Letters, We Get Mail, CXII

Date: Fri, July 18, 2008 1:29 pm     (answered 14 April 2009)
From: "Christopher M."
Subject: AA (what else could it be really)

Agent Orange,

I was very glad to see that you have posted some new letters. You would be surprised how much I enjoy how you tear apart the AA doctrine and those that espouse it. I had written you before. I was dating a woman in AA and suffice to say I no longer am. Couldn't take all the guilt she took upon herself all the time and the times I was called unspiritual.

I can understand a band of fellow sufferers talking each other out of drinking. I can understand the value in a sponsor but not the way they use it. What is this higher power? Are we to believe that s/he will take time out of their busy schedule to help the unfortunate alcoholic but not the millions of Jews that prayed for release from the "showers" in Europe? They are right about one thing — (many) Drunks have quite the ego. When a man that prayed hard for relief from cancer can't get it but these yahoo's are saved by a "band of drunks" they must be very powerful indeed.

And one question — The woman that called herself Agent Green? What did she need a 12 step program for? What possible need for a non-alcoholic could there be to repeat this nonsense and do the 12 steps? Of course you cannot go by me as I find all organized religions to meet the cult tests.

Thank you for your time, reasoned thought, levity, and being courteous even to your detractors.

Good luck with life,
(Please remove email from post if you post)

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for all of the compliments. And yes, I am trying to get caught up on email yet again.

About why a non-alcoholic would join a 12-Step cult — I think that really touches on the essence of why people join cults — any cults, not just recovery cults. People seek the feeling that they are really special, in with the in-crowd, doing what the best people do, hip to the innermost secret wisdom that the common people don't even know about, on a secret mission to save the world... And maybe getting a Ticket to Heaven, too.

That has nothing to do with recovery from drug or alcohol addictions, of course. But then again, neither do the 12 Steps.

Al-Anon in particular, which is what "Agent Green" joined, is composed of non-alcoholics who just get a kick out of practicing the 12-Step superstitions. Their excuse is that they are married to an alcoholic, or have one as a lover, or are related to one, or know one from somewhere... And then they complain about "codependency", which is a bad case of spiritual cooties that they get from rubbing against an alcoholic...

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    It may be difficult to determine where religious
**    beliefs end and mental illness begins.
**      ==  Elaine Cassel

Date: Mon, June 16, 2008 9:14 am     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: john_r
Subject: Stirrings in the Orange Grove.

Hello, Orange,

Nice to see that you are still very much with us. I was most interested in your demolition of "Agent Green". I had come across this strange item of "research" (through a link placed on www.mentalhealth.net, I think) and thought it pretty feeble on first reading. This was certainly one patch of Greenery that deserved a good dose of "Agent Orange".

You may be amused by the circumstances that first brought me to your site, early last year. I was beginning to fall seriously out of love with AA, and trying to inform myself a bit better on the Fellowship with a view to clarifying just why it was that from first acquaintance, I was uneasy with much of what I was experiencing in and around the Rooms, notwithstanding the fact that I continued trying to "make it work" for some considerable time. I Googled, of all things, "Bill Wilson" and — whatever mood Google was in that day — the first result to come up was in "the orange papers". My "divorce" from AA proved to be very painful psychologically, but your site certainly helped me through.

One quote in the Agent Green piece set me thinking — "AA involvement is associated with ... [an] internal locus of control ...". Well, an internal locus of control is, very clearly, not consistent with the True Belief reflected in AA scripture and practice, but perhaps the presence of such a thing might be why AA appears to "work", at least for some people. It seems to me that there are two ways in which someone may find AA "helpful". One is to become, more or less, a True Believer, and buy into the whole bargain-basement Buchmanite package. The other is, really, to take only what you need in terms of social support from the Fellowship, relying in reality on oneself and maintaining a strong (and silent) internal reservation on the "spiritual" core of the program as it presents in its own terms. This latter approach is, of course, rather difficult to maintain. AA is generally of the "Lite" variety in my neck of the woods — no MidTowns, no West Coast Coolers, and not too much Big Book Bashing — but, nonetheless, overt dissent (or even skepticism) would court considerable disapproval. Also, when uninformed people say, "find a better group", they should bear in mind that even the best, or "Litest" group is likely to be run by a small hard core of dedicated, more-or-less True Believing Old Timers, who may make life difficult even for "successes" (like me !) who are not really "successes" on their terms.

Perhaps my mistake is that, in desperation, I actually worked hard to buy into the whole AA thing. Even my closest family became uneasy at my uncharacteristic attachment to "the God Thing". I think they thought I was going mad. I think they were right. Fortunately, with much pain, I got over it. I might have been better taking what I needed (general support) and clamming up about those reservations that eventually burst forth. In the end, this Buddhist Stoic (or Stoical Buddhist) reached the point where he could neither keep swallowing the sub-Buchmanite religion on the one hand or, on the other, pretend to do so in pursuit of social support. Now, I just try to hold to my own way. I am not so deluded as to think that I have attained "absolute honesty" — but I hope that I am a lot closer to it than those who try to "fake it 'til you make it", in the very teeth of their conscience and personal convictions.

Keep telling the Truth, my friend. Keep the faith.

Very best regards,


Hello JR,

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

About the internal locus of control, that's the way that I see it too. A few people, out of all of the A.A. newcomers, use their own self-control to quit drinking and then they give the credit to "the program", and say that they couldn't have done it themselves. That odd logic is simple enough — when they stay sober and say that A.A. is doing it, everybody cheers for them as they get another coin, and applauds them, and gives them approval, and says that they are good and spiritual and admirable and working a strong program... But if they drink, then everybody disapproves of them for not working a strong program, and not "really trying". Not fun. So some people choose to stay sober by using their own determination and will power.

But that completely invalidates Bill Wilson's sermons about how "we were licked", "we are powerless over alcohol", "we must have a Higher Power to defeat alcohol for us".

By the way, "Agent Green" posted a rebuttal to my rebuttal (and didn't send me a copy or tell me about it, but a correspondent sent me the link). So I'll have to respond to that soon.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "What is it all but a trouble of ants
**  In the gleam of a million million of suns?"

Date: Thu, September 18, 2008 5:36 pm     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: "TRACEY S."
Subject: thanks again

Hi Agent Orange,

Approximately two years ago, I emailed you a thank you note and I now thank you again for your work opposing the obnoxious AA-pushing that is still so insidious in our society. I just came from the page at
and am grateful that you took the time and effort to so eloquently counter Agent.Green! More power to you!

Peace Out,
TAS chillin'

Hi Tracey,

Thanks for the thanks, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Once there were intellectuals who thought the mind existed above
**    the body, but that's been blown away by evidence. In fact, it's
**    easiest to change the mind by changing behavior...
**    == David Brooks, "Pitching With Purpose", New York Times, 1 April 2008.

May 27, 2008: Still in the park, Day 10.

People love to photograph the goslings. When I see a person with a camera slung around his neck walking by, it's almost certain that he will stop and ask to take some pictures. And the little cameras in the cell phones get a good workout too, like is happening here.

Canada Goose gosling getting photographed

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Mon, October 27, 2008 1:45 pm     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Fw: Why was "ACE FULL — SEVEN — ELEVEN" story omitted?

Hey, again, Terry.

The following is pretty self-explanatory. Art Sheehan, a very active and popular propagandist, dismissed your credibility on the History Lovers board. I attempted to respond, and received the nice excuse for not posting said response from propagandist #2, Glen Chestnut.

Thanks, Mike

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Glenn F. C.
To: Mike
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2008 2:38:36 PM
Subject: Re: Why was "ACE FULL — SEVEN — ELEVEN" story omitted?


This is an interesting philosophical question. Various aspects of this issue have been much debated among philosophers for many years.

But it's not really a good thing to try to take on philosophical questions in the AA history lovers. We do best when we try to confine ourselves (as much as possible) to factual questions.

Glenn C., Moderator

> Objective impartiality is never the refuge of the passionate. I
> would counter we are all "agenda driven". It would be more
> perhaps, to say that Orange has a different agenda than the
> promoters of AA have. For example, we have book authors/sellers
> right here on this site. Do we question or belittle
their "agendas"?
> Just trying to be objective. Best regards, Mike
> --- In [email protected]  "Arthur S"
> wrote:
> >
> > The Orange Papers is not quite the most
> > objective and impartial source for AA
> > information. Neither was Dr Bob's daughter
> > Sue.
> >
> > The Orange Papers is an agenda-driven site
> > and things don't get on there unless they fit
> > the agenda.
> >
> > Also, Sue W made no secret of her contempt
> > for Bill W. It was probably rather galling to
> > her that Bill's and Lois' heirs were receiving
> > royalties from the books Bill Wrote and she
> > wasn't. If you read her comments in "Children
> > of the Healer" about her daughter's suicide,
> > after murdering her granddaughter, they are
> > rather chilling, calculated and surreal.
> >
> > The comment on the Big Book manuscript page
> > by Bill W, regarding Del T and his story,
> > says "Thought the book was a racket so
> > withdrew this."
> >
> > By the way, Bill W assigned all author's
> > royalties from the Big Book to the Alcoholic
> > Foundation around September 1938. On April 22,
> > 1940, Bill W and Hank P gave up their stock
> > in Works Publishing Co with a written
> > stipulation that Dr Bob and Anne would receive
> > 10% royalties on the Big Book for life. Bill
> > did not start receiving royalties from Big
> > Book sales until after the US entered World
> > War II in December 1941.
> >
> > Cheers
> > Arthur
> >

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the note.

For the information of my critic in the AA History Lovers' Forum, I never claimed to be unemotional or dispassionate, or even neutral. I care too much about the lives of my friends, especially when I see them dying, to be neutral. In fact, I have repeatedly said that I consider it a despicable crime, the lowest of the low, to foist quack medicine on sick people and deceive them in the name of God.

What I do claim, however, is honesty and accuracy. I don't fake numbers or misrepresent information, or deceive the readers with under-handed propaganda tricks.

Oh, and I do not censor my critics. I am strongly opposed to censorship. I very much believe in the free marketplace of ideas, and letting everyone have their say and their 15 minutes on the soap box. The claim that, "The Orange Papers is an agenda-driven site and things don't get on there unless they fit the agenda." is false. Just reading the letters that I get will make that obvious.

Have a good day.

== Terry

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
**     not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."
**       ==  Bible quotes (The sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity.)

[And here is my first quicky response:]

From: "Mike B."
Subject: Re: Fw: Why was "ACE FULL — SEVEN — ELEVEN" story omitted?
Date: Mon, October 27, 2008 1:27 pm

The following is pretty self-explanatory. Art Sheehan, a very active and popular propagandist, dismissed your credibility on the History Lovers board. I attempted to respond, and received the nice excuse for not posting said response from propagandist #2, Glen Chestnut. Thanks, Mike

>> > By the way, Bill W assigned all author's
>> > royalties from the Big Book to the Alcoholic
>> > Foundation around September 1938. On April 22,
>> > 1940, Bill W and Hank P gave up their stock
>> > in Works Publishing Co with a written
>> > stipulation that Dr Bob and Anne would receive
>> > 10% royalties on the Big Book for life. Bill
>> > did not start receiving royalties from Big
>> > Book sales until after the US entered World
>> > War II in December 1941.
>> >
>> > Cheers
>> > Arthur

I am particularly interested in this statement. I've heard this before, a couple of times, and it is so far removed from the truth as to be basically a lie.

In 1938 Bill Wilson agreed to write the opening chapers of the Big Book for $1000, as flat-rate contract labor. He was not supposed to get any royalties from the Big Book. The book was supposed to be owned by all of the alcoholics, in common. But Bill did receive shares in the publishing company, the 100 Men Corporation, as did Hank Parkhurst. See the prospectus, which lays it all out:

But Bill Wilson then stole the copyright of the book and claimed to be the sole author, as well as the owner of a publishing company called "Works Publishing", a sole proprietorship. On June 20th or 26th, 1940 (the document has both dates), Bill Wilson signed over the stolen copyright of the Big Book to another entity, "Works Publishing Incorporated" — a new corporation with a similar name to what Bill had written on the fraudulent copyright form — in trade for lifetime royalties.

Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst never owned any stock in "Works Publishing". They owned stock in the 100 Men Corporation, so they did not give up their stock in "Works Publishing" on April 22, 1940.

The whole morphing of the "100 Men Corporation" into "Works Publishing Incorporated" was just a cover-up, to hide Bill Wilson's theft of the copyright (as well as most of the publishing funds).

Have a good day.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Sat, October 25, 2008 1:02 am     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: "Boyce Van R."
Subject: Your crusade.

I don't know much but I do know that if a man becomes as obsessed with something as intensely as you seem to have, then something very serious is wrong. Please answer me this; why do you have such a pathalogical hatred for Alcoholics Anonymous and what alternative do you actually offer. I am doing a research paper on modern day sobriety techniques and was steered to your website through a discussion forum. You seem extremely angry at all sorts of things including AOL, I could not find the actual reason. You do seem to quote a lot of people but your own arguments (from what I have read) are for the most part without substance. ie. There are no factual answers from you, merely statements, why is this? I do not expect an answer from you but this e-mail will be included in my work so for the sake of your own voice, I would urge you to reply.

Kind Regards

Boyce S. Van R., MSc, BA (m)

Hello Boyce,

That sure sounds like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" double-bind.

  • If I work hard on my web site, then I am supposedly "obsessed and full of pathalogical hatred", and there is something seriously wrong with me.

  • If I didn't work hard on my web site, then I would be lazy and incompetent and shallow and uncaring.

I do have a strong dislike of frauds and con artists who foist ineffective quack medicine on sick people. But I don't see anything wrong with that. Do you approve of killing patients with quackery?

As far as this goes, "There are no factual answers from you, merely statements" ???
Are you blind? Have you actually been reading my web site? My web site is loaded with factual answers. Start with what is probably the single most important file on the web site, The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment.

Perhaps by "answers", you mean "another treatment program". We have talked endlessly about what works to help alcoholics and addicts. Here is a list of groups, methods, and organizations that seem to be quite good:

  1. SMART,
  2. Rational Recovery,
  3. WFS (Women For Sobriety),
  4. SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety), and
  5. LSR (LifeRing Secular Recovery)

You should also look at the Top 10 reading list.

And especially read the web page on "The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster".

And here is a list of earlier discussions about what works: List here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "A well conducted professional study" showed that
**    "some 5% of newcomers are still attending meetings
**    after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
**    Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"
**    == Dr. Ron Whitington — Chairman, General Service Board,
**    AA Around Australia, Spring Edition No 90, October 1994

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 11:18 am (answered then, for once)
From: jane
Subject: Re: scott hurley from OPB message board here.

hi orange,

are you in Oregon? i have been reading and forwarding information from your site for years. i was listening to the OPB broadcast the other day. i actually called in, but had to hang up bc they put me on hold too long and i had a meeting.

i always post as a man bc AA's tend to bash me much harder when i identify as a woman. so, i posted as "scott hurley," but my name is jane.

i'm horrified to think that a measure like this could funnel millions into AA-style treatment. why do you think the media has this strange mental blank spot?


Hello Jane,

Thanks for the note and the support.

Yes, I'm very much in Oregon, living in downtown Portland. The events described in the introduction — at PAAC — happened at SW 12th and Morrison, on the MAX track line.

I think that the media is basically afraid to be wrong. They keep hearing the constant repetition of the misinformation like "A.A. is great. It has saved millions..." and they don't believe that they have been hoodwinked and fooled for years.

And they really don't want to believe it.

And they assume that someone must be an extremist when they say that A.A. is a fraud and a hoax. I mean, all of those movies and plugs in TV programs, like The Days of Wine and Roses, and My Name Is Bill W., and ER, and Hill Street Blues, and Cagney and Lacy — those couldn't all be a pack of lies, now could they?

Yes, they could.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*          [email protected]       *
*      AA and Recovery Cult Debunking     *
*      https://www.orange-papers.info/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Thu, October 30, 2008 4:53 pm     (answered 18 April 2009)
From: "india jane"
Subject: Re: scott hurley from OPB message board here.

Hi Again Orange,

I've been off doing Halloween stuff and working overtime. Just had a little write-up about my extreme Halloween antics in the paper. ;)

So, I'm very interested in DOING something other than posting in the CL forum and telling my friends the truth about 12 steps. Do you know if anyone has set out to challenge the AMA's classification of "alcoholism" as a disease?

It's strange to think that those who object to a cult religion being the most commonly suggested "cure" for addictions are deemed the extremists! I get bashed daily for simply giving more current, relevant, logical resources for addictions on that message board.

— Jane

Well behaved women rarely make history. — Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Hello again, Jane,

There is much to do.

  1. First off write to your Senators and Congressmen, all of them — repeatedly. By that I mean state representatives as well as Federal. Much of the funding for local 12-Step-based drug and alcohol rehab programs actually comes from your state capitol.

    And remember that you count for more to your local representatives. The Federal Senators and Congressmen (Congresswomen?) are swamped with big issues and big constituencies. The state representatives have smaller areas and smaller issues to worry about, so you can be more influential there. You count for more because you are a bigger percentage of the constituency. And you might be the only constituent who speaks out on the Substance Abuse Treatment (SAT) issue.

    All of your representatives should hear about the kinds of fraud that they are actually paying for. Don't hesitate to mention the sexual abuse like is happening in the Midtown Groups and Phoenix Young People's A.A. and the Pacific Group — sex is always a hot-button issue.

    Senators and Congressmen from the Bible-belt South should also hear about just how anti-Christian and heretical A.A. really is: "You are in the wrong group if you are looking for Jesus. ... you are one blind fuckwit."

    Taxpayer money and health insurance money is the lifeblood of the 12-Step empire, so go for the gold.

    You can especially stress the lack of results. Some bright person introduced a new term into treatment program financing in Oregon: demanding evidence of efficacy — demanding evidence of results. That is the kiss of death for quack medicine, because there is no efficacy. It doesn't work. We should all be demanding proof of effectiveness of substance abuse treatment in every appropriations bill.

  2. Write articles for newspapers, magazines, journals, and whatever.

  3. Write letters to the editor.

  4. I also like the idea of challenging the A.M.A.'s groundless endorsement of the A.A. belief that alcoholism is a disease. That is a position without a shred of medical or scientific evidence to support it. It is very odd that the A.M.A. would be in the position of allowing a cult religion to dictate its medical policy. But that's where it's at.

    That is just as bad as the A.M.A. endorsing cigarettes back in the 1950's.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
** guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
** also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
** having any medical education or training.  They have never
** gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
** residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
** life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
** is what you call quackery.

Date: Sat, October 25, 2008 2:04 pm     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: "Michael McA."

Hello — Thank you for your "Orange" site. I attended AA for a number of years. Didn't drink alcohol for 2 of them. I'm fairly bright I think — could never understand how practicing the 12 steps could stop me from wanting to drink when the desire arose. I have also read and re-read many times over a number of years Rational Recovery and although it makes more sense to me than AA — I'm still drinking. And I don't know why. I have even contemplated going back to AA.

Although I agree with much of what you say in your Orange pages regarding AA there is still something I don't understand. Why would anyone go to such lengths to get someone to attend AA? What are the reasons for anyone to try and convince someone else to join their "club" Why would it be so important that others join them if they are so convinced it is right for them anyway. Reminds me a bit of Jehovahs witnesses.

On a personal note — I'm still drinking. I want more than anything — to live my life without drinking and smoking — yet I'm still doing it. Maybe they are right. Maybe it is a disease?

Believe me — any advise would be welcome.

Yours demented


Hi Michael,

Thanks for the letter, and the thanks. Sorry to take so long to answer it; I'm way backlogged on answering email.

When you say,

"I want more than anything — to live my life without drinking and smoking — yet I'm still doing it."
— my reaction is, "Actually, there are two things that you want more than quitting smoking and drinking — you want to continue to smoke and drink."

You are stuck in the middle, where you are suffering from the effects of smoking and drinking, and you want the pain to end, but part of you still believes that you can get some more momentary pleasure from smoking and drinking a little more.

At the moment when you reach for another cigarette and drink, you honestly believe that this is going to feel good, and it will at least temporarily kill your pain. That isn't a disease; that is just you being unclear on the facts, and unclear on what you really want.

That is actually very normal. Very few people in this world are really 100% clear on what they want.

You are stuck at the stage of "wanting to want to quit". You don't really want to quit; you just wish that you wanted to quit enough to really do it. You wish you felt the determined drive that will really make you quit and stay quit forever.

So, as I see it, you need to work on your motivation, for starters. There are many ways to do that. One is just to think about all of the pain that smoking and drinking is causing you. Whenever I think about smoking and drinking again, all that I have to do is start down the list of suffering, and the desire dies very quickly. It's easy to remember that the pain got to be much greater than the fun.

And you can do it in a more structured manner, too. SMART teaches a technique that they call the "risk-reward ratio". I have been in the habit of calling it a "cost-benefit analysis", because that's the term that businessmen and accountants use, but it's the same thing. I described some examples of that before:

  1. here and
  2. here and
  3. here

Then, another helpful trick is to take a bunch of the negatives from your cost-benefit analysis (you are going to really do one, right?) and write them down on sticky notes, and stick them all over the house where you will see them. Don't put lists on the little pieces of paper; you won't read them. Just quick, easy things that you can see at a glance, and get a reminder, like:

  1. Waking up with those god-awful hangovers is a drag.
  2. Smoking is making my throat and lungs really hurt when I wake up in the morning.
  3. I can't believe how much money I waste on alcohol and tobacco.
  4. I want my health back.
  5. I want my life back.
  6. You can't quit if you keep on nibbling.
  7. Quitting means quitting, not cutting down.
  8. "Just cutting down" on smoking and drinking is like only feeding one of your legs to the alligator.

Talking to other people who also want to quit, or who have quit, can also help to increase your motivation. See the list of groups below.

Read the web page on "The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster". It took me many years to catch on to how the primitive hunger center of the brain would cajole me into "just having one", "for old-time's sake", and such illogical nonsense, and cause me to backslide again and again. Knowing the stuff that is on that page has been a life-saver to me.

Do not overlook the services of a good doctor. Drinking too much alcohol, and smoking too many cigarettes, are bad habits, not diseases, but that doesn't mean that you might not have a real disease — either physical or mental — that the doctor can help to fix. Lots of alcoholics smoke and drink to kill the pain — the pain of everything that is wrong with their bodies or brains, both from smoking and drinking, and from whatever existed before, to make them start smoking and drinking in the first place.

Here is a list of previous discussions about what works.

And I was just recently writing about quitting smoking by using the patch, here.

Here is a list of groups, methods, and organizations that seem to be very good:

  1. SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
  2. WFS (Women For Sobriety)
  3. SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety)
  4. LSR (LifeRing Secular Recovery)
  5. RR (Rational Recovery)

You could also try reading some good books on the subject. Check out the Top 10 reading list.

Oh, and to answer your other question — "Why would anyone go to such lengths to get someone to attend AA? ... Reminds me a bit of Jehovahs witnesses."
You answered your own question. It's exactly like the Jehovahs Witnesses. It's the mind game of,
      "If lots of people join us, and agree with us, then we must be right. Not only that, it will mean that we are wonderful people for helping so many others. God will be pleased with us.
      "On the other hand, if nobody joins us, it will make us look stupid, like we are just a bunch of kooks in an obscure cult. It might also mean that we are wrong. Well, we can't have that, so we had better go recruit some more members."

A.A. also teaches that you must work the 12th Step and go recruiting if you wish to avoid relapsing and dying drunk in a gutter. So many A.A. recruiters do it out of fear of death.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times."
**   ==   Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835—1910)

Date: Sat, October 25, 2008 10:56 pm     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: Eddie
Subject: wow

Lots of reading.

Even though I got sober in AA, I have always been an independent thinker, and shocked some folks by asking them if they believe in Santa Claus and if not how can you believe in this supreme being.

nevertheless, I met some good friends in AA, and still go to meetings even though they bore me mostly to say hi to folks I know or go to Coffee... Been sober 11 years now.

But I almost died in AA for 6 years ... long story.

Anyway, I agree with a lot of what you say. When I got sober, any room I walked into, or anything I read would have worked.. Why? Because I was ready to stop.


Hi Eddie,

Thanks for the letter. I totally agree. I finally quit when I was really ready to quit. I quit in spite of the quack treatment program and the useless meetings. I could have been just about anywhere and still quit.

In fact, if you want to get very specific about it, if you want to look at the actual moment of truth, I quit drinking in a pizza parlor, where there was a row of beer spigots in front of me, and I already had a beer on order that I then cancelled. That was where and when I made the final decision, and that was 8 years ago, and I haven't had a drink since.

Like some old sage said, "When the student is ready..."

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  The way to see faith is to shut the eye of reason.
**    ==  Benjamin Franklin

Date: Sat, October 25, 2008 11:53 pm     (answered 15 April 2009)
From: "Matti K."
Subject: Matt from Finland.

Hi Orange.

Do you have any reseach about the minnesota-treatment? I went throuh it about a year ago, and 3 months after that I joined AA. The scale of of AA in finland is of course smaller in Finland, but there are lots of similarities to AA in U.S. Isn't the minnesota- treatment using almost the same "techniques" with treatment as AA?

Hello Matti,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

What is called "The Minnesota Model" is just 12-Step A.A. treatment by another name. The name comes from a famous 12-Step treatment center called Hazelden, which is located at Center City, Minnesota. They have been selling 12-Step treatment for a whole lot of years — 50 or 60 years, I think.

Your pages have awaken me. I think I'm much more confident about my sobriety now, because of your great research. In fact, I took some issues to the table in AA meeting, and you can imagine what reaction it caused. Something like: "If you do not found spirituality (GOD) you will drink again." Seems to me that they want me to NOT think on my own.

Well, this mail is short, but I have to thank you. Your page is now my "higher power" (joke) :)

-Matt, Finland

Thanks for the laugh, and you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Life is like a grand staircase; some are
**   going up and some are going down.

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 9:38 am     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: thearidsite
Subject: Calling Steppers' Bluffs

Hello Orange!

It's been a while but I was doing some research in the field concerning A.A. I just posted the initial part of my research as the first of many updates which will be revealed about that cult from an insider from the Summer of 2007 until the present day (I'll be severing my ties this week by wrapping up unfinished business as the Treasurer there for I got what I wanted and saw them for the deeply closed-minded Beasts that they are... oh and have the evidence in their own words).

Anyway I was reading an E-mail published upon your website issued on September 18, 2008 7:42 pm from "daniel b". And in his E-mail to you this jumped out at me:

"Let me be clear: I dont think AA is right about everything, I dont think it's necessary for recovery, and I dont go to meetings myself (i have never had a drinking or drug problem)."

The first part of that statement is the proverbial rope to hang him on. For if A.A. isn't right about everything then what is it wrong about? I think you missed an opportunity right there to have him explain himself. The second part is so true about "I dont think it's necessary for recovery". No kidding! He's on your side after all! LOL!

But the last part, "I dont go to meetings myself" is absolutely chilling. How would he knows what goes on in A.A. if he doesn't go to meetings? Would it be wise for him to prescribe meeting attendance in light of his own ignorance?

I do know that on October 25, 2008 at my former morning Home Group I accepted my five-year coin and just said it out right: I didn't work the Steps, didn't have a sponsor and don't believe the wasted writings of William Griffith Wilson. I was going to read a huge speech but decided to limit it to just me and not state the full critique of Wilson's little cult. But what I said was enough to the point that one angry stepper interrupted me and said, "What gives you the right?" So I cut it short knowing I said what needed to be said.

I'll post more upon my website about it. And I'm using my real name now for I feel that I no longer have to hide myself in light of the truth. I'm not afraid of any of these petty tyrants and their asskissing apologists any longer.

Next time Steppers or their apologists make the claim A.A. isn't right about everything call them on their bluff. Give 'em enough rope so they hang themselves. In fact that's one of the many teachings of Sun Tsu (definitely check out "The Art Of War" for it is so poetic and relevant).

Be well and live well one LIFETIME at a time, Orange! :-)

Mark D. Baum (Phormer.Drunk.) AVRT(tm) \______________
Editor of The ARID Site * http://www.thearidsite.org *
<The Addiction Recovery Information Distribution Site>
PGP keys at: <http://www.thearidsite.org/ARIDPGPK.TXT>
** Addiction counseling and groups are total frauds **

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer; I'm way backlogged in answering email.

You ask some pointed questions that I will have to remember. Indeed:

  1. If A.A. isn't right about everything, then what is it wrong about?
  2. If A.A. isn't right for everybody, then for whom is it not appropriate, and why?

I've heard A.A. apologists using those lines so often, and I don't think I ever jumped on them like that. Next time.

Have a good day, and congratulations on your new freedom, by the way.

== Orange

Oh, by the way, I just posted his response.

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

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 12:39 pm     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: thearidsite
Subject: "I don't agree..."

Hello again, Orange!

Y'know, a LOT of Steppers really have that "I don't agree" thing going on. Just reading your mail section and found another one from "Tina" sent to you on Fri, October 27, 2006:

"Yes, I'm a member of AA and I don't agree with a lot of what is said at meetings..."

I just wonder: How big of a file can you create when you call these Steppers on that bluff? I'm sure that it would be interesting to read, in their own words, what specific things they don't agree with in A.A. In the context of poker, you're Phil Laak holding the nuts while the others have to pretend they have 'em.

Hi again, Mark. Pretty big, maybe 5 or 10 megabytes before some email programs start to have problems. More than enough for a good answer.

Speaking of testicular fortutude, in regards to "lesser of two evils" stuff I look at it all as a decision between cowardice represented by castration versus couragously risking a swift kick in the nuts as you stand up on your own two feet for what's right. While the latter results in a nasty sting that one has to walk off afterwards, at least you know you still have your balls. And balls is what it takes to tell the truth and call these cretins on their bullshit.

Be well and live well one LIFETIME at a time! :-)

Mark D. Baum (Phormer.Drunk.) AVRT(tm) \______________
Editor of The ARID Site * http://www.thearidsite.org *
<The Addiction Recovery Information Distribution Site>
PGP keys at: <http://www.thearidsite.org/ARIDPGPK.TXT>
** Addiction counseling and groups are total frauds **

Yes, again, the A.A. apologist opens the door to a piercing question: "If you don't agree with A.A. about everything, then what do you disagree with? What is said in meetings that is wrong?"

Have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**    telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**    and that your will power is useless, is not
**    getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**    With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 1:45 pm     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: thearidsite
Subject: They are not really A.A. — Traditions

Hello again, Orange!

This is my third E-mail to you not for the sake of filling up your Inbox but because I've observed a lot of stuff like this:

"They are not really A.A. because they don't follow the traditions..."

Guess what? The Twelve Traditions don't mean shit!

Why? There's a huge gaping loophole within the Twelve Traditions that renders them completely worthless but appears on the surface to be some sort of ethical code. Such appearances are deceiving,of course. Specifically, since A.A. does not govern then there is no accountability whatsoever. So Steppers can do as they like with complete abandon. That includes engaging in pedophilia as the D.C. Midtown Group does.


I guess since A.A. and its True Believers (a.k.a. "Real Alcoholics" just as "Real Catholics" are those who practice Catholicism, which means that Alcoholism is a de facto cult religion) practice denial that often then of course it's easy for them to diagnose it in others. They are practitioners in remaining that deliberately blind.

Be well and live well one LIFETIME at a time! ;-)

Mark D. Baum (Phormer.Drunk.) AVRT(tm) \______________
Editor of The ARID Site * http://www.thearidsite.org *
<The Addiction Recovery Information Distribution Site>
PGP keys at: <http://www.thearidsite.org/ARIDPGPK.TXT>
** Addiction counseling and groups are total frauds **

Hi again, Mark,

You are quite right about the "traditions", of course. Real traditions are things that people have been doing for a long time. The "12 Traditions of A.A." are something else entirely.

Early in the history of A.A., Bill Wilson just made up twelve new rules for A.A., and called them "The Traditions", and tried to foist them on the rest of the alcoholics. They rejected the rules — voted them down. The Board of Trustees rejected them too, if I remember correctly. So Bill got depressed and went into a funk. Then he launched a campaign to get the rules approved. He finally succeeded, after campaigning for their approval from coast to coast for years.

The fact remains that they are just so much nonsense and double-talk. (I wrote an analysis of them, here.)

Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

A.A., as such, ought never be organized...

Right. That's why there is a headquarters in New York City in the Interchurch Center, where they have two corporations, and a Board of Trustees, and a Board of Directors, and two Presidents, and Vice-Presidents, and Treasurers, ... etc. And then a National Council, and State Councils, and Intergroups, and on and on. Because it ought never be organized. Oh, and Bill Wilson is the one who organized it.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   The finest structure can house the worst evil.

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 12:59 pm     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: "James G."
Subject: Latest Video


Let me know what you think...


Hi again, James,

Will do, as soon as I'm back online. I've probably already seen it — and I like them all — but don't know which one that is just from the number. Later.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Although easily mistaken for candy, holly is quite poisonous."
**     "Although easily mistaken for real moral religions,
**          cults are quite poisonous."

Date: Sun, October 26, 2008 6:10 pm     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: "Thomas P."
Subject: Re: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.


I thought I was the only one who made this connection. Great job, and super resources and quotes!

Great Job!


Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  You believe in God. I believe in God, too. But I also believe
**  in Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and The Tooth Fairy, so I
**  am obviously more religious than you, and morally superior to
**  you, because I believe in a lot more supernatural stuff than
**  you do.
**  Next, I'm going to come to believe that the world is flat, so
**  I can really be more religious than all of you.

May 27, 2008: Still in the park, Day 10.

The goslings are digging in the dirt, getting mouthfuls of dirt and then washing it in the water, mining crop stones I think.

Canada Goose gosling digging in the dirt

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Mon, October 27, 2008 6:25 am     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: "Jim C."
Subject: Thank you

Dear sir,

Thank you for your devoted work. I am immeasurably grateful to you and to those who would oppose you. My life is full of sober love and joy in a happy medium that comes out of my observations of and past engagements in extreme thoughts and behaviors of varied persuasions.

May you live long and prosper,
Jim C.

Okay, Jim,

Thanks for the thanks.

Now that's an interesting viewpoint. I hope what you mean is that you ferret the truth out of whatever the matrix in which you find yourself.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the
**    truth has a chance to get its pants on."
**        == Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Date: Mon, October 27, 2008 7:39 am     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: "Margaret D."

Dear A. Orange,

Alcoholics, and others suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, can have lots of different manifestations of the disease. Bill W. and Dr. Bob came up with workable solutions for dealing w/ alcoholism. Time and millions of recovered alcoholics give ample evidence of this success. Today, alcoholics who also suffer (and, yes, cause suffering) due to sex addictions, compulsive over or under eating, gambling and so on, can find practical solutions through spiritual recovery by working other, appropriate 12 step meetings.

Bill W. was a great (and humble) man who focused primarily on developing AA. Were it not for his work — and for the suffering he may still have retained, there would be no AA model for other 12 step groups — including Sex Addicts Anonymous — a group that helps countless people recover from that malady. No right thinking AA member holds him up as a guru or a spiritual example — and in the main this is due to Bill W's continual caution not to do so — but instead to keep the focus on oneself and to take suggestions from sponsors. Bill W. knew and advised alcoholics to find a God of their own understanding. This is not remarkable humility, it's the grounded knowledge of a man who didn't turn back to alcohol as a solution to life. Having said that, Bill W was, in my opinion, a man of remarkable humility, as was his wife, who founded Alanon.

I wonder what you are suffering from that causes you to have focused so much time and energy on advertising Bill W.s real and/or imagined flaws to the world? Ever hear the joke about the monk, steadfast and dutiful in all his holy obligations, who slept in a cell next door to a monk who drank and womanized all through the night and then got up to pray each morning? Well the fastidious monk got tired of all the nightly commotion next door and went to his abbot to complain. "How can you ignore this monk's behavior night after night? He never does his chores — instead he drinks and fornicates each and every night and then gets up to pray every morning!" The abbot thought quietly and then replied, "what you say is true, but the other monk shits it all out every day and you hold onto it even though it's not yours to keep". Moral? Go take a nice shit. Bill W's story is none of your business, is it? Maybe you'd like to ask yourself, has AA done more good than harm in this world? And maybe if you're still worried about the condition of Bill Ws soul — say a prayer for him.

I say all this to you because if one suffering alcoholic comes upon your angry site and uses it as an excuse to back away from a program of recovery that works, you will have contributed to the downfall of another alcoholic. Given the serious nature of the disease, that would be a heartless thing to do.

Wishing you all the best,


Hello Margaret,

Bill Wilson was not a great man, nor was he a humble man, and he did the world no favors when he "gave us the AA model for other 12 step groups." That is all just the myth of Bill and Alcoholics Anonymous — a myth created by the non-humble egomaniac Bill Wilson.

The bottom line is that A.A. does not work to increase the amount of sobriety in this world. Nor does Narcotics Anonymous solve the drug problem, and the other 12-Step clones don't work either. The story that they do work is the biggest lie that the 12-Step groups tell.

And when Alcoholics Anonymous continues to promote its quackery and foist a cult religion program on sick people as "treatment" for a deadly medical condition, then that is my business, and it is also the business of everyone who is in any way connected with recovery or connected to someone who is recovering.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

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