Letters, We Get Mail, CLV

Date: Wed, December 16, 2009 12:37 pm     (answered 16 December 2009)
From: "Sylvia O'C."
Subject: Brilliant author

You must be one of the most brilliant authors I have ever read. To think you would spend this much time or in your case probably very little (because of your intelligence) trying to stop people from using any means at all to stay sober or clean. What would you achieve by stopping one person from becoming sober? Living with an alcoholic and an addict, I would support any program they were to believe in.

You clearly have never felt the abuse of an alcoholic or addict.

Why in God's name would someone as brilliant as yourself not spend your time helping to find cures and helping people.

I cannot imagine where you energy would lead you. I am so jealous of someone as brilliant as yourself.

My son does not believe in AA but I take him for my sake. He is very intelligent and has nothing left. I guess he has someone like you to fuel his argument.

I know many AA members who as often as they fail will always keep trying. And of course there are many brilliant people as yourself. I have tried to quit smoking many times and have always failed for lack of will power.

Please excuse my lack of study to respond with any intelligence.

Who ever you are and now that my pathetic son thinks of you as a genius use what you have to save one life. You are truly blessed.

A not so brilliant mom.

Hello Sylvia,

Thank you for the letter. Unfortunately, you have made one wrong assumption, and that is that A.A. actually works to make people get sober. It does not. (Look here.)

I am not "trying to stop people from using any means at all to stay sober or clean". I am trying to keep people from being deceived and hurt by quack medicine that does not work.

When you say, "My son does not believe in AA but I take him for my sake", you are revealing that A.A. is a religion, not a treatment program for alcohol abuse. A religion requires that you believe. Medicine does not. I have never had a doctor ask me, "Do you believe in Western medicine? Do you believe in antibiotics?" Never. Not once, ever. The doctor just writes out a prescription, and I take the pills, and they work, and I get better. Beliefs are irrelevant.

When they tell you that you must believe in order for the cure to work, that is a dead give-away of a con artist shoving a fraud on you. (And of course, when the cure doesn't work, it is supposedly your fault because you didn't believe, or you didn't pray enough, or you didn't "work the program" right.)

Speaking of beliefs, you said, "I would support any program they were to believe in." I would not. I would support any program or treatment that really works to cure addiction. Erroneous beliefs are worse than worthless. They waste peoples' time and keep them from getting something that works.

You also said, "You clearly have never felt the abuse of an alcoholic or addict." Alas, I grew up the son of an abusive mean alcoholic sergeant father. And then I drank too much for nearly 20 years myself. I know all about it. That's why I support anything that works to cure or alleviate alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse. And that is why I am so opposed to quackery that is just a fraud that does not help my friends.

And we do spend a lot of time here talking about what works to help alcoholics and addicts. The lists start here.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For every talent that poverty has stimulated, it has blighted a hundred.
**         ==  John Gardner

From: "Richard D."
Subject: A question
Date: Sun, December 13, 2009 12:36 pm


I don't want to drag you into a political debate, but rather to ask you a question. It is somewhat off topic, but it is in direct reference to something you said in an essay. I have enough of a sense that you're an honest man to believe that "the truth" matters to you, and that you wouldn't let your political leanings influence you over the raw truth. So, I would like to ask you something.

First, a little background.

In Nov — Dec of 2000, I was working as a high level Software QA Engineer on the West Coast. Actually, I was the head of a team on an important product (tens of millions at stake) in an important division, in a world class semiconductor company. In my role as such, there were times when I had to be on the job late into the evening, for weeks on end. Nov — Dec, 2000 was once such time. Usually, during these times, I spent much of my time waiting for a new build from the development team. I had a lot of free time.

This period happened to be the time of the Famous Florida Recount in Gore v Bush. Because I had so much free time, I spent it all reading and following every single court case and detail of the case. I had a pile of papers on my desk a foot high. I printed everything. Plus, I recorded all the major cases: Judge Saul's case, The Florida Supreme Court rulings, and the final U.S. Supreme Court Rulings. I knew every single detail in this chronology (I wasn't just listening to news accounts, I was following the legal trail documents):


So, whenever I would hear someone say "Bush stole the 2000 election" or that "the US Supreme Court 'picked' Bush", I always knew for myself, based on my own personal observation and study that nothing of the kind ever happened. What did happen is that Bush won, even though Gore and his team fought desperately to find some way to "harvest" votes in those heavily Democrat counties. The final Supreme Court Case made perfect sense if you read everything along the way. They simply said that, "The Court contends that the recount was not treating all ballots equally, and was thus a violation of the Constitution's equal protection and due process guarantees." and "The Supreme Court of Florida would be required to set up new voting standards and carry them out in a recount." and if "manual recounts in counties with large numbers of undervotes are to be recounted, using new standards, that the whole state had to be recounted using those standards" and the conclusion of others was that "Since the Court makes its ruling just hours before the deadline, it in effect ensures that it is too late for a recount."

This lead to the inevitable conclusion in the Gore camp, that Bush won, and it was over. There was no time left, so in spite of the fact that they didn't like it, they accepted it. They had no choice.

Now my question:

In your essay "How to Deprogram Your Own Mind" you say:

"Powerful stock-holders similarly muzzled the New York Times, and kept it from reporting how Gov. Jeb Bush rigged the Presidential election in Florida in 2000, so such problems are everywhere. (Jeb did it by removing about 60,000 honest black people from the voter registration lists, claiming that they were "felons".)"

Ok, I will concede to you that if that is true, that is a damning indictment on Bush's victory. I've never heard that before. Those 60,000 votes would surely have sealed the deal for Gore. But how do you know that? Is there really concrete proof of that? Could that be proven in a court of law?

I know this isn't the main purpose or subject of your site, so I would certainly understand if you don't want to open this door in your public forum. Also, since it really is off topic, I wouldn't be terribly upset if you just ignore it. I just happened to be fascinated by that fact, and this question: Is it really known to some that Jeb Bush did this? That's mind-boggling to me.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,


Hi Richard,

Thank you for a good question. There is a lot of evidence that can be proven in a court of law, but there is very little political will to do so. No "political capitol", you know. "It's over." Congress passed a law that will supposedly keep it from happening again, and then went on to other worries. But improper purges happened again in several states in the 2004 election.

Note that many publications covered the story later, like in the following year, after the election had already been stolen, and GWB was sworn in. Greg Palast, an American who corresponds for the BBC, said that he was able to get his stories of investigations of corruption in the Florida election published in London during the controversy, but not in the USA. The article by Palast below was published in February 2001. Neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post covered the story during the election. Nor did any other major US newspaper. Nor did any TV network news. It was like a blackout.

The New York Times finally published an article telling the story in July 2004. The Washington Post got around to it in May 2001.

The Salon article below (second item) is the only one I've found that was published while the election and vote count and Supreme Court controversy was going on.

Examine these articles:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Central_Voter_File

  2. http://archive.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/12/04/voter_file/

  3. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010205/palast

  4. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A99749-2001May30

  5. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/10/us/florida-list-for-purge-of-voters-proves-flawed.html

  6. http://www.afn.org/%7Eiguana/archives/2001_09/20010909.html

  7. http://www.michaelparenti.org/stolenelection

  8. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040517/palast

  9. http://www.alternet.org/politics/92695/three_states_accused_of_illegally_purging_voter_lists_/?page=entire

  10. http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/05/28/fla.vote/

About the Supreme Court decision, may I recommend:
The Betrayal of America, How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President     Vincent Bugliosi
Thunder Mouth Press / Nation Books, New York, 2001.
ISBN: 1-56025-355-X
Dewey: 342.075 B931b 2001

Vincent Bugliosi gained fame as the prosecutor in the Charles Manson trials. And as a good lawyer, he rips the Supreme Court's arguments to shreds. He also rips apart Gore's lawyer, and calls the guy incompetent.

Now about the statement that owners of the New York Times kept it from covering the voter purge story during the election, how I wish I had put a footnote in there. I don't remember at the moment where I got that. I shall have to investigate.

Oh, and if you want a current hot issue, I just ran into articles that revealed that Tamiflu is a fraud. It seems that Roche (a Swiss pharmaceutical company) faked the test data that shows that Tamiflu works on the flu. Complete fraud. The marketing and PR guys at Roche wrote the supposedly "scientific" results. Conveniently, most all of the test results that would show whether Tamiflu really works are "lost".

The U.S. government bought one and a half billion dollars worth of Tamiflu. By the way, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a major stockholder in the Tamiflu patent.

  1. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200912u/tamiflu == The Truth About Tamiflu

  2. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/339/dec10_2/b5405 == "We Want The Raw Data, Now"

  3. http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/339/dec07_2/b5106 == technical study of effectiveness of Neuraminidase inhibitors, i.e. Tamiflu

  4. http://www.naturalnews.com/027734_Tamiflu_Roche.html == Natural News coverage of the story

Do you suppose that it is just a coincidence that they just recalled a batch of Swine Flu vaccine because tests showed that it was ineffective?

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Any company executive who overcharges the government more than $5 million
**     will be fined $50 or have to go to traffic school three nights a week.
**         ==  Art Buchwald

Date: Fri, December 18, 2009 12:26 pm     (answered 19 December 2009)
From: "Richard D."
Subject: RE: A question

Hi A.Orange,

Thanks for all the info and the links on Florida's Gore v Bush battle. There's quite a lot to digest there, but I do see where you're coming from. I'm not so sure this rises to the level of something that would be provable in a court of law, but the "weight of the evidence", at least as far of this collection of articles go, does bend in your favor.

By the way, I found a reference to 50,000 to 100,000 possibly disenfranchised ex-felons (people who supposedly had their rights restored in other states, and moved to Florida) here:


There's just one problem, though. A lot of the sources you used are decidedly left leaning (doesn't rule out all of them, though), so I have to take some of it with a "what else would they say" grain of salt. But this one from The Nation, would be way at the bottom of the list of those I might give credence to. They would have to prove it to me in a court of law before I would believe them. And even then, I still wouldn't believe them, but I would concede (like a good American sport) that I lost.

I know that some of them are left-leaning. The right-leaning media, on the other hand, just don't cover the story at all. They want to forget all about it. So we are stuck with what we can get.

And some of them, like the New York Times and Washington Post, wouldn't even publish the story when it could have hurt George W. Bush. So I can't consider them left-leaning, in spite of the complaints of some Tea Parties.

Some facts in the case are undeniable, like that the purges occurred, and many innocent people were prevented from voting. And instructing the data company to purge people whose names were an 80% match to a felon is at least incompetent, if not blatantly illegal.

Then the big legal question is whether the whole thing was a deliberate scheme to disenfranchise certain groups of voters, or just incompetence. It is more than suspicious when huge numbers of blacks (who were voting for Gore) got purged, but large numbers of Latinos (who were voting for Bush) did not get purged. The NAACP won a lawsuit on this issue, but because they settled the case, the results were sealed and we can't read the terms of the settlement.

Regarding Vincent Bugliosi, yes I'm very familiar with him and his work, but I don't know if I'd trust him as far as I can throw him. I saw him on TV on numerous occasions talking about this subject, and my wife and I had a very strong sense that he was full of crap, and that he had some hidden agenda. As always though, I could be wrong.

Personally, I cannot vouch for him one way or the other either, but I found his legal arguments in that book convincing, and troubling.

I'm not the least bit surprised about the Tamiflu stuff. I've been saying for years that history is going to look back on this era and proclaim the Pharmaceutical Industry mass murderers, and some of the most evil people in our nation's, and the world's history. I'm firmly convinced that had my brother merely talked to someone like Peter Breggin M.D. or some other "talking psychiatrist", instead of taking his "meds" (i.e., crap) over the course of his lifetime that he would still be alive today. There are thousands of stories that back that statement at: http://www.drugawareness.org/

Sorry to hear about your brother. And yes, I also have to consider the pharmaceutical industry as corrupt, and occasionally very evil. There is just such a long history of faked tests of medicines, suppressed and hidden results (when the results were negative), and illegally pushing drugs on inappropriate patients (like children for whom the drugs have not been approved).

Still, I'm not anti-medications, just anti-corruption.

Personally, I believe in "whatever works". If herbal cures work, great. Or acupuncture or yoga or whathaveyou. Or psychotherapy. Or chemically-manufactured pharmaceutical drugs. Whatever works.

But of course we need valid unbiased tests to determine what really works. Faked tests are unacceptable, and illegal, and grossly immoral. People who fake medical tests deserve a special place in Hell.

Thanks again. Take care and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Richard D.

You have a good day and a Merry Christmas too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If ever this free people — if this government
**     itself is ever demoralized, it will come from this
**     incessant human wiggle and struggle for office,
**     which is but a way to live without work.
**         ==  Abraham Lincoln (1809—1865), 16th President of the United States

Date: Sat, December 19, 2009 10:26 am     (answered 20 December 2009)
From: "Richard D."
Subject: Merry Christmas from Me and Bob

Hi Agent,

I'm not usually sentimental about songs, but somehow this particular song seems very appropriate:

Richard D

Bob Dylan's Dream

While riding on a train goin' west,
I fell asleep for to take my rest.
I dreamed a dream that made me sad,
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had.

With half-damp eyes I stared to the room
Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon,
Where we together weathered many a storm,
Laughin' and singin' till the early hours of the morn.

By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung,
Our words were told, our songs were sung,
Where we longed for nothin' and were quite satisfied
Talkin' and a-jokin' about the world outside.

With haunted hearts through the heat and cold,
We never thought we could ever get old.
We thought we could sit forever in fun
But our chances really was a million to one.

As easy it was to tell black from white,
It was all that easy to tell wrong from right.
And our choices were few and the thought never hit
That the one road we traveled would ever shatter and split.

How many a year has passed and gone,
And many a gamble has been lost and won,
And many a road taken by many a friend,
And each one I've never seen again.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
That we could sit simply in that room again.
Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat,
I'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.

Copyright C1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

Hi again, Richard,

Thanks for the thought, and the memory.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To resist the frigidity of old age one must combine
**     the body, the mind, and the heart. — And to keep
**     these in parallel vigor one must exercise, study, and love.
**         ==  Carl Victor de Bonstettin (1735—1842), Swiss author

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

Canada Goose family with 9 goslings
The Family of 9, taking a nap

Now which one is "Seven of Nine"?

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, December 19, 2009     (answered 19 December 2009)
From: Bill O.
Subject: RE: drinking in the other primate world REDUX

Hello Orange,

I still check out your site from time to time (I've written you before) I enjoy reading the new letters postings. I saw this video on the drinking habits of monkeys on this one island and thought you might find the parallels between "us and them" interesting:

Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys

Good to see you are still at it. I also enjoy the geese updates.


Hi Bill,

Thanks for the link.

Wow. Now that is interesting. That's the most blatant example that I've seen of alcoholic animals. And I think it does give a glimpse into human nature. The parallels are obvious and striking.

What is particularly revealing is the fact that the monkey population has the same percentages of alcoholics and tea-totalers as humans do. That points to a genetic factor, as there is no way to argue that those monkeys and humans have the same environments, society, or childhood upbringing.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== 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: Sat, December 19, 2009 4:20 am     (answered 20 December 2009)
From: "Matt T."
Subject: Re: The Twelve Biggest Secrets...

Some people just don't get it. (The A.A. Program) They are just far too intelligent to be helped. There are those unfortunates. They seemed to have been born that way. The A.A. program only works if you want it to. It works for me. The quality of my life in the past year of the A.A. program has been far better than all the preceding 50 years before it. Am I just being fooled by the program? If so, I will continue to live this dream, for it is far better than anything I have ever known before it! I'd rather live in the dream than die in the nightmare. Living life happy, joyous, and free. With a very real and true honesty, openness, and willingness to do so. I found through the A.A. program that alcohol wasn't my problem, living life was my problem and I drank alcohol to avoid life. I don't have to drink today. I choose not to drink today and that is a miracle today!

It's amazing to me when I come across someone who proposes an intelligent argument as to why the program does not work how far they actually went in the program to form the opinions and manipulate the numbers that they do for their arguments. And the very un-ingenious ploy of using one of A.A.'s so called 'own members' to argue their point.

Step 2: "Came to believe a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity." I was never insane. When I drank I did crazy and insane things as a result of drinking alcohol. The insanity of the disease is in believing no matter how far down I have gone in my life as a result of drinking alcohol; that I can continue to drink with false impunity! Doing the same things over and over and over again, expecting different results every time. That is the insanity talked about in step 2, pure and simple. If I place my hand on a hot stove and burn it, do I continue to do so expecting different results other than my hand being burned every time? That is the insanity!

The scoffers can scoff, the whiners can whine, the complainers can complain all they want to about the program. If they hang around long enough in the program they too just might find the honesty, openness, and willingness to really get it.

I too was once a scoffer of the A.A. program for many, many years. I just couldn't get it. Come to find out that it was so, so simple. I really had to want it before I could really get it.

I've been to more rehabs and detox centers than I can count or care to remember and none of them worked as well as the A.A. program. The only requirement of A.A. is an honest desire to quit drinking. NOT..."what type of insurance do you have and if you don't have any, we can't help you!"

Hello Matt,

Thank you for the letter.

Well, starting at the top, stupidity (lack of intelligence) is not an asset in quitting bad habits. Period. I should actually add that item — "some people are too intelligent" — to the list of A.A.'s Biggest Lies, because it is an often-repeated slogan, but it is quite untrue.

You say,

"The A.A. program only works if you want it to."

"The Program" does not work at all. People quit drinking when they really want to quit; otherwise, they don't.

It is good that you quit drinking, and I'm glad that you are feeling good. You did that, not any program. Congratulations on your sobriety. I'm really happy to hear that you are "Living life happy, joyous, and free." It is so much easier to feel good when you aren't poisoning yourself with alcohol, isn't it?

This is garbled:

"It's amazing to me when I come across someone who proposes an intelligent argument as to why the program does not work how far they actually went in the program to form the opinions and manipulate the numbers that they do for their arguments. And the very un-ingenious ploy of using one of A.A.'s so called 'own members' to argue their point."

The meaning is unclear. I can only guess that you don't like statistical analyses of A.A. that reveal the dropout rate and the failure rate. And quoting ex-members who describe their experiences in A.A. is totally valid.

Then you wrote:

"The insanity of the disease is in believing no matter how far down I have gone in my life as a result of drinking alcohol; that I can continue to drink with false impunity! Doing the same things over and over and over again, expecting different results every time. That is the insanity talked about in step 2, pure and simple."

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is only one of the "insanities" that Bill Wilson wrote about in the Big Book. How about the "whiskey and milk" drinker who suffered from "strange mental blank spots"? How about the people who were supposedly unable to resist the first drink, no matter what kind of a "defense they put up"?

Sponsors often use slogans like "Your best thinking got you here" to tell newcomers that they are insane and can't think right. There is much more to the "insanity" of Step 2 than you are admitting. The "insanity" in Step 2 is why the newcomer is supposed to "surrender" his mind, his will, and his life in Step 3.

Then you wrote:

"The scoffers can scoff, the whiners can whine, the complainers can complain all they want to about the program. If they hang around long enough in the program they too just might find the honesty, openness, and willingness to really get it. "

You want to be honest and open? Oh good, very good. Please honestly and openly answer this question:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

(HINT: the answers are here.)


"The only requirement of A.A. is an honest desire to quit drinking."

No, actually, there is at least one more requirement that you have already listed: You must dump your intelligence into the trash can and become a stupid believer.

Oh well, have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  Stupid people like to delude themselves that while they may not be clever,
**  they were at least able to compensate with feelings and insight denied
**  to the intellectual.  Drivel, Ashley thought.  It was precisely this
**  kind of false belief that made stupid people so stupid.  The truth was
**  that clever people had infinitely more resources from which to make the
**  leaps of connection that the world called intuition.
**  ==  The Stars' Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry

Date: Fri, December 18, 2009 8:54 pm     (answered 20 December 2009)
From: "Michael D."
Subject: I read your paper

I could not agree with you more. I have been in and out of AA for a little over 10 years and these are exactly the reasons I never stayed. I have recently gone through a very traumatic relapse and am now done with it all. 5% for me this time :-) .

I appreciate your work.

Michael D.

RE: https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Harvard_Mental

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the letter. I hope you are doing well. You may fall into the "fortunate five percent", but I think that this time it might be 100% for you.

Have a good day and a good life and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Life is not to live, but to be well.
**        ==  Martial, (Full name, Marcus Valarius Martialis, A.D. 42?—?102),
**            Latin epigramist and poet born in Spain.

Date: Sat, December 19, 2009 5:52 pm     (answered 21 December 2009)
From: "Joe G."

This site is totally amazing. I can't believe all of the information you put together. I must commend you on all your hard work. Thank God someone as honest and committed as yourself is here to state the facts about how dangerous AA really is.

I was lost for years in the program, but I never really knew what was wrong, until I read your site. Now it all makes sense to me and I am an avid fan.

I have erased all my AA contacts and I don't answer their fone calls. I don't need their phony religion clouding my mind and judgement

Thankyou for setting the record straight.

Sent from my iPhone

Hello Joe,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling better.

So have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The most striking contradiction of our civilization is the
**     fundamental reverence for truth which we profess and the
**     thorough-going disregard for it which we practice.
**        ==  Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879— ), American explorer

Date: Sat, December 19, 2009 8:20 pm     (answered 21 December 2009)
From: "Martin W."
Subject: A.A. and The Orange Papers

Hi there Orange. I read with some interest as well as some irritation your entire blog. While there are many problems with AA and some people who DO treat it as a sort of cult, there are a vast and silent number of folks who actually get good from it. It is not some evil empire created by a Hitler worshiping maniac. While many of your premises seem well reasoned, you roam off into speculation and fantasy on many points.

In November, 2009 I passed 23 years clean, sober and tobacco free. Yes I quit cocaine, alcohol and cigarettes all at once. Yes it was hell on earth. Instead of relying on a single program such as AA to fix me up I lucked upon a (now defunct) Drug treatment program called Coke Enders which took a holistic approach to drug and alcohol addiction. The actual inpatient portion of the program was one week. However the outpatient portion of the program was massive. It required that I attend AA meetings of one sort or another 7 days a week for the first Year. I also had to change my diet, do regular exercise including weight lifting and aerobics, do individual and group therapy every single week for 5 years and actively worked out all my problems which had landed me in addcition in the first place. Of the 21 people in my group, 12 of us are clean and sober to this day. Guess that holistic approach works :>)

Hello Martin,

Congratulations on your sobriety.

Around the 5 year mark, I suddenly quit even thinking about drinking, drug use and smoking and have never looked back and never will....and yes I will say never. :>) I haven't been to an AA meeting in about 18 years now but still look back on my days at the meetings fondly. I made many close friends there who supported me through the first very rough years. I DID receive the unconditional love and friendship at my meetings that they talk about. My sponsor was a very decent and compassionate man and a good friend as well. He later went back to school and got his phd in psychiatry and works with addicts to this day. There is no simple way to quit and stay sober. Nothing simplistic like Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No". Unless you actively work on resolving the issues in your life which drove you to addiction you will never rid yourself of the possibility of relapse. You will always be what the folks in AA term a "Dry Drunk"

Are you assuming that people who do not go to A.A. do not also work on their "other issues"? The people that I know do a lot of work.

Your use of statistics on more people dying in AA than out of it are pure fabrication. Simply put ...HUGE numbers of alcoholics die every single day out of AA but aren't reported in statistics because they die from a variety of liver, kidney , heart and other ailments caused by alcoholism. These folks aren't counted as dead alcoholics ...because they NEVER admitted to themselves much less anyone else that they were Alcoholics in the first place.

Whoa! Hold on right there. I don't believe that I ever said anything like that more people die of alcoholism in A.A. than outside of A.A. I wouldn't make such a statement for the reasons that you just listed.

In fact, I just recently, in another letter, explained why a fellow was seeing so few deaths from alcoholism — telling him that the deaths were masked by things like lung cancer or heart attacks.

Now I have said:

  1. More people recover from alcohol abuse outside of A.A. than in A.A.
  2. A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics.
  3. A.A. also raises the rates of binge drinking, and rearrests, and the cost of hospitalization.
  4. A.A. does not raise the sobriety rate in alcoholics.
  5. Slightly over half of all alcoholics recover without treatment or a "support group".

The folks that come into AA have admitted that they are alcoholics.

Sorry, but that isn't necessarily true either. Lots of people are coerced into A.A. meetings by everything from the judge at a traffic court to a treatment program to family and employers. Many of those coerced people are not admitting anything.

Many of the people who come to AA are on their last legs and AA is a hail mary pass to try and save their lives. Some are just too far gone and die anyway due to too many years on the bottle.

So some people do choose to quit drinking and save their own lives, and some don't. It's been that way since the Egyptians invented beer 5000 years ago. That doesn't have anything to do with Alcoholics Anonymous.

I was one of those that barely lived long enough to get sober. In my first week of inpatient treatment, the doctor on staff was gravely concerned that I would die at the program. I was 6 feet tall and weighed 110 pounds to give you a vague idea of my condition. Saying someone died because they were in AA is like saying someone died because they were a Republican or an Eagle scout. Those folks that die while in AA didn't die as a result of trying to get sober in AA they died because they had pushed their bodies beyond the limit. Far more undiagnosed alcoholics die from addiction than have ever died while trying to get sober in AA. Also, just curious ...if I die tomorrow with 23 years sobriety...does that make me one more of the people who died in AA? :>)

When I say that people have died because of A.A., I am talking about things like people being told not to take their doctor-prescribed medications, and then dying from untreated medical ailments, or committing suicide. Although a good case can be made that more people die because they are driven to relapse by A.A. Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol, and have "no defense" against the first drink is guaranteed to cause big troubles.

Also saying more people quit alcoholism out of AA than in it is just pure rampant speculation. There are NO statistics whatsoever on how many alcoholics just quit on their own.

The Harvard Medical School disagrees with you. Why don't you write to them and tell them that they don't know what they are talking about?

Primarily because alcoholics rarely if ever think of themselves as alcoholics and even if they do, they never just voluntarily tell someone collecting statistics that they are.

That is lame. You think that the only way to collect statistics about alcoholics is to ask them if they are alcoholics?

Part of the problem of alcoholism is the art of denial to yourself that you have a problem in the first place. Ask any stranger that drinks in a bar if they are an alcoholic and they will tell you no. Flat no. They always have a friend that drinks more than they do and they don't think their friend is an alcoholic.

Again, that is a lame argument. Researchers collect statistics about alcohol abuse from everything from hospital records to traffic fatalities to court records to research studies of drinking patterns.

Admittedly there are some folks that just quit, but to make a claim that they comprimise the majority of clean and sober people is pure sophistry and wishful thinking. The great majority of us who have long term sobriety put a LOT of effort and time into it.

And that is a subtle cultish game of one-upmanship. So your sobriety is better than other people's sobriety because you work at it more?

You cannot grade sobriety like levels of spirituality. Sobriety is very simple: either you consume alcohol, or you don't.

Admittedly , there are lots of folks in AA who spout Cliches and maxims at any given opportunity and look down their 5 year sobriety noses at one year sobriety people. There are AA tyrants and AA assholes and AA compulsive obsessives and any other term you can come up with ...just like there are in regular society and in about the same ratio give or take an asshole or two. :>) There are far more people in AA who are caring, kind, compassionate and supportive at least in my experience. I am sorry if your own experience of the program so embittered you that you felt compelled to make it your life's work to try and blacken every aspect of a program that has helped so many folks.

That is minimalization and denial. There is no evidence that A.A. has "helped so many". The evidence is that it has harmed more than it has helped. A.A. doesn't get people sober, it doesn't raise the sobriety rate, it just raises the death rate. That isn't helping people.

Based on your replies to all the other mail you have gotten that I read, I know you will read my letter and dismiss it out of hand with a have a nice day reply. I however read your entire blog with an open mind and willingly acknowledge that you do have some points and that blindly following ANY principles without question is a dangerous thing. Most of us in AA however recognized that the Big book is no more pure unmitigated truth than the Holy Bible is. Knowing that however does not make AA useless nor does knowing that about the Bible make me any less of a Christian. I am not willing to toss out the baby with the bathwater. There is a lot of Good in AA as well.

Well, if you have read my "entire blog" (that isn't a blog), then what are you going to do to fix the problems of the rapists in the Midtown Group and the Pacific Group, while you are being so spiritual?

What are you doing to stop sponsors from killing their sponsees by telling them not to take their medications?

It's easy to claim to be spiritual when you don't have to actually do anything to stop wrong-doing in your organization.

As part of my changed approach to life, I don't carry anger with me anymore. If something upsets me I address it immediately and then I am done with it. Having written my letter to you, I am done with the things that upset me about your blog. I have for years had my long sought peace and happiness with life . I hope you have as well.


Okay, so you have learned some anger management. Good.

And here it is, just like you predicted: "Have a good day and a Merry Christmas."

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Quackery has no such friend as credulity.
**       ==  Charles Simmons (1798—1856), American clergy and literateur

Date: Sun, December 20, 2009 12:47 pm     (answered 21 December 2009)
From: "Thor H."
Subject: Can you found the AOC?

Agent Orange Cult,

What AA has going for them is a great system of distribution, cant you hijack that and replace the BS with stuff that works from e.g. letter 133?

Do you use socialization with other sober persons as part of your staying sober plan? Are you indeed sober still or using in moderation (you do encourage asking questions)?

Best regards, Thor F. H.

Hello Thor,

Thank you for the letter. I don't think that I need to found an organization, because there are already several good ones around. I think it will work better if we just support and grow them. Here is the list. They really do know just about everything that I know.

Over the years, I have really thought about starting up a "good sobriety cult" that would harness the cultish energy and esprit de corps of A.A. or N.A., and encourage people to stay clean and sober. But the problem with cults seems to be inherent in the structure and style of the group. Cults get weird, they become corrupt, they go bad. That just seems to happen so often. Both Synanon and The People's Temple were at one time considered great organizations, God-sends that got many people off of drugs and alcohol. But the cultish structure won out and the leaders went crazy and took their organizations with them. That is happening in A.A. now, too. I mean, they were always cultish, but now it's getting worse, with officially sanctioned sexual exploitation and a strong heirarchical power structure leading up to the new gurus, and empire-building by taking over neighboring groups.

Personally, I don't use socialization with other people to stay sober. I haven't been to any kind of sobriety meeting in four or five years, now. If anything, I use socialization with geese, especially the cute little goslings, as my sobriety group. But the truth is, I really stay sober just by not drinking alcohol. I remember what it did to me, and I don't want to go back to that kind of suffering again, so I am doing other things with my life now.

You may ask about my drinking. It's quite alright, and I know that some people are very curious about how well I am doing. The answer is simple: I totally abstain from alcohol and tobacco — not a single sip or puff in 9 years. (I also don't do any other drugs, either, other than kick-ass Espresso coffee.) I have to do it that way because I am one of those people who cannot moderate on either alcohol or tobacco. Once I start down that slippery slope, there are no limits. It's all or nothing. It's like instant readdiction. So I choose to have none of that pain and suffering in my life any more, and I'm quite happy with the decision, and the resulting lifestyle.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Knowledge," says Bacon, "is power"; but mere
**     knowledge is not power; it is only possibility.
**     Action is power; and its highest manifestation
**     is when it is directed by knowledge.
**        ==  Thomas W. Palmer (1624—1666)

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

Canada Goose gosling begging
A Canada Goose gosling begging for some munchies
I think that is one of the "Family of 9" kids.

Date: Sat, December 12, 2009 11:46 am     (answered 12 December 2009)
From: "R. J."
Subject: Then and Now

Hi Agent,

I want to tell you about an observation I made regarding the difference between the 30 day rehab I did in '85 vs. the one I did this year, and ask you if you have a generalization that explains it. They were both 12 Step A.A. based, but there are some significant differences.

    • 1985: None of the patients were on saboxone (or mouthwash, for that matter, since it would result in expulsion from the program).

    • 2009: Many of the patients brought their saboxone prescriptions with them, and were on it throughout their stay. This caused much destabilization with other patients who were not on drugs (obviously, since we were in rehab).

    • 1985: During my entire stay, of all the people I met, the entire revolving 25 people or so (total of maybe 50 people), only a couple of them (certainly no more than 5) were there because the courts ordered them to be there. The vast majority were there for the same types of reasons I was there: couldn't function on their jobs, seeing ants crawling on their arms, tried to drive their car into a lake, were dying from heroin, liver disease, etc.

    • 2009: During my stay, of all the revolving 35-40 people or so (total of maybe 80 people), I would be hard-pressed to come up with 5 or so who weren't there because they were court ordered. The exact opposite of the case in '85. This was extremely frustrating to the people who were there to change their lives around.

    • 1985: Counselors were not afraid to "confront" a patient at a group meeting, if they thought the patient was being dishonest, evasive, etc. Usually, the confrontation was done in a firm but kind voice. On numerous occasions, I saw patients who were somewhat shocked (or rocked) by the comment. I was one of them, when the head counselor said to me in my first week, "if you're so smart, why are you here?" She said it kindly, but believe me, it had a profound impact on me, forcing me to shut up and listen for a few days.

    • 2009: There was nothing that could remotely have been considered confrontational. Not in the open setting of a group meeting, anyway. Maybe in the office if they were kicking someone out, but that's not what I'm talking about. One counselor even told me in private that their hands were tied; they couldn't be confrontational even if they wanted to.

    • 1985: I was given the assignment to read "Reality Therapy" by William Glasser, which taught you exactly what the title implies, that it's really all about the reality of daily living, and how to get on with it, how to solve life's daily problems. As a counseling method, Reality Therapy "is a problem solving method that works well with people who are experiencing problems they want help solving, as well as those who are having problems and appear to not want any assistance. Reality Therapy also provides an excellent model for helping individuals solve their own problems objectively and serves as the ideal questioning series during coaching sessions". (quote: from Reality Therapy Central) {Orange: not intended as an endorsement or advertisement, but just to make my point in retelling my story, and as a recognition that they weren't my words}

    • 2009: I saw no sign whatsoever of any such counseling, individual or otherwise. Everything I saw was "touchy feely", or confined to assignments from the book on how to spot and prevent relapses: "Staying Sober" by Gorski. Or questions that could be answered "off the cuff" without any reading or studying.

    • 1985: If someone was "kicked out" of the program, there was an immediate "debriefing" by the staff to the patients explaining, and defusing the bad feelings that came of it.

    • 2009: If someone was "kicked out" of the program, he simply disappeared with no word. One day he was there at the meetings, next day he was gone. Any questions were met with stonewalling or catch phrases like, "we're here to do OUR programs", resulting in many bad feelings, much "f___ this" and "f___ that" for a day or so.

I'm sure I could think of more, but you get the idea. What do you make of this? Is there anything you can think of that summarizes these differences briefly?


Hello R.J.,

Thank you for the letter and a good question. Just offhand, I don't know the answers there. Perhaps the readers have some ideas.

It is possible that the two different treatment centers were just being run by different people in very different ways, or it is possible that you are seeing a trend towards mindless fluff.

The fact that you saw so many court-ordered people recently is certainly problematic. There are a bunch of people who make big money from all of those coerced patients, and they do everything they can to sell the myth of successful treatment, and to encourage the courts to send more victims their way. The slogan "Treatment Works!" is such a scam.

About the treatment center using a Terence Gorski book as their manual: Personally, I wouldn't bet my sobriety on a book by Gorski. I've commented on his writings several times:

  1. "Ego" is supposedly the cause of addiction
  2. Gorski's book, Understanding the Twelve Steps
  3. Gorski's book, Passages Through Recovery; An action Plan for Preventing Relapse
  4. Citing Gorski to support quackery and pseudo-science

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Thy purpose firm is equal to the deed. —
**     Who does the best his circumstance allows,
**     does well, acts nobly; angels could do no more.
**        ==  Edward Young (1683—1765), English poet

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Last updated 7 December 2013.
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