Letters, We Get Mail, CCCCVIII

[The previous letter from Michael_McF is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Michael_McF ]

Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2014 19:28:42 GMT     (answered 18 July 2014)
From: Michael McF.
To: [email protected]
Subject: no more AA

It's been maybe 7 years since I first read OrangePapers. For 12 years, I thought AA/12 Steps was a way of becoming morally superior to ALL religious denominations, and doing it cheaply, anywhere from $2-5 a week. I also feared an omnipotent angry God if I ever chose to leave.

Firstly, I was never an alcoholic. While Active military, 1987 I read if one "drinks for effect" more than 2X per month, one should examine their drinking. It didn't mean one was an alcoholic, either. So I examined. And I quit. First six months, then a year. During the early 1990's self-help was at it's peak. After two years of ACOA, Adult Children of Alcoholics, I figured it was natural to "progress" into AA. After 10 years of AA meetings, I was ready to leave, but had nothing to bite on. Until I read OrangePapers.

I've gone through the grief cycle, more or less. I was angry, bitter, resentful at AA. I frequented websites and spewed Orange platitudes. But after 7 years, I no longer fight. I don't have to. I don't even have to have an opinion. I've spend too much time pontificating 12 Step literature as it is, I'm done with all of that. People have drinking problems. I don't have to get sucked into their drama. I go to Church to become a better person. (Or at least maybe my neighbors believe that when they see me leave.) Churches have their problems with people, and alcohol, too. It's life. Unless you live in the Middle East, alcohol will always be around. And Middle East has it's problems.

Hello again, Michael,

Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

I think I know how you feel. I also went through a period of "recovery from recovery", several years ago. I just got tired of all of the arguing and negativity, and went and hung out on the beach for a year. I was just reading an old letter that described that time, here.

It would be nice if we could all just go on vacation and forget the whole thing. Alas, somebody has to keep on telling the truth, and I seem to have gotten stuck with the job.

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

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "The whole aim of practical politics is
**     to keep the populace alarmed (and hence
**     clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing
**     it with an endless series of hobgoblins,
**     all of them imaginary."
**        —  H. L. Mencken  (1880-1956)

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Alexander_P ]

Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2014 10:55:22     (answered 18 July 2014)
From: Alexander P.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Hi

I have been a drunk and gone to AA meetings which are depressing as heck. I've read a lot of your website and admire it. I just had to write after looking at the green papers and seeing that money making, people killing, false fear educing enterprise still at it. Thank you for your work sir. I appreciate it.

Hello Alexander,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. Yes, I also found the A.A. meetings depressing. Heck, they constantly tell you what a disgusting selfish piece of dirt you are. Who needs that?

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Let's face it, if some preacher says, "You are a disgusting
**     sinner!" and you respond, "Yes, that's the religion that I
**     want to join!" then you have a problem.  

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Pete ]

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 12:31:20 -0700     (answered 18 July 2014)
From: Pete
To: [email protected]
Subject: Hi so glad to have stumbled upon your writings

I am not sure if this email will reach someone or not but I couldn't contain my excitement over reading some of your opinions.

Just briefly, I grew up in a very sick household of a recovering alcoholic and have suffered at the hands of the AA religion and my fathers unresolved anger for 40 years. Being my father's son I took my first AA coin for six months sobriety in 1975 at the age of 16 and spent 30 years trying AA in every direction possible to stay sober. I have what amounts to a PhD in Alcoholics Anonymous, but was unable to truly quit drinking till I stopped going to AA. I have a lot to share and hope to spend more time on your site, thanks for taking the time to be apart of the dialogue. I'll keep in touch.

Hello Pete,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you are getting something good from the web site, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well now. I'd like to hear more about your experiences in A.A.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to
**     a profoundly sick society.
**       ==  J. Krishnamurti

July 13, 2014, Sunday, my yard at Forest Grove:

Sunflower with Bee
Sunflower with Bee

This is kind of funny, you know. The honeybee is acting out of pure selfishness: it is collecting nectar and pollen for feeding the babies of its own hive, and it does not care at all about whether the sunflower gets pollinated. And yet, millions of species of plants could not survive without the activities of the honeybees. Funny how that works.

The plants and bees have co-evolved. The plants that feed the honeybees the most nectar get the most honeybees and get pollinated and have viable seeds and survive. Plants that didn't give anything to the bees went extinct. So now the flowering plants feed the bees lots of nectar, and advertise their offerings to the bees with brightly-colored flowers.

Sunflower with Bee
Sunflower with Bee

Annas Hummingbirds
Annas Hummingbirds, Mother and Child

It took me a while to figure this one out. Male and female hummingbirds don't hang out together at all. They simply are not sociable creatures. They are very much loners. So I was very surprised to see these two sitting on the wires together like that.

Later, I got a good close look at the small one on the left and realized that it is a child. It is small and dark and doesn't have the adult coloration yet. Suddenly it was clear: that is a mother and her child sitting together. Now those two will socialize.

Baby hummingbirds grow up very fast. Baby hummingbirds can fledge within a month of hatching. That is unreal. Everything that hummingbirds do is fast.

Unfortunately, because of the merciless laws of physics, it wasn't possible to get both of them in focus at the same time. So here is the child in focus:

Annas Hummingbirds
Annas Hummingbirds, Mother and Child

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Paul_O ]

Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 13:43:04     (answered 18 July 2014)
From: Paul O.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Thank you and Advice Please

Hi Orange,

Firstly, thank you for your site.

Orange, having wasted so much of my lifetime, energy and spirit on AA I will not spend more of it now reemphasising everything you have covered in such masterly detail.

What I must commend you on is the in depth analysis, and the passion put to work so well in the pages. I believe if people want to call it anger — cool. So what is wrong with anger when it is channelled in such a constructive way? Anger is human, and can be used very productively.

It has been 4 days since my last meeting! Lol. Out of rebellion In AA I never kept record of my 'sober' date (another one) but it has been a few months since I drank.

I am sure the material already exists on your site but could you point me in the direction or tell me your thoughts on this please....

The line I say most every day is 'I don't know, what do you think?' and the questions I ask are 'who do I ask for the answer' and 'who knows better than me? — Clearly because for all of the reasons you have pointed out, I cannot think for myself, trust myself or have an opinion. Where do I start Orange? You know, like trusting my decisions, judgements, thoughts, inner voice (Intuition) and basically building some self esteem and confidence?

I know one easy decision — Do not drink. I am an alcoholic, once I start I cannot stop. I am OK with that part of keeping well...it is just the rest of life's decisions.

You see, I have been told, and told myself, that I am sick for 20 years, be it in Rehab, counselling, and in AA, in which I have been a failed member, a habitual relapser.

The relationships I had with woman, often had my 'disease' at the centre of it, and I have been smashed with them saying things like "you are a bum" "you are a loser" "you are a sicko". It all made sense because that was what AA etc had told me as well! How could they all be wrong? My sponsor(S) over the years as I left and returned, and other members etc also all said look at your faults Paul, all the answers lie with the fact it is your fault and you are not doing the steps or relationship, or job, or parenting well enough!! I have never been good enough, it has never been good enough....and I kept drinking/relapsing.

I have a counsellor now who has gone a long way to helping me, hence the fog lifting, meetings stopped and your site read. She has qualifications galore, and has told me I have no psychiatric illness like Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression etc. That I have to learn to stand on my own two feet and when the pain hits — cause that is life — knuckle down and do not drink! Apparently as I do more of this, I will become more de-sensitised to pain — Not immune, just feeling as much as an average person, and be able to live my life J

I am a very lucky man Orange. My parents are awesome, so supportive. I have a roof over my head supplied by the Government, and have started a small business. Best of all — I have a son who is 5 today and amazing! So much to live for, and so many reasons not to live life smashing myself to bits writing daily how selfish, dishonest, self seeking and frightened I am! Then sending it all to a sponsor who is so wrapped up in his own dramas he couldn't give two hoots anyway!! He is a great guy though, I have to remember like me, many many many AA's know no better themselves in terms of recovery. Please do not take this observation as me accepting the awfully behaviour carried out by some members that I have experienced/read about.

Think how much I can achieve when I cheer myself on, encourage myself and believe in me! Surely that is going to be a better example of how to live to my son!!!

I think I have answered my own question in a way Orange, but any advice on getting deprogrammed and how to start thinking for myself would be great J

Donation on route, God Bless and keep up the great work!!


Hello Paul,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments, and the questions. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and getting better.

I feel humbled by your questions. Really. And a little scared too. What if I give bad advice? I don't really feel like I'm a wise, all-knowing counselor who is qualified to tell other people how to live.

Nevertheless, I'll try to say something that is sane and wise and positive.

First off, I see you questioning your own sanity, and your own thinking. I know that A.A. teaches you to do that a lot. "Your best thinking got you here." Wrong. Your best thinking made you decide to quit drinking and take better care of your health, and live a good life.

Questioning your own thinking and deciding to live a better life are very positive things. They are signs of sanity.

One of my best web pages is The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. In that page, I describe how the base brain craving machine will plant all kinds of thoughts in your head, and tell you that you really should have a drink and smoke a cigarette, in addition to eating and having sex.

Now that page has fun with all of the goofy thoughts that old Lizard Brain can put in your head. One thing that I cannot emphasize strongly enough is that the Lizard Brain thoughts are not your thoughts. Old Lizard Brain will try to fool you into thinking that his thoughts are your thoughts — so you should do what he wants — but they are not your thoughts. It's just like how noise can go in one ear and rattle around in your head for a while. That is not "your" noise, it's just noise. It comes, it goes.

Similarly, we have lots of thoughts — hundreds, thousands, millions of thoughts — that just go in one ear and rattle around in our heads for a while. They are not our thoughts, and we are not insane just because some of them are goofy or illogical or even crazy. They are just more noise.

I'm reminded of this great quote:

We are no more responsible for the evil thoughts which pass through our minds, than a scarecrow for the birds which fly over the seedplot he has to guard; the sole responsibility in each case is to prevent them from settling.

== Churton Collins

So please do not believe that you are insane, and you cannot trust your own thinking.

The trick, I think, is to watch your thoughts and figure out where those thoughts are coming from. It isn't hard, once you get the hang of it. If a little voice in your head is arguing that it's okay to have a beer, that is certainly the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster whispering to you and trying to fool you into thinking that "only" having a few beers will be okay. You can simply reject that thought, and not do it, because you are smarter than that. You already know the truth. You are just like me — we cannot "just have one". It doesn't end well. It's like the old Lays Potato Chips commercial: "I'll bet you can't eat just one."

Now the fact that you will keep on getting those thoughts doesn't make you crazy, or flawed, or sick, or anything. It just makes you human. Those thoughts are just noise rattling around in your head. It's just that hunger center in the base brain wanting to get fed. That hunger center just gets confused about what will make it feel good. Instead of saying that it wants food and water and sex, the hunger center thinks that a beer and a cigarette will kill the pain and make you feel better. Fortunately, you are more intelligent than the primitive hunger center.

So again, don't put yourself down just because you get hungry and the stupid base brain comes up with poor solutions to the problem, like using alcohol or drugs or cigarettes to kill the pain. The base brain is very primitive, and isn't much different from what the dinosaurs had in their heads. That is one of the funny things about being human — we are simultaneously primitive and stupid, and also intelligent and advanced. The funny structure of our brains and our minds comes from how we evolved over billions of years. What we are is what survived. It's like we get to drive a race car that is half Model T and half Lamborghini.

So the job for you now is to learn to recognize what old Lizard Brain is doing, and to catch him in the act of trying to convince you that drinking and smoking and drugging is really okay:

  • We can do it (party and get high for one night) because we are strong and smart and we can handle it.
  • I feel so stressed out right now, I just need a little hit of something to get me on an even keel.
  • I can do just a little, and no one will ever know, and it will be okay.
  • Even if it does cause a little damage, I've been off of the stuff for so long that I can afford a little damage now.

And there are about a hundred more of those "Lizard Brain thoughts" listed on that web page.

Then you asked,

Where do I start Orange? You know, like trusting my decisions, judgements, thoughts, inner voice (Intuition) and basically building some self esteem and confidence?

You have more than one inner voice. Intuition and the Lizard Brain are two of them. And I think that logical, rational thinking qualifies as another. And then there is the voice of experience. And there is the voice of desires. When you work at it for a while, you will learn to distinguish which one is talking.

  • A voice that is telling you that drinking, smoking, and getting high on drugs will be okay, and a lot of fun, is certainly the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster jabbering away.

  • The voice of experience can be either positive or negative, like:
    "Watch out, you are about to get hurt like happened the last time."
    Or, "Do it this way. This worked the last time."
    The voice of experience simply bases its thoughts on memories of what happened before.

  • The voice of logic is also pretty obvious, because you consider all of the facts, and all of the evidence, and logically figure out what is possible and what is not possible, or what is likely to happen, and what is unlikely, or what could work, and what will never work.

  • The voice of desires can also be pretty obvious: "I want money, and food, and sex, and a great car, and a nice house, and admiration and respect and status, and..." And on and on and on. And then the desires can use the brain's logical functions to figure out how to get those things. "If I do this, I can get that."

  • The voice of intuition is mysterious. We just suddenly get feelings or hunches or insights or revelations, and we aren't sure where they came from. (That's why some people think it's magical or spiritual. I don't think so, I think it's just a part of how the brain works.)

  • And then something else occurs to me: the conditioned mind. You might also call it the imprinted mind. That is the accumulated early teachings that we got, mostly from our parents. They are ideas and attitudes and instructions that got burned into our brains at a very early age, before our critical minds had developed. So we just took in all of the teachings, and they got imprinted. Some of them were good, some may have been bad. We got taught all kinds of things like, "Don't rob, lie, or kill," to "People of other political parties, or races, or religions, or nations, are inferior." It could be anything. And we are stuck with the job of finding that stuff, and sorting it all out and figuring out what is true, and what is false.

    You will recognize the conditioned mind when a thought occurs to you like, "Mother said that I shouldn't do that." Grace Slick sang about that in the Jefferson Airplane's song Triad: "Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder, A face like ice, a million times colder, Saying to you, 'You can't do that, it breaks all the rules you learned in school.'"

When you know which voice is talking, then you will have some idea of whether to believe it, and whether to agree with it.

Now, for a change of subject, you wrote:

You see, I have been told, and told myself, that I am sick for 20 years, be it in Rehab, counselling, and in AA, in which I have been a failed member, a habitual relapser.

The relationships I had with woman, often had my 'disease' at the centre of it, and I have been smashed with them saying things like "you are a bum" "you are a loser" "you are a sicko". It all made sense because that was what AA etc had told me as well! How could they all be wrong?

Yes, that is a real curse, isn't it? Believing that you are a failure and a loser becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. When you believe that you are something negative, you inadvertently telegraph that to the people around you. It can be very subtle, like just a look in the eyes, or your tone of voice, or the look on your face, or how you hold your body, or your mannerisms. All of those things will tell the other person, "I'm not good enough. I'm a loser. I don't have my act together. I'm incompetent. It won't work out between us. You won't like me."

The funny thing is, when you believe that you are great, so will other people. They call it charisma, and being charismatic.

Now I don't think you can fake this. Oh, you can try to, and you might fool a few people, but not a lot. But when it's working, the effect is magical. The person who came to mind as I was writing this is George Clooney. That guy just radiates an aura of personal power, competence, goodness, health, strength, and good looks. Yes, he has great looks, but it isn't just looks. Every word that he says, every expression on his face, says that he is great. And it isn't a vain, narcissistic kind of good looks, either. He radiates an aura that makes you want to be around him and be his friend. He radiates a vibe that says that he is a good person.

Now can you get that kind of aura? I think so. Now admittedly, neither you nor I are likely to start looking like George Clooney. But we can work on ourselves and make ourselves into better people, and when we do that, our appearance changes, and for the better. And our mindset changes for the better too.

I am reminded of an experience that I had. Before I quit drinking and smoking, back in the dark days when I was very sick, when I would walk up the street in a nice residential neighborhood, women would actually see me coming from half a block away, and cross the street to avoid getting near me on the sidewalk. I must have looked a fright. After about three months of sobriety, and also three months off of cigarettes, and three months of eating better, I noticed that they weren't crossing the street to avoid me any more, and some of them were even smiling at me as they passed me by on the sidewalk.

Yes, they know. They see. They are amazingly perceptive when it comes to sizing you up and figuring out where you are at. What they are picking up on is both your external appearance, and also your mindset, which is telegraphing them and telling them what you are, and how you are.

In my case, my skin color changed from a cadaverous gray to a healthy pink when I quit smoking. And my cheeks filled out and I didn't look like I was starving to death. And my mindset changed equally — I radiated "victorious winner". I had beaten my addictions and I had good reason to be joyous. And I was. That pink cloud effect is great.

So the moral of the story is, if you work on yourself, they will know. You don't have to tell them. They will know without you saying a word.

Then you said,

Think how much I can achieve when I cheer myself on, encourage myself and believe in me! Surely that is going to be a better example of how to live to my son!!!

Yes, you have answered your own question.

Now what else? Let me give you the standard list of links to various helpful things:

Have a good day 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-letters408.html#Paul_O2 ]

Date: Jul 22, 2014, 2:48 AM     (answered 29 July 2014)
From: Paul O.
Subject: RE: reply from Orange Papers

Thanks Orange,

I have been reading your reply a few times over the days and it has really helped.

I find myself questioning what I have tolerated in AA and relationships generally, the fog is clearing, and I get thoughts of 'that wasn't right' over many things that happened in AA and in other unhealthy relationships. I thought it would take a couple of days to de-programme but can see it will take longer.

I am very fortunate in that I can give myself time, I work from home, for myself and have set aside a few weeks to work at a steady pace, but focus on being good to myself. This is part of forgiving myself for beating myself up for so long. I didn't know any better, I did the best with the knowledge I had, and my intentions were always good. I will get active in areas like keeping fit and meeting new friends but I am currently coming off some meds in line with 'doctors orders' and just wanna chill — and that is OK!!

I 'dropped in' on a pro AA Facebook forum earlier and already I can see the group thinking, and the hi 5's when someone says the party line and the tut tut when someone doesn't get it quite 'right'. It is so controlling.

Thanks for the response, I'll write to say hi from time to time, and wish you all the best.

Kind Regards

Paul O.
M: 07803 xxx xxx

Hello again Paul,

That sounds good. Definitely take some time to take care of yourself, and take it easy, and get better. That is what real recovery is.

And yes, isn't it amazing what you see when the fog clears? Sometimes groups of Steppers remind me of old Heironymous Bosch paintings. Bosch was one of the harshest critics of human failings and vanity and hypocrisy. (A photograph of Oxford Group members that reminds me of an Heironymous Bosch painting is here.)

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to
**     the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.
**          ==   Thich Nhat Hanh
**     Life is not living, but living in health.
**        ==  Martial, (Full name, Marcus Valarius Martialis, A.D. 42?—?102),
**            Latin epigramist born in Spain, Epigrams tr. Walter C. A. Ker
**     The secret of health for both mind and body is
**     not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future,
**     but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
**       ==  Buddha
**     The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious
**     that there is such a thing as physical morality.
**         ==  Sir Herbert Spencer, Education
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          ==   Adelle Davis
**     "There is nothing quite like dying for convincing you that you
**     really need to take better care of your health."
**       — Me

July 13, 2014, Sunday, my yard at Forest Grove:

Western Scrub Jay
Western Scrub Jay with Peanut
Those Scrub Jays love peanuts.


This robin is becoming increasingly tame. He has figured out that I am not hunting him, so he boldly lands in front of me and hops around.


I believe that there is intelligence behind those eyes. That little guy is thinking, asking, "What are you? Who are you? What do you want? What are you about?"

This flower is really trippy. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. And it has its own little resident bug. The seed pods are equally weird.

Nigelia Seed Pod
Nigelia Seed Pod
Yes, that thing would fit right in a movie like "Alien".

Globe Thistle Bud
A Globe Thistle flower bud.
Yes, this strange thing is actually a flower bud, not a seed pod. It reminds me of something out of Star Wars, like another Death Star.
And it has its own resident bugs, too. Look closely, and you can see two Ladybugs in the lower left.

Globe Thistle Bud
A Globe Thistle flower bud, blooming.

[The story of the birds continues here.]

[The previous letter from Ian_R is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Ian_R ]

Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:41:33 -0400     (answered 29 July 2014)
From: Ian R.
To: Orange <[email protected]>
Subject: Santa

Hello Orange,

I remember my first AA Meeting (in Australia). A woman shared "I believe Bill was under the influence of his higher power when he wrote the Big Book".

The fellow next to me put his head in his hands and whispered, "Jesus Christ, next thing you know and we're all gonna' be selling Amway!".

It sounds better in Aussie.

I love Gus, wife and babies. Good for Gus the Greyleg Goose!

Many thanks for this site.


Hello again, Ian,

Thanks for the laugh. Yes, I've had those moments too. One that stands out for me was when some guy shared that he was amazed at how brilliant Bill Wilson was, to have invented 12 such perfect steps that they would solve all of the problems of the world.

Yeh, right.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     What Frank Buchman demonstrated is that you can simply
**     make up any kind of screwy philosophy and occult
**     nonsense that you like and call it Christianity,
**     and many people will accept it, or at least tolerate
**     it, just because you call it Christianity, no matter
**     how far removed from real Christianity it actually is.
**     They stupidly assume that if you call it Christianity
**     then it must be a good thing. There are many different
**     flavors of "Christianity" now, and most of them do not
**     adhere to what Jesus Christ actually taught.
**     Economic cults like Amway teach that money equals virtue,
**     and that making millions of dollars is the key to Heaven.
**     That of course directly contradicts Christ's teachings
**     about how difficult it will be for a rich man to get into
**     Heaven.  FLDS, the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints,
**     teach that getting four wives is the key to Heaven, and
**     they still maintain that their church is "Christian".
**     Other churches teach hatred of Gays and Lesbians, and
**     yet they still claim to be Christian. And other churches
**     teach hatred of various "others", like abortionists,
**     or Jews, or Blacks, or Liberals, and they still claim
**     that their teachings are "Christian". And other groups
**     teach a very conservative militaristic philosophy that
**     is basically fascism, and yet they too claim to be
**     Christian.
**     It seems like every Devil that comes around is Christian.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Sarah_G ]

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:39:44 -0400     (answered 29 July 2014)
From: Sarah G.
To: [email protected]
Subject: orange papers

Dear A. Orange,

A friend of mine introduced me to orange papers, i am still in the process of reading it. I want to say I agree with much of what you are saying so far regarding AA nazis and fanatical obsession with "the only right way" to remain sober.

I also want to say I live in Portland Maine. i moved here for the 12 step recovery community after 30 day treatment at a rehabilitation center for drugs and alcohol. i have lived in a sober house this past year. i am about to move into my own apartment. I have been to other meetings, all in the Boston area, all with the same issue: lots of war stories, no solution. lots of "meeting makers make it", no spiritual influence.

i would like you to add a chapter regarding portland maine, because while i agree with your opinions of aa, they are of no value to what is happening in portland. i would like to answer any questions you may have. i only have a little over a year of sobriety. but i see what is happening here in portland, and it is good.

so, if this is more about helping addicts and alcoholics, (instead of you just proving a point to makes yourself feel validated and smarter than everyone in aa) please email me, i would be happy to help. because in fact although what you are saying is true, it is still dangerous to take it from a single angle.

boston meetings were useless to me. and made me feel like a i was bad. and there was nothing i could do to get better. this is a common agreement in portland, since many who move here for recovery are from massachusetts. many here say 90 in 90 is lethal. many here say we are not perfect. many here say there are those who are unable to heal due to mental illness (i.e. your pedophile counselor, am i right? what a sicko...ugh)

i can also tell you of times i felt manipulated and judged in portland by those who thought they knew better than me. sometimes their "advice" helped me humble myself, other times i had to realize the only one i should listen to is the god of my understanding, and me when i was using my gut and not my head. i persevered because i knew there was legitimacy in going to meetings, having a sponsor, and adhering to the principles of aa. when i realized the beauty of community, spirituality, and altruism, i got better. when i let go of my selfish behavior and saw the reality of my situation i got better. i insist you email me and we can start this chapter. for it is very necessary. aa is still valid when utilized properly. unfortunately there are more meetings that just sit around and do nothing while the addict/alcoholic crumbles. please consider this if you actually intend to save lives, do i expect every addict/alcoholic to pack there bags and move to maine? oh my f — no.... thats stupid. but i would like to improve a program that needs improvement clearly outside the halls in portland.

thanks so much
-sarah g

Hello Sarah,

Thanks for the letter. That is very interesting. Apparently, you do not belong to the organization called Alcoholics Anonymous; you and your friends created a new organization that seeks to avoid the flaws and failures of A.A. And you apparently have also developed your own program. I didn't hear any mention of the 12 Steps or the "Big Book".

So yes, I'm interested in hearing what you have created.

I cringed in pain when I read,

when i realized the beauty of community, spirituality, and altruism, i got better. when i let go of my selfish behavior and saw the reality of my situation i got better.

Now that sounds like pure Steppism. The standard cult characteristic is: You are always wrong. "You are selfish. That is the cause of all of your problems."

And then we got the flowery talk about "the beauty of community, spirituality, and altruism". Wonderful fluffy words. That is the propaganda trick of The Glittering Generality.

So what was the reality of the situation that your selfishness kept you from seeing?

And how do you deal with alcohol addiction that is not caused by selfishness, like the cases where people suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, or Bipolar Disorder, or PTSD, or childhood abuse? Or physical pain from some real disease like cancer?

Then you said,

aa is still valid when utilized properly.

Oh really? Can you prove that, or document it in any way? Cult religion cures a disease? How does that work? And what is your success rate? Out of each 100 newcomers, how many 5-year winners do you get? 10 years?

On the other hand, what kind of relapse rate, suicide rate, divorce rate, and death rate does your new method get?

I'm definitely interested in hearing what you have come up with. You imply that you have "another angle". I'm willing to hear it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Pain (any pain — emotional, physical, mental) has a message.
**     The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific,
**     but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be
**     more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more
**     lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message,
**     and follow its advice, the pain goes away.
**             Peter McWilliams, Life 101

UPDATE: 2014.12.16: Well, it's been 5 months, and still no answer to any of those questions. I really would like to hear about a wonderful new program of recovery that actually works.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Adam_L ]

Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:43:39 -0700     (answered 29 July 2014)
From: Adam L.
To: [email protected]
Subject: My favorite (and thank you for your excellent writings/reportings about Bill W)

My Favorite Quote:

Bill W is quoted as saying:

"It is a generally acknowledged fact in spiritual development that ego reduction makes the influx of God's grace possible. If, therefore, under LSD we can have a temporary reduction, so that we can better see what we are and where we are going — well, that might be of some help. The goal might become clearer. So I consider LSD to be of some value to some people, and practically no damage to anyone. It will never take the place of any of the existing means by which we can reduce the ego, and keep it reduced."[33]

Wilson felt that regular usage of LSD in a carefully controlled, structured setting would be beneficial for many recovering alcoholics.

I we sure it's not Bill K (Kruetzman of the Grateful Dead) we are talking about?

Adam L.

Hello Adam,

Thanks for the laugh and a fascinating quote. I had not thought about Bill Kreutzman in a while, in spite of the fact that I listen to the Grateful Dead often.

Can you give me the attribution for that quote? What is footnote 33? And which book did the whole quote come out of? Thanks. I like to get every quote and attribution correct.

Yes, Bill loved LSD. There is more on that here.

Bill Wilson was half right there, you know, but also very wrong. The part of that quote that appalls me is the harping on ego reduction. It is downright routine for cults to teach that you must get rid of ego. It's a constant, never-ending put-down.

Here is the Cult Test question:

  • 66. Calls to Obliterate Self
    and here is the answer for A.A.:
  • 66. Calls to Obliterate Self

    Bill Wilson didn't even know what ego loss was. He thought that degrading someone's ego was "ego reduction". Destroying people's self-confidence and self-respect (what little they had left) was "ego reduction", and Bill thought that it was "spiritual".

    Nope. Your ego is just your idea of yourself, your own concept of what you are. When people are constantly put down, they just get another ego, a worse one: "I am a loser. I am selfish and manipulative and only think about myself." No wonder A.A. members commit suicide.

    Real ego loss is getting into a funny state of mind where you literally do not know what you are. With LSD, you can be swept away in a river of energy, and so overwhelmed that you find yourself asking, "What am I?"

    The minute that you answer, "I am the point of awareness who is watching all of this happen," you just bought into another ego.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    *     The minute that you ask, "How can I maintain this state
    *     of great awareness?", you just lost it.
    *     The more aware, the less you care.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#D ]

    Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:50:44 -0400     (answered 29 July 2014)
    From: "D."
    To: "Orange" <[email protected]>
    Subject: don't get it

    Hi Orange,

    I wrote a couple of times in the past, thank you for the responses. It's been a while since I thought of AA, but seeing someone on the street from my old home group got me to thinking recently.

    One of the last meetings I attended was for a medallion. One of the speakers was a young woman in her 20s or so. I remember sitting and listening and having a hard time getting what she was saying. She spoke confidently and for some time and I rather wondered why I just couldn't "get it".

    By this point in my life I'd been disenchanted with AA for several years and no longer actively participated. But I liked the woman receiving the medallion and wanted to show support for her by attending.

    I'm an intelligent person. I gave AA a few years of my life. But I just don't get it when most speakers start talking about AA. I never really got the "surrender" thing, and yes, a part of me resisted it from the start. Surrender to what? I wasn't in denial, I knew I was an alcoholic. I didn't have a big ego, quite the opposite it had been crushed early in life.

    I tried to follow this woman's train of thought, and I couldn't. Hard to explain why not...all concepts? Circular talk? Complication of matters rather than just speaking directly? Of course everyone around acts like they perfectly understand. I walked away thinking I'm real dumb, or this is just horseshit. If we are so "stupid" why talk in such a convoluted way? People nodded their heads like what she was saying was profound.

    Oh but I know what they would say...yes, I don't get it. I didn't do the work, didn't stay for the miracle, not being honest with myself.

    I'm glad I'm out of it, but do still feel a sting when ignored by some still in the program.

    I have to remember what I had inscribed on my own medallion years ago, "To Thine Own Self Be True".

    Thanks, D.

    Hello D.,

    Thanks for the letter, and I agree. Of course it's double-talk and nonsense. The other people simply hear buzz-words that they approve of, and they nod in agreement. ("Yes, she is saying the right things.")

    Do you suppose you could put together a "share" that had no logic in it whatsoever, and was just a list of slogans and buzz-words. Would that fly?

    Oh wait, I think that is what they already do.

    Oh well, have a good day now, and congratulations on your own recovery.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather
    **     a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean —
    **     neither more nor less."
    **       ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
    **      and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures
    **      in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. 1832—1898) 

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html#Sally_H ]

    Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:25:25 -0500     (answered 29 July 2014)
    From: Sally H.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Why so angry?

    Hi there.

    I was lucky enough to find a really excellent chapter of Adult Children of Alcoholics. By contrast with some very dicey groups you document here, my 12 step group experience was really quite helpful to me personally. After a bit, this group melted away, as is often the case. But the good effects on my life have lasted more than 25 years.

    The dominant attitude was Take what you need and leave the rest.

    We've all run into 12 Step ideologues, and they're about like ideologues anywhere. Narcissists are never much fun.

    I never found another group as satisfying, but I got a great deal of good out of the one. I internalized, more or less, the steps of problem recognition, forgiveness of self and others, and moving on. Basically, the best of the Anonymous groups are simply mental health collectives, with bad coffee and smoking if you must and a lot of laughter and common sense.

    Your own sincerity is obvious, but so is that of a lot of people who have found a way not to drink or drug or gamble or be cruel to the people they love through the admittedly imperfect 12 Step programs.

    I'm assuming you are the untreated child of two alcoholics (or other deeply flawed parents). That's what you sound like anyway.

    Good luck to you, A. Orange.

    Best wishes,
    Salt Valley Sally

    Hello Sally,

    Thanks for the letter. So, apparently, you ran into a nice group of people at an ACOA meeting a long time ago, and you now somehow imagine that 12-Step programs are a good thing. I think that you are confusing things. The fact that you found a nice person, or several nice people, who gave you good advice that made you happier many years ago does not in any way indicate that the 12 Steps do anything good for anybody.

    I'm glad to hear that you found somebody who was able to help you and make you happier. It is likely that the fact that you found him or her in an ACOA meeting was pretty much due to chance. Good people are where you find them. Sometimes it's just a matter of luck. As you know from reading some of the A.A. horror stories, many other people who were less lucky than you found real monsters in their 12-Step meetings.

    And remember that 12-Step groups do not have any rules or regulations or inspectors or certifications or board of examination to figure out who is a good wise person, and who is a sexual predator or a con artist or a murderer or a thief. There is no quality control in 12-Step organizations. That is one of their worst and most dangerous features. Anybody can pretend to be sober and become a sponsor and "wise sage" to the newcomers. Any predator can do anything to anybody, and he can hide behind the "A.A. anonymity" and claim that you can't break his anonymity. Heck, A.A. even brags about all of the "former" criminals and rapists and murderers and thieves who are now members.

    You are right about me being "an untreated child of an alcoholic." I already revealed that several times. My father was a drinking-to-die cruel abusive alcoholic sergeant in the Air Force. My childhood was basically 20 years of boot camp.

    So what is the "treatment" for children of alcoholics? How do you "treat" abused children? Especially ones who have grown to adulthood, never mind ones who are now 67 years old? Do you really imagine that doing the 12 Steps — the cult recruiting and indoctrination practices of the fascist Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman — will heal the scars produced by child abuse? How does that work? The 12-Step program is just another form of abuse, very serious mental abuse.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **    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.
    **      == Anonymous

    July 16, 2014, Saturday, my yard at Forest Grove:

    Nigelia Flower
    Nigelia Flower

    Nigelia Flower
    Nigelia Flower

    Globe Thistle Flower Bud
    Globe Thistle Flower Bud

    Sunflower with Bee
    Sunflower with Bee

    [The story of the birds continues here.]

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    Last updated 16 December 2014.
    The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters408.html