Letters, We Get Mail, CLVII

Time for another autobiographical blog entry:

I am still homeless, and still looking for a new place to live. I think I've found a good one, in a rural town outside of Portland. Hopefully, I'll have a new home in a week or so.

What an experience it's been. I got to see a lot more of the homeless people, and get reminded of what makes some of them tick (or not tick very well). More grist for the mill.

Ironically, I ended up in the very same homeless shelter as I was in 9 years earlier. The difference is, this time around, it's a totally different me. Nine years earlier, I was sick unto death from alcohol and tobacco addiction — really in bad shape. This time around, I have 9 years off of alcohol and tobacco, and am very healthy. And that changes everything.

I'll get caught up on the email as soon as I can.

Have a good day.

== Orange

Time for another autobiographical blog entry:

Okay, finally, I got a nice place to live, way out in the boondocks. I have moved out to a distant suburb of Portland, Oregon called "Forest Grove". It's way out there, in the middle of a lot of farmland. I like that. The claustrophobic feeling of being in the middle of a big city was getting old.

And I'm now in the upper half of a little old cottage. The house is divided vertically into two apartments, and I have the upstairs. I'm up in the attic, with slanted walls and ceilings. It has certain charm to it. It's kind of rustic. It's nice to get away from the sterile concrete and glass towers of apartment complexes.

New home

New home, master bedroom

Now I have the hassle of moving all of my stuff out of a storage locker and to my new home, and then spending the next month sorting everything out and getting the place wired for sound and computers...

The neighborhood is nice. It's almost a return to the past, with well-groomed yards and lots of flower beds. My first impression of the town was the cars actually stopping so that I could cross a busy street. I wasn't expecting that. When was the last time that all of the cars stopped just so that you could cross the street? And I mean, there wasn't a stop sign or a traffic light; they just stopped because I was standing on the corner, waiting for a gap in the traffic. That was the moment I knew that I was in a small town.

Date: Sat, December 26, 2009 2:35 pm     (answered 31 December 2009 to 22 April 2010)
From: xanduman
Subject: AA


Have u read this Big Book your self? as far as i can read they offer there experiences how they quit drinking, they do'nt ask for monney, or fame. No body tells u what to do, beleve in a power , come to beleve in truth, love, peace. But do'nt beleve anny more in this bad stuff u did before. Wy to proof AA is bad, save us for..... chanche the world and start with youre self.Looks like u proof it's a Part of NWO,or something even more bad!!

Nobody is perfect, mabey some wrong thinkings in the beginning but after 70 years? I can't beleve it's desroying people on purpes. if u read good it's a selfhelping possibillitie u can use it or leave it.

Minesota model bad!!

Hope to hear of u


Hello Pierre,

Thanks for the letter. Yes, I have read the Big Book. And actually, it does tell us what to do and what to believe, and it makes a lot of demands.

Chapter Four tells you that you must believe in Bill Wilson's religion. Agnosticism and atheism are not acceptable.

Then, in Chapter Five, the Twelve Steps are more instructions and demands, and they certainly tell you what to believe, like:

  • Step One: Believe that you are powerless over alcohol, and your life is "unmanageable".
  • Step Two: Come to believe that you are insane, but some "Higher Power" will fix you.
  • Step Three: Believe that "God" will take care of your will and your life for you.
  • Step Four: Believe that God actually wants you to confess everything to Man and God.
  • Step Seven: Believe that begging "Him" will cause "Him" to remove your "defects of character", including the desire to drink alcohol, just because you beg.
  • Step Eleven: Believe that God will talk to you in a séance and tell you what to do and give you the power to do it.

Then, later in the Big Book, in Doctor Bob's Story, Dr. Bob declares that he feels sorry for you if you don't buy into their goofy Oxford Group religious beliefs:

If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Dr. Robert Smith, Doctor Bob's Story, Page 181.

The faults of A.A. are not just some mistakes made at the beginning 70 years ago. They are current problems, like the sexual exploitation of minors, telling sick people not to take their medications, and promoting insane cult religion as a cure for the deadly problem of drug and alcohol abuse. All of that is happening today.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who
**       falsely believe they are free."
**         — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749—1832),
**           German poet, dramatist, and philosopher

Date: Mon, December 28, 2009 11:20 am     (answered 23 April 2010)
From: "Greg W."
Subject: Alcoholics anonymous

I have been sober five years. I enourage my sponsees to think for themselves and listen to their higher power to make decisions for themselves. I am not a counselor and I don't tell them to do anything but the steps and even that is optional.

I am sorry you had a bad experience. I know people who had similar experiences and for the program of Alcoholics anonymous which is not the fellowship (meetings you go to are not the Program). My sponsor frequently told me not everything you hear in a meeting is AA. That is why they say principals before personalities.

I encountered sponsors who tried to give me advice, medical, religious, and legal. I believe my higher power showed me what not to do in those cases. I now know not to give advice only experience, strength and hope. The program of AA has taught me alot some experiences are bad some good. I learned from both of them and it helps me to help others more effectively. I don't resent any bad advice I am an adult and can think for myself. I read AA literature and learn what AA is and what it is not. So I don't get confused when I hear something that is not AA in a meeting. The meetings are not AA in its entirety.

If you are not working steps you are just going to meetings you technicly are not in the program of aa. 90 PTA meetings in 90 days will not make you a good parent. 90 aa meetins will not make you an AA member.

My last sponsees higher power was superman. I never made fun of her it helped her stay sober because she prayed to whatever was out there to help her. She is still sober.

I changed because I worked the steps. That is where the program is. I changed drastically and I have never been happier. The steps changed me I didnt change me. The people in AA helped but if I didn't do the steps eventually I would hate them because they are human and I need a connection to something greater than me. I work the steps and I feel compassion where I felt hatred.

I worked all twelve steps and few in AA really do work all the steps and that is why people don't stay sober. Some don't want to do the ninth step. They don't want to give back a diamond ring to their ex because it was inherited. They don't want to give away money to those they stole from. I did those things and more. It was the absolute best thing I ever did. I went from homeless and unemployed to a happiness I have never known and it is because of the REAL program of AA.

I wish you well. Peace be with you. .

Hello Greg,

Thanks for the letter, and congratulations on your sobriety. I'm glad to hear that your life has improved. I would suggest that the improvement in your life was caused by your abstaining from drinking alcohol, rather than by any A.A. practices.

I notice that those who quit drinking around A.A. get credit for "working a strong Program", while those who do not quit drinking are accused of "not working the Program correctly". Success in working "The Program" is judged by success in abstaining from drinking.

Claiming that those who did quit drinking "worked the Program" correctly is backwards logic — assuming that the Steps caused the sobriety.

Whether someone is judged to be working the Program properly is determined largely by how much alcohol they drink, not by how they "Work The Steps". But how could it be otherwise? You don't know whether someone really confessed every dirty little secret in his fourth and fifth Steps; you just assume that he did if he quits drinking, and you assume that he didn't confess enough if he drinks more.

The same goes for making amends in Step Nine, and all of the rest of it.

The Twelve Steps are nothing but some old cult practices — not "spiritual principles" — that Dr. Frank Buchman created in order to recruit and indoctrinate new Oxford Group cult members. Those practices had nothing to do with quitting drinking, and everything to do with guilt induction and creating feelings of fear, worthlessness, and powerlessness, and getting people to quit thinking and accept irrational statements, and making people amenable to surrender to the cult.

The Twelve Steps do not cause people to quit drinking. Period. They far better for causing divorces and suicides. When the A.A. program was properly tested, it was proven to be a failure that actually increased the rates of binge drinking and death.

By the way, using Superman as one's God and spiritual guide — one's "Higher Power" — is obviously insane (not to mention grossly heretical and anti-Christian). You can see that. How is a fictitious comic book character supposed to give proper spiritual guidance during the Step Eleven spook sessions and séances? How is Superman supposed to answer prayers? How is Superman supposed to take care of her will and her life for her? Superman isn't "out there to help her".

It is a mistake to assume that such deluded nonsensical superstitious practices really help people to stay sober.

But in your value system, praying to Superman is apparently okay as long as you don't drink while you do it. Apparently, almost anything is okay as long as you don't drink while you do it.

Oh, and claiming that what you see in an A.A. meeting is not "the real A.A." is just a dodge. The truth is, everything that happens in an A.A. meeting is "the real A.A.". Whatever is done to the newcomers, whatever they are taught or told, whatever wisdom or stupidity is shared in meetings, however the newcomers may be exploited — it is all the real A.A. There is no other A.A. than what actually exists in the ordinary day-to-day meetings and in the commonplace sponsor-sponsee relationships. While you may have some ideas about a perfect ideal A.A. program that exists in some dream world, the ordinary day-to-day A.A. is what the sick alcoholics actually get when they go to an A.A. meeting to see if it can help.

While you are formulating your ideas of the perfect A.A. program, remember that Bill Wilson wrote on page 59 of the Big Book that the 12 Steps were only "suggested as a program of recovery", not that they were the real program, or the required program.

(Now I know that Bill Wilson later declared that you were signing your own death warrant if you didn't work his Steps right, but that was just another bait-and-switch trick.)

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Almost any argument against AA is met with "Oh, that's not really AA."
**     Some say The Real A.A. is "the Fellowship", others
**     "the Program", and some possess the ability to
**     switch back and forth depending on the argument.
**     Bullshit, it's all AA.
**          ==  An unknown critic of A.A.

Date: Tue, December 29, 2009 12:17 pm     (answered 25 April 2010)
From: R.J.
Subject: Rehab Humor

Hi Orange,

I had a friend at rehab, about my age, who has a small construction company. We were talking about the legal limit and how many drinks it took to get there. We both conceded that a 4 pint happy hour definitely put you over the limit, even though if you've been drinking for 10 years or so, weighed enough, ate something, etc., you weren't really all that impaired, but you were certainly illegal. I said I was lucky I got away with it all those years, without getting pulled over. He told me he wasn't so lucky, being in his car to and from job sites, over the years he got pulled over for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with drinking, and wound up with a couple of DUIs. Then, in all seriousness, he came up with this statement.

"I don't have a drinking problem, I have a drinking and driving problem."

I laughed about that one for a week, but HE was serious.

Take care,

Hi RJ,

Thanks for the story. Yes, the human mind is funny, isn't it? The way that people can quibble over little details, and avoid the real issue... "The cirrhosis and the memory loss wouldn't be a problem at all if it weren't for those pesky cops giving me tickets for driving drunk..."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is,
**     I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.
**      — George Burns

Date: Wed, December 30, 2009 1:33 am     (answered 25 April 2010)
From: "Tomim"
Subject: Is AA a cult?

Hi A. Orange,

Heavily involved an an AA group, I found myself bothered by many questions ad nauseam. I'd be asking my questions, constantly getting cut off by my sponsor mid-sentence with him saying that I had a general "trusting problem" and that if I'd keep up this behavior, I'd be proving that I'm "uncoachable" (and eventually I'd be removed from the group). I was told that I couldn't be helped till I opened my mind to "another" type of thinking (or the lack thereof). I had to completely surrender my trust and my life to AA in order to find their so called "freedom". While I was not very happy with this approach, I decided to go along for the (90 day) ride.

Halfway through Step 4 while putting my resentments down on paper, I decided that in my absolute honesty, I'd have to take a hard look at the program and at my sponsor and draw out any resentments that may exist. If this was about honesty, certainly they could not be excluded! I began drafting a list, putting my dislikes down on paper, and with time, it kept getting longer and longer. Everything I've written about AA in my Step 4 worksheets I found to resonate with what you write here on your site! While you've expanded on each item, I noticed that my 10 page list greatly resembles your own! Short in comparison, it's really much the same!

I didn't find your site because I was looking for it. Actually, I spoke to my sponsor just today (I've left the program for a week or so) about rejoining and submitting my Step 4 worksheet. I temporarily disregarded my "issue" with the program and decided to finish the last 3 weeks. It was that a friend of mine sent me a link to one of your articles about Ford and my attention drifted to your scrutiny on AA. That really caught my eye!

I took the time to read through your entire 100 items (including many of the links on the pages) and I was amazed by your presentation of what AA's really all about. Earlier today I discussed some of my resentments towards AA on the phone with my sponsor, and I wasn't shocked by his reaction when he responded in a very hostile kind of way — putting me down, making me feel guilty, unworthy, that I'm getting in the way of my own success, and just plain victimizing me! This isn't going to happen any longer, now that I'm leaving the program!

Thank you for speaking the truth! I was thinking about this heavily for the past week or so, and I'm happy to have resolved this issue. In my books AA is a dangerous hardcore cult that we should distance ourselves from to the greatest measure!

In the group that I attend we share what we call "A&W moments" (Awe and Wonder moments, where we've felt and experienced G-d and His guidance in our daily lives). The purpose of this is to increase our G-d awareness, so we do this exercise daily. While I've got no problem speaking up in the group and asking my questions, I've always found it difficult to spot those A&W moments and than to share them with the others.

I've got to admit that I was playing with this idea in my head: After reading your exposure on AA, I thought I'd attend tomorrows meeting to tell them about the divine providence that lead me here! There I was, thinking about all this stuff, and than somehow I was divinely led here to where you dispelled all my doubt about AA and its cultishness! And just at the right time too! What an A&W moment!

Best of luck,

Hi Tomim,

Thanks for the story, and thanks for the laugh. I'm glad to hear that you escaped with your mind intact.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "The Jews, the Muslims & the Christians. They've all got it wrong.
**    The people of the world only divide into two kinds:
**    One sort with brains who hold no religion.
**    The other with religion and no brain."
**      == Al-Marri (973 — 1057). Syrian Poet & Philosopher. Muslim.

Date: Wed, December 30, 2009 9:28 pm     (answered 26 April 2010)
From: "Brooke K."
Subject: Thank you

Hi Orange,

Thank you for the recent letters posted. I appreciated especially your reply to Ric D on 12/21. During my last days with AA, I challenged the blustering old timer's with questions on Bill's sobriety date, the sobriety dates of old timers, and why Bill's fifth step was never published. Bill, the prolific writer, (or so we are told), didn't publish his glorious 5th step?

I appreciate your ongoing efforts, and hope the site continues to see traffic.

Wishing you the best of New Year's.

My best,


Hi Beth,

Thanks for the thanks and the good wishes. And the same to you.

Yes, Bill Wilson's sobriety date and lack of birthday parties present interesting questions, don't they? I'm glad to hear that you were sticking the old-timers with those questions. When you think about it, there are a lot of things about A.A. that are just assumed, with no supporting evidence — like the A.A. success rate, and how many millions of alcoholics A.A. is supposedly keeping sober, and Bill Wilson's alleged "many years of sobriety".

You would think that there should be a lot of historical photographs showing Bill Wilson and his followers grandly celebrating Bill's fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, thirtieth and thirty-fifth anniversaries. But I've never seen a single one. I never even heard about a birthday party for Bill, ever. Not one, not ever. Everybody else gets birthday parties with lots of cheering and clapping, but not Bill Wilson. Why is that?

Bill Wilson allegedly quit drinking in December of 1934, and he died January 24, 1971, so he supposedly had more than 35 years of sobriety before he died. You would think that the other A.A. members would have at least staged a grand party for old Bill at 30 or 35 years, wouldn't you? But they didn't, did they?

Funny you should mention traffic. The number of visitors just peaked again in March, and the web site got over a million hits last month — well over, like 1,125,000. I have no idea why. And the same thing happened last year too — over a million hits in March. I don't know what is special about the month of March. But it's nice to see the traffic anyway.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people
**      will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained
**      only for such time as the State can shield the people from
**      the political, economic and/or military consequences of the
**      lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use
**      all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the
**      mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is
**      the greatest enemy of the State."
**         ==  Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

Date: Thu, December 31, 2009 11:12 am     (answered 26 April 2010)
From: "Ray Smith"
Subject: Orange somewhat favorably cited on pro-AA site

Came across an interesting site, AnonPress, AA FAQ:

Under "Did Bill W. have a mistress?" they write:

You can read the will at
and more on the topic at

The later two links are from a stridently anti-AA site but the facts presented are usually accurate. Good facts mixed with unbalanced opinion. You can check the sources sited there for further research.

Even with the disclaimer, it seems like a mighty concession.

Hello Ray,

It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for the tip.

Any mention of my web site on a pro-A.A. web site does seem like a big concession. The true believers are generally so eager to prevent any mention of the Orange Papers, anywhere, that they even deleted all mentions of the O.P. from the bibliography of the Wikipedia web page on the Oxford Group, in spite of the fact that I did most of the research on which the page is based. (I just noticed that the other day.)

I found that last line funny — in particular, the phrase "unbalanced opinion". As if all opinions are supposed to be balanced. Facts should be fair and balanced and true and honest, and then opinions should result from the preponderance of the facts. Opinions don't have to be balanced, and often, shouldn't be. It depends on the facts.

I'm afraid that the cowardly practices of the evening news programs are contaminating the very ways in which we think and collect information. The evening news programs always try to balance the opinions, so that they can't be accused of being biased. They rarely dare to take a strong stand on either side of any issue. So they often give you an expert on the subject expressing one opinion, followed by Joe Couchpotato, who has real strong opposing opinions on the subject after he gets a few beers into him. And the two opinions are supposed to get equal weight. Then the debate just degenerates into an Escape Via Relativism.

Oh well, have a good day, anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  And now, for the opposing opinion, we have Blond Brunhilde, who
**  explains that Auschwitz really did serve a useful social function...

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

Canada Goose goslings
The "Family of 9"

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Thu, December 31, 2009 1:21 am     (answered 26 April 2010)
From: "Ted B."
Subject: history of recovery

Hi orange,

I often wondered if back before 1935 and Bill W. and the gang... when alcoholics were called "drunkards", if the same number of them stopped during the Temperance movement in the Washingtonian groups of that day... bet ya there were as many or more and yet AA members tell us that before AA, these drunkards were simply "locked up" in asylums for the rest of their lives. Although I'm sure there are no stats about the Washingtonians they certainly had no Steps, it was just a somewhat religious thing... how can AAers re-define history to say that the boozers before 1935 didn't stand a chance: not to say the Washingtonians did do any better, but drunks were going there instead of asylums. I guess it's the same as them never mentioning Frank Buchman... true history does not suit them so they ignore or alter it as they please.

Anyway, i have 3 days (again), and i will depend on the truth to keep me sober... Happy New Year, and a good day too.

Hi Ted,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer, but I've been busy being homeless and finding a new place to live. I hope you are doing well.

I agree that we probably had about the same numbers of people quitting drinking back in the days of the Washingtonians. From what I have heard, they were very successful and popular for a while. I think I read somewhere that Abraham Lincoln had a lot of praise for them.

Apparently, their biggest problem was just that they got involved in too many other causes, like abolition of slavery, at the same time, and watered down their core purpose, and they lost their focus, and eventually, the Washingtonians broke up into splinter groups that were concerned with other issues.

Still, I don't think that human nature or human thirsts have changed any in the last 150 years, so there were probably just as many drunkards and tea-totallers then as now. And I'm sure that they had about the same recovery rates, too.

Speaking of which, it turns out that even monkeys have the same numbers of drunkards and tea-totallers as people do now. Check out this video that shows alcoholic monkeys, here. I find it amazing that even monkeys have the same percentages of drunkards and abstainers in their population as people do. That points to some genetic factors that have not changed in a few million years. Never mind 150 years — things haven't changed in millions of years.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the most striking differences between a
**     cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Mon, January 4, 2010 11:00 am     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: "Paula G."
Subject: Very interesting

I would love to read the entire book.

Please let me know how I can get the entire text.

Hi Paula,

The entire text is online now. That's all there is; there is no dead-tree edition now.

You can download the entire book/web site by downloading a set of zipfiles. The files are listed on the first menu page, here, and the process for making a CD of the web site is described here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It was as true as taxes is.  And nothing's truer than them."
**       ==  Charles Dickens (1812-70)

Date: Sun, January 3, 2010 7:08 pm     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: "Ron W."
Subject: I finally have to get my two cents in

Hello Orange,

AA has been be-deviling me for over two decades now, from the first time I sought help on my own by going to an open AA meeting in 1989. What I saw overwhelmed my normally fine-tuned BS detector to the point where all it could say was "DOES NOT COMPUTE".

Needless to say, I walked out and never went back.

Again in 1995, when my company's cheap-skate EAP wanted to send me directly to AA instead of treatment.

Again in 1999 when my drinking got so bad I had to check myself into treatment, and the treatment center lied to me and assured me they don't believe in "twelve step". They kept their promise until the very end of a six-week Intensive Outpatient Program, when we were discharged and our "aftercare" instructions were to attend at least three twelve-step meetings a week.

Somewhere between then and my next encounter with the twelve-step empire I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and put on a regimen of meds that level out my emotions so well I have no need to drink.

Then in 2007 the therapist I had been seeing left for greener pastures and, by coincidence, I was assigned to another therapist who was also an "addictions expert". The first thing he asked me was, "Have you ever been in treatment for alcohol abuse?" I told the truth, and the old boy just about fell out of his chair when he found out I hadn't been to an AA meeting for almost ten years. I fired him, but he continued writing me letters, trying in vain to save me from alcoholic doom.

At this point I had to ask, what's up with this @#*^%(&^%* dinosaur of a program, and how come nothing has changed in 20 years?

My quest for the truth summed up in a nutshell:

(From Chas. Bufe's AA: Cult or Cure, Preface to Second Edition)

AA has taken pains to ensure that it's the only game in town. AA members have set up "educational" and "medical" front groups to promote AA and its ideology (especially the 12 steps and the disease concept of alcoholism). In addition to promoting AA and its concepts, the hidden AA members (in "professional" guise) in these front groups have repeatedly and viciously attacked critics of AA and researchers who've published findings contrary to AA dogma. They have also attempted to suppress alternative alcoholism treatment approaches — and to a great extent they've succeeded.

Kind of like the guy who invented a carburetor that gets 100 miles per gallon, only to disappear, done in by the hand of the oil industry. (The story of how Mark and Linda Sobell's controlled drinking program was brutally suppressed confirms this).

I believe the Internet has made it no longer possible to suppress the truth about this evil cartel, and crusaders like yourself will help organize opposition and finally dislodge this monster from power.

Thank you for making this your life's work

Ron W.

Hello Ron,

Thanks for the compliments. And I couldn't agree more about A.A. trying to suppress all competition and monopolize the field. But I think their days are numbered. More and more people are wising up and learning the truth. That's the kiss of death for a cult that relies on mythology, falsehoods, and withheld information.

I am reminded of a remark by Mark Willenbring, director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, who recently said that A.A.'s approach was wrong — "inconsistent with the facts". And that is a high-ranking government official who controls a lot of money. There is a link to an article here. With things like that happening, A.A. is having a hard time suppressing the truth. The times they are a'changin'.

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Tue, January 5, 2010 12:45 pm     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: "jill h."
Subject: cults, addiction, dopamine and intense experiences

Hi Mr Orange, love your site...

I am writing to you to tell you about an important corrollary about addiction which you may or may not know about. Because your website is so large, I haven't had time to go throught the whole thing yet, so if this information is already on your site, please forgive the redundancy.

That corollary is the neurochemical dopamine cycle of addiction, and how cults use this addiction cycle to gain members and keep them hooked. Intense experiences, from whatever source (alcohol or other drugs, orgasmic sex, intense "love bombing" and other cult initiation techniques) cause a spike of the neurotransmitter dopamine to be released in the brain. This automatically causes dopamine to fall too low as the brain seeks homeostasis, which causes the person to crave a way to bring their dopamine levels back up, so they seek another intense experience, which causes dopamine to fall too low and so on and so forth, in a vicious cycle that we call addiction.

If you go to a website called "Reuniting.info", you will see how the dopamine cycle, with its concomitant high prolactin levels, high cortisol levels and low oxytocin levels, keep people hooked into their chosen addiction, no matter what that addiction is. "Reuniting" does not mention cults, but it is easy to put two and two together, because every cult in history uses intense experiences as a part of their "initiation" process, and most, if not all, cults also have non-orgasmic ("sacred") sexuality as part or all of their innermost "occult" teachings.

I am not affiliated with "Reuniting" in any way. I stumbled upon your site after getting mixed up with an online cult. I got away from the cult for about 7 months, but then went back because unknown to myself, I had actually become addicted to the cult from the intense experiences of their initiation practices. I recently stumbled upon the "Reuniting" website, and the lightbulb just went off in my mind about how cults instigate and then utilize dopamine swings to keep people hooked, or to bring them back if they leave. But thanks to "Reuniting", I now have the ammunition I need to get away from the cult and stay away from it.

Doing the "Karezza" techinique for just a few days already has me feeling steadier and more free, and I am not logging on and posting or anything at the online cult website. So I'd like to say a big THANKYOU to you for getting me started on getting away from that filthy cult, and to add the info about the "Reuniting" website.

Thanks bunches.


Jill H

Hello Jill,

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

And thanks for the information. That sounds fascinating. I'll have to check it out. And it makes perfect sense. It is kind of humbling and disconcerting to see how much we are all just chasing a dopamine rush. But that's what feels good.

(Also think about the thrill junkies — sky-divers, BASE jumpers, radical snow-boarders and skiers, and bungee jumpers... All just getting another extreme emotional experience.)

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will?

Date: Thu, January 7, 2010 6:10 am     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: "Mike B."
Subject: Bill's Speech to the APA

Hey, Terry,

I don't know if you already have this one on file or not, but I cut it from a post by noted AA historical interpreter and Orange critic Art S. In denying AA's religiosity, Bill goes straight into a description of its process of conversion upon indoctrinees. Also of note is the mention of that one former member of the American Atheist Society, and the 20,000 other atheists who had come to see the light through AA by 1949. At that rate, atheism should have ceased to exist years ago.

Hope your move is going smoothly.


Bill W's statements to the American Psychiatric Association 105th Annual Meeting Montreal, Quebec, May 1949 noted that:

"Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization; there is no dogma. The one theological proposition is a "Power greater than one's self." Even this concept is forced on no one. The newcomer merely immerses himself in our society and tries the program as best he can. Left alone, he will surely report the gradual onset of a transforming experience, call it what he may. Observers once thought A.A. could appeal only to the religiously susceptible. Yet our membership includes a former member of the American Atheist Society and about 20,000 others almost as tough. The dying can become remarkably open-minded.

Of course we speak little of conversion nowadays because so many people really dread being God-bitten. But conversion, as broadly described by James, does seem to be our basic process; all other devices are but the foundation. When one alcoholic works with another, he but consolidates and sustains that essential experience.

... We like to think Alcoholics Anonymous a middle ground between medicine and religion, the missing catalyst of a new synthesis. This to the end that the millions who still suffer may presently issue from their darkness into the light of day!

... I am sure that none attending this great Hall of Medicine will feel it untoward if I leave the last word to our silent partner, Religion: God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference."

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the quote. I didn't have that one. That is very revealing. Bill openly admits that religious conversion is the goal of A.A.

And guess what is very interesting: Bill Wilson was lying about the "American Atheist Society". There was no such organization in existence. But Bill Wilson made the same claim in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, saying that A.A. had a former vice-president of the "American Atheist Society" as a true believer now. Somebody researched that claim about three years ago, and discovered that the atheists' organization never existed. The story is a complete fabrication. Read about it here.

I also notice how Bill Wilson rationalized his dishonesty in hiding the religious conversion practices of A.A. — people "really dread being God-bitten." Not that people actually wanted the quit-drinking program that was advertised, rather than to get converted to somebody's cult religion... It's all the fault of those defective people that Bill can't tell the truth.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but
**     the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
**        ==  Eric Hoffer (1902 — 1983)

Date: Thu, January 7, 2010 9:44 pm     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: "Ross M"
Subject: Yo Man

Dear Agent,

I've been looking at your site for about 3 months now, and have decided that after 12—13yrs of on/off AA membership, that I am a ex-drug addict, and a normal drinker. People at meetings can't accept my new (self) diagnosis. Oh well.

I even got a letter published in the local paper last week, saying if numerous State and Federal Courts agree AA is a religion, and/or promotes religious activites what is my home city doing letting said activities go on in a municipal building.

My three closest AA friends are totally opposed to my new life of social drinking. I figure if I stay away from the dope, I'm doing OK. How am I ever going to make up for all those thousands of hours at meetings?

I do believe in Jesus, however I do not believe in the Higher Power as some sort of Spiritual Santa Claus that AA promotes, or the "learned helplessness" that they push. I also believe if a person is "insane" they should seek professional help, instead of thinking God may restore them to sanity.

I have stopped attending meetings in the last 2 wks. Guess I'm going to take up my walking program again to kill time and get healthier again. Maybe more time at the library, just need to pay off that fine. I enjoy your site, the time you have dedicated to it, and the research you have done.

Thanks Mr. Orange and have a good day.

Ross M

Hi Ross,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. You sound like you have things figured out pretty well, so have a good life now.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When I reflect upon the number of disagreeable people
**     who I know have gone to a better world, I am moved to
**     live a different life.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Sat, January 9, 2010 6:25 am     (answered 27 April 2010)
From: Jeff
Subject: Bravo to you

Thanks for telling the truth about AA. It is nothing more than a collection of deviants and predators, the weak and the cleverly corrupt. I believe AA to be not only be a valid danger but also a clever multi-level marketing scheme.


Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the thanks. I don't know about the MLM thing, because A.A. is not primarily a marketing organization, but I do notice how a bunch of self-appointed A.A. superstars are setting themselves up in business in a manner similar to the Emerald and Diamond distributors of Amway.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He is useless on top of the ground; he ought to be under it,
**      inspiring the cabbages.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910
P.S.: On second thought, the pyramid of sponsors in A.A. does resemble the pyramid of sponsors in Amway, doesn't it? They even call the recruiter who brings you in "your sponsor" in Amway.

Date: Fri, January 8, 2010 12:43 pm     (answered 28 April 2010)
Subject: Save a loved one
From: "Peter G."

I am currently assessing at a variety of favorable to unfavorable documents, reviews, personal experiences as they relate to AA. Someone was kind enough to forward your link to me and I wish I had enough time in the day to read through all your materials. I quit drinking years ago because I needed to change my life. I didn't use any program or treatment and I was in pretty bad shape.

My wife on the other hand frequents AA meetings and it feels like at any point in time she can be pulled under the wing of a complete moron leading to stress in the home. The information in your pages confirms my worst fears about the culture of AA. After accompanying her to a few meetings it was easy to see the overarching cult theme.

On a good note the positive aspect of the human element has, every now and again, presented itself and worked towards a neutral balance in these meetings. Overall my wife is doing well and staying sober, I don't credit the program, I credit the occasional good person she happens to run into for advice. Unfortunately they beat everyone into submission over time and the blind will eventually lead the blind. Their blind faith in AA disturbs me.

Cutting my babble short, do you have any advice for someone who desires to protect their loved ones from the influence/adverse effects of AA? At one point my wife would talk to these folks about how I was able to cut free without assistance and they managed to convince her that I needed AA or Alanon. She leaned on me real hard for a while and then regained her original beliefs about me.

I'm nervous because the influence of the group for one hour a day can't possibly match that of my own. When actors and musicians began to effect the diets of my children I shut the TV off. This is a little more complex because I'm directly involved. To make it worse, it was part of her culture growing up. Her mother was part of the program and this has become a norm for her. I'm attempting to ride it out and allow time to work in our favor but I'm getting a little nervous.

Thanks for the extensive effort you put into this content. I wish you well.


Hello Pete,

Thank you for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer — I've been homeless and looking for a good place to live. I found one, so now I'm back to answering letters.

Your description of A.A. and the A.A. experience sounds very accurate. You seem to understand the situation very well.

One line that stood out was, "...the influence of the group for one hour a day can't possibly match that of my own."
My immediate reaction was, "Yes, but there are more of them than you. If questions are put to a vote, you will lose every time." The influence of a group is large. Sooner or later, your wife cannot help but think, "Are all of them crazy, or is he just wrong? They can't all be wrong, can they?" Well yes, they can, but it is human nature to think that a group is probably more right than one dissenter.

I have received many letters telling how the A.A. group gradually split up the marriage. These four stand out:

  1. this horror story
  2. Another treatment center nightmare
  3. a sad story of Narcotics Anonymous, the "sexual, social cult"
  4. ...we are getting divorced, and I think it all comes down to her sponsor and AA indoctrination...

(The whole list of A.A. horror stories is here.)

Now, for your question about how to protect your loved one from the influence/adverse effects of AA... Wow. I wish I had a simple, easy answer, but I don't. But I do have some pieces of advice.

The first thing that occurs to me is that you have the same problem as anyone who is trying to get a loved one out of a cult. Steven Hassan wrote two books about that, called Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, and Combatting Cult Mind Control. I have mentioned them before, several times, and described some useful things in them, and the list of those descriptions is here.

Obviously, you can't just tell her to quit the cult, because she grew up in it and is really attached to it. But you can work slowly, gradually introducing her to information about the failures and flaws and history of A.A. You can also use Hassan's trick of criticizing the faults of another cult which just happens to have the same problems as A.A. Where she might resist criticism of A.A., she might be quite ready to see the same defect in a different cult. Then she can connect the dots in her own mind later.

So you can talk about the Moonies or Scientology or the Oxford Group or some other cult, and notice how they falsify their history, and glorify the founder to a ridiculous degree, and make grandiose claims of improving the minds or souls of their members, and claim to have The Only Way, and claim to have a guaranteed ticket to Heaven (or its equivalent), and so on...

I would also emphasize and stress the importance of the truth. Every so often, when she describes A.A., I would ask, "But what is the real truth? What is really going on there? How does that really work?" The truth is the deadly enemy of a cult. That's the one thing they don't want to talk about. They want to just keep on parrotting their mythology. When the whole truth is apparent, cults lose members fast.

But as far as really protecting her from the bad influences of A.A., wow, that is tough. The only sure-fire method that I know of is, just have nothing to do with A.A. any more. But she doesn't want to hear that. So you have to just keep inserting the truth into the conversation, and counter-acting the misinformation, and keep working at it.

Good luck. And have a good life, and a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Deceivers are the most dangerous members of society. —
**    They trifle with the best affections of our nature, and
**    violate the most sacred obligations.
**    ==  George Crabbe (1754—1832)

Date: Mon, January 25, 2010 1:45 pm     (answered 29 April 2010)
From: "Carlos R."
Subject: AA analysis

Dear Sir,

I have enjoyed reading your observations on AA and it's true purpose. I have not read all of it but I wondering if you had any suggestions for alternate ways or methods for sobriety. I have tried abstinence with little or no success. I'm looking for a program that can help me "cope" with the things that cause me to drink. Thanks you for your time and suggestions.


Hello Carlos,

Thanks for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer. I've been homeless and looking for a better place to live. Now I've found one.

For moderating and coping with the things that cause you to drink, one thing that comes to mind is SMART. SMART is specifically designed to help you to cope with your emotions and stop driving yourself crazy with irrational thoughts. "Flipping out" is a common cause of people going back to drinking. You don't have to be crazy to flip out; just having the pressures build up and then believing some irrational thought, and taking it too seriously, can do it. The idea of just getting drunk starts looking real good.

About abstinence versus moderation, my attitude is "Whatever works for you". Some people can moderate, some can't. If moderation works for you, then great. Many years ago, the famous government think tank, the Rand Corporation, found that the successful people who had stopped drinking self-destructively were evenly split between total abstinence and tapering off into moderate, controlled, drinking. So total abstinence is not the only way. It all depends on the individual person.

Our problem is to figure out which half we are in. Can we drink moderately and keep it under control? I never could, but lots of other people do.

It's about time for me to reprint the list of alternatives again, so here it is. Check these out: (Ignore the Women For Sobriety one.) Especially look at SMART and HAMS.

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

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

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

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

  5. Harm reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS)
    HAMS is peer-led and free of charge. HAMS offers information and support via a chat room, an email group, and live meetings — as well is the articles on this web site.

  6. You can also check out MM. I don't know what is happening with them now, but their goal is indeed moderation.
    Moderation Management

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

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

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

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

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

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**           ==  Adelle Davis

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 16 July 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters157.html