Letters, We Get Mail, XCI

Date: Mon, July 28, 2008     (answered 29 July 2008.)
From: Mdme. Senga
Subject: Re: Psych Today article

Aaaah. I just read what you wrote about rescuing the goslings. As Tennessee Ernie Ford used to say, "Bless your pea-pickin' heart!" :-) I can't wait to hear more of the story on your website.

About a week ago I saw the parent geese in my complex. Parading around with ALL SIX of their nearly full grown chicks. I was so happy. That is a miracle, that all 6 lived to adult hood. We have hawks, possums, raccoons and cats around here. I noticed residents coming by and feeding them.

Well good luck with your new family. I guess we'll have to rename you "Father Goose."? ;-)

Hey, I know you're probably really behind in mail but don't forget to check out the one I sent you where in I discovered I was 'birthed' by Lois' brother and Bill's brother in law. I sent that in the last week or so and I'm still REELING from discovering that lil tidbit!


Hi again, Madame,

Yes, I was just getting to your other letter — taking them in chronological order. And your delivery by Lois Wilson's brother is indeed quite a coincidence. What a small world it is.

You're right about the dangers of those predators to the goslings and ducklings. The momma ducks here have a terrible time of it. Sometimes they lose all of their ducklings to feral cats and river rats. It's really heart-breaking to see some momma with 9 or 12 tiny fluff-ball ducklings one day, and then 2 the next day, and then none the next day. And I hear that racoons are bad this year too, and are taking their toll.

The Canada Geese are better at fighting them off, but the parents still sometimes come out of those fights scarred for life.

About "Father Goose." — a friend was wise-cracking that of all the experiences he never believed he would have, he never imagined that he would actually meet "Mother Goose" in real life. He also said that he never would have guessed that "Mother Goose" would turn out to be a guy.

A few more pictures and your story follow.

And have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
**  is as good as dead; his eyes are closed."
**  ==  Albert Einstein

May 19, 2008, Day 2: The goslings get introduced to the city park nearby so that they can run around and eat grass. They loved it and demanded to come back to the park all of the time — like every day, 2 or 3 times a day, or even better, just stay at the park all day long when the weather is good. Fortunately, Portland doesn't use any poisons on the parks — no toxic bug sprays or herbicides — protecting human children and all of that. It works for goslings too. (A friend snapped this shot, so it is one of the few pictures that shows me with the goslings.)

Goslings and me in the park

The goslings are great ice-breakers. Zillions of people stop by and ask what they are, and say hi. Among the new friends who showed up the first day in the park were Sam (a woman) and Ka'ge (a guy), who had raised a couple of broods of Canada Geese themselves, and released them back into Waterfront Park. They gave me a bunch of helpful advice about how to raise them, including things that you would never guess, like "Don't give them any red peppers or Mexican food that contains chili peppers. Capsaicin is poisonous to Canada Geese." Not that I was planning to feed the cute little fluff-balls any chili peppers, but it's sure good to know about the danger. And, oddly enough, they like black pepper.
Also, "Avoid rye bread. The geese are vulnerable to ergotamine poisoning, and there is a small chance that some ergot fungus may have grown on the rye before it got made into bread." (You know, the ergot fungus that is famous for growing LSD-25...)

Sam (left) and Ka'ge (right)

photo of Sam photo of Ka'ge

Sam named this family of goslings "The Tribles".

Here, the goslings are sleeping while cuddling against Sam's leg.

Canada Goose goslings sleeping while cuddling against a human's leg

Notice how they have adapted so quickly to hanging out with humans. This is only the second whole day of them being with me. After just an hour of them seeing Sam and Ka'ge, the goslings happily snuggle up against her leg and go to sleep. Once they accepted me as their foster parent, they seemed to consider all other humans as just more of the same flock, and they are quite fearless and trusting.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Tue, July 22, 2008 10:36 pm
From: Mdme. Senga
Subject: Mdme Senga: I was slapped by Lois Wilson's brother!!!

Hi AO,

OK I was slapped while naked and upside down... and minutes old but...

Is this a "trip" or what? I was looking at your website again, — just 2 days ago, and looking at *Bill Wilson and Lois Wilson's wills* and...there on Bill's was a familiar name. I did a double take and my jaw dropped. Because it was the same name as on my birth certificate. Bill Wilson's brother-in-law, Lois's brother...DELIVERED ME. He was my mother's obstetrician!! No shit!! (I'm from the NY/NJ ares so small world but not so impossible). From more investigating I'm pretty certain I'm correct. Dr Lyman Burnham is mentioned with his wife "Florence" on Bill's 1968 will. On Lois Wilson's 1983 will, there is no mention of bequeathing to her brother Lyman but she still mentions Florence. This coincides... I had reason to call Dr Burnham's residence looking for my natal and prenatal records sometime between 1981 and 1983 and I got his wife and she? at that time informed me he had passed away fairly recently, in the last year or two years. (So that would make sense, him not being on the drawn up 1983 will). I saved the envelope she sent the records in and it had an englewood NJ return address. I looked on line and a Dr Lyman Burnham did pass away with residence listed as Englewood NJ/ Bergen County(where I as born) "possible spouse Florence Burnham".

Whats funny to me too, is, my mother hated him. And — I mean: hated him. — She did not use him when she got pregnant again, after me. The only reason he, and his name, even stuck in my mind is that my mother hated him that much! Left a very bad impression on her, I only wish I could remember her few antedotal stories in the brief time she dealt with him, but he was legendary in a monsterous way. (My sister would ask "Did we have the same doctor?" and I'd be like, "No, you had the nice one, mine was the mean one." And I was saying that from at least age 6 or 7 and up.) — Sullen, mean, ill-humored. My impression was of a man who had little respect for his female patients and treated them less like human beings and more like cattle. My mother said not one kind word about him, if my birth came up in conversation. It was burned into my brain at a young age I was delivered by a jerk. I seem to recall my mother observing other women leaving the waiting room as upset as she often did. Bit of an SOB. (However, I'm pleased to see from the retrieved records he was an SOB he did not get duped by the drug companies: wrote in the margins how he would not use this or that pre-natal drug on my mother because it was "unproved"/ not tested long enough--guess he was good in one respect). Anyway, trippy huh??

PS: of course I had to laugh at the Stepping Stone website saying Lois claimed to come from an idyllic childhood. I can't imagine me telling my mother that if she was still alive. I can tell you for sure her response would be something like "What kind of idyllic childhood produces a man like that?" No kidding.I can't stress enough how little she thought of that man. Now all these years later his name leaps off your website and slaps me in the face. Small world.

-Take care agent!
Madame Senga

Date: Tue, May 20, 2008 7:37 pm     (answered 2 August 2008.)
From: "chris e."
Subject: How do you do it?

Hey Orange,

You must have incredible patience to actually converse with all the steppers who attack you and the truth. I stopped reading your letter section some time ago for a simple reason- the average 12 step person is incapable of forming an original thought or idea. They say the same things over and over. It never ends. They reveal their inability to step outside of their narrow belief system and ponder anything other than what they have been taught. You know, the biggest proof of AA being religious isn't the numerous court decisions deeming it as such, but rather the reaction evoked when you question or criticize anything that they (steppers) hold as an immutable truth. They will often (almost always) resort to personal attacks. My experience shows this to be true even with those who have infiltrated our health care system — the self proclaimed "treatment providers". How is it that a person who suffers from the "disease" of addiction is only offered one form of treatment? What's happening today in these treatment centers is akin to a family phyician prescribing only one medication, say penicillin and nothing else. Of course if the patient doesn't show any improvement well then he needs to take more penicillin. If after a week he is still ill, well then it is obvious that he isn't taking the medication as prescribed. It goes on and on. It may sound silly but that is exactly what is occuring today with alcoholics/addicts who seek treatment.

For myself I was lucky. I finally realized that AA was causing me more harm than good. Upon reflection it's easy for me to get angry with myself for buying into the lies that perpetuate the notion that AA works. I was duped...for years. UGH!!!! I wasted so much time attentatively listening to these self righteous 12 step gurus regurgitate an endless stream of hypocrisy and utter nonsense. Like yourself I have begun a process of pledging my time to warn others of the cult. As you know, all you have to do is tell the truth. And the truth is that AA or NA isn't about helping someone stay sober. No, AA is about AA. It's primary purpose isn't to help others but to recruit new members by indoctrination, deception, intimidation and coercion. Is that too many "tions"?

Like Rational Recovery's founder Jack Trimpey I too hope to see the day that AA is reliquinshed from our health care system and forced back to where it belongs... church basements.

Take care and keep up the good work,


Hi Chris,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and thanks for the story. And congratulations on your escape. And please do continue the campaign to get the word out.

What gives me the "patience to actually converse with all the steppers who attack you and the truth" is that I have to remember to consider the source. The people who are attacking me are sick, deluded people. Either physically sick, or mentally sick, or both. And they have been indoctrinated and practically brain-washed into a cultish belief system that pretends to have all of the answers to "Life, the Universe, and Everything" (as Douglas Adams would put it), and they believe that anyone who says something different is automatically wrong. To some extent it may be their own fault — to some extent they voluntarily bought into the system — but to a great extent they are more victims than offenders. They got recruited and indoctrinated at a time in their lives when they were very sick, weak, and vulnerable — easy targets for any cult. And now they are stuck.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Mind like parachute, only function when open"
**  == Charlie Chan, from "Charlie Chan at the Circus" (1936)

Date: Sat, July 19, 2008 3:08 pm     (answered 2 August 2008.)
From: "ANTHONY J."

Orange, I'm taking the liberty of responding to your "Introduction" page. I've read most of your site and even sent you an e-mail a while ago. Your history is nice and some of your points are very valid but you seem to have resentments galore. You can respond to me if you like and/or use this on your site but either way I wanted to reach out with my opinions for what they're worth.

I've been sober since 1997 and have been very active in AA and have sponsered many people. Some of your complaints seem so common to me that it seems a shame you gave up on the program before you fully understood it. Belive me, it's not perfect and it's not for everyone so but it's not the evil cult you claim. Not by a long shot.

This is the best way I can think of to respond because you have so many arguments in so many places, I figure if I go to the begining I can maybe answer some of you question. Maybe I'm wasting my time but for some reason, as I read your pages, you seem like a good guy. Like your really interested in sobriety, I mean. And if AA isn't for you, then I respect that but your just too heavy handed in your treatment of AA. At least compared to my experience.

by A. Orange
These essays, which have ended up pretty much making up a whole book, began as my attempt to clarify my own thinking about A.A., and to explain to others why I felt that there was something wrong with people trying to shove Alcoholics Anonymous on patients. I had signed up for a course of outpatient "alcoholism treatment", but ended up getting something more like "Introduction to Cult Religion 101," where most of the "course of treatment" consisted of compulsory attendance of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous 12-Step meetings, and "group therapy" sessions where xeroxed copies of A.A. and N.A. literature was handed out and discussed by a 12-Step true-believer group leader, someone who just assumed that of course everyone who recovers will do it at 12-Step meetings... I started out with a very positive view of Alcoholics Anonymous. Like most people, I had only heard good things about A.A., and thought that it was just a wonderful self-help group where alcoholics got together to give each other moral support and advice in quitting drinking. I began to get the funny feeling that there was something wrong, that something didn't quite add up right. For instance, in a "group therapy" session, I mentioned the fact that a dozen years earlier, I had quit drinking, all on my own, and stayed quit for over three years. The counselor declared that I had not had a period of "recovery," that I had only been "abstaining," because "I had not been dealing with any issues." The counselor had not bothered to ask about my past, other than to ask how many A.A. meetings I had gone to before (only 4, ever), so he had no way of knowing whether I had dealt with any "issues." He simply assumed that I had not, and declared that I had not. He was wrong, totally wrong. You don't just quit and stay quit for three years without dealing with all of the issues, problems, and hassles of real life. Nobody gets a free 3-year vacation from all of their problems just by abstaining from both beer and A.A. meetings. (Heck, that would be a great recovery program if you could do that...) Then, when I wanted to debate that point, he changed the subject and wouldn't discuss it.

Okay, so you stayed sober for 3 years (I did it only for 1 year myself) and then you went back to drinking, right ? And you ended up in group therapy, right ?
So, do you still think the counselor was that far off base ?
If you dealt with all the issuses would you have picked up after 3 years ?
It's your story, your call. You have a point, to get any run of sobriety you have to be doing something right, but do you think you addressed the core issues now that you can look back on it ? And if you did , why did you drink again ?

Hello Tony,

Thanks for the letter.

Yes, actually I did eventually deal with all of my issues. The biggest mistake that I made after three years of sobriety was starting to think that I wasn't really an alcoholic, because it had been so easy to stay sober for three years. I thought that the "real alcoholics" — especially the ones portrayed in A.A.-promoting movies — are constantly craving a drink and having to call their sponsors in the middle of the night, crying that they are afraid that they are about to take a drink. I did none of that, so I mistakenly thought that I had alcohol under control now. But that was a tragically wrong belief. Just a few beers very quickly turned into heavy drinking for years. Live and learn. That is just another example of how A.A. stereotypes and misinformation hurt people.

Also, he wouldn't debate with you.
Why should he ?
You came to him for help and the only way he can help you is if you listen to him. He's the counselor and your the patient. Not very easy on the ego to a newly sober drunk, but true nonetheless.

Ego? You think my reluctance to hand control of my mind and my life over to a cocaine-snorting child molester is my ego getting in the way? That is so wrong and illogical that it is downright Looney-Tunes. But that is the usual Alcoholics Anonymous attitude. "Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth."

Well, blind obedience to authority is not a good approach to life in either a treatment center or in the real world. When you are dealing with a bunch of ex-addicts (and relapsed addicts), ex-convicts, and assorted other criminals and perverts, it is wise to keep your eyes open and see clearly. And don't believe everything you are told.

You are demonstrating how the A.A. cult puts people down as a way of weakening them, and then tries to take their independence away from them while they are weakened. If anybody shows any signs of independent thinking, then just start harping on how stupid they were to have drunk so much alcohol... And they should just shut up and listen and obey. (By the way, "Listen and Obey" is pure Buchmanism.)

And the commandment to "abandon ego" is just another standard cult characteristic.

Do you actually think for one minute that I would have been better off if I had believed the dogmatic slogan-slinging of that criminal pervert?
(Ummm, you did read the bottom of the introduction page, didn't you? Like where it describes how my so-called "counselor" was arrested and imprisoned for two counts of criminal sexual penetration of minors, and multiple instances of possession of cocaine, and child pornography? He was really a great spiritual sobriety teacher, wasn't he?)

By not following that "counselor's" advice, I now have 7 1/2 years off of both alcohol and tobacco. When I quit smoking, 3 weeks after I quit drinking, he actually advised against it by saying, "Don't put too much on your plate or something might spill off."

I sure am glad I didn't listen to him. And my lungs are happy about it too. So is my general health.

By the way, I wasn't "the patient". They were very clear about that. We were "clients", not "patients". We couldn't be patients because the treatment center had no healing credentials. They would not even give me aspirin for a headache because, they explained, they had zero medical credentials and were not qualified to give out aspirin. Funny that they considered themselves qualified to give out advice and pontifications on the life-or-death issues of alcoholism and drug addiction...

Oh, and I didn't "go to him for help", either. I agreed to go through the treatment program in trade for housing in a shelter, so that I wouldn't have to sleep in the rain. I approached the program optimistically, hoping to maybe learn something useful from it. Little did I know that I was going to get an education about something else instead, like the sorry state of "drug and alcohol treatment" in the USA.

Lastly, you are overlooking the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous has no quality control for sponsors. Any pervert or criminal can claim to be an expert on addiction just by declaring that he has a few years of sobriety. He doesn't even need to be clean and sober. He can lie about it and just claim to be sober, and he is still fully qualified to be an A.A. sponsor. He can even be there at the meetings solely to seduce under-age girls, and he is still a qualified A.A. sponsor. There is no examination to be an A.A. sponsor; there is no Board of Ethics; there are no rules or regulations; there is nobody to answer to, and there are no check-ups. Being an A.A. sponsor or a "drug and alcohol counselor" is a great haven for all kinds of criminals, perverts, and psychos.

Only later did I learn that such behavior is typical of properly-indoctrinated A.A. true believers. They will always declare that you are not "in recovery" if you are not attending their Twelve-Step meetings and doing their Twelve Steps. You are "only abstaining" from drinking alcohol, or "only dry", but not "sober". That may seem like a minor point, but when you are fighting for your life, you don't want to find out, half-way through the treatment program, that the counselor is an irrational religious fanatic with his own agenda. That feels like being in a jet airliner, cruising at 40,000 feet, and suddenly discovering that the pilots are drunk and crazy, and that you are on your own when it comes to safely flying that airplane.

I think it is a minor point. It's also a matter of opinion and not AA in any strict sense.
But your complaining because you've asked for help and you don't like the help that's being offered.
AA describes itself as Spiritual. It does this very plainly in the Big Book and 12/12.
You don't like this. That's fair enough. Maybe AA really isn't for you. But maybe your counselor was happy with it. Why can't he live a spiritual life if he wants too ?
Did he try and force his beliefs on you ?
Or did he tell you your free to choose your own higher power and leave it at that ?

You are missing the major point that a dogmatic religious nutcase was promoting "12-Step Spirituality" when he was supposed to be giving "treatment for alcoholism". He was getting paid by the city, state, and Federal Government to "treat alcoholics and addicts". And his "spirituality" amounted to going home and snorting cocaine and screwing his step-children.

And the fact that A.A. describes itself as "spiritual" is both irrelevant and hypocritical. Anybody or anything can claim to be spiritual. All of these organizations also described themselves as "spiritual":

  • Rev. Jim Jones's People's Temple
  • David Koresh's Branch Davidians
  • Marshall Herff Applewhite's Heaven's Gate
  • Scientology
  • the Nazi S.S.
  • the K.K.K.

Or, after September 11, it feels like discovering that the airplane has been hijacked by crazy religious fanatics, and where they are steering the airplane isn't where you want to go. And, where the airplane is really going is not the destination that was printed on the ticket that you bought. The plane's new destination is their idea of "the Will of God" and "religious glory".

And when did you die ? Those who were on the hijacked airplane were killed. You seem to be alive since you have a website up and running, you also claim your sober.

Are you trying to imply that any incompetent quack medicine and bogus alcoholism treatment is okay if the patients don't die immediately? You certainly have low standards.

And you claim you've dealt with all your issues, so how did that counelor harm you ?
Is it possible you were confused and scared and had a huge ego early in recovery and maybe were thin skinned about certian episodes ?
I was. Thats why I ask.
Again, your story. You get to decide.

Again, you seem to think that quack treatment is okay if I can't claim to have been harmed by it. What about the other "clients" who didn't make it?

I was lucky. But then again, I was the one who quit drinking two weeks before the "treatment program" started. And I quit all on my own, without any "treatment program" or any Alcoholics Anonymous, because I finally decided that I just wasn't going to die that way (from alcoholism).

When I went to my second A.A. meeting ever, about 15 years earlier, I was in the middle of detoxing, and in very ragged shape because I had spent most of the previous night in (unexpected) D.T.s while quitting drinking for the first time. A woman there advised me to eat lots of ice cream to soothe my extremely painful stomach cramps, and to drink lots and lots of orange juice to help restore my electrolyte balance. Now, when I repeated that advice in "group therapy", the "counselor" stopped me with "Trying to get intellectual on us now, are you?" Apparently, for him, using any words more sophisticated than a sixth-grade education was apparently "getting intellectual".

Is that really how it played out ?
You were accused of getting intellectual because a lady gave you advice on how to get over the DT's and you passed it on in group therapy ?
Sounds like your counselors are all crabby !!!

Yes, that is exactly how it played out. I wouldn't have written it if it weren't true. And that was one of the things that told me that something isn't quite right here. Repeating helpful advice on how to get through withdrawal is "getting intellectual on us now"?

The A.A. slogan is, of course, "Keep It Simple, Stupid!"(--Which apparently really means, "Stay Simple and Stupid.") Likewise, that 12-Step 'counselor' went non-linear when another client said that he was reading Jack Trimpey's "The Small Book". "What?! Isn't that the one without the Higher Power?!"Then he told us that Rational Recovery's AVRT technique (Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy) is just so complex and difficult that you will die before you figure it out, so don't mess with it. Not! AVRT is actually just a process of recognizing the thoughts that are the voice of the Addiction Monster, aka the Beast (the base brain, really), as it tempts you to take a drink. It is pathetically easy, once you get the hang of it. It is just like those Walt Disney cartoons with Donald Duck having a little devil on one shoulder, and a little angel on the other, and the little devil is whispering into Donald's ear, "Smoke! Drink! It will be fun!" Children can understand that cartoon, but my A.A.-indoctrinated counselor said that recognizing that situation as it is happening is much too difficult for you or I (or him) to do, so Rational Recovery is confusing people into drinking themselves to death.

When your in rehab aren't you there because you think you need help (or the courts or your family think you need help).

Wrong again. You are just full of slogans and assumptions. I went into the program voluntarily, to see if I could learn anything useful from it (besides getting a dry bed).

Of course there are other methods you can use to try and get sober, but at that momen, when your in rehab don't you think you should give the counselors the benefit of the doubt. They're the ones who are sober and trying to teach you have to be also.

I did give them the benefit of the doubt. The intro page describes how I started off giving them the benefit of the doubt, but began to see that there was something very wrong with the whole program.

You seem like my son a few years ago when he wouldn't take his cold medicine. Nothing I could do would get him to put it in his mouth and swallow it because he didn't like the taste and he wasn't mature enough to get past that fact. Allot like drunks trying to sober up, they don't like their medicine so they don't want to take it !!

Again, accepting crazy advice from a coke-head child molester is not "taking my medicine" and "being mature". Your condescending A.A. attitude is showing:

I continued going to A.A. and N.A. meetings, and continued to overlook the goofy stuff. Some people were obviously pretty far out there on the religious angle. I thought that was a bit much — I'm not into public displays of religiosity — but I could live with it, because I'm not an agnostic or an atheist. When people were saying things that were obviously crazy, I just thought, "Well, whatever. If believing that stuff helps them to keep from drinking, then okay, any port in a storm."

Then, a friend remarked that some people had accused A.A. of being a cult. That got me to thinking. Then I stumbled across Charles Bufe's book, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult or Cure?, in the public library, and that was it. The dam burst, and a giant wall of water swept across the landscape. So I read a lot of books and articles, both pro and con, and did a good bit of investigating, as well as attending a whole lot of those mandatory Twelve-Step meetings, both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

I came to the conclusion that Alcoholics Anonymous is really just a cult religion, one that passes off its proselytizing under the guise of alcoholism treatment, in just the same way as the Church of Scientology sells its cultish psycho-babble and techno-babble nonsense as self-improving psychotherapy. And Narcotics Anonymous is just another clone of A.A.. And so are all of the other 12-Step "self-help groups."

Now your over the line. Complaining about your rehabs and AA is one thing, but comparing it to Scientology or even the Oxford group is too much of a stretch.
And you'll start attacking Bill Wilson on a personal level in the next paragraph.
This is where your thinking gets dangerous.
You don't like your midicine so no one else should take theirs.
No room for individual choice in your argument. AA is bad and must go and Bill Wilson's reputation must be smeared.

You really are in denial, aren't you? The Oxford Group was the parent of Alcoholics Anonymous, and even the official A.A. publications declare it, and you complain that I am "over the line" when I tell the truth about that? Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

Even Bill Wilson himself declared that he got the A.A. theology and the guts of the 12 Steps from the Oxford Group:

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298, published posthumously in 1988.

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

Bill Wilson was being a little dishonest there, when he implied that Sam Shoemaker was the leader of the Oxford Group. Frank Buchman was the real leader, and he is the one who copied or made up all of the theology and tenets and practices of the Oxford Group, which Bill rewrote into the Twelve Steps. But Frank Buchman had a very bad reputation for his praise of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi sympathizing, so Bill Wilson listed Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the USA branch of the Oxford Group. But the theology and practices are all still pure Buchmanism.

If you have been in A.A. for 11 years, then you have probably seen the Hallmark made-for-TV movie, "My Name is Bill W." at least once. William Borchert's screenplay tells a completely untrue version of the beginnings of A.A., showing Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob going around Akron Ohio in the spring and summer of 1935 recruiting alcoholics for their new sobriety organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bill and Bob were recruiting alcoholics for the Oxford Group in Akron, and they were using the standard Oxford Group cult recruiting practices like the "Five C's". (Bill Wilson repeated the gist of those practices in Chapter 7 of the Big Book as the instructions for how to recruit more A.A. members.) Then Dr. Bob would demand that the newly-sober alcoholics get down on their knees and "surrender to God", and then the new recruits would be taken to an Oxford Group meeting at the large Westfield home of T. Henry and Clarace Williams. Bill and Dr. Bob wouldn't break off the alcoholic branch of the Oxford Group and make it into their own cult for years — 2 years in New York city, and 4 years in Akron.

In the mean time, Frank Buchman went to Germany and attended Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies and Sieg Heil!ed Hitler with the rest of the Nazis, and then had lunch with Heinrich Himmler, repeatedly. And then Buchman went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a guest of Heinrich Himmler, where Buchman declared Himmler to be a wonderful fellow, and then Buchman came back to New York and praised Hitler and thanked Heaven for giving us a man like Adolf Hitler, and advocated Christian Fascist Dictatorships as a cure for all of the world's problems, and neither Bill Wilson nor Dr. Robert Smith quit the Oxford Group in protest. They just kept right on recruiting alcoholics for the Oxford Group and claiming that they had a wonderful new cure for alcoholism.

"Over the line" for comparing Alcoholics Anonymous to the Oxford Group? I don't think so. It's not much different from comparing a guy to his father.

And the comparison to Scientology is valid too. The only huge glaring difference between A.A. and Scientology is that Scientology is blatantly out to steal all of your money and A.A. isn't. Otherwise, they share an immense number of cult practices and they both sell quackery as a cure-all. Read the Cult Test.
(And the treatment centers that sell A.A. as a cure for alcoholism will take your money, instead. And since more than 90% of the "counselors" at TCs are 12-Step members, they will get the money indirectly.)

And I do not "smear Bill Wilson's reputation". I tell the historical truth about what kind of a lying con man he was, and how he took a part of Frank Buchman's cult and made it his own so that he never had to work again. Bill Wilson became very wealthy by selling Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion as a cure for alcoholism.

If there is one sentence that sums up my feelings about Bill Wilson's teachings most, a feeling that keeps popping up when I examine the stupid and insane things that Bill Wilson wrote, it is this sentence from one of the essays:

"This is just so typical of Bill's insanity: everything he says almost rings true, it almost has some truth in it, you can see what he is getting at and almost agree with it, but there is just something a little bit off about all of it." For example, Bill Wilson talks at length about the need to be freed from ego, the need to be freed from "the bondage of self." Now, liberation from ego is a great thing, if the student can accomplish it. It is a magnificent spiritual accomplishment, the culmination of a lifetime of training and preparation. Many spiritual schools teach techniques for doing it, like the Sufis, Zen Buddhists, and various yogis and swamis.

It's good but not when it's in AA......

There is a huge difference between a genuine spiritual practice and a crazy cult that spouts the words and puts on airs and repeats the terminology and pretends to be oh-so spiritual, but actually does very different things. Read the Cult Test again.

But Mr. Wilson's methods are ineffective and harmful to people. He makes students wallow in guilt and shame, and grinds their faces in the mud. That doesn't work, it only makes the students neurotic. It is really just very common cultish guilt induction disguised as some kind of self-improving spiritual training. But hey, "Freeing the students from ego" sounds great on the surface.

So Christianity is a cult that uses guilt and shame to induct people ???? That's where the whole Original Sin concept comes from. Not Bill Wilson and not Buchman. Jesus taught it. Remember John the Baptist ? What does babtism represent in the Bible but cleansing of sin.

That is just a dodge. Alcoholics Anonymous is not like Christianity. In fact, A.A. is grossly heretical and unChristian — even anti-Christian. Read The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.

Likewise, Wilson repeatedly declared that all alcoholics must be rid of selfishness: "Selfishness, self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles.""Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!" — The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, page 62. And: "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action." — The Big Book, 3rd Edition,, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, page 93. But you will find out that what Wilson really means by that is that you must spend all of your time recruiting and indoctrinating new members for Alcoholics Anonymous.

Really ?
Is that how I've spent all my time over the past 11 years ?
You may want to tell my wife and kids and my boss about that because they think I've been doing a pretty good job. And all the sporting events i've been too and vacations I've been on. Doesn't seem like I've been spending all my time doing AA at all. Only enough to keep me grounded in the program. And I've been rewarded with lots of friends for that and I've actually helped a few people get sober. Not a glum life at all.

I'm glad that you managed to get out of the meeting rooms and go on vacation. Now if you could only give your brain a vacation from the A.A. dogma...

Most of the rest of the program turns out to be equally useless, or worse. It wastes the students' time with useless superstitious garbage, while telling them that it is giving them some good therapy. A.A. says that it is "Spiritual, not religious," but it is really "Superstitious, not religious."

Superstitious ? Never heard that one before. Like if I don't rub my rabbits foot I'll drink ?
Taking a moral inventory, making amends and trying to help others are not superstitions acts. Maybe an atheist would say praying is superstitious. But that's only one of the 'tools' your putting down.

Superstitious as in

  • "My Higher Power is keeping me sober today. My Higher Power also got me a new job and a new car.
  • You can use anything as your Higher Power. "G.O.D." can even be a Group Of Drunks.
  • But the magic won't work if you question it.
  • And the magic won't work if I don't go to an A.A. meeting today.
  • And the magic won't work if you don't confess everything, so make sure you don't hold anything back in your Fifth Step.
  • A.A. miracles only last for one day.
  • Quite as important was the discovery that spiritual principles would solve all my problems.
  • And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
  • Meds still the small quiet voice of God, so don't take your doctor-prescribed medications — just trust the 12 Steps to heal you.
  • Fellow alcoholics make the best counselors and advisors.
  • God gave the Twelve Steps to Bill Wilson.
  • You can conduct a séance — called Step Eleven — and God will talk to you and give you work orders and the power to carry out the orders that you hear.
  • The answer to your drinking problem is to turn your will over to somebody else.
  • Practicing the Twelve Steps for many years makes people more spiritual and holy. The A.A. old-timers can hear the Voice of God better than you can.
  • You will not grow spiritually unless you practice Bill Wilson's Twelve Steps."

"We can't change one word of the sacred First 164 pages of the Big Book to keep up with advances in modern medicine (or it will break the magic). The Holy Word of the Founders is sacred and inviolate and cannot be changed."
(Other than Doctor Bob's story in the Fourth Edition.)

A.A. assures the students that they will get good results from working the program, if they are willing to go to any length to get sobriety, and if they really try, but the truth is that they almost invariably will not get the promised results. A.A. has a failure rate that ranges from 95% to 100%. One of the most enthusiastic boosters of Alcoholics Anonymous is Professor George E. Vaillant of Harvard University, who is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., which means that he is one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Well, Professor Vaillant showed by his own 8-year-long test of A.A.-based treatment programs that A.A. was worse than useless: it didn't help the alcoholics any more than no treatment at all, and it had the highest death rate of any treatment program tested — leaving nearly one-third of the patients dead. While trying to prove that Alcoholics Anonymous treatment works, Vaillant succeeded in proving that A.A. kills. (And, unbelievable as it may seem, he still wants to send all alcoholics to A.A. anyway, "to get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer.")

You cross another line here. I've examined your statistics and I reject them out of hand. But even if your statistics were validly presented I'd still reject them.

Right. "My opinion won't be swayed by mere facts."

How can you get any good statistics from an anonymous organization.
You demand proof in a way that can't be given to you.

Wrong. Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Studies can be done, and have been done. And A.A. flunked every test. A.A. members don't like those results, so they "reject them out of hand" just as you are doing.

The best you can do is attend AA for a period of time and see who stays and who goes.

Wrong. That is merely taking attendance, not testing the effectiveness of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program for making alcoholics quit drinking. That's also not a valid test of whether A.A. meeting attendance makes people quit drinking.

People who are willing to go to any length do tend to get sober and eventually stay sober. Most people aren't willing to do that at any given time. So, maybe your 5% rate is true. I don't know. Could be 5, could be 25. I know the odds are against the alchoholic. You seem to blame this on AA though. The culpert is alcoholism, not AA. When a person dies of cancer, do you blame the doctor ? That's an emotional and immature position. Common enough, but not really very helpfull.

Again, your approach is wrong. You are trying to shift the blame for failure from A.A. to the individual alcoholics. That is the standard A.A. dodge. What you are really saying is that A.A. is ineffective and does not work. Only the alcoholics getting their own lives together and quitting drinking works. And if a successful newly-sober alcoholic happens to be in or near an A.A. meeting when he quits and stays quit, then A.A. will take the credit for the success story. But A.A. always shoves the blame for the failures back onto the alcoholics themselves.

It's a "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" con game.

Now personally, I also believe that it's up to the individual alcoholics to save themselves. They will decide to live or die. They will either quit drinking or they won't. Alcoholics Anonymous is totally irrelevant and ineffective, and is just a cult that steals the credit from others.

About the claim that "People who are willing to go to any length do tend to get sober and eventually stay sober": Well yes, but that has nothing to do with A.A., now does it? A.A. apologists routinely use that line to try to limit A.A.'s scope of responsibility to only the successful people. That's the propaganda trick called "Cherry Picking". I can just as easily claim that playing tiddly-winks works great as a program of sobriety for those few people who really sincerely want to quit drinking and who are willing to go to any length to get sober, and who will really Work A Strong Program.

I think the thing that really gets to me the most, the thing that angers me the most, is how almost everybody connected with the drug and alcohol treatment industry just assumes that the whole 12-Step program works great, and is the answer to everything, and really does help lots of people. The so-called "counselors" are nothing but disguised cult recruiters who shove their 12-Step religion on everybody they can, and they simply assume that if you are recovering from drug or alcohol problems, then you will of course become a happily-converted member of their 12-Step religion that they won't admit is a religion. And they have the gall to charge your health insurance for their religious proselytizing.

Umm, rehabs aren't AA. AA doesn't get money from any health insurance company. Not fair. Rehabs use alot of 12 step stuff but your tend to lump AA and rehab and group therapy together. You take the worst of everything and call it AA. Not fair.

Yes fair. The so-called "Rehab Centers" are just recruiting centers for Alcoholics Anonymous. The staffers are mostly 12-Steppers (doing their 12th-Step work), and the standard answer for all alcoholics is to route them into A.A. meetings. In fact, the majority of the "treatment" is just meetings — some "group therapy" meetings where people are guided to talk about drinking alcohol, and then the clients are told to go to "at least three A.A. meetings per week, or preferably one every day." And that is all that the "treatment program" amounts to. They are really just selling A.A. meetings.

And that is pretty much all of the "help" that people in "recovery" or "treatment" programs get. The treatment programs which are based on the Twelve-Step religion and are run by the Twelve-Step true believers — which means about 93% of all of the drug and alcohol treatment programs in the U.S.A. — do little more than xerox off Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous training (indoctrination) materials and read it to people in "group therapy" sessions, and then send the people to three or more A.A. or N.A. meetings per week (maybe even 90 meetings in 90 days for rapid indoctrination). That unethical behavior is being financed with the public's tax money and health insurance money. And that is a crime. One young woman whom I couldn't help but like had accumulated 9 months off of alcohol when she relapsed. Her true-believer building manager (where she was housed, in a program,) sentenced her to 90 meetings in 90 days for relapsing. When she cried at a meeting that she was so tired of getting sucked back into drinking, and ending up waking up with strange guys, but she was having a problem with "giving herself completely" to the 12-Step program, one of the resident true believers announced that the answer to all such problems is "Do The Twelve Steps, Get A Sponsor, and Read The Big Book." Well, it didn't work. She relapsed repeatedly, and they kicked her out of the program. The last time I saw her, she was drunk on the streets, and fishing for a guy to buy her drinks. Since she is young, tall, slim, and very pretty, she has no problem getting some guy to buy her an unlimited stream of drinks (in trade, he hopes, for getting her into bed). If she continues on that path, it's only a matter of time before she gets AIDS and dies. What a tragic waste.

So, a girl went was having trouble relapsing and wouldn't take anyones advice.
She ended up on the street. And it's AA's fault, how ?
Sorry but I'm not following you. Yeah, addiction is brutal. Yeah, it's a tragedy.
But did the people in AA tell her to drink or to go to meetings, get active, read the Big Book and not drink no matter what ?

That was just the first of many such failures that I saw, where A.A. and N.A. showed themselves to be useless and no help.

She had a problem giving herself to the 12 step program, but not to the bottle. That's the way it is, that's why we need a program of recovery, that's why we're insane !!!!!

You may be insane, but I'm not.

You are again spouting the standard cult dogma:

I just can't help but think that there must be some better way to handle such problems than a method that is obviously not working, the currently-used 12-Step program. I can't help but think that a lot of people might be better off if they got some other treatment or therapy besides cult religion and voodoo medicine. So here are some essays on the subject. Enjoy.

Oh well, I know it's alot but you wrote alot. Thanks for letting me answer you.

You are welcome, and now I've written a lot more in return.

Yours in Sobriety,
Tony J.

You have a good day too, Tony.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Henry David Thoreau on his deathbed, when his aunt asked
**  him if Thoreau had made peace with God: "Why, I did not
**  know we had quarreled."

Date: Tue, July 29, 2008 5:56 pm     (answered 5 August 2008.)
From: "Dave"
Subject: website

Excellent, excellent website!

Awesome articles. Well-written and informative.

As a psychologist, I love the emphasis you place on the 'cultish' aspects of AA and its herd mentality. I especially like your rational examination of the dogma, and uncovering the 'religious' features of AA that have long been denied.

As a recovering alcoholic, I noticed that you touch on the weakest aspects and glaring contradictions that constitute the rigid AA mindset. Much of what I already suspected has now been put into words on your website.


Dave T.

Hi Dave,

Thanks for all of the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The question is: "Are you someone who just listens to the
**  lies and takes them as true, or do you think for yourself
**  and analyze the situation?"
**  == posted by "Fate", in Washington Post "Energy Wire", 2 Aug 2008.

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