Letters, We Get Mail, CIX

Date: Wed, July 16, 2008 7:11 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "erica c."
Subject: your AA cult article

Loved it!!!! I just spent the last six months dating an AA member. At first it was great. He was my best friend. When it became more, we were convinced that we were soul mated. We were gonna get married ASAP. Sounds like we are teenagers? Not! Both in our late 30's and out of bad marriages.

I knew that he had stopped drinking. At first it was for health reasons. Allegedly. Came out later that he was in AA. Didn't know much about AA, so did not have an opinion. It was just a meeting that he had to go to once or twice a week.

Then it was three times a week.

Then came the obnoxious statements when I drank.

Then it was when we were away he needed to go to a meeting. Fine. Still played the understanding GF.

Then he had to go every day, and if not, he was not staying sober, even if he did not drink.

Here's the latest: Despite his desire to drink, his "sober" friends have told him that if he continues to enjoy weekends with me, not only will he drink, but it will be in wild abundance.

Now I know that he has no self control, as i have seen him eat himself into a frenzy. An entire box of chocolates after huge meal. Box of crackers for no reason. Pound of cheese just to snack on. Now does AA help him with these issues of no self discipline? of course not! His "friends" tell him that he is no longer sober, not because he drank, but because he has failed to prep the koolaid at the nightly cult rituals. AA is most def a cult. No interest in helping those that seek help, but to make them co-def assholes. So angry. Need a self help group for those who had the misfortune of falling in love with an AA cult member.

Hi Erica,

Thank you for the letter and the story. You aren't the only person who has been asking about a recovery group for friends/lovers of A.A. cult members. Unfortunately, I don't know of such a group, but it sounds like a good thing for somebody to start.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  He is "obviously brainwashed, although a light rinse would
**  probably have been sufficient. Even worse, it's been Scotchgarded,
**  and is impervious to contamination by any idea which conflicts
**  with his prejudices."
**     == walter_map,  May 14th, 2007
**   Published on Monday, May 14, 2007 by CommonDreams.org

May 26, 2008: Back up on the roof, Day 9.

It's another rainy day, so the goslings are getting a short walk around the roof.

Here, they are eating some moss that they found growing in a crack. They like moss.

Canada Goose goslings eating moss

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Wed, July 16, 2008 3:11 pm     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "John M."
Subject: Allergy arguments

hey orange:

Glad to see that you're still alive and well and happy (which is really all we can hope for).

I read that letter talking about alcoholism being an allergy and it really didn't seem to jibe. So I tracked down a definition of allergy. An allergy is basically a hypersensitivity. If alcoholism were an "allergy" wouldn't alcoholics get drunker faster?

John M.

Hi John,

Thanks for the letter. And yes, I am alive and well.

About the allergy — yes, you are right. Whatever alcoholism is, it isn't an allergy.

I think I know what Bill Wilson or Dr. Silkworth was getting at there: late-stage alcoholics sometimes get very toxic reactions to any more alcohol. I have had the experience of popping a beer and taking a couple of sips, and instantly getting hit with a splitting headache so bad, so intense that I had to slam a couple of more beers and get drunk fast just to kill the pain. That is a toxic reaction where the body is just fed up with alcohol and doesn't want any more. That isn't an allergy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "We AA's have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically
**   speaking it is not a disease entity."
**     ==  Bill Wilson,
**     speaking to the National Catholic Clergy Conference On Alcoholism.
**     April 21, 1960, in New York City

Date: Thu, July 3, 2008 7:47 pm     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Martijn dB., Holland"
Subject: deprogramming.


Feel the need to share this with you, with a question as well:

I have attended AA meetings past years, I always got in conflicts with the older members. So went in and out... Sometimes sober for a long period 2 or 3 years.

I find it hard to trust and I have a natural tendency to follow my instincts and intuition on things.

Okay I am in now for 4 month, this time I carefully followed the suggestions.

The steps I don't have a problem with, but the way they are being interpreted and the group process (which I think is very selfish!) concerns me. Makes me feel uncomfortable. And yes I think AA is dangerous.

I know I have drank more than is good for me and I don't intend to go back to drinking again. But I think everytime I say hi I am Martijn I am an alcoholic I do self-fulfilling prophesy. And then this questioning of my god believe. (I am believing in god since I was 9 for god's sake.) No I don't know anything about god or higher power.

If I say I experienced higher power in my life they just don't take it serious. And with that my whole being. As if before walking in AA I never had strength or help from natural givin powers that all individuals have in their life.

I am an artist and since I walked in (3 month ago) I haven't done or created anything.

The only reason I go is that indeed it is hard to quit when you are alone. It is good to see others trying as well. helping each other in that sense. I don't have friends and not much contact with family so to get me through the days I go to the meetings.

Reading your essays about AA makes me look back upon my years in AA. From the moment I first walked in (8 years ago) until now (with periods of my individual sobriety). Makes me wonder about a lot of things.

Because off my (big) drinking problem (yes indeed alcoholic drinking) I am vulnerable. I am willing to go further than my intuition normally would let me (especially letting sponsors and other group members telling me all kinds of things and influence me).

Everytime I went to AA my drinking got worse and my behaviour as well. I don't want to blame AA for that but one wonders. Is the sobriety of the older (longer) AA memers due to the slipping of newcomers (or what they in the group process like to see as newcomers)? Well then they say, Don't be paranoid, that is your alcoholic brain.

Not trusting AA is your alcoholic brain. Well I am perfectly capable to make the distinction between alcoholic behaviour and my god given intuition. vin

I know see what they do. If you question, they make you feel insecure, even ignore you, maybe even in group conscience let you have terrible slips so that you come in again and they can continue.. And they don't like strong individuals such as my self.

I have found that especially artistic, creative people having a hard time in AA. Cause that's all selfish, self-centered etc.. They forgot that they are selfish and self-centered in their arrogance of knowing what god is and good for all people and all alcoholics. And they probably use, what they call the higher power of the group for their own purposes in their individual lives outside AA, maybe also moneywise.

BUT MY QUESTION: do you know of deprogramming programs, ( maybe on internet or in an other way)? Cause they do not only brainwash my obsession for drinking away but my creativity, who I am, away. Take my energy and me loving myself, try to break my intuition and contact with MY higher power

Martijn, Amsterdam Holland

Hello Jartijn,

Thank you for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer it.

Starting at the end, I don't know of any meeting group or program that is specifically for helping people to deprogram from Alcoholics Anonymous. However, there are some discussion groups that are pretty close:

  1. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/without_aa/ — Without A.A.

  2. http://groups.msn.com/X-STEPPERS/welcome.msnw — This is an ex-stepper group on MSN.
    UPDATE: They moved. The new URL is:

  3. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12-step-free — Self-described as: 'This is a large yahoo group of ex-AA and ex-"XA" (meaning any "anonymous" program based on the 12 steps originally created by AA) people. It is very open to debate and free thinking, but it's main point is for those needing to be free of the 12 steps.'

  4. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/LSRmail/ — a Yahoogroup, "LifeRing Secular Recovery"

  5. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.from-12-steps/ — the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps
    (This one is a problem — lots of Steppers post there and attack people who don't believe in 12-Step recovery.)

    And then these recovery groups also have online chats or meetings:

  6. SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
    Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.
    SMART online chat groups, http://smartrecovery.infopop.cc/paraentry.php
    SMART message boards, http://smartrecovery.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x

  7. WFS (Women For Sobriety) also has online chat groups:
    For local group meetings in your area you can also call 1-800-333-1606.

  8. LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet:
    http://www.unhooked.com/chat/Chat.html — the Unhooked chat

  9. And see my links page for even more links to various alternative groups, here.

Many of the things that you have talked about sound very true:

  • Like how they imply that you don't know anything about God or spirituality, and had no kind of spiritual life before you came to A.A.
  • The "group process" and "group conscience" somehow always benefits them, not you.
  • They are selfish and self-centered (and totally absorbed with the issue of their own sobriety), even while they proclaim that they are spiritual and so concerned about others.
  • "Don't trust your alcoholic brain." — "You cannot trust your own mind."
  • Every time you went to A.A., your drinking got worse.

Yes, it's a cult. That's what cults do. They devalue you while they build themselves up.

By the way, this is good:
"I find it hard to trust and I have a natural tendency to follow my instincts and intuition on things."
That's what saves you from con-artists and cults.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Self-appointed do-gooders arrogantly imagine that they
**    have some God-given right to tell others what they should
**    or shouldn't think, and how they should or shouldn't live.

Date: Wed, July 2, 2008 9:51 pm     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Rev Christopher L."
Subject: aa


I came across your site while researching a book on A.A. I just have to tell you that the sheer amount of outrage and anger you seem to have toward A.A. (and I am not uncritical of the organization) has the net result of making someone wish to defend them. A little more even handed approach would probably be more effective.

Best wishes,
Rev Christopher L.

Hello Christopher,

Yes, I am sometimes very emotional. I seem to get upset and angry when I see lying con artists foisting harmful quack medicine on sick people.

Maybe I will get over that some day. And then again, maybe I won't.

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: Wed, July 2, 2008 11:46 am     (answered 7 April 2009)
From: "Sandra M."
Subject: Glad you're running this site

Dear Orange,

Fantastic site! You've done a superb job of documentation. The extensive "block quotations" from cited sources are especially good: a powerful convincer, and it's going to reduce the "you misquoted" or "your interpretation; that statement's taken out of context".

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for the compliments.

Were you one of those "horrible" kids that drove teachers of all types crazy, asking "why??" and wanting logical (or coldly practical) answers? Or did people learn very early NOT to ask you to "prove it", because you WOULD — bashing them over the head with lots and lots of data? Think I recognize a kindred spirit (smile).

Hmmm, now that sure does sound familiar.

The debating and propaganda techniques section is good, good, good, GOOD! If something comes up and you can no longer maintain a site (NOOOO!!!! — whacking typist for the bad bad thought), please give serious consideration to allowing liberal reprint permissions. (Mirroring? reposting at other sites? — whatever, in the computer world.) This extensive set of examples is too darned good to lose.

Okay, I hereby give official permission for mirroring after I'm dead. By then, I will probably be so zoned into the ozone that I won't care anyway.

Would you believe (in early/mid1970s), husband and I had a high school sociology teacher who actually spent multiple class sessions teaching some common propaganda tricks and "logical fallacies"? Yup, that's right — glittering generalities, slippery slope, camel's nose under the tent, bandwagon, appeal to authority, wrap-yourself-in-the-flag, etc — and then ***turned us teenagers loose, daring us to find examples and applications of LFs in the world around us.***

A LOT of parents had to get used to their offspring shouting at the TV set during commercials and the evening news — or gleefully analyzing print ads and mail solicitations.

This round, will have 3 years sober in mid-July. Love thinking of myself as a capable, analytical, strong woman with PLENTY of power.

Trick is, trying to use it wisely, ethically, and lovingly. A major bundle of challenges in practical application, but challenge helps you grow.

BTW, try saying something like "I'm X, and I'm powerful, capable, and sober today" (or other positive, action-oriented words) in an AA meeting, and watch what happens. Air conditioning? — who needs it? — the icy coldness in the rooms will drop the temp 10 degrees really fast!

First got around "the roomz" in 1986 and bought a bit of the line. Embarrassing to be suckered in like that. (2 psych degrees, a non-dogmatic religious/spiritual faith, and a "show me" pragmatism in real life — and I STILL didn't see the oncoming AA truck that was going to hit me.)

Take me as an object lesson that people in pain can — and will — suspend disbelief and rational thought to a frightening extent.

Yes, cults are tricky. I feel like I had a huge advantage by living through the 'sixties and seeing so many phony gurus coming over here from the Far East. And also the local American charlatans and nutcases and cockroaches coming out of the woodwork. And I got a little bit involved with a bunch of them. I didn't know that those things were cults, not then. It wasn't until 15 or 20 years later that I started seeing all of them for what they were, and hearing the stories of dirty little secrets that the ex-members were telling.

The only reason that I didn't get trapped in one of those cults is that I'm pretty independent and skeptical, and I tend to walk away when things don't click right. I'm just not "joiner" material.

And then, when I walked into Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, my old experiences told me that this was like a cult — especially all of the appeals to quit questioning and just believe and just do what your sponsor says. And how the program was so great and flawless, and Bill Wilson was such a genius to have created 12 perfect Steps that could solve all of the problems of the world. And nobody can disagree with or dispute the plastic-laminated dogma that is read out loud at the start of every meeting... And you can't trust your own mind (but you can trust the stranger next to you)...

After a while, started asking questions, which makes one about as popular as a skunk at a picnic. Hung around AA about 5 years (more from laziness in changing routine, than any sense that it was "keeping me sober"; no sponsor, nothing beyond the first two steps — and those, not very well). Then had about 6 more years good sobriety on my own, no white-knuckling. Picked up later as a closet drinker to "wind down" and "de-stress" (damn that Lizard Brain!), and to self-medicate increasing depressive symptoms.

Funny: it was the pain of depression, NOT alcohol's impact on my life, that made me act, realizing I needed to be on anti-depressants "as of like, LAST WEEK." Had no problem with the need to quit drinking — no use taking meds, and also using a chemical that worsens depression. After a one-day lapse, went on Antabuse (my own request) and took a not-so-wise suggestion to consider inpatient rehab. Whoooboy, when I make a mistake, it's a doozy!

Don't get me started on the rehab. Jiminy Christmas, 28 days and a couple of thousand bucks shot — and almost of it was trite slogans and mindless meetings. The only new thing I personally got out of it were some techniques (via role-playing) on getting out of a tough situation/slippery spot, where drinking might be tempting.

Anyway, life's become really good again. There's been the rare (1-2x/year) passing whine of "darn it, I can't even **taste** an amaretto after a fine dinner". (I use the Antabuse is a safety net against split-second bad judgments; even good-quality sobriety is not perfect armor from doing dumb things now and then.) But the thought shifts quickly to "way too risky to even try, especially for such a tiny benefit; drinking is NOT a good option — you can never drink safely, and that's that."

Powerless? Like hell I am!!!! The "one day at a time" bit can work for some, and that's fine for them, but it's way too edgy and too much work for this lazy girl. I've decided that I NEVER want to drink again — — and that feels really good.

Anyway, dithering here. Your call re:posting, editing, etc.; no reply or comments necessary, but please delete my e-mail address if you post. Just wanted to say "you done good", and give you a huge thank you! If you're ever near the Washington DC/Baltimore area, please, please, please drop me an e-mail beforehand. I'd love to take you to dinner and/or coffee!

Lots of hugs (if you don't mind the presumption),
samira (the ornery)

P.S. EYE-CROSSING STATEMENTS, HEARD IN "THE ROOMZ" : "I think that when people pick up chips, God dances on the tables."

((Uuhhhh, can I stick money in His G-string or loincloth or whatever? Having a very scary image of a Charlton Heston-type with a beard, doing a boogaloo between the coffeecups?.))

Although, depending on your Higher Power (Aphrodite? The Horned God? Ishtar?), that dance might be a heck of a lot more INTERESTING than your average drunkalog?.

And what if your Higher Power is the Flying Spaghetti Monster — (you're a Pastafarian)?? Does the twisting of His Noodly Appendages in that dance provide proof of the existence of fusilli, or is it best interpreted as a personal spiritual experience? (And must an alcoholic believer in the Spaghedeity also believe in the doctrine of the beer volcano? Or can one posit a sodapop fountain, without being considered heretical? Inquiring minds like mine want to know!)

Hi Sandra,

Thanks for the letter and the laughs. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   Gandalf said, "The little orks don't like
**   humor. They cringe in pain at the sound of
**   laughter. And they really can't stand it when
**   you poke fun at them. So they howl and growl
**   and scowl and get all bent out of shape."

Date: Wed, July 2, 2008 11:29 am     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Arthur F."
Subject: More Big Lies

Your hostility to AA suggests to me that you are an alcoholic. You obviously prefers to drink andneed to convince as many other alcoholics to drink themselves to death rather than recover so you'll have plenty of company. Since you have'nt engaged in full disclosure of your biases. Why should anyone believe any of the big lies you are putting out.


Arthur J. F.

Hello Arthur,

You are right on the first item, and mistaken on the rest:

I am an alcoholic, if by "alcoholic" you mean someone who cannot drink even one beer or he will get readdicted to alcohol and drink to excess, maybe even killing himself in the process. (There are other definitions of "alcoholic", look here.)

I have 8 years off of alcohol, tobacco, and any other illegal drugs. Now I only take what the doctor gives me, which isn't much, and nothing that gets you high. I also have 8 years away from Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

I am interested in helping alcoholics to quit drinking and smoking, rather than shoving cult religion and quackery on them like the 12-Step organizations do.

Actually, I have engaged in "full disclosure of my biases". Read these items:

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

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  An A.A. true believer (Craig S.) babbled:
**  > How many times to I have to explain it to you. Alcohol
**  > is but a symptom, our bottles are but a symbol.
**  No, alcohol is a poisonous clear hydrocarbon solvent
**  that produces intoxication if swallowed in quantity.
**  Drinking alcohol is the cause of alcoholism.
**  There is no other "primary cause" of alcoholism.

Date: Wed, July 2, 2008 8:57 am     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Warren"
Subject: AA

Are you alcoholic and were you ever in AA?

W. D. S.

Yes and Yes.


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

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
**  its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
**  blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
**     ==  D. James

Date: Sun, June 15, 2008 12:38 pm     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Pankake"
Subject: hi Orange

Hi orange

I have been attending SMART for some months now and I am having a terrible time with AA which is a major part of SMART. Not officially, but covertly, AA has become a major force in SMART. I am constantly confronting AA cultists about their indoctrination of members into AA. SMART enables this, it is not the decent package I thought it was. There are so many AA cultists in it, it stinks to high heaven. They are constantly telling us how wonderful the meetings are and if we would only attend everything would be ok. I am fed up of it. I have complained about it, even written posts on the message boards, but SMART's view is if you are attending AA you are doing the right thing. This is not what I signed up for. The fuckers are everywhere, polluting recovery with their poo. I don't know what else to say.



Hello Pankake,

Are you sure you went to SMART meetings? I have never heard of such a thing before, nor have I ever seen any such thing, and I've been to a bunch of different SMART meetings.

A.A. is not a part of SMART — not any part of SMART. Alcoholics Anonymous is not promoted in SMART meetings.

When you say, "SMART's view is if you are attending AA you are doing the right thing.", that is absolutely wrong. That is not the SMART position at all.

In fact, if someone started trying to push the irrational 12-Step dogma at a SMART meeting, they would get contradicted immediately because cross-talk is allowed in SMART meetings, and most of the people in SMART meetings are refugees from 12-Step meetings who don't want any more of that garbage.

If such promotion of Alcoholics Anonymous is really going on in a SMART meeting, then I would send an email to the SMART headquarters. The name "SMART" is a registered trade mark, and Steppers cannot just set up phony SMART meetings and surreptitiously push the 12-Step agenda in the name of SMART. Nor should a facilitator allow 12-Steppers to take over and dominate a SMART meeting.

Here is the SMART web site. You could also post something on their bulletin board or forums. Be sure to identify exactly which meeting it is, where they meet and when, and who the facilitator is.

SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training, http://www.smartrecovery.org/

SMART online chat groups, http://smartrecovery.infopop.cc/paraentry.php

SMART message boards, http://smartrecovery.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x

Then again, this could just be a crank letter. Is it? If not, then please send a message to one of the above addresses.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The biggest truth to face now — what is probably making me unfunny now
**     for the remainder of my life — is that I don't think people give a damn
**     whether the planet goes on or not. It seems to me as if everyone is
**     living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few
**     more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming
**     of a world for their grandchildren.
**         ==  Kurt Vonnegut

Date: Sat, June 14, 2008 3:48 am     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Michael H."
Subject: the funny spirituality

Obviously you're not an alcoholic or would understand the craving and obsession of same. Perhaps your page would acquire more attention, if you came across more as a reporter and less with your personal and slanted opinion(s).

Here's a quote from the Big Book, that might give you some clarity about alcoholics, "it's progress not perfection." The promises, (p.83), state, "they will always materialize, if we work for them."

It requires hard work and is a lifetime of growth.
This non-smoking, coffee drinking alcoholic, was taught by my sponsor to: "clean up your own side of the room. It's not for you to judge other's side."

Get it?
Michael H.
Tampa, FL

Hello Michael,

What a mess of rationalizations.
"Progress, not perfection."
"So it's okay for Bill Wilson to keep on committing all kinds of crimes against alcoholics because he isn't perfect."
"We are not saints."

What a mess of excuses.

And The Promises are more bullshit. "they will always materialize, if we work for them."

Always? Why didn't they work for Bill Wilson? He never cleaned up his side of the street. He just kept on taking and exploiting for his whole life.

By the way, I'm an alcoholic with 8 years of sobriety now, so I do understand alcoholism. And I know that alcoholism is no excuse for theft, fraud, lying to sick people, necromancy, and philandering.

So have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  People who will not work for what is right
**  Are little better than those who are doing wrong.

Date: Wed, June 11, 2008 6:21 pm     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Barry O."
Subject: How is it working for you?

There was a time in my life that you would have been my hero. So dedidicated to the truth and telling it like it is. WOW have I changed. Thanks for the reminder.

Hello Barry,

I don't quite understand that message. Are you saying that you don't believe in telling the truth any more? Did you drink the A.A. koolaid?

About "How is it working for you?": It's working great. I have 8 years now off of everything — alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and I feel fine.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been
**    bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the
**    bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a
**    charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.
**       ==  Carl Sagan

Date: Wed, June 11, 2008 4:01 pm     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Ronald F."
Subject: Inquiry about article AA-Cult or Cure


Is there any chance the creator of this manuiscript tried to get sober and something happened during the course of recovery that "turned their heart, spirit, and mind against any possibility of recovery through those 12 steps. I am truly sorry that person experienced so much pain. I would imagine they are probably still in the pain, forgetting the idea that Pain is necessary for growth, Suffering is optional.

Hello Ronald,

What happened is I did get sober, and in the process learned that the "recovery industry" is a hoax and a fraud.

The reality is, the program is not for everyone. Just those who are "sick and tired" of being sick and tired and are willing to take whatever steps necessary to "make it different". I heard once in a meeting that 12 step participants are nothing more than a "bunch of loosers". Today, 25 years later, I for one am proud to proclaim myself a looser. It just made my life easier.

That is just a rationalization, "the program is not for everyone."
The Program, as you call it, is just some cult practices that harm more people than they help. They even got you proudly calling yourself a loser. For 25 years.

Some would argue that RELIGION is a cult. Maybe so, but is being a cult a bad thing? . I think it depends.. We alcholics must be obsessed on something, what is wrong with the 12 steps. I could be chasing something a whole lot worse than that? Booze, drugs, gambling, sex, food, the list goes on and on. Maybe, I could even chase ANGER, as this is a drug, just like the earlier references.

Again, that is just another propaganda and debating trick: Minimization and Denial, with a hint of Straw Man Tactic: "Some would argue that RELIGION is a cult."
Yes, and some will argue that the world is flat, but that doesn't make it true.

It'a also another rationalization to declare, "Heck, practicing cult religion isn't as bad as drinking."
So why not just give up drinking, smoking, drugs, and cult religion, and really get clean?

Over 10 million people from all over the world have found some level of happiness through this process?

Baloney. Prove that statement. There aren't even 10 million A.A. members in the whole world, never mind 10 million people who have benefitted from A.A. practices.

The latest claims of the A.A. headquarters are that there are 2 million members in the whole world. And that number is unverified, and nobody has eliminated the duplicates.

And since A.A. has effectively a zero percent success rate in making alcoholics get sober, there is no way that A.A. has 10 million success stories to its credit.

I have traveled some of the world and have yet to land anywhere where there is not a meeting. It is a warm feeling to relate to my fellows this way, not matter the color of their skin, the language they speak, or the religious beliefs they might enjoy. We are all the same......WOW

Yes, and you can also find Scientology meetings and Moonies' meetings all over the world too. Does that make them good organizations?
I'm sure that the Scientologists and the Moonies find their meetings to be very heartwarming too.
And isn't it nice how the Scientologists and the Moonies are willing to rob and enslave just anybody, without discrimination, regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, or country of national origin?

I hope this persons way to "sober living" works for them. Many of our fellows find it through RELIGION. My attitude is, "If it works for them, GOOD. That way just did not work for me. Whatever your seach, "do not leave before the miracle happens". They missed this thougt in their discussion.

"The way to sobriety" is very simple: Just don't drink any more alcohol. It works every time. And it only takes about 48 hours, at most, even if you start out very drunk.

And once again, Alcoholics Anonymous does not work. It hurts more people than it sobers up.

Keep the faith, and remember, we are saving a seat for you, when and if you "become willing to become willing."

Finally, Remember God has no GrandChildren. You too have a higher power and he did not bring you this far to DROP you on your ASS.........

You will save a seat for me in Hell? Thanks, but no thanks. I'll pass on the offer.

ODAT and Easy Does It


Have a good day, Ron.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**     give, not out of demanding that I receive."
**     Serving humanity is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly,
**     lovingly, spiritually giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**     No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**     while you hand it out, it's still cyanide koolaid.

Date: Wed, June 11, 2008 11:27 am     (answered 8 April 2009)
From: "Andrew R."
Subject: question


Hey there. I stumbled upon your website while researching a somewhat relevant topic.

First off, I agree with you that censorship is dangerous and that you and I should be able to express ourself without being censored.

I don't agree with you and find your extensive work to be rather Unabomber'ish but I don't care about that. Maybe such critical examination can produce something good.

My two questions are as follows:

1. Did something bad happen to you or a loved while in recovery one that motivates your work?

2. Assuming your critique of AA is all true, what do you suggest as a replacement?
If people turn their lives around using any concept, real or perceived, what is wrong with that?

I hope you don't mind my unsolicited comments and questions. I am sincerely interested to hear your response.


PS My apologies if the answers to my questions are on your website....lot's of stuff there.

Hello Andrew,

Thanks for the letter. I don't mind your questions and comments at all. They are honest questions. Sorry to take so long to answer; I'm way backlogged on email.

  1. Item One: Yes and no. Yes, something did happen, a lot of things happened, but I don't think it's accurate to characterize my attitude as having been caused by a tragic event with a loved one. What influenced me more was the discovery that what is passed off as drug and alcohol rehabilitation is a fraud and a hoax.

    Read these items:

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

  2. We were just discussing "What Works" in a previous letter, so I'll just point you to that discussion, here.

    Lastly, you asked, "If people turn their lives around using any concept, real or perceived, what is wrong with that?"

    That is truly a giant IF. The truth is that 12-Step recovery doesn't work at all and kills more people than it sobers up. Read the file on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment.

    I like Alan Leshner's line, "Look, if swinging a dead cat over your head helps, then I'm all for it. But if someone says never, ever use medications, I can't understand that at all."
    Dr. Leshner was the head of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, or NIDA, the federal agency that controls about 85% of all government addiction-research funding.

    I agree. If swinging a dead cat over your head helps, then great.
    If cult religion works, then great.
    But it doesn't work. Scientology's NARCONON doesn't work, Synanon didn't work, Jim Jones' People's Temple didn't work, and A.A. 12-Step recovery doesn't work.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Enron, A.I.G., Bernie Madoff, Merrill-Lynch,
**      Long-Term Capital Management — 
**    Thinking that you can get money for nothing
**    seems to end in getting nothing for your money.

Date: Tue, June 10, 2008 4:49 pm     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "Thomas G."
Subject: letter to the Orange Papers

I'm having a little trouble figuring out what you're trying to do in this in depth criticism of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can see that you've gotten hundreds of letters from AA members, but not a single one from anyone with authority to speak for the organization as a whole. That's because there is no such person. So what am I getting at? There are no AA official positions. Sure, there's conference-approved literature, but its full of statements like "Practical experience has shown us..." And in the twelve traditions it says that any two or three gathered for sobriety may call themselves an AA group.

Hello Thomas,

Thank you for the letter.

You know, that line about "Nobody is authorized to speak for Alcoholics Anonymous" is getting to be such an old dodge. All members are entitled to recruit for A.A., and they speak for A.A. then. And all members are entitled to go to A.A. meetings and sing the praises of A.A. and declare that "It Works!" Members are even apparently entitled to molest and rape young girls in the name of A.A., and the A.A. headquarters won't stop them from doing it. But when somebody criticizes A.A., then the A.A. members scurry for the shadows and proclaim that "Nobody is entitled to speak for Alcoholics Anonymous".

Oh, and then I get letters from members like you who proclaim that they are not entitled to speak for A.A., and then they spend the next 5 minutes doing it.

There are as many ways of interacting with "The Program" as there are people in it. Some people say, "I don't drink and go to meetings," while others say, "I have a sponsor. I am sponsored. I sponsor. I carry meetings to hospitals and jails. I go to regular meetings at regular meeting times. I read three pages a day from the Big Book, and I open and close my day with prayer and meditation," while still others say "Life's in session. I don't really have time to go to a lot of meetings, but it comforts me that I have a place to go when I need help." Some people think there's some deep spiritual significance to "One Day at a Time," while others, like myself, believe in making a commitment to yourself. Not an oath to never drink again, because that never worked for me before, but a commitment to learn how to live in sobriety.

Yeah, there is some goofy cultish stuff that happens sometimes. But the thing is, if you are one of the lucky few who have a spiritual awakening, you aren't dependent on the cult anymore. I recently left a group where my sponsor said if I didn't volunteer to clean the kitchen after the meeting, he couldn't sponsor me. And this is at a meeting where I was driving thirty miles each way, while working full-time, and going to school full-time. It was also in my sixth year sober. So I changed sponsors over to a guy who's really laid back, doesn't care which meetings I go to, but has been sober a really long time, so if I have a question or a problem, he can give me an answer backed up by decades of sober experience. I don't worship my sponsor, Bill Wilson, the Big Book, or anything like that. I don't have a profound God-consciousness, but I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, that I know my place. Its hard to put into words beyond that.

So I'm not saying that you're right, or that AA fanatics are right, but that there is a larger picture of AA than what it appears that you see. Also, I missed the connection on the "Tough Love" camps. What do those have to do with Alcoholics Anonymous? That they send some young people to AA meetings? We sign attendance cards for people who ask us to sign them, but we aren't affiliated with outside agencies.


Hello TG,

The bottom line is that A.A. does not work to actually make alcoholics get sober and stay sober. (Those few whom you do see get sober are just the ones who were going to get sober anyway.)

Everything else is irrelevant. It doesn't matter how much some people like A.A., or how spiritual it makes them feel, or how much brotherly love they claim to feel in meetings. A.A. does not work. A.A. just messes up a lot of people and raises the death rate in alcoholics.

The connection on the kid's boot camps is that the same crazy mindset that sentences people to A.A. meetings also sentences those kids to the death camps:
"We are doing this for your own good, even if it does violate your Constitutional rights and doesn't work anyway."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "There were alcoholics in the hospitals of whom A.A. could
**     touch and help only about five percent. The doctors started
**     giving them a dose of LSD, so that the resistance would be
**     broken down. And they had about fifteen percent recoveries.
**     This was all a scientific thing."
**       ==  Nell Wing — PASS IT ON, page 370.
**     (Nell Wing was an early secretary of A.A. and Bill Wilson.)
**     Apparently, for treating alcoholics, LSD works three times
**     better than cult religion.

Date: Mon, June 9, 2008 4:23 am     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "Gene"



"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation."




Hello Gene,

It doesn't matter how much some "others of the fellowship" agreed with Bill Wilson's rehash of Frank Buchman's cult religion. It still does not work to make alcoholics get sober. Every valid medical test of A.A. has shown the same sad result — it doesn't work, it just makes the alcoholics drink more and die more.

Those are the facts that you should examine without "contempt prior to investigation."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, currently a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

Date: Sun, June 8, 2008 4:01 pm     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "Robert T."
Subject: Bill W


Thank you for your article about Bill W.

I am a proud member of aa and I have been sober for 9 and 1/2 years. My name is listed below, though I am a proud member of aa, I kindly request that my anonymity be protected.

Though this is not good?.Bill W cheating on Lois and all. This is the first time I have ever heard of this, I know Bill W was not perfect.

While reading the article I kinda chuckled?.reason?...I know he was not perfect, he was a drunk, just like me, I never looked at Bill W as a guru like other guru?s in the past who do things that make them look like hypocrites?.I knew Bill was not perfect.

He was just like me, 9 years later I am still struggling with trying to live a spiritual life, Bill W was no different. I cannot speak on behalf of our fellowship, but I do not place Bill W on a higher spiritual level then everyone else. He was a drunk, however, while his will was aligned with God, he was given a set of spiritual tools which he shared?did he stay on this path all the time? NO, none of us do. Why, because we are human.

Bill W turned over the fellowship to the General Service Conference Long Ago?he was not our leader?..we have no leader, not sure if you knew that.

I am not a saint, never will be, but you know what, God loves me and I will try my very best to do Gods will.

Thank You

Kindest Regards

Robert T.

Vancouver, BC

Hello Robert,

That's quite a mess of minimization and denial. A mentally-ill criminal like Bill Wilson had no business setting himself up as the world's authority on alcoholism, and founding a cult religion that was allegedly going to save all of the alcoholics in the world — with God's approval, yet.

It's funny how just any crime is okay if it was done by Bill Wilson. "We are not saints."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The Sagan rule:
**    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
**    The far-fetched claims of Bill Wilson that Frank Buchman's
**    cult religion could cure alcoholism have not been backed
**    up by even a little ordinary evidence, never mind some
**    extraordinary evidence.

Date: Sat, June 7, 2008 11:13 pm     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: DRB
Subject: AA

Why do you have such a deep seated animosity? I can only hold you in my prayers that you might be freed from this cancer within. After all, we are all brothers, human beings who are not perfect and make mistakes, each and every one.


Hello DRB,

I have animosity towards cult members who foist quackery on sick people, and hurt them.

I can only pray that you eventually see the light and free yourself from cult religion.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Wanting to believe is perhaps the most powerful dynamic
**     initiating and sustaining cult-like behavior.
**      The Wrong Way Home: Uncovering the Patterns of Cult Behavior
**        in American Society, Arthur J. Deikman, M.D., page 137.

Date: Thu, June 5, 2008 11:39 am     (answered 9 April 2009)
From: "michelle"
Subject: Shew! I'm not alone.

Thank you for all the hard work you are doing to expose the truth and save people from truly becoming insane. I have to go to AA to get my license back. It sucks that the People of the State of Michigan sentenced me to being mind fucked by a cult "for the rest of my life or I'll die". I'm with you on writing any thing to congress. Let them have it!!! This is totally unconstitutional and just fucked up. BACKWARD, MAN! Cunning and baffling. Thanks for all the hard work. I'll send more from time to time. I like you (and your kind).


Thank you, Michelle. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope things are going better for you now.

And you are right — A.A. cult "treatment" is totally unConstitutional, as well as totally ineffective.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**     front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**     == Dr. Frank Buchman, founder and leader of the
**        Oxford Groups and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.
***    "Early AA got its 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."
***    == Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of
***    Age, page 39.

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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters109.html