Letters, We Get Mail, LXXI

Date: Mon, September 11, 2006 5:44 pm
From: "Sharen K."
Subject: The Latest from That Book

Hi Again, Orange!

I'm still reading that book Treating Substance Abuse, and seeing that even more research is finding that addicts aren't powerless over their own addictions, that their drug and/or alcohol use can be lessened depending on how much of a price they'd have to pay for it at any time. A chapter on "behavioral economic concepts," says,

"First, the 'runaway consumption' considered characteristic of addiction in economic models has not been supported empirically. A large body of research has reliably demonstrated the sensitivity of substance use to environmental contingencies along the entire continuum of problem severity."

One chapter tells of three theories regarding how even addicts could lower their usage of their substance of choice, depending on what they'd have to give up in order to get it. Two of these see addicts' choices as to how much they'll drink or use, as a balance between the value of the intoxication vs. the value of everything else that they'd have to give up for it, and the other sees this as a balance between the value of the intoxication vs. the value of the "overall utility derived from... social interaction" that they'd have to give up for it. The basic idea seems to have enough empirical proof behind it, that addicts will decrease their amount of substance use if factors in their environment would motivate them to do so.

Another chapter tells of using old-fashioned behaviorism in clinics for addicts, where they'd get rewards for every negative drug test. This chapter says, "Moreover, asking experienced therapists with histories of providing treatments that are based on a very different understanding of substance dependence also may appear problematic." This understanding is, no doubt, that addicts are powerless against their own addictions, and therefore, offers to give them rewards for not using, wouldn't do any good.

What really gets me about the whole "powerlessness" logic, is that it's used just as readily on recovering addicts who relapse, though very few addictive drugs (i.e. cocaine) have chronic effects on the brain that could give people addictive craving even if they haven't used for a while. The next chapter, "Theoretical Perspectives on Motivation and Addictive Behavior," begins,

Without an appreciation of the role of motivation, substance abuse treatment can read like a mystery novel with a missing page: How did the butler get that knife in his hand and what does he plan to do with it? Indeed, addiction counselors are often frustrated with exactly this sense of missing something. Laments one: "My client came in last week desperate to make a change. He finally got off parole and was really going to make it work this time. We spent the whole session talking about his plan for avoiding relapse, and now I found out he nearly OD'd this weekend!" The irony is clear: Why would a person persist in behavior that is clearly harming him- or herself and others?

So this talks about how a recovering addict acted, as if he was powerless against relapsing. And no doubt when married male recovering alcoholics relapse, the traditional attitude toward addiction would lecture their wives that they'd simply have to accept that the men's diseases made them do it, that these women should have known that this risk existed and protected themselves against it, etc.

The next question would have to be, since behaviorism works to lower the amount of addictive substance that addicts use, and certainly should stop relapses of addictions to substances that don't create a chronic potential for addictive cravings, would something more along the lines of cognitive therapy, also work? That is, could something along the lines of persuasion work?

The utilitarianism of talking about "social interaction" in terms of, "overall utility derived from," really does conceal the fact that the addict should care about those who he has the social interactions with, and that at least some of them should be able to persuade him to stop his obviously self-destructive behavior. One example that this book gave of the overall utility derived from different kinds of social interactions, is that sobriety means calm interactions with one's own family at home, which might not look as fun as "raucous" interactions with one's drinking buddies, unless one looks at the big picture. Yet only a real utilitarian would look at his own interactions like that!

The only problem that I could see with persuasion having an effect on addicts, is that persuasion doesn't involve immediate gratification, while behaviorist therapists could make the rewards that they give out, as immediate as they please. As the chapter on behavioral economic concepts says,

"When compared to normal individuals, greater [tendency to devalue deferred gratification since it's deferred] has been found among alcohol abusers (Vuchinich & Simpson, 1998), heroin addicts (e.g., Kirby, Petry, & Bickel, 1999), smokers (e.g., Mitchell, 1999), and compulsive gamblers (Petry & Casarella, 1999)."

Any attempts to reach these addicts along the lines of persuasion or cognitive therapy might not be too effective, unless they already have a considerable desire to quit so the rewards don't have to make a strong impact on them. Behaviorists can dole out immediate gratification, while any other things that could motivate the addicts, can't be dished up to them in the way that would have the greatest impact on a shallow, impulsive person. This wouldn't mean that they'd be powerless against their diseases, since immediate rewards would motivate them to change.

Rather, one could say that they're relatively powerless against their addictive personalities, the sort of impulsivity that you'd see among those with chronically manic personalities, who certainly never chose not to have enough awareness of long-term rewards or consequences. These people would be particularly likely to choose raucous interactions with their drinking buddies over calm interactions with their own families at home, etc. But the main tenet behind treatment for codependency is that it doesn't matter why an impossible person won't change his impossible behavior, only that you can't change him, so you should just give up trying. It's amazing how much, "That's just the way that he is," where "the way that he is" is actually the way that he keeps choosing to act, can look like, "But his disease simply makes him do that."


(Ever since I was a teenager, anyone who didn't have a chronically manic personality seemed half dead to me, smirk, smirk.)

Hi again Sharen,

Thanks for the input. It was highly relevant, too, because the previous letter was also about "powerlessness".

The whole issue of deferred gratification is so important, it's a big part of the problem and the solution.

For me, the deferred gratification of waking up in the morning, clear-headed, not hung-over, with my throat and lungs feeling good, and it feeling good to inhale deeply, is enough to make it all worth it.
The rest, like getting my memory back, is gravy.
And the healthy lifestyle, the sun and fresh air and outdoors, is really frosting on the cake.

But other people complain that they just can't stand to feel bad for a while, waiting to feel good. — They cry that they just have to have their pain killed right now.
I don't know what to say to them.
Often, it doesn't seem to matter what I say.

It's so obvious that a lot of them really will chose the short-term fix, and ignore the long-term damage, until it kills them. 430,000 smokers and 100,000 alcoholics dead per year just in the USA — that's a lot of short term gratification and long-term damage.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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.

Date: Mon, September 11, 2006 8:55 pm
From: "Beverly T."
Subject: This site is hysterical

I ran across this site the other day trying to find the definition of 'Grace' that Bill W wrote about in one of his books. Maybe you know what it is (I can't find it online anywhere...)

Hi Beverly,

Thanks for the letter. I can't think of the quote either.

Anyway, after cruising thru the pages and pages and pages of detail that you have obviously put an enormous amount of time and energy into I couldn't help thinking ...

Wow — this is exactly why Lois W started Alanon!!!!!!

There is a newer term for it — its called — 'co-dependency.' A complete and total obsession with someone elses behavior.

I dare you to print this!!!

— Beverly
A very proud member of recovery

A little tidbit I was told when I first went to meetings

Recovery will give me my life back (it has)
Its not suppose to BE my life.

Okay, Beverly, I dare to print this.

Criticizing a cult that sells quackery as a cure for a deadly medical condition is not "codependency".

By that logic, everybody who works at the FDA to get rid of bad medicines would also be suffering from "codependency".

Besides which, there isn't any such disease as "codependency".
"Codependency" is just another baseless cult superstition like the mythical A.A. "dry drunk".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God
**   and value it next to conscience; for health is the
**   second blessing that we mortals are capable of, a
**   blessing money can't buy.
**      ==    Izaak Walton (1593 — 1683)

Date: Tue, September 12, 2006 10:40 am
From: "William T."
Subject: You

I figured you out and I feel pretty proud of it! You're a Scientologist. I know this because I've followed the cult... from afar of course. I don't want to get stained by that dirt. There is many reasons that it's obvious but the strongest reason is simple... attack. You people are at war. Why? You don't have the answers for me! Don't assume you have the answer for everyone. Were you trained to be an effective attacker or are you an attacker by nature? I don't mind if you attack back but really if that's all you got... its rather bankrupt...

bill t.

Hello Bill,

You couldn't be more mistaken. I am very anti-Scientology, and I criticize it often in my web site. I have nothing but contempt for L. Ron Hubbard and his fraud.

You obviously haven't even looked at the Cult Test. Start here, at page one.

Then you might continue with:

  1. No exit
  2. Scientology prisons
  3. No graduates
  4. Scientology loaded language
  5. Scientology technobabble
  6. Scientology irrational beliefs — engrams, body thetans, and interplanetary cooties, and the Evil Galactic Overlord Xenu
  7. Scientology's hatred of psychiatrists
  8. Scientology's attacks on critics
  9. Scientology is the only way
  10. Scientology sacred science
  11. Scientology sacred science, 2
  12. Scientology celebrities
  13. Scientology deceptive recruiting
  14. Scientology falsification of history
  15. Scientology's different levels of truth
  16. Scientology's newcomers can't think right
  17. Scientology's newcomers can't think right, 2
  18. Scientology money
  19. Scientology confession sessions
  20. Scientology punishments
  21. Scientology demands for superhuman performance
  22. Scientology demands for superhuman performance, again
  23. L. Ron Hubbard was insane
  24. Scientology discards its victims after their money is gone.
  25. Goofy Lisa Marie Presley testimonial
  26. Scientology front groups
  27. Scientology's many vicious counter-attacks on critics
  28. Don't trust your own mind
  29. You owe the group
  30. We have the panacea
  31. Progressive commitments
  32. New identity
  33. Scientology true believers
  34. Scientology shunning of dropouts and dissidents
  35. Scientology's extravagant promises
  36. Scientology's extravagant promises, again
  37. Scientology's denial of the truth
  38. Scientology's tinted lenses
  39. You can't make it without the cult
  40. Scientology's enemy making
  41. Scientology's devaluing the outsider
  42. They make you dependent on the group
  43. Scientology demands for compliance
  44. Scientology newcomers need fixing
  45. Scientology threats to critics
  46. Scientology confiscates wealth
  47. Scientology isolation of members

And have a good day.

== Orange

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

**   "Imagine a church so dangerous, you must sign a release
**   form before you can receive its 'spiritual assistance.'
**   This assistance might involve holding you against your
**   will for an indefinite period, isolating you from
**   friends and family, and denying you access to
**   appropriate medical care. You will of course be billed
**   for this treatment — assuming you survive it. If not,
**   the release form absolves your caretakers of all
**   responsibility for your suffering and death.
**   Welcome to the Church of Scientology."
**                 --Dr. Dave Touretzky

[2nd letter from William T.:]

Date: Mon, October 30, 2006 6:37 am
From: "William T."
Subject: RE: You

Dear Agent Orange,

I had actually already read you reply on your website. I was pleasantly surprised that you responded and I am very appreciative of both its tone and content. You could have used you biting wit on me for being so wrong.

That doesn't change the second point that I made about you being "so very angry". I'm sure that's the corrosive web through your life. It makes me sad. But we don't get to pick you apart the way you do to us. Sadness is much less a motivator than anger but I'll try. In defense of AA, it is my intention to oppose you with all the ability that I have. I hope to start a website and am working on the cover page but must now revise it and take out some of the sarcasm. I'm sure you don't feel threatened and there is no need for you to, I only do it because I don't feel you could be more wrong about AA. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond, I only wish we could work together to make AA better... even to the point of changing step 11.


Date: Mon, September 11, 2006 4:51 pm
From: "michael g."
Subject: Alcoholic Hippocampal Volume Loss

Alcoholic Hippocampal Volume Loss
University of KUOPIO : Deaprtment of Neuro Science Bullietin.
Psychopathy and the Hippocampus

Kuopio, Finland — February 26. 2001. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the hippocampus has been extensively studied on neurological and psychiatric disorders. Particularly in studies on schizophrenia and mood disorders, findings regarding the hippocampal involvement have been most controversial. Previously, minor volume loss of the hippocampus in alcoholism, a major comorbidity alongside psychiatric disorders, has been reported.

No data has existed on the hippocampal volumes in subtypes of alcoholism, despite the need and interest to further identify and study subgroups of alcoholics with psychiatric and behavioral syndromes that occur outside and within the context of their abuse. In this case, the distinction was drawn to alcoholism with and without antisocial and violent behavior.

In the first of the two studies, MRI was used to measure volumes of the hippocampus in late-onset type 1 alcoholics and early-onset type 2 alcoholics.

Of these, the type 1-alcoholism is typically characterized to represent late-onset alcoholism with substantially preserved social and occupational behavior, and relatively intact impulse control. These subjects are typically characterized as anxietyprone personalities, typically with the alcoholism consisting of alternating periods of binges and abstinence. The type 1 alcoholics were recruited from a local rehabilitation center.

In contrast, the type 2 alcoholics represent early-onset alcoholism, and their behavior is characterized by euphoria-seeking personality, which is typically associated with impulsive, criminal, antisocial and violent behavior. The type 2 alcoholic subjects were also violent offenders with antisocial personality disorder, derived from a forensic psychiatric sample. All had a history of violent episodes, several of them were in custody because of homicide, but all were diagnosed non-psychotic and legally competent.

Compared to the controls, the right hippocampal volumes were significantly smaller in both alcoholic groups. While there was no correlation between the hippocampal volumes with age in the control subjects, there was tendency towards decreased volumes with ageing and also with the duration of alcohol-ism in the type 1 alcoholic subjects. This suggests that alcoholism without major psychiatric or other com-orbidities is associated with decline in hippocampal volumes. On the contrary, there was a significant positive correlation between right hippocampal volume, age and duration of alcoholism in type 2 alcoholics.

Because the study was cross-sectional, it would be premature to conclude that alcohol and polysub-stance abuse, violence, and antisocial lifestyle would actually increase the hippocampal volumes, other alternatives had to be sought.

From the introduction of the type 1 versus 2 dichotomy the question has remained whether the type 2 category is representative of primary alcoholism or only secondary or symptomatic to an underlying antisocial personality disorder. These effects suggest that there are profound biological differences between the two alcoholic groups, and raise the possibility that the observed effects within the type 2 category are due to other factors than the cumulative acquired effects related to alcohol abuse, such as primary personality psychopathology.

The study thus provides further evidence that type-1 alcoholism, in general, is associated with a minor loss in hippocampal volume. It is also suggested that type 2 alcoholism, in general, similarly displays a minor decrease in hippocampal volume, but this decrease is unevenly distributed within the type 2 category, being weighted towards the younger subjects.

The possibility that differences in degree of psychopathy would explain the findings in the type 2 alcoholics — the positive correlation between the hippocampal volumes and age — was studied in a the latter of the studies. It was hypothesized that subjects in their early twenties would be likely to display higher degree of psychopathy, being natural born killers, delinquente nato, than those who are being examined in their forties in forensic psychiatric evaluation due to violent offending.

The degree of subjects' psychopathy was studied using the Psychopathy Checklist — Revised (PCL-R) and an inverse correlation was found — the smaller the hippocampi, the more severe the degree of psychopathy. The strongest correlations were found in the posterior hippocampus. The posterior hippocampus is known to participate in processes, such as conditioning and forming associations. This is the first study to date to find structure-function (or structure-malfunction) correlation in terms of degree of psychopathy.

A prototypical psychopath may be impoverished in conditioning, which may be the simplest form of association process. Thus a prototypical psychopath may not learn from making mistakes. Wrong-doing in psychopath does not activate [autonomic] mechanisms that say; "if you do this, punishment follows". Hippocampus may thus play a crucial role learn in socialisation, or as is the case in psychopaths, lack thereof.


Laakso MP, Vaurio O, Savolainen L, Repo E, Soininen H, Aronen HJ, Tiihonen J. A volumetric MRI study of the hippocampus in type 1 and 2 alcoholism. Behav Brain Res 2000;109:177-186

Laakso MP, Vaurio O, Koivisto E, Savolainen L, Eronen M, Aronen HJ, Hakola P, Repo E, Soininen H, Tiihonen J. Psychopathy and the posterior hippocampus. Behav Brain Res 2001;118: 187-193


Mikko Laakso
Department of Neurology
Bldg. 5
Kuopio University Hospital
POB 1777
70211 Kuopio

E-mail: [email protected]

Peace Be With You

Micky (Follower of JESUS CHRIST)

Date: Mon, September 11, 2006 5:14 pm
From: "michael g."

Med Hypotheses. 1987 Aug;23(4):353-61.
Serotonergic activity and disinhibitory psychopathy in alcoholism.
Moss HB.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pennsylvania 15213.

Evidence exists of an increased risk for alcoholism in those individuals with some form of disinhibitory behavioral disturbance such as impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, attention span deficits, impersistance, sociopathy, hyperactivity and stimulus-seeking behavior. Studies have also linked alcohol abuse with aggression and criminality. Aggressive and impulsive individuals have been shown to have low levels of the major CSF metabolite of serotonin, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. Interestingly, abstinent alcoholic men, and non-alcoholic first-degree relatives have been shown to have similar decrement. Alcoholism may therefore be part of a spectrum of disinhibitory psychopathy which is characterized by reduced central serotonergic activity, and has a familial or genetic component.

PMID: 2443817 [PubMed — indexed for MEDLINE]

Peace Be With You
Micky (Follower of Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for my sins)
PS: He died for your sins,too!!

Date: Tue, September 12, 2006 3:35 pm
From: "michael g."
Subject: 12 Step Zombies

Hi Orange

What do you reckon? This is not directed at you — I thought you might relate to it form your own experience. I certainly do!! Post it on your site — if you so desire

Peace be with you


Greetings Stepper
I wonder if this might interest you:


Do you make moaning & guttural sounds when when your at a 12 Step meeting, Stepper?
Do you have a blank and expressionless face that becomes more animated when you are "hungry" for a "share" & then go on a "feeding frenzy" — expound meaningless diatribe & 13th Step a newcomer?


Zombies have been confused with many other monstrous creatures. Monstrous will try to make a clear distinction between the different entities that proceed from death. Some zombies have the appearance of the living but their lack of free will and souls give them the appearance of mechanical robots.

Other display visible signs of desiccation, decay and emaciation on their face and body.
They have blank, expressionless faces that become more animated when they get hungry and engage in a feeding frenzy.
They are incapable of speech, but often tend to make moaning and guttural sounds.
They are normally encountered wearing whatever clothing they wore in their human life, prior to reanimation.


Peace Be With You

Micky (Follower of JESUS CHRIST)

Hi again, Micky,

Thanks for the education and a laugh.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Well if old J. Denny Hastert has nothing to hide,
** then he should not object to the FBI seeing all of his
** documents... and while he's at it he can just let them
** wire tap his phone and look at his phone records...
** Hey if it's ok to do it to the rest of us Americans,
** it oughta be ok for the Speaker [of the House]."
** Posted by: Jasper ; May 24, 2006 11:55:03 PM

**  ...How prescient...

Date: Tue, September 12, 2006 12:28 pm
From: "Anna B"
Subject: some just grow old and die.

Trying to find a correlation between medallions and the effectiveness of AA isn't very useful for a number of reasons.
1. Medallions are controversial in themselves and lots of members don't collect them.
2. Depending on your age and health when you get to AA. You may not accumulate long term sobriety
3. Members recycle medallions.

I don't know that you could use the number of medallions ditributed to either prove or disprove the effectiveness.

I hope science finds a cure of alcoholism and drug addiction.

Hello Anna,

Thanks for the letter. Like I said in that earlier letter, "this is a very good indication of the A.A. attrition rate, but it is non-scientific and not 100% reliable."

But as a rough indicator, it is highly revealing. When we are talking about humongous dropout and disappearance rates like 99%, who cares if a few people didn't pick up coins because they regard the practice as "controversial"? (Which is something that I never saw or even heard of.) Besides which, if they never picked up any coins, because they didn't believe in it, then they wouldn't change the numbers at all.

And yes, a few of the old-timers die. But not 99% in just 11 years. If that were the case, then the best way to make your spouse rich would be to buy a whole lot of life insurance and then join Alcoholics Anonymous.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly,
**     while bad people will find a way around the laws.
**        —  Plato  (427—347 BC)

Date: Wed, September 13, 2006 10:41 am
From: "John McC"
Subject: Fwd: RE: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other

I think your site has already responded to this Orange, but I am sending it to you anyway in case there is anything "new" about this "interesting logic" the AMA shows in supporting this "alcoholism is a disease" premise!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John McC.
> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:58 PM
> To: [email protected]
> Subject: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other
> The following information was submitted:
> Name: John McC.
> Who submitted the info: Other
> Comment: By what criteria does the AMA base their
> "endorsement" of
> alcoholism/drug addiction as being a "disease" in? I
> would like to know
> HOW "addiction" meets the criteria for
> classification as a "disease".

--- USC-AmerMedAssn <[email protected] > wrote: > Subject: RE: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other > Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006 12:26:22 -0500 > From: "USC-AmerMedAssn" > To: "John McC. > > Linda Rashid, Communications Coordinator for the > American Medical > Association Unified Service Center, is responding to > your email inquiry. > > > > Dear Mr. Mc Cready: > > Thank you for contacting the American Medical > Association regarding > alcoholism as a disease. > > We do consider alcoholism to be a disease. Chain > smoking is a behavior > resulting from nicotine addiction which we also > consider to be a > disease, as is other drug dependence — more properly > called substance > use disorders. There are a wide array of levels of > problems related to > use of alcohol and other drugs, some of which are > primarily behavioral, > others involve physical and psychological > dependence. > > Drug dependence including alcoholism also known as > addiction is a > disease in that it is an involuntary disability > drug users do not seek > to become dependent. There are a number of factors > which influence > whether someone becomes addicted- genetic, family > history, personality, > individual biochemistry, repeated use and > availability of the drug. > There are clearly some for whom alcoholism is in > large part a genetic > disposition. We also know that children who begin > drinking before the > age of fifteen are four times more likely to become > alcoholics as adults > compared to those who start drinking at a later age. > The National > Institute on Drug Abuse considers addiction to be a > brain disease > because of the profound changes that occur in how > the brain operates and > even looks. > > The controversy over treating it as a disease (which > it is considered > throughout medicine and our governmental policies > arises from the > knowledge that for addiction to happen someone needs > to take the drug, > and for addiction to be treated requires that that > individual stop > taking the drug. The conclusion some draw then is > that it is all > voluntary and thus an optional behavior. > > In fact, the drug craving, tolerance for the drug > (i.e., need more and > more to achieve the same effects), withdrawal > symptoms when use stops, > are all physiological as well as psychological > processes. While will > power to stop is needed for recovery, it is often > not enough and > frequently extremely difficult to achieve. And once > a person has this > illness, it is not curable — it remains for life. > The craving never > disappears but can be treated to stop the symptoms > (i.e., abstinence > must occur or substitute drugs used, or the symptoms > will come back if > the substance is used again). In fact, the more we > look at the whole > process, the more we have found that drug dependence > can create > permanent change in the brain and other body organs. > > The best way to look at all of this is as a chronic > disease — it's there > for life (usually not curable), not acquired > voluntarily, disabling if > untreated, treatable but likely to relapse (the > symptoms return if not > treated). For example, diabetes can be treated by > controlling one's diet > and through medications, but if someone eats the > wrong foods or > quantities of those foods, or stops taking their > treatment medication > all the symptoms are triggered and occur again — and > can get > progressively worse (even with treatment). > Similarly, heart disease can > be prevented through diet, exercise and medication > but for many people > family history, genetics and individual factors make > the disease more > likely and in some cases highly likely. > > Treatment of almost every disease requires some > action on the part of > the person who has it to take a medication or > vaccine, to stop or change > a behavior, to seek medical help and follow medical > directions etc. To > that extent, every disease has biological, > behavioral and psychological > aspects. Every disease is caused by a combination of > exposure to > external risk factors, genetic and immunological > factors, personal > behaviors, individual circumstances, etc. Alcoholism > and other drug > dependence are no different. > > We do not take the stand that each issue a self-help > group ("anonymous" > groups) addresses is therefore a disease although > it's clear that the > members of these groups feel they have problems they > need help with. We > recommend the use of self-help groups as adjuncts to > treatment and > recovery but not as substitutes for medical > treatment. > > An excellent source for a more complete discussion > of substance use > disorders can be found in the American Psychiatric > Association's > "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental > Disorders, Fourth Edition > (DSM-IV)", Washington, DC. (2004) I hope this helps. > > I hope this information is helpful and please > continue to visit the AMA > home page at http://www.ama-assn.org. > > Sincerely, > > > Linda Rashid > Communication Coordinator > American Medical Association > 515 N State Street > Chicago, IL 60610 > [email protected] >

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, this is similar to another exchange of letters that occurred a while back, here.

There is so much double-talk in that letter from the A.M.A. that it would be really funny if it weren't so serious. Like,

"Drug dependence including alcoholism also known as addiction is a disease in that it is an involuntary disability drug users do not seek to become dependent."

Huh? What if you deliberately seek to become habituated to a drug? Is it then not a disease?

How many other "diseases" have their definition depend on whether the patient wants to get the disease?

Is pneumonia not a disease if you really wanted to get it?

A big part of the problem is their goofy idea of "disease". Chain smoking is a symptom of a "disease"?
Oh really?
Emphysema and lung cancer are diseases; chain smoking is a bad habit.

And then we get more double-talk about

"There are a number of factors which influence whether someone becomes addicted — genetic, family history, personality, individual biochemistry, repeated use and availability of the drug."

So what? Those factors do not define a disease.

And availability of the drug? That's ridiculous.
The availability of the drug might determine whether you can get high on it tonight, but it sure doesn't determine whether something is a disease.

That's the propaganda trick of snowing people with irrelevant information.

That jabber about "factors" and "influence" really means, "Oh, it's all so controversial and so confusing, with so many influencing factors... so we will call alcoholism a disease."

This is some more bull:

And once a person has this illness, it is not curable — it remains for life. The craving never disappears but can be treated to stop the symptoms (i.e., abstinence must occur or substitute drugs used, or the symptoms will come back if the substance is used again).

The fact that people are hypersensitive to a drug once they have been addicted to it does not make "alcoholism" a disease. Furthermore, it is simply not true that the cravings never disappear.
I am living proof that they do.
Heck, I was in the supermarket a few days ago, and, just as an experiment, I looked hard at all of the cases and six-packs of beer, to see what kind of a reaction I would get now.
I didn't feel any cravings or intense desires at all; more like revulsion.
I felt like alcohol was a toxic chemical that would make me sick, and I didn't desire that.

And what "treatment stops the symptoms"? What symptoms? Cravings?
That is a bunch of double-talk.
There is no treatment for alcoholism. I got where I am now just by not drinking any more alcohol. (And not smoking any more tobacco.)

And then, just as in the previous exchange of letters, the A.M.A. spokesperson tried to shove you over to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. That is grossly dishonest and deceptive, because the DSM-IV does not agree with the A.M.A.'s dogma at all. Just the opposite — the A.P.A. does not define alcoholism as a disease, and they wisely refuse to even use the word "alcoholism", because it is so ill-defined and politically-loaded.

The A.P.A. defines two alcohol-related mental illnesses that are caused by drinking too much alcohol — mental illness number 305.00 "Alcohol Abuse", and 303.90 "Alcohol Dependence". But there is no "alcoholism".

The A.P.A. does not even use the word "disease", just the term "mental disorders".

And yet the A.M.A. keeps trying to claim that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders supports their position.

That A.M.A. spokesperson was just trying to fake you out and make you think that the psychiatrists at the American Psychiatric Association support the A.M.A. position. They don't.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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.

Date: Sat, October 28, 2006 12:32 pm
From: "John McC"
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other

Hi Again Orange,

Forgot to ask this question in my response to your response to the AMA's response to me:

What is the "criteria" to make a "disease" a "disease"???? I am wondering if there is a MEDICAL DEFINITION for just "disease" in general, and if the twisted logic of the AMA, etc. comes anywhere near that criteria! After all, if a "simple" disease can't be defined, I am guessing that a "cunning, baffling" one, like "alcoholism" is downright IMPOSSIBLE to meet a non-existent criteria! ;)


Thanks for the excellent response Orange (its going to be printed, and circulated at the DUI Program I work at!). Can you e-mail a copy of your response to the AMA's response to me (you left out that they came up with their "definition" in the 1950's though!)?

Also, PLEASE contact "See Sharp Press" about getting your ENTIRE web-site into book form! Its too good for just the Internet! ;)

All the best,


Hello John,

See the attached web page for a copy of the AMA correspondence.

And I'll also include a copy of the first response to the AMA's letter, too.

About the "definition" in the 1950s: It's funnier than that.

They did not really have *any* definition of "alcoholism" until they let that joint committee of A.A. front groups write one for them in 1992. In 1956, the AMA just declared that "alcoholism is an illness", without defining the "disease". That was just to mollify the shrill Steppers who demanded that alcoholism be declared a disease. The statement was not based on any medical research. It was just a piece of PR froth.

About the See Sharp Press. I just got contacted by them about doing a book, a couple of days ago. What a coincidence.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*          [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Sun, October 29, 2006 10:33 am
From: "John McC"
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Contact Us: About the AMA, Other

Thanks again Orange, for the excellent response (or referral to a previous response already posted about in your site). I am telling you — you have GOT to get all this into book form! (Maybe several volumes in your case, since your quantity of information puts PhD. dissertations to shame! ;). Given that there is NO LOGIC to defining "alcoholism" as a "disease", I wonder if there is any logic to defining "disease"-in ANY medical sense (i.e. What makes a "disease" a disease? What criteria MUST a "disease" have, and then it will become crystalized, as to why "alcoholism", and other "substance abuses" DO NOT MEASURE UP!

The best part though is that: if you asked ANY doctor what ANY "disease" is, I doubt even THEY could tell you the quick and dirty of the criteria!


Date: Thu, September 14, 2006 8:33 am
From: "G. G."
Subject: mandatory AA attendance


I just want to tell you how much I enjoy and appreciate your site, and the amount of work thatyou have into it. You have accomplished something that was badly needed, gathering a vast amount of literature into an accessible location.

I am very familiar with the coercion aspect of AA. Over four years ago, I was convicted of felony DUI here in the state of Texas. It was my bad luck to have to appear before a "hanging judge". Only the Herculean efforts of my attorney kept me out of the state penitentiary; the DA' s first offer was five years, later reduced to two years. I declined this offer, and opted to go to trial. My attorney advised me of the possibility of getting a "hanging jury", not uncommon here, but I felt that we had a reasonable case, and opted to go forward. On the day of jury selection, the judges docket was filled because none of the cases would plead out, and in a moment of exasperation, he offered ten years probation. My attorney was absolutely stunned; this judge never gives probation. When we appeared later for sentencing, the judge sharply questioned the assistant DA as to who had offered the deal, and was chagrined to find that it was he, himself. He sentenced me to ten years supervised probation, fines and costs, four hundred hours of community service, and a multitude of other long and costly requirements. The last, but surely not least, was two AA meeting per week for the duration, or until released by the court. It was still better than the penitentiary.

I fulfilled all of the requirements and continued the AA meetings. Incidentally, I believed that I would be allowed to attend an alternative program, but this somehow got lost in the paperwork. AA meetings were to be counted against my community service, however. About six months ago, I got a new probation officer, a really good, efficient, intelligent and educated woman. It seemed too good to be true, and of course it was. When she counted up all my attendance hours, she discovered that there were hour errors, which she corrected, and gave me the exact number of remaining hours. She asked if I intended to continue AA afterward. I said of course not, and she agreed with me that it would be ridiculous to do so. I was aware of the AA stipulation that I was to attend until released, but I was not going to complain. This woman was obviously too capable and efficient, so she was transferred, which brings me to my current problem.

My new PO found the attendance requirement, and asked why I was not going. I showed her the record the prior PO had given me, but she said I had to start going again. I reluctantly agreed, but she was not through. She asked if I had a sponsor, and was doing the steps. I answered that I was an atheist of some fifty years, and therefore could not accept the theology of St. William. She said she would have to report to the court that I was not fulfilling the requirements of my probation. I mentioned to her that I had expressed my views at the outset, and that nobody had brought up the subject of sponsors, etc. She read the order and pointed out that it it said "participation". I replied that everyone else accepted my verified attendance as "participation". She was adamant that unless I followed her interpretation, she would have no recourse but to inform the court. I said I would continue to attend the meetings (under duress), but that I could not and would not pretend to accept the idiocy of the AA program, and that I would see my lawyer, and if neccessary, the ACLU.

Thus stands the matter now. My lawyer is going to approach the judge informally, and if that does not work, I will have to return to court, where I could be sentenced to prison for the rest of my sentence.

I would like to say, in my defense, that I had already significantly modified my drinking habits, and that this last incident was truly an anomaly. It is also somewhat ironic that I had decided to quit drinking entirely on my birthday, which was a couple of weeks after my arrest. I have not had a drink since, in spite of the meetings, which can certainly drive one to drink. My "good" PO said she had to attend several meetings of AA during her training, and that although she does not drink, she felt like a drink after sitting through those sessions.

Please forgive me for taking up your time with this, but I feel the need to tell someone about the way the system is working for me, and to ask you if you have any advice for me.

Once again, I would like to thank you for your endeavors. I have referred this site to a number of people, and they have all enjoyed it, too.

Sincerely yours,
Gaynor G.

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." == John Kenneth Galbraith
A la pared con los cristo-fascistas!
NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current president.

Hello Gaynor,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your troubles with state-coerced religion, but it will be good for other people to hear about it.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped
**  in the flag, carrying a cross."  ==  Sinclair Lewis

Date: Thu, September 14, 2006 10:16 am
From: "James P."
Subject: I see why you're secret.

I read you're paper on Powerless in AA. I can see you don't understand it. It's Powerless over the first drink. People in AA with years of sobriety know it's up to the person to get to meeting and use other sober people to stop drinking. The powerless piece is not that the person is powerless, it's that you become powerless once you take the first drink.

Hello James,

Thanks for the letter, but that is wrong. Dead wrong. That is just the opposite of what Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book.

Bill Wilson wrote that we could not avoid taking that first drink now and then, because we would suffer from "strange mental blank spots", and think some stupid thought and go off on a binge before we even knew what was happening. It was Bill Wilson's whole rationalization for surrendering yourself to "Higher Power". You had to surrender to "God" (or whatever) and beg "Him" to save you, because you were powerless over alcohol and could not save yourself.

He made a beginning, we have seen, when he commenced to rely upon A.A. for the solution to his alcohol problem. By now, though... he has become convinced that he has more problems than alcohol... His lone courage and unaided will cannot do it. Surely he must now depend upon Somebody or Something else.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 39.

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.

Then Bill Wilson wrote the story of an alcoholic who went off on a binge, and then, the morning after...

As soon as I regained my ability to think, I went carefully over that evening in Washington.   ...   I now remembered what my alcoholic friends [Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob] had told me, how they had prophesied that if I had an alcoholic mind, the time and place would come — I would drink again. They had said that though I did raise a defense, it would one day give way before some trivial reason for having a drink. Well, just that did happen and more, for what I had learned of alcoholism did not occur to me at all. I knew from that moment that I had an alcoholic mind. I saw that will power and self-knowledge would not help in those strange mental blank spots. I had never been able to understand people who said that a problem had them hopelessly defeated. I knew then. It was a crushing blow.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 3, More About Alcoholism, pages 41-42.

So you are powerless to avoid taking the first drink, so you have to join Alcoholics Anonymous and "surrender to God".

Remember that we deal with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. May you find Him now!
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, pages 58-59.

Also, I think it's shameful to hide behind a secret identity and only share quotes that may be true, but absolutely don't present the entire picture.

I think it is shameful for A.A. to extoll the virtues of anonymity, and then sneer at somebody who actually does it.

Tradition 11 [Long Form]
Our relations with the general public should be characterized by personal anonymity. We think A.A. ought to avoid sensational advertising. Our names and pictures as A.A. members ought not to be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed.

Really shameful, huh?

Next, when I do discard anonymity, I suppose you will accuse me of being an egotist and a publicity hound or something, right?

You could probably find quotes at AA meeting to support any position you want. I've heard of people making door knobs their God. I could quote that and draw false conclusions about AA.

Or you could draw the accurate conclusion that there is something strange about that religion.

Let's face it: Any religion that even suggests that it is okay to worship a doorknob or bedpan as your God is seriously twisted.

Now I know that it actually isn't really okay to worship such things in Alcoholics Anonymous — that the supposed great freedom of religion is merely a bait-and-switch trick to get people started on the cult religion routine. Later on, the newcomers will learn that only the wish-granting God of the Twelve Steps is okay (otherwise the Steps won't work).

And no, you can't find quotes to support just any position you want. (That's a great example of minimization and denial.) I have not yet heard A.A. members or council-approved books accurately report

So no, you can't find quotes to support just anything you want to say.

So, I ask myself. Why are you so fearful?

I am not fearful. I have no fear of finding the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, and Buchmanism, and printing it.

AA is not a cult. Here's the definitions of cult. Below, in parenthesis, I comment on each one.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists five different meanings of the word "cult"

(I have a few definitions of the word on my web site, too, here.)

1. Formal religious veneration (AA is not a religion)
2. A system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents; (AA is not a religion)
3. A religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents; (AA is not a religion)
4. A system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator; (Close, but there's no dogma. There are no rules to follow. You can come and go as you please. You can use the suggestions you like or not. You don't even have to believe in God, a higher power or anything. AA will still allow you to show up and express you're ideas.)
5. Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book). (There is no one person. The closes thing to this is AA has a common person to help each other stop drinking. Why would you be so against that? It's not a movement. It's a wise thing to do, like saying I'm not going to shoot my neighbor today)

Talk about denial. Brother, you have it bad.

  • 1, 2, and 3. Alcoholics Anonymous is of course a religion. God is mentioned in 6 of the 12 steps. Whole chapters of Bill Wilson's Big Book rave about God. Try the abhorrent chapter, "We Agnostics", for example. And if you really want to barf, read Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

  • 4. There are a zillion rules to follow. Can you drink with the group's approval? Can you just not bother with meetings? Can you criticize Alcoholics Anonymous itself in meetings? Can you get angry at a wrong and "have a resentment"?

  • 5. Great devotion to A.A., the 12 Steps, and Bill Wilson and his scribblings and his rewrite of Frank Buchman's cult religion.

The Random House Unabridged Dictionary definitions are:

1. A particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies; (AA is not a religion)
2. An instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers; (Same as 5 above. There's not one person in charge or one ideal. It's one man helping another man, if he wants the help. Nobody is forcing anybody to be part of AA.)
3. The object of such devotion; (There is no object to worship.)
4. A group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc; (You can twist it as you did in you're paper, but all you've done is strip some AA bad practices out. There's always a group of people that try to take control. That happens at meetings and those meetings become more cult like. Still nobody is forced to go to those meetings.)
5. Group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols; (There's no symbols. You can bring any symbol you want, worship any thing you want.)
6. A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader; (There's no leader)
7. The members of such a religion or sect; (You couldn't define the members. It changes on any given day. People are constantly falling out and joining the organization. The population is in constant dynamic flux. That alone says it's not a cult. A person may want help today. They get it. And then, tomorrow they decide it's BS and go drink. That's allowed too. Nobody stops the person, well, some people do, but they are the once that like controlling others. The ones with years of sobriety are simply there to help when asked.)
8. Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific (it is scientific, the eveidence exists with those members who have many years of sobriety. By going to meetings and helping each other stay sober, people stay sober longer than if they try to do it by themselves. The scientific proof is that a large group of people are doing it today. Is that 100% proof, no, but the evidence is overwhelming. Do your own survey. That alone will be overwhelming evidence that a man who think he drinks too much can help another man who thinks he drinks to much, stop drinking for years. I'm all for that.)

Same problem as above. You are in denial.

  • 1. Yes, A.A. is a religion.

  • 2, 3, and 4. Yes, there is great veneration of Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, the 12 Steps, the Big Book, and Alcoholics Anonymous itself.

  • 5. No symbols, like no circle and triangle, right?
    No sacred ideology? You've got to be joking. You begin every A.A. meeting by incanting sacred rants of Bill Wilson from the holy Big Book.

  • 6. There is a charismatic leader, Bill Wilson. He is dead, but his lies and dogma live on, and guide the lives of his followers.

  • 7. Of course we can define the members. They are the people who "keep coming back", and practice the 12 Steps.

  • 8. "Any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease..."

Now go read The Cult Test to see what really defines a cult.

I have read The Big Book, and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and 'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world, and Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, and a zillion other pro-A.A. books, so you can read The Cult Test.

I suggest, just a suggestion. Why don't you go to an AA meeting, grab the guy with the most years of sobriety and say walk me through the steps. Not to get sober, but to get a full understanding of the program. Once you've honestly put you're best effort into the steps, then revisit you're writings on AA. I do believe full understanding only comes in the application of the item in question. Not in the discussion around it.

No way am I going to waste my time doing harmful cult practices.
I already know what the Steps are. Read my page about them, here.

That is another standard cult dodge, you know, used by lots of cults: "Oh, if you just do our practices for a month (or a year), you will see that it is all true."

If you do their practices for a year, you will be so brainwashed that you believe everything that they say.

I appreciate you're bravery to through you're opinion out and respectively urge you to do more investigation. You only have half the story.

We can choose our actions, but we cannot choose the consequences!

Thanks for taking the time to read my opinion,

Jim P.

Well, Jim, which other side of the picture am I not seeing?

How about the sky-high A.A. failure rate? Why don't you enlighten me? Please answer just this one simple question:

"What is the actual A.A. success rate?
Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many finally pick up a 5-year coin?
A ten-year coin? A twenty-year coin?"

Why don't you recite those facts to the newcomers at the start of each meeting, instead of Bill Wilson's lie:
"RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path..."?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  And the believers spake unto me, and they saeth,
** "If you want what we have, and are willing to go to
** any length to get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

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