Letters, We Get Mail, CXLV

Date: Thu, September 3, 2009 3:27 pm     (answered 16 November 2009)
From: "El Salvador"
Subject: An Online Work Steps or Die group..... I am out.

First I received some real weird responses to my share on an online "recovery" blog where one could state their opinion..I talked about a Psychologist, member of AA, who once told me to stop taking my meds and "Work Steps go to more meetings" a year later wound up in 2 mental hospitals, finally properly dx ed and felt like the scum of the earth when I returned to my home groups. I "slipped"!

Did not realize this a "Work the Steps or Die", and I am a bitter nasty old dry drunk to them, huh? Think I have great sense of humor. Most people like me. Again I learn to avoid toxic people, relax and let go. I am not an "AA basher", just that the Fellowship I knew for years, (I don't use word "program" I am not a computer...nor robot) has radicaly changed. I don't live in the USA any more, never was a "puritan" and know in my own heart I am free. Often when I travel I attend Ex Pat English language AA, to network with sober people, rather than being alone in a bar. Thanks

You keep up your good work... Did not send this reply to the online group, wrote it for ME. .

PS any of you zombie culties members of the Midtown Group in DC? Just asking.

The Fellowship... not "Program"... FELLOWSHIP OF MEN AND WOMEN.... in the many tiny in membership, humongous in love and service International English speaking AA and NA 12 Step meetings I attended overseas was support I needed not only to stay sober and to COPE, not squawking about what "Step" I was on or quoting from a BB. That's for some, not for me. I am a people person — love, service, unity. I live in the developing world, have been through wars, witnessed genocide, been to and through Hell many times and made a U Turn, am still here, a survivor and pain in the ass. Sober today.

Judge me, judge yourselves first and hope you never ever confront me with any of your OWN bs face to face. Yep I got PTSD. Some of Vets, most draftees were spit on and called Baby Killers when we came home. Yeah, once in the worst part of L.A. some gang members gamme Shelter, cuz I was a "gringo" who spoke Spanish and knew history and culture of Mexico.

First of all, received that weird reply from some kind of pervert, they try and Trigger you. I started out in "AA" 34 years ago and years later, like many in recovery, moved on to alternative modalities, asked questions, and continued to do service, including Medevacs in rural conflict areas in Central America as a volunteer, driving terminally ill disadvantaged persons with not a penny in their pocket to hospitals and clinics. Babies were born in my vehicle, luckily brought relatives who mids-wived along.

I and some other classmates were abused by the same pediatrician on the early 1950s, the affair was covered up, the doctor just asked to leave town. I heard later and after my symptoms started, as well as the others in our school "group of 5 sickies" they called us. After my Dad found out, he went into a depression and started drinking every night, taking out his issues on me. My, Mom, an immigrant to US, her life saved by a Consul of El Salvador in Europe during WW2, did not drink but had heavy emotional issues when younger, raging temper one minute, loving the next.

I attended an Ivy League University on partial scholarship in 1964-65, however dropped out, drinking, low self esteem issues, then got drafted. Saw some combat. Abuse of alcohol and drugs stepped up. Stateside, fell through cracks, homeless, live in Rehab. My former counselors, great people, became my best friends. Two were Jewish, and excuse me, we had that cultural bonding that can never exist with any "goy" person. I picked up again, the progression was rapid, blackouts and all that goes with blackouts, finally was arrested for dui when clutch on my vehicle failed on a main street large city 1:30AM. I was totally intoxicated.

Beginning of the end, into recovery via the County Detox Centers. An employee, my age then 29, extended the hand and my first "Young Peoples" meeting I was greeted at the door by Mel F. and found out first I was not the only Jewish Alcoholic in the world and in the meeting not the only one that had suffered and to shut up, listen and keep coming back. Soon I got into service and became very active there in New England and the next years in New York City. No Internet, online, IM then, we were very relationship-oriented and had long meetings after the meetings and yeah we took each others inventory when required, and yeah we kicked ass or I had my ass kicked (with tough love) when it was due, and then another day of sobriety and O gotta lotta lotta days.

In my 3rd and 5th years of sobriety, started to experience depression, anxiety, fears and manic episodes. Was first told by a psychologist, also an AA member, I "did not require" any meds, to "step up" on my meetings, pray etc. That "AA" so-called mental health professional gave me bad advice.

Finally after 2 hospitalizations, homeless, worth nothing to nobody game again, found a mentor working in Mental Health field — also an AA member, but from the 20th Century — got me to NY Hospital, then to the Mental Health Clinic downtowns. My advice from this AA mentor (No kiddies I AIN'T GOT NO "spawnsah"): DO NOT TELL OTHERS IN AA MEETINGS YOU ARE TAKING PRESCRIBED MEDS. However I told one "friend" who spread it around. Except for a few members, two of them Atheists by the way, was shunned by old home groups, sat in the back, they patted me on the shoulder "this too shall pass" Well, I got better day by day, living in a cubicle, Bowery Residence Program. Once had "sponsored" many of those guys, now was one of em and began with help of my psychologist, US Citizen, native of Poland, was a Journalist in Africa many years and I adopted as my path to recovery "The 16 Steps of Empowerment"


As an amateur historian I also have read as well as the AA BB and 12 and 12, all of the AA Conference approved books and literature, having volunteered at AA World Services in NYC for a year as a bilingual liason for Mexican and Central American groups interfacing with World Services and escorting AA members on visits to the NY office. Did my first 5th Step with Helen W. who worked many years for a salary yes, but also in love and service?

Pretty good for a dry drunk, huh, kiddo? I guess you think I ain't got no ESH to share. I am not sharing, I am renewing my own spirit, and as well fending off you "evil spirits" who started all this nonsense when I receive a very humiliating and idiotic response on this group from a troll, who could or could not be sober who hides behind a puter. Why I dished it out, stirring up the shit.. you asked for it and you got it!!!!

  • If someone criticizes Alcoholics Anonymous, answer: "People who attack A.A. are just stupid A.A.-bashers. You don't have to pay any attention to what A.A.-bashers say because they are just stupid A.A.-bashers."

  • "You're just a dry drunk with a resentment..."

  • And when sober old-timers complain about A.A. misbehavior, say "You're just a bleeding deacon..."

Notice that name-calling allows you to actually define your opponent, based on just a few facts, or even on no facts whatsoever.

That's why I kicked butt virtually, if you can dish it out you'd better be able to take it, cuz in both the recovery and real worlds you got no guarantees.

I don't care what you think, what your "program" is, whether you pray or not..I don't care if you live or die, drink or drug, your choice really. Don't care if you 15 "spansaws" and go to 4 meetings a day, I was suggested, never TOLD, to stop going to so many meetings and go to work!!!!

And as well, I do love to go back and browse from time to time and read sections of the orange-papers.info/ to get a fair and balanced opposing viewpoint:

  • "Right now your mind is insane, and you can't tell the truth from the falsehood."
  • "You are just looking for an excuse to drink."
  • "You are angry."
  • "You have a 'resentment'."
  • "You don't understand A.A.."
  • "You don't understand A.A. spirituality because you are an atheist."
  • "You don't understand A.A. spirituality because you are a Christian."
  • "You don't understand A.A. spirituality because you aren't a member of A.A.."
  • "You think you know everything."
  • "We don't have to listen to you because you don't have any credentials — you aren't a doctor or a professor. You don't know what you are talking about."
  • "We don't have to listen to you — you are just a doctor. A.A. knows much more than all of the doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that we went to for so many years." (The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.)
  • "You think you are smarter than other alcoholics."
  • "You are diseased and in denial if you criticize Alcoholics Anonymous."
  • "You just don't want to quit drinking."
  • "Screw you! What do you know about sobriety?"
  • "You aren't qualified to have an opinion of A.A. yet, because you don't have enough years of sobriety." (And if you do have enough years, then "You are just a Bleeding Deacon.")
  • "your obviously not equiped to give any advice." (sic.)
  • "Those critics are often pushing inaccurate information or unintentionally pushing misinformation."
  • "You are angry, so we don't have to listen to you."
  • "Somebody injured you; that's why you spend so much time criticizing Alcoholics Anonymous."
  • "Your posts and your website lead me to wonder why you spend so much energy on this. Don't you have anything better to do than run down a group that has helped many, many people?." (Hint: That line was not about me; it was aimed at Rebecca Fransway in the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-Steps, Feb. 8, 2001.)
  • "You are just obsessed with proving Alcoholics Anonymous wrong."
  • "You are a chronic slipper who could not grasp AA at all."
  • "You will relapse soon."
  • "You will fall off of the wagon soon."
  • "Nobody can have as many resentments as you have and not drink again."
  • "Are you still drunk? Anybody with such a chip on their shoulder will go back out again."
  • "You are one of the people who couldn't work the program."
  • "You are not really committed to sobriety."
  • "Your arguments are more and more like rants. Increasingly technicoloured ones."
  • "You don't care how many alcoholics you kill by saying that A.A. doesn't work."
  • "You are doing a great disservice to those seeking sobriety."
  • "You are doing great harm to alcoholics."
  • "You are causing alcoholics to relapse."
  • "You are hurting alcoholics by driving them away from Alcoholics Anonymous."
  • "Have you saved any lives lately, or do you just sit here and bitch about AA?"
  • "That orange guy is getting really REALLY boring."
  • "Your anger towards A.A. can't be doing you any good."
  • "You spent a lot of time trying to figure out why AA didn't work for you. Which is really just a way of justifying your drinking."
  • "You've only paused your drinking, and never genuinely stopped."
  • "You must be an agnostic or an atheist if you object to the wonderful spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous."
  • "And I'll bet that you molest little girls when the moon gets full, too

To end this epistle, YOU the detractors of course, you know far more about your own sobriety and path to recovery than I do and vice versa.

Talk is cheap, I've walked the walk as best I could over the years and since 1984 have been taking prescribed meds to manage my psychiatric disorders, to cope and to hope. I neither hide in recovery rooms and do not shy away from daily challenges presented by living in an often insane real world. It is all about coping without illegal drugs or booze or unprescribed pills. To you I am a "bleeding deacon". So be it.

As for prayer, my people have been praying for 5,800 years, I know when and where and how to Pray!

Some of us had the same problem on the online groups of "Lamplighters", some of us who fought and are emotionally or physically crippled or both fighting for your freedom to respond to me and vice versa. Most were Ex Pat US Vets, all are long gone from "Lamps" and the Thumper moderators there.

The only "meetings" I wish to attend when in USA are the "Town Hall" meetings and the Tea Parties and I will be in DC in spirit on 9/12.

If any of you are "experts" then go ahead and psychoanalyze me, and others who feel and think like me, we are legion, we are recovering alkies, addicts, gamblers, eating disorders, bipolar, PTSD, etc. and also trusted "normie" friends who have EARNED our respect. I have been spit on before, NEVER AGAIN: AA or not matters nothing to me, the content of your character.

To end, ain't I some pathetic dry drunk??????? Shit, got a new handle!!!!! HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR LOL

Sending lotssa copies o this out??..

In response to:

Is it possible that you're a dry drunk?....just asking....Your comments seem to suggest that....

Posted by henry on September 1, 2009 — Tuesday — 7:05 PM

[Reply to this]

The Real Punk Friends in Recovery Together!

Jeff, Recovery Punk.

" i dont kick anyone off but why the fuck are you so bitter? you commented here bro and got nasty. i appreciate your service to our country but i dont see your point. what does it matter? lots of people serve and mant died, that doesnt give one the right to be an asshole to people they dont know. i dont care how much time you have or who your sponsor is or who spoke where, your recovery is what you make of is and what i see is an angry man. going from your posts you have nothing i want brother so keep your recovery and however many years you have.

by the way, my sponsor has 42 years of recovery. he was one of the founders of NA in the washington dc area. he is also a well respected christian minister but i dont throw that around because im not my sponsor. he only teaches me, the old way. so before you judge others take a good look at self.

again, nobody gets kicked off this page for getting nasty with me. i can take it. get nasty with others and thats a different story."

Posted by (moderator) The Real Punk Friends in Recovery Together! on September 1, 2009

Finally Agent Orange?? Big Wow!!! Or "Whoopee do" as Archie Bunker used to say on TV in "my day"

Jeez am sober today.

"Dry Drunk who is Going to Die Lonely, Bitter Miserable" (Why do I still have lots of friends??????????? ex alkies, addicts, social and moderate drinkers, those who never drank at all..human beings)

Oh also by the way advise newcomers to avoid the 12 Step on line Lamplighters User Group, if AA is the only resource available to them, then at least f2f look into their eyes and read their body language, if the group is either psychobabblers or overtly 'religious' at least look for some individual members who will give support. Avoid those wishing to sponsor you right away and if you are an attractive young female you'll have "AA men" crawling all over you! If old and unattractive they will hand you some literature and tell ya "keep coming back"

Signing off... bitter old dry drunk with a lot of ESH.

Hello "Salvador",

Thanks for the letter. It says a lot. Above all, congratulations on making it. Still making it, in spite of everything. When you come right down to it, we are still here.

I wish I could tell you that the anger will just fade out and go away after a while, but I'm still fighting with old angers too. I'm still pissed off at what was done to me 40 or 50 years ago. All I can do now is refuse to allow old angers to dominate my life. When I find myself feeling anger and rage over those old things, I just change the subject (in my head), and turn my attention to something that is good, right here, right now, in "real world". It's a struggle. It's a battle. But it's worth winning, I think. I don't want to waste any more time being angry about old history that I cannot change.

That doesn't mean that I will ever forget. That is impossible. But I don't want to let that old garbage waste any more of my time. Upwards and onwards.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

P.S.: I just looked up that reference to "16 Steps" at addictioninfo.org, and I see that it is Charlotte Kasl. Yes, she's really good. I have one of her books in my "Top 10" reading list, here.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    If someone has cancer or diabetes or coronary disease,
**    we don't use a quack doctor to treat those sick people —
**    a quack whose only qualification is that he used to drink
**    too much alcohol or take too many drugs, and who is now
**    a member of a cult religion. But with the so-called
**    "disease" of alcoholism, the standard treatment is
**    to have former alcoholics or dopers dispensing their
**    platitudes and slogans, and insisting that God is the cure.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009: A couple of notes:

Well, another month has gone by, and another year, and it's autumn again, and the goslings have all grown up, and you have to look closely to tell them from their parents.

But we are still going throught the collection of pictures from last spring:

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

Carmen's Family, with 5 Canada Geese goslings
Carmen's family
The father is the adult in the center of the picture, and the mother is to the right.
It's really hard to tell which one is Carmen in this picture, but I'd guess it's the gosling right beside the father. Notice how she has a smaller head than the others, and the top of her head is darker than the others. And her face just looks like Carmen.
And it's not an optical illusion — they are all really looking at me — wondering if I brought munchies for them. (I did.)

May 16, 2009, Saturday: Day 16

Carmen's Family, with 5 Canada Geese goslings
Carmen's family
The mother is sitting down while the father stands guard. It looks like Carmen is the gosling nestled against the mother's side.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Tuesday, 17 November 2009:

And now I just had another couple of anniversaries, again. Back in October, I got 9 years off of drugs and alcohol, and just a few days ago, 9 years off of cigarettes and tobacco. It feels good. What a relief to not be hungover or coughing.

And an interesting note: A Firefox plug-in called "Xmarks" is useful for synchronizing your bookmarks between computers. Like it will combine your bookmarks from your home computer and your laptop, so that the same things are accessible from both machines. Well, I signed up for it, and discovered that they rated the Orange Papers as number 8 in the category called "Serious". And it's like 30th in "AA", 38th in the category of Addiction, and #41 in Cults. I guess they do that by tallying people's bookmarks.

I'm not sure what that amounts to, or how they judge, but it's interesting, and flattering.

So the Orange Papers got this little graphic for being a "Top 10" web site:

Xmarks Top Site in Serious
Orange Papers is a Top Site in Serious
Review This Site

Later: One of the Xmarks fellas told me that their rating system is experimental, and they decided to cancel the category of "Serious". So O.P. is no longer a "top 10" site. So it goes. What was A. E. Housman's line about how fleeting fame is? (To an Athlete, Dying Young) "It withers faster than the rose."

Date: Fri, September 4, 2009 5:16 pm     (answered 18 November 2009)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Your Site Rocks!

Dear Orange,

A friend recently turned me on to your site and I want to thank you for all of your research and work. My guess is that there must be a number of people out there dealing with addictions who come across your site while searching the internet for resources. If you help just one avoid AA then I thank you for a job well done. I think your papers empower people who are looking for answers and make them think twice about going to a 12 step group.

I quit drinking two years ago on my own and with the encouragement of friends, family and a doctor. Happily my doctor does not promote AA and validated my own belief that people can recover without ever attending a meeting or adopting a spiritual practice.

Last winter I spoke with a co-worker who had been going to AA for his 90 meetings in 90 days routine. I told him about my own experience and my reservations about AA. Apparently he spoke with his sponsor about our conversation and this alone prompted a phone call to me from the sponsor. The sponsor was angry and accused me of "interfering with "John's" program" and that I could be responsible for John leaving AA or having a slip. I was taken aback by this guys audacity in telling me I should not express my opinion to the man he sponsors. I simply told him to mind his own business and that I will express my objections to AA at will and without consequences. He hung up on me. My co-worker is struggling with his drinking and in my opinion AA is making his life more miserable. I have encouraged John to read the Orange Papers and to try some of the alternatives.

Thanks again for your wonderful website and give those sweet geese some bread for me.


Hello Gary,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety and recovery. And yes, the do-it-yourselfers are the majority of the successful sober people, so you have every right to talk to your friend about what works, and what doesn't.

Speaking of which, I hope your friend is doing well. I should point to the list of discussions that we have had about what works, and what has helped people, here. Perhaps he can find some useful information there.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Music I heard with you was more than music,
**     And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
**      ==  Conrad Aiken (1889- ), Music I Heard with You, 1914.

Date: Fri, September 4, 2009 10:14 pm     (answered 18 November 2009)
From: Darin K
Subject: WOW!!!

Hey Orangie!

I must say my eyes have been opened! You must be a disillusioned and frightened untreated addict/alcoholic.

You have expended a lot of energy to persuade yourself in your endeavor, I hope that works for you.

Take it easy brother...

Darin K

You have a good day too, Darin.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If we don't change our course, we'll end up where we're headed.
**        ==  Chinese proverb

Date: Sat, September 5, 2009 8:31 pm     (answered 18 November 2009)
From: "Richard A"
Subject: Is this stiil run by Apple?


I remember talking to someone calling themselves Apple a long time ago on 12 step free. I'm the guy who eventually had his story published in 12 Step horror stories put together by Rebecca Fransway. My story was "One man's journey through the door marked exit".

It is good to see the Orange Papers site is still running.

Just wanted to say hi and thanks in case you are still running the site.


Hi Richard,

Thanks for the note. And thanks for the story in Rebecca Fransway's book "AA Horror Stories". I read that book many years ago, and it was more fuel for the fire (my internal fire, that is).

You are right about the Apple—AA-Deprogramming connection, but I'm not Apple, and Apple never ran the Orange Papers web site. Back in 2000 and 2001, when I was just starting out, Apple ran the web site called AAdeprogramming.com. I sent the original versions of some of my essays to her, and she put them online. I chose the name "Orange" so that we could joke about mixing apples and oranges.

Apple retired from the scene, and I kept on writing, so my stuff evolved into a web site of its own.

Ken Ragge is mirroring the old AAdeprogramming web pages now, at

Here are a few more historical references:

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Underage binge drinking occurs more frequently if child
**     maltreatment such as neglect, physical and sexual abuse is
**     experienced, U.S. researchers said.
**       ==  UPI, March 4, 2009

Date: Sun, September 6, 2009 2:30 pm     (answered 18 November 2009)
From: istj
Subject: 12 things to do at 12-Step Meetings (Wherever you are forced to go to one!)

istj has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.

12 things to do at 12-Step Meetings

Since most attendees at a 12-Step meeting are NOT there voluntarily (they need to get some "proof of attendance card" signed!), I am offering THESE suggestions for how to pass the time away, and maybe get that pesky "proof of attendance card" signed a little faster too. . . .

  • 1.) Attend the meeting with a surgical mask on, and when asked, explain, "I hear there is a disease called "alcoholism/addiction" in here, and I don't want to catch it!"

  • 2.) Offer a LOUD running commentary as the meeting leader begins the "opening rituals"

  • 3.) If asked to leave, before getting your card signed, threaten to destroy the coffee pot, and its contents, AND take the coffee!

  • 4.) Repeatedly ask, "Are we there yet"?

  • 5.) Inform those that have stopped drinking/using that they are hereby EXPELLED from this and all future 12-Step meetings, as they no longer have a "desire to stop drinking/using" (especially if they do not drink/use anymore!).

  • 6.) Offer to set up a "town hall meeting" between the 12-Steps and the 12-traditions!

  • 7.) Ask how many "Big Book's" it takes to make a good bonfire.

  • 8.) Bring along your favorite intoxicating/impairing substance, and offer to share it with those having a "birthday"

  • 9.) In NA meetings-"leave behind"/drop on the floor some cellophane wrapped rock salt, with a clean, unused needle nearby.

  • 10.) Pass out copies of federal court decisions that make it clear: a.) 12-Step groups are religious, b.) you don't have to attend ONLY those, and c.) those requiring 12-Step meeting attendance can be individually sued for their coercion.

  • 11.) Ask questions! LOTS of questions! Demand specific, detailed answers (see #6!)

  • 12.) Offer to do the "Closing Prayer" with: "Holy Satan, prince of darkness, bless this assemblage, and stop us from drinking/using in your holy name! We all accept thy's serenity and will"!
    Instead of ending with "Keep Coming Back"! Try: "GET THE FUCK OUT, LOSERS"!

Location: Wherever you are forced to go to one!

Original URL: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/rnr/1360329668.html

Hi istj,

Thanks for the laugh. And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Down one road lies disaster, down the other utter catastrophe.
**     Let us hope we have the wisdom to choose wisely.
**        ==  Woody Allen

Date: Sun, September 6, 2009 8:52 pm
From: "George C."
Subject: Some comments about your site

Hi Orange, you've got a lot of great information on your site.

I would like to suggest another question for your "Cult Test Questions" page:

Can you get up and walk out of the room?

If the answer to the above question is "yes", then I'm sorry, it is not a cult. Cults control people. If someone who is free to leave at any time ends up controlled, that is the fault of the individual, not the particular philosophy.

Hello ,

Thanks for the letter.

Sorry, but being kept prisoner in a room is not a standard cult characteristic. Very, very few cults kept their people prisoners in an armed camp like how Jim Jones's People's Temple did. In most cults, the people come and go as they please. People are free to get up and walk out of Scientology, the Moonies, Hari Krishnas, and Jehovah's Witnesses, and yet those things are all very much cults.

The thing is, those people are not mentally free to leave. They are victims of indoctrination and phobia induction that makes them believe that they will die, or lose their ticket to Heaven, or something horrible will happen to them if they leave the cult. With Alcoholics Anonymous, it is of course, "If you leave A.A., your fate is jails, institutions, or death."

Cults do things like guilt induction, indoctrination, deceptive recruiting, phobia induction, teaching irrational dogma, constant put-downs, confession sessions, enemy-making, isolation, two levels of information, and loaded language. A.A. does all of those things.

See the Cult Test for a list of 100 standard cult characteristics.

A recent correspondent who was in A.A. for many years said that she rated A.A. on that test and that A.A. was guilty of 97 out of the hundred.

I would like to call your attention to the following article, which I hope you will like:


I think this article is spot on: Any attempt to use AA as a professional treatment for alcoholism is wrong-headed, maybe criminal, and further is prohibited by AA doctrine. I don't know who these charlatans are that abuse AA philosophy, but you are right to call them on it.

I especially like the description of AA from the article:

12-step philosophy is not psychotherapy, counseling, or treatment for substance abuse, or a rigorously researched model of applied psychology and should not be utilized for such purposes. Twelve Step philosophy is just that; a system of loosely organized beliefs which serve to bring together lay people in a self-help/mutual-aid group, free of charge and as an alternative to professional intervention. As such, it cannot properly be professionalized, systematized, advertised, or engaged in for financial profit.

Once again, spot-on. AA is a philosophy at the service of lay adherents. Considered as such, it is as good a philosophy as any, and it was never intended — in fact, was specifically prohibited — from being presented as anything else. From the BB, Forward to the First Edition:

We would like it understood that our alcoholic work is an avocation.

The author there, Cliff Walker, the owner of the Positive Atheism web site, was being too nice. Yes, you can call Buchmanism — the real A.A. religion — a "philosophy" if you wish, but it is hardly just a service organization. The core of Buchman's religion is the belief that the best life consists of being a slave of a "Higher Power". Every day, you conduct a séance and hear "the Voice of God", supposedly telling you what to do, and giving you the power to carry out the orders of the voices in your head. That is A.A. Step 11.

Buchman also declared that you were too stupid to think for yourself, so you should have a sponsor or Führer doing your thinking for you, and telling you what to do. And Buchman declared that you are so flawed that you cannot ever be cured or fixed — you have been "defeated by sin" (like "powerless over alcohol") — and the only thing you can do with your life is surrender to a "Higher Power" and hope that "Higher Power" makes you into a good little puppet.

Does any of that sound familiar? It should, because it's in the 12 Steps.

And then it gets worse. While a few people do go to A.A. meetings to be of service, lots more do not. Others use A.A. as a meat market, to pick up on the new women who show up. See the Midtown Group for much more on that.

And then there are the old-timer ego-trippers, enjoying being a big frog in a small pond. And then there are the people who are just afraid to leave, because they have been told that they will die if they do. And then there are the people who are obsessed with A.A., and who have to go to one or two or three A.A. meetings per day or else they freak out. And then there are the sponsors, looking for new slaves. And then there are the neurotics and the psychotics and the religious fanatics. And then there are the criminals who are forced to be there by the courts and parole officers.

And on and on. That is not a good crowd to ask for life advice.

Of course I totally agree that Buchmanism should not be packaged and sold as a quack cure for alcoholism and addictions. The treatment centers that sell 12-Step programs as a cure for drug and alcohol problems should get sued out of existence, and put in prison for fraud and criminally negligent homocide.

By the way, in spite of the fact that Bill Wilson wrote in the Big Book that "We would like it understood that our alcoholic work is an avocation", he actually became a millionaire by selling it. He never had to work a straight job again. (It was just the other people who weren't supposed to get a share of the money.)

In any case, you throw around that "cult" insult a lot, and I do not think you are justified in doing so. AA does no recruiting, charges no dues, and never pursues people who leave the fellowship. By your metrics, the local elementary school is more of a cult than AA. I agree completely with your criticism as it applies to professional practitioners. However, I think that your criticism of AA overall is not helpful, in that it gives the alcoholic a very authoritative-appearing excuse to avoid AA and continue drinking. *"See? AA is a cult! I can't get involved in that!"*

I think I am very justified in calling A.A. a cult. Again, read the Cult Test and see the list of standard cult characteristics. And then compare that list to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Your claim that the local school is a cult is based on a gross misunderstanding of what a cult is and how they work. You obviously have not bothered to actually read "my metrics", or else you quickly forgot them.

And once again, there is the veiled accusation that I am hurting alcoholics by telling the truth about A.A., and maybe discouraging someone from going to Alcoholics Anonymous. That is such a standard A.A. accusation. But I get a lot of letters from other people who say that I helped them by telling the truth.

On your site, you misuse the Harvard study repeatedly, thus: "80% of all alcoholics who quit do so on their own." That statement implies a blatant falsehood, one that you, with all of your emphasis on evidence, should be ashamed to repeat. In fact, as your statistics show, most alcoholics do not quit, but rather *die of their disease*. The truth of the matter puts quite a different moral emphasis on your repeated misrepresentation of the facts.

What blatant falsehood? Now you know more about medicine than the Harvard Medical School? What are your sources of information? Let's see the hard evidence. Where do you get the idea that the Harvard Medical School is wrong about addictions?

And "my statistics" do not show that most alcoholics die of "the disease". Where? What are you supposedly quoting? I said that slightly more than 50% of the alcoholics recover, and 80% of those recovered people did it alone, on their own. And that's just what the Harvard Mental Health Letter said.

Since you seem to think that A.A. cures alcoholics, let's see the facts. Let's see some numbers. Once again, it's time for the question that A.A. members have never answered honestly:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

(HINT: the answers are here.)

Finally, I have read your page on "The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster", and I must say that, from my own perspective, I have never read such a risible load of claptrap in my life. I am delighted that such nonsense worked for you, but it never would have worked for me, and your notion that this approach is more rational or workable than the AA approach is simply unsupportable and merely your own prejudice talking.

Obviously, listening to your own mind, and recognizing thoughts, is not your strong suit.

But other people who do "get it" have said that the knowledge was a big help to them in staying sober.

Perhaps my opinion makes you consider me a "sheep". Perhaps you are right, but I have no need to argue the point. In any case, I have found a lot of value in AA, certainly no harm, and I resent the fact that you call me a cultist merely because of my religious beliefs. Your view is prejudiced, and in my opinion, more likely to harm alcoholics than help.

Sorry if your feelings are hurt by my calling A.A. a cult, but it's the truth.

And once again, there is the veiled accusation that I am hurting alcoholics by telling the truth about A.A.

Thank you for your time and have a great day.

P.S. — If you care to respond on your site, I would appreciate a link.

You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can say that some groups are cults. LaRouche's bunch,
**     Moonies, Scientology, Heaven's Gate, etc. There are
**     published scales to measure how much some group is a cult.
**        ==  Keith Henson

Date: Wed, September 9, 2009 7:32 pm     (answered 19 November 2009)
From: raymond
Subject: EMDR

Hi Terry,

the letter you received from Pete on Sat, August 22 that claims a "modern outlook on addictions" is EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing):



Ray S.

Hello Ray,

Thanks for the tip. I've only read a little bit of that so far, but I'm getting the impression that they are selling the same idea as Scientology does: that memories of old injuries cause insanity and limit your powers and abilities, and if your old memories are somehow "processed" so that you are desensitized to them, then you will become something greater.

That's quite an assumption. Personally, I've never found dwelling on old negative memories to be beneficial.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
**         ==   Albert Schweitzer (1875—1965)

Date: Wed, September 9, 2009 8:28 pm     (answered 20 November 2009)
From: raymond S.
Subject: the Jay LeB.letters

Hi Terry,

I have Fingarette's book here in front of me. Chapter 2 is titled "Can Alcoholics Control their Drinking". He cites:

  • Merry, "The 'Loss of Control' Myth" (1966)
  • Heather and Robertson, Controlled Drinking (1981)
  • Donovan and Marlatt, "Assessment of Expectancies and Behavior Associated with Alcohol Consumption" (1980)
as disproving the myth.

The studies were Mello and Mendelson, "Drinking Patterns During Work-contingent and Non-contingent Alcohol Acquisition (1972); Mendelson, "Experimentally Induced Chronic Intoxication and Withdrawal in Alcoholics" (1964)

He also says to see:

Gottheil et al., "Fixed-Interval Drinking Decisions" (1972); Cohen et al. "Alcoholism: Controlled Drinking and Incentives for Abstinence" (1971a) and "Moderate Drinking by Chronic Alcoholics" (1971b)

Others are mentioned and cited, these seem to be the big guns.

Ray S.

Hi again, Ray,

Thanks for the information. I find it rather amazing how the powers that be can ignore such findings for so long, and continue to parrot the same old "powerless over alcohol" fairy tale.

I just got Fingarette's book through an inter-library loan. And now I have to read it, along with all of the other things on my reading list.

Date: Thu, September 10, 2009 7:17 am     (answered 20 November 2009)
From: raymond S.
Subject: Don't drink that marshmallow

Another study on delayed gratification.

Don't drink that marshmallow

The marshmallow experiments are famous by now, thanks in large part to Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence books, and their relevance to addiction seems obvious. In 1968, Stanford psychology prof Walter Mischel presented four-year olds with a marshmallow and the choice: Eat it now, or wait 15 minutes and get two. The kids who could delay the gratification ended up, a decade and more later, with higher SAT scores, higher graduation rates, better jobs — in short, twice as many of the marshmallows life had to offer.

It was often believed that the kids who could delay gratification did so thanks to more "will power." Mischel — according to a helpful and informative summary in this week's New Yorker, by Jonah Lehrer — analyzed what this "will power" really consisted of.

He paid very careful attention to what went through the delaying kids' minds as they resisted the bait. They succeeded because they had methods of distracting their minds from the lure. They covered their eyes, or played hide-and-seek under the desk, or sang songs. "Their desire wasn't defeated — it was merely forgotten." The key, Mischel found, was not to resist the marshmallow — that didn't work — but to avoid thinking about it.

In further experiments, Mischel found that children could be taught cognitive tricks that helped them distract themselves. "Even reducing the intensity of the temptation by pretending that the marshmallow was only a picture of a marshmallow or that the marshmallow was really a cloud worked for some children."

Mischel and other researchers Lehrer quotes are skeptical of finding a genetic basis for the ability to delay gratification. "Too many genes are involved in even the simplest aspects of personality. "The cutting edge of research lies in classroom curricula that teach self-distraction, and in educating parents to cultivate simple cognitive skills in children."

Says Mischel: "We should give mashmallows to every kindergartner... We should say, 'You see this marshmallow — You don't have to eat it. You can wait. Here's how.'"

Wow. "Cognitive tricks". It looks like cognitive behavioral therapy strikes again.

The obvious implication is that some alcoholics could be taught similar cognitive tricks to delay or avoid drinking, or more particularly, excessive drinking and drunkenness.

Thanks again for the input, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday — but never jam today."
**       ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer and
**     Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
**     1832-1898)

Date: Wed, September 9, 2009 7:00 am     (answered 21 November 2009)
From: "Gary B."
Subject: Regarding The British Secret Service (MI5) investigating The Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament during WWII...

Hi Orange

Re: The British Secret Service (MI5) investigating The Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament during WWII...

See: http://www.mi5.gov.uk/output/right-wing-extremists-and-groups.html

Wow, seems like the British government really took quite an interest in the pro-Nazi stance of the Oxford Group!

Did you know about this?

Best regards


Hi Gary,

Thanks for the link. No, I didn't know about that. That is very interesting. Now I'd like to get my hands on the whole report. Perhaps some British citizens know how to get documents from their government?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]...
**     I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy
**     Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian
**     spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments
**     in literature, in the theater, and in the press — in short, we want
**     to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our
**     whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the
**     past ... (few) years.
**         == The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1, pg. 871-872
**             (London, Oxford University Press, 1942)

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 14 February 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters145.html