Letters, We Get Mail, CXLVIII

Date: Fri, October 9, 2009 10:43 pm     (answered 25 November 2009)
From: "David"
Subject: Hobson's Choice

Hey Orange,

I'm going over your Propaganda and Debating Techniques again, finding examples of the use of these techniques by Obama and other liberals that mirror the use of them by Bush etc. whom you prefer to use as examples. I am cutting them up and sending "a technique a day" to my kids in college via e-mail, as I believe these will be invaluable lessons that they can use for the rest of their lives to sort through the bull not only in education, politics and the media, but in everyday conversations. But by reading of both conservative and liberal use of propaganda, they will see that this is a universal phenomenon, not just a trait of the conservatives whom you present pretty exclusively in your examples. By this I mean the examples presented of current or recent politicians; we can all agree that Hitler and Stalin were bad...although if they or their systems had ultimately won out, we might be singing their praises! If we were around at all.

Hi David,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, alas, Democrats use those propaganda techniques too. I wasn't trying to only use Republican examples — it's just that the Bush administration was in power for all eight of the years that I was putting that list of techniques together, so they provided the most egregious examples of logical fallacies and other uses of those deceptive techniques.

I note your definition of:

"Hobson's Choice" or Alternative Advance
Provide two or more choices which do not cover the range of possibilities, but which only reflect essentially the same proposition.
A Jehovah's Witness recruiter may say, "If you don't agree with me, let's study this book I've brought along. If you do agree, let's go to the Kingdom Hall this Sunday."
Both choices expose you to indoctrination in their religion. One obvious logical choice is missing: "If we don't agree about religion, we can just drop the matter and part company amicably."

Wikipedia (agreeing with other sources) says:

A Hobson's choice is a free choice in which only one option is offered, and one may refuse to take that option. The choice is therefore between taking the option or not; "take it or leave it.".... Hobson's choice is different from:
  • a.. a choice between limited options....
  • b.. False dilemma — only two choices are considered, when in fact there are others
  • c.. Catch-22 and Morton's Fork — all choices yield equivalent, often undesirable, results
I don't know about "Alternative Advance," but aren't you off track with your definition of "Hobson's Choice"?

I believe that you are right. Thanks for catching that. I'll have to fix that. I always found that definition of Hobson's Choice awkward, and now I think I know why.

Again, thanks for an incredible website. Like so many others, I was losing my life to the AA cult, but your writings, along with the observations of my extremely sharp and sceptical wife of the past 10 years, pretty much deprogrammed me and saved me from that life. I am now convinced that part of the reason why I relapsed in the past is because I was — and still am — coerced to attend AA and to use the 12 steps to stay sober. No other alternatives have been allowed.

Thanks for the compliments, and I'm glad to hear that you benefitted from the pages.

The "program" does things to a person's mind, but producing sobriety is not one of them. After 13 years of being an AA true-believer and repeat lapser, I have now been 12-step and alcohol free for over 2 1/2 years. It has been remarkably easy since I stopped doing constant inventories and beating myself up all of the time. Your web pages gave me other techniques, the most important being...don't take the first drink. I have the power not to do that, and I use it. It's a Hobson's Choice, and I choose not to drink.

Congratulations. That's really good.

But Step One is just Fraud One in AA. The size of your website speaks to the massive amount of lies and fraud in AA and the related cults, and in the massive "recovery" industry.

I am still forced to attend meetings, but your website is an effective antidote to AA's murderous brainwashing techniques. I completely disagree with your politics, but when it comes to recovery you have hit the nail on the head, so you are one of my heroes anyway.

Have a great life, Agent Orange.

David S.

You have a good life too, David. And a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can
**     alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.
**       ==  William James (1842 — 1910)

Date: Sat, October 10, 2009 3:34 pm     (answered 25 November 2009)
From: "A."
Subject: hello

Hi Orange,

I am an educated 51 year old female, who was sober back in 1995 for 7 years without AA. I started drinking socially again in around 2003 and quit again 7 months ago. I can honestly say that although I don't drink anymore, it was only because my body was having a hard time getting the alcohol out of my system even only having 2 drinks. The funny thing is that I never needed anymore than 2 drinks. I would also go weeks without a drink. I never "progressed" as AA members say into somebody "doomed to surely die......if they pick up again"

I did attend AA in a new city in March of this year. But prior, I think I could have quit without AA again. This is what I found at AA:

They don't reach out to help you as a newcommer. Not one lady reached out to me first. I had to approach them. I actually heard one woman announce in a discussion meeting, that she wasn't approaching newcommers anymore, that they "had to do the work on their own".....what?

I made phone calls to many of them. But got tired of doing all the work because they never called me to see how I was doing? I was the one making all the calls.

There was one guy there who everybody seemed to look up to. This "phony" told me once leaving the meeting how "good I looked, and I was a fine looking woman". I was so embarrassed, humilated and vulnerable. This was a man who they looked up to in the area? What?

I asked one woman to be my sponsor and she turned me down! (her husband talked to me a lot, and I think she was afraid to loose her man). That's what the 12 steps teach you! LOL!

When I stopped going, I didn't get 1 phone call from about 12 women I met at AA, even wondering where I was? I was working on just a few months of sobriety! The fact is, they are phony friends and they really don't care.

I kept leaving meetings feeling like a pile of crap. Guilty and ashamed. I just couldn't stand listening to their stupid little system of working those steps, or telling strangers your business, or making it like your sponsor is a God or something.

I go to an occasional meeting. But I let them know, they will never, ever see me as a regular again. I can stay sober without them. They look at me funny like I am an alien because I don't "keep coming back". I tend to go for the socialization once in a blue moon, and usually what I see is a place where it is easier to not come as often. I may make it once every few months, if that. But that is my choice.

They just don't get it, their program doesn't keep you sober. If you get sober in AA, you were ready to get sober. It's called "just being ready". If you make a few friends there, and want to keep socializing there, that's your business. I am personally involved in different social functions who don't preach to me about alcoholism. I don't like being reminded constantly about how sick I am because I am NOT SICK. I make choices not to drink. I am healthy, normal, and well.

So keep up the good work reminding people that there are "many" ways to get sober!!!


Oh, Orange. Please make sure you don't post my name and email address!


Hello A.,

Thanks for the letter. It says a lot. It's good to get these reports about people's experiences. I hope you are doing well now.

So have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The people who make no roads are ruled out from
**     intelligent participation in the world's brotherhood.
**     The Roadmender. I,5
**     "Michael Fairless" (Margaret Fairless Barber) [1869—1901]

Date: Sun, October 11, 2009 1:42 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "Third Traditions Foundation"
Subject: Overeaters Anonymous and other programs

A Orange,

Everything you have observed in AA is true for Overeaters Anonymous and other programs. Have you received letters from former members of these groups such as FA, FAA, EDA, Graysheeters Anonymous?

A. R. Jenkins
Third Traditions Foundation
Furthering Cultural Aptitude

"This was the moment — this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals." President Barack Obama

Hello, A.R.,

I have received only a few letters that talk about Overeaters Anonymous. They usually do say that it's just like A.A.:

And I don't recall any letters about FA, FAA, EDA, or Graysheeters Anonymous. I had not heard about Graysheeters Anonymous before. I'll have to check them out.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.
**     The soul that knows it not, know no release
**     From little things.
**      ==  Amelia Earhart Putnam [1898—1937], Courage

Date: Sun, October 11, 2009 6:45 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: istj
Subject: RE: I got sentenced to NA (LA)

istj has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.


RE: I got sentenced to NA

Date: 2009-10-11, 5:45PM

If 12-Step programs had ANY integrity, they would have told the courts, and other entities (county drug and alcohol offices, probation, and parole offices!) to STOP sending people to them a long time ago! But they don't! They need the bodies. It gives the "true believers" someone to lord over! It makes their piss-ant, pathetic philosophy somehow justified to be perpetuated on those who have no use or desire for it (like listening to a Mormon missionary or a JW for example!).

But there is hope: 2 years ago, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a Hawaii case (Inouye vs. Kemna) that ANY "coercing authority" can be held INDIVIDUALLY, CIVILLY LIABLE for the 1st Amendment constitutional rights violation that they perpetuate on people unwillingly and involuntarily FORCED to go to 12-Step programs! Why? Because of their overwhelming religiosity! 12-Step groups claim they are "spiritual" (yet 6 of the 12 steps mention or imply "God" — not exactly screaming atheism!). So let YOUR "coercive authority" know that he/she/it is SUBJECT TO A LAWSUIT! BY YOU! IN FEDERAL COURT! See if that won't change their tune!

And for the 12-Step groups that thrive on coerced attendees: if you can't get people to attend your circle-jerking VOLUNTARILY, why DO you exist, anyway?

Original URL: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/rnr/1417098644.html


Hi istj,

Thanks for the post. It's good to be reminded that religious coercion is illegal, and the perpetrators can be sued for it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever,
**      and one of them is that he has taken to drink.
**        ==  Booth Tarkington [1869—1946], Penrod [1914], Chap. 10

Date: Mon, October 12, 2009 6:43 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "How H."
Subject: Your erronious posting re: AA

It is obvious to me that you, are not an alcoholic, not an "expert" and as we used to say in SE Asia:

"Are talking through a paper asshole"

Thank you for posting this demonstration of your ignorance

Hello How,

Not an alcoholic, huh? Everybody from my doctor to my ex-wife would be very surprised to hear that.

That is such a standard cultish A.A. answer to criticism — "You aren't really an alcoholic, because you quit drinking without A.A., so you don't know what you are talking about."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Let those that merely talk and never think,
**     That live in the wild anarchy of drink.
**        ==  Ben Jonson [1573?—1637], Underwoods [1640]. An Epistle,
**             answering to One that asked to be sealed to the Tribe of Ben

Date: Mon, October 12, 2009 8:36 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "TIMOTHY C."
Subject: Question

Hi "Orange",

I find myself morbidly fascinated by the time and effort you have put into your vitriolic expose of Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous; I come back to your web site every few weeks to read more. It seems that Bill was one of the most vile and evil individuals in the history of mankind and most of the fellowship are just twisted, domineering, ego-maniacs. It is amazing how many desperate simpletons have given themselves over to this ridiculously idiotic "program".

I do have one question for you. After repeatedly denouncing the idea of "powerlessness" you then include this "jewel" in your "Lizard Brain Addiction Monster" chapter:

It was easy to quit. So I can mess around a little, and have a few now and then, and it will be okay. Even if I do get readdicted, I can just easily quit again.4)
(Warning: no you can't. Each relapse drains energy out of you, and quitting the second time is several times harder than the first.)

I am wondering this: If "each relapse drains energy out of you" thus making the next attempt several times harder, then if I keep relapsing will I not eventually run out of "energy"; thus making quitting impossible? On the other hand, if there is not an endless supply of "energy" but maybe it is replenished, then the notion that it will be "several times harder" next time around doesn't make much sense. Can you help me out on this, it sounds like I can become "powerless"?


"The Loon"
Sauk Rapids,MN

Hello Loon,

Thanks for the question. And the answer is, "No, not powerless. Even if it is extremely difficult to quit a bad habit, that is not 'powerlessness'."

Something else that is going on there is the fact that the motivation to quit again builds back up, albeit slowly.

When I would backslide and return to smoking cigarettes, it usually took about three years before the pain and suffering built up to the point where I could muster up the will power to quit again. I never quit again after, say, smoking for one month. It took a few years for the motivation to build up.

I only relapsed on alcohol once, but when I went out, I stayed out for nine years. I was not powerless over alcohol for those nine years; I just didn't want to quit. I didn't want the fun to end. It took a lot of pain and suffering for the motivation to build up again.

Still, quitting the second time was much harder than the first, and it took more suffering and bad things to get me to quit again. Now mind you, it was not the actually quitting and physical withdrawal that was hard, it was getting the will to quit.

For example, the first time around, I was horrified when I had blackouts and couldn't remember what I had done the previous night. That was part of the motivation to quit.

The second time around, blackouts were normal, and I shrugged them off. I could hardly ever remember what I did the night before. But since nobody had arrested me, I couldn't have done anything too bad, I guessed. Blackouts were no longer horrifying enough to get me to quit. And the same goes for a lot of the other bad effects of excessive drinking. Things had to get a lot worse before I quit again.

So yes, it can get harder and harder to quit again — it takes worse and worse things to get the motivation to quit — the horrifying is no longer horrifying enough — but that still does not mean the someone is "powerless over alcohol". It just means that it is harder to get up the determination to quit again.

Now I see how you can envision a degenerating sequence of quitting and relapsing until quitting is so difficult that it is beyond the ability of an alcoholic. But it seems like it isn't really the quitting that is beyond the abilities of the alcoholics — rather, what they lack most is the will. They can't want to quit enough to really do it. They lack the motivation. They just don't really want to quit and give up the fun (no matter how much they might say that they want to quit). There are a lot of such people, and I'm sure that they make up a sizeable fraction of the 100,000 alcoholics in the USA who die from alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction each year.

And A.A. does not save them either.

If anything would help them or save them, it would have to be a program or therapy that increases will power and motivation to quit drinking, rather than telling them that they are powerless over alcohol, and that they must surrender their will to a "Higher Power". (Not coincidentally, one of the four objectives of SMART just happens to be to increase motivation to quit bad habits.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Drink to me only with thine eyes,
**       And I will pledge with mine;
**     Or leave a kiss but in the cup
**       And I'll not look for wine.
**        ==  Ben Jonson [1573?—1637], To Celia [1616]. Stanza I

Date: Tue, October 13, 2009 5:31 am
From: Stillsane2
Subject: Your an idiot

Date: Tue, October 13, 2009 1:01 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "Jeffrey Jocoy"
Subject: Drug Information Resource Suggestion


My name is Jeff Jocoy, and I'm the National awareness coordinator for DrugWatch.com. While I was browsing through a number of addiction and substance abuse sites I came across your website and was very impressed by the information you have listed.

Our site features a comprehensive list of drugs and medications that are currently on the market, or were previously available worldwide. We are dedicated to educating the public about the details of prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as aiding in the protection of patients and consumers by informing them of any associated side effects. We also feature updated information concerning drug recalls, medication approvals, and current developments in the medical field. Patients who are taking medication for their conditions should know the facts when it comes to the benefits and risks of such drugs as well as their addictive potentials.

I noticed that you already had some other addiction and substance abuse resources listed at orange-papers.info/orange-links.html and figured you might be interested in including a link to our site as well. ... With your help we can keep the public informed about important drug information. Thanks again!

Jeff Jocoy

Drug Watch

Hi Jeff,

Okay, I'll give you a plug. I haven't had the time yet to explore your web site yet, but I like the sound of what you are doing.

While most people think about things like heroin, cocaine, speed, and ecstacy when you talk about "drugs", the truth is that prescription drug abuse kills more people (including Elvis and Michael Jackson). So it's good for somebody to be keeping an eye on the whole lot of them.

Good luck with your work, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
**     My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
**     Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
**     One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk.
**       ==  John Keats [1795—1821], Ode to a Nightingale, Stanza I

Date: Wed, October 14, 2009 9:16 am
From: "my4girls4"

Over thinking...........

Date: Thu, October 15, 2009 8:04 am     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "Tim J."

I feel sad for your anger. I will pray for you. Search for the love that GOD wants us all to experience. Condemnation of others is no solution.

Hi Tim,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry, but you are dead wrong. Condemnation of wrong-doing and evil is very necessary. The only thing needed for evil to rule this world is for the good men to remain silent and do nothing.

Why don't you ask Jesus about his condemnation of the cheating money-changers, and whipping them from the Temple? Are you going to tell Jesus that, "Condemnation of others is no solution"?

By the way, claiming that you shouldn't criticize or condemn anybody is a standard dodge that cults use to avoid getting criticized. It's also a standard way to deflect and deligitimize criticism.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It is written in the scriptures that God said,
**     'My temple will be called a house of prayer
**      for the people of all nations.'
**     But you have made it into a hideout for thieves!"
**        ==  Jesus Christ, quoted in Mark 11:15.
**             Also see Matthew 21:12 and Luke 19:45.

May 16, 2009, Saturday: Day 16, continued:

3 Canada Goose goslings
Carmen and two siblings, eating rice
Carmen is the one on the right.
Look at how big they are getting to be. They were just tiny little fluff-balls two weeks earlier.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, October 18, 2009 1:45 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
Subject: 12 Ways to have fun at a coercely-attended NA/AA meeting (Wherever they meet)
From: istj

istj has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.


12 Ways to have fun at a coercely-attended NA/AA meeting

Date: 2009-10-18, 1:39PM

  • 1.) Bring along some rock-salt (or a little tar, or powdered sugar!) wrapped in cellophane. Leave it in a conspicuous place, like next to the coffee pot! (Listen for a scream from the bathroom shortly!)
  • 2.) Steal the coffee pot! Hold it hostage until your card is signed. (Trust me, its more important than you are, or anyone else who is there!)
  • 3.) When asked to announce yourself, say, "My name is Agent ______, I work for the DEA, and I sure see some familiar faces here!"
  • 4.) Volunteer to read the steps, then do it really, REALLY FAST (like you are yakked on coke, or meth! ;). Offer to read the entire book — right then and there — in 30 seconds! ;)
  • 5.) Ask if the connections are inside, outside, and if they have any "12-Step deals" going on!
  • 6.) When the time comes for "announcements", announce that since its impossible for coercing authorities to truly verify whether a "court-card attendee" attended, that everyone can just sign their own card, and then leave. And the secretary is hereby fired.
  • 7.) Inform the "old timers" that they no longer meet criteria to remain in the group as they no longer have a "desire" to BECOME clean/sober if they are already clean/sober (one is a thought — the other an ACTION!)
  • 8.) Ask how many Big Books it takes for a good bonfire (I am guessing, 12?)
  • 9.) Ask about the orgies that are rumored to occur at "conventions"!
  • 10.) Bring a notepad and camera-phone. Explain its for "research" purposes, and "findings" will be posted on YouTube shortly!
  • 11.) Volunteer to do the closing prayer. Pretend to nod off during it. Several times. Become irate if someone offers to finish it for you. Maintain death grips on the people you are holding hands with!
  • 12.) Ask which of the 12-Steps actually apply to any individuals, since none of them have personal pronouns like "I", or "me" or "you" in them!

Location: Wherever they meet

Original URL: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/rnr/1427111644.html


Hi again, istj,

Thanks for another laugh.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can fool some of the people some of the time,
**     And that's enough to make a decent living.
**        ==  W. C. Fields

Date: Fri, October 16, 2009 10:35 am     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: 201640....

Hi would like more info on ur perspective on why 12 dont work. And on you.

Hello 201640,

The second question is the easier one. Here is the list of answers to "who are you".

Then, why the 12 Steps don't work? Well, that's quite a list. Let me at least hit a few of the strongest points.

  1. Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol is self-defeating. What we need are people who have more power over temptation, not less. And a good recovery program will do everything it can to build up people's power and self-control and self-reliance.

  2. Teaching people that they are insane, and only a "Higher Power" can restore them to sanity, makes them worse, not better.

  3. Teaching people that they drink because they have "defects of character", and "moral shortcomings", is just plain old wrong, and it is also self-defeating.

  4. Getting people wallowing in guilt and confessions is very counter-productive, and tends to make people drink more, not less.

  5. The whole slant of the 12 Steps is negative. There is not one step that says that you are a good person, or competent, or strong, or that you can get a grip and get sober and take care of yourself. It's all about how wrong and how bad you are.

  6. The 12 Steps are just crazy cult religion that Bill Wilson copied from Dr. Frank Buchman's "Oxford Group" cult. Those Steps don't have anything to do with alcohol abuse. Buchman's practices were designed to recruit and indoctrinate new members of his cult, not to cure alcoholism.

  7. Somebody imagining that he can get special instructions and power from God in an 11th-Step séance is pure superstition. And it can make people do crazy things when they do whatever the voices in their heads tell them to do. Even Bill Wilson said so.

  8. The insane belief that the 12 Steps can substitute for medications has gotten a bunch of people killed. That is faith healing of the worst sort. And loads more people relapsed when they stopped their medications. And many more suffered unnecessarily for years.

  9. Steppism is a culture of sickness, not a culture of health.

Well, I guess that's enough reasons for starters.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Good mental health does not come from wallowing in guilt.

Date: Sun, October 18, 2009 2:28 pm     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "Robert L."
Subject: Just found this...AWESOME

Wholly Shit....SO right on!

I was indoctrinated and in the CULT for 12 years. THANK GOD I came to my senses and left that bunch of lunatics and ego driven MORONS. I did not get to see where you or a letter writer talks about the SPONSOR as the GOD FIGURE in the life of the cultist.

That is what really pisses me off. Some jack ass loser gets some "time" and is then looked at like a god or father figure. I have seen some of the sickest, most twisted bastards take this role. I agree that these people are downright dangerous. I will say that I believe that some people have good intentions, but they are in the minority.....


Hi Robert,

Thanks for the letter, and the compliments. I trust that you are feeling much better now. Isn't freedom great?

We have talked about the insanity of the sponsor system every so often, here and there. Here are a few of them:

So have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**       ==  Anonymous

Date: Sun, October 18, 2009 12:43 am     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "anonymous"
Subject: Thank You.

Hi there,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you both for your bodies of work, and for having the character and dedication to speak from intellect and reason, when it seems (at least to me) that there is an ocean of other voices who would prefer you remain silent.

I'm a 44 year old former AA member. 10 years of my life "in the rooms," 5 of them heavily involved.

In the year 2000 I had a true "moment of clarity" and realized, suddenly and profoundly, exactly how much of my mind I'd given away to a pseudo-religion in which I hadn't even believed in the first place.

It's not an exaggeration when I tell you that I've read every page of "Diseasing of America" and "The Orange Papers" dozens of times. I believe these works will stand the test of time as major contributions to the field of addiction studies.

I remember hiding "Diseasing of America" when I first got it. That's how fearful I'd become, how small my mind had gotten. I wasn't even going to meetings anymore. But I believed that just owning the book was an affront to AA and what had "so freely been given" to me.

When I first visited orange-papers.info, I cleared my browser history so nobody would know I was reading dangerous information.

This is not the behavior of a person who is "happy, joyous and free."

It wouldn't be fair for me to blame AA entirely — I was vulnerable and lonely and willing to block out logic in exchange for approval and a place to belong.

I'm glad to say that since leaving AA, I have taken back my mind. I have reclaimed my right to enjoy the sweet freedom of critical thought. Complexity. Nuance. Depth. And most importantly, I have reclaimed my right to ask questions.

The excellence of your efforts has renewed my hope many times over the years, and I thought it was important to let you know that your work has helped me. Really helped me.

So...thanks for that!

I would prefer to remain anonymous, should you ever wish to post or forward this letter.



Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are free, and that you benefitted from my pages. That makes it worth the effort.

Pardon me, please don't take this the wrong way, but I actually got a laugh out of your saying that you erased the browser history so that no one would know that you were reading dangerous information. The funny thing is, way back in the beginning, when I sent my first essays to Apple (who had the AAdeprogramming.com web site then), and explained my situation, she wise-cracked, "Hah! Writing revolutionary tracts in rehab, are you?" Yes, dangerous writings.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Humanity I love you because when you're hard up
**     you pawn your intelligence to buy a drink.
**       ==  Edward Estlin Cummings [1894— ]  Humanity I love you [1925]

Date: Tue, October 20, 2009 9:09 am     (answered 26 November 2009)
From: "Nicholas H."
Subject: The Orange Papers


I recently stumbled upon your Internet posting "The Orange Papers" and have found it just fascinating. I am myself an active member of AA and have recently enjoyed an extended period of sobriety (admittedly, I had several relapses over several years and it did take me some time to get my life together). I also have to admit that I have not finished reading your web page, but I definitely will. I guess I just wanted to reach out and tell you that my experience in AA has been quite different from what you have described. I live in New York City, and many of the members of my group have more than 20 years of sobriety. Sure, there are people who come and go (and yes, many of them do not return), but what I have learned is that those who really "get" what the 12 step program is about are people who live lives of honor and service — and that has helped them to stay sober.

I want you to know that I am not offended by your paper, although my opinion is that I think it could have the unfortunate result of dissuading people who could potentially benefit from what AA has to offer from looking into it...but that is obviously your objective. Regardless, my experience has been that people who's lives get bad enough (if they survive) usually make their way to AA after trying may other treatments that have not worked anyway...so it's all good. As my father used to say, the truth speaks for itself and needs no help.

Whatever your ax is to grind is yours...and it is your God given right as an American to express it openly. But if i can ever be of any help to you in clarifying what i believe is a misunderstanding of what 12 step programs are about, i would be happy to speak with you.

Good luck and I wish you all good things.

Nicholas H.

Hello Nicholas,

Thanks for the letter. You actually managed to say that telling the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous harms alcoholics in a much nicer way than most Stepper do.

But a whole lot of other people disagree with you, and say that it's the 12-Step cult that is harmful.

The fact that you have some members in your group who have 20 years of sobriety does not indicate that A.A. works. That argument is an example of the The Semi-Attached Figure" propaganda technique. The statement that "many of the members of my group have more than 20 years of sobriety" is meaningless without the context, which is, "So how big is the group, and how many newcomers are there each year?" The real question is, "What percentage of the newcomers get 20 years of sobriety?" The best numbers that I have indicate that only one in a thousand gets 20 years. That number is so low that there is no reason to believe that A.A. keeps people sober. A few people keep themselves sober. Those are the people that you describe as the "people who really 'get' what the 12 step program is about".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells,
**     is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world
**     by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.
**       ==  William James (1842—1910]
**           The Principles of Psychology [1890], Chap. 10

Date: Wed, October 21, 2009 11:16 am     (answered October 21, 2009)
From: "Michael"
Subject: help with NA book

Mr. Orange;

I have happilly found my way to your site. And after much review I thought to go thru my N/A book and mark out all the false delimas, and implanted phobias, and contridictions..... but then I thought how nice it would be if someone else has already done that.

Google offered no N/A book critique. So I was wondering if you might have a colleuge or knowledge of a web site who has treated that book with the same carefulness that you have with the Big Book.

One thing I have so far figured out form reading parts of it is that the entire system is meant to implant power to the lizard brain. The readings say be here or else addiction lurks. It makes me bonkers.

Here we have, on the one hand, people who leave their Christianity and manage to eliminate the fears of hell. And weaken entirely the self doubt urges. And I think to myself, why can't one distance and educate themselves and likewise weaken and eliminate the addiction drive?

Wouldn't it be weird if ex-christians joined groups that told them to keep coming back or else you will get saved again?

I don't feel that my letter is worthy of printing (as I offensivly mixed metaphors by mentioning christianity), I just wanted to ask you personally if you had information I could use concerning the N/A book.


(ps. of course writing a Chrisitanity Anonymous joke might be hilarious for you to undertake and I'd want to see it.)

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the letter.

Alas, I haven't gone through the N.A. books to the same depth as I have done with A.A. books. I own a few of them, and have paged through them and compared sections with their A.A. brethren, to see how N.A. wrote the same things, and quickly came to the conclusion, "Yes, it's a clone." But I don't really have any great information to add, and I don't know anyone who does. Maybe the readers do?

Don't worry about mixed metaphors. And I loved the line about ex-Christians joining support groups that say, "Keep coming back or you might get Saved again." That's good.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Thu, October 22, 2009 5:50 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "anne i"
Subject: new quote for U

The law of logical argument: Anything is possible when you don't know what you are talking about.

Hello Anne,

Thanks for the quote. That's good. And it seems totally appropriate for people whose religion consists of praying for miracles on demand.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "World [oil] reserves are confused and in fact inflated. Many of the
**      so-called reserves are in fact resources. They're not delineated,
**      they're not accessible, and they're not available for production."
**        ==  Sadad I. Al Husseini, former VP of Saudi Aramco, October 2007.

Date: Sat, October 24, 2009 9:24 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: HPP
Subject: thanks for your work

After 13 years in AA I am no longer identifying as an alcoholic or going to as many meetings. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. I am going to one meeting a week and telling people that ask what I did not what I think.

I bought the programming when I was new and stayed sober in cult like fashion taking no responsibility for myself.

Today I stay sober knowing that...

  1. I am not an alcoholic.

  2. I am not powerless over alcohol.

  3. I am not bodily and mentally different from my fellows.

  4. I have done stupid things but am not insane.

  5. I do not have to completely give myself to this simple program.

  6. AA is a recovery venue where it is completely inappropriate to date.

  7. AA is sexually charged and it is inappropriate for men to sponsor women.

  8. Platitudes, euphemisms, jargon, rhymes, sayings, slogans, rhetoric, absolutes, old timer gurus, and group think, are all things of cults.

  9. Sponsorship is dangerous. I do not know a single sponsor who has not taken on the role of life coach.

I have learned much about human nature by going to meetings. Human instinct, breeding, networking, opportunism, control, etc. In Alanon I acquired tools that can be used as weapons or defense against would-be steppers.

As with all things, I now use AA in moderation. I do not drink because I appreciate my health today and do not want to trade a couple hours of intoxication for any clouded judgment or illness.

This is my 12th step.


Thanks for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and have a good take on things.

So have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "You can complain because roses have thorns,
**     or you can rejoice because thorns have roses."
**         == Ziggy.

Date: Sat, October 24, 2009 8:01 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Michelle L."
Subject: Thank you for your webpage on Bill Wilson and AA > Lost a friend to this cult.

Dear A. Orange:

Just want to seriously thank you for the writing on Bill Wilson and AA. I have been writing a paper on alcoholism and scientific research that is geared towards a solution based on science through breaking down the DNA strand.

I recently lost two friends in August 2009. One to severe alcoholism (he had major family history of the disease) he had been to meetings and rehabs all over the continent — didn't help. I lost my second friend to AA. He traded one addiction for another which started out with one meeting once a week or every other week — has progressed into two a day and broke up with me. All he talks about is AA, addiction, disease — depressing to watch this and I don't know him anymore. His sponsor's word and his "program" come first. Now that my other friend died — he uses that as an even stronger reason people should be in AA.

Your information is a great breakdown of some facts I have found in different places.

Respectfully, M.L.

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. I'm sorry to hear about your losses. Both addictions and cults are just monsters, aren't they?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism
**      by those who have not got it."
**         ==  George Bernard Shaw

Date: Mon, October 26, 2009 3:10 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "ROY W."
Subject: thankyou so very much

dear mr orange

i would just like to thank you for helping me escape from AA. i've been sober just over seven years and i've realised that its me thats kept me sober or rather my choice to keep away from alcohol.

i was always seen as a rebel within AA because i dared to question its tenets and the big book.

i read the big book over and over and still though it was the biggest load of (excuse my french) old shite ever printed.

your site is superb and very well researched and intelligent.

have you ever watched a film called zeitgeist? its very interesting it exposes religion as the fraud of the ages.

AA is just another cult that caught on much the same as the moonies etc and i'm sure as mankind's understanding of addiction increases it will die a slow death

Once again thankyou from my heart agent orange i think i may become agent green igf thats ok lol.

as they say here in england mr orange i like the cut of your jib.

many thanks

Hello Roy,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I haven't seen "Zeitgeist". I'll have to check it out.

It's quite alright with me if you use the name "Agent Green", but I must warn you that at least two other people are already using the name, and one is very pro-A.A., and one is anti-A.A.. Also see this discussion of the pro-A.A. Green, and this correspondent's response to Green.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The highest compact we can make with our fellow man is,
**     — "Let there be truth between us two forevermore."
**      ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Conduct of Life. Behavior

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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters148.html