Letters, We Get Mail, CCCCVIX

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Bob_O ]

Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:20:35 -0400 (EDT)     (answered 31 July 2014)
From: Bob O.
To: [email protected]
Subject: A new song

Terrance and Friends,

I suggest a song along the lines of Tina Turner's "What's love got to do with it", but with what's god got to do with it. Arnold Zedville may be able to write and sing it. I do not know how to contact Arnold. I may have suggested this before but memory escapes me.

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

Hello again, Bob,

Yes, that sounds like a good song. I don't know how to contract Arnold Zedville either, but maybe we could write it ourselves. Surely there must be at least one good lyricist and one good composer among the readers. I'll have to think about it and see what I come up with. And maybe many readers have a few lines or a verse to suggest.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "You know, unexamined, unintelligent patriotism, you know,
**      my country, right or wrong, love it or leave it, gets us
**      nowhere and results in bad country and western songs."
**        —  Janeane Garofalo

Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 17:11:23 -0400 (EDT)     (answered 31 July 2014)
From: Bob O.
To: [email protected]
Subject: A new slogan

A catchy new slogan, AA is BB. Alcohol abuse is bad behavior.

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

Hmmm... We could extend that, you know:

  • AA is CC. A.A. is Cult Crazies.
  • AA is DD. A.A. is Demented Dipsomaniacs.
  • AA is EE. A.A. is Extreme Eccentricity.
  • AA is FF. A.A. is Fraudulent Fakers.
  • AA is PP. A.A. is Predatory Pornographers, or Predatory Pedophiles.

Have a good day now.

[A new letter from Bob_O is here.]

[The previous letter from Patrick_D is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Patrick_D ]

From: Patrick D.
To: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
Subject: Patrick D.
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2014 09:48:08 -0400     (answered 31 July 2014)

I loved your replies. If aa kills more than it saves what is the answer? Will power? I have no doubt that many aa members were nuts and still are. So what is the answer? Many great solutions and people had some pretty dark areas of there lives with just as bright parts. Ben Franklin Einstein Lincoln Roosevelt had some pretty bright spots but as I am sure you know had there dark and unpleasant side. But really I would love another answer other than aa and love to be able to drink again and control it what is the answer then?

Patrick D.
Iron Mountain
iPhone Reply

Hello again, Patrick,

Thanks for the compliments. Yes, will power is an answer. But it isn't the only answer. To quit drinking and stay quit for a long time, like for the rest of your life, requires a certain amount of will power. It doesn't matter whether someone is in A.A. or not in A.A., he will still need will power to avoid taking a drink when temptation strikes. When an A.A. member does not drink for years, it isn't God who is doing it, it is the A.A. member controlling his own hands and his own mouth by using his own will power.

But you don't have to depend on just will power alone. There is a very long list of things that are helpful to recovery, like SMART, SOS, Lifering, WFS, RR, and MM. What those things have in common is that they are all evidence-based methods, rather than faith-based. I just compiled a list of all of those helpful things, and made a new web page out of it:

  • What works?

    So check that out.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
    **     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
    **     and that your will power is useless, is not
    **     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
    **     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

    [The next letter from Patrick_D is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Jennifer_S ]

    Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:03:29 -0400     (answered 31 July 2014)
    From: Jennifer S.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Thank You!

    Dear Orange,

    I will be forever grateful to you for all the hard work you have done exposing the dangerous cult of AA. Besides being filled with interesting and thought provoking information, your meticulous research, sense of humor and patience when answering the 12 step true believers makes your site a pleasure to read. Those thought stopping slogans really do seem to work, don't they?

    I have a long history of depression and alcohol abuse. After a four year period of sobriety I relapsed and began a long slow descent into oblivion, snowballing towards the end. By the time I was done I had drank myself out of both of my jobs, was pretty close to losing my apartment, and was an all day, every day, blackout drinker. I was a horrific mess. At the time I was in no condition to choose and facilitate my own admission into a rehab, so I asked my parents for help. Having no previous experience with substance abuse (I spent the last 20 years avoiding them so they wouldn't know I had a problem), they asked a friend who is a counselor (and AA true believer) for help finding an appropriate place. I met her for coffee and she asked me a few questions about my substance use and my spiritual beliefs. With what other disease are you constantly asked about your belief in God (always a singular God) as part of planning your "treatment" plan? I then strongly indicated my desire to go to a NON 12 step facility. I also mentioned my atheism, the unlikelihood of my finding a Higher Power and my complete lack of a desire to do so. So where did I end up you ask? At a 12 step facility! Of course. Granted, from the horror stories I hear it is one of the nicer ones, but still, a 12 step facility. At one point the owner of the facility, who also acted as a counselor, related a story where her 80 something year old husband, who was recovering from surgery and on blood thinners, fell and began bleeding profusely. Her response? A complete 12 step inventory. Then she called 911. What?! I think her point was supposed to be that after 50 years of "incorporating the 12 steps into her life on a daily basis" they had become an automatic response that helped her through tough situations. YIkes. Sounds like a dangerous waste of time to me!

    The counselor assigned to me was on vacation when I arrived, but she apparently had been filled in by the other staff about my atheism, so one of her first questions upon meeting me was "Why are you mad at God?". That's when I knew it was going to be a long 28 days. I tried to explain that I didn't believe in God and that for me, being angry with God was the equivalent of being mad at the Tooth Fairy or Santa. Every single individual counseling session inevitably ended up revolving around my atheism and her mission to find me a higher power. She tried endless mindless acronyms on me and of course had me read the condescending and insulting "For The Agnostic" in the Big Book, as if that insane drivel would suddenly make me have a "spiritual experience". When it was clear I wasn't going for that, she had me read "The Celestine Prophecy" and "Many Lives, Many Masters". Reincarnation as a higher power? When none of that provoked a spiritual awakening she continued to bombard me with thought stopping slogans and the usual AA threats of imminent relapse, leading to death, jail and institutions. Also, they are sending quite the mixed message by proclaiming addiction is a disease, then claiming the only solution is finding God. That's insane. Do they do that to cancer patients? If it actually worked, why wouldn't it work for every disease? What makes the alcoholics so special?

    This is also the woman who informed me of a problem with my insurance in the hallway, in full view and within hearing of other clients, and went when on to suggest I call my parents and ask them for payment for the remaining three weeks, about $9000. Very professional. At the time I had been free from alcohol, benzos and nicotine for about a week. As you can imagine, I was a complete physical and emotional mess. This woman didn't even have the decency to pull me into her office, a mere 5 feet away, for privacy. To add to my feeling of vulnerability, I was returning from the half hour of exercise allowed a day and was dripping wet, wearing only a bathing suit and a towel. It is absolutely terrifying that this woman is getting paid to tell anyone anything, let alone how to live their life! She discouraged me from looking for work or going back to school and advised me that she thought I should move in with my parents (I'm 38 and have been on my own since I was 16), go to outpatient rehab for at least 6 months and of course, do 90 meetings in 90 days. Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome was never mentioned and no advice on relapse prevention was offered besides AA meetings. Ironically, I learned more about illicit drugs in rehab than I did in twenty years of being an active drug user. AA was offered as a panacea for everyone, no matter what their drug of choice was, and there were constant readings from approved AA literature. We received no education whatsoever about possible dual diagnosis issues or substances other than alcohol, which is ridiculous considering about 80% of the girls in my program at any given time were there for opiates. When concerns were raised, they were told just to substitute your drug of choice for the word alcohol in your head. Out of the 8-10 hours a day of structured meetings, lectures, educational videos and so forth one hour a week was devoted to substances besides alcohol when a local NA chapter held a meeting at the rehab.

    For the sake of appearances and to appease my family I continued to attend AA after being released from rehab for a while, but as time went on I found it harder and harder not to roll my eyes or snort derisively at the mindless recitations of old timers and true believers. I was recently reassured by a well meaning cult member not to worry- she had been an atheist when she first started coming around to AA too, but now she has found her higher power. I certainly have no shame about being an atheist and have no desire to turn my will over to a god that I just made up on the spot. Oh, and then I am supposed to spend my free time listening for messages from this god? If David Berkowitz had been in AA he could have claimed all his messages to kill had been from his Higher Power. Or any schizophrenic encouraged by their sponsors to stop taking their medications and start to hear voices. I don't see how anyone can claim AA or their program of sponsorship isn't dangerous.

    "Suggesting" to newcomers that they get a sponsor and follow all their advice is at the very best irresponsible and at worst dangerous and possibly life-threatening. Wanting to go with the flow and stop the constant harassment about getting a sponsor, I found myself one, a woman with 21 years clean and sober, one day at a time (what a hard to way to count the time, praying every day that you won't drink tomorrow, why not just quit and be done with it). Actually, she approached me and asked if I needed a sponsor. That should have been a warning sign. I found out later she was unemployed and collected sponsees like it was her full time job. I agreed, since I didn't actually have any intention of actually doing the steps, having been forced to do them in rehab and I didn't care to rehash every terrible thing that I had ever happened in my life and "find my part in it". My self esteem was already low enough. Although a nice enough woman and I'm sure with good intentions, (we all know where those lead) I had no idea what I had let myself in for. She offered many gems of advice, such as how she had used a rainbow as her higher power, and she started each of our meetings with a long heartfelt prayer. She was baffled by my atheism and couldn't wait until we got to the "We Agnostics" chapter, because she felt that would fix my lack of faith. She actually said to me once "So if you don't believe in God, then what do you believe in? Science??". Sigh. Needless to say, our relationship was destined to be short lived. She had to keep asking her sponsor for advice about how to handle me since I was an atheist. Yet another warning sign. Really? After 21 years of sobriety you still need to call your sponsor every day and ask them what to do? When exactly does the actual recovery part come in? I found out she was in another 12 step program and had a sponsor for that program as well. How does that work? What if they offer different advice for the same problem? Which one takes precedence? Do they meet with each other ! and come up with a plan for their joint sponsee? The whole system is absurd. Did Bill W. or Dr. Bob ever have sponsors or work their own ridiculous 12 steps?

    I find it completely disheartening that it is 2014 and this is the best our healthcare system has to offer. $12,000 for a crazy, government-sanctioned cult religion? And after all that, it didn't even work. I didn't care for their flavor of Kool-Aid. In spite of not drinking it and stopping going to meetings, I just had five months without a drink and have never felt better. There should be a t-shirt that says "I went to rehab and all I got was this cult religion".

    Anyway, sorry for rambling and many thanks again for shining a light of sanity on the addiction field. I hope you are enjoying the warm weather and your bird friends!

    Have a good day,

    Hello Jennifer,

    Thank you for the letter and the compliments. And for the story. That one definitely makes the A.A. Horror Stories list.

    Your logical analysis of their crazy beliefs is quite correct. The 12-Step program makes no sense because it is really all about getting converted to their religion, not about recovering from a disease or an addiction.

    And I love that T-shirt: "I went to rehab and all I got was this cult religion".

    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.
    **     The predominantly AA-based culture of rehab in America has become one
    **     of imposition and tautology:
    **     If the program doesn't work for you, then you didn't work the program.
    **     If you succeed in staying sober, then you did a good job working the
    **     program; ergo, the program works.
    **       ==  Sacha Z. Scoblic
    **           http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112255/why-rehab-fails#
    **     In my case, labeling myself an alcoholic paved the way for me to
    **     take on the "addict" persona, and I got much worse before I got
    **     better. After treatment, I traded in my college friends for the
    **     criminal ones I met in recovery, and in turn, I gained access to
    **     a variety of hard drugs.
    **     That is perhaps the most disheartening aspect of 12-step recovery
    **     and inpatient care: Because most of their AA colleagues are older,
    **     the adolescents I met in treatment found more drug connections,
    **     party buddies and rehab romances than they did mentors, counselors
    **     and long-term sober friends.
    **       ==  CHELSEA CARMONA — Special to The Washington Post,
    **           Published: July 16, 2012
    **           Chelsea Carmona is the West Coast regional manager of the
    **           Op-Ed Project, which works to bring underrepresented voices
    **           into opinion writing.

    [A very old previous letter from Shane in Australia is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Shane ]

    Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 00:51:12 +1000     (answered 31 July 2014)
    From: "Shane"
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Still there? Still Alive?

    Just wondering.



    Victoria Australia


    "Oh Benson. Dear Benson. You are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence."

    Hello Shane,

    It's good to hear from you. Yes, I'm very much still alive and at it, and I'm glad to see that you are too.

    And I'm still using the material from the CDs that you sent, especially the documents about the sales of A.A. "sobriety medallions" and N.A. keytags. (Look here.) Thank you for that.

    So have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "A well conducted professional study" (page 19) showed that
    **     "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
    **     after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
    **     Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'" (page 2)
    **     == Dr. Ron Whitington, Chairman General Service Board,
    **     AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994
    **     This quote was verified by A.A. in Australia. Look here.

    July 20, 2014, Wednesday, my yard at Forest Grove:

    Nigelia Seed Pods
    Nigelia Seed Pods
    This stuff grows in dense clusters, so you get lots of those weird seed pods, and lots and lots of seeds.


    Strange Plant
    Strange plant

    [More bird photos below, here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Michael_F ]

    Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:33:25 -0400     (answered 31 July 2014)
    From: Michael F.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: getting past it

    Thanks for all the effort you have expended on this project. As one who has had a long interest in "cult" processes, it is a resource.

    My own disillusionment of AA began about two decades ago, and after some soul-searching, left it all behind me. I did make some visits in recent times, but not from a need to avoid drinking. I found that all of the behaviours I witnessed that caused me to leave so long ago, were still happening.

    Looking back on the decades away from AA and its worldview, I got past it I think by raising two beautiful, adopted little boys from a difficult background, engaged with the community at large rather than the AA sect, and took an education., worked in a profession (an anthropologist) and forgot it all. No, I never went out and got drunk from not going to meetings. No, I did not have an empty life, or any of the other dubious propositions made to retain membership.

    It has been difficult to get past the tsunami of hypocrisy I witnessed, and the astounding levels of both organizational manipulation/exploitation, and yet also the nature of the individuals coming into those rooms looking to utilize others to satisfy their various appetites. It was a circus of evil, propelled by greed, ignorance, fear, power, and exploitation. It is the perfect feeding ground for persons who are of an extractive nature, and the bewildered, frightened persons who come there looking for relief are harmed, some permanently. Nobody does anything to stop it. I could provide such a long list of what I witnessed....

    My original exit was propelled (after ten years in it) after seeing too much harm being done, and then the two great old-timer guys who make all the speeches to hundreds of people, were sponsoring young women secretly, and were having sex with them too. One night, over coffee, the two of them made arrangements to swap sponsees, because each was bored with the sex so a sex-sponsee-swap was made with not the slightest notion of this as wrong. I paid for my coffee, and never went back. My recent visits after 20 years reveal the same thing in another city. One man moved a homeless drinker/drugger into his home, is "sponsoring" her, sleeping with her, and boasting in the meeting about this being a noble act.

    Nothing's changed.
    Being around such persons is harmful to myself. I can't do anything to stop it, and the level of mistrust of all humanity is raised again. I have to get past this.

    Wish to hell I'd never took a second look at it.
    It's like I want to wring my brain out in the sink!
    One can get vicarious traumatization from too much exposure to these dark corners of humanity.
    Be well

    Hello Michael,

    Thank you for the letter and the story. I'm adding that one to the A.A. Horror Stories list too. (I got two new horror stories, just today.)

    Yes, that thing about distrusting all of humanity as a result of your A.A. experiences rings a bell. I remember feeling the same way too. And when you pile the rest of the racket on top of it — fake counselors selling cult religion, "treatment centers" that are just profiting from human suffering by selling quack medicine — it's enough to really make you cynical and wonder if everybody is a heartless crook with an evil ulterior motive. I'm happy to say that after 13 years away from A.A., that effect wore off.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide
    **     a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from
    **     top to bottom.
    **     Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 94.
    **     Or was that just the behavior of Bill Wilson and his friends?  
    **     (That's projection, isn't it?  Just declare that everybody else is evil.)

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Mark_S ]

    Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:48:49 -0700     (answered 31 July 2014)
    From: Mark S.
    To: "[email protected]"
    Subject: Faith quote

    FAITH asks people to consider that the evidence of their senses is wrong. In various ways, and in varying degrees, faith asks that people believe that their minds are not always private; that persons are not always visible; that unseen presences should alter your emotions and direct your behavior; that reality is good and justice triumphant. These are fantastic claims, and the fact of their improbability is not lost on those who accept them.
    T. M. Luhrmann

    Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:35:55 -0700     (answered 31 July 2014)
    From: Mark S.
    To: <[email protected]>
    Subject: The Archdruid Reports

    To All,

    I can't overemphasize how good this guy is. Like J.H.K. he possesses a brilliant mind and a deft use of the English language. Also like J.H.K. he cuts through the bullshit, going directly to the heart of our current dilemma — IE industrial civilization itself, and the fact that it is not sustainable. My only complaint is that he is always long-winded. Here is an excerpt from his essay of July 23, 2014:

    Most of the people who have ever lived, it bears remembering, had no expectation that the future would be any better than the world that they saw around them. The majority of them assumed as a matter of course that the future would be much like the present, while quite a few of them believed instead that it would be worse. Down through the generations, they faced the normal human condition of poverty, sickness, toil, grief, injustice, and the inevitability of their own deaths, and still found life sufficiently worth living to meet the challenges of making a living, raising families, and facing each day as it came.

    That's normal for our species. Buying into a fantasy that insists that the universe is under an obligation to fulfill your daydreams is not. Get past that fantasy, and past the shock of disillusionment that follows its departure, and it's not actually that difficult to make sense of a world that doesn't progress and shows no interest in remaking itself to fit an overdeveloped sense of human entitlement. The downside is that you have to give up any attempt to smuggle the same fantasy back into your mind under some other name or form, and when some such belief system has been central to the worldview of your culture for the last three centuries or so, it's always tempting to find some way to retrieve the fantasy. Still, falling in with that temptation just lands you back where you were, waiting for a future the universe is serenely unwilling to provide.


    It would be hard enough to face the difficult future ahead of us if we came to the present moment out of an era of sober realism and close attention to the hard facts of the human condition. It's far harder to find ourselves where we are when that forces us to own up to the hard fact that we've been lying to ourselves for three hundred years. Disillusionment is a bitter pill at the best of times. When the illusion that's just been shattered has been telling us that the future is obliged to conform to our fondest fantasies, whatever those happen to be, it's no wonder that it's as unwelcome as it is.

    Bitter though the pill may be, though, it's got to be choked down, and like the bitter medicines of an earlier day, it has a tonic effect. Come to terms with the fact that faith in progress was always destined to be disappointed, that the law of diminishing returns and the hard limits of thermodynamics made the dream of endless guaranteed betterment a delusion — an appealing delusion, but a delusion all the same — and after the shock wears off, you'll find yourself standing on common ground shared with the rest of your species, asking questions that they asked and answered in their time.
    The Archdruid
    (John Micheal Greer)

    Mark E.

    * 'Buying into a fantasy that insists that the universe is under an obligation to fulfill your daydreams is not (normal for our species). Get past that fantasy, ...'

    Hi again, Mark,

    What? You mean the Universe ("Higher Power") is not obligated to make me happy? People are going to drink over that one.

    Oh well, have a good day anyway.

    == Orange

    Note to the other readers: J.H.K. is James Howard Kunstler, who has a web site on the Internet, and a blog called Clusterfuck Nation. He is a harsh critic of mass delusion, like the popular delusion that the oil supply will never run out, and we will live lives of "happy motoring to the suburbs" forever. The Archdruid Report is another critic and chronicler of contemporary culture. It's also on the Internet: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ .

    The funny thing is, I see the same self-delusion in the so-called "recovery community" and in the motoring public. Everybody is in denial about the real facts of the matter, and afraid of the truth. People dodge the truth, and run away from the truth, and nervously yammer platitudes and clichés and thought-stopping slogans, and insist that there is no problem.

    Insecure motorists say, "Oh, the scientists will always find another source of oil. The planet is swimming in oil. Look at how fracking is working."

    (Nope. Actually, fracking is a very short-lived phenomenon that desperately tries to get the last little bit of gas and oil out of the ground. Many fracked fields go dry or gasless in 5 or 10 years. That isn't much of a future. And the only reason why fracking is even feasable now is because oil is over $100 per barrel. Now the oil companies are scrounging for small amounts of oil and gas that were not financially profitable to extract 20 years ago when oil was $14 per barrel. And they stubbornly deny that fracking is polluting our drinking water. That will be the next crisis: We will run out of clean drinking water, partly due to fracking.)

    And Steppers say, "Of course we have the thing that works. Why we would all die if it didn't work. The Steps aren't hurting anybody." Denial, denial, denial.

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Alive and Happy
    **     We cannot enjoy life if we spend our time and energy worrying
    **     about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow.
    **     If we're afraid all the time, we miss out on the wonderful fact
    **     that we're alive and can be happy right now.
    **        ==  Thich Nhat Hanh, 'Free From Fear'
    **            Daily Dharma December 26, 2012
    **            http://www.tricycle.com/dharma-talk/free-fear
    **     A Radical Challenge
    **     The Buddha presented a radical challenge to the way we see the world,
    **     both the world that was seen two millennia ago and the world that is
    **     seen today. What he taught is not different, it is not an alternative,
    **     it is the opposite. That the path that we think will lead us to
    **     happiness leads instead to sorrow. That what we believe is true is
    **     instead false. That what we imagine to be real is unreal. A certain
    **     value lies in remembering that challenge from time to time.
    **        —  Donald S. Lopez, "The Scientific Buddha"
    **        Daily Dharma November 28, 2012
    **        http://www.tricycle.com/feature/scientific-buddha

    July 20, 2014, Wednesday, the Fernhill Wetlands at Forest Grove:

    Three domestic ducks
    The remaining 3 domestic ducks
    The weasel/ermine/mink or whatever it is killed one of the girls, so now they have 1 female and 2 males left. All that was left of the lost girl was a pile of feathers.

    Strange Flowers
    Strange Flowers
    These are some very strange wild flowers. I'll have to look them up in a book or something.

    Strange Flower with Bee
    Strange Flower with Bee

    Pondscape with Geese
    Pondscape with Geese

    [The story of the birds continues here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Ben_B ]

    Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 01:17:31 -0700     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: ben b.
    To: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Reference Sources

    Is the A. for anonymous? :)

    First, a disclosure. I was a member of AA for several years, about 20 years ago. I haven't disassociated from AA. I drifted to OA for about another five years, since that was my first addiction, and then just drifted away, period. I was past my hardcore substance abuse by the time I got to AA, but still smoking marijuana once or twice a week. A friend was in it, and she told me about the inventory, which sparked my interest. The speakers were entertaining at times, and some were even wise. I found an educated guy with a dark sense of humor, and asked him to sponsor me and supervise and hear my inventory. He would only do it if I got totally abstinent, so I stopped smoking altogether. I have kept that up, and I can't really tell you why, since I drink a few oz. of vodka now and then. It's fun once in a while, and the addition was never there for the alcohol.

    I think my time in AA, and particularly OA, was helpful to me. I met some really smart people, and got very close to couple of them. (Actually, the people in OA were smarter, on average.) I had/have some antisocial/anti-authority tendencies, and the AA principles helped me control those better. Trying on the idea of a god probably helped as well. Now, I'm just the same agnostic my Dad raised me to be. But better intentioned than before. .

    I never thought AA./OA was the only way. How could that really be? But neither did I see a lot of harm. I find your head-on onslaught kind of puzzling. Person to person, I'm curious about the impetus behind that, but that's for another day.

    I found a number of aspects of your site thought provoking and worthwhile. I like making things better (or at least better as I see better). I have some critiques and suggestions about the site, if you want them. But that's for another day, too, and no offense taken if you don't want my opinions.

    Here's why I'm writing. I'm very interested in ADHD (aflicts my god-daughter, and in retrospect, an underlying driver in a lot of my history), and in readiness for change, best-methods coaching, and the like.

    You've read quite a bit. Did you run across anything really great/special related to any of those topics. If so, please refer me to the persons and/or writings.

    Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

    Best regards,


    Hello Ben,

    Thanks for the letter and the question. Alas, I'm no expert on ADHD. You can do better using Google to search the Internet for relevant information.

    The "A" was for "agent". See:

    I do have to comment on one line: "I had/have some antisocial/anti-authority tendencies, and the AA principles helped me control those better." There are no A.A. "principles". Principles are things like,

    • "Honesty is the best policy."
    • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
    • "Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone."
    • "Judge not lest ye be so judged."

    What A.A. has is cult recruiting and indoctrination practices. Things like "declare yourself powerless", and "confess your list of sins to your sponsor", are cult practices. Dr. Frank Buchman called his cult practices "spiritual principles", and Bill Wilson just copied the whole thing — both the terminology and the practices. The so-called A.A. principles are actually brainwashing technology. Dr. Frank Buchman went over to China as a missionary in the late nineteen-teens and early nineteen-twenties, and taught his mind-changing conversion techniques to the Chinese, and the local Communists learned them and turned around and used them on American prisoners of war during the Korean War. Look here for Dr. Robert Jay Lifton's description of those brainwashing techniques.

    Now when you say that they cured some of your anti-authoritarian tendencies, I can believe that, because OBEY is one of the fundamental rules of both Buchmanism and A.A. Frank Buchman was a fascist who wanted everybody to obey him without hesitation. And so did Bill Wilson. In both Buchmanism and A.A., you are supposed to obey your sponsor without question. Yes, Buchman's groups had dictatorial sponsors too.

    I have no doubts that you found some good people who could give you some sage advice. If you get lucky, you can find a wise man in OA, or at church, or even at the local cafeteria. It's just the luck of the draw. I even have an honorary club for the wise people who go to A.A. meetings to save newcomers from the bad sponsors: the Newcomers Rescue League.

    I can tell you about the impetus to start the Orange Papers: read the introduction to the web site, here. And then you can read this letter.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Low-IQ people make better followers. Smarter people will question
    **     authorities, and ask what they really know, and ask whether their
    **     ideas are valid and ask whether their orders are wise. The lower-I.Q.
    **     people will imagine that they should just obey orders because that's
    **     what the leader says.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Cathy ]

    Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2014 08:07:02 -0400     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: "Cathy C."
    To: <[email protected]>
    Subject: X 12 stepper who needs support

    I want to thank you for these papers it does help a lot. My name is Cathy and I was in NA for about 14 years give or take a few years, I have been out of the program for several years but, now my brain won't act right, I have PTSD on top of this issue, I could use someone to talk to about all of this.

    Please, feel free to write back.. would love to hear back!! J Thank you again for this!! J

    Hello Cathy,

    Thanks for the thanks, and I'm glad to hear that you are out of the cult. Yes, I'd be happy to talk to you and give whatever help I can.

    So have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Never was there a study that substance abusers were suffering
    **     from a lack of spirituality, thus being the reason they got
    **     addicted. This is how AA approaches the problem, condemning
    **     the addict as being spiritually sick without any proof.
    **     ==  Submitted by SallyJ on February 3, 2013 — 9:26pm.
    **         Comments to Psychology Today article,
    **         "Does 12-step Treatment Work by Inducing PTSD?"
    **         http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201301/does-12-step-treatment-work-inducing-ptsd/comments?page=5

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Historic_Bottle ]

    Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:17:04 +0000     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: Historic Bottle
    To: <[email protected]>
    Subject: Go on as long as you wan

    The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward, he walked me to my car. We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again." "Funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

    Hello Bottle,

    That's good.

    I do notice, however, that there were not ZERO troubles waiting for him the next morning. Unfortunately, we cannot escape from our troubles that easily.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.
    **     If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test
    **     people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance,
    **     greed and love of power.
    **       ==  P J O'Rourke

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Fernando ]

    Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:21:02 -0700     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: FERNANDO D.
    To: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Your full of it!

    Complain about your self
    Sent from my iPad

    Hello Fernando,

    Thank you for that textbook example of a cult reacting to criticism of the cult.

    And have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     What I found is that the definitions of truth and lies are different in
    **     Scientology than how we dimwitted non-Scientologists would interpret
    **     them. What is good for Scientology is considered truth and any
    **     criticisms equal lies.
    **     MELISSA TUOMI, "Scientology is whack", Fourth Estate, Volume 37, Issue 28 | April 27th, 2006
    **     http://www.uwgb.edu/4e/2006/04/27/042706opinionThrowDown.asp

    [The previous letter from Patrick_D is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Patrick_D2 ]

    Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 07:58:18 -0400     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: Patrick D.
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: AA and medications


    That horrors of aa is not real aa. You are comparing aa groups that are not following aa true principles. I know NO aa members that state get off your meds or have sex with older aa people and only talk with aa people. Your statements here are a fallacy in argument. This would be like saying some priests in the Catholic Church are bad and are sex offenders therefore all Priest are bad. Yes I am sure there are some bad sick people in aa that day and do stupid shit. But the people that I hang with in aa would never agree to not seeking outside help or taking prescribed medications. There are people in every group that has a great aim and mission to do great things and twist it and give it a bad name. The church, aa, Islam all have good aims but there are some stupid ass people in these groups that are sick! That does not make the group as a whole bad. I still state you with all of your intelligence could twist everything you are saying to the positive but for some reason you want to find the bad in things instead of the good. U still have not shared what the answer is?


    iPhone Reply

    Hello again, Patrick,

    Claiming that the evils of A.A. are not "the real A.A." is a classic old dodge. A.A. defenders routinely use that line, and it isn't true at all.

    Just what is "the real A.A."? It keeps changing, depending on the conversation:

    Baloney. It's all really A.A.

    • Whatever is done to newcomers by the A.A. oldtimers is "the real A.A."
    • Whatever is taught in A.A. meetings is the real A.A.
    • Whenever a sponsor seduces a cloudy-headed freshly detoxed young woman, for her that is the real A.A.
    • Whenever a crazy sponsor tells someone not to take his or her medications, that is the real A.A.
    • Whenever A.A. oldtimers lie about the real history of A.A., that is the real A.A.
    • Whenever A.A. true believer members begin an A.A. meeting by reading out loud Bill Wilson's lie about "RARELY have we seen a person fail...", that is the real A.A.

    Your Catholic Church analogy is a logical fallacy. Of course there are bad priests, and also bad bishops and bad cardinals who let them keep on molesting children. But that does not make all priests, bishops, and cardinals bad. That is painting with too broad of a brush. (The logical fallacy is called Generalize, and the Sweeping Generality.) However, the behavior of those men certainly does reflect on the morality of the whole church.

    And this is an Escape Via Relativism, and it's also Minimization and Denial:

    There are people in every group that has a great aim and mission to do great things and twist it and give it a bad name.

    The fact that you can find bad people everywhere does not excuse A.A. for selling quackery and faith healing to the sick people, and lying to them about how well it works as a "solution to alcoholism". The Primary Purpose of A.A. is to push the crazy beliefs of an evil old cult religion from the nineteen-thirties.

    Lastly, I do not just seek to find the bad in everything. I was forced to notice the evil in Alcoholics Anonymous by having proselytizing A.A. members shoving it on me in the guise of "treatment" for "alcoholism".

    And I did share what "the answer" is:

  • What works?

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Many fields of human endeavor are plagued with misinformation,
    **     misconceptions, superstitions, and irrational beliefs.
    **     Some fields are better than others. Manufacturing, for example,
    **     has little use for mythology and superstition and misunderstandings.
    **     Either a manufacturing process works correctly and efficiently,
    **     or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, then it is soon replaced with
    **     something better. Medicine is generally good, and there is now little
    **     tolerance for quackery. Medicine is not perfect however, as shown
    **     by the proliferation of 12-Step quackery in the field of addiction
    **     treatment. By far the worse fields for misinformation and
    **     deluded beliefs are politics and religion. There, you have little
    **     need for actual facts or logic or reason. There, people just
    **     believe whatever sounds good to them, with few or no facts to
    **     support such sentiments. And in religion, people actually brag
    **     about having given up their sane, rational minds, and having
    **     become mindless true believers. They are so insane that they
    **     imagine that mindlessness and blind faith are improvements, and
    **     that God will love them more if they are unthinking idiots.

    [The next letter from Patrick_D is here.]

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html#Tom ]

    Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:15:56 -0400     (answered 4 August 2014)
    From: Tom
    To: "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
    Subject: Deprogramming from aa


    I attended aa and been sober for two and a half years now. I questioned it going in, bought in to the programme, and decide to quit going as I felt it was disempowering me as a person. I don't want to be committed to lifelong meetings and having people telling me how to act and feel. I joined to quit drinking not join a church group.

    Just need a little support to get me over this dependence on aa and meetings.



    Hello Tom,

    Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on breaking free. Yes, I think you can find some emotional support around here. You could also join the forum, and you will find some kindred spirits there.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
    **     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
    **     and that your will power is useless, is not
    **     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
    **     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

    August 02, 2014, Saturday, my yard at Forest Grove:

    Bees on Hummingbird Feeder
    The honeybees have found that they can get into another hummingbird feeder. There is just a thin crack between the pieces of plastic where they can get their proboscises into the sugar-water.

    Those little guys (girls, really) are so eager to get at the sugar-water that they are pushing each other out of the way and crawling all over each other. Now they are not fighting — nobody is stinging anybody else, and in fact, they are probably all from the same hive so they have no reason to fight over the sugar-water — but they sure are in a feeding frenzy.

    I suspect that they want the water as much as the sugar. We are in the middle of a heat wave here, and everything is drying up, and the flowers are not offering much moisture in the form of nectar, so the bees are eager to get into a mother lode like a hummingbird feeder that has a limitless supply of sugar-water. The bee hive must be very thirsty in this heat, so these bees are probably taking the sugar-water back to the hive and sharing it with everyone else. Ordinarily, when bees make honey, they dump their nectar into a honeycomb cell and then a hive worker fans the cells with her wings and drives off the excess moisture, and concentrates the nectar into honey. In this heat, I guess that the bees are consuming the water themselves, and also sharing it with their larvae as a thirst-quenching drink.

    Bees on Hummingbird Feeder
    Bees on Hummingbird Feeder

    Bee on Flower
    This bee will still extract all of the nectar that she can get out of this flower.

    [The story of the birds continues here.]

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    Last updated 20 September 2014.
    The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters409.html