Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXXI

[The previous letter from Mike_G is here.]

Date: Wed, March 30, 2011 7:21 pm     (answered 5 April 2011)
From: "Mike G."
Subject: Back atcha

Hello again.your name is Greg?

Hello again, Mike,

Not Greg. Terrance.

I think I saw your picture somewhere in either one your letters or in your papers, can't find it now though.

There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

It looks like you were born in the same era I was; the rejected baby boomers. My "friends & neighbors" selected me in 1969. You don't look like you'd be a good dancer, but based on your responses you obviously are. Your response to one of my statements was:

You say that you didn't refer people to other programs that work better than A.A. because you didn't know that they existed. Well now you know. So what are you doing now?

I never did say other programs work better than AA. What I said was.

In it you asked me why I didn't refer others to what I assume you feel are more effective methods in addressing substance abuse.

Knowing other programs exist does not qualify me to make any comments, pro or con, about them. Not exactly a direct response was it?

Nope. That's kind of dodging the question.

I did ask you several questions however; why you think the court system, the treatment centers referred by corporate EAP programs direct people to AA. When you think about it that's a lot of people in positions of power. Why do you think they are all so blind?

There are several factors:

  1. First off, there are the hidden persuaders and proselytizers for the 12-Step religion, doing their "12th-Step work". They routinely get themselves credentials as "recovery experts" or "certified addiction counselors", and then go around insisting that everybody must get shoved into A.A. meetings. And they have been doing that for 70 years now.

    Being a 12-Step counselor is one of the more popular occupations for burned-out alcoholics and drug addicts.

  2. Then there are the treatment centers that make a fortune from selling 12-Step cult religion as a cure for alcoholism and drug addiction. They get anything from $7000 to $40,000 per person (in advance, of course) for 28 days of indoctrination. They are not about to blow the whistle on themselves and admit the truth.

  3. Then there are missionaries who just love the 12-Step religion even though they are not alcoholics. Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant comes to mind. He has spent 40 years promoting A.A., even though he admits that it doesn't work to make alcoholics quit drinking. He brags about the "social rehabilitation" of individuals through A.A., and claims that the goal is to get the alcoholics an "attitude change" through "confession of sins to a high-status healer". That is of course crazy.

  4. Which leads to the other people in power who don't really know what is going on, and who are fooled by the proselytizers. They get told by the "experts" that A.A. works great, and is the best thing, and they never hear anything different. So they go along with it.

  5. And then there is just institutional inertia. Institutions keep on doing it this way because they've been doing it this way for 30 or 40 years.

  6. Then there is cheapness. A.A. doesn't cost anything, so it is the lowest bidder.

But the times they are a'changin. The current attitude of the NIH is to demand results. They are demanding more and more evidence-based methods. A high-ranking official of the NIAAA — Mark Willenbring, director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — recently declared that Alcoholics Anonymous teachings about alcoholism were "inconsistent with the evidence". (Look here.)

You did take me to a couple of places in an effort to prove Alcoholics Anonymous adversely affects the divorce rate and promotes suicide. In my observations a big portion of suicides are brought about because the people are suffering from some form of depression. And alcohol is a catalyst for depression. Whether they are or have been AA members is NOT what causes the suicides, it's the "ism" or the effects brought on by alcohol consumption — more depression — which leads people to taking their own lives. There are even times people commit suicide when alcohol wasn't even involved! Why don't you say being employed in law enforcement promotes suicide? There are statistics to support it.

I said that the statistics on suicide were not scientific and had not been established in randomized longitudinal controlled studies. There is however a preponderance of evidence.

And yes, people do commit suicide because of depression. And chronic depressives (like William Griffith Wilson) do often drink to excess. So what do A.A. sponsors do? Tell those people not to take their medications. That has unfortunately occasionally led to suicide.

The same thing goes for people with Bipolar Disorder or PTSD or Borderline Personality Disorder or child abuse issues or rape issues or any of the rest of the psychiatric problems.

I do believe all marriages are affected by AA; many improve and others end in divorce. Quite a few "drinking buddies" get married and when one quits drinking the marriage isn't fun anymore. It's up to each couple to decide what they want in their marriage, what they can live with and what kind of changes they are willing to make in order to sustain it. Once again this is not a direct affect brought on by AA; it's brought about because only one of the partners is willing to change. The recovering alcoholic knows he must change. I'd be willing to bet that each of those other programs you referred to in you previous note promote change, but there's probably no statistics implicating their impact on marriages is there?

Psychology Today magazine reported that A.A. has a 25% divorce rate in the first year. That is sky-high.

It isn't just a matter of "somebody needs to change". It is also a matter of, "She isn't one of us. She won't go to Al-Anon and get with the program. She is dangerous to your sobriety. Dump her and get an A.A. girlfriend."

I believe Alcoholics Anonymous is not for everyone and statistics going back more than 75 years will support it. Their success rate is less than 10% if your yardstick requires everyone who, once he enters AA never drinks again. Have you got any statistics relating to your other programs?

Saying that A.A. isn't for everyone is a bit of a dodge, isn't it? For whom is A.A. appropriate when it just raises the rates of binge drinking, rearrests, and death? Not to mention cult religion irrationality and cliqueishness and devaluing the outsider and divorcing the wife...

The other modalities are not "my other programs". I got sober, and stay sober, with no program.

Unfortunately, there just have not been nearly enough good randomized longitudinal controlled studies of the various possible treatment programs. Nevertheless, the one test I know of where A.A. was directly compared to both no treatment and Rational Behavioral Therapy (similar to SMART), found that A.A. produced five times the amount of binge drinking as no treatment, and nine times as much binge drinking as the RBT group.

Keep going with your papers. I really enjoy them, especially the AA history you've been able to gather. I don't agree with all of it, but I don't think I've found anything considered non-fiction where I've been able to swallow all of it; not even the Big Book. I've even found some stuff in there in which I was unable to find where you have addressed it. (Hint; chapter one)

If you are saying that I have a misquote, then I want to know about it. What are you talking about? Please be specific.

We folks in Illinois are looking forward to the upcoming change in the weather, but it won't be long before we're complaining about it again.

Thanks again for all the work you've done,


You have a good day too.

== 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.
[The next letter from Mike_G is here.]

Date: Thu, March 31, 2011 11:06 am     (answered 6 April 2011)
From: "diego l."
Subject: money

Hi orange, these were some of my thoughts when i read "sober by choice's" letter:

It's all about the money, billion$ are coming in and business has to grow, treatment center and law enforcemet organizations need to keep the wheels turning. AA is just a front for the addiction recovery industry and you (and others) have shown us how dangerous it is. Maybe, time has come to take the next step and unveil the scam?

Thanks and have a good day too.

Hello Diego,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sure that some of the characters at the top are only in it for the money. When some guy takes home nearly half a million dollars a year for being a "Senior Advisor" to A.A., something is very fishy.

And many treatment centers are just organized crime units that are certainly only in it for the money. According to the New York Times, "treatment" of alcohol abuse and drug addictions is a $20 billion dollar per year industry in the USA. That's where the real money is. And 75% of the treatment centers in the USA sell 12-Step quackery as their "treatment". That's a lot of money for dispensing some old cult religion.

But A.A. is really a multidimensional thing, like a pyramid with lots of levels, and a third dimension too. There are many other people who don't get any money. They have other desires and rewards.

  • At the bottom of the pyramid there are true believers who just love the cult religion and make it their lives. They don't get any money; in fact, they pay — for books and tapes and conventions and literature to give away, and regular donations to the basket.

  • There are some deluded people who actually imagine that A.A. works great, and they get a kick out of going around and "saving lives".

  • And then there are the people who are afraid of dying. They fear that if they leave A.A., they will relapse and die drunk in a gutter. They aren't in it for the money.

  • Then there are the people whose desires and motivation are things like power or sex. They enjoy sponsoring newcomers and getting something from them — ego gratification, status, sex, or cheap labor, or something. Money isn't their main motivation.

  • Way up the pyramid are various con artists who manage their own sub-cults and get some money out of it. I hear that Mike Quinones of the Washington DC Midtown Group, and his grand-sponsor Clancy Imusland in California, are doing quite well for themselves. But still, money isn't their only motivation. I hear that they also get plenty of power, status, fame, and sex, and they get (or got) to pass themselves off as real experts on recovery. (Mike is dead now, so he isn't getting anything.)

We talked about what people get out of A.A., and why the cult endures, a few times in the past, and got some more lists of motives there:

About unveiling the scam and revealing the truth, I've been doing that for 10 years now, and by and large, the general public just doesn't want to hear about it. They have their own problems, and their own fish to fry. But the word is getting out slowly, little by little.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Money does all things for reward. — Some are pious and honest
**     as long as they thrive upon it, but if the devil himself gives
**     better wages, they soon change their party.
**       == Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. — 65 A.D.), Roman stoic philosopher

[The previous letter from Renee is here.]

Date: Thu, March 31, 2011 11:29 am     (answered 6 April 2011)
From: Renee
Subject: Mike's Letter March 5th Letter

Hi Orange!

Mike's recent letter to you caught my eye....

I am still struggling to deprogram myself and would love some tips. The fear that is planted that I will die if I leave AA or drink again is very strong. Also should I cut off all ties with even people I liked?

All I can tell Mike is that the fear of "Jails, Institutions and Death" etc, implanted in our minds by sponsors, meetings and the blue book, takes some time to purge, and in my case professional help to overcome. I realize now that these thoughts are placed in our minds quite deliberately in order to keep us trapped. Nothing compares to the professional help a good therapist and psychiatrist can provide. It is probably why, in my close circle of Clancy inspired AA nuts, "therapy" and "medication" were frowned upon. In fact, there are still some moments when I find myself running those dreadful scenarios through my mind. But, it does get better, much better in fact, it just takes time and effort. Remember Mike, you didn't become an AA zombie over night, it took you years to get that way!

Also, as far as cutting ties with old AA friends? Don't worry Mike, they will cut the ties as cleanly as a surgeon's scalpel for you. They bugged me for awhile, you know trying to get me to come back, but after about a year they stopped. It's pretty funny actually, immediately after I left AA I was the one who would run and hide if I spotted one at the grocery store or the park..... now THEY are the ones who run in the opposite direction when they see me. In fact just last Saturday, I was walking through a Florida airport with my family as we were headed home from a spring break getaway...... Anyway, I glanced up and just happened to spot my old hag of an AA nazi sponsor. She was dragging herself, and her very large suit case (probably filled with AA literature) right towards me! In fact, I thought she might be on our flight because we were both obviously headed home. She was alone, maybe on business, who knows, who cares! Strangely enough, after I spotted her she looked up from her phone and stared directly at me. Then, (and this is when it gets funny) she darn near tripped over herself in her attempt to get out of my path. The poor woman ended up doing a complete about face and walked in the other direction! Oh my goodness it was a sight to see. The look of complete terror/horror on her face was priceless! I just laughed out loud, it was pretty funny..... I wonder how long it took her to get to her gate? Do you think she ran and hid in the ladies room? She's lucky we were not on the same flight back home, it would have been torture for the poor thing to avoid me on a 737!!!

The active AA'ers do their level best to avoid those of us who have successfully left their evil clutches. We really scare them, and threaten their way of life, as well as everything they believe in their small little AA world..... We can stay sober AND happy without the time eating, mind bending and yes, dangerous AA BS... Oh! and Mike, it is a hoot when they pretend not to know who the heck you are! I'll save that story for another day.

take care....and good luck to you Mike!
Renee... aka Millie

Hi Renee,

Thanks for a great answer. I can't even think of anything to add.

Other than have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who 
**       falsely believe they are free."
**         — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832), 
**           German poet, dramatist, and philosopher

[The next letter from Renee is here.]

May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Canada Geese families
The Family of 9 and the Family of 5

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Fri, April 1, 2011 7:57 am     (answered 6 April 2011)
From: "Robert K."
Subject: Thank you...


I had to let you know how much you work has opened my eyes. I've never gotten any kind of a peaceful feeling from AA or any other 12 step group, now I know why. Maybe I have the gift of discernment, but AA gives me the creeps. I do believe in the devil and now I have seen his handiwork in full swing at AA.

Keep up the great work and be assured that I will tell everyone I know about your web site.

Thanks again,
Robert K.
Atlanta, Ga.

Hello Robert,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. And congratulations on opening your eyes.

I've also noticed a certain devilish aspect to A.A., too. The story of Faust, who sold his soul to the Devil in trade for getting his list of wishes granted, seems somehow appropriate for some A.A. members that I've known.

"Yes, Higher Power, I will lie for you and recruit for you, and obey all of your orders... And deceive the newcomers, and dole out the truth to them by Teaspoons, Not Buckets. And teach them to worship a rock or a doorknob or a bedpan. And all that I ask in return is that you make me quit drinking alcohol."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Talk of devils being confined to hell, or hidden by invisibility! —
**     We have them by shoals in the crowded towns and cities of the world. —
**     Talk of raising the devil! — What need for that, when he is constantly
**     walking to and fro in our streets, seeking whom he may devour.
**       == Anon.

Date: Fri, April 1, 2011 9:33 pm     (answered 6 April 2011)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: 8 months

So after my 8 month stint in AA I have decided to call it quits. I was given an ultimatum by my sponsor to shave off my beard and cut my hair to "help my sobriety" and I told him I didn't want to do that. I take pride in my hair and beard! So that night I was lead to your site and stayed up till 4 reading. Most of it brought my gut feelings to light since you wrote everything out so clearly. So I just want to say thanks, and I enjoy my 6 months of sobriety next week. I love sobriety and my life now. And looking back I don't see how going to meetings and reading literature ever once made me sober. I feel like the only things that helped me were the support of friends and family and changing my routines and thinking. Never once does AA seem to have done much except guilt tripped me into attending meetings so that I can hear the same stories over and over from other alcoholics.

Anyways it's just a nice weight off my shoulder knowing I can enjoy sobriety for the sake of sobriety and being happy without the 500 pound monkey on my back that is AA. Oh and keep me anonymous please ;-)

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the positive letter and congratulations on your sobriety. That really brightens my morning. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and free too.

The thing about cutting off your hair and beard is kind of personal, too. I don't know if you saw one of my pictures, but here is one:

Canada Goose goslings and me

Well, I look like that, and I never cut my hair or shaved my beard, and it didn't hurt my sobriety at all. I now have 10 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and any other drugs (except great kick-ass Espresso coffee), and I still have all of my hair and beard too.

It reminds me of another fellow who loved to play music, and his sponsor told him that he had to give up music and get rid of his guitars, to become clean and sober. (By the way, I have half a dozen guitars, too.)

It never ceases to amaze me how some pompous fools can prop themselves up and claim to be experts on addiction, and give out such bogus advice and bad guidance.

And this is nothing new. Back in the nineteen-sixties, Dr. Arthur H. Cain wrote about the problem of A.A. pundits giving out bad advice on many subjects:

"Many people I have tried to help," said one Chicago member, "have abandoned the program just because they couldn't take the ex cathedra homilies on drugs, alcohol, psychiatry, medicine, sociology, biology, to name a few subjects on which they speak with authority."

The old saying about the blind leading the blind comes to mind. But it's worse than that. It's the blind leading the sighted, and insisting that the sighted cannot see straight. It's like the H. G. Wells story about "The Country of the Blind". They did not consider the one-eyed man king in the land of the blind. They considered a man with eyes to be deformed, and they wanted to do some surgery on his head and get rid of those two round lumps to "fix" him and make him stop talking insane nonsense about "seeing".

Yuk. No thanks.

So welcome to freedom, and have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     By common consent gray hairs are a crown of glory;
**     the only objects of respect that can never excite envy.
**       ==  George Bancroft (1800—1891), American historian

Date: Tue, April 5, 2011 4:22 pm     (answered 7 April 2011)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: Re: 8 months

I wanted to also add something that came to me today while hanging around the house. My sponsor had given me an old lecture from the 70's on a CD that he said was his sponsor. I for some reason just listened to the entire thing today and yesterday. He then gave me another CD that I had listened to that he said he was affiliated with his sponsor in California. I looked at the CD and it had written on it Pacific Group 09. I then did a little searching on your site and saw that they were connected to a man named Clancy who I had seen come up a few times. And then it hit me that Clancy was my sponsor's sponsor and has been for a number of years!

Mind you we live in Maine which is pretty damn far, and he had gone to visit him recently in LA and I think Montana for some sort of get together. But I couldn't believe that my "grand sponsor" was this nut bag that I had read about on your website. This is the man who I sponsor went to for guidance and passed it along to me and others. I read about how he did not allow beards on men and that's why I was to cut mine off just like my sponsor had years ago to "enhance his sobriety". Thank you for helping me get away from these control freaks.

Hello again, Anonymous,

Okay, that makes sense. That connects up a few more dots. Just a little while ago, I got another letter from a woman who was getting bossed around by Clancy's Clones (here), and she had to go to Montana to do homage to one of Clancy's sponsees, Carleen.

The correspondent described the group as, "women were not allowed to wear pants to meetings, men had to wear ties". And of course men had to have short hair and be clean-shaven. All of Clancy's Clones have to put on a super-straight image. Yes, now you know why your sponsor insisted on you cutting off your hair and beard.

On the bright side, Clancy's Clones may well finish the job of destroying Alcoholics Anonymous. They will make A.A. so fascistic and intolerant and insane that people will be leaving in droves, and the organization will become unacceptable to any but the craziest of doctors or counselors.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Democracy, which has grown up in the last three hundred years,
**  represents, with its emphasis upon individual responsibility
**  and individual actions, the most difficult societal system,
**  requiring a definite human maturity.
**      Totalitarianism and especially fascism can in many ways
**  be regarded as an escape from this difficulty into the
**  irresponsibility of following a leader who deprives the
**  people of their liberty and their maturity but promises them
**  'security' and 'economic progress'.
**     == walter_map,  May 14th, 2007
**   Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
**  Or "Sobriety, Serenity, and Gratitude".

Date: Thu, March 31, 2011 7:40 am     (answered 7 April 2011)
From: "Dave H."
Subject: Alcohol and Brain Cells


I love your website, and I promote it greatly (and just recently got to share it with a friend who entered AA last month — he is now seeking self-recovery...thank you!). I do , however, want to call your attention to something that may be inaccurate on this page:

"Even ordinary uncontaminated ethyl alcohol kills brain cells. Every big drunk where you wake up with a hang-over kills roughly 100,000 brain cells. Then malnutrition and thiamine deficiency can lead to a horrifying condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome where you suffer such massive brain damage that you lose your short-term memory and ability to learn or remember anything new."

The latter half is true. The first half is likely not:



Whilst certain forms of alcohol can be damaging to the brain, and whilst excessive alcohol consumption can alter the way the brain functions, it is not actually true that alcohol binges kill brain cells.

Best wishes to you,

Dave H.

Hello Dave,

Thanks for the compliments and for helping your friend. And thanks for the correction. Another urban legend bites the dust. First, there was no such dinosaur as the Brontosaurus, then Hitler wasn't really a vegetarian, and now alcohol doesn't always kill brain cells.

Well, that is actually good news. That explains why I've still got some left.

I was taught that thing about one good binge killing 100,000 brain cells at least 30 years ago. It really was a long-lived myth.

Speaking of which, one of those articles mentioned growing new brain cells. That brings up another very old myth that just died about 10 years ago: The idea that you never grow any new brain cells. The old story was that you were born with all of the neurons that you will ever have, and you just slowly lost them during your life. And there was some sense to it, because if your neurons were reproducing by splitting in two, it would mess up the logic functions that depended on which neuron was connected to which.

But recent research found that you actually have a lump of stem cells in the center of the brain, and they reproduce, and then some of the offspring stem cells differentiate into neurons. Then the new neurons actually crawl around on their little dentrites, looking for an empty slot where a brain cell died, and when they find such a hole, they crawl into it and plug themselves in and start growing connections to neighboring neurons.

It's almost unbelievable, but true. The research was published in the British medical journal Lancet, among other things.

So, the neurons don't die by the hundreds of thousands just because we get drunk, and we can grow some replacements after we have killed some off. There is hope for us yet.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain.

Date: Sat, April 2, 2011 10:04 am     (answered 7 April 2011)
From: "Sammi"
Subject: After searching restlessly for your e-mail, I believe I have found it.


Perhaps instead of looking at how many people don't stay sober in the AA program, you should look at how many people do. I understand you're not an alcoholic or a drug-addict so this might sound senseless to you. I will use myself as an example. When I was using I was an unemployable, home-less at times, criminal, who actively and more often then daily injected Heroin. Perhaps for a man that would not be so bad, but I am a 19 year old female. Most EVERYTHING Bill talks about in the Big Book, I can relate to & I honestly believe that book has given me a new life. When you take someone who felt like they had absolutely nothing to offer this world and turn them into someone who can help other people and connect with God, it is a feeling that I'm sure no one besides an alcoholic can encounter. I wish I could let you borrow this feeling because it is nothing less then phenomenal. For me, it doesn't matter what Bill did, if he smoked himself to death or had an affair. It doesn't matter what other people have done. It is no doubt that alcoholics are mentally sick, some sicker than others. It is the solution that brings us back to health. Also, I believe that anyone who can stop drinking WITHOUT AA is not a real alcoholic, perhaps a moderate-heavy drinker but, I do not believe they have any idea about the phenomenon of cravings that us real alcoholics experienced and felt.

Thanks for your time.

Please don't try to twist my words around like you have with the other AA's who have e-mailed you.


Hello Sammi,

Thanks for the letter. I do not twist the words of people who write to me. But if someone is wrong about something, I will say so.

Like you started your letter by saying that I was not an alcoholic or addict, so presumably I don't know what I'm talking about.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I lived on a hippie commune and tripped my brains out for years. I took LSD and other psychedelics at least 200 times. I've smoked more pot than I can count or measure. I tried almost every drug that was available, just to learn what they were like. I got Hep C from sharing needles while shooting heroin and cocaine.

Then I drank too much alcohol for nearly 20 years, until my doctor said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

And now you somehow decide that I'm not really an alcoholic or addict? You haven't really read much of my web site, have you?

On to the next point: I most assuredly do look at the successful people who have quit their addictive behavior. We have lots of discussions about that, and I have a couple of lists of letters where we have discussed what works: The short list is here, and the longer list is here.

The fact that you enjoy reading Bill Wilson's lies in the Big Book does not prove that Bill's Bull is anything but lies. The fact that you get a big kick out of practicing Frank Buchman's cult religion does not make it a good religion.

While you are having such a good time, you have to also look at what A.A. is doing to other people. The sad truth is still that A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics, on top of increasing the rates of binge drinking and rearrests, and increasing the costs of hospitalization.

We can do far better than that, and we are doing better than that.

By the way, when you say, "it is a feeling that I'm sure no one besides an alcoholic can encounter", that is a standard cult characteristic: The cult and its members are special. "Only another cult member can understand."

The Big Book says it this way:

"You poor guy. I feel so sorry for you. You're not an alcoholic. You can never know the pure joy of recovering within the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous."
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 334.

Devoting our lives to chasing fun feelings is what got us into trouble in the first place. Now, instead of getting a good feeling from shooting heroin, you are getting a good feeling from indulging in cult religion. You are still just chasing a feeling. That isn't any answer to how to develop a sane, positive, balanced, lifestyle.

Here is what William James had to say on the subject. Remember that Bill Wilson claimed that William James was one of the two philosophical fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous. (Which he was not; Frank Buchman was.)

If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.
William James (1842—1910), U.S. psychologist, philosopher, in "The Varieties Of Religious Experience", lecture 1, "Religion and Neurology" (1902)

Lastly, this line is standard Alcoholics Anonymous misinformation:

Also, I believe that anyone who can stop drinking WITHOUT AA is not a real alcoholic, perhaps a moderate-heavy drinker but, I do not believe they have any idea about the phenomenon of cravings that us real alcoholics experienced and felt.

Well, no matter how fervently you believe it, that is not true at all. The vast majority of alcoholics who quit drinking do it on their own, without A.A. or any treatment or "support group". And yes, they are "real alcoholics". The NIAAA says that 75% of all recovered alcoholics quit drinking on their own, and the Harvard Medical School says 80%. Alcoholics Anonymous is quite unnecessary.

And A.A. members do not have any special knowledge that is denied to the rest of us. So you felt some cravings. So what? So have I. You just say, "No, I'm not going to drink, or smoke, or drug, any more. I'm not going to die that way." Problem solved.

And isn't there an A.A. slogan that says, "Feelings aren't facts."? Cravings are just feelings. You don't have to let them run your life. Consider this:

Tricycle's Daily Dharma: October 21, 2005

Self Discipline and Patience
"Discipline" is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up — restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain — just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.
— Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "The best cure for drunkenness is whilst sober,
**   to observe a drunken person"
**     ==  Chinese Proverb

May 22, 2009, Friday: Day 22, continued:

Carmen's Canada Geese family
Carmen's family
The father is the adult on the left, with the spiked-cornered white patch on his head. He is noticeably larger than the mother, who is the adult on the right. She has rounded corners on her white patch, and a smaller body. It's really hard to tell which one is Carmen in this photograph, but it looks like she might be the gosling to the left of the father. The gosling in front of the father looks like "the light-colored one".

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, April 3, 2011 5:54 pm     (answered 7 April 2011)
From: "Researcher1839"
Subject: Wilson's House of Cards Falling Fast

Hi, Orange.

Hope you are well and looking forward to springtime (I'm sure the Canada geese appreciate the arrival of spring).

Hello again, Researcher,

Yes, and I'm looking forwards to another generation of cute little goslings, too.

I have read over several times the post by Sober-by-Choice (CCXXIX Mar 17, 2011) and have to say it is a brilliant and damning piece of investigative reporting. For all intents and purposes the forces of truth allied against Steppism had a mole inside the Cult's temple.

The account clearly shows an institution/organisation and a philosophy on the ropes and taking punches it cannot sustain, which may well bring it to being knocked out cold on the mat. It also shows Wilson's Step Cult to be (at the top of the pyramid and near the top) very much a money making cult. Yes indeed, the dough we put in those baskets wasn't going to buy coffee and pecan sandies — no, it was funding big $ salaries and cushy pensions — and Stepping Stones and Wilson's harem.

The "Program" can't go on losing blood like this for long, so I predict there will be some kind of a reformation to salvage the wreck and re-float it with new and improved, modern ideas. A new revelation; a new book; a new structure; perhaps modernised steps — how about "the suggested movements" instead of the steps?

It is a dying cult. Like Father Divine, EST, Synanon, and the Branch Davidians it is going down! Down into the dustbin of history.

Great Work,

I think it was Yogi Berra who said, "Making predictions is really hard. Especially about the future." I'm not sure quite how A.A. will go down. Bankruptcy is a definite possibility. Just one legal case that establishes that the Big Book copyright is invalid and fraudulent will end an enormous amount of extorted income from foreign countries. On the other hand, a few hours ago, in a previous letter, I was commenting that Clancy's Clones may well destroy A.A. by turning it into an intolerable fascist criminal cult that almost everybody rejects.

It's going to be an interesting show.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Crimes lead into one another. — They who are capable
**     of being forgers, are capable of being incendiaries.
**       == Edmund Burke (1729—1797), English orator and statesman

Date: Mon, April 4, 2011 10:53 am     (answered 8 April 2011)
From: "ryan h."
Subject: good research

I've been reading a lot of what you have read and I think you really bring some good insight into something that has been a huge part of my life. I have often thought that AA instilled in me a guilt complex that worsened my drinking. I have been going to AA off and on for a while and I am failing to see any efficacy in "the program" anymore. That does sound so cultish "the program". More and more I am seeing I was drinking because of emotional issues, not physiological ones. Not to say that alcohol is not physically addictive, I have had one withdrawal seizure in college, so I know first hand that the body adapts in very profound ways. However my drinking has always been a choice and AA tries to convince us otherwise. In fact the longest periods of sobriety I have had were without AA, and I was goping to bars all the time with friends, they all knew I quit and no one ever made me feel uncomfortable. I am resentful that I allowed a program dominate my thoughts and make me feel hopeless. I'm resentfule that all the people I know there are talking about me and gossiping. I am certain they all think I am drinking, and it just get's old. I hate that AA has dominated the recovery market, leaving very little support for other programs. I live in Houston and in a city this big there is one SMART recovery meeting once a week, and about five people go.

You obviously have a lot of experience with AA I am just curious, did you quit drinking, or did you never have a problem in the first place? I guess I am just looking for someone to say I did, I quit on my own and I am happy, because you won't ever here that in a meeting. It's just wrong how they discredit any other approach, refuse to engage in any type of debate, and try to control people. I don't know if you heard this one but it goes something like this, "AA is brainwashing you but your brain needs a wash." I've been told that a few times all by different members.

Anyhow keep up the good work like I said it has been very interesting.


Hello Ryan,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

Taking one of your last questions first, did I have a problem? Oh yeh. Twenty-two years ago, my ex-wife said that she would not send my son to spend the summer with me unless I quit drinking and stayed sober for the whole summer. I said okay, and didn't think it was that big of a deal. About 36 hours without alcohol and I went into DTs, same as you did. I had never imagined that I was that addicted or habituated to alcohol, but I was. It was a hell of a night, one of those nights where you are glad to just live through it and see the sun again.

That impressed me enough that I stayed sober for the following three years. In the beginning, I went to four A.A. meetings, only four, ever, just to see if I could learn anything useful there. I quickly tired of the routine. I decided that they were nice people and everything, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life sitting around talking about drinking. There are other things to do.

(At that time, I had no idea that A.A. was a cult. It just seemed like a bunch of people who spent an awful lot of time talking about drinking.)

After three years, I was looking at the calendar one day and realized that I had had my third anniversary off of alcohol a few weeks earlier. I had not even thought about it, or celebrated in any way, or even noticed it. Then I thought a very dangerous thought: "It shouldn't be this easy." That is, I had learned some of the A.A. mythology about how alcoholics have to call up their sponsor every Saturday night, crying that they are about to relapse and all of that. I never went through any of that. I never even had a sponsor. I went through some cravings for alcohol in the beginning, but they were manageable, and then they faded out. And then I basically cruised on autopilot for three years, and staying sober wasn't hard at all. I abstained from drinking simply by deciding that I wasn't going to drink.

But then I thought, "It shouldn't be this easy." I began to think that maybe I wasn't a real alcoholic after all. Maybe that counselor was just trying to fill her quota for the month when she labeled me an alcoholic. Then I thought about going into DTs when I quit. And the little Lizard Brain Addiction Monster answered, "Remember what that woman at A.A. said: You just had a minor reaction to withdrawal. Now she really went through withdrawal. She went into convulsions and they had to tie her down to the bed for three days. You aren't really an alcoholic, not like her."

I still didn't drink again right away, but the idea was planted. A few months later, I was at a friend's birthday party, and it was wall-to-wall beer and whiskey. I still didn't drink for most of the night. But finally I decided that I could handle one beer. It tasted great. One turned into three. I wanted more, but the party was shutting down, and it was too late to go to the liquor store. The next morning, when I woke up, my first thought was, "Go get some more beer." I held out until noon, and then went and got a six-pack, and thought that I could have a couple each day, and make it last for three days. They were all gone in a few hours.

And that was the beginning of nine more years of drinking, which ended in sickness and homelessness, and the doctor telling me "Quit drinking or die. Choose one."

Yes, I think I had a little problem with alcohol.

About quitting on my own, yes, I did, twice. And I think you can count both times as successful. The first time, I stayed sober for three years, and this time, it's ten years and I don't intend to ever drink again, or get fooled again.

And, the second time, I had two weeks of sobriety before I started a "treatment program" that sent us to A.A. and N.A. meetings. I agreed to participate in an outpatient treatment program in trade for housing, so that I wouldn't be homeless and have to sleep in the rain. The treatment basically consisted of "group therapy" meetings twice a week, where we sat around and talked about drinking and drugging, and then we had to go to A.A. or N.A. meetings at least three times a week. It was quite useless. The major thing that I learned is that the 12-Step organization is a crazy irrational cult. And then, later, I learned that my "counselor" in the "treatment program" was actually a cocaine-snorting Internet child pornographer and child molester. No joke. They sent him to prison the next year.

So yes, I count that as quitting on my own, and staying sober in spite of "help" and "treatment", not because of it.

Oh, about quitting on your own: Taper off slowly. The second time, I didn't go into DTs because I was careful not to shock my system by going from full-bore drinking to total abstinence in one day. That is not a good way to do it.

And if you think you are heavily habituated to alcohol, definitely see a doctor. They have medicines that can keep you from going into convulsions and things like that. Contrary to what A.A. says, doctors are your friends. I count the doctor who told me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." as one of the best I ever had. His approach was just right. No B.S., no "go to A.A.", just quit drinking or die, choose one. I must remember to look him up and send him a Christmas card and tell him what happened.

Have a good day now, and a good life. And if you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There is often as much independence in not being led,
**     as in not being driven.
**       ==  Tryon Edwards (1809—1894), American theologian and editor

Date: Wed, April 6, 2011 12:25 pm     (answered 8 April 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Mark M.

Subject: Jus sayin hi

Hello Orange ~ I just wanted to say Hi and let you know that I have been an "advocate" of yours for years now, following you from afar... I have incorporated some of your stuff into my practice and I appreicate all you have done to show another way thru the years... You are a good soul and most excellent man... Peace Be With You My Brother...

~ Mark

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity,
**     rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth.
**       ==  Francis Bacon (1561—1626), English journalist, scientist,
**             author, and philosopher

Date: Wed, April 6, 2011 1:55 pm     (answered 8 April 2011)
From: "Mark B."
Subject: you must be right ,and millions of people are wrong.

good luck ,I 'm not judging I'm just saying.

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the good wishes, and don't worry about me. I'm doing just fine. I have 10 years of sobriety now, and I'm looking forwards to the next 20.

By the way, A.A. does not really have millions of sober successful people, not even anything close to that. That is just one of their standard fairy tales. You can see that for yourself. You know how many first-day and one-month coins are given out, and how few 10-year and 20-year coins are given out. If A.A. really worked, you should see almost as many people picking up 10- and 20-year coins as are picking up one-month coins. But you don't see that, do you? A.A. isn't keeping them sober worth a darn. Look here and here for the real numbers.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     All the armies on earth do not destroy so many of the human race,
**     nor alienate so much property, as drunkenness.
**       ==  Francis Bacon (1561—1626), English journalist, scientist,
**             author, and philosopher

[The next letter from Mark_B is here.]

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Last updated 8 January 2015.
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