Letters, We Get Mail, CXLIX

Date: Mon, October 26, 2009 6:54 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "cracklin synapse"
Subject: AA


I saved your site about six months ago and finally started reading a bit more today. I'm so glad I did. While I don't agree with some of your assertions regarding AA, because I don't believe there is sufficient justification for the generalizations, they are largely true.

My own experience bears that out. I don't operate in authority paradigms and have had to confine myself to the AA fringes. It's been many years and I've gone about half of them with minimal attendance at meetings. I do that to keep away from these unhealthy and counter-productive aspects of "the program," and the members that are "true believers." If I had to be a "part of" all that the majority of AA is, I couldn't have stayed sober six months. I did have the experience of binge drinking as a consequence of forced abstinence without any actually useful therapy. It is much like fundamentalism in that way. I imagine one of those televangelists, being all Godly for six months, then getting caught in a compromising situation with a prostitute, and making a big display of repentance. It's a control scenario in cults.

You mention Pacific Group and one other. That is more than a group. It's been a movement impacting AA everywhere. I think it's very dangerous, and the most illustrative example for most of your points, (at least the ones I've read so far).

Well, I didn't write to go on and on and I won't. You've done a great job collecting resources and documentation... with a very coherent, systematic and logically progressive presentation. You have a PhD in "what's fucked up about AA."

My own experience bears it out and I've been a member for 28 years... 22 sober now. I took their assertions of liberality, inclusiveness, egalitarianism, and "no pressure to conform," as gospel, and thrown it back at them for the entire time. I encourage irreverence, individuality and resources of support outside of AA. I covertly run interference when some wack job old timer is yarfing at some hapless court referee. That system of referring people from the courts is pure evil. It's unconstitutional and I don't believe it helps people all that much. Now around here, most of the people in AA got into AA that way and they are the system's biggest proponents. It has become entrenched. On the court side and industry side, it's all about the money and kick backs to legislators. On the AA side? I don't know... maybe they're selling Big Books.

On a personal note, my own sister had five years sober when she committed suicide in a most horrible way. I know that she didn't "believe in doctors," a long time before she went to AA or CODA or ACOA. Nevertheless, she was in denial, bipolar and delusional at the end. You would think that someone in her life, in her home group could have referred her appropriately. I was thousands of miles away, and we were never close. Still, the unspoken dogma that AA is a panacea for all of life's problems, still inclines "true believers" to put themselves into other people's lives, inappropriately and destructively.

Enough of a fan letter. You're cranky, obsessed, confrontative and smart; but passionate and sincere. I think you're also about 80% right. I'm saving your site for the wealth of information it provides and will be returning to read more in the weeks ahead.

Thanks for your work.


Hi Dan,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. It's sad that not one person in her group told her to see a doctor and get on some medications. They are so anti-medications. That is one of the biggest criticisms that I have of A.A. and its 12-Step brethren. They have killed a lot of people with their attitude of — "We know more than doctors; stop taking your meds; trust the 12 Steps to heal you."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Men grind and grind in the mill of a truism, and nothing
**     comes out but what was put in.  But the moment they desert
**     the tradition for a spontaneous thought, then poetry, wit,
**     hope, virtue, learning, anecdote, all flock to their aid.
**      ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882]
**          Literary Ethics [1838]

UPDATE: There is now an entire file of A.A. "No Medications" horror stories, here: A.A. "No Meds" Stories.

Date: Tue, October 27, 2009 11:22 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: Taerodmoon
Subject: wilson blog

What an angry, sad little fellow. My heart goes out to you. I hope you find rest

Hi Taero,

Don't worry about me. I'm doing just fine.

So you have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Self Reliance

Date: Tue, October 27, 2009 1:47 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "joe b."


i just wanted to thank you for your insight! a month in the program i relapsed on the second step because the program had me thinking my consciousness was my higher power. my consciousness stopped telling me to do good deeds and start acting out of paranoia. i was confused about if it was god or just my own insight. i ruled this out and ended up drinking because i felt that relapse was necessary as a part of recovery that AA taught in a meeting.

A week later i had a debate with my sponsor about the first step and he immediately told me things like refrain from the debating society and your best of thoughts got you in here. further in the conversation he told me unless i admit that i am powerless to alcohol he cannot help me. Then he told me i should probably go out, drink, and figure it out on my own if i cannot be honest with myself.

that right there told me that AA is dangerous stuff. you saved me lots of time i could have wasted in confusion and utter frustration with contradicting teachings. AA is a virus and its old members claim anyone who has little time and disagrees is insane under any circumstance.

However, one thing i should note is that AA has provided me with confidence in public speaking and many sober friends who i can relate too. whenever i bring these papers up to my AA friends and they actually read what you have to say the experience is similar, they come out of the fog and untangle from the web of lies.

Take Care :)

Hello Joe,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are doing well. It sounds like you have your head screwed on straight, so I think you will make it.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance
**     is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators,
**     but names and customs.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Self Reliance

Date: Tue, October 27, 2009 1:31 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Lisa R."
Subject: My Sister in AA

You know I have read a lot of what you have posted and I can't agree any more. It is insane to tell someone like my sister who was bi-polar and suffering from so much, that she should

  • 1. Stop taking all medications (she carried so much guilt because she wanted to continue to take her medication)

  • 2. Conduct an inventory of herself (stir all those self-loathing feelings up — like feeling guilty for having an abortion didn't kill her already — now let's talk about how she killed the child that her sponsor (who is unable to have children) can't have — oh she's really going to understand)

  • 3. Write down how everyone hurt you and you hurt them and how it affected you (seriously — how the hell was her sponsor a 24 your old travel agent with 1 year of sobriety qualified to discuss sexual abuse issues with my sister)

  • 4. Tell her that her sobriety was more important than her family.

My sister died last month, I don't blame AA completely but I feel that they definitely contributed to her death. She struggled with her 4th and 5th step for 1 1/2 years before she completed them this July. These people don't have a freaking clue as to what people really need to stay sober. Yes having faith helps, but there is so much more that is needed. It is un-bearable to not have her here, and even worse, that she felt that this group was the "God" given answer to her problems.

Thank you for letting me tell her story. By the way — she died of an apparent cocaine overdose — we will have toxicology reports back in a few months.

What they sell is cult-like lies, and fantasy dreams of how someone is going to become and stay sober. What a lie!

-Please do not disclose my email address-

Elsa Zeller

Elsa Zeller June 1979-September 2009 Resident of Fort Benning, GA, Elsa was born and raised in El Paso, TX and graduated from Jefferson High School. She is survived by her husband of 11 years Justin Owen Zeller, her son Jaysek Owen, step-daughter, Cheyanne Kay and her beloved grandmother, Josepha Pedroza of El Paso. She will forever be remembered by her devoted sister and best friend Lisa Ramos, and nieces Isabella Mia and Alyssa Nicole, of Savannah Georgia, her mother Josie Pedroza and father Felix Estrada of El Paso, her Grandparents Guadalupe and Santiago Estrada of El Paso. Caring in-laws John and Katherine Dobkins, of Abilene, KS, brother-in-law and wife Chad and Dianne Wilson of Tonganoxie, KS, sister-in-law and husband Tish and Steve Cathey and children Arden and Arissa of Abilene, KS. Sister-in-law Michelle and Vance Riffle and children Weston and Brenna of Abilene, KS, grandparents-in-law Louise and Paul Llamas of Abilene, KS, along with countless other friends and family whom were blessed to know her. Elsa loved listening to music, tinkering with computers, playing with her son, laughing, being with her family, having fun with friends and living life to its fullest. Elsa touched the lives of many people with her beautiful bright smile and trademark sense of humor and quick wit. Friends and family are invited to attend a wake on Friday, September 25th, 2009, from 4pm-7pm at San Jose Funeral Home 601 S Virginia St, El Paso, TX 79901. The mass will be held at Our Lady of the Light 4700 Delta Dr, El Paso, TX 79905 on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 9am. Interment will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Services directed by San Jose Funeral Home Central (915) 532-1856.

Lisa R.

Hello Lisa,

Thank you for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. It seems like there have been a lot lately.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Things are in the saddle,
**     And ride mankind.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Ode Inscribed to W. H. Channing

Date: Wed, October 28, 2009 3:16 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "mook c."
Subject: aa

Hey there,

I just read your blog about aa, I'm quite sceptical about it too which led me to your page. I have a few questions though:

What do you really think Bill is up to by starting this cult — what does he get out of it ? What does the cult get out of it?

Ive been to aa meetings — yeah theres the god thing — but in no way is it forced. In fact its seemed to me to be a bit difficult to get involved in aa — sure people are nice to you, but theres no forcing of opinions or pressure to join like any other group ive ever known. ANY group.

ive met some alocohilics/ drug addicts in my time and ive met recovered addicts that have been to na/ aa. The former have had shit lives and caused society major problems, the latter seem to be happy and making ammends.

There was never any forcefull preaching I found. What is wrong with this in your opinion ? What damage, in your opinion, does aa do? Are you trying to reach out to people with your page? If not what are we supposed to do? You've told us aa is no good — so now what for us ?

Im in no way an aa advocate — but i need something and i found some peace in one of these meetings recenty, not from god but from people — talking honestly and reaching out to other people, and for the first time I stopped thinking about myself and started thinking about others. This solved all my problems, at least for a while. I dont know where else I can get this feeling — and i dont want to cause myself or others in this world anymore pain.

Anyway thats my story, appreciate your feedback.



Hello Marc,

Well, starting at the top, we have discussed what people get out of A.A., and why they keep coming back, several times, so let me point you to the lists.

You said,

Ive been to aa meetings — yeah theres the god thing — but in no way is it forced. ... but theres no forcing of opinions or pressure to join ...

Actually, there is a lot of pressure, but it is subtle, and proceeds by stages. It's like,

  1. "We have to quit drinking or our fate is jails, institutions, or death."

  2. Then they gradually pull a bait-and-switch trick. In the beginning, the rap is, "A.A. isn't the only way. We only know a little. We have no monopoly on God. By no means do we offer it as the last word on this subject... This is just what worked for us."

    But then the rap changes to,

    • "A.A. really is the best thing — it's the only way that works."
    • "Work the Steps or Die!"
    • "If you leave A.A. you will die drunk in a gutter."
    • "If you leave, you'll come back on your knees."
    • "If you leave A.A., your fate is jails, institutions, or death."
    • "Don't leave five minutes before the miracle."
    • "People who leave just want to drink."
    • "Anyone wanting to leave should take a close look at their motivation."
    • "A.A.'s like the Mafia — If you leave it, you die."

  3. So, do you want to die?


ive met some alocohilics/ drug addicts in my time and ive met recovered addicts that have been to na/ aa. The former have had shit lives and caused society major problems, the latter seem to be happy and making ammends.

Well yes, but there is a logical disconnect there. Of course the junkies who are not shooting heroin any more are stealing less and being less of a problem to society. But there is no evidence that A.A. or N.A. made them get clean and sober. It's the other way around. They got themselves clean and sober because they wanted a better life, and now some of them go to A.A. or N.A. meetings occasionally.

What you are not seeing are all of the other clean and sober recovered people who are not going to A.A. or N.A. meetings. They have better lives too.

You also don't know which of those A.A./N.A. members will relapse and go back out tomorrow. A.A. and N.A. have terrible track records when it comes to keeping them clean and sober.


What damage, in your opinion, does aa do?

Well, for starters, I just got two more death reports, just before your letter came in, here and here. Then there is the usual list of very nasty side effects of A.A., like raising the rate of binge drinking, and raising the rate of rearrests for drunkenness, and raising the death rate of alcoholics.

You said that A.A. gives you a feeling that you get nowhere else. WARNING! That is the kiss of death. There is very little difference between chasing a feeling in a cult, and chasing a feeling by shooting heroin or drinking alcohol. You are still just chasing a feeling, still just trying to get your feel-goods, and letting "feeling good" decide your life. You need something much more substantial than warm and fuzzy feelings for the basis of a successful and happy life.

Cults are very clever when it comes to instilling feelings of instant intimacy and brotherhood. The confession routines, where you have to "share" your innermost dirty little secrets, create a conflict in your mind — "cognitive dissonance" — that can only be resolved by coming to believe that the other people in the group are your dearest, closest, most trusted, friends. I just explained how that works in an earlier letter, here.

Now, for what works. We have discussed that many times, so let me point you at the most recent list, here.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     'If merely "feeling good" could decide, drunkenness
**     would be the supremely valid human experience.'
**       ==  William James (1842—1910), U.S. psychologist,
**           philosopher, in "The Varieties Of Religious
**           Experience", lecture 1, "Religion and Neurology" (1902)

Date: Wed, October 28, 2009 7:28 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: SherwoodE
Subject: aa sponsors

HI Orange,

Great site. So many of the AA sponsors are self appointed gurus like the emperor with no clothes, self-enamored in delusion. Keep up the good work giving people options for recovery from alcohol problems.


Hi Sherwoode,

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day too now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Common sense is not so common.
**          ==  Voltaire (1694—1778)

Date: Tue, October 27, 2009 11:00 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Al Z."
Subject: viewing some of your web postings.

What in the world is your problem with AA? If you don't like it...leave it. It'll still be there when/if you change your mind.

The people I know who attend meetings are neither Bill W nor Dr. Bob. Sadly they passed on years ago.

So why the anger? You might take a look at it.

Hello Al,

I left A.A. many years ago. Unfortunately, A.A. and the Stepper True Believers and the 12-Step Treament Centers are still foisting cult religion and quack medicine on sick people. That is why I write about them.

If A.A. would go away and leave the sick people alone, I'd leave it alone. But that isn't what A.A. is about. No way is A.A. going to stop participating in coercive recruiting and deceptive recruiting, and treatment centers charging many thousands of dollars for a 28-day introduction to 12-Step religion. That's how A.A. gets its new members.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And the believers said, "If you want what we
**     have, and are willing to go to any length to
**     get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

Date: Wed, October 28, 2009 7:38 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Bill Wilson on Drugs

Hey, Terry,

In their attention to minutiae and pursuit of the obscure, someone over at historylovers asked the question "What was Bill Wilson taking when he spoke of "goofballs"? After much debate, discussion, and dissertation, this was posted.

In the end, interesting info. LSD and the belladonna cocktail weren't Bill's only ventures into the realm of the psychedelic.


"Those 'Goof Balls'"
by Bill W.
Grapevine, November 1945

"Morphine, codeine, chloral hydrate, Luminal, Seconal, Nembutal, amytal, these and kindred drugs have killed many alcoholics. And I once nearly killed myself with chloral hydrate. Nor is my own observation and experience unique, for many an old-time AA can speak with force and fervor on the subject of 'goof balls.'"

"Near the end of my own drinking career I had an alarming experience. Chloral hydrate was prescribed for one of my terrible hangovers. The doctor warned me to stick rigidly to his dosage, but I kept possession of the bottle. While my wife slept quietly beside me, I reached under the mattress, took out the flask, and guzzled the whole business. I had a close shave. Moral: When a doctor gives a legitimate prescription, don't let the alcoholic have the bottle."

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the note. The first thing that I noticed was how Bill Wilson was again declaring that all alcoholics are just as bad as him. That is The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy yet again.

Bill Wilson and A.A. said that they wanted to remove the stigma of alcoholism, but they actually constantly worked to make it worse. "Don't let the alcoholic have the bottle."

The lesson is, You can't trust an alcoholic. He will screw things up every time.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hast thou named all the birds without a gun?
**     Loved the wood-rose, and left it on its stalk?
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Forebearance

Date: Thu, October 29, 2009 9:41 am     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Andrew E."
Subject: Why do you hate AA do Much?

Why do you hate AA so much. Is your heart filled with that much hatred towards all? Please let me know.

God bless you;

Drew (a 32 year sober Christian active in AA)

Hello Drew,

No, my heart is not filled with hatred for all. But I do have a resentment against criminals who foist quack medicine on sick people. Do you approve of that crime?

Since you claim to be a Christian, please read the file on The Heresy of the Twelve Steps, and then explain to me how you manage to ignore the gross contradictions and conflicts between Christian beliefs and Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman's cult religion practices and beliefs.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask
**     for bread, will he give him a stone?
**       ==  Jesus Christ, quoted in Matthew VII, 9

Date: Thu, October 29, 2009 2:50 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "Trudy N."
Subject: orange-papers

Dear Mr 'orange'-

I have recently stumbled onto your site while doing some research for an on-line class I am taking. Though I initially 'felt' your site a bit hostile toward the 12-step program, after reading a lot of the articles and doing a bit of thinking (yes some of us 12-steppers go beyond the cultic knee-jerk, and do think) I must first thank you for letting me see from where a lot of animosity toward the 12-step program stems. No — not from you, but from the humanistic mistakes of members, present and former, some much worse than others. And I do agree that there are some people and groups who are very small minded, legalistic, closed minded, etc. Yet there are some of us that have taken the original principals, as written, not necessarily as practised by the originators (who were only humans), and applyed them as best we know how. "Principles before personalities"

I congratulate you on your use of the SMART program to maintain your sobriety. In my studies I am finding several other mutual-help groups which have helped others stay clean and sober. Though they would not have worked for me early in my sobriety (I could have rationalized myself right back to the bottom of the scotch bottle), and I may not understand nor agree with their principles or methods, I do respect that there is not a 'universal cure', with one program fitting all. As we are in a rural area of the country, these other groups (SMART, WFS, MM) are not accessible to us, yet I will keep an open mind as I continue to read the literature and investigate the beliefs and workings of the other various programs. In the meantime, I also keep a close eye to the 12-step groups which my clients attend, as well as the individuals they choose to sponser them. If we (other counselors and myself) do not believe the sponser is appropritae (i.e. working an honest program, non-dictatorial, not letting the client think and do for themselves, etc) we suggest they find another. We also do not carbon copy pages from a Big Book or other 'propaganda' materials to 'indotrinate' our clients, though we do require they attend so many meetings each week, depending on the phase level at which they are. Therapy will not last forever, and we believe that a good outside mutual-help group is essential for continued sobriety and re-integration in a healthy manner.

I guess, after reading a lot of the 'hate mail' from those who propose to follow the 12-step precepts (especially "live and let live"), I just needed to put in my 2 cents and let you know that not all of us 12-steppers are closed minded or cultic. I have been in the 12-step program for over 20 years now, and it has worked for me. Thank you for your time and attention.

Trudy N.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
— Unknown

Hello Trudy,

Thank you for the letter. I am very aware of the fact that there are occasionally some very nice people who show up at A.A. meetings, and I have said so repeatedly. (Look here and here and here. Also see the Newcomer Rescue League, here.)

Unfortunately, the nice people do not offset the harm done by the sexual predators and the crazies and the fanatics, and the inherently unhealthy 12-Step program.

Nice people like you do not make up for A.A. super-groups that are cults of personality like Mike Q.'s 'Midtown Group', or Clancy I.'s Pacific Group. (More Pacific info here and here and here and here, and more Midtown stories here.)

This statement makes an incorrect assumption:

I congratulate you on your use of the SMART program to maintain your sobriety.

I do not "use the SMART program" to maintain my sobriety. I do not use any program at all to maintain my sobriety. A big part of my message is that "programs" are a hoax, and unnecessary, and don't work. (I haven't been to any kind of "recovery" meeting in 4 or 5 years now, and yet, I still have 9 years clean and sober.)

And SMART is not "a program". It is a collection of techniques for straightening out your thinking, and getting a grip, and no longer driving yourself crazy.

I am curious about your success rate in sobering up alcoholics, or getting drug addicts off of drugs. You speak of your "clients", but it isn't clear whether you work at a clinic or treatment center, or private practice. So, without any qualifiers like "those who really tried", "those who graduated", or "who kept coming back", what kind of a success rate are you getting with 12-Step-based programs? Thank you.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Can anybody remember when the times were not hard
**     and money not scarce?
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Works and Days

2012.01.04: It's been over two years, and still no answer about the success rate of 12-Step-based treatment.

Date: Thu, October 29, 2009 1:22 pm
From: nrgtc

Your anger is showing.

Date: Sat, October 31, 2009 9:49 pm     (answered 27 November 2009)
From: "nate p."
Subject: Orange Papers

The nail has been hit on the AA head.

Fantastic — I am speechless. Excellent!



Hi Nate,

Thanks for all of the compliments. You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The true test of civilization is, not the census,
**     nor the size of the cities, nor the crops —
**     no, but the kind of man the country turns out.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Civilization

May 17, 2009, Sunday: Day 17

2 Canada Goose families with goslings
The "Family of 9", doing their convoy thing again

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, November 1, 2009 4:34 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "john o."
Subject: Jesus Christ


Thank you for your site.

How do you and Jesus Christ relate to each other?

— John

Hello John,

Thanks for the letter. And the answer is, "Just fine. We could sit down together at dinner and have a good old time."

As I have said many times, I am not an atheist. I am simply opposed to lying evil cult religions that hurt people, things like Scientology, the Moonies, and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The tree is known by his fruit.
**        ==  Jesus Christ, quoted in Matthew XII, 33

Date: Sun, November 1, 2009 11:01 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "peter t."
Subject: Hello

Dear Orange:

you are doing to me what you claim AA does to everyone else — fill me with folly and fear.

Sure. I agree with you. I have thought those things about AA for many years. I have been real real slow at getting deeply involved with AA. I have a lot of trouble staying sober even though I want to stay sober. but treatment centers (all of them) point to AA. There are no other alternatives. I used to be able to quit alone, but lately I have been less successful at staying sober. Where else do I go? What else do I do? I dont have any answers. AA really doesn't have any answers. I'm still basically atheist, as I always have been. I guess I/m totally fucked? Cant stay sober. Cant do AA. There's nothing else....... There is no cure?

Those higher up the ladder quit more easily...My drinking and drugging did get worse. It used to be much easier to just stop.

WHAT DO U RECOMMEND? Tell me. Just stop? Unless I talk to someone about how I feel, I usually bottle it up and explode back to drinking. Treatment does not work... AA does not work... what works?

Hello Peter,

Well, I sure don't want to make you feel like nothing works. Something does work, actually, several things work.

The first and most important thing that works is You. You are not insane or powerless over alcohol. You can use your own native intelligence and will power to improve your life. (That is in fact the one "article of faith" in SMART.)

We have talked many times about what works, and what helps. Here are three links to some raps about helpful things and lists of links to more things:

  1. here
  2. here
  3. here

Please check them out. There is a lot of stuff there.

As far as the need for company and companionship, that is normal, and very human. You didn't say whether you lived way out in the country where there simply were no other meetings besides A.A., or if you meant that there were just no treatment centers that didn't sell 12-Step cult religion. You can certainly find online conversations to keep you company. There are several good non-12-Step organizations and methods now, and almost all of them have web sites with forums and chat groups. And then there are groups that have no "program", and are just forums and chat groups for sobriety and recovery.

Check these out:

  1. SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
    Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques. Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild of Dr. Albert Ellis.

  2. WFS (Women For Sobriety) also has online chat groups:
    For local group meetings in your area you can also call 1-800-333-1606.

  3. SOS, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
    SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious content of widely available 12-Step programs.

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet:

  5. http://xsteppers.multiply.com/ — X-Steppers, have moved from MSN and found a new home on Multiply.

  6. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/12-step-free — Self-described as: 'This is a large yahoo group of ex-AA and ex-"XA" (meaning any "anonymous" program based on the 12 steps originally created by AA) people. It is very open to debate and free thinking, but it's main point is for those needing to be free of the 12 steps.'

  7. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/without_aa/ — Without A.A.

  8. http://groups.google.com/group/alt.recovery.from-12-steps/ — the newsgroup alt.recovery.from-12-steps
    (This one is problematic, in that many 12-Steppers lurk and troll and attack posters.)

  9. You can also get some more links from the start of the links page.

For something simple that you can take away from this immediately, just remember these two sayings:

  1. "Just don't take that first drink, no matter what."

  2. "Play the tape to the end."

I find the first one really helpful because as long as I follow that one rule, I don't need any other rules or any program. And it is a mathematical certainty that if you don't take the first drink, you can't take the fourth or fifth or tenth drink, and drink too much.

The second saying looks at the scene as a movie on videotape, and tells us to look at the whole movie, not just the next five minutes. While having a drink right now might look inviting and relaxing and fun and painless, at the end of the tape we see the same old routine of sickness, hang-overs, regrets, and worse. Often much worse. So playing the tape to the end, and seeing what "just one" really leads to, helps to quickly kill the desire to drink.

And especially read about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. Understanding what the stupid base brain is doing and saying to me and how it tries to seduce me into drinking and smoking has been a life-saver for staying sober and not getting sucked back into drinking again.

Have a good day and a good life.

Don't hesitate to write back if you have more questions.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** Often a non-Christian knows something about the earth,
** the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the
** motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and
** distances,...  and this knowledge he holds with certainty
** from reason and experience.  It is thus offensive and
** disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk
** nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is
** saying is based in Scripture.  We should do all that we
** can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people
** see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.
**    ==  St. Augustine, De Genesi ad litteram libri duodecim

Date: Mon, November 2, 2009 4:53 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "KC"
Subject: thank you very much I have needed to read your stuff.

You know I REALLY appreciate your efforts with the orange papers. None of this AA stuff has made me sober...thought i keep working it. I still go but I am mostly quiet. I am 8 yrs in the program with 8 weeks of "AA sobriety" mostly because I started taking Wellbutrin, and listening to my DOCTOR and reading your papers. I wish there was a rational recovery in my area and wished I had stumbled upon your stuff thanks again for your help!

My question, after reading some of your site and reading the Francis Hartigan book, I was wondering in your opinion, do you think Bill's "depressions" were just guilt or do you think he was a chronic relapser as well. I keep getting this feeling through reading "biographies" and papers/net stuff that he was relapsing. The people around him prop'ed him up. I mean the reason this begs the question is the financial stuff. That's a lot of money to be in gray areas. Therefore it begs the question... was it booze money? I mean i "know" this feeling of needing "re-conversion" which Hartigan wrote about Bill's questing for after the "hot-flash"

This i have "looked" for too because I can't stay sober for long term. Though it is not really that big of a deal now that I am taking wellbutrin — it has made my drinking less serious though I am not able to get the old buzz going... i drink for a few hours instead of major binges. But i have these episodes of depression only after drinking, mostly cause of what I now believe in the brainwashing effect of the AA cult. I don't really buy into the depressions so much now that I read your papers. Maybe I am a normal drinker with a head full of AA shit.

I will report back if i don't die an "alcoholic death," LoL


Hello KC,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments, and a great question.

Unfortunately, there is no documented answer, so all that I can do is some guesswork, drawing inferences from what little information is available.

I have repeatedly been told that Bill Wilson relapsed often. One old veteran who had been in and out of A.A. for 30 years said, "Heck, one of them [the Founders] was relapsing all of the time."

A correspondent wrote,

in case you didn't know, throughout his life, bill wilson was never sober for more than a year. when he died, he had less than a year's sobriety.
it is a subject that is forbidden in a.a.

Still, that is hearsay, and none of it is documented, and I'd really like something a lot more solid.

Francis Hartigan, who was Lois Wilson's secretary, documented Bill Wilson smoking himself to death, but I don't recall him talking about Bill drinking.

And Susan Cheever, who wrote a fawning, hero-worshipping biography of Bill Wilson, got access to the secret locked-and-sealed Alcoholics Anonymous historical archives, and got ahold of the log book of the male nurse who tended to Bill Wilson at his death. That log book documents Bill Wilson repeatedly screaming for whiskey, and threatening to punch out the nurse who wouldn't give Bill any alcohol.

Still, they don't say that Wilson ever got any alcohol to drink. They rationalize Bill's behavior by saying that Wilson was just out of his head as he lay dying.

About the question, "Was it booze money?" Who knows? Bill Wilson admitted in his own autobiographical stories that he wasted a lot of money. As soon as he got some money in his hands, Bill Wilson had to be seen eating at the finest (most expensive) restaurants with "the best people", and dressing in fine suits, and putting on airs of being a prosperous stock broker. Wilson's weak ego needed constant bolstering, which is a common sign of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Personally, I think Bill Wilson just wanted everything, and he needed money for it. Bill even got the A.A. foundation to supply him with a Cadillac car and a house in the country, but he still went through a lot more money. It is just not possible to say how much he spent on alcohol (or other drugs).

It sounds like you are dealing with your alcohol problem okay. I wish you luck and good health.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There will be future historical revelations about Bill's character
**    and behavior in recovery that will be interpreted, by some,
**    as direct attacks on the very foundation of AA.
**      ==  Bill W., My First 40 Years, "William G. Wilson"
**              (posthumously ghost-written by Hazelden staff), Hazelden, page 170.

Date: Mon, November 2, 2009 11:29 am     (answered November 2, 2009)
From: "gloria"
Subject: Thank you

Dear Orange

Thank you so much for all your hard work

Please know that it has helped me


Hi Gloria,

Thanks for the thanks, and I trust that you are doing well.

So 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: Mon, November 2, 2009 1:14 pm     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "KC"
Subject: Further Bill W agreed in the Lois Secretaries Book Bill W

Some place in it Bill says that the social environment is the cause of addiction... or something to that effect.


Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people. While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

From Apple

Hi again, KC,

I'll have to check on that. It wouldn't surprise me. At various times, Bill Wilson said that a zillion different things caused alcoholism, ranging from selfishness and unconfessed sins, to nagging wives. See the list here.

Date: Wed, November 4, 2009 7:45 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "KC"
Subject: von Arx...

Didn't Bill W work for marine midland? he tried to selling marine supplies or something like that while newly sober.

I'm not sure about that. What I recall about Marine Midland is that the banker Wallace C. von Arx worked there.

Documents about the financial history of A.A. show that Mr. von Arx was an early financial supporter of the Big Book project. He was probably also an early member of A.A. That means that Bill Wilson and Wallace C. von Arx certainly knew each other, and it is possible that Mr. von Arx gave Bill Wilson a job for a while.

I'll have to check further to see if there are any other references or factoids to be found.

Date: Wed, November 4, 2009 8:35 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "KC"
Subject: WTF!

Fuck dude, this part makes me sick to my stomach. I'd been in this nutcase's care for the past six- eight years and bought it...fuck. It is so fn obvious now. I know all this stuff I've read everything but this site. Now it comes to me. Thank you again.


[From a letter, here.]

What I really wanted was a picture of Bill Wilson taken around 1950 or 1951, showing him in the middle of his 11 years of deep crippling clinical depression, just sitting holding his head in his hands all day long, or just laying in bed staring at the ceiling all day. The reason I want 1950 or 1951 is:

  1. Because by then, Bill Wilson had been living the A.A. life, and working the Steps, for 15 or 16 years.

  2. Because that's when he was writing his second book (with the help of Tom P.), which he said was a book that would teach you how to be happy:

    "A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.
    "Many people, nonalcoholics, report that as a result of the practice of A.A.'s Twelve Steps, they have been able to meet other difficulties in life. They think that the Twelve Steps can mean more than sobriety for problem drinkers. They see in them a way to happy and effective living for many, alcoholic or not."
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 15-16, in the Foreword.

  3. Because that's when Bill should have been exhibiting the beneficial effects of 15 or 16 years of practicing the Twelve Steps, but wasn't.

  4. And that's when Wilson claimed that A.A. had been good for him:

    But dependence upon an A.A. group or Higher Power hasn't produced any baleful results.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 38.

It was typical of Bill Wilson's "spirituality" and "rigorous honesty" that he didn't bother to mention the fact that he was so chronically depressed that he was under the care of a psychiatrist (Dr. Harry Tiebout), or that he was so mentally ill that he was a basket case, completely crippled and non-functional, when he wrote those words in 12x12.

So much for a life that is "happily and usefully whole".
So much for "rigorous honesty". (See the Big Book, page 58.)
So much for "no baleful results".


Yeh, somehow I don't think I would go to Bill Wilson for advice on mental health issues. (Or for spirituality, or for sobriety, or ...)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.
**      ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882]
**          Letters and Social Aims. Quotation and Originality

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Last updated 14 February 2015.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters149.html