Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXXIII

Date: Tue, July 20, 2010 1:08 pm     (answered 22 July 2010)
From: "Beth"
Subject: Enjoying your Frequent Posts

Hi Orange,

I'm enjoying, once again, your ongoing replies to letters. I was amused by the letter from Alan, and one particular statement.

"I don't hear about where the other 95% are."

I do not have any percentages to offer as to which programs are of most benefit.

After many unhappy years in AA I sought alternatives, and WFS was one. Jeanne Kirkpatrick started Women for Sobriety 34 years ago. It doesn't have the ongoing promotion in rehabs that AA does, so it is lesser known, yet women are far happier in WFS than in AA. Many of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Facilities in Southern California have scheduled WFS meetings.

And there are those who've have found more help through therapy than with 12 step programs, (Sober for Good, Anne Fletcher, 2001, Pg 20, Master's Recovery Methods).

Going further, many of us simply, "mature out," of any direct support group and find family and friends provide the love and support needed.

By the way, I really enjoy the pictures of Carmen. In the last photo, I detect a sweet smile.

My best,


Hello Beth,

Thank you for the letter. Yes, I also hear good things about WFS. I don't know personally, because they don't invite bearded old guys like me to their meetings, but I hear good things indirectly.

As far as where "the other people" are, they are everywhere. Some of them really are at the bars and pubs, like the Steppers say. But many others are at SMART, or SOS, or Lifering, or WFS, while many others use the "go it alone, do it yourself" method.

And you are absolutely right about some people being helped by therapy, and some people just maturing out of self-destructive behavior. The Harvard Mental Health Letter did not use the phrase "maturing out" in their description of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and addicts, but they implied it:

On their own

There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)

(I found the archive file with all three parts of the article: HMHL_addictions.zip
Be sure to unzip it with subdirectories (folders) recreated, because the pages are structured with the pieces (graphics, style sheets) placed in appropriate subdirectories.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful"
**        ==  George E.P. Box.

Date: Sat, July 24, 2010 4:45 pm     (answered 1 August 2010)
From: "Brooke K."
Subject: Thank you

Hi Terry,

Thank you for posting my email's and for both your replies. I'm a frequent visitor to your site, and always appreciative of a response.

One of these days I'll write a chronology of my experiences with the Pacific Group and send it to you. Clancy used to boast he had 2,000 sponsees, and I believe Mike Q of the Mid-town groups was one of them.

My best,

Brooke (Beth)

Hi Brooke,

I'd like to hear your story. I've also heard that Mike Q. was the grand-sponsee of Clancy. They were connected somehow. Quite the protegé.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Ye shall know them by their fruits.
**     Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thisles?
**        ==  Matthew, VII, 16

Date: Tue, July 20, 2010 7:09 pm     (answered 22 July 2010)
From: "K B"
Subject: getting taken over by midtown-type groups

Dear Orange,

Thanks for all the helpful information, and a fresh viewpoint. I was wondering if you have a copy of the article you refer to below. It doesn't seem to be in your archive of posts from this now defunct MySpace group. We have been experiencing attempts at takeovers from these types of cult-like groups in our district. And are eager to learn how others have dealt with it. If you could let me know or contact me should you have a link, I would be most grateful.

(name/email address withheld)

PS Here is the reference from the Orange website:

27. Later: And this is an interesting post: the MySpace group "The Fall of Midtown" has posted an article on how to keep your group from getting taken over by the Midtown group. It seems that Mike Q. and his gang have taken over 18 A.A. groups by invading them in large numbers and then voting the previous leaders out, and changing the rules to make the Mike Q. clique dominant. It sure sounds like an invasive cancer to me.

Hello K.B.,

Thanks for the question.

Yes, all of that stuff from the Myspace group "The Fall of Midtown" is gone. They shut down the Myspace account and deleted all of the information. Which is kind of odd, considering that the Midtown Group still exists and is still doing the same bad things. Mike Quinones is dead, but the evil lives on. But, apparently, near as I can tell, the "The Fall of Midtown" people didn't want to embarass A.A. any more by telling the truth about some bad stuff. So much for the campaign to reform A.A. and clean up the mess.

I searched my archives. I didn't find the story that I remember, but I found a few other related ones, and added them to the file of stories about the Midtown group. They are located here and here and here and here and here.

Good luck with protecting your group.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil 
**       is for good men to do nothing."
**         ==  Edmund Burke (1729—1797)

[The previous letter from Bill_N is here.]

Date: Wed, July 21, 2010 6:07 am     (answered 22 July 2010)
From: "Bill N."
Subject: I Forgot About This Story

Hi Terry,

Boy it sure is good to have you back in the saddle. I just wrote you a few weeks ago about how disgusting I found it that the steppers writing in to you took perverse pleasure in your housing situation. Like it was your fault. I still shake my head at that. Oh, and I love when steppers accuse you of being "enraged" at AA. That's crazy because you are very calm and very reasonable.

Anyhow, I just recalled an interesting tidbit that happened to me back in the mid 1990's when I was stuck at a halfway house in NJ called Freedom House. I landed there thanks to the Superior Court of NJ. They told me I could go to state prison or go to the halfway house. Naturally I went to the halfway house. They told me I had to go to a 6-month program.

After being there a month or so I had to go a municipal court hearing to clean up some of my wreckage. This one was for driving with a suspended license. My assigned counselor, Charlie, came with me. I didn't have and couldn't afford a lawyer. Charlie didn't seem to think I needed one, which turned out to be terrible advice. He assured me that Freedom House had a lot of good will and "juice" with the courts in NJ, and that I should trust him. I believed him. Mind you, Charlie's credentials were the following: He "graduated" from the same halfway house 2 or 3 years before me and was attending CADC classes at the local college. I think he barely got out of high school.

So I get into court and go before the judge. Charlie introduced himself my counselor from the halfway house. The judge asked him a couple questions about the program, including how long the program lasted. Charlie said it could be anywhere from 6-12 months. This was the first time I had heard the number "12." I was told it was around 6 months, give or take. I was starting to get alarmed. The judge was very pleased to hear this was about to administer a very lenient ruling, a small fine. Suddenly Charlie piped up and said, 'Your honor, we think it's very important that Bill be in treatment. We would like you to stipulate that along with his fines, he finish and graduate from the program which in his case will probably be a year. Should he leave the program we suggest you consider other, harsher penalties.' I was shocked! This motherfucker gave me no warning about this. Who the hell was this guy to intervene on my behalf like that to impose an even greater penalty than the one the court was considering'!

The judge just loved that recommendation so she went ahead and made finishing the treatment program part of my sentence. It turned out her sentence was stiffer that the one the Superior Court gave me. I ended up being stuck there for 14 months. THIS is the gall, the hubris, the power these damn AA oriented treatment facilities have over your life if you get stuck in one. It's terrible. I was away from my wife for 14 months because of that asshole and that place. It damaged my marriage.

Freedom House is still foisting the AA quack old-time religion on people. I wish I could get the state to shut them down but all the politicians love the place and love to be photographed at their dopey annual picnics handing out hotdogs or cooking hamburgers, and they love playing golf at their golf fundraisers, etc. what a despicable racket.


Hello Bill,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

Wow. That is quite a story. It's amazing how few ethics the so-called "treatment industry" really has. I'm glad to hear that you survived the madness.

So have a good life now.

By the way, the way I wish to deal with the politicians who support that hoax is to embarass them with their own photos. Get the dirt, the stories of bad things happening in those places, and then post the photos of the politician smoozing with the leaders of the place and the story on the Internet. Also send it to the local newspapers. Also send it to the politicians themselves, so they see what they are associated with.

I say that I wish to deal with them that way. Obviously, you have to get the dirt and the pictures, which isn't always easy.

A less vindictive way of dealing with the problem is to write to the politicians, and tell them what they are associating themselves with, and warning them that it will backfire and cost them, politically. It may well be more effective to take this later course of action, and give the politicians fair warning of what is coming.

In fact, your story should go to the politicians. It should at least raise an eyebrow.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Anyone who is different today faces harassment, whether it is
**    in the way he dresses, or in the position he takes on important
**    issues. And when the price of being different is a cold fear,
**    with good reason, then freedom as we peddle it in our international
**    publicity releases is gone. If and when it disappears, it won't
**    be stolen by big government, the tax collector, or the Supreme
**    Court. Fascism will be the people's choice. It usually is. We've
**    managed to avoid it so far only because nobody nutty enough to
**    give the people what they want has come along. Yet.
**      == Mike Royko, For the Love of Mike: The Best of Mike Royko
**      (reprint of column "Fascism Isn't Accidental" dated May 28, 1968)

[The next letter from Bill_N is here.]

May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings
Carmen's Family
Carmen is the gosling in the middle. The adult is the mother. I think that the gosling on the right, with the funny tilted-head look, is the "light-colored one". The father is nearby, just out of the picture.

It is looking like Carmen is the only girl in the three goslings there. You can see how she is slim and smaller, while the other two are growing fat, wide bodies, like gosling boys do.

[More bird photos below, here.]

Date: Wed, July 21, 2010 1:01 pm     (answered 24 July 2010)
From: "Bill N."
Subject: one more thing


I forgot to mention in my earlier email today that this quote from you is brilliant. It was in your CLXXXI letters:

"And it is crazy to think that shoving a bunch of alcoholics and drug addicts into a meeting room and making them do some goofy practices from an old pro-Nazi cult religion will make them into better people."

Amen brother. Boy, that little blurb of yours had me chuckling all day yesterday. Thanks for the laugh. AA is like the blind leading the blind. There are some really scary, demented people in AA and the main organization just washes its hands of the whole mess because they claim each group is autonomous. What a crock. They should be sued.


Hi again, Bill,

And thanks for the note. Yes, they should be sued. For fraud, quackery, and misuse of Federal, state, and municipal taxpayers' funds, just for starters. Also for harm done and suffering caused. And false advertising.

Isn't it funny how drug and alcohol treatment centers — whose "treatment" is based on the 12 Steps — never, ever, offer a money-back guarantee?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It finally dawned on me that just because one's motive
**     isn't money doesn't mean one's motive isn't selfish.
**     (There is more than one form of profit.)"
**        ==  Janet S.

Date: Wed, July 21, 2010 4:06 pm     (answered 24 July 2010)
From: Bob O.
Subject: 60 minutes or another

Mister T,

Thank you for all you do. Please consider suggesting to 60 minutes or any and all other such programs a segment about the true success rate of 12-step programs, if you have not done so. I am unable to contact them and it would make a story worthy of them.

Long Island Bob O.

Hello Bob,

That is a darned good idea. I don't know if they will listen to me any more than you, but it's worth a try.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Into a limbo large and broad, since call'd
**     The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.
**        ==  Milton, Paradise Lost, III

Date: Wed, July 21, 2010 6:22 pm     (answered 24 July 2010)
From: "Cherilyn"
Subject: Iowa Department of Human Services & AA/NA

Hello Orange,

I stumbled upon your site looking for information about AA and I must say I found it very informative. While I have and have never had a alcohol or substance abuse issue, my husband does. Recently his antics attracted the attention of the department of human services. They removed him from the home, and forced him into an inpatient program (which he needed, and I am glad he is receiving help at last). Now they are saying he be required to attend AA/NA meetings before he will be allowed back into the home or have contact with our children. I guess that would normal not be an issue....except we are both atheist and entering into a program that touts a 'higher power' and uses the word 'god' multiple times in its 12 steps, feels like a violation of our rights. They also want me to attend al-anon.

What is your take on this? My husband wants us to keep quiet and 'play the game, lick the boots'. We are fearful that they may terminate his parental rights if he refuses this religious program. We are also fearful of what other punishments may come our way once it comes out that we are atheist parents. (everyone close to us knows, but this has not come up with THEM before) I certainly don't want to lose my kids because I am atheist and I am surrounded by religious government officials! So basically I was wondering if you had come across anything similar in your research.

Thank you for your time,


Hello Cherilyn,

Oh yes, that subject has come up before, and yes, there are things you can do about it.

First off, you can sue them. We discussed that before, here and here.

You may not have to actually sue them. Just letting them know that such a lawsuit is a likely consequence of coerced religion may get their attention. Stress the fact that the case of Inouye v. Kemna established that the INDIVIDUAL officials who coerce religion can be sued, not just their department. That means that the individual civil servants have to pay for their own lawyers, and pay the damages themselves. It's a very different thing from the state department being sued, and a state-paid lawyer handling the defense, and the state's insurance company paying the damages. The individual coercing bureaucrat is on the hook for everything.

Al-Anon is even worse than A.A., in my humble opinion. Al-Anon is based on the crazy idea that you are spiritually defective because you associated with an alcoholic, and you are just an oppressive domineering bitch because you want your husband to quit killing himself. Here are two links to discussions of Al-Anon: here and here. Also see these A.A. comics, here.

Whatever happens, prepare for a lawsuit. You can even combine strategies, and keep your heads down now, and play along, and then sue later. Remember to document everything. Keep a log, note everything, and record all sessions where you talk to the state officials. Olympus makes tiny digital sound recorders that fit conveniently in your pocket and record up to 22 hours of audio on its internal memory, and they are good for picking up all of the voices in the room. That's good for establishing who really said what and when and where. (Olympus VN-3200PC)

You don't have to just "take it".

Also see:
Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment     Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky
See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000.
ISBN: 1-884365-17-5
More truth from the See Sharp Press — how to resist being coerced into the 12-Step cult.
This book is now available for free download at: http://www.morerevealed.com/library/index.html

Have a good day, and good luck.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in
**    practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery.
**       ==  Leo Tolstoy

Date: Thu, July 22, 2010 10:48 am     (answered 24 July 2010)
From: "Adam O."

In order to prove something false, fake or a sham, you went to a lot of trouble to try to prove AA doesn't work and spent a lot of time researching. Yet, it works for me and millions others. I appreciate your opinion on the Big Book and AA as a whole and this is only my opinion but does it really change anything? If someone stops drinking based off of a fellowship and they become productive and help people, who is stay that is not a good thing? You have dedicated an entire site to disproving something that 1,000,000 can say does work. One person's opinion versus 1,000,000 peoples facts/results.

What ever happened to let someone try it and if they don't like it they can leave. I know many people that have gone back to drinking and no one forced them to stay. If someone stays, its merely based off the fact that they get results. I really do appreciate your writings as I have read them from time to time and even though it does not change my opinion on the subject, I can appreciate when someone takes the time as you obviously did, to disprove what I know works. If you asked my family, "Would you rather have Adam with or without AA?" There answer will be with AA because I am better all around because of it. Again, thank you for taking the time to research and write and come up with your own interpretation. I just felt it was important for me to at least interject my thought on the matter. Thanks again.

Adam O.

Hello Adam,

Thank you for the letter. In your first paragraph, you make the mistake of assuming that A.A. has a success rate. It does not. A.A. does not make people quit drinking any more than does Scientology or the Moonies or the Ladies Home Garden Club.

If you think that A.A. really works, then please answer this one question that the A.A. true believers have never answered honestly:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

(HINT: the answers are here.)

Note that all of those other things, from Scientology to the Garden Club, will also get a 5% per year success rate. That is the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics. You can get that success rate from any kind of quackery.

We have discussed all of that many times before. A few of them:

In your second paragraph, you are equating participation in A.A. with sobriety. That is a false equality. You are really asking your family if they want you to stay sober, not whether they want you to stay in a cult religion. The fact that you may have fooled your family and convinced them that A.A. is responsible for your sobriety is irrelevant.

Have a good day.

== 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.

Date: Sun, July 25, 2010 5:20 pm     (answered 2 August 2010)
From: "Adam O."
Subject: RE:


I was just now able to read your response. Thank you again for your response and the links and facts. To answer your question, my honest answer is that I have read the book, followed the instructions and have continued to do the work and so therefore I have stayed sober. I can't speak for anyone else whether they relapse or not or even by how many years or lack there of they attain.

Again I cannot speak for AA but only my experience. I came in the program almost 4 years ago with no relapse yet, no drinking or drugs of any kind. To answer your response to my second paragraph, i can not at all attribute sobriety to the fellowship but the work that I did that was in the book. The fellowship was an added bonus to be around people that share similar struggles which many life examples can be attributed.

At the end of the day, I think it is fair to say that we both believe strongly in our cause and both have results. Thank you again for taking the time to respond. I wish you the best of luck Orange.


Hello again, Adam,

Congratulations on your sobriety.

This statement is illogical:

"I have read the book, followed the instructions and have continued to do the work and so therefore I have stayed sober."

That is called, "Jumping to an Irrelevant Conclusion (Ignoratio Elenchi)".

The proper logic would be more like, "I did not drink any alcohol, and so therefore I stayed sober."

You see, the problem is that the vast majority of people who go to A.A. meetings and do the Steps and "Work A Strong Program" do not stay sober.

And that is one of the biggest problems with A.A. People are wasting their time on some cult religion practices that have nothing to do with sobriety.

On the other hand, the people who do not drink any alcohol do stay sober.

Lastly, it is not a matter of "your cause versus my cause". It is not a matter of "The A.A. Religion and its True Believers versus the unbelievers", although Bill Wilson often painted it that way in the Big Book and 12X12. (Especially see the B.B. chapter "We Agnostics".)

My only cause is telling the truth. Let's get all of the facts out on the table, for all to see, and let people make well-informed decisions.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Learn the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
**      ==  Jesus Christ

Date: Thu, July 22, 2010 3:44 pm     (answered 24 July 2010)
From: "JASON R."
Subject: AA powerless paper

Obviously who ever wrote this is not an Alcoholic

Hello Jason,

Thanks for the letter. That's another example of the standard A.A. dodges to avoid the facts. The previous Stepper critic complained that I was "still drunk" because I had not embraced the 12-Step program.

Steppers have used that "You are not a real alcoholic" line so many times that it is getting to be funny.

Apparently, the best cure for alcoholism is to criticize Alcoholics Anonymous. Poof! Zap! Suddenly you are no longer an alcoholic.

Works for me.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

Date: Sat, July 24, 2010 2:47 pm     (answered 30 July 2010)
From: "JASON R."
Subject: Re: AA powerless paper

Well. If it works for you than more power to you buddy. Out of all the years I've been trying to get clean AA is the only thing that's ever worked for me. And yes I agree that it is a bit of a cult. But it's saved my life literally. Anyway, if the steps aren't for you and you're staying sober than who cares. Cause staying sober is all that matters. Right?

Jason R.

Hello Jason,

I'm sure that you have convinced yourself that going to A.A. meetings and doing the 12 Steps "makes" you quit drinking and stay sober, but there is no evidence that support such an assumption. People who do the A.A. routine do not quit drinking in any greater numbers than people who do other things, or who do nothing in particular for sobriety, other than not drink alcohol.

And Steppers are forever saying, "If it works for you..." There isn't any "it" that "works" for me. There is no program, or routine, or Steps. There is just deciding that I am not going to die that way, and then doing something else with my life.

And in truth, I think that is what everybody does, who quits their addictions.

The fact that it took some false starts before I got it together and did it right just shows that I am human. And the same thing happened to you.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If misery loves company, misery has company enough.
**        ==  Henry David Thoreau, Journal, Sept. 1851

Date: Fri, July 23, 2010 5:08 am     (answered 25 July 2010)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Wherever I Go, There I Am ...Carrying Baggage

Hello and Thank You for the Orange Papers.

Firstly, I'll confess that I have barely even touched your writings, letters, and links. But in reading what little I did I think I've picked up enough to feel "safe" in writing simply to bounce some thoughts off of you, as it would be against the AA Holy Sacrament to even hint at these thoughts going through my head at a meeting.

This message could easily be MUCH longer. In fact, it could probably end up being a series of books in and of itself if I allow, so certainly this will not even be close to all inclusive of what has gone through my mind within even the just the past 10 minutes! Thus, I'll never be able to, "Keep it Simple, Stupid"....Maybe if I could just "Let Go, and Let God (not AA)" do the thinking for me. One thing leads to another as you'll see. Here goes, I have no idea what I'm about to write.

From the beginning I was driven to do well to the best of my ability. The son of a minister. There were things I did well at (academics, specific sports and arts)...but not without a lot of hard, HARD work. My IQ (I won't go there, either) would be considered average to maybe below average on a 'standard' test even though I did get close to straight A's through college. This is merely a fact...nothing more. All I think that I know (that matters) is that I wanted to be a good person that tries...gives it a shot at least...and treats other as I'd want to be treated by them to the best of my ability. I tried to please my parents to keep them off my back and kept out of trouble...so that by my early teens I already didn't know who I really was but didn't know that I didn't know that I didn't know.

After a graduating from college, going to Officers Training School, running marathons, the Air Force and a long term time with The National Weather Service and then the Boeing Company ended up in a hospital with tubes forced into me while strapped to a bed while in tears. All this hard work, self sacrificing dedication, life as I knew it, was going down the drain in 24 hours. I didn't want to die before... but while in that bed I'd rather have. And what got me there? Giving up of self... hating the shell I was trapped in... trying to be perfectly pure... devoid of sin... trying to be in touch with Spirit... the only way to get out was to go deeper in... to the point of non-existence. I wasn't drinking. I was severely anorexic. A male one.

Jumping forward now to 12 years later (2000). I started drinking... and it took about 1.5 years to end up in my first of many rehabs and hospitalizations to safely detox, both leading to AA (not on my own accord). I hated the rehabs and still have resentments about them. They seemed like nothing more than money making ploys that never addressed my issues. Only the one so nicely packaged by 'Their Program'. (the photo-copied material or that stuff that cost a bundle to produce and look so pretty and inviting).

The story from there is not uncommon. In and out of AA. A DUI. After finally having enough pain and feeling have been sufficiently self-abused I got off the roller coaster and quit drinking altogether. The last two bouts were well planned. I knew exactly where I was headed before the first drink and planned accordingly. Got an ample supply of booze so that I wouldn't be driving once I had started, stocked up on cold water jugs and slim-fast for drinking during detox, cleaned the house, took a shower, then with shaking hand initiated the ritual. This happened twice and I survived (obviously). I just wanted "OUT". Never was a belligerent while intoxicated, mean, violent, or nasty. I'd end up speaking in whispers... not wanting to be seen... sort of another form of disappearing. Sound familiar?

As one might expect, after the severe withdrawals were over came a slow adjustment to 'normalization" (whatever THAT is)... I became assimilated back to the living... engaging into my healthy passions... interested in living life. AND, with a much greater appreciation for the few who stuck with me through it all. The thought of going back to AA did not even occur to me. Not once.

Have been alcohol free for 1 1/2 years now. About 3 months ago the thought of going back to AA suddenly just popped hard into my brain like an unsolicited message from God. I've heard it said that a belly full of booze and a brain full of AA don't mix (just recently). I went.

And that is why I'm writing today; where I stand. AA is seemingly trying to make me believe I'm a loser without it... "the Them"... that I'll never make it without "It". I've been contemplating a new personal definition of God to the point of wondering if there even is one. Something I've never done or felt before since returning there. I'm questioning EVERYTHING (which includes my own thoughts) endlessly. Is God a HE or SHE or a LORD? Or are those just terms, pronouns, used to give God substantiation, even by Jesus for purposes of giving living organisms something to relate to? God is so large yet can't even be seen with the strongest microscope or biggest telescope... anything less than GOD takes away.

The very techniques, pithy sayings, etc. meant to make or keep me 'well' are turning against me (not all inclusive). Who do I turn to now? I will say that because of what I've learned in the program that I must suspect or wonder if it's the disease (another reference I hate)... trying to make be believe I'm okay. Let me make one thing clear, I'm not contemplating drinking... not yet... and I'm not okay (I least I don't think I am). Never totally was and may never be. Only when I go to the meetings do I think about drinking with anything more than a passing thought. When I do it's because it's plastered all over the TV, internet, etc... I even got myself thinking that "Yeah... it'll be inevitable... one day I'll drink again" while sitting in a meeting during someone's discourse. I've managed to back track myself the whole way to Step 1 and beyond in one month.

I have to say one thing for it. It certainly got me thinking. Anything but keeping it simple though. Simple in and of it's self goes beyond comprehension..what is it?

Sometime I even hate using the word "I" , "Me", or "Myself" and when that 'itch' occurs avoid doing so only when absolutely necessary. Just thought I'd mention it. That would be deemed self-centered. Right?

Here I go on the roller coaster already. Maybe I'm not even half as crazy as I'll allow myself to ponder. Maybe I'm okay and just shouldn't think about it so much. Maybe if I just kept so busy I couldn't ponder such things (my mother's answer to life). I could just get back into running again..., running 15-20 miles a day — 2 to 3 times a day — run, run, run (sarcastic jab intended). Then I'd end up anorexic again. I know... balance is essential.

I think the only thing constructive 'ponderance' that I've been able to ascertain is that I am not my personality, not a disease, not an -ism or an -ic. I'm not a description. Those are all just impressions, footprints left in the sands of human existence for identification purposes. I'm searching TRUTH.

Maybe I can just eventually just Let it Go and move on. Maybe this is just a phase of continuous development... never to be through. Maybe it's what is known as life. Might as well live it.

What a freakin' curse... or then again... "A Blessing".

Thanks for providing the space for a data dump. Don't want to waste any more of your time. But it felt good, and the link was provided for feedback.


Date: Fri, July 23, 2010 5:27 am     (answered 25 July 2010)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: Re: Wherever I Go, There I Am ...Carrying Baggage

I supposed you'd figured a follow up was coming.

"The Problem With Truth is that there is more than One"... and there's more than one answer.

Bill's Truth is his truth... so am I to follow the teachings of an alcoholic who was never cured? He was not Jesus.

Going to take a shower now. There's something cleansing about one.


Hello Steve,

Thanks for the letters. My first reaction is that you are not an "alcoholic", whatever that word is supposed to mean. You seem to have more of a problem with anexoria, and a negative body image, and compulsive drives, as shown by the running. It's like you have an itch that you can't scratch.

What I did not hear in your letter was any talk about a real doctor helping you. Obviously, you must have talked to a few doctors while detoxing, but I get the feeling that you didn't get the right one. If you get a doctor who tries to assume that your problem is just that you are "an alcoholic", and you need "treatment" for "alcoholism", then dump him immediately. He is incompetent. Try again with another doctor. And if he isn't good, then try another one. I would stress to all of them that the real problem is something underlying all of your problematic behaviors. What causes everything from anexoria nervosa and negative body image to compulsive running and compulsive drinking? The manic phase of a bipolar disorder? Mind you, I cannot diagnose you through email, and I'm not a doctor anyway, so see a real doctor — a good one.

I would also recommend that you try some of the non-cult self-help groups, like SMART or SOS or Lifering. Now I'm not suggesting that they are a cure. They obviously cannot fix what a doctor should be fixing. They can, however, teach some techniques for coping and making the situation a little more bearable. You have a certain amount of mental freedom where you can either make things more extreme or more bearable, depending on how you think about things. SMART in particular is good for teaching that. Dr. Hank Robb called it, "How to stop driving yourself crazy." Again, that is not a cure, just a coping technique. But I think it can help. If you can learn to cool out, rather than work yourself into a tizzy, when things are getting weird, then that will help.

So I would begin the quest for a good doctor who has the smarts to realize what is really going on inside you, and dealing with it appropriately.

Oh, and I strongly disagree with the line about "more than one truth". As in, "Well, you have your truth, and we have our truth." When people tell you that, they are trying to get you to accept their lie as another "truth". It's an attempt at Escape Via Relativism. As you noticed, Bill Wilson's "truth" wasn't true. A.A. people can have their own opinions, and their own superstitions, but they don't get to have their own "truth".

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    If you get bubonic plague, do you go to a club composed of
**    other victims of bubonic plague, or do you go to a doctor?

Date: Sat, July 24, 2010 7:45 am     (answered 25 July 2010)
From: "David"
Subject: Thank you

I just read your writing and you are clearly uninformed ignorant and uneducated in what you write about. Alternatively you could be a malicious liar or more likely an alcoholic with out any understanding of humility. The following is not true and cannot be supported in the book Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • * A.A. Does everything in its power to convert people to its religious beliefs.
  • * A.A. Members accuse the mainstream churches of being "unspiritual" because they are "into property, authority figures (priests), pomp and serimony" [sic.],
  • * A.A. Members declare that "religion is a shackle...; spirituality does indeed free us to make connection with the Living God." Umm, where does it say any of this in the book called Alcoholics Anonymous? Which is what AA is ALL about.

By the way* Hazelden propaganda is Hazelden propaganda and NOT,that's right. NOT AA LITERATURE. Such fucking gobbledegook as I read here today makes me so very grateful that I have the power of comprehension and perception and can understand what I read. Thanks for making my day. I am so glad I am not you.You just gotta be a Sad American.

Date: Sat, July 24, 2010 7:45 am     (answered 25 July 2010)
From: "David"
Subject: Enough

Jesus fucking Christ you sure have a grudge against AA. Rofl .I unfortunately read a little more and was astounded to think that you expect every AA member to be there waiting for a medal handout and use that expectation as statistics! Although not an alcoholic I am aware that so very, very many do not bother with any such showiness. The vomit in your mind is incredible. As a scholar, I have taken the opportunity to block anything you may send by reply. It would be distressing for anyone educated to encounter more sickness. So much that comes out of your country America today is so diseased. You probably even carry a handgun. Blocked and now ignored.

Hello David,

Well, starting at the top, you are quick to deny the bad points of A.A., but you have not offered a shred of evidence to support your denials. You know the old saying, "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt."

You have to be ignoring and denying a lot of facts to deny that A.A. is about converting people to the A.A. faith. Just read chapter four of the Big Book, where Bill Wilson insisted that all of the "agnostics and atheists" had to "Come To Believe" in Bill Wilson's beliefs.

Oh, and can you explain how the 12 Steps can possibly work if there isn't a Santa Claus God who will give A.A. members all of the goodies? Who is going to restore the A.A. members to sanity, and take care of their wills and their lives for them, and remove their defects, and make them quit drinking, and give them secret messages and power and spiritual experiences? How does all of that work if people don't believe in the A.A. version of "GOD"?

About Hazelden: Yes, A.A. is responsible for what Hazelden is saying. Hazelden and Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. are very much in bed together. They have had interlocking directorships for years — they have had representatives on each others' boards of directors or boards of Trustees. Hazelden is the biggest distributor of A.A. publications in the world. Hazelden is also the biggest promoter of A.A. and 12-Step religion in the world. Hazelden also sells 12-Step based "recovery programs", at a rate of $15,000 for 28 days of A.A. indoctrination.

Hazelden and Alcoholics Anonymous are merely two tentacles of the same octopus. And ASAM and NCAAD are two more.

Notice how A.A. benefits from the use of front groups like Hazelden, NCAAD, and ASAM. Those organizations promote A.A. and publicize A.A. and make outrageous claims for the efficacy of cult religion. Then, when somebody calls them on their bull, suddenly A.A. goes into denial mode and proclaims that it has nothing to do with those other organizations.

Similarly, A.A. members brag about A.A. and promote A.A. all of the time, and even go on TV and sing the praises of A.A., and that's okay. But when an A.A. booster says something particularly revealing, or dogmatic, or stupid, then suddenly the A.A. defenders like you declare, "No one is entitled to speak for A.A. What that person said has nothing to do with A.A." Yes, it does. It is all A.A. Whatever the A.A. members do, that is A.A.

About the sobriety medallions: Again, you have not offered any evidence to support your complaints. You just complain.

So why don't you tell us what the real A.A. success rate is?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
Or even several years later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins? Ever?
How about 11 years and 21 years?
(HINT: the answers are here.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.
**       ==  Traditional Sufi Saying

July 28, 2010: (like yesterday): An autobiographical note:

Well, I finally got out to see what wildlife there was to be found around here. I heard that there was a wetlands fairly close by — 1.5 miles away, and that there was an additional 3 miles of trails around the wetlands. That turned out to be true, so I got something like a 6-mile hike out of it. (Not bad, except that I loaded up my backpack with too many spare lenses, and batteries, and cameras, and odds and ends, and my back really ached at the end of the day. Oh well, carrying an overloaded backpack all day long is certainly good exercise.)

It turned out that the wetlands was actually part of the town's sewage treatment facility. Their operation is well-done. It only stinks right at the treatment facility. Just a little ways away, no oder.

What they do is pump their treated waste water into gigantic ponds, creating many acres of lake and wetlands. In spite of the signs declaring that the water is not pure, so no swimming, no fishing, no contact with the water, the water is actually not toxic. The wildlife is thriving there. I saw more species of birds than I could identify, including ducks, Canada Geese, Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Redwing Blackbirds, something that looks like a sandpiper, and who knows what else. And the ponds are full of giant carp, really big fat healthy hungry carp.

One view of the wetlands. Yes, these ponds are big.

Fernhill Wetlands sign

The first thing that I saw was domestic ducks and pelicans. There is a flock of domestic ducks that hangs out near the parking lot, ready for visitors. There are white ducks, and black-and-white ducks, and perhaps some mixtures of domestic and Mallard ducks.

Vet feeding ducks
A local retired Vet enjoys feeding the resident domestic ducks, and they enjoy getting some munchies.

This fellow showed me the carp. Just throw bread onto the water, and suddenly the water is roiling with really big carp just gulping down the bread. It disappears totally in a few seconds. The carp are obviously right there, waiting, lurking just under the surface of the water, ready for someone to toss them some bread. I suspect that they hear the cars pull into the parking lot, and come on over to see what they can get.

The Pelicans came as a surprise. I didn't know that they liked to live so far inland. I had previously only seen them at the sea shore. Here, there were a dozen, in groups of 6, 4, and 2. A woman jogger commented that she had never seen so many Pelicans here at the same time before. Like maybe they were having a convention, or mating ritual, or something. Although these Pelicans seemed like they had already paired up.

Four Pelicans
Four Pelicans

Two Pelicans
Two Pelicans

Two Pelicans
Two Pelicans

More pictures follow.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Thu, July 22, 2010 1:18 am     (answered 25 July 2010)
From: "Kevin R."
Subject: motivation/willingness

Hey Orange,

I really like your articles on AA. I haven't read through them all yet, but so far I agree with about 99% of what you have to say. I have been to rehab and am currently in a sober living home. I really hate it, I feel like I'm paying $1000 a month just to be beat down and ordered around by people who just want to feed their own narcissism. I have tried the meetings and the big book and sponsors, but they just make me feel bad about myself. My self-esteem has not improved (and possibly worsened) since I have been sober and my motivation and willingness to get sober have not improved. I realize I have a problem with drinking and drugs (there were definite consequences — I'm not in denial about that), but I haven't yet found the willingness to make a change or do anything in my life. I have not yet had one day sober that was happier than a day when I was using and that is the honest truth. I am basically just tired of ruining my body.

This may be an unreasonable question, but do you have any suggestions for what I can do to improve my quality of life while staying clean?

Thanks again for all the information you provide.

Hello Kevin,

Thank you for the letter and the question. And congratulations on your sobriety, and your choice to have a better life.

That isn't an unreasonable question. That is a great question, and a very important question.

If somebody doesn't feel good, then it is very hard for him to maintain sobriety. People are only human, and they will realistically ask, "Why am I bothering with all of this suffering? Sobriety isn't getting me anything."

Then the old lizard brain will start singing its siren song about, "We deserve to relax and have a good time... It's okay to kill the pain, sometimes. It's been so long since we felt good, we deserve a break tonight."

When you don't feel good, that sounds pretty darned attractive.

So not only can you improve the quality of your life, you should, for your own welfare.

Now "quality of life" is a broad phrase that can cover a lot of things. These things come to mind:

  1. Quit smoking. I know that, if you are smoking and habitated to it, and aren't eager to quit, then you really don't really want to hear this. But I cannot think of one single thing that can improve your quality of life more, after quitting other drugs, including alcohol, than quitting smoking. In fact, quitting smoking may be more important than quitting some of the other drugs.

    Smoking messes up your health so badly that nothing can compensate for it. You can gobble vitamins and herbs all day long, and they won't counteract the tobacco. They can't. Smoking is too poisonous. Smoking interferes with your blood circulation, which affects every organ in your body. (White) People who smoke have gray skin. People who don't smoke have pink skin. And the same thing is happening inside of you, too. When you smoke, every organ in your body is suffering from poor circulation.

    Someone told me that cigarette smoking can make about 400 different diseases worse. And I believe it. So if you smoke, that has to go. That will really improve the quality of your life, in a big way.

  2. Improve your diet. More vegetables and fresh fruit and nuts. Less junk food munchies. Less meat. Now you don't have to give up meat, but most Americans eat too much of it. The average American thinks, "Beef. That's what's for dinner." Well try something else for dinner, just for a change. You can find plenty of good ideas in used cook books or diet books at the used book store or Goodwill.

    An addition to a good diet is vitamins. I gobble them like chicken-feed, and recommend them. Again, everything that helps to improve your health will make you feel better, and the better you feel, the less you will be tempted to go back to smoking and drinking and doping.

  3. Get outdoors. Get some fresh air and exercise. Often. Preferably every day.

    This is also important. The human body was not designed to sit idle all day long. We were designed to wander the countryside, hunting and gathering, all day long, and occasionally running down dinner.

    Being idle and getting no exercise is the kiss of death. Literally. It is just amazing how many bad things lack of exercise does to your body, like heart attacks and obesity, and general deterioration of muscle tone, and poor circulation, and lungs that don't breathe deeply, and brains that are dull-witted.

    So get out in the sunshine and fresh air and live. If you need an excuse, say that it's hot, and you need to go swimming.

  4. Work on improving your sanity. You can make yourself happy or miserable, depending on how you think about things. Your mind is that powerful.

    I suggest that you try using SMART to cool out your mind. It teaches some handy techniques for straightening out your thinking, and helping you to avoid driving yourself crazy.

    Get an occasional dose of good thoughts. That can be reading good books, or poetry, or watching an inspirational videotape, or good music, or hiking in the woods. It can be involvement with something spiritual. I mean something really spiritual, not phony cult religion. And spirituality is where you find it. Some people find Lord of the Rings to be spiritual. Others like Buddhism or goslings.

  5. If you suffer from depression, do something to fix it. Get a good doctor to help you. If you get a bad doctor, or an ineffective doctor, go to a different one until you find one who really helps you.

  6. Read some of the books on the Top 10 reading list. They will help to put some good stuff in your mind, and give you something else to think about besides the same old garbage.

  7. Work on your self-image. Make yourself look better. Get some new clothes that you really like, and that look good. Dressing up, and feeling like you look good, can make you feel good too.

  8. Realize that you really are getting your life together, and that things are going to get better. Remind yourself of that every so often. Remember, this really is the first day of the rest of your life, and the future life is going to be much better than the past life.

  9. Delight in the small beautiful things around you. As I was typing this, the resident Blue Jay was squawking outside of my window again. So he made me think of this one. He is a beautiful little creature, and noisy too. He makes his rounds, and often sits in a tree outside my window, and loudly declares that he is here, and this is his territory. I'm glad that he is around.

  10. There are many more items that could go on this list, but I can't think of them at this minute. That list will do for starters.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Once there were intellectuals who thought the mind existed above
**    the body, but that's been blown away by evidence. In fact, it's
**    easiest to change the mind by changing behavior...
**    == David Brooks, "Pitching With Purpose", New York Times, 1 April 2008.

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