Letters, We Get Mail, CCC

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Mark_S ]

Date: Fri, April 6, 2012 12:56 pm     (answered 9 April 2012)
Subject: F.D.R. quote
From: "Mark S."

Americans are ignorant of their own history. If they were exposed to more of it they would realize that the causes of our present economic calamity — big banks, big business, and in general, big money — are scarcely different from those of the Great Depression. F.D.R. summed up the situation aptly when he said,

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob."

Amen brother (And I'm an atheist!)

Mark E.

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the quote. So what does that have to do with recovery? Well, it's the same problem of Americans being unaware of their own history. If the majority of the American people knew the real history of Alcoholics Anonymous and the so-called "recovery movement", they would not tolerate the current situation where "12-Step Facilitation" and "the Minnesota Model" dominate the "treatment industry", and people are even sentenced to the A.A. cult religion.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know."
**       ==  Merle Miller, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman
**           [1974], ch. 23
**     That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history
**     is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
**       ==  Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1959)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Peter_C ]

Date: Tue, April 3, 2012 3:25 pm     (answered 9 April 2012)
From: "Peter C."
Subject: FW: SO COOL!!! HOW TO GET A NATION TO TAKE THE STAIRS. Brilliant experiment

How cool is this

Staircase vs Escalator

Watch what a group of engineers did, using fun to get people to use a long staircase with a moving escalator right next to it.

At first no one took the stairs; almost 97% of the people took the escalator.

Notice how engineers changed how people reacted to climbing a long staircase as first choice — 66% more people took the stairs.

Sound ON is essential, otherwise you won't get it!

Size: 8.7 M
Type: video/x-ms-wmv

Hello Peter,

That is not only brilliant, it's also funny.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "I don't know anything about music.  *
**     In my line you don't have to."     *
**   —  Elvis Presley (1935-1977)        *

P.S.: You may be wondering what that has to do with addiction or recovery. Well, in the back of my mind, I was wondering if there is an equally clever way to get people off of bad drugs.

The managers of that project could have approached the problem of getting more people to use the stairs in a variety of ways:

  • They could have tried public service announcements that nagged people with lectures about the health benefits of getting some exercise.

  • They could have tried shaming people by calling them lazy and weak for taking the escalator.

  • They could have broadcast TV commercials with cheery slogans like, "Join the unhooked generation."

  • They could have broadcast negative TV commercials showing obese, out-of-shape people while an announcer intoned, "This is your body. This is your body on escalators."

  • They could have imposed rules where only old and disabled people were allowed to use the escalator.

  • They could have turned off the escalator and forced people to climb the stairs.

  • They could have charged a fee for people to use the escalator, making people deposit coins at a turnstile. And then increased the fee until it discouraged people from using the escalator.

  • They could have implemented a quota system where people were only allowed to use the escalator a small percentage of the time, and people would get charged a fine for excessive use of the escalator.

  • They could have passed a city ordinance and cops could have given people tickets for riding the escalator.

Don't so many of those items really resemble American attempts to get people to consume less alcohol, tobacco, and drugs? Do you notice how many of those possible "solutions" leave people with negative feelings?

But the project managers in Sweden didn't do any of that. They came up with an answer that is so imaginative that it is sheer genius.

Now, is there an equally brilliant way to get people to use less alcohol, tobacco, and drugs?

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Sarah_J ]

Date: Sun, April 8, 2012 2:12 pm     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Sarah J."
Subject: Thank you!

Dear Mr Orange

I have spent a night reading through your brilliantly researched and argued book. You should get a PhD for this. Then you'll be (or maybe you already are?) Dr Orange :)

I have recently been devastated by losing my manpanion to AA. My newly sober, confused and scared fiancee was told by his old-timer sponsor that we must break up. (I know, this guy, who has never met me, is also an amateur couples counsellor! What an all-rounder, jack of all trades.) I don't know if my manfriend will come around, but I'm not pushing — he's terrified if he doesn't do exactly what they say he will die. I just emailed him the link to your site and am hoping for the best. I'm so sad.

Reading your work has been a revelation. I am a sober alcoholic of 4 years, and I quit AA after the first year. Since then I've been pretty messed up, but slowly finding myself again. I'd always thought I was a good skeptic and critical thinker, and to realise the damaging and traumatising effects of this cult's mind control on me (and now on my fiancee) is alarming.

I live in Cape Town, South Africa and there is no RR, SOS, Smart, or anything like that. 12-step rules supreme in this country. It's also, as you would expect in SA, nice and racist. Well, not overtly, but everyone there is white and there is no room for any diversity of thought or culture. So it's not inclusive at all. The culture of 1930s, American BILL W is simply imported as is.

I think I'm going to have to start a Smart recovery group or something. Apparently they've already got a couple up in Johannesburg. They always get everything first!

One thing you comment on resonates particularly with me — the anti-intellectualism of AA. Which I now realise is a trait of any cult. People would actively look down on me and my fiancee for using 'big' words. And then the tired old idea gets trotted out — be careful of thinking too much, keep it simple, stupid, and all that crap. Because if you don't — YOU DIE! It's so cruel and childish!!

Anywhoo, thanks so much for this, it's helped me so much and many many other's too, I'm sure. I've stayed up all night reading so sorry if this is a bit incoherent.

Kind regards,

**Sarah J.
Sub-editor and writer

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for the letter and the thanks and the compliments. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are going through. That is just so typical.

I just recently got another letter from a woman who is losing her husband to the A.A. cult (here). He doesn't even eat at home any more — he just eats with the A.A. group.

You can tell your friend that the stories about how people die if they don't work the A.A. program correctly is a total lie. The truth is, A.A. raises the death rate, not lowers it. And that came from a doctor who loves A.A. and became a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous. (Look here.) And other doctors found that A.A. raises the rate of binge drinking, and raises the cost of hospitalization.

The truth is, most people who successfully quit drinking and drugging do it alone, without a "support group". Like how I did. I quit A.A. after three months, and I now have 11 years sober. Also 11 years off of cigarettes and other drugs, too.

The Harvard Mental Health Letter reported:

"One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated."

And the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health reported

"About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

So the A.A. old-timer who insisted that your friend will die if he doesn't "work the Program" was just using the standard cult trick called "Phobia Induction", also known as "fear-mongering". The Cult Test question for Phobia Induction is here, and the answer for A.A. is here.

And isn't their anti-intellectualism so obnoxious? Their condescending answer to all big problems is to criticize people who ask intelligent questions about the problem and proposed solutions, and to put people down for using "big words". They just sling the slogans and believe that they are dispensing profound wisdom. They are so arrogant and so proud of their ignorance and stupidity. I got the same thing from my child-molesting Stepper counselor: "Trying to get intellectual on us now, are you?" (By the way, he was just arrested again, for failure to register as a sex offender. Story here.)

Starting up a SMART group sounds like a good thing to do. Remember that you don't have to be perfect. You just have to be better than A.A., and that is pathetically easy to do. Just start off by telling the truth, and you will be ahead of A.A. And you can learn as you go. If I were you, I'd contact both the SMART headquarters (links here), and also the people over in Johannesberg who are running the SMART meeting there. Perhaps they can help, too.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever.
**     Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again.
**     Then hit it a third time — a tremendous whack.
**       ==  Winston Churchill

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Sarah2 ]

Date: Fri, April 13, 2012 9:59 pm     (answered 24 April 2012)
From: "Sarah J."
Subject: Re: Thank you!

Great, thanks for all the links.

Oh, sorry, one more thing: if you're interested in combating quackery in all its forms and haven't read this book, I highly recommend it: 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre.

Okay, I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Heroes have gone out, quacks have come in; the reign of quacks
**    has not ended with the nineteenth century. The sceptre is held
**    with a firmer grasp; the empire has a wider boundary. We are
**    all the slaves of quackery in one shape or another. One portion
**    of our being is always playing the successful quack to the other.
**       ==  Thomas Carlyle (1795—1881), English essayist,
**             historian, biographer, and philosopher

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

Canada Geese family
Canada Geese families. Father is standing guard. He is also wondering if I have any more munchies.

Canada Geese Canada Goose goslings browsing

Canada Geese
Canada Goose goslings browsing

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Chris_S ]

Date: Fri, April 6, 2012 7:12 pm     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Chris S."
Subject: CHRIS S. — Relapse and starting at step 1, or NOT as Dr.Bob shows us

I found the 'conservatices' website and agree it was nice to see you able to post your feelings........ we all learn from discussion, and thank God we are in a place where we can freely discuss....

By the way I've been sending this around to get opinions, I'd like yours...:::::

I've always felt and acted upon the belief that as soon as a person comes in, if he wants to get this program, he should act quickly and start working the steps with another alcoholic. For me it has always worked well. I have always struggled with the concept of after a relapse having to repeat and do over, all the step work, because I see in Dr.Bob's story an example of our co-founder, where when he got back from his relapse he actually had some beer (from Bill W) to calm his shakes for an operation he had to do that day, and he was out all evening (the folks back home were scared and concerned, didn't know why he was not at home earlier) making some amends...... so he got the program, had a spiritual experience, relapsed, and picked up where he left off...... So I wonder why we put people through the steps again when they've already learned their processes, and the issue is they didn't put them into practice for that moment that they relapsed.

Orange — give me any insight you might have..... and may you and your loved ones have a GREAT & Blessed EASTER!!!!

Chris S.

"Saints have a history, and us Sinners have a future"...

Hello again, Chris,

Thanks for the question.

There is no reason for anyone to do the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps are just Bill Wilson's copy of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination procedures — brainwashing techniques — and they do far more harm than good. The 12 Steps induce feelings of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency. Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer lists that as one of the five essential criteria for an effective thought reform or brain-washing program. The 12 Steps wrongly teach that people drink alcohol because they have "defects of character", and "moral shortcomings", and unconfessed "wrongs".

And of course we know that the A.A. program raises the rate of binge drinking and raises the death rate in alcoholics.

Some people find the 12 Steps to be so depressing that they commit suicide over them. Here are some stories: orange-letters32.html#suicide_list

That famous story where Dr. Bob drank two beers and took a drug — a "goofball" — to keep his hands from shaking badly while he operated on a patient is a story of medical malpractice. Dr. Bob had no business operating on a patient and risking the patient's life when he was so incapacitated. When Dr. Bob did it anyway, his license to practice medicine should have been revoked.

Whether Dr. Bob had a "spiritual experience" in that condition is highly questionable.

(I am often amused, bemused, and appalled, at how A.A. members imagine that every little detox hallucination is a "spiritual experience". Detox facilities seem to generate far more religious experiences than churches.)

By the way, did you know that A.A. counts that day as Doctor Bob's first day of sobriety, and considers that day the founding day of Alcoholics Anonymous? So A.A. was allegedly founded by Dr. Bob drinking two beers and popping a pill.

The answer to this question is simple:

...the issue is they didn't put them into practice for that moment that they relapsed...

The 12 Steps do not work to make people quit drinking or to keep them from drinking. So it is not an issue of whether people are "working the Steps". If you want to understand what is going through the minds of people when they decide to "just have a few", read about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Drunkenness does not create vice; it merely brings it into view"
**       ==  Seneca (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

Date: Mon, April 9, 2012 6:39 am     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Chris Sommer"
Subject: CHRIS S. — very simple inquiry

Hope your Easter was a BLAST in fun, thought, and fellowship with others..... This was the first for me where there was no family, or at first I thought, no friends..... I didn't want to go to my new church alone, and had been talking to God about this..... well in the end a new acquaintance invited me to come to church with him and his family, although they were going out of town for the Easter meal with grandparents etc, there was a breakfast before the service and some activities after..... so what appeared to be a 'poor' Easter, for poor ole Chris (LOL), turned out to be a good Easter experience.

Well, I came across another one of your articles and I had a thought 'What is Orange's story?'.... Do you have a link or something that I could read that tells your story?

Only the best for you and your loved ones,

Chris S.

"Saints have a history, and us Sinners have a future"...

Hello again, Chris,

Glad to hear that you had a good Easter.

Yes, there is a biography, in bits and pieces, here and there. See these lists of links:

  1. Who are you?
  2. How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     But if I'm content with a little
**     Enough is as good as a feast.
**        ==  Isaac Bickerstaffe, Love in a Village

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Linda_J ]

Date: Fri, April 6, 2012 11:06 pm     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Linda J."
Subject: Thanks.

I'll keep this brief because I've just gone through everything you've written on this page of your site/blog.

I'm drained by what I've read. How must it then have been for those kids?

Reading about the abuse (in the 'home') about a little boy called Lattie McGee about 10 years ago, set me on a path of looking at how we treat our kids. It has to be the ugliest filthiest box that anyone can open. Now I'm obsessed with this. Not mentally ill-or 'strange' obsessed, just dedicated and angry.

So many causes; so many banners to wave; so many issues to stand up for. I'm there. I do it. There is reason to protest, ever more so in such a greedy self serving world.

But kids??? No big deal. The silence is deafening. If that were not so, then these 'tough love' boot camps and the like, would no longer be running. Child abuse in general would be decreasing. It isn't; it is getting worse, because kids of course are expendable whilst we're all busy saving whales.

The abuse of our kids is something we are uncomfortable discussing. That's why they are so alone. No accountability for their torturers. Nah! Just the sound of the slimeball politicians and bureaucrats responsible for these systems, protecting their own worthless backs when these abuses are exposed.

God!! I need a shower! I need to attempt to wash the distaste and fury away. For today only. I wont leave this alone.

Thanks Orange. You write without subtlety. I like that. It has to be told like it is. I'm the grandmother of an adult, yet I'm comfortable with being youthfully idealist enough to say that I will be happy to read of the demise of the Bush franchise, Thatcher; and a little Australian twerp called John Howard.

These are the slimy scum who justify the unjustifiable. These are the types who instigated a system of greed and exploitation.

Keep on keeping on.


Ex-pat British. Resident Australia.

Hi Linda,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

One of the biggest unpublicized areas of child abuse is the parents doing it, often in the name of "tough love" or "strict discipline". I was the victim of that, so it is a subject of interest to me. So it isn't just a matter of institutions doing it.

Underneath such child abuse is the crazy belief that children are basically just bad, selfish, and evil little creatures that must be disciplined and beaten and forced to be good.

And hiding under that is insanity, real genuine disconnected-from-reality insanity where parents and wardens and guards live in a nightmare fantasy of evil children. Unfortunately, our society allows insane people to keep and abuse children, especially if the parents and wardens claim that they are doing it to keep the kids off of drugs, or to save them from a life of crime, or just because somebody has to teach the children to obey.

I guess that all we can do it keep on keeping on. Keep publicizing the issues. Write, commment, send letters to politicians. And letters to the editor. So thanks for your interest in the cause.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Someday, maybe there will exist a well-informed, well-considered,
**      and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all
**      possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit.
**         ==  Erik Erikson
**      Education of children has little to do with educating them
**      but a lot to do with getting them to conform.
**         ==  frankiepoo

[The next letter from Linda_J is here.]

[The previous letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Hetu-Ahin ]

Date: Sat, April 7, 2012 1:28 am     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: cultish behaviour AND recovery program The structure of the alcoholic's predicament. He has a primitive urge to drink (caused by a hypersensitive dopamine system). He has a desire not to drink: this is caused by rational considerations, he thinks not

Hello again.

A few thoughts for your consideration.

Commonish ground betwen you and me

(1) There have been mini-cults existing an AA.

(2) BB and 12 and 12 lay out a program that is designed in part o promnote religious conversin for nonbeliefers.

(3) This program might perhaps sometimes work on people who have been unbale to cope with their alcoholism and are inclined to a very high degree of trus in AA members, who put pressure on them to open their minds to the existence of an All Powerful and talk and like a believer.

I claim that Bill W and crew wished to promote both belief in an All Powerful and recovery, which goals they believed to be in perfect harmony. The vast majority of members wish to promote recovery. Thus AA is primarily a fellowship of people who provide a recovery program.

Here is my take on how it works as a recovery program.

The structure of the alcoholic's predicament. He has a primitive urge to drink (caused by a hypersensitive dopamine system). He has a desire not to drink: this is caused by rational considerations, he thinks not drinking is in his best interests. This conflict is so severe that it causes severe cognitive dissonance (insanity) and his brain goes into denial. Denial undermines the desire not to drink. The urge to drink wins out.

The urge to drink is fuelled by troubling emotions. It also gets fuelled by alcohol itself, when the alcoholic drinks,

AA promotes emotional stability/processing, attacks denial, and drink.

Emotional-instability& processing problems ->increases->d(drink)

Denial->decreases->d(not drink)


AA strengthens emotional stability & processing & weakens denial.

Meetings: (i) Regular reminder of risk of gravity or relapse (ii) Learning from experience of many other alcoholics (iii) Somewhere to go for company instead of drinking (iv) Unconditional acceptance and friendship .

Steps (i) Recognition of one's inability to control drinking (ii) Acceptance of the need for help (iii) Encouragement of honesty and good behaviour, mandate to make amends to those we have harmed to deal with * guilt*, practice dealing with *fear*. (iii) Encouragement to develop a realistic view of oneself, avoiding the *stress* of a false image, allowing gratitude for desirable qualities (iv) *Emotion processing:* bring feelings to consciousness, recognize them share them with others: they dissipate, or, if not, we accept them as parts of our psyche, learn to live with them, become their friends (v) Mandate to provide service to others bolstering self-worth, alleviating low *self-esteem*. (vi) Meditation to alleviate * stress.* (v) Prayer (for theists), good for health.

Fellowship: a support network to call in case upon in case of crisis.

Sponsor: with whom to share, from whom to get advice, to call in upon in case of crisis.

Serenity: to accept the things we cannot change, so that we don't get *wound up.*

Courage: to change the things we can so we gain fulfillment from action instead of* uselessness* as the fruits of procrastination.

I just came across ths bnook, which might well say similar things: http://www.amazon.com/Hijacking-Brain-Addiction-Twelve-Step-Recovery/dp/1463444842/ref%3dsr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333571799&sr=8-1

Wishing you serenity,


Hello again, Hetu-Ahin,

Well, that is an interesting take on "how A.A. works", but it is of course all wrong because A.A. does not work. Period. There is no doubt about that. Even the A.A. trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant found that A.A. just raises the death rate in alcoholics, while producing a zero-percent improvement in sobriety.

This is the propaganda trick called "Sly Suggestions": (3) This program might perhaps sometimes work on people who have been unbale to cope with their alcoholism..."
"Might perhaps sometimes work"? The "A.A. program" does not work. Period. How could an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties really work as a cure for addictions?

This is wishful thinking: "AA promotes emotional stability/processing, attacks denial, and drink."
That is not what happens. What happens is binge drinking, suicide, and deaths.

And this is also wishful thinking: "Meetings [produce]... (iv) Unconditional acceptance and friendship."
Dream on. Try telling some Steppers the truth about Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob and the real history of A.A. and see how much they love you. Just see what kind of "unconditional acceptance" you get. Try talking about the real A.A. success rate and see how much love you get.

They begin every meeting by reading:

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 58.

I have never heard someone interrupt the reading of the plastic-laminated scriptures at the start of an A.A. meeting to explain to the newcomers that very few people ever succeed at "thoroughly following our path". Nobody will ever say that out loud, and tell the newcomers what really happens. There is no such "rigorous honesty". Why don't you try that some time, and see how much unconditional acceptance you get?

You know what the truth is, and the truth is that you can't tell the truth.

Your description of what the Steps supposedly do is at odds with reality:

  1. "Steps (i) Recognition of one's inability to control drinking"
    This is wrong. We are not incapable of controlling our drinking. If we were really powerless, then we would not be able to quit drinking. But since millions of us have quit drinking and drugging without A.A., we are not powerless.

  2. (ii) "Acceptance of the need for help"
    That is not what Step 2 says. It says that we are insane, but we believe that a "Higher Power" will restore us to sanity. Of course, if we are really insane, then it doesn't matter what crazy things we believe, does it?

    And again, we don't need A.A.'s so-called "help". We can, and do, quit on our own without A.A.

  3. (iii) Encouragement of honesty and good behaviour, mandate to make amends to those we have harmed to deal with *guilt*, practice dealing with *fear*.
    Honesty? Like Fake It 'Till You Make It and Act As If? And "Dole out the truth by teaspoons, not buckets"? And "Don't tell the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous or Bill Wilson."

  4. (iii) Encouragement to develop a realistic view of oneself, avoiding the *stress* of a false image, allowing gratitude for desirable qualities
    The Steps do not create a realistic view. They harp on wrongs, defects of character, and moral shortcomings. That creates a very stressful false image. It even drives some people to suicide.

  5. (iv) *Emotion processing:* bring feelings to consciousness, recognize them share them with others: they dissipate, or, if not, we accept them as parts of our psyche, learn to live with them, become their friends
    The feelings that A.A. brings to the surface are guilt, covert fear, powerlessness and dependency. That is not good.

  6. (v) Mandate to provide service to others bolstering self-worth, alleviating low *self-esteem*.
    Spreading the misinformation about alcoholism that A.A. teaches is not "service". Promoting the 12-Step religion is not "service". The 12 Steps do not "bolster self-worth", they destroy self-worth by making people wallow in guilt and confession sessions, and talk about how stupid and brain-damaged they are.

  7. (vi) Meditation to alleviate *stress.*
    A.A. does not teach meditation. Praying for the Big Dictator In The Sky to give you work orders is not meditation.

  8. (v) Prayer (for theists), good for health.
    That is debateable. How does yammering, "Dear Santa Claus, please give me the goodies" improve peoples' lives? How is that good for health?

    Remember that the Jews in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Treblinka did a whole lot of praying. How much did it improve their health?

This is ridiculous: "Fellowship: a support network to call in case upon in case of crisis."
"Hello Joe, please come over and hold my hand right away. I'm going to relapse in 2 hours if you don't come over."
That is not how it works.
If you are really going to drink, then you won't call your sponsor to stop you.
If you are not really going to drink, then there is no need to call your sponsor.

Sponsor: with whom to share, from whom to get advice, to call in upon in case of crisis.
And how did this sponsor get to be qualified to act as a counselor? Is he a trained and licensed therapist? Is he qualified to tell people not to take medications? Did this sponsor just get out of prison, where he was sent for crimes like fraud, armed robbery, or child molestation?

Serenity: to accept the things we cannot change, so that we don't get *wound up.*
This is another A.A. fairy tale. The members are not serene. They flip out, they binge drink, and they commit suicide.

Courage: to change the things we can so we gain fulfillment from action instead of* uselessness* as the fruits of procrastination.
You know, A.A. didn't even quote Reinhold Niebuhr's prayer correctly. What Reinhold Niebuhr said in the Serenity Prayer was that we ask God to give us the courage to change the things that ought to be changed.

Reinhold Niebuhr didn't like how Bill Wilson and A.A. mangled his prayer. He said that people should not go around changing things just because they could; they should only change the things that ought to be changed.

Also, Reinhold Niebuhr used the plural throughout the prayer. It was never "God, give ME", it was "God give US (the whole congregation) the serenity, courage, and wisdom." Praying for God to give you powers is close to black magic.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Hetu-Ahin2 ]

Date: Tue, April 10, 2012 5:38 am     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: 5%

Hi, Orange,

I think that you wanted to compare sponaneous remission rates with recovery rates in AA. I guess the latter might be a. the percentage of people who go to an AA meeting who are better a year later b. in a given year, the percentage of people in AA who get better c. something else.

The 5% figures that I have found that have been held to relate to recovery or success rates of AA don't seem to me to speak to anything meaningfully comparable to the spontaneous remission rate, or anything like a recovery or success rate. Do you have any other 5% figure that might help?

Yes, lots. Read the entire file on The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

Pay particular attention to:

  1. Dr. Zimberg's calculation of the rate of spontaneous remission
  2. Dr. Vaillant's A.A. treatment success rate that was exactly equal to the normal rate of spontaneous remission
  3. Bill Wilson's and early A.A.'s success rate that was exactly equal to the normal rate of spontaneous remission

Social leaders such as actor Charlie Sheen and magicians Penn and Teller can be found giving voice to this 5% claim. Sources are rarely provided for it. I have found 6 such, which have contributed to this particular internet phenomenon. 1. 1974 estimates put AA membership in the USA and Canada at no more than about 5% of all alcoholics (Fingarette1988, p. 89). 2. In 1935 (before AA as such existed) two of AA's founders were recruiting for the program, mostly among street and hospitalized drunks. They reported a 5% success rate (Hartigan 2000, pages 91-92.). The vast majority of those drunks presumably never went to a meeting. In fact *Alcoholics Anonymous*reports a 75% success rate.

Yes, Bill Wilson lied when he wrote that 75% number. Lied like a rug. Again, read Bill Wilson's and early A.A.'s success rate.

3. This comes from a study of patients attending a twelve-step rehabilitation clinic, thus not necessarily members of AA at all (Vaillant 1995). It showed that in an eight-year period, only 5% of subjects experienced no lapse at all. 4. This comes from a misreading of a graph published by AA itself. The sample was members of AA who had attended for one year or less, and only 5% of those had attended for a whole year (scribd) That figure says nothing about how many of those who attended one meeting were still attending a year later. In fact the graph suggests that the retention rate was 26% 5. However one study conducted by AA Australia in 1992 did show a 5% one-year retention rate. 6. Finally a survey done by AA in 1989 happened to reveal that 5% of members had their last drink on the very same day that they first attended an AA meeting. even 7 .... a report by Ray that he had been given the 5% figure by AAers years ago

Dr. Vaillant ran CASPAR, the Cambridge-Sommerville Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation, and he used A.A. as the treatment. He reported that

"Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
== Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.

Dr. Vaillant spent 8 years trying to prove that A.A. works, and at the end of it, he had to admit that A.A. did not work at all, it did not improve the rate of sobriety at all. It just increased the death rate.

The famous graph from the A.A. internal report of Comments on the Triennial Surveys just shows how many months people had been attending A.A. meetings. It shows a huge dropout rate. The graph does not show a 26% retention rate. That interpretation comes from a misreading of the graph. To get a 26% retention rate, you have to ignore all of the people who dropped out before the day of the triennial survey. We have discussed all of this before, many times. See:

  1. Green's arguments about the graph of the triennial surveys
  2. More of Green's arguments about the triennial survey.
  3. the graph of the triennial surveys
  4. an analysis of the mathematics of A.A., based on A.A.'s own publications
  5. AA triennial survey argument on craigslist
  6. a spreadsheet about the Foxhall Group's retention rate.



[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Hetu-Ahin3 ]

Date: Wed, April 11, 2012 12:30 am     (answered 12 April 2012)
From: "Hetu-Ahin"
Subject: just fyi

Size: 3 M
Type: application/pdf

Thanks for the propaganda. You can divide all such papers about the success of Alcoholics Anonymous into two classes:

  1. Those that tell the truth
  2. Those that cite Moos and Humphries papers as evidence that A.A. works

You don't need to know anything else. As soon as you see Moos and Humphries cited as "proof" that A.A. works, you know that the document is lying propaganda. The International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction totally discredited that faked Humphries-Moos study for many failings like bad mathematics in calculating the A.A. success rate, no control group, mixed teachings (teaching 12-Step superstitions in CBT courses), cherry picking, self-reporting, unrealistic environments, and no actual valid follow-up.

We have been over this before, again, and again. See these letters where we discussed Moos and Humphries before.

  1. John McC. correspondence
  2. The International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction refutes the Humphreys-Moos study
  3. The Humphreys-Moos faked studies at the Palo Alto Veteran's Center
  4. more Moos
  5. and more Moos

Now this woman with a Ph.D. and a position at Berkeley has cranked out a paper that tries to declare that A.A. works great. I don't know whether she is totally ignorant of the facts of the matter, or whether she is deliberately lying to promote her favorite cult religion. She is wrong, either way.

Then, to make matters worse, she cited Project MATCH as evidence that "12-Step Facilitation" works. Project MATCH was another faked, mismanaged, study that was just a waste of money. I discussed it here, long ago:
Project MATCH was not a controlled study.

Then she did a "review of the literature". That means that somebody reads all of the propaganda, and believes it, and writes a paper that parrots what the lying propaganda says. A "review of the literature" from the Middle Ages will "prove" that the world is flat and witches are real. Well, that's what "the literature" says. All of the university professors and church authorities agreed that the world was flat, and bad women had sex with the devil and became witches. Now you can find a lot of papers from "experts" who agree that an old cult religion is the best cure for addiction problems.

Apparently, our universities have sunk to giving out Ph.D.s in boxes of Kellogg's corn flakes.

I am reminded of this quote: "To reason correctly from a false principle, is the perfection of sophistry." == Emmons

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

P.S.: I noticed that Katsukas was trying to discredit Dr. Jeffrey Brandsma's study by complaining that the non-A.A. group also got exposed to some A.A. meetings. If the CBT group got polluted with A.A. teachings, then that should reduce the differences between the A.A. group and the other groups. It should make the non-A.A. people binge drink more, just like the A.A. group. If all groups got exposed to A.A. meetings, then that would "wash out" the differences between the groups.

Thus, if we were able to "purify" the groups, and eliminate all A.A. influence from the non-A.A. groups (the CBT group and the control group), then that should make the results even more distinct and dramatic than they already are. There would be even greater differences between the A.A. group and the other groups. Instead of finding that the A.A. group was doing five times as much binge drinking as the control group (which is what happened), we might find that the A.A. group was doing seven or eight times as much binge drinking as the control group, because the control group was doing less binge drinking.

Likewise, instead of finding that the A.A. group was doing nine times as much binge drinking as the CBT group (which is what really happened), we might find that the A.A. group was doing 12 times as much binge drinking as the CBT group, because the CBT group was doing even less binge drinking, now that they are freed from all A.A. contamination.

But Katsukas did not bother to consider that. She just tried to dismiss the results that she didn't like.

Yes, her paper is illogical propaganda.

[The next letter from Hetu-Ahin is here.]

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

Canada Geese
Canada Goose Families on the shore

Canada Goose goslings

Canada Goose goslings
Canada Goose Goslings

[The story of Carmen continues here.]


Happy Friday the 13th. My favorite day. Those are usually lucky days for me.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters300.html#Jon_G ]

Date: Sat, April 7, 2012 11:28 am     (answered 14 April 2012)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: hi terrance

your photos are getting better all the time, did you get a new camera? whatever your doing it's looking great..

Hello Jon,

Thanks for the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you like the photos.

Yes, I got a new (used) camera, a real professional camera, a Canon 5D with a full-frame sensor. I really like it. Perhaps you were seeing some photographs from that.

Although, some of the spectacular photographs that I put online recently, like the "Goose Portraits", actually came from a little point-and-shoot camera, a Canon S45. That thing produces surprisingly good pictures too. And those little cameras are programmed to turn up the colors and contrast a bit, so that the resulting pictures resemble Kodachrome picture postcards with the spectacular over-amped colors. Some people really like that. I do too, sometimes. It's a choice: do you want true natural appearance, or pretty pictures? Both have their place.

If you are curious, you can tell which camera took a picture by the file name. I have a code system. You can see the file name by right-clicking on the image, which produces a pull-down menu in your browser. At least, it does in Firefox, and I'm pretty sure it also does in Micro$uck Explorer. Choose "View Image", and that opens the image in another tab or window. Then you can read the file name at the top of the screen.

The first letter, or the first few letters, of the file name identify the camera, and then the date follows. Then a unique identifier number and description follow that.

P = Olympus E-510 10 MPixel DSLR
C5D = Canon 5D full-frame 12 MPixel DSLR
CS45 = Canon S45 5 MPixel point-and-shoot
CSD780 = Canon SD780IS 12 MPixel point-and-shoot
NL18 = Nikon Coolpix L18 8 MPixel point-and-shoot
CS410 = Canon S410 point-and-shoot
OS410 = Olympus S410 point-and-shoot
CA95 = Canon A95 point-and-shoot
CSD750 = Canon SD750 7 MPixel point-and-shoot
CA630 = Canon A630 8.0 Mpixel point-and-shoot
no code letters, just the date, like "20070807_134029_0295.JPG" = Olympus D560Z 3 MPixel point-and-shoot

As you can see, I also have a lot of little point-and-shoot cameras (dozens actually) that I am experimenting with. They are very cheap at Goodwill. I started off with just a little 640x480 pixel webcam (which was pretty bad), and then got the Olympus D560Z, and used it for a year, and then grew from there. I'm always seeking a better camera, and a better lens. You can still get a lot of good photographs from those little cameras, under the right lighting conditions and with the right subjects. The one thing that you cannot do is screw a big telephoto lens onto the front of a little point-and-shoot camera. That is essential for photographing wildlife, so I'm always experimenting with telephoto lenses. I like to get old lenses cheap from Ebay and Goodwill. There is no other way that I know of to get great glass for only $20 or $30. (Almost everybody wants auto-focus and auto-iris and auto-everything nowadays, and the old manual focus lenses are cheap. You just have to learn which ones are really good.)

I just got an old, used, legacy Panagor 500mm mirror lens, which is a very odd beast, and it seems to be very good. Optically, it is built a lot like the gigantic Mount Polomar telescope: a large concave mirror in the back gathers the light and reflects it forwards towards a point in front of the camera. But then there is another smaller mirror in front that reflects the light back towards the sensor (or film). There is of course a small hole in the center of the large mirror to let the light through.

Because of the folded optical path, it is a short, stubby lens, which is very convenient. Those 500mm lenses are very long and unwieldy, especially the Asanuma ones (which I also have one of). Optically, that is actually a plus: the longer the lens, the less of an angle through which the glass is bending the rays of light, and the less chromatic aberation is produced. (That is where the colors rainbow at the edges of objects. The reds go in one direction, and the blues go in the other direction, and it makes for a poor-quality photograph. You don't want chromatic aberation.) So the very long Asanuma telephoto lenses are good for preventing that. But they are like three feet long, and carrying them around all day is inconvenient. And they are big heavy metal tubes, built like a cannon barrel.

But then, one of the beautiful characteristics of a mirror lens is that mirrors don't produce any chromatic aberation at all because the light never goes through a glass lens. The light is only reflected off of a mirrored surface. Cute trick, huh?

Mirror lenses are a mixed bag. If they aren't very good, they are very bad. Panagor is actually a retail name that was used by Kino Precision Optical Ltd. of Japan, which was a very good optics company. Kino made one version of the legendary Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm zoom lens, which many lens aficionados consider to be a world-glass lens. (I also have a bunch of their "Kiron" lenses, which was Kino's other brand name. They are also very good.) I chose this particular lens just because of Kino's reputation. So we shall see what Kino made. Preliminary testing, just a few shots in my yard, looks good.

So, today, now that we have beautiful day of sunshine for the first time in a week, I'm off to the wetlands to test out this new lens, and also see if I can find some stray goose eggs. A friend tipped me off that some of the female geese were just dumping their eggs in the middle of the road or beside the path. Some geese seem to be just dropping their eggs whereever they are when they feel like laying an egg. And some of the eggs had already gotten broken or eaten by a raccoon or weasel. I guess some of the female geese haven't gotten their heads wrapped around the idea of parenthood yet. If I find some abandoned goose eggs, I'll rescue them and hatch them out. This might get interesting.

Okay, I guess you just learned more about photography than you really wanted to hear.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     'Photographers — idiots, of which there are so many — say,
**     "Oh, if only I had a Nikon or a Leica, I could make great photographs."
**     That's the dumbest thing I ever heard in my life.  It's nothing but a
**     matter of seeing, and thinking, and interest. That's what makes a good
**     photograph.'
**       ==  Andreas Feininger (1906 — 1999)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters301.html#Jon_G2 ]

Date: Mon, April 16, 2012 7:21 pm     (answered 20 April 2012)
From: "Jon G."
Subject: Re: hi terance

wow so your really getting into it, love the quote from feninger , he's right it's not the equipment it's the eye , check out my site , i did photography for thirty years , then decided to paint and draw.. it's all seeing..


Hi again, Jon,

Oh wow. 30 years huh? Now I feel dumb, lecturing you about lenses.

Those photos look good. It will take me some time to look at all of them.

So now you have graduated to painting and drawing? I can see that.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There's nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.
**         ==  Ansel Adams

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