Letters, We Get Mail, CCCXCVIII

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Leslie_M ]

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 01:09:55 -0700     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Leslie M.
Subject: still loving your site

hi orange,

I think that tree is called a Monkey Tree — at least that's what we call them in Vancouver (BC).


They are really cool trees.....

interesting about the Minah Fish. Could that actually be possible? would they be loud enough?


Monkey Puzzle Tree
Monkey Puzzle Tree

Hi Leslie,

Thanks for the note. Yes, a "Monkey Puzzle Tree". And the web tells me that they are native to South America. I guess they must live up in the Andes, because this one is thriving in northern Oregon, and it isn't killed by the winter freezes.

The thing about the Minah Fish was just a joke, a spoof. It occurred to me while I was thinking about a TV program that I saw on Public Television — I think about Lyre Birds. It turns out that they are world-class mimics, much better than parrots. The best footage that they had was a Lyre Bird who, when the photographer aimed a video camera at the bird, responded by mimicking the sound of a 35mm film camera with an electric motor film winder. The bird looked the photographer right in the eye, and opened his mouth, and said, "Click!-Whirrr... Click!-Whirrr..." The little bird had it down pat, and he clearly understood that cameras make that sound, so, when he saw another camera pointed at him, he played back the sound.

And yes, the male Lyre Birds play their repertoire of sounds in front of the females in order to impress them. They really are like rock stars showing off in front of the girls. The male Lyre Birds act just like the male Minah Fish that I described.

I was thinking about that while the evening TV news was talking about the pings from the lost airplane, and the two stories just kind of ran together in my imagination. Is it really true? I doubt it, but it's just crazy enough to be true. If birds can mimic sounds, why can't fish?

The fish would be loud enough, I think. The sound from the pinger is really, really weak, especially because the plane will be at the bottom of the ocean, about two miles down, and the ships with hydrophones are on the surface. They have to use very powerful amplifiers and amplify microscopically tiny sounds a lot to be able to hear those black boxes. They can't even have any other ships in the area or the noise from the other ship will drown out the pinging sound. So a fish with a weak ping can easily sound as loud as a black box that is two miles away.

And a ship that is listening for distant pings can't necessarily tell whether the sound is coming from a black box two miles down or a fish a few hundred feet down. If the ship is moving, the listener can notice that the sound comes on and fades away too fast when it is coming from a nearby fish. A sound from a pinger two miles down will not change in intensity much as the ship moves over its position, but the sound from a fish a few hundred feet down will. But that kind of discrimination is very tricky when they are struggling to hear anything at all, and they routinely loose the sound because it is so faint and so far away, and they think they are hearing the same black box at positions hundreds of miles apart.

If there really is such a thing as a Minah Fish, it's going to make locating the black boxes doubly difficult. In the future, they would need to make the black boxes produce sounds that cannot be copied by a fish, or make the boxes transmit something that can be easily recognized as a copy. My best guess is: transmit the current time and date in Morse code along with the pinging. If a Minah Fish is just repeating what he hears, then he will be sending out yesterday's time and date, not the current time. That will enable the hydrophone operator to distinguish between black boxes and Minah Fish voicing copies of yesterday's pings.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I like nonsense — it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a
**     necessary ingredient in living. It's a way of looking at life through
**     the wrong end of a telescope... and that enables you to laugh at all of
**     life's realities."
**        ==  Dr. Seuss

[The previous letter from George_R is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#George_R ]

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 07:28:10 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: George R.
Subject: Toward better understanding

Hello Orange,

Glad to hear from you. Congratulations on your thirteen years of sobriety; so much the better. The former congrats must have been based on an old letter. That you recovered without AA is unimportant to me, the fact that you have succeeded is and it is not my place to judge. It is not my place to "argue or retaliate" but to find some common ground, to close the apparent gap between us and to arrive at better understanding. So please accep that I am relatingmy own experiences and the beliefs I hold as the result of these.

The Spanish artist Goya said, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I would offer that beauty is also in the ear of the beholder and is generally a matter of perception. The principle of the First Step is Honesty and another point I've made at meetings is that I have always been honest: that is to say I've always been true to my beliefs. If I believed that "they" were out to get me (I was once diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, and on another occasion as a psychopath), my actions were conditioned by that belief. In that state of mind, when I was arrested countless times, confined to mental institutions ( three times), and indicted by a Grand Jury in New York (May 1972), the effect was not to dissuade me from my beliefs but only served to confirm them. They were really out to get me!

Beliefs are what they are; firmly held regardless of their holder's view of reality. People who serve in the military believe they are "serving their country"; in Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut refers to it as "indoctrination in homicide and Socialism." Your reference to "brainwashing" is valid in some circumstances but not all. The Second Step says "Came to believe" not "Made to believe" and I hold with the former. I've heard other members say, "Brainwashing? My brain needed a good washing." The many times I went back to drinking over the fifteen years of struggling it was because I believed that AA was trying to brainwash me. I wouldn't be brainwashed, yet I came to believe.

One misconception I held to the very end was that the solution to any problem had to be perfect: it doesn't. Over the past thirty years I have ridden a bicycle the equivalent of one and a half times around the Equator. My 1984 Gitane 10-speed is my sole means of getting about; it keeps me fit and healthy despite my 75 years. I keep my bicycle in good repair as I rely on it for transportation (if I need a car I just rent one). Once, when I was heading home from my office, a distance of four miles, the derailleur on the bicycle I had then broke. The pedal only turned halfway but I still made it home using what pedal was available. It wasn't perfect but it worked. That is my position on AA.

While I certainly agree that there are flaws in the program that I strive to address, the recovery I enjoy today the result of identifying these anomalies and finding a higher truth in the process. Another way of putting it: it takes three tons of ore to mine an ounce of gold. It's just a matter of digging, or scraping a hole in a concrete floor with a spoon.

So, it's all about believing and while I agree that brainwashing is an abomination, it is not the only was to condition belief. There is also the "placebo effect" that has seen many recover from serious illnesses and diseases.

So, as we are on opposite sides of the fence regarding AA, I hope that these discussion may serve to lower the fence that we may arrive at a better mutual understanding. Peace.

Your Friend,

Hello again, George,

Actually, I don't think we differ much in our opinions of A.A. We agree on so many things, like that it is a big mistake to just shove a big bundle of superstitious beliefs and goofy instructions at the newcomers and demand that they just obey orders and do what they are told. We agree that understanding is important. We agree that speaking the truth is desireable. We agree that faith healing and expecting miracles on demand is insanity. We agree that worshipping any old stone idol or group of drunks as "God" is both crazy and heretical. We agree that many, perhaps most, of the A.A. oldtimers resent being told the truth whenever it differs from their favorite notions, and that is not a good thing.

In fact, the only glaring point of disagreement is whether "the program" works and produces good results. But you have discarded so much of "the program" that I wonder what your idea of "the program" really is. It sure isn't the standard package of beliefs that the regular A.A. oldtimers are selling. Your program isn't the 12 Steps, and it isn't sitting on your duff and expecting Higher Power to be your butler. Your program isn't "having faith" or believing in God. So what exactly is your program, and how does it work?

I noticed your mention of the placebo effect. Alas, that doesn't work either. Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant (the future A.A. Trustee) was also hoping that the placebo effect would heal alcoholics. In his famous book, The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery (1983), he stated that his goal was:

In other words, if we can but combine the best placebo effects of acupuncture, Lourdes, or Christian Science with the best attitude change inherent in the evangelical conversion experience, we may be on our way to an effective alcoholism program.

Well, it sounded good, but it didn't work at all. After 8 years of using A.A. on his alcoholic patients, and testing A.A. and trying to make it work, Dr. Vaillant had to report that A.A. produced a zero-percent improvement in the sobriety of alcoholics. What the A.A. program really accomplished was raising the death rate in alcoholics.

Then there is the problem of belief. You mentioned that word repeatedly. Coincidentally, here in Portland Oregon we have some really dangerous believers. They call themselves the Followers of Christ Church. They fervently believe in faith healing. They refuse to take their children to the doctor when they are sick. They literally let their children die without medical care. They let their children die from treatable conditions. That has happened repeatedly, for years. The local district attorney finally got fed up and started filing manslaughter charges against the parents. One court case had just recently concluded with the father getting a few years in prison and the mother getting probation (so that she could care for the surviving children), when yet another couple of parents killed one of their children by depriving the child of medical care, and another whole court case circus began. They stubbornly refuse to learn and change their ways. They are convinced that they are right and everybody else is wrong, and if the child dies, well, that was just the Will of God.

Believing that A.A. really works to cure alcoholics (or "help, but not cure") presents the same problem. The evidence shows that A.A. does not work. And the faith-healing attitudes of some A.A. members who insist that people should not take their doctor-prescribed medications — trust the 12 Steps to heal them — is just the most extreme aspect of the A.A. faith-healing beliefs. A.A. has killed many people with that insane belief.

Personally, I have no faith in faith. I don't believe in belief. I believe in "Learn the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith
**     does not prove anything.
**        ==  Friedrich Nietzsche
**     A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth
**       is not worth many regrets.
**         ==  Arthur C. Clarke
**     "I find every sect, as far as reason will help them, make
**     use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out,
**     'It is a matter of faith, and above reason.'"
**       ==  John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690
**     "The test, surely, of a creed is not the ability of those who accept it
**     to announce their faith; its test is its ability to change their behavior
**     in the ordinary round of daily life. Judged by that test, I know no
**     religion that has a moral claim upon the allegiance of men."
**       ==  Harold J. Laski, in I Believe (1939), ed. Clifton Fadiman
**     "I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith,
**     like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere."
**       ==  The A.A. "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Page 259.
**     I do not believe in people telling others of their faith, especially
**     with a view to conversion.  Faith does not admit of telling. It has to
**     be lived and then it becomes self-propagating.
**       ==  Mahatma Gandhi, October 20, 1927.
**         All Men Are Brothers, Mahatma Gandhi, page 55.
**     "Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge
**     of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the
**     promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh
**     courage to flagging spirits."
**        ==  The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson,
**            Chapter 4, We Agnostics, page 53.
**     "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.
**     The belief which we find thus questionable, both as being
**     a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an
**     almost-extinct family, is a belief that is not countenanced
**     by a single fact.
**       ==  Herbert Spencer, Principles of Biology,
**         Volume 1, page 336, published 1864 to 1867.
**     A belief is not true because it is useful.
**        ==  Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821—1881)
**     Fervent belief on your part does not necessarily
**                  constitute a work order on my part.
**                                                  GOD

April 20, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Mongrel Ducks
The Gang of 2 (Mongrel Ducks)
The flock of domestic ducks that used to number more than 13 is now down to 2 surviving drakes.

Mongrel Duck
The light-colored mongrel duck

Pondscape with Cackling Geese
Pondscape with Cackling Geese
Soon, this flock will head north and go back to Alaska or northern Canada to breed and spend the summer.

Canada Goose
Canada Goose, coming to get some munchies

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 13:53:11     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Bob O.
Subject: The AA religion


If you have not seen this:

"Religion was created when the first con-man met the first fool."
== Mark Twain

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

Hi again, Bob,

Thanks for that too. I love Mark Twain.

Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2014 14:12:39     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Fwd: The disease concept

I do not remember if I sent a copy of this to you, so just in case.

Long Island Bob O.

St. Jude Retreat says: "The disease concept is a convenient excuse for treatment providers. Not only does it provide a reason for failure, it excuses counselors from responsibility."

Alcohol abuse is a choice.
Alcohol dependence is not a disease.
God is a dangerous delusion.
Save yourself.
Read WWW.orange-papers.info

Thanks for that too. And it's so true. "I'm not an incompetent counselor; it's that darned disease, claiming another victim."

Never mind the fact that the so-called "counselor" is really a coke-snorting Internet child pornographer and child rapist — the failure rate is caused by alcoholism the terrible disease that is "cunning, baffling and powerful".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     In 1961, an exasperated Circuit Court Judge (and later Chief Justice)
**     Warren Burger complained: "No rule of law can possibly be sound or
**     workable which is dependent upon the terms of another discipline whose
**     members are in profound disagreement about what those terms mean....
**     [The term 'mental disease'] which has no fixed, agreed or accepted
**     definition in the discipline which is called upon to supply expert
**     testimony and which, as we have seen, is literally 'subject to change
**     without notice' is a tenuous and indeed dangerously vague term to be
**     a critical part of a rule of law on criminal responsibility."

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Darshan ]

Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 13:40:08     (answered 23 April 2014)
From: Darshan
Subject: Article on Bill Wilson

Friend, your article on Bill Wilson was quite profound and was well researched. You had plenty enough fact and supporting data without all the extenuated judgmentalism, however. Subject to the ranting undertones, it would have been easy to dismiss, had it not been so well founded in supporting data. I believe your major points to be invaluable to members of 'alcoholics anonymous', in seeing their own denial and self justifying behavior (if their founder could be so susceptible, should they not watch for this in themselves?).

All I have to say it is certainly wise they call themselves Alcoholics Anonymous, and have no members 'greater or better' than others, as, if they followed Wilson's lead, rather than their shared recovery experience, they would certainly fall apart and cease to serve. Thank You for presenting what is, no doubt, a very controversial article, but on a subject that certainly needs spoken. I had researched many of the same items, earlier, but You performed with far more proficiency in that area.

As far as Bill Wilson, and so many other 'spiritual teacher/leaders', I have always observed how a man of great contribution will so often have all his fatal flaws dismissed or rationalized as acceptable for any number of inane and insane reasons, almost as if a flawed person could make no sizable contribution. Hence the almost frenzied attempts of the 'students/adherents' to cover or dismiss the detrimental actions their leaders were guilty of. In humor, I quip this phenomena as, "There is nothing more Sacred than a dead guru."

Respectfully yours,

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Darshan,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. And yes, that thing about the unquestionable dead guru is so true.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Frequently, at gatherings of former cult members, a lively exchange
**     takes place when participants compare their respective groups and
**     leaders. As people begin to describe their special, enlightened,
**     and unique leader — whether a pastor, therapist, political
**     leader, teacher, lover, or swami — those present are often
**     surprised to learn that their once-revered leaders are actually
**     quite similar in temperament and personality. It seems as if those
**     leaders come from a common mold, sometimes light-heartedly called
**     the "Cookie-Cutter Messiah School."
**       ==  Take Back Your Life; Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships,
**       Janja Lalich and Madeline Tobias. 

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Eva ]

Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:58:38     (answered 24 April 2014)
From: Eva
Subject: Scholarship/Research integrity


I agree with you on AA and the 'treatment' industry. It amazes me how you have had the patience to keep going, particularly when you have to deal with a great deal of provocation day in day out.

One of the reasons I keep coming back to the site is your scholarship. In other words, your dispassionate approach and findings based on evidence, rather than conjecture or inappropriate speculation, sits well with me.

So, I ask myself why you constantly use the National Socialist regime of '30s and '40s Germany as the barometer of all that is evil. You must be well aware that the evidence for gas chambers, a programme for genocide, etc is laughably thin, surely? Canada had two huge trials in the '80s of a man called Ernst Zundel and so-called holocaust denial which showed how emotion, rather than evidence, dominates that subject. Why would you be so keen to dispel the myth of AA using another, far greater and far more fraudulent, myth? Surely, that is intellectual dishonesty or laziness?

All the best, Orange.


Sent from my iPad

Hello Eva,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. But wow! The evidence for the gas chambers is not "thin". There are mountains of evidence — entire libraries of evidence. The Allies were running movie cameras as they liberated some of those concentration camps, and the documentation is overwhelming. The story of the holocaust is not a "myth".

We also have the entire German archives of documents — immense archives. The Germans were meticulous record-keepers, and it is often possible to track a specific Jewish family from a certain city address to a certain train on a certain date to Therisienstadt, and then later taking another train to Auschwitz. Those archives still exist, and were just opened to the public. They were sealed for 50 years after the war, but times' up. So both you and I can go read them, and I would if I had the money for a vacation in Germany.

We even have the transcripts of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials where some of the Nazis on trial described in their own words how the factory of death worked.

Unfortunately, there are some people who don't wish to believe that it really happened, so they make false claims that the evidence is bad, or weak, or that it is all just a Jewish conspiracy. In the paragraph above, you implied that the evidence was thin because people were very emotional at a Holocaust Denier's trial. Those two things have nothing to do with each other. Some people being very emotional about things like mass murder and genocide does not change the validity of the evidence one way or the other. The evidence stands on it's own merits, and the evidence is so immense, so complete and detailed, that it is unquestionable.

Just recently, I got ahold of a book of trial transcripts of doctors who performed unethical medical experiments on Jews in the concentration camps:

Croix gammée contre caducée — Les Experiences Humaines En Allemagne Pendant La Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale     Francois Bayle.
That is, "The Swastika versus the Caduceus — The Human Experiments In Germany During The Second World War".
Published by Centre De L'Imprimerie Nationale a Neustadt (Palatinat), 1950.
8 volumes, 1521 pages. French language.

You should try reading it. —An English translation, that is, which is available.

I do not regard the Nazis as the only measure of immorality, but they are certainly one yardstick by which to measure evil. The reason that I keep going back to the Nazis is because they are inseparable from the subject of A.A. Any time we discuss the theology of A.A., we have to include the theology of Dr. Frank Buchman, whose teachings Bill Wilson parrotted. And Buchman just pushed a Fascist/Nazi philosophy:

  • The average man is unfit to think for himself, and he should just obey the orders of his superiors.
  • Hence democracy is undesireable. The average man is not fit to vote. So Buchman sold a pseudo-democracy which he called "inspired democracy" and "true democracy", where nobody voted, and everybody just obeyed Buchman. Frank Buchman simultaneously declared that he was giving people "the true dictatorship of the living God", and "the dictatorship of the spirit of God". It takes some fancy semantic tap-dancing to reconcile "true democracy" and "true dictatorship".
  • The highest patriotism consists of unthinking obedience of the leader's orders.
  • People who have liberal or left-wing politics are Communists.
  • As Paul Diener pointed out, Fascisms were health and purity movements.
  • Fascisms sold "spirituality" and purity as alternatives to the bread-and-butter issues of the leftists and trade unions. And labor unions were bad because they were "materialistic".
  • The end justifies the means. ("It's okay to lie to people and deceive them in order to win them for God.")
  • Those who disagreed with the Buchmanites were morally defective Untermenschen.
  • And although they hid it and downplayed it, Buchman's "Oxford Group" was actually quite anti-Semitic.

That is on top of the fact that Buchman liked to hobnob with the leading Nazis and attended Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies and the 1936 Berlin Olympics as the personal guest of the Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler. And then Buchman came home and declared to a New York daily newspaper that he thanked Heaven for giving us a man like Adolf Hitler.

I don't consider the Nazis "the barometer of all that is evil." I also criticize the Communists, and Scientology, the Moonies, the Hari Krishnas, Rev. Jim Jones' Peoples' Temple, and numerous other cults. It is entirely possible that Stalin actually killed more people than Hitler did. It's a close contest. Both got between 40 and 50 million people killed. Both Hitler and Stalin were evil monsters.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The one means that wins the easiest victory over reason:
**     terror and force.
**       ==  Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1924), 1.2.

[The next letter from Eva is here.]

April 20, 2014, Sunday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
The geese and ducks aren't the only things that eat the rolled oats that I spread out. The Blackbirds and Redwing Blackbirds and Yellow-Headed Blackbirds and Savannah Sparrows also jump on them. And also various other beautiful little birds whose names I don't know. Just about every kind of seed-eating bird likes the rolled oats.

April 22, 2014, Tuesday, my back yard in Forest Grove

Cautious Squirrel
This squirrel is warily watching me with apprehension, but at other times they are amazingly tame. Another squirrel allowed me to walk up to within 4 feet of it before it ran and climbed up the fence and then watched me from the top of the fence, like this one is doing. The squirrels seem to be learning that I'm not hunting squirrels, and, in fact, am feeding them. Some of the squirrels are so aware of that that they jump on the seeds within minutes of me putting them out.

Flowers in my front yard

A squirrel in my front yard. He or she comes from across the street to get munchies.
That squirrel is also sharp enough to learn that I put out a bunch of mixed seeds every day, so it scampers across the street to get some munchies as soon as I turn my back on the seeds that I just put out. Literally. I pour out some seeds in the front yard at the edge of the driveway first, and then go into the back yard and spread out seeds there, and when I walk back to the front yard, a couple of squirrels are already feasting on the seeds.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Ian_M ]

Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2014 17:19:33 -0700 (PDT)     (answered 7 May 2014)
From: Ian M
Subject: Terry

Another website told you might have some advice me, here is what I wrote them:

I found myself with my back against a wall and no way out. After to talking to a friend he recommended I go to a detox facility and he would help me get into a half-way house.

Right away, while in detox I noticed something was wrong. I was visited by several people who told me the 12 steps are the only way to remain sober and handed me a big book. The situation reminded me of other religious groups who actively promote their views.

Once I got to the half-way house the guys there were very welcoming and tried to make me feel comfortable. They told me the rules and routines, at this point I was just grateful to not be on the streets (I lost my house). The issue arose during "Morning Meditation", when everybody reads a paragraph from the big book and chants prayers in unison. Being an atheist I found this disturbing and decided not to say the prayers one morning. Another member of the house observed me not reciting the mandatory prayers and told the house manager, who made me write the prayers several times (I have the threat of being kicked out on the streets always hanging over my head).

In addition, to mind manipulation the house provided me with a new job at a local flooring company working in the office. I was told if I leave the program I lose my job. The job only pays enough for me to eat and pay "rent" every week, leaving me depending on the house and AA to stay off the streets. I need some advice on a way out, without having to go to a homeless shelter (I have never been in a situation like this before). I would work a second job but I am prohibited from doing so or go on Food Stamps to save money, but that also is prohibited.

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

Hello Ian,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about the troubles that you are in. That is the classic "halfway house" trap: It amounts to white slavery. You pay exhorbitant rent for a bunk (I'll bet that it is not a private room) in a "safe and sober" house, and you work for a cult member for substandard wages, which the halfway house confiscates for rent and food, and you never get ahead. You can't possibly save up enough money to move out and get your own place when you need first and last months' rent and a damage deposit to move into any apartment. You can be their slave for many years.

And they have no legal right to forbid you to get food stamps. That is also part of the scheme to keep you dirt poor and trapped in their religion. Now I'm sure they mask their intentions by slinging some slogan like "You should be self-supporting", but their real motive is still to keep you trapped in poverty and in their religion. That is also why they don't want you getting a second job. If you make enough money, you will move out and escape from their cult.

In the end, the only answer is to walk out of there. One way or another, that is the answer. Just pack up your things and walk out.

Now it will be far more comfortable, healthy, and convenient if you can immediately walk into a good situation with a roof over your head and a good job, but that may be dreaming. With the economy and unemployment what it is, even qualified, educated, people with no drug and alcohol history can't get jobs.

I can't recommend the homeless shelter unless you are getting rained on a lot. It's healthier to camp out in a field. My experience with homeless shelters is that you will be sick as a dog with five kinds of colds and flues within a week of going into a homeless shelter. The guys in the shelter fan out and travel all around the city during the day, and then they come home to the shelter at night and give you all of the diseases that they collected during the day. My first time in such a shelter in the winter of 2000, I came down with colds, flues, bronchitis and pneumonia. But at least that gave me the motivation to quit smoking. I just couldn't both smoke and breathe any more.

Now I would like to think that you are not alone in this. There must be some good people somewhere who would like to help. I'm going to post this letter on the web site and forum and also Facebook, and see what other people can suggest or offer. But first, I need to know what city you are in. Whether some people can help depends on that. (Then again, perhaps you could move to another city. That is also a possibility.) So please tell me where you are.

I would also look into what the local social agencies have to offer. You might also want to talk to the local Department of Labor people about the white slavery issue, and you could also talk to the local district attorney's office. I know that what is being done to you is illegal. (It's really a very old scheme that has been used on all kinds of underpaid workers: Just pay them enough to survive, but not enough to be able to get out.)

And have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
**      and all are slaves beside.
**        ==  William Cowper (1731—1800), English poet
**     "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
**     its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
**     blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
**        == Dresden James 

Date: May 8, 2014, 7:33 AM
From: Ian M.

I am located in Louisville, KY. Thanks for the response and advice.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Carl_B ]

Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:50:20     (answered 7 May 2014)
From: Carl B.
Subject: Your Fantasy

I'm amazed that I've seen just another church bound person, so fearful of the truth that he spent page after page 'attempting' to disparage Alcoholics Anonymous. You obviously are ignorant. and are one of the many who chose to stay ignorant, in the hope that everyone else will see "A. Orange's Light".

Hello Carl,

Thanks for the letter and the opinions. Alas, you seem to be talking about someone else. I am not a "church-bound" person. Odd how A.A. members claim that they are not in conflict with other religions, and then they snear at other believers and call them "church-bound".

The funny thing is, the other A.A. members who aren't accusing me of being a religious fanatic are busy calling me an atheist.

And I am not ignorant. I have spend many years studying cults, including A.A. Check out the bibliography, just for starters. There is a very good chance that I have read more A.A. "council-approved" books than you have.

In the first place, every single principle applied in AA can be found in the Bible. The Bible that you believe that you know. Would you like me to school you on those facts? True intellectuals, that you seem to think that you are, have looked at AA with an open mind, which your Christ was a great proponent of. The fact is, you wouldn't dare have a conversation with a true intellectual who is Spiritually Awake.

Wrong. That is a common claim, and it is 100% wrong. What A.A. members do is scan through the Bible and try to find a few sentences that sound sort of like the 12 Steps, and then claim that the 12 Steps are based on the Bible. No, they aren't. The 12 Steps are based on the cult recruiting and indoctrination practices of Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, the founder of the religious cult to which Bill Wilson, Dr. Robert Smith, and Clarence Snyder belonged.

A.A. and its 12 Steps are grossly heretical and unBiblical. Nowhere does the Bible say that you can worship a Group Of Drunks as your "GOD". You can see far more about such anti-Christian aspects of the 12 Steps here: The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

You bad mouth prayer and meditation. Jesus prayed and meditated continuously, why? Who told him to pray and meditate? Could it be he did it because it worked, and he received answers that although he did not like, he followed. Christians say that he willfully allowed himself to be mutilated and murdered, where did the 'authority' for those acts come from? Intentional suicide is a sin in your little churchworld. Tell me where they originated, since you are afraid of meditation and hence he could not have received his instructions from prayer and meditation.

You think you will get your wishes granted by praying to some Rock or Doorknob Almighty or Group Of Drunks? That is insane.

It worked? Let's see, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene to be saved, and he got crucified. The Jews in Auschwitz prayed to be saved and they got gassed and burned. What worked?

Since you have never had a Spiritual Awakening, I'm sure that you avoid doing what is necessary to have an Awakening at all cost. So you conveniently skip over steps 4 and 5. Would you like for me to point out where those two steps are in the Bible?. Step 3 is merely a demonstration of, '......faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen'.

You are assuming things about which you know nothing. You don't know anything about my religious history or my experiences, so you should not be proclaiming that I never had a religious or spiritual experience.

Steps 4 and 5 are a big part of the A.A. guilt-induction routine, which is essential for brainwashing. Jesus never told you to do Steps 4 and 5. Rather, he said, "Be of good cheer". It was St. James who wrote one little sentence about "Confess your faults one to another", and that turned out to be a huge mistake. The Catholic Church now has a strict ban on public confessions.

One final thing, and the most important of all; if and when you ever have a Spiritual Awakening, you will then 'see'. Believe me when I say that every time you open your mouth and demonize anything that you do not understand, the people who do understand are laughing at your ignorance.

Very Sincerely, Carl B.


I've already had quite a number of experiences. And I learned that people who join cults and become true believers in cults are deluded, and have not had a genuine Spiritual Experience.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When Bill Wilson made up the 12 Steps as instructions for people
**     to get a spiritual experience and stop drinking, why didn't Bill
**     include instructions for the alcoholics to go to Dr. William D.
**     Silkworth to get dosed with belladonna and see God? That's how
**     Bill Wilson did it.  Why isn't that also how other alcoholics
**     should do it? Why are the 12 Steps nothing like how Bill Wilson
**     actually quit drinking?  

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Rosemary_L ]

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:01:37     (answered 7 April 2014)
From: Rosemary L.
Subject: No Subject

Can you tell me why you have put such energy into denegrating Alcoholic's Anonymous.... Did you fail to surrender to step one and continue drinking? You sound like sour grapes, and a real fucking asshole to boot... Go find something to do besides take time trying to sink a ship that is afloat despite the efforts of persons like you... Hint, maybe YOU could develop a non 12 step approach to alcohol and drug addiction, then you could speak in positive terms instead of raking mud, and wasting precious oxygen in the process... Sick to death of the shit people like you spew... get a life.

Rosemary L.

Hello Rosemary,

Thanks for the sentiments. My motivation is very simple: to get the truth out there for all to see. A.A. is quack medicine and false religion that hurts a lot of sick people who need something better, like the truth, just for a change.

I did not "fail Step 1". I never did the 12 Steps, and I never had a sponsor, and I don't believe in Bill Wilson or the Big Book. I quit drinking my own way, and I have 13 years clean and sober now. I even have 13 years off of cigarettes, which is something that Bill Wilson never accomplished.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It's okay for children to believe in Santa Claus. We don't have to
**     go around disillusioning children and destroying their faith in Santa.
**     The same does not apply to the 12-Step religion and 12-Step-based
**     drug and alcohol rehab, however. There, we need to tell the truth,
**     because people's lives are on the line, and fairy tales don't help them.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Dan_R ]

Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:41:20     (answered 7 May 2014)
From: Dan R.
Subject: New AA argument against your website

Terrance, the latest argument I heard against your website is that you refused to do what your sponsor asked you to do and are still smoking pot daily. Also, Clancy I. is speaking in Bloomington, MN on 5/24 & 5/25. Let's make him squirm!

Dan R.

Sent from my iPhone

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the note. Now that is amusing. It's funny how people who practice "The Four Absolutes", including "Absolute Honesty", have such a propensity for making things up out of thin air.

I never had a sponsor, so no way could I disobey "my sponsor".

It's also sad to see how much it upsets them for someone to succeed in quitting drinking and drugging without their goofy religion.

Perhaps they are also upset that I ruin their fear-mongering. I am living proof that they are completely wrong when they declare that you must do the 12 Steps or else you will die drunk in a gutter.

I haven't smoked any pot in 13 years. I actually had my last hit of pot a couple of weeks before I quit drinking (Oct. 20, 2000). I didn't "officially" quit smoking pot then, I just didn't have any more pot and never got around to getting more. Then, when I quit drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, I decided to also quit all drugs and make a clean sweep of it. And I think that was a wise choice.

Actually, it wasn't entirely choice: I came down with bronchitis and pneumonia so bad that I couldn't breath and smoke at the same time. That made quitting smoking pretty easy. Not much choice.

Now, I refrain from smoking pot because I don't want to mess up my clean lungs even a tiny little bit. Pot isn't nearly as harmful as tobacco, but putting any smoke in your lungs is less than perfectly healthy. (Heck, you shouldn't even inhale a lot of dust. Coal dust, for example, gives miners Black Lung Disease.)

Also, since I haven't smoked pot in 13 years, if I was to smoke it now, I'd get high as a kite. You'd have to peel me off of the ceiling. I'd want to smoke a cigarette and have a beer just to calm down and make the room stop spinning. And that would be a disaster.

Beyond that, there is also clarity. Having taken no mind-altering drugs in 13 years produces a nice mental clarity. I don't feel like giving up the clarity just to get a buzz for a few hours. (And that applies equally to both pot and alcohol.)

So here I am, clean and sober as a virgin tea-totaller. So it goes.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        There is no god higher than truth.
**           ==  Gandhi 

[The previous letter from Thomas_C is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html#Thomas_C ]

Date: Apr 29, 2014, 6:52 AM     (answered 7 May 2014)
From: Thomas C.
Re: reply from Orange Papers

Actually we do have records of a sort. We are on Facebook and in touch for the significant events in each others lives.

Hello again, Thomas,

Thanks for the response. Alas, you don't seem to understand what records are. Trading messages on Facebook does not prove, show, indicate, or even hint that 80% of the people who joined A.A. 30 years ago are still sober, like you claimed. In fact, Facebook did not exist 30 years ago.

Records are things like attendance records:

"Joe Blow joined on July 8, 1984, and left on Sept. 20, 1984."

Now that is a record. You need one such item for every newcomer for the years in question.

AA is an anymomous program that does not keep paper records do it does not lend itself to qualitative studies.

I know that they don't keep records. That is what I said before. You have zero evidence to back up your claim that A.A. — or at least your group — has an 80% success rate.

But we have many anecdotal stories which qualify as scientific when qualitative studies are not available.

Anecdotal stores are worthless. That is a standard propaganda trick: Proof by Anecdote.

And that is what the Big Book is: Just a mess of proof-by-anecdote propaganda stories.

The FDA — the Federal Food and Drug Administration — refuses to accept any anecdotal evidence as "proof" that a medicine or treatment works. The only acceptable proof is valid, carefully-performed Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies.

Also these many anecdotal studies could be brought together in a meta analysis.

Collecting more anecdotal stories and calling it a "meta-analysis" is just another propaganda trick. It's quite invalid. The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

What about all of the stories of failure that you didn't bother to write down or save? How will you include them in such a "meta-analysis"? Without accurate records recording ALL cases of success and failure, you have no valid evidence. And you just said that you don't keep records.

All I can say AA has worked for me and many people I've known. You cannot invalidate my experience.

I disagree. You have presented zero evidence that A.A. worked for you. If you actually quit drinking, then I would give the credit to will power and determination, and maybe a little common sense, not to the practices of Dr. Frank Buchman's old cult religion. A.A. has a miserable track record when it comes to sobering up alcoholics, so there is no reason to believe that it did anything good.

Like Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." To claim that practicing an old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties cures alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction is a very extraordinary claim.

What's your problem anyways AA did nothing to you.

Actually, A.A. has hurt a lot of my friends, acquaintances, and correspondents. Read these: A.A. Horror Stories.

Foisting quack medicine on sick people and lying to them about how well it works is a despicable, heartless, crime.


Sent from my iPhone

Have a good day, Tom.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The Carl Sagan rule:
**    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
**    The far-fetched claims of Bill Wilson that Frank Buchman's
**    cult religion could cure alcoholism have not been backed
**    up by even a little ordinary evidence, never mind some
**    extraordinary evidence.  

[The next letter from Thomas_C is here.]

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Last updated 11 October 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters398.html