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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2005, 09:52:00 AM »
More from "The Religious Roots of AA by Agent Orange:"

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-religiousroots.html

"Note that a hierarchical, authoritarian system of control of members is very typical of cults.
So is the teaching that you cannot trust your own mind or your own thoughts, and must turn to the cult's mentors or elders for guidance.
And so is the attitude that newcomers can't think right.
And so is the deceit that "we have no structure or system", when in fact they have a very despotic system of control. "
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2005, 09:53:00 AM »
Even more from "The Religious Roots of AA by Agent Orange:"

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-religiousroots.html

"The Either/Or Technique -- Bifurcation -- the Excluded Middle
Present the audience with only extreme either/or, black-or-white choices, while admitting to no gray areas inbetween. Consider only the two extremes in a range of possibilities, to make the "other side" look worse than it really is. Carl Sagan called this the "excluded middle" technique.
The Excluded Middle technique also includes:

Short-term versus long-term comparison -- a subset of the excluded middle -- "why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?".
Slippery slope -- another subset of the excluded middle -- make unwarranted extrapolations of the effects of a course of action, like: "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile."
For example:


"If you're not one of us, you're one of them."
This is called "the sheep and goat distinction".

"If you aren't a dirty, lying Communist, then of course you agree with us, and you will be happy to join our John Birch Society (or the KKK, or the Nazi party, etc.)..."

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." [Matthew 12:30]

"Those who are not with us are against us." [Comrade Vladimir Ilich Lenin, Russia, 1917]

"You are either part of the solution, or part of the problem."

"Either you are Serving the Lord (as our church defines it) or you are serving the Forces of Evil."

"Either you are a fanatical true believer like us, or you are an evil hard-boiled atheist."

"Either you are willing to commit your entire life to our great cause or else you are a wimp, a weak hand, and a real loser."
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2005, 09:56:00 AM »
Substitute "The Seed" for AA:

It's all a big bait-and-switch con game. There are so many bait-and-switch stunts pulled in Alcoholics Anonymous that it borders on amazing:

First, Bill Wilson declared that Alcoholics Anonymous was only one of many ways to achieve sobriety, then he declared that it was The Only Way.
First, A.A. is just a nice neighborhood quit-drinking self-help group, and then it's a hard-core religion.
First, it's only a "spiritual" alcoholism recovery program, and then it's a fundamentalist religion (that they won't admit is a religion).
Shifting objectives: First the goal is to quit drinking, and then the goal is to "acquire faith" and "come to believe" in Bill Wilson's religion.
First, they will tell you that you can "Take what you want, and leave the rest." Then they will tell you that you can't ever leave.
First, they will tell you that you can do it your way. Then they will tell you that you must do it their way.
First, they will tell you that the Twelve Steps are only suggested as a program of recovery, but then you hear the slogan "Work The Steps Or Die".
First, God loves you, and then He doesn't.
First, they tell you that Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of "rigorous honesty", and then it's gross dishonesty: "Fake It Until You Make It" and "Act As If" and "Don't tell the newcomers..."
First, it's just a quiet, confidential program of attraction, then it's a tough-love program of steel-fisted coercion and promotion.
First, you get easy-going tolerance, and then, death threats.
First, the story is that the Twelve Steps will work and make you quit drinking, and then they won't.
Redefine Words: First a word means one thing, and then it means something else.
First, the insanity referred to in Step Two means that you have been insanely drinking enough alcohol to kill you, but then "insanity" means that you have not been living according to God's will.
First, Alcoholics Anonymous is a community of equals, just a nice neighborhood self-help group, and then it's a hierarchical dictatorship with Bill Wilson at the top.
First, you are an adult, and then you are a child.
First, the alcoholics who are still drinking are our brothers, our "fellow travelers" -- people who should be granted sympathy, understanding, unconditional love, and complete acceptance -- and then the alcoholics who won't conform to the A.A. program are just worthless bums.
First, a cure, and then, no cure. First, hope of recovery, and then hopelessness.
The medical-to-moral morph.
First you aren't supposed to feel guilty, and then you are.
First they will tell you that alcoholism is not a moral stigma, and then they will tell you that it is.
First they will tell you that an alcoholic is just an good person who can't control his drinking, but later they will tell you that an alcoholic is a disgusting selfish evil creature who has a "spiritual disease".
First they tell you that "There are no 'MUSTS' in Alcoholics Anonymous, only suggestions", but then they will tell you that there are many necessities and musts.
First it isn't political, and then it is.
First, they tell you to do an honest, complete, "moral inventory", and then they tell you to only talk about your "wrongs" and "character defects" and "moral shortcomings".
First, ego-mania, and then abject humility. First, happiness, and then sadness.
First, ego-destruction, and then bombastic delusions of grandeur.
First, expect a great religious or spiritual experience, and then expect nothing.
First, "unconditional love" and then hateful contempt.
First, A.A. tells you to "Think, Think, Think", but later it's "Stop Your Stinkin' Thinkin'."
First, A.A. tells you that "A.A. requires no beliefs," but then you have to believe everything they tell you, and have blind faith in the proclamations of Bill Wilson.
First, prospective new members are offered a tolerant, open-minded "spiritual" program, but then they get narrow-minded demands for belief in Bill Wilson's teachings.
First, you can keep your own religion, and then you can't.
First it's "Surrender to God" and then it's "surrender to some A.A. members".
First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God."
First, declarations of Religious Freedom, and then demands for Religious Conformity.
First, a loosely-defined "Higher Power", and then an explicitly-defined "God".
Redefine God. First you get one God, then you get a different God.
Hide from newcomers what membership entails. First show them one image, then show them another image.
Offer them medical treatment for alcoholism, but give them the twelve-step religion.
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2005, 10:19:00 AM »
Many of these could be applied to The Seed:

See the Agent Orange AA website for more. It's amazing.

1. The Guru is always right.
2. You are always wrong.
3. No Exit.
4. No Graduates.
5. Cult-speak.
6. Group-think.
7. Irrationality.
8. Suspension of disbelief.
9. Denigration of competing sects, cults, religions...
10. Personal attacks on critics.
11. Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY.
12. The cult and its members are special.
13. Induction of guilt, and the use of guilt to manipulate cult members.
14. Dogma, Unquestionable Dogma, and Sacred Science.
15. Indoctrination of members.
16. Appeals to "holy" or "wise" authorities.
17. Instant Community.
18. Instant Intimacy.
19. Surrender To The Cult.
20. Giggly wonderfulness and starry-eyed faith.
21. Personal testimonies of earlier converts.
22. The cult is self-absorbed.
23. Dual Purposes.
24. Aggressive Recruiting.
25. Deceptive Recruiting.
26. No Humor.
27. You can't tell the truth.
28. Cloning -- You must redefine yourself and your life in cult terms.
29. You must change your beliefs to conform to the group's beliefs.
30. The End Justifies The Means.
31. Dishonesty, Deceit, Denial, Falsification, and Rewriting History.
32. Different Levels of Truth.
33. Newcomers can't think right.
34. The Cult Implants Phobias.
35. The Cult is Money-Grubbing.
36. Confession Sessions.
37. A System of Punishments and Rewards.
38. An Impossible Superhuman Model of Perfection.
39. Mentoring.
40. Intrusiveness.
41. Disturbed Guru, Mentally Ill Leader.
42. Disturbed Members, Mentally Ill Followers.
43. Create a sense of powerlessness, covert fear, guilt, and dependency.
44. Dispensed existence
45. Ideology Over Experience, Observation, and Logic
46. Keep them unaware that there is an agenda to change them
47. Thought-Stopping Language. Thought-terminating clichés and slogans.
48. Mystical Manipulation
49. The guru or the group demands ultra-loyalty and total committment.
50. Demands for Total Faith and Total Trust
51. Members Get No Respect. They Get Abused.
52. Inconsistency. Contradictory Messages
53. Hierarchical, Authoritarian Power Structure, and Social Castes
54. Front groups, masquerading recruiters, hidden promoters, and disguised propagandists
55. Belief equals truth
56. Use of double-binds
57. The cult leader is not held accountable for his actions.
58. Everybody else needs the guru to boss him around, but nobody bosses the guru around.
59. The guru criticizes everybody else, but nobody criticizes the guru.
60. Dispensed truth and social definition of reality
61. The Guru Is Extra-Special.
62. Flexible, shifting morality
63. Separatism
64. Inability to tolerate criticism
65. A Charismatic Leader
66. Calls to Obliterate Self
67. Don't Trust Your Own Mind.
68. Don't Feel Your Feelings.
69. The cult takes over the individual's decision-making process.
70. You Owe The Group.
71. We Have The Panacea.
72. Progressive Indoctrination and Progressive Commitments
73. Magical, Mystical, Unexplainable Workings
74. Trance-Inducing Practices
75. New Identity -- Redefinition of Self -- Revision of Personal History
76. Membership Rivalry
77. True Believers
78. Scapegoating and Excommunication
79. Promised Powers or Knowledge
80. It's a con. You don't get the promised goodies.
81. Hypocrisy
82. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality. Rationalization and Denial.
83. Seeing Through Tinted Lenses
84. You can't make it without the cult.
85. Enemy-making and Devaluing the Outsider
86. The cult wants to own you.
87. Channelling or other occult, unchallengeable, sources of information.
88. They Make You Dependent On The Group.
89. Demands For Compliance With The Group
90. Newcomers Need Fixing.
91. Use of the Cognitive Dissonance Technique.
92. Grandiose existence. Bombastic, Grandiose Claims.
93. Black And White Thinking
94. The use of heavy-duty mind control and rapid conversion techniques.
95. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who leaves the cult.
96. Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who criticizes the cult.
97. Appropriation of all of the members' worldly wealth.
98. Making cult members work long hours for free.
99. Total immersion and total isolation.
100. Mass suicide.
Bibliography
[ This Message was edited by: cleveland on 2005-09-19 07:19 ]
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Offline marcwordsmith

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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2005, 01:58:00 PM »
I'm struck by a few things as I read this thread. The first is that, simply, I find it hard to believe that the 12-step recovery programs, including AA, have only about a 5% success rate. It seems, based on people I know and have known, that they actually do much better than that. I have a good deal of respect for 12-step programs, which are voluntary, nurturing programs for adults who are in a lot of pain. As far as I can tell, these programs, even with their cult-like trappings, do much more good than harm.

But Walter's history at the beginning of this thread is most interesting. Why IS it that prophets, sages, charismatic individuals throughout time immemorial receive certain "revealed truths" which DO affect great positive changes in themselves and those around them--but then once these revelations are codified and rigidified into a self-perpetuating system or philosophy or organization, they almost always lend themselves to some very crazy thinking at best, and abusive behavior at worst?

I'm thinking right now, for example, of Hasidic Judaism. (I myself am Jewish, so I hope this is all right for me to talk about.) Hasidism was begun by a rabbinical mystic known as the Baal Shem Tov, who was an ecstatic, effusive visionary. And yet the movement that proceeded from his insights is full of so much solemnly prescribed ritual, such strict methods of dress and highly structured modes of worship, it seems almost antithetical to the original spirit of the Baal Shem Tov's vision.  

I actually do believe in revealed truths. I just think human rationality and logic are a safeguard, a criterion against which "divinely revealed" truths must ultimately be measured. And not all revealed truths turn out to be true, let alone 100% true.

I think the allure of revealed truth is that life is so complicated and confusing--it's comforting and seductive to get to feel unconflicted, 100% sure about anything.

Go Walter! Thanks for this thread.
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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2005, 02:04:00 PM »
Marc, the 5% success rate comes from AA's own internal documents.

What happens is that most "alcoholics" really are bing drinkers. When an AA member goes on a binge, he just backslid and starts over. "I am Marc and have been Sober for 6 months"  never mind that you have been attending AA for 20 years. Get it?
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Offline cleveland

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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2005, 03:10:00 PM »
Marc,

Religion has always fascinated me, and frightened me. I always want to believe, yet once I get into the guts of an actual church (or synagogue, my wife is jewish)(our baby too!) I tend to lose interest (though I have a fondness for reform judiasm, with its tolerance and social justice. But then there is Israel vs. Palestine - ugh).

I do believe that religions, and cults, and AA, and the Seed too, all are able to 'call up' this altered state that can be religious ecstacy. It seems to be in our wiring. This can then be used for good, or for bad. But that is why the Seed still has a draw - I felt some of that energy and ecstacy. Still do, in memory. Otherwise the Seed would have no fascination for me. And Art would not have had the charisma that he had. And I wouldn't have stuck around for 7 years!

Walter
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2005, 12:21:00 PM »
You've got to love Alcoholics Anonymous.Every day it's like watching the Hindenburg burst into waste and destruction--one flaming,incinerated cocksucker at a time.
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Offline Thom

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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2005, 12:55:00 AM »
Quote
On 2005-09-16 10:28:00, Anonymous wrote:

"do people speak of Bill in a.a. like they would takl about art in group at seed at see they would mention his name in every rap. did they talk about the semblers in every rap at straight?

"

Many in AA are Billy-Bob worshippers. They even put out a coin with their images on it (anniversary token) My sense is that they haven't quite made the transition to God. If they don't drink, and keep an open mind, they'll get there.
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Offline GregFL

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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2005, 07:09:00 AM »
Well Thom, do you propose to know which God   is the correct god to worship? Isn't this a tad blasphemous in the perspective of XA?

Don't forget your beloved XA only requires you to worship SOME god, even an inanimate object like a doorknob, or even a conceptual god like "the group"  in order to "get it". And then of course the magical 12 steps are then able to cure you of almost anything..including gambling, drugs, bad attitudes. But the magic powder that makes these steps work is God or at least a submission to a concept called "god", isn't that so?

BTW, care to share with us what your current involvement in the XA movement is?
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Offline Thom

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« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2005, 05:54:00 AM »
Good questions, Greg! This is what I beleive:

Quote
On 2005-09-23 04:09:00, GregFL wrote:

"Well Thom, do you propose to know which God   is the correct god to worship? Isn't this a tad blasphemous in the perspective of XA?
The program, in step 2, says "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" (or, a normal way of thinking and living as we say in GA) When I got serious about recovery, and approached this step, realizing finally that it was not an optional part of the process, the idea of "The God" scared hell out of me. I had heard Him compared in church to an earthly Father, and mine yelled, screamed, beat up kids, (Mom divorced him when my oldest Brother went in the Army, and Dad started coming after me) punched holes in walls, and otherwise terrorized. (he also had many good traits) If that was what God was like, I didn't want any part of it.


The cool part of the program, when not church affiliated, is that you are free to decide what or who God is. It took alot of pressure off for me. My first perception, then, of a power greater than myself was a guy in the group who had managed to put together 2.5 years of abstinance. I didn't think he was my Creator, but I figured the odds were good that if I tried to do what he was doing, I may be able to find some freedom from my obsession to gamble. Eventually, he came off the pedestal when I realized he was a nut like me, but had found a way to stop self-destructing. I asked him to be my sponsor after about 8 months in the program...trust came hard for me.


It was then suggested that I pray, and ask that power to reveal Him/Her self to me in a way I could understand. I did, and He did...gradually. It seems it was more important to Him that I find freedom than that I call Him by any particular name. Kinda reminds me of how a parent of young children will put gifts under the Christmas tree 'from Santa' and get a thrill watching the kids open them, knowing they will not get a thankyou (unless they blow their cover)


Quote
On 2005-09-23 04:09:00, GregFL wrote:


Don't forget your beloved XA only requires you to worship SOME god, even an inanimate object like a doorknob, or even a conceptual god like "the group"  in order to "get it". And then of course the magical 12 steps are then able to cure you of almost anything..including gambling, drugs, bad attitudes. But the magic powder that makes these steps work is God or at least a submission to a concept called "god", isn't that so?


That is sort of how I understand the process. I would use 'suggests' where you have 'requires' though. I remember at The Seed they used to say "Your higher power can be a light bulb or a door knob" sometimes I would whisper to the person sitting next to me, if they seemed to have a sense of humor, 'That's it? only a light bulb or a door knob?' (I was a smart ass long before drugs and stuff) Years later, it occurred to me that you usually need a door knob to enter a room, and then a light to see once you are in. Heavy...but I didn't get stuck on inanimate objects. I knew that was meant to challenge us to think about it.


'The Magical 12 Steps' have their roots in the Book of James. This James was the Brother of Jesus. AA, Oxford Group, Buchman, etc. didn't invent this stuff. It's a God thing.


I believe the 12 step movement to be yet another opportunity presented by a loving, compassionate God, to reach those who slip through the cracks of organized religion. People who, for whatever reason, don't feel comfortable walking into a 'church service', wheather it be fear of being judged, or because they have already judged the church goers. Today, I can commune with God where ever I am. Sometimes it happens to be in a church setting.


Quote
BTW, care to share with us what your current involvement in the XA movement is?



Sure, I attend 1-2 GA meetings a week, and squeeze in an AA meeting now and then. More involved in GA, where I have been involved on several levels of service work, locally, regionally, and nationally. We don't have Staff Members or an earthly Leader,  don't need 'em. So I guess we don't pass the cult test. Also, my Wife and I run http://www.pgcosci.org Long story, take a look.


It is my personal belief, and it has been my experience that as long as I was stuck on a conceptual god, instead of moving on to a relationship with The Person God, I didn't "get it" If that seems like blasphemy to any 12 stepper, the problem is not mine.


Using the Magic Powder of God has enabled me to find long term freedom from gambling, drinking, smoking, pornography, even cheating on taxes! These monkeys didn't drop off all at once. My bad, not God's. He has been there, ready to help all along. I am fully aware that for some, drinking, gambling, pornography can be enjoyed without being obsessed over. That didn't happen to be the case for me, so, they had to go. I don't miss them at all. I hope I have addressed all of your questions, because I'm starting to get 'typers cramp'
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2005, 04:25:00 PM »
I used to believe that dad beat on you guys. But your stories change so much over time I'm just not sure anymore. I never saw Dad hit anybody. Sure, he yelled and cussed a lot and sometimes through things around, but not at anybody.

Is that why you helped burn all his stuff? Cause you're still mad at him for hitting you?

If we had been born in Constantinople, then most of us would have said: "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." If our parents had lived on the banks of the Ganges, we would have been worshipers of Siva, longing for the heaven of Nirvana.
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Offline Thom

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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2005, 08:16:00 PM »
Quote
On 2005-09-24 13:25:00, Antigen wrote:

"I used to believe that dad beat on you guys. But your stories change so much over time I'm just not sure anymore. I never saw Dad hit anybody. Sure, he yelled and cussed a lot and sometimes through things around, but not at anybody.


Is that why you helped burn all his stuff? Cause you're still mad at him for hitting you?"

You were 5 years old when Jack left the nest, just narrowly ahead of the tip of a base ball bat as Dad chased him for about 3 blocks until he found shelter at the Hardin's house. I don't know what the crime was that last time. He stayed with the Hilliards (Our Grandparents, long time 12 steppers - back to around 1940) until he escaped into the Army. I never suffered any severe beatings, just a few shoves before Mom got the picture that it was starting over again. Dad had a lot of rage, likely from dealing with Mom.  :wink:  As for burning his stuff, your information is faulty. That was Jim and Kathi. If I had been there, I would have salvaged the items they foolishly sold to a shop keeper in town at an extremely large loss to the estate. I have never been mad at Dad. I didn't fully understand why he didn't come around much after the divorce until I experienced a very similar situation to his. My memories of Dad are fond, because I know he did the very best he could do to prepare us for life. He loved us all. I still miss him terribly.
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Offline Antigen

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« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2005, 12:33:00 PM »
I know. I spent a weekend at grandma and grandpa's when Jack was there. I remember the day he came home, too. Walked in the front door, right out the back door. Then he took some kind of metal pin out of his hat and threw it as far as he could. I think it may have hit Edward square in the ass.

Then he had to go into the Seed. Then he dissapeared. Seems Mom gave him the same ultimatum I got in `83; finish the program or leave the family. What a ball buster! You think maybe that had any kind of impact on him at all?

Come to the woods, for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods. Here grow the wallflower and the violet. The squirrel will come and sit upon your knee, the logcock will wake you in the morning. Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill. Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains.
-- John Muir

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Offline Thom

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« Reply #29 on: September 26, 2005, 04:49:00 AM »
Quote
On 2005-09-25 09:33:00, Antigen wrote:

"I know. I spent a weekend at grandma and grandpa's when Jack was there. I remember the day he came home, too. Walked in the front door, right out the back door. Then he took some kind of metal pin out of his hat and threw it as far as he could. I think it may have hit Edward square in the ass.



Then he had to go into the Seed. Then he dissapeared. Seems Mom gave him the same ultimatum I got in `83; finish the program or leave the family. What a ball buster! You think maybe that had any kind of impact on him at all?"

The hat pin thing...was that from his Army uniform hat? As far as the impact Mom's ultimatum had, I've never discussed it with him, so I don't have a legitamate answer. I would speculate, though, that it was less of an impact than that baseball bat would have had on his scull if Dad had caught up to him. Mom felt she was protecting us younger kids from a guy who by then had become a heroin user. Can you not appreciate what her intentions were? Mom and Dad (minus the bat) did their level best for us. If you were able to see past your nose to the upbringing THEY had, you would be amazed at how well they did with the roll models  they had for parents. Dad escaped to the Navy to get 3 squares a day, and was almost immediately sent to Pearl Harbor on cleanup duty shortly after 12/7/41. His Parents divorced while he was at war. He grew up watching his Dad beat up on his Mom. That is why, with the exception of a spanking early on, he vowed never to strike Mom. But the rage was still there. He vowed to not drink while we were growing up after discovering early in their marriage the he was a candidate for alcohol abuse. (being careful not to infer powerlessness here  :smile: ) But the rage was still there. He tried AA, but didn't feel comfortable in Haines' domain. Some of the items found in his trailer after he died were an AA big book, and 12 and 12. Can you not see? The 12 steps are in your blood! You, too will be assimilated! I LOVE ME, I LOVE THE SEED, I LOVE ME, I LOVE THE SEED!...sorry, I'm back now... I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that Lois was the only one of us to have something like a healthy send off. Coincidentally, she never used drugs till she went to college. The rest of us were, to use Dad's expression, "A pack of God damned savages!" Straight happened, I don't deny that. It was more than half your life ago.
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