Letters, We Get Mail, CXVI

Date: Sat, April 18, 2009 3:29 pm     (answered 24 April 2009)
From: "Renae has no last name"
Subject: qualifications

I just read your website and wanted to know why your name isn't listed anywhere and your qualifications for arriving at this enlightened way of thinking is not presented for all to see?

Hello Renae,

Actually I have revealed my real name, but it was recent and you didn't see it. My real name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Portland Oregon.

About my "qualifications for arriving at this enlightened way of thinking", now that is a funny way of putting it, because I immediately thought of Buddha and Christ, and asked what college degrees they had that qualified them to arrive at their enlightened way of thinking...

Not to compare myself to them, it is obvious that you don't need a college degree or license or certification to start thinking clearly. You just need eyes that are open and a mind that is open and realistic.

You can find other biographical information here:

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

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Mind like parachute, only function when open"
**  == Charlie Chan, from "Charlie Chan at the Circus" (1936)

Date: Fri, April 17, 2009 6:40 pm     (answered 24 April 2009)
From: "Jennifer R."

May I ask what is the motivation for this web site, I get that you don't believe in the value of any 12 step programs they are not for everyone and only about 3% of AA members succeed. Are you offering another alternative or suggestion to the problem?

Hello Jennifer,

When you ask, "Are you offering another alternative or suggestion to the problem?", that can mean a couple of things:

  • If you mean am I setting up an organization and treatment centers and selling another "solution", the answer is No.
  • If you mean, do I have any ideas of what works better than 12-Step treatment, the answer is Yes.

Just a little while ago, I wrote up the list and description of good things again, so see it here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
** build health or produce disease in yourself.
**       ==  Adelle Davis

Date: Tue, April 14, 2009 9:42 pm     (answered 24 April 2009)
From: "S. L"

Hello. Your work is important, insightful, and, most importantly, THE TRUTH. Is there any way I can purchase a hard copy or two? Thank you.


Hi S.L.,

Thanks for the comliments. I am still thinking about writing a book — that is, converting the web site to a dead-tree edition. But that is such a ton of work, and paper is so static and final, and you can't update it, and the links don't work. And the weather is beautiful outside, and I just found 2 families of goslings in the last few days — the first babies of the year — and got beautiful photographs of them, so here comes the summer... I find that I much more enjoy hanging out down at the river and working on my suntan and feeding the cute little fuzz-ball gozlings, than to slave away in front of a hot computer.

What I recommend now is that people just download the archive files from the main menu page, and burn their own CD's. Instructions for making a CD are here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Learn true joy and you will meet God.
**          ==  Rabindranath Tagore

Date: Wed, March 25, 2009 1:35 pm     (answered 24 April 2009)
From: "Dean"
Subject: Article in Slate today

However, before that, love the site. I drop in every now and then just to refuel, been clean and enjoying life for five years last August. I expect that to continue as well.

So I am reading Slate today and they have this article about a recruitment manual for al-Qaida "A Course in the Art of Recruitment"
and I'm reading it "going hmmmmmmmmmm, where have I seen that before". With just a few noun changes it could be the recruitment manual for AA, if such a thing existed.

Here's a taste:

Isolate, Isolate, Isolate! Although recruiters are advised to take care at first not to separate a recruit from his "family, society, and reality," eventually it becomes necessary to "create a favorable environment." This is achieved by "removing him from the bad environment in which he lives" and putting him into "a good environment designed to improve his faith." Until that happens, keep the recruit busy listening to lectures and reading religious pamphlets, especially "those that discuss Heaven and Hell, eternal paradise or eternal damnation," etc. The manual contains a long list of recommended texts ("The jihadist library is large and full of books that were written with martyrs' blood"), audiotapes, and video clips downloadable from the Web.

Spooky. Switch out 'pigeon' for recruit and slide in a warning that is specificly about 'normies' and it is a glove fit.

So keep up the good work, much thanks and if you use a name, Dean will work.

Hello Dean,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your 5 years.

Yes, it is disconcerting, and appalling, how interchangeable cults are. Edit a few names, and the description of one cult becomes a good description of a different cult. I think part of the reason for that is that cults do not invent their techniques of persuasion and mind control; they almost invariably use very old techniques to exploit human weaknesses that are present in varying amounts in most people. Cults may invent new names for things, but it's still the same old stuff dressed up in a dozen different costumes. Nothing is new under the sun.

For an example of a human weakness, most people feel the need to be loved and accepted by a family or group of people. That isn't a bad thing, but it is a point of vulnerability that can be exploited by a vicious cult. People also like to feel that their lives have meaning, that they are living (and suffering) for some higher purpose. Again, cults exploit that desire by giving people a sense of mission — "We are saving souls", "We are saving the world", "We are ushering in a new age of Peace and Enlightenment", and "We are avenging the deaths of martyrs by blowing up some infidels."

What's the difference between al Qaida running a school that teaches turban-clad and robed children to be suicide bombers because it will please God, and the Hari Krishnas running a school that teaches turban-clad and robed children to short-change and cheat people because it's all God's money anyway? It's only a matter of degree, really. And the Hari Krishnas ended up smuggling drugs and selling heroin, and even murdering a critic, so it's a very fine line between the two. Just a matter of degree.

And not coincidentally, "Total immersion and total isolation" is listed as one of the 100 standard cult characteristics in my "Cult Test".

Have a good day.

== 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, March 25, 2009 3:46 pm     (answered 25 April 2009)
From: "Mark M."
Subject: Thank you...Job well done!!

You've done an excellent job of putting your site together...very articulated in your facts, ideas, and opinions...with plenty to back it up. I'm a relative newcomer to the (NA) program. You've eloquently stated in several of your replies to letters, and your other material, the EXACT reasons that I am finding this program difficult (for me). I've seen it work (my Dad has been in AA for 25 yrs) for some...unfortunately (maybe fortunately) I can't see it working for me. I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around some of these steps. I'm not ready to 'surrender'..I need my inner strength at this point of my life...it lies within me, not a fellowship. I'm not about to write down ALL of my wrongdoings (after 30 years of drug-use I can't remember them all anyways) and relate them to another person, who could easily go out and relapse tomorrow and tell who knows who? God knows what I've done...he'll forgive me...

None of us were born 'evil'....whether, as adults, if we're products of our environment...or just being 'human'...no man can expect to live without sin in his life. All we can do is make better choices as we get older...not just thinking of ourselves all the time. I don't need a program for that.

I 100% agree that these groups are indeed cult oriented, with the (long-time) members associating with only other members (for the most part). It's their way or it's not going to work out for you...BS!! I've been around ...and around....I have alot of friends and associates who used to use and just simply DON'T use anymore.

As with some of them my incentive lies in my 1 year old son, the fact that my abuse was seriously affecting my health, and the bold fact that I'm sick of the whole 'using cycle'. I'm finished...and if I keep on with these meetings they're going to convince me that I'm more f**ked up than I actually am.

I attend two different meetings at present...it was 3 but I've starting cutting back already. The one meeting has 2 people with multiple years and about 12 or 14 with 1 year or less...matches your numbers almost to a tee. A couple who are still using but still attend hoping to experience that 'spiritual rush'?!

The other meeting has not much better sobriety rate...this one is more entertaining as it has a handful of 'gangsta' members...wearing the NA t-shirts, piercings and 'toos...quite contradictive to the program as it's not 'what you have, how much you have, who your contacts were...just what you want to do about your problem'...check your egos at the door...hehe

Sorry, I'm a man who would like to keep his pride and his ego and self worth, inner strength, security, sanity, and a handle on my own life (with God in it).

Anyways...I could go on and on...if you'd like to continue to correspond I'd be very interested in 'chatting it up' with you. I like your take on things, the organized and indisputeable manner in which you get your facts across. Thank you once again....I'm going to do some more reading on your pages....

Mark M

Hello Mark,

Thanks for all of the compliments. I feel like you must get to a SMART meeting, ASAP. I think you will love it. Everything is sensible, logical, rational, and you don't have to take any goofy ideas on faith. I found it to be a breath of fresh air after 12-Step meetings. I liked the fact that you can tell the truth and question anything without starting a battle.

Best of all, you don't have to listen to somebody always incanting, at the start of every meeting, nonsense like "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail...", "constitutionally dishonest... born that way."

I don't want to slight the other non-cult recovery groups or methods. It's just that SMART is the only one that I've found in this city (besides WFS, which isn't for men), so I've never been to any of the others' meetings. But I hear that all of these, except Rational Recovery, have live face-to-face meetings. You can usually get their meeting schedules from their web sites. The whole list is:

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

I would suggest that the program didn't really work for your father; he just quit by using his own inner strength, and then gave the credit to A.A. program. Now maybe he gets some moral support from the group; maybe he likes the social club; maybe it gives him the feeling that his life means something and that God cares about his sobriety; maybe he has a lot of friends there; maybe it's just something to do. Still, nobody from the group holds his hand every Saturday night and keeps him from drinking. He is keeping himself sober.

"I have a lot of friends and associates who used to use and just simply DON'T use anymore."
Yes, exactly. The Harvard School of Medicine Mental Health Letter said that 80% of those people who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone. Alone, as in no "support group", and no "treatment program". Likewise, the dopers also quit on their own to a great extent. But A.A. and N.A. ignore all of those people ("They weren't really alcoholics or addicts.") and insist that "Nobody can do it alone." Baloney.

Sure, I'd be happy to correspond. I might be very slow if responding because Qwest pulled the plug on my DSL line, and I'm offline right now, but I'll answer sooner or later, I think. In spite of the fact that summer is here and so are the beautiful baby goslings down at the river, which is where I'm headed right now.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have
** is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
**       ==  Rabbi Harold Kushner

May 27, 2008: Up on the roof again, Day 11.

The goslings are browsing a planter box in the rooftop garden.

Canada Goose goslings in planter box

Somebody got the idea of letting the goslings eat the weeds in the planter-box gardens. Unfortunately, the goslings decided that they liked the choice crops, like the tomato plants, the best, so they got removed from the planter box real fast.

Fortunately, the weather improved, and in the afternoon they got to go back to the park where they could munch everything in sight.

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

Date: Thu, March 26, 2009 7:28 am     (answered 25 April 2009)
From: "Robin K.
Subject: Loved your articles

I was just told by my counselor that I may want to start Outpatient Rehab for my alcohol problem.

However, I had been to AA and I do NOT want to go back, I am assuming the outpatient program will want me to go to AA meetings.

I hate AA. It is way too religious for me. I don't like all the crazy whack jobs and creepy men hitting on me.

Is there a way with out AA?


Hello Robin,

Absolutely yes. In fact, your odds of succeeding are better without A.A. than with it, especially when you don't like A.A.

A.A. just screws up people's heads and raises the rate of binge drinking, and raises the death rate too. The vast majority of people who successfully quit drinking for a year or more do it alone, without A.A. or any "support group". The Harvard Medical School said that.

There are several good groups and methods that can help you. Just a little while ago, I wrote up the list and description of good things again, so see it here.

Have a good day, and good luck, and don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

== 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: Fri, March 27, 2009 6:26 pm     (answered 25 April 2009)
From: "J."
Subject: Hello

Hey, Uncle Orange,

J. here (please don't print my real name, sorry) — I wrote you a while back & just had to drop you another line. You're probably already aware of this, but I wanted to share with you that there is now a Self-Mutilators Anonymous fraction of the cult, in which people who self-injure are asked to do the "12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous" as per their site, (as if alcoholism and self-mutilation were in any way related) as a program of "recovery"! Can you imagine what a fourth step could do to someone who already has that much self-hatred — that, in conjunction with the usual ego-stripping and debasement?

I'm a social work student (almost done), and I can tell you that at least in my department, we debate the hell out of every possible ethical quandry, wanting never to cause harm to any client, and there is much talk and much sincere interest in trauma-informed care. And yet — say one word in question of 12-step philosophy, speak of the harm it can cause — faces look down, eyes roll, and people stop listening. The grip this cult has on contemporary society is that absolute. This is not an issue I'm going to give up on, however, as I feel it's my ethical responsibility, both as a practitioner and as a basically decent human being, to make it known in the field just what's going on.

I didn't tell you much about my AA experience in my first letter. Suffice it to say that it was bad. Really Fucking Bad. Hated it from the beginning. 13th stepping, stop taking your meds, your best thinking got you here, you don't have a relationship with God, poor me poor me pour me another drink, etc. I even had one fellow rub his middle finger into my palm (that sleaziest of come-on gestures) during the Serenity Prayer — and I was there with a kid from the group home where I worked — like I was going to go out into the parking lot and ??? The fact that he was in a wheelchair was the only thing that saved his ass that night, I can tell you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the work that you do. Your site has literally saved my life, and God knows how many others you have helped through it. Take good care of yourself, and of those goslings. Here's a big cosmic hug to my Uncle —


Hello again, J.,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

Self-Mutilators Anonymous. That's a new one on me. That is so bizarre that it's like reality satirizing art. I'll have to add that to the list in the file on "Snake Oil".

And yes, it is amazing how entrenched the 12-Step superstitions are. But the facade is crumbling. I think more and more people are becoming aware of the truth. More research is coming out that shows that A.A. is worthless. Word is getting around. Thank God for small favors.

And there is more and more satire of A.A. and its 12-Step baloney: South Park, Penn & Teller, The Office.

And lately, the Hollywood stars have actually been doing us a favor. It's such a circus how they get busted, and then they publicly announce that they have a problem, and they are going into rehab. So they go to some expensive luxury resort treatment center, and 28 days later come out spouting brain-dead slogans like an A.A. old-timer. And then 28 days after that they get busted for DWI or drugs again. And all of this happens very publicly on the Hollywood tabloid entertainment shows. It's a joke. I think the public is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the routine does not actually work. So the A.A. aura of invincibility is gone.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "It's worse than wicked, my dear, it's vulgar."
**         == Punch, Almanac 1876.

From: "ray a."
Date: Mon, April 6, 2009 10:49 am     (answered 25 April 2009)

What, then, is the answer to curing or ending addiction? I have read a lot about what is wrong with A.A. but have yet to read alternative solutions. We can all point our fingers and whisper what isn't working. Few have the integrity to actually work to find a solution. What do you suggest? Or are you simply sitting in the stands pointing out how badly the quarterback is playing and that you could do it better IF you were on the field? Have you actually been on the field or front-line of the disease? Are you afflicted with this disease recognized by the American Medical Association? Have you ever worked the 12 steps of a recovery program? Have you ever had to admit that you were powerless over something and that your life has become unmanageable as a result of your poor choices?

Hello Ray,

The answer to "ending addiction" is to quit taking or drinking or smoking whatever it is you are addicted to. It's really just that simple. And I don't want to hear any whining about how you are powerless and can't do it.

When you ask,

"Or are you simply sitting in the stands pointing out how badly the quarterback is playing and that you could do it better IF you were on the field? Have you actually been on the field or front-line of the disease?"
you make it obvious that you haven't read much of my web site. Start with the introduction, where I described how my child-molesting cocaine-snorting Internet-child-pornographer 12-Stepper "counselor" taught us how we must have a "higher power" in our recovery program:
  1. Intro to A.A.
  2. Bait-and-switch treatment
  3. Friends driven away from help by the 12-step nonsense
  4. who are you

We have talked endlessly about what works to help people to break their bad habits and end addictions. Look here for discussions and lists of more discussions:

  1. groups and methods
  2. a recent rap
  3. a long list here
  4. another rap here

And this:

"Are you afflicted with this disease recognized by the American Medical Association?"
is another standard A.A. deception. The truth is, the A.M.A. chose to mollify A.A. for political reasons. Their declaration that alcoholism was "an illness" (not a "disease") was based on no research at all. Just like their endorsement of cigarettes. That was in the nineteen-fifties. Then in the 'nineties they had a committee made up of two A.A. front groups write the definition of "alcoholism". (A little late, don't you think?)

Click on this link to read how the A.M.A. let a joint committee of the NCADD and ASAM write the definition of "alcoholism" for the A.M.A..

The definition that they came up with is of course compatible with A.A. theology and superstitions. The really odd thing about their definition of alcoholism is that it does not say that alcoholism is caused by drinking alcohol.

But there is a giant problem there — a problem for A.A., that is. A.A. says that alcoholism is "a spiritual disease that requires a spiritual cure". But the definition manufactured for the A.M.A. says no such thing. The A.M.A. and A.A. are talking about two entirely different "diseases". The A.M.A. did not in any way endorse the "spiritual disease" idea that Bill Wilson preached.

From: "ray a."
Date: Mon, April 6, 2009 11:22 am     (answered 25 April 2009)

Why do you pick up sobriety chips from a program you don't agree with? If you found a way to stay sober without the help of A.A. that is great. I am sincerely happy for you. However, why are you so quick to condemn a program that has helped countless others, including myself, just because you did it another way? I'm not questioning your solution. You found one that works for you. I just don't understand why you are so dogmatic in your approach to recovery. My program in A.A. is different than 100% of the fellowship. It is my program which fits my life. I am still a member of A.A. I am a step-taking Buddhist member of the fellowship. The steps are a vessel to a spiritual awakening. Not a cure for alcoholism. You can replace the word alcohol from step 1 and replace it with anything you over-indulge in. You can't drape a blanket over alcoholics and believe you understand all alcoholics. Our disease manifests in a variety of ways, unique to the individual. The point of meetings is that we can relate to common signs and symptoms of our disease when we hear someone share.

I don't pick up sobriety chips, and haven't since I got the 1-year coin. In the beginning, I thought that the sobriety chips were just a way of congratulating people for the time that they had been sober. I picked up chips just to show that I was still making it, my way. When I learned that some people thought that the coins proved that the goofy A.A. program really works, I stopped collecting the coins. I am now due coins for 2 years through 8 years, but I won't be going and getting them.

"The program", as you call it, has not "helped countless others". That is the biggest lie of Alcoholics Anonymous. The truth is that A.A. has killed more alcoholics than it has sobered up. And that comes from a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous [World] Services, Inc., who is a doctor who spent many years treating alcoholics with Alcoholics Anonymous. Read this.

You say,

"The steps are a vessel to a spiritual awakening."
No, actually, the 12 Steps are cult recruiting and indoctrination procedures that were developed by Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman for his cult that he presumptuously called "The Oxford Groups". William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith were both members of that crazy pro-Nazi cult and learned the cult practices there. After they got sobered up, they spent years recruiting for that cult. Then Bill got kicked out, so he took the alcoholics and set up his own cult, still using all of Frank Buchman's heretical cult theology. Bill Wilson merely repackaged the Oxford Group practices as the 12 Steps and sold those cult practices as a cure for alcoholism.

The rest of your rap is just the usual arguments for why cult membership is really wonderful.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     AA's followers inevitably ask "But why do all the top doctors support
**     the disease concept if it isn't true?" Well... back in the 50s, the
**     American Medical Association endorsed cigarettes. Whenever something
**     is endorsed by doctors on the surface but lacks hard evidence, be very
**     very suspicious. The same goes for psychiatry and the "chemical
**     imbalance theory".
**        == sdp026  http://youtube.com/watch?v=MW799LJHhZU

From: "Paul D. N."
Subject: Thank you
Date: Mon, April 6, 2009 1:22 pm     (answered 25 April 2009)

I just found your web site and writings after being confronted by some "friends" of my wife who are ardent AA proponents. After two hours of being told how I need to go and find the real me, how I was to blame for everything in my marriage and life, then handed a Big Book, my wife was handed an Al-Anon book.

Let me back up. We are going through some difficult times. I have handled it poorly by drinking. My wife was told by her AA friends to give me an ultimatum, to leave me if I didn't stop drinking (right now). You summed it up well by saying there seems to be some truth in what they were saying, but something didn't seem right.

My wife is now buying this crap hook & sinker and I'm confused and angry.

If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. Meanwhile, I'll keep reading your work and THANK YOU again very much.


Hello Paul,

Thanks for the thanks. Sorry to hear about your troubles.

If she is still reachable, I'd start her off with how Al-Anon is going to put her down, and what they really think of their women members (nagging bitches), here.

Then maybe the 12-Step Snake Oil file would be good, because it contains a lot of information about Al-Anon.

And she should read the history of A.A. and the 12 Steps, here, so that she will have some idea of what A.A. and Al-Anon really come from — a crazy pro-Nazi cult religion.

You didn't say what her religious inclinations are. If she is at all spiritually or religiously oriented, she should read The Heresy of the 12 Steps.

On a lighter note, the jokes may help, too.

I hope she is still reachable. But if she has closed her mind, and won't accept any criticism of Al-Anon, then that's a major problem. That makes it about a hundred times harder.

You could still try reading her a few quotes from the Al-Anon put-downs that I listed first — "You are sick, you are domineering, you are a control freak."
You might ask her if she really wants to spend the rest of her life being insulted like that.
And does she really believe that she is that vile and low?
And what will years of listening to such put-downs do to her head?

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I will realize that, even in doing nothing about my problems,
**     I am actively practicing the Al-Anon idea."
**       ==  One Day at a Time in Al-Anon, p. 143

Date: Wed, April 8, 2009 3:13 am     (25 April 2009)
From: "monica d."
Subject: mental illness

Oh Mr Orange...

I dont think the Archives in New York have as much written on AA as you have spent your sweet sad heart writing. There are so many causes...why this one. How does an AA Cult member leave.?..the door. How do we say no?..ummm "no"... Self loathing? Only before we found AA. Bill was a nut yes, but he managed to get sober helping another guy. Pay it forward. You get what you give. That frightens me for you. It might help. Im thinking if this is all you have time to do, you may protest just a little too much. Your either a very unmedicated schizophrenic or your in need of a meeting honey...oh and orange man..we'll love ya till you love yourself, dont worry we have time to wait. Ill practice loving compassion for you when I meditate. Id pray but Im just not religious.

Hello Monica,

Wow, you sure drank the koolaid, didn't you?

"The reason why" is very simple: it is wrong to foist quackery on sick people. And A.A. has been doing that for 70 years now.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Through clever and constant application
**    of propaganda, people can be made to see
**    paradise as hell, and also the other way
**    round, to consider the most wretched sort
**    of life as paradise" 
**      ==  Adolf Hitler

Date: Thu, April 9, 2009 11:35 pm     (answered 25 April 2009)
From: "Charles M."

Dear Agent Orange,

How in anything approaching fairness do you come up with all the crap you write?

I have been sober in AA for amore then seventeen years and while I don't expect that this is the way for everyone it has been a lifesaver for me and many other people I know.

Everyone has a right to come to their own conclusions but honestly, what does plastering web page after web page with half truths and negativity do for you?

How many alkies do you help sober up in a normal year. Are you adding anything to anyone's well being?

You think Bill Wilson was full of shit and perhaps there is something to that. He also set in motion a fellowship that continues to help some people. I am one of them.

Chuck M.

Hello Chuck,

Congratulations on your 17 years of sobriety. You have still not provided a shred of evidence that A.A. does anything good, or helps more alcoholics than it kills.

In 17 years, you have to have noticed the A.A. failure rate. You know how rare it is to give out sobriety coins like the 5- or 10-year coin.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will
**    not completely give themselves to this simple program,
**    usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable
**    of being honest with themselves."
**      == Bill Wilson, 'Alcoholics Anonymous', page 58.

Date: Fri, April 10, 2009 3:53 pm     (answered 26 April 2009)
From: "Victoria"
Subject: Your Website

Hi. I love your website. I should ask my sponsor first if I should write this. But wait, maybe I could channel Saint Bill and see what he thinks.... .lol. I knew about 3 months in when I came out of the fog of drinking and detox, that they didn't have anything to offer me. And yes it is very religious and anyone that can't see that very early on, probably have killed those brain cells that let you think clearly.

— Victoria

Hi Victoria,

Thanks for the letter and the laugh.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "Laughter is the best medicine,
**      and it's cheaper.
**      == Victor Borge

Date: Fri, April 10, 2009 6:59 pm     (answered 26 April 2009)
From: "alex w."

Dear Mr Orange,

I have looked at your site a few times. I have been sober for a couple of months and am doing it through AA. I can see it would definitely not be for everyone, but I feel as if it is helping me a great deal. I will keep an open mind.

Thanks for the interesting materials on your site, which I have found thought-provoking (often — although by no means always — simply by way of something to disagree with!).

I have to say, what I see as the shortcomings of your site have been pinned down by "Dave" from England who emailed you on 25 December 2008. In my view that email is very perceptive and I endorse pretty much all of his comments. Your failure to appreciate the self-deprecating humour in the Big Book passage concerning the zealous and presumptuous new AAer who tries to teach his wife how to live, is particularly revealing. I note from your reply comment that you still do not accept that this passage is intended to be self-deprecating. Are you sure you don't want to reconsider that one?

I do think that you might opt for a more balanced commentary on AA. Your industry in research and your desire to reach as many people as possible with your independently-formed view are admirable, but the constant proselytising soon begins to grate. Is it not possible that the situation is not all black and white, and that AA is neither an evil cult nor a perfect solution — but simply a flawed, human attempt to deal with the problem of addiction to alcohol? Maybe for some people it is one which works!

Please do not publish my email address.

Many thanks,


Hi Alex,

Thanks for the letter.

I really have reconsidered — and I really did reconsider then, when I answered that other letter — and I still see that Bill Wilson was selling the 12-Step religion to the wives throughout the first 164 pages of the Big Book.

Now I know that if you take that line by itself, it might look like a joke:

After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Seeing her unhappiness, he recommends A.A.'s Twelve Steps and tries to teach her how to live.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 118.

Surely he must have been writing that with his tongue in his cheek and making a joke at his own expense when he wrote that last line, you think.

But this is the same author who wrote his wife's confession for her, saying that she was selfish and silly and dishonest and unspiritual, and thought that she was too good to need God, and that she needed to adopt Bill's "spiritual way of life". You have to consider the source, and consider where Bill Wilson was coming from.

And speaking of where he was coming from, remember that he wrote Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions while he was in the middle of a severe, crippling, 11-year long period of deep clinical depression. Bill Wilson was not sane. He was buggy as a flophouse blanket.

Bill Wilson was suffering from NPD — Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which includes delusions of grandeur. Bill believed that he had discovered one of the greatest spiritual and medical discoveries of the Twentieth Century, and he felt qualified to teach it to everybody else, including his wife. Never mind the fact that Bill's "solution" was to foist Frank Buchman's old cult religion on everybody else. Bill wasn't thinking rationally.

Bill Wilson wrote many, many times, that A.A. with its 12 Steps was a complete "way of life" for the whole family, not just a quit-drinking club for the boys — and the whole family should be sold the Buchmanite way of life:

We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.
The Big Book, William G. Wilson, the Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii of the 3rd edition.

Instructions to the A.A. recruiter:

Though an alcoholic does not respond, there is no reason why you should neglect his family. You should continue to be friendly to them. The family should be offered your way of life. Should they accept and practice spiritual principles, there is a much better chance that the head of the family will recover. And even though he continues to drink, the family will find life more bearable.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 97.

Bill Wilson wrote that A.A. is so successful that the entire family should join his religion:

After they have seen tangible results, the family will perhaps want to go along. These things will come to pass naturally and in good time...
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 99.
Bill wrote that even if the wife is leaving the husband and divorcing him, she should still join Bill's religion:

If there be divorce or separation, there should be no undue haste for the couple to get together. The man should be sure of his recovery. The wife should fully understand his new way of life.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 99.

But sometimes you must start life anew. We know women who have done it. If such women adopt a spiritual way of life their road will be smoother.
The Big Book, 3rd edition, Chapter 8, To Wives, page 114.

And again, Bill tried to recruit the wife and the whole family:

One more suggestion: Whether the family has spiritual convictions or not, they may do well to examine the principles by which the alcoholic member is trying to live. They can hardly fail to approve these simple principles, though the head of the house still fails somewhat in practicing them. Nothing will help the man who is off on a spiritual tangent so much as the wife who adopts a sane spiritual program, making a better use of it.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 9, The Family Afterward, page 130.

Bill Wilson was promoting and selling a religion for the whole family. It wasn't just a quit-drinking club for the guys. It was the Oxford Group religion, with a new name painted on it.

So Bill wasn't joking when he said that the newly-sober husband taught the 12 Steps to his wife so that she would know how to live. And Bill was arrogant and narcissistic enough to consider himself qualified to teach Lois how to live.

Bill Wilson just couldn't admit that his wife was a better person than he was. Never mind the fact that Lois worked selflessly to support Bill, working at Loesser's department store in New York City to support both of them, while all that Bill Wilson did was steal more money out of her purse to buy more booze, and then go out and philander and then come home and throw screaming temper tantrums and tear up the house. And then tell Lois that "men of genius" conceived their best projects when drunk.

So, as soon as Bill sobered up, Bill's ego demanded that he suddenly become far superior to Lois, her spiritual superior, wiser than her and entitled to teach her how to live and how to be selfless and spiritual.

Also remember that "having a resentment" is a big sin in Alcoholics Anonymous. Lois Wilson was "axiomatically spiritually wrong", as Bill Wilson put it, because she had a resentment:

After the husband joins A.A., the wife may become discontented, even highly resentful that Alcoholics Anonymous has done the very thing that all her years of devotion had failed to do. Her husband may become so wrapped up in A.A. and his new friends that he is inconsiderately away from home more than when he drank. Seeing her unhappiness, he recommends A.A.'s Twelve Steps and tries to teach her how to live.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 118.

Now I know that last line sounds so insane if taken literally that you think that Bill Wilson must have been joking. But Bill Wilson really was that insane. He wasn't joking any more than he was joking when he blamed his relapses on his wife's criticism of his chain-smoking. Bill Wilson just couldn't stand the least little bit of criticism.

His wife is one of those persons who really feels there is something rather sinful about these commodities [tobacco and coffee], so she nagged, and her intolerance finally threw him into a fit of anger. He got drunk.     ...
She sees she was wrong to make a burning issue out of such a matter when his more serious ailments were being rapidly cured.
William G. Wilson, The "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous, in the chapter "The Family Afterward", on page 135 (3rd and 4th editions)

Every time Lois Wilson got mad at Bill Wilson for his bad behavior, Bill said that she was wrong and spiritually at fault for having a resentment.

Narcissistic vampires' greatest fear is of being ordinary. God forbid they should do something as mundane as making a mistake. Even the smallest criticisms feel like stakes through the heart. If you reprimand Narcissistic vampires, the least they'll do is explain in great detail why your opinion is wrong. If you're right, the situation will be much worse. They will melt before your eyes into pitiful, dependent infants who need enormous amounts of reassurance and praise just to draw their next breath. You can't win. There's no such thing as a Narcissistic vampire being objective about his or her faults.
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D., page 137.

Try not to condemn your alcoholic husband no matter what he says or does.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 8, To Wives, page 108.

... you must be on guard to not embarrass or harm your husband.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 8, To Wives, page 115.

When Lois Wilson screamed at Bill and threw a shoe at him and complained about Bill spending all of his time at A.A. meetings (and having affairs with women there) — "Damn your old meetings!" — she never heard the end of it. The A.A. faithful wrote this for her in her "autobiography", when she was old and frail and near death:

Slowly I recognized that because I had not been able to "cure" Bill of his alcoholism, I resented the fact that someone else had done so, and I was jealous of his newfound friends...
      God, through the Oxford Group, had accomplished in a twinkling what I had failed to do in seventeen years.
Lois Remembers, page 99.

Yep, Lois had a resentment.

Finally, I am not going to concede that "A.A. is really okay for some people and saves lots of lives and is a good thing." Alcoholics Anonymous is still a hoax and a fraud that kills more people than it saves. Those are the medical facts. Sorry if that doesn't sound unbiased and even-handed and balanced enough to suit you. But that's the way it is. We would have just as many sober people in this world if A.A. did not exist.

In fact, things might be much better if A.A. did not exist, because something else would fill the void. And that "something else" might be based on some medical truths, rather than old cult religion.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, April 12, 2009 6:55 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Brian S."
Subject: Dear, Orange...

....Hey...I was wondering what led to your prolific criticism of A.A. ...I am under court orders (probation) to attend A.A. meetings, which I realize is unconstitutional, but I am in no position to fight such nonsense...I have to admit — after reading about "Bill W." tonight for the first time — that I am pleasantly surprised he was such a "conflicted" man...I was fully expecting I'd be reading about some holier-than-thou Bible-thumper who did no wrong...

Hope to hear from you...

"Black" a.k.a. Brian

Hello Black,

Yes, if you don't want a Bible-beater or a Big-Book-thumper, you came to the right place. I believe in facts, not the ravings of old nutcases.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. You are right that it is unConstitutional. And most victims are not in a legal or financial position to be able to fight for their rights.

As far as what led to the criticism, I also went through the mill. Here are some autobiographical items that explain the progression:

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

Have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Sun, April 12, 2009 9:08 pm     (answered 27 April 2009)
From: "Brian S."
Subject: O.K....

I wrote you earlier.

And now I'm officially freaked out.

I got a lousy D.U.I. in January. Went out w/ a co-worker and got busted after a night of playing pool and hanging out w/ some cute girls at a roadhouse bar. Was convicted last week, forced into "treatment" (bible-thumping moron who charges 70-bucks a "session") and I am being forced to attend two A.A. meetings a week for 3 months.

And since all this has happened? I have been hitting the sauce like a man possessed. I am an atheist who had no intention of being converted and I am in hell.

Thank you for your Orange Papers.

I will quietly attend their stupid meetings and count down my days to "freedom" in silence.

Brian S.
Not Another Statistic, Inc.

Hello again, Brian,

Thanks for the thanks.

I have often heard of what you are describing. People complain to me that A.A. meetings make them want to drink, and N.A. (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings make them want to take drugs.

But of course. A.A. is basically obsessed with alcoholism, and makes alcohol the center of the members' lives even more than it was before sobriety. They talk about it all of the time, and they think about it constantly, and they make a big deal out of avoiding "people, places, and things" that are associated with alcohol.

I have felt it too. I could be just fine before I went into an A.A. meeting, but I came out wanting a drink. I've also come out of N.A. meetings wanting to find some dope and get high. I didn't do it, but I could clearly feel the awakened desire.

Your plan of just hanging in there and toughing it out sounds like a good one. Legally, you have no other choice. The nightmare will end eventually.

You do have a choice of meetings, though. They cannot mandate A.A. as your only meeting or "treatment", because A.A. has repeatedly been ruled a religion by a lot of judges. So you should be able to substitute SMART meetings for A.A. meetings. Or any of the other alternatives.

Here is a list of better things:

  1. SMART.
  2. WFS Women For Sobriety
  3. SOS Secular Organizations for Sobriety
  4. LSR LifeRing Secular Recovery
  5. RR Rational Recovery

Most of those groups have meetings all over the country, some more, some less. You can usually find a list of local meetings on their web sites. And most of those web sites have forums where you can just talk to others and share experiences and problems.

The last one, Rational Recovery, is no longer "a group", it's a book, and a technique — basically the same idea as the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

And please do read about the old Base Brain or Lizard Brain "Addiction Monster". Recognizing his wheedling and complaining and begging and urging me to "just have a little bit" helps me to avoid relapses. It helps a lot. I have found that knowledge to be a real life-saver.

Good luck, have a good day, and a good life.

== 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.

May 27, 2008: Still up on the roof, Day 11.

It's a gray, rainy morning, so the goslings get their morning walks on the roof.

Canada Goose gosling walking on tiles

[The story of the goslings continues here.]

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Last updated 25 February 2012.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters116.html