Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXV

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 10:34 am     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Terren S."
Subject: different perspective (resent)

Hi there,

I sent this to you back on 4/29 and it's clear you've answered many letters from that timeframe already.

Just in case you didn't get it, I'm resending, and I look forward to seeing your response on the website.

Terren S.

Hi Terren,

Yes, that letter seems to have fallen into a crack. Thanks for resending it.

Date: Thursday, April 29, 2010, 12:50 PM
From: TS
Subject: different perspective

Dear Mr. Orange,

I came across your website the other day and spent quite a bit of time reading. After several hours, although I probably read less than one percent of your vast writings, I felt like I had the gist of your message, which is an important one. That is, that 12 step programs are inherently fraught with danger, and often enough, do more harm than good. Your passion comes through loud and clear and it is clear you write out of a desire to help people. It is terrible that people can go to a 12 step program in their most vulnerable time and be taken advantage of. I can relate, because a similar thing has happened to me, though not in a 12 step program.

I'm writing because I have had a different experience. I have never been to AA, but I have committed to a program in Adult Children of Alcoholics. Over the time I have spent in the program, I have improved my ability to trust people and achieve greater intimacy with my wife and children. In fact, it is not an overstatement to say that it has saved my marriage. Over time, I have learned that I can say my truth in a room full of people who will listen and not judge. I have learned that others are entitled to their feelings, just as I am entitled to mine, and that I do not have to manipulate others to get what I need. I am slowly letting go of my fear of being myself, openly, for all the world to see.

The way I reconcile your story with mine — I see both as valid — is that 12 step programs are hugely dependent on the particular personalities, and on the literature. I'm lucky enough to be in a group with wonderful people. I've never experienced or witnessed people in my group belittling, undermining, seducing, or otherwise taking advantage of others in the group. Questions are welcome, and I've often heard people question the literature in the midst of a share, and this is totally acceptable. I cannot relate to your comparisons to a cult, speaking only for the group I participate in.

Obviously those things can and do occur in other meetings, and unfortunately it looks like that was your experience (and those of many who write into your site). For all those people who write in (and those who don't) it is a good thing that your site exists, so they can get some relief and validation that their experience is what their instincts say it is.

Speaking of the literature, I also think the focus of ACOA is pretty different than AA. In AA, as I understand it, the focus is on drinking, the daily struggle to not drink, and so on. In ACOA, the focus is on the survival mechanisms we developed as children to get through the abuse and neglect, seeing how those mechanisms helped us as kids, hurt us as adults, and finally how to let go of those mechanisms and find the courage and strength to accept love and intimacy in our lives.

You write quite extensively about the steps and how harmful the implied message of the steps are. That they encourage people to accept powerlessness and expect people to turn their recovery over to God. Given your personal experience, I understand why you take the perspective you do, and why you see these as cult-like exhortations to give yourself up to the group-mind.

However, a more charitable view of the steps is possible. For instance, the ACOA literature makes a distinction between powerlessness and helplessness. You can be powerless over your reaction to an angry person, for instance, but you can learn how to deal with that inevitable reaction. As another example, "let go and let god" is actually a way of moving people out of old, dsyfunctional patterns of control-oriented behavior and into an open-ended mindset in which uncertainty is tolerated. Inventorying your past is not about making people feel bad, but about claiming responsibility, achieving forgiveness, and moving on.

My purpose here is not to argue with you or to refute your writings or anything like that. It is simply to balance one perspective with another.

Many of the people in my ACOA group have experience with AA, and quite a few of them openly vent about the atmosphere of intolerance, so your website was not my first exposure to complaints about AA. It was however the first time I heard about serious abuses or the idea that going to AA is worse than going it alone. Reading about it did make me question my own group. This letter is the fruit of my questioning.

I offer my own experience to demonstrate that "your mileage may vary". Not all groups are parasitic. I think ACOA in particular offers a nurturing atmosphere in which folks can come and learn a healthier way to live.

All the best,
Terren S.

Hello Terren,

Thanks for the letter.

It is nice that you have a bunch of nice people in your ACOA group, and you have found a comfortable niche in ACOA meetings. That does not prove that the 12 Steps are good therapy for abused children.

This is double-talk:
"You can be powerless over your reaction to an angry person, for instance, but you can learn how to deal with that inevitable reaction."
Obviously, if you can learn how to deal with the reaction, then you are not powerless over it. And I would go a step further, and say that you are not powerless over "having reactions". You can choose to react in one way, or react in a different way. You have control over your emotions. (By the way, SMART teaches some techniques for that.)

Then you said,
"The way I reconcile your story with mine — I see both as valid — is that 12 step programs are hugely dependent on the particular personalities, and on the literature."
But what that proves is that some people will heal themselves, and get better, and some won't. The 12 Steps have nothing to do with it.

The 12 Steps are totally inappropriate for a therapy program to help people get over child abuse. It takes immense twisting of words, and redefinition of words, to shoe-horn the 12 Steps into something that allegedly helps people who were abused as children.

Then you said, "I've often heard people question the literature in the midst of a share, and this is totally acceptable."
Well obviously, the scare level is a little different. They can't claim that you will make an alcoholic die drunk in the gutter if you question "the Program".

Then you said,
"Speaking of the literature, I also think the focus of ACOA is pretty different than AA."
Well the focus had better be different. The focus of A.A. is supposed to be to quit drinking. Obviously, the focus of ACOA is something else. And the focus of ACOA can't be to make you so "spiritual" that you stop getting abused by a drunkard. You don't have to "quit" getting abused, and start collecting tokens for "years of sobriety".

Then you wrote:
As another example, "let go and let god" is actually a way of moving people out of old, dsyfunctional patterns of control-oriented behavior and into an open-ended mindset in which uncertainty is tolerated.
Please show me where that was ever shown to work. What psychological experiment or controlled study showed that to be a valid psychological technique? I mean really. Where is the evidence that Buchmanism works to do anything good?

And who says that "control-oriented behavior" is bad? That is Frank Buchman's demand that you "surrender" and be "powerless", again. That is very bad psychotherapy. It harms people. It makes them worse, not better. It even drives some to suicide.

The jabber about "an open-ended mindset in which uncertainty is tolerated" is just more psycho-babble and slogan-slinging. Abused children already know all about lack of control and uncertainty in their lives.

Have you ever heard the term "blissing out"? It is easy to just bliss out and pretend that everything is wonderful.
"Oh, I am so happy that I can accept having no control over my life. I am just like a leaf in the wind, no control over where God will send me next."
But suppose it isn't God who is determining what happens to you next?
What if you just surrendered your fate to a random roll of the dice?
Or to the manipulations of a bad person?

This is more double-talk:
"Inventorying your past is not about making people feel bad, but about claiming responsibility, achieving forgiveness, and moving on."
But ACOA is about abused children having been hurt by alcoholic parents. That "claiming responsibility" talk is a bunch of bull. Abused children are not responsible for what was done to them. So you do not have to "claim responsibility".

And "achieving forgiveness"? And why does an abused child need to "achieve forgiveness"? What is the child being forgiven for? How did the child do something wrong by getting abused, and not liking it? Who has the power to grant that forgiveness? A priest? An old-timer with lots of years of going to ACOA meetings?

Lastly, your repeated assertions that we have "different viewpoints", and different "personal experience", and different "perspective", and "your mileage may vary" is just use of the propaganda and debating technique called Escape Via Relativism. You write as if the only issue is our different opinions of things, and "different viewpoints". You seem to think that ACOA and 12-Step cult religion is just fine therapy for abused children because you enjoy your meetings, and you have a different viewpoint than me. Not so.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The child is father of the man.
**       ==  Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up

May 18, 2009, Monday: Day 18, continued:

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose goslings
This is the Family of 9, walking and climbing up to the grassy field.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Mon, June 21, 2010 10:47 am     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "E.A."
Subject: Thank you

Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this website up

I am editing a book that mentions AA, and I wanted to state the fact that women were banned at first (I had read it in the "Big Book" years ago when I was supporting the alcoholic with whom I was in a relationship). It took me about half an hour to find that fact online... on your website. I wanted to be extra sure before I put it in the book I'm editing. I saw so many websites that didn't mention anything about this dirty little secret, until I came upon yours.

I was in a relationship with an alcoholic years ago and was flabbergasted by the hypocrisy of the organization.

The idea of powerlessness has now been disputed by many psychiatrists as dangerous and self-defeating. Any time people correct what is wrong in their lives, it is because they have summoned their inner strength. Didn't their own inner strength lead them to AA to begin with? And now AA wants to take it away.

"God" as we understand "HIM?" I guess that leaves out people who understand it as an entity, or a woman, or inner strength, or pure spirit. It is so assumed that "god" is a man that they don't even realize the hypocrisy in what they are saying.

They always begin their meetings by saying they were not affiliated with any religion, yet they often start out by having everyone recite the "Our Father," a patriarchal, Christian prayer. And no one in the meeting thinks this is odd.

Many people become sober without AA.

The person with whom I was in the relationship years ago encouraged me to go to Al-Anon. I went for about three months. The book of daily readings had quotes such as "Forget your anger" and "You made a vow!" to encourage any abused wives beaten regularly by their alcoholic husbands... wives who also watch their husbands beat and abuse their children... to stay married to them.

Thank you again for your website.


Hi EA,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I have to agree with all of your points. But let me amplify a couple of them:

About powerlessness. Yes, indeed. I think that is one of the worst aspects of A.A. and Buchmanism. Teaching powerlessness is so crippling. I know it hurts people, and probably kills a bunch of them. When Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma tested A.A., he found that the group of alcoholics who got A.A. as treatment were doing five times as much binge drinking as a similar group of alcoholics who got no treatment at all. I do believe that the teachings of powerlessness could be responsible for a big part of that. (And the guilt induction and shaming cause more of it.)

There was a time when I believed that I was powerless over alcohol and tobacco, so I thought that it was hopeless, and there was no point in trying to quit — just stay stoned and kill the pain until the bitter end comes.

Fortunately, when the brown stuff was really hitting the fan and the doctor told me to quit drinking or die — choose one — I somehow found the determination to not die that way. And now, with 20-20 hindsight, I can say, of course I have the power. I always had the power. I just didn't know it.

The other thing is your statement that "Many people become sober without AA." That is the understatement of the week. The Harvard Medical School said that 80% of the alcoholics who successfully quit drinking for a year or more did it alone, on their own, without any treatment or support group. Eighty percent. If that were an election, you would call it an overwhelming landslide. (Link here.)

Oh yeh, and isn't that Al-Anon thing appalling? I think that Al-Anon has to be about the worst psychotherapy in the world. Here are two good links: here and here.

Good luck on your book. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      She did observe, with some dismay, that,
**      far from conquering all, love lazily
**      side-stepped practical problems.
**         ==  Jean Stafford (1915-1979), American writer

[This stream of letters came in before I answered the first one, so it is not a back-and-forth conversation.]

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 6:21 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: the mofo cure, find God

So in the end all you have to do is delude yourself that there is a God and you'll stay sober. No cure, no love at the end of the tunnel. Haha. You are hilarious dude. I love it. Nobody ever shouts down a.a. they all tow the party line, Bill was a saint. I love what you do. It is awesome.


p.s. off to find God so I don't have to go to A.A. or N.A. to do it.

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for the compliments.

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 6:27 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: Dear Dr.Towns

When Ebby had got drunk he had been in Albany. Bill had not seen him, so what actually caused Ebby's slip was always somewhat mysterious.

Bottom line I think Ebby knew it was all bullshit and Bill W. was just a big enough con to pull it off, Ebby, I'm assuming got turned off by Bill and his bull and distanced himself, Bill knew he had a good score, he had religion by saying he didn't have religion and gained access to hospitals etc. You can tell Bill has resentment because I read in one of your lines something like, maybe we could get the good Dr. Towns to invest (not actually quote) but just from that slant you can tell the A.Aer are mad from the Dr. giving them that enema and calling it a cure, they wanted to shove something up Dr. D's butt and maybe Silkwood's too.


Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 6:30 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: 3 some

Then, of course, there was Ebby Thacher, who had already run through his family money by the time he found the Oxford Group. Ebby seems perpetually to have been financially desperate, and Bill was always willing to do whatever he could for him. Ebby lived with Bill and Lois on and off for years, and Bill supported him at other times, as well.
Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000, page 20

Okay last one. Since you are expressing opinions here. Do you think Bill, Ebby and Lois had a threesome? haha

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 6:56 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: down the road again

[This is from the story of a missing friend:]

Now I'm sure that a lot of steppers will immediately object to this story and say that N.A. or A.A. did not kill her. That is true. But they didn't help her either, did they? Yet they claim to be The Only Way. What I did not mention about her history is that she was also in another one of those many programs that send everyone to 12-Step meetings to "help them", and she had also been in such programs before, many times, so she knew full well what she was objecting to.

You are sooo right Orange, you do lose your family and friends to religion and if you can't follow the A.A. religion then you are just, "bad news," "cannot be rigorously honest with one self." (hate that one, I think it was a way for Bill W. to brag about all his women behind Lois's back and to laugh about it. That is why they say, take care of your own dirty laundry, do your own program, ) man oh man a bunch of chauvinists screwing the newcomers or whatever. I love what you are writing and wish people could see the honesty that you are presenting)


Sorry for writing so much but this is awesome.

Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 8:30 PM     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: Cindy
Subject: 3 some

Then, of course, there was Ebby Thacher, who had already run through his family money by the time he found the Oxford Group. Ebby seems perpetually to have been financially desperate, and Bill was always willing to do whatever he could for him. Ebby lived with Bill and Lois on and off for years, and Bill supported him at other times, as well.
Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000, page 20

Okay last one. Since you are expressing opinions here. Do you think Bill, Ebby and Lois had a threesome? haha

Date: Fri, June 18, 2010 6:31 am     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: a propaganda expert=Asked for drink on deathbed

Dammit Orange,

The more I look at your work the more I am impressed. Now just how did you get a picture of Bill W. sitting with Lois with his mouth curved so he looks,... Messed UP? That is funny. And man oh man you must have donated allot of time to this cause. Now how can we get the message out. Never mind. You are a propaganda expert and I mean that in a GOOD Way. Let's drink to Bill being a nut. He probably thought a.a. would fail at least once he died and asked for a drink on his death bed or is that just embellished A.A. propaganda from the newest person to do his bio. Cheevers her name is. I know my punctuation sucks, but I'm not high or anything just too lazy. Sorry, but dam, I'm impressed.


Date: Sat, June 19, 2010 5:49 am     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: hey

[From the introduction:]

Only later did I learn that such behavior is typical of properly-indoctrinated A.A. true believers. They will always declare that you are not "in recovery" if you are not attending their Twelve-Step meetings and doing their Twelve Steps. You are "only abstaining" from drinking alcohol, or "only dry", but not "sober".

Nobody, but nobody can deny what you say, because you will never, ever get credit for anything you do or don't do on your own, they will say it doesn't count. They won't tell you this is not a babysitting service, or a boyfriend pick up, Wait they do say that, but only in treatment not in A.A. and I noticed how the big Book makes Bill look like he helped out so many people. But he was just lucky the Big Book got published really. Agent Green is a boring arse, The first thing I saw there was a letter mentioning Stinking thinking, I thought it was your site, then left. Yikes Stinking thinking c'mon can't they get anymore original than that.


Date: Sat, June 19, 2010 9:40 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: OMG it just hit me


Okay, I found the smart place will check it out. What about this saying that they have in Treatment and A.A. YOU HAVE TO DO IT FOR YOURSELF — IT WON'T WORK IF YOU ARE DOING IT FOR SOMEONE ELSE. Another selfish thought. My kids had been takin away because I was using too many drugs and thought I was powerless to stop. In treatment they told me I could never stop unless it was for me. This didn't sit well with me and I said, I have to take care of my kids and I will get them back. Now you don't know the hell I went through to get those kids back because the child and family social worker back then thought I was different from an alcoholic because I wouldn't cry in front of her. And she also said because I took ONE valium that I was cheating, and A.A. said I wasn't going to make it because I was doing it for my kids and not myself. Talk about mixed messages. Man oh man. Those fuckers make me mad just thinking back to that shit.


Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 12:07 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"


Will they stop at nothing?

Oh no they nailed Eminmen, and my son loves him, his new release is, Recovery he was going to call it Relapse but changed his mind. He says I'm not alone, take my hand, we'll walk together. (at the first post of his song on youtube, I saw some fans already complaining, we don't want him to be like that, we liked him because he was rebellious, yikes) I told my son, "I know how much you love Eminem, but the A.A,ers have got his brain for awhile so his songs might be a little preachy, hopefully, Eminem will find agent orange and get his thoughts straightened out. My son doesn't know who Agent orange is or A.A., for that matter. I even heard Mike Tyson saying in his documentary, "Self will run riot" Now where have I heard that before????? Anyone for another cup of Bill W.?

Gotta blow those mothers down, sooner than later..

Cindy R.

Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 1:19 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: A.A. in the Can is exactly like U.S

Yep, from what I read and experienced, A.A. in the Can is exactly the same from what I read. I went to a.a., at 16. Am now crowding 40, yep a.a. does run a number on people, This is a generational disease and all my sisters are in A.A. won't talk to me because I am not spiritual enough cuz I am not in A.A. fuck off assholes. Bill Wilson all over again.

Cindy R.

Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 3:08 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: I'm sick, wait I'm sicker, NO I AM Sicker=WORLDWIDECRISIS


I hope you are getting these. You don't have to print them, I just think you are somebody to float (is that A.A. or N.A.) something with, You are wonderful. Do you remember in A.A. & N.A. everybody trying to be sicker than the rest. As per example. I started drinking when I was 16, next person, I started drinking when I was 10, hard stuff. Then a little later, I started drinking when I was 6, my dad made me and he gave me drugs. A little later, well I was born a drug addict and an alcoholic and I started using from the womb. When I came into this world I was put on Adha meds. So I took Ritalin for a buzz, then booze was bottlefed me because I liked it. (too be honest now when I look at it, I think so many people are bad parents and alcoholics and drug addicts because they get sent to a meeting and told that THEY CAN'T STOP, and believe it and go on to be worse) There is no alternative so this is what they believe. This is how I thought for years. Oh no, the more I look at it the more I believe A.A. and N.A. has caused a crisis in America and Canada. Don't know about other countries, but I'm sure it has, think about it. To be sure it has probable caused many crisis, Rarely have we seen a person fail, that makes me physically sick now to read it and type it. Well not physically (A.A. exaggeration) but almost.

Cindy R

Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 3:40 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"

What really made me sick about A.A. also was there was this guy who was an out and out pimp. He got sent to the A.A. places and such or maybe he went on his own (A.A. logic you can sober up a horse thief, but it still makes him a horse thief). He used to be my sister's pimp. She told me he hung around the new-comer meetings. You know the ones where new people go when they first hit "recovery" She told him to stay away from new-comers, they are vulnerable. He said, I know, that's why I go after the new-comers they believe anything. She said you will make them go back to drinking and die. He said, I don't give a shit, that is their problem.

Cindy R

Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 3:54 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Cindy"
Subject: FW: LOIS AND I'm half a woman routine


I just watched the Lois Wilson biography a couple of months ago with Wynona Ryder. It makes me sick when she says, I am half a woman I can't have children and whines. Is that what Bill W. convinced her of? You can't have kids, you are half a woman. I won't have heirs so I must drink because this is disturbing. Shut up and support me you dumb naïve bitch, you're half a woman. It shows that Lois came from a religious background. I myself, could never understand what was wrong with that woman, other than be married to an Asshole. But I guess back in that time it was a really bad thing if you couldn't have kids. Most of the men had gone to war and died so I guess just hanging on to your piece of meat (as my mom used to say) was a big deal.

Cindy R.

Date: Sun, June 20, 2010 4:31 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: Cindy

Yikes, I heard Glen Beck preaching how he was an alcoholic and how people with the A. A. idea were going to change the world. Everybody else laughs at him and calls him a dry drunk. This is so sad, as an alcoholic, I don't want to belong to any club that Glen Beck belongs to. Here's how they imitate glen Beck, just cry out, WHY??? WHY???? WhY???

Cindy R

Date: Mon, June 21, 2010 11:02 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: Cindy
Subject: The suicide thing

I went to A.A. quite a few years ago to give my sister her 8 year cake. While there, there was this guy with a really big mouth. She told me how one of his sponsees had recently committed suicide after something like 25 years. I was pretty shocked, then she also said that the guy's wife had let the A.A. man speak at the suicidal guy's funeral and the guy called the suicide guy down to the ground for killing himself. (at his own funeral) She also told me "lots" of people kill themselves after 20 years or so, it is the hump thing. This made me feel so sad. She also told me about her group, where they kicked out a guy because he was on Anti depressants. I asked her how they could do this, they aren't doctors. She told me it was, "the group consciousness" and that any group could put it forward that they wanted nobody on meds. When I finished saying a little bit at her cake thing, the guy whose sponsee had died came up to me and asked me, "What A.A. group do you belong to?" I told him I wasn't a member and didn't go to A.A. anymore, he looked at me like I was dirt after that. He started sort of spinning out and backing away from me and saying in a loud voice, "this person is WRONG, she doesn't even go to A.A." It was embarrassing. And sickening. And makes me mad at A.A. even more that they let some yahoos go nuts and tell everyone what to do.

You know I think A.A. may help to point but that kind of quackery just made my stomach turn. The saddest thing though was that my sisters seemed to think it was quite alright. It made me sad, so sad.

Cindy R

Thanks for all of the input, Cindy. That's kind of a neat stream of consciousness thing.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Tact is after all a kind of mindreading.
**        ==  Sarah Ohne Jewett (1849—1909), American writer

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 11:47 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Em Dot"
Subject: Correction



"Adolf Hitler was also a health enthusiast — he was a non-smoking, non-drinking vegetarian."

That's actually incorrect. I don't know if Hitler was a nonsmoker, but he definitely drank and ate meat. Hitler "attempted to avoid red meat" in order to help with intestinal irritation and troubles — but one of his favorite dishes was pigeon, and he often ate Bavarian sausage.

Moreover, Hitler put to death vegetarians as political threats. It's an often-overlooked fact: I know more than a handful of people who don't know that Hitler also tortured, experimented on, and killed gays and lesbians as well (my Oma, who was seven when the war started, has shown and told me of a "bar" that was a friendly hangout for gay men — and how many gay men were openly gay; there was a stigma mostly in religious and medical cases. Hitler's influence stopped a lot of that). Furthermore, he had slaughterhouses on the premises of the concentration camps. Himmler attempted to desensitize most of the SS circle into further brutality by having them observe and participate in slaughterhouses because, guess what? A fucking psychopath.

Snopes actually had a page on this, but it seems to have gone down within the past few months. I'm not very surprised, but that's my own personal beef with them (lol).

Hi Em Dot,

Thanks for the input. There goes another urban legend. Hitler not really a vegetarian? I'll have to do some editting. I knew about Hitler's killing of gays, but a bunch of that other stuff is news. So thanks for the heads-up.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**      ==   Dr. Frank Buchman, founder and leader of the
**          Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 7:54 pm     (answered 25 June 2010)
From: "Barbara"
Subject: dear AO

hey there... Agent!

one good friend of mine introduced me to your website (sorry if you find misspellings or wrong grammar, i'm mexican) and let me tell you that I feel such relief now... I mean, I've always known that the meetings are insanely intense...

I will tell my story...

when I was 19 I was forced to my first rehab by my parents... They spent a whole lot of money to get me sober... back then my only interest in life was to party hard... and they didn't agree, like any other parent... so ther I was, 19 year old girl in a rehab center in mexico with all male junkies... To tell you the truth I found it really fun.. It was like a hotel and they gave us A LOT of food... we had meditations, meetings therapy... you know... the funny thing is... i just took it like a vacation, time off from school and my family... the only thing that really broke my heart into little pieces was to see my family suffering... So I just wanted them to feel better... so this is what I did... from the first day I was there I noticed that all the staff were former junkies.. We read the big book everyday, I had a little knowledge of the 12 steps before then because my dad went to rehab also for alcohol...

(he's been sober to this day I'm guessing 25 years now, but he doesn't go to meetings anymore, I think he went to meetings for about a year or so... so I have no memory of him going to meetings, nor him trying to shove the program in my mind, i think he went to rehab to give my mom piece of mind and stayed sober just because, like you said, he didn't want to drink anymore, as simple as that... he doesn't go to church either)

ok, so I had this knowledge.. AND it didn't take for me to long to know how to talk to this people in that rehab center... it was so obvious, all the made up phrases and everything... so I knew exactly what to say... "yes, i can't control my self, I just can't have just ONE drink" "i did pretty messed up things, im sick" "i think i found my higher power last night in meditation" and the reality was nothing had happened to me, i just liked to party A LOT, maybe more than necessary, I decided to go with the flow with the steps, so my family would feel better, and the "therapists" could tell my mom that her daughter was doing GREAT... so I managed... so I got out of my first rehab and they made me an example, so young "you're lucky you found the program so soon"

went back home... managed to stay sober and went to meetings and everything.. to keep my family at ease... then i relapsed because I really wanted to party some more!... I mean I was 20.. that's all you want to do... I was in a very protected society.. and everything... I really didn't have any deep shit going on... not compared to anything that i've heard from the meetings and rehab... some hard core shit... rape, murder, stealing, bla bla

so i decided to party a little longers — obviously my family found out... you know in mexico you live with your parents until you get married, so i lived with my parents, and they found out that i've relapsed....

then it wasn't fun anymore... all the partying... for me the scary thing was that i didn't care about anything and then some shit started to happen... but i didn't want to end up like the people i met before... so one day i told my mom... hey i gotta go to rehab again, i gotta stop NOW because I REALLY don't know where I'm going to end up and that scares the shit out of me... so I went back to rehab, on my own... and the meetings and everything... It was the only resource I knew about then... so went to rehab again, got out... got sober and stayed sober... some other shit happened later but didn't relapse... because i didn't want to... anyway... I finally started to feel better... I was still coming to the meetings... Like one year after... got my coin and everything... I was busy graduating from college, so couldn't go to meetings everyday and I mean.. i've always been kind of smart without realizing, because I always kept a safe distance with everyone... didn't talk to much.. about me,,, i talked about random stuff.. and i saw the pretty intense 12steppers and they made me depressed... and also... telling me that if i didn't go to meetings every day i was screwed... that i was not humble and i was very selfish... and talking bulllshit... sooo i told them this is supposed to be recovery.... i mean to recover your life... and that's what im doing...

i realized that some people there had been sober for years, but the only thing they did in their lives was coming to the meetings... and that was that... so that person was a waste for society really... another unemployed person... so i started to not want to go to meetings anymore because they made me really mad... they made me so mad... because they tell you to be humble... when they aren't... and theeenn i stumbled upon an old friend, from my partying hard past... and he found sobriety in christianism, and he was so intense!! just like NA! he talked the same way that these guys screamed at meetings because that was not talking... besides i heard things that i really didn't near to hear...

now im 30... i stayed sober for like 8 years... on my own... now i drink... but i don't want to party and get super wasted i don't even like to get drunk... and I don't feel guilty about it... because I KNOW what i want and what i don't... i don't want to be drunk all the time... i just like beer hahaha so this friend went through a similar situation... and he told me that your website helped him not to relapse... he was about to relapse going to the meetings and that your website gave him piece of mind... so now im checking it out... and i love you for that... because there was a little AA voice in me telling me that im sick and without meetings i would end up screwing up again just like when i was 20 and immature, even if i know that im smarter than that.. there was this little voice... the tiny guilt...

thank you, im planning on keep on reading your essays... that's a lot of reading ahead of me... haha

thanks again

please use Barbara for my name, I'd really appreciate it!!!
again sorry if i don't make sense

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for the letter. It makes a lot of sense. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. You know, from the sound of things, you might not be an alcoholic at all — just a normal girl who liked to party a lot when she was younger. And now you have matured out of reckless behavior, and drink moderately and safely. So it goes. That's called "being normal".

As far as getting sick on alcohol goes, alcohol is poisonous to everybody. Anybody who drinks too much alcohol will get sick and stop caring about things. That's just what it does to people.

I'm glad that you and your friend were able to get something useful out of my web site.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      We can only learn to love by loving.
**        ==  Iris Murdoch (b. 1919), Irish writer

[Previous letter from Tom H. here.]

Date: Thu, June 17, 2010 10:15 pm     (answered 26 June 2010)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Your Rap is So Old

You still do not see the similarities between you getting kicked out of your govt assisted digs ? You dont see that you were dangerous to the others by hoarding and creating a potential fire trap ?

You dont see that you hit the homeless shelters again at 63 ? Not a friend in the world that would help you including the paypal begging button ? Yet you continue to try and bullshit people saying you are happy and serene..... This has nothing to do with AA it has to do with your mental instability. ( I hate AA)

You ENJOY the hate emails and think you are some savior. My taxes are supporting you and your OWE me and millions of other Americans that have WORKED for a living. Go volunteer at the homeless shelter full time and pay us back for all the free donuts and coffee and food and shelter you have mooched your whole life.

AA is fucked and your information or opinions is just because you are a acid rapper. YOU ARE BLIND and in a fantasy/anger world Terry.

The world hasn't fucked you anymore than the average person. You have been giving the world the finger your whole life while you WHINE. Your site isn't just about AA... its about your total anger at society.

Once again I hear Terrys whining computer voice hiding behind your computer screen trying to convince the people that you aren't really angry at all but just "trying to put out to the TRUTH."

Go out and work with the street bums and earn some REAL pride for once in your life. Pooooooooooooooor Terry .........

Hello again, Tom,

Well, to start with your subject line at the top, "Your Rap is So Old": Well then, why don't you just change the channel? Turn off the computer and turn on the TV and watch something mindless and comforting?

Then you keep harping on "government-assisted housing". You have been complaining about that for years. The only way in which my previous apartment was government-assisted was that the owners managed to get a tax break.

What happened was, a bunch of investors got together and decided to build a Chinese highrise in Chinatown. They even decorated the building with Chinese symbols and all of that. Well, it didn't work. The Chinese didn't like the building and very few moved in. The owners asked, "Now what do we do?"

They decided to get a fat tax break by having certified low-income people in the building. But they didn't bother to pass on much of the savings. I am now paying $145 per month less for a larger apartment that has nothing to do with the government and is not in any way "government-assisted".

There was no fire hazard. As you pointed out, I have lived 63 years, and I haven't stupidly killed myself yet, so I know what I am doing. I am also an old computer professional, so I know how to wire up a computer network without burning down the house.

And, I didn't actually get kicked out of the building. The new Czarina of the Tower was threatening to terminate the lease if I didn't get rid of a lot of possessions in two weeks. I decided that I was not going to pay good money to live under such conditions. You can see what the other tenants had to say about her and her new management style here:

And then it took a lot longer than I expected to find a good place to sign a year lease on. So what?
And part of the time, I slept in a homeless shelter rather than sleep in the rain. So what?
And other times, I did sleep in the rain. I don't mind camping out. I actually like it. I just dislike the illegal aspect, where it is possible to get ticketed for it.
And the mud did get old. Rain isn't too bad, but the mud on everything gets old.

The rest of your rap is just the same old garbage. I don't enjoy hate mail, and your rap is getting old. So why don't you give it a rest and go watch TV? This web site is about alcoholism and recovery, and escape from cults, and things like that.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The most popular labor-saving device is still money.
**        ==  Phyllis George (b. 1949), American sportscaster

[The next letter from Tom H. is here.]

[The previous letter from Petri, describing another poison that Bill Wilson got, is here.]

Date: Fri, June 18, 2010 2:32 pm     (answered 26 June 2010)
From: "Petri"
Subject: Another interesting ingredient in the C.C. pills

Hi again!

I wrote you last year (I think?) about the mercury compound in the C.C. pills. Now, I've found yet another funny ingredient — the colocynth extract! See 1 Growth (Wikipedia link) for instance.

Its fruit, which is [...] extremely bitter, is a powerful hepatic stimulant and hydragogue cathartic. It is used as a strong laxative. In overdoses, the fruit can cause violent, sharp pains in the bowels, with dangerous inflammation.

Now this is some powerful cathartic! I'd be seeing funny things after praying to the Porcelain God for a few days straight, too...


Hi again, Petri,

It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for the information.

Wow. Dr. Silkworth was really poisoning alcoholics with his "belladonna cure", wasn't he? And A.A. members love to rave about what a saint he was. No, he wasn't. More like an incompetent doctor who allowed his name to be used by Bill Wilson for publicizing a cult religion quack cure.

And Charlie Towns' "cure for morphine addiction (and alcoholism, and everything else)" was so bad that a more reputable doctor quit Charlie Towns' hospital and would not have anything more to do with his "belladonna cure". That was Dr. Alexander Lambert, professor of clinical medicine at Cornell University Medical College and a visiting physician to Bellevue Hospital. Dr. Lambert was also one of then-President Theodore Roosevelt's physicians.

Well, Dr. Lambert noticed that the belladonna cure was not working at all, and the addicts and alcoholics just kept coming back for another cure, year after year. Dr. Lambert then dissociated himself from Charles Towns and his hospital.

But Dr. Silkworth kept right on dosing those morphine addicts and alcoholics anyway.

And why was Dr. Silkworth dosing people with so many laxatives and purgatives?
Why was the cure for everything to get people to shit their guts out?
There is just something a little weird about that. (Did Silkworth have an anal fixation?)

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    There are some remedies worse than the disease.
**      ==  Publius Syrus, Maxim 301 (First Century B.C.)

Date: Fri, June 18, 2010 9:32 am     (answered 26 June 2010)
From: "PJ"
Subject: Re: donation

You are quite welcome ! Could you please read this and provide feedback?

I have been sober in AA for 16 years and, in all that time, I have not seriously come out of the bubble to look around for different perspectives on recovery. I have recently found Orange, and others, and admit they have valid perspectives and solid arguments and evidence around the vast majority of debated recovery issues.

My main concern revolves around the concept of powerlessness over alcohol and people, places and things. I am convinced that the concept is very damaging if it penetrates the psyche and becomes part of the belief system. If I truly believe I am powerless over everything, how hard would I try at "living"? How does this belief manifest itself in my world view and motivation to do anything? If I have no personal power, why should I even begin to take on the challenges of everyday living? I can't affect outcomes so why try at all? Leaving the "God will do it for you" part of the deception out of this for a moment, let me provide a situation to illustrate how damaging powerlessness can be.

Let's begin with a fresh new baby and two possible timelines (paths) that the baby could use to grow up. The first path is one where the baby grows up and internalizes that it is powerless over people, places and things. Completely powerless. Do life, but you have no control over the outcomes. (If you want to take it further, raise the child with the added idea that their thought processes are broken and that their actual thinking will lead them nowhere good.) Now, what type of operational adult do you have when it reaches adulthood? Is it more, or less likely to be a contributing member of society? Or, is this creature that believes it has no power over anything more likely to be a ward of the state? Use your imagination here. Just what is the behavioral profile of someone who truly believes they are powerless over people, places and things? Is this person the ultimate victim of circumstances? Is this person more or less likely to be taken advantage of?

OK, now let's look at the other timeline. On this one the child is taught that they have varied degrees of power over people, places and things. They are responsible for their behavior and its effects on themselves and others. That they can achieve great things in life precisely because they do have this personal power and responsibility. That their thoughts and actions have value and are valued by others when used creatively and constructively. That they can directly and indirectly affect outcomes and it is their right and duty to use their talents for the best possible outcome for themselves and society. So, what kind of person is this? What is their behavioral profile? Are they more or less likely to be contributing members of society than the person on the other timeline? Are they likely to be victims or leaders?

There is one major personal question that comes out of this comparison; "Which one would I rather be?" If you honestly answered, "the one with personal power and responsibility", and you are in AA, you must force yourself to become awake. I am giving a dire warning here. In AA, if you internalize their teachings around powerlessness, you significantly reduce your chances to become the person on the second timeline. The powerlessness concept is insidious and it will affect you regardless of how resistant you may think you are. There is no immunity against repetition over time — none.

For me, the dilution of my internal drive happened over time so I speak from a perspective that is unfortunately aided by extended immersion in the negative powerlessness concepts of AA. It appears highly unlikely that anyone can separate the teachings and apply some of them to various areas of life. For example, when taught that you are powerless over people, places and things, you can't just be powerless over alcohol. Over time, that training bleeds out into every aspect of life. Think deeply about this because it is very important to survival. "Powerless over everything" can possibly easily translate into "I can't do anything about anything" and if that is coupled with "I have a broken brain and it will never get better", you have the perfect mental storm for anyone that is already unstable and remotely suicidal. Who would want to live if you knew that you had no power over anything and were basically incapable of ever thinking straight?

For parents of troubled teens, please consider very carefully what is being said here. If your child has a problem with alcohol and/or drugs, your choice of a treatment program will affect your child for the rest of their life. Do you want them to live as a powerless person with an imaginary disease? Or, do you want them to live with the knowledge that they are personally powerful and responsible for their actions?

I think the answer is clear.


Hi PJ,

Yes, I think the answer is clear too.

Thanks for the letter. You said a lot, and said it well.

I have to agree that teaching powerlessness is one of the worst aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous, and it causes a lot of alcoholics to fail to get sober, and even causes some of them to die.

The A.A. true believers cry that I am being unfair and extremist when I say that A.A. causes alcoholics to die, but the evidence is good. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and Dr. George Vaillant found that A.A. increased the death rate. I'm sure that some of that is caused by teaching alcoholics that they are diseased and powerless and can't control their drinking. If you really are powerless, then failure is likely.

It occurred to me that we are seeing this "powerless" teaching happening on several different levels of society, in several different ways.

In the socio-economic realm, the poor and middle-class children are taught to go to school so that they can get a good job (working for somebody else).
The rich people's children are taught from birth that they will be the next generation of bosses, executives, captains, and kings, who rule the stupid working masses.

And what happens? The poor and middle class children become wage slaves whose jobs are exported to China, and the rich people's children become the executives who export those jobs to China, and get gigantic bonuses for doing so.

Yes, teaching powerlessness or powerfulness really works.

In the religious realm, Dr. Frank Buchman taught that people were "defeated by sin", and powerless over it, and the only answer was: "You must surrender to God", and hope that God will make a well-behaved puppet out of you. And what happened? They ended up becoming enormously deceptive, dishonest, evasive, deceitful people who admired Hitler and the Nazis.

Coincidentally, we were just discussing powerlessness in some of the previous letters:

  1. "...the steps... encourage people to accept powerlessness and expect people to turn their recovery over to God."

  2. "You can be powerless over your reaction to an angry person..."

  3. '"let go and let god" is actually a way of moving people out of old, dsyfunctional patterns of control-oriented behavior and into an open-ended mindset in which uncertainty is tolerated.'

  4. "The idea of powerlessness has now been disputed by many psychiatrists as dangerous and self-defeating."

  5. "About powerlessness. Yes, indeed. I think that is one of the worst aspects of A.A. and Buchmanism."

  6. I "realize that I am not powerless at all."

  7. "Bill W describes this type of thinking by comparing it to a person with a passion for J-walking."

  8. ..."being unable to bring into consciousness with sufficient force the awfulness of what happened last time drinking..."

  9. "I couldn't admit I was powerless and was told I was, regardless..."

  10. "However you come into the system, you are diseased and powerless and if you resist these labels, you are in denial."

  11. We are not powerless.

In summation, all that I can say is, "I thank God that She did not make me powerless."

Have a good day, and a good life now.

== Orange

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

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Last updated 11 February 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters175.html