Letters, We Get Mail, CVIII

May 25, 2008: Back in the park, Day 8.

The rain let up, so the goslings got to go to the park in the afternoon.

Here, they are eating oatmeal.

Notice how the gosling on the left has white specks in its fur. That's oatmeal. When the oatmeal sticks to the beak of one of the goslings, it whips its head around and flings off the oatmeal, and a sibling often gets hit with it.

Also notice how the gosling on the right is picking seeds off of the grass. That's their natural diet. They love to get the grass seeds, because that's grain, and it is far more nourishing than just blades of grass. But they are still mainly eating oatmeal because their little mouths are not strong enough to shear off blades of grass, yet.

Canada Goose goslings eating oatmeal

The previous day, they suddenly got tired of whole wheat bread and refused to eat any more of it. So I tried some oatmeal — just cook it up like you would for a human baby, and then cool it down so it won't burn their little mouths. At first, they didn't know what it was, or what to do with it. So I put a little on the end of a finger and prodded their beaks with it. One gosling got the idea of trying a taste of it. The gosling liked the taste and started eating oatmeal off of my finger. Pretty soon, all of them were doing it. So I showed them the plate of oatmeal — warm, fresh, ready to eat. They loved it. They guzzled it down and gorged themselves. They crammed down as much as they could possibly eat. Then they laid down beside me and passed out, and slept it off and digested it. Fifteen minutes later, they woke up hungry, and went back to the plate of oatmeal and gorged again. And then laid down beside me and passed out and slept it off. Then fifteen minutes later they woke up hungry and went back to the oatmeal and gorged again. I had put enough oatmeal on the plate to last them all day, I thought, but in half an hour it was gone and they wanted more. So I gave them more, and they ate more. And then they laid down beside me and passed out again.

They ate so much oatmeal that I was afraid that they would die from over-eating. I was wondering if I had stumbled across a new drug for geese that they just couldn't resist and they would compulsively eat it until they died.

Nope, they were just hungry, and they have unbelievable appetites. After that they settled down to merely seriously eating every fifteen minutes.

That old line about "you are eating like a bird" is such a joke. If you or I ate like a bird we would weigh 900 pounds.

Canada Goose goslings eating oatmeal

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Mon, December 8, 2008 8:39 am     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "Matt F."
Subject: Roots of AA

What is your purpose in attempting to debunk AA organization? I read your piece and found it to be quite opinionated, biased, and without an alternative for recovery from alcoholism.

Matt F.

Hi Matt,

Opinionated? Probably. I cannot pretend to be unemotional about my friends getting dosed with harmful cult religion. But I do go out of my way to collect all of the scientific and medically-valid information that I can.

We often talk about recovery, and methods of recovery. I won't use the word "alternative", because A.A. doesn't work. We don't need an "alternative to A.A. recovery", we need recovery that works.

Here is the last response to the question of what might help.

And before that, here is a list of previous discussions about what works.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."
**    ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**     and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in
**     Wonderland.  1832-1898)

Date: Mon, December 8, 2008 2:09 pm     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "gus p."
Subject: AA website...


Great research, must have taken forever!!
Any chance you'll publish this in book or PDF form?


Hi Groggy,

Thanks for the compliments. PDF? Highly unlikely, as I just don't use that format. A printed book? Maybe, if I ever get up the energy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.
**    "I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least — at least
**     I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know."
**    ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and
**     Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
**     1832-1898) 

Date: Mon, December 8, 2008 3:56 pm     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "Vahjiin T."
Subject: Thank You!

Dear Orange!

Thank you for your web-site — though so many AA web-sites are "pro", it is awesome to see the program working through all! I remembered first not believing that AA did not discriminate on any personal views — But your thorough analysis of the Big Book, your understanding of Bill W. and his teachings, and — mostly — your sobriety are commendable!

Happy Holidays,
Vahjiin T.

Hi Vahjiin,

Thanks for the compliments.

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
**    "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here.
**        I'm mad. You're mad."
**    "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
**    "You must be," said the Cat. "or you wouldn't have come here."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**          and Novelist, especially remembered for
**          Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 1832—1898)

Date: Wed, December 10, 2008 8:58 am     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "Gabe J."
Subject: Powerless over alcohol

I came across your research on A.A and Bill Wilson. Very interesting. I didn't know about some of that stuff Bill W. did. How did you find all that stuff out? Is there books I can get?

If you have time, let me know!

Gabe J.

Hi Gabe,

Thanks for the letter. The information came from a variety of sources. The most important are the history books and biographies:

  1. Bill W.     Robert Thomsen
    Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.

  2. Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s Cofounder     Matthew J. Raphael
    University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2000.

  3. My Name Is Bill; Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous     Susan Cheever
    Simon & Schuster, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, 2004.

  4. Grateful To Have Been There     Nell Wing
    Parkside Publishing Corporation, Park Ridge, Ill, 1992.

  5. Bill W. My First 40 Years     'An Autobiography By The Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous'
    (This is Bill Wilson's alleged 'autobiography', supposedly published anonymously.)
    Hazelden, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0176, 2000.

  6. Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age     William G. Wilson
    Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
    Harper, New York, 1957.

  7. 'PASS IT ON'; The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world     'anonymous'
    Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.

  8. Language Of The Heart     William G. Wilson
    A.A. Grapevine, New York, 1988.

  9. Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids     Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, As Told to Christine Brewer
    Parkside Publishing Corp., Park Ridge, IL, 1992.
    Paperback: Hazelden Information Services, Center City, MN, 1994.

  10. Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the Co-Founder of Al-Anon and Wife of the Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous     Lois Wilson
    Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 1991.

  11. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
    (written by William G. Wilson and Tom Powers, published as 'anonymous'.)
    Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2000.

  12. Alcoholics Anonymous, Third Edition, 1976,     published as "anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson, Henry Parkhurst, Joe Worth, and 31 or more other people.
    Published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

  13. Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?     Charles Bufe, 1998.
    See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731

There were lots more. Look at the bibliography for the whole list.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    It turns out that I am a poor-quality witness of my own life.
**    So perhaps my auto-biography should be massively edited by people
**    who were actually there.
**      ==  Russell Brand, the Fresh Air radio program,
**          on NPR/OPB, 6 April 2009.

Date: Tue, November 18, 2008 9:54 pm     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "Michael McC."
Subject: Hi,,

I just wanted to let you know that you are doing a great job of getting the truth out. Keep doing what you are doing!


Hi Mike,

Thanks for the compliment, and you have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
**    who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect
**    has intended us to forgo their use."
**        ==  Galileo Galilei

Date: Thu, November 20, 2008 9:54 am
From: "Michael McC."
Subject: Re: Some Poetry For You

This poem is about being led into believing something you know is not true, but out of fear you believe it and never look to find the truth.

A Verb Called Free

The sinister sounds of fear induce delusions from its mouth onto innocent ears.
You're at its mercy now! You should have shut off the sound, not listened, ran far away.

Now the beliefs are shared, a new world view, your life has changed, but change is over, you will stay this way.

Your eyes gloss over, it's the image of emptiness, lost, right where you're supposed to be, right where it wanted you all along.

You try to think but suddenly are disrupted, your thoughts churn with others' into a mixing bowl of mixed-up thoughts. You are supposed to be here.

Truth is near, interrupted you are, danger is lurking, back fast to your new world view.

You breathe a half-breath of freedom, suffocated instantly by the drowning voices of your new society, your new reality.

Thinking thoughts are frowned upon here, a frown of danger, a frown that drowns all thinking thoughts.

Michael T. McComb

Date: Thu, November 20, 2008 9:02 am     (answered 6 April 2009)
From: "Claire O."
Subject: You stupid idiot

I hate your website. I hate everything that you have written and represent.

Your website is totally pointless.

If AA works for just 100 people a year....WHO FUCKING CARES!! That's 100 more than those that continue drinking or try on their own (which believe me after 10 yrs of trying DOES NOT WORK).

You idiot.

Shut down your stupid site.

Leave AA alone. Why have you got such a gripe against it? Why waste your time.

You idiot.

Hello Claire,

The key phrase in your letter is, "IF A.A. works..."
Well, the evidence is that A.A. doesn't work; it kills.
And that's what your own leader found — A.A. Trustee, Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "You have no conception these days of how much failure we had.
**    You had to cull over hundreds of these drunks to get a handful to
**    take the bait."
**    Bill Wilson, at the memorial service for Dr. Bob, Nov. 15, 1952;
**    file available here.

Date: Thu, November 20, 2008 10:46 am
From: "Hardy J."
Subject: Re: Hi orange-papers.info

Hi orange-papers.info

I have read a little on orange-papers.info and I have to ask this:

if it was possible to "only as a grant of permission not a transfere of title to personal download a copy of ´╗┐paperback to read" and maybe even save ?!

To be able to download the whole site orange-papers.info as a paperback book ?!

I like the research very much ! — even the opinions is personal and only tells about the one who is writting at the time of the writting as allways, so those I leave where those belongs as I read.

But as website leave, disappears as time goes, maybe a grant of permission to have a personal copy of the website could be an option ?

and maybe even be allowed to have a copy as a .zip file ( orange-papers.info.zip ) on own personal webpage only , as for later reference if one have used a link to one of your webpages on orange-papers.info that would be a nice option ?!

Beside that, thanks for the good historical reference, nice work !

The idea came from a website I'm about to build, www.ttwio.org that all misic, video so on, could be downloaded in a zip file, to be watched later — on a trip or what ever ?!

(even the file would be big, many start download before they go to bed and first after the come back form work, the day after, many hours later ! they want to use there connection again but in those hours many gb of file can be downloaded ! )

so to transfere a 4-7 gb orange-papers.info as a paperback book to a usb memory key or a 8 gb mobile phone can allso be don by night and the next day I can read in train on my way to work or in lunch time :)

In regards Hardy J.

Hello Hardy,

Thanks for the compliments.

You can download the whole web site now, in archived form. See the center of the main page,

There are 16 files to download. I did that because things like Comcast barfed on one big file, and it just wouldn't work. But the smaller files get through.

You can get either the Linux or Windoze format archive files. You don't need both, as the files contained inside the sets are the same — absolutely identical. The two archive sets are just a convenience for different operating system users.

It downloads as a web site, rather than a book, though. I deliberately kept as many links as possible relative, which means that you can unzip all of the archive files into one subdirectory ("folder" in Windoweze), and the whole web site will work properly locally. You can browse it with any standard browser like Firefox or IE.

By far, the most convenient thing to do is burn all of it into a CD after downloading and unzipping. (But you don't have to do that.)

Enjoy, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "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: Wed, November 19, 2008 8:10 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Shawn S."
Subject: quick question

What is your point?

I am enjoying reading the stuff on the website, but I guess I am wondering what your purpose is in putting it all up.



Hi Shawn,

The answer is, "To get the truth out there."

See these items:

  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Russia is responsible for 80% of the world's vodka consumption,
**   and 30% of all male deaths there are alcohol-related.

Date: Thu, November 20, 2008 1:12 pm
From: "John B."

Your an idiot. And I disagree with you on your views of the AA program.

Date: Fri, November 21, 2008 11:14 am     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Patrick B."
Subject: ACA WSO Abuse

Hello Agent Orange,

First I would like to say thank you for your website. I have had a few problems in my life and I seem to be slowly coming completely out of my 12 steppism. I do love the ideal of a group to share with but ....a group of sickies can be very dangerous to me!

I wonder if you are aware ACA has their own 2006 Big Red Book out now? I have come across some sick behavior on their website and at the ACA phone bridge meetings. I am currently banned from their site. I believe it is because I have made it a point to make them aware they are not staying within their own traditions. The current charman has his picture in a NACOA newsletter... although he was only an ACA WSO board member at the time in 2005. There is also currently a board member directly affiliating her therapy business to ACA. I addressed this to all the board members and they seem to think I need to stop promoting conflict... yet she still continues to make money off ACA.

I have saved a few examples of the moderator abuse I received from three seperate moderators and the "Letter of Shame" dismissing me from the website. I also have direct links to these other two examples, if you are interested.

Sadly ACA seems to be the best game in town that I have found as far as 21st century psychology recovery groups...(I still have lots of issues with the 12 steps). If these first few I met so far in ACA are an example of ACA as a whole these guys seem to be the sickest on the block! There probably have been lots simply abused then eliminated from the ACA WSO Forums and probably lots more to come!

I was warned it may even be a pyramid scam only to sell and promote the ACA Text and to benefit the others directly linked to ACA. I can provide examples on the ACA WSO website directly linking The Carom Foundation, Ernie L., and Marty S's personal work address and his full name.

It is very possible these are honest mistakes but the fact I have pointed them out over and over and nobody seems to care is a sign to me that there is something else going on... and or possibly some major ignorance.... they are all ACA's and have ACA issues. What gets me is several board members call "themselves" Oldtimers... I really hate that!

Anyway I am building up a dangerous resentment... lol. I will be happy to share all info I have... but please bear with me I do not have much skills on the computer.

I hope to hear from you!

ACA WSO Multiple Abuse Victim

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the letter. Now that's interesting. I don't know a lot about ACA — I only went to one of their meetings, ever. But even at that one meeting I got a jewel of illogic, here.

But I would not be the least bit surprised to find that the same things go on there as in A.A., N.A., and Al-Anon meetings. And that there are the same organizational abuses, and people who are only in it for the fringe benefits, like money and sex. It just seems to come with the territory.

Yes, sure, I'm interested in more news, views, and information.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To do good is noble.
**     To teach others to do good is nobler...
**     And less trouble.
**        —   Mark Twain

Date: Sat, November 22, 2008 9:43 am     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Jack k."
Subject: A new light!!!.

Hello Orange,

Firstly I want to thank you for your obviously extensive research displayed on your wonderful site. A new light has indeed entered the dark world of the alcoholic. The light of reason!!!!. On reading your material I can't help but think, " how many could have been saved ?", had they been privy to the truth exposed here. I started extricating myself ( no easy task) several years ago when it became obvious to me it was doing a lot more harm than good.

I have not had a drink for many years, unwittingly using the techniques you yourself have outlined. AVRT etc..

Have you ever read George Ainslie's "Breakdown of Will"? I found it to be an absolutely fascinating book regarding self defeating behaviour, and Kathleen Taylors "Brainwashing" is a real gem.

Hope you are around for a long time spreading the good news, and thanks again for so courageously seeking and telling the truth.


Hi Jack,

Thanks for the letter and all of the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

I also sort of accidentally used the AVRT techniques in my own recovery. I didn't know what to call it — I was just aware of the fact that whenever I quit smoking, there was always some little voice yammering about how we could just have one, it's okay now, we have it under control. And I eventually learned not to trust that little monster as he tried to talk me into having one.

And then, when I quit drinking, I noticed that the same voice would argue that it was okay to have a beer.

And because I quit both drinking and smoking at the same time, he really screamed.

I also noticed that the little voice was so simple-minded that it could not crave two things at once. It could demand a cigarette, or a beer, but not both at the same time. So it would do 55 minutes out of the hour demanding a cigarette, and then scream for a beer for 5 minutes, and then go back to cigarettes.

I had a moment of recognition while I was reading Jack Trimpey's Rational Recovery, where I suddenly flashed that, "'The Beast', as Trimpey calls it, is the base brain — it's that primitive old lizard brain with all of its basic hungers and drives." A lot of things fell into place after that, and it started making sense.

I find it very helpful to see that the yammering of old lizard brain is not "my thinking". It's just a horny hungry old lizard wanting his feel-goods. It has little or nothing to do with me.

The A.A. teachings about how your thinking is so messed up, and you can't trust your own mind, and "Your best thinking got you here" are very damaging and counter-productive.

Actually, my decision to quit drinking and quit smoking really was my best thinking, so it really was my best thinking that got me here. (But that isn't what A.A. members mean when they repeat that slogan.)

I finally got around to putting a library hold on George Ainslie's "Breakdown of Will", and got the book, but then got distracted by other things and my time ran out before I read it. So now I have to put another hold on it and wait until it comes around again. It looks very interesting, from what little I saw of it. And I should get a hold in on Kathleen Taylors "Brainwashing", too. Thanks for the tips.

Have a good day.

== 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: Sat, November 22, 2008 4:33 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "John S."
Subject: FW: Landmark Education

Hey there Orange....Just thought you might find this interesting.

John S.

John S. wrote:
Hello Mr. Ross......
It is very interesting that Landmark Education sounds a lot
like the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, according to your assessment.
I am curious if you have done any research in the area of AA or any of its
John S.

Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2008 08:49:49 -0500
From: [email protected]
To: john_e...
Subject: Re: Landmark Education

Landmark Education has very little in common with AA.
Landmark is a for-profit privately owned company.
I don't receive significant complaints about AA.
I receive complaints constantly about Landmark.
I don't consider AA either a cult or cult-like.
It is a support group.
Rick Ross

Hello John,

Yes, we have had some discussions about A.A. with Rick Ross before.

And actually, he has received many complaints about A.A., but he dismisses them as "not significant", and then erases them and bans the people who posted the complaints about Alcoholics Anonymous. Look here for some of the erased messages.

And what is interesting is that when the story about the Midtown Group broke, Rick Ross finally posted a message admitting that they were a cult. But he is still trying to imply that no other branches of A.A. are cults.

What Rick Ross overlooks, perhaps deliberately, is the fact that most cults have a mild, pleasant, smiley-face front. The face that they present to the world is often the exact opposite of the ugly reality within. He of all people should know that. So it isn't good logic to claim that the abuses that have been uncovered in many groups in many states are not common to other groups — that "It's just a few bad apples."

Have a good day.


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

Date: Sat, November 22, 2008 11:28 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: ap
Subject: Thank you

Dear Agent Orange,

THANK YOU!!! Thank you for your diligent dedication to expose the truth.

I am a current nondrinking exmember of AA. I just got financially screwed over by my sponsor who had over 20 years. Currently, I have over a year and 3 months. Have not been to a meeting and.... realized that I had grown brain cells and that I can think for myself.

Since the beginning I have struggled with the black and white thinking so previlent in AA. I have never made any real friends in AA because I felt like I was never speaking to a normal humanbeing.

I do have to say that there have been positive outcomes from going to AA. I don't have to hate everything about it. I do believe that the road to recovery is focusing on being a spiritual person and turning one's attention to helping others. However, I refuse to be a doormat and I like my resentment, it reminds me of the fact that I have a back bone! AA did distract me long enough to stop the craving, that is about it because the old timers tend to be messed up and screwed up assholes.

People in AA seem to be stuck and it is almost as if they are playing the same movie where they are the stars. It seems that the only thing that will earn you respect in AA is your polished converting AA podium speech.

Take care.

Happy, joyous and real.

Hello A.P.,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Abstinence isn't self-denial or deprivation.
**    It's just that I've already done my lifetime quota.

Date: Mon, November 24, 2008 4:02 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "boise gal"
Subject: AA/court ordered psychos/I don't feel safe


I've read much of what you have to say about AA and agree wholeheartedly. When I first decided I wanted to be sober, I chose to enter into an outpatient rehab. It was through a faith-based hospital. Before I checked in, I told them that I did not believe in AA and I hoped that there was no plans to indoctrinate me into the halls of AA. I was assured that the hospital based program was a means to provide me with tools I would need to get sober and remain sober. I signed up and began to attend classes. Many were excellent; cognitive behavior, mindfulness of recovery etc. It definitely took my mind off of my bleakness and gave me some positive reinforcement to become my self again. Being in a fog, I mechanically went to class after class. Then one of the classes I was registered in was full. So i was offered another class. This was called "The steps." So I went to that and was told that if I wanted to get sober and stay sober, I had to first go through Steps 1, 2 and 3 of AA! I told them I was opposed to AA and had expressed my sentiments prior to registering. The more classes I attended, the more FEARFUL i became. I was extremely vulnerable in the beginning of my recovery (who isn't) and I believe that this was used against me to have me believe there was only one way eventually. It DID scare me to hear that if I didn't follow these suggestions, I would surely die. Hell, I had already thought bleak thoughts already which is why i went for EMOTIONAL help to begin with!

The 'teacher' of the Steps class said I had to go to any lengths to remain sober. And that was to shut up, listen to what i was told (suggested) and do the work. she even told me HOW to attend the meetings, and what NOT to say — especially all the things I was saying in class. Such as i did not want to live in fear. God gave me a brain. I go to MY CHURCH to say the prayers I want to; not because they are "suggested' in some "big book". I told her I likened AA as a replacement for those who are seeking God. Instead they found "the program" which "teaches you a better way of life." So do all churches and religious groups! She said that she was so committed to AA, that she divorced her husband of 20+ years because he complained that AA was more important to her than he was. It was! I found this shocking and COMPLETELY SELFISH.

So I was told that in order to 'graduate' from this program, I had to attend at least 3 meetings a week, get a home group and get a sponsor. I said no. but I was getting good stuff from some of my classes so I didn't want to get kicked out. Now, I'm not a weak person but when I say I was vulnerable, I mean it. I chose to get sober and said goodbye to everyone I know, my lifestyle etc. everything I KNEW to do before being told what to do.

So I finally figured out that the "rehab" was a crock, and quit. I had a sponsor by now and was scared that if I didn't go to meetings, then I would go "back out" and then I would commit suicide, like two people in the program had done recently. I questioned if these women had a history of mental imbalances or depression and was told that that probably had little to do with their suicides; it was because they left the program. I knew this wasn't true, but after months of going to meetings, getting with a sponsor, being in the program I BEGAN TO DISBELIEVE WHAT I KNEW WAS THE TRUTH. The program helped these poor women make their fateful choices. as I got stronger, I began to question more and more. I was finally told that if I go to meetings, I must keep my negative thoughts to myself. that if I were to speak, it was to be in favor of the program. so I shut my mouth. I did meet people I really liked and admired how they conducted their lives so I did continue to go. By now you can gather that I still didn't have a sense of direction any more. Hell, I didn't to begin with when I started the whole rehab thing. that's why I went.

To make a long story short, I told my sponsor I was taking a break from AA, that I felt the program was too cult-like for my tastes. I got phone call after phone call after phone call. and I was lonely. so I met with my sponsor again who convinced me that I really needed to get my resentments out on paper and confess. so I did. of course I felt better; that's the purpose of unloading. but I do question why i thought that I would share these most intimate details with someone who I liked but i had only known 8 months. it's because she told me 'our stories are so alike.' but guess what. mine was a different story. I never got arrested, never lost my job, home, etc. etc. but I knew it was just a matter of time.

So I'm still in AA and a couple of weeks ago a fellow walked in to the meeting I was at and asked if this was the AA class. Now, this was the gay/lesbian/transgender group (I am none of these but the meeting was close to my house) and this fellow was drunk as a skunk, filthy dirty and higher than a kite. He related how he had just gotten out of prison after 15 years. Guess what, another court ordered AA'er. OK. in the spirit of 'the program' I smiled and nodded. I noticed him staring at me all meeting. It creeped me out. And he kept grabbing his side. You know what was on his side? A flipping KNIFE on the ready! This guy was making snide remarks to the gay men and I just felt like 'what the hell am I doing in a room full of people' that are recounting the horribleness of their lives over and over and over. And now, I've got a friggin' criminal right next to me that has a weapon. When the longest hour I've endured in a long time finally ended, we did the circle and he moved next to me and when I say gripped my hand, he INTERLACED his fingers in mine and wouldn't let go as soon as the meeting was over. I tell you, as a single woman I was scared. I'm not ugly, I am social and I am compassionate to my fellow sufferer but I have to say that this went BEYOND a friggin' "12th step". I am a believer in God and he gave me a brain that I'm not using which is telling me "if you believe in God, you don't need other people to tell you how to believe in God. You don't need groups of angry, court-ordered, ashamed and vulnerable people surrounding you any more. You are a strong, viable, kind, loving woman who can be sober on your own. You will find others like you. Walk with God and not the program."

I've felt unsafe in more than one meeting when the court ordered, angry junkies are there and are talking about bashing heads in, etc etc.

So I didn't call my sponsor this weekend and her voice mail was slightly accusatory that "you didn't calll mee this weekend. hmmm. hope you are ok..." It really pissed me off. I was with my son, enjoying my weekend and yes, I did forget to make my every other day phone call! and I have NOT been calling to ask her advice on what I should do in my life!!!!! If we were truly friends, she would offer advice if I asked for it, but not EXPECT me to do HER will according to THE PROGRAMS WILL. I was given a week off due to Thanksgiving, but I do have some step work to do.

Screw it.

I'll be meeting my sponsor and saying ADIOS once and for all. And when I want some religious doctrine, I'll go to the church of MY choice.

Thanks for listening to my story.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymously yours,

Hello BoiseLass,

Thank you for the story. That's quite a story. And they brag that they have the best program in the world? Really now.

I hope you are feeling free now.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "... Ye outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye
**    are full of hypocrisy and iniquity ...."
**        ==  Matthew 23:28

From: SherwoodE
Subject: Re: miss your up-dates
Date: Wed, November 26, 2008 8:19 am     (answered 7 April 2009)

>> Hi Orange,I hope all is well with you.Thank you again for offering an
>> alternative view of aa. I do miss your up-dates. Sherwoode
> Hi. I've just been going through my old email, and found a bunch of
> stuff that got shoved into a box unread, including this letter.
> It was just about the time that I was busy with the goslings.
> So anyway, I am fine, and actually answering some email.
> Have a good day.
> == Orange

Hi Orange,

I'm glad to hear you are fine and will continue your contribution of enlightening people re: AA.

A very disturbing situation I have noticed are counselors who were drug addicts and spent a lot of time in prison being put in a position of authority over successful men and women in DUI classes or treatment centers. I have seen them (counselors) get really abusive and act out a lot of power plays. Some seem to really enjoy playing one up on these people they never felt equal to or comfortable around.


Hi again. Wow. Now this is really one slow conversation, isn't it?

Well, I'm still answering email, again.

About criminals as counselors: Yes, really. I am reminded of a couple of lines that someone wrote to me a while back:

A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person will cure another deeply flawed person. A dynamic fraught with peril.
== Anonymous

The way that losers can suddenly have power over other people and pass themselves off as wise counselors because they memorized some illogical slogans and allegedly stayed clean and sober for a while is one of the big attractions of Alcoholics Anonymous and its kin. How else can an illiteral criminal become a big-shot so easily?

And they even get to tell themselves that they are unselfishly doing it for the good of others.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its
**  victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under
**  robber barons than under omnipotent, moral busybodies. The robber
**  baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be
**  satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us
**  without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience....
**  To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not
**  regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet
**  reached the age of reason.
**    ==  C.S. Lewis, "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment," God in the Dock.
**         William B. Berdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994.

Date: Wed, November 26, 2008 11:49 am     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Little Owl"
Subject: Sincere Gratitude

Sincere Greetings and Gratitude to you AO

Your work in The Orange Papers is thorough and extensive and so true ...thank you for your dedication and will power.

I often wonder how many people who have attended AA have died a lonely death after trying with all their might to 'get it' or, in other words, to experience that 'happy, joyous and free' thing the very small minority of 'old timers in the group claim to have found in the meetings.

I am 13 years sober ...what a silly statement to make ....I am thirteen years older in years .. that's better but it hurts me since I have wasted four years of my life in those groups. Nevertheless, I have knowledge of the groups dynamic which I do try to pass on to others' who right now could be feeling the way I did when the warning lights first started to flash.

It was a very chilling experience for me when I first started to resent strongly the old timers in the meetings since my rebellion cut me off from my friends in the group who sided with the hierarchy. I turned tail about nine years ago and my last meeting was about two weeks ago !

I go to meetings perhaps once or twice a month these days depending on whether I have time to spare.

Below is my annotated 'share' AO and it hasn't changed much over the last nine years or so. I delivered it in America too when I was visiting that country and if there is nothing on the television this evening I might just consider delivering it at a meeting here in Britain tonight.

" Hello, I'm Vince ...I do not suffer from alcoholism in any way shape or form. I did my fifth step about nine years ago with my doctor at his surgery in my home town. I made an appointment to see him and for the first time in many years I told the honest truth.

I told him for the last four years I had been involved in a cult and that that cult is Alcoholics Anonymous. (verbatim) Today I come to meetings to drink coffee and chat girls up.(This last bit has a few grains of truth in it, AO, but by and large I only say it to raze the roof.)

Finally I usually round off with —

"if anybody wants to get me a glass of beer now then I will swill it in my mouth and swallow about a pint of it, if it will prove of any use. Thank you for listening."

AO the above is all true . By the way I do competition Judo ! I have trawled the meetings in Britain for the last nine years .... happy, joyous and free .... and have said the above share hundreds even thousands of time over..

At the bottom of my heart I would not hurt anyone in the world. But the 'knowledge' being transacted in AA is poison and my vocation in life ... if I have a vocation at all ... is to at least get the truth out. I think most of the 'old timers' are just a band of bullies ....but they do have a knack of getting everybody in the room on their side though. Have had a couple of little scrapes with the professional bullies in the rooms over the years but nothing whatsoever serious.

Your site is vital and great news AO. I have a degree in philosophy (Kantian Idealism and Kierkegaard are my areas of research interest) and I do practise Christianity in the Benedictine Order. Hopefully if I ever find a girlfriend I can drop this last discipline though and maybe the philosophy too !!!

I used to live on the streets ...was a real alcoholic in Manchester for many years ...took my fair share of Heroin and all the other stuff too. Nearly died a couple of times in DT's and once when I had pneumonia .... which still slows me down a bit today when I'm fighting.

But when I went to AA little did I know I would have to negotiate my way through a labarynth of deceit and gnosticism. Chilling stuff.

Your style of writing AO is truthful and humble. It's really nice and exhudes goodness.That is just what happens when you read truthful stuff.

If you have time please write. In any event, good luck in life, my brother.

Yours very truly,

Vincent E. (Manchester England)

Hello Vincent,

Thanks for the letter and a good laugh. And thanks for the compliments.

Have a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Researchers led by Abhijit Majumder at the Indian Institute of Technology
**  in Kanpur, India, studied the toe pads of tree frogs to figure out what
**  makes them stick to surfaces, and copied the idea. ...
**  The result: stickiness [of tape] increased by as much as 30 times, and
**  the material could be peeled off and reused...
**  http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-Getting-a-Grip.html
**  I am happy to report that soon, you will be able to replace your
**  refrigerator magnets with tree frogs.

Date: Thu, November 27, 2008 4:44 am     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: gerard
Subject: My take on AA and the steps-could you possibly link my article on your site?

Hi Agent Orange,

Gerard Gernazian, here with iamnotagambler.com.
How are you? Happy Thanksgiving.

I have just posted a new piece on my site, about my take on AA and the steps. I was thinking that it might be beneficial to your readers as it is coming from the perspective of why the AA 12 steps didn't work for me, as a Christian. I would like your readership to know about the steps from different viewpoints, and this would give a sampling of what a Christian person, like myself, believes about the steps.
Here is the link:

Take care,
Gerard G.

Hi Gerard,

I'm finally getting around to answering the email from November, so I'm posting your link.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done
**    it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
**    ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)

Date: Fri, July 18, 2008 3:19 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Grant Hyde"
Subject: A.A tyranny

Hey, Orange

Thanks for the great work on your site.

Most of us are ambivalent about Christopher Hitchens (I'm assuming you've read him) with his seemingly blnkered support of the war, but I think we can take a hint from his analysis of the worst religious impulses as arising from tyranny and the terrible human need to be subservient, to be told what's what, even if it's bad for you.

I bring Hitchens up, because even if you disagree with him, he's clear-eyed in an Orwellian way about what causes otherwise rational people to throw away their critical faculties and freedom and let the boot stomp down on their naked faces. And A. A. does this. Stomps down on innocent faces pleading for help.

Hyperbolic? i think not. I occasionally attend a Sunday night "meeting" run ("run" — are innocents aware that many A..A. meetings are run, mastered, dictated?) by a guy younger than me (I'm in my mellow forties) who has "mastered" the Big Book". I suggested one night — after I'd had enough — that "mastering' the Big Book was like getting a degree in the Reader's Digest. Hilarity, if not violence, ensued. I'm sure you don't need more details.

I hope to give a coherent thoughtful post someday, but right now I'm too mad. I don't know if I've seen a reference to a secular group called Life Ring out of Oakland on your site. Forgive me if I missed it. I know you and I like SMART. These people are great.

As a critical thinking instructor — part time — at the local J.C., I've appreciated immensely the amount of work you've done in compiling fallacies. I've stolen from you. Forvgive?

Take care,
Grant Hyde — my real name. No need to hide me.

Hi Grant,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. Yes, borrowing and reusing is okay. I do a lot of it myself.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently
** stable world at peril.

Date: Thu, July 17, 2008 3:03 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Brad L"
Subject: your AA info


I read many of your pages with great interest (I googled "aa religion" after a local politician was sentenced today to 2 AA meetings per week — among other penalties)

I have had a similar experience with a DUI and was able to convince the judge (in chambers) that AA directly conflicted with my religion. Consequently, my minister had to attend my probation meetings to attest that I was actively involved in the church. Where IS separation of church and state? (I live in Ohio).

I had voluntarily attended AA many years ago, and it was a joke. The only thing that kept me sober was a psychiatrist who had me so doped up on prescriptions that I had no interest in booze... the pills numbed me just fine — I was basically a walking zombie.... and THAT is legal... go figure. When I fired him after a year, I went back to the drink.

Now sober for quite some time, I have to give credit to a website that basically told me my alcoholic addiction is not a disease, but purely will power to quit. (They have an expensive program you can attend in California, but I got all I needed from their website http://www.rational.org/.

I've recommended that site to many who have also had successful results... perhaps you should mention it? Its not stuff a drunk really wants to hear, but when you read it it rings so true

On a more humorous note... did you know Bill W was inspired in writing the 12 steps with the aid of a Ouija board!!! see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija That alone confirms AA is a farce.

Best regards,


Hi Brad,

Thanks for the letter.

Funny that you should mention Rational Recovery. That subject has been coming up a lot lately. I also basically quit by understanding "the Addiction Monster", which Jack Trimpey calls "The Beast". I coincidentally stumbled across the same idea, mostly from 30 years of smoking and trying to quit and failing because some stupid little voice kept yammering about, "Just one, we can have just one to relax and it will be okay."

I just wrote up a description of that, here.

To be nit-pickingly historically accurate, I have never seen any information that indicates that Bill Wilson wrote the 12 Steps while using a Ouija board. Bill Wilson said that he got "inspiration" during a "Quiet Time", but there was no mention of the Ouija board there. However, it is well documented that both Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob used a Ouija board in their "spook sessions". They were intensely into the spiritualism stuff. Tom Powers, who was the co-author of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, also participated in Bill Wilson's spook sessions at Bill's Bedford Hills home and wrote about them.

And Bill Wilson was also into various other occult practices like channeling, spirit rapping, automatic writing, and necromancy. There is a section on this subject in the file The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

What Bill really did to get the 12 Steps was just repackage Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination practices like the "Five C's" and the "Six Practices of the Sane".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Now these people, Bill and Dr. Bob, believed vigorously and aggressively.
**   They were working away at the spiritualism; it was not just a hobby.
**   'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message
**   reached the world, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, page 280.

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Last updated 8 January 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters108.html