Letters, We Get Mail, CCXV

Date: Mon, January 3, 2011 11:04 pm     (answered 6 January 2011)
From: "PuraVida"
Subject: I am more than a fan. Thank you.

I learned about your site after reading mention of it in rationalrecovery.org. Ten years ago my father a gentle, quiet, pragmatic man gave me the same advice you stated as an answer to a letter concerning how you have come to be where you are now. Just don't take the first drink no matter what. He never berated me. I read Jack's book four years ago. I am now six months abstinent after one lapse this year. In 2009 I maintained abstinence only to do a binge bender of three days, my first and my last which got me hospitalized. I was put in treatment but was fortunate that it was cognitive therapy based.

It DID NOT HELP. But if it had been AA based I know it would have been worse. The relapse anxiety followed however. And the only thing that has finally killed it is your site and Jack Trimpey.

I find your work and your excellent use of critical thought and thoroughness to be my salvation. I find myself reading your work every day for about a half an hour before I go to sleep. Yes I had a drinking problem and yes I am not the only independent thinker out there who has had one. I have no words to thank you enough.

Like you, I work in the computer field and originally majored in biology. Your knowledge, thoroughness, and great dedication to consistently and clearly debunk "scientific" incurable disease related studies is inspirational.

Thank you for emphasizing the great variety of drinking patterns out there and that there is no need to lump us all in a set of arbitrary labels. All of us who decide to finally commit to permanent abstinence do so because we know we have lost the ability to enjoy drinking until we are completely smashed and we know the wrong involved in the outcomes of doing so. Other than that some of us just will not ever agree to be labeled.

*Also, your honest discussion about the social isolation involved in being a teetotaler is something I really had a hard time with and I felt put down for bringing up on the rational recovery website.* I am single middle aged woman. Once I realized that moderation is impossible and that my past drinking is now no longer a private matter ... I became extremely depressed because the thought of having to limit myself to AA dating prospects is ... sickening ... or for that matter anyone who will think of me as in recovery or think of themselves as in recovery.

I solved the latter problem by moving to Costa Rica and working remotely.

I now live in the mountains surrounded by nature and with people whose social activities, celebrations, and friendships do not involve alcohol and it is wonderful. I live in a place where 'isms" of any kind are unknown and divisions when it comes to friendship do not exist because of age or marital status. This is good. It is especially good to have many friends who say they use to like the booze too much and gave it up. They never say I am an alcoholic. They say .. I got sick because I liked the booze too much. I am fine now. Ah... "uneducated" farming folk have the blessing of common sense and the freedom of having not been indoctrinated.

When I go to the US to do corporate training all of this recovery speak now sounds like an alien language to me. My dating prospects given my intellectual level here and the fact I do not see myself grinding tortillas for a man have not improved but I do feel a heck of alot better.

Like they say here PURA VIDA. Pure life. Your geese pictures fit this saying to a tee.

Have a great 2011. May it be PURA VIDA. I will be confronting the smoking monster next.


Sign me ... PuraVida

Hello PuraVida,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on getting your life together.

I had to laugh when you said that reading my web site every night put you to sleep. That boring, huh?       :-)       (Just kidding.)

Yes, you touch on so many good points, like the social isolation of being "in recovery". Well, I've found that to be an illusion. My current companion knows all about my drinking past, and she doesn't really care. She is just glad that I quit a problem. She has an occasional beer in the evening, and I don't. It's no big deal. We occasionally go to places where other people are drinking. It's not a problem for me. I just don't drink any.

It's just like going to the Waterfront Blues Festival. They have 25,000 people there, and half of them are drinking beer or wine, or sneaking some pot. That's okay. They indulge, and I have a good time without it.

If I were to constantly worry about avoiding any "people, places, or things" where somebody might drink alcohol, then I would still be allowing alcohol to run my life.

Neither of us smokes, and that's very good. That would be a big problem. She often remarks how glad she is that I quit smoking, because her son hasn't quit smoking yet (and who knows when or if he will), and she is concerned about him. She says that walking into his place is walking into a smoke cloud.

The idea that you are a social pariah among "normal" people if you don't drink alcohol has turned out to be just another unrealistic fear — maybe one spread by A.A. It seems to me that the only people who really care that you don't drink are other alcoholics who feel weird if you won't drink with them. Most people don't care that much.

If somebody feels strange when you don't drink, it is probably because he is drinking too much and secretly feels guilty about it, and he wants his companions to "sin" with him, so he can feel that nobody else is any better than him. If that is what is going on, then you don't want the company of that person anyway. He just wants to pull you down to his level.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Forty years ago, the Rolling Stones moved from Britain to France
**     to avoid the crushing income taxes in Britain. In an NPR interview,
**     Bill Wyman declared, "I don't have any trouble with the language.
**     I don't speak French." (NPR News, Morning Edition, 2010.05.17)
**     By the same logic, I don't have any problem with alcohol;
**     I don't drink it.

Date: Sun, January 16, 2011 9:51 am     (answered 19 January 2011)
From: "PureVida"
Subject: Re: I am more than a fan. Thank you.

Dear Orange,

Thank you for the reply. I have no problems going to parties or being around others who drink. I actually never experienced anxiety about this. I just prefer to be in a country where when I am in one I never have to experience the embarassement caused by some rude nosy person asking me why I am not drinking. So happens where I live noone ever asks that question and where I lived in the US I got it alot. I gave up drinking with heavy drinkers years ago ...My experience has been that when I tell social drinkers that I chose not to drink in the US the next thing that happens is further questioning to size me up and see if I have a problem.

It has not been an illusion it is real. The fact that it bothers me to the degree it does may be a personal problem with me but it is real. I love where I live for reasons other than escaping from alcohol. It is a good good life for a single middle aged woman. It just is.

Keep up the goose pictures!

Hello PureVida,

It's good to hear from you again. So the people in the USA were ostracizing you because you didn't drink? Yes, that was definitely the wrong crowd to try to hang out with. I'm glad that you found some healthier companionship.

Perhaps "illusion" wasn't quite the right word. What I was trying to get at is the problem that A.A. teaches that "normal" people will want you to drink, and will try to get you to drink with them (so you can't trust normies). I found that to be just some more fear-mongering and separatism.

I'm happy to say that the people around here either don't care that I don't drink, or are even happy that I don't drink. My friends — my real friends — know all about my drinking history and are happy that I don't drink alcohol any more. And anybody who would be unhappy that I'm not drinking would get left behind fast.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One reason I don't drink is that I want
**     to know when I am having a good time.
**        ==  Nancy Astor (1879 &8212; 1964)

[The next letter from Pura Vida is here.]

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

Galley Slaves and Geese
Galley Slaves and Geese

The boat rowers prepare to practice their skills, while the geese cruise the marina.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Tue, January 4, 2011 7:35 am     (answered 7 January 2011)
From: "Brenna"
Subject: Hiya!

I have emailed in the past. I am a bit of an Agent Orange groupie. At first your work was shocking to me and I was so terribly put off and flatly refused to buy any of it. I have since come to love this site and now know it to be true and a great source of support in my deprogramming from the cult of AA.

I would like to ask, if I give credit to the source, may I use snippets from your site in my posts on another recovery site. I am posting to support moms who ought to be home with kids and not in meetings hiding from the family.

Again, thank you for your work. I have read and read, yet still not read it all. I have read some sections repeatedly and it has really helped me to feel I was the sane one. It helps those of us told that we are going to die to know that we are more likely to die staying in the cult where we were.



Hello Brenna,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments. I'm glad to hear that your mind survived and is still functioning. Yes, you may quote and use snippets and all of that. Please do. Come on in, the water is fine, the more the merrier.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
**     stable world at peril.

Date: Tue, January 4, 2011 11:33 am     (answered 7 January 2011)
From: Michael L.

Hi orange I stumbled across your orange pages doing research on aa being a religious cult. Thank you for all the work you have done! I am currently in a 12 step rehab program 3 months now for alcohol. I said from day 1 aa was a religious cult. I am required to attend 3 meetings a wk, have a home group, and a sponser. I am an atheist I disagree with most of what they say and stand for! My question to you is did the us supreme court rule aa is a religious cult and where can i find documentation of this. This was the topic of todays rehab group that I brought up. It really set the room on fire. Thank you! Keep up the good work!

Michael L.

Hello Michael,

Thanks for the letter and the thanks. Sorry to hear about your troubles.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not exactly ruled that A.A. is a religion. Rather, they allowed to stand, unchallenged and unchanged, several lower court decisions that said that A.A. was a religion, or engaged in religious practices. So effectively, by inaction, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it the law of the land.

We were just discussing this issue in two previous letters, here, so you want to see that.

Then you can read about the list of court cases on the "It's Spiritual, Not Religious" web page.

The most extreme ruling is the one that says that you can sue a judge or parole officer who forces you to attend 12-Step meetings, because that is coerced religion, which is blatantly illegal in the USA — totally unConstitutional. The Federal Appeals Court in Hawaii, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, September 7, 2007, in the Inouye v. Kemna case, ruled that any "coercing authority" can be held individually, civilly liable for the 1st Amendment constitutional rights violation that they perpetrate on people unwillingly and involuntarily forced to go to 12-Step programs. Meaning: you can sue a judge, a prison warden, a parole officer, a "counselor", or anyone else in a position of authority who forces you to go to A.A. meetings.

I think Ken Ragge has a copy of the court's ruling on his web site: http://www.morerevealed.com/courts/index.html
There are also copies of several other important court rulings on the subject in that archive.

Definitely also download the free book, Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment, by Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky.
I believe that you can download that book for free now, from:

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools
**     have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction
**     without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently,
**     all character training and religion must be derived from faith
**     ... we need believing people."
**       ==  Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933, from a speech made during
**           negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933

[The previous letter from Laura is here.]

Date: Tue, January 4, 2011 2:27 pm     (answered 7 January 2011)
From: "Laura T."
Subject: Quick follow up

Hello again,

I was perusing some other pages on your site and found some on Clancy. This is who my ex-sponsor was referring to when she said he had been healed by the steps of Bipolar Disorder. This was about 2 years ago. He was speaking at some convention in our area at the time. Turns out, and I'm sorry I haven't found back up on this, but apparently if you have bipolar and mix in alcohol you manifest symptoms of alcoholism. take away the alcohol, bye bye alcoholism. never heard anything about the bipolar going away too. what I'm trying to say is that I don't think I ever was alcoholic.

Thanks again and for the kind words. Things are certainly looking up. While my Dad has 25 years continuous in, my brother who I think has 26 or 27, left AA eons ago and has never had a drink or used his other drug of choice. My grandfather, who quit when my dad did has never gone to a meeting and never taken a drink. My great aunt who had to be detoxed at about age 80 because of her high blood pressure is now 100 and has not taken a drink since and she was a massive heavy drinker who weighed less than 100 pounds and is about 4'10". She never went to a meeting either. What a bunch of dry drunks, eh? JK (can I say how much I hate that inane, humiliating phrase) — we are all free to be. Happy New Year!

Hi again, Laura,

Thanks for the input.

Yes, I also never heard of the 12 Steps curing Bipolar Disorder. And if someone claims that they do, then that person is guilty of practicing medicine without a license, and also guilty of promoting quack medicine.

I can agree that you may never have been an alcoholic. There are a lot of people who drink too much who are just self-medicating and trying to fix some other problem. When that other problem gets fixed, the excessive drinking stops. This is so common that many doctors consider all cases of alcohol abuse to be "dual diagnosis" disorders — that is, some kind of mental illness or other disease causing excessive alcohol consumption.

I notice that this is the exact opposite of what Alcoholics Anonymous teaches. They say that if you get rid of the "alcoholism", that the other mental problems will then disappear. The only problems that I know of that really do disappear when you quit drinking are things like hangovers, ill health from malnution and drinking, paranoia from B Vitamin deficiency, and chronic unemployment and debts, and legal troubles, and lack of self-respect or self-esteem. Those things can rapidly disappear, but things like Bipolar Disorder, OCD, ADD, PTSD, and clinical depression don't.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Sitting around talking about being depressed with depressed
**      people does not make you better."
**         ==  National Public Radio, 1:23PM, 23 November 2009

Date: Tue, January 4, 2011 4:10 pm     (answered 7 January 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Donald L. sent you a message on Facebook...

Re: Question and ps Happy birthday, New Year's too.

I have had far less desire to drink now that I am away from attending 12 step meetings or online 12 step 'program' meetings.. funny thing, they always ask "How many years are you in the 'program'," when I occasionally do visit a meeting or go online, I tell them I am not a member or follower of any 'program', that I used to be active in the FELLOWSHIP of AA (read your own PREAMBLE dude!!!!) and that drives them bonkers, as well when I tell them [that] after 35 years in recovery [I] cannot make sense out of the 12 steps. Helping another drunk find a path to sobriety gets me far better results, Action, than studying theory and believing in the big fairy tale, that an HP or 'loving G-d' micromanages my entire life... Thats like asking Obama, Hillary Clinton and members of Senate and House of Reps to call ME 50 times a day for advice before they even go to the bathroom!!!!! Think G-d is very busy these days.

Fairy tales can come true.. mentally.. if you are brainwashed or temporarily psychotic.. I have been both.. when one gets back to reality.. it is a letdown.. stay abstinent from Alcohol and other substances one has a problem with and life gets better, on life's terms.

Donald L.
El Salvador

No English AA meetings here, what a shame! I was kicked out of the last group some years ago for expressing my opinions!!!!!!!!

That chairman turned out to be a notorious CLOSET gay and pedophile, at least admit it dude!!!!!!!!!

Hi again, Donald,

Thanks for the note and the good wishes.

I have also noticed that A.A. meetings made me want to drink, and N.A. meetings made me want to find some dope and get high. Funny how that works. I'd be fine before I went to the meeting, but the desire was strong when I left.

I don't know if it's just the power of suggestion, spending an hour going down memory lane and reminiscing about the wild times, or if the desire soaks into your skin from the people around you at 12-Step meetings. Whatever the cause, the phenomenon is real.

I know of people who say that the reason they don't go to A.A. or N.A. meetings is because the meetings make them want to get high.

Oh well, upwards and onwards. Have a good day and a good life.

== 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 (1832—1898), Alice in Wonderland

Date: Tue, January 4, 2011 6:02 pm     (answered 7 January 2011)
From: "Monique D."
Subject: Thank you.

Good evening A. Orange,

I came across your website and I just want to thank you for exposing A.A. for the cult that it is! I was dating a young man that told me he was an alcoholic and let me just say that he's a manipulative, cruel piece of work! Basically, your articles have helped a lot.


Hello Monique,

Thanks for the letter, and I wish you luck in your future relationships.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "I do not know how to avoid the conclusion that a man who is capable
**   of taking the illusions of religion so literally and is so sure of a
**   special personal intimacy with the Almighty is unfitted for relations
**   with ordinary children of men."
**      ==  Sigmund Freud

Date: Thu, January 6, 2011 8:19 am     (answered 11 January 2011)
From: "John Z."
Subject: Get Hired as a Drug Counselor in just a few months

Orange — Found an ad for this school on a website. Thought you would get a kick out of it.

By the way, your answer to my last e-mail apparently did not get through Comcast's spam filter. But that's ok. I can read your answers on your website.


Best wishes,

John Z

{No electrons were harmed in the creation, transmission or reading of this email. However, many were excited and some may well have enjoyed the experience.}

Hello John,

Thanks for the link. That web page is priceless. That's one of those things where I don't know if I want to laugh or cry. On the one hand, it's funny as can be to imagine that a mere few months of education makes any unemployed person a qualified drug and alcohol counselor, able to give good advice and tell sick people how to live. Heck, I'm a only a couple of days short of having 64 years of life experience, and I still don't feel qualified to tell other people how to live.

But still, wouldn't that make a great spoof movie? Remember Richard Pryor in Superman II becoming a super whiz-bang computer programmer by answering an ad on a matchbook cover? We could do a similar movie where an unemployed "ninety-niner" got cut off of unemployment, and answered an ad to be a drug and alcohol counselor, and the next thing you know, he is "saving" the addicts by the thousands, and starting his own cult religion and leading them all to a new life of subservience to "Higher Power". Hallelujah, Brother!

Hmmm... On second thought, I think they already made that movie. It's called "My Name Is Bill W."

On the other hand, in many states, that kind of correspondence-school education is all that is required to get a certificate as a "drug and alcohol counselor". All too often, the "education" is nothing more than a few courses of indoctrination in A.A. slogans and dogma, and training people as 12-Step recruiters.

That's all that my "counselor" was. His whole thing was "go to three meetings per week, and get a sponsor". Then he would tell us not to use drugs or drink, and then he would go home and snort cocaine and view child porn on his computer and then screw his step-children.

I seem to remember having heard that he had some kind of drug and alcohol counselor certificate, but I don't know where he got his certificate from. Maybe a box of corn flakes...?

One thing that I notice is that there is no sanity test required to be a certified drug and alcohol counselor. Would-be counselors do not have to pass any kind of tests or examinations for mental health or moral integrity or anything like that. They don't even have to show that they have common sense or common decency. I recall that it used to be the case that psychoanalysts had to be psychoanalyzed themselves before they were considered competent to psychoanalyze others. But somehow, that logic never got applied to "drug and alcohol counselors".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Everyone who is incapable of learning
**     has taken to teaching."
**       ==  Oscar Wilde

Date: Fri, January 7, 2011 10:48 am     (answered 11 January 2011)
From: "Jennifer K."
Subject: Wondering

In some of your essays on line you have eluded to the fact (I think you came right out and said it but I can't be sure I remember correctly) that you are an alcoholic and have quit drinking. How did you do it?

Hello Jennifer,

Thanks for the question. Yes, I am or was an alcoholic (depending on what that word means to you), and I quit drinking 10 years ago. How? I just answered that question a little while ago, and don't feel like I can improve on that answer just yet, so here it is: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          ==   Adelle Davis

Date: Fri, January 7, 2011 12:58 pm     (answered 11 January 2011)
From: "Ric G."
Subject: you

what is the purpose of your publication.

Ric G.

Hi Ric,

The answer is: To tell the truth about addictions and recovery, and what works for recovery, and what is a fake "solution" to the problem, like Alcoholics Anonymous and the other 12-Step hoaxes. And I throw in some information about cults and brainwashing and propaganda techniques, for good measure.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
**     who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
**     has intended us to forgo their use."
**       ==  Galileo Galilei

Date: Sat, January 15, 2011 4:53 pm     (answered 19 January 2011)
From: Ric G.
Subject: Re: you

Angry little man

Is that all you've got? Just one lousy little ad hominem is your answer to everything?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people
**    who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it."
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Fri, January 7, 2011 8:22 pm     (answered 11 January 2011)
From: "karrisa k."

Dear Moron,

I'm sitting here drunk, searching for help, and your idiotic dissertation came up. Even as someone who's had half a fifth of wiskey and never been in a program (AA or otherwise) I can see that your perspective is skewed by factors beyond your control. You're an idiot because you make people who need help think less of themselves (don't be concerned, it didn't have that effect on me). Go fuck yourself.


Hello Karrisa,

Apparently the alcohol has interfered with your ability to comprehend what you are reading. I do not put alcoholics down. I feel very sympathetic towards alcoholics, considering how many years I spent as one.

And it's a shame that you feel so unhappy even when loaded. You do not seem to be enjoying your drunk at all. That's what happened to me too, at the end. That's one of the reasons why I quit drinking.

For when you sober up a little bit, all of the links to discussions of things that have worked, and helped me and other people, are here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now, and good luck.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."
**     ==  Yoda ("The Empire Strikes Back")

Date: Sat, January 8, 2011 12:19 pm     (answered 11 January 2011)
From: "Marc H."
Subject: Your Article

I just read your paper on "Dry Drunk." Can't thank you enough. I'm trying hard to sober up and my treatment options are extremely limited. I'm open to help, but it sure looks like the only real help I'm going to get is from myself. I went to the ONE outpatient facility my insurance will cover a few years ago, and the place should be closed down for fraud. All they really did was try to convince me to go to AA meetings. I'm not suited to AA to begin with for my religious convictions, but eventually to show them I was open-minded I agreed to go to a meeting. I was told over and over that you didn't have to believe in God to be in AA, but as you well know 6 of the 12 steps specifically mention God and they made me hold hands and pray with them at the end of the meeting. My instincts were correct to begin with — "The Fellowship" was not for me.

Meanwhile, my wife was seeing a therapist who, of course, was telling her that while I wasn't drinking, I was a "dry drunk" nevertheless. I was astonished and a bit ticked-off (which, she quickly pointed out, was a symptom of my condition). Any time I registered a complaint about anything, it wasn't because I had a point, but because I was just a dry drunk. I get peeved because she moves my stuff after I asked not to? I'm a dry drunk. I ask her three times to bring home some paperwork and she doesn't, and the fourth time she comes home empty-handed I show actual frustration in my voice? Drinky drinky! I had never heard the term before, but I felt like it was actually an impediment to my recovery, because instead of my wife helping me through my adjustment period, it was a way for her to (really, unintentionally) send me a message that no matter what I did it was futile. I was damned if I drank and damned if I didn't.

I never bought into the idea and suspected that it was a fabrication of AA, although like I said I really wasn't all that knowledgable about it. I looked it up and the only think wikipedia says about it is that it is a term that originates with AA (bingo!). Then there's a BUNCH of so-called "authoritative" dissertations on it by folks who have obviously bought into the AA model, and then there's YOUR informative essay. I especially appreciated the references to the Harvard Mental Health Letter, which I found has some other (but also rather pricey — at 18 bucks for a digital reprint!) interesting articles in its archive.

Once again, thanks for your online post. I've found it very helpful, and I'm hoping that once I show it to my wife, I can help her understand a better way to help support me as I try for a completely alcohol-free 2011.

I wish you the best—

Marc H.

Hello Marc,

Thanks for the letter and the thanks. And congratulations on your desire to improve your life. That really is the single most important factor, you know, in succeeding in quitting drinking. People who have no desire to quit drinking and improve their lives almost never do. But people who want to get sober and have a better life succeed quite often.

It's really a shame that your wife's "therapist" is a Stepper, or at least heavily indoctrinated in the 12-Step religion, and a believer in it. That means that your wife is constantly getting misinformation and bad advice about everything from drinking and the human mind, to recovery, to God and spirituality. I know that you probably can't get her to change therapists, but it sure would be nice.

When your wife criticizes your speech, thinking, or behavior as characteristic of a "dry drunk", or uses the "drinky drinky" line on you (which I had not heard before either), she is parrotting the condescending A.A. attitude towards alcoholics. She probably doesn't entirely realize what she is doing. She most likely learned that attitude and those words from her so-called "therapist", who is poisoning your relationship. Just because you drink too much does not mean that your every thought is wrong, or that your every thought is just a dishonest manipulative scheme to get another drink (like A.A. teaches).

Alcoholics Anonymous publicly claims that they want to "reduce the stigma of alcoholism", but they actually go out of their way to increase it. They spread negative stereotypes of alcoholics, and they routinely put alcoholics down and talk about how bad alcoholics are, especially the alcoholics who have not joined Alcoholics Anonymous and become true believers. That is standard cult behavior:

It is true that you will mainly help yourself, but you really are not in it alone. There are actually quite a number of sane, realistic sobriety self-help groups, and methods, and forums. Here is my list:

  1. SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
    Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.

  2. WFS (Women For Sobriety) also has online chat groups: (guys ignore this one)
    For local group meetings in your area you can also call 1-800-333-1606.

  3. SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
    SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious content of widely available 12-Step programs.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet, and they are also starting meeting groups in various cities.

  5. Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS)
    HAMS is peer-led and free of charge. HAMS offers information and support via a chat room, an email group, and live meetings — as well is the articles on this web site.

  6. Moderation Management

  7. Rational Recovery
    Rational Recovery is no longer "a recovery group", it's a book, and a technique — basically the same idea as the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

  8. And then there are these forums and message groups:

  9. You can also get some more links from the start of the links page.

I seem to be using this link over and over lately, but here it is again: All of the links to discussions of things that have worked, and helped me and other people, are here: How did you get to where you are?

Oh, by the way, about getting access to interesting Harvard Medical School articles: First off, I can give you the one that I found most interesting, the article about addictions that talked about the spontaneous recovery rate of alcoholics and addicts, right here: HMHL_addictions.zip When you unzip it (with something like Winzip), make sure that you have the option for recreating subdirectories ("folders" in Bill Gate's Windoweze) turned on, because the pages have subdirectories with graphics and cascading style sheets in them. So you need those subdirectories recreated and the files placed in them so that things will work right.

Then there is a wonderful jewel called "Article First" that I access through my local public library. It is a computer search system and database of magazine articles. It is huge. Ask your librarian how to get into it. And if you don't have a library card, get one. They are usually free, and they are worth their weight in gold. Article First will get you articles from a humongous number of publications, for free, including the Harvard Mental Health Letter. So you can get all of their past articles that way, free of charge. (Take a thumb drive to the library with you, so you can download pages and save them to disk, so to speak. Or, often you can log into the library's web site from home, if you are online and have a library card, and then use the library's databases for research.)

I don't have access to Article First at the moment, so I can't tell you what other Harvard Medical School journals are also in there, but if the HMHL is in there, I would guess that other Harvard journals are probably in there too. And then there are all of the rest of the publications in the country. They have a huge number of them.

Doing research through your local library has become very sophisticated. The library has access to something like 100 to 200 databases. I don't know the exact number, but it's large. The two handiest databases are Article First and Worldcat, ("world catalog"), which lists nearly every book in existence in the USA and Canada, and helps you to get them with a free inter-library loan.

Then there is something called EBSCO, which also indexes a zillion publications, like all of the articles that the Arizona Sun published about children's gulags in Arizona. Then there is the "Electric Library".

Then, want the New York Times, all articles, all pages, back to 1920 or so? Want to see what TIME magazine had to say about Dr. Frank Buchman in 1936?

Then they have two or three databases just about health and medical things. And then so many more that I cannot begin to remember them all. I've been using that system for 10 years now, and I'm not at all ashamed to ask the librarians for help, because I've still only scratched the surface.

What is especially interesting there is that if you just go on the Internet and try to get the information directly from the publisher, they want you to pay, like the $18 fee you mentioned. But if you go through the library system, it is free because all of the libraries pay the databases a standard annual fee for access, and then the databases pay the publishers who supply the information. Everybody gets paid, so everybody is happy and the system works. Oh and the libraries get their money from the taxpayers, so you do pay, but very indirectly.

Have a good day, and good luck.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his
**     own self, the more ready he is to claim all excellence for
**     his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause.
**     A man is likely to mind his business when it is worth
**     minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own
**     meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

The current news is giving us more lessons in propaganda techniques:

2011.01.10: In the past few years, political rhetoric has become increasingly hostile and vicious. Sarah Palin's web site showed pictures of Democrats' districts with rifle cross-hairs on them, and Palin repeatedly instructed followers to "lock and load" and "reload". And the Tea Party language was even worse, with barely-veiled death threats, and appeals for "Second-Amendment (gun) solutions" to problems.

In the debate following the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the local sheriff in Tucson, Arizona, denounced the language of violence, and said that he felt that it had contributed to the shooting. Republican talking heads immediately responded by saying that his criticism of Right-wing inflamatory speech was "over the top" and "rhetoric", and "inappropriate for an elected official". That is the propaganda trick called Reversal Of Reality.

2011.01.12: Sarah Palin released a video where she complained about how she had suffered from attacks ever since the shooting, and claimed that she was the victim of a "blood libel". As if she suffered from a bullet through the head, or had lost a daughter or a husband in the shooting. That is reversal of reality. That is also a good example of the Prima Donna Ploy, making it all about The Drama Queen.

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

Canada Goose family
The family with orphans, resting
The three boys are in the middle of the picture. The girl is on the right. The two orphans are on the left. The two goslings in the lower right are picking up remaining crumbs of oatmeal. The leftmost orphan is using its own back as a pillow. And again, the smallest orphan has managed to get itself buried in the pack of goslings, and it's barely visible.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, January 8, 2011 6:27 pm     (answered 15 January 2011)
From: Greg H.
Subject: Identities

Dear Orange,

I'm starting a clinic to deal with alcohol cravings using FDA approved meds off label. My experience is they are effective eliminating preoccupation for consuming by repairing GABA receptors damaged from long term abuse. I would like to cite points from your analysis of AA in my business plan. May I do this and do you identify yourself and your background? Also, who is A. Green and what are his credentials?

I look forward to a conversation if possible.

Thank you. Wish I found you about 10 years ago!

Go Sober,

Greg H.

Hello Greg,

Yes, you may cite as you wish. Good luck on your endeavor.

My credentials are simple: I have a PhD. from the School of Hard Knox. Actually, I dropped out of college at Berkeley in 1966, and never got around to going back. But I never lost my interest in learning.

You can find links to all of the biographical stuff here: How did you get to where you are?

I have 10 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and all other drugs now. As I like to brag, good strong, kick-ass espresso coffee is my big rush now. (One of my friends claims that I make "weapons-grade" coffee.)

"Agent Green" is actually a woman who is a member of Al-Anon. She is apparently not an alcoholic, and has never gone through the experience of detoxing and quitting drinking. She just seems to be a true believer in the 12-Step religion who is sure that A.A. is the way, without ever having actually done it that way.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  If I say something like, "You know, penicillin isn't really very good
**  for treating staphylococcus infections, and it is totally useless against
**  things like MRSA staphylococcus and anthrax", people respond in a
**  sensible manner like, "Yes, you are right. If somebody has infections
**  like that, they are better treated with Keflex or dicloxacyllin or
**  streptomycin — anything but penicillin."
**  But if I say, "You know, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't really very good
**  for treating alcoholism," the A.A. true believers scream "You are
**  heartless and immoral! You don't care how many alcoholics you kill!
**  You are doing a great disservice to those who are seeking sobriety!"
**  That alone is proof that Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult religion,
**  not a cure for alcoholism.

Date: Mon, January 17, 2011 4:14 pm     (answered 27 January 2011)
From: Greg
Subject: Re: Identities

Hey Orange,

Thanks! I have 3.5 years. Life is fun again! When I see people assembled, having fun I'm pissed I didn't get the memo.

I've recently finished my plan and am looking to raise a very small amount of money. Hoping to start within 2 months. One of the things we "really" want to do is collect objective data. You've obviously thought about that. I'd be grateful for your ideas, would still love to have that chat. Our model requires a M.D. to write the scrips, a RN to administer and a Psychologist to help with "Maintenance". I've put together a 3 step model (worked for me) called SAM for Screening, Administration and Maintenence. I would like to share the results with you once we have some. It's an interesting project.

Be well, Go Sober!


Hello again, Greg,

Yes, it sounds very interesting. I'd love to hear the results. I shall have to think about ideas to suggest.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I was feeling depressed, so I took an online test for depression.
**     The results were bad, simply awful.  Now I'm really depressed.

Date: Sun, January 9, 2011 1:21 am     (answered 15 January 2011)
From: "Carol A."
Subject: Taking Bill Wilson's Inventory


I was online trying to find out if Bill Wilson is related to Woodrow Wilson and discovered an article about Bill Wilson. Real alcoholics can identify with all of the shortcomings of Bill W.

Thank you for reminding the real alcoholic reader about a few things.(Much of what follows is paraphrased from the AA program)

We cannot be the arbiter of another's sex conduct.
Bill W's marriage to Lois initiated under the influence of alcohol yet they remained married during his abstinence.
Bill W. was an instrument for messages of spiritual content.
Bill W. was a willful human like every other human that walks this earth.
Sex addiction is a shameful, and well-disguised problem.
Sexaholics Anonymous helps addicts to stop lusting and achieve sexual sobriety.
Bill W. was not a saint.
I am sober and restored to sanity because of the Founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.
My alcoholism has been arrested for 8 years now.
I am grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.
Jealousy is a most terrible human emotion.
Let us not be jealous of Bill Wilson's pleasures and shortcomings.
He went through the wringer; I know this because we are kindred spirits.

Be glad that a real alcoholic is not too disturbed by your writings. We see through it.
AA works.


Date: Sun, January 9, 2011 1:46 am     (answered 15 January 2011)
From: "Carol A."
Subject: Bill W. Article


Education is a good thing. I have been a good observer in my life so far. We must be careful not to judge another person because an ancient philosopher noted that judgement is projection. How embarassing.

While my former occupation was Lit. Crit. I had to give it up. I am tempted to note that the harmful article I read aout Bill W. is simply a manic act without merit.

Hopefully it won't steer future AAs form seeking recovery.


Hello Carol,

Thank you for a good demonstration of the Minimization and Denial propaganda technique.

The simple true facts of the matter are that Alcoholics Anonymous does not work at all, and it has a horrendous failure rate and an elevated death rate. The fact that you enjoy Alcoholics Anonymous and think that the cult religion is improving your behavior is not evidence that A.A. is a good thing.

When one is looking for a spiritual teacher, a wise person does not choose a lying, thieving philandering narcissistic mentally-ill fraud who raves about "The Will Of God" while committing an endless stream of crimes. And a wise person does not follow such a creep's teachings. We can do better than that.

The founders and leaders of cults are not saints or prophets. They are not bringing us holy teachings or the Word of God. Bill Wilson was not a "messenger" bringing us "messages of spiritual content" from God.

And we really should criticize phony holy men. They do a lot of damage, and occasionally get a lot of people killed. Just ask the former followers of David Koresh, Rev. Jim Jones, Marshall Herff Applewhite, Luc Jouret and Di Mambro. If people had criticized them sooner, the body count might have been lower.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Carl Sagan's rule:
**    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
**    The far-fetched claims of Bill Wilson that Frank Buchman's
**    cult religion could cure alcoholism have not been backed
**    up by even a little ordinary evidence, never mind some
**    extraordinary evidence.

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Last updated 22 March 2013.
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