Letters, We Get Mail, CCIV

Date: Sun, October 24, 2010 12:51 pm     (answered 11 November 2010)
From: "Sumerian God king"
Subject: Occult

Order of the Silver Star or Alcoholics Anonymous

The Desire Chip for the alcoholic that wishes to try this program one day at a time is silver in color.

Secret Orders have troubles hiding as we move along in this timeline.

ISis RA ELohim is another.

Ummm, okay. I honestly don't know what to say.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The dhow is down by 30 cubits.

BLOG NOTE: 11 November 2010.

Here it is, Veterans' Day. What that means is that they close everything in honor of me, and I can't get any services today. The library is closed in honor of me, so I can't get any Internet access. Everything is closed.

Oh well, on Labor Day, the laborers can't get anything either.

Ten years ago, I couldn't get my nicotine patches to quit smoking, because it was Veterans' Day. I found it ironic that veterans can't get their medications on Veterans' Day. I was very sick with bronchitis, and really needed to quit smoking. I had the prescription, but needed to get it filled. Then the 12th was a Sunday, and the pharmacy was closed that day too. So I had to wait two days to get the patches and quit smoking.

On the 13th, I finally got the patches, and then, on the way home, stopped off at Pioneer Courthouse Square, and sat down and ceremonially smoked one last cigarette, and then went home (to the homeless shelter) and took off my shirt and put on a patch, and haven't smoked a cigarette since.

Happy Veterans' Day.

BLOG NOTE: 27 November 2010.

P.S.: Yes, it's the same Pioneer Courthouse Square as that nutcase would-be terrorist just tried to blow up during the Christmas-Tree lighting ceremony. They call Pioneer Courthouse Square "Portland's Living Room", and it's a popular gathering spot in the center of downtown Portland. So one of the things that they do is have Portland's giant Christmas tree there. During the summer they have "Flicks on the Bricks" (free movies) and "Noon Tunes" (free music concerts at noon).

Date: Sat, October 23, 2010 3:05 pm     (answered 12 November 2010)
From: "Adam C."
Subject: Thank you

Dear Orange,

I found your website when searching terms like "alcoholics anonymous research".

I have a "patchy" alcoholic record: patches of binges between long sobriety periods (3 years, 5 years, 8 years). I tried AA in 1994, but didn't buy into it. Firstly, I didn't understand the idea of keeping me sober with the help of 12 Steps and God. Secondly, my English was not good enough to fully comprehend the AA lingo. In 2008 I had a 8-day long binge (after 8 dry years), after which I was pretty shaky, malnourished and full of sorrow. I landed in a treatment centre (outpatient program), which in turn re-introduced me to AA. AA meetings were compulsory, at least 2 a week.

One thing that I understood pretty quickly in the treatment centre, but hadn't seen before, was that abstinence doesn't equal recovery. I discovered loads of stuff I needed to change in my life in order to avoid such devastating binges. I would lie if I said that therapists made me aware of what EXACTLY was wrong with me, but they for sure helped me understand that changes were very important to maintain my sobriety and to head for recovery.

AA helped me to actually introduce important changes in my life. I needed such a "push" (a program), to straighten certain things up by apologizing those whom I REALLY wronged, to pay debts back etc. It was indeed a relief to see that old baggage go. "Personal Inventory" was helpful to see who I really was: both treatment centre and AA helped me to exercise routine of an honest stock taking (positives and negatives). I believe this new habit of mine (stock taking) is a virtue that many wiser than me do routinely. In other words, I was given a plan of action to do what I really had been wanting to do for a long time, plus affirmation, guidance and sort of supervision. I really needed that "structure" around me, at least for a while. I needed encouragement to start exercising what I myself believed in, but somehow couldn't start doing on my own.

For sure, AA is a good place to admit the problem. I mean, if one really doubts, he can easily identify in AA. Admission to the problem is the foundation of any further action, otherwise one wouldn't even stop drinking.

Another good thing about AA is simply meeting others and talking to other drunks. It helped to be welcomed and experience the feeling of "belonging".

Without a doubt, if AA meetings were not required by the treatment centre, I wouldn't go. My primary trust rested with the treatment centre. I somehow continued the work initiated in the centre through AA, and established a new "way of living" by being honest with myself and others, asking for help when needed, exercising awereness of myself (feelings, actions, thinking), correcting promptly what's wrong, supporting others. Nothing wrong with that.

There were various aspects of AA that worried me, or I didn't really like, like mass-style preambles, the same people talking the same things ad nauseam, some sadness painted on peoples' faces (even "old timers"), many people relapsing, almost no retention of newcomers, bossy style of old timers etc. Somehow I learned to accept those shortcomings of AA, explaining to myself that I was intolerant, overly critical, or too sensitive.

My last 3 weeks were heavy, due to a few misfortunes. I didn't feel well: depressed, apathetic, fearful. I did my AA program well, by attending meetings, sharing, reading, meditating, but somehow my mood wasn't changing. It actually got worse. It came to the point when reading the Big Book invoked drinking urges. I talked to my sponsor about that and to a few AAs. Their response was, to put it mildly, ridiculous: they suggested that I WAS DOING SOMETHING WRONG, meaning that I had to refer to the AA program "better". I have some degree of intelligence to take such suggestions as preposterous. After all, I expected what anybody in trouble would expect: support, advice, a helping hand, a pat on the back etc., but all I heard, in response to my quite specific problems, was a vague nonsense like "Keep coming back", "Do the next RIGHT thing"., "You have no control over those things" and similar riddles. It is like sharing with your friend that your tummy is very sore, but hearing in response that Ferraris are really fast cars.

That was the first time when I didn't experience any help from AA. For as long as I was "doing the program", everything was OK, cos it was me who was using the program to introduce some positive changes in my life. In the moment when I was in trouble (serious trouble, mind you: I experienced craving for a drink) I didn't receive even ONE single phone call with a question "How are you?" In other words, AA was 'helping me" only when I BELIEVED in that help, but in a crisis situation AA proved to be as powerless as the First Step states, and AA members indirectly suggested that I had to somehow, magically, find some power to overcome my problems.

It was quite a revelation to me: to be left ALONE with my misery, with no real answers or directions from AA. I just guess that if I relapsed, I would be accused of not doing the program well! What is very sad is that I have spent, to date, almost 2.5 years in AA, faithfully, but when in trouble I cannot see any real help: they just give me those brainteasers to take home.

I sat down and analysed exactly what had recently happened in my life, what were my feelings, what had I neglected etc. I came to various conclusions. For example, out of all amends (Steps 8 and 9) I forgot to make amends to myself. Those amends include, among others, stopping smoking, however AA members insist that I must be "ready" to stop, and that I must not "rush" with those things. That way I am basically encouraged to carry on smoking, for some obscure reason. I discovered that I was indeed indoctrinated, in spite of my education. I started to believe that certain changes would just happen in my life, by doing the AA program. Unfortunately, I was very wrong. I must exercise my independent will to alter my habits, like in case of drinking (it was my decision to stop). Slowly, I imprisoned myself in the loop of meetings—sponsor—steps—service, fell into sort of complacency and belief that my life would now progress to some eternal happiness, cos Higher Power would take care of all other problems. That broken-record style of life led me straight to depressive mood — and almost to drinking! The "treatment' started to harm me, or pushed me into a situation when I could relapse.

I also wanted to inform myself better about the "AA treatment", especially the success rate, hence I did a little Internet research and found your website. That's how I found out that the AA Solution could be a Final Solution.

Your website just confirmed my worst fears. Although some of AA material is a subject to interpretation, a vast majority of your material is very well supported by scientific data, which I appreciate a great deal. AA is NOT a treatment program, but merely a supportive tool in the recovery. One must approach recovery holistically and under no circumstances rely entirely on AA.

By the way, I am really surprised that you claim that AA blames alcoholism on character defects. I never interpreted their writings like that. I identified that I had certain "defects of character" that I should attend to (correct) in order to distance myself from the urge to drink. In other words, since I am an alcoholic, I cannot touch alcohol, so I must prevent urges. Urges develop when my emotions are excessive (sadness, resentments, guilt), so I should look at those triggers and re-program myself: that way I reduce the probability of urges. I correct it by living debt-free, being honest (as much as I can), trying to understand, delaying reaction etc. Maybe my English is still not good enough, or maybe my treatment centre put other ideas in my head, or maybe both, but I indeed never conceived that connection in my head (after reading Big Book): character defects ---> alcoholism. I merely understood that addicts are more prone to excessive emotional states (idiopathic or alcohol-related) and that, actually, helped me to identify with other alcoholics through the frequently displayed "defects" like extreme impatience, fear of the unknown, predicting the worst etc. I guess I was lucky — that I avoided thinking that I was really a BAD person and therefore an alcoholic :)

Your website is fantastic and I would like to commend you on your hard work and well-researched material. It helps me a graet deal, especially now when I am in crisis.

Have A Lovely Day!


Hello Adam,

Thank you for the letter, and thank you for the compliments.

One line really rang a bell in my head: "I forgot to make amends to myself."

You know, I can't remember anybody ever saying that before. And it's a great point. In addition, I also think about, "What about other people making amends to me?" The Steps don't even mention that. The harm and hurts were not just a one-way street, with me doing all of the harming and hurting. Other people hurt me too, a lot. Sometimes I felt like King Lear (in Shakespeare's play) "Surely I am more sinned against than sinned".

If we are going to be truthful and realistic, we have to look at both sides of the coin.

I agree about the help and usefulness of introspection, and finding what we are doing wrong, and fixing it. And if we can patch up relationships by "making amends", that is okay too. My big problem with A.A. is that it is all so negative, and just dwells on what is wrong with you. You mentioned that when you did your "searching and fearless moral inventory", that you looked at both the positives and the negatives. I almost never hear that. It's almost always just about the negatives.

About the "defects of character": that phrase really means "sins". In the Oxford Group, people were required to confess all of their sins in meetings. When Bill Wilson copied the Oxford Group theology, he had to change a few words to avoid getting into conflicts with the Catholic Church, and losing his Catholic members. The Catholic Church has a strong ban on public confessions. So the word "confession" was changed into "admitting our wrongs", and "sins" was changed into "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings". But it still means "sins", and in his second book, Bill Wilson dropped the pretense and said that they were the same thing:

      Now let's ponder the need for a list of the more glaring personality defects all of us have in varying degrees. To those who have religious training, such a list would set forth serious violations of moral principles. Some others will think of this list as defects of character. Still others will call it an index of maladjustments. Some will become quite annoyed if there is talk about immorality, let alone sin.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 48, 49.

Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. [Whose intended purpose?] When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 65.

You can read much more of that in the web page about "The Us Stupid Drunks Conspiracy", here

Also, we discussed that in a letter a long time ago, here.

The way that the A.A. members refused to help you when you needed it sounds very familiar. I've heard that a lot. The "A.A. friends" disappear fast if you are not singing the praises of Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, when people get indoctrinated and brainwashed into believing the cult dogma, they seem to be incapable of considering the idea that the Steps are not working, and are not accomplishing the desired goal. They can't even consider the idea that the Steps are not perfect. So, if something is not working right, it must be your fault, they say.

Personally, I have found that when I get those cravings, it is usually the base brain craving center getting hungry. That is, what I like to call the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster, doing his thing again. Click on that link, and read about that.

After being sober and healthy for a while, our brains have a tendency to forget about the pain of drinking, and just remember the pleasure. That can be a problem. We can get to thinking that drinking really would be a lot of fun. So we start to experience cravings as the Lizard Brain yammers and demands a good time. And if I am tired and hungry, that just makes things worse.

My defense against that is:

  1. To recognize that it's just the Lizard Brain, doing his low-intelligence thing again. His thoughts are not my thoughts, and his desires are not my desires.

  2. And to remember all of the pain and damage that drinking really caused. It wasn't a lot of fun at all, in the end. It was hell.

  3. To live by the slogan,
    "Just Don't Take That First Drink, Not Ever, No Matter What."

  4. I also use the slogan,
    "Just Don't Smoke That First Cigarette, Not Ever, No Matter What."

  5. I also like the slogan,
    "Play The Tape To The End."
    Look at the whole thing like a movie on a videotape. Don't just look at the next few scenes, and see how much fun some partying might be. Play the tape to the end, and see the sickness and the hangovers, and the misery and pain, and how disappointed with yourself you will feel if you stupidly go on another binge.

That does it for me.

And I would also suggest going and doing something positive. Go out and have a good time without drinking. Do something fun and adventurous, or have a love affair, or accomplish something that you have been wanting to do for a long time. Do something that will refute the Lizard Brain's complaining about how life isn't any fun any more, so we should just have a good time for a while.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Frodo: "I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of
**     this had happened."
**     Gandalf: "So do all who live to see such times, but that is
**     not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do
**     with the time that is given us."
**           ==   J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of The Rings

[The next letter from Adam C. is here.]

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose Goslings, with the two adopted orphans

The two small orphans have pushed their way into the pack of goslings, and are using their big brothers for bed warmers.

The goslings are nibbling on some left-over oatmeal flakes.

Here, it is obvious that the four older goslings are three boys and one girl. The girl is the smaller gosling at the lower left.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

BLOG NOTE: 16 November 2010

A lady friend and I went to see a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert last night. It was a fantastic show. The music was beyond good, it was unbelieveably tight. A couple of years ago, a TV host introduced them as "Pink Floyd Meets Santa Claus". That is actually pretty accurate. They specialize in Christmas music, done with a hard-rock/classical hybrid style.

All of the musicians are classically trained, and it shows. They can switch from playing hard rock to playing classical music in a second. Literally. And on cue.

They had the standard three guitarists (lead, rhythm, bass), and drummer, and two keyboard players who can (and did) do classical piano concertos alternating with rock riffs, and one or two violins, backed up by the Oregon Strings, a local eight-piece string section. And they had four female singers, one of whom also played the violin. And half of the guys themselves can sing too.

And the light show was the best that I've ever seen. They used lasers, video projectors, spotlights, neon, flame throwers, fireworks and explosives, and I don't know what else. I'm an old techie and I don't know how they did some of that stuff. It took four technicians at the sound board and computer consoles to run it all.

They said, during the introductions, that they had been doing it for 31 years. I don't know where they have been hiding for the past 28 years. I only first heard of them three years ago, when the song Christmas Eve, Sarajevo 12-24 became popular.

Oh, and they really put on a whole show, too. So many prima donna bands use up half of the time with an opening act, and then just play for a while, and that's it. Not with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. After a couple of hours, I got the feeling that they were about to end it. Like maybe they would play one more song, and then let us yell for an oncore, and then do the encore and be out of there. No way. They were just doing a change of pace. They played for another hour and a half after that, from 7:30 PM to 11 PM altogether. They didn't even have an intermission. They just arranged the music so that there would be some songs where they had one singer and one guitarist on stage, and everybody else could take a quick break and come back for the next song. The show never stopped.

A great show. If you have a chance to see them, I think you will enjoy the show.

Date: Sun, October 24, 2010 2:06 pm     (answered 16 November 2010)
From: "Webster L."
Subject: Hello

I would like to thank you for you in depth research of AA. I used the other "fellowship, NA . I felt so out of place there. I often wondered what the hell was going on in those meetings. It felt crazed. I left because the answers I was looking for was not there. I ran from the 12 Step thought. It was unsuitable for me. What you have written here is how I felt after a few months of going to that group. When I questioned some of the philosophy I was told "You are thinking to much"; "Shut up you really don't have anything to say"; "Who are you to question the founders of this program". It goes on and on.

I did not agree with the negative labeling of addict. How I think, I am not an addict. I was addicted at one point and time, but not now. It is what I did, not WHO I am. I've seen things that was so much in contradiction, it left me say, "what the hell". The shaming and guilt tactics were just ridiculous. People told me just to go for the social aspect of it. Most of the people I encountered there I do not want to know. If the only thing I have in common is that I used to use drugs and alcohol, I'm all set with that. I have other things to do. I was in NA for about 18-20 months before I said to hell with this madness. I Goggled non-12 Step groups and research them all. I finally came upon SMART Recovery and really like the fact that negative labeling is NOT encouraged. I'm close to 6 years clean and have grown so much. I found that I can think for myself. I found this statement in SMART Recovery, "Sobriety with caution, Recovery without labels". How I think, to keep using the word addict or alcoholic kills the motivation and self-confidence.

I work in the field of addiction and I tell people that they do have options to where they want to go to find some tools to live their life. I tell people about all the other non-12 step groups. There is no need for me to promote 12 Step because it is already there. I do not call people any negative labeling. In my groups, there is a no negative labeling zone. Even if it is only for one hour out of the day. So not all of us who do work in the addiction field promote 12 Step philosophy. To be honest, I abhor it!!!

Thanks again. Nice to know that there are other people out there who share similar thoughts.

Hello Webster,

Thank you for the letter, and the thanks.

I love this phrase, "a no negative labeling zone." That's good. And important too. You hit the nail on the head there: How are you going to get better if all that you do is talk about how bad you are? That is very counter-productive.

I'm glad that you are working in the field of addiction treatment and recovery.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
**  "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
**     ==  Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

Date: Sun, October 24, 2010 6:59 am     (answered 16 November 2010)
From: "Susan S."
Subject: S. Brattleboro, VT you have good points

S. Brattleboro, VT you have good points


Hi Susan,

Thanks, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
**     and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
**     Happiness never decreases by being shared.
**        ==   Buddha

Date: Sun, October 24, 2010 11:05 am     (answered 16 November 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Sharron L. posted on your Wall.

Sharron wrote:
"congrats on your 10 years! I just discovered you on orange papers and want to thank you so very much for all the tireless research you have done for us all! you sir are a true inspiration to many. Warmest regards and respect to you."

Hi Sharron,

Thanks for the good wishes, and I hope you enjoy the Orange Papers.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Teach this triple truth to all:  A generous heart, kind speech,
**     and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.
**        ==  Buddha

Date: Thu, August 26, 2010 1:33 pm     (answered 17 November 2010)
From: "John M."
Subject: Web Design and an AA story

Hey Orange:

Read your last batch of e-mails and I would have to say that your homepage does need some redesign, particularly in terms of the letters (if you get any more I'm guessing your home page will be three screens wide and ten deep). Ever thought of setting up Wordpress on your web server and doing future letters from there?

Also, don't know if anybody's sent you these two stories yet:



Hello John,

Thanks for the tips. Yes, I've been thinking of that front page. It could use a redesign.

I'll have to check out Wordpress. I don't know a thing about it. The one thing that I am sure of is that I don't want to use any computer where I cannot log into it with a shell account, and get in there behind the scenes to fix things and archive things.

The same thing applies to the forum that I want to get set up real soon now. I don't want to use any external web site, outside of the web server that I already have, where I can and do log in with a shell account. (I only use Linux or Solaris or Unix web servers. Windoze won't allow me a shell login.)

As it is, I have the production of letters pretty well automated. I use shell scripts to do most of the formatting work. That is one of the reasons that I answer letters with web pages — the web pages are already produced automatically by the scripts inside of my own computers (that also run Linux).

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "When it gets dark enough,
**       you can see the stars."
**          ==  Charles A. Beard

[The previous letter from Frank M. is here.]

Date: Mon, October 25, 2010 2:56 pm     (answered 17 November 2010)
From: "Frank M."
Subject: RE: anti-aa

1. are you sober or still a drunk?

2. you state failure of 100% I am sober so that refutes that little stat of yours.

3. 65,000 sober people show it works. Sorry you can't accept that fact. And getting drunk repeatedly shows some sort of insanity.

4. any moron can quit drinking. Staying sober if the trick.

5. by the way, 450 plus old timers had over 26,000 or sobriety. I have over 30 years. How much clean time you got?

Hi again, Frank,

And the answers are:

  1. I am sober, and have 10 years of sobriety now, without any cult religion or "support group".

  2. I have said that Alcoholics Anonymous has a failure rate of anything from 95% to 100%. It could even have a failure rate of greater than 100%. It depends on how you define terms.

    So how could an organization like A.A. have a failure rate greater than 100%, even though some members claim to have years of sobriety?
    Simple: help few or no people to quit drinking, while making it harder for other people to quit drinking and get sober. Or save one, and kill five others at the same time.

    And in fact, the medical tests of Alcoholics Anonymous have shown just such results:

    1. Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma found that A.A. indoctrination greatly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics. People who were sent to A.A. ended up, after 9 months of A.A., doing FIVE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group of alcoholics who got no such help, and NINE TIMES as much binge drinking as another group that got Rational Behavior Therapy.

    2. Dr. Keith Ditman found that A.A. involvement increased the rate of re-arrests for public drunkenness in a group of street drunks.

    3. Dr. Diana Walsh found that "free" A.A. just messed up a lot of alcoholics and make them need more expensive hospitalization later.

    4. This one is the most damning evidence of all, because it came from a doctor who loves Alcoholics Anonymous, and is one of its biggest promoters. He is (or was) also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. Doctor George E. Vaillant (who later became a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University), clearly demonstrated that A.A. treatment kills patients. For eight years, while he tried to prove that A.A. works, his A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate above normal spontaneous remission, and worse, it had the highest death rate of any kind of alcoholism treatment that he studied. Dr. Vaillant candidly called the A.A. death rate "appalling". At the end of 8 years, the score with his first 100 A.A.-treated patients was: 5 sober, 29 dead, and 66 still drinking.

    When Alcoholics Anonymous actually raises the death rate in alcoholics, and raises the relapse rate, and raises the rate of binge drinking, then that is a negative success rate, a rate of failure greater than 100%.

  3. You wrote "65,000 sober people show it works".
    No, 65,000 people at the convention prove that 65,000 people attended the convention. Did you breathalize them as they walked into the convention hall? You don't even know for sure if they were sober during the convention. Surely, in your many years of experience in A.A., you have encountered some alcoholics who lied about being sober and not drinking. How many of those "old-timers" are actually lying about their many years of sober time? You don't know.

    And again, you are assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. Just because some people quit drinking and then attended a convention in Texas does not prove that an old pro-Nazi cult religion fron the nineteen-thirties made them get sober.

    The real reasons why people quit drinking are things like: to save their lives and avoid a painful death, to save a marriage or career, to regain one's self-respect, to keep children, to end legal problems, and to stop the pain and get healthy. There is zero evidence that the bizarre occult practices of Alcoholics Anonymous make people quit drinking. "It" — Alcoholics Anonymous — does not work.

  4. RE: "any moron can quit drinking. Staying sober if the trick."
    Sure, that is like Mark Twain's joke: "Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times."

  5. RE: "by the way, 450 plus old timers had over 26,000 or sobriety. I have over 30 years. How much clean time you got?"
    That is garbled. I assume that you were trying to say that 450 old-timers had a lot of sober time. I can believe that. I am sure that there are also 450 people in Scientology who have a lot of time in that organization, too. They will claim many years of being "clear" and "free of engrams", thanks to Scientology.

    Again, there is no evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship there. Just because some people love cult religion and devote their lives to it does not make it a good thing, or prove that the cult did something good for them.

    In addition, A.A. claims to have nearly 2 million members, worldwide. Do you realize what a tiny fraction of 2 million 450 is? That is less than a drop in the bucket. 450 is only 0.0225% of 2 million. So you are claiming that two and a quarter one-hundredths of one percent of the A.A. members have a lot of sober time. The obvious conclusion is that the A.A. program is not working so well for the other 99.9775% of the A.A. members. Those few sober people sure don't prove that A.A. works. They prove that A.A. does not work.

    Bragging that two ten-thousandths of the A.A. membership have a bunch of years of sobriety is really pathetic. It shows the desperate lengths that A.A. leaders are going to, to try to create the illusion that A.A. is a success story. But they did that, didn't they? You probably heard some guy on stage at the convention, grandly bragging that 450 guys out of 2 million had many years of sobriety, didn't you? And you didn't notice that they were playing ridiculous mind games on you. You parrotted their line as if it was really evidence of something. So much for the convention.

    Personally, I have 10 years of sobriety now, without any cult religion or any other group or organization. That is 10 years without a beer or a cigarette or an illicit drug or anything. That also includes 10 years of not consuming any legal doctor-prescribed mind-altering prescription drugs like tranquilizers. That is 10 years of nothing but good espresso coffee.

    So how many of those 450 old-timers that you are bragging about are still addicted to cigarettes? Why don't the 12 Steps work on tobacco addiction?

    Congratulations on your 30 years of not killing yourself with alcohol. You did it. No cult religion did it for you. Nobody held your hand every Saturday night but you. No organization saved you. You saved yourself.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hangovers:
**     "His mouth has been used as a latrine by some small animal of the night."
**       ==  Kingsley Amis (1922— ), British novelist, describing a hangover.

Date: Tue, October 26, 2010 4:16 am     (answered 17 November 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Allan O. posted on your Wall.

Allan wrote:
"Hey Terrance, happy belated 10 years! Good for you. You are the man!"

Hi Allan,

Thanks for the good wishes, and you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For when the wine is in, the wit is out.
**      ==  Thomas Becon (1512—1567), English Protestant churchman.
**           Catechism, 375

Date: Mon, October 25, 2010 7:33 pm     (answered 17 November 2010)
From: "John H"
Subject: Chickens and Goslings [Re: Article in July Wired Magazine online]


Here's something lighter than AA, etc.


The Rural Life
Hickory Rain

Published: October 18, 2010 NYTimes. . .

"I have new chickens — layers eight weeks old. When they were living under lights in the mudroom as chicks, I made a practice of picking them up, those that would let me. And now when I enter the poultry yard, I feel like a one-man midway at the chicken fair, birds standing in line waiting to be picked up.

"No good can come of lifting chickens. I can almost hear my dad thinking that, though he is gone now, too. And yet the birds churr and cluck, and I leave the yard happy."

John H.

Hi John,

Thanks for the note, and for bringing a smile to my lips.

Yes, goslings are the same way too. They want a parent figure, and they want attention, and when they are orphaned, they will take whatever they can get. When I'm the parent, they want to cuddle up with me and sleep with me. And they follow me around all day, and cry if we are separated for even a minute.

The feeling you get from having a little baby gosling cuddling up against your ear, under your hair, chirping happily about being warm and safe, is incredible.

When it was time for me to take them to the park, they would actually chirp happily when I picked them up and put them into a cloth carrying bag, because they knew the routine, and knew that we were going to the park, where they could run around free and browse and munch the grass.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Other people's babies —
**     That's my life!
**     Mother to dozens,
**     And nobody's wife.
**       ==  A. P. Herbert (1890—1971), British writer and politician.
**          A Book of Ballads, 'Other People's Babies'

[The previous letter from Michelle is here.]

Date: Tue, October 26, 2010 7:15 pm     (answered 17 November 2010)
Subject: Thanks for your concern

Dear Orange,

Thanks so much for responding to me and for your concern.

I wrote to you last week and said that I was considering quitting my meds. I must apologize for that. I was just feeling so trapped in AA and helpless and hopeless that I wanted to self destruct. I tend to do that when I'm continuously told I'm crazy, can't be trusted to think properly and am, in general, a bad, immoral person because that's picking at some really bad old scars. But eventually see it for what it is and straighten myself out. And I did. And I'm sure SMART will help me sort things out quicker in the future. I now have a friend there that I can talk to who feels the same way about AA which relieves a lot of pressure and anxiety.

I will continue to go to meetings the same way I did before I found out that my thinking was, indeed, correct. I figure it's the least I can do for my brother, it keeps him happy. And I will continue to keep my mouth shut about all the irrational and untrue things people say, and just believe that they believe in what they believe in. I'll put the cotton in both my mouth and my ears. And for any others who don't believe in AA, I'll be there with the truth you have shared, and have done so just tonight. This poor woman is so depressed because she is not getting what she needs from AA. I told her about SMART and your site.

I've decided to think differently about going. It will give me so much practice towards better tolerance of views I think are just plain crazy. And if you wish, I'll send you some of the crazy stuff I hear. For instance, did you know that God sent a blizzard on ALL of NYC just so one woman would be alone at a meeting and write down her 4th step? Bet there were a lot of New Yorkers really pissed off that she couldn't have just done it at home like everybody else. Hahaha.

Ignorance is bliss for some, but I prefer truth and rationality. Although I'm not always rational, (like last week, yikes!) I am most of the time.

I can't thank you enough for all that you have done. Haha, Orange you must be a higher power cuz you restored ME to sanity! You helped me rediscover the intelligent and independent person I was before drinking ever became a problem in my life. Now, if you don't mind, I think I'll go be all grandiose, take my will back, play God and find myself a job!!!!

With Great Admiration,
Michelle J

Date: Thu, October 28, 2010 8:33 am     (answered 17 November 2010)
Subject: question

Hi Orange,

Me again. Maybe you have already addressed this question and I haven't found it yet. I've tried to research it myself, I'm but not satisfied that the info I've found is not AA misinfo. Is addiction still progressive during abstinence (while I'm in a meeting it's outside doing push-ups)? If this isn't true I think it's an extremely dangerous thing to tell people.

Again, thank you so much for all you do.
Michelle J

Hi again, Michelle,

Thanks for the letters, and especially thanks for taking care of yourself, in spite of A.A.

I can answer your last question from personal experience: "No, the progression while you are sober is just a myth, just another A.A. fairy tale, a bogey-man intended to scare the children."

My personal history is that I quit drinking for three years way back around 1987. When I started drinking again, after three years of perfect sobriety, I just started back up at the same level again. Actually, it took about a month to build back up to that level, but that wasn't very long. I quickly reestablished my old comfort zone. But I didn't go up above that level of drinking for years more. It took nine more years of drinking to build up to a fatal level.

In fact, not only does "alcoholism" not progress during periods of sobriety, you recover during those periods. (You really recover, physically, no matter whether you are going to A.A. meetings or not. Forget that nonsense about not "being in recovery" if you don't go to A.A. meetings and do the Twelve Steps.) My liver is in much better shape now because of those three years during which it could repair the damage and get prepared for the next wave of alcohol. I was not in worse shape after those three years of sobriety, I was in much better shape. I am sure that the good condition of my liver now is due to that 3-year break. My doctor was pleasantly surprised when he got the test results back, too (back around 2000). He expected my liver to be badly damaged, but it wasn't.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If we heard it said of Orientals that they habitually drank a
**     liquor which went to their heads, deprived them of reason and
**     made them vomit, we should say, "How very barbarous!"
**       ==  Jean de La Bruyère (1645—1696), French satirist. Caractères

[The next letter from Michelle J. is here.]

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Mallard Duck scrounging
A Mallard Duck is scrounging some oatmeal

The leftover oatmeal never goes to waste. The ducks quickly move in after the goslings are done eating. The goose parents will attack the ducks and bite them if they try to take the oatmeal from the goslings, but once the goslings are stuffed, they lose interest in protecting the leftover oatmeal, and the ducks can sneak in and help themselves.

Then, when the ducks are done, or even before, the pigeons (really, Rock Doves) move in and get the crumbs that the ducks missed. Sometimes crows show up too. Then sometimes smaller birds get what they miss. Then the tide comes in and crayfish and worms and other small things get even tinier crumbs. And then the clams filter the oatmeal dust out of the water.

They don't miss anything. It all gets eaten.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Thu, October 28, 2010 12:11 pm     (answered 19 November 2010)
From: "Tom M."
Subject: A thank you note.

Dear Orange,

I love your website. It is so comprehensive, detailed and irrefutable, it is almost scary. I love how pro-AA propagandists think that they can discredit your work with a few paragraphs, which always neglect to engage with any of the actual points you make against AA, and a few ad-hom attacks that question why you are so angry and why you hate AA.

I have been going to AA for 10 years. I have always skeptical about the existence of god, and in the last year, this skepticism has turned into non-belief in the existence of god. My former sponsor was always deflecting doubts I had about god and was very skillful at turning these doubts back on me. For example, I once said to him "Why does god allow so many poor children to die each day in Africa, but he cares so much about (relatively) wealthy western boozebags?" or words to that effect. His response was "Well, I usually find that when people in AA have generalised objections to the idea of god, it has more to do with their personal issues, and what is going on for them....." or words to that effect. His response may have well have been true, but it still didn't answer my question as to why would any god worth two cents of respect, would care about the wellbeing of people engaging in a destructive behaviour and intervene in their lives in many detailed ways, while watching with blight indifference at so many innocent, blameless children dying of preventable causes. His answer definitely was a very good example of AA's tactic of turning the spotlight back on the critic, accusing the critic of being the one with the problem that needed 'adjusting'.

Something about AA and NA never sat right with me, it always felt a bit off, but I was so terrified of drinking or taking drugs, that I quieted the critical voice in my head. The idea that I either had to find a 'spiritual' way of life or that I would die, drunk, homeless and pennyless, was rammed into my head repeatedly from the day I arrived in AA and NA. I witnessed the way that any pretty, young, vulnerable female newcomer in NA was pounced on by predators as soon as she set foot in the 'rooms'. Most of these women ended up being taken advantage of and tended to relapse much quicker than male newcomers.

My hardcore big-book-bashing sponsor went back to the US in 2004, and I continued to attend the meetings but I stopped working the steps and stopped treating the turgid big book as a sacred text. Meetings here in Ireland tend not to focus much on the big book or the steps, most people don't read the big book or work the steps with a sponsor as they are described in the big book and 12X12. Meetings here tend to consist of people engaging in games of one-up-man-ship to see who can tell the funniest and most horrific war stories, or whinge-fests of people bitching about how their life is now, while telling newcomers how they can have a "life beyond your wildest dreams" if you "get a god into your life" (I often felt like asking the morons who parroted this pearl of wisdom, "Which god would that be now, Wotan, Thor, Zeus, Perseus? Oh wait, last week you asked me, after a meeting, would I like to go to a retreat in Mount Mellory in Waterford, which is a catholic monastery where the catholic hierarchy likes to hide priests who have been accused of child-molestation, so I can guess you want me to get the Judeo-Christian god "into my life", but you say "a god" so that you can disguise the fact that you are a religious nutbag and maintain the pretense that AA allows any member to worship any god they want to.)

And of course the admonition to get to lots and lots of meetings. At one of the last meetings I attended, I got drawn into a conversation with a few oldtimers and a newcomer, where we attempted to forensically determine the optimum number of meetings one should attend in a week. I think we arrived at 3-4!!

As you can imagine, meetings here are almost cosmically dreary. I go through bouts of insomnia, and all the meetings here are on at 8.30p.m. at night, so I developed the neat trick of sleeping through a lot of AA meetings. I don't just mean dozing or snoozing either, quite often I would fall fast asleep and nearly fall off the chair I was sitting in. Who says that AA meetings are useless??

I was never comfortable sharing at AA meetings, I never liked discussing details of my life in front of a room of semi-strangers, a lot of whom I didn't like, and I left the parroting of AA slogans and propaganda to more skillful practitioners of that dark art.

Only in the last year, since my departure from belief in god, did I start to really question the AA program, I had to ask myself, "If god isn't keeping me sober, then how am I staying away from the first drink?" That led me to question the truth of the first step. I began to grow more and more uncomfortable at AA meetings and instead of snoozing off whenever someone said that "god never took a gift [sobriety] back from anyone, but people have given that gift back", I started getting annoyed and started asking myself "Why does god get all the credit in AA for the success stories i.e. people like me who manage to remain abstinent, but whenever someone relapses and drinks again, all the blame is put on the relapser, and AA gets a free pass?" Through my reading of books about atheism, I was learning about the tactic that religions use of "counting the hits and ignoring the misses" to justify their beliefs in god. AA was using this very same tactic!! This was a real eye-opener for me!! I started to ask myself whether all the people that I had seen relapse down through the years, some of whom died, had been entirely at fault for their own demise and began to ask myself whether AA had such a wonderful success rate after all. When I saw through the bombastic religious claims that AA makes, I began to question whether AA has much to offer people who are abusing alcohol.

However, everything that I had ever read about AA was always "conference-approved" AA literature which trumpeted how wonderful AA was and what a great program it is, if you are willing to work it. Always with the qualifiers, which shove all the blame for any failure back onto the individual. I couldn't find any literature which examined AA from a critical or skeptical viewpoint. During summer 2010, I found my copy of Daily Reflections ("conference-approved") and tried to start reading it on a daily basis again. I nearly gagged. The overt, bombastic religiosity of this book jumped out at me like never before. All the craven worship of god as Bill Wilson understood him, and all the declarations of what miraculous things this god was achieving in members lives, made me sick. I was finding it increasingly difficult to go to meetings and listen to all this nonsense, which I no longer believed in.

In early September I went on holiday to Spain and one of the books I had on my Kindle was all about different lies that we are told. One article was by Charles Bufe called AA Lies. I read it on the plane over to Spain and followed the links to aadeprogramming.com, morerevealed.com and to your fine website. It was like finding a glass of cold water in the middle of the desert. It was wonderful to finally read all my misgivings and doubts written down on a page in front of me. It wasn't just me who had these questions and misgivings! Maybe I wasn't the crazy one after all! I went to a meeting on the Wednesday of the holiday, and I finally saw what AA is with new eyes. At the end of the meeting everyone held hands and said some prayers and slogans. I asked myself "How is this any different from a religion?"

I haven't been at a meeting since, I don't think I could stomach the hypocrisy, the delusion, the mind-numbing repetition of slogans and thought-stopping mechanisms, the disdain and contempt with which the ability to think and analyse for oneself is treated, the slavish adherence to Bill Wilson's lunacy, the reverence with which his insane ravings are treated, and the way a queue of aging, oleaginous lotharios always forms whenever a pretty young vulnerable female newcomer arrives. It feels great to be able to use my mind again, to revel in the ability to think for myself that I possess, without feeling like I am breaking the sacred commandments of "my worst thinking got me here" or "us alcoholics don't think too well" or "keep it simpleton". I find it very hard to imagine that I will go back to meetings, I think I will be able to find better ways to amuse myself in the evenings, and I intend to read as many of your interesting essays as I can. The true story of the history of AA is far more interesting than the dishonest, sanitised history that is presented in the AA propaganda.

Keep up the good work, keep fighting the good fight and thank you again for the trojan work you have done in exposing the truth behind the 12 step religion.


Hi Tom,

Thank you for the letter, and the compliments. You make so many good points, and hit the nail on the head so many times.

A couple of things that really stood out for me were:

  • "AA's tactic of turning the spotlight back on the critic, accusing the critic of being the one with the problem that needed 'adjusting'."

    I am reminded of the Penn & Teller line about "Alcoholics Anonymous has no respect for alcoholics." Yes. It is so obvious in 20/20 hindsight. A.A. is constantly repeating that line about wanting to "remove the stigma of alcoholism", but A.A. actually works to increase the stigma. A.A. is really treating alcoholics with contempt, forever talking about how bad and selfish and sinful and willful and manipulative alcoholics are. And if you dare to question the perfection of Saint Wilson's teachings, they will attack you and put you down, and recite your list of imperfections.

  • "Why does god allow so many poor children to die each day in Africa, but he cares so much about (relatively) wealthy western boozebags?"

    Yes, that is the big question. If God is really serving every need of Alcoholics Anonymous members, while ignoring the plight of the other 99.97% of the human race, that sure makes God into a weird heartless monster. Apparently, the only way to get the A.A. god's love is to drink too much alcohol and rot your brain. Only then will "God" hear your prayers and grant your wishes.

  • "...the tactic that religions use of "counting the hits and ignoring the misses" to justify their beliefs in god. AA was using this very same tactic!!"

    Yep. I don't even need to say anything else. Just "yep."

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      One stops being a child when one realizes that
**      telling one's trouble does not make it better.
**         ==  Cesare Pavese (1908—1950), Italian novelist and poet.
**               The Business of Living: Diaries 1935—50

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters204.html