Letters, We Get Mail, XI

[ Tue, 4 Mar 2003, mlnhead wrote: ]

Hey A. Orange,

A.A. is for those that want it.

The Hazelden Foundations teaches that A.A. is for everyone that you can force into the organization. And A.A. members routinely do everything in their power to coerce more people into A.A..

They tell everyone that comes in, "try it for a year then if things haven't changed go out and do it on your own".

That is a standard cult come-on. "Just try our program for a month or a year, and you will see that it is all true." But if you do the cult's program for a year, you will be so brainwashed that you really will believe that it is all true.

The Nichiren Shoshu Buddhists said that if I just tried chanting their chants for a month, I would see that it really works, and if it didn't, then they would quit. Well, I tried it, and saw that it didn't work. I also saw that they wanted my life, and I didn't care to give it to them, so I quit. They didn't keep their promise to also quit. That is typical of cults.

The thing is alot of these people for some reason or another find a reason in their own hearts to go back to the bottle on their own. What you want us to do line them up and shoot them after their first white chip? Sew their mouths shut and cut off their hands? Kick them in the balls for 90 days? Create masses of graves of dead alcoholics to show all the new drunks that come in, that we mean business, and they aren't gonna ruin our statistics? Tell their mommies if they go back out and drink?

What is that nonsense supposed to mean? Are you trying to make up some excuses for why A.A. is not responsible for the failures, dropouts, and relapsers?
Either the program works and sobers people up and keeps them sober, or it doesn't. Period.
Well, A.A. doesn't work. Period.
The A.A. program is just Bill Wilson's screwy cult religion. Period.

Apparently you spunt as much time on this website as you did your own drinking. This is your parogative in life. It is what you do instead of drinking. We folks of Alcoholics Anonymous have a sydnicate of friends at each meeting we attend, or at least I do. These are the people of my home town that get together several times a week and have coffee and cookies and talk shit, shoot shit, maybe look like shit and sometimes feel like shit. On the other hand most days we are just sitting around having grattitude that today don't suck.

So you use A.A. as a social club. Tell that to the judges who have been told that A.A. is an alcoholism rehabilitation program. I imagine that the judges will be a little less eager to sentence people to a religious social club.

There is very little that Bill W. had to do with any of us staying sober as fars as docterine.

You may ignore Bill Wilson, but most of the A.A. true believers do not. Tell me,

  • Do you believe Step One, that you are "powerless" over alcohol?
  • Do you believe Step Two, that you are insane?
  • Do you believe that you must surrender your will and your life in Step Three?
  • Do you believe that you must do a Fifth Step and confess all of your sins, moral shortcomings, and defects of character to another person and God?
  • Do you believe that God will remove the desire to drink, as well as all of your other faults, in Step Seven?
  • Do you believe that you really hear God talking to you in Step Eleven? Do you believe in channelling spirits?

If you believe any of that stuff, then you do believe in the religious doctrines of William Griffith Wilson.

He just simply laid out a set of tools to relieve us of ourselves.

What tools? There are no tools, just cult religion. And who says that people need to be "relieved of themselves"? That is another standard cult characteristic — demands that you obliterate "self" and "selfishness".

Which also tells me, it is none of my Business what you or anyone thinks of me or about me. Also, it is none of your business what I think about you as well.... His teachings are mearly common scence. Someting I had very little of when I was sick and boozing it up everyday.

There is very little common sense in the ravings of the lunatic Bill Wilson. He was so insane that he even preached that you have to abandon human intelligence and Reason, and just "have faith" in his grandiose delusions:

Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word... Rather vain of us, wasn't it?
      We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. ... People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William Wilson, We Agnostics, page 49.

Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Page 53.

Trying to find the reason that I have 5 years sober, or any other person has 30 years sober is only the actions of someone wanting to spoil the party for someone else.

What is that nonsense? You imagine that trying to understand what helps people to maintain sobriety will "spoil the party"? You really do have a major problem with cultish anti-intellectualism, don't you? The thought-stopping slogan is "Utilize, Don't Analyze", right?

The act of being complacently miserable in ones own life... I don't believe that it is your duty to labor so hard in life to destroy something you hardly have an understanding of. You said yourself you don't understand it.

I said no such thing. I understand cult mentality and the workings of cult religions very well.

I will admit there are people that are in the program that go to any legnths to be a bleeding deacon, but there are millions that remember where they came from and believe that it helps them, to see sober drunks in everyday situations, dealing with life on life's terms.

Believing that it works is worthless, just like believing that the world is flat is worthless. The truth is what matters, and the truth is that A.A. does not work, and A.A. does not fix the problem of alcoholism. A.A. does not keep millions sober. A.A. is quack medicine.

You should have taken the truth about the program that is written in the 12 Traditions.

The Twelve Traditions are a joke — just some more hypocritical grandiose statements that members disregard whenever it is convenient.

  • You have a bunch of leaders of AAWS in New York who committed felonious perjury in Germany and Mexico to financially ruin or put in prison other A.A. members who committed the "crime" of printing cheap versions of old, out-of-copyright versions of the Big Book and giving them away to poor alcoholics — you know, Tradition Five, carrying the message.
  • AAWS has also decided that Tradition Six says that they should not let matters of spirituality interfere with making more money.
  • AAWS has been running TV commercials to get more members, in violation of the 11th Tradition — that A.A. is supposed to be a program of attraction, not promotion.
  • The Hazelden Foundation teaches members how to practice coercive recruiting and use the criminal justice system to force more victims into A.A., which is also a program of promotion, not attraction.
  • The Seventh Tradition says that A.A. is supposed to be self-sufficient, declining outside contributions. Bill Wilson made a big deal out of declining a $10,000 donation. But the current leadership had no problem with taking over $100,000 from the city of San Diego for holding a convention there.
  • Tradition Eleven also says that people are supposed to stay anonymous in matters of publicity, but Bill Wilson and Marty Mann spent years breaking their anonymity, grandstanding, and promoting A.A.. They even went and testified before Congress.
  • Tradition Nine says, "A.A., as such, ought never be organized", but they don't follow that tradition any more than they follow the others. A.A. is totally organized and legally incorporated. Alcoholics Anonymous has two national headquarters, one each for A.A.W.S. and the G.S.O., and $10 million in the bank, and executives, a board of trustees, and a national council, and regional, state, and local offices. It's organized.

The Twelve Traditions are merely window decoration to be shown to the public, and then ignored in practice.

AA runs no treatment centers. AA isn't affialiated with them, even if the Treatment center affaliates themselves with AA, for one reason or another.

Who cares if Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. owns any treatment facilities? True-believer A.A. members run a zillion of them, all dedicated to shoving the 12-step cult religion on more victims.

We cannot stop the bandwagon effect of people wanting our success stories of 30, 40, 50, and 60 years clean and sober. Just like everyone loves the winner of the Super Bowl "the next season", or the winner of the Points Championship of Racing, after they never pulled for them the year before.

There is no bandwagon. The latest GSO surveys showed that membership of A.A. is not growing any more. If anything, it is now declining, and it will drop rapidly when judges stop illegally, unconstitutionally sentencing people to A.A. And it will really drop after a few patients win malpractice lawsuits against treatment centers for shoving cult religion on them while calling it "treatment for a deadly disease" and "giving you the tools that you will need to maintain sobriety".

I hope it makes you have grattitude, that you have taken so much time to try to prevent someone that is almost dying from any sort of alcohol related illnesses and trash ther hopes and dreams of having a good life without alcohol.

You are wrong, totally wrong. I do not trash people's hopes of having a happy life. I warn them of the Hell that is to be found in cults like A.A.. They can then do other things that will actually help them to recover, rather than wasting their time on harmful cult dogma, like believing that they are "powerless over alcohol" and inherently sinful, selfish, and defective, and unable to ever recover.

I give people the good news that they can recover without a cult religion, and that there are better alternatives, like SMART, SOS, WFS, or MFS.

And once again, you are displaying another standard cult characteristic: Insistence that "Our way is THE ONLY WAY". A.A. is not the only way to recover, and if it disappeared off of the face of the Earth tomorrow, alcoholics would still have plenty of ways to recover, starting with Do It Yourself.

A good life don't mean that one gets on their hands and knees and preaches on a high rock. It means that in a life of alcohol and isolation, we can overcome the ways of our past and learn how to make friendships with the people of the same illness in our own hometowns. But you have no where to go to share your experience, stregnth and hope with anyone else. People that don't idealize with the problem of addiction don't understand, and don't want to hear about it.

That doesn't sound too bad, but it is still cultish. Why not just make friends with everybody in general, whether they are an alcoholic or not? Are you really so afraid that normal people won't understand? That is, you know, just another standard cult characteristic: "Only another cult member understands."

What you haven't provided is an alternative to the program of AA.

Ah yes, there it is: The standard A.A. cult dodge: "You can't criticize our voodoo medicine unless you have a foolproof program of your own to offer as an alternative."
We've been over this before, in previous letters. That is bogus logic — If someone is selling witchcraft as a cure for AIDS, I can criticize him and his potentially-fatal quack medicine without having a working cure for AIDS to offer as an alternative to the witchcraft.

Furthermore, I have provided an alternative. We have discussed that repeatedly. Read the previous letters.

Other than doing it on your own and criticising everything in your way everyday. I am one of these people that think that a highlighter marker is a waste of time, the whole dang book is important. Not just one sentence. But one looking for lies, has to take it out of text and pinch it into their own thinking. So they hash and hash, wetting the pages with the "dye of inconfidence and incompatance".

The whole dang book is a carefully crafted pack of lies. I merely highlight the most outrageous ones.

Besides, at the beginning of this letter you wrote, "There is very little that Bill W. had to do with any of us staying sober as fars as docterine." [sic.]
Now you are telling me that you consider his whole book to be "important"? Which is it?

Making one try to see how because brown liquor made that person puke green stuff, will make it alright for everyone to drink white liquor; that is the old ways of Alcoholic thinking.

What on earth is that gibberish supposed to mean? You are becoming incoherent.

Thus is so for one not able to keep his opinion to himself.

This is the United States of America, not some dictatorship like Iraq, isn't it? We have Freedom Of Speech and Freedom Of The Press here, and are not required to keep our opinions to ourselves. In fact, democracy will not work if we do.

Furthermore, criticizing evil cults is a good thing to do. Ask any survivor of Scientology, the Hari Krishnas, or the Moonies. Heck, ask any survivor of Alcoholics Anonymous.

But much like you are an asshole for printing this website up, I have a belly button also, and we both are still sick... I Agree to be disagreeable.

You may still be sick, but I recovered.

Habitually declaring yourself to be sick is yet another standard cult characteristic — "Members cannot trust their own thinking" and "Newcomers cannot think right". And it also reflects "No exit and No Graduates — you never recover enough to graduate and leave the program".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

— Orange

From: "stuart" <[email protected]>
Subject: Qualifications
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003

>> Dear Sir/Madame;
>> I was wondering what your academic background is and what training
>> you have
>> received in statistics? Do you you what a "p" value is? Or
>> an "n" value.
>> Just curious. Where did you receive your degrees, and in what
>> discliplines.
>> We just need to know whether or not we can take the information pn
>> your
>> website into serious consideration, or not.
>> Thank you
>> Stuart Hyderman BPHE MSc MD

Hello Stuart,

Who is "we"? Do you have fleas or something?

I see that you grew a whole bunch of new initials after your name, things you didn't have last month or last year. Does "MD" stand for Mendelevium or Muscular Distropy?

If you were a Doctor, or even a medical student, or even just a fair science student, you would know that you do not question journalists about scientific reports that they report about. You go straight to the source, and question the doctor or scientist who did the study and wrote the paper.

Nevertheless, I shall answer your question.

You must have been reading the results from Dr. Walsh et. al. in the file on The Effectiveness Of The Twelve Step treatment, because that is the only place on my web site where I mention p values.

First, the easy one: When Dr. Walsh mentions n values in her paper, that is just the number of patients in the sample. (Although I don't see where you are reading "n values", because none of my quotes from Walsh include the term. Perhaps you were looking at Brandsma, who used the term the same way.)

A p-value is a measure of confidence in a statistical hypothesis. Specifically, a P value is the smallest significance level at which a null hypothesis may be rejected.

Several cutoff points can be used for P values. Typical cutoff values are (where Ho = the null hypothesis):

P value > 0.1 — little evidence against Ho.
0.05 < P value <= 0.1 — some evidence against Ho.
0.01 < P value <= 0.05 — moderate evidence against Ho.
0.001 < P value <= 0.01 — strong evidence against Ho.
P value < 0.0001 — very strong evidence against Ho.

In her paper, Dr. Walsh did not explain how she calculated the p-values, but it appears to me that she was simply using the probability that any particular values were due to either chance or dishonesty as the null hypothesis, and the alternative hypothesis is that the differences in values between the groups were statistically significant. Thus, the lower the p-value, the greater the confidence we can have in the numbers.

I get that particularly from the very low p-value for the number of patients requiring additional hospitalization in the table of cocaine users' outcomes. People can lie about occasional cocaine use or drinking, but it's impossible to hide the hospitalizations when the doctors have access to the medical records.

So Dr. Walsh gives p-values that range from 0.020 for "any drinking" to 0.001 for "additional hospitalization".

And likewise, "Additional inpatient treatment was required significantly more often (P<0.0001) by the AA group (63 percent) and the choice group (38 percent) than by the subjects assigned to initial treatment in the hospital (23 percent)."

Such a very low p-value as 0.0001 is "very strong evidence". That is what you would expect when you can see the undeniable evidence of hospitalization and when the difference between 63 percent and 23 percent is so large that it cannot possibly be due to random chance.

At least, that's how I read it. I would email her and ask her if I knew her email address, but I don't.

As far as credentials and education is concerned, it isn't mine that you need to be examining. You shouldn't believe me, you should believe the doctors and other experts whom I quote. They are the scientists and researchers and doctors who are doing the research and creating the evidence. I am merely acting as a journalist. The major requirement for that job is integrity, honesty, and accuracy, for which no degrees are given. The only way I can suggest for you to figure out whether you can trust me there is to pick a few references and citations at random, and verify them for yourself. See for yourself whether I quoted truthfully and accurately.

*               Agent Orange              *
*        [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*        https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
*  True information, human intelligence,   *
*  and Reason are the mortal enemies of   *
*  cult leaders...                        *

letter 2 from Stuart:
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003

Dear Sir/Madame;

I cannot take you seriously, based on the extreme defensiveness in your answer. Nonetheless, thank you for your reply. I see that you have no qualifications (at least none mentioned) in the field of the treatment of alcoholism. I am curious about one thing however. Why do you spend so much effort in badmouthing someone else's ideas, however inane they may or may not be? I really can't think of a more complete and utter waste...

Take me seriously? Whom do you think you are kidding?
It was easy to do a search on you using Deja-Vu to see all of your posts from the last couple of years.
That's when I saw that you gained all of those initials after your name just for my benefit.

Do you really expect me to take *you* seriously?

Third letter from Stuart,
Thursday, August 07, 2003

I use some of my qualifications at my discretion, depending om with whom I am conversing. I am sorting through some information. You website actually interests me, and still may refer to it. I do notice you replied publically to a private enquiry.

> Do you really expect me to take *you* seriously?

I don't really care if you do.

[I also posted the answer about p-values to the Internet newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps, and a "Moonraker" answered:]

IIRC, Stuart IS a medical doctor. He may very well know more than Harvard on some issues.

[and I answered]

"Stuart" claims to be:
Stuart Hyderman BPHE MSc MD
(At least, that is what he said to me in an email.)

Moonraker says:
> IIRC, Stuart IS a medical doctor. He may very well know more than Harvard
> on some issues.

So I asked (and got no answer for):

What is his last name?
For that matter, what is his first name?
"stuart" or "fred"? Why is his email "[email protected]" ?

Is this stuart any relation to the other stuart who posts here, who also claims to be a doctor, Stuart Hyderman, [email protected] ?

Where did he graduate from medical school?
In which states is he licensed to practice medicine?
What papers has he had published, and where?
Where does he practice medicine?
What experience does he have in treating alcoholism?

What makes you say that he may know more than Harvard on some issues?

Inquiring minds want to know.


I did a search of the American Medical Association's database of doctors. They never heard of any Dr. Stuart Hyderman, even though they list both AMA members and non-members.

An internet search found only a "Stuart Hyderman, doctor of chiropractic", in Canada. The letters for that are "DC", not "MD".

A search of health and medical databases of articles and publications found no papers by any Dr. Stuart Hyderman.

Anybody have an explanation for these curious facts?

And what is "BPHE", and who grants it?

Moonraker answered:

You didn't get an answer because it didn't deserve one. Who cares?

> Anybody have an explanation for these curious facts?

I'd say they were non-facts. It's only curious to you because you are hunting for some silly little piece of "evidence" to add to your conspiracy theory.

Nope, not much of a conspiracy. Probably just a couple of stupid teenage kids who think that it is terribly funny to lie and claim to be a real doctor, and dispense quack medical advice and cult religion, while alcoholism kills 100,000 Americans per year.

[More years of arguing in back-and-forth letters revealed that the correspondent really was the chiropractor from Edmunton, Stuart Hyderman. And he uses telus.net and telusplanet.net as his ISP.]

From: Karen
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003

Hello Agent Orange,

I ran across your web site this a.m. when I decided to find what Bob Earll was up to these days. He was one of my favorite AA speakers, in my opinion he spoke "his truth" and didn't care what anyone thought.

I've been sober 17 years and left AA after 3. I couldn't agree with you more! I left AA to save my life and to get a life!

Keep up the great work, thank God for your web site!

Karen in Seattle

Hello, Karen,

Thanks for the kind remarks. I'm glad that somebody appreciates the work.

Have a good day, and congratulations on your sobriety.


Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2003
John M. from the U.K. wrote:

Dear Mr Orange,

I stumbled on your site today and am so glad I did — it shed light on my own experiences with AA. Without boring you with my own story, I am happily into my third week of sobriety having concluded that the only way forward is to look to myself and my own strength and determination to overcome this particular problem as indeed I have to confront all other problems. Wouldn't it be cool if I could turn over my debt problems to a higher power for example or sit with other bad debtors wallowing in my problems until they miraculously disappeared! If only.

I regret I first went to AA in 1995 and while I had reservations my befuddled state stopped me devoting serious time to analysing what was really going on — a drowning man will clutch at a straw. Well, its 2003 now and I am still here, without the aid of a higher power — I still have the potential to destroy myself the same as anyone else but at the moment I choose not to.

Mr orange it may interest you to hear that my employer rang an AA helpline here in the UK out of the best of motives with me listening in — a conference call with God if you like! I was stunned to hear the AA volunteer advising my employer to give me my marching orders so that I would wake up and see sense... and giving this advice without any knowledge of me, my circumstances or my desire or not to stop drinking! But this woman felt that our shared affliction gave her the right to play God with my career, the one thing I was desperately holding onto that morning. Fortunately my employer is a good man and did not follow her fanatical advice. I conclude that AA felt that if I was stripped of my job then I would be a more willing recruit for their cult.

Another anecdote from a call I made today to AA. Incidentally if you wonder why I still call these people it is because I confess to a morbid curiosity with what this appalling organisation is up to now that I have reached my own solutions and returned myself to sanity in my own way.

I called the helpline today and asked the simple question—
Q: I am finding it difficult to concentrate on my job or indeed to focus on anything in the last week or so — is this part of withdrawal and if so what can I do about it?

Answer: Go to a meeting (surprise surprise) to which I asked what possible way can going to a meeting help me with physical or psychological withdrawal from alcohol?

More disturbing was the way the volunteer insisted vehemently that my efforts to give up alcohol were doomed unless I did it his way. This was all the more galling when I believe that this time I really have discovered the secret — that it is a simple one step solution — do not drink alcohol — period. I didn't bother arguing because YOU CANNOT ARGUE WITH FANATICS.

I won't go on as I think you and I are on the same wavelength — but it greatly disturbs me that employers, wives, parents and sufferers are referred to these appalling people when in dire need of proper professional help — and a PROBLEM WHICH I INSTINCTIVELY BELIEVE TO BE CURABLE IS MISDIAGNOSED AND MISTREATED.

As for 'what you see and hear here stays here' — in other words the anonymity of the sufferer — my own reflection on this is that it is impossible to trust people with your innermost secrets — because 99.999999% of people will pass on the interesting titbit of gossip to someone else even though you trusted them with your darkest secret — and this I would apply to my closest friends, family, doctors anyone. I trust nobody — if I don't want stuff to be common knowledge I keep it to myself — period.

Keep writing your views — people need proper answers to what is a difficult problem — they also need a believable strategy for survival not a load of mumbo jumbo.

Thank you for helping me today and reaffirming what I myself have come to realise — that I am the master of my own destiny and that that is really that. Wasn't it ever thus?

Kind regards,

John M.

Hello John,

Thanks for a great letter. You make a lot of good points.
Oh, and thanks for all of the complements, too.

The positive stuff first — Yes, you are the master of your destiny. Believing that has been a real life-saver for me. Believing that I could just quit drinking and manage my own life made it unnecessary for me to buy into a cultish quack medicine cure.

And you mentioned looking for rational or common-sense help. I like SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) myself; they dispense a lot of sane information.
(See the Top 10 reading list for Dr. Albert Ellis' book, When AA Doesn't Work for You, Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.)

(But I don't want to slight SOS, MFS, WFS, or LifeRing. I just haven't been to any of their meetings.) And although I mention SMART, and like SMART, and go to SMART meetings, I still basically got sober by my own efforts. I didn't even learn about the existence of SMART until I had 4 or 5 months of sobriety.

I don't know if there are any SMART groups in the U.K.; perhaps someone will start some.

And you mention the "Do not drink alcohol — period" program for sobriety. Yeh, I really like that line. I swiped it from Paul Roasberry --
'Try the "one-step" program, instead: just stop drinking. Believe me: you can do it.'

And somehow, I am not totally surprised by the A.A. "helper" who recommended that you be fired. That is just so typical of A.A. sponsors who feel entitled to hurt people in order to help them. "We are doing it for your own good."

A study that I was reading about recently wanted to see whether A.A. really "restored people to sanity" and made them "happily and usefully whole", like Bill Wilson said. It didn't. The authors found that 54% of the A.A. members examined (which included people with as much as 9 years of sobriety in A.A.), were noticeably mentally ill — "Overtly Disturbed" — all the way up to psychotic. (Even more were maladjusted; only about 10% could be called healthy.) So when you call an A.A. hotline, you run a great risk of getting advice from someone who is nuts. You might as well flip a coin to decide whether to call A.A. or the local mental hospital's inmates for some helpful advice...

Then there is of course the all-too-common arrogant attitude that someone who was suicidally drinking himself to death suddenly becomes the most wise and immensely knowledgeable person around from just a year or two of going to A.A. meetings, and is now completely qualified to act as a drug and alcohol counselor and dispense advice in critical life-or-death matters.

Well, as Sportin' Life sang in Porgy and Bess, "It ain't necessarily so..."

And the way that the A.A. volunteer was so ready to cause you the pain of loss of job and career reminds me that there is a noticeable and disturbing thread of sadism and masochism running through Alcoholics Anonymous — A member gets smacked by his sponsor, so he goes and beats up on his own newcomer sponsees, "for their own good, of course."

Bill Wilson constantly raved brutal fascistic things like,

Why all this insistence that every A.A. member must hit bottom first? The answer is that few people will sincerely try to practice the A.A. program unless they have hit bottom. For practicing A.A.'s remaining eleven Steps means the adoption of attitudes and actions that almost no alcoholic who is still drinking can dream of taking. Who wishes to be rigorously honest and tolerant? Who wants to confess his faults to another and make restitution for harm done? Who cares anything about a Higher Power, let alone meditation and prayer? Who wants to sacrifice time and energy in trying to carry A.A.'s message to the next sufferer? No, the average alcoholic, self-centered in the extreme, doesn't care for this prospect — unless he has to do these things in order to stay alive himself.
      Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A., and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation. Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 24.

We saw we needn't always be bludgeoned and beaten into humility.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 75.

[A.A. members are] impersonally and severely disciplined from without.
(A personal letter from Bill Wilson to Dr. Harry Tiebout, 9 Nov 1950, quoted in Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous, Ernest Kurtz, page 129.)

Recently, I was reading an A.A. book of daily meditations, and stumbled across this item:


... we know that the pains of drinking had to come before sobriety, and emotional turmoil before serenity.

I love spending time in my garden feeding and pruning my beautiful flowers. One day, as I was busily snipping away, a neighbor stopped by. She commented, "Oh! Your plants are so beautiful, it seems such a shame to cut them back." I replied, "I know how you feel, but the excess must be removed so they can grow stronger and healthier." Later I thought that perhaps my plants feel pain, but God and I know that it's part of the plan and I've seen the results. I was quickly reminded of my precious A.A. program and how we all grow through pain. I ask God to prune me when it's time, so I can grow.
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 286, October 4.

So, apparently, that A.A. volunteer and God knew that it was time for you to be pruned of your job and career so that you could grow more beautiful in A.A. later...

Oh, and while we are at it, they also say that you must conform to the A.A. way (no surprise there):


We obey A.A.'s Steps and Traditions because we really want them for ourselves. It is no longer a question of good or evil; we conform because we genuinely want to conform. Such is our process of growth in unity and function. Such is the evidence of God's grace and love among us.
A.A. COMES OF AGE, p. 106

It is fun to watch myself grow in A.A. I fought conformity to A.A. principles from the moment I entered, but I learned from the pain of my belligerence that, in choosing to live the A.A. way of life, I opened myself to God's grace and love. Then I began to know the full meaning of being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Daily Reflections; A Book of Reflections by A.A. members for A.A. members, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., 1990, page 187, June 27.

And you mentioned that you can't argue with a fanatic. Brother, is that ever true. I occasionally carry on debates with some of the true believers in newsgroups like alt.recovery.from-12-steps and alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism. The true believers have blinders on; they just don't want to know the truth — that is one of the hallmarks of cult members. It just doesn't matter what you say or how well you prove a point; they won't see it; they refuse to see it. I figure that it is totally useless to try to teach them anything, but more reasonable people who read the on-going debates may benefit by learning something.

Oh well, have a good day anyway, and thanks again for the letter. And hang in there with your sobriety. You can do it.

*                 Agent Orange               *
*           [email protected]       *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*         https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
**  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.

From: Rosanna
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003

Hi Orange

Thank you for the most honest answers to all my questions I have had for a long time and no treatment centre was able to answer any of my questions but you have, and honestly too.

My best friend is addicted to heroin. The first rehab, we went to the first question, the therapist asks me, "What is your relationship with him", I tell them he is my best friend whom I love dearly and is in need of help, then I get interrogated for 3 hours as to whether I do drugs or not. Then it is time to pay, then I pay for the programme, pay up front is required or no admission allowed. I paid out of my own personal pocket as he had no medical insurance.

This is all done with friendliness and big smiles, "Let this be a new beginning."

Now the patient will be checked in. "Please say good bye, and no contact allowed for a period of 3 weeks. Please go to the family meetings provided by the clinic for family, friends, etc."

Wow!!!! I leave feeling very positive that this will work. By the way, the programme is based on the Betty Ford Clinic.

Now comes the fun and games. The friendliness disappears and any interference from me gets rebuked very rudely. "Please, you must stand back now and let us do our work."

In the car, when I left, the first thing that went through my mind was, "Hell, he is not a patient, but a client." That was my PHD in common sense speaking to me. My gut feeling says, "Something does not make sense here, but let's see what happens."

I go to the family meetings. I get handed a piece of paper and have to pay to enter the room. I pay. I read the paper. It says that I am powerless and unmanagable, and must surrender. Also I have a disease, addiction is a family disease, this disease I have is caring. This terrible incurable disease is called "codependency".

My friend also has a disease which is incurable, progressive, just like cancer etc.

Wow!!! This came as a shock — diseased. Is this contagious, this disease? They answer "Yes, if you do not follow the Steps."

At first, it made no sense, sick, a patient, I am sick. Sick from what? as I feel pretty healthy and am of sound mind and thinking...

Then, the more I listened, the picture became clearer, this is the sisterhood of the AA cult speaking. "Put them out in the street; Let go Let God; Your recovery comes first." Recovery from what sickness? I am not sick.

So my friend gets thrown out of the rehab No.1, before the programme treatment was finished, but they did not refund my money, because he was allowed to came back after 72 hours. Now I never brought him back after 72 hours, because these smucks knew he would relapse, and therefore their cash register gets full and their pay cheques are guaranteed at the end of the month. Now, the service I received after he was admitted was, this therapist tried to control me and tell me what to do. Take note: This happened after the receipt was written out, not before. Now my friend did relapse the minute he was thrown out.

Treatment No. 2, the same as above — pay up. Once paid, it's "Back off please, basically shut up and let us do our work. Go to the family meetings, you need to grow." Grow up from what? I am an adult, in fact a very mature adult.

So we continue and now we are at rehab No.7. Note: all 6 rehabs were 12 step based. The same psychobabble nonsense. I sit in the sister Naranon meetings thinking, "This is going to cure my friend?" How stupid when I think of it, now that I have a clearer picture. What an idiot I was.

They did brainwash me — I was going to give up on my friend, and I would have gone against everything I stand for, my values. It would have made me the most unhappy person to go against what I stand for, my principles, my values etc.

The cruelest trick of all is: "BREAK UP, PUT UP, SHUT UP, MAKE UP."
That is their motto. Despicable, absolutely despicable.

People are dying out there but the merry-go-round continues. Relapse, rehab, relapse, rehab, etc.

Rehab No 7. I ask, "Are they 12 step based?" "No, we work on the behaviour."

Okay, they say they will send an escort to fetch him. Wow!!! An escort, never heard off something like that before. They arrive all smiles, friendly. Please sign this acknowledgement of debt, and do not worry, we will obtain a court order for 2 years so he can't run away. I say goodbye to him.

I go visit after 4 weeks, but prior to visiting I speak to him on the phone and he says, "This is hell, please get me out of here." "All calls get monitered, by the way," he says. "Now I will get hell because I said these things about them." I drive 500km to visit him. I arrive and see his hair is all shaved off like some kind of animal. I inquire, and they answer that all is okay, he is doing fine, the counselors are very friendly. It gets explained to me, that I am dysfunctional because how can someone like me be attracted to someone like him. I explained that he is my best friend and I know him very well and he is my friend. They tell me no, he is self centered. I must practice tough love.

Okay, My next meeting I get told I enable, so I am just as sick as him, and in need of treatment. That was when I totally lost patience and said, "Listen, Mr. Therapist, if you for one minute think I am going to take your bait then you are so wrong."
Therapist says to me, "I have you just where I want you and it is uncomfortable hey."
I nearly smacked him and I should have. I said, "Wait a minute, nobody has ever got me where they want me."
He says that it is the truth, and my behaviour proves it, because why else would I react this way then? "Let go, let God, for Your will be alone, let him go. He is a child, and needs to grow."

Take note, the AA cult was speaking here.

Now comes a catch 22. That acknowledgement of debt I signed while I was so distraught about my friend when they came to fetch him actually guarantees them a payment of 1,000.00 $ per month for 2 years. What they are doing is making sure that all their so-called patients, TC, stay for 2 years and they will continously say they are not ready to go. Now that justifies their tactic. They have a social worker on their staff and she obtains the court order which gives them 2 years of payment. The court orders run for 2 years.

Also, they have group confessions, the groupie sessions. The one other person whom I know there is a patient's fiance. She and I are best friends. Her fiance will not be released because he supposedly needs to confront his father, and he now needs to tell this old man that it is all his fault that he is an addict, as it's in the genes. My heart out goes out to both of them, as he does not want to confront his dad, and now they are preventing his fiance from visiting due to the fact that he has not confronted his dad. Despicable, unethical.

This therapist is a clinical psychologist by the way. Now, I started to question them, this must have made them nervous as now all of a sudden, my friend wants no contact with me, as apparently he has grown now. The therapist says, "You see, he has grown and has left you behind." I asked the therapist in which has he grown, has he taken responsibility for his actions and standing on his own two feet? The answer was he has grown because he does not want to see you. Now all of a sudden my friend is hiding away from me in the boot camp because I am so persistent and do not give up. Now, is this brain washing or not?

If it were not for your web site I would have never known about all their games they play. The treatment is based on Synanon, so he is brainwashed but they get their 1,000.00 $ a month. After reading your site, I could not care jack shit about them. I am going to fetch him before I end up going to his funeral. Let this be an eye opener to all. They will sell you the same psychobabble nonsense over and over again. Never will they say, "Look, the treatment is not working, he is not responding, so let's try another option." No, protocol says, this is what works. That is what they answer.

I hope this story helps others out there. Remember, they will turn your children against you by telling them that it is your fault that they did drugs. So be careful. The cult is active. People are dying out there.

I would love to hear what you think about my story.

Hi, Rosanna,

I think your story is very powerful and moving. Others should hear your story, so I'm putting it up on the web site.

I do not have any magic answer for your friend. I wish I did. As usual, I have to say that he will quit, really quit and stay quit, when he wants to. What helps with that is to really look at all of the down side of using, to increase the desire to quit. I did a rap on cost-benefit analyses in an earlier letter, here. He should look at that. And I also mentioned the old Base Brain or Lizard Brain "Addiction Monster". Recognizing him urging me to relapse helps me to avoid relapses.

Thanks for the letter, and have a good day.


From: F.M.
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003

I have had a drinking problem, and when benevolent people around me made me remark it was growing into a dependency, I just decided to quit, and since then I feel far better. I especially realised alcohol was bad for my willpower, and willpower I regained, up to the point that the time I spent drinking I now spend doing yoga exercises and studies.

My abandoning alcohol had nothing to do with the AA. Part of the reason why I abandoned wine, which I loved so much, is that I am surrounded by heavier drinkers than I was, and that the best service I can render them is to show them one can have a more prolonged good time without resorting to a bottle.

As you put it, AA is religion, and very bad religion indeed. The God they pray to may be a very powerful being, but is not the God Jesus Christ prayed to, nor the God Patanjali referred to. Even though they say one can rely upon God as they conceive Him, it is a very specific conception of God that is touted upon them, a God depriving the believer of all willpower. It is not true [that] one must crash and burn to recover from alcoholism.

If it is a disease, why doesn't AA rely upon medical expertise first? Why don't they treat the problem psychiatrically rather than religiously?

Second, one must not build a religious ideal around something negative. It is a well-knowned fact of yoga and modern psychology that the more you concentrate upon some evil — maybe it's sin, maybe it's Satan, maybe it's alcoholism — the more power you give to the concept over yourself and in the world around you. As a sobriety-teaching system, Buddhism is quite superior, because the thing insisted upon is a positive good, Nirvana. Good forms of Christianity concentrate upon Christ and bad forms upon Satan.

One thing is sure about alcoholism, the only step out of it is not considering one is powerless before alcohol, but trusting oneself not to touch to the harmful substance any longer. Heaven helps those who help themselves. I know many alcoholics who are so for their wanting to help others without helping themselves first, and Bill was one of these as I am informed by you: he died of tobacco, which I find more revolting as a habit than alcohol.

Hi, F.M.

Thanks for a great letter. I couldn't agree with you more.

Oh, and while I don't know if tobacco addiction is more revolting than alcohol addiction, it sure is deadlier: tobacco kills 430,000 U.S. citizens per year, while alcohol kills 100,000. And I know that tobacco harmed me more than alcohol, if only because I smoked for 35 years, and drank too much for a bit less than 20. I thank God that I am now free of both of them.

Have a good day, and congratulations on your sobriety.


From: Kent G.
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003
Subject: Your a fucking Idiot

Your have a problem with alcoholics living ?

No, I have a problem with evil cults killing alcoholics with quack medicine.

I assume from your question that you are under the misimpression that Alcoholics Anonymous actually saves the lives of alcoholics.

Did you bother to read the file on the effectiveness of A.A. as a cure for alcoholism? No, probably not. People who send short letters of four-letter words usually don't read much of anything before they start complaining.

Prof. George E. Vaillant, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., as well as a doctor and a professor of psychology, spent 8 years testing A.A. treatment of alcoholics, and trying his best to make A.A. look good, but in the end he had to admit that A.A. had not helped the alcoholics at all, and on top of that, the A.A. program had an "appalling" death rate, much higher than the other treatment programs that he studied. Of the 100 AA-treated alcoholics whom Vaillant tracked for 8 years, 5 got sober, 29 got dead, and the other 66 kept on drinking. And Vaillant wrote all of that in his book "The Natural History of Alcoholism". See:

Also see Dr. Brandsma's test which revealed that A.A. grossly increased the rate of binge drinking in alcoholics:

' "Ego reduction" ends up being a euphemism for destroying one's self-respect, self-confidence, and ability to think independently.'

This was done by alcohol.

And A.A. does it some more, often to a much greater degree. See:

And also look at Brandsma's work again. He found that destroying people's egos had a negative effect — they drank to get their egos back:
"The 3-month follow-up indicated that AA members had increased their binges and more often drank in order to feel superior."

From: "Mickey"
Subject: AA and You
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003

After "plowing" through your website I must admit it was interesting reading albeit flawed in part.

I have been in the program for 3 years and agree that AA's roots come from the bible. And I sometimes get upset with people who would deny that fact. It has been my experience that there are more people who do not know the roots of AA than there are those who deny AA's roots.

Sorry if it upsets you, but the truth is that the Twelve Steps of Bill Wilson are not based on the Bible at all. They are based on the cult religion of the notorious fascist Dr. Frank Buchman — his "Oxford Groups". Even Bill Wilson himself explicitly said so:

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

And in her book, Bill's wife Lois described how Bill wrote the Twelve Steps for the "Big Book":

By this time Bill was ready to start the fifth chapter, "How It Works." He was not feeling well, but the writing had to go on, so he took pad and pencil to bed with him. How could he bring the program alive so that those at a distance, reading the book, could apply it to themselves and perhaps get well? He had to be very explicit. The six Oxford Group principles that the Fellowship had been using were not definite enough. He must broaden and deepen their implications. He relaxed and asked for guidance.
      When he finished writing and reread what he had put down, he was quite pleased. Twelve principles had developed — the Twelve Steps.
Lois Remembers, Lois Wilson, Page 113

Now I know some people, like Hemfelt, who put together the "Serenity Bible", have pored over the Bible, looking for quotes that sound vaguely like some of the fascist teachings of Frank Buchman (which Bill copied). Then they imagine that such coincidences mean that the Steps are based on the Bible. But that is merely the same process as seeing butterflies or people's faces in Rorschack ink blots. The stuff is obviously not really there.

In addition, the Twelve Steps are not "spiritual principles", they are cult practices. Their major objective is recruiting and indoctrinating new cult members, and turning them into true believers in the cult. That is what Frank Buchman developed those practices for, and that is what they still do.

By the way, Bill's statement was misleading in a couple of ways. The "early AAs" did not find the material for the Twelve Steps, Bill Wilson did. Once again, he was trying to imply that someone else helped to write those steps, which didn't happen. Bill was also trying to imply that the early members of A.A. had searched long and hard for something, anything, that would produce sobriety, and the Twelve Steps were what they found. But that was just another one of Bill's deceptions. The truth is that Bill Wilson just decided to shove his strange Oxford Group religious beliefs on everybody else. He wanted to recreate the Oxford Group cult so that he could profit from it. Wilson envisioned a string of for-profit hospitals that used an inexpensive cult religion to treat alcoholism. Half of the original A.A. members strongly objected to Bill's dogmatic religiosity because they knew that it would drive alcoholics away from the very group that was supposed to help them.

And Bill brought up the name of Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the American branch of the cult, because he didn't want to mention Frank Buchman, the real leader, whom a lot of people hated for his praise of Adolf Hitler and pro-Nazi sympathies.

If you think that the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have something to do with the Bible, you should re-read two files:
The Religious Roots of the Twelve Steps
The Heresy of the Twelve Steps

The more important issue is that people ARE getting sobriety from working the AA program and many of these people neither know the roots of AA nor deny them.

One important point you fail to recognize is that people do not get sober because of what Bill Wilson was or wasn't. They get sober because they have found something they can believe in.

Wrong. People get sober because they decide to get sober.
People quit drinking because they get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
They realize that chronic drunkenness is going to kill them, and they decide that they would rather live.

If you think that A.A. makes people get sober, then show me the data, please.
Where did you get the idea that A.A. makes people get sober? (Besides some A.A. true believers telling you that at a meeting...)
What study, survey, or experiment showed that A.A. sobers up anybody?

I have collected every study of the effectiveness of A.A. and 12-step treatment that I could find anywhere, and the valid ones (of which there are not enough) are in the file The Effectiveness of the Twelve Steps.

All of the fair unbiased honest tests show that A.A. does not work. Even one of the leaders of A.A., Prof. George Vaillant, who is a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Board of Trustees, proved with his own 8-year-long test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics that A.A. does not work at all. It produced zero improvement in the alcoholics.

You are being fooled by appearances. Just because you can collect a dozen or a hundred sober people and put them in a room does not mean that the room or the meeting made them get sober. Even when they sober up after their first A.A. meeting, it still does not prove that A.A. somehow caused them to get sober. What about the great numbers of other people who relapse after some A.A. meetings? Did the A.A. meetings cause them to relapse and drink alcohol? A.A. cannot fairly claim the credit for one small part of the crowd quitting drinking while disavowing any responsibility for all of the rest of the people who don't quit. Either the program works or it doesn't.

And I know about the argument, "Well, they didn't follow the program right. It's their fault that they are still drinking. The program will work if they work it right."
But that is a bogus argument. I can just as logically proclaim that I have a foolproof, never-fails program:
There are no other rules.
If someone doesn't quit drinking, then he isn't thoroughly following my simple program which never fails if people follow it thoroughly.

That is, of course, a bunch of baloney.

And the question you are totally ignoring is: "How many of those newcomers who quit drinking would have quit anyway, without A.A.?" Usually, the answer is, "All of them." A.A. and N.A. just claim all of the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway, while denying any responsibility for all of those other people who don't quit drinking and doping. That is dishonest and phony.

Even when people swear that the A.A. meetings made them get sober, that is worthless evidence. People are unfortunately easily fooled by quack medicine.
Read Doctor Barry Beyerstein's rap about annecdotal evidence and quack medicine.
Also read Doctor David Duncan's observations on quack doctors and quack medicine.
Many people who get completely ineffective quack medicine will still swear that it is great medicine and that it healed them.

Every cult has its true believers who grandly claim that the cult gave them spirituality, or sanity, or special powers, or a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, or sobriety, or something. They are sure that their cult is God's special gift to mankind. They are wrong.

"Having something to believe in", as you call it, is just as worthless as believing that the Earth is flat. The truth is what matters, and the truth is that as a therapy program to sober up alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous is a total failure. But as a cult religion, A.A. is a great success.

I would agree that some folks maintain that Bill was divinely inspired when he wrote the big book. I am not one of those people. Bill was a terrible writer but he was very good a plagiarizing.

Now that you have right.

The big book is as good or as bad as a person wants to make it. But for dealing specifically with alcoholism and learning to live a life free of alcohol it is no different than any of the thousand other self improvment books that flood the market each year.


The Big Book is insane nonsense. You can't make it "good". Trying to make something good out of it is like trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The Big Book contains large amounts of insane misinformation and grandiose delusions.

Read The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

The idea that you can make the Big Book good or bad is another logical fallacy, a fallacy that Marshall McLuhan dispensed with 35 years ago. He pointed out that you cannot say, "Things are neither good nor bad. It is the use to which you put them that counts." McLuhan stated that things have inherent effects. It is insane to declare, "Hydrogen bombs are neither good nor bad. It is the use that you put them to that counts." Obviously, hydrogen bombs inherently have a certain effect. Whether they are dropped on cities or not, they still terrorize people. They change the world just by their existence. (And as terrorists get closer and closer to having some nuclear warheads, they will really change the world.)

Likewise, the Big Book inherently misinforms people about alcoholism, and causes alcoholics to die. One of Prof. Vaillant's big discoveries in his test of A.A. was that A.A. actually raised the death rate in alcoholics, rather than lowered it.

And the Big Book is very different from a lot of other self-help books. The Big Book pushes a strange old cult religion, and says that you will die unless you believe in Bill Wilson's crazy beliefs. And then Bill says that you must abandon human intelligence and Reason, and just "have faith" (in Bill's chosen beliefs). That is not a self-help program, that is a cult religion.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

*                 Agent Orange                *
*            [email protected]       *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          https://www.orange-papers.info/        *
**  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.

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