Letters, We Get Mail, CCCLXIX

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Matt ]

Date: Wed, September 18, 2013 8:57 am       (answered 23 September 2013)
From: "Matt"

I'm not sure if this is the proper place to unload this, but I don't know how to operate a forum or a chat room on the internet... and need to dump this somewhere.


I was Born in 1952, Richmond, Va. We lived in an idyllic, middle class, Southern neighborhood, where children played and rode bikes till dark.

I'm sure I was born with a depression anxiety disorder— probably from my father's side. His mother had committed suicide, and later his father, and still later, he did, too. Beside beating my older brother and sister and Mom, I watched Dad try to kill my mother twice. At age seven, at Richmond's courthouse, packed full of family and neighbors, I was physically forced to choose between my parents during their divorce proceedings and ensuing custody battle. I choose Mom.... and, to myself, quietly choose to never to make a decision again. In my divided mind, our broken family was my fault, and I cursed God for this trouble.

During Mom's second disasterous marriage, my eighteen year old sister , in order to escape home, married an older man in his mid twenties who was a pedophile. No one knew what he did to me at age eleven to sixteen, until I finally told my family at age thirty. Prior to that, I acted out my confusion and pain in textbook style.

After highschool I went to Boston University, dropped out after two years, became an artist (painter) and lived a destructive lifestyle in downtown Boston for ten years. I returned to Richmond in 1979 after an untreated nervous breakdown. I lived with my Mom and her third husband, a medical doctor. Among other things, I told them about being sexually abused. He immediately found a psychiatrist who put me on anti-depressants. I accidently discovered and read AA's Big Book. I went to meetings, picked up a thirty day chip amongst applause. I felt like I belonged.

As [strongly] suggested, I got a sponsor and went to meetings 24/7. I didn't know this sponsor had several suicides around him. He told me that in order to get sober, I had to get off anti-depressants: they were dope. Against my doctor, I tapered off. I wound up psychotic and catatonic in a psych ward where they put me back on meds. When I got out, I went back to meetings and picked up my nine month chip. My stepfather, a good man, tried to tell me AA was not a good place for me. But I believed AA was right and he was wrong.

To make art, I moved into a delapidated building in Richmond's Fan district. I became a Big Book thumping recovering alcoholic. I sponsored people and repeated the litany. Two years later and sober, the same sponsor approached me again about anti-depressants being dope. He and the like minded agreed I should go to treatment in Hampton, Va to get off of them. I had health insurance and the AA facility was happy to comply— and kept me there an extra month. To this day, my health insurance cost soar because of this tragedy.

Tragic as well because I developed agoraphobia within two years. I was four years sober and, on top of clinical depression, I had anxiety attacks that felt like being plugged into a wall socket. I went to two or three meetings a day to relieve this. Fearing anxiety attacks, I moved from one safe meeting to another in hopes of not having another, but, looking back, all those meetings made if far worse.

There is a story in the Big Book about a man who I'm sure had agoraphobia. To me, it read that his was a symptom of a greater disorder— alcoholism. I thought I was brain damaged and/or spiritually unfit and had to suffer the same way.

After several years of thinking I was recovering from my "alcoholic" years, my AA girlfriend at the time read an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch that described the symptoms of agoraphobia. It also named a local doctor who treated it. She had to drive me to his office because it was over a bridge and way out my safety zone.

As I was terrified of anything non-AA and anti-depressants, the doctor was very patient with me. He prescribed small doses of an anti-depressant capsule that I dissolved in a four ounce medicine bottle filled with grape juice. For several months, I drank one ounce a day, then two, then three, then the whole pill. One morning, I woke up just like he said. It was a miracle and I knew I didn't have to live that way anymore. I joined his group and re-learned how to drive a car, go to the grocery store and movies, cross bridges, etc. This took a year or two.

I still believed AA was my life blood. Even so, my AA girlfriend convinced me to see a specialist in incest recovery who used psychodrama or experiential therapy in private sessions and groups. Looking back, this, like agoraphobia treatment, did more for me than anything AA supplied. Still, I could not reject AA dogma.

Two months before I was to pick up my ten year chip, I had two beers one night. It just happened. Ashamed, the Big Book thumping me picked up a white chip and lost all those "sober" years. I kept going to meetings, didn't drink for over a year, but it dawned on me that AA meetings were depressing me — and had been all along. I'd been absorbing something.... what?.... negative all these years and began to think, I needed recover from my AA recovery. I mentioned this to [some] AA friends and therapists, but was told I was wrong to think that way. AA was right and I was wrong.

Thus began many years of going out, picking up a white chip and going out again. Though I drank moderately, sometimes heavily at night. I believed alcohol had complete control over me. I enjoyed drinking, but battled with this idea for years until I gave up. I believed I was going to die of alcoholism and that was that. I moved from Richmond and live where I do now, in a backwater on the Northern Neck in Virginia. I decided I would make art, fish, work.... and die of alcoholism. I tried to go back to meetings down here, but it didn't work anymore. I figured it was me. After all, nobody put a beer in my mouth.

I met a wonderful woman and we are happy, but my belief underneath everything: I will die a miserable alcoholic. I told her this, my history, that I was doomed. For years, she watched me struggle, while questioning AA's authority to predict the outcome of my life. I was just that brainwashed even after the fact. It wasn't until recently that I began to think about what she was saying. I went on the internet and searched for "non AA recovery". I was surprised by the amount of information stating it was a cult and how much damage it had done to so many. It dawned on me, after thirty three years, that, and I quote, "AA is insane, not me".

When I came to AA, I had a broken heart. I was grieving the loss of the first third of my life due to an insane childhood, clinical depression, incest and self medication. I needed help, not a cult. Alcohol abuse was a symptom and not the whole problem. I feel betrayed and have lost many years living something I over learned and couldn't or wouldn't let go of. Now I think AA broke my mind, spirit and my heart.

I have been drinking five to eight beers a night for years now. Recently, I've been smoking pot sometimes. Even though I quit smoking cigarettes for fifteen years, I started back ten years ago. The load of chronic cult information in my head caused a what the hell.... you're dying, so find what peace you can while you can. Perhaps that's just an excuse to drink, but that's how I thought— and still do.

Now, as I read non-AA recovery stories and those who were damaged by AA, too, I am considering that I mite be able to make better decisions than what I have been. Sometimes I wonder.... because I believe in a Loving God.... that status quo mankind is just one big cult bent on controlling others by doing the opposite of Love. That opposite is fear or fear based. I find that very daunting at this point.

Hello Matt,

Thank you very much for the story. I put it in the letters section of the Orange Papers, and I'm adding it to the list of A.A. Horror Stories.

Your story says so much. It also says a lot about the A.A. "no medications" insanity, and the harm done by that superstition, so I'm also adding your story to the list of A.A. "No Meds" horror stories.

The thing that really resonated with me was when you talked about resigning yourself to an alcoholic death. I went through the same thing. I got so down and depressed that I thought that there was no sense in quitting drinking and smoking again, even though it was killing me, because I would just relapse again. So why waste your time trying? Better to just stay stoned and kill the pain until the bitter end.

(By the way, alcohol makes you depressed.)

Fortunately, something changed. Something snapped inside me. When a doctor told me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one.", I thought it over for a while and then decided to live.

I cannot explain what made me suddenly change my mind, but all of a sudden, death was unacceptable and I was determined to not die that way. And I didn't. In another month, I'll have 13 years off of alcohol (and also off of all drugs).

And I not only quit drinking, but three weeks later, I also quit smoking, because that was messing with my recovery too. I was so sick that I couldn't both smoke and breathe, so I went to the doctor and got some patches, and put one on, and never looked back. In 6 more weeks, it will be 13 years off of cigarettes, too.

I really wish I could package whatever it was that made me suddenly decide to live and really quit all of my bad habits, and stick to it. I know it would help a lot of people. But I cannot even say what it is.

What I can say is, there is hope. There is a way out. And you don't have to become a true believer or a slave of a cult to get better. You can be free. It is possible.

And speaking of what worked, I wrote a letter answering the question "How did you get to where you are?", where I talk about some aspects of that.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Spiritual quackery:
**     God wants you to bleed your patients. God wants you to take a sharp razor,
**     and open a vein in the patient, and bleed out those bad humors.
**     Oh, and don't give your patients any medications. Trust God to heal them.
**     It's spiritual, not religious.

NOTE: This letter is also a thread over in the forum:

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Matt_J2 ]

Date: Wed, September 25, 2013 6:27 am       (answered 26 September 2013)
From: "Matt J."

Thank you Orange.... for hearing and understanding my story. I find your story heartening and will allow it to sink in. I think I just need to re-learn how to trust folk around this issue. I think at present, just understanding/sympathetic others who hear what I've had on my plate is enuff for now. Perhaps the rest will fall in place when the time is right?


Hi again, Matt,

Yes, I can relate. After you get your fingers burned by a bunch of grinning, lying, con artists who pretend to be in love with God, it's hard to trust. Who isn't just running a scam for their own benefit?

Fortunately, there are a bunch of good people around. They just don't form cults and go recruiting and advertise, so they can be hard to find.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "We trust, that somehow, good will be the final goal of ill."
**         == Tennyson
**     "WHEN a pretension to free the world from evil ends only
**     in a new proof of the danger of a fanatic to the commonweal,
**     then it is not to be marveled at that a distrust is aroused
**     in the observer which makes sympathy impossible."
**         == Sigmund Freud

[The next letter from Matt_J is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Ctmjon ]

Date: Tue, September 10, 2013 3:57 pm       (answered 23 September 2013)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Fwd: The Elephants Knew

I hope you enjoy this story has much as I did!

The Elephants Knew
And some will say there is no God,
try and tell that to the elephants.....


Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller, The Elephant Whisperer. He bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.

On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died. He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons, and numerous elephants. Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs. Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved 'man-friend'. A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly, for days, making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house. Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years!

But yet they knew where they were going. The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who'd saved their lives — so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything. Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.



Lawrence Anthony,

Lawrence Anthony


Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thanks for the story. I'm not sure about the connection between what he is describing and "God". I think that there is a lot of confusion over the word "God", and different people have different definitions. What he is describing is more of a spiritual or psychic connection between living beings, rather than any "Ruler of the Universe".

Now I'm not saying that there isn't a God, I'm just saying that what this story shows is that elephants seem to have a psychic connection to those whom they love.

Not coincidentally, people who care for and study dolphins — John Lilly's crew, in fact — saw the same kind of reaction when one of the dolphins died. The other dolphins knew it immediately, even though they were physically separated. (See the Omni magazine article about John Lilly's dolphins. Unfortunately, I don't know the date. All that I can say is that it had to be about 25 years ago.)

Like I've been saying, there is more to this world than meets the eye.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how
**     deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need a
**     boundless ethic which will include the animals also."
**        ==  Albert Schweitzer, physician/Nobel Laureate.

June 22, 2013, Saturday, Fernhill Wetlands:

Fernhill Wetlands
Fernhill Wetlands, the first pond. The water level is really down now. Most of what you are seeing is usually underwater.

Mongel Ducks
And of course my regulars show up for lunch.

Canada Geese + goslings
It's a gathering of the families.

Canada Geese + goslings
The flock forms a convoy when they swim.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters368.html#Peter_F ]

Date: Mon, September 16, 2013 6:42 am       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Conceptualizing Addiction and Mental Illness is No Cinch

A bit of Foucault might help explain why psycho-behavioral disorders confound us

Peter Ferentzy, PhD
Scientist 1, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Author of Dealing With Addiction — why the 20th century was wrong
Co-Author: The History of Problem Gambling: Temperance, substance abuse, medicine, and metaphors

Ah, thank you Peter. Clear, concise thinking, as usual. I think you are squarely nailing the semantic problem of "Is alcoholism a disease?"

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We must think things, not words, or at least we must constantly
**     translate our words into the facts for which they stand, if we
**     are to keep the real and the true.
**       == Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr.
**          address, New York State Bar Association, Jan 17, 1889.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Peter_F2 ]

Date: Fri, September 20, 2013 12:57 pm       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Dr. Peter Ferentzy — Toronto's Future: Safe Injection Sites Are a Win-Win

Dr. Peter Ferentzy published a new article on The Huffington Post

Dr. Peter Ferentzy wrote a new post: Toronto's Future: Safe Injection Sites Are a Win-Win

Dr. Peter Ferentzy

There has been much talk recently about the possibility of a safe injection clinic in Toronto. With Vancouver's Insite clinic leading the way, Canada is at the forefront of a major advance both in...

To comment on this post, follow the link below:


Thank you Peter.

Something that a lot of people don't seem to recognize is that it costs about a quarter of a million dollars to care for an AIDS patient until he dies. Every junkie who catches AIDS uses up a lot of taxpayer money that could otherwise be doing something more useful, like giving children better schools. Or fixing roads and bridges. Or giving better and free medical care to other people.

Now we are too kind-hearted and Christian a people to just abandon the sick junkies and let them die in the streets, so that money-saving option is out. It seems like the most economical solution is to give them clean syringes and safe places to shoot so that they don't catch AIDS and Hep C in the first place.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

Date: Thu, September 26, 2013 2:12 am
From: "Peter F."
Subject: RE: Dr. Peter Ferentzy — Toronto's Future: Safe Injection Sites Are a Win-Win

Thanks for your thoughts Orange. I could't agree more.

Date: Fri, September 20, 2013 1:14 pm
From: "Peter F."
Subject: FW: Documentary Screening Reminder

Hi all,

I am writing to remind you of the free documentary screening that will be taking place at the 519 Community Centre on Saturday, September 28th. [Toronto] Please see the poster attached for details.

Hope to see you there!

All the best,

Sibyl Likely

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One must live the way one thinks, or end up
**     thinking the way one has lived.
**       ==  Paul Bourget, "Conclusions,"
**           Le Démon de midi (1914).

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Todd_B ]

Date: Tue, September 24, 2013 5:26 pm       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: "Todd B."
Subject: Re: Twitter???

Are you on Twitter? I'd love to follow.


PS: I have an absolute disdain for AA and tend to believe that most people (re 12 steps) tend to confuse most successful with most popular.

Hello Todd,

Thanks for the compliment.

I don't tweet. Twitter has the nasty habit of stealing the copyright of anything that you post. I got disgusted with Twitter when I learned that a young woman tweeted a photograph of Capt. Sully Sullenberger landing his plane in the Hudson River that she captured with her cell phone. Well, Twitter took it and sold it to the news networks and kept the money.

So I don't tweet.

I do have both a personal page on Facebook, and a group there. Both have the name "Orange Papers".

Oh, and of course there is the Orange Papers Forum:

You are quite welcome to join. Just register. (See the box in the upper left-hand corner of the page.) Make up any user name that you like, and then email me and tell me what user name you registered, and I'll approve you. (That last step is to stop the spammers, who are really obnoxious.)

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.

Date: Wed, September 25, 2013 5:05 pm
From: "Todd B."
Subject: Re: Twitter???

Thanks for this. I have been a clinician for 28 years and have never seen an increased success rate when 12 step is paired with traditional outpatient treatment. Perhaps one day people will be more willing to question the method and not the client.

Perhaps one day. We can hope.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
**     Which we ascribe to heaven.
**       ==  William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, (1602-03), 1.1.231

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Chris_M ]

Date: Sun, September 22, 2013 7:46 pm       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: "Chris M."
Subject: Awesome website!

Thanks a bunch for all the work you've done putting this website together. It has been an awesome resource, and I'm glad I found it because there have been times where I've wondered "is this really going to be the rest of my life, sitting in a church basement inhaling second hand smoke and labeling myself a dirty drunk for the rest of my life?"

Since I read quite a bit about you and what you've done, here's a little bit about me.

Last year in September I got into a near fatal motorcycle accident that resulted in me nearly dying — my heart stopped 3 times in the hospital. Luckily nobody else was hurt. I was, very stupidly, twice the legal limit. Thus ended my 7 year abusive relationship with vodka.

I was court mandated to complete 75 hours of alcohol education along with 2 AA meetings a week. I had to get the piece of paper signed each time I went. Almost immediately I noticed I was treated with an almost mild to moderate disdain by the other people, who were quite a bit older than me and looked very beat up. It was a newcomers meeting, so I figured that would be the best place to start as I was indeed a newcomer.

They talked a lot about "dry drunks" and how people that don't follow the steps, yet remain sober and by all appearances have their act together — in actuality do not because they are not here following the steps. I found that odd.

I was given the information packet with a bunch of names and phone numbers and I was told to call any of them whenever I needed to. So one week I did, I nervously picked up the phone and dialed the first number. An exasperated voice answers "Hello!". I told him who I was and that I was the new guy last week and that I just wanted to call. He told me in an exasperated voice that he was busy with family and didn't have time to talk, and to call later. I never did.

I went to 4-5 different locations thinking that maybe that meeting just had people with antisocial tendencies. Everywhere I went it seemed like Catholicism and AA were inextricably tied together. I found this odd, considering they say that they aren't affiliated with any particular belief system.

I had to do these meetings for almost an entire year. The longer I went there, the longer I realized that for a lot of these people, this was their whole life. They go to church basements, smoke cigarettes and sit in the basement lamenting their alcoholism. It was all very depressing to me.

They would yammer on about how "special" they were because they had the "secret" to life that other drunks and, this really gets me, non-alcoholics did not have. They were better, and chosen because of their alcoholism. This even though they were worthless and helpless.

I've had to lose a bunch of my so-called friends over the last year. But I have managed to find a group of non-alcoholics that don't drink often and that know my situation and respect it. I don't know about you, but as for me I'd like to leave my alcoholism behind. I don't want to sit in basements lamenting my alcoholism for the rest of my life. I need to put it to rest and move on. I want to be with functional people that go on vacations, and have normal relationships. I don't want to have to freak out because I go somewhere and don't have to have my all important AA meeting.

I've done the classes, attended the court ordered meetings. Now it's time to grow up and move past needing to label myself as something so negative. I don't want to be known as the alcoholic (once you're an alcoholic you're always one, what garbage) that has to attend meetings with the "chosen few" to make myself feel special. I need to be done with the chain smoking basement dweller chosen few and become a part of society again.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant. I had to do it. I've been sober for a little over a year but it's because I'm done with that life. I'm on a new chapter, not a constant rehash of the previous one.

Take care, and if you've read this far, thank you for listening.

Hello Chris,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. You do a good job of describing the cult religion called "Alcoholics Anonymous".

Of course their ideas are goofy and illogical. You are a "dry drunk" because you don't participate in their religion enough? Nonsense. I just received another letter that nailed it. That writer said:

Again: the hubris of the movement is amazing! But the whole idea that one could stop doing drugs in the wrong way shows that AA is not about drugs at all.

Or about alcohol.

If they really cared about people quitting drinking, they should be cheering for every person who quits drinking, no matter how he quits. But they don't.

In fact, I've had a bunch of Steppers sneering at my years of sobriety, claiming that they don't count because I'm not "working a strong program". And I "have a resentment." And I "wasn't in recovery" because I wasn't going to A.A. meetings so I "wasn't dealing with any issues." Baloney. My healthy liver says that I'm not drinking, and it's happy about that fact.

You also noticed that A.A. sponsors are not necessarily good, caring, counselors. But of course. How could they be? A.A. members cover the entire range from relatively normal to psychotic and insane. For many of them, drinking too much alcohol was just a sign of a much deeper and more serious underlying mental illness and neurosis and other disorders. Just quitting the alcohol does not instantly restore someone to sanity. Trusting such people to be wise life coaches and helpful counselors is as crazy as going to the local mental hospital and asking the patients for wise advice. Years ago, somebody sent this to me:

A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person will cure another deeply flawed person. A dynamic fraught with peril.

You are quite right about the need to move on. Spending the rest of your life in meetings, putting yourself down and declaring that you are defective and flawed and diseased and cannot ever recover is a good way to drive yourself insane. Really insane. Suicidally insane. No thanks.

But that's a standard cult characteristic. Or rather, at least two of them: No Graduates, and No Exit. In fact, what you have described pretty much covers more than the first dozen of the standard cult characteristics:

Oh well, have a good day now, and a good life. And welcome to freedom.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If someone has cancer or diabetes or coronary disease,
**     we don't use a quack doctor to treat those sick people —
**     a quack whose only qualification is that he used to drink
**     too much alcohol or take too many drugs, and who is now
**     a member of a cult religion. But with the so-called
**     "disease" of addiction, the standard treatment is
**     to have former alcoholics or dopers dispensing their
**     platitudes and slogans, and insisting that "spirituality"
**     is the cure.
**     The fact that it is difficult to break established bad habits
**     does not mean that those bad habits are diseases.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Fri, September 20, 2013 3:33 pm       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: Bob O.
Subject: A new book

Mister T,

I have read "The god delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Is there a book "The AA delusion?" If not do you see it in the near future?

Thank you for all you do. Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob O.,

Now that's an idea. It would especially be fun to have Richard Dawkins write it. He would logically rip A.A. to pieces.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Like computer viruses, successful mind viruses will be hard
**     for their victims to detect. If you are the victim of one,
**     the chances are that you won't know it, and may even
**     vigorously deny it.
**       ==  Richard Dawkins

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Peter_F3 ]

Date: Sun, September 22, 2013 4:06 am       (answered 25 September 2013)
From: "Peter F."
Subject: Donovan poster — Commemorating 10 years of InSite — Service User Perspective

Date: Sat, 21 Sep 2013 14:43:44 -0400
From: zoe_dodd
To: pferentzy
Subject: RE: donovan poster

Commemorating 10 years of InSite — Service User Perspective — Community Meeting

Donovan is on a cross
Canada tour sharing his experiences as a past service user of InSite.
This will be a great opportunity to hear directly from someone who used InSite as we look to create our own safer injection services here in Toronto.

Join us on Tuesday September 23, 2013
Queen West Community Health Centre 168 Bathurst St.

Donovan is a 30-something, First Nations, recovering IVDU that first contracted HCV sharing in Victoria BC. He dodged that bullet as he was able to clear the HCV. He remained a deeply entrenched IVDU but moved from Victoria to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Donovan became a very regular attendee at InSite. He survived multiple ODs and never contracted HIV or HCV which he attributes to supervised injection and harm reduction services. He transitioned into sober living through the assistance of Onsite Detox which is located upstairs of InSite and is part of their service delivery model.

Link to the Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/196696217177622

Here are some links, media and Donovan's own work:

CKNW interview and documentary

Vancouver Courier

Ari Shaffirs Skeptictank Podcast (starts at the 20 min mark)

A documentary he was in when he was homeless on the street

Donovan's blog http://kickingdown.com/

Follow him on social media

This event is co-sponsored by the Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance and the Toronto Drug Users Union

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Imagine how people will interact with each other when they know they
**     cannot harm another person, place, condition or thing without harming
**     themselves.  Imagine the difference when people, everywhere, accept
**     the divine truth:  as they give, so shall they receive.
**        ==   Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj (Mayan)

June 22, 2013, Saturday, Fernhill Wetlands:

Male Northern Pintail Duck
A Male Northern Pintail Duck

Male Northern Pintail Duck
A Male Northern Pintail Duck, Approaching
This guy is tame enough to approach me to get some munchies. Now this is a totally wild duck, but he has learned from the other ducks and geese, and from observation, that I don't hurt ducks and geese, and that he can get some goodies from me.

Male Northern Pintail Duck
A Male Northern Pintail Duck

Male Northern Pintail Duck
A Male Northern Pintail Duck, leaving

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Dennis_M ]

Date: Wed, September 25, 2013 8:12 am       (answered 26 September 2013)
From: "Dennis M."
Subject: Sciatica

Hi Terrance:

I was reading in your recent blog note about the pain with your sciatica. I can certainly relate, I started having issues with it at only 29 due to a couple of degenerative discs in my lower back. The pain can be excruciating, so bad that on a few occasions I couldn't function for weeks, and could find no way to relieve the pain.

What finally worked was physical therapy. I was taught exercises to help strengthen the muscles around the lower spine to basically keep everything in place. While I still have minor pain and occasional stiffness, I'm glad to say it's been four years since I've had an unbearable episode.


Hope it gets better.

Dennis M.

Hello Dennis,

Thanks for the note. Yes, that is it exactly. I've also been crippled and non-functional for weeks. And I couldn't even lay down flat on my back without it hurting. There was no position that was painless.

Up until the last few weeks, I wouldn't have even been able to do the exercises. Any bending or stress on my body hurt too much. But things are improving. I will be able to do the exercises now, and I shall.

This has been a long time coming. For the last year and a half, I've had a problem with my hip hurting a lot if I walked more than half a mile. So I transitioned to riding a bike everywhere. I thought it was arthritis. Wrong. Alas, it was much more degeneration of the bones than just arthritis. (By the way, alcohol abuse can cause osteoporosis. It seems totally unfair for it to pop up years after I quit drinking, but sometimes, that's just the way it goes.)

Early this summer, I got a flat tire on my bike just as I arrived at the Fernhill Wetlands. I had a full load of grain and bread for the ducks and geese, and didn't want to just abort the mission, so I pushed my bike around the wetlands and fed all of my little friends, and then pushed my bike home. It was 2 or 3 miles of walking and pushing, and it was too much. Something broke or got strained, and I got totally wrecked and crippled, I haven't recovered yet.

For a couple of months there, just walking from the bedroom to the bathroom was very painful, and a major exertion. I'd actually plan the trips, also stopping off at the kitchen to get stuff, so that I could accomplish as much as possible in one trip so that I wouldn't have to make a second trip.

But things are getting better. Right now I'm at the yo-yo stage. That is, I'm laid up and crippled for weeks, but then I get to feeling better, so I immediately get on my bike and go shopping and go to the wetlands, and overdo it so that I'm back in pain for the next week or two. Then I get to feeling better, so I want to get caught up on things to do, so I overdo it again...

Up and down, round and round. I'm learning to take it easy.

Have a good day now. And thanks for the video.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "What is it all but a trouble of ants
**     In the gleam of a million million of suns?"
**        ==  author unknown

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Erol_F ]

Date: Thu, September 26, 2013 10:55 am       (answered 26 September 2013)
From: "Erol F."
Subject: AA cult scorecard

Cool article: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-cult_a0.html

I'm curios how you came up with this checklist. Is it derived from an accepted standard or from scratch?

Hello Erol,

The answer is "both". I got the original idea from a 10-point checklist for identifying cults that was published in a magazine some 25 or 30 years ago. I described that article in a previous letter, here.

Then I read a huge number of books about cults, and extracted the common denominators of many cults to get the rest of the items for the Cult Test. You can see the list of books here: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-bibliography.html#cults

Then, interestingly enough, someone found another cult test online, and about three-quarters of their items agreed with mine. So other people are seeing the same problems with cults as I do. (I would give you the URL but I can't find it at this minute. It is listed somewhere in the letters, but darned if I can find it now.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic
**     initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior."
**     The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior in
**     American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Pete_H ]

Date: Thu, September 26, 2013 3:22 pm       (answered 27 September 2013)
From: "Pete H."
Subject: Whats-the-word-mockingbird?

Pete H. has sent you a link to a blog:

An Open Letter I hope you publish!

Blog: Whats-the-word-mockingbird?
Link: http://democracylater.blogspot.com/2013/09/so-at-church-dinner-other-night-in_26.html

Powered by Blogger

Hello Pete,

Now that is interesting. I am not surprised at the way that the A.A. true believers reacted to your revelations about how much money Bill Wilson took from A.A. They believe in the A.A. fairy tale just as intensely as any fundamentalist Christian believes in his goofy dogma.

Their reactions to your information about Bill Wilson's income was typical:

  1. Appeal to authorities
  2. Denial
  3. Attempt Intimidation
  4. Escape Via Relativism
  5. Run away

Yes, that is how cults carry on "discussions".

By the way, you guessed that the value of Bill's estate might have been $900,000. I heard that Lois Wilson's income from Bill's royalties at the time of her death was $900,000 per year. Yes, just one year, and she got something like that every year.

To establish the value of an asset like a copyright, estate attorneys have to figure out how many more years the copyright has yet to run, and what the expected income per year will be. Today, copyrights last for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years, but it was a lot less back then. Maybe Bill's copyrights were good for 20 more years. If the books would continue to sell at the same rate, and the copyrights would collect money for another 20 years, then the value of the copyrights was $18 million dollars. And what I hear is, the sales of Bill Wilson's books steadily increased as A.A. grew, and peaked out some time in the nineteen-eighties or -nineties. So the worth of the copyrights might be higher.

So that was quite a nice nest egg that Bill left to Lois. Not bad for a poor impoverished alcoholic who only lived to serve others.

The actual hard numbers must exist somewhere. Bill's estate must have gone through probate at the time of his death, so someone had to calculate the numbers for tax purposes.

Also check out these documents:

About the events on 9/11: I can't really comment there because I have not studied that situation. I don't really know a whole lot about it. I haven't had the time to read the full 9-11 Commission Report, for example, because I'm busy reading things about alcoholism and recovery and cults. Oh I've heard a lot of things, and I'm also curious about why Building 7 just fell down when neither of the Twin Towers fell down on top of it. But I haven't devoted any time to studying all of the facts and all of the evidence, and I don't really have the time to do it. I'm busy with this addiction and recovery stuff.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Was it not mostly people from Saudi Arabia that were involved
**     in 9-11? Our ally?  Bush 41 was in a meeting that morning with
**     Osama's brother.  Nothing is getting under your skin here?
**       ==  Alan E. Moses
**     http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=28122

June 26, 2013, Wednesday, Farmers' Market in downtown Forest Grove:

Farmers Market
Farmers' Market

Farmers Market
Farmers' Market

Farmers Market
Farmers' Market

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html#Subhuti ]

Date: Thu, September 26, 2013 9:46 am       (answered 27 September 2013)
From: "Subhuti"
Subject: AA was involved

At 30 I stopped drinking. I was married with children. I went to AA because I could stop but I did not stay stopped for any amount of time. I went because I was ready to stop for good, I was determined. I thought that was what AA was about. I was wrong. I did stay sober for 13 years. But I stopped going at around 7. It caused me a lot of trouble and like drinking when it got bad enough, I stopped going. I always got a mixed message when some people would tell me how great I was doing and then others would tell me that I have to work the steps. It bothered me that I had to give AA all the credit. A lot of things did not sit well with me. At 5 years I did a 4th and 5th step. I think I did it okay, but things did not work out to good. My now ex-wife came into the program and worked all the steps, including 13. Oh well. The children stayed with me and they turned out fantastic. I think getting out of AA was a good idea. It was my choice to go. It caused me a lot of problems. AA may have not caused all of them, but it was involved.

I did go back to drinking for many years. It did not get worse, like they said it would. But it was still not a good thing for me to do. At the age I was when I started going to AA, I was not able to keep AA's bs out of my head. All of the things that Orange and others say about AA are true. They have happened to me and others that I have known. I do not need to go into it all, I have enough evidence to satisfy me. I would not recommend anyone to go to AA.

I did go back a few years ago. I thought I would give it another try. More than that, I needed to deprogram myself. But this time I did not buy into it. It's funny, at one meeting a guy asked me if I was staying or just visiting, I told him I was just visiting. I had found the OP and the other sites and have read it all. But there was not much that I could bring myself to say. I could tell that it was no use. I thought, like others, that maybe I could help someone to see how bad it was. In the end decided to stop and not ever go back. I do not want AA or any other 12 step program involved with my life.

Thank you Orange, for providing the information that you have put on your site. It has helped me and I am sure it will help others, if they will just take the time to read it.

Hello Subhuti,

Thank you for the letter and the story. And all of the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and you are free, and your mind is working.

So have a good day now, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    To have freedom is only to have what is absolutely necessary to enable
**    us to be what we ought to be, and to possess what we ought to possess.
**      ==  Rahel

[The next letter from Subhuti is here.]

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Last updated 11 November 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters369.html