Letters, We Get Mail, XXIII

Date Sun, October 10, 2004 6:12 pm
Subject Thank you

Dear Orange,

I am not here to criticize you or decry your views. In, fact, I appreciate that someone actually went through the history of Bill W. and exposed him for the crackpot he was. I have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 1 year and 1 month, and with many misgivings, managed to stay sober.

It is nice that someone agrees with me that I am not a "cocky sonavubitch" for being intelligent and investigating the workings of this program. I mean, after all the time I spent in meetings and reading the book, shouldn't I be able to analyze how this program "works so well?" NO! Be careful, Anthony, you might "smart your ass right back into a bar!"

It took me a long time to accept Bill's view on alcoholism. Now I know why. I didn't drink like Bill... not even close to his drinking habits. Yet, that old little demon of cognitive dissonance told me otherwise. After a lifetime of not being "part of," I wanted to fit into somewhere.

True, I did have a bad drinking and using problem. I was miserable. But I also self-medicated. I am a manic-depressive; and I am forbidden to share this at meetings. No one, not even my sponsor, can understand the mood swings I've gone through, and how they related to my drinking habits. I've even had a few members tell me that I'm cheating by being on medication, that my medically proven mental disorder which affects millions of people is simply a "spiritual disease" and that something is the matter with my "spritual status." I feel rejected in the rooms sometimes. My medication played a huge part in my sobriety, with the other half being a change in attitude and life habits.

I have been suppressing my emotions my whole life and self-medicating to cover them up. Intelligence saved my ass from dropping out of school. But what good does that do? "My own best thinking got me in this seat." Bullshit. My disease called alcoholism-addiction got me in this seat, and so did my bipolar disorder, which happens to run amok in my family tree.

The old-timers tell me I should suppress my thinking and my emotions. I have never been so obsessive-compulsive in my life as I am now.

I have effectively become a voiceless non-entity.

There are things about the A.A. program I do agree with, outside all the bullshit. I believe in the power of faith, although I have a God that works through actions and situations, rather than voices in my head directing my every movement; I do believe in taking an honest, constructive (non-defeating) look at myself and finding my faults; I do believe in repairing burnt bridges between people I screwed and myself. I do believe in being unselfish and useful to others and having consideration for my fellow men (and women).

As a student in Neuropsychology, maybe I can someday create a more welcoming, less demanding and degrading program of recovery for people suffering with addictions. Who knows, maybe I help to find a cure someday, and all of this cult nonsense will fade away.

Thank you for shedding some light on my dilemma,

Hi Anthony,

Thanks for the letter. I agree with so much of what you are saying, and I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better, and getting a grip on things.

And I strongly encourage you to find or invent a better program. Hey, have at it. I would suggest that you start by swiping all of the good ideas from both SMART and Rational Recovery, and then go on from there.

Have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Anthony:]

Date Tue, October 12, 2004 1:44 pm
Subject Hi again

I want to thank you again. It's refreshing to have my mind and my emotions back. I'm attending my first SMART meeting tonight and I'm sure it will be a much more positive experience than my first A.A. meeting. I now realize that I didn't want to stay sober for myself — that I wanted to stay sober out of fear that taking my first drink would be a fate worse than death. I also stayed sober to please other A.A. members, because I found pats and hugs and praises to be reinforcing whenever I squawked the usual A.A. rhetoric. I found during my worst depressions in A.A., whenever I was angry, lonely, or sad, the only thing they could tell me was "keep coming back," "keep doing the steps," or they would scatter and snicker amongst themselves about how bad of a program I was working. I could not make decisions or think for myself — I always had to have the approval of my sponsor, who is a good man — but I got more out of the friendship I had with him, rather than the slogans and cliches he kept telling me. I had my first doubts about this program about three days ago. My sponsor really pissed me off — he just teased me when I was sitting in a meeting, going through the hell of major depression. I walked into the bathroom and sobbed my eyes out. After that, I walked outside and of course, someone came after me to spout some more lies into my brain. He told me I was going through "spritual dissatisfaction" and that my bipolar condition was a "spiritual illness," and that I should thank God for it, because it was a sign of "growth." Thank God for this? I felt like hanging myself! "Thank you God, I feel like s*it!" he told me. I'm sure I'd be singing the praises of God as I'm preparing to hang myself with a belt in my closet. Even my antidepressants couldn't ward off the self-defeating, depression-inducing bulls*it this program has taught me.

A.A. just didn't recognize me as an individual — just as another clone of Bill W. complete with all of his evil character defects. The "moral inventory" of the A.A. program made me feel like a pile of dog crap. Now, not only did I hate the people who did me wrong, but I also hated myself for hating them. And because I wasn't allowed to feel "justifiable anger," I had to dismiss all of correct and reasonable anger I had and stuff it way down in myself, making for more depressive episodes. I prayed and prayed for God to remove it, but instead I received "divine dissatisfaction!" All the nazis could say was "you're not living the program." Bull. I think I was living way too well, the way evil Bill wanted me to live it — to be stuck in 11 years of deep depression, and thank God for it everyday, and squawking in meetings how this program "really works if you work it" — even though I felt like an extremely bad and selfish person every time I made a mistake or had a negative emotion.

So I may sound a little bitter right now, but that's alright. I won't drink or drug over it, no matter what — contrary to what the loving "old-timers" say.

It's nice to not have trash on myself all the time and ask God (my sponsor) for orders all of the time, because I'm too stupid, narcissistic or selfish to do anything right.

Much Thanks,
Anthony N. (no longer a anonymous "nonentity!")

Right on and congratulations. You sound like you are getting your head straightened out, and getting things figured out, in spite of A.A...

Hang in there, and have a good day, and thanks for the letters.

== Orange

Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2004 22:45:42
Subject: You do quite a job

Could you tell me the date that the third edition of the big book went into public domain? Thanks

George L.
Don't forget to accentuate the positive and have a FANTASTIC day!

Hi George,

I don't think it did. They didn't make that mistake 3 times in a row. The first edition was never properly copyrighted — Bill Wilson invalidated the copyright at the very beginning. Then A.A.W.S. screwed up and failed to renew the copyright on the second edition around 1983.

Even if they had copyrighted it properly, the copyright of the first edition (1939) would have lapsed in 1967, and the copyright of the second edition (1955) would have lapsed in 1983.

Here is the interesting part: The first 164 pages of the Big Book are permanently in the public domain, in all editions, including the 3rd and 4th. All stories that were in the first edition (like Dr. Bob's story, and Clarence Snyder's story, and Jim Burwell's) are likewise in the public domain. All stories that were in the second edition are now in the public domain. So is the Foreword to the 2nd Edition, and Appendix 1 through 5 that appeared in the second edition. The 12 Traditions are likewise in the public domain because they were in the second edition.

The only things in the 3rd edition that are still under valid copyright are the stories that were new for the 3rd edition, and any tiny tweaks to the text of the first 164 pages that were made in the 3rd edition. (I can't think of one, just offhand, but I vaguely recall that there might have been a few. I know that Bill Wilson tweaked the text between the first and second editions.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date Sat, October 16, 2004 7:22 pm
Subject AA

If you know a better way to get sober and stay sober--tell the world, I of course assume that you are an alcoholic. And recovered all by yourself.

I have freinds that have bad hearts, should they do the christian thing and just pray until I die or try and get it fixed

Your writtings make me sick

Tim O.
Recovering Alcoholic and proud member of AA

Hello Tim,

I have said many times how to recover without A.A. or N.A. or any cult: Do it yourself.

I have also written about how to not get fooled by the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

I have also repeatedly recommended SMART, SOS, Women For Sobriety, LifeRing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, etc.

You just aren't listening.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date Sun, October 17, 2004 9:53 am
Subject AA and me

Dearest Agent,

I came across your website a few days ago while researching AA. I am 25 years old and have been suffering with some form of substance abuse problem since I was about 12. It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I could no longer hide from the obviousness of the problems alcohol and drugs were bringing me in my life. I didn't know what avenue would bring sobriety. I had a friend from high school that I knew had gotten sober. So I called him. He brought me to my first meeting. It was not something that clicked with me right away. Being raised catholic, and seeing the fallacies within, I was hesitant. G-O-D was something I was familiar with. And I would have rather praised a murderer. So I went to a few meetings and opted out. Sure enough I was drinking again. From 7 am to 4 am. My drinking had progressed to a point where I couldn't sleep for more than 3 or 4 hours without requiring a drink to "settle my nerves". During this time my erratic behavior cost me my job, my house, my girlfriend, my car, and nearly my life. One night, fearing I would never be free of my alcholism, I slit my wrists. Had my best friend not broken down the door, there is a good chance I would have died. Of course at the time, totally knockered, I was pissed that he had effectively taken my last chance of freedom. So I attacked him before the police arrived. Goodbye best friend.

My drinking somehow progressed even further. I knew that I could no longer function on a societal level. I couldn't go to a bar without leaving in handcuffs. I couldn't interact with my friends without insulting them. I couldn't keep a job. So I retreated into the solitude of my little warehouse room and my vodka. After a few months of selling my posessions and working here and there for bits of money I was starting to run out of ideas. Not to mention kind ears to bend my pitiful tale. As you have said, and many in AA, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So I went back to AA. It took me couple of weeks of going in and out. I of course had to make sure that sobriety was something I really wanted. That I would be willing to go to any lengths to get it. My first sponsor was a fucking dud. He wanted me to quit my job and get one where he wanted. He wanted me to move in with him. He wanted me give up all my old friends and phone numbers. I had to report in to him everyday. I felt like I had gotten involved with a cult. Luckily though I had met a man at my first meeting. His name was John. He was, like me, covered in tattoos. He rode a motorcycle. At first glance, he was not someone I would have thought to be in AA. Or someone I would felt comfortable approaching. One day after a meeting he asked how I was doing. I explained to him my current situation with the nut-bag sponsor. I told him that it was good because I needed to be scared a little. I needed someone in my life that was going to be a little controlling. Had the Big Book not already laid out that my thinking is what got me here? So I would be a danger to myself if I kept thinking for myself. He just smiled and laughed a little. Then he told me that if that's what I needed, then that's what I needed. And I was the only person who knew exactly what I needed. Not some fucking book. Definitely not some former addict with a control problem. I fired my sponsor the next day. His response was very negative. He told to have fun relapsing. And told me that his way was the right way. And that I was bound to be calling him drunk looking for help in a matter of days.

That is when AA started working for me. I went back to John. Ready for him to tell me what to do. And low and behold he wouldn't. He told me it wasn't his place to tell me what to do. It wasn't his life. So how the fuck am I supposed to stay sober? He says "I don't know, I can tell you what I did to stay sober." And that is what he did. And that is still what he does. John is not my sponsor. I have one of his sponsees as my sponsor. I use them both actually. One takes me through the book. And John I use as a sounding board for the things in my life that I struggle with. Not because I have to. Or feel compelled to. But because I want to. He is someone I've grown to love, respect, and appreciate. Sometimes he tells me things I don't want to hear. And I either agree with him or I don't. When I agree with him I change those things. When I don't I tell him to go fuck himself. And he's ok with that. He doesn't come to me with his shit. He's got someone for that. As I have people who come to me that I don't burden with my dilemas. As a result I now live a life. Which was not something I was doing before. I don't agree with everything AA has to offer. Nor do I think that it's possible or healthy for any person to believe whole heartedly with any one organization. I take what I need and leave the rest.

I tell you my story so you have an idea of where I'm coming from. I plan on sending you many more e-mails. I empathize with your desire to weed out cults. And I agree that some in this program treat it as such. I disagree with your reasoning though. Just off the top of my head I can think of one in which you got it a little backwards. I think it's on your mail page where you confuse the 11th tradition and the 12th step. There is no contradiction like the one you pointed out. The 11th tradition states attraction not promotion. Which brings us to the 12th step of carrying the message. If we've already established attraction not promotion, then we can assume that carrying the message is in doing so with people who seek it. Not seeking those who need it.

I have reservations about the way you seem to characterize AA as a whole. You use sweeping generalizations of a group that is very diverse in it's origins. And you also attack the founders as if there recovery was the lynch pin of my own or anyone elses. I have found the phrase "wanting what we've got" to be very helpful in my recovery. There are many in the program who I don't want what they have. So I don't go for it. I personally don't care what the founders were like as people. Or where their ideas came from. If people think it was from God's two lips. Or Bill's two ass cheeks. They're thoughts and ideas. Seperate from there origin. If Hitler had come up with a way to stay sober, one that helped me without hurting others, I'd take it.

So keep up the good work. I think it's healthy for people to have both sides to decipher what's best for them. I just think that your approach is terribly biased for whatever reason. And my is too. So I look forward to your response if any. I know I need to always be aware of my thoughts and actions. And I welcome all who help me to do so.


Hi Liam,

Thanks for a great letter. I'm happy to hear that you are doing much better, and your friend John sounds like a great guy, and sensible too, the kind of person that is far too rare in "the recovery community".

I do believe that you are still confusing cause and effect with mere correlation or coincidence. You think that the A.A. program or what you learn from the Big Book is keeping you clean and sober. I strongly disagree. I would suggest that you are getting clean and sober in spite of the 12-step cult, not because of it.

What really made you get clean and sober was your desire to have a better life. It's enlightened self-interest. (Ironically, it is the very "selfishness" that Bill Wilson denounced so much.) You did, as you say, just get sick and tired of being sick and tired. So did I.

That is the essence of recovery. When you get to the point where you say, "I've had it. I've really totally had it. I don't ever want to go back there and suffer like that again, not ever...", then you are on the road to recovery.

The people who are still in trouble are the ones who think, "Well maybe I could have just one, just a little bit to feel good now, it will be okay." As long as you think you can nibble, you're in trouble.

The problems you had with your first sponsor are just so typical. I hear about that kind of stuff so often. Any nutcase with a year or two of (claimed) sobriety can start acting like a priest or psychologist and start counselling sick people. (Heck, my true-believer 12-step counselor is now in prison for snorting cocaine and screwing his step-children.) That problem is inherent in the structure of A.A. and will not go away. The standards for being a sponsor or recovery guru are very, very low. (And they still charge people's health insurance for "treatment" anyway.)

What if you had not survived your first sponsor? Some people don't, you know... Their offensive sponsor or Stepper counselor drives them away from recovery and they don't recover. They die.

Like I said, you are recovering in spite of the kind of help you got from your first sponsor, not because of the wonderful A.A. program. And you are recovering in spite of the insanity of the raving lunatic Bill Wilson that is in the first 164 pages of the Big Book, not because of it.

And watch out for the slogans and extremist thinking that they taught you, like "I of course had to make sure that sobriety was something I really wanted. That I would be willing to go to any lengths to get it."

I won't go to 'any lengths'. I won't screw children for sobriety, not for my sobriety or yours. I won't lie to sick people and tell them that a treatment method with a 95% failure rate never fails, or "RARELY fails...." I won't recruit for a cult religion, nor will I say, "It's spiritual, not religious." There are lots of lengths that I won't go to.

But I am clean and sober anyway.

The only "lengths" that I need to go to are:

Just don't take that first drink, no matter what.
Just don't smoke that first cigarette, no matter what.
Just don't take that first hit of dope, no matter what.

It's really very, very simple. All of the rest of the A.A. program is just cult busy-work.

I don't think I am confused about the 11th 'tradition' (that is not a tradition because Bill Wilson just made them up one year, and didn't bother to follow them himself). You wrote:
"...you confuse the 11th tradition and the 12th step. There is no contradiction like the one you pointed out. The 11th tradition states attraction not promotion. Which brings us to the 12th step of carrying the message."

Not confused. First off, I object to people being sentenced to A.A. meetings. It's illegal, unconstitutional, and counter-productive too. (Look at this page for some obnoxious examples of miscarriage of justice.)

Then I object to people who go to treatment centers for "treatment for alcoholism" or "treatment for drug addiction" just getting sent to the meetings of a cult religion, rather than anything that resembles actual treatment. Ever since Sigmund Freud fooled some people into believing that laying on your back side and talking about sexual fantasies with your mother was "therapy", we have had an endless series of charlatans foisting all kinds of malpsychia on us. A.A. and N.A. are just one more.

And then I object to the A.A. propaganda mill constantly promoting A.A. while hypocritically claiming that A.A. is only a spiritual program of attraction. Heck, Bill Wilson himself bragged about how he violated the 11th tradition when it was convenient. Look at Bill's seduction of Jack Anderson to get good publicity. Bill rationalized that "accurate and effective publicity about A.A. simply does not manufacture itself." Look at Bill's years-long road trips, grandstanding and promoting his new cult. A.A. has always been a program of promotion.

There is a huge difference between going to a sick alcoholic and trying to help him quit drinking, and broadcasting a river of untrue propaganda on radio and TV to promote the A.A. cult.

Lastly, you complained that I generalize too much — that there are bad A.A. groups and good A.A. groups. I know that, and have said so repeatedly. But does A.A. ever say that?

While they are running those commercials on radio and TV and planting plugs in E.R. and The West Wing, does A.A. warn people about bad sponsors, bad meetings, and crazy dogmatic Big Book thumpers? Do they bother to warn girls that their first sponsor might rape them? Do they warn people that some groups will get you killed by driving you to relapse, or by giving you AIDS?

No. They won't be that rigorously honest.

In addition, that whole rap about the good groups is just a diversionary tactic. (Propaganda trick: When you are losing a point, Create A Diversion. Change the subject.) When I talk about specific issues, like how the A.A. headquarters is so corrupt that they have committed perjury in the courts of Mexico and Germany to put A.A. members in prison for "carrying the message" to poor alcoholics there, someone alway tries to change the subject, like:

"Don't look at the man behind the curtain.
Don't notice that the wizard is an evil lying fraud who is trying to get Dorothy killed by the Wicked Witch of the West.
Let's just focus on this nice pleasant little neighborhood meeting over here where people talk about God and sobriety."

No matter how nice some meetings are, the problems with A.A. are immense. In the final analysis, it is apparent that A.A. does more harm than good.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date Tue, October 19, 2004 2:45 pm
Subject What is your agenda?

True or false, agree or disagree why do you care if AA is a cult? So what if people use this to stay sober? What do you get out of this?

Brian H.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the question.

Why do I care?

Well, first off, because A.A. does not work to save alcoholics. It is a hoax, and a waste of time and money, and the organization could not continue if it were not a cult.

Secondly, because A.A. and N.A. have hurt, rather than helped, a number of my friends and acquaintances.

Thirdly, because people do not "use this to stay sober". They use it for a variety of things: ego gratification, power trips, self-enrichment, sexual satisfaction, cult religious belief, and for sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of America's health care systems, but not to stay sober, because A.A. does not work for sobriety.

I don't get anything "out of this" except the knowledge that I am not just letting a bad situation continue unchallenged, out of apathy or laziness. It's one of those situations where people say, "Somebody should tell the truth about this. Somebody should do something." Well, I seem to have gotten stuck with the job because I couldn't just demand that somebody else do the work.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date Tue, October 19, 2004 11:29 am

Whoever wrote this piece of trash must be an alcoholic who isn't "getting it", who is complicating the hell out of things, looking for trouble, fault-finding, finger-pointing.

Keep it simple. What Bill was saying in the quoted and twisted words is: Nagging won't help an Alkie.

Have you heard of singleness of purpose?

Join Smokers Anonymous.

Dick H.

Hi Dick,

Thanks for the letter.

Single-mindedness of purpose? All right, how about this goal — To save alcoholics from death by alcohol. I want to do that. A.A. fails to do that. In fact, A.A. increases the death rate. Read this.

That's keeping it simple, isn't it?

And have a good day anyway.

P.S.: I quit smoking 4 1/2 years ago, without the 12 Steps, so I don't know why you mention Smokers Anonymous.

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

Date Mon, October 25, 2004 7:52 am
Subject atlantic group nyc


i have almost 18 years of sobriety and i want to "share" the fact that at the atlantic group in new york city... i have been yelled at by two of their (female) members (with a combined "sobriety" of 53 years) three times.
1). for not telling my sponsee to call my then-sponsor's sponsor
2). for not lining up to thank the speaker when i wasn't feeling well... (my then-sponsor yelled at me, saying if i "wasn't willing" then "that's fine" if i wanted to "ruin my life" but "don't you DARE take your sponsee down the garden path to hell" (direct quote; i kid you not)
3). for telling my (old) sponsor's sponsor that i was leaving the meeting to watch the world series, and that i had my clean-up commitment covered by someone else.

those are three strong examples; there are more but i won't bore you with them. i think it's important to let SOMEONE know that the women i've encountered in that group bear more resemblance to selfish, egotistical, maniacal, miserable, crazy, dry drunk people than i have ever encountered in over 19 years of going to meetings in florida, california, new york city, arizona, washington d.c., and a couple of meetings in switzerland and france.

there *are* decent people in aa; but they are, for the most part, becoming fewer and farther between; especially among women, and MOST especially, among women with double digit sobriety.

as people with long term sobriety fail to live up to their exaggerated (sp) fantasy-induced expectations of (and sense of entitlement for) themselves, they subvert honestly looking at themselves, and instead try to manipulate and sadistically upbraid people in order to exert some sort of control over their lives or their environment, and if one doesn't 'comply' by these sponsor-imposed (read: human) rules, then one isn't "willing."

there is no excuse for this anti-social, borderline sociopathic (as i have yet to receive an apology-oh, excuse me- an "amends" from either of these women) behavior.
there is no phrase stating "act as if" in the big book (a big atlantic and pacific group platitude).
there is no interpretation of "attraction rather than promotion" pertaining to wearing dresses, suits and ties, learning how to not be a social misfit, or showing up for one's commitment as a measure of one's "sobriety" (it's rather like showing up to church; the suburban proof of one's good character, yes)?.
rather, the concept of "attraction rather than promotion" pertains to not standing on the corner like a religious zealot trying to recruit people.

the idea is as follows: "find a power greater than yourself who will solves all your problems", not some insane alcoholic who cannot control her emotional nature, her need to control others, and above all, cannot admit this to herself or anyone else.

i have seen an awful lot of wretched behavior in my time in alcoholics anonymous (as exemplified by your reader's experiences with immature people whose egotistical refusal to build their own characters results in disastrous interactions with innocent newcomers)... i just wanted to add one for the ages.

and to all you people who choose to remain in aa; may you be cautious, kind, and truly seek to provide an example of love, not ego.

thank you, bianca

Well hi, Bianca, and thanks for adding one for the ages.

And have a good day.

== Orange

Date Sat, October 23, 2004 11:23 pm
Subject Some good points

Boy, something really tripped your trigger. Doesn't the bible also say that you will be able to tell a tree by the fruit it bears? I think the fact that A.A. has helped thousands of people to stop destroying their lives, and the lives of those who are near them, should count for something.

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for the letter.

You have hit the nail on the head:
"Jesus said that you will be able to tell a tree by the fruit that it bears."

Unfortunately, you just can't see what the fruit of A.A. really is. Or you don't want to see it.

One of the A.A. leaders, Prof. George E. Vaillant, member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., clearly showed with his 20 years of promotion of A.A., that A.A. kills. His A.A.-based treatment program had a zero-percent success rate (above and beyond normal spontaneous remission of alcoholism), and a 29% death rate. Vaillant called the A.A. death rate "appalling".

Other doctors found that A.A. was a disaster, increasing binge drinking in alcoholics who went to A.A., or increasing the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness. It's all in the file The Effectiveness of 12-Step Treatment. Check it out. In fact, please read it very carefully. The evidence is damning.

A.A.ers say they are not saints and will continue to grow and learn. I think it is great that Bill W. had so many imperfections. It just proves that God can make all things work for His will.

Now you are just trying to rationalize the behavior of a monster who

  1. sold cult religion as a quack cure for alcoholism,
  2. lied about his success rate in sobering up alcoholics,
  3. cheated and stole all of the money from the organization,
  4. and sexually exploited sick women who were seeking help.
There is nothing wonderful about that, and please don't try to blame that on God. God had nothing to do with it.

Why don't you try to look at all the good that the program has done? A.A. is not the only way to get sober but it is one way. Anyway, I could go on and on picking apart your logic, but why? You have a right to your opinion and I bet you even meant well. By the way, your fruit is really bitter.

What good? Again, you are trying to assume that A.A. does good things. There is simply no evidence for that. The real evidence says that A.A. is harmful to alcoholics. A.A. kills.

You haven't picked apart any of my logic. (What on earth are you talking about?) You have not supplied one single fact to refute any of my statements. Not one fact. Show me the actual A.A. success rate. Of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many are:

  1. Sober a year later?
  2. Dead a year later?
  3. Still drinking a year later?
I want real facts and hard numbers, not grand hand-waving and vague claims of success accompanied by self-congratulatory claims that God created Alcoholics Anonymous.
And please, no lying with qualifiers like,
"We only count those who thoroughly followed our path."
"We only count those who keep coming back."
You have to count everybody who comes at all. They are all alcoholics who need help.

Remember that just because you see a few sober people sitting in a room does not prove (or even suggest) that the meeting made them get sober — No more than it proves that their sobriety was caused by the hard chairs, the rug, the paint on the walls, or the Twelve Steps tacked to that wall.

And yes, I am a little bit bitter and angry at how the 12-step cult is killing people while hypocritically claiming to be a great thing, and using the criminal justice system to force more people into its meetings. You might even say I "have a resentment" against the cult.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date Sun, October 24, 2004 8:11 pm
Subject Man, what the hell put the bug up your a$$

about 12-Step programs, most notably AA?

Your site has to be the most monumental waste of time I've ever seen on the web.

How's the drinking working for you now, btw?


Hello, Gandalf,

RE: "Man, what the hell put the bug up your a$$"...
Maybe it was just watching friends get worse, not better, as a result of indoctrination in the 12-Step mythology (a really grim fairy tale).

My not drinking is working great. I have more than 4 1/2 years now, off of both alcohol and tobacco (as of June 2005), without any A.A. cult religion. I abstain from both alcohol and A.A. meetings, and it saves both my liver and my brain. How's your program working?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date Sun, October 24, 2004 7:23 am
Subject The AA Cult


I was just browsing through your website and I've got to say it's fantastic. I only too well know the dangers of this society. Nearly 8 years ago I was introduced to AA at 20 years of age. I received all the usual dogma about going to meetings, get a sponsor, do the steps etc etc. Needless to say I was scared to leave it and was indoctrinated for several years. I never did get a sponsor though and in hindsight I believe I would have been a hell of a lot worse had I have done so. AA's dogma is powerful stuff. It was only when I started drinking again after 2 years of "super sobriety" did I learn this fact.

Also during these 2 years I was placed in a mental hospital for 8 days at the suggestion of several cult members. Bear in mind that I was not drinking at this time. One member had suggested that I go into a treatment facility and when I did go to the interview, this pompous ass doctor informed me that I was a "manic depressive" and that I needed supervised. Bullshit!!! Being indoctrinated and all I went into the hospital. Thank God for my parents that they got me out.

I have got to say one of the reasons I eventually returned to drinking was hearing the stupid stories off aa oldtimers and gurus who went on a full scale rant about their drinking. Previously to my aa encounter I never drank every day or anything like that. I began thinking to myself that in the 12*12 there was a line about being "potential alcoholics". I clung to it and the fact I was young and drank again. Of course once that happened I went crawling back to aa in despair and this time ended up in a treatment centre. For about a year I had periods of sobriety which ranged in segments of about 3 months, but in 2000 I decided to leave aa for good.

I did not stop drinking again until December 2002 and did once again present myself to aa for a brief time, but this time I didn't stay. I have not had a drink since leaving meetings. I now have a wonderful girlfriend, a job, a driving license and a degree. With no outside help from aa.

One letter that got to me in your letters page was an aa member mocking your sobriety. Screw them! Time has went by quicker for me than sitting at meetings counting the days etc. I have a life today and alcohol is removed from my life. I still cannot drink and thats just the way it is. There are now other activities in my life that do not revolve around alcohol or talking pointlessly about it. What's done is done.

Thank you for your website agent orange which has been a breath of fresh air.

R, Ireland

Hi R,

Glad to hear that you are feeling better. Congratulations on your sobriety. Thanks for a powerful letter. And another horror story.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date Tue, October 26, 2004 3:56 am
Subject Questions

I have a few questons for you. First and foremost are you a recovering, practicing or dry alcoholic? What happened that made you come to these conclusions? Do you realize how much bitterness bordering on hate that this article exudes?

Lee Ann

Hi Lee Ann,

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this question: "...are you a recovering, practicing or dry alcoholic?"
Is that another A.A. "dry drunk" loaded question? How can someone be "dry but not recovering" (outside of Alcoholics Anonymous word games)?

FYI: I have more than 4 1/2 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and any other drugs, as of June 2005. And yes, my liver and brain cells are recovering quite nicely, thank you.

What happened? Read the standard list:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

Do I know about the bitterness in my voice? Well of course.
I try to keep the hostility and invective down to a minimum, but I really don't like cults that harm my friends and then lie and say that they "helped" them.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2005

I am really sorry that you had such a bad experience with AA. Maybe the group meetings that you went to were different than those I have been to. I understand how that you came to some of your conclusions and you have a right to your opionion but I question your stats on the sucess rates. I pray that you stay clean and dry.

Hi Lee Ann,

Thanks for the response.

Alas, you are missing the point, or dodging the point. It isn't about me, or whether I enjoyed some A.A. meetings. It is about the total failure of the A.A. program to save the lives of the alcoholics who are shoved, one way or another, into A.A.'s care.

And I am staying clean and dry, thank you. I hope you do too.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date Wed, October 27, 2004 11:11 am
Subject Re: disagreement

> dear sir; ater being sobe for twet yars, gfing twve steps mking them part
> oofmy philopsy alng with others incuding termodymic laws,yorrcricism
> bothers me, iwill turn other cheek like jesus said regards
> al.s.....................

Is this a joke? What are you stoned on?

== Orange

P.S.: On the other hand, what a great new signature: "The results of 20 years of A.A. meetings are..."

Date Wed, October 27, 2004 11:15 am
Subject Re: 12 secrets of a.a.

> an interesting, however flawed, dissertation.
> would you be able to submit the definition, both theological and
> sociological, of a cult.
> Brian

Yes, I have defined cults at length just so that there will be no confusion about the definition.

Read the Cult Test:

== Orange

Date Wed, October 27, 2004 2:48 am
Subject rule 62 it's for you

This summer I will make a journey with my girl friend. We will ride a Harley Davidson to Vermont. there I will visit the grave of Bill Wilson. I will place flowers on his grave, I will place my 16 year token by his grave in deep respect for a man who changed the world. I will bow down and give thanks and gratitude to the God that I understand for giving me a choice as to weather I drink or don't drink, the complete obsession of mind has gone I have never been forced to attend a meeting and as long as I'm doing what I'm doing I never will be, if you were I'm sorry if it offended you. Most people in the program have never heard of Frank Buckman or give a hoot who he was.

I'm glad the crash of the stock market of 29 made Bill a failed stock broker and if he were alive he would tell you the same. People will continue to visit his grave in Ernest respect long after you and I are gone. The program is not a cult it is the reverse of a cult, they don't want your money I've seen Jew, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic and non religious all set at a table and admit that the program has made them a better person. It doesn't work for all people. It's never perfect and never will be.

I have a choice today I choose not to drink; the program has given me a life with out dogma of any kind. The program actually restores people to a faith or religion of there choice and stops people from succumbing to cults in there weakest time. Bill new that in a state of Alcoholic haze that a person should maybe put off quitting smoking until he had loss his obsession to drink. I to was worried about the program being a cult that my mind was going to be washed. Well that's half true my mind has been washed over the years however I have free choice today and this tells me that my obsession to drink was kind of a cult in itself because it breed all the mental states associated with a cult. So I guess maybe my brain needed washing.

There is one bit of advice that I will pass to you it comes from Bill W. after looking in a list of rules that one of the early groups had made up totaling 61 rules Bill entered rule number 62, the rule stated DON'T take yourself so serious and its known all over the world as rule Number 62, they have a conference in Cincinnati called rule 62 you'll invited to attend.

Hello Russell,

Thanks for the letter. It's obvious that you will continue to worship the myth of Bill Wilson no matter what I say, and no matter what the facts are. But please, don't blame God for Bill Wilson having created Alcoholics Anonymous.

While you are going to Vermont, you really should stop by Allentown, Pennsylvania, and put a flower on the grave of the fascist Hitler-worshipper Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, because Frank made up all of the theology of Alcoholics Anonymous — the so-called "spiritual principles" that you are now living. Bill Wilson merely copied all of it:

  1. Confessing that you are powerless over sin, and have been defeated by it.
  2. Confessing that you are "insane" because you haven't been doing the will of God, and only "surrender" to a "Higher Power" will "restore you to sanity".
  3. Confessing that you are a sinful, selfish, worthless piece of shit.
  4. Going to very frequent group meetings and confessing everything to the others.
  5. Surrendering to "God" or the group elders, or whatever, giving up on having a mind or a will of your own.
  6. Living a life where all of your actions are dictated by Der Führer in Heaven through psychic messages that are transmitted into your head during your daily "Quiet Time".
  7. Claiming that your cult is the only way.
  8. Claiming that your organization has a special new spiritual technology unknown to this world before.
  9. "Making amends" by going around and apologizing to all of the people that you hurt before (as if they really want to see you again).
  10. Never admitting that the leader was wrong about anything, never mind admitting that he was a total fraud.
  11. Non-stop slogan-slinging — there are hundreds of slogans, a thought-stopping slogan for every occasion.
  12. Constant recruiting — you aren't "really changed" until you "carry the message" to someone else.
  13. Claiming that it's okay to withhold the truth, and deceive prospective recruits, in order to get them to join the group, because you are getting more souls for God.

The fact that the neighborhood A.A. meeting doesn't want much of your money is irrelevant. Neither did the Heaven's Gate cult, or the Solar Temple, or the Branch Davidians. They just wanted your mind, your soul, and your life. But the industrial branch of Alcoholics Anonymous most assuredly does want your money. Hazelden and the Betty Ford Clinic charge $15,000 for a 28-day-long A.A. meeting.

And I'm not taking myself "so seriously". I am taking seriously the deaths of friends for whom the 12 Step cult was no help. And I am taking seriously all of the new people who are being sentenced to the meetings of the A.A. cult religion.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 17:03:50
Subject: Hi A

you've done a lot of work!

You're pages are very interesting and informative.

I have a question to ask — and I am being sincere and genuine in asking it — so please answer in a similar way.

All the things you write about apply, more or less, to many institutions, corporations, governments, etc...

What/Who would you recommend to someone seeking guidance or help?

I look forward to your reply.

Many thanks,


Hi Brian,

Sorry to take so long to answer. That's a good question.

And here is the standard answer I keep giving:

The single most successful program in the world is:

*do it yourself*.

Now does that mean that you *have to* quit by yourself without help?
Absolutely not. There are several possible choices.

I particularly recommend SMART meetings. You can get some help and encouragement there.

You could also check out:
SOS, 'Save Our Selves' or 'Secular Organizations for Sobriety';
Or LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR) — the LifeRing Internet group.

For women, there is also Women For Sobriety; call 1-800-333-1606 for a list of local meetings (that is a USA phone number, I don't know if it works in the UK).

Have a good day.

== Orange

P.S.: about your statement, "All the things you write about apply, more or less, to many institutions, corporations, governments, etc..."
Yes, that is the Hell of it.
The best book I have seen on that subject is The Wrong Way Home, Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in American Society , by Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.. He does a good job of exploring the degree of cross-over between the behavior of cults and the behavior of what we call our "normal" institutions. Dr. Deikman was on a government committee that studied cults after the Jonestown mass suicide and the murder of Congressman Leo J. Ryan. Dr. Deikman could not help but notice that a lot of what was bad about the People's Temple cult could also be found in our churches, corporations, organizations, institutions, government agencies, and even in the White House.
But watch out: That does not let the cults off of the hook. One of the commonest excuses I hear is, "Oh heck, the churches, the schools, everything is a cult, so it doesn't matter if A.A. is also a cult."
Wrong. It matters a lot. The government being stupid and getting huge numbers of innocent people killed does not exhonerate Alcoholics Anonymous.

Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 20:59:43 EST
Subject: i.d.

Just who are you and what is the story behind all this? I find everything I've read so far to be thought provoking. I've basically stopped drinking now for over 2 years. I have been going to AA meeting for most of that period and still am. I have seen AA work for a lot of people and that's fine by me. For me, though, it does not seem to be the answer. I went to AA just to make my wife happy. After being sober all this time, my marriage had far greater flaws in it than just my drinking. My wife is a closet AA'er. She went to Al-Anon years ago. It still is not enough for this woman that I have been sober now for over two years. I am not working the program properly, according to her, and am just a dry drunk. This irritates me to no end. I have made up my mind that divorce is in the future.

Even attending all these meetings on and off for this period of time, I secretly had my doubts about AA. I hated being in a room for an hour with people who appeared to have been just turned loose from the local jail. I attended various meetings and found the clientele not always to my liking and I am a strictly middle class kind of guy. I would no sooner socialize with some of these types than I would with a wayward porcupine. Endless tales of woe and basically stupidity get old after awhile. The only thing I seemed to have in common with these people was a drinking problem, which I wished to solve one way or another. I had a binge drinking problem. I was not a down and out, daily drinking gutter drunk. Don't get me wrong, I did meet some nice, helpful people at AA but these were in the very small minority.

Your web site and others like it have shown me that there is another way to keep sober. I got sick of the "dry drunk" label that my wife tried to lay on me. I knew that I had improved my life by putting down the bottle and no one was going to make me feel inferior about the way I went about it with a dry drunk label. Your dry drunk section really made me feel that there really wasn't anything wrong with me. I can safely say that any personal or emotional problems that I may encounter in the rest of my life will not be due to interference from alcohol.

In closing I would like to say that I quit drinking for myself and I went to AA for my wife. It's been over two years of sobriety. I know I can continue my life without drinking and also without the help of AA and probably my wife. A lifetime of meetings and endless recovery are not for me. Thanks for letting me see another way!

Hi, J.K.,

Congratulations on your sobriety. It sounds like you've got it together. And thanks for the thanks.

As to my identity, I'm just another old recovering alcoholic. Also old hippie, child of the 60's, former computer programmer, many things. Even if I gave my name, it wouldn't mean anything. Orange is as good a name as any.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 20:39:26
Subject: AA

AA will not defend itself, AA has no opinion on outside issues.

AA saved my life, & the lives of millions of others.

AA does not claim to have an answer for everybody, and only tries to be of service.

What one person says, is not necessarily AA info.

AA is a design for living, better than the one I used to have, it's that simple.

Often there is more than one right way.

I am grateful today for being able to find out what is right, your message only contains what, in my opinion, what is wrong.

Good luck to you, you seem to be obsessed, if so, hope you find some relief!

My name is Roger H, I am an alcoholic.

Hi Roger,

Wow. What a stream of slogans and propaganda tricks.

Well, starting at the top,

  • You are defending A.A., so you can discard the first slogan. A.A. also most assuredly does have opinions on outside issues — then they just run and hide behind that slogan when challenged.

  • AA has not saved the lives of millions of others. That is just standard A.A. misinformation.

  • AA does claim to have an answer for everybody, and also claims to be the only way: Bill Wilson wrote:

    We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.
    The Big Book, William G. Wilson, the Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii of the 3rd edition.

    Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 35.

  • You say, "What one person says, is not necessarily AA info", but what Bill Wilson says is Holy Scripture with most A.A. believers.
    That is also an attempt to excuse the use of front groups and hidden promoters — have them say all of the bombastic and untrue exaggerated claims of success — like "millions saved" — and then, when you are challenged, claim, "Hey! He doesn't speak for us. We don't know him."

  • You say, "AA is a design for living, better than the one I used to have, it's that simple."
    I won't argue with that other than to say that you must really enjoy dwelling in various Hells.

  • You say, "Often there is more than one right way."
    That is an attempt to use the propaganda trick called "Escape Via Relativism". Quack medicine and cult religion are not "a right way" to treat alcoholism. A.A. does not have a success rate — it has a high failure rate and a high death rate, remember?

  • You say, "I am grateful today for being able to find out what is right, your message only contains what, in my opinion, what is wrong."
    Well, if you really want to learn the truth, you could start with A.A. Trustee Dr. George Vaillant's report about how A.A. failed to cure alcoholics.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 23:19:55
Subject: cute, do you think?

Tongue and cheek? Is that your approach to addiction? If you don't understand it , you will experience it with all its loss and desolation.

Hi Leah,

That wasn't too clear. I can only assume that you object to some joke or wise-crack that I made.

Your complaint is rather odd, considering how much laughter you hear in A.A. meetings as people tell their "stupid drunks" jokes.

I joke around occasionally because I don't like to be too serious or morbid. But I do know all about addiction and suffering.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 08:18:30
Subject: keep coming back

Are you a dry drunk? Do you suffer from alcoholism? Do you suffer from drug addiction? If you can't honestly say yes to any of these, why don't you try going to a meeting? We don't want you there if you don't mean business.

Ian F.
Recovering Alcoholic-drug addict.
God loves you too"

Hi Ian,

What is this crap? I have 4 1/2 years clean and sober, so I don't need to go to a cult religion meeting, no matter whether you want me there or not.

And I can't help but notice that you are pulling a double-bind "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't" propaganda trick there:

  1. If I confess to being an alcoholic, or a dry drunk, or a drug addict, then I need to go to your meetings.
  2. If I don't "honestly" confess to being an alcoholic, or a dry drunk, or a drug addict, then I am in denial, and need to go to your meetings.
Either way, I supposedly need to go to the meetings of your favorite cult.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 01:06:29
Subject: your web site

Well you are certainly entitled to your opinion. AA is not for everyone. Not even BIll W. said it was. But you certainly have an issue with AA. Just remember that if something is bothering you it is about you not the object of your annoyance. The fact is that AA has helped alot of people. If you found something better then good for you. But a need to trash it so completely shows that you have issues far beyond AA's shortcomings.

Hello Diva,

First off, Bill Wilson talked out of both sides of his mouth on issues like whether A.A. was for everyone. He would say liberal-sounding things like, "we know only a little", and 'these steps are suggested', and then:

... And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, the Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii of the 3rd edition.

I strongly disagree with this statement:
"Just remember that if something is bothering you it is about you not the object of your annoyance."
What nonsense. What stupid games of spiritual one-upmanship.

If some guy is raping you, is it your fault that it bothers you? It's your fault, not his, right?

That nonsense is just the kind of crippling teachings that cults foist on their followers to make them powerless and helpless. You can't complain about anything because it's all your own fault that you don't like it. If you were really spiritual, they say, you would realize that it is all the will of God and stop complaining. The Big Book says:

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.
The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict, page 449.

So when rape is inevitable, just relax and enjoy it and accept it with serenity, right?

A.A. has not "helped a lot of people". That is The Big Lie propaganda technique. Bill Wilson started lying about the A.A. success rate 65 years ago, and A.A. is still doing it. A.A. is a total failure with a zero-percent success rate (above normal spontaneous remission) and an 'appalling' death rate. A member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services says so.

What you call "a need to trash it so completely" is my opposition to crimes like coercive recruiting, sentencing people to A.A., and the treatment center scam sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of our health care systems by selling 12-Step religion as a quack cure for alcoholism.

Do you think that it's okay to take Grandma's medicines away from her so that the money can be used to "treat" alcoholics and drug addicts with 12-Step programs? That is really happening right now, you know, with the big funding crisis in health care. Is that okay with you? What is your idea of morality?

I think that is killing people, not helping them.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005
Subject: Hello!

I have just looked at your site, and I seem to remember your name from last year or the year before, I think. The site am thinking of disappeared from the internet for a while.

I too, am a fan of free thinking and thorough investigation before accepting anything offered by would-be saviors of the world. I love asking the hard questions such as, "where are your sources?", "can I download or print your sources?", "who said that?', "what proof do you offer?"

My philosophical and theological make up is a fairly diverse and loose concoction of American Indian, Buddhist, Gnostic, and Other disciplines. My culture is Alaska Native. I named my "higher power" as it were, Love. Love seems to be a unique higher power, for some reason. Almost everyone I have met who is remotely religious likes to say "God is Love," but I have never seen anyone but myself say that Love is God and then attempt to live accordingly.

I am a member of AA, but I am not writing to bash you or anything like that. I like to see people think and do for themselves what others would do for them out of ignorance or outright power mongering. If you have a way to enjoy life sober and to keep growing as a human being, my hat is off to you.

My AA sponsor is an atheist whose higher power is the moment, any moment he happens to notice. Neither of us simply buy everything we hear "old-timers" spout. Neither do we subscribe to everything in the AA book. One thing I like to make clear when I attend AA or NA meetings is that God is not my higher power, and anyone who wants to try to shove their God on me can shove it elsewhere, if you get my meaning.

I have followed several anti-AA internet sites over the last several years, and I noticed that they usually drop form the internet, eventually. Naturally, I wonder if those people got drunk and lost the site. There are many crack-pots "in" AA, as there are many crack-pots in general. I have paid attention to the news over the years and seen at least one woman who championed moderation land in jail after hurting someone very badly while driving drunk.

With that, I'll say kudos to you for the work you obviously do to spread honesty in the world. For it is lies that keep this world sick.

Burton H., Jr.

Hi Burton,

Thanks for the letter. I always find the A.A. members who don't believe in it to be the most interesting people.

Yes, this web site disappeared for a short while. It used to be on Yahoo Geocities until somebody complained that they were "offended" by something that I said, and it was "controversial", so Yahoo erased it all and cancelled my account without even giving me any warning or allowing me to download pending email. Oh well, so much for them.

Correction: On second thought, you must mean www.AAdeprogramming.com
I had the original versions of some of my pages posted there.
Yes, that web site comes and goes, and is currently down. "Apple", the woman who did that web site, said that she got tired of maintaining it.
I would mirror those pages if I could get in contact with her and get her permission, but the only email address I have for her is at the defunct domain name.

About A.A. and your atheistic sponsor: I have said many times that if A.A. would just cut the crap and be sensible that it could be a helpful organization. Way back in the first file of letters, 4 years ago, I said,

If you take A.A. and throw away the Twelve Steps, the Buchmanite religion, and the rest of Bill Wilson's fanatical religious preachings, then you just might end up with what A.A. claims to be: a wonderful self-help fellowship of alcoholics just trying to help each other live.

And now I would add: "Also throw away the coercive recruiting and shut down the propaganda mill that publishes so much dishonest information."

But alas, they just won't do that. They won't be "rigorously honest".

About the woman championing moderation landing in jail, yes, I know. I met her. Audrey Kishline is her name. It's a tragic story. I feel rather compassionate towards her. Basically, she was pushing an idea that is okay for some people: the Rand Corporation think tank reported in 1976, in Alcoholism and Treatment, Rand Corporation Report R-1739-NIAAA, that half of all of the alcoholics who recover from self-destructive drinking do it by tapering off into moderation, and the other half do it by total abstinence.

The trick for us alcoholics is to figure out which half we belong in. I am one who has to totally abstain. I simply cannot just have one now and then. I can either totally abstain from alcohol, or I can drink myself to death, but I can't be moderate in my drinking. (Nor in my smoking.)

It turned out that Audrey has the same problem. She quit her own organization, Moderation Management, returned to Alcoholics Anonymous to try total abstinence, and after 3 months of A.A. meetings went on a binge, drove drunk, and caused an accident that killed a father and his young daughter. So Audrey went to prison. I met her soon after she got out.

Now some people try to blame Moderation Management for Audrey's disastrous binge; others blame Alcoholics Anonymous. I think that neither accusation is fair. Neither organization caused her relapse. The truth is simply that Audrey has her own problems to deal with, which have nothing to do with either MM or AA.

So what about Moderation Management? Well I don't know if the organization is doing anything any more, or if it even still exists [it does], but the idea is still valid for a lot of people. As I said, the trick is to learn which half each of us belongs in. Some people can just taper off and keep it down to a dull roar, and some can't.

About anti-A.A. web sites disappearing from the Internet, I think that people just get tired of it after a while. I know I did. For the last 6 months, I have done little on this site except intensive investigation of the history of involvement between the Oxford Group and the British Fascists and the Nazis, and also collecting historical pictures of the Oxford Group. I let my email pile up so much that some servers lost a lot of it. Oops.

I suggested in another letter that it might be a phase of recovery from recovery. After a while you want to just do something else with your life, and not talk about alcoholism or A.A. or any of that stuff any more.

Somehow, playing the guitar and feeding the ducks and geese down at the river is a lot more interesting than arguing about Alcoholics Anonymous.

I think that is a good sign.

Have a good day.

== Orange

[2nd letter from Burton:]

Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005
Subject: Reply Number 2

You play guitar, I see. I have played bass guitar for about 30 years now. I lost count of the number of bands I have played in, but I have never had the American dream type of success. That was due in good portion to becoming completely preoccupied with drinking.

When I quit drinking, I found that I had to re-learn how to play my instrument. I had to re-learn how to do many things.

Yes, I've heard that before. Way back in the sixties somebody was talking about how if you learned something while zonked on pot, you forgot it when you came down, but it was there again when you went back up. It was like you had two head-spaces, and what you learned in one didn't cross over to the other one. Inconvenient, really.

I have come to believe that long-term drinking did make me insane, but not in the way a lot of old-timers try to make it out. They try to make it out like alcoholics are completely insane and helpless in all areas. Therefore we have to rely on them for every decision, if we buy that.

Also, after I quit drinking, I switched to another chemical to tickle my enjoyment synapses. I relapsed over and over with that one for a few years. One thing that I think plays a part in the enjoyment of using is the fact that life stops hurting. That in itself can be a very enjoyable thing, even if tolerance has built up to the chemical of choice.

Oh yeh. Killing pain is a big part of the reason why people get high.

In the end, the price to keep using became more painful than the cure.

Exactly. That's the thing. That's where I stopped. And I think that is why and when most people quit their addictions.

After I stopped using, I really began to think about what it was that was allowing me to make it through days without running to the old solution.

What I discovered was that AA and NA never made even a small dent in my using. The only thing that seemed to be different was my final decision to stop, no matter what. Even that is a little confusing, since I thought I had made that same decision many times.

Yes. That decision is everything. When people *really* decide to quit, they quit.

About the confusion: I think that is just a normal human problem. I am reminded of The Teachings of Don Juan where he said that when a man approaches knowledge, his will is unclear. He doesn't really know exactly what he wants. He just sort of thinks he knows what he wants. He thinks he wants knowledge, but he might not. Not really; not enough to go through the work and hardships required to get it. It takes a few years for him to sort things out and figure out what his will really is.

The same thing seems to apply to quitting an addiction. At first, people just want to avoid the pain. They recognize that they are sick and in pain from using too much of something, and they want to get out of the pain, so they think that they will quit. But they don't really want to quit; they just want to get out of the pain.

Later on, when the old lizard brain starts whispering that they could just have a little now, and it will be okay, and it won't make them sick, not just a little — it will just feel great — that sure sounds tempting. Someone has to be very clear on the whole routine to know that nibbling is suicide.

All I can tell you or anyone else for sure is that when I think of using now and what it would take to make it happen, it seems like too much trouble! I don't want to risk dying or otherwise becoming incapacitated and thus miss out on so many things I want to see and do; I especially want to see what my daughters are like when they are adults. I also want to be there to help them if needed.

My sponsor told me that AA was not meant to be an end in itself. In his conception, it is meant to be used only until one can learn to live life the way it is meant to be: independent, proud, humorous, and free from guilt and shame.

That is about where I am now. I too am tired of trying to help fellow addicts and thinking about addiction. When I have tried to help others quit using and enjoy life, we just end up annoyed with each other because they were not done yet. Now I find myself telling them that if they are truly done, they will figure out how to do it. I do offer to listen and tell them how I manage my life if they want to know.

With that, I bid you a good and fun life. That is what it was meant for.
Fun and play.

Burton H.

Thanks, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

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Last updated 7 March 2013.
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