Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXLIII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Rational_S ]

Date: Fri, February 15, 2013 10:02 pm     (Answered 18 February 2013)
From: "Rational S"
Subject: Hello Orange.

Hello Orange.

I have written you some time ago. I read all your letters, and you have helped me immensely break away from the cult, and group like thinking of the 12 step religion.

Breaking away from the cult as a social function has seemed to be harder then I thought. A year ago I became fully aware that the 12 steps are fake. Due to relationships I have made as well as the habit of going to meetings, has made it much harder for me break away from. I was going thru this phase of trying to enlighten people to how much nonsense AA is. I tell many people to check out the orange-papers. The bottom line is they just tell me, "This is a 12 step fellowship" and they don't want to hear anything requiring critical thinking.

In March I will be celebrating 9 years. I intend to quit AA Cold turkey at the end of March after I celebrate. I intend on staying completely sober, as I have for almost 9 years, completely on my own will power. The problem with leaving AA is the years of propaganda telling me that I was powerless has conditioned me to live with constant fear.

I do not wish anyone to feel the emptiness that drinking and drugs has caused, nor the sense of self loathing that AA subjects on its members. I just want to live a Happy and normal life again. Thanks for giving me a little bit of hope Orange.!!!

Over the last year I have been visiting a psychologist, because even though it is irrational, I am so full of fear that if I stop going I might drink, or die or go insane. Most of the time that I spend with him I go off on a big rant against AA.

I did have a moment of clarity just last week. I was so bored, as work is slow this time of year, I went to a noon meeting. The format was a reading from "As Bill Sees It" The title of the paragraph was "No one has ever thought themselves sober" I might be paraphrasing, but it was the worst war on self bullshit I have ever read. Reading that one paragraph has opened my eyes to what a total manipulative jerk Bill Wilson was. It was designed for the entire purpose of building up a sense of self hatred, and low self esteem. What also gets me is that there are a lot of otherwise good people there who are being taken totally advatage of. The literature makes people nuts, and it destroys self esteem. I hope that I can recover from recovery. LOL!!

Anyway, As a person who reads your site a lot, I have noticed in past letters a lot of discussion on Jung and his collaborations with the Nazis. Do you feel that Jung has not contributed anything in the field of Psychology despite his ties, and Pro-Nazi sentiment? In college Jung was required reading alongside Freud. (Freud himself was not immune to scandal) Do you think that Jung was over-rated, or that his contributions to psychology had any merit despite of his scandals?

Rational S

PS please withold my real name and email address. People in the cult are so nuts I don't want a Rabbit's head on my lawn!!!

Hello Rational,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are free and doing better. Congratulations. Yes, breaking away from the social circle is hard. (See the signature below.) Refuting bad ideas is much easier than feeling all alone and isolated. The best fix for that that I can think of is to go find another group, or several groups, to hang out with. It could be anything — a sports team, or a chess club, or a political club, or a university night class in music, art, or basket-weaving, or anything. The point is to just find some groups of people that do things that you enjoy doing. Then you won't be so alone.

You are quite right about the self-hatred thing. Bill Wilson just ranted and raved hatred of alcoholics non-stop. I think it was really projection. Bill hated his own weakness and addictive behavior, so he argued, "Look at that disgusting alcohol! We are all like that." I have a whole file full of that stuff: The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy. On top of that, the constant put-downs are good for making newcomers become weak, subservient, obedient, self-doubting members of the cult.

Carl Jung is a mixed bag. I can't help but feel that he is over-rated. When I was reading biographies of him, I learned some things like: In the morning, Jung's assistant Jolande Jacobi would interview the patients and discuss things with them, and suggest things, and plant ideas and images in their minds. Then in the afternoon, Carl Jung would interview the same patients, and find "universal archetypes" in the minds of his patients. No, they weren't universal archetypes, they were just the ideas that Jolande planted a few hours earlier.

That blows away a lot of Jung's "research" and "discoveries".

Now does it totally discredit Jung's ideas? No, I don't think so.

I have very mixed feelings on that subject, because twice, I had some stunning experiences of getting mystical images that I had no rational or explainable reason to get. The first time I got tripping-and-passing-out high on marijuana, I saw a circular mandala that was the wheel of life. All of birth and life and death was in this big wheel that slowly rotated. But I wasn't into Eastern religions or mysticism yet. So where did that image come from?

And then, the first time that I died and left my body on acid, I saw an angel with four faces that faced 90 degrees apart (like one faced north, and one south, and one east, and one west). I had never seen anything like it. Thirty-four years later, I found a stone sculpture of that angel in a shop on 6th Avenue in Portland, Oregon, that had been taken (stolen?) from a temple somewhere in India or Southeast Asia. I could see from the broken base that the head and neck had been snapped off of the body of a larger sculpture. Unfortunately, it was already sold to someone else and I didn't have any money anyway.

Again, where did those images come from? Are there really universal archetypes? I suspect that Carl Jung may have been onto something, but there are immense problems with him making too many false assumptions and arbitary judgements, including his endorsement of Nazi psychology and condemnation of Jewish (Freudian) psychology.

Those people who wish to follow the whole debate about Carl Jung can find it at these links:

  1. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters2.html#Carl_Jung
  2. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters13.html#Rowland
  3. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters16.html#Rowland
  4. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters67.html#Rowland
  5. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters245.html#Rajiv_B
  6. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters249.html#Andrew_M
  7. http://orange-papers.info/orange-letters286.html#Jung

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We are social beings.  We are absolutely hard-wired to fit in.
**     We don't want to be outsiders.  It causes neurological stress.
**       ==  M. Heffernin, "Willful Blindness"

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Erik_M ]

Date: Thu, February 14, 2013 6:56 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Erik M."
Subject: thank you

I have had problems with alcohol since I was legally able to drink. Had DUIs. Sentenced to programs to take AA. Everything you say here is so true. People have no idea what is really going on in AA. Most believe it it a professional recovery program.

The "counselors" who work at these DUI schools are just AA cult recruiters. It's evil to watch them prey on people who are in a helpless position. A guy is in a DUI class because he got caught at a check point. He's technically over the limit but he did not get stopped for bad driving. Now he is being confronted by some former gang member who fancies himself a "drug counselor" because he has an Associates Degree from a community college. An Associates means he was able to squeeze by basic math and english courses. He understands nothing of the statistics he quotes. He's barely literate. But he's going to lecture this person on the "relationship with alcohol."

Illiterate Pseudo-Counselor: When did you first drink?
DUI Industry Victim: As a teenager in high school I got drink a few times.
Illiterate Pseudo-Counselor: Oh so you've been an alcoholic since you were a teenager. Drinking since you were 16.
DUI Industry Victim: It was a few times in high school. Just like anybody else. I was a curious teenager.
Illiterate Pseudo-Counselor: Drinking since you were 16, now you're 38. So 22 years of drinking. I'll just write that down in the file.
DUI Industry Victim: Not every day! I talking about a few times a year. Getting drunk on big holidays or celebrations. Like the rest of the human race!
Illiterate Pseudo-Counselor: You've had a relationship with alcohol since you were 16.

I honestly think these people are evil. Evil bullies. This former gangbanger gets off on being able to have some power over the middle class people he thinks screwed him.

This Tuesday was 32 weeks with no alcohol. 100% No AA. Longer than anytime I was in AA. I'm not a "dry drunk" and I am confronting my issues and not blaming myself for everything.

Thank you for this resource whoever you are. You do know the truth. The stuff here was written by someone who was obviously involved in these groups.

Hello Erik,

Thank you for the letter and all of the compliments, and I couldn't agree more. And congratulations on your sobriety. That's really good, and it will improve your life so much.

Now I don't want to brag, but I have 12 years of sobriety now, and I don't go to A.A. meetings at all, either. I only went to them for about 3 months because I was required to. Then, when I learned that I could go to SMART meetings instead, I switched over to them because they were such a breath of fresh air, and you could tell the truth, and nobody jabbered crazy cult religion dogma at you. But I haven't gone to any kind of meetings in 9 or 10 years now. I just live.

By the way, you might like SMART, or SOS. You can learn some useful things there. They will give you some real tools. I know that A.A. likes to brag that they will give you "the tools you need to stay sober", but that's a bunch of bull. As one wit said, "When A.A. says that they are going to give you the tools you will need to maintain sobriety, what they mean is: 'Here is a pocket knife, toenail clippers, and a lighter. Now you have all of the tools you need to change a flat tire.'"

Speaking of tools, there is one web page that I recommend above all others for staying sober, especially in the first year: The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. Please read that, just for giggles and grins. It can't hurt.

And here is a catch-all of other discussions about what helps and how to do it: How did you get to where you are?

I also went through a voluntary outpatient rehab "treatment program" for "alcoholism" (in trade for housing in a homeless shelter), and my experiences were similar to yours. Actually, our particular class was more older people and we didn't have the vulnerable teenager in our class, but I met some of them, particularly the ones who got shoved into rehab by "drug court" and "drunk driving court". But we had the rest of the horror story.

My particular 12-Step "counselor", if you want to call him that, at the "treatment center" posted A.A. slogans all over the walls of the meeting room. "Just For Today" "Easy Does It" And then he jabbered nonsense at us like "I'm teachable today. I don't know if I will relapse tomorrow. Your disease wants to kill you. You need a Higher Power in your recovery program. Go to at least three meetings a week and get a sponsor."

Then he went home at night, and snorted cocaine, and looked at child porn on his computer, and then raped his step-children. They arrested and convicted him for it after I "graduated", and shipped him off to the state penitentiary for several years. That's quite some "counselor". Glad I didn't follow his advice.

You can read the rest of the story here:

Yes, I got quite an education, although it wasn't the one that I had signed up for. And actually, that child-molesting Stepper was a big part of the inspiration to do this web site. When I saw what a total fraud "drug and alcohol treatment" really was, I said, "Somebody should do something about that."

Speaking of which, you wondered who was doing the web site. My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in a small town in rural Oregon, west of Portland. You can get all of the autobiographical information here:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. who are you
  5. who are you, again
  6. really an alcoholic...
  7. definitions of "an alcoholic"
  8. Rat Park and Other Children's Stories
  9. How did you get to where you are?
  10. A biography written for SOS
  11. history of the Orange Papers, and
  12. creation of the web site
  13. censorship, the Orange Papers censored and erased by Yahoo Geocities
  14. the "Orange" name.
  15. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The predominantly AA-based culture of rehab in America has become one
**     of imposition and tautology:
**     If the program doesn't work for you, then you didn't work the program.
**     If you succeed in staying sober, then you did a good job working the
**     program; ergo, the program works.
**       ==  Sacha Z. Scoblic
**           http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112255/why-rehab-fails#

June 16, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 6

Canada Goose goslings
The younger Family of 4

Canada Goose goslings
A Mallard Duck Family

Canada Goose goslings
A younger Family of 5, coming to get some rolled oats

Canada Goose goslings
A younger Family of 5, having lunch

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Alex_K ]

Date: Mon, February 18, 2013 2:14 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Alex K."
Subject: Hey Orange


Your papers really meant a lot to me when I needed them most. I was at a point where I needed reassurance that I was, in fact, not the delusional one, even though I knew it deep down. I would love to join the conversation on the forum if possible. Thank you so much.

Grateful for your hard work,


Hello Alex,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you get something good out of the Orange Papers. And yes, you aren't alone, or delusional. In fact, there are millions of us. It's the A.A. true believers who are a deluded minority.

Joining the forum is easy. Go to the first page of the forum,
and in the upper left-hand corner there is a login box. Choose "create new account" and that will give you a form to fill out that asks for your user name — make up whatever name you like — and your email address. The forum software will email you a confirmation email for you to respond to.

Then email me and tell me what user name you registered. That is important, so that I know who to unblock. I'm still getting several times as many spammers' registrations as real people signing up, so I keep all of the new registrants blocked until people email me and ask me to approve them. Almost none of the spammers will go to that effort.

Things with the spammers are much, much, better now that I have a couple of anti-spam modules installed that stop most of them. The situation got so bad that I had 35,000 fake registrations to wade through, trying to find the real people. The spammers, especially the creeps in Russia, run computer programs — "spambots" — day and night, just hammering forums, creating millions of fake user accounts, trying to get the ability to post advertisements for everything from fake Canadian pharmacies selling fake Viagra to London call girls. Or Russian girls for sale. Or roofing services on the Oregon coast. Or diet drugs and diet foods. Or knock-off women's shoes and handbags and watches. Or schemes to hack your phone. The variety is amazing. Well anyway, I'm keeping the spammers out.

But they are determined and fight back. When I put up a CAPTCHA puzzle — that little box with letters and numbers in it that people have to type — something that is very easy for a human to do but very hard for a computer program to figure out — they responded by employing long tables of poorly-paid employees in third-world countries where labor is cheap, and those wage-slaves sit in front of computers and type in the fake registrations all day and all night. So you still get hundreds or thousands of spam registrations per day. So then I put in a module that checks the IP number of the registrant and compares it to tables of IP numbers of the most outrageous spammers. And rejects the bad guys. Now things have calmed down and I'm only getting a dozen or two bad registrations per day, instead of hundreds or thousands.

And it took a while, but I finally cleared out all 35,000 of the fake registrations.

And for everybody else: Anybody who registered more than a week ago, and still hasn't been approved, please try reregistering with the same user name as before. If you can do it without an error message that the name is already taken, then that means that your registration got erased along with the 35,000 fake ones. Sorry about that. So reregister, and respond to the verification email. And then, no matter whether you had to reregister or not, email me and tell me your user name. The user name is important, because that's the only way I can find somebody in the system. Unfortunately, the Drupal forum software that I'm using only looks people up by user name, and I can't search by email address. So please remember to tell me your user name.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "When in the company of deluded people,
**    keep your own counsel."
**        ==  Buddha
**     The worst deluded are the self-deluded.
**        ==  Christian Nestell Bovee (1820—1904), American author and editor

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Dmitry_V ]

Date: Sun, February 17, 2013 10:49 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Dmitry V."
Subject: "Moonies" married!


Hi Dmitry,

Thanks for the links.

Wow. The Moonies are still at it. Some people just never learn. So now the minister at the mass marriages is Hak Ja-han — the widow of Sun Myung Moon — also known as "The Perfect Mother".

I wonder how long that insanity will continue? Proving, once again, that fully 50% of the human race has below-average intelligence.

By the way, I don't want to leave the impression that they are crazy just because they have mass marriages. No, it's much more vicious stuff than that. Steve Hassan has written some books about his experiences during several years in the Moonies, and it was the whole cult religion routine from deceptive recruiting, to years of abuse and exploitation in the cult, to cold rejection when he was badly injured in a car accident and could no longer serve Rev. Moon.

Date: Mon, February 18, 2013 12:21 pm     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Dmitry V."
Subject: Mindy McCready apparent suicide puts spotlight on 'Celebrity Rehab,' Dr. Drew Pinsky as singer becomes the fifth cast member to die


Yes, thanks for that. That's a fair article that asks a few good questions, like why does "Celebrity Rehab" have such a high death rate?

And the comments are especially good, with some of them very pointedly asking why cult religion is being used as treatment for addictions or mental illness.

What is becoming increasingly obvious is the fact that an old confessional cult religion from the nineteen-thirties is not a good treatment program for addiction or mental illness.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     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 lovingkindness 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"
**          Tricycle Daily Dharma, May 21, 2011
**          http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/the-three-things-we-fear-most

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Dennis_M ]

Date: Mon, February 18, 2013 8:38 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Dennis M."
Subject: Another Dr. Drew Fatality

Hey Orange.

I was saddened to hear about Mindy McCready's suicide, but the Dr. Drew connection really saddens (and angers me) even more:


McCready is the fifth celebrity to pass away since appearing on Pinsky's show and the third from Season 3. Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr and "Real World" participant Joey Kovar both died of overdoses.

At the time, Pinsky thought the relationship was on the right track: "She's an easy person to like and to care about and we hope she does well," Pinsky said. "So far so good as far as I can tell." McCready said her main goal in 2010 was to pull her family back together: "I would like my son back with me and for my brothers and I and he to be able to go and do this (TV reality show), and I think after that I will be a pretty happy girl.

Will the general public ever WAKE UP and see that these "experts" are not helping these people???? I would bet my bottom dollar that Dr. Drew Pinsky will be all over CNN and other media over the next few days blaming anything and everything but himself, including her ability to work an "honest program". No, he didn't pull the trigger but he failed to help all of these sad cases.

Dennis M.

Hello again, Dennis,

Thank you for the letter and the link. I can only agree. I find Dr. Drew's show despicable. I must confess that I've never seen it, but I've heard enough to get a pretty good idea of what's going on there. Here are a few of the previous stories:

  1. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters101.html#DrDrew1
    Dr. Drew says: "I bury a lot of my patients."

  2. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters101.html#DrDrew2
    "Recently they have also profiled and forced into 12-step treatment people with bulimia, diabetes, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.

  3. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters220.html#Dr_Phil
    "He's got two ex-addicts, both totally out of their skulls, "treating" his patients."
    (Pardon the confusion here where I got confused by "Dr. Phil" in the subject line.)

  4. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters234.html#Taylor_W
    "Dr. Drew is a board certified MD and "addiction specialist", which ... Means he should know better (or does and knowingly pushes faith healing as a reasonable method of treating what he claims is a disease"

It's crazy to imagine that an old guilt-inducing cult religion from 1935 is supposed to be the best cure for drug and alcohol problems. The constant confessions in Steps 4, 5, 8, and 9 are so depressing that they drive people to suicide. When people really believe that they are spiritually defective and powerless and diseased and cannot ever recover, suicide starts to look good.

Also, trying to treat what are obviously cases of mental illness with cult religion is the worst kind of quackery.

It's appalling that the network allows the show to continue foisting quack medicine on sick people. But I guess they will do anything for ratings.

Readers also found a couple of other links that describe the same story. Some of the comments are good:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "My whole thing is bait and switch. Whatever motivates them to
**     come in, that's fine. Then we can get them involved with the process."
**        —  Dr. Drew Pinsky

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Chris ]

Date: Tue, February 19, 2013 6:53 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Chris"
Subject: AA is exposing itself by a gnostic attitude of mind!

I'm German and I try to give you a short introduction from myself: How I was — what happened — and whats now; the same procedure with another direction.

I considered myself für more than 3 (three) decades as a member of AA. During this time I attend AA-Meetings for around 12 Years on regular basis. I've never worked the Steps as it was requested, so I never attended a 12-Step-Meeting regulary. This was not necessary for me, because I believed ONE God when I arrived at Alcoholic Anonymous, so I never need to rely on a Doorknop or as we say here in Germany on the AA-Table.

I physically left AA around 10 years ago, relapsed after being sober for nearly 2 decades. I was back drinking for 2 or 2,5 half years, I'm not sure about it. Than I decided to stop drinking and I did. I stayed sober on my own on a 24h basis and did'nt see any need to attend a meeting of AA. This was in 2006 and I'm still without Alcohol.

Last October I learned from the teachings of a so-called spiritual teacher, that 12-Step-Program would be good tool to experience spirtual growth! hmmm — I thought, okay — this might be right, I must have been wrong in some way, otherwise I would not have relapsed and so I decided to attend Online-Meetings of AA.

From the very beginning I felt miserable. It seems to me like one put his fingers on an app and a program is running. I found myself miserable more and more and I decided that it is important now to find out what's going on with me. So I stayed; was asked strange questions about my sobriety, was doubted to be sober, attacked in many ways and I had to fight myself all the day long.

And I did! I felt like the that last Mohician — no allied people around — pfui Teufel — who the devis is the devil?

I don't know why, but I googled Wilson to be an mason! What I found out, convinced me, this will never work, never, never!!!!!

It took me more than 3 Month and some different meetings to find out, that it was the system and not the people who are insane.

On the beginning with AA I had to figure out was an Agnostic is and in which way this term is used in the chapter "We Agnostics" and I came to the conclusion, that the Oldtimers did not all belong to this root of philosophy called Agnosticism, but they found themself in a attitude of that state of mind. This agnostic attitude means to be a person, denying and believing there is nothing to know at the end and which will not allow to face realty. After all it turned out for me, that it is my job to get another attitude, another state of mind to face Alcoholism as well as life. I started getting rid of the agnostic state of mind!

I hope, you'll understand what I mean, I'm out of training in english. Let me give you an example:

If you'll ask an Agnostic if AA is a cult, he will answer:
I don't think so, May be, perhaps, I don't know, No!

If you'll ask an Gnostic if AA is a cult, he will answer: Yes it is!
Because he first did a look of what he is accepting or denying!!!

Because the difference between both is that the Agnostic is a blind believer in some wishful thinking!

The Gnostic is a non-believer, is one who needs to know and wants to know, checking out, going deeper and look from all sides to one subject; and he is the one who knows at the end. To believe is at the very end when nothing is to be known.

Knowing means end of discussion; I know what it is! This brings peace of mind!!!

Isn't that funny; Mr. Wilson's BB caused me to find out what an Agnostic is and a Gnostic?

Isn't it terrible, how long Mr. Wilson made me believe AA — made me blind and made me use an agnostic look to see AA?

Because Alcoholics Anonymus put it on my Agenda, I believed in AA.

The enemy of my enemy turned out to be my enemy!

How about spiritual growth I asked for while starting to go back to the meetings?

:-) :-) :-) :-)

In Germany AA calls the Big Book the Blue Book!

I moved in a very short time from the Blue Book to Orange Papers — seem to me like spiritual growth!

So what you are doing with Orange-Papers is Gnostic, is information, is helping people to became aware of things happening to them, while they are in aa cult, is bringing light to darkness, is helping people to get "Gnosis — Knowing — Understanding" for their life.

AA is exposing itself by a gnostic attitude of mind!

That's spiritual growth, isn't it?
Thanks; and all my best for going further, I will do my best over here.

With warmest regards

Hello, "Chris"

Guten Tag and danke für deine Briefe. Und danke für die Komplimente. Deine English is gut genug; ich kann es verstehen.

Und ja, ich spreche ein Bischen Deutsch. Ich wohnte in Wiesbaden als Student, 1962 bis 1965, und liebte es.

(For the Americans, I said, "Good day, and thank you for the letter. And thank you for the compliments. Your English is good enough, I can understand it. And yes, I speak a bit of German. I lived in Wiesbaden (Germany) as a student 1962 to 1965, and loved it.)

And yes, you are quite right. Their ideas do not make sense (Wahnsinnig). And their ideas contradict each other. They say so many contradictory things, like that you don't have to believe anything, and then you have to believe everything that they say.

And yes, you already saw how they will attack you if you say one thing that is a little different from their standardized dogma. They will not tolerate free thinkers at all.

Oh well, I'm happy to hear that you are sober without A.A. Congratulations, and have a good life now.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Nothing is more dangerous than active ignorance. — Goethe

June 16, 2012, Saturday: The Fernhill Wetlands

Mallard Duck family
Mallard Duck Family

Canada Goose goslings
A younger Family of 4, coming for lunch

Canada Goose--Graylag Goose hybrid
Child of Gus

Mallard Duck family
Mallard Duck Family

Mama Mallard Bathing
Mama Mallard Bathing

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html#Jemima ]

Date: Sun, February 17, 2013 7:08 am     (Answered 20 February 2013)
From: "Jemima or Sophia or something equally silly"
Subject: Thank you

Hi Orange,

and thank you for your site and all the stories you're collecting. Just a brief plea — if you are going to publish this on your site, please feel free to do so if you think it will be helpful, but please do call me Jemima or Sophia or something equally silly :-)

I have coming up for ten years sobriety — all of them in AA — but am coming to the point now where I can't help but feel at meetings like I'm in some sort of cult. This feeling started a couple of years ago, mostly because I had decided to stop censoring what I read. I always loved science writing, and had been told by my sponsor to stop reading it as it would keep me 'in ignorance' of 'my higher power' (always been an atheist before AA). Instead, I had to read 'spiritual books' and 'be careful' of all the reading I was doing for my Political Science degree. I could be 'too clever' to get AA. She actually said to me, 'You know that slogan, think think think? That's not for you, honey.' Ugh.

Well, I didn't read the books for 7 years of 'faking it to make it' — and just feeling like I was faking it. And after 7 years, I took a decision that I simply had to be true to myself and my beliefs and admit that I had not had a spiritual experience — at least not a religious one. I felt an awful lot better for not drinking and not being an arse to people I loved, but I just couldn't get hold of God having done this and not me. So, I read those books I'd been banned from, the ones I'd been reading all my life, and in fear and trembling, let go of my 'search' for faith. I honestly believed I would be 'struck drunk' the second I did it, that God who had been keeping me sober would suddely stop, but he didn't — I'm still here 3 years later. I don't share at meetings that I'm an atheist any more, because when I do, an 'old timer' invariably tries to indoctrinate me at the end of the meeting. I'm a fairly attractive woman in my 30s, and that 'indoctrination' tends to be fairly touchy-feely — makes me want to have a shower. Ugh again.

A few things that have knocked me sick in AA:

    When I first got sober, my sponsor told me to quit my degree, and to 'give myself some space to get on the program.' I refused, and was sacked and told I was on 'self will run riot.' I started my MA and was told the same thing by a different sponsor. Whenever I called her up, finding (surprise surprise) a post graduate course challenging and difficult, she would say 'I can't help you there, luvvie, you have my advice, which is that you can't handle it.' I got a distinction, anyway, and started my PhD the next year. I got told by my sponsor 'it's not helping you, luvvie, you need to think less, not more' and was advised almost every week to quit — particularly when the research wasn't going well — as it didn't sometimes, as is the way with any 3 year project. Anyway, I finished the PhD, and got offered a swanky 6 figure job (well, if you count it in dollars!) doing what I loved. It was about 200 miles away. I had been working in a call centre doing 30 hours a week to supplement my PhD grant, and I was earning 10,000 pounds (about 20000 dollars) a year before tax. It was dull work, I hated it, and was desperate to leave — and was delighted to have the job offer. My sponsor told me, 'no, you need to stay here. Keep in the call centre job, you need to be close to me and to AA here. You'll drink if you go, luvvie.' I found the strength to ignore her and have come to a new city and a new job 3 years ago (which I love and where i have been promoted twice).

    I am a woman who is in a relationship with a woman, whom I totally love and adore. We've been together for longer than I have been sober and she is loyal and beautiful and funny and Irish — cracking girl. I was told, initially, that I needed to 'cut her loose' because she would 'drag me down' (despite hardly ever drinking herself and being a lovely girl). I quietly, but very firmly, ignored this advice.

    We decided to have kids about 4 years into the relationship. I just mentioned in passing to my sponsor that we were planning this and how we intended to go about it. She screamed and shouted down the phone 'no, no, no, not like this, it's not what God intends for you — he has a plan for you!' I said 'alright, but I disagree, and it's what we're going to do.' She put the phone down on me and called me back 2 mins later to say 'well, if it doesn't work first time, it's not meant to be.' It worked first time. She said, 'well that's what happens when you put sperms and eggs together, luvvie, it doesn't mean anything about what God thinks of it.' Grrrrr. Anyway, we have two beautiful, happy, confident boys now, and our home is always full of laughter. It's great. If you weren't across the pond, I'd invite you round for a cup of tea.

    This sponsor, when our oldest child was 9 months old, told me, listen, you're not gay, luvvie. That's just the alcoholism carrying over into your sobriety. You're never going to be happy if you carry on with her because you can't be your whole self, it's only half a life. You need to go home right now, split up with her and tell her that you can't be with her any more.' Now, neither of us looks gay, really (photo attached, please don't share, but just to spread the joy to you — this is 30 seconds after she accepted my proposal of marriage — I'm the tall one holding the baby.) But just because neither of us looks gay, my sponsor told me that I wasn't gay and we should split up. Grrrr.

    The craziest thing about this story is that I actually went home and told Lauren, the mother of my child, that we were splitting, even though I loved her and wanted it to work. Of course, she was totally bewildered, and talked me down — we ended up staying together — but you can imagine how much hurt it caused her. I told my sponsor our decision and she screamed at me like a banshee down the phone and told me to 'fix it' and 'get rid.' I said, erm, no. She put the phone down on me. Literally 3 minutes later, she called me back and said 'ok, I've got over that now, so let's look at what happens next. First, you need to keep your knickers on for three months, luvvie.' I ignored her and my partner and I are still together today and happier than ever. We're getting married when they pass the law in the UK. Thank God I had the courage to ignore my sponsor.

    After the issue with Lauren, I was socially excluded in the group. I knew for certain that there was gossip behind my back, simply because every time I spoke at meetings (with 4 years of sobriety, now), about half the meeting got up and left, and the other half tutted and shuffled through my share. Bear in mind, I was sharing 'on message' at this point as well! I also found that whenever I spoke to anybody and expressed a dissenting opinion, they came back with the same phrase, 'Jemima, that's just you thinking too much, honey.' I have also been told by newcomers 'I'm afraid I can't speak to you, my sponsor has warned me off you, apparently you're dangerous.' And this was before I even stopped believing in God and the program!

    And whilst we're on the topic, what is with the 'honey/luvvie/sweetie' etc? I'm a doctor of philosophy, for goodness sake, I don't generally expect to be called 'luvvie' by self confessed miserable failures — or actually by anybody except my wife! Overfamiliarity = lack of respect. In fact, that lack of respect of others' boundaries is just endemic in AA. I've frequently found myself at a meeting, sitting quiety (as I like to!) and been accused of 'isolating,' being a 'secret sharer' and 'not wanting to be part of,' and 'setting myself apart from.' No, I'm actually just taking it in, thank you. Please go away and mind your own business. Grrrr.

    And whilst we're on gossip in AA, it's horrible. I've had several sponsees (none now — I tell people I don't really believe in AA so they'd be better of finding somebody else if they really want the message — although I'm beginning to wonder whether this is right). I once was in the process of taking one sponsee through the steps. She shared an experience with me that I hadn't had — and didn't feel qualified to deal with. I suggested she share it with a health professional and seek out the right advice. She asked, did I know anybody with the experience she could share it with to get pointed in the right direction. I suggested another sponsee, with more than 2 years sobriety, who I thought I trusted. Sponsee 1 spoke to sponsee 2 and told her her problem. Sponsee 2 then went straight to sponsee 3's house to tell her what had happened to sponsee 1. Sponsee 3 was so outraged by what she heard that she called Sponsee 1 up and asked her, was it true. Sponsee 1 takes a drink. Sponsees 2 and 3 get the sack, and I decide not to sponsor any more. Not the first time I've seen it in AA — it's endemic. This was just the best 'overview' of it I'd had before. Incidentally, the gossip was that sponsee 1 (attractive, educated, young, married woman) was sleeping with a newly sober AA male (unattractive, smoking pot, middle aged, unmarried, sleazy). Sponsee 3 knew the fella, and had also slept with him. Sponsee 2, after all this, slept with him as well. I was just totally appalled. He tried to hit on me as well (!) but got very, very short shrift. Which brings us onto the subject of:

    There are a large number of fellas around AA meetings who hang around the young women. A good proportion of women in AA, particularly those who come in young, tend to have got out of control wtih their drinking in response to various types of abuse. Often, this is sexual abuse by older men. Certainly true in my case — it totally destroyed my confidence, so I was drinking to forget age 12, and being given booze and drugs by abusers before that. I drank enough to need to stop drinking by the time I was 22 and got to AA. There are also lots of fellas in AA who admit openly to sexual abuse and crimes. For example, it's very common in UK AA to share from the top table 'have you ever raped anybody? If you don't think you have, go and ask your wife and your kids, and you'll learn a thing or two. There are no innocent men in here.' Which has the effect of immediately making all the women in the room feel horrible and vulnerable and uncomfortable.

    Now, apart from the example above, I've not seen any evidence of the old men getting it on with the young women — partly because I simply refuse to listen to gossip. However, there is a way of being. It goes like this: these seek out those who are vulnerable to being made to feel vulnerable by behaving in ever so slightly inappropriate ways near them. For example, you might try to corner them to get them to share with you, you might try to get kisses and cuddles on greeting (almost universal, and they always go for the lips), you might sit too close on the meeting room sofas, or you might touch them on their shoulders/hips just a little too long.

    I personally have never had worse than this constant undercurrent of schmooze, but that is because I've always had a strong response to it (I duck and dive and weave to make it obvious that I don't want to be kissed, I will state openly, 'get your hands off me, you pervert,' and I once held up a man's hand in the 'coffee' session after a meeting when he 'patted' my bottom and said, very loudly, 'can somebody please help me, this man is trying to molest me.' They all just stood there then went back to their conversations, but he melted away pretty fast. It may be that a young woman with less feminism, self-awareness, with a lower tolerance for bullshit than I have, with less social capital, may experience worse than I do. I call these fellas the 'drunk dads' because this is what they remind me of — the father who comes home late and boozy and loves his daughter just a little bit too much, in a way that makes her uncomfortable, without actually trying to fuck her. Some young women with a history of abuse (sponsees 1, 2 and 3 for a start) do end up in sexual relationships wtih thse men, but I don't know how widespread this is, or how damaging.

Listen, I've gone on a rant here, but I just feel so relieved looking at your site. When I've shared about all the difficulties I've had with sponsors, people have told me 'have you considered that you might be the common element, the problem might be with you?' Now, I'm a scientist and if I have two hypotheses, the one which fits most of the facts is the correct one.

  • Hypothesis 1: AA is wonderful and I am sick. I'm in denial, I'm a dry drunk, it's only a matter of time, I'm over intellectual, I'm going to drink soon. I have a problem with sponsors and a resentment against God and AA, and I'm going to die in teh gutter.
  • Hypothesis 2: AA is a cult, and is doing me no good.

I'm pretty stable, haven't had a drink for nearly 10 years, know that I won't drink again (because it's not an option — 1 day at a time, bollocks, one day at a time, in a row, for the rest of my life more like). My kids and my wife light up when I come home, my house is happy and full of love, my job is challenging at times, but I love it, and most days I muddle through. When I go to an AA meeting, I feel sometimes uplifted (to hear about the good changes somebody is making in their life) but mostly just 'who *are* these people, and what planet are they on? And most of all, 'I feel so sorry for your families.'

What's prompting me to try SMART this weekend (after years of being told that I'd drink if I went there, I've decided to risk it!) is that somebody told me that I needed a sponsor (after 3 years without one). THey said, 'pick somebody where you want what they have got.' Looking round the rooms of broken, damaged people, making themselves sicker by clinging to this odd, American cult, I couldn't see a single person. Made me think that, maybe, I'm in the wrong place.

The only thing stopping me leaving entirely is that I've told my wife and family that if I ever tell them that I've decided to stop going to meetings, to be aware that I'm probably going to drink, because I need to go to AA for the rest of my life, and it's the only thing that keeps alcoholics like me sober. AA's indoctrinated me, and I've indoctrinated people who love me. I also said 'if I give you reasons for it, even if they sound reasonable, please don't accept them. You'd be better off without me than with me without AA.' So, quite what you do with that I don't know. I've been going to meetings and getting nothing from them for years — wasting time I could be spending wtih my family. Any suggestions welcome!

I must sign off now — I really must. Just to say, thanks for the site, thanks for sharing these stories and taking the time to put it together, and thanks for being the voice of reason. If everybody seems mad and you seem sane, sometimes it's because you're mad. But sometimes it's because everybody else really is crazy.

Very best wishes to you and yours,

"Jemima or Sophia or something equally silly"

Hello "Jemima or Sophia or something equally silly",

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and your mind has survived the madness. And no, it isn't you who is crazy.

You give a really good description of a lot of the A.A. madness. I don't want to just repeat it all, so I won't.


I've told my wife and family that if I ever tell them that I've decided to stop going to meetings, to be aware that I'm probably going to drink, because I need to go to AA for the rest of my life, and it's the only thing that keeps alcoholics like me sober.

All that I can suggest is that you tell them you got misinformed by A.A., and that if they have any doubts about that, they can start reading the Orange Papers. That will keep them busy long enough to notice that you still aren't drinking.

Oh, and while I don't want to hold myself up as any kind of Sterling Example, you could mention that I have 12 years of sobriety now and haven't been to an A.A. meeting in over 10 years. And I only went to two A.A. meetings in the previous year and a half before those 10 years, so I have only gone to 2 A.A. meetings in 11 1/2 years — and I only went to those meetings to pick up my 6-month and 1-year sobriety medallions. Nevertheless, I'm still sober. So A.A. meetings are totally unnecessary. What really counts is your decision to not kill yourself on alcohol, and your commitment to sticking to that decision. After that you can go play tiddly-winks, or join the Ladies' Home Garden Club, or go watch a football game, or stay home and play with your children, or whatever.

About SMART: Yes, I think you will like it. I went for a while, and learned some good things. You could also check out SOS. They have some good things too. The list of addresses is here:

Have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a
**   constant struggle" — George Orwell

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Last updated 5 June 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters343.html