety and AA is not what I want anymore.

Bless you, thank you

Hello K.,

Thanks for the letter and the story. Congratulations on your sobriety. Sobriety is wonderful anyway, isn't it?

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and
**     you help them to become what they are capable of being.
**         ==  Johan W. von Goethe (1749—1832)

Date: Thu, August 20, 2009 2:02 am     (answered 23 August 2009)
From: "Sarah"
Subject: Recovering from AA


It's me again. I was hoping you could be a sounding board for me. Be prepared, this is a long story. I desperately need to tell it to someone that won't judge me for it.

I left AA a little over three years ago after ten years in it. I'm 33 now. I was very much a hard-liner, not only because I had been brainwashed, but because I was incredibly desperate for something, anything, to work. AA promised freedom, peace, happiness, community, absolution, the return of my family, and SO much more, even money.

I was clean almost a year when my sponsor said I hadn't worked the steps "right" and that was why I hadn't achieved complete serenity. What was my reaction? Well, as someone who was sexually abused from three to nine, I took the bait! Of course! It's me! It's MY fault! Forgive my "confession" of abuse, but more than three out of four women that I sponsored had been abused. 75% of dozens of women!

My next step was to fire my sponsor, and get one of the AA fundamentalists to take me through the book. Step one: you have an allergy and you are a "real" alcoholic (taking normal terms and redefining them). As a "real" alcoholic you have a spiritual illness that only a spiritual experience can conquer.

What defined me as a "real" alcoholic? I rarely had one or two drinks, I was always wasted. I experienced delirium tremens when I got clean because I had been drinking upwards of two fifths of bourbon a day for about six years. Oh, I was also a heroin addict, former cocaine and meth-amphetamine addict, and did pretty much every drug I could get my hands on. My first month clean I would inject water into my veins to satisfy the urges. But I wasn't allowed to talk about this because of AA's singleness of purpose. Between you and me, I had gone to NA, but I went to a meeting of 250 people, and they all lined up to hug me when I said I was new. Most of them were men too. So, I had been living on the street for several years, and strange men were lining up to hug me. I think not! I ran out and never went back.

Eventually I got arrested for trying to steal a laptop to pay for my next fix. I spent a couple of months in jail (where I had DTs — their reaction was to put me in a chair with restraints and let me ride it out) and was sentenced to a 12-step residential rehab. I spent six months in residential and two years in day treatment. I even got in trouble in rehab for working the steps too fast!?! My reaction? "I'm the only one here that's actually sober! Mind your own business."

Anyway, back to AA. I went through the steps, even though I had major problems with certain chapters, such as "We Agnostics" and "To Wives". The chapter to agnostics is simply nonsensical and insulting. Interestingly, after a couple of years of being a "big book thumper", it had become my favorite chapter. The chapter to wives was written by Bill, though he says it's written by Lois, and basically tells the wives to get over it.

At first, I was on a pink cloud. I finally, for the first time in my life, felt like I was part of something, AA. I told my sponsor everything and he didn't say anything. I got deeper and deeper in it. Why? Not just because I was desperate, but because the people that didn't do it, or talked psychobabble, or whined about the same thing for months were even less attractive than the dogmatic people who pretended to be happy.

Painfully long story short, I have major depression with psychotic features and social phobia. After two years in AA, I became horribly depressed for about six months. I couldn't do anything, including bathing. I had one acquaintance who dragged me to meetings. Once again, I had done something wrong. "If you were closer to God, you wouldn't feel this way." I finally went to a shrink, and he wanted to put me on medication. I told my "friend" this, and he took me out to eat after a meeting, with four other people, and they did an intervention. "We'd really hate to see you get drunk. You shouldn't take medicine, you won't be sober anymore, and you'll drink very soon." Never mind that I hadn't brushed my teeth or hair in weeks. So, I went to another meeting the next day, and heard my new sponsor speak. He challenged all (or so I thought) of the dogma, and made me feel safe. I asked him to sponsor me after the meeting. He said yes, and a new chapter started.

Skipping forward. I became a revolutionary. One who did the work, but took the word blame out of inventory, and focused on action, not God. Which was convenient as I had previously been an atheist, brainwashed for several years, and finally realized I'm still an atheist a couple of years ago, after leaving AA. I became very unpopular, but newcomers were lining up. I became a circuit speaker and everything. I went to college, graduated with honors and a 4.0. I was proof (ahem) that AA worked.

Three years into college, I once again became very depressed. That depression has lasted to this day. I've been on EVERY medication there is. I had 15 rounds of ECT (electroconvulsive "shock" therapy) this spring. I'm still not better. My doctor's reaction? "You have irretractable depression. AA's reaction? I missed something. The people who had been my friends were disappearing. I would talk at my home group, and no one would even look at me, let alone talk to me, after the meeting. When I finally left AA, no one called. Imagine, people who claim to be your best friends for years disappear, all of a sudden. The only person I still have contact with is an old sponsee that left AA shortly after I did.

The other day I printed your list of 100 characteristics of a cult. AA matched 96 of them. It was then that I understood the depths of the betrayal. And, yes, betrayed is what I felt by AA. It had promised so much, and gave nothing but sober time. I was one of the few people for whom sobriety was not enough. I wanted to be better in all ways. I realized that I had revised my personal history to match AA's definitions. I had internalized everything. Take what you like and leave the rest? How can you do this and believe that this is life and death at the same time?

I have slowly been realizing the depths of the brainwashing. I read a letter on your site tonight that said the writer experienced freedom from guilt through the steps. I felt more guilt all the time. No matter how many amends I made (32 total), I cried through every one. I felt guilty for everything, including things I only thought of doing. I was always wrong, even when I was right. I couldn't trust my mind, because it was, "out to get me." I got tired of being threatened with drinking very quickly. AA was as bad as that. I wrote inventory every day because "resentment is poison." My favorite AA quote? "I'd rather be a resentment than have one!" This from men who were sexual and non-sexual predators.

Thank you for your site. It has saved my life and my sanity. I don't feel so alone. My sister-in-law joined AA as I left. She lasted a couple of years before getting completely brainwashed. I desperately wish I could help her. Interestingly, I don't feel as much regret now as I did in AA. What I regret most, other than getting brainwashed, is that I heaped it on others. I abused people in the name of AA. No, I didn't do anything other than AA protocol, but that's abuse in my opinion. And I never blamed someone for how they felt.

So, a drinking update. About two years ago, I decided to see if it was possible for me to have a drink, just one. It was. So much for the allergy. I have been able to drink socially for a couple of years now. I haven't gotten drunk, I haven't turned into a raging addict. None of it. Every once in a while, I decide a glass of wine would be nice. You know what? I rarely even finish a drink! My understanding of how this is possible? I've done a lot of work on myself. I've worked really hard to take care of the things in me that made me want to never draw a sober breath. Interestingly, my reaction now, if I ever want to be wasted is to say, "what's going on Sarah? What's so wrong that you want to blot it out?" I never get to the point that being drunk seems like a great idea. The real reason I got clean? Because neither alcohol nor any of the drugs I took worked for the last year I used them. Not because I was sentenced to AA or anything else. Simply because having those kinds of consequences for something that didn't even work just wasn't worth it.

I also wanted to update you on that letter I posted at AA-meetings.com. I thought I did a great job of couching it in their language, and appealing to them. The result? Personal attacks by, not one, but nine people. "Why would you work the steps more than once if you're not just a dry drunk?" "You're not a REAL alcoholic." Blah, blah, blah. It registered with me because AA people always do the same to you. My favorite part of your site is the letter section. No one ever has evidence, they just make personal attacks. "How dare you question what is so true for me?" Thank you for showing me that this is a cult characteristic. Not just the attacks, but the redefinition of personal experience to mean reality.

I know I have gone on forever, but you are the only person I can think of that I can say all this to. I anxiously await your response, and if I can ever do anything to help you with your site, please let me know.

Sarah W.

Date: Thu, August 20, 2009 2:11 am     (answered 22 August 2009)
From: "Sarah"
Subject: P.S.

I forgot one thing. The suicide rate in AA of people sober longer than 15 years. Unfortunately a study has not been done, but the first eight years I was in AA, I knew (not just of, but knew) 17 people with over 15 years of sobriety, who committed suicide. Most of them were not "dry drunks". Also, I was present at a meeting where the husband of one member came in and shot his wife and then himself. I remember hearing for the next week how freaked people were that their "safe place" had been denigrated. I remember saying to people that they were nuts if this was their safe place as there were rapists, pedophiles, murderers, and other criminals sitting next to them at almost every meeting. If only I had understood the depth of that statement.

Sarah W.

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for a moving letter. You want non-judgemental? Okay, I can do non-judgemental.

First off, congratulations on your sobriety and your recovery — both from drugs and alcohol, and from the cult. I'm glad to hear that you have gotten yourself a better life.

Don't feel guilty about having gotten sucked into a cult. They have powerful techniques of persuasion and — yes, I'll use the word — brainwashing, that fools lots of people. And the recruiters didn't invent those techniques; they learned them from the same thing being done to them. Those techniques have been refined by one cult after another over many centuries. This generation of cults is just building on what previous cults developed and refined earlier. So the newcomer is at an extreme disadvantage when the resident sages and old-timers start slinging the slogans and uttering logical fallacies and playing all of those persuasive mindgames. Add on the fact that you were cloudy-headed and disoriented and confused in the early days of withdrawal and recovery, and you were an easy target.

So don't be down on yourself for having gotten fooled and believed it all for a while. In your heart, you wanted the truth, and you eventually got it — even if it took a while and was a struggle.

The real evil is the cults themselves, not the people that they prey upon.

It's sort of like a mind virus, like rabies or vampirism, where somebody gets bitten and then they want to go bite somebody else and Pass It On. The individual people are not to blame for having gotten bitten.

You said, "I was incredibly desperate for something, anything, to work." Of course. I don't blame you. All you were trying to do was save your own life. There is nothing wrong with that.

And likewise, I know that you wanted to fit in and be a part of the group. That is so basic to human nature that it is almost universal. The drive to be part of the tribe or herd or flock goes way back, to the early days of life. I'd bet that dinosaurs did it too. Look at the pictures of the little gosling Carmen trying so hard to fit in and and be one of the family, here and here. Notice how she will do whatever the others are doing, just to fit in.

About the moderate drinking — some people can and some people can't. If you have been reading the letters, then you have probably seen a few mentions of the famous Rand Corporation study of alcoholism that found that half of the alcoholics who quit self-destructive drinking did it by complete abstinence, while the other half did it by tapering off into moderate, controlled drinking. If you can moderate, then good for you. That is another worry gone. Obviously, you don't have to live in fear of one small slip, one little drink, leading to relapse and uncontrolled drinking and dying drunk in the gutter.

Incidentally, I guess that might mean that you actually are not "a real alcoholic", like those Stepper critics were saying. But I'm saying it in a very different sense than they were. They were saying that you are not "a real alcoholic", so your opinion doesn't count. I'm saying that addiction to alcohol and compulsive drinking are not your real core problem after all.

The way that your Stepper "friends" told you not to take the medications that the doctor wanted you to take is criminal. I mean, really criminal — it is practicing medicine without a license. It is also practicing medicine without any training or education. And it's manslaughter if the patient dies as a result of bad medical advice.

A.A. members are not qualified to give medical advice or proscribe the prescriptions of a real doctor just because they have been practicing members of a cult for a while. But A.A. and N.A. do a lot of that. And they hurt a lot of people.

Lastly, that suicide rate is incredible. That's really bad. And those were people with 15 years of sobriety in A.A.? Wow. I knew that the A.A. 12-Step guilt-induction routines drove some people to suicide, but that is a lot more than I had heard of before. Undoubtedly, the "no medications" beliefs of the 12-Steppers contribute to that death rate. There are some very depressed people who really need those medications.

Well, congratulations on your new sanity and your new freedom. Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     God will forgive me; that's his business.
**        == Heinrich Heine (1797—1856)

P.S.: Also see the list of A.A. suicide stories, here.

UPDATE: There is now an entire file of A.A. "No Medications" horror stories, here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

Date: Wed, August 19, 2009 5:02 pm     (answered 24 August 2009)
From: "Jack Rafferty"
Subject: The Cult Test Questions 41 to 50, https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-cult_q4.html

I don't know where you got your information about Werner tearing the closet apart and telling me: "I don't give a shit if your mother dies!"

Not the truth. Never happened.

Jack Rafferty

Hello Jack,

Thanks for the letter. I clearly show where I got the information from:
Outrageous Betrayal, The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile, by Steven Pressman, pages 97-99.

  • I guess you are declaring that Steven Pressman didn't get the story straight.
  • So you are claiming that you are the Jack Rafferty who worked for "Werner Erhard" (really, Jack Rosenberg) at the est "Franklin House" headquarters in San Francisco in 1976?
  • What is your version of the story? Or did Pressman get the name wrong, and it happened to somebody else?
  • Did your mother die while you were working at est? If so, what did Werner say about her death?
  • Do you have any interesting stories of your experiences at the est headquarters? What was it like?
  • Do you value the memories of your time in est?
  • Do you think that Werner Erhard was a good guy?
  • Do you think that est was a cult and Werner Erhard was a monster, or was est a wonderful enlightened organization that ended world hunger and spread sanity throughout the world, and Werner Erhard was a charismatic saint?
  • What about the other stories of Werner Erhard and est? Are these quotes true?
    1. never-ending "graduations"
    2. a gushing biography
    3. the Hunger Project rip-off
    4. Werner dictates other people's sex lives
    5. Werner the megalomaniac

I really would like to know the truth of the matter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Failures are usually the most conceited of men.
**         ==  D. H. Lawrence

UPDATE: 29 May 2010: No answer. This "Jack Rafferty" never wrote back or answered those questions.

Date: Wed, August 19, 2009 7:50 am     (answered 24 August 2009)
From: "Ron"
Subject: Interventions

Dear Orange,

Thank you for your efforts to educate people about the reality of 12 step programs.

I would be interested in seeing more information presented about interventions. Most of them are done by steppers in conjunction with an AA "intervention specialist" in which the guest of honor is sent to an AA dominated institution.

There seems to be a widely held misconception that interventions have some sort of legal sanction that compels the person targeted to stay and cooperate. In reality they are free to just walk away and avoid the humiliation that goes along with interventions.

The presence of a "specialist" seems to imply some sort of medical and/or legal authority of the proceedings even though there is none at all.

I recently forewarned a person of a pending intervention and he decided not to attend. After he was cut adrift by "friends" I provided him a place to stay while he got back on his feet. He is now sober and using the SMART approach to remain abstinent. I caught some hell for undermining his intervention and was told that I was "enabling" him...blah, blah, blah.... It was even implied that I had broken some law by telling him about the planned surprise party.

None of those ersatz friends give him any credit for remaining dry and predictably say he is a "dry drunk." My response is that the term dry drunk is an oxymoron and that abstinence is sobriety.

The intervention specialist involved is livid that my friend did not show up. My guess is that he missed out on a referral fee (bounty) from the recovery center to which his victim was to be sent.

I would like to suggest a page dedicated to debunking the concept of interventions and to make it widely known that people are free to not cooperate, that they can turn around and leave with impunity and that further it is illegal for a "specialist" to even imply that a person must stay and face intervention. I feel that shows like "Intervention" give the impression that interventions once called have the legal authority of a court complete with a judge who wields legal power. The truth is that interventions carry no more authority that the average surprise party.

Ron L.

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the letter. I couldn't agree with you more. I regard "interventions" as a criminal activity, a conspiracy where a bunch of people conspire to overwhelm and pressure and strong-arm some sick person into signing a contract that obligates him to pay many thousands of dollars for kidnapping, false imprisonment, quack medicine, mental abuse, and cult religion indoctrination. That is more than one felony. (Why don't people sue for that? Besides the fact that most victims are too poor to afford a lawyer.)

I agree that I should do a page on interventions. One more item for the list of things to do. Do any readers have horror stories about interventions?

Oh, by the way, congratulations on saving your friend from the intervention. And I'm glad to hear that he is in SMART. That just tickles me. Both of those things were good choices. I'm glad to hear that he is doing well.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and
**      inalienable rights of man.
**          ==  Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)

[The next letter in the chain is here.]

Date: Mon, August 17, 2009 7:18 pm     (answered 24 August 2009)
From: "Mary H"
Subject: AA and drunk driving punishment

Hi Agent Orange,

I have a question for you.

Say that there is a drunk driving accident where a victim is seriously injured or killed by a drunk driver.

What should his punishment be?

So wait a minute, he has a previous conviction and what was the answer?? TREATMENT with AA which you have proved (and almost all of us former alcoholics know) is ineffective.

So you take a man, put him in an AA rehab, where he has a what, one percent chance of recovery.

Then he gets out and can't stop drinking. (as we know 12 step is not effective)

Would there be a case for an attorney to read your website and use some of the science / statistics in his arguments?

My question comes because there was a neighborhood case where a boy was crossing a street at midnight, wearing dark clothes, crossing on a red light. He was hit by a drunk driver and killed.

The community was ready to have the driver's head! Now I do NOT condone drunk driving.

Yet how can we expect this guy to recover when we as a society give him ONLY AA which is ineffective and does NOT stop the cravings, blood sugar swings, etc

I'm just wondering if it's even worth my time/energy to send a note to his defense attorney with your site in the note.

What do you think? Has any defense atty ever figured out that the AA recovery rate is almost zero? So we are condeming people to years in prison because they did not "work their program" of AA?

Yours sincerely,

Mary H.

Hi Mary,

Thanks for a great question. This one really gets down to the nitty-gritty core moral values that we have.

My simple straight-forward answer is: Give that drunk driver the same prison term as anybody else gets for vehicular manslaughter for any other reason.

Other similar crimes include: killing somebody by driving and talking on a cell phone, or worse, text-messaging, or by speeding and reckless driving. Also, driving while taking any other drug or medication that impairs performance.

And a prior conviction just makes it worse. Obviously, the guy didn't learn the first time around. That's where the judge should get heavier in the sentencing.

I hate to advocate aversion therapy, which is essentially what imprisonment is, but it works as well as anything else, and maybe better than a lot of things.

My whole attitude about drugs and alcohol and crimes is that the consumption of drugs or alcohol is not itself a crime. I'd go ahead and legalize the whole mess of them, because prohibition isn't working and people are doing whatever they want to do anyway. Michael Jackson just managed to take an overdose in spite of the drug laws. So do many thousands of other people.

All that the drug laws are accomplishing is raising the number of burglaries and making dope dealers rich and empowering organized crime. In fact, the situation is so bad that Mexico is in big trouble now, in a civil war with drug cartels, because of the USA's drug laws and the USA's drug consumption.

Notice that alcohol is legal and regulated and taxed by the government, and while alcoholism is a big social problem, our society is not threatened by bootlegging gangsters like Al Capone any more. Likewise, tobacco is legal but being taxed to death, and the tobacco health problem is actually getting smaller.

Then I would say that being drunk or stoned is no excuse for any crime. Period. It is no excuse, and not a mitigating factor. If you can't drink alcohol without beating up your wife or driving drunk, then don't drink alcohol. Period. And the same goes for any other drugs. If you can't take them and remain civil and decent, and behaving in a non-harmful manner, then don't take them.

If you do take them and then commit crimes, especially violent crimes, then you will go to jail for those crimes, not for taking the drugs or intoxicants.

About the guy having been sentenced to 12-Step rehab before, I think a clever lawyer might find grounds for a civil lawsuit for damages. The guy who killed the little girl was defrauded and not given the promised treatment that would help him to solve his problem. He has grounds for suing the treatment center or treatment program for financial damages — maybe even for some compensation for the years that he is going to spend in prison. That case could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

But the offfender cannot avoid a conviction or prison just because 12-Step treatment programs are a fraud. He isn't powerless over alcohol, and he is responsible for his actions, just as we all are, drunk or sober. Impaired does not mean innocent.

Lastly, I don't see any problem with you sending a link to my web site to the drunk driver's lawyer. I don't think that anything on my web site is an excuse for driving drunk and killing a little girl. The offender has plenty of grounds to complain that he got cheated out of good treatment, but no grounds to complain that it isn't his fault that he chose to drive drunk.

Step One is a fraud — he isn't powerless over alcohol. And wasn't. If you are able to put the key into the hole, and start the car, and put it into gear, and drive it, then you are in control of the situation, and responsible for what happens.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man.
**         ==   Roy L. Smith

Date: Tue, August 18, 2009 11:28 pm     (answered 25 August 2009)
From: "The Swede"
Subject: Hi

Hi, Orange!

I've been reading your OP, and I must say that I'm really surprised. I knew that AA was bad, but not THAT bad. I've been sober for about six years now, but it's not thanks to AA's quack-cure, it's in spite of it.

I left almost a year ago after a couple of really disturbing incidents, including a couple of oldtimers behaving like real pigs. More on that later. When I left AA I had no where else to go, and that's what makes it so painful and difficult, but luckily I stumbled on Swedish home page (yes I'm Swedish) called "Sekt eller Botemedel" (Cult or Cure), where they have a forum for discussions on AA and the Twelvesteps movement.

After a while though, an individual started to show up on the forum starting attacking the guy who owns and runs the site, spreading false accusations about him. He/she's extremely unplesant and has been using up to 10 — 15 different nicks, all for the purpose of creating the worst environment possible for a constructive debate regarding AA as a good or bad cure for problems with alcohol.

Hello, Swede,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, that stunt of using many phony names and fake identities with throw-away email accounts (hotmail, google, inbox, yahoo) to do lots and lots of posts to forums is unfortunately a standard Stepper trick. They do it in forums in the USA too. And all of those fake personalities not only agree with each other, they congratulate each other for being so wise and smart... :-)

Anyway, the situation has now escalated to a point where the siteowner sees no other way to deal with this menace than report the abuse to the police, and here is my question:

1. I've been writing anonymously, and I'm afraid that something that I've stated at the forum doesn't hold up in a trial. That is, most of my references comes from OP, and my question to is: Is it solid? Can I trust you as a source, or is there any questionmarks? Don't get me wrong, I'm not holding you responsible in any way, I'm only asking for guidance regarding weak points in your material... if there is any, that is.

Hello, and thank you for the letter.

The material is solid. I've spent more than 8 years making it as accurate and true as I can. As you can see, most of my statements are backed up by quotes from a variety of sources — books about cults, research by doctors, the official history of Alcoholics Anonymous, and so on.

One of the weak areas is in the file The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A. where I diagnose Bill Wilson as a case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Delusions of Grandeur — because I'm not a psychiatrist. But Bill Wilson was so sick that he did have two psychiatrists treating him, Dr. Harry Tiebout and Dr. Frances Weeks, and the first one, Dr. Tiebout, said that Bill Wilson was trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of "His Majesty the Baby", which sure sounds a lot like Infantile Narcissism and Delusions of Grandeur to me. So even that can be debated in court.

The strongest stuff is actually the most important: the file on The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment is full of quotes from doctors who spent months or years properly testing how well A.A. actually works, and they found that it didn't work at all. And other doctors talk about spontaneous remission and how many people recover from alcoholism on their own, without any so-called "treatment".

The most damning part of that file is where one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. George E. Vaillant, who was a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous [World] Services, Inc. and is a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, spent 8 years testing A.A. treatment of alcoholics, trying to prove that it works, and he was forced to conclude that it didn't work at all, and that the A.A. death rate was "appalling".

Another weak point is calculating the A.A. dropout rate from the numbers of "sobriety tokens" given away. I only have one unverified source of information for the sales figures for the coins. (I could use more, readers.)

2. There is a great need for getting your page, and your info translated in to Swedish, is it ok if I give it a try?

Go ahead. I allow and even encourage the free redistribution of the web site's information. (That's why you can download the entire web site in archive files and make CD's out of them. And the structure of the web site is designed to work well off of a CD.)

3. Do you have any inside info on LifeRing? Is it good people or should I watch my step?

I don't have any inside info. I seem to remember having heard a few years ago that a bunch of Steppers were joining either the Lifering or SOS forum (I forget which), and trying to dominate the forum and use it to promote 12-Step everything by giving out bad advice, but that was a while ago and I haven't heard anything like that since. And that is the kind of thing that can happen to any forum, so I would always be aware of the fact that you don't really know for sure who is on the other end of the wire, so take everything with a grain of salt.

4. Could you please not give away clues to my identity to anyone. Not even the owner of www.sektellerbotemedel.se knows who I am, even though I've been translating four presentations of American alternatives to AA on his website.

No problem. I won't even print your initials. Your new name is "The Swede".

Finally, I'll always be grateful to you for OP, it confirmed my worst suspicions of AA, and more to that. Made me feel less lonely in dire time.

I'm glad that the pages helped.

Thank you, Agent Orange.

The Swede

Thanks for the letter, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person.
**        ==  Ethel Watts Mumford

May 15, 2009, Friday: Day 15, continued:

Canada Geese gosling eating rice
Carmen eating rice
I cook it for the goslings so that it is soft enough for a small gosling's tender mouth.

Date: Mon, July 7, 2008 5:04 pm     (answered 28 August 2009)
From: "Rick S." Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Subject: Wow!

I have just browsed your site for the first time, reading your "Introduction" and the paper "The Effectiveness of Twelve-Step Treatment" (completely, I might add, including drilling down on a number of the links). I will continue to read more of the papers and I hope to find them as useful and enlightening as I have found what I have read so far. I commend you for your thoroughness and diligence.

I recently turned 51 and have just short of eight months of continuous abstinence from alcohol and non-prescription drugs. I can honestly say that this is the longest period of continuous abstinence from such substances that I have been able to string together since I was fourteen or fifteen years old. Unfortunately, at the same time, I seem to have developed an addiction to tobacco products (I never smoked cigarettes until I went to treatment in the spring/summer of 2007) and am now consuming ridiculously large amounts of caffeinated beverages, but that's another story for another day.

From July of 2006 up until March of 2007 I was hospitalized four times for alcohol-related illness (early stage renal failure, alcoholic hepatitis, esophageal varices, pancreatitis, toxic fluid accumulation, etc., etc.). I have also had a scan and biopsy of my liver and have moderate cirrhosis. The last time I was in hospital (March 5-28, 2007), I was admitted in critical and unstable condition and was given a 50/50 chance of living for forty-eight hours. Fortunately, due primarily to outstanding medical care, and secondarily to what I attribute to a (re-)discovery of my own true desire to continue living, I survived.

I went to a residential treatment center for the first time in May of 2007 for six weeks and made two subsequent trips back to that center after more or less immediate relapses. I completed my third stay there on February 8, 2008. This particular treatment center is NOT focused on a Twelve-Step based recovery program and utilizes primarily the CBT model [Cognitive Behavioral Therapy]; although they did encourage and facilitate attendance at Twelve-Step meetings (both AA and NA) outside of program hours and outside of the facility. Since my last trip to treatment I also attended a six-week out-patient day program run through the addiction and mental health centre at our largest hospital here in Calgary (again, primarily using the CBT and Rational Recovery models) and continue in a weekly after-care support group attended by a number of the people with whom I went to treatment. I also attend both AA and NA meetings (4 or 5 a week) and have a sponsor in AA who has 23 years of sobriety and could, I believe, be fairly and objectively described as a "Big Book thumper".

Sorry to bore you with my story, but I wanted to provide some background. One of the main reasons that I agreed to attend the treatment center that I went to was the fact that it was NOT Twelve-Step based. Despite everything I had been through to that point health-wise, I still regarded AA specifically, and Twelve-Step recovery programs in general, as "religious cults". Both of my Mother's brothers were alcoholics and attended AA meetings, yet persistently "slipped" and ultimately died prematurely, due to alcohol-related illnesses. (My Mother does not drink and my Father drinks very moderately, so I did not grow up in an "alcoholic household".) My uncles were wonderful at preaching the "AA Gospel" when they were sober, but their hypocrisy made me want to puke.

Coming across your website today was an interesting coincidence. I have an appointment tomorrow with the Psychiatrist who runs the after-care program that I attend to discuss a number of concerns that I have about where I currently am in my recovery. I have been back at work now for about three months (twenty-five plus years before all this shit — same job) and am slowly re-integrating myself into what I like to call the "real world". My personal relationships (family, kids, ex-wife, friends, girlfriend, business partners, clients, etc.) are generally much better than they have been in long time, but, quite frankly, there just seems to be something "missing". When I have tried to discuss this with my AA sponsor, I just get met with the "Give it over to God" and "Work the Steps" crap that deterred me from AA and Twelve-Step recovery programs in the first place. In many ways, I feel like the only thing that's different in my life right now vs. a year or two years ago is that I'm not drunk or stoned all (or most) of the time.

I like your comments about "Playing the Tape" and it is a tactic that I have employed dozens, probably hundreds, of times over these past several months. I know, quite simply, that if I drink or use again, I will die — there are no "ifs, ands or buts" about it. I also fully accept that ultimately this is my shit — and my shit alone — to deal with. The support that I derive from my after-care group and from AA and NA is "OK", but it is temporary, situational and transitory. I never expected it to be anything more than that. "It is what it is". (I don't think that's on the list of AA "aphorisms"!)

You also raise a number of very specific things that I have begun to notice about AA recently that have caused me to "get my guard up" and have had my "Spider-sense" tingling more than occasionally. I need to read more of the papers on your site before articulating these concerns, but your comments about statistical manipulation, intolerance of relapse and "slippers", and sexual exploitation of young women are particularly resonant, as I have seen very tangible evidence of all three of these things in my fledgling AA "career".

Keep up the good work!

Stay clean and sober today,

Rick S., CA

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the letter, and you aren't boring me at all. Sorry to take so long to answer. Sometimes I get very behind in answering email, and that was one of those times.

I hope things are going well for you now.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Genuine ignorance is ... profitable because it is likely to
**     be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness;
**     whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar
**     propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind
**     with varnish waterproof to new ideas.
**         ==  John Dewey

Date: Sun, July 6, 2008 12:43 am     (answered 29 August 2009)
From: "Terri S."
Subject: hmmmm....

I did not once in your slew of slander of AA find YOUR solution to the problem.....just a bunch of bullshit negativity about something you probably never even tried. I see walking miracles in the rooms of AA everyday of my life.

But that's ok....rather than cop a resentment towards you....I'm going to turn you and your orange paper over to God as I understand him, and I'll sleep just fine tonight.

Sweet dreams to you!

Terri S.....a friend of Bill W.

Hello Terri,

We often talk about what works. Here is the list.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are no such things as incurables; there are only
**     things for which man has not found a cure.
**        ==  Bernard M. Baruch

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