Letters, We Get Mail, CLXV

Date: Mon, March 8, 2010 7:30 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "Steinberger for SMART Recovery"
Subject: NY daily news column defamed SMART Recovery — we need a retraction and apology for this ignorance

The following column that appeared in the New York Daily News today DEFAMED our organization and all who offer alternatives and choice to people with addictions. The accusations are outrageous and false. We are not "another fantastic ride in the Disneyland of Recovery. And dangerous, too."

Qualifying it with I think does not negate the harm or admit the ignorance of the opinion. If we said anything like this about AA, we'd be accused of "bashing."

They also stigmatize people with addictions saying that: "when any addict is newly recovering, they are cranky, contentious and above all self-centered."
We contend that people in the midst of making major life changes may be very uncomfortable, but it is this sort of cranky and contentious confrontational accusation that will make any person 'cranky' and 'contentious'. These are just two of the lies they spew against SMART Recovery® and treatments that don't conform to their powerlessness and 'spiritual principles' which they contend have nothing to do with religion or a deity.

I ask that we unite and [rationally] demand a retraction, some setting the record straight, and an apology for this libel. If we don't stand up to this sort of nonsense, you can pretty well assume that there will be plenty more. As we try to keep our most militant volunteers from angry tirades and bashing, the AA World Service should put a hand on their zealots and, as their tradition makes so clear, they should not be entering into controversies. That's what they say. That is their excuse for not to telling people, who are not comfortable or not improving with their program, about alternatives. So why can they bash SMART Recovery® or any other organization with impunity?

Please see the original article copied below. I look forward to your sharing this with others and taking action as you see fit.

<http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Addictions%20%26%20Answers> Dr. David Moore and Bill Manville

Recovery wars: Urge to find unique support groups may only prolong addict's bad habits

Addictions & Answers <http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Addictions%20%26%20Answers>

Sunday, March 7th 2010, 4:00 AM

Related News

* <http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/03/03/2010-03-03_body_believed_to_ be_missing_scarsdale_doctor_mona_shimshi_pulled_from_eastcheste.html> Body believed to be missing Scarsdale doctor found

* <http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2010/03/04/2010-03-04_suicides_ of_mcqueen_koenig_and_osmond_son_michael_blosil_raise_questions_on_anti.html > High-profile suicides raise questions on antidepressants

* <http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/03/03/2010-03-03_charlie_sheen_and_w ife_brooke_mueller_accused_of_sleeping_with_multiple_male_and.html> Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller accused of sleeping with multiple partners

* <http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2010/03/04/2010-03-04_kendra_wilkinson_re veals_she_had_postpartum_depression_after_birth_of_her_son_ha.html> Kendra Wilkinson reveals she had post-partum depression

* <http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/03/06/2010-03-06_judged_crazy.html > Editorial: Judged crazy


BILL: "Because I was never a religious believer," writes Flora, "the so-called 'spiritual' side of AA troubles me. I'm drawn to the Smart Recovery movement because, as their Web site says, they have 'a scientific foundation, not a spiritual one.' What do you two think of it?"

DR. DAVE: If you go to the SMART Recovery Web site <http://www.smartrecovery.org/> you can see how their approach differs from traditional 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Alcoholics+Anonymous>. SMART Recovery tries, in its own words, to teach "increasing self-reliance, rather than powerlessness."

BILL: They also view "addictive behavior as a maladaptive habit, rather than as a disease." Dave, I know the American Medical <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/American+Medical+Association> Association calls addiction a disease, but I've always thought that to be merely a useful lie — I didn't catch a germ for being a drunk in the White Horse Tavern. It was an addiction, and I did it to myself. So is this SMART Recovery indeed a valid alternative for people like Flora, who find AA's quasi-religious side off-putting?

DR. DAVE: What I think of the SMART Program is that it could be another fantastic ride in the Disneyland <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Disneyland+Resort> of Recovery. And dangerous, too.

BILL: Dangerous?

DR.DAVE: It is dangerous for people like you and Flora to insist that every new idea that comes along needs to be a competitive straw man for Alcoholics Anonymous.

BILL: And you, Doc, are very close to censorship. You don't think SMART or other alternatives should be offered to addicts who don't like the religious aspects of the 12-step programs?

DR. DAVE: Bill, there is no doubt that the fundamentals of AA began within the Oxford Group of the Episcopal Church. However, when they went to write "the 12 Step Program," the first members, some of whom were deeply religious and others who were agnostics or atheists, finally voted to disaffiliate from any religion.

BILL: What about the part that mentions "a power greater than yourself?"

DR. DAVE: I know two things about recovering drunks and their fellowships. First of all, Clarence Snyder <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Clarence+Snyder> , the group member who led the revolt against religious ties, wanted that phrase put in — because he believed that power had nothing to do with God or religion, but was the AA group itself.

BILL: Which I believe, too.

DR. DAVE: The other thing I know is that when any addict is newly recovering, they are cranky, contentious and above all self-centered.

BILL: Which sounds like my early recovery, too. You know, Dave, I've always heard that most new AA meetings start as splits from older ones because a couple of resentful members had a coffeepot of their own. I actually lived through the revolt in the 1980s where AA groups were in an uproar because some people wanted to talk about drugs rather than alcohol. As if there were a pecking order in addiction — dopers down at the bottom.

DR. DAVE: Which gets us back to the SMART Program and other treatment centers that advertise as "not being based on powerlessness" and being set up on "medical not spiritual principles." They market to resentment, playing on that sense of uniqueness that keeps people in recovery isolated from one another.

BILL: What we used to call Terminal Uniqueness!

DR. DAVE: Exactly. Forces that divide addicts, like a drive to be different than their peers, block recovery and hasten them down the road of addiction to a premature death.

BILL: So the ideal situation is like the one my group experienced in San Diego <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/San+Diego> — where some members of AA also attended Narcotics <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Narcotics+Anonymous+World+Services+Inc.> Anonymous meetings. And if they wanted a more intellectual approach, might they also go to meetings of Rational Recovery or SMART?

DR. DAVE: Sure. And AA members who want to attend meetings that DO have religious roots might attend Alcoholics Victorious or A Taste of New Wine.

BILL: It really comes down to this: Where you find even two drunks helping each other stay sober, you have a recovery group.

DR. DAVE: If you want to see where the next recovery brawl is brewing, go to the Web <http://www.hiredpower.com/> site of Hired Power. It's a California <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/California> company that employs 70 paid sober companions in 15 states. At up to $1,000 a day, you can rent a recovery buddy and the two of you can have that truly unique group of your own.

BILL: For $1,000 a day, does Hired Power throw in a Starbucks <http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Starbucks+Corporation> Discount Card?

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2010/03/07/2010-03-07_recovery_wars_ urge_to_find_unique_support_groups_may_only_prolong_addicts_bad_ha.html#ixzz0hbzil2LC

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/health/2010/03/07/2010-03-07_recovery_wars_urge_ to_find_unique_support_groups_may_only_prolong_addicts_bad_ha.html#ixzz0hbzipZis

Henry Steinberger, Ph.D. for SMART Recovery Madison

(608) 238-5176 Ext. 365


Hello Henry,

Thanks for the letter. I'm sorry that I am so slow in responding — I was unavoidably delayed by looking for a new place to live.

You are right, that is disgusting. So who is this "Dr. Dave" who promotes quack medicine and cult religion? Is he truly that ignorant of the facts, or is he actually a secret member of the cult who is promoting his own religion? (Just like Tom Cruise declaring that Scientology knows more about the human mind than all of the psychiatrists in the world.) Inquiring minds want to know.

The way that he jabbers the dogma, he sounds like a hidden member of A.A.:

"And AA members who want to attend meetings that DO have religious roots might attend Alcoholics Victorious or A Taste of New Wine."
Oh yeh, right. As if half of the Twelve Steps don't mention God, and say that God will restore you to sanity. As if several Federal district court judges haven't ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion, or engages in religious activities. Yes, I think he is really a member, just jabbering the dogma.

Dr. Dave is also very hazy on the actual history of Alcoholics Anonymous. He basically does not know what he is talking about. It was not Clarence Snyder "who led the revolt against religious ties, wanted that phrase put in", it was Jim Burwell, the resident atheist. Look here for the story.

Clarence Snyder led the revolt against Bill Wilson's financial dishonesty. Read: Cleveland, 1944: Clarence Snyder's objections.

Clarence Snyder had no problem with religious beliefs — he was an enthusiastic member of the Akron Oxford Group cult religion before taking the alcoholics and setting up a separate religious organization that he called "Alcoholics Anonymous". Look here for the story. And yes, Clarence Snyder, in Cleveland, not anybody in New York, came up with the name "Alcoholics Anonymous".

And again, Dr. Dave is totally wrong about this history, too:
"there is no doubt that the fundamentals of AA began within the Oxford Group of the Episcopal Church."
The Oxford Group was never "of the Episcopal Church". The founder of "the Oxford Group" was Dr. Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, who was a renegade Lutheran minister whom the Lutheran Church wanted to defrock (but let it slide to avoid public controversy). The only connection that the Oxford Group had to the Episcopal Church is that Frank Buchman hoodwinked Rev. Samuel Shoemaker Jr., who was an Episcopal minister, and made Shoemaker his flunky for 20 years, and used Sam Shoemaker's Episcopal church in New York City for his American headquarters for a while, until Shoemaker could not stomach Buchman's unChristian theology any longer and kicked him out.

The Lutherans didn't want to claim Frank Buchman, either. When Buchman died, the President of the United Lutheran Church in America, Dr. Franklin Clark Fry, criticized Buchman's "movement" as "not Christ-centered" and said of Buchman that his connection with the United Lutheran Church had been "only minimal".

Basically, Frank Buchman made up his own occult, fascistic, heretical theology. It was neither Episcopalian nor Lutheran. And that is "the real fundamentals of A.A."

The bias in the article is incredible:
BILL: It really comes down to this: Where you find even two drunks helping each other stay sober, you have a recovery group.
Well, Bill, that makes all SMART meetings valid recovery groups, doesn't it?

But Bill and Dave said just the opposite: "They [SMART] market to resentment.".
Yes, that is A.A. cult dogma talking — that is a regular Wilsonism: "You have a resentment, so you are axiomatically spiritually wrong."

It is a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us. If somebody hurts us and we are sore, we are in the wrong also. But are there no exceptions to this rule? What about "justifiable" anger? If somebody cheats us, aren't we entitled to be mad? Can't we be properly angry with self-righteous folk? For us in A.A. these are dangerous exceptions. We have found that justified anger ought to be left to those better qualified to handle it.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 90.

'Resentment is the "number one" offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease...'
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, Chapter 5, How It Works, page 64.

Yes, I do believe that "Dr. Dave" is a well-indoctrinated member of the Alcoholics Anonymous cult religion. And I think "Bill" is too. They should get together with Tom Cruise, and the whole bunch of them can jump up and down on the couch while declaring that cults know much more than real doctors.

I will also write to the New York Daily News and complain, for what it's worth.

But more to the point, I'll post this story on my web site, and let the world see what the New York Daily News has sunk to. But I guess their best days are behind them, and they are being killed by the decline of paper media. The Internet is doing them in.

So now, I guess that the New York Daily News must be hiring cheap third-rate staff who don't know the difference between news and celebrity gossip. It shows. Just look at the list of "Related News" before the start of the story:
"Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller accused of sleeping with multiple partners".
Oh yes, that is really related — valuable and important recovery information... Real news. :-)

Oh well, have a good day now. And thank you for your work.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Foisting ineffective quack medicine on sick people is not
**     a wonderful noble act of self-sacrifice to help others;
**     it is the reprehensible behavior of a damned fool.

Date: Wed, May 26, 2010 9:12 pm     (answered 31 May 2010)
From: "Steinberger for SMART Recovery"
Subject: RE: NY daily news column defamed SMART Recovery — we need a retraction and apology for this ignorance

Thank you, Orange. I read your entire piece and I'm as ever impressed with our knowledge of AA. Apparently Dr. Dave is a licensed psychologist in California, but so is that guy from the Family Research Council who spanks boys straight and was caught on video carrying the bags for his "rentboy.com" companion who he claimed was hired to carry his bags. And Dave makes no bones about his total amore for AA. They both are clearly zealots, but as I say, the AA World Service is as full of it as they are. This is a religious group taking advantage of people when they are at the worst point in their lives, to spread their nonsense and gain opportunities to laude their so-called spirituality hypocritically over others. Not much humility in this church.

Doc Henry S.
SMART Recovery volunteer
For meeting times & more information: www.smartrecovery.org

Hello again, Henry,

Thanks for the info. This is all news to me. I had never heard of the New York Daily News or Dr. Dave before. So, Dave and Bill are devoted A.A. proselytizers, are they? It sure shows.

And, not to be too catty, I think we can see why they don't have a very large readership.

And the rent-boy thing, that is just something else, isn't it? I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if those people who claim to have a hotline to God and all of the holy answers actually lived what they profess, but they are hypocritical to an unbelievable degree. It makes me wonder if their "belief in God" is all just an act.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the
**     one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one,
**     and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
**        ==  Matthew 6:24

Date:  Fri, May 28, 2010 12:37 am
Jamie G. wrote on your Wall...
To:  "Orange Papers"

"Greetings orange..
was reading your latest letter from Dr Steinberger on OP... What a disgrace. That Dr Dave or whatever he calls himself should be ashamed to pronounce himself as somebody in the medical field.... It was only last week i have done an article for SMART for our local treatment magazine for our area and i had to edit parts as not to offend AA/NA........ WTF!!!! I looked on the NY Daily news where them jokers dave and bob appear. Its just more promoting AA. What about those Traditions??????? Its a joke Orange, a disgrace. I really am appalled by it all... There needs to be big changes in the recovery field, or am i just wishfully thinking????.........
Your overseas Friend Jamie"

"Just to let you know SMART over here where i set it up has really taken off :) :) i live in a area called Bradford in west yorkshire have you heard of it ???? You really should think about getting OP into a book format get the truth out there for everybody to see....I tell people to read your site but not many people know of it.....You have a lot of support orange get the book out there lol :) Jamie"

Monday, 31 May 2010:
Hi again, Jamie,

Thanks for setting up SMART there in England. That's great. I glad to hear that more people are getting sane alternatives.

Yes, isn't it funny how we have to avoid "offending" the Steppers? Yahoo Geocities erased the entire Orange Papers web site when some of the Steppers cried that I had "offended" them. No warning, no chance to retrieve my email. Just password invalidated, account cancelled, and everything was erased without warning, or notification, or explanation.

I guess they didn't care that I was offended by their censorship and betrayal of American Freedom.

By the way, today is Memorial Day here is the USA. Today is the day we are supposed to remember the war dead and what they died for. Well, I seem to remember that Freedom of Speech was a big part of it.

(Please boycott Yahoo.)

And have a good day.

== Orange

Date: Mon, April 12, 2010 7:49 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "Lee C."
Subject: sober first, AA next?


Check this out on About.com

This lady got sober on her own — found AA — and then relapsed!

Hello Lee,

Thanks for the link. That's sad, but it doesn't surprise me. Teaching people that they are powerless over alcohol is bound to produce bad results. And the constant guilt-induction and self-criticism depresses some people so much that they want to just get drunk and forget the whole thing.

Every so often, somebody writes to me and asks how I could possibly be correct when I say that A.A. may have a success rate that is less than zero. That's how.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A flawed idea that AA is built upon:  The idea that a deeply flawed person
**    will cure another deeply flawed person.  A dynamic fraught with peril.
**    == Anonymous

Date: Tue, April 13, 2010 6:38 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "Steinberger for SMART Recovery"
Subject: FW: AA Not the Only Way Book Announcement...

Melanie asked me to pass this on. I think it's great, even if my change of address came too late for the hardcover 2nd edition. There are truly Many Paths to Recovery. With more and more options we could reduce the number of people suffering with harmful addictions, if only these people can find them. Please pardon me if this is a repeat or unwanted, but I felt it was important to support her work just as she, and many of you, have supported mine.


Advanced Psychotherapy & Recovery Options, LLC

New Literature

AA Not the Only Way, 2nd Edition

Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives

By Melanie Solomon

Ocala, Florida — Those contemplating treatment options personally or for loved ones, or who make recommendations and referrals for others, will want to have a copy of the newly published, updated second edition of AA Not the Only Way — Your One Stop Resource Guide to 12-Step Alternatives. The $24.95 soft cover book and downloadable $19.95 ebook can be ordered from the AA Not The Only Way website www.aanottheonlyway.com, by emailing the author, [email protected], or by calling 310-658-0990 and placing an order. Quantity discounts are available upon request. Books can also be ordered on www.amazon.com.

The breakthrough guidebook that has been praised by experts such as Stanton Peele and Lloyd Vacovsky, executive director of The American Council on Alcoholism, was inspired by Solomon's own decade long nightmare and roller coaster ride through 12-step programs and facilities that simply didn't work for her and also didn't have or would not share information about alternative treatment. Solomon realized that she was not one of the only 5 percent of people AA and related treatments were helping, and she set out to research and compile the book. It includes a forward by Marc F. Kern, PhD and preface by Frederick Rotgers, PsyD, ABPP; descriptions of alternative treatments; how to choose a treatment program; a section on what works and what doesn't; the legal basis for expanding knowledge of alternatives; and a comprehensive directory of over 100 licensed professionals and treatment programs offering highly effective, scientifically proven, and individualized treatment alternatives.

"Overall, this is a book whose existence needs to be shouted from the rooftop, evangelized on street corners, and should be REQUIRED READING in EVERY Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification program in the United States! A copy should be sent to every drug and alcohol treatment center in the U.S., and most importantly, this book should be ON THE DESK OF EVERY "coercing authority" that has the power to "force" people with addictive disorders, into treatment facilities."

He went on to say, "This book is about the MULTITUDE of non-12-step resources available both on and off the internet. If you are in recovery, or know someone who is, or wants to be, this book is a MUST READ!"

It is imperative that this information get out to the general population; almost everyone is affected by alcoholism and addiction in some way, either personally or through a loved one. And many are needlessly suffering due to lack of knowledge. "I wish I had the information contained in this book 12 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of intense grief. Now my hope is that others don't have to go through what I did."

"One-size-fits-all treatment is not possible," Solomon says. "Treatments must be as diverse as the people seeking it."

The National Institute on Drug Abuse seems to agree, stating "No single treatment program is right for everybody. Matching the treatment program to each individual's needs is critical to success."

"It is finally time to stop living in the dark ages of recovery, educate people about all of their choices and alternatives that are out there. Maybe we will start making a dent in the alcohol and drug use problem that millions are facing each day instead of continuing to perpetuate it," says Solomon.

Please visit http://www.aanottheonlyway.com for the most up-to-date information and resources, such as helpful books, articles and special reports, and sign up for your FREE discussion forum membership. (ISBN: 978-0-97624779-9-9). The book is available in softcover, or as a downloadable pdf file.

Melanie Solomon is available for interview for her fascinating story of discovering effective recovery. Ms. Solomon is always available for questions and individual consultations. To contact the author, you can Click Here.

Before making any decisions about your treatment plan, be sure to get this excellent FREE report on how to get your most effective treatment, available at Alcoholic Help for Families.


Melanie Solomon-Author of "AA Not the Only Way"


[email protected]


Cool. I'll pass that on.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not
**     triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler 
**     than the forces which destroy him.
**        ==  George Orwell

Date: Thu, April 15, 2010 1:28 pm
From: "Bill"
Subject: A little more fuel.


Okay, Bill,

Thanks for the link.

Ah yes, now that I've had a chance to check it out, I see that it is "Why AA doesn't work for over 97% of people who join". I've watched her before on YouTube. She's good. And she makes a lot of sense.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      After silence, that which comes closest to
**      expressing the inexpressible is music.
**         ==  Aldous Huxley

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

family of Canada Goose goslings
The Family of 5

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Thu, April 15, 2010 4:23 pm     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "RG W."
Subject: Thanks for the......


It doesn't surprise that like most folks of what I will presume to be your nature do a wee bit of hiding........hence the O, right Orange? lol Oh I know....this is where you're going to write back and tell me about the assassins the GSO has hired to find you, right?

Your site did get my interested attention to see what legitimate & straight comments you may have made.....but it took me less than 5-7 minutes of reading to realize you're probably nothing but a butthurt mal-content who has some obvious resentments towards the 12 step communities. And dear God...the amount of time you must have spent adding to orange over the years???

I will tell you up front....guess I'm one of those 1 in over a 1,000.....I'm sitting at a little over 25 years of sobriety. If you think I'm a lemming, I will pass on a little more information.

AA has its problems....damn straight. Most of those problems come from individuals within, and some of the BS that gets propagated from person to person. But that it has survived for 75 years in the manner and with the structure it does, ought say something to anyone with half a brain. Then again, you don't really want people with brains to read what you post on the web, do you?

The steps and the traditions themselves, in their pure undiluted without messing with from human form, are pure genius. But yeah....we do get this human factor though. You know about humans, right?

I'm an historian by nature....I was introduced and became acquainted with people on the GSO board before I had 6 months sobriety, and was scouring the archives in NY shortly after being sober a year. Why? I wanted to know what made this place, and the two founders tic. Found a lot of stuff. Some stuff people didn't want to talk about, and some stuff people would get angry with me if I brought it up....some angry to the point of calling me a liar back in those days.

IN those days I referred to Bill W. as a probable manic-depressive womanizer, former Wall St. scam artist who covertly killed himself with cigarettes. Anything sound familiar there buddy? lol If there was the sound of a whoosh over your head, go look in the mirror. BTW, this was in the mid-1980's....so if you think you've done the world a favor letting us all know this........

But you know what? I don't care. He has also been referred to as one of the greatest social architects of the 20th century.....which he probably was.

Sadly....the recovery rate from alcohol and/or drugs stands in the 10%-15% range.....the last time I paid attention to any stats that I would trust.....surely not the stats you like to quote just to fit whatever butthurt agenda you have. Do you have any idea of how many people had a chance to recover/abstain prior to 1935?

These are just a small handful of your claims that are total BS.

  1. AA is a cult.
  2. AA is a religious cult. Oh please.....Do you even KNOW the definition of a cult?
  3. AA forces you to reveal your secrets to a member. TOTAL BS.
  4. Your bait and switch con game page gave me the best laughs I've had all week.
    IF there is a con, what is the payoff? How come I never got any payoffs? God...I really feel left out.
  5. No spiritual principles? Oh fudge.....why am I even wasting my time writing this to you...whomever you are.
  6. Egads....every time I click on another page, your credibility sinks further than the Marianas Trench in the Pacific
    At first I thought you might be someone who could put forth some valid arguments concerning 12 step groups.

A fifty nine cent psychology book could make some reasonable assumptions about you.

You surely went to AA or NA at some time in your life. Some individual or a handful of individuals violated you in some manner that you perceive. It might be legit, it might be that you're just full of it. If they did, my apologies. If it's only your perception, do an inventory. LOL So what was it. They laughed at you? Stole your girlfriend or wife? Stole the woman you WANTED to be your girlfriend or wife? Couldn't stay sober worth a rats ass no matter how many meetings you went to?

Cmon Bucky, you can tell us. What is the exact nature and basis of your butthurt? Or maybe it's your insistance that AA is actually a religion. Did you have a hard time at church earlier in life? Some priest wanted to give you cookies and tootsie rolls?

But in the long run, anyone who would spend the time you have to get those pages up on the web, look for flimsy "EVIDENCE" to support your notions, and spew the venom you do has some serious problems. Get some help......

Be sure to send me the link when you post this along with your other emails you get. :)

Hello RG,

Thanks for the letter and congratulations on your 25 years of sobriety.

You really drank the koolaid, didn't you? Your ability to ignore the facts is impressive.

Well, starting at the top, I guess I'll hit the high points:

"But that it has survived for 75 years in the manner and with the structure it does, ought say something to anyone with half a brain."

A.A. is not the only cult religion that is 75 years old. America is full of them.

And "the structure" is a problem, not an asset. The A.A. headquarters has refused to do anything about the exploitative sub-cults like Mike Quinones' Midtown Group or Clancy Imusland's Pacific Group. Maybe it can't fix the problem. You know, "Every group is independent..." The future of A.A. may be radical sub-cults taking over.

"The steps and the traditions themselves, in their pure undiluted without messing with from human form, are pure genius."

Anybody who thinks that the Steps and the Traditions are "pure genius" is deluded. The 12 Steps are just Frank Buchman's cult recruiting and indoctrination procedures.

The so-called "Traditions" are just some rather moronic new rules that Bill Wilson made up one day, but didn't bother to actually follow himself, like "no outside donations", except for the money that John D. Rockefeller Jr. gave to Bill, and Bill put in his own pocket. And "A.A., as such, ought never be organized", but Bill totally organized it, with two corporations, and two headquarters, two sets of office staff, and a Board of Trustees and a Board of Directors... And then there are national, state, and regional conferences and councils all over the place. A.A. is totally organized.

And this is my favorite "Traditions" double-talk:
"Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward."
That's right down there with the pigs in George Orwell's Animal Farm writing:
"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

"He has also been referred to as one of the greatest social architects of the 20th century.....which he probably was."

No, I guess that title would have to go to somebody of a higher caliber, like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Mao Tse Tung.

By the way, Bill Wilson's bragging, claiming that Aldous Huxley called him the greatest social architect of the 20th century, is probably just another one of Bill's grandiose lies. It is completely unsubstantiated. Nowhere in Huxley's writings did Huxley praise Bill Wilson or 12-Step groups. We have discussed that before here and here. We have even found what Huxley really did write about Bill Wilson, and Huxley just said that Bill Wilson was taking more exotic drugs and giving them to other A.A. members.

You claim a 10% or 15% recovery rate, apparently for A.A., but don't say how you got those numbers. There is also the question of "Over what time span?" Since the normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics is around 5% per year, in two or three years you will get that 10 or 15% sobriety rate without the A.A. "program" doing anything good.

Also, how do you define "recovery" and "success"? Lots of 12-Step-based treatment centers get an apparent 10% success rate at the day of graduation, but half of their clients relapse soon after that. The treatment centers never do a 1-year or 2-year follow-up to find out how many clients really stayed clean and sober. At the one-year point, their "success rate" is back to being just equal to the normal rate of spontaneous remission. That is, they have the same 5% success rate that untreated alcoholics get by the do-it-yourself method.

Then you rationalized,
"Do you have any idea of how many people had a chance to recover/abstain prior to 1935?"
The answer is, "Exactly the same number as there were after Bill Wilson sold Frank Buchman's cult religion as a cure for alcoholism." Alcoholics Anonymous did not improve the situation at all, and the story that alcoholics could not quit drinking and recover before Bill Wilson told them how to is just another one of Bill Wilson's self-aggrandizing lies. Here is some history of the temperance unions before A.A.

Then, your list:

  • Items 1 & 2, == "A.A. is not a cult."
    Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. You offer no facts to support your denial. And yes, I do know the definition of a cult. Read the Cult Test. Then read it again.

  • Item 3: "AA forces you to reveal your secrets to a member. TOTAL BS."
    I know full well that Bill Wilson mentioned making your Fifth Step confession to a priest or somebody else, but in practice, it's the sponsor who hears the confessions. Furthermore, every A.A. and N.A. meeting is a confession session. You are supposed to "share" all of the dirt. And the slogans are:
    • "You're only as sick as your secrets."
    • "Your secrets will keep you sick."
    • "You have to talk it out to take the power out of it."

  • Item 4: That bait-and-switch page must have struck a nerve. All that you can do is "laugh". Again, you offer no facts, and no rebuttal.

    Then you asked, "Where is the payoff?"
    There are many payoffs, starting with ego kicks from being an old-timer, respected and revered by the young.
    Then there is imagining that you are living a spiritual life...
    Then there is the feeling of being special, and in a really cool hip in-group...
    Then the 12-Step based treatment centers rake in the billions...
    I've answered that question at length several times before, here, and here, and here.

  • Item 5: "No spiritual principles."
    Right. No spiritual principles. Just cult practices.
    Spiritual principles are things like "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "Honesty is the best policy."

    • "Confess your sins to your sponsor" is a cult practice.
    • "Conduct a séance and channel God" is an occult practice.
    • "Surrender your will and your life to "God" or "Higher Power" or the A.A. group is a cult practice.
    • "Fake It Until You Make It" and "Act As If" are cult practices.
    • "Dole out the truth to newcomers by teaspoons, not buckets" is a cult practice.
    • "Come to believe" that "Higher Power" will "restore you to sanity" is a cult practice.
    • Declaring yourself "powerless" and begging God to fix you is a cult practice.

  • Item 6: Egads, you aren't saying anything there.

The rest of your rap is just a lame attempt to explain to yourself why someone would criticize wonderful Alcoholics Anonymous. That is, "Why would someone bother to tell the truth about a hoax that has hurt a lot of people while pretending to help them?"

If you really want to know why I do the web site, here is the list.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

P.S.: Your letter is posted here.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It finally dawned on me that just because one's motive
**     isn't money doesn't mean one's motive isn't selfish.
**     (There is more than one form of profit.)
**        ==  Janet S.

Date: Fri, March 26, 2010 11:49 am     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "Therese A."
Subject: My Friend

Hi Orange,

I love all your research. I had a friend who was alcoholic. She kept being drawn back to AA and all its abuses. Well, she hung herself. Instead of going for medical attention, she would be coerced back to going to meetings. Her sponsor was a nurse, how ironic.

Thank you for the Orange Papers. I have learned a lot!


Hello Therese,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. The list of A.A. suicides just keeps growing and growing. Making people wallow in confessions and self-criticism and guilt is deadly.

Oh well, have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Classic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
**    undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make
**    what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving
**    better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
**       ==  Aldous Huxley

Date: Fri, March 26, 2010 2:20 am     (answered 26 May 2010)
From: "Patrick R."
Subject: How true

I haven't been able to read all of the on-line content, as I was just introduced to it this very night by a co-worker. I have never read anything more true than AA as a cult. I became addicted to prescription narcotics after a back injury and finally checked myself into "rehab" where I struggled with these "concepts" of powlessness etc. etc. I did what was suggested after being throughly brainwashed by the treatment center and attended 12 step meetings got a sponsor and did all the usual bull shit. needless to say after about a year of barely seeing my true friends, which I was told I should not talk to, and my family who were "enabler's", I was miserable. Guess what I relapsed, go figure, who wouldn't. Well this time I got in some legal trouble and went back to my 12 step "friends" who rather than making me feel welcome, beat me down further with I told you so's and the rest of the 12 step non-sensery. Fast forward another 7 months and I started taking control of my own life after being led into financial ruin by the let go and let "god" attitude and guess what. I feel great, I no longer go to meetings, and I am FINALLY getting things together.

I totally believe the only miracle in AA/NA is that people continue believing. Being that I am currently at work and can not type freely, I will continue to read and email you more horror stories from the 12 steps. I would truely love to share with you my theories on the hugely flawed "addiction theory" used by most medical de-tox centers whose philosophies are widely based on the 12 steps.

Again thank you for the laughs! I was in tears several times. You Rock!

Patrick R.

Hi Patrick,

Thank you for the letter, and the thanks. I'm glad that you have figured out which way is up.

More stories and theories are always welcome.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    A fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.
**        ==  Aldous Huxley

Date: Thu, March 25, 2010 8:21 pm     (answered 27 May 2010)
From: "Meg W"
Subject: Thank you for having the guts to spread the TRUTH about AA!

Dear "Orange,"

I was forced into AA in my teens when I chose to go to a treatment center/ high school for my substance misuse. I went to at least 7 meetings a week for 7 years, even when I was using. I had bouts of sobriety lasting anywhere from a few weeks to nearly two years. Every time I "relapsed," I convinced myself there would be no stopping, and it was indeed a self-fulfilling prophecy. (I was "powerless" after all!) At 19 years old, I found myself having a heart attack in the ER from an overdose. I remember at age 22 taking 600mg or more of Adderal just to make it through my day. I also remember "blowing" (pun intended) through my entire checking and savings account and then some in one evening for cocaine and alcohol. During my seven and a half years in "the rooms," I also struggled with an eating disorder, as well as tobacco addiction.

In my mid-20s, I discovered LSD. Much like Bill Wilson, after several balls-out trips, I was cured of my addictions — cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, bulimia. I quit going to meetings, after realizing I was being brainwashed.

Now in my late 20s, I've been free from addiction for over three and a half years, and have not been to a meeting since the experiences with hallucinogens.

I lost all my AA friends; they are convinced I'm a "bad influence" because I no longer attend meetings. A few AA friends would sneakily try to take me to a meeting after hanging out, and I never received any calls to hang out again once I refused to tag along to the meeting.

I no longer smoke cigarettes, and I no longer do illicit drugs. I have had an occasional drink of alcohol in the past three and a half years, but I stop at one or two drinks. I rarely get the desire to drink anymore. I can count the number of times I have drank in the past year on one hand.

People in the rooms in my home town had SEEN me drunk, high, wasted, convulsing, and passing out on the floor in meetings from doing so many drugs. I'm saying this to the AA cult followers who are saying "She wasn't one of us, she wasn't really an alcoholic".... Don't tell me I wasn't an addict or alcoholic. I almost DIED and lost everything I had worked for, and even became homeless at 22 years old, all as a result of my addiction. I've been drugged, raped, and beaten as a direct result of drug use. I blacked out, and have tattoos I don't remember getting to prove it.

I have long been a fan of your page, and while I have not read everything here, it was certainly a help in explaining to my sponsor why I wasn't answering her incessant phone calls or going to meetings anymore.

Oh, and did I explain about all the creepy, usually married, old dudes hitting on me for being a young openly bisexual woman? Never mind, that's a story for another day. I swear, if you and I exchanged phone numbers, we could start discussions about writing a book about our experiences!

Thanks again for an awesome website.

Blessed be,
Meg, a RECOVERED addict/ alcoholic/ bulimic

P.S. I can't remember if the "letters" section includes readers' email addresses? Please respect my anonymity and do not post it on the web.

Hello Meg,

Thanks for the letter, and thanks for the thanks. Last item first, I don't print people's email addresses. So no worry.

Thank you for another horror story. I'm glad to hear that you have your life together and are feeling better now.

I did not miss the point that LSD seemed to help you to overcome addictions. You aren't the only one to report that, either. I also feel like I learned some things from it that encouraged me to finally quit drinking and smoking, years later, and still help me to stay clean and sober.

Now I'm not recommending that people take it as a cure — I'm not even sure that anybody is making genuine LSD any more — but I cannot paint it as all negative, either. Another correspondent was recently talking about treating addictions with ibogaine and ayahuasca, here.

So have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "We will either find a way or make one."
**        ==  Hannibal

Date: Mon, March 22, 2010 6:41 pm     (answered 27 May 2010)
From: "Rick M."
Subject: Nice Try. The quote is accurate


"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

Herbert Spencer

Hi again, Rick,

No, it is still wrong. Thinkexist is misinformed. They obviously collected bunches of quotes from here and there, and they got a wrong one (maybe many wrong ones) in their collection. You should notice that Thinkexist did not say which book that quote supposedly came from. They don't know. They just have a zillion quotes that they got from somewhere or other.

As Michael found from researching that quote, there are lots of collections of quotes that have it wrong. They got it from somebody else who got it from somebody else who got it from somebody else who got it from Bill Wilson who got it from Ray Campbell.

Ray Campell put that misquote at the beginning of his story An Artists' Conception in the first edition of the Big Book. When Bill Wilson assembled the second edition of the Big Book, he conducted a purge of the old-timers that would have made Joseph Stalin proud. Bill Wilson threw away Ray Campbell's story, but copied the misquote and put it in Appendix II in the back of the Big Book.

And people have been copying that mistake ever since.

Read Michael's paper on the history of that quote: Survival_of_a_Fitting_Quotation.pdf

Michael found that the earliest source comes from William Paley (1743—1805) and William H. Poole, who apparently misquoted William Paley in 1879. That misquote has been going on for a very long time.

We have discussed this before. On the web site www.aabibliography.com, somebody posted a claim that he had found the quote in "The Pathology of Trauma" by Herbert Spencer, 2nd edition, Edited by J.K.Mason, page 192. That turned out to be totally wrong. Spencer never wrote any such book.

Nope, all of those people who say that Spencer wrote that quote are wrong. And I challenge you to find the source. That means that you get the actual book in your hands, and you find it on the page.

I tried that. When somebody said that they remembered it being in The Principles of Biology, by Sir Herbert Spencer, I went to the library and actually got that rare book in my hot little hands and went through it page by page, looking for the quote, and the quote wasn't there. I did get another great quote though, which is highly applicable to Alcoholics Anonymous:

The belief which we find thus questionable, both as being a primitive belief and as being a belief belonging to an almost-extinct family, is a belief that is not countenanced by a single fact.

Herbert Spencer, Principles of Biology, Volume 1, page 336, published 1864 to 1867.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     God wills man to be creator — his first job is to create
**     himself as a complete being. Man, the mute being, must search for
**     speech and find it, all by himself. Man comes into our world as a
**     hylic, amorphous being. He is created in the image of God, but
**     this image is a challenge to be met, not a gratuitous gift.
**        ==  Joseph B. Soloveitchik

Date: Tue, March 23, 2010 9:29 pm     (answered 28 May 2010)
From: "Tom H."
Subject: Lets Give this a Try

Dear Mr. Orange,

Let's give this a try on your site. I went to AA because I could not stay sober and drank excessively for 25 years. I reached a point in my life that I would walk around with my pants full of poop and piss during the middle of the day. I had no money and no where to go. I found a AA meeting and they let me attend.

I got sober hanging around those people and eating their free food. I did not do the steps, nor did I have a sponsor.

I also did not read the big book at all.

But I did get sober because I had somewhere to go to get out of the rain. Surely, you must give some credit for AA simply having a place to go and be around people.

I hung around the place for over a year and have not drank since.

Surely you must give some credit to the organization called AA for assisting me in getting sober.

Joining organizations for social functions is not a option when the average full blown alcoholic when they are coming off the booze. I don't think you were very far down the line with alcohol at all. I personally think that you have always had problems of "being on the street" but alcohol is only one of your issues.

Did you not just recently have to leave your government assisted apartment because it was so junky and disorganized ?

Come on Orange. You are still angry at your parents !


Glad to at least you are in a safe place

Hello Tom,

It is good that you quit drinking. You are, however, assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. There is zero evidence that you got sober because of Alcoholics Anonymous.

As you say, you did not even do the A.A. program: Never worked the Steps, never got a sponsor, never read the Big Book. Just hung out at the A.A. clubhouse because they let you get out of the rain.

Hasn't it occurred to you that you quit drinking because you got tired of being so miserable? You finally saw that alcohol had reduced you to a dirty, degraded life, and you decided to change your life for the better.

Now it's really nice that the people at the A.A. clubhouse let you get in out of the rain. Bless them. It's nice to have a social club. But that does not make A.A. a good organization, or show that A.A. makes alcoholics quit drinking.

There are several hang-outs for the street people around here — places that will let you come in and get out of the rain, and get a hot cup of coffee and a pastry. The Salvation Army and the Catholic Church sponsor two of them, and a third is funded by grants from various government agencies and charities. The people running some of those places are really nice people, we enjoyed each other's company, but honestly, I don't think that those places are due the credit for my sobriety.

For every happy story like yours that I recieve, I also recieve a few horror stories, like another suicide and a coerced child, and a few more people who were coerced into the cult, like here and here. Those people don't feel like it's a nice social club.

All of the rest of your rap is just a bunch of ad hominem attacks. The things that you cite have nothing to do with whether A.A. helps or hurts alcoholics. The A.A. success or failure rate is not determined by whether I hate my parents or have too much electronics gear and books in my apartment or was a hard-core street alcoholic, drinking under bridges for years.

And of course you are trying to imply that I don't know what I am talking about because I'm not "a real alcoholic" — not like you. I'm supposedly not equipped with enough war stories and disgusting drunkalogues. Okay, so I didn't live under the bridges. Not my style. I'd spread my sleeping bag in an open field away from everyone else.

But my doctor told me that I was "a late-stage alcoholic", and said that the death rate for them was the same as for cancer — 50%. Then he said, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one." And he also said that when an alcoholic is displaying Spider Angiomas in his skin, like I was, that it is very close to the end. Apparently he thought that I was a real alcoholic.

So I guess that I'm close enough to being "a real alcoholic" to be qualified to say something about it.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Serious illness doesn't bother me for long because
**      I am too inhospitable a host.
**        ==   Albert Schweitzer

[The next letter in this thread from Tom H. is here.]

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters165.html