Letters, We Get Mail, CCXLIII

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Date: Mon, June 13, 2011 1:30 pm     (answered 14 June 2011)
Subject: Spiritual or Religious

In the Random House College Dictionary, I find the definition of spiritual to be RELIGIOUS. It is not the first definition, it is the sixth, and is only part of the sixth definition. Spiritual and Religious share the same meaning. Alcoholics Anonymous is deeply religious and has been from the beginning.

The truth is that AA was never intended to be or become a RELIGION. As anyone who attends AA meetings today knows, that is what AA has become. This has come about by the custom of reading "How it Works" aloud at AA meetings, to all and sundry. Add the reading of Hazelden's 24 hour book and it is confirmed. That One is God! May You find Him NOW! Almost every page in the 24 hour book mentions God a dozen times, more counting the capitol pronouns.

An AA meeting was NEVER meant to be conducted this way. AA is a fellowship. Not a Fellowship. Self proclaimed recovery experts have morphed Alcoholics Anonymous into a strange religious cult. The cult description is confirmed by the incessant chanting which has permeated almost all AA meetings today. The Hold Hands and Pray closing with the ring around the rosy circle. praying the Lords prayer, and chanting "Keep coming back, it works if you work it, so work it you're worth it,etc,etc,etc, while pumping arms up and down. culminates the strange religious cult.

As I deeply respect Traditions 11 & 12 and the second A in AA, this is sent by ANONYMOUS.


Thanks for the letter.

Yes, those definitions are very revealing, aren't they? I went through a few dictionaries myself, looking at "religion" and "religious" and "spiritual":

  • Spiritual (The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1982.)
    1. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
    2. Pertaining to or having the nature of spirits; supernatural.

  • Spiritual (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition, 1993.)
    • 6. of or pertaining to the spirit as the seat of the moral or religious nature.
    • 7. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.
    • 10. a spiritual or religious song: authentic folk spirituals.

  • Spiritual (Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, 1993.)
    • 2:
      • a: of or relating to religious or sacred matters
    • 4:
      • b: proceeding from or under the influence of the Holy Spirit : concerned with religious values : seeking earnestly to live in a right relation to God
        < a ~ Christian>
      • d: RELIGIOUS
        <Islam's ~ foundations>
    • 6: archaic : consisting of spirit : ALCOHOLIC, SPIRITOUS
    • 10: having to do with spirits, ghosts, or similar supernatural beings or with the world which they are help to people
  • What those definitions reveal is that, for all practical purposes, religious and spiritual are synonyms.

    I had to leave in the sixth definition at the end there because that is downright funny. Something that is alcoholic is "spiritual" in the sense that it is filled with the spirits of the grapes. So I guess those alcoholics are really spiritual after all.

    And definition 10 of the Webster's Third New International Dictionary and definition 5 of the American Heritage Dictionary describe Bill Wilson's "spiritual" activities as he conducted séances and played with his Ouija board and talked to the spirits of the dead, like Boniface.

    It's questionable whether A.A. was "intended" to turn into a religion. Frank Buchman's cult had the same confusion. Buchman declared that his Oxford Group was merely a spiritual add-on to other people's religions, not a religion on its own. But Buchman's cult dominated people's lives, and had its own dogma that conflicted with Christian dogma, and the Oxford Group even scheduled meetings for Sunday morning at an hour that kept the O.G. members from attending other church services on Sunday. Yes, it was a religion, and it was a church.

    The Oxford Group claimed that it was "more spiritual than religious". Bill Wilson just took it one step further when he declared that A.A. was spiritual, not religious.

    It seems to me that Alcoholics Anonymous was always a religion. They just refused to admit that it was a religion. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob insisted that members must believe in God, and surrender to God, and confess all of their sins to God, and then do whatever the voices in their heads ("God") told them to do. That is a religion.

    All that you have to do is read the 12 Steps. You don't even need to read the rest of the Big Book — the chapter "We Agnostics" is merely frosting on the cake. The 12 Steps alone establish A.A. as a religion. And all that Bill Wilson did to get the 12 Steps was copy the practices of the Oxford Group.

    When Bill Wilson declared that A.A. was not a religion, that was just another deceptive recruiting trick.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     These big confused human brains that we have seem to lead to
    **     special troubles.  You don't see preacher chimpanzees or gorillas
    **     telling their fellows, "Give me all of your bananas so that
    **     you can go to heaven."
    **     Nope, that kind of insanity is strictly the province of humans.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#ANONYMOUS2 ]

    Date: Tue, June 14, 2011 2:54 pm     (answered 15 June 2011)
    Subject: Why is Alcoholics is no longer effective?

    To whom it may concern,

    The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous was an effective solution for the age-old malady of alcoholism. Bill W was "struck sober" in December 1934, in much the same manner that sobriety came to Bill's grandfather years earlier. Bill found that active problem drinkers did not care for Bill's preaching and teaching. Bill W and Dr Silkworth developed an approach (technique) which alcoholics could accept and respond to favorably (stop drinking).

    Self proclaimed preachers and teachers-sponsor advisors have returned AA to the approach which did not work for Bill W. And it is not working for us today, as evidenced by our loss of over 600,000 members since 1992. (membership numbers are available from AA's General Service Office). Alcoholics Anonymous has become all that it had never wanted to become, from top to bottom. Today our top leader is an Episcopal Priest, and chairman of the board of trustees of AA. We are viewed by much of the general public as some kind of strange religious cult. WHY? That is exactly what AA has morphed into. A strange new religion. and members have adopted the cult ritual of chanting. Not really very attractive. This appalling truth is obvious to almost everyone except members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Ask any member of AA and most will insist that AA is alive and well. Alcoholics are suffering and dying, families and friends are suffering needlessly while we stand around in our Hold hands and pray circle chanting.


    Hello again, Anonymous,

    I agree that A.A. is now obviously a religion that fails to cure alcoholics. But A.A. always was. All of Bill's writing in the Big Book about how great A.A. was in the good old days was just Bill Wilson lying to grow his cult.

    Whether Bill Wilson was declaring that A.A. was a great success or a great failure merely depended on whether Bill wanted to impress his audience with how great his brilliant invention was, or impress his audience with how hard Bill Wilson had to work to save those worthless alcoholics:

    You have no conception these days of how much failure we had. You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to take the bait.
    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952; file available here.

    When the A.A. founder Bill Wilson wrote his history of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1957, he admitted that the early A.A. program had been a disaster:

    At first nearly every alcoholic we approached began to slip, if indeed he sobered up at all. Others would stay dry six months or maybe a year and then take a skid. This was always a genuine catastrophe.
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, (1957), page 97.

    You can read more about the early A.A. failure rate here.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "When the man is presented with this volume it is best that
    **      no one tell him he must abide by its suggestions."
    **       ==  William G. Wilson, The "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous,
    **             page 144, paragraph 3.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#ANONYMOUS3 ]

    Date: Tue, June 14, 2011 7:40 pm     (answered 16 June 2011)
    Subject: Re: Spiritual or Religious

    Thanks for the quick response. About 12 years ago I entered my office, actually the security office and found a computer on my desk. I had never seen one close up. They assumed that I knew how to use it. I left the work force early because I could not adjust to the new technology. I only learned how to do simple email out of desperation.

    I realized that the fellowship of AA was diminishing right before my eyes. No one ever told me. I spent about 18 months handwriting letters to the grapevine and every address I could find. Believe it or not, I sent 126 letters, 20 pages each to trustees, delegates, past delegates Grapevine and GSO managers. I received a letter from a past delegate from a western state, and a letter from an inmate in Arkansas who said she had been to AA while she was on probation but could not stand the chanting, and being made a spectacle of. She was back in prison. I suppose all the other letters ended up in the trash. The usual response to criticism is silence.

    What I am saying is that I don't know how to "download". My daughter said my computer does not have "WORD"'whatever that means. I can't retrieve your message, but many thanks.

    Two of my articles were eventually printed in the AA Grapevine. Why are we shouting? Sept 2010. and On reading "How it Works" in the Dec 2009 issue. in the past year at least 150 of my concerns were posted on the old iSay forum.

    I have yet to learn how to use the "improved version" which no one told me about, until I inquired. The old forum is still on but has not been updated since April 6. I entered AA in the spring of 1970. My last drink was 8 Feb 1970. I saw AA change, Actually less than 10 noticeable changes over 3 decades.


    Hello again, ANONYMOUS,

    Congratulations on your sobriety. So you've got 41 years now. That really makes you an old-timer.

    Yes, when you bring up issues, the silence is deafening. The story that A.A. is a democracy is a myth. A.A. leadership totally ignores the membership. And when the membership criticizes the leadership, the leaders just tell the members to take a long walk off a short pier. The leadership even controls The Grapevine, so members cannot use it to bring up issues and discuss them publicly with the rest of the membership. Personally, I believe that there is zero chance of reforming A.A. Time to create a new organization.

    Ah, okay, so you don't know about attachments or attached web pages. It's easy, once someone correctly tells you how to do it.

    The messages I send are not in Microsoft Word format; they are simple web pages. You don't need Microsoft Word at all. Any web browser will show them to you. You are probably already using a web browser to read your email.

    The two commonest web browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer and Firefox. Your computer almost certainly has one or the other, or both. It doesn't matter which one you use.

    I always send my answers in the format of a web page because I can use the same file to both answer the letter and post the letter on my web site. Plus, using the web page format is the only way to make the links work, so that I can point to other things that are relevant to what I'm saying.

    An attached web page is like: Imagine that somebody sends you a multi-page letter. There is a cover page, and underneath, attached by a paper clip, there is a second page. What you want to do is look at the second page. How you do it varies from one email program to another. I don't know which email program you are using — there are so many — but all of them give you some way to click on something, usually something at the bottom of the first page, that will let you read the second page. That's what you want to do with all of the answers that I sent you.

    Now I will copy these instructions to the first page so that you can read them.

    Have a good day and a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.
    **       ==  Charles Chaplin

    [The next letter from ANONYMOUS is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-243.html#Wendy_N ]

    Date: Mon, June 13, 2011 8:00 am     (answered 14 June 2011)
    From: "Wendy N."
    Subject: bill Wilson

    Dear Mr Orange.

    I hope this letter gets to you. I have been reading your site for over a week now. A friend put me on to it, and at first I thought 'wow, this guy is really against AA' and I was thinking AA is basically benign, and the 12 steps are harmless, and so forth. Then, what really gutted me, was what you had to say about Bill Wilson preying sexually on the female newcomers.

    Well, that put me in a great deal of pain for several days. For one reason, because I had a similar experience. When I was 26, and quite naive, I went running to my drug and alcohol counselor because I felt like drinking. He was in AA, and he makes a pass at me. This devastated me, and I won't tell the whole story. (I got caught up with him)

    So, for Bill Wilson to be a 13th stepper is devastating to me. It means I thought he was one kind of person for nearly 3 decades (decent and fairly spiritual), only to find out he's a fraud.

    He's got NOTHING to say to me. And he wrote the 12 steps. This has been a real crisis. I've been doing meetings still, out of fear, but in them I just feel pain.

    And, anyway, I went back and read more of what you have to say. I'm seeing it's all got a good point to make. I feel I'm being deprogrammed by you. But the main thing is Bill Wilson, whom everyone regards as a spiritual guru, and he's got the spirituality of a gnat.

    By the way, I told my sponsor what you'd said of Bill, and she flat out didn't believe it. Great tactic. Denial.

    I haven't spoke to her since.

    Thanks for telling me,

    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your pain. I just hope that it ends soon. I'm glad to hear that you are deprogramming. Welcome to the light.

    Yes, Bill Wilson's sexual exploitation of women is so well-known and well-established that several biographies of Bill Wilson talk about it. Susan Cheever even went so far as to argue that it was perfectly okay for Bill Wilson to do it, and besides, it's a secret because Bill was special...

    You mentioned that you were still attending A.A. meetings out of fear. That is normal. What A.A. does is induce fears in members, making them afraid to leave, "If you leave, you will die drunk in a gutter..."

    I'm happy to say that you won't die drunk in a gutter. I haven't been to an A.A. meeting in 9 years now, and I'm still sober.

    So have a good day now, and a good life.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle"
    **        — George Orwell

    [The next letter from Wendy_N is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-243.html#Jeffrey_H ]

    Date: Mon, June 13, 2011 7:30 am     (answered 14 June 2011)
    From: "Jeffrey H."
    Subject: AA

    Is there any evidence of monetary blackmail for prior indiscretions. Also, is there danger leaving AA.? Like an "accident."

    Should I watch what I say and trust no one?

    Jeffrey H.

    Hello Jeffrey,

    Thanks for the question. I haven't specifically heard of such blackmail. The worst that I have heard of is ex-sponsors blabbing someone's Fifth Step confessions all over town as revenge for someone quitting Alcoholics Anonymous.

    And I have heard of a few people getting stalked by the A.A. cult, but not many.

    What usually happens when someone leaves A.A. is that the other A.A. members just forget about him. Ostracism is the usual response. I can't count how many people have commented that their ex-sponsor and "true friends" in A.A. never called them again after they stopped going to meetings. All of the "unconditional love" just vanished.

    The truth of the matter is that most people drop out of A.A. eventually, and the remaining A.A. members just don't have the time or energy to chase them all down and try to get them back. The A.A. members just assume that the missing people went back to drinking, and write them off.

    Have a good day, and a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     It is easy for men to talk one thing and think another.
    **        ==  Syrus  (42 B.C.)

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-243.html#Josh ]

    Date: Sun, June 12, 2011 1:07 pm     (answered 14 June 2011)
    From: "Josh G."

    I've been reading your website for several hours, and it's fascinating. As I was going through it, it reminded me of times in the past that I've read essays critical of Scientology, and when I ran into the mention of the South Park episode, Bloody Mary, I was convinced that I was not only reminded of it, but that it was almost the same.

    I am currently seeking treatment for alcoholism and came across your website by complete accident. I was not even searching for AA, because it was something I didn't want to get into because of its religious aspects. It turned out that during my research of addiction and treatment, there was AA jargon being implanted into my head without me even realizing it. I was trying to find an explanation for some of it to show to someone else, and the first Google result was a mention of it on your site, and when I clicked on it, I actually thought I was going to get a description, not why it was complete bullshit. It really made me think. At this point, I'm thinking that if I have to go to, essentially, specialized websites in order to get a definition for a word instead of the dictionary, it's probably not really a word.

    I have two reasons for writing you.

    1. When reading about Scientology and other cults, there is obvious evidence that these cults cause negativity. There are firsthand experiences with Scientologists and court cases against the church and its members for malicious crimes that were meant to benefit the church. I saw that some of the essays on people who are proponents of AA have been found to be criminals, but the only one that I can immediately recall is one for child pornography, which, though the victims may have been related to AA in some way, the crimes themselves really were not. Charles Manson is obviously an insane person who brainwashed people and led them to kill. Heaven's Gate led a mess of people to commit suicide. There are clear signs on negativity in all of these, but I'm wondering if there is anything that you've read or referenced that shows AA as actually being detrimental to someone and making their life worse. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with any of the methods that are being used by them, but it seems like the worst that can happen is wasting your time meeting with a group that isn't beneficial. I did see the numbers that showed more deaths with AA, but I don't really see that as causation, more of a coincidence, in all likelihood, without evidence that AA actually killed these people somehow.

    Even though none of the above really seems to be related to what I'm getting at, what I want is to see you argue with yourself. There are plenty of documents that can be located online or in print that are extremely convincing about a certain topic. My concern is simply that any point can be made convincing if contradictory evidence is ignored. I wonder if you can contradict your own message he same way that you are able to contradict AA's message by using evidence that an AA supporter would likely use that would be a very good argument against yours, but then be able to come back with your own opinion and explain why their attempted contradiction is wrong.

    Maybe this is the reason for all of the letters being posted though, because I'm sure that some or many are debates between you and AA supporters. I haven't read any yet because the fact that they are numbered doesn't lead me to any one in particular that shows me this.

    2. I believe that I read that you dealt with alcoholism and some of the information written on the site is from personal experience. I was wondering what other, if any, resources you used or see as available and reliable.

    Thanks for your time and your website,
    I hope to see you keep it up.


    Hello Josh,

    Thank you for the letters and the questions.

    There is plenty of evidence that A.A. causes harm. It is pretty inevitable that harm will result when someone teaches alcoholics that they are powerless over alcohol and cannot quit by using their own will power and intelligence. It's also bad to teach them that they must "hit bottom". Some die when they do that. Then, teaching those same people that they are hopeless sinners and selfish and evil and in denial has bad effects too.

    When Dr. George Vaillant tried to prove that A.A. works great, he accidentally proved that A.A. kills. Look here. Dr. Vaillant found that, over an 8-year period, A.A. had the highest death rate of any method of treating alcohol abuse. That isn't just a coincidence.

    Likewise, there are several other doctors who did careful controlled tests of A.A. to see how well it really works, and they also reported that A.A. just had bad effects. You can start with Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma, here.

    Let other people tell you about it in their own words. Here is a list of A.A. horror stories that readers sent in, describing what happened to them.

    I can't really "argue against myself". I have already considered both sides of the A.A. problem, many times, for many years, and even wrote up a web page of What's Good About A.A.? But, as one correspondent commented, he could find everything that was good about A.A. someplace else, without the bad side of A.A.

    For something positive, let me point you to lists of things that people have found helpful in quitting drinking, and staying quit, here: How did you get to where you are?

    Have a good day and a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     A bad neighbour is as great a misfortune as
    **     a good one is a great blessing.
    **        ==  Hesiod  (8th Century)

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

    Canada Goose goslings
    The goslings of the family that adopted the orphan.
    The orphan is the small one in the rear left, only half visible. The girl in front left is stretching out her leg, while her brother in the front right is doing that thing with his inner eyelids again.

    Some people wonder how I can tell the sexes of the goslings. Here, it is just so obvious. The girl on the left is just a small dainty pretty girl with soft features, while her brother is just a "dude". Look at how he holds his head, and sets his beak in a determined angle, and then does that thing with his eyes to make himself look wierder. He is so macho. What a dude.

    Also notice that the girl keeps herself very neatly groomed, while the boy is unkempt and looks like he needs to take a bath and brush his hair. Goslings have the same hormones as we do, the testosterone and the estrogen and the progesterone, and those hormones do the same things to goslings as they do to us, so the goslings just act like little boys and little girls.

    [More gosling photos below, here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#Miss_A_Nonymous ]

    Date: Tue, June 14, 2011 12:21 pm     (answered 15 June 2011)
    From: "Miss_A_Nonymous"
    Subject: I am a member of Clancy's family

    Hi. Please don't use my name if you post this on your website.

    There is a group in NYC that was referred to as the sister group of the Pacific Group. It's called the Atlantic Group. I was a member and moved away, but kept my sponsorship within AG b/c every other group scared me since it wasn't like their's. I thought I was going to relapse and die because my meetings weren't right. My sponsor wants me to make friends and be of service where I am, and I believe she has good intentions, but I'm paralyzed with fear.

    Certainly not everyone in AG is part of Clancy's line and works the program the same way. There are over 600 members and it's the largest group in the city. I didn't know I was in Clancy's family until I went to a retreat this past spring that my great grandsponsor puts on every year. She is sponsored by Clancy in LA. He has no sponsor, which should be a big red flag, but no one seemed to care. Everyone saw this woman as a saint, and with answers to everything. In some ways, my sponsor is revered that way and she holds her sponsor up on a very high stool as well.

    Everything is about being of service. Your needs are ignored to help someone else, ESPECIALLY the newcomer. I have a hard time "taking direction." ANYTIME I don't follow a direction, no matter how small, I get yelled at and lectured and told repeatedly that I'm not willing and haven't had a real bottom. There are no choices, it's an illusion. It's really controlling. My sponsor wanted me to go to meetings instead of participate in my college major at school, which she didn't win on and I believed I was a sick person because I didn't do what she said. She always keeps saying I have a message that I need to spread to these meetings because I have a solution. My sponsor doesn't care about what I'm going through and dealing with and it's quite confusing what I can and can't tell her since she won't answer what's acceptable. I always thought a sponsor was there to suggest what to do in situations where I didn't know what else to do now that I can't fight anyone or drink (thus creating more problems if I did either one). She's only interested in what meetings I go to and who I'm talking to everyday. I feel like not doing what she says could lead to something bad, like getting so depressed I want to die, b/c it's happened before. Now I don't know if that's just b/c I'm creating that reality due to being brainwashed into thinking I'm incapable of thinking and living independently. I am encouraged not to think or even go with my intuition. I have to ask my sober sisters what to do, which has led to bad outcomes that I was later led to believe were ok /c I was obedient and "God has a plan."

    I got really tired of being so stiffled and all this control was making me crazy. I KNEW it was control and everyone was telling me otherwise. I've been in a cult before though. Maybe I see things they don't because of that. People will either deny it's a cult or say "If it is a cult, I don't care, because it works." Anyway, I just left. Like, last night. My sponsor said to let her known *when *I'm ready to come back and one of my sober sister's, the only one who knows I'm out, just cut ties with me. So much for "being there for anything." She said it was too much for her to deal with and she didn't want to watch me die. A close friend was brought in to try to talk to me and bring me back.

    I'm really glad I found this website. I could use some help. I was shocked when I saw Clancy's name and the stories that were told. The Pacific Group is a big deal to the Atlantic Group. Clancy is nothing but a hero. If you need or want any information, you can ask me anything. I was "brought up" by AG and have been in AA, unsuccessfully, for 6 years off and on. I have been part of Clancy's family for a year and a half and have had my most current sponsor for 7 months. I can't move from step 1 right now until I "fully surrender." It always seemed a lot more like fully surrendering to my sponsor, who is always right. I'm always wrong.

    Hello "Miss_A_Nonymous",

    Thank you for the letter. Congratulations on your newfound freedom. And congratulations on your sobriety. I am really glad to hear that you have broken free from the cult.

    And I really hope you finish that college degree. There is no profit is spending the rest of your life working for substandard wages because you don't have a degree.

    About questions to ask, I hardly know where to begin. I don't quite know what to ask, so I'll just toss out some suggestions:

    1. Sexual exploitation? I know that Clancy is famous for using A.A. as his harem, and his grand-sponsee Mike Quinones in Washington DC was even worse. Which leads to, breaking up marriages?

    2. Finances? Was there anything funny going on with the money? How do the highest bosses of the Atlantic Group make a living?

    3. Does the Atlantic Group have any special connections to treatment centers? Does the A.G. send alcoholics to any particular treatment centers? Or recruit from certain treatment centers in particular?

    4. Deceptive recruiting? What mind games are played on the newcomers to get them in and convince them to stay?

    5. Success rate or drop-out rate?

    6. Suicides?

    7. Telling people not to take their doctor-prescribed medications?

    8. Claims of spirituality and a special connection to God?

    I guess that's enough to start with. And if you have any more questions for me, please don't hesitate to ask. And you can talk with other people in the forum, too.

    Have a good day, and a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives
    **     enlargement to a people's energy, intellect, and virtues.
    **       ==  William Ellery Channing (1780—1842), Amer. Unit. Clergy

    [The next letter from Miss_A_Nonymous is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#Parrish ]

    Date: Wed, June 15, 2011 9:05 am     (answered 16 June 2011)
    From: "Parrish S. K."
    Subject: So AA isn't religious, huh?

    Hi, Terry:

    I haven't written in a while since I've been occupied with other matters... mainly becoming active in atheist and skeptical circles. I was doing a news search on atheism today and found this fun little nugget: a few nonbelievers have formed AA groups without the God angle, and as a result, they're being derecognized by the AA leadership as AA groups (i.e., they can't get literature anymore, etc etc).


    The nonbelievers, of course, have objected, and rightly so. Much to my amusement, they're ironically quoting the traditions to the leadership: "each group is autonomous", "there's only one requirement for membership", and so on. The leadership is ignoring them.

    If anyone still doubts that AA is a religious organization, this should settle the matter. If you say you don't believe in God, you can get kicked out. How much clearer can it be?

    Hope you're doing well... Best, P

    Hi again, Parrish,

    Thanks, I'm doing very well. Summer is here, and the weatherman is predicting a week without rain, just for a change. (This is Oregon in la Niña.)

    Thanks for the link. We were just discussing the Toronto story a little earlier, here. This article gives more coverage, and discusses things that the other articles missed. It's quite good.

    Yes, isn't it funny how "The only requirement for membership is a desire to quit drinking" got morphed into "You also have to believe what we believe, or else". Isn't that just so typical of True Believers?

    Oh well, have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **    A 2003 study by the American Psychological Association found:
    **    "that conservatism can be explained as a set of beliefs and
    **    behaviors that result from a psyche controlled by fear,
    **    aggression, closed-minded dogmatism, and intolerance of
    **    ambiguity, compounded by mental rigidity and decreased
    **    cognitive complexity [dumbness]."
    **       == Robert Weitzel,
    **            The Trouble With The Entire World Is A Guy Named Ron,
    **     Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
    **    And the same seems to be true of the fundamentalists
    **    and true believers of any cult or religion.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#xx ]

    Date: Wed, June 15, 2011 12:38 pm     (answered 16 June 2011)
    From: "Sol Ta T."
    Subject: hopes and dreams from NY Times quote fallacy

    Dear Orange,

    Nice page with links to fallacies which I have perused a few times. I appreciate the work.

    I see multiple false logic in your last quotation at the top of your Propaganda and Debating Techniques page.

    You seem to use it as an example of uncovering a fallacy but it itself is full of them:

    "This election is not about issues," Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager said this week. "This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates." That's a scary thought. For the takeaway is so often base, a reflection more of people's fears and insecurities than of our hopes and dreams.
    --- Judith Warner, New York Times, September 4, 2008

    I understand that fear and insecurity may be construed as attracting illogic, but aren't "hopes and dreams" also highly prone to fallacy, perhaps just as much as fear and insecurity?

    The writer, Warner, says McCains guy's statement is coming from fear (bad), then proposes for us to be afraid, by saying it is scary. Hypocritical. There's a third fallacy there too at the beginning of the quote.

    Do you know what fallacy it is that makes us prone to overlook fallacies that are being used to promote our own political view.

    What would that be, maybe "willing to overlook fallacies for a desired outcome"? I wonder.

    ST T.

    Hello Sol,

    Thanks for the letter and the compliment.

    That's an interesting take on that quote. I don't think that it is a logical fallacy to be afraid of somebody else's fear-mongering or rabble-rousing. In Germany, in the nineteen-thirties, some people said, "I find Hitler really scary. Hitler says that we must be afraid of the Jews and the Communists and the British and the French, but I find Hitler to be the most frightening one of all." That is not a logical fallacy. Nor were they wrong. Nor was that hypocrisy.

    Yes, hopes and aspirations can be used to mislead people too, but not as effectively as fears. Hitler used hope by promising a thousand-year empire — "The Third Reich" — where the Germans would be the top dog and the French and the British would never oppress the Germans again. And the Germans would have the best of everything. That sounded really good when Germany was in the depths of the Great Depression, and was being bled dry by war reparations payments to the British and French.

    Barack Obama did win his last election by inspiring hope for change, but that is already burning out. A lot of people are disillusioned by how little change there has actually been. President Obama cannot win reelection just by appealing to hope again.

    It isn't so easy to use hope to manipulate people.

    On the other hand, the rabble-rousers have been using fear on the American people all of my life. When I was a child in the 'fifties, The Communists were the big enemy that everybody feared. Then, when that got old, the enemy was the Black Radicals. Then it was the Hippie Revolutionaries. Now it's the Arab Terrorists. It's always somebody, and the fear-mongers never seem to run out of enemies; they just make up another one.

    Judith Warner was quite right when she lamented the fact that simplistic "take-away" impressions are often stupid and fearful, and even illogical. And a life ruled by fear and hatred is really base, and not nearly as good as a life run by hope, love, idealism, and all of that good stuff.

    Have a good day now, and a good life.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed."
    **       ==  Albert Einstein

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

    Canada Goose family with goslings
    The family that adopted the orphans
    The orphan is front right.

    [The story of Carmen continues here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters243.html#iamnotastatistic ]

    Date: Mon, June 13, 2011 11:19 am     (answered 15 June 2011)
    From: "iamnotastatistic"
    Subject: Masters thesis by Catholic priest confirms that AA is religious

    Hi Orange,

    Attached is a Masters thesis by a Catholic priest in Michigan that confirms that even the Catholic Church considers AA to be religious. He shows that the fourth and fifth steps of AA are identical to Catholic confession. Also on pages 28 & 29 of part 2(thesis body) he shows how the entire 12 steps of AA are not only Christian but are completely analagous to Catholic teachings.

    The sources that he quotes in support of this thesis are highly dubious: Tiebout, Sellner, Barkley, Kurtz, etc., so obviously it is a very biased and incredibly contradictory thesis. It reinforces the stereotypical idea of the alcoholic as an immoral being with the premise of alcoholism being equivalent to sin and therefore the cure to alcoholism can only be religious in nature.

    However, if even the Catholic Church thinks that AA is religious then how can anyone deny that AA is religious?

    Thank you for continuing to expose the truth,



    Size: 81 k
    Type: application/pdf

    Size: 702 k
    Type: application/pdf

    Size: 202 k
    Type: application/pdf

    Hello iamnotastatistic,

    Thanks for the information. Yes, that is enlightening. A.A. is a religion, and this Catholic priest-in-training argues that A.A. is compatible with Christianity. Quite a twisty rationalization. I never cease to be amazed by people's ability to reason backwards. That is, they chose the conclusion that they want, and then work backwards, arranging the facts to suit their conclusion.

    And this document is actually a thesis for Master of Arts (in Theology)? I am reminded of T. Willard Hunter's thesis for a Master of Sacred Theology. T. Willard Hunter was a long-time member of the Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament cult, and he actually tried to get a Master's degree in theology by arguing that Dr. Frank Buchman was really a wonderful holy man.

    That leaves me wondering what the standards for Master of Divinity really are. Apparently a lot of different superstitions qualify for "theology".

    As you pointed out, citing Tiebout and Kurtz as authorities on theology is some kind of a sick joke. Dr. Harry Tiebout was a crazy psychiatrist who argued that it is wonderful to torture alcoholics into surrendering and submitting to authority. Ernest Kurtz is a long-time A.A. apologist who wrote a book that declares that the way to quit drinking is to declare that you are not God. That is crazy too.

    The author begins by declaring that A.A. is wonderful because the Fourth and Fifth Steps make A.A. members confess all of their sins. The author overlooks the fact that the confessions are not to an ordained priest who is sworn to secrecy; the confessions are to a local degenerate who will probably blab what he hears.

    The author completely overlooks the fact that confession sessions are standard features of many cults, ranging from the Chinese Communist brainwashing to dozens of American pseudo-religious cults like the Moonies, Synanon, and Scientology. Just because you get people confessing doesn't mean it's Christian.

    Other outrageous lines include:

    Moreover, using A.A. principles, twelve step programs for other addictions have since developed also with great success. Barkley writes, "[t]he AA program is by far the most widely used and effective method of helping addicts to stay sober. The Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps are derived ultimately from Catholic Christianity. With certain adjustments, they apply to almost any human problem."

    Oh really? So what is the success rate of Narcotics Anonymous? If we send 1000 randomly-selected addicts to N.A., how many of them will be clean and sober a year later? Funny how they always leave out that magic number while bragging about how great the 12-Step program works.

    Then the author claims that the 12 Steps were derived from Catholic Christianity, which is not even vaguely true. The Big Lie strikes again. We know that the 12 Steps were copied from Frank Buchman's pro-Nazi Oxford Group cult religion, and from nowhere else. Even Bill Wilson said so:

    "Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
    Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

    Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
    The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298.

    Then to claim that the 12 Steps will solve any human problem is really delusional. That is the standard cult characteristic of We Have The Panacea.

    This is also a gross distortion of history:

    A.A.'s ministry is also a process of human maturation. Early in the development of A.A. "a number of eminent psychologists and doctors made an exhaustive study of a good-sized group of so-called problem drinkers" who concluded that most held in common childishness, emotional sensitivity, and grandiose characteristics.

    No, what actually happened is Bill Wilson went to his psychiatrist Dr. Harry Tiebout, who diagnosed Bill Wilson as narcissistic and crazy. Tiebout said of Bill Wilson, "he had been trying to live out the infantilely grandiose demands of 'His Majesty the Baby.'"

    Then Bill Wilson declared that all other alcoholics were childish and grandiose and just as bad as him. Which was just more of Bill's narcissism.

    Then the author continues, stereotyping alcoholics in the style of Bill Wilson:

    Lacking maturity inhibits seeing life and its circumstances in a realistic and proper perspective causing enormously heavy guilt that drives people to drink in order to escape the guilt. Thus, alcoholics are people trying to escape feelings of guilt they cannot resolve due to immature or childish perspectives or understandings.

    Yes, it's The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy all over again.

    Then we get some pop psychology bull about how Bill supposedly became neurotic because he felt guilty about his alcoholic father abandoning the family:

    ...it was most likely that childhood trauma Wilson himself associated to be guilty of that led to his alcoholism:
    Bill Wilson later nursed a memory and interpretation perhaps not unusual in such situations. "If only his parents had loved him more they wouldn't have separated. And this meant if he had been more lovable, it never would have happened. It always came around to that. It was, it had to be, his fault. He was the guilty one."
    Bill the Drama Queen strikes again. It's all about Bill Wilson. In Bill's deranged mind, Bill Wilson was the most important thing in his parents' marriage. Apparently, Bill was already crazy before his father left.

    But how will doing a Fifth Step and confessing all of your sins fix such neurotic behavior?

    The "brief history" of Alcoholics Anonymous is the usual A.A. fairy tale, and wrong:

    • It is highly unlikely that Dr. Carl Jung ever told Rowland Hazard that he had to have a spiritual experience or else he would die. That was Dr. William Silkworth's style of mind games, not Carl Jung's.
    • Ebby Thacher was just another drunk who got converted to Frank Buchman's cult religion for a little while. He soon went back to drinking.
    • Bill Wilson's "spiritual experience" was due to a powerful hallucinogenic drug cocktail, administered continuously for three or four days. Bill was tripping his brains out when he "saw God".
    • Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob agreed that Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult religion was the cure for alcoholism, so they went recruiting alcoholics in Akron, and taking them to Oxford Group meetings. Bill and Bob did not discover new things or found a new organization in Akron. They just recruited for the Oxford Group while Frank Buchman went to Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies and praised Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler.

    This is a blatant lie:

    Although unsuccessful for Bill W., Dr. Bob and many other participants, The Oxford Group did nonetheless offer Wilson the foundational ideas for A.A. Thus, from his experience with The Oxford Group and his "four founding moments," Bill Wilson had learned a better means to sobriety and systematized the method.

    All that Bill Wilson did to get the 12 Steps was write down the practices of the Oxford Group. And A.A. is no more successful than the Oxford Group was.

    Then, in pages 11 through 19, the author explains the 12 Steps, repeating the usual misinformation, like:

    The program recognizes that alcoholics must be converted from self-centeredness through recognizing that they are "utterly hopeless," in need of being "totally deflated," and generally in need of others; "the drinking alcoholic ... is not perfect, not absolute, not God."

    The claim that alcoholics think they are God and omnipotent is crazy. That is just Bill Wilson's insanity.

    Making alcoholics believe that they are truly powerless and hopeless, and "totally defeated", is a good way to make them commit suicide.

    And the author quotes Bill Wilson at his worst:

    "Indeed, the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AA's Twelve Steps. For without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all."

    That is, of course, total bull. When Bill Wilson said "humility", he really meant obedience. Here is Bill Wilson's rap on "humility", declaring that those disgusting alcoholics didn't have any:

    ...our crippling handicap has been our lack of humility.   ...
    We never thought of making honesty, tolerance, and true love of man and God the daily basis of living.
          This lack of anchorage to any permanent values, this blindness to the true purpose of our lives, produced another bad result. For just as long as we were convinced that we could live by our own individual strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a Higher Power impossible.   ...   That basic ingredient of all humility, a desire to seek and do God's will, was missing.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 71-72.
    The author really glossed over how we are supposed to conduct a séance and channel God in Step 11. He just wrote that

    Through prayer and meditation a conscious contact with God, and "His grace, wisdom, and love," is established and remains because "[w]e all need the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace."

    No matter how much "we need it", it is still an occult practice that is at odds with the actual teachings of Jesus. Jesus told people not to seek signs. Jesus never said that salvation consisted of becoming a mindless little robot that is "guided by God" by "spiritual radiograms".

    Then the author declares that we receive joy, not depression and an inferiority complex, from practicing these Steps:

    Step Twelve is "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." Joy is received by alcoholics who turn their efforts outside themselves towards others taking the message of A.A. to other alcoholics. "The joy of living is the theme of A. A.'s Twelfth Step, and action is its key word."

    Pollyanna strikes again. There is of course no evidence that any of that is true. The fact that somebody gets a kick out of acting like a wise sponsor doesn't mean that it helps anybody to quit drinking.

    Further down,

    The staff of the Hazelden Treatment Center for addiction, Northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul, considers the first five steps "as essential in the treatment process ... [and] at the center of the conversion process that must take place in a successful recovery."

    Citing the Hazelden Foundation as an authority on either recovery or theology is another sick joke. The Hazelden Foundation is one of the biggest resellers of A.A. cult religion in the world. Ten years ago, the price for a 28-day indoctrination session was $15,000. I don't know what the current price is, but I'm pretty sure it has gone up with inflation. The fashionable spin-dry facilities in California are up to $40,000 for 28 days.

    Then that paragraph continues with:

    Recall that the first five steps are admitting powerlessness over alcohol, belief in some higher power, belief in the higher power that can restore "me" to sanity, making a moral inventory, and then telling our harmful (immoral) activities and character defects to another person. It is not until completing the fifth step that the "personality change" or "conversion" is seen to occur.

    Now that is downright chilling. They openly declare that messing with people's personalities and converting them into new believers is the goal.

    Then the author rationalizes the process by declaring that the 12 Steps convert people to a life without sin (the end justifies the means):

    While conversion can be narrowed down to the completion of the fifth step, there is also, however, an overall goal of a full conversion of life lived without alcohol (and without the sins/wrongdoing that go along with alcoholism) found in the entirety of the Twelve Steps.

    Too bad the conversion process does not actually work. I get far too many horror stories of dishonesty, theft, and rape in A.A. to believe such grandiose bragging for a minute.

    What was it that Jesus Christ said? Wasn't it something like, "You shall know them by the fruit of their labors"?

    So the final question is, "Did Reverend Mister James Fredrick Arwady get his Master's degree for this paper?"

    Oh well, have a good day anyway.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin,
    **     is pride that apes humility.
    **        ==  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Devil's Thoughts

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    Last updated 8 March 2013.
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