Letters, We Get Mail, CLXIX

Date: Fri, May 7, 2010 5:15 am     (answered 12 June 2010)
From: "Ben H."
Subject: AA article, thanks


I just read your article on Alcoholics Anonymous and I'm glad someone else feels the same way that I do. I tried that program, which completely ignored the facts that I was sexually molested by my father for 12 years in childhood. So instead of dealing with the real problems of why I used alcohol as an escape the way I did, I focused only on the physical act of drinking and was completely misguided by AA. I'm now 32 years old, just finishing up my degree and finally have my drinking under control. How you may ask? By going to a psychiatrist, getting a medication and speaking with a licensed therapist. These actions in the last year have turned my life around. I spent almost 10 years in and out of that god-forsaken program, and your article just absolutely nailed it. You have to be a follower, just plain stupid, or full of self-hate to make it in that program. I think it should be illegal for courts to send people to AA. Oh and if you're not a christian, you most definitely feel like the odd man out in that program. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that AA made my life worse, assisted me in wasting 10 years dickering about how hopeless and pathetic I was, and what a failure I was drinking the way I did. It's utter bullshit! Anyway, I really enjoyed that article, I wish I had read it 12 years ago!

Ben H.

Hello Ben,

Thank you for the flattering letter, and I'm glad to hear that you have escaped from the madness and found sanity and happiness.

So have a good life now, and a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light
**     excelleth darkness. The wise man's eyes are in his head;
**     but the fool walketh in darkness.
**        ==  OLD TESTAMENT, Ecclesiastes, II, 13

Date: Fri, May 7, 2010 6:04 am     (answered 12 June 2010)
From: "Catherine F."
Subject: aa

Dear Orange,

It may sound like an exaggeration, but I think your work saved my life. Who is currently working on permanently exposing the scandal that is the 12 step program? Please let me know if I can do anything to help. Is there a forum where we can share stories?

It strikes me that the baddies here are the therapists and professional counsellors who secretly sell aa.

Surely there must be millions and millions of people who have had even the slightest experience of aa and know that it is bs. I don't understand why there isn't a huge angry army after it. Where are these people? How can I connect with them?

I cannot adequately express my gratitude.

If someone looks on the internet for advice about alcoholic drinking, then the website ask.com comes up on the first page of google answers. The entry under alcoholism is a verbatim piece of aa propoganda, with no room whatsoever for any doubt. Alcoholism is an incurable disease, etc.

It quotes the AMA.

Please have a look.

All the best.

Hello Catherine,

Thank you for the letter, and thanks for the compliments.

Yes, I've looked at the about.com pages on alcoholism. That section is obviously being managed by a hidden Stepper who is just using about.com to broadcast his cult propaganda. About.com used to have a lot of useful information. But I guess the Steppers have put an end to that. They also censor Wikipedia, and erase everything that they don't like. Any true information about A.A. is generally gone in an hour, replaced by their dogma.

That is just what they do. The so-called "Tradition" about "a program of attraction, not promotion" is totally hypocritical. They promote A.A. constantly. A.A. is nothing but a fantastically successful self-promotion machine. Scientology and the Moonies can only look upon A.A. in envy, and wish that they could do it too.

I am working on getting a forum system going. Soon, I hope.

In the mean time, there are several existing forums where you can communicate with other like-minded people. The list is here.

And yes, telling the truth about A.A. and its quack cure is the best answer that I can think of. We need more publicity that tells the truth (which is why the Steppers are doing the exact opposite): articles for newspapers and magazines, letters to Senators and Congressmen, also conversations with and letters to and support of local politicians, who are often the people who fund the recovery programs at the local level.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.
**     Take which you please, — you can never have both.
**        ==  Emerson, Essays: Intellect

Date: Fri, May 7, 2010 7:04 am     (answered 12 June 2010)
From: "Judith B."
Subject: You are seriously deluded in your version of our paths to Faith — God Bless!


I do not care about your "paths to Faith".

I care about the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous fails to sober up alcoholics, and fails to help alcoholics, and lies about that, a lot. (And that behavior isn't spiritual or holy at all.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When faith is lost, when honor dies,
**     the man is dead!
**        ==  Whittier, Ichabod

Date: Sun, May 9, 2010 9:36 am     (answered 12 June 2010)
From: "Tom S."
Subject: AA

My what a hater you are. None of the information (?) you spew is anywhere near correct or factual.

I wonder why it is you hate AA. We ask nothing of anyone outside or rooms.

May your Higher Power bless and keep you!



Well, Gee, Tom,

Where to start?

Well, let's start with the single most important point:

What is the REAL A.A. success rate?

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

(HINT: the answers are here.)

Then you say that you ask for nothing of anyone outside of the rooms. That is just not true at all. Alcoholics Anonymous runs a huge publicity machine to promote A.A. and get more paying customers into the 12-Step based treatment centers, and to make the public belief that 12-Step cult religion actually works as a cure for drug and alcohol problems. A.A. never stops spreading misinformation about alcohol and drugs and addiction and recovery.

We were just talking about that here, noticing how the web site Alcoholism.About.Com is just a big advertisement for A.A. and 12-Step quack cures.

Then A.A. practices coercive recruiting and deceptive recruiting. That is all done outside of "the roomz". If the A.A. true believers would say in those rooms, they wouldn't be so obnoxious, but they don't. They have to get out and meddle in other people's lives. (It is called "Twelfth-Step Work".)

Now, you claimed that none of my information is correct. Well, I research very carefully. I challenge you to show us what is in error. Please provide clear quotes, and tell what web page you got it from. Then explain what you think the truth is. Of course, you must supply valid evidence to back up your statements, something better than my documentation, like proper clinical studies of the effectiveness of A.A. for curing alcoholics. Propaganda screeds and misleading articles are not valid evidence of anything except proof that A.A. is a program of promotion, not attraction.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Cure the evils of Democracy by the evils of Fascism!
**     Funny therapeutics!  I've heard of their curing syphilis by
**     giving the patient malaria, but I've never heard of their
**     curing malaria by giving the patient syphilis.
**         ==  Sinclair Lewis, It Can't Happen Here

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 7:01 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Nancy"

Who ever you are you are misinformed about AA

Hello Nancy,

There is an echo in here. Please see the previous letter.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Criticism is a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate
**     the best that is known and thought in the world.
**        ==  Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 8:12 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Jonathan"
Subject: correction


You identified Chick Corea as a guitar player.

Actually keyboards.

Jonathan M.

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for the correction. We want to get every detail correct.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Your old men shall dream dreams;
**     Your young men shall see visions.
**        ==  OLD TESTAMENT, Joel, II, 28

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 9:32 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Darrell J."
Subject: Reading List Suggestion


Thank you for your website; it has been an enormous help to me.

I would like to recommend to you a book which has shed a great deal of light on the subject of my alcohol dependence.

I am also mentioning this because the title does not appear on your reading list. The book is titled "The Heart of Addiction" by Lance Dodes, M.D. I wholeheardedly recommend it. It's an easy read and offers a compelling, modern, scientific picture of addiction. Many treatment professionals base individual programs on the ideas in this book.

Thank you again for your work.

Best Regards,
Darrell J.

Hi Darrell,

Thanks for the tip and the good wishes. I'll check that out.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      I celebrate myself and sing myself,
**      And what I assume you shall assume,
**      For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
**          ==  Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 9:43 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: onesmooothtexan
Subject: Your website is awesome!

The amount of research you did is incredible! Also, your style of writing is bad ass. I only wish that it was available in book format.

Hello, onesmooothtexan,

Thanks for the compliments. About the book, hmmm. People keep asking about that. I might have to bite the bullet and do it. More slave labor.

And the sun just came out, and it's beautiful outside... Summer has finally arrived in Oregon.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Lives of great men all remind us
**        We can make our lives sublime,
**      And, departing, leave behind us
**        Footprints on the sands of time.
**         ==  Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 2:34 pm     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Todd Q."
Subject: Expose AA Chat

Hey orange,

I can't thank you enough for helping to expose the AA cult for what it really is.

Today I set up a parachat room for those folks that might like to share their experience, strength, and hope.

No one is participating yet, but it's a nice thing to have anyway. Maybe it'll take off.

Feel free to link it up if you'd like. I'm sending the link to several sites with hopes that it might provide a chat haven for people who are deprogramming from the cult.

Here is the link...


Thanks again...
Donald Q.

Hi Donald,

Thanks for the compliments. That chat sounds good, so here's a plug. Hopefully, you will get some more participants now.

And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "The time has come," the Walrus said,
**      "To talk of many things:
**      Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax —
**      Of cabbages — and kings —
**      And why the sea is boiling hot —
**      And whether pigs have wings."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

[These three letters arrived from the same guy before I got around to answering the first one.]

Date: Wed, April 21, 2010 12:20 pm     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Darrin Z."
Subject: Ignorance

You make a few good points. AA is not and never has been perfect. There is nothing particularly new in the Oxford group, AA or any other religious or spiritual practice. It's universal all over the world since time began. It's not Bills doing. Are you saying that Bill alone made it up? That's incorrect. He/they barrowed from all religions to write the big book.

Hello Darrin,

Thanks for the letters.

Those statements are just plain old wrong. The theology of Alcoholics Anonymous is pure Buchmanism, not "borrowed from all religions". Even Bill Wilson said so:

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298.

Bill Wilson was, of course, being dishonest there when he used the name of Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the Oxford Groups. The American and British people could still remember Frank Buchman raving, "I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler...", so Wilson didn't want to mention Frank Buchman. But Buchman was the real leader of the Oxford Groups, and Buchman was the creator of all of that wierd occult theology.

I have always known they spoon feed you the program. People in AA are generally smart cookies and very wary of any bullshit. It's hard to pull the wool over an alcoholics eyes.

That doesn't make any sense. The purpose of doling out the truth about the A.A. "Program" "by teaspoons, not buckets", as Bill Wilson instructed, is to get people into the A.A. organization and habituated to the meetings and routines before they know what it really is.

So are you saying that the goal of the "teaspoons, not buckets" strategy is to pull the wool over the eyes of new recruits (who are hard to fool)?

I learned some things from your rant. I read the whole thing. I have 18 years of AA and am an intern to become a counselor. Yep, that's right. Another AA counselor. Except I don't agree the courts should sentence people to AA, but they do, and most people I know in AA think it should stop.

You may think that it should stop, but what have you done to stop it? With your 18 years in A.A., you are one of the leaders now. If you don't stop the coercive recruiting and deceptive recruiting, who will?

I deal with the best I can. AA changes all the time. It is a work in progress. I have found AA- the fellowship, to be full of all kinds of good and some not so good. I tell newcomers up front the whole program and I hold nothing back from them. The program is in the book. Take it or leave it.

A "work in progress"? A.A. has been around for more than 70 years now, and all of that time, they have been claiming that A.A. works great. A.A. true believers even routinely tell me that "The Program is perfect; it's just the people who are imperfect." And "The Program never fails; it's just the people who fail The Program." And now you are telling me that A.A. isn't really complete and together yet?

Actually, there is much more of "The Program" that is not in the book: Go to meetings, get a sponsor, read the books, work the steps, get into service, don't get into a relationship for a year, don't criticize "The Program", "share" in meetings, moan about how stupid you are and how smart your sponsor is, memorize a zillion slogans and parrot them, don't tell the truth about Bill Wilson or the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, and give all the credit for your sobriety to A.A....

There is a lot of other stuff to do, besides "The Program" that is in the Big Book.

I have left it several times with no one on my back about it, but came back to it because it feels right to me. I love AA. I actually want a spiritual life. I enjoy it.

Yes, it's called "being addicted to the cult". It happens in every cult.

I have had wonderfull life experiences because of it and AA. There is much you do not know about AA, and that is painfully obvious to me. It wouldn't be to you because you don't know any better.

Nothing like a little "spiritual one-upmanship", is there?

If you look hard enough you will find any negetive thing you like about any topic, but the worst thing about your rant is that you have in many cases misinterpreted all kinds of stuff about AA.

And that is classic minimization and denial.

Who gives a fuck what the Oxford group did! It failed! Who cares? I don't. Why do you?

The Oxford Group created Alcoholics Anonymous. All that Bill Wilson, Dr. Bob, and Clarence Snyder did was steal it and give it a new name.

No my friend, I greatfuly and gladly go to AA and "drink the coolaid" and deeply enjoy my cult, except it isn't a cult. Anyone with any brains and knowledge can see that if they take the time.

Oh really? You don't supply any facts to refute what is in the Cult Test.

A religion? Maybe. If it is than I'm game. If it is designed to slowly lead you to a more religious life, I myself have slowly become very much OK with that, and I share about that in meetings all the time-openly in front of the old timers and newcomers alike and could not care in the slightest if they don't like it, but I am respected for my honesty I think. I have had no problems as a result of it.

Okay, we agree that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religion.

But then again, the Federal Judges declared that a long time ago.

I myself have been very critical of the fellowship at times and I hold nothing back. AA is constantly growing and changing. But of course you don't know that. We AA's are a whole hell of a lot smarter than you give us credit for. It's people like you that are the "sheople"- you just follow along with the same ol bologny and don't check your facts. So be it.

Actually, I am constantly checking my facts, and collecting more facts.

Speaking of which, you have not presented any facts. Not one fact in your whole rap. Just denials and dodges.

AA will be here long after you and I are gone, and pal, last time I checked this was still America. I will believe in whatever I like and you are welcome to your opinion, even if it is for the most part pretty ignorant.

Yes, it sometimes takes a long time for cults to totally die out. Frank Buchman's Oxford Group is now named "Initiatives For Change", and they still have some die-hard old believers yammering the same nonsense and lies about how great Frank Buchman was...

The "Friends Of Bill" will probably be doing that for a while too.

Date: Tue, May 11, 2010 2:52 pm     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Darrin Z."
Subject: Sick mother fucker.

Hi there Orange, whoever the fuck you are. Your a sick mother fucker and so am I. Only difference is I am getting help for it and apparently you are not. You need some serious fucking help. Like any good liar, you mix some truth with your lies. AA is not perfect and never has been. It's a grass roots kind of thing for sick alcoholic people. It saves lives, I see it all the time. Your full of shit and so is the treatment center I work for. Yeah, I'm a counselor. I agree the courts and treatment should butt out of AA, but it's not AA's fault they send them to us, so fuck you. AA is not a secret society, it never has been. We are supposed to be anonymous at the level of press, radio and film. We accomplish this most of the time. Like I said, we are not perfect. Those that break this tradition are doing so ignorantly and we forgive them and go on. So what's your problem? Who are you? Why do you care? Most of us stick to this tradition.Bill had to do it for obvious reasons. Like I said, we are not a secret society. Where did you get that idea? Your statistics are all screwed up and so is your knowledge of this very helpfull and very usefull program. The program is not for everyone and was never meant to be. We, or at least I will tell newcomers to eigther keep comeing back or go out and try some controlled drinking. Eigther way, have a nice fucking day. I am right up front about the spiritual aspect of the program with newcomers and the fact that not many people stay in AA. Many alcoholics in our program or not don't make it. They die all the time. Many others who are sent to our program are not even alcoholic and I wish they would split as soon as they find that out. Most of them do. That may contribute to the drop out rate a bit. I don't know for sure. You seem to know alot of things for sure that nobody else has figured out yet, like the statistics. It's been in debate for a very long time and still is. Most of your rant, but not all of it, is pure bullshit. Take any organization in the enire world, and I could pick it apart all day long just the way you have with AA. Nothing under the sun is particularly new or perfect. AA will be here long after you and I are gone. Period. 'nough said I suppose, but I too can't help myself. I must express how I feel about a motherfucker like you. That's right, I'm an AA. 18 years and counting. It's worked for me. Not without rough spots for sure and plenty of resentments towards eigther AA or the members, but I worked through it and so far everything is cool. I still love AA. I love it by contributing to it. I give back what I can. We vote all the time on changes made in AA constantly. I voice my opinion often. I don't go along blindly. We AA's are one hell of alot smarter than you think we are. So was Bill. Genius. Not you though, far from it. You take things out of the service manual and take them out of context and put your own demented twist on it. Shame on you , fuck head. Shame on you. Who pissed in your Cherios? What axe are you grinding? Are you an ex-member who's sponsor fucked his wife? (It sometimes happens, unfortunately) Whatever your problem is I will pray for you, because obviously you are a sick mother fucker, and so am I. I'm just glad I got help and will be forever grateful to AA. I hope you get help too, because it is obvious you are miserable. Why don't you try seeing the good in stuff instead of trying to be important. Your not very good at being a big shot. You can turn it all around if you see the good in things others have done and point that out too. It doesn't have to be all bad, and it clearly isn't. I know!!! Why don't you drink a whole lot for about ten years and then go to AA- They will straighten your ass out if anyone can. Anyway, good luck motherfucker, hope your life gets even better than mine someday because you seriously need it.

Wow! Off of your meds today?

Date: Wed, May 12, 2010 9:02 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Darrin Z."
Subject: Apology for language.

Dear Orange. Though I do not agree with your opinion of AA, I must apologie for my language and say that you are entitled to your opinion. Have a nice day.

Hello again, Darrin,

I really must thank you for writing. It is good for people to be able to see what kind of "counseling" they will get if they go to a 12-Step treatment center.

It is also good for people to see the results of 18 years of "Working The Steps".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are some remedies worse than the disease.
**           ==  Syrus  (42 B.C.)

Date: Wed, May 12, 2010 8:56 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Your Efforts Work, I keep coming back : )

I have directed a number of people to your website and believe me for many it is an eye opener. I can understand why some steppers are so hostile. It is because 12 step ideas are built on sand and once people hear about alternatives for becoming sober they leave AA behind and move on.

When I have a conversation either face to face or on line about this I begin with two simple truths. I tell them that they are not powerless and that abstinence IS the same as sobriety. Two obvious concepts that AA spends so much energy convincing people otherwise. It takes months of brainwashing by AA to blind people to common sense.

Once people realize that will power is their most effective tool they will see how AA is so totally wrong. If the person has a religion or spiritual practice I encourage them to apply that to their efforts to abstain. If the person is an agnostic or atheist I tell them that that is compatible with sobriety and there is no need to change their beliefs.

One friend of mine went through AA for two years and had three slips. Before he began SMART Recovery he raised some issues with his sponsor. The sponsor actually called me and told me that I should not mess with "John's program." I basically asked "you and what army will stop me?" My friend has now been sober (abstinent) for almost a year. Last Christmas he sent me a card. In the card he said that the moment he realized that he never had to attend an AA meeting again was the moment he felt "happy, joyous and free."

Keep up the good work and know that your website has successfully "messed with peoples AA program" and helped them achieve sobriety.


Hello Gary,

Thank you for a positive, cheery letter, and thanks for the compliments.

It is really nice to hear a voice of sanity after the previous letter that I received. Wow! My ears are still ringing.

Anyway, your advice to people seeking to get out of their addictions sounds right on. Thank you for helping to save people's lives.

So have a very good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
**      that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.
**        ==  OLD TESTAMENT, Isaiah, LII, 7

May 18, 2009, Monday: Day 18, continued:

Canada Goose Family, with 9 goslings
The Family of 9 is taking a nap.
One of the goslings is stretching its neck while the mother grooms her feathers.

Notice how three of the goslings have legs sticking out behind them. That is their way of stretching out. They are growing so fast that they have all kinds of vague growing pains, and they lounge around in odd positions, trying to get stretched out and get rid of the aches.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

This letter is in response to a letter that praised Steven Gage and his "Royal Haven" prison camp for girls at Sisters, Oregon:

The original article about Gage's prison camp is here:
Boot Camps: Children's Gulags or Child Abuse for Fun and Profit

Date: Wed, May 12, 2010 11:59 pm     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "M."


I lived at Royal Haven in Sisters, Oregon... where people called us Gage Girls. I do not remember Steve as being a kind, smiling, jolly old man. He had his moments where he was smiling but only when the public was around. I am seriously disgusted that the sister of a girl that I probably lived with at one point thinks he is a good man. There were fights over food, little shower times, CHILD LABOR, barely in food, timed pee breaks, sweat, blood, tears, and fear. I was happiest cause I was part of the Fab Five. I was safe because he said I couldn't hold a secret. Thank god for that. I learned a lot about working hard, trusting no one to do anything for you, and watch your back. He raped, molested, and mistreated many girls that I knew. I didn't know about the rape until after we were sent home when it closed down. This Mallory girl needs to shut her face.... she didn't experience what we did. I'm sick to see that we share the same name. Have her ask her sister about quiet time, wearing pjs when we were in trouble, not being able to get out of bed to pee at night, maybe eating twice a day, hard labor outside from eight am to five pm, and if you were a fab five you worked until ten at the other farm, not being allowed to talk to anyone at school, not being able to talk to most girls in your boarding school of 25. The best part not having your period for the most of the time you were there because you were put on horse pills that they called vitamins..... I met amazing girls there that I will cherish forever.... but Steve can go to hell.


Hello M,

Thank you for the letter. It's good to hear from the survivors of those nightmares.

Yes, the girl who wrote that previous letter about Steven Gage was seriously disconnected from reality, wasn't she?

"Steve was a really nice guy who gave me ice cream and shopping money..."

Yeh, right.

Oh well, have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Prisons are built with stones of Law,
**     brothels with bricks of Religion.
**        ==  Blake, Proverbs of Hell

Date: Thu, May 13, 2010 7:56 am     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Sean M."
Subject: AA as a Cult?

Dear Mr./Ms. Orange,

I have just read your commentary on Alcoholics Anonymous as a Cult in which you attempt to deconstruct, out of context, many quotes from Bill Wilson insofar as its suits your original thesis. I can't imagine what would motivate someone to spend what must have been many hours analyzing the Big Book and come up with such fallacious conclusions. While it was an interesting read, I just don't buy what you're selling.

Hello Sean,

I do not quote things out of context. I am very careful not to distort the meanings of what I am quoting. We have discussed that before, here and here.

You can't imagine why someone would work to get the truth out there? You can't imagine why someone would want to help sick people?

The fact that you would take the time to ridicule something that has helped millions of people speaks volumes about your motives. As with anything, including AA, as soon as human beings get involved, things can get messy. But that shouldn't take away from the fact that before AA, they locked alcoholics like me up in asylums. At least now, I have another option.

You are just parrotting the standard A.A. lies. A.A. has not "helped millions", or "saved millions", or "sobered up millions." I've covered that so many times before that I will just point you to the facts, here.

Your history is a work of fiction too, just standard A.A. propaganda. Read this for some of the real history of the treatment of alcohol abuse before Bill Wilson sold Frank Buchman's religion as a quack cure for alcoholism.

Ive been sober for many years, something which I tried many times, on my own, and failed to do before AA. Is it perfect? No. Is it infallible? No. Do I go to meetings everyday? No. Is AA the ONLY way to get and stay sober? No. Do I attempt to use the basic tenet of AA that a relationship with a higher power will help me stay sober? Yes. Has it worked thus far? Yes Am I a happier, more productive member of society? Yes.

You are making a common logical error: "It happened after X, so it was caused by X". In Latin, it's called Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

It works like this: "Mary never got pregnant until she went to that Baptist Church, so that Baptist Church made Mary get pregnant."

Likewise, you think you quit drinking because you went to A.A. meetings. Wrong.

  • You quit drinking because you wanted to quit drinking. You finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and decided to really quit, for real, forever.
  • You also went to some A.A. meetings because you wanted to quit drinking, and somebody had told you that A.A. was supposed to be "helpful" for quitting drinking.
  • Both quitting drinking and attending A.A. meetings were caused by your desire to quit drinking.
  • A.A. did not make you quit drinking.

I would just leave it at that. I think that most people, alcoholic or otherwise, just want to live a happy life. So why the intellectual bitterness on your part?

I do not have "intellectual bitterness". I simply oppose cults that harm people. I don't care if it's Scientology, the Moonies, or Alcoholics Anonymous — they are all hoaxes and frauds.

Again, a very interesting read, but unless you've experienced a spiritual, physical, and moral bottom as so many in AA have, you can't realize that anything is better than that. Call it a cult or whatever label you want to affix, it works for many people whom otherwise would have been lost.

And now you are pulling a cheap stunt of one-upmanship. As if your suffering was so special that I could never understand it.

Been there, done that. I've been to hell and back too. I'm an alcoholic too.

And happily, I discovered that you don't have to join a cult religion to quit drinking and have a happy, sober life.

Thanks for your time

Dr. M

You are welcome, "Dr. M".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Drink to me only with thine eyes,
**       and I will pledge with mine;
**     Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
**       and I'll not look for wine.
**          ==  Ben Johnson, To Celia

[This letter is a continuation of the thread here and here.]

Date: Thu, May 13, 2010 1:09 pm     (answered 13 June 2010)
From: "Hooty S."
Subject: Bill's Anniversary

Hiya, Orange.

Turns out there actually is an annual to-do commemorating Bill Wilson's sobriety anniversary! The New York Intergroup has a yearly event called The Big Meeting:

An open three-speaker meeting that celebrates the 75th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous' founding date, June 10th, 1935 (the date of A.A.'s co-founder Dr. Bob's last drink).

There's also a glamorous affair called the Bill W. Dinner that celebrates Bill's AA (not belly button, haw-haw!) birthday:

The Bill W. Dinner is an annual celebration of the sobriety anniversary of A.A. co-founder, Bill W. Proceeds of the event benefit New York Inter-Group. The Dinner was started by several of Bill's friends who were accustomed to celebrating Bill's anniversary by taking him to dinner.

Check out item #24 on this page. If I get my black Dior gown drycleaned, will you be my date?

I can't thank you enough for your hard work, exhaustive research, straight shooting, bravery, and compassion. I wish you the best of luck in your adorable new home.

Love and thanks,

Hooty S.
Seattle, WA

Hi Hooty,

Aha! Thanks for the information and the good wishes.

The date sounds like fun. Are you allowed to question Bill's sobriety if you wear a tux?

The party for Bill sounds interesting, but it isn't at all clear whether it was just a cover-up or a publicity stunt, or if Bill really had that many years of unbroken sobriety.

We have other reports that the fellow members covered up for Bill when Bill did something that would embarass the A.A. organization. Tom Powers, the co-author of "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", explained how they covered up Bill's sexual affairs:

"He could be very blatant about it, and there were times when it seemed like the reaction to a particularly flagrant episode would end up destroying everything he had worked for. But then people would scurry around and smooth things over, or cover it all up."
Bill W., A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Co-Founder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, 2000, pages 171-172.

And then there was the Founder's Watch Committee, that followed Bill Wilson around and tried to prevent him from embarassing the A.A. organization yet again by seducing another cute young thing who came to an A.A. meeting seeking help with a drinking problem...

So did they also cover up Bill's occasional drinking? Were they just pretending that Bill had so many years of unbroken sobriety?

Oh, and did they reset Bill's sobriety date when he took LSD for two years? — an indulgence which is well known and well-documented (look here and here).

I have heard some A.A. apologists rationalize and minimize Bill's LSD consumption by saying, "Well, it was legal at the time." Yes, and so was alcohol, after Prohibition ended. Nevertheless, the common A.A. attitude today is that you lose all of your sober time if you take drugs like LSD. So did they reset Bill's sobriety date? If not, why not?

Inquiring minds want to know.

And then there is this curiosity. The Hazelden Foundation wrote an "autobiography" of Bill Wilson that was based on a bunch of autobiographical audio tapes that Bill Wilson made before his death, where he told his story once again. The book ends with this strange statement:

There will be future historical revelations about Bill's character and behavior in recovery that will be interpreted, by some, as direct attacks on the very foundation of AA.
Bill W., My First 40 Years, "William G. Wilson" (posthumously ghost-written by Hazelden staff), Hazelden, page 170.

So what the heck are they hiding in those locked and sealed historical archives? What "future historical revelations" will leak out? Is it:

  1. that Bill Wilson was in the habit of kidnapping, raping and murdering little girls when the moon got full? I don't think so.
  2. that Bill Wilson was in league with Adolf Hitler in a plot to take over the world? I don't think so.
  3. that Bill Wilson wasn't really sober? Hmmm, that might be it. That would be a bombshell. I can see why they would hide that in the archives, and lock the door.

Oh, and is that story, on page 135 of the Big Book, about a chain-smoking A.A. member getting drunk and throwing a screaming temper tantrum because his wife nagged him to quit smoking, really an autobiographical story about Bill Wilson?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Imperious Caesar, dead and turn'd to clay,
**      Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.
**         ==  Shakespeare, Hamlet, V, 1

Date: Thu, May 13, 2010 8:11 pm     (answered 14 June 2010)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Records of Bill Wilson's aniversary celebrations

Mr. Orange, Thank you for all you do. I have my doubts about the number of years Bill W was sober. You made a good point asking where are the records of his anniversaries? I found some interesting claims at www.sobrietytalks.com.

Do you believe what is there?

Thank you again.
Bob O.

Hi Bob,

Let me check that out. More later...

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Experience keeps a dear school, yet Fools will learn in no other.
**         ==  Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

Date: Fri, May 14, 2010 6:42 am     (answered 14 June 2010)
From: "Kean Tran"
Subject: Health Resource Suggestion


My name is Kean Tran, and I am the Public Awareness Director for PleuralMesothelioma.com. While I was browsing through a number of health sites, I came across your website and was very impressed by the information you have listed.

Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, a rare cancer that develops in the lungs. It is almost solely caused by exposure to asbestos, which was used in everything in children's toys, house-hold insulation, and naval carriers. Our website has the most up to date and comprehensive information about Pleural Mesothelioma on the web today. With information ranging from a complete list of symptoms, to treatment options, and steps to take after a diagnosis.

I noticed that you already had some other health related resources listed on your resources page at "orange-papers.info/orange-links.html" and figured you might be interested in including a link to our site as well. Please let me know if you are interested — I'm available by e-mail at ktran(@)pleuralmesothelioma.com. With your help, we can educate the public about the dangers of asbestos and hopefully save some lives. Thanks again!

Best Regards,

Kean Tran
Public Awareness Director

Okay, Kean,

I'll add that link. Thank you for your work.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     For all the happiness mankind can gain
**     Is not in pleasure, but rest from pain.
**        ==  Dryden, The Indian Emperor, IV, 1

Date: Thu, May 20, 2010 1:44 am     (answered 14 June 2010)
From: "Bill M."
Subject: Curious

I looked at your site — specifically https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html — and didn't find any reference to this well documented item from the National Institutes of Health,
It is based on a very large data sample- 135,672 persons — and seems to contradict a lot of the research you quote, which are based on samples that are several orders of magnitude smaller. I can't find any data that you present on https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.htm that employs a sample larger than a few hundred. The NSDUH report is based on a sample that is three orders of magnitude larger than the studies you quote, and thus likely to have greater statistical significance.

Are you ignoring this science because it does not support your beliefs?

[ local copy here: OAS.SAMHSA.GOV--selfHelp.htm ]

Hello Bill,

Obviously, you do not know what the word "SCIENCE" means. There was no science in that article.

Do you know how you can tell if something is scientific? Simple: Look for this key phrase: "CONTROL GROUP". Synonyms of "control group" are: "untreated group", or "untreated patients", or "the patients who didn't get any of the experimental medicine".

That brings up another key word that is missing from that article: EXPERIMENT.

The "scientific method" requires that you observe a phenomenon or situation, and form a hypothesis about what you are seeing, and then do an experiment to reveal what the truth really is.

  1. Your hypothesis might be that a certain chemical or treatment will cure a disease. That leads to performing a medical experiment, or "A CLINICAL STUDY".

  2. In the case of medical experiments, where you are testing a new medicine or treatment, you always have two identical groups of patients, only one of which gets the new medicine or treatment, while the other group does not get it. The medical treatment of the two groups is otherwise the same.

  3. The patients that go into the two groups must be selected randomly. No cherry-picking is allowed, where the most promising patients get the medicine or treatment to be tested. Pick names out of a hat, or roll dice, or let a computer program select the names.

  4. The group of patients that does not get the experimental medicine or treatment is called "the control group". The results from the control group tell you how many patients just got over the disease, and recovered spontaneously, without the new medicine or treatment. (It's called "spontaneous remission".)

  5. The results from the treated group tell you how many people recovered with the help of the new medicine or treatment.

  6. To determine whether the medicine or treatment works, and how well it works, you compare the results from the two groups.

    • If the treated group did better than the untreated group, then the medicine is doing something good and is helping the patients.

    • If there is no difference between the two groups, then the medicine is completely ineffective and useless.

    • If the treated group does worse than the control group, then the medicine is poisonous and is killing the patients. Throw it into the toxic waste dump.

I also wrote up a description of how you do a Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study, earlier, here.

Now, back to the article that you cited. If you read that article carefully, you will see that there were no experiments to see whether self-help groups really caused people to stop drinking or consuming drugs. The authors just presented the results of ONE QUESTION that was included in a survey:

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) includes a question for persons aged 12 or older about their participation in the past 12 months in a self-help group for substance use (i.e., alcohol use, illicit drug use, or both).

You seem to believe that the numbers somehow show that self-help groups were doing something positive, but the numbers don't show any such thing.

What that paper shows us is merely that a bunch of white people, more men than women, mostly between 28 and 45 years of age, went to a bunch of self-help meetings, and only half of them were actually drug and alcohol-free for even one lousy month. That is really pathetic.

(Oh, and that totally contradicts the grandiose Alcoholics Anonymous claim that the average sobriety of A.A. members is 8 years.)

There was no evidence that going to self-help groups reduced consumption of drugs and alcohol. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. I challenge you to find any such evidence in that report.

Nevertheless, the unnamed (anonymous?) author finished by suddenly proclaiming that self-help groups had done great things, when he had zero evidence of any such thing.

A substantial body of research has found that attendance at self-help groups improves substance use outcomes, mainly in the form of reductions in the amount used and increases in rates of abstinence.1 Self-help groups often are used in conjunction with specialty treatment and also continue beyond treatment as people go through the recovery process.6

What "substantial body of research"? There isn't any. The author vaguely referred to some propaganda pieces that were cranked out by the 12-Step promoters that are listed in the bibliography. That is what you call fraud. It's just another hidden 12-Stepper promoting his favorite cult again, using deception and misinformation. It's no better than Tom Cruise selling Scientology as the cure for all of your mental problems.

That is the most "nothing" report that I've seen in a while. But thanks for the reference. I'll have to read more and see whether they are running a 12-Step propaganda mill over at SAMHSA.

Oh, and so what were the results of the properly-done tests of Alcoholics Anonymous? I'm so glad you asked. The results were disastrous:

  1. Dr. Brandsma found that A.A. increased the rate of binge drinking, and
  2. Dr. Ditman found that A.A. increased the rate of rearrests for public drunkenness, and
  3. Dr. Walsh found that "free A.A." made later hospitalization more expensive, and
  4. Doctors Orford and Edwards found that having a doctor talk to the patient for just one hour was just as effective as a whole year of A.A.-based treatment.
  5. Dr. George E. Vaillant, the A.A. Trustee, found that A.A. treatment was completely ineffective, and raised the death rate in alcoholics. No other way of treating alcoholics produced such a high death rate as did Alcoholics Anonymous.

In fact, there has never been a single valid medical study that showed that attending A.A. meetings helped alcoholics to get better. No one. Not ever.

And for eight years now, I've had a challenge out, asking the A.A. true believers to show me even one properly-conducted clinical study or Randomized Longitudinal Controlled Study that showed that A.A. did anything good for the alcoholics. And all that I have ever gotten back is some references to some faked "studies", often by Humphries, Moos and gang (who is also in the bibliography of the article that you cited).

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Oh health! health! the blessing of the rich! the riches
**     of the poor! who can buy thee at too dear a rate,
**     since there is no enjoying this world without thee?
**         ==  Ben Johnson, Volpone, II, 1

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Last updated 19 November 2014.
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