Letters, We Get Mail, CCCIII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Dri_Heaves ]

Date: Sat, April 21, 2012 3:13 pm     (answered 26 April 2012)
From: "Dri Heaves"
Subject: [Orange Papers] http://www.thefix.com/content/alcoholics-anonymous...

Dri Heaves posted in Orange Papers



Is Alcoholics Anonymous Negativity-Based?
Alcoholics Anonymous pushes members into believing that any deviance from the program is a slippery slope and a relapse is a slow death.
Negative? You betcha.

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*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The devil gets more help from fanatics than fools.
**        ==  Sam Chadwick

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Sam_S ]

Date: Sat, April 21, 2012 5:50 pm     (answered 27 April 2012)
From: "Sam S."
Subject: THANK YOU!!!!!

You have put together a lot of what I've been saying for YEARS!

I AM an adult child of two alcoholics, and I've seen AA do nothing for my parents, nor Alateen and Alanon do nothing for me. My first knowledge of "The Ala--s" came about when I was 12 and removed from my mother's home due to her drinking. Years followed of AA for her, Alateen and Alanon for me — all doing nothing because she CHOSE to drink the minute she was able to, and I had to make a life for myself, and no one in any group was offering me a scholarship or a job. That stuff I had to get on my own without their "help".

Now, in my forties, and my mother is sitting in a nursing home with Korsakoff's Syndrome (wet-brain in AA parlance), social workers and nursing staff constantly barrage me with "ACOA" and "Alanon" literature... "so you can take care of yourself".

Please. My life is only hindered by being the sole offspring of two irresponsible people. I've been otherwise successful. My life is only interrupted when I get a call that "mom's agitated, so we're going to have to medicate her", and "your dad's been arrested again, can you help?" No amount of "talking in group" or time spent changed my parents decisions, nor did it change the fact that I grew up on my own.

Do I feel responsible? No. Never did. Never will.

As an aside: I am not a teetotaler. I usually drink a glass of wine or two at night, and enjoy the occasional night of partying maybe twice a year.

Feel free to use this on your site. Please let me know if you plan any edits. Thank you for getting the word out.


Hello Sam,

Thank you for the letter and the story. I'm glad to hear that you survived the nightmare and are doing well. I'm adding your letter to my list of A.A. horror stories.

No edits necessary, other than abbreviating your last name and removing your email address.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#David ]

Date: Sun, April 22, 2012 3:46 pm     (answered 27 April 2012)
From: "David"
Subject: AA

I've been going to an AA meeting for seven months. I relapsed last week and went to my Sunday meeting today, where, it seems, I had been seen by one member of that meeting buying alcohol during the week. Nobody challenged me, or discussed it with me... I could have been buying drink for a relative (not so, but could easily have been as we did have guests the previous week and did buy drink for them). I was shunned and ostracised.

Is it the ultimate irony or the ultimate hypocricy for an alcoholic to be ostracised by Alcoholics Anonymous for drinking? It also breaks one of the cornerstone Twelve Traditions.

Clearly, this is not an honest organisation, it is some kind of self-congratulatory cult that can do serious harm.

You're welcome to publish this email without my personal address, of course.

Hello David,

Thank you for a candid letter. And I have to agree with you — their attitude is all backwards. They should be flocking around the straying sheep and helping them. But the much-bragged-about "unconditional love" sure does disappear fast when somebody breaks the rules, doesn't it? They act like drinking alcohol is a contagious disease. And of course you loose all of your Brownie Points and status, and you have to start over collecting coins at Day 1 again.

To change the subject, perhaps the correct word for your experience is not "relapse". In SMART, they call such an event a "lapse". One evening of drinking is not a full-blown relapse. (When I relapsed, I drank for 9 years, until the doctor told me that I was going to die. Not to brag like Crocodile Dundee, but now that is a relapse.)

In SMART, the attitude is, "When you fall off of the horse, you just get back up on the horse and ride it again."

And a lapse gives you the opportunity to examine your desires and your thinking. It can be a learning experience, and you can benefit from it. What were you thinking when you decided to go buy some alcohol? What did you want? What were your expectations of pleasure and consequences? How did your previous thinking lead to drinking?

It might help to examine the list of "Lizard-Brain thoughts" at the end of this file: The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster.

And if you want other people's thoughts and experiences with recovery, they are linked to here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now. And congratulations for continuing to work on your problem and get your life together, in spite of the lack of help.

== Orange

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

[The next letter from David is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Kimmarie ]

Date: Sun, April 22, 2012 7:19 pm     (answered 27 April 2012)
From: "Kimmarie"
Subject: Hello Terry

Hi and Happy Springtime,

I hope all is well with you. Just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for all you do to keep the website going.

I found your site 6 years ago when I was confused and distressed — after 10 years of AA meetings and very limited success in staying sober.

I am sober now and free of AA for two years now — the good news. I still smoke cigarettes — the bad news — but I will stop because I know that I can and I know that I want to feel better. Also, I don't want to suffer and die from a needless drug.

I still visit your site to read the new letters and re-read some of your chapters.

It has taken YEARS for me to get over the propaganda that had been drilled into my mind. When I relapse on cigarettes, I still hear myself saying "well don't stop too many things at one time — you can still smoke for a while." What a bunch of crap. The effects of that propaganda — powerlessness, etc., — are still amazing to me.

When I read some of the passionate letters from "steppers" (I don't know what else to call them, — they believe in the 12 step program, I mean what else can I call them?) — I think I just feel sadness. Then I get angry all over again — for having been one of them. For having been duped, basically, for a long time. I am an intelligent person. But they addressed my intelligence very early on — by telling me that I can be "too smart for this program." "Utilize — don't analyze" and so forth.

I occasionally wonder whether I would have stopped drinking earlier — if I had not believed so deeply in the fact that I was powerless and had so many character defects. I can't prove that WOULD have happened. Who could?

Anyway, these are just thoughts. I really just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that there are a lot of us. I can only speak for myself, of course, when I thank you for getting the truth out there and sticking with it for so many years. Something you said really resonated with me. You said that you were a hippie. etc., and that when someone wanted to change something... they would say, " Well you do it then and recruit whoever you need to get it done." I am paraphrasing your own words here, but you get it :-) My point is that you live by that adage — and I am pretty impressed. Actually, I'm VERY impressed. It is a model for what I do and I appreciate it more than you know.

BTW, I still love the pics of your geese and goslings — your wonderful sober hobby. Music is my sober hobby — and it rocks (so to speak:-)).

Have a great day (as you always say),


Hello Kimmarie,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety and freedom. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. I seem to remember you writing before, years ago. Is this you, here? For some odd reason, the name "Kimmarie" sticks in my head.

You say so much that I agree with. I won't just repeat it all. But I have to mention that, yes, teaching people that they are powerless is very damaging. It is the exact opposite of a true "self-help" group. In a real self-help group, you teach people,
"You are competent. You are strong. You are not weak. You can do it. Yay!"

And yes, quitting smoking makes you feel so much better. And it improves your health in so many ways — even indirectly.

By "indirectly", I mean things like exercise and activity. For the last several days, I rode my bicycle to the Fernhill Wetlands to photograph the new goslings nearly every day. Back when I was smoking, I just never did anything like that. I had not been on a bicycle in nearly 30 years when I got that bike last year. But now I ride my bike everywhere (no car at all), and get lots of exercise. Which is good. The doctor pointedly asked me about my level of physical activity during the annual checkup. And I was happy to tell him about my level of activity, and the good results from my medical tests showed it. And two friends who were not active just suffered for it. One came down with diabetes, and the other died of a heart attack. Not fun.

Something that really helped me to quit smoking and stay quit was understanding The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. Many of the crazy "Lizard thoughts" in the list at the end of the file are about smoking, like "Oh, we can have just one now. We have it under control. Just one will be okay." I got fooled by that garbage for 30 years, but I'm not getting fooled any more.

Oh, and about the hobbies, yes, photography is fun. Especially photographing wildlife. And it's a good reason to get out in the fresh air and sunshine. Coincidentally, my son and his wife are into bird watching. I tell him that I'm into it too, but I like to collect souvenirs: pictures of them.

And I love music too, and have several guitars that I plunk on, but alas, I'm better at photography than music. Sir Paul McCartney is in no danger of me replacing him.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Every day, one should hear some fine music, see a
**     beautiful picture, and speak a few reasonable words."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#William_N ]

Date: Mon, April 23, 2012 6:53 am     (answered 27 April 2012)
From: "william Noren"
Subject: Pet Peeve

Hi Orange, One of my pet peeves about AA is how they just made up a new definition of the word "insanity." In AA they tell you, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Baloney. Here's the real definition of insanity:

insanity [in-san-i-tee]
noun, plural insanities.

  • 1. the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. Synonyms: dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, aberration.
  • 2. Law . such unsoundness of mind as frees one from legal responsibility, as for committing a crime, or as signals one's lack of legal capacity, as for entering into a contractual agreement.
  • 3. Psychiatry . (formerly) psychosis.
  • 4.
    • a. extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness: Trying to drive through that traffic would be pure insanity.
    • b. a foolish or senseless action, policy, statement, etc.: We've heard decades of insanities in our political discourse.

I suspect they did this to somehow fit this into their crazy vision of recovery. I can't get over how this entirely made up definition has become "fact" simply because it's been repeated over and over so many times. We should not allow the steppers to reinterpret our language to make it fit their cult lexicon.

I feel better now LOL.
Bill N.

Hello again, Bill,

Thanks for the letter. Quite right. They redefine words and load the language. That is a common cult characteristic, and Dr. Robert J. Lifton included it in his list of brainwashing techniques (here).

Here is the Cult Test question on that item:

In addition, the word "insanity" has special meaning in A.A., because it was one of Dr. Frank Buchman's redefined words, and Bill Wilson just copied the language from Frank Buchman. In Buchmanism, people who lived their own lives as they chose, rather than being a slave of Dr. Frank Buchman, were "insane", and only the people who lived lives that were "Guided by God" (read: guided by Frank), were "sane". Then Buchman had things like, "The Five Procedures of the Sane" and "The Six Practices of the Sane" which Bill Wilson rewrote into the 12 Steps.

So the word "sanity" has been redefined in Buchmanism/A.A. for a long time.

Incidentally, the word "sanity" in Step 2 has that double meaning. To beginners, the "insanity" was drinking so much alcohol that it was killing you. But to A.A. true believers, the "insanity" was living a life not Guided by God.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Oh Great All-Powerful Winnie-the-Pooh,
**     There's no Higher Power quite like you.
**     Upon my knees I humbly pray
**     that you keep me sober just for today.
**     And now the whole wide world can see,
**     that I've been restored to sanity!
**     Amen.
**        ==  John

April 22, 2012, Sunday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose gosling
Gosling munching bread

Canada Goose gosling

Canada Goose gosling

Canada Geese father
No, he wasn't running away in fear. He just suddenly got the idea that he wanted to go join his brothers and sisters munching the grass.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#John_McC ]

Date: Tue, April 24, 2012 10:41 am     (answered 28 April 2012)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Your "story" in the "Spring, 2012 SOS International Newsletter!

Hi Orange,

Just read your story in SOS's latest newsletter (Spring, 2012 edition). PLEASE do these two things:

1.) Put it on the "OP Forum" — ASAP!

2.) Put it on the "OP site" — ASAP!

Yours is the FIRST non-"drunkalogue" I have ever read. Sounds like you have had an interesting life! You are an excellent example of SECULAR sobriety attainment! Don't ever forget that, and keep doing what you do-the "Orange Papers" especially!

Best wishes,

John McC.

P.S. — YES, put this letter on the "OP" in your "Letters" section! ;)

Hi John,

Thanks for the compliments.

Just a minor note, I found it in the Winter edition that is featured on the front page of the SOS web site.

But for what it's worth, here it is:

Autobiography of "Orange," Author of "Orange Papers"

Jim Christopher asked for a biography. I'm tempted to start by using Bill Cosby's line, "I started off as a child." Well, I did.

In writing a biography, there are a lot of things that I could say, or leave out. In this case, I think I'll concentrate on those things that seem relevant to my later career as an alcoholic or recovered ex-alcoholic, or critic of cults and bad therapy.

I was the son of an authoritarian alcoholic military sergeant father who, to put it bluntly, made our lives miserable — a living hell. I grew up all over the world, in some pretty nice places sometimes, like Puerto Rico, Guam, and Germany. Nevertheless, the major goal of my life at that time was just to survive my childhood and get away from my parents.

I finally succeeded when I transferred to the University of California at Berkeley. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that by then my head was so messed up that I was carrying the seeds of my unhappiness within me, and just changing locations didn't fix much. I started planning suicide as a way of ending the pain. I was sitting on the outside edge of a railing of balcony on a university dormitory hall a dozen floors above the concrete, telling myself to "Just push off. Just end it," when a little voice said, "You still haven't tried LSD. You wanted to try LSD." So I climbed back onto the balcony, and went and got some LSD. What I learned from the first trip was that I wanted to live. It wasn't like a big instant enlightenment trip or anything, in fact it was a rough trip, but I still came out of it with the realization that I wanted to live, and needed to find a way to end my pain other than suicide.

Thus began a very long strange trip. I dropped out of the university, which immediately made my draft status 1-A, and the Vietnam War was going on then, so within several months I got my draft notice. At the same time, my father was pulling strings with a friend who was a recruiter, and I suddenly went to the top of the Air Force waiting list, and I went into the Air Force the same day as the Army was going to draft me. That was another kind of hell. I ended up getting myself kicked out of the Air Force because of opposition to the war, and faking suicide attempts.

I went to Taos, New Mexico, and worked for a few hippie businesses before moving onto a commune up in the mountains, and spending years there, building a log house, and swinging an ax and a chainsaw. That was a good experience, and it was then that I first felt like a real man. Friends there started a rock'n'roll band, and managed to blow up one of their amps by wrapping a blown fuse with aluminum foil, and I repaired the amp, which started my career in electronics and instantly made me the band's sound engineer. (I was self-trained in electronics, but had never considered it anything but a hobby — at least, my parents didn't, because I was going to be a biologist — but it turned out that the ability to fix electronic things was a very handy trade to have, one that supported me many times over the years.

At the same time, I met a wonderful woman who became my wife and mother of my son. We left the commune to do a rock band, but that fell apart, so my wife and I went through a variety of experiences in various places from North Carolina to Philadelphia to Oregon, ending back at Taos, where the marriage broke up and I went and got a job at Los Alamos. Yes, the Los Alamos where the A-Bomb was created. I asked for work in solar energy, but Reagan had just become President and he cancelled all of Jimmy Carter's alternative energy projects, so I ended up in nuclear security.

That sounds insane, putting an old hippie in nuclear security, but if you think about it for a while, it's brilliant. It's just like the old KGB trick of having everybody distrust everybody else, and everybody is watching everybody else. They knew my attitude about nuclear weapons, and they asked me, "Do you want this stuff loose on the streets, or in the hands of terrorists?" I answered, "My big objection is that you don't have all of it buried about two miles down." They said, "Yep, you're our boy." And they put me in nuclear security, and I won't talk any more about that.

At the same time, I started drinking. Previously, I would never have more than one or two beers per day. In fact, I didn't start having even one beer per day until I was 29. Then, we had moved to Oregon and I worked as a TV repairman and I'd come home from work and hold my new son in my lap and have one tall cold one while my wife finished cooking dinner. It was like the image of perfect responsible drinking. But now things changed, and I started drinking to excess. I think there were a lot of factors there, including the breakup of my marriage and the loss of idealism. There was just something a little depressing about going from the commune to Los Alamos.

After a few years, I just had to leave Los Alamos. It was a wonderful technological Disneyland, and it launched me on a new career as computer programmer. I just had the opportunity to learn computer science there, so I took full advantage of it. But the environment was just too weird. It seemed like a lot of the people there were suffering from a sort of low-grade chronic paranoia. Well, I guess so, if nuclear annihilation is sort of the subject of your job on a day-in, day-out basis. I had to get away and hang out with "normal" people.

I moved to Albuquerque, and worked as a TV repairman and computer programmer for several years, and the drinking just slowly increased. One or two beers after work turned into four, then six. And then with whiskey sips as kickers. Things came to a head when my ex-wife demanded that I quit drinking and stay quit for the summer if she was going to send my son to spend the summer with me. I said, "Okay." I didn't think it would be any big deal. I would just quit, and not drink for the summer.

I also went to my first A.A. meeting, and announced my intention to quit drinking.

The second evening without drinking, all hell broke loose. It started with me getting antsy and frantic, and attacking the fridge and nearly pulling the door off, looking inside for a drink. There was just coca-cola in there, so I had one, and then another. Then I went to bed. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, my brain started buzzing like mad. Then I started seeing swirling sheets of energy in the air, and I started shaking and twitching and jerking, and found myself going into DT's. It got pretty bad, and I was having such violent seizures that I nearly ripped a tendon off of the thigh bone at the knee. It hurt for years afterwards.

I knew that something was wrong, but I knew that I just couldn't get out of bed and crawl to the telephone and look up a number and dial it on a touch-tone phone to ask for advice or help. My hands were shaking too much, and I'd never get the number right. So I just laid in bed and rode out the storm. Then it got weird. I was convinced that there were evil spirits hiding in the dark corners of the room, and if I lowered my guard and fell asleep, they would get me. So I didn't dare go to sleep. It was a long night. Finally, in the pre-dawn hours, I passed out and slept it off.

And woke up feeling pretty good. But then, around noon, it started again, especially the stomach cramps. It came and went in waves. I alternated between agony and ecstacy. When the pain let up, I was high as a kite, practically tripping. I just laid on the couch and rode out the storm.

Then, at a moment when the pain let up and I got high again, Robert Palmer's song "Addicted to Love" came on the radio:

Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is what it takes
You can't sleep, you can't eat
There's no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another kiss is all you need
Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff,
oh yeah
It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough,
you know you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to love

I had to laugh. Just substitute the word "alcohol" for "love," and that was a perfect description of what I was going through. "Might as well admit it, you're addicted to alcohol." In some perverse sort of way, that became one of my favorite songs.

I also went to three more A.A. meetings, the first one being that evening. I was still shaking when I went to an A.A. meeting and asked for advice and help. I got both good and bad. A woman advised me to eat lots of ice cream to soothe the stomach cramps, and drink lots of orange juice to restore my electrolyte balance. Unfortunately, she also told me that I didn't really go into DT's. Now she really had DT's: she went into convulsions and they had to tie her down to the bed for three days. I just probably had a minor reaction to quitting drinking, she said. That remark would cause me a lot of trouble three years later.

That experience impressed me enough that I stayed sober for the following three years. I went to a couple more A.A. meetings at the local A.A. clubhouse, and heard the usual raps. When I asked one of the old-timers how the program worked, exactly, and what I should do, he just grinned and said, "Keep coming back."

I decided that they were nice people and everything, but I didn't want to spend the rest of my life sitting around talking about drinking, so I just went my own way and just kept myself sober by not drinking any alcohol.

Three years later, I was living out in rural New Mexico, and I completely missed my third anniversary — that is, my third year of sobriety. I looked at a calendar one day and realized that my third anniversary had been a couple of weeks earlier.

Then I had a very dangerous thought: "It shouldn't be this easy." That is, A.A. propaganda had told me that real alcoholics were in constant danger of relapse, and had to call up their sponsor every Saturday night, crying that they are about to relapse. And then the sponsor comes and holds his hand and keeps him from drinking. I went through none of that. After the first few weeks off of alcohol, I didn't even have any cravings.

So I thought, "It shouldn't be this easy. Maybe you aren't really an alcoholic at all. Maybe that counselor who said you were was just trying to fill her quota for the month." I didn't do anything right then, but a seed was planted in my mind.

A couple of months later, a friend was having a birthday party. It was beer and whiskey everywhere. He emptied the fridge of everything except beer, and the only rule was, if you took the last beer of a six-pack, you had to put a new six-pack in the fridge from the huge stack against the wall. There was a bottle of whiskey on every table.

I still didn't drink for most of the night. Then it occurred to me that I could have just one beer. "You have it under control now. Three years of perfect sobriety, with no cheating whatsoever. You have a handle on it now. One beer won't hurt."

Then another little voice said, "No, you're an alcoholic. Think about what happened when you quit. Going into DT's? Not an alcoholic? Who are you kidding?"

Then the first little voice said, "Oh, that wasn't DT's. Remember what that woman at the A.A. meeting said, 'Just a minor reaction to quitting.' Now she really had DT's. She went into convulsions. You didn't do that."

The first voice won out, and I had a beer. That tasted so good that I had another. It was like coming home. Oh yeh. Then I had another. Then the party broke up, and everybody went home. I wanted to go get some more beer, but the liquor store was closed. It was late. I went home and went to bed. And woke up, and the first thought in my head was, "Go get some more beer."

I held out until noon, and then went and got a six-pack. I told myself that I could have two a day, and make the six-pack last for three days. The six-pack was gone by four in the afternoon.

The same thing happened the next day, and the next. Then I noticed a pattern developing, and that worried me, so I quit for a couple of weeks. Then a friend drove in with a full cooler in his trunk, and held up a tall cold beer, and asked, "Want one?," and I said "Yes!" And that was it. I never looked back. I drank for another nine years, and it just slowly got worse.

Nine years later, I was living in Portland Oregon, and making a living as a free-lance web programmer. For a while it was really good, but when it was good and I had lots of money, I would party, and that took its toll. I slowly got sicker, and it took longer to get over each binge. In the end I got so sick that I couldn't work, and I got behind on the bills. I got so sick that I fell into a very depressed state where I thought that the situation was hopeless. No sense in trying to quit drinking or smoking, you'll just relapse again. I would wake up sick, and a little voice would ask, "How long do you think you can go on, being chronically sick like this?" I guessed that I had about three years left to live. I figured that there was nothing to do but stay stoned and kill the pain until the bitter end. The title "Dark Night of the Soul" seems relevant here. Been there, done that.

Then they turned the utilities off and I got evicted. That was actually a blessing in disguise. Being out on the streets was a better place to be. And it gave me the opportunity to see that the drinking routine just wasn't working out very well. In addition, my doctor had told me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." And I knew that he wasn't joking. I thought about it for a month, and I decided to quit again. And I did.

For me the magic moment was when a friend took me out for pizza. I had already sort of decided to quit drinking, had resigned myself to quitting, knew that I had to quit. Out on the streets, I had tapered off and pretty much drank nothing for the previous week, but had taken a few sips when people offered me hits off of their drinks.

Then my status as a veteran got me a place in a homeless shelter and I was slated to start an outpatient alcoholism treatment program in a few weeks. Then a friend showed up and offered to take me out for pizza. At the pizza parlor, I ordered pizza and a beer. I sort of figured that just one wouldn't hurt, or some such thinking. Then a little voice inside me said, "If you are really going to do this thing, if you are really going to quit, then let's not be fucking around." I changed that order for a beer to a lemonade. And that was it.

That was more than 11 years ago, and I haven't had a drink since.
[UPDATE: 2014.10.20: Now it's 14 years.]

And then another education started. I went through that "treatment program" that consisted of three "group therapy" sessions per week, and acupuncture to supposedly reduce our cravings, and at least three A.A. or N.A. meetings per week, and of course the mandatory urinalysis tests where they assume that you are a criminal who is trying to put something over on them. Almost all of the staff were former addicts in 12-Step "recovery."

I had a slowly dawning realization that something was wrong with the whole thing.

The "counselor" parroted a lot of slogans like "I'm teachable today. I don't know if I will relapse tomorrow. Your addiction wants to kill you." His instructional material was xeroxed from a Narcotics Anonymous training manual, and was the workbook instructions for doing a "First Step" that was not a First Step at all. It was more like a Fourth Step where you confess everything you have ever done wrong.

When one of the other clients mentioned that he was reading Jack Trimpey's "The Small Book," the counselor snapped, "What?! Isn't that the one without a Higher Power?" Then he explained that the Rational Recovery stuff required recognizing thoughts, and it was so difficult and confusing that you will die before you figure it out, so don't mess with it.

In another "group therapy" session, I mentioned the fact that a dozen years earlier, I had quit drinking, all on my own, and stayed quit for over three years. The counselor declared that I had not had a period of "recovery," that I had only been "abstaining," because "I had not been dealing with any issues." The counselor had not bothered to ask about my past, other than to ask how many A.A. meetings I had gone to before (only 4, ever), so he had no way of knowing whether I had dealt with any "issues." He simply assumed that I had not, and declared that I had not. He was wrong, totally wrong. You don't just quit and stay quit for three years without dealing with all of the issues, problems, and hassles of real life. Nobody gets a free 3-year vacation from all of their problems just by abstaining from both beer and A.A. meetings. (Heck, that would be a great recovery program if you could do that....) Then, when I wanted to debate that point, he changed the subject and wouldn't discuss it.

Only later did I learn that such behavior is typical of properly-indoctrinated A.A. true believers. They will always declare that you are not "in recovery" if you are not attending their Twelve-Step meetings and doing their Twelve Steps. You are "only abstaining" from drinking alcohol, or "only dry," but not "sober."

Likewise, when I told the story of going to the A.A. meeting and the woman advising me to eat lots of ice cream for the stomach cramps, and to drink lots of orange juice to restore my electrolyte balance, the counselor cut me off, saying, "Trying to get intellectual on us now, are you?" Apparently, for him, using any words more sophisticated than a sixth-grade education was apparently "getting intellectual."

I continued going to A.A. and N.A. meetings, and continued to overlook the goofy stuff. Some people were obviously pretty far out there on the religious angle. I thought that was a bit much — I'm not into public displays of religiosity — but I could live with it, because I'm not an agnostic or an atheist. When people were saying things that were obviously crazy, I just thought, "Well, whatever. If believing that stuff helps them to keep from drinking, then okay, any port in a storm."

Then, a friend remarked that some people had accused A.A. of being a cult. That got me to thinking. Then I stumbled across Charles Bufe's book, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult or Cure?, in the public library, and that was it. The dam burst, and a giant wall of water swept across the landscape. So I read a lot of books and articles, both pro and con, and did a good bit of investigating, as well as attending a whole lot of those mandatory Twelve-Step meetings, both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

I came to the conclusion that Alcoholics Anonymous is really just a cult religion, one that passes off its proselytizing under the guise of alcoholism treatment, in just the same way as the Church of Scientology sells its cultish psychobabble and techno-babble nonsense as self-improving psychotherapy. And Narcotics Anonymous is just another clone of A.A. And so are all of the other 12-step "self-help groups."

I also noticed that the treatment program had a terrible success rate. Every week, our group had fewer and fewer members. We started off with two dozen people, and when it got down to six, I started making jokes about this being a game of "Survivor," and wondered who would be the last one left on the island. I was pretty sure it was going to be me, because I was determined to stay quit and recover. I had simply decided that I was not going to die that way, treatment program or no treatment program.

But it was heartbreaking to see the people who were not helped. One young woman whom I couldn't help but like had accumulated 9 months off of alcohol when she relapsed. Her true-believer building manager (where she was housed, in a program,) sentenced her to 90 meetings in 90 days for relapsing. When she cried at a meeting that she was so tired of getting sucked back into drinking, and ending up waking up with strange guys, but she was having a problem with "giving herself completely" to the 12-step program, one of the resident true believers announced that the answer to all such problems is "Do The Twelve Steps, Get A Sponsor, and Read The Big Book."

Well, it didn't work. She relapsed repeatedly, and they kicked her out of the program.

The last time I saw her, she was drunk on the streets, and fishing for a guy to buy her drinks. Since she was young, tall, slim, and very pretty, she had no problem getting some guy to buy her an unlimited stream of drinks (in trade, he hopes, for getting her into bed). If she continues on that path, it's only a matter of time before she gets AIDS and dies. What a tragic waste.

She was only one of the first of many whom I saw get into trouble and disappear.

That was when I noticed that those who needed help the most got the least. And those who needed the least help got the most. I, for example, had no great difficulties keeping myself sober, and never slipped or relapsed or failed a drug or alcohol test, so I was congratulated and given the best of everything. Those who were the sickest were condemned for not following the rules, and "choosing to drink" or "choosing to pick up," and they were kicked out of the program and thrown out on the street.

A.A. is forever declaring that alcoholism or "addiction" is a "disease," not a "moral stigma," but as soon as people get into a 12-Step treatment center, they are accused of "choosing to relapse." Suddenly it isn't a disease anymore, it's a choice. The contradiction is glaring. "It isn't the fault of the treatment program, they chose to use."

Now personally, I think that using or relapsing is a choice, but that rules out the idea that alcoholism is a disease, and the poor alcoholic just can't help it. So the whole idea that they are "treating" a "disease" needs some rethinking.

I just couldn't help but think that there must be some better way to handle such problems than a method that is obviously not working, the currently-used 12-step program. I couldn't help but think that a lot of people might be better off if they got some other treatment or therapy besides cult religion and voodoo medicine.

Well, I "graduated" from the treatment program anyway. I had some luck there. My "counselor" had a medical problem and had to take a leave of absence. He was replaced by another fellow who was much nicer, and he handed out slips of paper that listed SMART meetings. I had never heard of such a thing, so I went and checked it out. It was like a breath of fresh air. Some common-sense sanity instead of crazy slogans. I switched to going to SMART meetings and only went to A.A. meetings to pick up the "sobriety medallions" when they came due. I just wanted to show that I was still making it (as if any of them cared).

I also never did that N.A. "First Step" where I confessed everything that was wrong with me. And I never got a sponsor, as instructed by my "counselor," and I never did the 12 Steps. I just kept myself sober by not drinking alcohol.

At first, I thought that I would stay sober for just three months, and get myself together. But at the three-month point I was actually sicker than when I started. The homeless shelter was a breeding ground for germs. I got like four kinds of the flu, one after another, and then bronchitis, and was so sick that I just had to quit smoking. I simply couldn't breathe any more. I couldn't even smoke a cigarette without going into a half-hour-long coughing fit. So three weeks after I quit drinking, I also quit smoking. I got even sicker, and came down with pneumonia. Ouch! I decided to stay sober for a year.

Well before the one-year point, I decided to make it three years. And then, before the three-year point, I decided to make it for life. The more that my head cleared, the more that I could see how much damage was done. Like it took five years to get my short-term memory back.

And wouldn't you know it? That dogmatic counselor, the first counselor, actually advised me not to quit smoking. "If you put too much on your plate, something might spill off."

Fortunately, I ignored his advice and quit smoking anyway. And I'm so glad that I did. I haven't had a cigarette in over 11 years now, and my lungs are clear and I am healthy and love to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
[UPDATE: 2014.11.13: Now it's also 14 years without a cigarette. Oh happy day.]

It was another year before I ran into a fellow alumnus of the treatment program, and he told me, "Hey, did you hear about Harry? (the slogan-slinging counselor) He got busted for child pornography." It turned out that there was a whole lot more to it than that. He was arrested for, and convicted of, two counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor, child pornography, and possession of cocaine. He had cocaine in his home, his car, and in his office at the "treatment center." After a day of lecturing us about how to live clean and sober lives (with the help of a "Higher Power"), he would go home, snort cocaine, view child pornography on his computer, and then screw his step-children. They sent him to the Snake River Correctional Facility, at Ontario, Oregon, near the Oregon-Idaho border, for several years.

About the Orange Papers: I never intended to do a web site. I thought I would just write up a 30 or 40-page term paper on why it was inappropriate to use the 12-Step cult religion as a government-funded treatment program for drug and alcohol problems. One thing led to another, and it got larger than 40 pages.

Why do I do this Orange Papers project? Simple: It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. I kind of got stuck with the job.

I was involved in the anti-war movement back in the early seventies. If someone spoke up at a meeting and said, "Somebody should do something about this...," then the meeting chairman would immediately answer, "Right. You are now the head of the committee to do it. Recruit whatever helpers you need, and get it done. Next issue." People quickly learned that saying "Somebody should do something" was a sure-fire way to get stuck with the job.

Well, when I saw the hoax that is called "drug and alcohol treatment," I said, "Somebody should do something about that...." And I felt the big Fickle Finger of Fate pointing down at me.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved
**       but a reality to be experienced.
**         ==  Aart Van Der Leeuw
**     Each moment of our life, we either invoke or destroy our dreams.
**     We call upon it to become a fact or we cancel our previous instructions.
**       ==  Stuart Wilde

P.S.: My slogan-slinging child-raping Stepper counselor was just rearrested for failure to register as a sex offender. The story is here.

April 22, 2012, Sunday: Fernhill Wetlands:

Canada Goose goslings
The goslings are munching greens. That is their main diet. A goose will tell you, "Grass. It's what's for dinner."

Canada Goose goslings
A gosling is resting in the shade of his father. It was a hot sunny day, so the goslings were using their parents as shade trees.

Canada Goose goslings

Canada Goose goslings
The babies are eating bread. By the way, bread is just big grass seeds cooked up extra special. Goslings like grass seeds too, because they are much more nourishing than just blades of grass.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Linda_J is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Linda_J ]

Date: Mon, April 23, 2012 10:20 pm     (answered 28 April 2012)
From: "Linda J."
Subject: Re: Thanks.

Meant to tell you, — the day you replied to me, our morning news show here carried a story about boot camps for Australia.

This was being peddled by a one time rock star Angry Anderson — a biker looking guy who would make bikers ashamed, because he is an Ultra Right conservative!

He felt he had all the answers and was backed by a Liberal (would you believe that our Right Wing party is called liberal?), politician who felt these camps could be run by 'ex-military' types...

I rang the station and told them to do some research on US boot camps where the idea got started, and at least put up what could go very wrong.

They didn't. Why spoil a good story when you have a bunch of rotten kids that 'need discipline'.

What a world. What a life form we are.


Hi again, Linda,

Yes, the range of the human race — from devilish to angelic, from moronic to genius — is incredible.

Hopefully, we can still get the word out. We just have to keep at it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Tough Love: Abuse of a type particularly gratifying to the abuser,
**     in that it combines the pleasures of sadism with those of self-righteousness.
**     Commonly employed and widely admired in 12-step groups and treatment."
**        —  Charles Bufe

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Ray_S ]

Date: Tue, April 24, 2012 4:53 pm     (answered 28 April 2012)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: Re: [Orange Papers] http://sites.google.com/site/clutterersanonymous/H...

Ray Smith commented on Kate Latham's post in Orange Papers.

Did you see that "underearners anonymous" link I posted?:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2131696/Under-earners-anonymous-Never- decent-pay-rise-work-Then-self-help-group-solution-problems.html%23ixzz1shJ5ZkPH

To comment on this post, reply to this email or visit:

http://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2Faorange%2F345013605561814%2F& mid=6013a40G25f2680eG9ff59fdG96&bcode=BNyxQAJS&n_m=orange%40orange-papers.info

Hello again, Ray,

Yes, isn't that a laugh? Now you can go to 12-Step meetings and confess that you don't earn much money because you are such a jerk.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
**       ==  Henry Fielding (1707—1754)

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Thu, April 26, 2012 3:01 pm     (answered 28 April 2012)
From: "Meatbag"
Subject: Re: More comments

I don't doubt in the least some people are just evil.

The medical model does damage to people with disabilities in many ways. Lumping in evil people with people with mental illnesses is just one such way. How is the latter group supposed to get much in the way of civil rights or be treated as a human being when they're associated with the former group, especially when they're likely to be victims of the former group? There is also nothing psychiatry can do for evil people, since there is no cure for evil, though some evil people do reform.

"Big Nurse" is an apt comparison.

And I found Gas Light creepier than any horror movie I've ever seen. Slashers are fun, but the monsters are never as scary or realistic as Paul Mallen.

Sorry to hear about your friend that got arrested for having marijuana. That had to have been a horrifying experience.

Have a good day. I hope the weather is still nice. No snow here in the south, but it's getting chilly.

Hi again, Meatbag,

I have to agree. Sentencing sex offenders and violent criminals to A.A. meetings (like here), just lumping them all together, makes it even more difficult for alcoholics to get any help or respect. It also makes the A.A. meetings even more dangerous. Never mind the fact that the 12 Steps don't work anyway, now people have to protect themselves from the other people at an A.A. meeting.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed,
**      no matter which side he's on."
**        ==  Joseph Heller, Catch 22, 1961

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

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Last updated 19 November 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters303.html