Letters, We Get Mail, CLX

Date: Tue, February 9, 2010 2:59 pm     (answered 6 May 2010)
From: "Adam C."
Subject: I would like your opinion, 12 step programs are literally ruining my life

First and foremost I want to begin by saying that my appreciation of you is enormous. You've spent a lot of time and effort to construct a place that can be a honest and realistic forum for ideas on 12 step programming. I would have no hope had I not found your facts and arguments.

A little background, I'm a 22 year old senior at the University of Michigan, and over the past several years I developed a problem in my decision making compacted with some major life circumstances that lead to less than favorable outcomes in my life. I will be the first person to say that I developed a problem that needed attention. Late last year I was presented a semi intervention by my family who I am incredebally close to and the offer to go to a rehabilitation clinic. It wasn't so much that I was ever physiologically addicted to anything, but I began to like the numbing the pain from an unfortunate series of events in my life at that time. I was told by a close family member at the intervention event to go into it with an open mind as I know that my behvior was not healthy in the long run and I needed to arrest the situation. And so began my descent into the living hell of the world of 12 steps.

I expected to go to inpatient rehab that was described as "intensive" and learn a lot of good helpful information about addiction itself and actual things I could do proactively to help phase it out of my life. I expected alot of practical application based psychology and a good amount of individual therapy to probe why i was using (instead I was told that did not matter, to just follow the program) I thought it be good to get away clear my head and focus on the shit I needed to take care of. Right away I started picking out the discrepencies starting with the disease model of addiction. Imagine my suprise when I spent 95% of my therapy time discussing information that was beaten to death on the first day. A barage of 12 step jargon and ideology. Even more shocking to me was the treatment of those who spoke out or questioned the ideas presented in the very least.

I found myself thinking negative things about the very necessary recovery process because of the manor of therapy I was receiving. Totally questioning how anybody could get paid at all for this. My rehab program was so heavily focused on pure 12 steppism that only fleeting references were made to biological information or phychological concepts. I finally made it out of the constantly recycled hell of rehab.

I am very lucky to have a family that is very supportive of me and my recovery process. Unfortunately that meant they were attending family lectures bi-weekly at the rehab about how to treat a 12 stepper, as well as al-anon meetings. This is what really pissed me off. In their worried about me mind state that bite on whatever they were thrown, as they were so desperate to do anything to make sure I was in the best shape possible. They were taken advantage of in a desperate time in their lives.

It was at this point where I began to suspect that the 12 steps and intervention concept might be evil in more ways than you discuss. They will literally tear apart families. I remember walking into their nar-anon meeting after my NA meeting and hearing a seasoned nar-anon vet encourage my family to distance themselves from me if I did not embrace

  • a. My outpatient rehab which is 3 hours 3 times weekly of more 12 step drivel. (which I would have a lot more patience for and willingness to focus on if it was HELPFUL and not complete bullshit.)
  • b. Outside AA/NA meetings telling them "He'll fail if he doesn't do 90 in 90."

These people are seriously encouraging estrangement of me from my family if we don't both involve ourselves in the 12 steps. I will say besides maybe Bush stealing the 04 election that this "quack medicine" pullover and how they trick addicts/alcoholics, families, courts and insurance companies into believing they're actually being treated may be the greatest scam in recent history, preying on people in such weak emotional states... how very very sad.

Anyways thanks again for all the stimulating facts and info, you're definitely bookmarked on my comp.

— Adam

Hello Adam,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are going through. There sure is a lot of A.A. wrecking families going on, isn't there? I just answered two more letters about A.A. messing up family relationships, here and here.

For the cultists to tell your family to abandon and ostracize you is despicable. Your family started off by being concerned about your health and welfare, and they went to Stepper meetings in hopes that it would help you, and now the cultists have twisted it into, "Abandon him and save yourselves from codependency."

Then of course they will rationalize it by adding, "It's for his own good, of course."


And yes, it is probably is one of the greatest scams in recent history. Even the Wall Street bailout/ripoff is getting some competition from the "12-Step treatment" scam. The Wall Street criminals netted hundreds of billions of dollars from their schemes and fraud. Well, the New York Times recently reported that drug and alcohol rehab was a $20 billion per year industry. Since A.A. has been in existence for 70 years, that is a lot of years of raking in lots of billions. In the last 20 years, they might have raked in $300 or $400 billion or so, and much more in the years before that. That rivals the recent Wall Street thefts.

And all of that comes from selling old cult religion and quackery that does not actually work, while running a gigantic publicity machine to tell the public that it works great — "millions saved". Unreal. Yes, that's a major scam and a major crime.

Now, what to do? Well, for starters, if your family is still capable of thinking rationally, you could direct them to a couple of web pages like

  1. The 12 Biggest Secrets of A.A. and
  2. The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment and
  3. What's Not Good About A.A.? and
  4. The 12 Biggest Lies of A.A.
That should give them plenty to think about.

Good luck now. Take care of your health and your mind.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.

Date: Tue, February 9, 2010 6:35 pm     (answered 7 May 2010)
From: "Ray Smith"
Subject: Melvin Sembler (Straight, Inc.) — Cheney connection
To: [email protected]

Behind Liz Cheney's group, a weird legacy of torture
Financing Cheney's pro-torture front is Melvin Sembler, who once enabled "enhanced interrogation" of American teens

By Joe Conason

Feb. 10, 2010

The arrest of an Army sergeant (and Iraq veteran) who allegedly waterboarded his 4-year-old daughter for failing to recite the alphabet is sickening. Yet it may be the kind of news we must come to expect if, as a society, the United States determines that torture is an acceptable method of securing information and inducing obedience. Physical abuse of children is nothing new, of course, in certain right-wing quarters, as Max Blumenthal reminded us by exposing the pedagogical sadism of Focus on the Family in Republican Gomorrah.

For a sergeant who tortures his child, however, the relevant model probably comes from somewhere high in the chain of command. At the center of today’s propaganda promoting the torture state are former Vice President Dick Cheney, his family and many of his friends, working through an organization called Keeping America Safe that is run by his daughter Liz Cheney. The financier behind that outfit is one Melvin Sembler, a curious character whose résumé indicates that he is all too familiar with the "enhanced interrogation" of children.

Sembler is best known as a Florida shopping center magnate and Republican fundraiser whose success in amassing funds for the Bush family won him two ambassadorial appointments. Such patronage is a sordid aspect of national politics, but seems trivial when compared with the truly dark side of Sembler’s biography. Long before he achieved prominence in national politics, he was the driving force in the "boot camp" movement that popularized the use of psychological and physical abuse of "troubled" children and teenagers.

His own creation was a federally funded outfit known as Straight, Inc., which eventually fell apart amid multiple lawsuits and accusations of torture by teenagers abused in its secretive facilities.

The best reporting on Straight’s frightening history in recent years has appeared in Reason, the libertarian magazine, under the byline of Maia Szalavitz. Some of the techniques that eventually brought Sembler’s organization to the attention of law enforcement authorities will be eerily familiar to anyone who remembers what happened at Abu Ghraib: humiliating punishments, broken bones, starvation, sleep deprivation, stress positions, verbal assaults, eight-hour sessions of questioning, and so on.

According to Szalavitz, "Straight’s national clinical director ... admitted to authorities in 1982 that he had kept teenagers awake for 72-hour periods, put them on peanut butter-only diets, and forced them to crawl through each other’s legs to be hit in a 'spanking machine' ... Straight ultimately paid out millions of dollars in dozens of lawsuits related to abuse and even kidnapping and false imprisonment of adults."

Eventually Straight crumbled amid those multimillion-dollar settlements, newspaper exposés and government probes, thanks to the activism of Richard Bradbury, a young man whose experience resembles the stories of innocent Iraqis who were caught up in the torture machine over there.

Again according to Szalavitz, Bradbury "was forcibly enrolled in the program in 1983, when he was 17. His sister had had a drug problem, and Straight demanded that he be screened for one as well. After an eight-hour interrogation in a tiny room, Bradbury, who was not an addict, was nonetheless held. He later described beatings and continuous verbal assaults, which for him centered on sexual abuse he’d suffered as a young boy. Staffers and other participants called him a 'faggot,' told him he'd led his abusers on, and forced him to admit 'his part' in the abuse."

Of course Sembler, like his pal Cheney, will never admit that anything went wrong with his grisly enterprise. When last heard from, as ambassador to Italy, he still listed his affiliation with Straight on his official State Department profile as a matter of personal pride. Just another exemplar of Cheney family values.


Hello again, Ray,

Thanks for the article. Melvin Sembler just doesn't quit, does he? He really is like a vampire that keeps rising again from the grave.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Fox TV did a special on Mel Sembler's methods of treating children,
**     which included the story of a girl forced to wear her feces-caked
**     "humble pants" for a month as punishment.

Date: Wed, February 10, 2010 2:58 am     (answered 7 May 2010)
From: "Jeff G."
Subject: Thanks

I pray that you are living Happy, Joyous and Free.

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for the thanks, and thanks for the good wishes. And yes, I am living Happy, Joyous and Free.

So you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Learn true joy and you will meet God.
**          ==  Rabindranath Tagore

Date: Wed, February 10, 2010 8:41 pm     (answered 8 May 2010)
From: "Sandro"

i think you're grand.

totally and absolutely and i'd love to get to know you.

deprogram me. im free.

Hello Sandro,

Thank you for the letter and the good wishes. Maybe we will run into each other sometime, somewhere.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.

Date: Tue, February 16, 2010 12:39 pm     (answered 8 May 2010)
From: "Mike M."
Subject: Agreed!!!!


Just left your website. Excellent. I've also seen some clips on YouTube on 12 step programs.

I left CoDA 1.13.10. My therapist didn't like it at all. She's been fired! I've been trying to get away from the group for the last 7 months. I met a young beautiful girl there who quickly seemed to want friendship. I wasn't comfortable with this given the fact she is 25 and I'm a 52 year old male. My thinking was "this is too good to be true". After a couple of meetings she revealed she had been physically abused and sexually assaulted before the age of 8. Unfortunately the same happened to me. She told me I needed a sponsor. I just blew it off. No way I'd share that with people I don't know. Then again during the Christmas holidays she actually pressured me to get a sponsor. I told her I would never share what I shared with her to another group member. She gave me a speech on how wonderful Codependents Anonymous is and trustworthy. She has been there 17 months. She has been brainwashed to the point she thinks she can't survive in the world without her sponsor and meetings.

Don't mean to rant...but thanks for your website. Glad I can think for myself. I've also found out I'm not Codependent. All of these therapist who send every client that walks through door to be narcissized by CoDA should lose their license. Job security for the therapist if she can keep the client confused and depressed.


Hello Mike,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you have your head screwed on straight.

Funny that you should mention codependency. That has been on my mind again, too. I just bought another couple of books on codependency at Goodwill, and now I have to read and review the things. (I hate to spend good money on bad books, but I have to Know Thine Enemy.) I can already tell you that those books are pure horseshit.

You are right, you don't have codependency. There is no such thing as codependency. It is a myth and a hoax and a fraud. And yes, you are right, all counselors who diagnose the patients as "codependent" and send them to CODA should lose their licenses to practice.

Now there is such a thing as PTSD — Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — and that can be caused by things like childhood abuse or seeing your buddies blown to pieces in unnecessary wars in Vietnam or Iraq. But there is no codependency. All that the quacks do, to create the illusion of a "codependency disease", is steal signs and symptoms from real disorders like PTSD.

In fact, you cannot even get a clear, coherent, concise definition of "codependency". There isn't one. Earlier, I spoke about some of the goofy definitions of codependency in the file on "12-Step Snake Oil". Now, in one of these new books, we get this:

In an essay in Co-dependency: An Emerging Issue, she [Sharon Wegschneider-Cruse] has defined co-dependency as "a primary disease and a disease within every member of an alcoholic family."
Sondra Smalley ... has suggested in her workshops that "co-dependency is a pattern of learned behaviors, feelings, and beliefs that make life painful."
Robert Subby has defined co-dependence as "an emotional, psychological, and behavioral condition that develops as a result of an individual's prolonged exposure to, and practice of, a set of oppressive rules — rules which prevent the open expression of feeling as well as the direct discussion of personal and interpersonal problems."
Charles Whitfield ... still links the disease solely to alcohol. It is defined as "ill health, or maladaptive or problematic behavior that is associated with living, working, or otherwise being close to a person with alcoholism."
Ernie Larsen ... defined the co-dependent as "anyone who has been affected by the person who has been afflicted by the disease of chemical dependency." He extends his definition to include "anyone who lives in close association over a prolonged period of time with anyone who has a neurotic personality."
Co-Dependence: Misunderstood—Mistreated, Anne Wilson Schaef, pages 14—18.

Ooops!!! You rubbed up against an alcoholic. Now you have the disease of codependency and you need treatment. That will be $10,000 for a 28-day stay at a codependency clinic, where you will learn to practice the 12 Steps, and list and confess ALL of your sins.

On the back cover of the book, we get the authoress' definition, which is a bunch of muddled double-talk:

What is co-dependence?

Originally a term for the disease that affects people involved in a close relationship with an alcoholic or a chemically dependent person, co-dependence, Schaef proposes, is just one form of what she calls "the addictive process," an underlying, generic, primary disease whose assumptions, beliefs, and lack of spiritual awareness are openly supported by the society in which we live.
Co-Dependence: Misunderstood—Mistreated, Anne Wilson Schaef, back cover.

So you lack spiritual awareness because you associated with an alcoholic?

By the way, that book was published in 1986. It is loaded with phrases like "the impact her new theory will have", "developing the concept", and "moving towards broader definitions", which imply that "codependency" is a big new discovery, and a new field of medical treatment. Well, in the following 24 years, neither the American Medical Association, nor the American Psychiatric Association, has seen fit to recognize the existence of any such "disease" or "condition" as "codependency". So it wasn't really a new, emerging field after all, was it?

Oh, but they have an explanation for that, too, sort of... The authoress declares that

I am appalled by the basic ignorance about addictions and co-addictions in the mental health field. ... we must look carefully at what he [Charles Whitfield] calls the "untrained" and/or "untreated professional" — professionals who are not themselves aware of the diseases of the addictive process or co-dependence and therefore are not dealing with it in themselves. He estimates, as I noted in Chapter 1, that this includes 80% of all helping professionals.
Co-Dependence: Misunderstood—Mistreated, Anne Wilson Schaef, page 30.

Ah, so if a doctor does not believe in "codependency", then he is "untrained", and he has the disease himself? Why does this sound like a Medieval witchcraft trial?

"If you say that you do not believe in the existence of witches, then that just proves that you are an evil, lying witch who is trying to hide the practice of witchcraft."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

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

Date: Mon, May 17, 2010 5:40 pm     (answered 18 June 2010)
From: "Mike M."
Subject: Re: Agreed!!!!

Hello Orange,

Since I sent you the email I found this attached info on about.com of all places. I do have issues with associated with PTSD (anxiety). But it's definitely non related to codependency. I ask the therapist if I should meet the young girl at CoDA for coffee. She said absolutely. The brainwashed beauty was totally different at Starbucks than at the meetings. Deranged, fake, narcissist, attention whore to be blunt. Not codependent. I've highlighted some of the points I found interesting. Relationships with brainwashed whack jobs outside the meetings...Not a good idea.

The meetings don't work. I saw zero growth. People blaming the same "family of origin" for all of their irresponsibilities, bad behavior and stupid decisions. These are people that have attended meetings 2yrs. plus. What a facade!!!!


12 Step Programs.docx
Size: 28 k
Type: application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

Hi again, Mike,

Thanks for the update. Somehow, I'm not surprised. Considering that fact that there is no such disease as Codependency, a CoDA meeting would be a bunch of people sitting around, complaining about how they suffer from a non-existent disease.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     I'll not listen to reason.
**     Reason always means
**     what someone else
**     has got to say.
**        ==  Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810—1865), British writer

Date: Mon, February 15, 2010 6:19 am     (answered 8 May 2010)
From: "CAM"
Subject: Can't find your bio...

A: Thanks for the work.

I can't find your bio page though.

Rhode Island


Thanks for the thanks.

There isn't a bio page, as such. The biographical information is just sort of spread out here and there.

Here is the list:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing
  4. who are you
  5. who are you, again
  6. really an alcoholic...
  7. definitions of "an alcoholic"
  8. the story about "Rat Park"
  9. history of the Orange Papers, and
  10. creation of the web site
  11. censorship
  12. the "Orange" name.
  13. There are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Christian Fundamentalism: The doctrine that there is an absolutely
**     powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe-spanning entity that is
**     deeply and personally concerned about my sex life."
**        ==  Andrew Lias, author and atheist

Date: Tue, May 18, 2010 10:42 am     (answered 18 June 2010)
From: "CAM"
Subject: Re: Can't find your bio...

A.G. Your reply to me regarding your bio was exceeding generous. For you to take the time to make such a E-mail for me shows you are a good caring person.


P.S. What little I have to offer the world is here... http://www.hobbyri.com/

Hi Cam,

Thanks for the compliment. You have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Reality is something you rise above.
**       ==  Liza Minnelli (b. 1946), American actress

Date: Sun, February 14, 2010 9:25 am     (answered 8 May 2010)
From: "Eric"

Sunday morning, feb 14, 2010 and I have stumbled across this page while looking for a book called Bill W. by an writer named Hardigan. I guess the book is quite revealing about Bill Wilson life and struggles with depression and womanizing?

Anyway, I have read some of the content here and found it quite interesting, if not rather extensive. I am curious to see when it was put together and for what reason ? no judgment here. I have had exposure to AA for about 10 years and have found it both beneficial and disagreeable at times..but never thought it cultish!

I do like some of the points made in the content."by god we have the only cure for alcoholism and you better get it fast or die" , I still see that attitude in some of the meetings I attend. I myself struggle with the concept that I am powerless over alcohol. I agree that my life seems better if I don't drink, but I am not one to go over the edge on black out benders when I do drink, so I don't think in my heart I can say I'm powerless over alcohol.

Anyway, I'm curious to see if I hear any feed back here from this site, otherwise I guess I'll keep on reading the contents of this page.


Hello Eric,

Thanks for the letter and the questions. Sorry to take so long to answer — I was unavoidably delayed.

First off, about Francis Hartigan and his book Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson: I have several quotes and excerpts in my pages. Here is a list:

  1. the A.A. failure rate
  2. a description of Hartigan's book
  3. Bill Wilson smoked himself to death
  4. Bill Wilson's "white light spiritual experience" may have been stolen from his grandfather
  5. Hartigan says that both Henry Parkhurst and Ebby Thacher relapsed
  6. Bill Wilson's war experience
  7. Bill Wilson telephoning Rev. Tunks
  8. Bill Wilson's philandering
  9. the Founder's Watch Committee
  10. Bill Wilson used his leadership position in A.A. to get more women
  11. Bill's mistress Helen Wynn
  12. admirers not seeing Bill Wilson clearly
  13. Bill Wilson taking LSD
  14. Bill's college fiasco

About the question, "Why was the web site put together?", the list of answers is here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Winston [Churchill] has a hundred ideas a day,
**     of which four are good.
**        ==  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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

Carmen's Family
Carmen's family

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Fri, February 12, 2010 5:50 pm     (answered 8 May 2010)
From: K. F.
Subject: The Twelve Steps Paper


Is it possible to get a reprint of your paper? I am involved with a sober living organisation as a volunteer. I do not understand why so much energy goes into the 12 step meetings and theories. I don't see all the so-called success stories the proponents claim. Indeed, it seems as though the most rabid supporters are the quickest to relapse.

Also, if you would be kind enough to direct me to additional research and work in this area, I would be most grateful. Is there any research that shows that there is any benefit to having addicts surrounded and counseled by other addicts? Somehow I suspect that one becomes most like what one is exposed to.

I also cannot seem to find out why so much of the court system is tied into this unsupported "therapy." Is this true all over the United States?

Thanks you kindly for any help you can offer.

All kindness,
K. F.

Hello K. F.,

Thanks for the letter.

Well, starting at the top:

  1. There is no dead-tree edition of the web site. 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.

  2. For additional research, see the bibliography, here.

    There is no research that shows that A.A. works, or getting alcoholics or addicts together in A.A. or N.A. meetings actually reduces alcohol abuse or drug abuse. What the properly-conducted tests have shown is that A.A. increases binge drinking and deaths.

    Likewise, a test at Johns Hopkins University showed that addicts getting sponsors did not help either.

    See the file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment for the list of all of the research.

    Watch out: there is a lot of faked research, created by 12-Step shills and promoters, that purports to show that A.A. works, but it is all fraud. Here are some examples:

  3. The court system is tied into the 12-Step cult because A.A. has been promoting the use of A.A. as cheap day prisons for 70 years now. The courts can dispose of their drunkard and drug addict cases easily, and A.A. doesn't cost the courts anything, and A.A. gets potential recruits out of it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed,
**      no matter which side he's on."
**        ==  Joseph Heller, Catch 22, 1961

Date: Mon, May 24, 2010 4:07 pm
From: "apple"
Subject: Re: The Twelve Steps Paper


Many, many thanks for all the information. I really appreciate the time you took to answer my questions. It is so bizarre that no other treatment model seems to be able to compete with the 12 steps.

All kindness,

Date: Sat, February 13, 2010 9:56 pm     (answered 9 May 2010)
From: safwan
Subject: publicatuion

Hope you are well.

I read your webpage, and I found this website to answer some questions you have kindly posed:


Hope you'd enjoy it.


Hi Safwan,

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

== Orange

P.S.: Okay, now that I've had a chance to check out that link, I see what is going on here. You are trying to explain away my criticism of Nichiren Shoshu / Soka Gakkai.


  1. here
  2. here
  3. here
  4. here
  5. here
  6. here
  7. here
  8. here
  9. here
  10. here
  11. here
  12. and here

First off, you used the propaganda trick of "Exchange A Term" when you said that you wanted to "answer some questions" that I posted. I did not post any "questions" about Nichiren Shoshu "Buddhism"; I said that in my experience Nichiren Shoshu "Buddhism" was just another cult. That was not a question at all. My experiences were quite clear. No doubt about it.

Then, that page you referred me to has a big title in the middle, "Why The Soka Gakkai is Attacked". That is not a question for me, either. It is very obvious: It is insane to imagine that you can get all of your wishes granted by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo at a printed scroll. So of course the cult will receive criticism. And rightly so.

In fact, what I saw people doing at Nichiren Shoshu basically qualifies as "black magic" — the attempt to use spiritual forces and magical powers and chanting to get material gain like money, a better job, a better apartment, new furniture, a new car...

By the way, what I saw at Nichiren Shoshu was not Buddhism. It was not even vaguely like Buddhism. Buddhism is a good thing.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      On life's journey faith is nourishment,
**      virtuous deeds are a shelter,
**      wisdom is the light by day and
**      right mindfulness is the protection by night.
**      If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.
**        ==  Buddha

Date: Wed, May 26, 2010
From: safwan

Please see your doctor for the side effects of what you are taking, including your mind's orientation and beliefs. Never too late.


Ho! That's a good one.

It isn't me who is wasting his time chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and expecting Santa Claus to bring the goodies.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== 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.

[The next letter in this thread is here.]

From: "Stephen F."
Subject: Hilarious
Date: Sat, February 13, 2010 6:38 am     (answered 9 May 2010)

Dear Orange:

I found your web site to be the funniest thing I have seen in a while. To think that someone is so threatened by AA that they would waste what appears to be considerable time and expense to attack them is beyond idiocy.

What has AA done to you personally? And does the fact that several million people have used the flawed program and believe it saved their life mean nothing to you?

Get a life, and leave grown folks alone. Your twisted view of AA does not have the least effect on the sobriety of those who have found it helpful. If you did not, that is fine. But trashing a universally recognized fellowship that has helped so many people is just petty. Anyone can find fault with any organization or group of people. Because they are, after all, just human.

And your big alternative to AA? Like Nancy Reagan, you say "Just Say No". That shows a fairly simplistic and medically irresponsible point of view — it didn't work when Nancy said it, and it ain't working now.


"If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion." — Edmond de Goncourt

Hello Steve,

Well, your letter is a load of misstatements.

  1. First off, I don't feel "threatened" by Alcoholics Anonymous. I am not afraid of quack medicine and its practitioners.

  2. Alcoholics Anonymous has hurt friends of mine. You can read about my personal experiences with A.A. here.

  3. Alcoholics Anonymous has not saved several million people. That is one of the standard Big Lies of A.A. The actual success rate of A.A. in causing alcoholics to sober up is approximately zero, or even less. That is, A.A. causes alcoholics to die in greater numbers. Here is the evidence.

  4. The fact that some people "believe it saved their life" only proves that some people are gullible — they can be fooled by quackery and cult religion.

  5. You say, "leave grown folks alone." There is nothing grown-up about promoting quackery and cult religion as a cure for substance abuse problems.

  6. A.A. is not "a universally recognized fellowship". That is just another grandiose A.A. Big Lie, just some more of the A.A. self-congratulatory propaganda.

  7. I do not recommend Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No". I recommend things like SMART and AVRT. The list of things that work better than A.A. is here.

By the way, laughing is a common defense mechanism. When people encounter information that they feel threatens their cherished illusions, some people immediately laugh, rather than seriously consider the information. You say that you are laughing at what I have written, but you sound angry. I don't think you are really laughing.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
**  "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
**     ==  Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

Date: Thu, February 11, 2010 5:39 pm
From: "Helene C"
Subject: Helene C. wrote on your Wall...

Helene posted something on your Wall and wrote:

"Thank you for your excellent website that tells the truth about AA. Before I told my (now) ex-fiance about all the scientific evidence you discuss on your website showing that AA does not work (much of which I have independently verified — for example, I bought a copy of Vaillant's book "The Natural History of Alcoholism"), he had spent 10 years in AA and thought he was going crazy because he could not stay sober in "the rooms."

Thank you, thank you! (BTW, the letters section could be one of the fastest ways for some people to find answers to their questions since you link to the answers when you reply. Plus, it shows how "rabid" AAers are about their AA religion.)"

Hello Helene,

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

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something,
**      loves something, and has lost something."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**      and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in
**      Wonderland. 1832—1898)

Date: Wed, February 17, 2010 3:08 am     (answered 10 May 2010)
From: "Nils S."
Subject: AA, NA , Mansonic

Hello my Name is Nils S. frm Heidelberg Germany. For me its very important to say you what i got find out. So i belive now that the AA NA and what else is working together with FreeMasonic over the hole World. I think that aa and all other anonymous Groups are a sellected instituions for the idiologie and relligion of the Freemansonic. Mansonics used these Groups to get the people in their idiologie, and so they will sellected all people around the world to built a worldunity in thougts and relligion of Mansonic.

Second i think that they want to eliminate Christians silent, and the doing this with infiltration in Church Groups and other political and humanitäre Organisations.

I belive in Jesus Christ and noone as God will rule us. I stay for Love from god as the simple and peacefullest way for Humanity.

Best Regads frm. Germany
Nils S.

Hello Nils,

Thanks for the letter. I've received questions about a connection between the Freemasons and A.A., or between the Freemasons and Frank Buchman, every so often, but I have found no evidence of such a connection, other than the fact that Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith was a Mason. But if you find any evidence, I'd like to see it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire
**      cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked.
**      "Where do you want to go?" was his response.
**      "I don't know," Alice answered.
**      "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**      and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in
**      Wonderland. 1832—1898)

*Date: * Thu, February 18, 2010 9:25 am     (answered 10 May 2010)
*Subject: * AA & Addiction
*From: * "Sober Me"

Good Morning Mr. Orange,

I have been a depressed withdrawn drink'n doper since age 12. Your personnel story reveals some of mine. At age 50 suicide ideation was overwhelming. I could not abandon my daughter as I was abandoned.

I entered medical detox and "sober living" program for about 30 days. AA was the mode of treatment.

Having been absolutely lost and feeling helpless in a dark abyss full of fear I felt I had nowhere else to go.

I am an Atheist raised that way 3rd generation from mom's family. Dad a catholic.

Well I don't need to go into a lot of explaining. AA just bent my brain, but no matter what I have not taken one drink in 1 year.

AA's book and teaching's pretty much go against all I believe about humans. I cannot, but have nearly had a drink over admitting I was/is/am powerless. I will not give my will and my life over to the care of god or any higher power {sounds like slavery).

My lack of self worth and fear keeps me at AA. There is lots about it I don't like and find unhealthy. I do have one year of sobriety and I want to continue a healthy life. Unfortunately I do not have a healthy family and I have problems with trust and fear related to early childhood mental, physical and sexual abuse. I have had many, about 30 years of therapy and 3 hospitalizations. I am determined to live I believe in the goodness of humans (most of the time) But most of all I want to be a good Mom and paint in the forest one day. I am wanting to break away from AA, But I am not sure how. I will follow my instinct, which I believe to be good. AA is kinda like a rip tide I am trying swimming out of.

I thank you for your website it gives me hope and faith in myself that I am on the right track. I am not much of a computer person. I wish I could talk to someone with your type of strength, intelligence and thinking. I will continue to read your letters, papers and stories to bolster mine. I have tried SOS and WFS, I am looking for groups of people likeness of us who are learning and yearning to live a healthy life with similar stories.

Thank you again~ sober Me
P.S. The ducks are adorable

Hello Sober Me,

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

Alas, you can't talk to me on the phone right now because I don't have a phone. I'm still in the process of getting moved into my new place and haven't figured out how I'm going to handle phone and Internet access this time. The one thing that I'm sure of is that I won't again give any more money to rip-off outfits like Qwest or T-mobile.

Now, about getting out of A.A.:

  1. You wrote: "My lack of self worth and fear keeps me at AA."

    Yes, that is how cults keep people trapped in the cult — most all cults in general. Cults deliberately induce feelings of worthlessness, guilt, covert fear, and powerlessness in their victims, and induce phobias about leaving the cult.

    Look at these Cult Test items that describe exactly what you are experiencing:

  2. Now, how to get out? I strongly recommend weaning yourself off of the A.A. routine moderately, slowly. Don't just burn all of your bridges behind you, and make a sudden break of it, or you are likely to feel alone and isolated. Loneliness is one of the biggest problems that people have when leaving a cult. They suddenly feel like they have no family or group of friends any more because they are not surrounded by all of those people who are pretending to be their friends. So start working on getting new friends and acquaintances who have nothing to do with either alcoholism or Alcoholics Anonymous.

    And start doing other things than going to A.A. meetings. You will discover that the sky doesn't fall if you do something pleasant and constructive, rather than go to another A.A. meeting.

    Here is a previous letter where I talked about weaning oneself off of A.A.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into
**      a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, 
**      and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he
**      couldn't open the cash register without a food order.
**      When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't
**      available for breakfast.  The man, frustrated, walked away.
**        ==  from The 2007 Darwin Awards

Date: Wed, February 17, 2010 8:10 pm     (answered 14 May 2010)
From: "Fran C."
Subject: hi


interesting stuff you've written. volumes of it by the looks..... as i keep linking on and on through your materials.

is there a comprehensive list of your works and web addresses for them?

oh, another question i have is.....
what prompted you to devote so much time and energy to this endeavor (and the subtext of that question is: what was your experience with AA that gave you this impetus)?

Really and truly very interesting stuff and i've already printed hundreds and hundreds of pages to pdf files.....and i suspect i'm not even close to the end of what you've written.

I know that my questions are personal, but I truly am interested..... I just finished a book named "How Alcoholics Anonymous Failed Me". A great book really but it is more about a woman's alternate choices and her personal path of recovery from addictions and less about her observations of AA and how it didn't work for her.

So, currently I just happened upon your website when I was looking for a searchable big book.

One thing that I think you really hit on is the contradictions both within the aa program and within the voluminous writings of bill wilson.

Last and final question.......
Have you published any of this stuff in hard copy and/or is there a way I can download pdf files of all of your works so that I can access it in a less haphazard manner than clicking on links within the text of your documents.

Darn one more question — just curious if you are male or female.

Thanks for your time, Fran C.

Hello Fran,

Thanks for the letter. Those questions are pretty easy to answer, and I don't mind if they are personal.

First off, the list of questions and answers for "Who are you?" and "Why did you do the web site?" are here.

The "comprehensive list" of my published writings is super-simple, and you already found it: the Orange Papers web site. That's it. No dead-tree publications.

You can download the entire 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.

You can use the search engine at the bottom of each web page to find items, and then use the web browser's built-in search function (like slash, '/'), to find within the page.

Yes, I also like "How Alcoholics Anonymous Failed Me", by Marianne Gilliam. I have it on my "Top 10" reading list, here.

I am a man, and there are some recent pictures of me and my little friends here and here and here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I don't know why we have to go around the world forcing our
**      way of life on other people at the point of a gun.
**      When you have something good, man, they will steal it."
**          ==  Dick Gregory
**      (The same is also true of A.A. using courts, parole officers,
**      treatment centers, counselors, and 12th-Steppers to force itself
**      on unwilling victims.)

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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters160.html