Letters, We Get Mail, CCCI

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

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

Date: Sat, April 7, 2012 8:27 pm     (answered 16 April 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: More comments

Wow, that sucks, especially since you like going outside. That might be too much rain for even the geese. Hopefully, you at least get a real summer.

Hi again, Meatbag,

I got a break: Saturday and Sunday were sunny enough to get out to the wetlands and get some pictures. And get a little sunburned. And find an orphaned goose egg. Then, Sunday night, it rained again, and it's cloudy now.

Yeah, that explains a lot. Just out of curiosity, what does Kirsch say about atypical anti-psychotics? That's the other psych med I'm on. Unlike the antidepressants, it actually seems to be helping me. Then again, placebo effect, and I'm pretty sure being out of a college environment helps a lot. I hope tech school is better for me than college was.

I don't recall Kirsh saying anything about anti-psychotics. They are obviously a whole different kettle of fish. I'm sure that a very good case can be made for some anti-psychotics. Depression is highly subjective, but whether somebody is having a psychotic episode isn't just a matter of opinion. Anti-psychotics have changed a lot of people's lives, and changed the whole environment of mental hospitals.

Of course, it would be rather difficult for me to stop the antidepressants. That would make me a bad patient, and I might get put in a mental hospital again. The last time I was in one wasn't too bad (staffed with nice, well-intentioned people), but they did insist on putting patients on what were effectively sedatives (even my psychiatrist admits it). Those things dropped my systolic blood pressure down into the 80s. My blood pressure does tend to run low, but not that low. The nurse often refused to give me those meds for that reason.

Bummer. There is still a bit of quackery everywhere.

Yeah, prosopagnosia is fun. It's even more fun when you're bad at learning names. If someone acts like they know me, I just play along. And distinctive features are great. (Hmmm. Terrance Hodgins. Oh yeah, he's the guy with long hair and beard who looks like a hippy version of Santa and often has geese near him.)

Yes, I've done that "play along" thing too. Somebody walks up to me, and talks to me like he knows me, and I play along. "Yeh, hi, good to see you again." (Never say how long it's been since I've seen him.) Then, when he walks away, another friend asks, "Who was that?", and I say, "I have no idea." Sometimes it makes for a strange reality. Sometimes it feels like that Arnold Schwarzegger movie "Total Recall".

Fortunately, that is happening less and less now, as the brain damage heals.

The doctors just can't quite agree on what my exact diagnosis is. Doctors I saw as a child say I have PDD. The doctors at the mental hospital and my psychiatrist say Asperger's. The people who tested me at Georgia Southern say PDD-NOS, and that I don't qualify for an Asperger's diagnosis since I had a speech delay as a child. Of course, the people at the mental hospital didn't ask what age I met a particular childhood milestone at. Amazing how many names there are for the same damn thing. I guess you could argue that I'm different from what I was when I was 3 (but then, who isn't?), but there's really not much difference between me at 16 and me at 18.

Yes, the whole thing of slapping names on things is a funny human habit. People think that if they have a name for something that they know what it is. The truth is, they don't know any more than they did before. They just have a label to stick on the thing.

And then another common human failing is to confuse the labels with the reality. That is similar to the logical fallacy of Confusion of Abstractions with Reality. The Zen Buddhists have a saying that is something like, "The seven colors destroy one's sight." What that means is, when somebody memorizes the names of the seven colors, then he sees everything in terms of those words. That causes people to overlook the almost-infinite fine shadings of color in everything, colors that don't fit into the categories. Almost nothing in the natural world is just pure primary and secondary colors, but people will still think, "Red, yellow, blue, green...".

Similarly, trying to put labels on mental conditions can limit perception of the actual condition. And which label? I am reminded of a quote from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, where they talked about the difficulty of slapping labels on mental states. (Look here.) They talked about Limitations of the Categorical Approach, and said, in part,

In DSM-IV, there is no assumption that each category of mental disorder is a completely discrete entity with absolute boundaries dividing it from other mental disorders or from no mental disorder. There is also no assumption that all individuals described as having the same mental disorder are alike in all important ways. The clinician using DSM-IV should therefore consider that individuals sharing a diagnosis are likely to be heterogeneous even in regard to the defining features of the diagnosis and that boundary cases will be difficult to diagnose in any but a probabilistic fashion.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision, American Psychiatric Association, pages xxxi, xxxii.

So, sometimes, what names you get is a crap-shoot, and nobody should take the names too seriously.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I was feeling very depressed, and thinking about suicide.
**     So I called the local Suicide Hotline. My telephone call was
**     rerouted to an answering service in Pakistan. The people there
**     were very excited when they heard my story. They asked if I
**     could fly an airplane."

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

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

Date: Sun, April 8, 2012 7:52 am     (answered 16 April 2012)
From: "HUGH G."

Hello again.

I have heard it said many times in A.A. that 'the first thing you have to do if you want to stop drinking, is to stop drinking'.

Members as a rule will also not work with those who are drinking and tell them that they need to be sober before they can work the steps.

My own experience is that I stopped drinking 2 months before I went to A.A.and I had to stop smoking before I could consider myself a non-smoker.

What do the steps have to do with drinking?

Hugh G.

Hello again, Hugh,

Congratulations on both quitting smoking and drinking. It sure does feel better, doesn't it?

I also quit drinking two weeks before going to an A.A. meeting. And a very pro-A.A. book, Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous, by Nan Robertson, 1988, let drop the revelation that most newcomers to A.A. had already quit drinking. (But A.A. will still claim the credit for their sobriety anyway.)

Thanks for the question about the 12 Steps. And the answer is simple: The 12 Steps have nothing to do with quitting drinking. The 12 Steps are just the practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion, called "The Oxford Group". Dr. Buchman declared that people were separated from God by unconfessed sins, so his cult was really big on the confession routine. People would confess their all of their past sins to their sponsors, and to the whole meeting. Dr. Buchman also declared that the Age of Miracles had returned, and people could communicate directly with God in "Quiet Times" (after they had confessed enough). And Dr. Buchman said that people must "Surrender to God", and be Guided by the Will of God. And Dr. Buchman said that people had to form groups and go to meetings all of the time.

To get the 12 Steps, Bill Wilson just wrote down the practices of the Oxford Group, and declared that they were a cure for alcoholism.

More than half of the 12 Steps are about confession. Starting at Step Four, and continuing through Step Ten, the proper A.A. member must write a list of all of his sins, wrongs, moral shortcomings, and "defects of character", and confess everything to Man and God. Then he must make another list of everybody whom he offended or harmed or pissed off, and go confess and apologize again. Then, Step Ten says that we must continue to prompty admit when we are wrong, again.

Then there are the other odd things, like declaring that you are powerless and insane, and "surrendering to God", and conducting a séance and imagining that you hear God talking to you and telling you what to do, and then going and recruiting more members for the cult.

That has nothing to do with quitting drinking, and everything to do with getting brainwashed into being a good cult member.

Date: Tue, April 10, 2012 8:45 am     (answered 16 April 2012)
From: "HUGH G."

Hi again.

Some years ago it was said that there were approx. 200 different organisations using some interperation of the 12 steps as the basis for recovery from the problem that they specialised in. I do not know if this number is or was anywhere near the truth but there are certainly a lot of different 12 step groups out there. One A.A. meeting I attended briefly, shared their venue with a Humans Anonymous group. I have no idea what they thought their problem was but I have always regretted not going along just the once so that I could stand up and say 'my name is Hugh and I'm a human'. About this time a friend and I were thinking of starting an Apathy Anonymous group but in the end we couldn't be bothered.

I also heard that 200 number some years past. I'm not sure if there are really 200, but it is believable. My list of "anon" 12-Step groups that I've been able to track down and verify numbers 82. Some of them are absurd and ridiculous, like Clutterers Anonymous and Underearners Anonymous and "The Other Man/Woman Anonymous". And some are tragic mistakes, like Diabetes Anonymous, and Hep C Anonymous, and Schizophrenics Anonymous. As if listing and confessing your sins could cure those things.

With so many 'problems' being 'treated' by the 12 steps don't you think that it's time for Heart disease, Cancer, Dementia, Strokes etc etc to be treated by the 12 steps, perhaps under the watchful eye of trained medical staff. I work in a National Health Service hospital in England ( I know! it's a communist plot — free health care on demand but our government is doing it's best to put an end to it. ) I have a menial non medical job which takes me all over the hospital and I often see and hear doctors and nurses dealing with life threatening illnesses and I am sure that they would just love to be able to heal patients with some step work and a few meetings. It would work wouldn't it?

Hugh G.

Oh yes, right. Why not a "Heart Attacks Anonymous", where you confess that you got yourself a heart attack by being selfish and egotistical and "sitting on the pity-pot" and ignoring the Will of God?

And in Cancer Anonymous, you can confess that you didn't confess enough, or surrender enough, so it's all your own fault that you got cancer...

But what I really want is "Old Age Anonymous". I mean, if all things are possible with God, then surely 12-Step meetings can be the Fountain of Youth, can't they? I want eternal youth. (Or at least a few million years of it...)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You can get more stinkin' from 12-Step thinkin'
**         than you can from drinkin'."

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

Date: Fri, April 6, 2012 6:23 pm     (answered 16 April 2012)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: Rockefeller reimbursement

Ran across this trying the verify a stepper's claim that Rockefeller was paid back;

1942: Board Trustee A. LeRoy Chipman asked John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his 1940 dinner guests for $8,500 to buy back the remaining outstanding shares of Works Publishing Inc. stock. Rockefeller lent $4,000, his son Nelson $500 and the other dinner guests $4,000. Rockefeller's custom was to forgive $1 of debt for each $1 repaid. The money was to be repaid out of the Big Book profits at a later date. Two years later the Big Book sales had done so well AA was able to pay off the whole Rockefeller loan. (AACOA 189, BW-FH 110-111, SM S7, S13, LOH 148, Note AACOA says $8,000)


Hello Ray,

Thanks for the tip. What nobody has mentioned is that Bill Wilson was cheating the investors. People had bought stock in the One Hundred Men Corporation, or Works Publishing, in full belief that they would share in the profits if the publishing venture was successful. That is what they were promised in the stock prospectus to get them to hand over their money. But the investors got zero percent of the profits. They risked their money, and they got no returns. When the book started selling, Bill Wilson redirected the profits to the "Alcoholic Foundation", whose biggest "office expense" was supporting Bill Wilson.

More on that here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Bill Wilson on alcoholics:
**     "They are not at fault. They seem to have been born that way.
**     They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a
**     manner of living which demands rigorous honesty."
**       ==  William G. Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 58.

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

Date: Thu, April 12, 2012 3:54 am     (answered 20 April 2012)
From: "adrian s."
Subject: Mind numbing clichés

Hi Orange,

AA is well known for using clichés to replace old thinking, so I figured given that your site is dedicated to deprogramming from AA, it was time someone collated some comebacks to counteract the effects of AA's mind numbing clichés......

Snappy comebacks to the mind numbing clichés used in AA:

  • Even the worst alcoholic can go one day without one drink.... but even the worst alcoholic can also go one day without one meeting.

  • Day at a time.... People can stay sober for many years without going to meetings.

  • Nothing happens in God's world by mistake.... It's just that I wouldn't trust someone who intentionally created malaria, ebola, AIDS and cancer. Hmmm..... guess He never heard of duty of care or foreseeable harm.

  • People who don't go to meetings don't find out what happens to people who don't go to meetings..... because they're too busy getting on with their lives to listen to idle gossip.

  • You are powerless over alcohol..... just like you are powerless over traffic lights turning red, but sane people realize that they have a choice whether they drive through a red light.

  • Believing in a higher power will restore me to sanity.... to the same extent that believing in unicorns, the Easter Bunny or the deities of any other extinct civilization would make me sane.

  • Just for today... I'm going to do something productive with my time rather than sit in a room full of people with questionable sanity pretending that I'm too sick to work.

  • Think, think, think...... Use your brain rather than blindly accepting what AA's big book says is gospel truth.

  • You're only as sick as your secrets..... Which is why it's probably not a good idea to share your most regrettable behavior in a room full of people, some of whom gossip and have far more sordid secrets than yourself.

  • Keep it simple.... if you think that complex thought has been superfluous in bringing humanity from the stone age to a post industrial society.

  • One is too many and a thousand is not enough... A.A meetings that is.

  • 90 meetings in 90 days..... is 135 hours of your life that you'll never get back.

  • You can always tell an alcoholic but you can't tell him much..... The same could be said of surgeons, professors and other people with a well-developed intellect.

  • Faith chases away fear. Unfortunately it also chases away consequential thinking and rational thought.

  • Cunning, baffling, powerful, and patient...... are all anthropomorphisms that alcoholics often apply to their own dysfunctional thinking.

  • How does it work? It works just fine..... unless you're one of the many that got indoctrinated with magical thinking, learned helplessness and self abasement.

  • Easy does it.... if you want to end up like the loafers that sit in day meetings wasting their lives.

  • Let go and let God..... It worked really well for the Jews under the Nazi regime.

  • Have an attitude of gratitude.... or at least pretend to because when life throws you a great misfortune or injustice, venting your anger or asking for help might burst someone else's bubble.

  • Unity, recovery and service... were core values according to George Orwell's Big Brother in 1984.

  • I can't, He can, so I think I'll let Him.... 'cos I'm pretty sure my petty woes take priority over genocide, disease epidemics, terrorism and the other evils of the modern world that He has such a good track record for helping out with.

  • Don't drink, don't think and go to meetings...... 'cos if you start thinking independently you might see through AA's para-logic, stop going to meetings and thin out their numbers. Then where would their little cult be?

  • Keep coming back, it works if you work it.... is an old ruse that has been used by shonky carnival amusement operators for decades.

  • A new comer is someone with less than five years sobriety..... unless an older member needs someone vulnerable to prey on for sexual gratification.


Hello Adrian,

Thanks for the laughs and the good thoughts. That goes well with the morning cup of coffee.

Have a good day now.

P.S.: I just updated and expanded my list of A.A. slogans, and they now number 865. Good grief! I don't know of any other cult on Earth that has so many slogans.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        Think, think, think!
**        Stop your stinkin' thinkin'.
**        Utilize, Don't Analyze.
**           ==  A.A. slogans

Sunday, April 15, 2012: Fernhill Wetlands

broken Canada Geese egg
A raccoon or weasel got this goose egg, just broke it open and ate the insides. The mother has abandoned this nest. She may try again in a better-hidden nest.

mud flat The mud flat where I found the abandoned goose egg. It was lucky that I found it before the raccoon did. I was so excited at finding the egg that I forgot to take a picture of it on the ground before I picked it up.

Canada Goose mother nesting
Canada Goose mother nesting
Now here we have a mother who is sitting on her nest, and guarding her eggs very closely. And the father is always nearby, standing guard. I don't want to approach any closer to get a better picture. It would just upset her. I thought about putting the abandoned goose egg under her and letting her raise it, but it would scare the hell out of her to have me messing with her nest, and she could even freak out and abandon the nest. So I'm not going to get near her nest and frighten her.

Canada Geese father
The husband of the Canada Goose mother nesting
He is always close by, keeping her company and guarding the nest. But he never actually sits on the eggs himself. He never gives her a break so that she can go out and forage for food. She pretty much starves for 35 days while she sits on the eggs. Now I have fed him. I can throw bread to him and he will come and get it. But the female won't. She won't leave her nest. And unfortunately, he has no instinct to pick up a piece of bread and take it to her.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

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

Date: Thu, April 12, 2012 10:20 am     (answered 21 April 2012)
From: "Jennifer C."
Subject: The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy thanks for writing this. that's all really.

I came across.. oh, dear lord, I just realized my spell check is off and don't care to look about how to find it. Bear with me. I have respectable insights, but terrible grammar.

I read your article, assuming I'm emailing the author, The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy. I must say, it was in my best interest that I did.

My father drank. A lot. He drank becuase he preferred to be drunk, and then eventually developed a physical dependence on it because he prefered not to withdrawal. This went on for some time until he was near death and sought some sort of rehabilitaion unasociated with AA. Currently, he may or may not drink. I don't know. I'm almost thirty and have too many of my own concerns to give it too much thought. He's alive and takes all sorts of silly risks in other areas. So it goes.

I find it odd that AA offers no solution other than remaining dependent on a program. It's like trading one addiction for the other. Maybe the underlying premise is really alcoholics will always be addicted to something so it might as well be a cult.

Thanks for writing this and it's encouraging to find someone who rationally challenges AA. Because, really it needs to be.

Hello Jennifer,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I can certainly sympathize. I had an alcoholic father too.

When you say that your father "takes all sorts of silly risks in other areas", that hints at the underlying mental problem. It isn't what they call "alcoholic thinking", it's really something else.

Yes, trading one addiction for another seems pointless. And having a second addiction that consists of putting yourself down for the rest of your life seems worse than pointless, it seems self-defeating.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**          Tricycle Daily Dharma, May 21, 2011
**          Lovingkindness on the Long Path
**     It's a given that we don't want to feel the fear of unworthiness, but
**     at some point we have to understand that it's more painful to try to
**     suppress our fears and self-judgments, thus solidifying them, than it
**     is to actually feel them. This is part of what it means to bring loving-
**     kindness to our practice, because we are no longer viewing our fear as
**     proof that we're defective. Without cultivating love for ourselves,
**     regardless of how much discipline we have, regardless of how serious
**     we are about practice, we will still stay stuck in the subtle
**     mercilessness of the mind, listening to the voice that tells us we are
**     basically and fundamentally unworthy. We should never underestimate the
**     need for lovingkindness on the long and sometimes daunting path of
**     learning to awaken.
**       ==  Ezra Bayda, "The Three Things We Fear Most"
**           http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/the-three-things-we-fear-most

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

Date: Sun, April 15, 2012 8:00 pm     (answered 21 April 2012)
From: "sc"
Subject: You are mistaken

...and an idiot...id take the chance to live by spiritual priciples in AA anyday, over your bitter, cynical and ignorant point of view. I hope someday you realize the harm you could be doing to others by ...you know? It's just not worth the words....good luck and God bless.

Hello SC,

Thank you for the comments. Alas, you are mistaken. There are no "spiritual principles" in A.A. "Fake It 'Till You Make It" and "Act As If", and "Dole out the truth by teaspoons, not buckets" are not spiritual principles. Neither are "List and confess all of your sins and defects of character and moral shortcomings and confess it to your sponsor and an A.A. meeting."

The 12 Steps are just some cult practices that Bill Wilson copied from Frank Buchman. Unfortunately, those cult practices do not work as a cure for alcohol abuse or addictions. They produce very bad results.

The cultish accusation that I am doing harm to those poor pathetic helpless alcoholics by telling them the truth is an old one. Look here for the list of previous accusations.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

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

Date: Sun, April 15, 2012 10:06 pm     (answered 21 April 2012)
Subject: Hi
From: "John A."

Thank you for the Bill Wilson article. I find your logic worse than what you attempt to define A.A. as, but it was fun.

Hello John,

Unfortunately, you did not give any specifics. You gave no examples of what you thought was bad logic. You just made a completely unsubstantiated slur that was supported by no facts at all. And of course the "fun" term is obvious sarcasm, another standard propaganda technique.

So what are you talking about? The A.A. history? The A.A. failure rate? The A.A. cult religion? What? Do you have some facts that you would like to discuss?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
**        ==  Senator Patrick Moynahan

April 21, 2012, Saturday: Fernhill Wetlands:
NEWS FLASH: These pictures are slightly out of order, but I have to jump to this: The first gosling babies of the year. One family came out of hiding with five cute little goslings. This is definitely not the mother that I showed you in the previous picture, she is still nesting. More pictures of her follow. And the story of the orphaned egg that I found, which is now incubating, and looking promising, follows.

Canada Geese
Canada Goose Family with newly-hatched goslings, cruising
There are really 5 babies there. The fifth one is hidden behind the father, who is leading.

Canada Goose goslings
Five New-born (or new-hatched?) Goslings

Canada Goose goslings
The parents are eating some bread that I threw to them.
They are very wary, and won't come near me with their babies, but they will eat the bread if I throw it to them.

Canada Goose goslings
Five goslings, milling around, both following Mother and being curious about everything

Canada Goose goslings
Five goslings, rushing ahead
These new babies are so eager to explore and find good things to eat that they are fearlessly rushing ahead of their parents.

Canada Goose goslings
The 5 Canada Goose Goslings, cuddling up against Mother
The family came ashore a ways away from me. They let me approach, but only so far. They were okay with me keeping my distance and throwing bread to them, and photographing them with that telephoto Panagor mirror lens (500mm, F/8) that I was testing out.
(I like the results from that lens. All six of these pictures were made with that lens, the first five with the Canon 5D body, and the last one with the Olympus E-510 body, which gives greater magnification because of the small "Four-Thirds" sensor.)

By the way, the weather was beautiful here this weekend, finally, and even hit 80 degrees. And today, Monday, promises to also be beautiful and hit 80. I see on the TV news that the East is getting clobbered with snow. Well I'm glad to see that we are getting our fair share of sunshine, just for a change.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

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

Date: Sun, April 15, 2012 4:57 pm     (answered 24 April 2012)
From: "Mr. Green"
Subject: Very Interesting Stuff!!

Mr. Orange,

I like the sound of that. Makes me feel like we're in a Quentin Tarantino movie. From now on, I will always be Mr. Green to you...if that's OK?

Hello Stephen,

Thanks for the letter. You can be Mr. Green if you like, but I must warn you that a couple of other people are also using the name "Green", including this "Agent Green".

I am a member of AA, and pleased as such.

However, I must admit, that your thinking on some of these matters is clearly aligned with mine.

I will forever want to puke when confronted with the self-serving, domineering asshole who clearly suffers from low self-esteem and delusions of grandeur who wants me to believe that I am totally powerless over my character defects (as if they couldn't be fixed by better behavior), and that I should just pray to his all-powerful Easter Bunny to have them removed after naming them individually and calling them into being privately before greeting the day with a pure guttural utterance of "fuck you!" Usually the guy who recommends this as a course of action is a stern or stoic looking SOB who only laughs at his own jokes and talks about the 3rd step as if it were a "blood-covenant."

I run into plenty of these folks in AA. Some have been sober a long time. Others have been programmed briefly by these guys and wind up getting drunk again, and it appears they are totally confused.

I have aligned myself with a different breed of AA Member than the one I just described and I am sober, happy and feel quite fulfilled.

I think AA has a wonderful built-in opportunity to be of service and I have learned how to live in a much more respectable manner.

Our beloved circuit-speaker Clancy I. (who appears to be a totally narcissistic controlling bully of an alcoholic, imagine that) has a great saying. It goes like this: the one limiting factor in Alcoholics Anonymous is that it is full of alcoholics!! So true. But who else would we get to come to our silly little meetings!

The truth is that some alcoholics are sicker than others. Some are just casually sick with a life-threatening disease that only exists while the sufferer is drinking. They can stop drinking and then stop running a muck fairly easily with limited support. They can actually take the first 3 steps (or leave them) and just quit getting loaded; resulting in a much more manageable and satisfying life.

Others of us (I include myself in this category), don't seem to be able to stop drinking or drugging of our own volition without the support of others and a structured program of life recovery. It's sad, but it is true. Furthermore, many of us suffer from mild to severe cases of mental illness. I was at least 90% crazy when I got to AA and I'm certain that I'm down to less than half!

Yes. In fact, I think that you will find that the mental illness issue is one of the biggest causes of alcohol abuse. While the effect of "group support" on cases of mental illness is highly questionable, there is no doubt that the 12 Steps are not any kind of good treatment for mental illness. The 12 Steps increase the death rate.

**     "Sitting around talking about being depressed with depressed
**      people does not make you better."
**         ==  National Public Radio, 1:23PM, 23 November 2009

One other thing, the 5th step is often misunderstood (most especially by those in AA). After we make our "moral" inventory, which is just an honest look at our patterns of behavior (and I feel it should later be accompanied with an asset list), we then share, as a matter of confession (and that is certainly a powerful word, but I use it anyway), our errors and wrongs with another human being as a cathartic activity. The sponsor or step-guide, if he is caring and humble and responsible, will then share his past crap and hopefully some of his current difficulties too, in an effort be just as honest as the man who has probably rather fearfully spilled his guts. Most people in life (anywhere, anytime) are unwilling to do that. It's too scary. When done appropriately it makes for a very powerful experience. More importantly it should give a person the opportunity to stop hating themselves (and others) quite so strongly. Resentment and self-obsessed neurotic fear are powerful foes in anyone's life — but the alcoholic (or addicted person's) response to those things seems to be really obtuse. In some cases, deadly.

The 5th Step is still not good psychotherapy. It drives some sick people to suicide. I keep hearing that "cathartic" term in defenses of the 12 Steps, but I keep hearing about the deaths and the suicides from correspondents. Constantly listing and confessing everything that one has done wrong does not improve one's self-image. I've never seen one valid clinical study that shows that the confession routine improves cases of mental illness. But there have been studies that show that the A.A. routine increases binge drinking, and increases the death rate. It is easy to say that the 12 Steps "give people an opportunity to stop hating themselves", but is that what they really do? The evidence says otherwise.

In fact, the standard A.A. routine is to habitually put oneself down, and that isn't healthy. I was at one A.A. meeting where, when it was my turn to "share", I spoke about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. I read out loud a lot of the goofy thoughts of Lizard Brain — his excuses for "just having one" — that are listed here — things like:

  • It's been so long since I've had one, I have it under control now.
  • I can do just one; it will be okay.
  • Let's just have one for old times' sake.
  • Ah, for the good old days, when we could just kick back, and put our feet up, and do whatever we wanted to do.
  • We deserve to have a good time. We've worked so hard for so long, and put up with so much suffering and hardship, we richly deserve some of life's little pleasures right now.
  • Even if it does cause a little damage, I've been off of the stuff for so long that I can afford a little damage now.
  • I can do a few now without getting readdicted. It will never again have a hold over me like it used to.

I spoke about how I straightened out my thinking, and wasn't getting fooled by those thoughts any more. The young woman who spoke after me just had to turn it all around and declare that she was glad to hear that she wasn't the only one whose thinking was "all fucked up". She completely missed the point that the idea is to rise above such bad thinking, to carify one's mind, not to wallow in self-criticism forever and laugh about how fucked up her thinking is.

I have found the 12 steps to be difficult but rewarding.

You know, that sounds like just about every true-believer convert to any cult religion. They all claim that "The Path" is difficult but rewarding. Try the "Moonies Path", or the "Scientology Path", or the "Hari Krishnas Path". Same rap. And when those paths don't work, the standard excuse is, "The Path doesn't work for everybody. Some are sicker/less ethical/more evil/more sinful/less evolved than others."

All of your writings (those which I have read anyway) remind me of some important things:

  • 1. AA does not work for everybody.
  • 2. We in AA should not feel as if we are, or purport to be the only solution for alcoholism.
  • 3. We should stay true to the "suggestive" nature of the steps.
  • 4. We should never try to control another person's experience, only act as guides.

The only one that I feel like arguing with is the first one. Is there actually any evidence that A.A. really works for anybody? Or is A.A. just stealing the credit for those few people who were going to quit anyway? (I have even had some A.A. members try to claim that my sobriety is due to me having attended some A.A. meetings.) Remember that "some are sicker than others", like you said. Those drinkers who are not so sick will quit by using their own will power and inner strength and determination, and then A.A. will claim that "The Program works". And with the sicker ones who don't recover, the excuse is "A.A. doesn't work for everybody".

Also, you are right about the flawed nature of our founders. I certainly don't ever stand a chance at successfully running for a political office without a major cover-up. So many of our members treat the Big Book with a sense of orthodoxy, and they revere it's early leaders as saints. That's just not true. I appreciate your historical perspective and I agree with the facts. I differ in opinion slightly... I think it proves the amazing power of the program (not it's founders) that we have been able to grow so large, so rapidly and provide a recovery opportunity to sufferers on a world-wide basis, despite the flawed nature of so many of our individual "leaders." The same could be said of almost any church, hospital, or stray-rescue pet society that operates on basic altruistic principles and manages to maintain longevity.

We agree there, mostly. The A.A. history is pretty sordid. But I don't agree that "The Program" has "amazing power". The A.A. organization has just been amazingly good at lying and deceptive publicity for 75 years now.

I am disappointed that you and others have had a lousy experience in AA, because it has been so beneficial for me.

Again, a subjective feeling that you like it is not evidence that it actually did anything good for you. Tom Cruise loves Scientology too, and feels that it improved his sanity. And Mel Gibson loves A.A...

I wish we were all perfect. But then, we wouldn't need AA (or a so-called Higher Power)!!

If only I could win the Powerball...then I wouldn't need God or AA!!

Well, from what I hear, many of the Powerball winners ended up needing God more than ever. Right after they blew their winnings.

I will continue to read your papers with interest.

But, until I resign, I am an alcoholic (of the AA variety), and grateful to be one.

Peace my friend,

Mr. Green

You have a good day too.

Date: Mon, April 16, 2012 5:08 pm     (answered 24 April 2012)
From: "Mr. Green"
Subject: Re: Very Interesting Stuff!!

Mr. Orange,

One other thing. I made this statement: AA does not work for everybody. That's because not everybody is alcoholic, and not all alcoholics work the AA program (not even the ones who are in AA). Furthermore, I believe the 12 steps can and will work for ANYBODY to help them recover from their particular brand of brokenness. Spiritual principles work...period. You made a great list of practical spiritual principles.

  • Thou shalt not steal.
  • Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  • Those shalt not lie.
  • Those shalt not deceive others in order to get them to join your religion.
  • Thou shalt not commit murder.
  • Play fair.
  • Be nice.
  • Never forget a debt; always forgive a debtor.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Love thy neighbor as thy self.
  • Love thy God as thy self.
  • Be tolerant of your friends' and neighbors' faults and weaknesses.
  • Look for the best in others, not the worst.
  • Never miss the opportunity to do someone a kindness; always skip the opportunity to be unkind and cause someone pain.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Do not take part in racism or religious bigotry.
  • Honesty is the best policy.

That's a great list of guiding principles. My wife especially likes the "stitch in time," because she is very busy, productive and efficient!! My two favorites are the honesty and tolerance principles. But how do you BE that type of person who practices those principles if your life is totally defunct and broken. My belief is that the 12 steps will clear a path to make that type of living available. I was too broken to just spontaneously stop thinking and living like a fool. I mean what if you violated most of those principles on your list? How do you muster the strength to just give a shit and change everything right now? It took/ takes effort for me to place myself in a position where I can receive all the gifts that life has to offer. If you or anyone else is able to place yourself in that position I think that's great. I needed some help. I don't resent you or anyone else for recovering in a different fashion. I'm just grateful that AA (with all of its flaws) was/is available for me. I don't think we're killing alcoholics — alcoholism is killing alcoholics. AA doesn't always do the best job of carrying it's own message. I mean really, we're relying on a bunch of poorly trained volunteers. But we're doing the best we can, and there are no statistics to prove or dis-prove it. There are no viable statistics on rates of recovery for ANY drug or alcohol addiction. We're an impossible crowd to sample.

You're an interesting guy, based on your writings.

Feel free to call me anytime.

Mr. Green

Thanks for the compliments.

Again, the 12 Steps are just Bill Wilson's copy of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman's cult practices for recruiting and indoctrinating new members. They are not tools for "spiritual progress", or getting your life together, or curing insanity, or quitting addictions. They have the nasty effect of inducing feelings of guilt, powerlessness, covert fear, and dependency.

And actually, there are plenty of valid statistics about recovery from alcohol abuse or drug addiction. The excuse that there are no valid statistics is another A.A. escape trick. Instead of admitting the real A.A. failure rate, they run and hide behind the lie that there are no valid statistics. Look here for some statistics: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment. And note that the U.S. Government and the National Institutes for Health have spent a lot of money getting some valid statistics.

By the way, the claim that there are no valid statistics, and we can't know anything for sure, is the propaganda trick called Antirationalism. It's another way to attempt to dodge some unpleasant facts.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     'After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one
**     to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman,
**     "Lies — damn lies — and statistics," still there are some
**     easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest
**     cannot wriggle out of.'
**       ==  Leonard Henry Courtney, the British economist and politician
**          (1832-1918), later Lord Courtney, New York, August 1895.

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

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

Date: Fri, April 13, 2012 8:50 pm     (answered 22 April 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: More comments

Just noticed your letter from Linda. I don't think it's fair to describe all abusers as insane. Many are sane. Some are very sane. So sane as to drive their victims insane, by gradually weakening every mental defense the victim comes up with, chipping away at the victim's sense of self-worth, until the victim feels both defenseless and worthless. If the victim is lucky, they would realize that their abuser is, in fact, an abuser. But it takes a lot more luck to convince anybody else of that. And heaven forbid you want anything done about it.

Hi again, Meatbag,

Yes, I was just thinking about that in the last couple of days. We are accustomed to saying that a pervert or criminal abuser is "sick", and "mentally ill", and shy away from the word "evil". I think some TV program that I saw recently had someone saying something like, "Some people are just truly evil." That got me to thinking.

In past times, like in the times of Charles Dickens, the popular sentiment seems to have been that there were the good, virtuous people, who deserved to be rewarded, and there were the bad evil people, who deserved to be hanged. In our modern age, we tend to see everything through the filter of the medical model, and we see bad behavior in terms of mental illness. (Stanton Peele called it "The Diseasing of America".) We are reluctant to say that some people are just evil.

But what if there are some people who are just evil?

Then, you have situations like this
(Feel free to include the link. I don't think she has anything to piss off the AA true believers, and she's dealt with worse.)

That sounds true. She communicates the feeling well. Doesn't it remind you of "Big Nurse" in One Flew Over the Kuckoos Nest? With a smile, she asks, "How are we feeling today?" ...while actually being the most condescending monster around.

By the way, have you ever seen Gaslight in either film or play form? If you haven't, start here...

There. Finally found a working version of the 1940 film. I knew it had to be public domain by now. Here it is:

That movie is chilling. Deliberately driving someone mad is cold. But then again, so is murder for rubies.

Wikipedia provides an accurate description, but it's better to show than tell.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Ninety percent of all mental errors are in your head.
**       ==  Yogi Berra (1925 — ), Sports Illustrated

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

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Last updated 26 December 2013.
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