Letters, We Get Mail, CXXIII

Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 10:18:57 -0500     (answered 31 May 2009)
From: "X"
Subject: treatment center

April 3, 2009

Hello Orange

I'm writing you this letter to tell you my story concerning my adventure to and through recovery. I have now been sober since December 23, 2005. I will never forget that day. It was the Christmas season. I had received a small gift from a client which I had brought home after work. I was having a difficult time tearing the tape so I picked up a pair of scissors which belonged to my wife. She went ballistic. I put her scissors down immediately. I never knew a woman could be so attached to a sewing tool. She continued her tirade. We were sober during this argument, I promise nothing physical happened just a lot of fussing. She left home I assumed to cool off so I tried to do the same. I watched TV and drank several beers [four or five, I don't remember]. Finally she did come home but re-started the same argument about how I was abusing her personal property. I had had enough so this time I foolishly left home to return to my office. I have a cot there and could spend the night. I felt this would alleviate the fussing. Damn, was I wrong. She called the local police. They came to my office an arrested me for family violence and driving under the influence. To jail I went. Although nothing physical happened accept the fussing and my leaving I spent that night and the next day in jail. The charge of family violence was dismissed for lack of any evidence. I did plead no-contest to the driving charge. Yes, I did drive after drinking. I made a poor decision.

After release I did not go home but rather to a 12 step-based treatment facility in Statesboro Georgia called Willingway. This was my doing because while in jail I made the decision to "stop drinking". No one talked to me, no revelations, I just decided alcohol was ruining my marriage and life. At that time I truly did not know of an alternative to the so called AA/12 step recovery program. I truly loved my wife and wanted to do what was right. Did I make a mistake?

My time at Willingway was actual "HELL". Yes, I made five weeks there without a drink, but only because they locked me up and did not serve alcohol. The doctor there, and man called Dr. Bob, called my wife. He subsequently explained to me with exact precision how I had attacked my wife. Although [it was] a total lie, I stood no chance of explaining the truth — that would be denial. He further explained if I ever again drank or left treatment my wife would divorce me, taking everything I had. We had only been married eight months. Bullshit. I was truly scared to death. I didn't know what to do. I wasn't allowed to call home or even use the phone at all. I was assigned a counselor who had been sober only a year himself. He was a former house painter. He just listened to me and reported to the Doctor my so-called shortcomings as he interpreted. I managed to not drink, but not because of anything they did but in spite of what they did.

While there I was taken off medicines for depression which I had been taking for years. They said I didn't need it. Even when I became physically and emotionally ill, they just talked to me and said it would pass. Bullshit again. However one day I cut my finger while playing a game, I was rushed to the local emergency room. Needless to say I finally came home sicker than when I left. The last four days there, my wife came down. She was told "her picker was broken". The words of the Doctor's wife and head counselor. The wife was advised to file for divorce as soon as possible. I thought I was the patient. Orange, am I missing something here? I'm not a bad person, I made a mistake.

After arriving home I was taken to AA by my wife. This lasted less than a week because she said it was my problem. I couldn't drive because of the DUI. I had no license. She invited me out of the house and back to the office I went. And yes, a divorce was filed. AA was not much help. I went and listen to how everything was my fault and I needed to make amends. My wife refused to talk so I didn't call her again. Again, even rationally enough is enough. I'm the party that filed for divorce.

Eventually I stopped going to AA, but guess what? I'm still sober as they call it. There are no other recovery groups in my area accept something called "Celebrate Recovery". I went one time. Not again. AA looks goods in comparison.

I talked to a Civil Attorney about sueing Willingway but didn't pursue the idea. I just decided to take my new single life and live a good sober life. I have done that. Without AA or that damn treatment place. Now they send me letters wanting donations.

Now I realize your site is geared toward the evils of AA. I can not help you much there because I got out early. I have no war stories to tell. That 12 step treatment center was enough for me.

My name is X. I'm writing you this letter really to try and get this anger out of my system. Please forgive me. I would appreciate you real opinion of the same. Please please don't publish my name or particulars. Why, because although I swear on all that is good I tell the truth I fear those people at Willingway. That Doctor was without a doubt the meanest man I have ever known. He reminds me of one of those German Doctors that ran a concentration camp during WWII. I have seen them in the movies, I didn't know any were still around.

I enjoy your site. Although I don't agree with everything you say. [just a bit]. It has caused me to think about what I need and should expect of "my" recovery. Thank you very much.


Hello X,

Thanks for the letter, and it isn't out of place. I like to cover the wider field, which includes the treatment centers that push A.A. nonsense on defenseless victims. "Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers" are one of the biggest organized crime rackets in the USA. The "evils of A.A.", and the evils of 12-Step-based treatment centers are one and the same.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I trust that you are feeling better now.

At that "treatment center", we see the common A.A. doctrine of faith healing and opposition to medications — "You don't need anti-depressants or other psychiatric medications — just trust the 12 Steps to heal you." 12-Step treatment centers are as bad as Scientology when it comes to opposing psychiatric medications, and taking people off of medications. And their policies are based on just as little real medical knowledge.

We also see standard Cult Characteristic Number Two: You are always wrong. It doesn't matter what you say or do, they are always right and you are always wrong.

In addition, we also see standard Cult Characteristic Number 34: The Cult Implants Phobias:
"He further explained if I ever again drank or left treatment my wife would divorce me, taking everything I had. ... I was truly scared to death."

And there is 82. Denial of the truth. Reversal of reality.
They pretend to care about alcoholics, but they really have nothing but hatred for them, as you found out. They regard alcoholics as sub-humans, just immoral mental defectives who are "constitutionally dishonest and manipulative and self-seeking and thinking alcoholically". The incoming alcoholics have not joined the right religion or "gotten spiritual" yet, so they are disgusting. That attitude is so common to A.A. and its followers that I wrote a whole web page on it: The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy

The treatment centers also pretend that they have a treatment program that really works, which is another reversal of reality. See this letter for a lot more on how treatment centers fake their success statistics.

And they even arrogated unto themselves even the role of marriage counselor, feeling qualified to tell your wife to divorce you just because you drove drunk, so you are of course automatically an alcoholic and a bad person. Some help. You really got your money's worth from that treatment center, didn't you?

Then they push totally irrational A.A. dogma on you as if it was the truth, and insist that you must believe it, and live their way, or else... That is a whole lot of standard cult behavior:

Welcome to the 12-Step treatment center racket.

(Note that, when you are reading the cult test pages, you can switch to the A.A. answers to any of those Cult Test questions by clicking on the number of the question. And clicking on the number in the answers will switch you back to the question.)

Oh, and about the doctor:
"That Doctor was without a doubt the meanest man I have ever known. He reminds me of one of those German Doctors that ran a concentration camp during WWII."
He isn't alone. Did you hear that Dr. G. Douglas Talbott, the doctor who was the President of ASAM — the American Society of Addiction Medicine — another A.A. front group — got sued out of the treatment center business for sadistic treatment of his patients, even driving them to suicide, and for false imprisonment and deliberate misdiagnosis of patients? His clients were other doctors and nurses who allegedly had a drinking problem (but some of his prisoners didn't have any such problem).

Disrespectful, sadistic, and even vicious treatment of the inmates of treatment centers is commonplace. Also read about Boot Camps: Children's Gulags for more of that. And there you will read about Rev. Miller Newton, Ph.D., who was described by a girl who survived his abusive "rehab program" as,

The single most dangerous and sadistic person I have ever met!!!!!! I watched him pick up a 12 year old girl by the hair one day and drag her all the way across the warehouse that we were in.... that's NOT a euphemism, we were kept in a WAREHOUSE all that time.   ...

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

May 7, 2009, Thursday: Day 7:

The weather was good, so Carmen and I went back to Waterfront Park, bright and early. The family of 5 larger goslings showed up soon. Here they are having a breakfast of rice that I brought for them.

Canada Goose mother + 5 goslings
The family of 5 larger goslings, eating rice.

Carmen ran to join them as soon as she saw them. This time, the father was not so patient. He actually bit Carmen and told her to go away. She just ran around him and joined the goslings anyway.

6 Canada Goose goslings
Carmen plus the 5 larger goslings, grazing.
As usual, Carmen is the small one in the middle. She is going for 2 grains of rice that are stuck on the back of one of the other goslings.

Then there was another dog alert, and all of the geese ran for the river. I followed them down to the river. They went out of sight for a minute when they went over the river bank. When I got to the river bank and looked down, I saw the "family of 5" — the family with 5 goslings — but without Carmen. Carmen was nowhere to be seen. I began to have all kinds of dark thoughts, like, "Did she drown? Did they kill her? Is she under water?"

And then I noticed that another family of geese was swimming away off to the right. They had 5 smaller goslings just Carmen's size. Then I realized, "Hey! Wait a minute! I know that family, but they only have 4 goslings." (It was the same family as I had been looking at the previous night.) So I started snapping pictures fast so that I could document this and examine the photographs later, because things were happening too fast for me to see it all clearly.

Canada Goose family
The family of 5, without Carmen.

Carmen + Canada Goose family
The family of 4 goslings that somehow now has 5 goslings.

Later, in the evening, when I was able to study the photographs, I zoomed in on the goslings. Look at the three goslings on the right. It appears that Carmen is the one in the middle. But of course. She was always the one in the middle. She was so desperate to be just one of the kids that she was always planting herself right in the middle of the goslings.

2 Canada Goose goslings
Carmen is the one on the right.

Yes, that's Carmen, with her dark spots on her cheeks, and darker than usual brown cap on her head and dark brown back, and the light streaks down her wings and across her tail.

Apparently, Carmen did a quick switch. In the confusion and commotion and hubbub of the run from the dog, when the parents were looking up at the river bank and watching for the dog, Carmen slipped into the brood of this other family behind their backs, and then acted like she was just one of the regular kids, and insisted, "Hey, I'm just one of the kids. I've been here all along. Don't look at me. Ain't nobody here but us chickens."

Carmen had the good sense to realize that the situation with the family of 5 older goslings was hopeless — they just weren't going to accept her. So, when she saw her opportunity with this family, she took it. She left the other family and jumped into this family so fast, it was such a smooth slick trick, that a magician doing a shell game would be proud of the move. "The hand is quicker than the eye. Watch closely now. Whoops! Where did the gosling go?"

But how could Carmen pull it off? Some people have asked, "Don't Canada Geese know what their own children look like?" Yes, they do. I'm sure it helped Carmen a lot that she was a dead ringer for one of the other goslings in the family. That was just plain lucky. Look at the last little gosling in the rear. Carmen closely resembles that gosling, so closely that she was able to pass herself off as one of the kids. Compare the gosling in the photo below with Carmen in the photo above.

Canada Goose gosling
The last gosling, enlarged.

The gosling in the rear is almost as dark, and also has brown spots on its cheeks. It just lacks Carmen's distinctive light stripes on the wings and tail. This one has lighter stripes there too, but they aren't as sharply-defined and distinct as Carmen's. Carmen and this gosling are very similar, but you can tell them apart if you have photographs to study closely.

The Canada Geese parents have the disadvantage that their children change in appearance from day to day. The babies actually grow so fast that they are constantly changing in appearance. The parents can only have a general idea of what their babies look like. They can't have a really specific nit-pickingly detailed idea what their babies look like because that idea will be wrong tomorrow.

That's the reason that there was little hope that Carmen's real parents would return and claim her. After 3 or 4 days, the baby has changed in appearance so much that her parents won't recognize her. "Nah, that big kid isn't the one that we lost. Our baby is smaller and lighter than that one." (Not any more, it isn't.)

So anyway, I followed this family of geese all over the place for the rest of the day, to make sure that Carmen was okay. More photos and story follow.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Fri, April 3, 2009 9:27 am     (answered 1 June 2009)
From: "Reid McF."
Subject: Religious Roots AA?

Do you have other information and sites about the Drugs Roots of AA?

Reid McF.

Hello Reid,

I'm not 100% sure what you are referring to by "the Drugs Roots of AA". Two things come to mind:

  1. Bill Wilson's "belladonna cure" treatment for alcoholism at Towns' Hospital in 1933 and 1934 that supposedly gave Bill a "spiritual experience". It is documented here. The source documents are all listed there.

  2. Then there was Bill Wilson's own drug consumption later on, taking various experimental drugs, including LSD. That is documented in a variety of places (but I don't have any links to other web sites that discuss it):

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.

** "One of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous [Bill Wilson]
** described to me the transcendental experience he credits
** with giving him control over his compulsive drinking.
** Years later he took LSD five or six times. This, he
** said, reinstated his original ecstasy, and consequently
** he wishes that LSD were more available to alcoholics."
** == Walter Houston Clark. Chemical Ecstasy: Psychedelic
** Drugs and Religion, p 101. Sheed & Ward, New York, 1969.
** (Note: Bill took LSD for two years, not just 5 or 6 times.)

Date: Sat, April 4, 2009 4:59 am     (answered 1 June 2009)
From: "Petri"
Subject: You forgot one poison in the "cure alcoholism" recipe...

On the page The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A. there are several recipes for "curing" alcoholism with hallucinogens, somewhat reminiscent of the current practice of treating e.g. heroinism with ibogaine — although I must admit that in the current case, there are at least some medical theories as to how it would work, as opposed to the belladonna treatment — with one recipe for C.C. pills.

You forgot to mention one of the ingredients in that particular recipe, an ingredient that most certainly demands a mention. Of course the pill is cathartic — it contains mercury of all things! Hydrargyri chloridi mitis translates into something akin to medium-strong mercury chloride (note that mercury ion exists in several electron configurations — I'm not sure of this "medium-strong" version is mercuric or mercurous chloride).

This ingredient was used for centuries to induce violent diarrhea and vomiting, in accordance with the old theory that this would purge the person from whatever ill was at the time, one of the four humors or demonic possession — it's up to you. Thankfully, we've since quite a while accepted the fact, known since centuries as well, that mercury is extremely toxic, and we don't prescribe it to anyone for anything anymore. But it took until the 19th century for people to accept the already known fact.

I've always wondered what that "belladonna cure" was — thank you for enlightening me! I must say I'm appalled that it is still mentioned in "the book", now that I know what it was — a toxic trip deluxe.

Kindest regards,

Hi Petri,

Thanks for the information. I didn't know that Hydrargyri chloridi mitis was actually a mercury compound. Wow.

I remember a lecture that I got about mercuric chloride — it's used as a catalyst in one process for making printed circuit boards. Since it's a catalyst, you only need a tiny amount of it. Nevertheless, the drift of the lecture was, "You really don't want to use that stuff. It's too toxic to keep around. Please don't buy it." I didn't.

The "treatment" that Bill Wilson received in Towns' Hospital really was a toxic witch's brew. It's amazing that medicine was still that primitive in 1934.

Well, people may still get cult religion as a quack cure for alcoholism, but at least they don't get mercuric chloride.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "Men and nations behave wisely once they
**    have exhausted all the other alternatives."
**        — Abba Eban (1915—2002)

[Another letter from Petri, and another poison that Bill Wilson got from Dr. Silkworth, is here.]

Date: Sat, April 4, 2009 6:23 pm     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: "Matt B."
Subject: Who Is "Orange"?


I'm very impressed by your thoroughgoing analysis of AA. Many of your objections to the program are similar to the ones I've had over the years. However, I was wondering, to put it rather bluntly, who you are? Why do you hide your identity?

Hi Matt,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. In the past, I hid my identity because it was necessary for my own welfare, like to keep my housing. Now it is no longer necessary. I broke my anonymity some time ago. My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Portland, Oregon.

My guess is that you tried out AA at one time in your life, and that your criticisms of AA come from your negative experiences with it. Am I right? And what motivated you to write The Orange Papers? Did you want to get out the message? Last but not least, how did you find the time to write as much as you did? The length of your writings is truly astounding!

Ah, you haven't read the introduction, have you? Read these items for the answers to most of your questions:

  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. the story about "Rat Park"

About the time spent on the web site — I actually feel like I don't spend enough time on it. I'm retired now, so I have a bunch of spare time. I spend most of my time doing other things like working on my suntan down at the river, and feeding the cute little goslings, and working on my guitar playing, and doing photography, and shopping for treasures at Goodwill. I just get a little time in on the web site. What you are really seeing is the result of 8 years of working on the web site. A little work here, a little work there, a bunch of work over there, and it adds up after 8 years.

I can't say I agree with everything you say, but I do find some of your assertions to be quite accurate.

I hope to hear from you!

Matt B.

Okay, Matt, you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    There are some remedies worse than the disease.
**    Publius Syrus, Maxim 301 (First Century B.C.)

Date: Sun, May 17, 2009 12:18 am     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: raymond
Subject: X-Steppers

Hi Terry,

Happy to see you've gotten a chance to respond to more letters.

I see you've included links to X-Steppers; you should know that they have moved from MSN and found a new home on Multiply:

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for the tip. Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *

**    From too much love of living
**    From hope and fear set free,
**    We thank with brief thanksgiving
**    Whatever gods may be
**    That no life lives forever;
**    That dead men rise up never;
**    That even the weariest river
**    Winds somewhere safe to sea.
**    ==  Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837—1909)
**         The Garden of Proserpine, st. 11

Date: Sun, April 5, 2009 8:00 pm     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: IronMan
Subject: AA has become like a mafia!

Dear Orange,

Thank you for your web site and hard work. I believe AA has become a very powerful and dangerous organization. When you want out they simply don't want to let you go and they are tenacious about it. I've had scarey things happen since I left the program. Is there any forum where I could go to talk about it with others?



Hello Ironman,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles, but not surprised.

Yes, there are a bunch of forums that I can think of:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
**    try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
**    enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
**    (The Big Book, page 96.)

Date: Mon, April 6, 2009 11:40 am     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: "Servando"
Subject: View on AA

Hello, I've been reading your interesting site. As an alcoholic and attendant to AA meetings I find some of your points sound. However I find some other arguments either lacking or mislead due I guess to your own bad experience. I've been attending meeting for 1 an a half yeras now and I must tell you that:

No one has a problem with my religious beliefs. In fact, we hold meetings at a catholic church, most of us are catholics and that does not suppose a problem for anyone. Actually many people have found their way back to catholic church through AA.

Also, there is no problem with people not following steps. You do things when and if you're ready and willing. If you don't want to, for example, tell your intimate stuff to anyone, you are not pushed in any way. Actually, nobody knows what you do or don't unless you tell.

No money has ever been asked from me.

Whether I show up at meetings or not, no one ever said a word about that. I'm only asked to declare myslef powerless to drink in a controlled way. That surrender does not carry to any other part of my life. I'm actually encouraged to act and take matters in may own hands to imporve my life. I am encouraged to acknowledge a superior power that takes care of thing I cannot for better or worse and I'm told to hope it'll be for the better. Government does the same thing and collects taxes from me to do it, most often with worse results than God.

I've never once heard any negative things said about other recovery methods. Actually I've only heard "use each and every tool within your reach to stay sober".

Those are the main issues where I think you are mislead. On the other hand, reading your site I find a furious attack not only to AA but the whole 12 step program which according to yourself has been copied from the professional mental health community to other areas (drigs, tobacco, etc.), plus peads for money and publicity of other methods with which you do not state you relationship, nor do you disclose you earnings. I have to tell you that you fall in most of the wrongdoings you label AA with and do not fill any of your pleads, starting with hiding under an alias.

It is too bad there are no AVRT groups in Spain so I could attend them and see what you taunt as such a good program. Of course I'm not about to spend > 400 USD on DVDs or watches, much less AVRT watches or other merchandise. Lastly, I kicked the smoking habit overnight, if I were to use your arguments so much for your beast.



Hello Servando,

As I've said many times, A.A. groups vary immensely. Some are full of very nice, easy-going people, and some are like neo-Nazi meetings, and some are like cult religion meetings. The fact that you found a nice meeting does not mean that there are not other people suffering in other groups. The letters that I receive tell me of plenty of horror stories. We were just talking about those horror stories, and I put together a short list of some of those stories here.

There are no AVRT meetings anywhere in the world, that I know of. AVRT is a technique, not a meeting group. It's Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy or Technique. Jack Trimpey, who founded and then closed down the Rational Recovery meetings, teaches it. And so do I, actually. Again, you don't have to go to meetings, or buy junk, or even buy a book or take a course, really. You can get the gist of it just from reading the web page about The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. AVRT is a technique that you practice in your day-in, day-out living, not a meeting to go to. You recognize when the little monster is trying to talk you into smoking or drinking or doping, and you don't let him fool you with his arguing and wheedling and complaining and bad logic.

About quitting, yes, I've had such an instant quitting experience too. In 1976, when my infant son was just newborn, we were moving from New Mexico to Oregon to start a better life. I said, "I'm going to need all of my energy for this trip." So I threw my cigarettes into the fire, and got into a Jeep and drove to Oregon, and didn't smoke a cigarette for a year, and I don't even remember going through any withdrawal or having any cravings. And yet at other times, quitting smoking was like World War III, and I'd flat-out go crazy behind it. I have no explanation for how it could be so easy one time and so hard at other times. The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster web page is intended to be an aid for those times when it really isn't easy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I leave this rule for others when I'm dead.
**     Be always sure you're right — then go ahead."
**       == David Crockett (1786—1836),
**         Narrative of the Life of Colonel Crockett (1834)

Date: Tue, April 7, 2009 8:52 am     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: Brian
Subject: Great site

Agent Orange,

Thanks for all the effort you've put into your site. I'm a born-again Christian, arguably an AA true believer, but nevertheless I've felt a growing unease about the "spiritual, not religious" hooey during my years in the program. Your thoughtful and hilarious essays are helping me separate the wheat from the chaff. Kind of a "deprogramming-lite." I'm just getting into it — halfway through the Snake Oil file, chortling and nodding all the while — and I felt compelled to fire off a missive. Hmmm... was that "God-control"?



Hi Brian,

Thanks for the note, and thanks for all of the compliments. And thanks for the laugh.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "My name isn't 'your Higher Power'."   **
**              == GOD                       **

Date: Thu, April 9, 2009 3:29 pm     (answered 2 June 2009)
From: "David S."
Subject: You're right: 12 steps are bad.

Dear Mr. Orange,

You are right.

After spending two years in Debtor's Anonymous, I was broke, homeless, and covered in fleas. I was worse than when I first attended.

"Get to a meeting" my sponsor said. How many meetings? How much literature can I read? How many program phone calls until my life gets back together?

No matter how many meetings, reading, or calls I did, it never got better.

In the end, the people in DA were kind and patient, but did not help. Life is hard, but endless navel gazing at meetings is not the answer.

David S.

Hi David,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I hope you are feeling better. You know, if you are still having problems with debt, you might check out SMART. It teaches how to straighten out your thinking, and not let irrational thoughts mess up your life. It's basically about how to stop driving yourself crazy.

I can't help but think that maybe a chronic debt problem is caused by a compulsion or irrational thought about buying something that you feel will make you happy. I could be completely off-base there, but if I'm on the right track, try some SMART meetings and see if you like them, and see if they are helpful.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Be ashamed to die until you have won some
**    victory for humanity."
**     ==  Horace Mann (1796—1859),
**         Commencement Address, Antioch College, 1859

Date: Fri, April 10, 2009 11:29 am     (answered 3 June 2009)
From: "John C.
Subject: Helped millions?

Hi Orange,

Good to see you well and active.

Just a thought to share with you. I was active in AA 4-5 years in London. At meetings, it was a commonly quoted statistic that official AA surveys showed that there were only 2,000 regular attendees at AA meetings in London. It was usually quoted with pride that we were the "lucky ones" to have "got it".

On reflection, that number says a lot though. There are 7.5 million people in the London area (approx 5 million adults). Studies vary, but suggest that something in the region of 5% of the adult population could be diagnosed as clinically alcoholic. Or, in the case of London, 250,000 adults.

So what are we to make of an organisation that, with 95% of people walking out within one year (probably in disgust, bemusement, or both), ends up helping precisely 0.8% of all alcoholics in London? I would say not only ineffectual, but supremely irrelevant.

It also gives the lie to the mindless mantra, AA-has-saved-millions, that they keep repeating in the hope that volume with make up for lack of evidence. According to the figures that AA themself repeat in meetings, you can extrapolate that AA is "working" for approximately 16,000 people in the UK (population 60 million). People who statistically would probably have sorted themselves out anyway!

Be safe,


Hi John,

Thanks for the letter and the statistical analysis. I have to agree — that's very revealing.

And I especially agree with the last line, "People who would have sorted themselves out anyway." All of the evidence says that's what they do — a bunch of people sober themselves up, by using their own will power and resolve and intelligence and common sense, and then a few of them give the credit for their sobriety to A.A., and say that A.A. or the 12 Steps made them get sober, which is a groundless assumption, unsupported by any facts.

The percentage of people who get sober in A.A. is of course the same as the normal rate of spontaneous remission — the success rate of people who go it alone and do it themselves. So those really are the people who "sort themselves out anyway."

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, April 12, 2009 8:49 pm     (answered 3 June 2009)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Fw: Letter re: Steven Mohr's "Exposing the Myth of Alcoholics Anonymous"

Hey Orange,

Just wanted to let you know that your web-site has AGAIN been cited in a "scholarly article" in the current issue of "Free Inquiry". Most of what the article states is on your web-site, so its fair to sat that "orange-papers.info" is a "primary source"!

Keep it up! :)

John McC

Hi again, John,

Thanks for the note. Interesting.

== Orange

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: John McC
To: [email protected]
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2009 7:31:57 PM
Subject: Letter re: Steven Mohr's "Exposing the Myth of Alcoholics Anonymous"


While Steven Mohr's article "Exposing The Myth of Alcoholics Anonymous" was quite direct with its content, there was more that could and SHOULD have been included to more accurately detail the intellectual atrocity, that IS the "self-help group", Alcoholics Anonymous. Additional resources that detail AA's debaucherous conduct can be found in:

  • "A State Religion" by Kevin Russell, American Atheist, Spring, 2003 (my "letter to the editor" endorsement of this article appeared in the Fall, 2003 issue).
  • "Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure"? (2nd edition) by Charles Bufe
  • "The Real AA" by Ken Reggae
  • "10/14/1939 JAMA Review of Alcoholics Anonymous" at: "morerevealed.com"
  • "John McCready's Anti-Coercion 12 Steps" at: www.dangerthinice.org
  • Newsweek article on AA's "Midtown Group" (of Washington, D.C.)-04/2007(08?)

I hope that the overall response to Mr. Mohr's article will be overwhelmingly positive, and like Jim Christopher's "Recovery Without Religion" (FI-Spring, 1985), will result in a new ANTI-12-Step organization that will CUT OFF the endless number of minds and bodies that continue to be fed into it without being told of OTHER SECULAR RECOVERY ALTERNATIVES!

John McC., M-RAS, NCAC-I
Oceanside, CA

Date: Sun, April 12, 2009 8:50 pm     (answered 3 June 2009)
From: "John McC."
Subject: Fwd: Book Review: "AA Not The Only Way" — 2ND EDITION

Please post to your web-site.

From: John McC
To: [email protected]
Sent: Sunday, April 5, 2009 7:41:58 PM
Subject: Book Review: "AA Not The Only Way" — 2ND EDITION

Some books get better and better with each passing edition. This is the case of "AA Not The Only Way", written by Melanie Solomon. In 2005, the first edition of this book was published, and this writer gave it an enthusiastic, in-person endorsement at the 2006 meeting of SOS International. What I was surprised to discover in this "new and improved" 2ND edition, was the honesty with which Melanie communicated about her relapse since the first edition was published, as well as her admission of being "dually diagnosed" with the mental health issue of "bi-polar 2" (one of the forms of bi-polar disorder). Melanie's book is a jewel in this respect, as it shows that SOMEONE is willing to be honest about their own dual diagnosis connection between both a substance abuse issue and a mental illness, as well as point out that the treatment of the "dually diagnosed" is sorely lacking (that "gap" is just now beginning to be "bridged" in the addiction treatment industry!).

Overall, this is a book whose existence needs to be shouted from the rooftop, evangelized on street corners, and should be REQUIRED READING in EVERY Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification program in the United States! A copy should be sent to every drug and alcohol treatment center in the U.S., and most importantly, this book should ON THE DESK OF EVERY "coercing authority" that has the power to "force" people with addictive disorders, into treatment facilities. This book will NOT bode well for "12-Step program zealots", as its approach is about the MULTITUDE of non-12-step resources available both on and off the internet. If you are in recovery, or know someone who is, or wants to be, this book is a MUST READ! Don't start or continue a recovery path without it!

John McC., NCAC-I, M-RAS
Oceanside, CA

Okay, thanks for the tip, and I'll have to check out that book.

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Emotional Coercion
**     Although we may be able to behave to some extent differently than
**     we feel, any successful coercion to feel other than we actually 
**     feel — even a coercion to fit some preferred version of ourselves
**     — will keep us at a distance from our true selves.
**        ==  Robert Langan in "Psychoanalysis and Buddhism", from
**      More Daily Wisdom, edited by Josh Bartok, Wisdom Publications 
**       (http://www.wisdompubs.org)

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Last updated 6 October 2013.
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