Letters, We Get Mail, CXIII

Date: Mon, October 27, 2008 7:56 am     (answered 16 April 2009)
From: "Michele F."
Subject: Letters 45


I intend to agree with what you have to say, i have been in the fellowship for a long time now and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. If i had of known what i was coming into i would have walked straight back out again.

At the start i so much wanted to stop drinking and i thank god i dont have that desire anymore, but what pisses me off is the so-called spiritual aa know-alls that know f--- all that judge, they ask how many meetings do you do a week, i can sponsor you. "I never asked for one — piss off",,,,, and they say that is just your ego, or your alcoholisim, blah blah blah, everything is analysed.....

I'm sick and tired of it all, so i am deciding to move away from it all, i trust and believe in myself, i dont need these sick b--------- around me anymore, they say they are your friend but the minute you choose to go another path they don't want to know you, they call that spirituality, i call it control and they are all control freaks...

Hi Michele,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer it; I'm way behind on answering email. I hope that by now you are free and feeling better.

Yes, it is incredible what gets passed off as spirituality, isn't it? And it isn't just A.A.; the same bad behavior goes on in a zillion cult religions — like the Moonies, and Scientology, and the Hari Krishnas, and the FLDS, and on and on...

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "The power of accurate observation is frequently
**    called cynicism by those who don't have it."
**       == George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Date: Wed, October 29, 2008 10:19 am
From: UndeRnetJunKie
Subject: Re: Apophenia

[from the wishlist]

What do you call this phenomenon that I called "seeing through tinted lenses"? I want a better word for it:

  1. Fundamentalist Christians see Satan as the cause of all of our problems, and every bad event on the evening news is seen as further evidence of the truth of that belief.
  2. Communists see those rich capitalists waging class warfare as the cause of all of our problems, and the news 'proves' their viewpoint right.
  3. Other people see it all as conspiracies of the Trilateral Commission and the Illuminati and the New World Order...
  4. The X-Files crowd sees everything in terms of Roswell crashes and government cover-ups and alien abductions and secret organizations and interplanetary plots...
  5. Neo-Nazis see everything as the Jewish Conspiracy to take over the world...

Once somebody buys into one of those models of reality, a perceptual filter kicks in where they notice more and more "facts" that appear to reinforce their chosen beliefs, and they ignore any conflicting information that comes along, so they become more and more convinced of the correctness of their beliefs — "It's all so obvious to anyone who learns the real truth!"

So what is a good name for that phenomenon?

Apophenia — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aha! Thank you very much. That's it precisely.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

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

The goslings are funny about this squirrel. They are really afraid of it. Every time the squirrel comes down the tree, the goslings run to me for protection. I don't know if they think it might be a river rat, which really is dangerous because the river rats eat ducklings and goslings. But all that this squirrel wants is some of the bread.


In the afternoon, we went up onto the roof, where people were sunbathing, because it turned into a beautiful sunny day, and the goslings did some sunbathing too. This little fellow isn't really dying of the heat, although he sort of looks it in this photo. He has just been playing in the water and is still dripping.

gosling in sun

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Thu, October 30, 2008 10:54 am     (answered 17 April 2009)
From: "Jenny Z."
Subject: so wrong

AA is not a cult, although I can see as it has offered it's followers relief from addiction by following the steps, some members may subscribe to it with a do or die attitude. You've done more harm than good.

Hi Jenny,

A.A. is not a cult? On what basis do you make such a statement? What do you think a cult is? Have you read The Cult Test? When I score A.A. as a cult there, what part of my answers is wrong?

And then you finished with the standard cultish A.A. attack, "You've done more harm than good" — "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety" — "Don't tell alcoholics the truth"...
Look here for more copies of that standard attack.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically
**    indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the
**    world over."
**    "...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy,
**    critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA
**    attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper
**    separation between church and state."
**    == A.A. Trustee Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant,
**    The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, page 266.

Date: Wed, October 29, 2008 8:39 pm     (answered 17 April 2009)
From: "doug p."
Subject: re AA/bill wilson

how did you swing the .org?

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the letter.

The .ORG suffix was easy — just ask for it. There are no longer any hard rules where you have to be a registered non-profit to get a .ORG suffix.

I chose .ORG because .COM wasn't appropriate — I'm not running a commercial enterprise. And I'm not a university, so .EDU is out. And I'm not the government, so .GOV is out. So .ORG was pretty much the default.

HH His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Dalai Lama would surely be compassionate towards you despite your efforts at charactor assassination. I , sober these 27 years because of the imposters who started AA wish I could feel the same compassion but I am not so highly evolved

I don't engage in "character assassination". I just tell the truth, including the truth about some nasty reprobates who started cults.

Your belief that you are sober because of A.A. is not evidence that A.A. actually works, or that you are sober because of A.A. The reality is that A.A. does not work, and the people who quit drinking in A.A. are just the ones who were going to quit anyway. Every time A.A. has been put to the test, it failed. When a Trustee of A.A. tried to prove that A.A. works, he accidentally proved that A.A. has the highest death rate of any way of treating alcoholism that he studied.

Since you have been around A.A. for 27 years, you are a good one to ask:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

Out of each 1000 newcomers to A.A., how many will pick up a one-year sobriety medallion a year later?
And how many will get their 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins?
How about 11 years and 21 years?

(HINT: the answers are here.

Clearly because you are special.
Yes you are and good for you !
Hurting those who might be helped by AA is a great idea and I applaud you.
There . Feel better now?

And there it is again — the same cultish attack as the previous letter made:
"You are hurting those who might be helped by AA" — "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety" — "Don't tell alcoholics the truth"...
Look here for more copies of that standard attack.

However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?
— The Buddha

Refraining from all evil
not clinging to birth and death,
working in deep compassion for all sentient beings,
respecting those over you and pitying those below you,
without any detesting or desiring, worrying or Lamentation__ is what is called Buddha.
Do not search beyond it .

That's good. So do you practice that wisdom by unfailingly telling the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous to the newcomers? Do you speak up and tell the truth at the start of each meeting when confused people start to read the plastic-laminated dogma that is three pages of Bill Wilson's lies? (Pages 58 through 60 of the Big Book.)

You know, "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail..."

Do you tell the truth then, and tell the newcomers what really happens?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act;
**   but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.
**      ==  Buddha

Date: Fri, October 31, 2008 12:53 am     (answered 19 April 2009)
From: Eddie
Subject: No AA thailand

I love your site, even though I still go to AA. I guess I'm an AA insider rebel, and I say whatever to whoever, whenever, but I have friends there also.

Anyway, I moved to Thailand, and found plenty of English speaking and other foreign speaking AA meetings. When I asked about Thai AA, they had one meeting in the country for 60 million people. Hmmm. my little town there of about 5,000 expats had 23 meetings a week.

So of course we got to work printing AA thai literature and bringing it to hospitals, etc. Bottom line they wanted the BB reprinted because they don't do God, They do Sacred Being. Now there's problem with world service [AAWS], because they may not allow that printing.

Also the fact is they have about a 30 to 50% recovery rate without AA. A lot of these people live in very rural villages and no transportation.. They go to the local temple or get help from friends. They really do NOT like AA, and have never embraced it, and the only reason Thai AA meetings even exist now, is because some of the foreign AAs pay to get them to the meetings, and help set up the meetings, and they are NOT self supporting, and eventually it will die on the vine.

AA is so worldwide, it may not die out, because as you said the social value, but I sure would like some way of getting more people to see about Bill W. When i tell people in meetings that Bill Wilson died of nicotine addiction which does not sound too spiritual (most are shocked) and the womanizing thing, they just laugh about it. Ok.... enough.

peace and Love,

Hello Eddie,

Thanks for an intriguing letter. They get a 30 to 50% recovery rate without A.A.? Maybe all of us alcoholics should convert to Buddhism... :-)

So the A.A. supporters have to pay to promote A.A. in Thailand? That doesn't surprise me. The sort of conflicts with the A.A. "tradition" about "a program of attraction, not promotion", doesn't it? And it directly contradicts Bill's bragging about the universality of his "spiritual principles":

In his official history of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill claimed that he received this letter from a Presbyterian minister who was doing missionary work in the Far East:

      We took A.A.'s Twelve Steps over to the largest Buddhist monastery in this province. We showed them to the priest at the head of it. After he had finished looking over the Twelve Steps, the monk said, "Why, these are fine! Since we as Buddhists don't understand God just as you do, it might be slightly more acceptable if you inserted the word 'good' in your Steps instead of 'God.' Nevertheless, you say in these Steps that it is God as you understand Him. That clears up the point for us. Yes, A.A.'s Twelve Steps will certainly be accepted by the Buddhists around here."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 81.

I have to laugh.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

By the way, if you print your own translation of an out-of-copyright earlier edition of the Big Book, the A.A.W.S. headquarters cannot forbid that. They may grumble, and even fraudulently sue and commit perjury, like they did in Germany and Mexico, but legally they have no say in the matter. Out-of-copyright documents are in the public domain. That's why those of us who are in the USA can download old copies of the Big Book over the Internet for free. The A.A. headquarters does not dare to sue over that, because if they do, it will result in the Big Book being legally declared out of copyright, which then blows away all of the foreign copyrights that depend on the USA copyright.

Have another good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "When in the company of deluded people,
**    keep your own counsel."
**       ==  Buddha

Date: Fri, October 31, 2008 3:15 am     (answered 19 April 2009)
From: "Jack"
Subject: The Heresy of the Twelve Steps by A. Orange

Mr. Orange

I scanned through your writing on Alcoholics Anonymous and have mixed opinions.
Yes we all have opinions and it is not up to me to "judge " yours. Although I am wondering what alternative you would have for a suffering alcoholic .
In the past 45 years I have crossed paths with 1000's of recovered alcoholics who's lives and families have been restored as well as some that have not been restored.
I can say the same about those families I meet who attend a church of their choice (doctrine).

I noticed you seemed , for what ever reason , missed out on A.A. purpose.... we do not wish to engage in any controversy neither do we endorse or oppose any causes. The primary purpose is to stay sober and help other recover. It's about saving skins . Yes a personal experience with Yeshua is exactly that .... a personal experience . I have crossed paths with many in A.A. over the decades who have had this experience as well as some don't have that experience . I have observed this also in churches. I am sorry that you seem to need to be critical of a group of people that have been given a second chance at life cuz most of them would be dead if they didn't get turned around.

Myself , in 1963 , a back slidden christian voiced the words in desparation ..... God if their is a God , your will be done in my life. Yes He is "faithful and just to forgive all those that repent" ( turn around ) . Patti and I are retired and having our 47 wedding aniversary in a few months . Our 2 childern are now adults. We have grand children & great grand children .... all are healthy and blessed. It all started when believers prayed through for me when I was not into seeing any truths. Seems when God puts it on one heart to pray , something is born .... most things are wrought by prayer, wouldnt you say . A week after I hollered help seems God saw fit to introduce me to a bunch of sober drunks that were capable of loving me enough until I could start loving myself. I discovered He meets me on my own turf ..... didn't Paul use it .... when they were weak He was weak. I'm not sure your kind understands the language from the heart. At that time I began to find out some truths that started setting me free. I am being blessed daily with the opportunity to be a friend of some that are having a little more trouble then the rest of us.....and I don't need to force-feed them . Some of them are looking much healthier then they once did and yes there is resoration in their lives.

Like I said when I started this note .... I can't see where you are helping any one by the tone of your writings. My prayers are that God will humble you cuz in a different light I can see where a person of your calibre has much to offer.

My personal opinion and experience with A.A. for the part 45 years can be expressed in one Greek word ..... koinania . First century Christianity had it. I found koinania to be almost absent in most churches although I do find it's present in a few assembly of believers.

Best Regards,

Hello Jack,

First off, you assume that A.A. actually works and makes alcoholics quit drinking and stay quit. There is no evidence — zero evidence — that A.A. really does that. You talk about having seen thousands of people who once drank too much alcohol and now don't. That's good. That is evidence that some people finally get their act together and quit self-destructive behavior. But that isn't evidence that A.A. actually did anything for them.

Every time A.A. has been tested to see if it works or does anything good, A.A. failed. Failed badly. Like increased the rate of binge drinking, and increased the death rate in alcoholics.

To claim that A.A. is too spiritual to engage in controversy is a cop-out. A really big cop-out. You have groups like the Midtown Group raping young girls and you are too "spiritual" to do anything about it, or put a stop to it. That is not spirituality. That is moral cowardice.

If you were really spiritual, you would act like Jesus Christ when he picked up a whip and drove the thieving money-changers from the temple. It's time for you A.A. true believers to clean house. But you aren't going to do it, are you? You will sit on your duffs until the name of A.A. is so totally besmirched that nobody dares to go there any more.

Oh well, maybe that is really for the best. Maybe you are doing the world a favor by letting the rapists and criminals destroy A.A. It's time for A.A. to die, and something better to replace it.

Have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
** pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
** recovering their true sight, restore their government
** to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
** we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
** horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
** debt."  == Thomas Jefferson

Date: Fri, October 31, 2008 6:36 am     (answered 19 April 2009)
From: "Charles D."
Subject: AA

Dear Sir,

I have just stumbled upon your pages with some interest. I am just coming up to one year of sobriety, using AA, and using it, I feel, in a thinking, non-slavish fashion, free of any of the fetishistic qualities that one encounters. I simply find contact with other people in recovery to be cheering and helpful.

I will try to read your material further, but have stumbled at the start. At the foot of your introduction you write: "So let's really, honestly, investigate Alcoholics Anonymous, without rejecting criticism of A.A. before investigation of all of the facts... "

So...I move to the next section, The 12 Biggest Secrets of AA, to find the statement:

"Twelve Steps do not work as a program of recovery from drug or alcohol problems."

Surely, by using this statement as your opening salvo, you have done exactly what you vowed not to do in your introduction — you have rejected and criticized AA prior to investigation. The statement that Twelve Steps do no work would surely have been written in conclusion had you adhered to your own statement of intent. Instead the statement appears prior to any investigative, supportive, or explanatory material. I do not contest that such material may appear further down the page — my point, I repeat, is that your damning verdict precedes it.

A brief glance also reveals your reference to 'mandatory' AA and NA meetings. There are no such things. It may well be that your attendance was deemed mandatory by an outside organisation rather than AA itself; that is an entirely different thing! To my knowledge no actual meetings themselves could not be described as mandatory.

Yours sincerely,


Hello Charlie,

I wrote this line:
"Twelve Steps do not work as a program of recovery from drug or alcohol problems."
after I had spent a couple of years investigating A.A., and collecting all of the valid controlled studies of A.A. treatment of alcoholism that were ever done, and writing the file on The Effectiveness of the 12-Step Treatment that the statement linked to. It most assuredly was not "contempt prior to investigation". It was contempt after thorough investigation. And the contempt is well-deserved. It is a really low, despicable crime to foist quack medicine on sick people, and lie to them about how well it works, or doesn't work.

To argue that it is "contempt prior to investigation" because of the positioning of some items on the page is absurd. That's really desperately reaching for something to complain about.

You think there is no such thing as mandatory A.A. meetings? You are just engaging in word games. Go to any drug court or traffic court and watch the judge sentencing people to A.A. meetings. (Or sentencing people to "treatment programs", which include a whole lot of mandatory A.A. meetings.)

And please don't tell me that A.A. doesn't encourage it. They do.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "I envy people who drink. At least they have something
**       to blame everything on."
**           Oscar Levant (1906 — 1972)

Date: Fri, October 31, 2008 6:49 pm     (answered 19 April 2009)
From: "Anonymous"
Subject: recovery exit strategy

Dear mr. Orange:

I drank heavily after my father and my first wife died. After a year, I quit. Then, I went AA for a while. And, to SMART online — no face to face meetings

AA left me cold; basically turned me off. It had nothing to do with what I did or did not do. It meant nothing to me. After reading about it, I know why.

SMART was useful; the tools were good; the message board and chat room were good. For a while. I guess that it was time to leave.

I think that there is a time to leave. I worked through my grief; sorted out my priorities; did what I needed to do — get married again, move 1300 miles. I was not an "alcoholic". I did not actually have that serious a drinking problem.

There seems to be a doctrine of: you can't do it on your own. And, abstain is the only way. That does seem an undercurrent in the recovery game.

Well, I did it on my own; I do not abstain. I am living a normal life.

I bet that many people pay a visit to the recovery world — aa or some other place — and say, NO — and do it on their own.

I think that there is something off kilter.


Hi anonymous,

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

And I agree that something is off kilter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to
**     the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.
**         ==   Thich Nhat Hanh

Date: Fri, October 31, 2008 9:03 pm     (answered 19 April 2009)
From: "Lesley R."
Subject: Thanks

It took me a long time to find you on the web. I am dealing with a young client who I believe has been traumatized by residential 12-step treatment. I've been fascinated and amazed by your material, and am sharing some with him — especially the jokes — in the hope that he will get some solace from it. I've had warm-fuzzy feelings about AA for 30 years, but no longer. I fell for a lot of this stuff myself when I was younger (it seems smart people can make themselves very stupid), and I can easily see how seriously damaging it can be to others (especially in a coercive setting like residential youth facilities). Thank you for doing what you do. If you have any suggestions for helping a young person get through a rough period (still getting into some trouble, threatened with more 12-step "treatment," etc.) I'd be grateful.


Hello Lesley,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm sorry to take so long to answer it; I'm way behind in answering email.

I hope your young client is doing well. You make me wish I were a psychologist or a therapist, which I'm not.

Something that I do feel qualified to talk about is anger, because I still have problems with it. I'm 62 years old and I still have anger issues over childhood abuse. So I suspect that I can feel a little of what your client feels.

I still have to work on letting go of anger. I know that keeping it does me no good; it just gets me all uptight and wastes my energy. I ran across a relevant quote recently:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
== Buddha

It's easy to feel entitled to be angry, and he is entitled to be angry, but it does no good, and isn't worth the bother.

Perhaps some SMART training might help. They teach techniques for recognizing irrational thoughts and assumptions, and dealing with them. SMART is good for learning how to stop driving yourself crazy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Smart people are very good at rationalizing things
** they came to believe for non-smart reasons."

Date: Sat, November 1, 2008 11:57 am     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: "carol dV"
Subject: a question about your paper online

Hi I read your paper online "Powerless over Alcohol", and I'm just wondering: what do you have against the AA program?

Personally, I am in the midst of quitting alcohol, and AA is the thing that's getting me through the day. Maybe just because it didn't work for you or you think it's a weird "cult", doesn't mean it's a hoax. It really works for other people, me included. So please stop thinking of yourself as an educator or have some higher knowledge. You don't obviously.

Carol D.V.

Hello Carol,

What do I have against A.A.? Well, how about the fact that it doesn't work, and they lie about that fact at the start of every meeting. And then they harm a lot of people with misinformation about alcoholism and recovery, and raise the death rate in alcoholics. Is that enough for you?

It's sad that you cannot come up with a better attack than the usual often-parrotted A.A. claim that "Maybe just because it didn't work for you..." As I have often said, "I never did the 12 Steps, I never had a sponsor, and I haven't gone to a single A.A. meeting in 7 years now, but I have 8 years of sobriety."

So have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Sat, November 1, 2008 5:40 pm     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: "Kevin T"
Subject: Thanks again.

Thanks again for your great paper on AA.

I went for several years but realized it was a cult and got out after I read your stuff.

Thanks for helping me help myself.

It's not about a "higher power" it's about an INNER power.

Thanks again.


Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the compliments. And that's the essence of it, isn't it? "It's not about a higher power, it's about an INNER power."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A.A. is not a "self-help group", it's an
**    "elf-help group". You are supposed to pray
**    and beg for an invisible "Higher Power",
**    like a leprechaun, or Cinderella's Fairy
**    Godmother, to solve all of your problems
**    for you and grant all of your wishes.

Date: Tue, November 4, 2008 8:44 pm     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: tom
Subject: thanks

Hi Mr. Orange,

Thank you for your work. I am currently going to AA to pacify my estranged wife and gain the right to see my little girl again. The wife has a restraining order against me, is a compulsive liar, and is a prescription amphetamine addict (adderall for ADD). She is a long way away from admitting that she has a problem, because her shrink/society/family tell her that she is defective and needs adderall to get to the level of others. She is really just spoiled (filthy rich family), weak willed, and lazy. Long story.

Anyway, I quickly took issue with "step 1", as I feel I am not powerless, but powerfull, and responsible for and capable of changing my behavior. At the end of AA meetings, someone signs my paper saying I was there, and that's that. I started reading some Tom Wolfe over the weekend (a lot of stuff attacking genetic pre-disposition), and I was reminded that I am responsible for my actions, I can change, and I have no excuse. Lincoln said something like "Mans purpose is to improve himself", or something like that. Much of you data about "spontaneous remission" really made me feel empowered.

Thanks again, Thomas C.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are doing well.

Yes, you've got it. That A.A. "powerless" doctine has destroyed more people... I can't even estimate how many lives have been messed up by that abdication of personal responsibility, and that declaration of weakness. People who really believe that they are powerless over alcohol tend to fail when they try to quit drinking. It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. "Oh heck, A.A. says that I'm powerless over alcohol and I can't help it. Pass that bottle over here, buddy."

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

May 27, 2008: Still up on the roof, Day 10.

The people who are lounging up on the roof enjoy feeding the resident bluejay. Here he is helping himself to peanuts.

Western Scrub Jay eating a peanut

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Tue, March 17, 2009 3:12 am     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: "Major Johnson"
Subject: Easy Question

Dear "A. Orange"

Who are you?


— Major Johnson

Hello Major,

Whenever someone asks a wide-open sweeping question like that, I am always tempted to answer with something like, "The Life Force", "the Universe", or "an immortal awareness temporarily inhabiting this limited physical body".

But I won't. I'll answer it straight. My birth name is "Terrance Hodgins", for what that is worth. It's a meaningless label, really. And I live in Portland, Oregon.

Here are some more informative items:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. really an alcoholic...
  5. who are you,
  6. who are you, 2
  7. the story about "Rat Park"

There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The "Information Age Economy" is a hoax. You can't eat information.
**    No way can we all make a living by shuffling pieces of paper and
**    preparing reports.

Date: Tue, March 17, 2009 12:56 am     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: "John D. M."
Subject: Fw:

Nice to see your site is still there. I read a few of the anti-orange posts. If they don't like it and insist on posting their opinion, then why don't they start their own site to counter yours?

Hi John,

Sometimes they do, like "Agent Green". But most of the time they just complain.

Now on to another subject. I have noticed a trend in the last few years among some of the AAers that I work with. They are a lot more secretitve about where the meetings are and they tend to hide the fact that they are in AA. These are people that used to wear the latest conference t-shirts, had the coffee cups with the triangle logo, and the bumper stickers (which they have taken off their cars). What happened, is that some of the mandatory treatment centers and/or alcohol/drug counseling that is mandated by court are not requiring AA attendance. There are a few alternative programs that have been offered in the last few years. Evidently some big disagreement happened between AA/NA and treatment centers arose in the SW Missouri and NW Arkansas areas and some people involved in the treatment industry really got pissed. What I have pieced together was that some of the groups were trying to say that if someone was on Rx drugs and/or went to therapy or counseling, that they were not working the program or that they were not clean and sober. Those old timers need to read their own book instead of quoting it!

There was some things that I did agree with in the book, like not evading your creditors and seeking outside help for the mental and emotional problems that come up after quiting drugs and alcohol.

Any way, thanks for keeping this site going.

Thanks for the thanks. Now that story is interesting. I'd definitely like to hear the gory details of an internal dispute in the treatment industry. And it's way past time for the treatment industry to notice that A.A. is really hurting a lot of people by telling them not to take their medications. Even causing deaths.

The A.A. web site actually acknowledges that A.A. members have pushed newcomers into suicide by telling them not to take their medications. Their conference-approved pamphlet, "The AA Member — Medications & Other Drugs", on page 13 states

      Because of the difficulties that many alcoholics have with drugs, some members have taken the position that no one in A.A. should take any medication. While this position has undoubtedly prevented relapses for some, it has meant disaster for others.

      AA members and many of their physicians have described situations in which depressed patients have been told by AAs to throw away the pills, only to have the depression return with all of its difficulties, sometimes resulting in suicide. We have heard, too, from schizophrenics, manic depressives, epileptics, and others requiring medication that well-meaning A.A. friends often discourage them from taking prescribed medication. Unfortunately, by following a layman's advice, the sufferers find that their conditions can return with all their previous intensity. On top of that, they feel guilty because they are convinced that "A.A. is against pills."


So I wonder what was going on in Missouri and Arkansas.

I'd also like to see the A.A. headquarters be a little more specific about how many deaths "sometimes" means when they say, "sometimes resulting in suicide."

And of course the above wishy-washing back-and-forth apologetic quote begs the question,

So which A.A. members, old-timers, or sponsors are entitled to decide whether
  1. the newcomer should not take medications, in order to "undoubtedly prevent relapse", or
  2. the newcomer should take medications, in order to prevent death?

So who decides? Who has the knowledge and the power?

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: Wed, March 18, 2009 7:19 pm     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: "Brian H."
Subject: Your 12 "Lies" of AA


I do not wish to get into a debate, however, you are mistaken in thinking that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are about quitting drinking. They are about learning to live life. Myself as a recovered alcoholic quit drinking the day I came into AA and said I need help. Alcoholics Anonymous also is not a religious program. It is spiritual. And please read this:

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. Membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. Is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

We are not a sect, or a weird religion, or even a cult as you have said. We are a fellowship. And I know this much from personal experience: "It works "

Each member is allowed to develop their own concept of God or a Higher Power If it were a religious program, it would have faltered and failed very early in its birth. It is my personal opinion that your paper on Alcoholics Anonymous is very one-sided, and is filled with pre-conceived and completely inaccurate notions. Some of your "facts" as alluded to in your paper are, in my opinion, completely false. You seem to want to bend the facts to meet your distorted views. Other statements made by you are simply a result of ignorance. Ignorance is not bad, however. One can always be educated on the proper facts. Alcoholics Anonymous has saved many people that modern medicine has labeled hopeless and without recourse. I know this for I am one of those people and I have been witness with my own eyes to the recovery of countless others. Your ill-thought words have the potential to be very damaging. NOT to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, but to an individual who may be searching for the solution to his or her problems.

If you have gathered your "facts" from other web sites and people who are at odds with Alcoholics Anonymous, I invite you to attend any open AA meeting near your home so that you may learn more about our fellowship. There are many people in AA who are very informed on the workings and history of AA. You may find that AA is nothing like how you described it in your paper.

I also urge you to download and just listen to any Joe and Charlie sessions on the AA program. They are free at www.silkworth.net. We invite any and all who may be seeking help or are merely curious. If, on the other hand, you have had intimate contact with the program of AA recently or previously in your life, and you are still unable to grasp the spiritual concept as outlined in the Big Book of AA and the 12 Steps, I invite you back into the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous with open arms. We will be here when you are ready.


Brian D. H.

Hello Brian,

Thank you for the letter.

When you declare, "...you are mistaken in thinking that the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are about quitting drinking", you are supporting what I have been saying all along — that the A.A. 12-Step program is not a quit-drinking program — it is cult religion.

The 12 Steps don't even say that you should quit drinking. They are all about you being insane and sinful and needing to surrender to some "Higher Power as you understand Him". The 12 Steps are nothing more than Bill Wilson's repackaging of Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion recruiting and indoctrination practices. So yes, the 12 Steps are not about quitting drinking. They have nothing whatsoever to do with sobriety or quitting drinking. But they have everything to do with cult religion.

Then the rest of your letter makes a good case for A.A. being a cult religion. Even your declarations that A.A. is not a cult religion are good evidence of that.

And then of course you just had to insert the standard A.A. cult attack on critics:
"Your ill-thought words have the potential to be very damaging."

I can't count how many times I've heard the A.A. true believers parrot that accusation, as if telling the truth about alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous would really keep alcoholics from quitting drinking. But look here for some more xerox copies of that attack:

  1. "You have done a great disservice in putting this vile stuff up on the net."
  2. "Telling addicts that simply their own will power will conquer their addiction does them a great disservice."
  3. "I feel you are doing AA a dis-service for those who CHOOSE to try it"
  4. "My dog demonstrates more care and responsibility than you do. Do you think you are doing mankind a favor by publishing this propaganda garbage? Hardly."
  5. "I think your message is dangerous, both to yourself and to others."
  6. "...you must feel really proud knowing you may have gotten in the way of someone seeking help..."
There isn't much original thinking in that, is there?

UPDATE: 2014.07.18: There is now a whole file of such accusations:
Accusations that telling the truth about A.A. is killing alcoholics.

And then you imply that I know nothing about Alcoholics Anonymous. That's another standard A.A. attack. Ignore the facts and what the guy actually says, and just claim that the speaker doesn't know what he is talking about.

Wrong. Try reading the introduction to the web site, just for starters.

Then you spout the usual unsupported and unverified grandiose claims of success: "Alcoholics Anonymous has saved many people that modern medicine has labeled hopeless and without recourse."

So where are the official doctors' reports of this wonderful healing that is better than "modern medicine"? Please be specific. I'll go to the local medical university library and look them up.

Speaking of which, while you are bragging about A.A., what is the actual Alcoholics Anonymous success rate?

If we send 1000 randomly-selected alcoholics to A.A., how many of them will get a year of sobriety? How many of those 1-year medallions will you need to keep on hand to give out a year later?
And how many of those alcoholics will go on to get 2-year, and 5-year, and 10-year coins?

(Hint: See the answers here.)

And how does that success rate compare to the success rate that comes from sending 1000 alcoholics to the local Tiddly-Winks Society, or the Ladies' Home Garden Club, or the Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor?
(Hint: the success rate there will be about 50 per thousand.)

Please answer those questions. They are very important questions, and reveal the whole truth about "Twelve-Step Recovery".

Oh, by the way, the fact that you quit drinking the day that you walked into A.A. is proof that you didn't need either A.A. or the 12-Step program to quit drinking. You had not done the program, you had not worked the Steps, you had not gone to a lot of meetings. You had not done anything but decide to quit drinking — which you then promptly did, way before "working a strong program". So A.A. deserves none of the credit for you quitting drinking hours before you walked into your first A.A. meeting. You decided to quit killing yourself with alcohol, so you did. Congratulations on your sobriety.

It's funny that you criticize my choice of references and citations, and then you recommend Joe and Charlie to me. Joe and Charlie are not council-approved literature either. They are just some guys who made up their own dogmatic interpretation of the 12-Step program and Buchmanite theology. They don't speak for A.A., do they? Are they official A.A. spokesmen? More official than Hazelden or Al-Anon?

And then, lastly, you generously invite me back to the cult: "...I invite you back into the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous with open arms."

No thanks. That is just such a standard ploy. Again, I can't count how many times the A.A. true believers have invited me back, and told me that they are saving a seat for me (for when I relapse)...

It seems to really bother some of them that I have 8 years of sobriety now, without any Alcoholics Anonymous, or any 12 Steps, or any sponsor, or any cult religion, or any going to meetings...

Oh well, have a good day. Now I'm going to go meet with the geese and the sunshine down at the river, because it's a beautiful day, and too nice to stay inside in front of a computer.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon
** devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive
** of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider
** god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do
** less easily move against him, believing that he has
** the gods on his side."
**   ==  Aristotle

Date: Tue, March 17, 2009 4:48 pm     (answered 20 April 2009)
From: raymond
Subject: 2005 tax returns

Hi Terry,

Someone on X-Steppers pointed out that you had responded to a letter with 2004 AA salaries, here are some later returns:

Ray S.

Hi Ray,

Ah, good, thanks for the links. More grist for the mill. And that lets me cross-check some things.

Somebody wrote to me and complained that the copies of Form 990 for A.A. (the "GSO") that were on the Internet have gotten buried or erased, so I dug through my computer and finally found the copies that I had saved. So here are local copies of what used to be easy to find:

  1. 1999
  2. 2000
  3. 2001
  4. 2002
  5. 2003
  6. 2004
  7. 2005
  8. 2006
  9. 2007

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Give me control over a nation's currency,
**     and I care not who makes the laws."
**      ==  Mayer Rothschild

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