Letters, We Get Mail, CXLIII

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 5:35 pm     (answered 7 September 2009)
From: "Tim J. S."
Subject: A Quick Note

Hello, I just wanted to say hello & thank you for your site. After nearly 30 years of drinking, in and out of AA, 2 outpatient and 4 inpatient rehabs, six months ago I finally realised that I'd better knock it off. So on 12 February of this year I stopped. Period. I made the decision not to consume any more alcohol. No steps, no "family of origin" therapy, no "inner child" work. none of that bullshit. Consuming alcohol was destroying me so I stopped.

Congratulations! That is great. Welcome to the club.

You may disagree, but I'm convinced that the vitamin regimen I put myself on has made the difference in my not having cravings. Basically what alcohol is is ROTTEN FOOD. Rotten grains, rotten potatoes, rotten grapes...all of that would've destroyed the health had I decided to continue my self-destructive path.

Oh, I don't disagree — I totally agree. Alcohol is a carbohydrate, and your body uses it as food — albeit a very bad food that has no vitamins, no protein, no nuthin'. It's just empty calories. Worse yet, alcohol leeches all of the B vitamins out of your body, so in that way it is actually a negative food — the more you eat, the hungrier you are.

Personally, I am almost a vitamin freak. I take a lot of them, and I know that they improve my health. I am still repairing my brain and growing new brain cells, and the B vitamins help. They all help, so I take everything.

What I'm taking now is:

  1. an extra-high-strength general one-a-day vitamin pill for old people, like Centrum Silver.
  2. B complex with C. This is a good high-potency B complex with all of the obscure B vitamins, not just the most common 3 or 6.
  3. 500 mg vitamin C.
  4. Glucosamine sulphate and/or Chondroitin sulphate, for arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteo-arthritis.
  5. Calcium. For the osteoporosis.
  6. 50 mg DHEA. This is just an experiment, to see if it really does retard aging.
  7. Ranitidine. For the heartburn (a.k.a., "acid reflux disease".)
  8. Aspirin. This acts as a blood thinner, and also prevents headaches. It's supposed to also be good for reducing the pain of arthritis.

I take all of that morning and evening, so I'm getting double the dose.

A friend saw me gobbling down a big fistful of vitamins and mineral supplements, and remarked that I must really have some bad medical conditions. I laughed and told him that they were all vitamins and minerals — that there was only one prescription drug in the whole mess, and that was just for heartburn. The rest was to keep me from getting sick, and they work too.

Of course, you are much better off if you are eating good food — especially good fruits and vegetables — to start with. But those vitamins are still great. I can't recommend them enough. It is so much easier to stay clean and sober if you are healthy and feel good. You don't have to get stoned to kill the pain.

And the vitamins really do make a difference in the long run. It's subtle but powerful. — Meaning, it isn't like you get instantly "rocketed into the 4th dimension of existence" just from taking some vitamins, but over the years, they really do make a difference.

Later on I'll send you a more detailed message, but I wanted to touch on what was discussed about Nichiren Shoshu back in Letters XXXI. I joined the Gakkai and received Gojukai (vows to uphold Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism back in 1984. Yes, it is a cult in the worse sense of the word, and has only gotten worse since Nichiren Shoshu ordered Daisaku Ikeda to step down from his position in 1991. I stuck around for a few years until I wised up and left the Gakkai in 1996. I still practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism to-day. Our meetings are very low-key, none of that materialist frenzy you saw in earlier years. We talk more about spiritual well-being, WE DO NOT encourage people to chant for cars, money, mates, etc.

Ah, interesting.

Later I'll get into more detail. But for now thanks for being out there with the TRUTH.

As always,
Tim J. S. (you can use my full name if you wish)

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the letter. I look forwards to the next one.

And you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices,
**     Make instruments to plague us.
**         ==  Shakespeare, King Lear, V, 3

[Tim's next letter is here.]

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

Canada Geese gosling
The same gosling as in the previous picture.
This is either one of Carmen's siblings, or one of the "family of 9".

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 6:29 pm     (answered 7 September 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Paul "Rowdy" Yates

Hello, again, I'm thinking that you used to appear on Addict-L from time to time.

Hello again, Mike,

Correct. In fact, I am still, to the best of my knowledge, subscribed to the list, and have all of the messages piling up in a mailbox that is just for them. But I haven't gotten in there and read the messages in a couple of years. More work for a rainy day.

If so, you may have encountered the mentioned individual. He is a real shaker and mover in the European addictions treatment industry, and has been for quite some time. Anyhow, I just came across this today after reading his smug hostility directed at those critical of the step movement.


Thanks for the input. I'll have to learn more about him.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/05/22/ alcohol-abuse-expert-gets-road-ban-for-second-drink-drive-offence-86908-20425495/

Alcohol abuse expert gets road ban for second drink-drive offence

May 22, 2008
By Gordon Currie

AN ALCOHOL abuse expert was banned from the roads for three years and fined £1500 yesterday — after he was caught drunk driving twice. Government advisor Paul "Rowdy" Yates MBE was approximately double the legal limit both times.

Yates is senior member of the Scottish Addiction Studies Group in Stirling University's department of applied social science. Yesterday at Perth Sheriff Court, his solicitor Virgil Crawford said: "He holds senior positions in various organisations both nationally and internationally.
"Against that, he does find it ironic that he finds himself before the court for these offences."

Yates had claimed one of the offences arose after he left his car and downed whisky in his garden shed because he was afraid his wife would find out he was drinking. The 57-year-old academic claimed he only drank a little in the pub and "topped-up" after he drove home. When police arrived at his house, he told them he had taken only a single swig from the bottle in his shed.

But a medical expert told Perth Sheriff Court that Yates would have had to down three very large whiskies in minutes to achieve the reading he did. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis told Yates: "I have listened very carefully to all that has been said and I regret that I do not find your evidence convincing with regard to alleged post-driving drinking.
"It seems strange to be going out to your shed to have a glass of whisky. You would have had to drink a significant amount over a relatively short space of time prior to the arrival of police."

He found Yates guilty of drunk driving from Crieff to his nearby home in August 2006. Earlier, Yates admitted a second count of drunk driving on December 15, 2007. The court heard that on that occasion, cops had become suspicious about his mud-caked 4x4 Vauxhall Frontera. A police patrol had spotted Yates driving near his home and the car was covered in dirt. They pulled him over for a roadside check because the mud was obscuring his registration plate — and immediately noticed the strong smell of alcohol. Yates admitted driving near Auchterarder, Perthshire, while he was approximately twice the legal limit.

He is listed as Rowdy Yates on the Stirling University website and is widely known by the nickname he shares with Clint Eastwood's character in Rawhide.
Yates co-founded the Lifeline Project and has had several books published on the effects of alcohol and drug addiction. He won an MBE in 1994 for services to the prevention of drug misuse.

That's sad. There are so many "drug and alcohol experts" who turn out to have a big problem. But I suppose that just comes with the territory. It's like so many psychiatrists being nuts. The reason that many people go into such fields is because they have the problem, and start off trying to learn how to cure themselves, and then go into the business of curing others because they think they know what they are doing.

But the problem of possible relapse is always there.

It is very curious that he was drinking in a shed so that his wife wouldn't know that he was drinking. Was he supposed to be "in recovery" and abstaining from drinking? And he was keeping a bottle of whiskey hidden in a shed, which sounds just like Dr. Bob's Story in the Big Book, hiding alcohol wherever his wife wouldn't find it. That behavior and the two drunk driving arrests indicate someone with a real alcohol problem.

From the way you say "Rowdy Yates" attacks those who are critical of the "Step movement" (which is not really a "movement"), he sounds like he is a true believer in the 12 Steps and Alcoholics Anonymous. But if "Rowdy Yates" actually practices the 12 Steps himself, then his case is more evidence that the 12 Step program doesn't actually work.

And if he doesn't practice the 12 Steps himself, then why not? Why doesn't he practice what he preaches?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       ... The schools became a scene
**     Of solemn farce, where Ignorance on stilts,
**     His cap well lin'd with logic not his own,
**     With parrot tongue perform'd the scholar's part,
**     Proceeding soon a graduated dunce.
**          == Cowper, The Task, II

Date: Mon, August 24, 2009 6:59 pm     (answered 7 September 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: A Dying Man Speaks of AA

Hello, again, I don't know if you can watch Youtube vids yet, but this one is moving.



Okay, I finally saw it. Wow. That is heavy. It's one of the simplest but most moving and most damning criticisms of A.A. that I've seen. Definitely worth watching.

That old gentleman was complaining that A.A. had taken his stepson away from him, saying that he was "enabling" the young man. Social isolation is one of the standard cult characteristics, or rather, several:

I've had many A.A. members deny that A.A. practices social isolation — "Members are free to come and go as they choose. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads."

There may not be any guns, but there are death threats: "He is enabling you. He will get you killed. Stay away from him."

But then denial is just another standard cult characteristic:

Personally, I never bought the "enabling" excuse. It seems that if anyone is nice to an alcoholic, or helps him out, that is "enabling". I don't think so.

This is enabling: "Hey Joe, I just bought you three more cases of beer, and three fifths of whiskey. Have a good day."

Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 12:13 pm     (answered 9 September 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Roger Ebert Talks About Ann Landers and AA


Hey, Terry, I am getting all kinds of failure notices when I try to send the entire article. Hopefully, it is on the Suntimes end. Mike

Hi again, Mike,

Okay, I got it. Thanks for the tip. That's very interesting.

One of the most interesting lines was actually, "The last thing I want to do is start an argument about A.A.."
That is yet another propaganda trick: Deligitimize Criticism in Advance. Ebert spends the entire article praising A.A. to high Heaven, but you aren't supposed to contradict anything he says because he doesn't want to argue.

He says that he was one of those people who quit drinking the instant they walked into an A.A. meeting room. He says that he never took another drink after that first A.A. meeting. Obviously, the 12 Steps and the A.A. program were not needed for sobriety. All that Ebert needed was somebody to say, "We don't drink. Why don't you quit too?" Ebert was already ready, eager, and willing to quit drinking when he walked into his first A.A. meeting. All that he needed was the slightest push to get him to go over to the sobriety side.

I was the same way. I had finally gotten so fed up with the suffering that all that the doctor had to say was, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." And that was it. And now I'm just 6 weeks short of 9 years sober.

People like Ebert and I are the easy cases. The people who aren't ready, eager, and willing to quit are the difficult problem. And A.A. doesn't work on them at all well. Even Bill Wilson said so. See the signature.

About Ann Landers: It sounds like she was not actually a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. If she were a real member, then she would not have needed to ask permission to go into a closed meeting. I am still puzzled about why she would spend her entire career promoting Alcoholics Anonymous. Maybe she was just hoodwinked.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As a matter of fact, the successful worker [A.A. recruiter]
**     differs from the unsuccessful one only in being lucky about
**     his prospects. He simply hits cases who are ready and able
**     to stop at once. Given the same prospects, the seemingly
**     unsuccessful person would have produced almost the same
**     results.  In other words, you have to work on a lot of cases
**     before the law of averages commences to assert itself.
**        So cheerio, Jennie — it ain't your fault.
**      == 'PASS IT ON', The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message reached the world,
**       Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. staff, 1984, pages 251-252.

Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 1:26 pm     (answered 16 September 2009)
From: "Ron"
Subject: Follow Up

Thanks for your response to my mail about interventions.

My recently sober friend has been reading your site and says it really helps to clarify and cut through the bs he had learned in AA.

We were talking last weekend about how widespread AA propaganda is among people outside of AA circles. The term "recovering alcoholic" and the idea that sobriety requires more than just quitting the booze has taken root to the point that millions of people see it as a truism. When I express the opinion that abstinence equals sobriety people are often taken aback. Common sense tells us that if you stop ingesting a substance that is hurting you that that is an end in and of itself.

AA has so muddied the waters with their 12 steps that people lose their common sense. Even people who have a decade or more of abstinence from booze will actually deny that they have achieved sobriety and refuse to take any credit for it anyway.

Sometimes I just want to get a bumper sticker or shout from the roof top "abstinence IS sobriety." just to get others to think about that concept.

The act of stopping drinking can be hard enough and then AA tells people it is 12 times more difficult and further it is a life long process.

When I read the letter about someone being sent to AA as part of their court sentence I could not help thinking that this could be viewed not as some way to reform the person, but that going to AA is a form of punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment at that.


Hi again, Ron,

Thanks for the letter. You make a bunch of good points. I couldn't agree more. I don't want to just repeat everything that you said, so I won't.

But I do want to comment on the statement that A.A. has spread some mistaken ideas ("memes") so far and wide that "normal" people accept them as truth, as if they were really wisdom — like the idea that you must "work a program", and do something special in order to be "sober" — that just abstaining from drinking alcohol, even for years, is not fully "sober". (Whatever that word is really supposed to mean.)

I think that mistake has done a lot of harm, and confused a lot of people. We even have doctors who should know better recommending membership in a cult religion as a cure for addictive behavior, because those alcoholics and addicts "need a program" and "spirituality is good for some people".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nobody will save us from us for us but us.
**         ==  Reverend Jesse Jackson

Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 2:24 pm     (answered 16 September 2009)
From: "Gerald S."
Subject: Roger Ebert


Film critic Roger Ebert (of Siskel and Ebert fame) just outed himself today as a 30 year member of AA. He also outed "Ann Landers" in his article (you were right about her being a hidden member of AA).

Check out the article in the Chicago Sun-Times

Also of interest: Loran Archer (follow the links re: AA success rate, retention rate, and membership numbers). Incredible.

Hope you and Carmen are well.

Hi again, Jerry,

Yes, we were just talking about that a couple of letters back, here. That article really is something else. All praise to Saint Bill and the Magic Coffee Pot.

The article by Loran Archer is disgusting, too. His statistics for the A.A. success rate are totally faked. He actually has the gall to claim that 32% are still attending at 20 years. But 32% of what are still attending? Certainly not 32% of the newcomers to A.A.

Ah, it's 32% of those newcomers who, in his opinion, really tried and worked a strong program and kept coming back for years and years.

Loran Archer reveals his use of the propaganda technique of Lying With Qualifiers right at the beginning of the article:

Some of the critics claim that modern A.A. has a dismally low success rate, only 5% or less. These figures, Archer says, are inaccurate and based on flawed statistics. They cannot be supported either from U.S. government research or from A.A.'s own careful records.

THE CORRECT FIGURE IS A CLOSE TO 36% SUCCESS RATE, when measured in the same way that the government would evaluate success in treating diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

But the question was, "What is the A.A. dropout rate?", or "What is the A.A. failure rate?", not "What is the success rate of A.A.-based treatment, when measured as if the FDA were testing a pill for cancer?"

That's quite a switcheroo. So his whole article is flawed and deceptive as can be.

The trick is to disqualify all of the people who drop out. If we were testing a medicine, we would not count the people who only took a few pills and then dropped out of the test. They would not count either for or against the medicine, no matter what their personal outcome, because they didn't take the full course of treatment. They didn't take the pills, so they can't be scored for or against the medicine.

But with A.A., since it is a semi-voluntary cult religion, only those people who become true believers keep coming back for years and years. So Loran Archer is really trying to claim that A.A. works great IF AND ONLY IF you become a committed member of the cult and keep coming back for years and years.

And, actually, if the FDA were really testing a pill for cancer, they would demand double-blind randomized longitudinal controlled studies, something that A.A. does not want to participate in, because those tests have always revealed that A.A. does not work. Real controlled studies reveal that people who get no treatment do as well, or even better, than people who get A.A.-based treatment.

By the way, something that doctors really do consider when prescribing medicines is how well the patients tolerate the medicine. A medicine that has such nasty side effects that the patients refuse to continue taking it won't cure the patients. A.A. falls into that category. A.A.'s bad side disgusts most people and drives them out.

And a medicine that makes the patients so hopeless and despondent and depressed that they commit suicide is also no help. But that is what A.A. does. We have often talked about the A.A. suicide rate, and I just received yet another letter about suicides in A.A. that I will answer soon.

But according to Loran Archer's bad logic, those suicides don't count against A.A. because those people didn't finish the A.A. treatment.

On the other hand, I say that A.A. is most assuredly responsible for driving many people to suicide. Any program that teaches that you are powerless over alcohol, and can't control your drinking, and you are such a vile sinner that you are hopelessly defective, and all that you can do is surrender, is bound to have some bad side effects.

In fact, Bill Wilson taught the A.A. recruiters to deliberately make the new recruits and prospects feel hopeless:

If you are satisfied that he is a real alcoholic, begin to dwell on the hopeless feature of the malady.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 92.

Doctors are rightly loath to tell alcoholic patients the whole story unless it will serve some good purpose. But you may talk to him about the hopelessness of alcoholism because you offer a solution.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 92.

Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of alcoholism. This is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more likely to follow your suggestions.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, chapter 7, "Working With Others", page 94.

And then, when those hopeless people decide that they would rather commit suicide than go on living in A.A., they don't count in Loran Archer's reckoning.

Oh, and when A.A. members tell the newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications, and then the newcomers die, those unfortunate people don't count either. And when girls are driven out of A.A. by the old-timer rapists, those girls don't count either. Heck, none of the A.A. disasters and failures and drop-outs count in Loran Archer's mathematics.

That's how he gets an absurd sky-high success rate for Alcoholics Anonymous. Just don't count the failures. 32% get 20 years? Oh yeh, right. And if you believe that, let me sell you some prime development real estate in the Okeefenokee Swamp.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We march backwards into the future.
**            ==  Marshall McLuhan

P.S.: Also see the list of A.A. suicide stories, here.

Date: Tue, August 25, 2009 3:56 pm     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "Ronny L."
Subject: The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment

I would like to point out that the first point you make is about the section of Chapter 5 entitled "How it Works" is flawed logically. The quote that you cite specifically says "rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path". Your argument is that AA is a sham because 90% of people fail in their recovery despite the claim in the citation (although, on an unrelated note, I believe that Terrence Gorsky would argue that it's closer to one-third). Your argument is flawed logically because the citation specifies that only people who fail to "thoroughly follow" the steps and suggestions will fail at recovery. It does not say that everyone who comes to an AA meeting will succeed. It also does not say that anyone who goes to AA meetings every day for the rest of their life will succeed. Simply going to meetings alone will not ensure a successful recovery.

I was going to read your article, but that part put me off as to its refutability.

Best regards,

Ronny L.

Hello Ronny,

I've said many, many times that Bill's grandiose claim on page 58 of the Big Book is an example of Lying With Qualifiers. Bill Wilson was not trying to convey accurate and honest information there; his goal was to sell the new Alcoholics Anonymous book and make some money. Bill fully intended to fool people with weasel words.

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.
The A.A. Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, 3rd Edition, Chapter 5, "How It Works", page 58.

And today, the deception continues. I have never heard someone interrupt the reading of the plastic-laminated scriptures at the start of an A.A. meeting to explain to the newcomers that very few people ever succeed at "thoroughly following our path". Nobody will ever say that out loud, and tell the newcomers what really happens.

So it is deception, lying with qualifiers. It is also deception in another sense: Implying that people who do "thoroughly follow our path" will succeed at quitting drinking. But there is no evidence to support that belief either. Even the people who do Keep Coming Back and Work The Steps eventually relapse and drop out. Only one in a hundred beginners makes it for ten years, and only one in a thousand makes it for twenty.

Furthermore, "thoroughly following our path" is undefined. Just what did Bill Wilson mean when he said, "thoroughly follow our path"?

  • It can't be Working The Steps, because Bill Wilson wrote on page 59 that the Steps are only "suggested as a program of recovery". So you can still be a good A.A. member without Working The Steps.
  • It can't be going to meetings. Bill bragged about the early "lone wolf" A.A. members who lived way out in the country where there were no meetings, and who just bought the book and got sober alone.
  • But it also can't be reading the book. When I criticize the insane things that the Big Book says, some A.A. true believers invariably write to me to brag that they have years of sobriety and have never read The Book.
  • And it can't be getting a sponsor. When I criticize abuses of the sponsorship system, someone declares that he never had a sponsor, and sponsorship isn't even mentioned in the Big Book.
  • So what is The Path that A.A. members are supposed to thoroughly follow?

The only thing that "thoroughly following our path" can really mean is quitting drinking. That is what is required to be a good A.A. member who is "working a strong program" and "thoroughly following our path".

So that makes Bill's declaration into this nonsense:

RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail to quit drinking who has thoroughly quit drinking.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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: Wed, August 26, 2009 10:24 am     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "chris" @telus.net
Subject: spread the word

Hi Orange,

I just wanted to share an idea I used after I left AA. I had acquired 6 AA books in my 10 months and as they were given to me, I thought I should return them. I took the liberty of marking random pages with "[email protected]" in red ink. I am hoping the next newcomer that is given them can read your site before they get indoctrinated! If everyone leaving AA was to do the same thing, we could get the truth out to those who are really vulnerable.

Thanks, Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the good wishes. Even better than the email address would be the URL:
or a specific page, like

And maybe better than that would be telling the truth in tiny sound-bites, like "The real retention rate is only 5%."

I thought of you donating the books to the local library, after adding appropriate comments. But I wonder if that would work. It seems like some libraries discard books as soon as somebody writes in them. I can't remember having seen writing in any of the books that I got from the local library. So if you donate books with writing to the your library, they may immediately route them to the next junk sale. I'd check on that, and see what your local library's policy is. (And then a more distinct possibility is that the A.A. true believers will make the books disappear after they have checked them out and seen what else is in them.)

Other activities to get the word out include letters to the editor of your local newspaper, and articles for the same, and letters to your politicians and other government officials, complaining about quackery and cult religion being sold as a cure for alcoholism and drug addiction.

By the way, how's the weather in Edmunton, Alberta, Canada? I recognized your ISP — telus.net — because of previous contacts with people who use the same ISP.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     What is lovely never dies,
**     but passes into other loveliness.
**         == Thomas Bailey Aldrich, A Shadow of the Night

Date: Sun, August 30, 2009 2:09 pm     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "John McC."
Subject: Response from AAWS??

Just wondering if your site has ever gotten a letter from the "head honchos" at "AAWS" in New York City. Or are they too busy trying to "not promote" AA, by re-writing the literature that shows how AA can be "subliminally promoted" at Hospitals, Courts, jails, DUI Programs, and to every coercing authority imagineable?

Besides the clueless, who write about how something in your site is "wrong" (in spite of the meticulous research!), are you hearing from any "authoritative" opposition sources?


Hi again John,

No, I've never gotten anything that was identified as "authoritative". Apparently they consider me an "outside issue", and are trying hard to ignore me.

The closest I've ever gotten is just people who work at treatment centers, and "counselors" who have master's degrees in social work, complaining that they don't like my writings.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Consultant: any ordinary guy more than fifty miles from home.
**         == Eric Sevareid

Date: Sun, August 30, 2009 2:40 pm     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "TM"
Subject: Thanks


Thank you for your page on AA. Your page has taken away the mystique and in that, taken away its power that for me was based in fear. Turning away from AA was like turning away from God.

I have been a fringe member for about 4 years now. I never have been able to become a true believer. I faulted myself for not being able to give myself over to this program. I wasn't sure if it was my better sense acting.

  • a.. I was frustrated by how taking the steps produced no real change in me while other swore by them.
  • b.. I was regularly disillusioned by old timers' egregious behavior.
  • c.. I was confused as to why so much of what was described about the alcoholic both in the Big Book and in meetings did not apply to me; I was insane, my life was unmanageable, I was a control freak, I was full of self will run riot, I had resentments, I was selfish and self-centered to the extreme, I was spiritually bankrupt, I was an egomaniac, depression was my fault too since it was "pride in reverse" (whatever that means), it was my great obsession to control and enjoy my drinking. I found myself twisting my views of myself (downward) to try and find my faults.
  • d.. I was hurt by sponsors who I took into my confidence only to have them attack me and repeatedly blow me off.
  • e.. I felt I somehow failed because the Promises did not come true for me.
  • f.. I was told that self reliance was a liability when self confidence is an area where I needed help.
  • g.. I was held in fear, being told that if I didn't work the steps, I would drink again; if I didn't have a relationship with a higher power, I would drink again because there would come a seemingly prophetic time where I would have no mental defense against that first drink; sobriety (i.e. meetings) must come first; that if I didn't keep going to meetings, I would drink again; that I am either moving away from a drink or toward one, etc.
  • h.. I found myself feeling like I was chasing a carrot at the end of the stick looking for things like "a life beyond my wildest dreams" and five minutes after talking to people who had been around for ages, realized that they too had never gotten to the carrot.
  • i.. I felt hopeless in never being able to maintain the extreme propositions set before me; abandon myself to God; fully give myself to this simple program; go through my day invoking the inspiration of God when facing indecision (this is actually in the big book); turning my will and life over to the care of God when I don't know what God wants.
  • j.. I had to pay at the door. I get nothing unless I dive in ("half measures availed us nothing"). Step One: Admitted powerlessness. Mix that up with "your best thinking got you here", disease of the mind and being mentally different from others, an array of character defects and it's all about utter devaluation and disarmament.
  • k.. I found even more cultic individuals within AA who, finding the standard program did not allay them, launched into even more extreme beliefs, behaviors and demands.

The clincher was the study results by Vaillant that showed only a 5% recovery rate (or effectively 0%). Although I had read this on your site a couple of years ago, it did not all come together for me until recently. I was really trying to move ahead in AA since I was not experiencing everything that I had been offered and started to read more. I was surprised to find a statement in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, "...every AA must hit bottom first" (p. 24). This program largely does not work, by Bill Wilson's own admission, until a person hits bottom. It's not often presented that way. This lines up nicely with the fact that as many people get sober with AA as do without it; it appears the same amount are hitting bottom in AA as those outside of AA.

So, I am feeling a lot less worried about AA and have a good sense of clarity now. When I rejected any portion of it in the past, I always had to wrestle with the idea that somehow, I was just to blame for a bad attitude.

Thanks again,

Hi TM,

Thanks for the letter and the thanks, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Welcome to freedom.

I've been thinking about that "hitting bottom" line for a while now, and I now reject it as yet another mistaken A.A. idea.

All that "hitting bottom" really means is that something bad happens, something worse than whatever had happened before, and someone finally decides to quit drinking, so that those bad alcohol-induced incidents won't happen any more. Then, the worst bad thing that ever happened is called "the bottom".

I think it is just human nature to continue to drink as long as it is fun, and to quit it when it becomes a painful nightmare. So however miserable somebody got at the end, that is called "hitting bottom".

Then they start grading bottoms, like "high-bottom drunk", and "low-bottom drunk". Which just means that some people got into worse suffering than others.

I reject the idea that you must "hit bottom" before you can quit drinking. I think it's simply a truism that people don't quit drinking until it become more pain than fun.

And unfortunately, the rabid A.A. enforcers take the "hitting bottom" concept a step further, and deliberately make people "hit bottom", by doing things to increase their suffering, in hopes that the victims will then join A.A. and quit drinking. Abuses that I've heard of include calling the cops to get somebody busted, and telling an alcoholic's boss to fire him so that the alcoholic will "hit bottom", and telling a wife to divorce her alcoholic husband so that he will get really depressed and "hit bottom".

Obviously, "helping alcoholics to hit bottom" can easily turn into sadistic mistreatment of alcoholics. And the creeps who enjoy causing trouble for alcoholics can even tell themselves that they are doing it for the alcoholics' own good.

I think that the whole "hitting bottom" idea is another mistake that needs to be discarded.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The hardest job kids face today is learning
**     good manners without seeing any.
**         ==  Fred Astaire

Date: Mon, August 31, 2009 6:47 am     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "Jason C."
Subject: My AA Experience — Letter

Hi Orange,

I originally had a few bad gambling experiences but was told by professional counselors and doctors to go to AA since I lived in a small town and there was no GA. I had no drinking problem or drug problem but went to try and help with my gambling addiction. Not only did this not help me, but my gambling addiction got way worse because gambling was totally accepted at AA. AA members acted like I was an idiot when I said I was only a compulsive gambler. I finally started saying I was an alcoholic so I could fit in. I really became an Alcoholic due to going so much and then trying the things real alcoholics said they did to become an alcoholic. Later I got into hard drugs and started stealing. I at this point been going in and out of AA for over 5 years.

I quit going for almost a year and I noticed my life was getting back on track until I got a call from a prior sponsor who told me I should go back to AA. I ended up meeting a girl at AA who went back out and I decided to also. This basically turned my life to the point of where I lost my job, spent more money than I could pay back so my rebuilt credit went back to bad credit, then got into criminal trouble.

She would only stay with me if I went back to AA. We broke up after I refused to go to AA anymore. She then filed a harassment order against me and started going back to AA only a couple of months after we broke up when she had not been going for over a year. I started to go back again after the breakup and she threatened to go to the Judge and call the cops to get me arrested. AA people told me she couldn't do that but my lawyer said she could.

Certain AA members said I was being selfish being there and should only go to the meetings she was not at. I then got so upset I started drinking more than ever before and quit going to AA meetings all together. I now only go to NA meetings. I feel if I had not gone back to AA a year ago I would be in a better place now. I live in too much guilt even having one drink due to AA and that joining the golf club would reap more benefits for my well being at this point. At this point because my average day is very miserable compared to even before I ever even went to AA the very first time.

— Jason

Hello Jason,

Thank you for a moving letter. I'm sorry to hear about all of your suffering.

Again, your story shows that A.A. and the 12 Steps are not good treatment for everything under the sun. In fact, they are rather poisonous snake oil.

I guess that you live in an area where you can't get to a SMART meeting. But you might still enjoy some online meetings. May I suggest any of the following? Their flavors will vary; pick what you like.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you don't run your own life, somebody else will.
**        ==  John Atkinson, educator

Date: Mon, August 31, 2009 8:35 am     (answered 24 September 2009)
From: "Andy A."
Subject: words across the water

Hey Orange!

Just went on to look up some info on AA archives and stumbled on your raves. You sound pretty peeved and down on AA. Which is fine. My question is what, besides reams of criticism, are you bringing to the table regarding a huge booze/drug problem? AA, cult or no cult, with all it's success, is only scraping the surface. You're obviously motivated and you MUST have reached the bottom of the dirt by now. We had a fair idea we'd get sprung eventually and you've got us. Yes we are a cult of narcissistic self will run riot ego maniacs with inferiority complexes. Resentful rat bags. I'm just glad some of us are sober. How much trouble would a few million of us be running around drunk? Terrorism! You may have missed those bits where we admit that we're not saints, Orange. In fact Bill called us a collection of failures. Other big news; Bill's dead. So is Dr Bob. Time to stop kicking the corpses. What they left is a functioning, if limited, solution to the scourge of alcoholism. Thousands of us (alcoholics) die everyday or live in pain and misery and cause pain and misery to everyone we come in contact with. Any solution which can alleviate that, cult or no cult, has my blessing. The proof is in the pudding brother. You know perfectly what we're doing wrong so you're the perfect one to get out there and do it right. All hands on deck Put it on the table brother, you're needed brother!



Hello Andy,

Disregarding your sarcasm, there is plenty of information on the web site about how to successfully quit drinking and stay sober. Here is a list.

Yes, Bill and Bob are dead. But the evil that they have done lives on. I am still constantly receiving letters from people who have been harmed by Bill's hoax. Try these two that I just answered: TM and Jason.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your
**     calculations, if you live near him.
**        ==  J. R. Tolkien

Date: Mon, August 31, 2009 10:12 am     (answered 25 September 2009)
From: "John McC"
Subject: Fw: Some Attachments you can use.

Please link to your site!

----- Forwarded Message ----

Marc F. Kern Ph.D. C.A.S

Visit my new venture


9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 680
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 275-5433 ext. 1

>I hope you find this of use for your "forced to attend" DUI Program meeting attendees. >

Okay, John,

Got it. It's good to see alternatives to 12-Step coercion.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Bill Wilson says that you can worship any "Higher Power"
**     that you like.  How about Mars, the God of War?
**     Lots of people seem to be getting drunk on him lately.

Date: Mon, August 31, 2009 12:13 pm     (answered 27 September 2009)
From: "Mike P."
Subject: Still Laughing at Ya and a praying for you — Like the vast majority who read you site.

Hey Mr./Ms. Orange,

I'm am totally sincere when I state to you that I'm quite sorry to see your still as sick and as obsessed as you were when I last wrote you a few years back. I've never experienced or ran into anyone who is so obsessed with wasting their time and dwelling on the negative. I still cannot understand why any God of anyone's understanding could punish someone so severely? You probably could find, and deal with it if you were to take even a fraction of the time dealing with your own inventory as you do with A.A.'s. All you have to really do is be "willing to believe" and take your own inventories. I know you profess "to be happy and spend your days on the beach." Your writings that to contradict that lie. Your as sad as an example of a life as I think one could encounter.

Everything I have read that you have wrote on your site is truly delusional and distorted by your saprogenic mind. You believe most of it to be fact. I have read many of the books you use partial quotes from. I must admit you are great at distortion and total dis-orientation. Funny how one can see only the distant negative in everything about one organization. I loved it when you quoted "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" as something to mislead others. Reckon your one of the many who did not heed this truth. Examples to your fantasies are available in every A.A. meeting that meets on a regular basis. It is shared about by sincere and recovering people who have truly found a way of living that is truly better then they have ever experienced. Like myself, that have tried the non-thorough and half-measure style of A.A. as described in Chapter 5 of the "Big Book."

Rich and poor, all colors, all denominations, all without a need to lie to others or themselves. I hope you can find your own way to learn how to be honest with yourself since you are so close-minded to any proven method. You could have what millions of others have so freely received. I am forced by your rants, raves and rages to believe that you are one of the rare individuals who are born with the character defect of being constitutionally incapable of being honest with yourself. That is where honesty starts. It does not appear that you will ever find this truth.

I have copied the below from you site with hope you just might recognize how sick you are. It is typical of your replies. Everything this fellow has written is wrong as is everything about A.A. Everything, Everything, Everything.

If you were the intellectual you profess to be, you would without fail recognize that right or wrong is never absolute.

FYI, A.A has never published anything about a "success rate" since the first three groups in Akron, Cleveland and NewYork. It is impossible to take any survey that accurately states the success or non-success rate of any addiction or recovery. I'll let you try to figure-out why. My guess is you will give a totally distorted answer that will, in fact, be humanly impossible.

I hope you find a Power Greater then yourself that can restore you to sanity. If you do, you days will be filled with all the happiness you deny yourself.

The one thing that your writings relay is that you are truly powerless over life. Unfortunatly your negative obsession with A.A. is at the top of the list. Thus your site is one of the best attractions A.A. can have for future members seeking a solution.

Hope you have a great day by finding that Power. Your life does not have to be based on hate. You cannot do it alone. You don't have to feel what you do.

Sincerely and with prayer for your change,

Mike P.

PS I gotta believe Bill Wilson feels great sorrow for your predicament. I know he's a praying for you.

[Then he quoted the entire letter from Jeremy on Tue, August 1, 2006, and my answer, here.]

— Your distorted perception and delusion is very evident it this statement. With all my heart and soul I sincerely wish I could help you. It appears obvious that your life is as close to totally wasted as a life could be. Again, there is hope for you if you do find that "Power Greater then Yourself." That power would be a "God of your understanding.

"Oh well, have a good day anyway." — I gotta believe that for a hateful guy like yourself, this statement is totally hypocritical.

Mr./Ms. Orange, if you ever do want to have a joyous, happy and free life, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you have the ability to be Honest with yourself, open-minded and willing, I can, without doubt, help you to do so.

Hello Mike,

Good morning to you too. I notice that you still have avoided speaking about any of the important stuff, like the actual A.A. recovery rate, or the A.A. suicide rate. You just waved your hands in the air and cried that "it's all wrong", and then declared that I must be insane and unspiritual.

While you are being such a true believer and insisting that I'm wrong about everything, why don't you enlighten us with just three bits of Truth:

  1. What is the actual A.A. success rate — the real sobriety rate, without any qualifiers like "who has thoroughly followed our path", or "who has really tried"?

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

    (HINT: the answers are here.

  2. What is the A.A. suicide rate?

  3. What is the A.A. death rate?

    (Check out a member of the A.A. Board of Trustees for that: Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, here.)

And of course A.A. has published Bill Wilson's statements about the A.A. success rate, many times over, blatant lies like:

Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement.
Bill Wilson, 1955, in the Foreword to the Second Edition of the Big Book, page XX.

(See this for more.)

Wherever or whatever Bill Wilson is at this point, I doubt that he is praying for me. He is far more likely to be worrying about his own fate for lying to sick people, and deceiving people in the name of God.

Oh well, have a good day anyway. I'm going to. It's Sunday morning, the Grateful Dead are on the radio, the sun is shining, and I have bread to take to my little feathered friends whom you think I don't enjoy.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death.
**          ==  Miguel de Unamuno

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