Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXX

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Anonymous_A ]

Date: Wed, December 28, 2011 9:35 pm     (answered 3 January 2012)
From: "Anonymous Anonymous"
Subject: Questions...

Hi Orange,

I'd like to start this letter by saying that I believe you have excellent intellectual capabilities, and I don't ever wish you emotional, or physical harm. I am not writing to argue with you, to tell you what you believe in is wrong, or to make offensive personal attacks. I'm so embarrassed by the many people who claim to live a spiritual existence and send out degrading messages to someone they have a surface level understanding of. It only goes to show the dangers of unquestioned beliefs so many lost people hold on to. It's painful to think of so many people living in fear of their beautiful true nature.

The main purpose of this message is to ask for direction in my own life because I think you could provide me with a new perspective. I hope that is okay with you. Here is a brief synopsis of who I am might help clarify for you were I am coming from, I hope it doesnt come across as self-absorbed.

I am a pacifist, a spiritual deist, an introvert, and an unwavering idealist. I believe in kindness, science, reason, awareness, curiosity and caring for others because it is the only part of my life where I am completely connected to a self-created "collective unconsciousness" that is my source of comfort. I love myself, and I love all of humanity with its good and evil. I have a serious mental condition (aside from drug addiction), but my identity is separate from it. Like addiction, it is a tree, but not the forest. I am 18, nieve, and ignorant. I am a member of AA, and I am too scared to leave it although I feel it goes against everything I believe in.

This is where my questions for you come in.

How do I know that AA is doing me more harm than good? Where can I go where I am surrounded by people who really understand the pain of compulsive behavior, and sometimes of life itself? And is it wrong to want to go back and teach a message of self-love and care once I have detach myself from the need to act based on the fear of never being enough, never being lovable, and being fundamentally defective?

Also, I wanted to thank you for being passionate enough about something to create a website dedicated to helping people looking for more opinions. There are so many sleeping people who are scared to care deeply about anything because of its risk. It takes a lot to be awake, I'm sure you know that. Second, I wanted to address the 13th stepping talked about so much on this website. It's close to home with me, and it's nice to have it addressed by someone who finds it offensive rather than comical. It validates that the parts of me that still hurt, and need to be taken seriously.

May your human experience be everything that you want it to be.

Much love and peace.

Hello Anonymous Anonymous,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the thanks and the compliments. I really feel insecure and uneasy when I'm called on to be a wise, all-knowing guru, since that means that I could hurt somebody with bad advice. Nevertheless, I can't refuse to answer your questions either. So here goes:

  1. This description sounds like me too, so I can certainly feel some empathy:

    I am a pacifist, a spiritual deist, an introvert, and an unwavering idealist. I believe in kindness, science, reason, awareness, curiosity and caring for others...

  2. How do I know that AA is doing me more harm than good?

    Speaking like Mr. Spock now, logically, I cannot say with any certainty that A.A. is harming you without examining you, and seeing the damage. But I can say that in general, the A.A. program is very harmful. Spending years believing that you have been defeated by alcohol or "your addictions", and that you are insane, and the only answer is to surrender your will and your life to somebody else is not good mental health.

    And then spending years doing Steps 4 through 7, and confessing all of your sins and "moral shortcomings" and "defects of character", is harmful, not spiritual.

    Having to constantly introduce yourself as "Hi, my name is So-and-so, and I am an alcoholic" locks you into the ego image of "alcoholic loser". In spite of all of their slogans about "growth" and "change", they really leave you no room for growth and change. (Try introducing yourself as "Hi, my name is So-and-so, and I'm not an alcoholic any more." See what kind of a reaction and quick correction you get.)

    Then there are the constant put-downs, and the declarations that you, the alcoholic, are not a good person. Read the file The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy for much more on that.

    And then there is the big problem that the 12 Steps are actually tools for brainwashing new recruits into being well-indoctrinated new cult members. That is what Dr. Frank Buchman created those practices to do, and that is what they still do. (Look here.)

    After a while, that stuff will really mess with your head. There are people posting messages in the forum now, asking how long it takes to deprogram and get over A.A.

    Also, you mentioned 13th-Stepping. That really messes with young women's heads when they are trying to just get a grip and get their lives straightened out. A.A. was supposed to be a "self-help" group, not a "help yourself" group for sexual predators. For more on that, you can see this page where I just gave Amy a bunch of links:

  3. Where can I go where I am surrounded by people who really understand the pain of compulsive behavior, and sometimes of life itself?

    Oh, I'm so glad you asked. There are many good organizations and groups where people are recovering in a sane and rational manner. I made up a list that is printable, here:

    Not all of those groups have meetings in every city now, but they are establishing more meetings all of the time. And you don't have to restrict yourself to just one, either. You could, for example, go to SMART and SOS and Lifering if all three are available in your city. They are not in vicious competition for members, and you might learn different things in different organizations. You can also participate in several forums at the same time.

    I was just describing my experiences with SMART to a concerned mother in a recent letter, here:

    Also, I discussed what has helped me and other people to stay clean and sober here:
    How did you get to where you are?

  4. And is it wrong to want to go back and teach a message of self-love and care once I have detach myself from the need to act based on the fear of never being enough, never being lovable, and being fundamentally defective?

    Wrong? Absolutely not. It's called being a Boddhisatva. Or a member of the "Newcomer Rescue League".

    A Boddhisatva is an enlightened being who hangs around the planet Earth, rather than zoning out to Heaven, in order to help the unenlightened unfortunates who haven't made the grade yet. The Boddhisatva's vow says that the unenlightened sentient beings are limitless in number, and the Boddhisatva vows to enlighten them all. Meaning, he's going to be stuck with the job for a long, long time.

    The "Newcomer Rescue League" is a joke, a mythical organization that consists of sane, sober people who go to A.A. meetings to save the newcomers from the bad sponsors. At least, it started as a joke, but we have a bunch of people who really are members now. See:

    1. Newcomer Rescue League, here, and
    2. here and
    3. here and
    4. here and
    5. here and
    6. here and
    7. here and
    8. here and
    9. here and
    10. here and
    11. here and
    12. here.

  5. Lastly, you mentioned:

    I am a member of AA, and I am too scared to leave it although I feel it goes against everything I believe in.

    Yes, that is common. One of the nasty harmful things that cults do is induce phobias. They keep on telling their members that they will die if they leave the cult. Die, or go to Hell, or relapse and die drunk in a gutter, or Satan will get them, or... whatever. Always, something bad will happen if you quit the cult, they say. See the Cult Test question for Phobia Induction here, and the answer for A.A. here.

Have a good day and a good life now, and don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The suffering of humanity is without limit.
**     I vow to end it all.
**     The number of sentient beings is without limit.
**     I vow to enlighten them all.
**       == The Boddhisatva's Vow

May 24, 2009, Sunday:

Canada Geese gosling
A gosling of the Family of 2 new goslings
This is the family with two new goslings that I was seeing five days earlier, here. These little babies grow so fast that you can see a big change in just five days.

Mallard Duck
Mallard Duck

the bay
The Bay, with the marina in the background

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Joseph_D ]

Date: Wed, December 28, 2011 11:49 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Joseph D."
Subject: Questions

Hey dude,

Stumbled across your site today and I have a question for you. The site gives me the impression that you seek to find the truth (or already have I don't know). Also, the site says that you want to help people. I understand you are an "alcoholic". Are you, personally, able to drink responsibly? After all, it is will power that allows a person to quite drinking right? Do yourself a favor and not post this email on your site, I think your head might explode.

Hello Joseph,

Thanks for the letter. Last point first, when people ask me not to post letters for reasons of privacy and anonymity, I honor that request. However, I never before got a request not to post because my head might explode. I'll take that chance.

Now, about your other questions:

  1. I have already found the truth, although I continue to investigate and search and learn more. But I know I have the basic facts of the matter down pat.

  2. Yes, I want to help people.

  3. Yes, I am an alcoholic, and I am one of those people who cannot drink even one drink. It's been 11 years now without a single drink, simply because one drink starts me back down that slippery slope that returns to Hell.

  4. Yes, will power has a lot to do with quitting drinking. But there is more to it than just that. There is also the memory of the pain of being sick unto death from alcohol poisoning and tobacco poisoning, and the desire to never be that sick again. And then there is the desire to have a better life, which I have now. No way would I want to return to the life that I had before. This is so much better. I'm not even tempted. It's such a black-and-white issue that it's a no-brainer.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You don't realize how strong you can be until it is your only choice"
**       ==  Avogadno

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Catherine_A ]

Date: Thu, December 29, 2011 1:53 am     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Catherine A."
Subject: Alco Anonymous in Ireland

Hi, first off thank you for your efforts and successes in exposing AA and all that goes with it.

I live in Ireland. We have a 'drinking' problem here. (catastrophic really) My partner has succumbed to that problem and currently is beyond help. (won't admit it)

So in the meantime, I joined up with the closest AA group to me.

Oh my God, what an education I have been having about these poor misguided people and AA!!!! Victimised and stupefied most of them. Furthermore, all their evangelism isnt working because most of their spouses and loved ones are still out drinking, while they sit in their al anon room night after night speaking of personal empowerment and engaging with their 'HP' (most of them are Catholics, so I don't know how they countenance HP and their one and only God, most of whom they previously had a very strong personal relationship with)

They go home to their drunken spouses truly believing that they are making a difference (and no doubt apologising to their loved ones for causing the alcoholism in the first place!??) Can people REALLY be this misguided, and naive? I just don't have words. There are many books in this to be written.

Which led me to your website.

Sorry for repeating myself, but I just don't have words Sir, for the evil that is taking place via AA and the deliberate destruction of individuals who have an addiction and their families via the AA cult. It's just plain and simple evil in a way that I have never encountered before. I can tell you living in Ireland for all my life I have encountered some quite horrible and memorable evil (The Troubles, etc)

I despair now for my partner, I am certainly not going to tell him to go to AA, and I don't have the money for private rehab for him (and of course if I did, i would be considered an enabler and co-dependent by them anyway because they all use the 12 steps). I just don't know.

In addition to thanking you for helping me in opening my and others' eyes to AA cults, however, can you advise what you think is the best route to follow in one's recovery from addiction in terms of other organisations?

Any group or organisation you know of that is NOT evil, would be much appreciated.

anyway, thank you so much, again

You are doing such good work. I despair for this world i really do.


Catherine A.,
Sligo, Eire

Hello Catherine,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. And yes, the magnitude of the 12-Step hoax is just breathtaking, isn't it? 12-Steppism has to be the biggest and most successful cult in the world. And it's all really just a crazy old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties. Unbelievable.

I have a printable list of favorite non-cult recovery groups, methods, and forums here:

I don't know how many of them have meetings or chapters in Ireland. But if you can't find one near you, you could consider starting a meeting yourself. I know that SMART is established over in England. You don't have to be an all-knowing all-wise guru to start up a meeting — you just have to be better than A.A., and that is a pretty low standard.

You can also look at the list of "Top 10" books (which is really more like 20):

Those books describe things like SMART and SOS and Rational Recovery, which could help a lot. And several of them are free downloads on the Internet now.

Lastly, about your friend: I don't think the situation is ever completely hopeless, not until the guy is dead. A lot of people wrote me off as hopeless too, but then, at the last minute, I snapped and decided not to die that way. That was 11 years ago, and I'm still sober. Sometimes it just happens that way.

Speaking of which, here are some discussions of what helped me and other people: How did you get to where you are?

I would also ask why he is drinking so much. Does he have childhood abuse issues? Is he trying to kill the pain of tobacco killing him? Or alcohol and tobacco together? Has he despaired of life? Is he depressed? Is he suffering from an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or a Bipolar Disorder? Does he have some other physical or mental illness? There has to be some underlying reason why he is drinking himself to death. Normal healthy people don't kill themselves because it feels so good. I'd get him to a doctor, if possible.

And you can certainly talk to him about the pain that alcohol is causing him. When he realizes that alcohol is causing him more pain than pleasure, he may stop drinking it.

Good luck now, and don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      If everybody is faking it until they make it,
**      all you are left with is a room full of fakes.
**         ==  Anonymous

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Allan_C ]

Date: Thu, December 29, 2011 6:26 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "allan c."
Subject: AA

I would like to offer a brief response to your criticisms of AA.

Primarily, what's your point? Can't you find a more productive way to exercise your questionable intellectual capabilities. You obviously have an axe to grind with this organization. So what? Who are you trying to convince and why? I'm sure you could offer some great spin about how AA is harming people and causing immense suffering around the world. AA is evil etc. etc. Anyone can do that about anything. I could write a thousand pages on the evils of food and water. Serial killers and child molesters consume both of them. They cost too much and often make people sick. Wars have been fought to secure greater access to them. So What?

I found your tone disturbing. Why so angry? The content was predictably shallow. This frequently happens when one tries to make an argument that is void. Is this all you got? There are a lot of really terrible things happening in our world today that demand the attention of caring, well meaning people. If you don't know how to cook please get out of the kitchen.

Hello Allan,

Thanks for the letter.

  1. What's the point? The point is to get the truth out there and help people by giving them the real facts about addiction and recovery, rather than cult nonsense and dogma.

  2. RE:

    I'm sure you could offer some great spin about how AA is harming people and causing immense suffering around the world.
    I already have.

  3. This is classic Minimization and Denial:

    I could write a thousand pages on the evils of food and water. Serial killers and child molesters consume both of them. They cost too much and often make people sick. Wars have been fought to secure greater access to them. So What?

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

  4. RE:

    I found your tone disturbing. Why so angry?
    Because it is a despicable crime to foist an old cult religion on sick people as a cure for alcohol addiction, and lie to them about how well it works. In fact, it's two crimes: Fraud, and Practicing Medicine Without A License.

  5. RE:

    Is this all you got?
    I have to ask the same question of you. You have not presented a single fact in support of A.A.: nothing about the A.A. success rate, or how the 12 Steps aren't really just Dr. Frank Buchman's practices for converting newcomers into brainwashed cult members... Nothing. You just complain about me giving the real facts about A.A. and recovery, and you don't like my tone of voice as I tell the truth. Is that all you've got?

  6. And then you ended your letter with two sentences of irrelevant nonsense:

    There are a lot of really terrible things happening in our world today that demand the attention of caring, well meaning people. If you don't know how to cook please get out of the kitchen.
    Yes, there are some really bad things happening in this world, and the 12-Step recovery hoax is one of them.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety
**     (by telling the truth).  Everybody knows that those disgusting
**     feeble-minded alcoholics cannot handle the truth."
**     "Oh, and we are working real hard to remove the stigma of alcoholism."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Peter_L ]

Date: Fri, December 30, 2011 3:10 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Peter L."
Subject: Thank you for your website

I want to thank you so much for your website. I have recently completed the inpatient treatment program at Lakeside Milam in Kirland Washington. The program is heavily based on AA and the twelve steps. During the course of this program I was treated with great disrespect by the majority of the staff. Any questions or concern that I had that were contrary to the program were quickly put down by the staff there as due to my addiction and addictive thinking. I was quickly labeled a trouble maker and targeted by the staff. The only goodness I got from the program was a chance to be free from drugs for 28 days which gave my mind time to clear as I was unable to stop using drugs in my home environment.

As my mind began to clear I began to question the program and AA more and more. Again I was told that it was my addiction speaking and I was destined to fail if I did not assimilate to AA.

The Lakeside Milam program cuts you off from all outside influences as to further their brainwashing agenda. It also imposes ridiculous ruIes and treats you like a child. I also witnessed more than one example of what I and other patients considered to be gross medical negligence and most likely medical malpractice.

I am a degreed Electrical Engineer that has been employed by the Boeing Company for the last 23 years. I noticed that intelligent free thinking people like myself don't do well in the program and are often targeted for their beliefs.

Again thank you so much for your research and your thoughtfully presented website. I knew I wasn't insane!

Feel free to contact me if you would like any information concerning my experience with AA or the Lakeside Milam program.

Thank you,

Peter L.

Hello Peter,

Thank you for the letter. I hope you are doing well.

The attacks on you when you questioned "the program" are typical 12-Step treatment. So many people complain about that. If those Steppers are so spiritual, why do they have to be so nasty-tempered and condescending? The truth is, 12-Step treatment centers are two-bit outfits that can't stand one bit of criticism. I think that secretly, in their heart of hearts, they know that they are selling a fraud, and that is why they are so sensitive to criticism. I mean, honestly, how many years does it take to notice that the treatment has a terrible failure rate?

What a racket: Foist an old cult religion on sick people as "treatment", and when they object to the nonsense, declare, "You are insane. That is your addiction talking. Your thinking is alcoholic. Just follow the program."

Actually, it isn't just the 12-Steppers who do it. Most all cults behave in that obnoxious manner. Criticize the guru or his crazy dogma, and they respond with personal attacks like,

  • The Devil has corrupted your mind.
  • You have evil thoughts.
  • Your mind is too impure for you to know what is true.
  • You are thinking selfishly.
  • You are not spiritual.
  • You just want sex and creature comforts like more food and more sleep.
  • You are just resisting the transformation into a spiritual being.
  • You are just nostalgic for your old, evil ways.

Funny how it's just the same old racket, century after century, isn't it?

There is more on that cultish behavior in the Cult Test: Personal attacks on critics. And the answer for A.A. is here.

Likewise, the statement that you were "destined to fail if you did not assimilate to AA" is two more standard cult characteristics: We Have The Panacea and Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY.

Nothing is new under the sun.

Yes, I'd like to hear more about your experiences in that so-called "treatment center".

Have a good day, and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest.
**        ==  Havlock Ellis, The Dance of Life

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Malcolm C. ]

Date: Fri, December 30, 2011 5:56 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Malcolm C."
Subject: Sad

Sad, very sad piece of writing .....

Actually, Malcolm, what is really sad is a bunch of superstitious people foisting an old cult religion on sick people and claiming that it has cured millions. That is a national tragedy.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the saddest lessons of history is this:
**     If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend
**     to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The
**     bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a
**     charlatan power over you, you almost never get
**     it back.
**        == Carl Sagan

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Fred H. ]

Date: Fri, December 30, 2011 9:40 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Fred H."
Subject: AA Cult

Interesting perspective. Reading your posting regarding success rates and it caused me to wonder what the success rate is for those who actually take the 12 steps. It is a 12 Step program and I wonder if you can measure success if you include those who reject the program without trying it.

I nearly died as a member of AA. I joined in 1989 and had various periods dry; once 2 years. This time the alcohol obsession left at about 18 months and I now have 6 years sober and happy. Family is back in my life, others have gotten sober watching my success this time and the only difference this time is... ...I took all 12 steps in order with a man who had taken all 12 in order. That is the program so I wonder what the success rate is for those who do the program.

Fred H.
Bakersfield, CA

Hello Fred,

Thanks for the letter. And congratulations on your sobriety.

You are assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. There is no evidence that you are sober because you did the 12 Steps. Especially when most people who do the 12 Steps do not stay sober.

What about learning? Learning about the pain that comes from killing yourself with alcohol, that is? You are completely ignoring that fact that you drank alcohol until it was killing you, and then, after enough of that, you lost the desire to drink any more alcohol. You simply got sick and tired of being so sick and tired.

The same thing happened to me. I nearly died, and then, at the last minute, I decided that I was not going to die that way. Now I have 11 years clean and sober, and without any program or any 12 Steps or any meetings or anything. I simply refuse to get sucked back into alcohol addiction and die that way.

Now I could attribute my sobriety to a lot of things:

  1. Maybe it's because I also quit smoking. (Or maybe I quit smoking for the same reason as I quit drinking: I didn't want to die that way.)
  2. Or maybe my sobriety is due to me taking vitamins.
  3. Or maybe my sobriety is due to my eating better.
  4. Or maybe my sobriety is due to me wearing new clothes.
  5. Or maybe it's because I read a book.
  6. Or maybe it's because I go for long walks in the fresh air and sunshine.
Or maybe it's because of none of those things. Maybe it's because I decided that I was just not going to die that way.

The only reliable way to determine what causes what is with good Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies. Just assuming a cause-and-effect relationship between two things is fraught with error. Dr. David Duncan wrote:

That is why researchers like myself are totally unimpressed by patient testimonials. Effective treatments and ineffective treatments are equally likely to produce ample numbers of satisfied patients, some of whom really have recovered, whether because of or despite the treatment they received. Of course, a smaller percentage of the patients who undergo the ineffective treatment will recover, but if that is a common form of treatment then the numbers of those recovered patients who endorse it will be large. If it is the most common type of treatment, then the ineffective treatment may be credited with more cures than the effective. Such has often been the case.

David F. Duncan, DrPH, CAS, FAAHB
Duncan & Associates
Clinical Associate Professor
Brown University Medical School

And note that the FDA does not accept anecdotes and testimonials as evidence that medicines or treatments actually work to cure diseases — for good reason.

Then there is the big problem of what the 12 Steps actually are. The Steps are not a program for quitting drinking; they are Dr. Frank Buchman's practices for recruiting and indoctrinating new converts to his cult religion. Bill Wilson just wrote down those practices after he got kicked out of Buchman's "Oxford Group" cult, and called them "The 12 Steps". The 12 Steps are not about quitting drinking, and they are not a program for making people quit drinking, and they never were. The 12 Steps are practices for making new true believer cult members.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Hell is paved with good intentions.
**           ==  Samuel Johnson (1709 — 1784)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Sylvia_F ]

Date: Tue, January 3, 2012 9:21 am     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Sylvia F. (Sue)"
Subject: ok..so which is it?

Are you a pissed off Alcoholic who can't stay sober, an alanon who wants to be God, or someone who wants to make money off pathetic alcoholics by offering them another kind of program they have to pay for?

Sylvia F. (Sue)

Hot Springs, SD 57747

Hello Sue,

The answer is, "None of the above." I'm an ex-drinker who is just working on getting the truth out there, in hopes that it will help some people.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands.
**         ==  Francis Bacon (1561—1626)

May 25, 2009, Monday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Salmon Street Fountain in Waterfront Park
The Salmon Street Fountain in Waterfront Park
That white peak way in the background, on the horizon, is Mount Hood, a very large dormant volcano. Well, we hope it's dormant. Technically, I think it is still "active", but it hasn't erupted in 10,000 years.

the Willamette River and Marquam Bridge
The Willamette River and Marquam Bridge
If you look closely, you can see that the black shape at the far shore is a submarine. OMSI — the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry — has its very own submarine.

The Marquam Bridge and the marina
The Marquam Bridge and the marina
You can see how the whole flock of geese is targeting a newly-arrived boat to go shake down for handouts.

The Ross Island Bridge is in the background. It isn't obvious from this picture, but the land that you see in the background on the right-hand side of the picture, behind the Ross Island Bridge, is an island — Ross Island. Ross Island is basically just a gigantic sand bar in the middle of the river. Part of it is a wildlife refuge. Because it is completely cut off from the mainland — not even the Ross Island Bridge actually goes to it — it is free of dogs and cats that might disturb the wildlife, so lots of geese nest there. So do ducks and eagles and osprey and beavers, and that is where Beethoven the Great Blue Heron sleeps, too.

The Ross Island Wildlife Refuge is one of the reasons that there is so much wildlife in downtown Portland. It's just a strange twist of fate (and twist of the river) that Portland has a large wildlife refuge right in the middle of the city. That, and the fact that a bunch of people campaigned to keep Ross Island as a wildlife refuge, rather than allow it to be developed. Thank you, civic-minded activists.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#noname ]

Dear Orange

I get a laugh out of your paper every time I find my self searching for answers on the Internet. Your attempt to bam the 12 step program and the fellowship in the same content is laughable the fellowship does look and act like a cult running round in circles. Now you discuss the 12 step work in the same breath and it's not the 12 steps are a format of getting direction going from aimless and meaningless to aim worthy and meaningful finding God IS NOT A CRIME.
step 1 I found I was powerless I could not stop drinking once I started and my brain lied to me and said this time It's going to be different and I would find myself drunk again and again and I did not like the merry go round so I tried to get off but could not, Step 2 gave me a Power to tap into to shut off the merry go round and become grounded from the spinning so with God's Power I could face my FEARS AND RESENTMENTS Head on. I face my forgiveness or amends with God's Help. I Shared my life with another who understood me and showed me that I can have a New Power face the external stresses of life without Alcohol and build a relationship with God as I understand him and was able to be responsible to face amends owning up to responsibility paying bills not hurting anyone and practice all this in a daily basis and passing all this to someone else like me who suffering from alcoholism. I Don't see a down side to what I wrote this is the AA I know.By following directions out of the Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous. I don't know the program you describe I know the fellowship you describe.When you confuse the 2 you drive me to Prayer and meditation! I am 28 years Recovered from alcoholism!

Hello Noname,

Congratulations for finally getting a grip and quitting drinking. You did it. Nobody else did it for you.

Your liking the 12 Steps does not change the fact that the 12 Steps are not a program for sobriety, and they are not a program for finding God, either. The 12 Steps are Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group practices for recruiting and indoctrinating new members of his cult. They are brainwashing techniques.

  1. When you repeat Step 1 and say that you were "powerless", you are just echoing Frank Buchman's declaration that you are defeated by sin and are powerless over it, so you have to join his cult.

  2. Step 2 does not give power. It says that you are insane and Something Else will restore you to sanity. Step 2 takes away your power.

  3. What you euphemistically call "Shared my life with another who understood me" is just another name for a confession session, which is one of the hallmarks of cult religions.

  4. The 12 Steps do not "build a relationship with God", either.

  5. It's all fine and well that you paid your bills after you quit drinking, but that does not mean that the 12 Steps revolutionized your life.

  6. For the rest of the analysis of the 12 Steps, read this: The Twelve Steps Interpreted.

  7. Then you said, "I Don't see a down side to what I wrote this is the AA I know."
    Well, how about an increased death rate? Increased binge drinking? An increased suicide rate? And an increased divorce rate? That's a big downside.

  8. Lastly, you are trying to claim that the 12 Steps and the Big Book are great, and it's just the A.A. members who are bad. That is the standard A.A. escape:

    Baloney. It's all really A.A.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "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."
**       == Bill Wilson,
**         Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, page 39.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Mardi_P ]

Date: Wed, January 4, 2012 4:34 am     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Mardi P."
Subject: Astonished

Wow. I have to write to say how astonished I am that anyone could spend as much time as you do trying to discredit Alcoholics Anonymous. What the hell happened to you to make you so bitter?


Hello Mardi,

I'm not bitter. I'm just working on getting the truth out about alcoholism and recovery.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
**     Take which you please, — you can never have both.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Intellect

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters280.html#Banana ]

Date: Mon, January 2, 2012 7:55 pm     (answered 5 January 2012)
From: "Banana"
Subject: my treament nightmare

Hi Orange,

I respect your work a lot and have spent many hours reading it! Thank you for your "service". Even the term service makes me want to throw up. Here's my story if you think it's relevant put it up. Please do keep my email anonymous, I don't want any hate mail!

Why I left AA

My story is not dramatic or too horrible. I wasn't forced to go. Nobody assaulted me, I didn't see much of that going on but I did see a lot of dating. I went in married and not interested so that didn't really apply to me. Also I'm not too young, in my mid 30's married with kids so I was relatively safe. There were many much younger single girls available for 13th stepping. The general guilt and depression I got in the program was very hard on me though.

I was advised by my first "grand sponsor", not my actual sponsor to go off my meds for bipolar 1 disorder, but I didn't. My sponsor at the time said my decision was between God, and me, which I appreciated. I even spoke out about it at meetings and had a lot of positive feedback from some of the group, but I did get the cold shoulder from the "true believers". I didn't care that much, except I didn't like everyone knowing about my psychiatric disorder, but I felt it was important to talk about it in case there were others getting bad advice. So I was never really very popular.

My experience with the medication issue led me to become very secretive about any medicine I chose to take. I had a bad fall on the ice last January and took pain pills and muscle relaxers for a few months, which I became physically dependent on. Specifically the Soma, which is a benzodiazepine. I did not abuse the prescriptions, but I did require a medical detox.

This could have been easily taken care of with a simple prescription of serax, the detox drug they gave me in rehab. Or even a taper, but I had rather strong withdrawal symptoms, shaking and stuff, and the Dr. feared a seizure. This doctor did not even know about the alcohol problem, which I probably should have told him but I had been sober at this point for 3 years and I didn't think it was a big deal. It may be why I became dependent so quickly.

Yes, the only way I could get off of these meds I was prescribed for a legitimate condition was to go to a rehab for a month. In retrospect I see that that was not true, but at the time I felt pretty desperate and coupled with my alcohol history I was worried. The detox week was good; I came off of the drugs well and was feeling much better. I was then moved to a "program house" for the next 3 weeks, which consisted of being driven around in a van to various meetings. I chose this place because they advertised pain management and I was still having severe back pain. Riding in that van, sleeping on the terrible cheap mattress that was probably 15 years old and sitting in hours of meetings every day was hell on my back. The "Pain management" was 2 visits to a physical therapist over a month's time where I received a massage and was told to take Advil. I was going to meetings at home so I didn't see the point in staying longer; it was a waste of time and money. And it was hurting my back more. I tried to leave and was told if I didn't [complete the treatment] my insurance would refuse to pay and I would owe $20,000. I called my insurance co., and they assured me that if I left they would pay for the portion of the treatment I had received up until that point. And the rehab was voluntary (supposedly) and could only charge for time spent there. When I brought this up with my counselor I was told not to call my insurance company.

So I decided to leave. They made it impossible. They wouldn't give me my things, which included my bank card, saying if I left AMA I can't get them instead they mail my possessions to my house. Well I was far from home, had no money (needed the card), no phone and no way to even get to the airport. They wouldn't give rides and I couldn't pay a taxi. I felt so guilty for going already, taking a month away from my family, that I didn't want to involve my husband making him pay for another ticket, etc. So I just rode it out.

During that stay I saw what a scam the treatment industry is. Here I was a 30 something year old grown woman, who really didn't need to be there, being practically held hostage. I saw how all the meetings we went to were just like the ones back home, dysfunction and all. AA and NA and CR. They are not that different. My counselor told me I needed to find God (I already believe in God, not that that is even relevant.) My Therapist told me to stay on my bipolar meds, my drug counselor told me to go off of them, the psychiatrist I saw kept me on them then the regular doctor told me to go off again. Total confusion. Anytime I brought up the contradictions there was denial that they ever told me to quit taking them. And it wasn't just me, most of the girls in the house I was in had serious problems with the facility. There are even worse stories, but they are not mine. I will be testifying in at least one court case though. When it was finally over I was so glad to be out of there. They wanted me to stay another month!!!!

When I got back I had to change my sobriety date and that pissed me off. I hadn't drank through all of this. I got all the pitying looks and eager newcomers telling me "it gets better" after I had had years of sobriety. I found that I could never get motivated to go to a meeting, and I would get a sick feeling just thinking about it. I actually had a therapist that I started going to after rehab tell me she didn't think I should go back (!). I've been doing CBT and it's helped a lot with anxiety.

The "program" — I always thought it was hokey. I think making amends and forgiveness and stuff is great, and I do have faith so that wasn't a huge leap for me. I never saw what any of it had to do with drinking honestly. I went for the support and to meet sober people since it seems like everyone I know drinks a lot. I did have some friends who had serious problems in AA, but again, those are their stories. I cannot be their friend and stay in the program though. I feel like I need to support them that way.

I did make friends in AA, and it wasn't all bad. I do like some of the people I know from there. I have kept 2 friends and they have also left. I enjoyed the comradery. It saddens me that I can't be friends with them, and that they all think I'm drunk or doing terribly. I can't take the "concern" so I tend to avoid them. That has been the hardest thing for me, going from having a group of friends to being somewhat friendless all of the sudden. But that explains my friendships doesn't it? I don't take it too personally because I know their situation, but it kind of sucks. I know I'll make more friends though.

I want to help change the treatment industry, so any ideas on what to do will be considered. I have reported the rehab I went to.


Hello Banana,

Thank you very much for the horror story. I'm so glad to hear that you are testifying against that treatment center, and that you reported that corrupt treatment center.

You asked if there is something else that you can do. Yes, there is.

The Paul Wellstone Act for "Equal Access to Treatment" (I think HR1424 in 2007) authorized more health insurance benefits for people with mental illness, which the Steppers gleefully interpreted as more money for treatment of alcoholics and drug addicts, hence more money for the treatment centers. However, there was one big requirement: The treatments to be paid for must be shown to be effective. I have never heard of any valid, properly-conducted Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies that established that 12-Step treatment was good for treating any kind of mental illness, so it seems that the issue is still in limbo.

We can and should write to our Federal Congressmen and Senators, as well as our State Congressmen and Senators, and tell them about this problem. Right now, the politicians — both Democrats and Republicans — are complaining about sky-high health care costs, and struggling to cut expenditures whereever they can, so there is no good reason to be funneling taxpayer money into fraudulent treatments and corrupt, dishonest treatment centers. State Senators and Congressmen are often more directly involved with funding of treatment programs for alcoholics and addicts, so they should not be overlooked. In addition, the local politicians are usually more responsive to your letters.

I would also send reports to insurance companies, like yours, telling them the story. I really don't know why the health insurance companies have not rebelled against getting bilked and defrauded.

The best way to kill the monster is to cut off its food supply — money.

Also, you are obviously the victim of medical malpractice. Those people who advised you to quit your medications should be reported to whatever state board monitors them. The same is true of "health professionals" who shoved the 12-Step religion on you. Doctors can have their license to practice medicine cancelled. And I think that "counselors" and "therapists" and certified drug and alcohol counselors can have their license yanked too. I'd ask around and find out what certification or review boards deal with such complaints, and file complaints. (And please tell me when you find out what the boards are.) Even if nobody is reprimanded from your one story, it will add to the list of complaints, and eventually something will happen.

And if anyone else has any ideas, I'd like to hear them.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
**  victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
**  robber barons than under omnipotent, moral busybodies. The robber
**  baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be
**  satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us
**  without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience....
**  To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not
**  regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet
**  reached the age of reason."
**  [Lewis, C.S. "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," God in the Dock.
**  William B. Berdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994.]

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Last updated 23 September 2013.
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