Letters, We Get Mail, CCCLXI

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Douglas_G ]

Date: Thu, July 4, 2013 12:11 pm       (answered 31 July 2013)
From: "Douglas G."
Subject: AA

Mr. Orange,

I find it interesting in the 27 years that I have been sober and an active member of the 12 step world that not once has AA published an article damning other forms of treatment or therapy for alcoholism.

Why is that? It is really quite simple: AA does not subscribe to fundamentalism, unlike you. AA never says this is the only way, or the best way. Nor does it try to deter folks from seeking alternatives. They simply say this is "A Way" And if you want what WE have and are willing to follow Our path, you too might be successful. If you want to follow another path we wish you well and sincerely desire that you find your own peace (we can only share the path of our experience — not opinion).

Your synopsis is well written but in my humble opinion quite flawed. AA doctrine falls under the Jeffersonian approach to Religion (Public vs. Private Religion). Yes we are a monotheistic society. But you are free to seek your own path. I am a Deist and Einstein is my apostle. The beauty is that I can be a member as much as a Christian, Mormon or Buddhist. AA does not replace our individual or "Private" beliefs or religion. But that is private. It is an addition to and in many ways enhances the individuals spiritual experience. In our literature we cite that it is important to see where doctors and clergy are right, not wrong! We do not impose private beliefs so we might attract all, regardless of belief or non-belief. According to you, I would not fit in and am destined to die a horrible drug addicted or alcoholic death.

You obviously are focused on what's wrong with certain members in the fellowship of AA. It is like saying the Catholic Church is no good because some of its priests rape children. AA is an altruistic approach for generally selfish people. This simple act of altruism provides sobriety and a way of life that is full and peaceful. AA is still full of strange people with strange ideas (much like any church one would attend). I find it interesting that the closed minded approach leads to sick behavior. The fundamentalists of the World tend to die hypocritical deaths or find themselves exposed in their hypocrisy.

I hope you can find peace and accept that AA in its pure form is good and wholesome, not subversive and manipulative. But I am confident that your deaf to that as are most fundamentalists. And that is what is truly dangerous. Remember that the founder of rational recover died of alcoholism!


Doug G.

Hello Douglas,

Thank you for the letter.

Starting at the top:

  1. You wrote:

    "not once has AA published an article damning other forms of treatment or therapy for alcoholism."

    "AA never says this is the only way, or the best way."

    Wrong. A.A. does it all of the time. We can start with what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book. Bill Wilson talked out of both sides of his mouth on many issues, including this one. First, in order to sound reasonable to prospects, Bill wrote:

    Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, A Vision For You, page 164.

    Perhaps you are not quite in sympathy with the approach we suggest. By no means do we offer it as the last word on this subject...
    The Big Book, 3rd edition, William G. Wilson, page 144.

    It would be a product of false pride to claim that A.A. is a cure-all, even for alcoholism.
    As Bill Sees It, quotes from William G. Wilson, published by A.A.W.S., page 285.

    But then Bill wrote:

    Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 35.

    For most cases, there is virtually no other solution.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 43.

    ... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.     ...
    At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 44.

    "Or else", indeed.

    Finally, Bill Wilson wrote that you must do all of Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps all of the time, or else you are "signing your own death warrant".

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [Bill Wilson's required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to spiritual principles [Bill Wilson's cult religion practices].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    There is much more of that listed under this bait-and-switch trick: First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.

  2. This is a reversal of reality, a common cult characteristic:

    "AA does not subscribe to fundamentalism, unlike you."

    A fundamentalist is someone who insists that his holy book is the indisputable Word of God and we must follow its instructions exactly, word for word, taking each line literally. That describes the A.A. true believers with their Big Book very well indeed.

    I, on the other hand, do not push any book or any religion as the indisputable word of God, so I cannot be a fundamentalist.

  3. This is grossly unrealistic:

    Yes we are a monotheistic society. But you are free to seek your own path. I am a Deist and Einstein is my apostle. The beauty is that I can be a member as much as a Christian, Mormon or Buddhist.

    Sorry, but that is not true either. The Twelve Steps demand that God perform a list of miracles for the A.A. member, after he confesses and wallows in guilt enough, like:

    • managing the alcoholics' unmanageable lives,
    • restoring them to sanity,
    • taking care of their wills and their lives for them,
    • listening to their confessions, and presumably, granting absolution,
    • removing all of their many defects of character and wrongs and moral shortcomings, especially the desire to drink alcohol,
    • and then talking to the alcoholics in a séance and giving work orders and the power to carry them out,
    • and then giving alcoholics a "spiritual experience" in Step 12 as a reward for having done the previous 11 Steps.

    And if God won't do all of that for A.A. members, then the 12 Steps cannot work. So the A.A. "god" cannot be just any old god of any old religion, it must be a "god" who will Work The Steps the way that Bill Wilson says He will.

    Buddhism does not believe in a god like that, so Buddhism is definitely out.

    Mormons are not allowed to drink alcohol, so they shouldn't need the A.A. god either.

    Christianity condemns demanding miracles. See the story of the Pharisees demanding miracles from Jesus. He called them "evil":

    Then some teachers of the law and some Pharisees spoke up. "Teacher," they said, "we want to see you perform a miracle."
          "How evil and godless are the people of this day!" Jesus exclaimed. "You ask me for a miracle? No!"
    == Matthew 12.38:

    So, in truth, in spite of the double-talk about how you can have any old god in A.A., you can't. You must have the peculiar A.A. god.

    And I'd like to hear how your Einstein "god" performs those miracles for you.

    The A.A. "god" is a vicious micro-managing tyrant who tortures alcoholics with alcoholism for 20 or 30 years, until "the whip of alcoholism" drives the alcoholics to the A.A. "god", where they break down and "surrender" and confess what worthless pieces of dirt they are, and swear that they will be good little slaves of the tyrant forever more, at which point the A.A. "god" is pleased and performs a miracle and makes the alcoholic quit drinking.

    That actually resembles selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety. It sure doesn't describe the Father of Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah, or Jahweh, or any God of any major religion.

  4. You claimed,

    "We do not impose private beliefs so we might attract all, regardless of belief or non-belief."

    Baloney. Just peruse the list of A.A. slogans for all kinds of perverse beliefs that get imposed on newcomers:

    • "It isn't religious, it's spiritual."
    • "Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell; Spirituality is for people who've been there."
    • "You are exactly where God wants you to be."
    • "It's Our Way or the Die Way."
    • "It's our way or the highway."
    • "Work the Steps, Or Die!"
    • "Do The Steps or Die."
    • "Share Or Die."
    • "Unless each AA member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps of recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. We must obey certain principles or we die." (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.)
    • "This is a program of rigorous honesty."
    • "Fake it until you make it."
    • "Fake it 'til you make it."
    • "Fake it to make it."
    • "Act As If..."
    • "Act as if you really believe..."
    • "A.A. is the last house on the street."
    • "A.A. is the Last Stop on the Track."
    • "AA is way ahead of science when it comes to alcoholism."
    • "God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle."
    • "God never gives you more than you can handle."
    • "God will only do for you what you can't do for yourself."
    • "Remember nothing is going to happen today that you and God can't handle."
    • "Let Go and Let God."
    • "Get out of the driver's seat and let God."
    • "Our Need Is God's Opportunity."
    • "Quit Playing God."
    • "You have blocked God out."
    • "Alcoholics Anonymous requires no beliefs."
    • "I came, I came to, I came to believe."
    • "Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!"
    • "This isn't your religion's God."
    • "A.A. never opened the gates of Heaven to let me in, A.A. did open the gates of Hell to let me out."
    • "A.A. isn't a religion, we can't open the gates of Heaven and let you in, but we can open the gates of Hell and let you out."
    • "Expect a miracle."
    • "G.O.D. is Good Orderly Direction."
    • "G.O.D. is a Group Of Drunks."
    • "G.O.D. is a Group Of Drug addicts."
    • "G.O.D. is a Group Of Dopers."
    • "Believe In God Or Be God."
    • "There is a God and I'm not it."
    • "If you can't believe, then believe that I believe."
    • "A.A. is about finding God."
    • "We had to quit playing God."
    • "If God is your co-pilot, switch seats."
    • "Meds quiet the still small voice of God."

    Look here for 900 A.A. slogans.

  5. And you wrote:

    "According to you, I would not fit in and am destined to die a horrible drug addicted or alcoholic death."

    More nonsense. People who are confused and jabber misinformation fit into A.A. just fine. A.A. is full of them. And whether you will die from addictions or alcohol abuse has nothing to do with your membership in the Alcoholics Anonymous. That choice is entirely up to you.

  6. This is also a reversal of reality:

    "In our literature we cite that it is important to see where doctors and clergy are right, not wrong!"

    Bull. The Big Book says:

    Here was a book that said that I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.

    And A.A. sponsors are notorious for telling sponsees not to take their medications. See the list of A.A. "No Meds" Stories. Those sponsors are practicing medicine without a license, and countermanding the orders of real doctors. And they are killing people.

  7. This is another lame rationalization:

    "It is like saying the Catholic Church is no good because some of its priests rape children."

    Well yeh. Hello? Is anybody in there? Do you really think that the Catholic Church is good for the children who are getting raped? Is the Church a good organization for them? Do they get good spiritual teachings from the Church? Duh...

    And when an organization like the Catholic Church not only permits but covers up and perpetuates the rape of children for centuries, it is an evil organization. Period.

    And when A.A. promotes an old cult religion as the only cure for alcohol abuse, it is also an evil organization.

  8. This is untrue:

    "AA is an altruistic approach for generally selfish people. This simple act of altruism provides sobriety and a way of life that is full and peaceful."

    Actually, A.A. is an old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties that feeds off of the suffering of sick people. A.A. does not improve the sobriety rate of alcoholics at all.

  9. This is another rationalization:

    "AA is still full of strange people with strange ideas..."

    Well yes, and that does nothing for the newcomers who get bad advice or abuse from strange people who pass themselves off as wise, knowledgeable, teachers. A.A. has no quality control in its sponsors and old-timers. Any pervert can do anything to any newcomer, and there is no accountability.

  10. This is delusional wishful thinking:

    "I hope you can find peace and accept that AA in its pure form is good and wholesome, not subversive and manipulative."

    A.A. in its purest form is Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman's evil cult religion.

  11. And this is name-calling, a standard propaganda trick:

    "But I am confident that your deaf to that as are most fundamentalists."

  12. And this is fear-mongering, another standard propaganda trick:

    "And that is what is truly dangerous. Remember that the founder of rational recover died of alcoholism!"

    Oh really? You are claiming that Jack Trimpey died of alcoholism? That's the first I heard of that. What is your source of information? His web site says that he is still alive, and you can have a live teleconference with him: http://rational.org/ I imagine that he will probably be rather surprised to hear that he is dead.

    And that line is such classic cultish behavior: Denigration of competing sects, cults, religions, groups, or organizations. As if someone else's troubles would make the A.A. organization better. As if A.A. would work better if Trimpey died. No, it won't.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There is how we think things are,
**     and there is how we wish things were,
**     and there is how things really are.

[The next letter from Douglas_G is here.]

June 02, 2013, Saturday, downtown Portland:

Downtown Portland
Pioneer Place, in downtown Portland

Downtown Portland
Pioneer Courthouse

Downtown Portland
View from the Portland State University streetcar stop

Downtown Portland
The variety of architectural styles near PSU. Portland really reminds me of the computer game Simcity.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Jakub_J ]

Date: Sun, July 14, 2013 3:49 pm       (answered 1 August 2013)
From: "Jakub J."
Subject: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment by A. Orange

Great article.
Thank you for that.

Have a Great Day!

Hello Jakub,

Thank you for the compliments. I'm glad that you like the page.

I have one question — I'm very curious: That web page got 1.4 million hits on July 14th, a new record, way above and beyond normal, and I have no idea why. I guess that some TV program or very popular web site must have given a link to that page, but I don't know who. So how did you learn about that web page?

Thank you, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "All institutions created by man, no matter how noble their purpose,
**      end in self-perpetuation."
**        ==  Frank Herbert, author of the Dune books

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Mike_C ]

Date: Tue, July 16, 2013 5:52 pm       (answered 1 August 2013)
From: "mike c"
To: [email protected]
Subject: Link Exchange Request for https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-links.html

I visited your website, https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-links.html, and I would like to exchange links with you from my web site:

Just reply to this email and I'll add your link if you promise to link back when your link is up.

We'd appreciate it if you place a link back to our site using the following HTML code (just copy and paste it into your links page):

<a href = "http://www.not_psychics.com">Michigan Psychics</a> Genuine Michigan Psychics. Psychic Medium Sherrie Ellen. Gifted At Birth.

Mike C.
Link Building Manager

Follow me on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/sherrie.ellen.3?ref=tn_tnmn

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PS ... Link Building Service

I would be interested in managing your link building campaign, doing all the tedious day to day leg work that needs to be done daily in order to get and maintain multiple, front-page search engine rankings. If you'd like more complete information, inluding my fees and referrals, simply reply to this email but change the subject line to "RE: Your Link Building Service".
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

*** If you wish to be removed from our data base, respond with "please remove" in the subject line.

Hello Mike,

I already sent out, by standard psychic channels, the message that I never do link exchanges with psychics. Didn't you get the message?

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The essence of the independent mind lies not in
**      what it thinks, but in how it thinks."
**        ==  Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

BLOG NOTE: 2013.08.01:

Stanton Peele was right. He wrote a book called The Diseasing of America, about the crazy trend towards calling everything a disease. Well, the "disease theory" reached a new low today. Ariel Castro, the creep in Cleveland, Ohio, who kidnapped, imprisoned, and raped three women for 10 years, including beating one of them into a miscarriage because he didn't want the baby, was sentenced to life without parole today. At his sentencing, he whined,
      "I'm not a monster. I'm a decent guy. I'm sick. I have an addiction. Just like alcoholics have an addiction. I need therapy."

With a guy like that endorsing the A.A. disease theory of alcoholism, how can it be wrong?

**     "Alcohol Abuse doesn't need people like you besmirching its reputation."
**       ==  Randy Rhodes, spoofing a Congressman who went after young boys
**           and then blamed it on alcohol — a comedy routine on the
**           Randy Rhodes Show.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Bob ]

Date: Tue, July 30, 2013 2:05 pm       (answered 1 August 2013)
From: Bob

Hi Orange,

Again, I appreciate your effort in research and maintaining your site. I thought I would send you a bit of my story, it re-enforces a lot of your information and opinion and maybe it will help someone else in a similar situation as me. I guess it's a little self-serving in that it probably did me more good to write it down than it will for you to read it. :)

If you post this letter, please don't publish my full name or email. "Bob" is fine.


I had trouble with alcohol at a very early age and was first introduced to AA when I was 16. I attended meetings sporadically for the next 10 years, but was never able to get a full year in clean. I checked myself into a treatment center in 1995 when I was 26 years old and this particular center was not 12-step based, but they did recommend going to AA or NA meetings. The treatment center taught a lot of the same ideas for recovery that some of the other non-AA organizations do: balanced diet, good sleeping habits, excercise, meditation techniques (mostly belly breathing exercises), clean and sober leisure activities, etc. The staff psychologist/psychiatrist also diagnosed me with what they called Manic Depressive Disorder at the time (Bipolar Disorder) and started me on what was the current medication for the disorder at that time (a Prozac type of anti-depressant).

At treatment, I made a final decision to end my marriage and they were very good about letting me stay longer and in helping me to sort out the divorce and some of my other life issues. I had two small children at the time (2 and 4 years old) and there was a lot to deal with. At that time, I made a decision that if I was going to get out of my disfunctional marriage to improve my chance of staying sober, I was going to _stay sober_ and try and be the best parent I could be.

After I left treatment, I started attending AA and NA meetings on a daily basis. The medication they had given me for Bipolar Disorder didn't work for me at all and was making me very agitated, so I stopped taking it and probably because I was influenced by AA/NA, I decided I didn't have Bipolar and that "I was an Alcoholic and powerless over my disease". Now they know that anti-depressants don't usually work well with Bipolar disorder, but they didn't then. I moved, got rid of the business I owned and went back to school. I kept up with the belly-breathing exercises, physical exercise and diet ideas from treatment. I made my child maintenance payments and saw the kids as much as I could. I went to meetings regularly for the next year or so and I met a wonderful girl (with 11 years clean) at a 12-step meeting and we ended up moving in together and having a baby. I had gone back to school for computer programming and my career was very successful. Life was busy (and good) and my 12-step meeting attendance dropped off until it was pretty-much down to me showing up to get a yearly key tag.

I got 12 years completely clean and sober... and then I relapsed. I didn't have a clue why at the time. Now I think it was in a Hypo-Manic Bipolar state and I was obsessed with work and this invention idea I had and this went on for a long time with me missing meals, not sleeping and not seeing my friends or doing things for fun. When this flipped over, I became very depressed and ended up acting impulsively.

But I didn't know this at the time.

I had relapsed, so according to what I learned at AA/NA, I started going to AA/NA very often and got a sponsor and I got 2 years clean and sober... and then I relapsed. I got another year in... and guess what? To sum it up, the past 6 years have been a bit of a mess and in the last year I haven't been able to get any time in at all. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, I was attending 12-step meetings regularly and trying to work the steps and it wasn't working. I really couldn't really get past step one. I think all and all I would have attended a few thousand AA and NA meetings in my life and I was attending almost daily and I was getting worse, not better.

I started to try other things. I went back to Mental Health and they re-diagnosed me with Bi-Polar disorder and put me on meds that seemed to help balance my moods a bit. I started thinking that my problem was Bi-Polar Disorder and not "the disease of alcoholism". I kind of gave up with AA and tried to drink socially and responsibly and that didn't work out at all. I could keep it to a few drinks a day and maintain that for a week or two and then it would trigger a binge and my binges usually involved some very risky behaviour. After each binge, I would try and re-dedicate myself to AA, but although I went to meetings regularly, it just wasn't working.

In the meantime, my spouse (who started out in AA, but hasn't gone regularly for years) who has 28 years clean and sober and was very supportive and patient for the first while was now at the point of looking for a new place to live. We were both clean and sober when we met and for the first dozen years we kind of sailed along and then I hit some rocks and after 6 years of struggling, it got to the point where she had had enough.

I really started to look at what I was doing and why it wasn't working. How did I get 12 years clean before? I realized that it wasn't 12-step meetings, I barely went for most of that time. It turned out to be a simple answer: In treatment, I decided that I wasn't going to drink or use drugs and then I went off and lived a healthy lifestyle and did other things to fill my life. That was it. I was banging my head against the wall trying to use 12-step meetings to get back to where I was and I realized that because I was never really able to do Step 1 and admit I was powerless and unmanageable, I never was really able to really buy into anything after that.

The thing that was the turning point for me was that I told a few AA friends that I was starting to think that the only reason I stayed clean was that I had babies to take care of (now they are grown up) and my years of abstinence had nothing to do with 12 step programs. The baffling thing to me now is that I said it with a sense of something like guilt because this didn't follow the AA "you are powerless over your disease" model. This itched at me. Why was I almost apologetic for staying clean and sober for 12 years (mostly on my own)?

The whole house of 12-step cards came apart with this thought stream. What was I thinking? I realized that I had been programmed to believe that 12-step programs were the only way to "recover" from "the disease of alcoholism" and that I was wrong in thinking that just not drinking was a solution to a drinking problem. That was messed up.

I think a lot of the reason 12-step programs weren't working for me was my personal spiritual belief. It has always been something like "What comes around goes around" or Karma or a re-worded phrase based on the Golden Rule, instead of "Do unto others as you would have done to you", I believe that it's "As you do unto others you will have done to you". So it comes down to something like me believing that if I don't steal other peoples stuff or take advantage of them, people won't take my stuff or take advantage of me. I also think (to quote Pirates of the Carribean), it's "more of a Guideline than a Rule" and that sometimes bad crap happens and there is no rhyme or reason to it.

How was I going to turn my will and life over to that? How was I going to admit to this "God" and another person the exact nature of my wrongs? How was I going to channel the will of a non-existant (in my thinking) Divinity? I just don't believe in a divinity that micro-manages our lives. I also believe in physics and if I was able to communicate with some divinity, I would need not only need a psychic ability, but it would have to be a faster-than-light psychic ability, because if God was out playing a round of golf a few galaxies over, it would take a few hundred million years for him to get my request and a few hundred million more for me to get the answer, and I just don't have that kind of patience.

That brings me to today. My last binge was just a short time ago, but I read Hank Hayes' "You've Been Lied To..." and spent a lot of time reading through orange-papers.info and researching things on my own. I am convinced that in my case that deciding to "not drink, no matter what" works as long as I manage my life in a healthy manner. I found out there are SMART meetings in my city and plan to attend. I have a great consellor at Mental Health and she doesn't have a clue about 12-Step meetings and she is great (and refreshing) to talk to.

I'm going to put in a bit of bragging at this point and say a bit about my life.

I am 44 and have 3 wonderful children that are in university and high school (none in prison) and are great people and doing very well. When I got divorced I made 16 years of maintenance payments without even being late on one of them. My two older kids moved in with me after they graduated high school to go to university.

I have been in the same common-law relationship for 17 years with the best woman on the planet who has been clean of drugs and alcohol for 28 years and manages that with spiritual practices and reading, exercise and drinking lots of water.

By the time I was 26, I had several impaired driving charges and had lost my driver's licence repeatedly and now I haven't had any accidents or tickets for 16 years.

I have a great career: I own a consulting company and do enterprise database work and have a long-term contract with a major firm. I have a Secret level security clearance. We have a nice paid-for home, no other debt and I have a new Harley, a new truck, a bunch of guitars and a great collection of woodworking and mechanical tools. I earned every one of those things through hard work and saving/managing money.

So far, my relapses/binges haven't caused major external damage and I haven't been in trouble with the law or been physically hurt (yet). My spouse and I have a lot to work through, but we both think it is worth it and are trying. I know I have to get this all in order because the binges and the behaviour when I am intoxicated have been getting progressively worse (and the "worse" is accelerating).

Once again, thank you for your effort and best wishes for you and yours.


Hello Bob,

Thank you for the story. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and got things figured out. Having to cope with a bipolar disorder makes sobriety doubly difficult, but you have come out on top. Congratulations.

Your description of trying to moderate sounds like the story of my life:

[I] tried to drink socially and responsibly and that didn't work out at all. I could keep it to a few drinks a day and maintain that for a week or two and then it would trigger a binge...

Yes, that's it exactly. For me, "moderate" never stayed moderate. I could moderate a little, for a short while, but I would invariably slip further and further down that slippery slope and drink a little more and a little more each night until there was no limit to my drinking except passing out.

But I can totally abstain relatively easily. Funny how that works.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     MITCHELL: "Hey Tilk, how did you resist that brainwashing?"
**     TILK:  "To resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is most important."
**       ==  Stargate SG-1

June 02, 2013, Saturday, downtown Portland:

Willamette River and the Marquam Bridge
View of the Willamette River and the Marquam Bridge from just south of the Marina.

Canada Goose goslings
The floating restaurant at the south end of the Marina

Canada Geese
Canada Geese at the floating restaurant
Finally, we get to the goal. They are eating rolled oats that I brought for them.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese at the floating restaurant

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[The previous letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Meatbag ]

Date: Tue, July 30, 2013 5:25 am       (answered 1 August 2013)
From: Meatbag
Subject: Greetings from Warm Springs

I'm on my third week at the Warm Springs Institute now. It's not bad. In some regards, it's like the lovechild of a mental hospital and a college. Mostly the architecture and the set of rules. No opposite-sex visitors in dorm rooms, no alcohol on campus, room checks every week, take meds at nurse's station, etc. For some reason, they dedicated the entire first week to telling us the rules. Boring and rather patronizing. Second week of orientation was more fun. Got to see FDR's Little White House. Now, I'm done with orientation and on my first week of classes. Which are mostly for social skills and general job skills.

I've got more things to do in my free time. There's a YMCAish rec center on campus, which has nearly any form of recreation you can think of. Even video games and a bowling alley. And there's a few hangout-type areas in the dorm building. A group of kids set up a tv and an xbox in a lounge on my floor. So, I've got those options when I feel like being social.

When I don't feel social, I've got my electronics. I got my newer laptop back, and it seems to actually be functioning as it should now. I installed regular Slackware to that, and I've been playing around with that. I tend to carry around the tablet, and leave my laptop hooked to an external monitor.

I also brought my older laptop and installed NetBSD on it. Can't believe NetBSD hasn't occurred to me before now. It works beautifully, and I've installed screen, links, nano, alpine, mc, and irssi on it. Didn't bother with X11, since it wouldn't go above 640 x 480 (I swear this thing could do 800 x 600 on Windows 98), and it was rather sluggish and ugly. I'm quite comfortable with the console now, and with screen, I don't really need a GUI much. I'm actually writing this email from said laptop.

It's really nice to have it up and running, since it is the most resilient piece of hardware I've ever owned. I've had both my tablet and my newer laptop in for repairs simultaneously before, so yeah. (To be fair, the tablet only had to be sent in that one time, but still.) Also fills a few niches. It's a quick way to check my email. It can run irssi well. And it can ssh to my laptop, and be accessed from ssh.

Also, I haven't had any alcohol since I got here. Haven't really felt like drinking since then, either. Funny. If I have things to do other than drink, I don't drink.

Anyhow, how have you been doing?

Hello Rebecca,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and coping with the condescending staff. To me, that's the worst part of places like that. Otherwise, it sounds good. Good luck with that.

I've been having physical troubles. Apparently, a disk in my back ruptured and is pinching the spinal cord and making my right leg extremely painful, and making walking nearly impossible. It happened a little over 2 months ago, when I rode my bicycle out to the Fernhill Wetlands to feed the geese. I got a flat tire just as I arrived. I had a full load of rolled oats and oatmeal and bread, and didn't want to abort the mission and just go home loaded. So I pushed my bicycle around the wetlands, distributing the food, and then pushed my bike home. It ended up being about 2 miles of walking and pushing, and that was too much. Something broke, and I haven't recovered yet.

It's actually been coming for a long time. For the last year and a half, I thought arthritis was bothering my right hip. I thought that the ball-and-socket joint in my right hip was going out, because walking or standing for more than a half hour became very painful. Walking more than a half mile was just too painful, so I got in the habit of riding my bicycle everywhere. That doesn't hurt.

Six months ago, my V.A. doctor correctly figured out that it wasn't arthritis in the ball-and-socket joint. It was something else in the pelvis. If you can put your knees together, and then spread them wide, and then put them together again, and then spread them wide again, repeatedly, without pain, then you don't have arthritis in those ball-and-socket joints. That motion doesn't hurt at all. But standing and walking does.

And that explains how I could sit down on a bike seat and peddle the bike without it hurting. The ball-and-socket joints are just fine. (I've been taking condroitin sulphate and glucosamine and MSM for the arthritis for years now, and that seems to be working. The arthritis, which I did have elsewhere, seems to be in remission. At least that isn't bothering me now.)

Well, about 3 weeks ago, I saw the V.A. doctor again, and this time he figured that I probably had a ruptured disk in the spine that is pinching the spinal cord and irritating the nerve trunk that goes to the right leg. Alas, there are no easy fixes for that. They took a bunch of X-rays and I'm waiting for the results.

Now, I'm just coping and trying to get some pain pills and getting a run-around. The pain is so constant and nagging that it's a big deal to walk from the bedroom to the bathroom, or to the kitchen. I plan every trip carefully. I lay awake half of the night a lot of nights because the pain keeps me awake. I'm becoming very familiar with the late late late night TV schedule.

For the pain, the V.A. doctor prescribed a totally useless drug called Tramadol that just makes you very dizzy and nauseous and faint and drowsy and flushed and constipated. It doesn't reduce the pain at all. I talked with another doctor (retired) and she said that Tramadol failed to reduce pain in 80% of the patients who tried it. It is just an anti-inflamatory drug, not a pain-killer. I tried it for two days and dumped it. With all of its bad side effects, it isn't worth taking. It just makes me sick.

So now I'm just sending messages to my doctor at the V.A., using their secure messaging system, requesting some proper medications, and getting ignored. No reply. Nothing. Up until now, I've loved socialized medicine like the V.A. system, but now I'm having second thoughts.

So anyway, here we are. Such is life.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can't go preventing pleasure and pain, you can't keep the mind from
**     labeling things and forming thoughts, but you can put these things to a
**     new use. If the mind labels a pain, saying, 'I hurt,' you have to examine
**     the label carefully, contemplate it until you see that it's wrong: the
**     pain isn't really yours. It's simply a sensation that arises and passes
**     away, that's all.
**       —  Upasika Kee Nanayon, "Tough Teachings To Ease The Mind"
**           http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/tough-teachings-ease-mind

[The next letter from Meatbag is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Pamela_A ]

Date: Mon, July 29, 2013 8:49 pm       (answered 30 July 2013)
From: Pamela A.
Subject: Help — ASAP


I found your web page Propaganda and Debating Techniques. I'm hoping you will help me. I'm writing an article for an online site. It is political commentary.

Within the article on Detroit's bankruptcy, I am quoting

Professor Harris-Perry says:
"We can talk about the microstory of Detroit, but it seems to me that Detroit, as always, is standing for all kinds of things about America. In the case of Detroit, the reason that the tax base has become so small is because a loss of population, right? So folks out, they are not there to pay the taxes on the homes and the kind of deterioration is what you see in the numbers you've suggested.

But this lack of tax base is also exactly the kind of thing that many Republicans would impose on us, even when our cities have sufficient populations, even when our communities have sufficient populations. This is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub, and it is not a pretty picture."

These are an inaccurate picture of why Detroit is filing for bankruptcy. She is using debate strategy — but I do not know how to describe which one where.

When I found your page, I was stunned. I had no idea the vastness of debate and propaganda. Can you sort this quote for me and tell me the names of the strategy she is using.

Of course I will cite you and your page. I need this analysis ASAP if you are willing.

Thank you,
Pamela A.

Hello Pamela,

Good luck with your project.

That looks like "blaming a non-cause", at least to me.

It's listed as "Blame a non-factor":

The real cause of the financial disaster is because all of the auto manufacturers moved out of the city and are no longer paying taxes there. That was the real money. The local residents are chicken feed compared to what a Ford or GM factory pays in property taxes. But that is all gone, and the residents and the expenses of taking care of them still remain: schools, hospitals, police, fire, sewage, water, streets, etc. None of those expenses moved out of town.

Another analysis that I read (I think Paul Krugman, NY Times) said that Detroit made the mistake of having only one source of income: the auto industry. When that declined, the city had nothing to fall back on.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Noonday ]

Date: Tue, July 30, 2013 11:47 am       (answered 2 August 2013)
From: "Noonday"
Subject: Wow

All that effort for what? To be right? To be factual? What a serious waste of talent and time. You really need a drink- you'd be less obnoxious.


Sent from my iPhone

Hello Noonday,

Thank you for the message. The answer to your question is, "Yes, to be right, to be factual." It's all about telling the truth.

I find it both appalling and amazing how many Steppers have told me that I should drink alcohol rather than spend my time telling the truth about alcohol abuse, Alcoholics Anonymous, and recovery. That's one heck of a recovery organization.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

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

June 02, 2013, Saturday, downtown Portland:

Canada Geese
Canada Geese at the floating restaurant, eating rolled oats

Canada Geese
Canada Geese at the floating restaurant, eating rolled oats

Boats at the marina
Boats at the marina

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Paul_L ]

Date: Wed, July 31, 2013 11:50 am       (answered 2 August 2013)
From: "Paul L."
Subject: Thank you

After having thoroughly perused your website over the course of the past several weeks, I am convinced that you are a genius. Thank you for providing an insightful, well-written, and meticulously researched site regarding the dubious fellowship of A.A. It was integral in solidifying my decision to remain sober of my own volition. Thanks again.

Paul L.

Hello Paul,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I am especially happy to hear about your decision to remain sober by using your own will power and common sense. That is a big deal. That can be a real life-changer.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited,
**      and cannot serve any one; it must husband its resources to
**      live. But health answers its own ends, and has to spare;
**      runs over, and inundates the neighborhoods and creeks of
**      other men's necessities.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882), American Poet and Essayist

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html#Robert_M ]

From: "robert m."
Subject: Thanks for sharing
Date: Tue, July 30, 2013 7:29 pm

Sent from my iPhone

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Last updated 15 February 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters361.html