Letters, We Get Mail, CXLII

Date: Thu, August 7, 2008 1:57 am     (answered 4 September 2009)
From: "Tracy"
Subject: ...another letter


I just happened upon your site while researching AA links.

I've only been attending AA for a couple of months now (am certainly no expert) — but I thought I'd write to say that many of the "cons" I read at orange-papers are off the mark from what I've experienced.

The group of folks I attend with don't do anything other than to tell their tales and to offer support through their own experiences. There's no pressure to buy anything at all — some literature is for sale but it's just placed out for those who wish to own it. All donations are voluntary — sometimes I have a couple of bucks on me, sometimes not. I like to at least help to defray the costs of drinks/snacks that are brought in for all to share.

There's never a feeling that if you fail (drink again) you ought not return — quite the contrary. It's human nature to get into any bad habit and it isn't going to go away instantly. But, eventually, a decision has to be made whether the continued drinking and it's dire consequences are more attractive than to simply give up alcohol entirely. No other person is going to decide that for you.

As for the "indoctrination" aspect — well, I've not seen that either. God is not thrust down anyone's throat — reference to a "higher power, as I understand it" can mean reaching out to other AA'ers when you're feeling down and wanting to reach for a drink. I've never been lead to believe that I "must" come back, for all of eternity, to meetings. It's an offer of support if you need it, anytime, no questions asked.

With regards to honesty — what I get from what I've heard so far is that as long as your brain sits in an alcohol stew, you're pretty much dead in the water. If AA can get you off of drinking, even for a short time, you at least have a much better shot at evaluating your options then. With the alcohol gone from the picture, you lose the excuses that your problems all come from the drinking. Obviously, they don't (which is why they say "abstaining is not going to solve all of the other issues in your life") — but the drinker is now, and perhaps for the first time in a while, forced to examine and to address their life from a sober standpoint. No running away/numbing with drink — but a sober and honest assessment of how things have become and taking personal responsibility to get things straightened out. It's a scary proposition when you've been self-medicating for so long.

My group has never insisted AA was the answer — only that it's something to try, and if it's not for you, then it's not for you. The point of sharing stories (bad and good) is to show that you're not alone, that alcohol is destructive for some people, and then that there are success stories. Will some of the long-term abstainers someday drink again? Maybe...but that's part of being human. The few I've seen at meetings (after a relapse) were treated with compassion and kindness and welcomed back.

As with all things, you get from it what you wish to. Every program (including religions) have very few "to the letter" believers/practitioners. They find their own personal truths by reading between the lines. I'm not counting on AA to save my life — I'm seeking an answer to a problem, and I welcome the support as I do so. For me, it's been helpful.



PS — there's a lot of bitterness in this world towards a "divine creator" or God — and why so much suffering should be allowed. My take is that we're not puppets on a string — but help is there for the asking, if you wish to consider the possibility that we're pretty simple-minded beings and we don't "know-it-all". Off of alcohol/since AA, I'm now much more aware and forgiving of my imperfections and I've learned to cut myself a lot of slack. I'll never be perfect, but I'll keep looking to improve...

Hello Tracy,

It is good (and lucky) that you found a group that you like, rather than one that exploited and abused you (like the Midtown Group, or the Pacific Group).

But I do not at all agree with your attitude that we are all just simple-minded beings who need a boss to supervise us and tell us how to live.

This is just a repetition of the standard A.A. stereotype of "the disgusting alcoholic":

"...but the drinker is now, and perhaps for the first time in a while, forced to examine and to address their life from a sober standpoint. No running away/numbing with drink — but a sober and honest assessment of how things have become and taking personal responsibility to get things straightened out."

A.A. claims that it wants to reduce the stigma and shame of alcoholism, but they actually work to increase the shame and stigma by constantly describing alcoholics like that.

And the fact remains that the 12-Step practices are actually very psychologically harmful and depressing and even drive people to suicide.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    I would give nothing for that man's religion, whose
**     very dog and cat are not the better for it.
**       ==  Rowland Hill

Date: Fri, August 8, 2008 6:28 am     (answered 4 September 2009)
From: "MW"
Subject: Thanks So much!

For the morning laughter with my coffee this morning! I stumbled on your page about More Big Lies and it brought a smile to my face.

I made sure to send this to several of my sober friends to make their day. It's awesome to see someone take up so much of their personal time to help others laugh.

Good luck with your misinformation.

Matt W. (10 years sober) (From a lie, I guess)

Hello Matt,

Congratulations on your 10 years sober. You did it. Nobody did it for you. No program did it for you.

Would you care to get specific about which item in that file is inaccurate? You are making sweeping generalizations without giving any specific information.

In fact, you have not provided any evidence of anything except the fact that you appear to be in denial, and laugh when you see disturbing information.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And if I laugh at any mortal thing
**     'Tis that I may not weep.
**         ==  Byron, Don Juan, IV

Date: Fri, August 8, 2008 7:32 pm     (answered 4 September 2009)
From: "Jay LeB."
Subject: good debate link

I found this on a course syllabus..



Jay LeB.

Hi Jay,

Thanks for the tip. That's a good bunch of homework to do.

Date: Fri, August 8, 2008 7:33 pm
From: "Jay LeB."
Subject: wish list item


I was looking thru your wish list and I think I may have found something to help.

You asked for..

"Somebody did a study that found that they could pay alcoholics not to drink. They also found that they could pay alcoholics in programs with tokens that would buy a drink. The alcoholics were allowed to cash in their chips and drink any evening that they chose. Some of the alcoholics chose to save up their tokens so that they could really party hearty on Saturday night.
If alcoholics were really powerless over alcohol, then that should not have happened. The alcoholics showed a lot of control over their drinking habits.
So the question is, what was that study? When, where, who?"

I found this...

The idea of a single disease obscures the scientific consensus that no single cause has ever been established, nor has any biological causal factor ever been shown to be decisive. Heavy drinking has many causes which vary from drinker to drinker, from one drinking pattern to another. Character, motivation, family environment, personal history, ethnic and cultural values, marital, occupational, and educational status all play a role. As these change, so do patterns of drinking, heavy drinking, and "alcoholism" (Fingarette, 1989). For example, alcohol is used in many so-called "primitive" societies, but their drinking patterns are not ours, and what we can alcoholism seems to be absent prior to contact with Europeans (Heath, 1989). That would not be true if alcoholism was a disease caused by chemical and neurological effects of drinking in conjunction with individual genetic vulnerability. The crucial role of psychology in alcoholics' drinking is demonstrated by experiments in which they are deceived about whether the beverage they are drinking contains alcohol. Their drinking patterns then reflect their beliefs; the actual presence or absence of alcohol is irrelevant (Marlatt et al., 1973).

The link is ...


Jay LeB.

Date: Fri, August 8, 2008 7:36 pm     (answered 4 September 2009)
From: "Jay LeB."
Subject: RE: wish list item

Sorry I copied the wrong section...

Alcoholics do not "lack control" in the ordinary sense of those words. Studies show that they can limit their drinking in response to appeals and arguments or rules and regulations. In experiments they will reduce or eliminate drinking in return for money, social privileges, or exemption from boring tasks (Fingarette, 1989).

Fingarette's book should have a source for this statement about the control of drinking given rewards...


It may have been the wrong section, but I still found it all informative and interesting. So now it's off to the library again I go...

Thanks for all of the input, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
**     In the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side.
**         ==  J. R. Lowell, The Present Crisis

Date: Fri, August 21, 2009 10:55 am     (answered 5 September 2009)
From: "Sandy"
Subject: The Funny Spirituality of Bill Wilson and A.A.

You don't seem very satisfied with life. How can I be helpful?


Hello Sandy,

Actually, I'm pretty satisfied with life. I might be a little more satisfied if I were to win the lottery or attain instant Zen, but until then, yes, you can help. You can join the struggle against evil lying cults that do harm to people. That will require that you educate yourself about cults. Then pick your project. The two most successful and dangerous cults in the USA are Scientology and Alcoholics Anonymous. Take your pick, and then start working on telling the public about the truth about them.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Alcoholics Anonymous and Scientology could get together and
**    do a joint venture: They can declare that alcoholism is
**    caused by interplanetary cooties — that is, by the
**    ghosts of unhappy aliens who were dumped into a volcano here
**    60 million years ago, and who are now flying around and biting
**    people and making them drink alcohol. And the cure is to give
**    all of your money to an Alcocon® Treatment Center, which
**    will perform a 12-Step exorcism and tin-can confession session
**    to help you to get rid of those bothersome ghosts, but only
**    if you really try and thoroughly follow our path.

[Continuation of conversation from here.]

Date: Fri, August 14, 2009 2:44 pm     (answered 5 September 2009)
From: "Eric B."
Subject: Thanks again for your reply

Orange —

Thanks again for your reply. Yes, I see now that you and I are not talking about the same thing as regards "inner resource". For clarity, perhaps you could answer this — do you consider yourself to be an atheist?

Cordial regards,

Hi again, Eric,

Nope, not an atheist. I just don't believe in Santa Claus.

One of the big problems that I have with Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy is that it teaches Santa Claus spirituality — Santa Claus or "Higher Power" will come and give you a bunch of stuff, but only if you are good.

I think the Jews in Auschwitz and the children in Bangladesh finally answered that question for once and for all — praying to get the goodies is foolish and doesn't work.

But the whole 12-Step program depends on "Higher Power" constantly doing things for people — things that they are supposedly powerless to accomplish themselves, like make them quit drinking, and restore them to sanity, and remove their defects and give them power. And that's why the 12-Step program does not work.

There is also the theological problem of God's Divine Plan. If people can get God to change His mind and do something different just because people beg Him in prayer, then there is no Divine Plan and God doesn't know what He is going to do next.

So does God have any Divine Plan? If so, then what are some A.A. members doing bothering God to change the Plan to please them?

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: Sat, August 22, 2009 10:17 am     (answered 5 September 2009)
From: "Pete"
Subject: A modern outlook on addictions and how to liberate yourself from them.

Hi Orange,

Thanks for your site. I am out of the anonymous group survival mode. I was able to do it using modern techniques.

Please find the address for a blog I did in order to help those that really want to get well.

So You Have An Addiction!

A modern outlook on addictions and how to liberate yourself from them.



Hi Pete,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I'll have to check out that link.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Have we eaten on the insane root
**     That takes the reason prisoner?
**         ==  Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1, 3

Later Note: another correspondent has warned that this is quackery. Look here.

Date: Sat, August 22, 2009 2:28 pm     (answered 5 September 2009)
From: "Tim P."
Subject: Thank you! No really... thank you!

I don't know your name, but I feel like I know you. The work you have put toward exposing AA for what it is is worth a Pulitzer Prize. I am a well-educated 43 year old professional. I was diagnosed as an alcoholic at age 14. My life has been riddled with attempts to "recover". I won't go in to all of the gory details about my path to writing this email, but I just finished reading Emmet Fox's "Sermon on the Mount". I believe if Emmet were alive today and knew AA was crediting him for his contribution to the now known program of Alcoholics Anonymous, he would have a few things to say about the error of the 12 steps and the central theme of powerlessness. I was given the book by a member of AA — it is clear he never read it.

Hello Tim,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

About Emmet Fox — one of the oddest things about A.A. is how they get away with claiming to be Christian, or "compatible with Christianity", or "based on Christianity", while teaching a philosophy that has nothing to do with Christianity, and is often very much the opposite of Christian philosophy. Apparently, all that anyone has to do to pass for Christian is just yammer the words Jesus, Christ, and Christian a few times.

But that is actually an old con: Dr. Frank Buchman used the same trick with his cult religion. He originally named it "First Century Christian Fellowship", but calling it Christian was just window dressing. There was nothing Christian about his strange occult religion for the rich that was effusive in praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Still, Buchman insisted that his philosophy was compatible with all Christian churches.

Alcoholics Anonymous, the child of Buchman's groups, is just continuing the same beliefs and practices.

I just wanted to say thank you for what you are doing. I feel a sense of freedom and power beyond description. I must also admit I am still fighting off the 30 years of AA programming. I have an idea and I was hoping for some guidance and support. As you often state, little of what you provide in your writing is "new", I am considering borrowing on a recent concept. I'd like to start a blog covering a year of my life without AA in a similar fashion to Julie and Julia — the recent movie about Julia Child. I would also like to stay in touch with you through the process, but I am sure you are just overwhelmed with attempts like mine to communicate. Anyway, I will keep you posted on my progress. I would also, like your permission to borrow some of the content of your site as I deal publicly with central themes of AA like Powerlessness, the "Disease Concept", The real Bill Wilson, etc.. Would this be OK? Do I need to get your approval each time or can I just credit you as required?

Sure, have fun. Just go for it. The truth is, most of my material comes from other sources anyway. I don't own the sources where I originally got the stuff. Most of the source material is either in the public domain or is free to use under the "Fair Use" clause of the Copyright Act.

Please let me know and thank you again!


Yes, come on in and join the party. The water's fine. The more the merrier.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    FLYING:
**    For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
**    Saw the Vision of the world, all the wonder that would be.
**    Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
**    Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;
**    Heard the heavens filled with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew,
**    From the nations' airy navies, grappling in the central blue.
**       ==  Tennyson, Locksley Hall

May 15, 2009, Friday: Day 15, continued:

Canada Geese gosling
One of the goslings.
I'm not sure if this is one of Carmen's siblings, or one of the family of 9.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, August 23, 2009 7:37 am     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: Sherwood E
Subject: anything goes if you are sober

Hi Orange,

Again I want to encourage you to continue to offer another perspective on the 12 programs. I found so many in AA lacking integrity. One thing that might have contributed was the practice of calling out "but are you sober"? after someone has shared some horrendous act they had participated in recently. The self obsession of continued talking about oneself cannot be good for character building.


Hi Sherwood,

Thanks for the letter. Yeh, I agree.

I am reminded of something that I heard at an N.A. meeting. A young woman told the story of being in a restaurant, and another woman at a nearby booth went to the bathroom and left her purse on the seat, so this woman grabbed it and made a run for it, and got out of there and took the purse to the apartment of some junkie friends. The junkies went through the purse, inventorying everything. They figured that they could use the credit cards in scams, and the I.D. was useful too. And they were debating whether to go back to the restaurant, or to the victim's house, and steal her car, since they had her address and the car keys.

Then the woman who told this story was saying, "But I didn't use." She was talking about how hard it was to abstain from using drugs, since she could have gotten some right then and there. But she was happy that she did not accept any drugs through the whole thing.

I was a bit surprised and appalled at the brain-damaged logic and lack of ethics. If she had just not stolen the woman's purse in the first place, then she wouldn't have had any reason to go to the home of her junkie friends, so she wouldn't have had any difficulty abstaining from drugs.

Of course, nobody said a word of criticism. That is "cross-talk", and that is forbidden. It's also "taking someone else's inventory", which is also forbidden.

Yeh, well I "took her inventory" and decided right then and there that I didn't want to have anything to do with her or her junkie friends.

So how is that a "spiritual" program? How is it that so many crimes, ranging from purse-snatching to statutory rape and sexual abuse, are okay, as long as you don't drink or dope while you do it?

Sometimes it appears that sobriety is a virtue for people who have no others.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Civilization can be defined at once by the basic questions it asks,
**     and by those it does not ask.
**         ==  Andre Malraux

Date: Sun, August 23, 2009 10:46 am     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: Jan R.
Subject: inquiry


I found reference to you in the alcoholic community discussion on Amazon.

I am writing an essay on my experiences with the alcoholic man.

Can you tell me a little of your background? Are you an alcoholic? You've done an incredible amount of research on AA, — what led you to do this?

Thanking you in advance,

Jan R.

Hi Jan,

Yes, I am an alcoholic, or was, depending on your definition of the word "alcoholic". (See definitions here.)

The list of links to the usual autobiographical information is here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Today's conformity is... the retreat from controversiality.
**         ==  Herman Kahn

From: "John M."
Subject: Hey Orange
Date: Sun, August 23, 2009 1:23 pm

Wanted to point this out to you:

http://www.examiner.com/x-18630-Tucson-Recovery--Spirituality- Examiner~y2009m8d20-12-step-groups-are-cults

Have a good day and a chuckle.

John M.

Hi John,

Thanks for the link. That web page is really something else. Talk about somebody being in denial. About all that I can say is, after she gets done with all of her word games, and playing with the definitions of "cult" and "religious", she completely ignores the negative aspects of cults. She actually declares that cults are okay because they are just religious groups? — "a cult is a system of belief in, and reverence for, a deity; where customary or regular procedures are practiced."

By her logic, the religious groups established by Jim Jones, David Koresh, Luc Jouret, Shoko Asahara, and Marshall Herff Applewhite are really okay, and they never harmed anybody. The dictionary says so.

Then the rationalization that alcoholics and drug users are already engaging in rituals with rules, so the rituals and rules of A.A. are okay, is some really brain-damaged logic. But that is actually very similar to Bill Wilson's crazy argument that we should have faith in his religion because we had already believed in the "higher powers" of logic, Reason (with a capitol 'R'), and human intelligence:

Some of us had already walked far over the Bridge of Reason toward the desired shore of faith. The outlines and the promise of the New Land had brought lustre to tired eyes and fresh courage to flagging spirits. Friendly hands stretched out in welcome. We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and did not like to lose our support.
      That was natural, but let us think a little more closely. Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!
      We found, too, that we had been worshippers. ... Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? ... In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th Editions, William G. Wilson, We Agnostics, pages 53-54.

So, Bill Wilson concluded, it was okay for the non-believers to join his religion and have faith in and worship his "Higher Power".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who
**     speaks, without knowledge, of things without parallel.
**         ==  Ambrose Bierce

Date: Sun, August 23, 2009 7:29 pm     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: "sjc"
Subject: why

Why knock something which has helped so many?

Hello, sjc,

The answer is: Because A.A. helps few and harms many.

It is, after all, a lying cult religion, not a cure for alcoholism.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "There is no use trying, said Alice, "one can't believe impossible things."
**  "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was
**  your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've
**  believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (1832—1898), English Logician, Mathematician, 
**        Photographer and Novelist, especially remembered for 
**        Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 6:59 am     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: "Ted B."
Subject: coerced by courts

Hi orange, i just finished reading "spiritual not religious". I have an observation, as i am newly free of AA and been thru the whole treatment trip. The many courts and the highest court in the country have found it to be unconstitutional to make AA/NA a condition of parole..... but oh boy is no one following that law. It is against the Constitution BUT addicts and alcoholics in this State (Hawai`i) are regularly and routinely sent to 12-step rehabs and "sober" houses to keep their children or avoid jail, and to keep from being thrown out on the street. The people who claim that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease are punishing the victims (or patients) for their relapses. Could it be that they know it is not really a disease? I think so.

Over half the people 'in the rooms' today are only there to get their court papers signed and/or papers signed for verification for their 'clean and sober house'. When the only alternative to AA is jail or homelessness, well, you know. And most of these people go to AA instead of NA because it's easier to find a meeting, even though their problem is ice, not alcohol, which is perfectly fine since it is the same 12 steps that solve everyone's problems.

Anyway, have a good day.


Hello Ted,

Thanks for the letter. My observations agree with yours. I was shoved into meetings by a so-called "treatment program", as a condition of getting housing so that I would not be homeless. I remember one meeting where every single person in the room, except for the group secretary, had a piece of paper to get signed. That is one heck of a program of "attraction, not promotion".

The issue of punishing people who relapse is an important point. If alcoholism and addiction are really diseases, then the authorities have no business punishing people for relapses. It's just as unfair as punishing somebody whose cancer comes back. But the "program managers" do punish the relapsers, saying something like, "He chose to use. He chose to indulge. Now he has to suffer the consequences." What they are revealing is that they don't believe in the disease theory at all. By their actions, they are clearly declaring that addiction is a choice, not a disease.

But, in their usual dishonesty, the treatment centers still yammer, "It's a terrible disease. Give us more money to treat this awful disease that afflicts so many."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue.
**        ==  François, Duc de la Rouchefoucauld  (1630—80),
**              French courtier and moralist, Maxims, 218

Dear Terrance,

I was recently referred to you by Dennis M. I, like Dennis M., was raised up in a 12-step home and then put into rehabs and 12-step programs at a young age. My story is very similar to Dennis' story, in fact. My family is still very 'hooked' on the 12-steps and the influence it has had on my parents, brothers, and self is astounding.

I am in the process of writing a couple of books on the phenomena of growing up in the 12-steps, both as a member and as a child of parents in 12-steps. One of my books is going to be a collection of stories from others who have gone through similar experiences. While I have found a few contributors already, I would like several more. I know you are very tapped into an online network of current and ex-12-step members. Would you mind if I use you and/or your website as a way to help get more stories? These do not need to be beautifully written stories, the raw information is enough. Some will be given their own chapters and others will be used to influence my summaries and writings.

I would be happy to provide more information and discuss this further if you are interested.

Take care!

Kristin N. Mauldin, Ph.D.
Department of Neurosciences
University of California, San Diego

On Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 6:31 PM,

Hi. I don't know if my previous reply got through, so I'll just make sure.

I'd be glad to help however you like.

I don't know if you want your name and address printed on the web site. I can just post the whole letter and let people contact you directly, or I can relay letters.

What I'd recommend is that you create a throw-away email account on Google or Yahoo or Inbox.com, or somebody like that, and publicize that. That way, you can abandon the account when the spam gets out of hand.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 1:36 pm     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: "Kristin Mauldin"
Subject: Re: growing up in the 12-steps...recruits?

Hi Terrance,

Thank you for your response and willingness to help! I have created an account just for these purposes:
[email protected]

Please post this with my request.

I am excited to see what responses I get!

Take care,

Okay folks, there you have it. Anybody with an interesting story to tell can send it to Kristin, at

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The state of enchantment is one of certainty.
**     When enchanted, we neither believe nor doubt nor deny:
**     we know, even if ... our knowledge is self-deception.
**     == W. H. Auden

[previous letter here.]

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 3:40 pm     (answered 6 September 2009)
From: "Eric L."
Subject: Day 7 smoke-free

AO — Good news to report. I've been "smo-ber" for seven days. I'm using nicotine patches, which have taken a huge edge off of the withdrawl, but I still get the cold sweats and 15 minute intervals of "obsession to smoke". I've made some big changes — This is what I was like

here's what I look and feel like now.

All kidding aside, I appreciate your encouragement. I'll tell you, it REALLY helps to get support, true empathy, and encouragement from people (such as yourself and other friends) who have gone through the same Hell. I'm well into week 2 now.

I'll be passing through Central Oregon to Tri-Cities on Thursday — I'll wave toward your way when I'm there.


Hi again, Eric,

Congratulations! I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and breaking free. You are through the physical withdrawal, and now the mind games begin. I recommend reading the The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster again (and again), especially that list of things that old lizard brain will say to try to get you to smoke a cigarette.

Old lizard brain's yammering and jabbering about the joys of smoking was really intense for the first few months, and then slowly faded out, but I still got occasional thoughts about grabbing a cigarette even years later. Fortunately, such thoughts are easy to over-ride, because they are just thoughts, after all, and it only takes about five seconds of clear thinking to remember what a pain smoking really was — not fun at all.

Again, this slogan comes in handy: "Play the tape to the end." Thinking about smoking one cigarette leads very quickly to pictures of coughing and being sick and in pain, and hooked again. No fun. I think I'll do something else.

So have a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "...self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing
**    through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and
**    piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all
**    a show, a deception.  Your urges scream and bluster at you;
**    they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry
**    no stick at all."
**    Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English"
**    from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith
[next letter here.]

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 5:15 pm     (answered 7 September 2009)
From: "Andy R."

Hi Orange, I hope I find you well.

I applaud your dedication in exposing the cult of A.A for what it is, and have found that your experiences (and those of your many email contributors), exactly match those of my own. I do sometimes question why you seem to hammer home the same points over and over again, but then I realise that that's exactly what the "steppers" do with their endless slogans and their insane, twisted logic. Perhaps yours is the only way to get the truth out, so keep up the good work. If you stop just one person from falling prey to these nut cases, then you have justified your time on this earth.

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the letter.

Another reason for the repetition is because the proponents of Steppism just don't get it. They keep asking the same questions over and over, and ignoring the answers, and making the same untrue statements over and over. Just a few letters back it was, "Why knock something which has helped so many?" I can't count how many times another Stepper has said essentially the same thing. Apparently, they just think in slogans.

Your motivation to fight as hard as you do seems — at least in part — to be due to the fact that in your country, many people are forced to go to A.A. You seem (rightly) to be angry that this quackery is paid for with public money. This isn't quite the case in the UK, so perhaps this is why I haven't got as angry as you, but since we often follow US culture here in Britain, perhaps it's only a matter of time before it also happens here. Many messed-up people who end up in front of our justice system do pledge to attend A.A. and can often avoid jail by volunteering to do so. To my knowledge this cannot (yet) be ordered by a court in the UK, but perhaps that is how it started in the US.???

Yes. Watch out for the slogan, "Treatment works!" The next thing you know, the courts are sentencing people to "treatment" (for their own good, of course). Then "treatment" is defined as going to 3 A.A. meetings per week, or even one every day.

With regards to meetings, I have personally witnessed many of the things you and others speak of during my visits to A.A., and have seen many examples of everything from dangerous amateur psychology, control-freak sponsors, bullying and of course "thirteenth stepping" — which I assure you that men can be the victims of too.

In my case, this manifested itself in suggestions of intimacy from a woman who seemed genuine when she first befriended me. She was older than me, had been sober for a year or so, and was a very attractive lady.

I found out just in time that her overtures toward me were simply because she needed money to prevent her mortgage company taking possession of her house. In my vulnerable state I had not suspected her real agenda, but thankfully I confided in my father and he saw through her very quickly. His advice on how she answered certain questions that he prompted me to ask her was the only thing that saved me from losing some serious money. I wised-up fairly quickly after that.

At the about the same time, I was heavily pressured to find myself a sponsor. Being desperate to beat the demon drink (and erroneously viewing my new "friends" as experts) I complied, and approached a man who was recommended to me by many in the group (including the lady I mentioned previously) to become my sponsor. The alarm bells started ringing soon after he agreed to be my sponsor. His acceptance of the role depended on me agreeing to do EXACTLY as he said. This included me agreeing that I was not to form a romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex until I had been sober for a period of two years.

Now I may have been a piss-head, but I was still a red-blooded bloke, so I naturally objected to this. I asked him to show me exactly where this requirement of celibacy was referred to in the 12 steps, or indeed anywhere in the "Big Book" — which of course he couldn't, because it wasn't.

After considering his kind offer, I told him to piss off!!!

A few days later I was invited via telephone to the house of the lady I mentioned earlier for a "cup of tea and a chat."

Following the cup of tea, there was a knock at the door and my prospective sponsor and a few of his cronies were the persons doing the knocking. The lady of the house invited them in, and they spent the next few hours trying every trick in the book to get me to bend to their will. Thankfully, at around 2am, I stood up, told them all (in very unambiguous terms) what I thought of them, and left the house.

Since that night, I have not attended, and WILL NOT EVER attend an A.A. meeting again.

I have not spoken of these things until now — the main reason being that the meetings I attended always ended with a statement by the chairman that "what is said in these rooms, stays in these rooms." — I took this solemn proclamation very seriously.

But then I guess that in retrospect, that pledge we all made was similar in nature to the victim of a paedophile agreeing not to say anything about what their abuser did to them.

I would also suggest to you (and your readers) that this "stays in these rooms" statement is not (as it first seems) an honourable way of protecting the anonymity of the members of A.A., but is simply further evidence of the behaviour of an insidious cult.

I agree. They imply that the confidentiality is like medical confidentiality, where a psychologist or psychiatrist will not reveal what you say to him in counseling sessions, but A.A. is not medicine. A.A. is also not the Confessional of the Catholic Church.

Often, the confidentiality of 12-Step meetings just allows con artists to continue running their scams. Nobody outside of A.A., or even in another meeting, ever hears what they are doing. For 20 years, nobody outside of A.A. heard how the Midtown Group was really a sexual exploitation society.

The anonymity helps there too. I am reminded of the criminal who went to A.A. meetings and picked up lonely middle-aged women, and became their lover — even marrying them. Then he took everything they had — their life savings, their bank accounts, and retirement funds. Then he mortgaged their houses to the hilt and took the money. And then he disappeared, and showed up in another city at another A.A. meeting, with another name, to do it again. Of course nobody knew his real name, and nobody published a warning to tell other groups that he was coming.

Keep up the good work mate, and if you wish to hear them, I can give further examples of why I would advise anyone who genuinely wishes to get off the booze to seek help elsewhere, and avoid these charlatans like the plague.

Yes, I would like to hear them.

Finally, can I thank you for your pages about the "addiction monster" — a straight-forward, logical and effective way of looking at addiction that, in a few paragraphs, contains more wisdom than the combined printing presses of A.A. has ever achieved in its 70+ year history.

Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I consider that one of my best pages. It is the distilled experience of 30 years of struggling to quit smoking, and also some years of trying to quit drinking. It's what I slowly learned the hard way.


Andrew R from England

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
FIRST WITCH: 	When shall we meet again,
		In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
SECOND WITCH:	When the hurlyburly's done,
		When the battle's lost and won.
	== Shakespeare, Macbeth, I, 1

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 12 November 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters142.html