Letters, We Get Mail, CL

Date: Thu, November 5, 2009 9:22 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "Jay S."
Subject: Could not agree more!

Hey orange!

Whoever you are, and I assume I likely know you or of you, you sure spent some time researching this stuff. My grandfather and two aunts and uncles were part of the pre-UWP MRA and I was sent to The Island to be indoctrinated in my teens. As I played the electric bass I was called by Herb Allen when I was in my first day of classes my senior year of HS, he asked me to take Ralph Colwell's place in Cast A — didn't ask me anything about what I thought or believed. Typical of how they treated talent differently than the worker bees. I started college on The Island in the second year of the college and was kicked out for keeping my future wife out after curfew. Rusty Whales, the Dean of Men (sick), kicked me out in 68 and felt compelled to notify my draft board. Rusty now lives in Hell. ;-o)

I was sent your web site by a friend who thinks you have an over-the-top axe to grind. Many people who were cast members see it as some kind of club. Jezzz!

Thanks for the work and very accurate history. Did you mention that Buchman was gay?

Jay S., CSE

Hello Jay,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

And yes, I mentioned that Buchman was gay a couple of times, here and here.

Oh, and I'd love to hear more about the history of MRA.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

From: "Jay S."
Subject: Table of Contents
Date: Thu, November 5, 2009 10:18 am     (answered 28 November 2009)

Put it at the beginning and link to it on every page, please!! All this work, all this research and it is ridiculously hard to navigate.

Great work.


Thanks for the compliment. I assume you must mean a table of contents for the history of The Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament. Yes, that does sound like a good idea. That thing has grown far beyond the single web page that it used to be.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Boom, boom, boom, boom.
**      Okay everyone, let's try it again.
**      We are "BLOWING UP WITH PEOPLE!"

From: oceanguru
Subject: thanks
Date: Thu, November 5, 2009 7:27 am     (answered 28 November 2009)

Just a quick note to say thank you so very, very, very much for your wonderful website. I can't even remember how many years I've been using it! (started using it around the time "apple" started A.A. deprogramming.

I always knew there was something wrong about saying I'm (I AM) an alcoholic. I had learned in religious science/new thought that whatever you attach to the words I AM is what you become.

Any wonder 12sp's have 98% or more failure rate?

Thanks again, mon ami`.

oceanguru (steve)

Hello oceanguru,

Thanks for all of the compliments.

And you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Despite the high cost of living, it beats the alternative.

Date: Thu, November 5, 2009 7:37 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: billy b.

To whoever,

It would take me a lifetime to correct your inconsistencies with the truth about AA. What a shame to spend so much time trying to discredit an organization that has helped so many. Truth is truth. To say God could never work THROUGH others mistake wouldn't very well make him God, now would it? That's what is called Divine Intervention. No one that is truly sober in AA deifies Bill W nor any of the AA history. If so, they just haven't been around long enough. Why not dig into the history of the founding fathers of America so you can tell us how horrible our country is. Same difference.

I neither agree or disagree with AA. However, those that I have found sober through AA, do demonstrate a much more loving approach to life than your cynical whining. May you find Peace. God Bless!


Hello BB,

Thanks for the letter.

Alas, you seem to have read some pages that I didn't write. I never said that "God could never work THROUGH others". I didn't say anything like that.

Now I did say that there are a lot of lying cult leaders who make false claims that God is working through them or their group. The Bible says the same thing too. There are always lots of false prophets around — L. Ron Hubbard, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Swami Prabhupada, Rev. Jim Jones, Marshall Herff Applewhite, Luc Jouret, David Berg, Yogi Bhajan, Rajneesh, and on and on. And Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. And God didn't work through any of them. Maybe Satan did, but definitely not God or Jesus.

You are also trying to use the Minimization and Denial propaganda technique to discount the crimes of Bill Wilson, claiming that he doesn't have that much influence on what A.A. really is, and his immorality isn't all that important, and A.A. members don't really worship him... Sorry, but that won't wash. I've heard far too much praise and worship of Bill Wilson to believe that for a minute. It's funny how the A.A. true believers praise Bill W. and his 12 Steps and his founding of A.A. endlessly, but when someone points out what a sleazy monster he really was, suddenly the rap is, "Bill who?"

And if the words of Bill Wilson are not considered sacred and holy, then why do the A.A. leaders refuse to ever change one word of the sacred first 164 pages of the Big Book?

Now I know that you are trying to claim that A.A. is a great spiritual entity in its own right, independent of Bill Wilson, and that Bill Wilson was merely the Holy Messenger through whom God sent "The Message". Sorry, but that won't wash either. All that Bill Wilson did to get his "Program" was copy Dr. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group cult religion. None of it came from God. It all came from Frank.

Also see this standard cult characteristic: The Guru Is Extra-Special.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       I Truly do believe that the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous could
**    be viewed as the most important single event of the Twentieth Century.
**       ==  Robert Burney, "Codependency", page 2.
**    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/codependency_recovery/113703/2 [dead link]

Wow, I would like to say thank you for a little of what you wrote on A.A. It has given some food for thought. However, I'd like to point out that many me at your more condemning statements are erred. Perhaps it is a matter of perception, or personal experience, but I found that the comments about the spirituality message of a recovery program, to be misunderstood. I am a member of Narcotics Anonymous, and I have been for over 4 years. The spirituality I have learned about has more to do with common-sence and virtuous attitudes. I am also under the impression that I am not striving for perfection which is not humanly possible, but to strive for a higher understanding of who I am, and who I want to be. As for the comparison of a sponsor, I have to disagree with the whole list. There are people who misuse the trust given them, but the principals I have learned are nothing like what was stated in the report. I feel this report to be very biased and focused on negativity.

Yours, Michelle K

You've received a Message from a TELUS phone.

Vous avez reçu un Message d'un téléphone TELUS.

Hello Michelle,

Thanks for the message.

Alas, there is a big difference between your stated spiritual goals and the reality that exists in A.A. and N.A. It would be nice if 12-Step groups were as spiritual as you imagine, but they aren't. Remember the old saying, "You shall know them by the fruits of their labors", and "A tree is known by its fruit."

The standard talk and slogans about spirituality just don't make it when people are still dying of drug addiction and alcoholism just as much as ever.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Measure not men by Sundays, without regarding
**     what they do all the week after.
**       ==  Thomas Fuller (1608—1661), English divine

[previous letter here.]

Date: Fri, November 6, 2009 8:56 am     (answered 6 November 2009)
From: "Eric L."
Subject: Day 80

80 days Smoke-free, and now 5 days nicotine free. I removed the patches on Friday night.

What's horrible is the terrible desire to smoke has not ended yet. It has subsided some, but has not disappeared. My friends who have quit tell me that it has taken anywhere from 90 days to over a year for that insatiable desire to leave.

Your essay on Tobacco <https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-tobacco.html> is sometimes what I refer to when I want to smoke. My life has virtually fallen apart around me in the past 80 days but I have stubbornly hung in there, and if I can stay quit through my woman leaving me, being behind $5000 in rent, having my electricity shut off, having my truck towed away, losing my drivers license, and having 3 close friends die, I can stay quit through virtually anything else bad that happens. And I can stay quit when times are good, too.

I hope you're well. Thank you for your service to the community.


Hi again, Eric,

Congratulations, and I'm glad to hear that you are still succeeding. I'm sorry to hear about all of the difficulties that you are going through. That's heavy. When it rains, it pours, doesn't it?

Still, I am reminded of a slogan from A.A. (they actually have a few good ones). To paraphrase it, "There isn't any situation so bad that smoking can't make it worse."

So at least you have the knowledge that the future is going to get better — at least health-wise.

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: Fri, November 6, 2009 11:58 am     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "P. J. Mejia"

I read your article entitled "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy and must tell you that I am neither spiritually bankrupt, nor was I when I came to A.A. What I suffered from, addiction to alcohol, was a physical addiction and mental obsession run riot.

You neither understand nor sympathize with the sufferer. Millions of "drunks" have been helped and have been able to stop with the help of A.A. When you are faced with certain death because you cannot stop, whatever it takes, you'll try.

There are many different types of alcoholics, just like there are many types of approaches to treat it. However, the root of the problem is addiction, to whatever. If this is what helps a person stop permanently, who are you to invalidate them? You cannot catch all the fish in the sea with one type of bait.

If you spent time with some of those people whom you criticize, you would realize that they are non-judgemental and care sincerely for the suffering alcoholic. Doing a critical reading of the Big Book and the 12 and 12 doesn't cut the mustard. And where's your statistics of what work? Proof's in the pudding. What does it bother you if someone chooses to belong to a group of people who suffer from a chronic illness?

In recovery,

Joi M.

Hello Joi,

Thanks for the letter. You have completely misunderstood the situation, and what that web page is saying. I am not the one who is criticizing alcoholics and saying that they are disgusting and morally bankrupt — Bill Wilson is. And his followers are still repeating his warped lectures.

The whole purpose of that web page is to show how Bill Wilson constantly insulted alcoholics and put them down, and talked about how bad they are. Wilson claimed that he wanted to "remove the stigma of alcoholism", but he actually did the exact opposite. He worked to increase the shame and stigma of alcoholism by constantly lecturing about how bad alcoholics are. And A.A. is still doing that. And that is standard cult behavior too:

And it was Bill Wilson who was stereotyping alcoholics, not me.

I immensely sympathize with the suffering of addicts. That is why I am challenging Bill Wilson's vicious put-downs of alcoholics.

I agree that the proof is in the pudding. And Alcoholics Anonymous is a total failure at sobering up alcoholics, and keeping them sober. In fact, A.A. is often worse than no help at all. When A.A. was tested, it produced very bad results, like raising the rate of binge drinking, and raising the rate of rearrests for drunkenness, and raising the death rate of alcoholics.

May I suggest that you read that page again, and this time, pay close attention to who wrote all of those quotes where somebody is raving about how bad alcoholics are?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Alcoholics especially should be able to see that instinct run wild in
**    themselves is the underlying cause of their destructive drinking.
**    ... This perverse soul-sickness is not pleasant to look upon.
**      ==  William G. Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 44.

Date: Sat, November 7, 2009 12:53 pm     (answered 28 November 2009)
From: "Rick S."
Subject: Kudos to You!

Good Afternoon;

I came across the Orange Papers quite by accident — and a happy one it was! I'm bookmarking you so you don't get away again!

I am living in Sun Prairie, a quiet suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, where the twelve-steps is the only game on the block for people who want to get sober.

I've been sober since February of this year, and I wasn't sure I could make it stick until, I found the book 12 Step Horror Stories. It helped to read that AA wasn't infallible and that led me to read Rational Recovery books as well as checking out SMART Recovery meetings. Now, I'm sure I can do this thing!

Still, I go to the occasional AA meeting to pacify my worried, god-fearing family. I guess if that's what it takes to lower the level of stress around the house, I'll do it.

All the same, your website is like a lifeline to a (mostly) rational mind. Keep up the good work.



Hello Rick,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your sobriety.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Look thou not upon the wine when it is red,
**    when it giveth his colour in the cup,
**    when it moveth itself aright.
**      At the last it biteth like a serpent,
**    and stingeth like an adder.
**       ==  Proverbs XXIII, 31, 32

Date: Sat, November 7, 2009 3:51 pm
From: "Earnest G."
Subject: You missed the beauty of the forest because you were diverted by ugliness of one of its trees

Sometimes it doesn't matter how you get to a certain point, what do matter is that you get there. Alcoholics Anonymous has been more than likely saving lives longer than you have been alive. The " BIG BOOK" do claim to have a monopoly on recovery, it simply offers to those who have not found a way out of his or her addiction a way that has been proven to work in the lives of its authors. There is also a claim that the program of recovery outline in the book will probably make hardly a scratch on the alcoholic problem as a whole. The truth of the matter is that Alcoholics Anonymous has evolved into a worldwide institution since the 1930's. This down-on-his-luck Wall Street hustler started something that has proven to work in the lives of millions, it really do not matter that he wasn't a perfect man. The origin of the steps is just that, the beginning. Not picture perfect but so is a lot of things, look back on the atrocities of THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA for example do that negate the greatness of our country, of course not. In 1997 I was homeless living on skid row of Los Angeles I had a was addicted to drugs and alcohol , I had been in that state of existence since the early eighties, it seem to me that I was going to die living the way I was living. I couldn't see a way out and for me I truly believed there was no way, as a matter of fact my motto was " I was born a dope fiend, I'll die a dope fiend. I went to detox there I was introduced to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I excepted their plan of recovery and that's exactly what I got. It's been twelve years and I haven't had a drink or a drug to this day. I participate fully in the recovery process, I attend meeting on a regular basis I work with new alcoholics. I have seen some recover I have seen a lot that do not recover. The truth of the matter is that if something works no matter what it is, no matter how many failures if there is any amount of success you have progress. I truly hope you print this e-mail on your site because I want the world to know what a god sent the legacy William Griffith Wilson has been to me in my life.


Hello Earnest,

Thank you for the letter. It is loaded with mistakes and false assumption, of course.

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous has not been saving lives for longer than I have been alive. A.A. actually kills more alcoholics than it saves.

  2. Bill Wilson engaged in double-talk in the Big Book, and pulled a bait-and-switch trick when he first claimed that they only knew a little, and had no monopoly on recovery, and A.A. wasn't the only way to recover, and then later changed the story to "A.A. and the 12 Steps are the only way to avoid death". See the bait-and-switch tricks of:

  3. About:
    "Alcoholics Anonymous has evolved into a worldwide institution since the 1930's..."
    Scientology and the Moonies and Jehovah's Witnesses and a bunch of other cults have also done the same thing. So what? Making a criminal enterprise bigger does not make it better.

  4. This is classic Minimization and Denial:
    "The origin of the steps is just that, the beginning. Not picture perfect but so is a lot of things,..."
    The 12 Steps are not different from their origins. They are cult recruiting and indoctrination tricks that were developed by Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, and used in his "Oxford Group", and "Moral Re-Armament" organizations. Bill Wilson just copied those practices and called them "the 12 Steps".

  5. It is good that you quit drinking and drugging. Very good. It's a life-saver. Congratulations on your new clean and sober lifestyle. The fact that you also joined a cult religion at the same time as you quit doping does not mean that the religion saved your life. You saved your own life. We know that for sure because the cult that you joined has a terrible failure rate at trying to sober up alcoholics and get addicts clean.

  6. RE:
    "The truth of the matter is that if something works no matter what it is, no matter how many failures if there is any amount of success you have progress."
    Well, A.A. and N.A. do not work. The 12 Steps do not work as a recovery program. (They do work for cult recruiting and indoctrination.) The number of failures matters immensely. It is not okay for A.A. to kill five or six alcoholics in order to appear to save one.

  7. God did not send us Dr. Frank Buchman's cult religion through Bill Wilson.
Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For false Christs and false prophets shall
**     appear and perform great signs and miracles to
**     deceive even the elect — if that were
**     possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
**       ==  Jesus Christ, quoted in Matthew 24:24-25, New International Edition

Date: Sat, November 7, 2009 8:11 pm     (answered 29 November 2009)
From: "Scott D."
Subject: U sound like a lobbyist for the Alcohol Corporations

Hello Scott,

No, I am not a lobbyist for the alcohol industry. Nor am I a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. Nor am I a lobbyist for any cult religion. Nor am I a lobbyist for the 12-Step recovery industry.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**     and that your will power is useless, is not
**     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Mon, November 9, 2009 10:10 am     (answered 29 November 2009)
From: "M."
Subject: Is A.A. evil?

I read through your website and was intrigued but full of conflict. Even though I tend to agree with many of the chapters of your online book, I also have my own secondhand experience which does not agree at all.

I am not an alcoholic. My wife is, or was. About two years ago she attended her first meeting. She is now been sober for two years. I got a bad feeling when I first heard about the 12 steps and how she was supposed to list all her faults and confess them... but again, her experience appears to be very positive. She discovered, through the process how her fears and anger would cause her to react negatively to certain situations and cause pain to herself and others.

She has changed remarkably over the past two years. She deals with conflict much better and has gained a great deal of self-confidence and knowledge. She does not drink. She enjoys going to meetings and has met some very wonderful people who have become her friends.

Is this program evil? The story of Bill and how he smoked, cheated, and ripped off his shareholders is reprehensible. The bait and switch tactics are worrisome. But it seems to me that this program has, at its roots, some very powerful motivators to create positive change.

Yes, there probably is some peer pressure that keeps her from drinking. She enjoys collecting the little chips and tokens to celebrate the milestones. She seems to connect with all the ideas and traditions.

And it's possible, I suppose, that she was ready to quit drinking two years ago and could have easily succeeded in a different program without all the issues you mention. But A.A. was there, it was available, and it was free.

Perhaps she is simply in a small minority that had such a positive experience? Perhaps you might argue that A.A. didn't help her quit... but I have to say, I really don't see how she could have accomplished what she did without the A.A. program.

Like I said, I agree with many of your arguments, but in reality, it has been one of the most positive experiences of my wife's life. (So she must have drunk the Kool-Aid I suppose.) And it has helped me get closer with her. Should I be watching out for something to go wrong? Or do you think it's possible that for a chosen few, the program is purely beneficial? (I'm guessing you would not agree to that.) Is there some kind of price you think she (or I) will pay for her continuing to be a part of A.A.?

Have a wonderful day. Thank you for writing such a thought-provoking website.

-M. (please keep my name anonymous, thank you)

Hello M.,

Thanks for the letter. It sounds like you understand the situation pretty clearly. Of course you are assuming that A.A. is responsible for your wife's sobriety and improved quality of life, and of course I would say that she did it herself, in spite of misinformation and bad teachings.

I really hope things work out well for you and your wife. All that I can say is that things do not work out well for the vast majority of people who go to Alcoholics Anonymous. If your wife is the lucky exception to the rule, then wonderful.

When you ask, "Or do you think it's possible that for a chosen few, the program is purely beneficial?",
my reaction is "purely beneficial"? Wow. That is asking a lot.

  • Few people don't suffer harm from years of confession sessions and talking about how bad and stupid they are, and defective and wrong, and full of moral shortcomings... People get depressed by that. It even drives some people to suicide.
  • And then there are the constant demands to not think too much, and just parrot slogans. That has to have an effect after a while.
  • And then there is the devaluation of the outsider, and the routine hints that she should just associate with other Steppers. Are you ready to join Al-Anon and become a Stepper?

Good luck. I mean it really.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "Important principles may, and must, be inflexible."
**      ==  Abraham Lincoln

Date: Tue, November 10, 2009 12:20 pm     (answered 29 November 2009)
From: "Sean S."
Subject: The Orange Papers


Just came across your website and loved it. I am an Atheist with over 2 years sober, got sober in the Salvation Army in Canoga Park (the S.A. is an evangelical, fundamentalist christian organization) where I was forced to participate in 12-step indoctrination, not to mention bible studies and chapel services. As soon as I felt I was ready to pursue life sober again (ie, get the hell away from these crackpots), I did, and my life has been all the better for it. I wrote my own anti-AA manifesto, though nowhere near as well-researched and enormous as yours, entitled "Debunking a Few of the More Obnoxious Myths of the Cult of Recovery" at

Thanks for the site,
Sean S.

Hi Sean,

Thanks for the letter, and welcome to the club. Oh, and congratulations on your sobriety.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Treatment centers based on Alcoholics Anonymous concepts
**    routinely advised their patients to find a "higher power"
**    or take a "moral inventory", untroubled by the contradiction
**    between giving such advice and providing insurance-funded
**    treatment for medical diseases.

Date: Tue, November 10, 2009 7:50 pm     (answered 30 November 2009)
From: "Sarah B."
Subject: 12-Steps

Dear A. Orange,

I felt compelled to write you and to thank you for your thorough research on the feasibility and success rate of the 12-step program for addictions. I was a member of Overeaters Anonymous for 7 years. The program compounded my problem and I left 3 years ago, still struggling with a sugar addiction, but much improved since having left. It's very difficult to find this kind of work out there. Thank you again!

Sarah B.

Hello Sarah,

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

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be careful about reading health books.
**     You may die of a misprint.
**          ==   Mark Twain (1835—1910)

[Previous letter from Amber here.]

Date: Wed, November 11, 2009 9:41 pm     (answered 30 November 2009)
From: "Amber"
Subject: Hi again

I wrote to you some time ago about my experience with my father and AA. At the time, I was studying for my degree in Psychology and taking some heavy heat from a few professors about my anti-AA stance. Now, I've graduated and gone on to work with families who are in crisis. The stories don't get any better, let me tell you. I've visited numerous families where one or both parents were forced into AA/NA as a condition of having their children returned to their custody. Many of these families either don't have a drug or alcohol problem or they made one stupid mistake (yes, most of them were stupid mistakes, the parents will admit as much). Others have been sent to NA because they smoke a little pot. So, here they are in a room full of crack users and junkies because they smoke a joint every so often. I've heard from more than one of them that all NA did was open their eyes to the other drugs that are out there. So, I guess it's fair to ask if pot is a gateway drug, is NA an enabler or perhaps a gateway itself?

I was going to say you wouldn't believe the stories I've heard, but you of all people would. I have a married lady who is being pressured to essentially cheat on her husband by members of her NA group. He is not a member of NA and therefore can not possibly understand her "problem" or support her. This lady doesn't have an addiction problem. She unintentionally misused a prescription drug once. That is not an addiction, it's an accident. Several of the women I counsel have told me numerous times that they can't stand going to their court-ordered NA/AA meetings because the men are always looking for the next woman to pick up on.

I'll be the first to admit that many people need help with addiction. But, holding a parent's children hostage until they go to AA or NA is just wrong. At the very least, people should have a choice as to which recovery method to use. I am a Psychologist, albeit a new one, and the first thing I was taught is no therapy method works 100% of the time for 100% of the clients. Why then do we assume that 12-step is the exception to that rule?

I just thought I'd share my frustrations with one person I know who understands my feelings on the matter.

Take care.


Hello Amber,

It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for the horror stories from "out there".

Alas, yes, I can believe what you are telling me. The degree to which stupidity, superstition, and 12-Step dogma have become entrenched in the system is appalling.

Some Steppers have complained that I am exaggerating when I call A.A. "The Evil Empire". I don't think so. Not when stuff like you are describing is happening.

Oh well, keep up the good work, and have a good day and a good life. And good luck, too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    People unfit for freedom — who cannot do much with it
**    — are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute
**    of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and
**    I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for
**    power is basically an attribute of a "have not" type of self.
**       ==  Eric Hoffer

May 17, 2009, Sunday: Day 17, continued:

Carmen's Canada Goose family with goslings
Carmen's family, eating oatmeal.
Actually, it looks like Carmen is doing most of the oatmeal eating. She is the gosling in the center who is eating the oatmeal. Her siblings are more interested in eating the weeds.
The mother is in the center; the father is on the right.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, October 31, 2009 11:49 am     (answered Sun, November 1, 2009 9:21 am)
From: <thegreatcriswell>
Subject: Re: The Teen Challenge cure


While cruising my favorite atheist sights on the web recently, I came across this little ditty:

From Conservapedia (The self proclaimed "trustworthy encyclopedia"):

The Christian group Teen Challenge reported the following:
"Teen Challenge claims of a 70% cure rate for the drug addicts graduating from their program attracted the attention of the U.S. Federal Government in 1973. Most secular drug rehabilitation programs only experienced a cure rate of 1 — 15% of their graduates. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, funded the first year of this study to evaluate the long term results of the Teen Challenge program.[80]"


Teen Challenge has a number of studies that indicate the high effectiveness of their drug treatment program compared to other programs.[81]

Do you have any statistics re: this organization? Is their success rate actually that high?


Hello Criswell,

I don't have any numbers on them now, but I know that it has to be a fraud created by cooking the books and lying with qualifiers and deception. If they had anything like that kind of a success rate, they would win the Nobel Prize in medicine. Remember that Bill Wilson declared that A.A. had a 75% success rate among those who "came to A.A. and really tried". If they didn't get sober and stay sober, it was because they didn't really try, so they don't count.

I suspect that the Teen Challenge uses similar word games. I already see one: the success rate is only applicable to "the graduates". That is a very common word game in the rehab centers. If you relapse, you don't graduate. Only those teens who get and stay clean and sober are counted as graduates, so of course they have a 100% success rate in their graduates, or should have. The fact that the Teen Challenge organization can't even claim a 100% success rate among those who get and stay clean and sober must mean that some people are relapsing in their first week after "graduation".

Also, Teen Challenge supposedly had "great success" in 1973. If it really worked, it would have swept the country by now, and it would have become the standard treatment program by now. Instead, Teen Challenge seems to be a forgotten footnote in history. I smell a rat.

Anyway, I shall investigate and see what I can find.

Have a good day.

== Terry

*             [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.

Later: 6 December 2009: I'm still investigating, and what I've found so far tells me that it's just another numbers game racket.
More later.

Sunday, 6 December 2009:

Time for another autobiographical update. I will be moving in the next few days, so updates will probably be irregular for a while. A new property management company took over management of the apartment building where I've been living for the last three years, and they are cracking the whip and demanding that everybody conform to their new rules. And they have a lot of new rules.

In my case, they want the "clutter" gone from my apartment. What they call clutter, I call books and computers and musical instruments and cameras and lenses and more photo gear and artwork and clothes and kitchenware and stereo and more computers and monitors and printers and CDs and DVDs, and more books... I have a very large number of books, more than half of which are for the Orange Papers, stacked up the walls in the living room and bedroom.

Pinnacle Property Management Company demands that all of that must be gone within 15 days, or else I will be evicted. No way am I going to just dump my library, or computers, or archives on CD, or anything else to please them. I mean, who lives there? Who's paying the rent?

It's obvious that we are not going to get along, so I'm moving out now — immediately, like in the next few days. I don't know where I'm going. I'll just put everything in a storage locker and hit the streets. I have a lead on a new place on January first.

I am just worried about everything happening at once. To move into the new place, I have to come up with the usual first and last month's rent, and security deposit, and moving expenses (twice — to the storage locker, and then out of it), and also annual payment for hosting of the Orange Papers web site for another year is also due in January. (When it rains, it pours.) So it's going to be tight. I think I can manage it all on my small V.A. disability pension, by being very frugal, but it's going to be very tight.

There are some comments on the situation here, on Apartment Ratings dot com:

Nevertheless, have a good day and a Merry Christmas. I plan to, somehow, anyway.

Now here is a great opportunity to practice positive thinking, and envision this as a move to a much nicer place to live, where I will be happier. So it's a step up, not a loss at all. Upwards and onwards. Here's to a great year coming.

Merry Christmas.

Date: Tue, November 3, 2009 8:18 am     (answered 6 December 2009)
From: "anne i"


It makes a person ponder the correlation between Bill W. using lsd & all the rest & the truth? This is a fact that really woke me up from the fog that AA had over me ... their story wasn't adding up to: healthy recovery. It was just plain weird!


Hi Anne,

Thanks for the tip. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the Devil,
**     as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking, whom he may devour.
**        ==  1 Peter, V, 8

Date: Fri, November 13, 2009 11:17 pm     (answered 30 November 2009)
From: "Steve"
Subject: Troubled white knuckler

I hardly have the time or the effort to read all of your work, but I am taking it slowly. The first time I discovered some derogatory stuff about AA online it helped to push me along into another nasty binge. That's what I do lately. I get fucked up really bad then go back to AA hoping it will help. Then eventually I hate the fucking program so much that I drop out.

I know why I started drinking and have finally sought help through psychiatry and counseling. Neither of those has made me stop completely. I do have a love for alcohol though. It's been a big part of my personal relationships which does make it difficult to quit. It generally maintains its appeal despite its unpredictable consequences.

As I write this I have — today — 93 days sober. I'm trying to go along as best I can with the program, again, but always have that nagging feeling that I want to get the fuck out, and stay the fuck out. I've expressed this to my sponsor (don't you just love that word?), and he didn't mind. This guy has been to rehab three times. He agreed with my sentiment that AA isn't the only thing in the world that could help me, so that was a load off.

I can reject a lot of things in AA, and still have friends in it. Those people are very few, and the only thing I have in common with them is a desire to not die from drinking. Aside from that I've admitted to myself, and to others, my disdain for the program.

I hear similar things in meetings which feel like a subconscious attempt to break the whole thing down or at least make sense of the lunacy many of us go through. Some women have said that the Big Book is sexist. I couldn't agree more when I read the chapter 'To Wives'. I'd burn the fucking book if I were female. "Why not burn it now as a male?" "Oh they'll just print a hundred thousand more".

I guess I can relate to most of the literature when I make an assessment of my drinking history, but I can't honestly see myself working this program for the rest of my life. Something will have to give eventually, and usually does. I've fought for the last four years thinking I can do this all on my own. It hasn't worked so far, and I don't want to hit the kind of bottom that lands me in jail or worse. AVRT looks interesting, but again, I'm lazy.

When I read about Frank Buchman [it] disturbs me. I was sitting in a meeting today with images of Nazi Germany and Christian Fundamentalism in my head. All I really want from AA is camaraderie, and possible friendship. As for the rest, well, it can be very disconcerting.

The more I read your site the more I want to throw AA in the trash. But then I don't know where to go from there. I haven't read enough of your work to get a good idea of the types of alternatives you may have to suggest. I did see the list of vitamins you take, and I do some of that. I just think I'm putting myself in danger by reading your site although lately it's become a morbid, or sometimes liberating, curiosity.

But I should also wake up to the fact that AA hasn't worked after countless attempts which puts me in danger as well. And I've tried to make it work — I really have. I don't fake it till I make it. I just don't make it. If I thought AA was wonderful and beautiful I wouldn't even think of looking for other opinions. I'm blown away by the amount of work you have done. I'm not an AA true-believer, but I think there's a chance I'm becoming a believer in your research. And how is that going to help me? Fuck. I don't know.

Hello Steve,

Thanks for the letter. Congratulations on your sobriety. I wish you health.

You say that you "have finally sought help through psychiatry and counseling." So I assume that means that you have seen a real doctor to rule out problems like a bipolar disorder or some obsessive/compulsive disorder that keeps driving you back to drink.

In that case, I guess this is the key sentence that states the core of the problem:

"I do have a love for alcohol though."

So did I, for a long time. And that can really be a problem. It's like the kiss of death.

The trick that I found, to escape from that nightmare, is to love other things more. I have ended up loving sobriety more — specifically, I love things like:

  1. waking up clear-headed, and not hung over. Day after day, month after month, year after year, I just wake up without a hangover.
  2. not feeling the shame that comes from being drunk, and incompetent.
  3. not being sick and physically wrecked. Instead, I'm actually feeling stronger with the passage of time.
  4. feeling healthy, and feeling my body getting better. Especially seeing my mind get clearer (and that comes so very slowly. It has taken years, many years.)
  5. noticing how money can stay in my wallet for a while, instead of all instantly getting spent for alcohol and tobacco.
  6. And I love the knowledge that I'm not going to die that way — I'm not going to die drunk and sick and a slow suicide by bottle.
  7. And then there are all of the things that I have fun with in my new lifestyle.
    • When I was drinking and smoking, I never went down to the river and fed the geese and ducks, or worked on my suntan, or relaxed with drinking ginger ale and playing the guitar to the river. Not once, ever. Now I've done it a zillion times, and it's a regular part of my life.
    • And I never went to a Waterfront Blues Festival, not once ever, in all of those years. Now I have. I haven't missed it once in 9 years.
    • I never walked up and down the river for miles. Not once, ever. Now I do often.
    • There were zillions of things I never did because I was too sick and tired to get up the energy to do it. It was like I came to life, and really started living, when I quit drinking and smoking, and I started learning what a neat place I was living in.

I think it might help for you to work up your own list like that.

And then, it also helps me to remember the negative side of drinking. When the thought occurs to me that having a few drinks might really be fun, I can answer with memories of pain and suffering, and sickness, and severe short-term memory loss, and not-fun things like that. And that quickly kills any desire to go back to drinking.

Ah, and that is what it is, you know. Going back to drinking. At least for me, there is no such thing as "just having a few". It's the same with cigarettes too. There is no such thing as just smoking one. Any drinking or smoking at all means a return to that habit for years, not just hours.

So I ask myself, "Do I really want to go back to years of drinking and smoking, and pain and suffering, and losing all of the good things that I get from not drinking and smoking?"

So far, the answer is, "No, I don't want to go back there again."

In addition, here are other letters where we discussed various things that worked for people. Some of them are long lists of good things.

Good fortune, and have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Such sober certainty of waking bliss.
**      ==  Milton, Comus, Line 263

Date: Mon, November 16, 2009 8:11 am     (answered 6 December 2009)
From: "M. H"
Subject: Where does the money go?


Enjoy your site. What an eye opener.

Maybe you've already anwered this on your site but I do have a question?

WHERE does all the money go?

There are like 700 or more meetings per week in my city, at every meeting people pour in the $$

Who gets this money???


ps please do not use my name/email on ur site if possible, thank you

Hello M.,

The answer is, most of that money stays at the local level, paying for things like rent and coffee, and those sobriety coins that they give away, and free literature. And then some of the money supports the local inter-group offices, and some supports the larger area offices, and the state offices, and so on. And some money gets sent to the national office in the Interchurch Building in New York City.

The basket money that goes to New York is only a small fraction of their income. The A.A. headquarters gets far more money from royalties on all of their publications, including illegal royalties collected on publication of the "Big Book" in various translations around the world. (The reason I say illegal is because the Big Book copyright is invalid and defunct, and yet, representatives of the A.A. headquarters swore under oath in courts in Mexico and Germany that the Big Book is still under copyright.)

The real money, and the real wealth, in the 12-Step empire is in the treatment centers that charge anything from a few thousand dollars to $40,000 for a 28-day indoctrination session.

We discussed A.A. finances in another letter, not too long ago, here.

Date: Mon, November 16, 2009 10:45 am     (answered 6 December 2009)
From: "M. H"
Subject: Madeleine McCann


What a sad story.

I followed it daily as my kids travelled overseas a lot for Irish dance competitions...

One thing not mentioned is that alcohol MAY have had something to do with it. (at least tangentially)

The parents and friends involved apparently had gone to a tapas bar at the resort and drank for HOURS consuming many bottles of alcohol.

This was not mentioned much in the press, but there were reports her mom was a very heavy drinker in uni.

If I had had this problem when my kids were very young (I got it later) then who knows, a mother's guard is let down when she's under the influence...

Still a very sad story and I hoped every day they would find her.

Who knows what happened to the poor thing?


Yes, that is a sad story. I cannot say how much of a role alcohol played in that sequence of events. Some, for sure. The problem with that whole story now is that everything got reworked and exaggerated and twisted by reporters and endless repetition. The local police were even trying to pin the kidnapping on the parents for a while, as if they had murdered and disposed of their child.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
**     Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me...
**        ==  Shakespeare, King John, Act III, Scene 4, Line 93

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 19 January 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters150.html