Letters, We Get Mail, CCLXXXV

[The previous letter from Elizabeth_B is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Elizabeth_B ]

Date: Wed, January 18, 2012 8:32 pm     (answered 23 January 2012)
From: "Elizabeth B."
Subject: Reply from Elizabeth

Do your thing, Orange ~ go for it! Your are certainly entitled to have your passionate viewpoints and share them anywhere you care to ~ that's the right of free speech ;)

I have enjoyed continuous sobriety since July 21, 1980, completely eliminated coffee, soda, cigarettes (2 packs per day) and rampant bulimia using the 12 Steps. Statistics don't mean much to me...people either get sober or they don't...end of story. I *do not* believe AA is the only way...most who endorse the 12 Steps are convinced this *is *the only way and that there are only 3 "endings" for one who goes back to drinking: jail, insanity or death. I have never bought into that. I believe in God and in miracles but there are many paths to the same end. In my opinion *anything* that keeps a blacked out drunk from getting behind the wheel of a car and taking lives (or any other number of horrenous scenarios) is good. Whatever works! I believe there are many paths to the same end.

Peace, Orange.

Hello again, Elizabeth,

Congratulations on your sobriety. I'm glad to hear that you are not drinking yourself to death.

I quite agree that anything that helps alcoholics to keep from killing themselves and other people is a good thing. As you said, whatever works.

The big problem is that A.A. does not work. And the 12 Steps do not work to end addictions or addictive behavior.

You repeatedly mentioned belief. Unfortunately, beliefs that are not based in reality are useless. Even worse than useless.

Suppose somebody fervently believed that gargling chopped snail soup would make alcoholics quit drinking, and he went around telling alcoholics that all that they have to do is gargle snail soup and pray, and they will quit drinking. Do you think that guy would be doing a good thing? After all, he really believes in what he is doing.

What if you checked the facts, and found that gargling snail soup didn't help the alcoholics at all? And what if it turned out that snail soup actually made many alcoholics sicker, because some of the snails were very toxic? Would you still think that the guy was doing a good thing because he wanted to help the alcoholics, and he believed in what he was doing?

Then imagine that this snail gargler manages to convince some other people that he is right. Some other excessive drinkers gargled snails, and then quit drinking, so they are convinced that snail gargling made them quit drinking. "It works! It really does!", they say. So they form a club and go seeking more alcohol drinkers to convert to their strange beliefs. As you can imagine, they don't have much luck with their "new cure". Their leader complains that "You have to cull over hundreds of drunks to get a handful to take the bait." They stubbornly refuse to recognize what kind of a failure rate they really have with their snail cure, and only look at the few people who quit drinking after gargling snails, and continue to insist that their cure really works.

Now do you think those people are sane or deluded?

Speaking of which, you didn't answer the question about the actual A.A. cure rate.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith
**     does not prove anything.
**        ==  Friedrich Nietzsche

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Jeannine_R ]

Date: Tue, January 24, 2012 1:16 pm     (answered 28 January 2012)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Jeannine R.

Hi Orange,

I was reading letters today from people whose spouses became fanatical aa members to the point of ignoring wives/husbands and children and even leaving them for good. The standard aa response was they are doing what they need to and ala-non is the best place for the families to go to deal with it. What a bunch of garbage. Just trying to lure the innocent victims of these creeps into their sister cult !!! ; (

Yes, really. The arrogance of such a cult, to claim that the answer for the rest of the family is to join the cult too (to get over being so domineering and selfish and wanting Daddy all to themselves). In a way, it's just unbelievable that such a cult has thrived in America for 70 years now.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#LM ]

Date: Sun, January 22, 2012 11:01 am     (answered 28 January 2012)
From: "LM"
Subject: Assertions against AA

Hi O. I just happened to come across your page while seeking to further my knowledge on random subjects as I am wont to do in my "spare" time. I read with great curiosity the lengths to which you've gone to debunk the tenets and practices of AA. The zeal with which you have investigated your subject matter, and your total opposition to all that is AA made me wonder what had been the initial trigger for you to embark upon such a project. You obviously are very passionate about the subject and I'm very curious at what point you had come to these conclusions, and was there some incident or factor that occurred in your life that made you feel that you should debunk AA as a negative organization that people should stay away from? Thanks for your time. LM

Hello LM,

Yes, I explained all of that before, so I'll point you to the answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the most striking differences between a
**     cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

[The previous letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Andrew_S ]

Date: Sun, January 22, 2012 3:33 pm     (answered 28 January 2012)
From: "Andrew Suber"
Subject: Re: AA's Problems

You replied to me with the following reasoning:

I do now vaguely recall something about Winston Churchill using a voice double. Still, on the scale of dishonesty and deceit, that is nothing compared to Hitler's false promises of a thousand-year empire of Heaven on Earth for the German people if they just killed all of the Jews and Communists and leftists, and invaded the neighboring countries. Now that was a real false promise.

I agree with this line: "What distinguishes the positive from the negative is the capacity for the degradation of the human soul and the sense of isolation and insulation that a cult creates." — Although I think there is more to it than that, like whether people die. Also, whether people waste many years of their lives on something that does not make them better.

Later in the same letter you criticize my reasoning like this: "That sounds like the Not As Bad As propaganda trick. Like, if A.A. isn't as bad as Scientology or the Nazis or the Hari Krishnas, then A.A. is okay. No matter how bad or good the Nazis or the Hari Krishnas or Om Shinrikyo may be, that does not make it okay for Alcoholics Anonymous to foist quackery on sick people, and lie to them about how well it works."

You do realize that you are guilty of logical inconsistency here, right? What Churchill did was dishonest, but it was not as bad as what the Nazis were doing. That's a perfect example of Not as Bad as propaganda. Or of "Ends Justify the Means." If I use one of these rhetorical devices, its a propaganda trick. If you use it, its a devastating triumph of empirical truth.

Hello again, Andrew,

Yes, actually, you are using a propaganda trick right there, trying to reduce the issue to black-and-white extremes. Like either Winston Churchill was a totally honest angel, or he was just like Adolf Hitler. And the Not As Bad As propaganda trick is just that — a propaganda trick. I'm not arguing that Winston Churchill was merely "not as bad as" Adolf Hitler — I'm arguing that they were a totally different kind of man with entirely different motives. There was almost no similarity between them other than a few superficial points like, they were both men, and they were both politicians, and both broke some of their promises.

On the other hand, arguing that A.A. is okay because it isn't as bad as Scientology is not a valid argument. The goal was supposed to be to save the lives of alcoholics, and A.A. fails to do that.

Nice try at a debate point though.

Aren't you just playing the game of "The Guru is Always Right" with me? Setting yourself up as the perfect guru who can't be wrong? I freely admit that I know less about AA's history than you... but doesn't my personal perspective count for anything? Why would it hurt you so much to admit that the English state lied to people as part of the war effort if it's an objective fact? It would hurt your pride because you've assumed that anything you say is automatically true.

No, I never said that I was a perfect guru. But when you send me letters full of irrational arguments, I'm going to refute them.

And what "personal perspective" are you appealing to? You have offered no evidence why your "personal perspective" should be considered in a discussion of the merits of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is another irrational argument.

And that sounds very close to an Escape via Relativism"it's just one opinion versus another opinion, your opinion versus my opinion, and it's all so controversial that nothing can be decided for sure..."

I agree with you about AA's inefficacy. But your logical inconsistency and rhetorical style may hamper your ability to persuade someone who is new to this idea. The pragmatic end of persuasion is to persuade people; if you have stylistic and logical errors that detract from that, then you should adjust your message.

You agree about A.A.'s inefficacy? Then that is the end of the debate. A.A. is worthless. A.A. kills more people than it saves. A.A. was supposed to cause alcoholics to drink less and save their lives, but it does not do that. Instead, it raises the death rate, and raises the rates of binge drinking, and costs of hospitalizations, and rate of rearrests...

After that, the arguments that I dismissed, like that we should accept A.A. because it offers "a compelling origin myth" and "language and symbols" (your words), are irrational arguments.

In any endeavor we must be wary of preaching to the choir; often the audience that agrees with us the most is the audience that we need to persuade the least. At times, this seems like a verbal game to score points to you rather than a serious inquiry and dialogue on the life and death matter of alcoholism.

I very much want a serious discussion of what works and what does not to help alcoholics and addicts to not die. Mythology and cult slogans do not work.

I am still angry that you characterize me as an AA defender. I thought that the purpose of your work and this site was to promote a rational non-dogmatic dialogue on recovery and AA. In my opinion, I've contributed to that overall goal rather than defending AA.

Andrew S

Andrew, you get angry when I notice that you are defending A.A. with standard A.A. arguments, and advertising slogans and clichés and logical fallacies? You want a rational discussion? Well then, please use rational arguments. An appeal to stop having "irrational faith in reason" (your words in the last letter) is not a rational argument.

Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against reason with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle that they are laboring to dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with themselves they must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument.

== the American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen, the leader of the Green Mountain Boys in their capture of Fort Ticonderoga

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I find every sect, as far as reason will help them, make
**     use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out,
**     'It is a matter of faith, and above reason.'"
**       ==  John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690

[The next letter from Andrew_S is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Stacy_O ]

Date: Mon, January 23, 2012 2:45 pm     (answered 28 January 2012)
From: "Stacy O."
Subject: Churchill

Hi again, Orange,

Nothing to do with AA, but I'm interested in this conversation about Churchill. My mum was a young woman living and working in London during the Second World War (my dad was off fighting — they didn't know each other at that time). Like most people, she found Churchill an inspiring wartime leader — and quite humorous too, for instance in the way he deliberately mispronounced all German names, even the word "Nazi", which he insisted in pronouncing with a soft "z". (OK, not a falling-down-laughing joke, but probably subtly good for morale at the time.)

He was pretty upfront with people too, promising them at one point in one of his most famous speeches that he had nothing to offer them "but blood, sweat, toil, and tears", etc.

There was undoubtedly a massive amount of propaganda and falsehood coming out of the War Office and the BBC during the war (George Orwell based "1984" on his experiences of working for the BBC during this time). But whether people generally fell for it was another matter. My mother said that when the first newsreels of the concentration camps and the genocide of the Jews came out, it was so horrendous and unbelievable that she originally just dismissed it as just another bit of extreme anti-German propaganda. Neither of my parents rejoiced in the nuclear bombings of Japan, even though my dad was on standby to be posted to the Far East after VE (Victory in Europe) day. They were also both absolutely opposed to the bombing of Dresden after the city had actually been defeated and the only people left there were helpless civilians.

I think the big point, though, as far as propaganda goes, is that although the British people found Churchill to be an inspiring wartime leader, he was, despite his huge personal popularity, overwhelmingly defeated in the election of 1945 because people realized that he and his party would make abysmal peacetime leaders. Churchill was never allowed to use official state channels for party political propaganda during the election campaign. This is what democracy, as opposed to dictatorship, is all about.

I totally agree with what you say about the fall of Berlin. Terrified young children (boys and girls, some no older than 13 or 14) in the Hitler Youth were told that they would be shot by the SS unless they carried on fighting the Russian Army — as if they could make a blind bit of difference. The rump of the Nazi regime flooded the Berlin subways where civilians — old people, women and children — had taken shelter, because that was deemed to be "surrender" to the enemy. Hitler was a tragedy for the German people as well as for everyone else.

Side note: I wonder if Bill Wilson and his Oxford group cronies were aware that Hitler sent German alcoholics to the concentration camps too, along with all others he deemed not to be living up to the ideal of the "master race""

As always, keep up the good work.


Hello Stacy,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, we do go far afield, sometimes, don't we? And another letter that I'm working on is even further out — a fellow is asking about some Holocaust Denial propaganda that he has that says that Auschwitz wasn't really all that bad, and they didn't even really have gas chambers, did they? (Wow!) Now I have to investigate and get some facts about the plaques changing at Auschwitz, with different death counts.

My parents were Canadian teenagers during World War II, and they just worshipped Winston Churchill. (My father was just a little too young to be accepted into the Army.) When I was growing up, we had the entire multi-volume set of Churchill books on the bookshelf, and my father would have exploded in anger if he had heard such criticism of Winston Churchill.

About the disbelief of the holocaust stories, yes, that was a real problem. Brave Jews managed to get stories and documents about the mass murder out of Poland and Germany, and to Britain and also to Eastern Europe where Jews were being deported, but nobody believed the stories. They were too horrific, and were dismissed as extreme Jewish propaganda. Even the Jewish leaders in Eastern Europe did not believe the stories. They could not believe that all of the Jews — their friends and neighbors — who were boarding trains in Chechoslovakia and Hungaria and Romania were going straight to the gas chambers.

PBS recently ran a program about "Escape From Auschwitz", which was the story of two Jews who actually escaped from Auschwitz and made it back to their home in Eastern Europe to warn their fellow Jews about what was happening. Their own Jewish elders didn't believe the stories, and continued sending their friends to the train station.

Some people have criticized Churchill and Roosevelt for not doing more to save the Jews. Couldn't they have bombed the German rail lines and prevented the Jews from being shipped to Auschwitz? The problem was, nobody really believed that the extermination was as bad as it was. It was just inconceivable that somebody would set up factories of death where they would process millions of people like cattle in a slaughterhouse.

About the question of Bill Wilson being aware of Himmler sending alcoholics to Dachau — good question. I don't know. But that surely would have given him something to cry about, wouldn't it? A.A. members are forever complaining about the mistreatment of those poor alcoholics, and how nobody understands them. Dachau would have really given them something to complain about.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
**       ==   Sir Winston Churchill  (1874 — 1965)

May 27, 2009, Wednesday:

Great Blue Heron Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, trying to straighten out his feathers in the wind

Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, glaring.
That is the scowling glare that got Beethoven his name.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Mon, January 23, 2012 3:58 pm     (answered 28 January 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Yet More Random Comments

Meatbag here.

Well, AM melted another charger. Did you know melting glue smells an awful lot like burning candles? Yeah, two chargers melting is a pretty good sign there's something wrong with the laptop, not the charger. It turns out AM needed a new motherboard, and I had to wait two weeks to get it back. The good news is that I can now touch the tip of my charger without burning my fingers, and AM is no longer an acceptable substitute for a heated blanket. That extended warranty just managed to pay for itself. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

And it turns out the gaming rig does, in fact, need a new motherboard. Fortunately, NewEgg is stocking my motherboard again. Unfortunately, I spent over $300 for textbooks, so I don't feel like spending another $150 + shipping. The damn thing can wait until the refund check.

Hi again, Meatbag,

Sorry to hear about your electrical difficulties. More and more, it seems like they make the computers last just long enough to get out of warranty, and then poof!

It seems like a couple of neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists discovered your site while I was away. You have my condolences. I found this bit from ghostuc especially hilarious:

> What is the only country in the world that has attacked an American
> battle ship killing american soldiers and nothing was done? How many
> of our so-called allies spy on us and steal billions of dollars of
> American tax dollars every year and has for generations? Who rule the
> Federal Reserve? Who totally controls all American media? Hollywood?
> Congress? Wants us to lose our freedom of speech and freedom of
> religion? Why is a Menorah allowed in the White House and on the
> National Lawn but a christian cross is not? OH, that is a sign of
> control by Israeli Mossad and Israel

"Oh noez! Joos controll Amurika!" Actually, neo-Nazis tend to thrive here precisely because of the freedom of speech they claim that they're losing (see Skokie affair). Germany cracks down on that shit. Holocaust denial and neo-Nazism is outright illegal over there. Besides, I thought the President was supposed to be a Muslim, not a Jew.

Yes, being a holocaust denier is illegal in Germany. We allow it here in the name of freedom of speech.

And the ones that worry me are not the German Neo-Nazis, it's the Americans. And not the ones who march around with Swaztika arm-bands. Those guys are just nutcases. The ones who worry me are the perfectly reasonable gentlemen dressed in suits and ties who sell the Nazi philosophy under some other guise, like "therapy". Bill Wilson himself sold the Nazi idea that we do not even have the right to think for ourselves, that we should just obey the orders of a "Higher Power". Thinking for yourself is "playing God". And A.A. still pushes that idea today.

How persistently we claim the right to decide all by ourselves just what we shall think and just how we shall act.
  ...   We are certain that our intelligence, backed by willpower, can rightly control our inner lives and guarantee us success in the world we live in. This brave philosophy, wherein each man plays God, sounds good in the speaking, but it still has to meet this acid test: how well does it actually work? One good look in the mirror ought to be answer enough for any alcoholic.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, pages 36-37.

You are just a stupid alcoholic, so obey your Führer, and let him tell you what to think.

Admin is also pretty damn hilarious. I wouldn't be shocked if he (and neo-Nazis are mostly hes, in my experience) likes AA because he views it as some sort of sanctuary away from the Jews. The only place in the world untouched by Zionists. The only way he feel remotely safe is to assume there are not only others like him, but that he represents the norm. Every person he likes surely must hold his views, because all regular Americans do. And he will never go to therapy because psychologists are all Jews.

Note that I have no psychology-related credentials, unless a history as a psychiatric patient counts. Armchair psychology on the internet just happens to be one of my hobbies.

I do have a slight dispute with your answer to CS/Squid here https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters247.html

I really don't think you need to change anything on your Children's Gulags page, but sex and gender isn't quite that cut-and-dried. For one thing, chromosomes, organs, and physical appearance don't even always match. Take this picture, for instance:

They look like women, don't they? Most of them probably identify as women. They have the external genetalia of women. However, they have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, so they have XY-chromosomes. They're unlikely to have a female reproductive system (it can happen with AIS, but it's rare). Are they men or women?

That, and people do have secondary sexual characteristics removed for various reasons. My own mother has had a hysterectomy and an oophorectomy for medical reasons, so she pretty much just has breasts and a vagina as secondary characteristics, which is what a post-op trans woman would have. Is my mother less of a woman? Does the trans woman have less a claim to womanhood than my mother does, because she likely developed the same characteristics later than my mother did? And there are plenty of men who identify as men and who develop breasts, as a result of gynecomastia. Does developing breasts make them less of a man? If not, how is that different than a trans man who develops breasts?

Like I said, I don't believe you need to change a single thing on that page. I'm just sort of touchy about transgender-related issues, so I had to say something. And nothing excuses that sham of a doctor's incompetence. If Siebert made no other mistakes, I could give him benefit of the doubt that Donna Faye Reed might have been intersexual, but never diagnosed as such until after death, though the presence of such organs would not be unremarkable. Since that's not the case, he is a hack.

About the sex thing: I was just repeating the lecture that I got from my biology professor: "Possession of the XX or XY chromosome pair is the primary sexual characteristic. All of the other things that guys admire, like breasts, are just secondary sexual characteristics."

Of course there are some individuals with XXY chromosomes and other odd combinations, but they are very very rare. I remember the case of one XXY who made it into the Olympics, as a woman, and they had a big debate about whether she was a man or a woman. I seem to recall that they disqualified her because possession of the Y chromosome gave her manly musculature, and they considered that an unfair advantage in competing against other women.

I don't think that was the case with the girl who when autopsied by an incompetent coroner, was found to have a normal penis and testes. I think that the explanation was that the coroner either mixed up his papers, or examined the wrong cadaver, or didn't even actually examine any body, and just made up the whole thing.

Anyhow, that's enough of that stuff. Best of luck with the neo-Nazi steppers you've been attracting lately for some bizarre reason. Hey, at least it's some variation on the standard stepper propaganda. From Hagar's letter, what on earth is a mudblup? I asked Google, and the term seems to be associated with a series of books and cassettes. Seems like a reference I'm not in the right generation to get.

I wasn't in the right generation either. I had to look it up. A Mudblup is an imaginary monster in the children's stories "The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin". Wikipedia describes them as "Mudblups: A race of large and lumpy animated blobs of mud, dull witted and slow moving but very strong. Sensitive to bright light, since all of their lives are spent underground."


As for the creation museum, allow me to save you the trouble of ever having to visit it:

(don't forget to check out the photos)

When he wrote about the creation museum, what flashed through my mind was a Simpsons spoof. My memory of the episode is real hazy, but I seem to recall that Ned Flanders took the Simpsons kids to "Jesusland" or some such theme park, where they were exposed to all of the usual creation myths. Of course Lisa had fun being the skeptic.

Unless some unusual circumstances arise, that is probably as close as I will ever get to a "creation museum".

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated
**     our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt,
**     if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the
**     Devil in human form.
**       ==   William Ralph Inge

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Leslie_M ]

Date: Tue, January 24, 2012 8:55 am     (answered 29 November 2011)
From: "Leslie M."
Subject: a question unrelated to AA

Hi Orange,

I hope you are well. I thought you might appreciate a reprieve from the intensity of AA banter. Your site helped me recover from AA nearly a year ago (thank you again!).

I am curious though, all your pictures are dated May 2009? is that true or is the date function on your camera not working? I don't know why I'm curious but I do love the photos and they make me want to visit Portland sometime.

Have a great day!


Hello Leslie,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to hear that you escaped from the madness.

Not all of the pictures are from 2009. A whole lot are, because I'm following the story of Carmen the gosling. Right now I'm at May 27, 2009. Next comes May 28, and so on. After we finish the story of Carmen, I'll have to think of some other story to follow.

There are breaks in the time-line, however. Here are some photos from the last two summers, over at the Fernhill Wetlands:

  1. Pelicans at the Fernhill Wetlands
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Migratory Geese above the Fernhill Wetlands
  4. Goslings at the Fernhill Wetlands, Spring 2011
  5. Gus the Greylag Goose
  6. Pelicans at the Fernhill Wetlands
  7. Mama Duck and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  8. Pelicans at the Fernhill Wetlands
  9. Pelicans at the Fernhill Wetlands
  10. Pelicans at the Fernhill Wetlands
  11. Canada Geese at the Fernhill Wetlands
  12. Canada Geese at the Fernhill Wetlands
  13. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  14. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  15. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  16. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  17. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  18. Carp Feeding at the Fernhill Wetlands
  19. Ducks, Ducklings, and Geese at the Fernhill Wetlands
  20. Heron, Geese, and Blackbird at the Fernhill Wetlands
  21. Ducks and Blackbirds at the Fernhill Wetlands
  22. Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  23. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  24. Ducklings and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands
  25. Ducks and Ducklings at the Fernhill Wetlands

About Portland, yes, it's a nice city. You might enjoy a visit. I've lived all over the world, because I grew up in the Air Force, and Portland is about the nicest city that I've seen in the USA. I saw some very charming cities in Europe, but very, very few charming cities in the USA. Portland is the only city in the USA that I have really liked (and that's a big part of why I'm still here). Although even downtown Portland got to be too much for me after 18 years, so now I'm living way out in the boondocks, as far out as I can get with public transportation — literally at the end of the line.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by
**     the way its animals are treated.
**       ==   Mahatma Gandhi

May 27, 2009, Wednesday, Downtown Portland, Waterfront Park:

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, windblown

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, glaring

Beethoven the Great Blue Heron
Beethoven the Great Blue Heron, getting all wind-blown again

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Frank_S ]

Date: Tue, January 24, 2012 9:04 am     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: "Frank S."
Subject: Thank you

Hi, Thank you for writing these papers.

My alcohol free 2 years — so far — is not the result of the 12 steps or having a strange sponsor. It's because of a stable home and a supportive significant other. I also simply chose that alcohol has had negative consequences and don't drink it.

I feel that when I bring up at an AA meeting the medical advances made about understanding addiction in general since the big book was written (medication, frontal lobe brain function, neurotransmitters...) I am shunned! They want us off ALL medication. Some meds may treat addiction but they will not hear of it.

I have kept my self-esteem by simple occasional sharing, no steps, no sponsor. "The only requirement for AA membership is the desire to stop drinking" A lot of the members choose to forget that. AA certainly needs a reality check.

Thanks again.
Frank S.

Hello Frank,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are sober and free. Congratulations.

Of course I couldn't agree more with all of your points. I don't need to just repeat them all, so I won't.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  This battle never ceases to amaze me. People seem to be much
**  more inclined to believe what they hear from non-experts
**  because it's what they'd rather hear.
**     ==  Prof. Jennifer Francis, of Rutgers University,
**            speaking about global warming
**         New York Times, Dot Earth, "Experts: Big Flaw in
**           Will's Ice Assertions", 27 Feb 2009
**  (And the "recovery movement" seems to have the same problem.)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Danteris ]

Date: Mon, January 23, 2012 8:35 pm     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: danteris

I would really like to know what your solution to alcohol and drugs. you like to bash it without your own answers to the problem.

Hello Danteris,

Actually, I do have answers, lots of answers, and have been repeating them for years. Look here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The diagnosis of drunkenness was that it was a disease for which the
**     patient was in no way responsible, that it was created by existing
**     saloons, and non-existing bright hearths, smiling wives, pretty caps
**     and aprons. The cure was the patent nostrum of pledge-signing, a
**     lying-made-easy invention, which like calomel, seldom had any
**     permanent effect on the disease for which it was given, and never
**     failed to produce another and a worse. Here the care created an
**     epidemic of forgery, falsehood and perjury.
**       ==  Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-1884), U.S. newspaperwoman,
**           abolitionist, and human rights activist.
**           Half a Century, ch. 30 (1880).

[The next letter from Danteris is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Mark_M ]

Date: Tue, January 24, 2012 9:42 pm     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: "mark m."
Subject: Inquire

Dear Mr Orange,

I am curious about your site and the open hostility towards AA? I do not know much about AA, but it seems to have worked for many people. Did you have a run in with an AA official? Has AA caused harm in your community? I don't want to be in favor of such an organization as you report to exsist.


Hello Mark,

Thank you for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you don't want to be part of a bad organization. I've answered those questions before, many times, so I'll just point you to the previous answers.

But before I do, I have to comment on the line, "it seems to have worked for many people." Actually, no it hasn't. That is a standard lie that A.A. tells, and that is a big part of the problem. A.A. has a cure rate that is close to zero. A.A. just steals the credit from a few people who were going to quit drinking anyway, while ignoring all of the people who do not quit drinking by doing the practices of an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties. Foisting quack medicine on sick people and lying to them about how well it works is a despicable crime. Read this file:
The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

Now here is the list of answers:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And the Steppers said, "If you want what we
**     have, and are willing to go to any length to
**     get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#soul_sista_nyc ]

Date: Wed, January 25, 2012 8:27 am     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: "soul_sista_nyc"
Subject: Hi Orange!

hey orange

i'm at the library between outpatient brainwashing sessions but i wanted to send you a quick message on something you wrote about Buddhism. it's not that it teaches desires are wrong or we need to get rid of them but attachment to desires, which is a very different thing.

i hope i'm making sense. i just don't have a lot of time, i have to gather all my strength to reinforce my forcefield now :)

but, i love all your essays they totally crack me up!

make the force be with you,


Hello Soul Sista,

Thanks for the note and the clarification. You are quite right. That is the point of some of the koans — to teach that you cannot stop having desires, so you have to learn to accept the existence of the desires.

One of the popular Zen stories tells of a student who had been working for ten years to gradually rid himself of all desires. He went to his Zen master and asked, "But Master, how do I get rid of my last desire — the desire to be rid of all desires?"

And the old Zen master smiled and answered, "Now you really do have a problem, don't you?"

The desires rise up, and then they pass away. And the sage just watches them come and go.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
*     If you wonder whether evil karma can be neutralized or not,
*     then know that it is neutralized by desire for goodness.
*     But they who knowingly do evil deeds, exchange a mouthful
*     of food for infamy. They who knowing not wither they
*     themselves are bound, yet presume to pose as guides for
*     others, do injury both to themselves and others. If pain
*     and sorrow ye desire sincerely to avoid, avoid, then, doing
*     harm to others.
*        — W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Tibet's Great Yogi Milarepa

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#causeandeffect ]

Date: Wed, January 25, 2012 10:56 pm     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: "causeandeffect"
Subject: anti-medication

Hi Orange,

I just found this link I haven't seen before. Forgive me if you've already seen it. It's from AA cultwatch, a group of AA members who thinks it's those other guys who are the cult. Haha. Well they do have a point. They are exposing the more dangerous cults within the cult. This is a correspondence between the Drug and Alcohol Foundation in London and the Vision for You meeting regarding them telling people to forego their meds. The Vision group basically told the DAF to sod off.


Hope you're having a great day


Hello Causeandeffect,

Thanks for the note and the tip. Yes, I run accross the "AA Cult Watch" people every so often. (And I occasionally learn about some outrageous happenings from them.) I find them to be a very curious bunch — finding fault with A.A. while simultaneously being true believers in it. I know that they just want to improve A.A. by revealing and disavowing the worst abuses, but I do find it funny how they can so stubbornly refuse to see that A.A. has such serious deep-seated and ingrained problems that maybe it cannot be reformed or fixed. They just won't go there. They refuse to draw that conclusion.

This issue of "don't take your medications" is so pervasive, and so damning, that just this one issue is enough to disqualify A.A. from having any part in any real medical treatment program.

It's also sad and revealing that Alcoholics Anonymous The Organization just will not clean up its act, and will not correct problems, not even when a problem is killing A.A. members. It's just like how the A.A. headquarters in New York refused to do anything about the Midtown Group raping underage girls, and also won't do anything about Clancy's Pacific Group out in California. What a crazy cult.

Now, about the web page that you cited: The charges are straightforward:

DAF has a long tradition of supporting clients involvement in twelve step recovery groups, particularly AA and NA. However I have recently been made aware that it has become the practice in some meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous to advise persons to stop taking prescribed medication for mental health problems. In other instances I am informed newcomers have been told that they will be unable to undertake the programme as set out in the twelve steps whilst on medication. Specifically the Vision for You meeting in St. Peters Church Eaton Square has been mentioned to me as such a venue, though I am told it is not unusual for persons to be given such information at other meetings.

Such advice not only goes against the way in which I am given to understand Alcoholics Anonymous is supposed to operate but is reckless, irresponsible and ill-informed. Should a client with some of the more severe and enduring conditions dealt with on the DAF programme act on such advice the consequences could be fatal. I am therefore writing to bring this matter to your attention so that the situation regarding medication for mental health problems and the AA programme can be clarified to all AA office holders. Should this matter not be addressed DAF would sadly no longer be in a position to promote the value of Alcoholic Anonymous to clients.

Yes, telling people with mental problems not to take their medications is very dangerous quackery.

The response of the A.A. organization was, as you said, to just deny the charge and blow them off. I found this line particularly revealing:

We can only agree with the comments made in the third paragraph of your letter but at the same time would like to assure you that Alcoholics Anonymous does not offer any advice concerning medication or treatments. We are not qualified to offer any such advice to your clients.

They have mastered the politicians' trick of "Plausible Deniability". Individual A.A. members do it, and then the organization says that they don't do it, and don't approve of it. That way, they can do anything but are not responsible for it because they haven't done it.

Yes, Alice, you fell down the rabbit's hole.

But do you know what this really means? Alcoholics Anonymous does not run Alcoholics Anonymous. That is, the headquarters office is just a figure-head that controls nothing except the lawsuits against people who choose to publish their own literature. The A.A. headquarters does not control behavior, doctrine, dogma, teachings, policy, or anything that really makes A.A. what it is. That is in the hands of other, unaccountable, people.

Oh well, have a good day now. And yes, I am, thank you.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Evidently God can cure cancer and tuberculosis, but cannot
**     grow a new leg...  This is blasphemy, but not mine — the
**     priests and faith healers are guilty of limiting God's powers.
**          ==   Abraham Myerson

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Thu, January 26, 2012 5:11 am     (answered 29 January 2012)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: Uptight Crackheads for Decency — Join Today!


Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong

Hi again, Peter,

Thanks for the laugh.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir,
**      at long last?  Have you left no sense of decency?"
**        == Special Counsel Joseph Welch, to Senator Joseph McCarthy, at the
**           Army-McCarthy Hearings after Sen. McCarthy smeared an
**           innocent college student with accusations of "Communist".
**      http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/welch-mccarthy.html

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Last updated 3 August 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters285.html