Letters, We Get Mail, CDXX

[The previous letter from Steve_C is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Steve_C ]

Date: Oct 18, 2014, 7:49 PM     (answered 24 December 2014)
From: Steve C.
Re: Reply from Orange Papers

I don't care if you call it pseudo science or anything else. People who stop drinking and live productive lives were probably never alcoholic. Some that stop drinking and fail to get to the root of the problems that led them to drink and become alcoholics are miserable people. I've met many. Each to their own. You are certainly not wrong to hold your opinion. But I am a grateful sober alcoholic and AA saved me from misery. Sure, I made up my own mind and did the work and will continue to practice principles I believe in. But the bottom line here is nothing man made. My higher power gives me the peace I enjoy every day i wake up sober.

Now you have a wonderful night.


Steve C

Hello again, Steve,

Thanks for the reply. Sorry to take so long to answer — I've been overwhelmed by events and hassles. But I'm surviving and sober anyway.

The claim that if someone can quit drinking without A.A., then he was never really an alcoholic, is a common A.A. line that is totally untrue. A.A. just doesn't want to admit that alcoholics don't need Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. is in denial.

By the way, that is called the Real Scotsman Logical Fallacy.

The Real Scotsman Fallacy works like this:
Joe: "All Scotsmen play golf."
Fred: "But look at Brian MacGregor over there. He's a Scotsman, and he doesn't play golf."
Joe: "Ah, but if he were a real Scotsman, he would play golf."

Alcoholics Anonymous uses that fallacy like this:

  • Stepper: "Alcoholics Anonymous is the only way for an alcoholic to overcome alcoholism. All alcoholics simply must join A.A. and work a strong program if they wish to live.

  • Critic: "But look at Terry over there. He didn't join A.A., but he recovered from alcoholism anyway. He has more years of sobriety than lots of you steppers."

  • Stepper: "Oh, but he isn't a real alcoholic. If he were a real alcoholic, then he wouldn't be able to quit drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous and doing the Twelve Steps. If you can get sober, and stay sober, without Alcoholics Anonymous, then you were never really an alcoholic, just a 'heavy drinker'."

And that is, of course, just a load of bull.

My doctor was sure that I was a real alcoholic. He told me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." He also told me, "When you see spiders (Spider Angiomas) in the skin, it's very close to the end." And yes, I had spiders. And he jumped on that. One look at my skin and he knew everything.

Nevertheless, I just suddenly quit drinking and smoking because I decided that I wasn't going to die that way. That was 14 years ago, and here we are.

A.A. is just another cult religion that claims that it is The Only Way. That is a common cult characteristic, and it's in the Cult Test.

The truth is that millions of real alcoholics have quit drinking without practicing Bill Wilson's crazy cult religion. The NIAAA's (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions interviewed over 43,000 people. Using the criteria for alcohol dependence found in the DSM-IV, they found:

      "About 75 percent of persons who recover from alcohol dependence do so without seeking any kind of help, including specialty alcohol (rehab) programs and AA. Only 13 percent of people with alcohol dependence ever receive specialty alcohol treatment."

About half of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking and save their own lives, and 75% of them do it alone, without any A.A. or other "treatment" or "support group", or any kind of help. And yes, they are real alcoholics. And I am one of those "do-it-yourselfers".

Then you said,

Some that stop drinking and fail to get to the root of the problems that led them to drink and become alcoholics are miserable people. I've met many. Each to their own.

I agree that people need to get at the underlying causes of the problem, but unfortunately, A.A. practices (PRACTICES, not principles) fail to do that. The cause of excessive drinking is not unconfessed sins or "wrongs" or "moral shortcomings", or "defects of character", or resentments, like Bill Wilson said. And it isn't failure to practice religious precepts properly, like Bill wrote. And it isn't any of the dozens of other goofy causes of "alcoholism" that Bill Wilson blamed, like nagging wives.

The real causes of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are things like PTSD or Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder or OCD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder or clinical depression or broken genes for growing dopamine receptors. Or a damaged, stunted Cerebellar Vermis from childhood abuse. Or physical pain from some real disease like cancer.

A.A. practices do not fix those things; they make them worse. Robin Williams is a tragic example of what happens when you take a depressed man and make him do the 12 Steps. A.A. practices actually raise the death rate in alcoholics.

Then you said,

But I am a grateful sober alcoholic and AA saved me from misery. Sure, I made up my own mind and did the work and will continue to practice principles I believe in.

So you admit that you had to do all of the work yourself, and yet you still claim that A.A. saved you. That doesn't make much sense. A.A. didn't save you from misery; you saved yourself. You are the one who quit drinking. Nobody did the quitting for you. Congratulations.

This line is strange:

But the bottom line here is nothing man made.

If you are talking about the practices and theology of Alcoholics Anonymous, they are totally man-made. Dr. Frank Buchman made up most of them, and what he didn't make up he copied from Henry B. Wright of Yale University, who in turn copied his theology from Robert E. Speer, who got it from Henry Drummond, who very likely got it from someone else.

Then Bill Wilson just copied the whole mess from Frank Buchman and his "Oxford Group" religious cult, and renamed it "Alcoholics Anonymous", a name which he copied from Clarence Snyder in Cleveland, Ohio, who was also the author of the Big Book first edition story, "The Home Brewmeister".

Then you finished by claiming that a demon or spirit whom you will not identify is giving you good feelings:

My higher power gives me the peace I enjoy every day i wake up sober.

So what is the name of your "higher power"? Why are A.A. members so reluctant to identify the master whom they serve?

I mean really. Christians aren't afraid to say "Jesus", and "The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost". Buddhists aren't afraid to say "Buddha". Moslems aren't afraid to say, "Allah and Mohammed". But A.A. members pussy-foot around the issue and yammer about "my higher power" without saying who it is. Now why is that?

Now I notice that we can group your last two sentences together, and together, they seem to mean that your feelings are not "man-made", they are supposedly made by a "higher power":

But the bottom line here is nothing man made. My higher power gives me the peace I enjoy every day i wake up sober.

That is "Mystical Manipulation", which is one of the eight elements of a brainwashing program, as described by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton:

Mystical Manipulation

There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but, in fact, were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.

The inevitable next step after milieu control is extensive personal manipulation. This manipulation assumes a no-holds-barred character, and uses every possible device at the milieu's command, no matter how bizarre or painful. Initiated from above, it seeks to provoke specific patterns of behavior and emotion in such a way that these will appear to have arisen spontaneously from within the environment. This element of planned spontaneity, directed as it is by an ostensibly omniscient group, must assume, for the manipulated, a near-mystical quality.
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China, by Robert Jay Lifton, M.D.; W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1963, Page 422.

Everyone is manipulating everyone, under the belief that it advances the "ultimate purpose."

Experiences are engineered to appear to be spontaneous, when, in fact, they are contrived to have a deliberate effect.

People mistakenly attribute their experiences to spiritual causes when, in fact, they are concocted by human beings.

Have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Buy a Hallmark Christmas card and help A.A. to rape underage girls.

September 30, 2014, Tuesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Opossum in a trap
This little guy (or gal) got caught in a live trap intended for skunks. He wasn't harmed, and I released him by propping the door open with a stick. But the 'possum wouldn't leave. He felt safe "hiding" in a "burrow". The guy who set the live traps said that they found that wrapping the traps with black plastic like that made the animals feel much calmer and safer because they felt like they were hiding in a burrow. It sure works. The 'possum felt like I could ambush him if he came out, so he refused to leave the trap. He hid in there all day long and didn't leave until it got dark. But he was definitely gone and free the next morning.

October 1, 2014, Wednesday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrel
This is one of this year's children. Again, he is just looking at me and watching me, rather than running away. Some do, some don't.

Savannah Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow

Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrel

[More bird photos below, here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#JJ ]

Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:14:06 -0800     (answered 24 December 2014)
From: "JJB"
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: quick question(s)

Hi 'Orange',

First, let me thank you for the effort you put forth in your website — your service to others via this approach is admirable and unfortunately quite needed.

I share nearly all your views on AA, and was delighted to find that you and a few others have actually done some work on the contra-AA topic, because it is a somewhat lonely feeling being one of those that is 'too smart to recover,' at least via AA according to AA.

That said, I needn't qualify myself but will: I have been abstinent for 11 months, have done so largely as an exercise of willpower, including the will to meditate and pursue 'spiritual' and psychological reading/self-help/education. I have also been to 200 AA meetings primarily because there are some things about it that are attractive (basically the points made in your own posted memo 'What is Good About AA?'), I have found a few meetings that have fairly upstanding members, and it is a free, convenient and ready source of group support, albeit amateur other than its adherence to AA. Since the beginning I have been very wary of AA's many cult-like aspects, but I do not want to go overboard and overcorrect by adopting a 'conspiracy theory' perspective. I have a couple questions for which I am hoping you can provide a brief specific answer please:

What is in it for 'them' (and who is 'them')? Assuming AA is as we believe, a cult and a business from which some Wizard of Oz type folks are benefiting, can you help me understand just how much benefit we are talking about? Are we talking about the 1.5% who make to being old timers who have a feeder system to sit on top of to keep them occupied and send skirts their way until they are too old for that fringe benefit and simply harvest the satisfaction of being a sage of sorts? Or are we talking good old fashioned actual benefit — money?

The head AA office (whatever or wherever that is?) presumably sells or licenses time-tokens, books and other program materials, but that all seems like fairly small potatoes, no? I.E. I don't recall your numbers (please remind me), but what is your guess at AA's annual global revenue at wholesale (i.e. net to the Wizard), how do you do the math, and who is the Wiz? They say 1mm copies are sold each year, so maybe with chips and other items that's $20mm of annual retail sales, which is probably $10mm at wholesale to 'them,' and maybe that dribbles down to $1M/year in profit to someone.who?



Hello JJ,

Thanks for the letter and the questions, and congratulations for still thinking.

First, there isn't any one A.A., or just one kind of A.A. member, there are many, so what they get out of A.A. varies from one person to another.

  • For example, there are the Big Frog oldtimers, who are self-important big frogs in a small pond. They are the honored elders at every meeting. If A.A. shuts down, they will be the honored leaders of nothing. They will be reduced to being just some old fools who parrot a lot of slogans. So they rationalize that A.A. may not have a very high success rate, but that's because those failures "didn't work the program right", and "didn't keep coming back".

  • Also see "Soberman's" essay on "Big Bills and Little Bills" for more on the authoritative oldtimers, here:

  • And then there are the 'Fraidy Cats who fear that they will die if they leave A.A.

  • There are the True Believers, who are sure that they are favored by God and they have a Guaranteed Ticket To Heaven.

  • Then there are the Socialites, for whom A.A. is a social circle.

  • Then there are the Fundamentalists, who are sure that the world will be saved if only everyone will obey every word of the Big Book.

  • Then there are the Predators, who get sex or money or slaves out of it.

  • And then there are sincere people who really want to get sober, and they have been misinformed and lied to and told that A.A. RARELY fails.

We have discussed this before, several times. Some of these answers have longer lists, and also discuss the finances:

And we have discussed the A.A. finances and official filings here:

About your last paragraph, the corporate headquarters of A.A. is a bunch of criminals who commit perjury to cheat A.A. members out of more money.

  • A.A. is guilty of perjury in Mexico and Germany. They claimed to have a copyright on the Big Book which they don't have, and they hurt A.A. members who were producing their own inexpensive literature.

    But still, what the A.A. corporate headquarters gets from royalties on the books is small potatoes, about 6 to 12 million dollars per year.

  • The real money is in the treatment centers, making 15 billion dollars per year by selling an old cult religion to the suckers. Obviously, they don't want to give up that money.

    That is calculated by: the "recovery industry" is a $20 billion per year business, just in the USA, and 75% of the treatment centers in this country sell the 12-Step cure, so they are getting $15 billion per year from selling cult religion.

  • And then there are the professional "counselors" who make a living by doing the selling. They have no desire to go join the unemployment line. And the truth is, they are not qualified for any other job. It takes basically no job skills to tell all of your patients to go to at least three meetings per week and get a sponsor. (That is what my coke-snorting, child-raping, "counselor" did.)

  • Then there are the shills for the treatment industry, who have built a reputation on publishing scholarly-sounding papers in professional journals that proclaim that there is an "association" between going to A.A. meetings and stopping drinking. They cannot afford to admit that they were wrong. They really cannot admit that they have built their careers on selling cult religion as treatment for an imaginary disease.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can fool all of the people some of the time.
**     You can fool some of the people all of the time.
**     But you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
**       ==  Abraham Lincoln
**     You can fool some of the people some of the time,
**     And that's enough to make a decent living.
**       ==  W. C. Fields

[The next letter from JJB is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Mark_S ]

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:07:14 +0000 (UTC)     (answered 24 December 2014)
From: Mark S.
Subject: The Archdruid Report

To All,

The latest Archdruid Report is a good one. Mr. Greer ponders the future of science in a civilization in which the underclass rejects the philosophical beliefs of the elites, returning instead to ignorance and superstition. (IE America 2014):

That's the thing that drove the ferocious rejection of philosophy by the underclass of the age, the slaves and urban poor who made up the vast majority of the population throughout the Roman empire, and who received little if any benefit from the intellectual achievements of their society. To them, the subtleties of Neoplatonist thought were irrelevant to the increasingly difficult realities of life on the lower end of the social pyramid in a brutally hierarchical and increasingly dysfunctional world. That's an important reason why so many of them turned for solace to a new religious movement from the eastern fringes of the empire, a despised sect that claimed that God had been born on earth as a mere carpenter's son and communicated through his life and death a way of salvation that privileged the poor and downtrodden above the rich and well-educated.
(In other words Christianity is an envy-based religion. No wonder it was so successful! — Mark E.)

It was as a social phenomenon, filling certain social roles,that Christianity attracted persecution from the imperial government, and it was in response to Christianity's significance as a social phenomenon that the imperial government executed an about-face under Constantine and took the new religion under its protection. Like plenty of autocrats before and since, Constantine clearly grasped that the real threat to his position and power came from other members of his own class — in his case, the patrician elite of the Roman world — and saw that he could undercut those threats and counter potential rivals through an alliance of convenience with the leaders of the underclass.That's the political subtext of the Edict of Milan, which legalized Christianity throughout the empire and brought it imperial patronage.
The Archdruid
(John Micheal Greer)

Very perceptive indeed! And Mr. Greer isn't quite as long-winded this time.

Mark E.

Hi again, Mark,

Thanks for the heads-up. The Archdruid Report and James H. Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation are my two favorite social commentaries. And both tend to be iconoclastic.


http://kunstler.com == Clusterfuck Nation

I find it very interesting that in both ancient Rome and the USA, the anti-intellectualism of the masses is a real social and political force. And clever politicians saw that they could take advantage of the people by appealing to their anti-intellectual tendencies. The poor people were struggling to survive, and the politicians gave them — get ready for this Big Answer — stupidity.

That strategy is breath-taking in its audacity, isn't it?

Those people who thought that all of society would eventually become educated and enlightened (like they did back in the nineteen-fifties and -sixties) are sadly disappointed. Instead, today we have rabble-rousers and demagogues who brag that they ain't no effete intellectuals, and they don't read newspapers, and they "don't do nuance". And what is frightening is that the Nazis and Fascists back in the nineteen-thirties said the same things too and we know what that led to.

And of course, Alcoholics Anonymous is notorious for its anti-intellectualism:

  • "Nobody is ever too dumb to get the program, but some people are too intelligent."
  • "There are none too dumb for the A.A. program but many are too smart."
  • "Your best thinking got you here."
  • "You can act yourself into thinking right easier than you can think yourself into acting right."
  • "The three most dangerous words for an alcoholic — 'I've been thinking'"

If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Dr. Robert Smith, Doctor Bob's Story, Page 181.

Oh well, have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

P.S.: Also see this note about Rome and Christianity.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The common dogma [of fundamentalists] is fear of modern knowledge,
**     inability to cope with the fast change in a scientific-technological
**     society, and the real breakdown in apparent moral order in recent
**     years.... That is why hate is the major fuel, fear is the cement of
**     the movement, and superstitious ignorance is the best defense against
**     the dangerous new knowledge. ... When you bring up arguments that cast
**     serious doubts on their cherished beliefs you are not simply making a
**     rhetorical point, you are threatening their whole Universe and their
**     immortality.  That provokes anger and quite frequently violence. ...
**     Unfortunately you cannot reason with them and you even risk violence
**     in confronting them. Their numbers will decline only when society
**     stabilizes, and adapts to modernity.
**       ==  G. Gaia
**     Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob never got their thinking out of the
**     Middle Ages, and they seemed to resent anybody else who had.
**       ==  Author unknown
**     Stupid people like to delude themselves that while they may not be clever,
**     they were at least able to compensate with feelings and insight denied
**     to the intellectual.  Drivel, Ashley thought.  It was precisely this
**     kind of false belief that made stupid people so stupid.  The truth was
**     that clever people had infinitely more resources from which to make the
**     leaps of connection that the world called intuition.
**       ==  The Stars' Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry

October 04, 2014, Saturday, my yard in Forest Grove:

Savannah Sparrow + unknown Thrushes, enjoying a meal of sunflower seeds.
The left-hand bird is a Savannah_Sparrow, and the other two look like something like Varied Thrushes, but I don't think they are Varied Thrushes.

Savannah Sparrows + Crossbeaks
The lower left-hand bird is a Savannah Sparrow, and the two on the right are Crossbeaks. The upper-left bird is something else, one of those unknown thrushes.

Savannah Sparrow + Crossbeaks
The left-hand bird is a Savannah Sparrow, and the other two are Crossbeaks. In this photo, you can clearly see the crossed beaks of the Crossbeaks.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Steve ]

Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2014 22:50:12 -0500     (answered 25 December 2014)
From: Steve
Subject: Different side to Henry Ford

While definitely not a historian, but a Jewish guy who has visited the Dearborn Bicentenial library's Ford Room, I have a somewhat different view of Henry Ford. To me, many of his early writings were quite sound in terms of limited government and common sense. This caught me by surprise especially all we had heard about this antisemite.

Early on, Ford had a massive group of men on the auto lines who were too often drunk while on the job. This caused all kinds of problems because it would easily cause poor production or even worse cause the line to stop.

The source of much of the alcohol were from Jewish distributors. Eventually he fought to institute prohibition but ran into many problems with the Jewish Bootleggers from Canada and the Jewish Judges. I think he eventually began to hate Jews from this obviously frustrating experience.

Of course I could be wrong but I see this angle that would not surprise me in the least.


Hello Steve,

Thanks for an interesting viewpoint. I also have some curiosity about Henry Ford. I tried to keep my treatment of him from being one-sided. I wrote this:

Why did a man of such fantastic wealth and power spend so much time, money, and energy attacking people who had apparently done nothing to him, and whose alleged world-wide conspiracies had not stopped Henry Ford from becoming as wealthy as King Midas? How could he possibly cry in his beer about how the Jews had done him wrong?

I have to seriously question Henry Ford Sr.'s sanity, especially when you consider that he went from being the most enlightened and generous employer in the world to being a hateful miser in just twenty years. In the beginning, Henry Ford shocked the industrial world by doubling his workers' wages in one day. Ford and his secretary Liebold had crunched the numbers carefully, and calculated his profits, and calculated what his profits would become, and then Ford announced that he was doubling the wages of everybody in his factories who built his cars — doubling wages that were already considered high by that day's standards. Henry Ford did that without even a union pressuring him, or even existing, or any strike happening. Ford simply believed that such an action would make his employees very happy, loyal, and more productive. Other industrialists believed that Ford was crazy and destroying industry. But Ford was right and they were wrong — Ford's profits increased even more, and he became even more fantastically wealthy.

But in the following twenty years, Henry Ford changed into a hateful union-buster who hired thugs and goons to beat up and shoot strikers and union organizers, and into a hateful anti-Semite who claimed that the Jews were the cause of all of his problems.

Did Henry Ford go insane? Did Henry Ford suffer a stroke? Was he absorbing toxic heavy metals in his car factories, and poisoning his brain?

Later in his life, Henry Ford Sr. was declared senile. I think that the mental deterioration may have started a lot sooner than his family realized.

So what happened to Henry Ford's mind and brain? How did he go from being a generous progressive to being a hateful fascist? I am really curious.

Have a good day now, and a happy new year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Our future isn't about profits, fixing America isn't about
**     profits, it's about quality of life, or whether our futures
**     will be just Hell on Earth. Yes, we will benefit from fixing
**     what is broken, but an investor may not profit from it enough
**     to move him to action.

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#John_H ]

Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2014 11:33:34 -0500     (answered 25 December 2014)
From: John H.

Hey Orange,

Great website. For the most part I have avoided A.A. and N.A. because in the past people who knew I was prescribed suboxone or was going to the methadone clinic because they were in outpatient with me or some even were "freinds" would spread it around the rooms. Because of this I would kinda get cornered and asked when I was gonna "get off that shit" and that "I wasn't really clean".

Anyway, because that because of the hypocrisy of "A drug is a drug is a drug" unless that drug is nicotine or caffeine turned off. About a few months ago I started going to the occasional meeting, I no longer do, because a friend of mine was going and I thought I could use the support since I recently started detoxing off of methadone What I found looked even worse than I had remembered it, maybe cause in the past I went to all open meeting and this time they were closed meetings. It wasn't anything depraved like 13th stepping or anything abusive, although I have seen plenty of that with the friend I was going to meetings with, just they were pathetic not too many oldtimers and atleast a few people returning after having lost a year or more of sobriety. I decided to stop and I plan to look into SMART.

Anyway I was wondering if you knew of any cases where someone who was being forced to go to meetings by their P.O. ever brought them them the Big Book to look at or told them what was really going on? Also if any such P.O. or other type person ever did an undercover investigation? Anyway , I love the website and am glad to see that someone has taken the time to write the truth.

John H.
P.S. please don't publish my email address. Thank you

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter and the question. Coincidentally, I just got a letter from a retired parole officer, and he had a story to tell — a story of both sending a zillion people to A.A., and also attending it himself and not liking it. The story is here.

I think he tells the story much better than I can, so I'll leave it to him.

But I will comment about the A.A. "no medications" routine. They just won't stop it, will they? They pretend to be doctors, but they aren't. They have no qualifications to decide whether someone should take medications. They have harmed a lot of people by telling them not to take medications. They act like they want to return to Medieval faith healing, back in the bad old days before the doctors had any good medications. That is barbaric.

The list of such stories is here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

Have a good day now, and a happy new year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.

[The previous letter from Andrew_D is here.]

[ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Andrew_D ]

Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2014 16:05:46 -0500    (answered 27 December 2014)
From: Andrew D.
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Reply from Orange Papers


Thanks so much for the reply — I really appreciate the discussion about alternatives. I may check them out. I often find just one of those books, one concept even, more important than any meeting I've been to.

I've continued to attend meetings largely because I committed to my family that I would follow the treatment plan as outlined by my rehab. It's really important to me that I honor my commitments these days. I live with a family member who is also a huge proponent of AA, and I've agreed to finish the steps before I leave for good as to give it a fair shot. However, my gut has told me to leave from day one. It's really painful to deny those gut feelings, as I'm sure you can relate.

In any case, I'm always fascinated by what Bill Wilson almost gets right. It's easier to lure someone in with a palatable idea like the Doctors Opinion, and then demand a moral inventory and turning over your will than to simply demand it outright. The connection between an allergy and a moral inventory, or God's will, is anybody's guess. You discuss this stuff at length.

Finally, my feeling on Rehab counselors, or really strong, outreaching AA members is something like the old famous (somewhat sarcastic) quip about public servants:

The only people in those roles should be dragged in kicking and screaming.

These are my thoughts for the day.

Take Care!

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for the response. You sound like you have your head screwed on straight. I just hope it stays that way. I worry about the psychological damage caused by Steps 4 and 5. Doing lengthy confession sessions where you dwell on everything that is wrong with you, or that your sponsor imagines is wrong with you, is not mentally healthy.

You said that you wanted to give the Steps a fair shot. The problem I see is that the Steps won't give you a fair shot. They are a brainwashing program, not a therapy program.

Did you see the page that describes brainwashing?

  • Berkeley Revive's cult description

    I guess all that I can do is wish you luck and keep my fingers crossed.

    So have a good day and a good life now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "I see no reason why I should be consciously wrong today
    **     because I was unconsciously wrong yesterday."
    **       ==  Robert H. Jackson
    **     Don't be down on yourself. That just robs you of energy.
    **     You have better things to do with your mind than criticize yourself.
    **     Look at the beauty around you.
    **     Look at the beauty of the Blue Jay and the Hummingbird.

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Lew ]

    Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2014 23:24:41 -0500     (answered 27 December 2014)
    From: Lew
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Nalrrexone

    My point is that I made a choice to continue drinking. I could have just quit but I didn't want to live or feel that way. That's what naltrexone gave me was a choice. Maybe someone else makes a different choice? And my point about the heroine addicts is that it definitely saves the lives if overdose cases. This is at least important enough to report.please don't censor my emails by choosing which parts you respond to. You know as well as I, that becomes propaganda. Have a good night Orange.... Lew

    Hello Lew,

    Thanks for the response.

    First off, I didn't censor you "by choosing which parts you respond to." I comment on the things that I feel like commenting on. Other things can stand on their own without my saying anything. Sometimes I only respond to one sentence in a big long letter, and talk about only that. I'm not ignoring or disagreeing with all of the other stuff; I just don't feel the need to say anything. Sometimes the correspondent has said it so well that it is pointless for me to repeat it or rephrase it in other words.

    Censoring people is things like deleting lines or changing the wording. I don't do that. I had that done to my posts on the Digital Journal. There, two thirds of a post disappeared when I criticized Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, comparing it to the Warsaw Ghetto. All deleted, as if I never wrote it, leaving my post sounding illogical and incomplete. Consequently, I don't post on the Digital Journal any more, or even read it.

    About not feeling like quitting drinking, yes, I understood that point.

    But I still craved something else? Anyways, I decided to just drink. I think guys like me just get something else from alcohol that makes us feel normal?

    That's the hell of it. I have that problem too. I never felt quite right, except for a few rare moments when I was high. That's why I drank for so many years. Perhaps it is caused by a damaged, stunted Cerebellar Vermis from childhood abuse. Or perhaps we have broken genes for growing dopamine receptors. Or both. We don't know for sure what causes that, but the phenomenon is real. And doctors are studying it.

    I'm glad to hear that Naltrexone can save people from heroin overdoses. I don't know how that works, but I'll try to find out.

    Have a good day now.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains,
    **     no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
    **       ==  Sherlock Holmes (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1859—1930)

    [ Link here = https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html#Drippy ]

    Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 14:03:20 -0400     (answered 27 September 2014)
    From: Drippy Dip
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: clarification on one of your papers

    hey, this doesn't really have anything to do with AA (tho after reading a lot of your website and some other sources it sounds like an organisation to avoid)

    anyways, most of the time when you're discussing alcoholism you refer to it as a sickness (which is my understanding of it tho I could easily be wrong) but at one point it seemed like you were suggesting alcoholism is cured mostly through an individual's force of will. (just wanna note here this was pretty early in the stuff i was reading and I might just have projected this)

    If that is reflective of your line of thought (again if I've just projected this please let me know) I'd like to get a bit more info on what makes you think that. Thanks (also saw on your website that you'd been sober for over a year so congratulations!!)

    Hello Drippy Dip,

    Thanks for a good question. It's really a problem with semantics. What does that darned word "alcoholic" actually mean?

    For example, imagine Joe who loves to drink and get high and party. He's a very free and joyous dancer when he gets loaded, and people like to have him at their parties because he's fun to have around when he gets high. The problem is, he is still drinking so much that it's wrecking his health and he's going to get cirrhosis of the liver.

    Then imagine Fred. When he gets drunk, he gets angry and flies into a rage and beats up his wife and children. He's a real terrorist. He is downright mean and vicious. He's also going to get cirrhosis of the liver.

    Those are two very different people with very different problems, and yet they are both called alcoholics. But the only thing that they have in common is that they both drink too much alcohol.

    The words "alcoholic" and "alcoholism" are so poorly defined that the American Psychiatric Association refuses to even use them. And the A.M.A. doesn't have a good definition either.

    A.A. uses three or four different definitions of "alcoholic", and mixes them up, which really confuses the issue.

    The definitions are:

    1. An alcoholic is someone who habitually drinks far too much alcohol.
    2. An alcoholic is someone who is hyper-sensitive to alcohol, almost allergic to alcohol, perhaps a genetic alcoholic; someone who cannot drink even one drink or his drinking will spin out of control and he will become readdicted to alcohol.
    3. An alcoholic is somebody who cannot quit drinking — he is "powerless" over alcohol.
    4. An alcoholic is an insane sinner who is full of disgusting character defects and moral shortcomings and resentments and barely-contained anger, and is a prime example of self-will run riot and instincts run wild and selfishness and self-seeking and the Seven Deadly Sins, although he doesn't think so... etc., etc., ...

    When I call myself an alcoholic, I usually mean definition 2, and only occasionally definition 1, but never definitions 3 or 4.

    1. By definition 1, I stopped being an alcoholic more than 14 years ago.
    2. By definition 2, I will always be an alcoholic.
    3. By definition 3, I wasn't an alcoholic, because I could quit drinking, and I did. I was not "powerless over alcohol". I even quit drinking without any help from A.A., because I quit drinking two weeks before I was ever sent to an A.A. meeting.
    4. By definition 4, I was never an alcoholic. I was always a nice drunk. People liked having me at their parties because I was so much fun to have around when I got high. (But, as one friend said, "Even nice drunks die of cirrhosis of the liver...")

    Back to Joe and Fred, whatever "disease" or condition they have, it isn't the same thing. Unfortunately, A.A. offers the same "one-size-fits-all" 12-Step program for both of them, which just isn't right at all. No way does Joe need to wallow in guilt and confess all of his sins in Steps 4 and 5. Joe isn't drinking because he has unconfessed sins. And Fred probably isn't either. What mental condition Fred has is open to conjecture.

    I don't really refer to alcoholism as a sickness. I try to avoid using the word "alcoholism" at all, preferring the words that the American Psychiatric Association uses: Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Dependency (addiction). Now someone who is drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is sick, he has an illness all right, something like food poisoning. He has alcohol poisoning. He does not have a disease called "alcoholism" that makes him drink. Now he might have a mental illness or two that cause him to drink too much, but that is something else.

    The real causes of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are things like PTSD or Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder or OCD or anxiety disorders, or ADD, or Narcissistic Personality Disorder or clinical depression or thyroid disorders, or dysthymic personality disorder, or Schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses. Or broken genes for growing dopamine receptors, or other broken genes. Or a damaged, stunted Cerebellar Vermis from childhood abuse. Or physical pain from some real disease like cancer. Or even just trying to override the sick feelings that come from smoking cigarettes. And trying to kill the pain of dying from alcohol poisoning.

    Also notice that there is no medical research that shows that alcoholism is a disease. None, zilch, zippo, nada. A.A. has simply been declaring that "alcoholism" is a disease as a matter of doctrine for 70 years now, after they copied that idea from the Oxford Group cult religion. Then they got the AMA to parrot that, without any medical research or good reasons to do so, other than politics.

    We have discussed all of this before. Look here:

    1. Two A.A. front groups wrote the AMA definition of "alcoholism".

    2. More on that goofy AMA definition of "alcoholism"

    3. More on the AMA and "alcoholism".

    4. And more.

    5. Rehashed again.

    6. Here are links to some more articles on the corruption of the AMA

    In the beginning, the AMA said (in cleaned-up language) that A.A. and its Big Book were bullshit. But then they got bought off.

    Here is the relevant page from the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association:

    APA page on alcohol abuse
    (Click on this image for a larger version.)

    There is no mental illness or disease of "alcoholism".

    Now, about the issue of quitting drinking. Yes, it is an act of will power. A.A. hates that statement, and insists that you are "powerless over alcohol", and that God must do the quitting for you. So the A.A. program is supposed to please God so much that He will have mercy on the pathetic alcoholic who is grovelling before him, and God will remove the deadly disease of alcoholism from the alcoholic, but only for one day at a time. That is absurd.

    A.A. denounces will power and says that you cannot have any. That is why A.A. increases binge drinking in alcoholics.

    We had approached A.A. expecting to be taught self-confidence. Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, it was a total liability. Our sponsors declared that we were the victims of a mental obsession so subtly powerful that no amount of human willpower could break it.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 22.

    ("Our sponsors" may have declared that, but "our sponsors" were dead wrong.)

    Nevertheless, quitting drinking or drugging or smoking or breaking any addiction requires will power, and a lot of it. It doesn't matter what else you do, or what kind of "help" or "therapy" or "treatment" you get, or how much you pray, or how many meetings you attend, you will not succeed unless you have will power and a lot of determination to stick to it.

    To succeeed, you must have lots of will power and lots of motivation. SMART teaches things that "enhance motivation", which is another way of saying "build up the will", which is the same as enhancing willpower. That is good.

    Now I am not saying that willpower will cure all cases of alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction, or drug addiction, either. Obviously, people who have underlying mental issues cannot just heal themselves by willpower alone. They should see a good doctor. And if the doctor doesn't understand, and thinks that all of the problems are caused by alcohol, then fire him and get another doctor. And another, and another, until he finds a doctor who understands that substance abuse issues are usually caused by another underlying condition. We were just discussing that problem in some previous letters: Renee and Mary wrote great letters about how once a patient is diagnosed with "alcoholism" or "alcohol abuse", then all investigation stops. Doctors or counselors often assume that all observed mental problems are caused by the alcohol, rather than that the problem with alcohol is caused by an earlier underlying condition. Mary said, "After one starts drinking the diagnosis of alcoholism comes before anything else."

    See these letters:

    I recently wrote more about setting your intention here: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters412.html#set_intention

    Also see this letter, which I wrote just before the 10-year anniversary point, where I answered the question How did you get to where you are?

    Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 14:11:40 -0400     (answered 27 December 2014)
    From: Drippy Dip
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: brief follow up

    also it seems like you get a lot of shit from AA proponents and I just wanted to say I was really impressed with the depth of your website and the huge range of topics and methods w. which you engaged. there's so much material and it's all very well written, comprehensible, etc. I find a lotta the time with stuff like this there can be some kind of writing flaw that undermines it but it was perfect, totally to the point and super personable. the analyses you did of the hypocrisies of the bush/obama administrations were also really on point.

    the only thing I generally didn't like was that it seemed like on the main page for bill wilson there was a general disdain towards people with personality disorders, but I could be reading too much into it (maybe disdain for bill wilson as opposed to people with narcissistic personality disorder?)

    Anyways, yeah, I wanted to send you an e-mail because it's such a big website you've clearly devoted a lot of time to and thought you deserved better than another irritated AA commentator belittling you for your work!

    Hello again, Dippy Dip,

    Oh please, please don't think that I am down on people with personality disorders. Heck, I probably have one or two myself. I was an abused child of an alcoholic Nazi sargeant, and I never really recovered from that, in spite of 50 years of trying to fix things by one method or another. (I tried everything from self-psychoanalysis to meditation to LSD.) So I don't have contempt for people who suffer from such mental disorders — I feel sympathy and compassion. Heck, those people are really my brothers and sisters.

    Perhaps you were reading something that I wrote about Bill Wilson. I admit that I have a lot of contempt for Bill Wilson, but it isn't because he was a chronic depressive or suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is because he hurt and betrayed just about everybody around him. He showed zero consideration for the feelings or welfare of others. He didn't even try. He didn't care whom he hurt or whom he robbed. He was a real piece of work.

    But please don't generalize my contempt for Bill Wilson into an attitude about all people who suffer from mental illnesses or neuroses or "personality disorders". They aren't the same things at all. So, my attitude about Bill is special.

    I seem to have a special contempt for cult leaders, perhaps because I am a child of the 'sixties, and when us young people were seeking something spiritual and better, some cheating lying charlatans came over from India or the Orient and also out of the woodwork in the USA, and they fooled and cheated and exploited and misled a lot of idealistic young people, who got turned into disillusioned older people. Yes, I have a very special contempt for the founders of cults.

    Thanks for all of the compliments about my writing and the web site. I try to do good work.

    Have a good day now, and a Happy New Year.

    == Orange

    *             [email protected]        *
    *         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
    *          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
    **     One day Mara, the Buddhist god of ignorance and evil, was traveling
    **     through the villages of India with his attendants. He saw a man doing
    **     walking meditation whose face was lit up in wonder. The man had just
    **     discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara's attendants
    **     asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth."
    **     "Doesn't this bother you when someone finds a piece of the truth,
    **     O evil one?" his attendants asked.
    **     "No," Mara replied. "Right after this they usually make a
    **     belief out of it."

    BLOG NOTE: 2014.12.27: And in the wonderful world of sports, here we are at the Satan Bowl in El Paso, where the Arizona Sun Devils are playing against the Duke Blue Devils. I can't wait for one team to start praying to God for a touchdown.

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    Last updated 14 January 2015.
    The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters420.html