Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXX

Date: Mon, July 5, 2010 2:53 pm     (answered 13 July 2010)
From: "s c."

Hello —

I appreciate that this won't be the most disturbing story you have read but I'd like to write out my recent experiences in NA.

9 months ago at the age of 36 I realized my drinking had got way out of hand. I'd used drugs for years and stopped, but just switched to alcohol, which was making me feel worse than drugs ever did. I had been drinking every day for about 3 years and couldnt go much more than a few days sober when I tried to stop.

I had met somebody in a fellowship a few years ago who had recommended 12 steps to me and one night decided to go to an NA meeting — I had abused both alcohol and drugs, but mainly drugs so I chose NA.

Without doubt going to meetings helped me enormously. After work all day and travelling to a meeting at night I was too tired to think about going to the pub by the time I got home.

I really enjoyed being around clean and sober people after many years of boring pub life. The god stuff/contradictory terminology alarmed me slightly but I was so desperate to stop drinking and make some new friends I didn't analyse it too much.

I was told to get a sponsor and after 2 weeks I asked somebody who chaired my "home" group, lived nearby, and grew up close to me. I thought we would have a lot in common. He had been through a 12 step treatment centre and seemed to know everything there was to know about NA. He told me to do 90 days clean so the fog could clear, before step work, which seemed a reasonable demand.

I got through my 90 days and went to a couple of conventions and Unity days which I enjoyed very much. At the point I had no complaints and went to 4 or 5 meets a week. I was starting to adjust to straight life after about 20 years of drink and drugs and it was great to share it with other "clean" people.

My sponsor asked me to write my life story, which I did in 15 pages. It was very hard to do and it did bring up a lot of things I haven't thought about in many years. We set a date for me to read it out to him. It was 2pm on a Saturday. I was working in a job with long hours at the time and my Saturdays were quite special to me, plus this was the 1st time I had ever trusted anyone with something like my life story and was quite nervous about it. My sponsor knew all this.

2pm came and went. At 4.10pm I got a text — not a phone call but a text — saying he was ill and couldn't make it. I was shocked by this, and really hurt by the lack of consideration. My sponsor — like almost everyone in my home group, didn't work and lived off benefits. I started to realize that times and dates didn't really matter to him as he didn't have the bother of work getting in the way — one day was as good as the next, and it didn't matter if you were late. I tried to forgive and understand this behaviour and eventually we did make a date to read out my life story.

I didn't really know what it was I supposed to do next. At this point I trusted my sponsor and saw him as somebody who was going to guide me on some sort of spiritual path.

I noticed that he literally never called me, and often didn't respond to texts or calls. I knew he didn't have much money so I set him up with an internet based text service so he could communicate with me. I think he used it once.

After meets we would go out for a meal sometimes — but nobody ever had any money and I often paid for peoples food as I worked. I did this willingly but noticed that lack of any kind of appreciation. Out of about ten regular attendees I got to know only one worked, and the others did not work and also had no intention of working. This grated me a bit as I worked very hard and the idea of years on the dole which most people had wasn't something I could understand.

As nobody ever had any money the groups I attended never really did anything together. I thought that there might have been a social aspect to NA and that we would be getting together to share the joys of recovery. I noticed that much like active drug users there was lots of talk about doing this or that, but it never actually happened. I noticed that when it was somebodys clean time birthday nobody got it together to buy a card. Nobody really did much of anything except occasionally go to meetings.

When people did manage to go for a bite to eat after the meetings, I noticed people pretty much just talked about themselves and their chaotic lives. I started to think that if after years clean and doing all these steps people still seem as stuck in the rounds of divorce, out of control children, affairs, lack of cash, unhappiness, relapses etc I wonder what good NA is doing for them exactly? I thought I would be meeting stable and consistent people who had defeated their worst behaviours.

Some people did stay clean but the large majority of people I met either stopped coming, stopped responding to phone calls, or relapsed. After about 4 months I started to get a bit bored of hearing literally the same story every week from the same people. Nobody I knew seemed to be making any progress in their lives, but I felt awful for being so judgemental. I went to various other meetings near to where I lived and found pretty much the same story at every one — unemployed people saying the same things every week. I started to notice people who ONLY went to NA meetings in their lives.

One guy in particular was at almost every one I went to round the city where I live and a lot of his shares were about his problems and resentments within NA! I started to notice various people like this. I wondered what the point of 3 meetings a day was for these people if they didn't particularly enjoy most of the ones they went to. I met people who worked in treatment centres doing 12 step work all day and then went to meetings in the evening which struck me as a bit obsessive. I'd say some the strangest and most unhinged people I have met in NA work in treatment centres.

I started to struggle sharing as I had told all my war stories and didn't really have anything else to say as I didn't believe in god, I hadn't experienced any miracles, I had my urges to use under control, and had no plans or desires to use again. My life wasn't the constant struggle that most NA members seemed to experience.

My sponsor didn't have any plan for me at all it turned out. He didn't have any plan for himself either. He collected his benefits and played a lot of computer games and smoked a lot of cigarettes. He said the stress of work would send him back to drugs so it was best to stay unemployed. He has 4 children by 3 mothers. He occasionally sees one of them and makes no effort to provide in any way for them financially. He didn't do any meditation or written step work or do anything around NA that I could see, aside from go to the closest meeting to where he lives that he can walk to.

I started to have doubts about all the god stuff and started to see major differences between the way people talked in meetings and the way they lived their lives. People who spouted texts and emails about the ecstasy of god-given recovery and the joys of living day by day in a new light of golden love in the fellowship etc etc.... when I actually talked to them after the meeting they seemed just as miserable/totally self-obsessed/uninterested as everyone else does.

Eventually my sponsor's sponsor noticed that nothing was happening with any progress re:step work and took me on, and my first sponsor has completely avoided talking to me about it ever since. I think my 1st sponsor just liked the idea of saying he had a sponsee and was flattered that I asked him, but never had clue as to what to do with me in any practical sense.

My next sponsor was another let down. He has 3 children and 2 jobs and a demanding wife, and whenever we made an arrangement to meet it got cancelled, or he would just forget. I can't say how many times he would say he was going to phone me and then didn't. To this day he has never been round to my place and we live about 3 miles away from each other. I gave up after a couple of months and asked somebody else. They said yes, and after 5 days called me back to say they had changed their mind. I asked a few other people and they all said no for various reasons.

I have the keys to a local church meeting as nobody else was willing to commit to turn up. Last week I got there and nobody turned up. I was sat there on my own for a few minutes feeling pretty wiped out. I called and texted people and nobody got back to me. That was 4 days ago and Ive not heard from anybody out of about 10 regulars. Whilst I was sat there alone I realized a few stark truths.

I realized that after 9 months of constantly going to NA meetings I wouldn't say I have met anybody that I can rely on. On the days when I am struggling I just tend to get on with it as best I can because I know that if I call somebody its probably they won't answer the phone or be in the middle of some drama of their own. I realized that there was nobody who gave me any answers to my questions about being an atheist and I was behaving like a fake by reading out all the cards with all the god stuff when I didn't understand it or believe it myself. I hadn't received or heard any practical advice or instruction on any of the words that constantly get read out — prayer, god , meditation, disease, spirituality, etc. I realized I was going to meetings for something to do and because I was avoiding all my ex-drinking buddies. A couple of meetings I go to are in small towns and really struggle for people to attend and I felt guilty if I didn't go.

I don't belive in god, so I can't believe in prayer to that god, I don't believe in miracles, I don't believe in the disease idea, I don't believe that people who do the 12 steps are any better or worse off than people who stop on willpower. I realized if all that is true then why on earth am I going to NA meetings.

I realized that the large majority of people who had done the 12 steps and were supposedly living spriritual lives still smoked like chimneys, often didn't work, often didn't turn up for meets when they said they would, and didn't seem very happy about anything. I must have given my telephone number to old timers a hundred times over, but nobody ever called me to see how I was doing or come round. When I tried to think about "sticking with the winners" I didn't really know who the winners were anymore. I thought — if I can do 9 months without god and without any steps or sponsorship — why not not just carry on as I am? what is it NA is doing for me exactly?

Lastly —

A few months ago there was a committee formed to organise a convention in our area. The mimimum clean time required was 2 years, and obviously some experience in service. So I went along to it expecting to meet the creme-de-la-creme of the local NA populace. Its been chaotic to say the least. In the first meeting there was an all-out fist fight. Since then almost everyone that made a 1 year commitment has dropped out, and we have never had a meeting yet where all the committee members actually turn up at the same time. I've been in a room with supposedly the most committed and longest clean people in my area and frankly it's so unstable I dread going.

It did me some good and I don't hate it — but NA is just too much for to swallow. Too much of it doesnt make any sense. Your website helped re-adjust my brain.



Hi SC,

Thank you for the story. It says a lot. I just can't think of anything to add.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Error is a hardy plant: it flourisheth in every soil.
**      ==  Martin Farquhar Tupper (1810—1889)

Date: Sun, July 25, 2010 3:10 am     (answered 2 August 2010)
From: "s c."
Subject: RE:

Hello —

Also you may be interested to know since i stopped going to meetings I havent had any contact with anyone I met over the last 8 months. I got a postcard from one guy but thats it. I've bumped in to a couple of people by chance, but nobody has called to see where I am or if I am OK. NA has been such a let down.

I really wish that it was like its described in the literature and that people behaved as suggested in all the cards and books. If it was like that, then I would be much more interested in sticking around.

Cheers, sc

Hi again, SC,

You know, I've heard that so many times. If you dare to leave A.A. or N.A., then all of your "friends" who give you all of that "unconditional love" will dump you and ostracize you. Loneliness can be a big problem for people who quit any cult. (The only exception to that pattern seems to be the stalkers, who just won't stop trying to get a "straying" member back.)

On the bright side, now you can get some real friends.

So have a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    If I knew I was going to live this long,
**     I'd have taken better care of myself.
**      ==  Mickey Mantle

Date: Tue, July 6, 2010 10:06 am     (answered 13 July 2010)
From: "kryssi l."
Subject: is this programing? please help

or should i be expecting the truth from the programers?

love of truth played an important roll on the page before the tobacco programing page.

Im only guessing that you are also programed to feel good about pot smokers lives purposly ruined by imprisonment, even knowing they will be raped and tortured for daring to have a mind any more free than yourself. Im not programing you as i believe it to be evil. and teaching is not programing. Im simply saying read your own pages, and learn from your own words you ignorant repeater of government propaganda. fyi the lung deaths are comming from your car thats why people dont lock themselves in their car with a carton to kill themselves, cause if it wont turn the roadside snow black as coal or be effective to cause immediate harm to you. anyone whos ever tried a cigarette knows they are bad for you and not a wise habbit to aquire. an even worse habbit is letting your thoughts and beliefs come from any source than your own educated mind. you do hate pot smokers dont you?

Hello Kryssi,

Thanks for the letter, but please, hold on right there.

I don't know what you are reading, but you have it totally backwards. I'm an old hippie who lived on a commune up in the mountains of northern New Mexico, and I smoked pot more times than I can count, or even estimate.

There was one guy on our commune who had done three years in San Quentin prison for possession of three joints (marijuana cigarettes). He was totally freaked, and never recovered from the experience. He spent the rest of his life on that commune, hiding from the outside world. He just died recently at the age of 70. May he rest in peace.

What was done to him is simply totally unjustifiable.

No, I do not approve of the marijuana prohibition at all. In fact, I'd rather see my children smoking pot than drinking alcohol. Pot kills far fewer people. Like alcohol kills 100,000 U.S. citizens per year, while pot kills maybe 1 or 2 or maybe none.

Still, I think that smoking nothing is better for you. It is better to be clear-headed. And its better for your lungs to keep them smoke-free. But if the kids have to get high on something, then pot is one of the least harmful choices.

do you realize that that the cia lists it as an herb that supresses succeptability to propaganda such as the tobacco page on your site. A lot of people are just learning of mind control and the cia use of it to program the whole country and the world little at a time. with the amount of decent info here, people tend to read on until they see some crap like you describe on previous pages, come to being on the next page. What the fuck does your tobacco page have to do with mind control anyway. investigate pot from non biased sources, then smoke a joint, which will cure your asthma!, and then seek help with your own programing, this may help you stop being an ignorant propagandist. tobacco was the 3rd page i read here, but even with some good info and original info, im looking for NO more mis-info. that concludes this nasty-gram, good luck with that freedom of thought thing, and bless you for any truth pass along. cia monarch mind control mk-ultra programing,

know this 9/11 was a nationwide program thats why it remained on live tv. these are true mind control and purely evil. google it. always up for intelligent debate, not politics.

Again, I don't know what you are reading. My web page on tobacco does not even mention pot or marijuana. Neither does my web page on How To Deprogram Your Own Mind.

And I'm not biased against marijuana, and I have smoked it. And unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled. A lot. And I had a good time, too.

But that was then, and this is now. And now I haven't smoked pot in 9 1/2 years, and I'm enjoying life without it.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One pill makes you larger,
**     And one pill makes you small.
**     And the ones that Mother gives you
**     Don't do anything at all.
**     Go ask Alice, when you're ten feet tall.
**       ==  Gracie Slick, White Rabbit, The Jefferson Airplane 

[The next letter from Kryssi is here.]

Date: Wed, July 7, 2010 11:38 am     (answered 13 July 2010)
From: "Fred S"
Subject: hostage taking?

Dear Friend,

This is one recovery concept you seem to have missed discussing. It is possibly dealt with inherently in discussions of "co-dependency" and "cognitive dissonance" (as one tool for impressing conformity, etc.) I have often heard "Oh, well, we often take hostages in our first year of recovery." etc. It is one of those things that, if not totally meaningless, I have no clear idea of what is meant. For instance I have heard "doing a geographical" defined as making an ill-conceived attempt to consciously and "soberly" escape problems by picking up and moving some distance, or else getting totally bombed and waking up several states away from where you started. At least, in that case, I can cherry pick either meaning to embrace or discard. For me, it seems preferable to have a clearer idea of what I do or do not believe in.

Just curious if the hostage thing has ever blipped your radar.

Thanks for the inspiration and good work,


PS Is "hostage taking" sometimes a euphemism for "13th stepping?"

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the letter and the question. That's a new one to me. I had not heard that slogan before. My first impression is that they are again accusing alcoholics of being manipulative,
"I will relapse and return to drinking if you don't do what I want."
"I will drink again if you displease me."
But that is just a guess.

And who was notorious for doing that? Bill Wilson.

Maybe the readers have some ideas of what is meant by "taking hostages".

And I totally agree about how things would be better if they would clearly define their terms. (But if they did that, it would be too obvious that it's a bunch of illogical bull.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Error is the force that welds men together,
**     truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.
**        ==  Tolstoy, My Religion

Date: Sat, July 10, 2010 6:42 pm     (answered 13 July 2010)
From: istj
Subject: AA and NA people

istj has forwarded you this craigslist.org posting.

AA and NA people

Date: 2010-06-30, 8:26AM

I have dated a woman in AA, one in NA, and almost dated another in AA. This is my experience with it.

The first woman in AA — what a mess! She had been sober for a very long time, good for her. But she was so screwed up. She had a friend, Rich, who was a complete ass to waitresses (and people in general) and his rudeness never bothered her, she actually claimed she admired him for being "honest" with people. What the hell? A waitress walked up to our table to take our order and before she could finish talking he's criticizing her for her expression and how she asked for our order. I was embarrassed, I actually apologized to her and said he "just got out and hasn't learned how to deal with society yet". She smiled, my date got mad at me for that, and I was on Rich's shit list for that. What a jerk. She never wanted to date him, but you could tell he wanted her. She went to meetings a couple times a week and was convinced that she couldn't function on her own without having a sponsor at her beck and call. She was cute, but had the personality of a potato.

The woman in NA — she thought AA was a joke. Ironic, isn't it? She had been clean for over a dozen years, alcohol and drugs. She would go to these meetings and tell a complete stranger (read that: drug addict) all about her personal life, but would never tell me a single thing about her former drug use — telling me that it was not my business. And she was like Rainman, I swear. If she washed her car, she had to wash her truck. Couldn't just wash one without doing the other. Bath towels had to be a certain size or she wouldn't use them. When she wanted to wash her face, it had to be a white, square wash cloth. Colors were not to be used, and forget about using a kitchen towel, even though it was made of the same terry cloth! Oh, and don't ever mispronounce anything, that made her feel "stupid". Yeah, she actually said that to me. Of course, Wopner is on at 4:30. Yeah, she's an excellent driver.

The woman I almost dated in AA — what a freak show! Our first conversation involved her telling me about the drama between some guy from her meeting and what he said to some girl who was friends with some other girl who liked...ah, who the hell cares??? That one phone call was enough for me. I hadn't even gone out with her yet, and already she's dragging me into this conspiracy conversation trying to get me to dislike some guy I never met for doing something I never saw to someone else I didn't know.

As for AA/NA — I'm glad that people who *believe* they have a problem are correcting it, but I have yet to meet anyone in either group who wasn't a taco short of a combination platter. If I meet a woman who doesn't drink, I need to find out why before I date her. If she even says "AA" or "alcoholic" to me, I'm not interested. I'm sure they aren't all like that, but the few people I have known, and the couple women I've dated, who were involved in AA or NA were very strange.

Original URL: http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/rnr/1818907403.html

Hi again, Istj,

Thanks for the posting. What that tells me is that assuming that a group of ex-addicts have the answers to life, the universe, and everything, just might be a huge mistake.

Does hanging out with a group of people who declare that they have a disease that cannot ever be cured make you healthy?

And above all, should you get one of those people as your sponsor, and have them instructing you, telling you how to live?

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**   "When in the company of deluded people,
**    keep your own counsel."
**        ==  Buddha

Date: Sun, July 11, 2010 11:04 am     (answered 13 July 2010)
From: "NH Transactions"
Subject: One of your responses

Hi Orange,

For the most part, I consider your coverage on how AA goes way over their bounds to be very revealing. This includes such matters as some members apparently giving out medical and legal advice. I am glad I no longer attend those meetings and I am still completely alcohol-free.

Here is one thing that disturbs me, however: On answering one of your letters (answered on July 9, 2010), you wrote the following:

... " I recommend a couple of things:

  1. B Vitamins. Actually, all vitamins. That is, get a good high-potency one-a-day "everything" vitamin pill, and also a good high-potency B-complex with C pill. Personally, I take Centrum Silver, B-Complex, more C, Calcium, and aspirin, twice a day. The B vitamins help the brain to heal sooner — they really help a lot. The calcium is for osteoporosis, which alcohol can cause, too. The aspirin is for blood thinning, and the pain of arthritis, and to prevent headaches. After living on a liquid diet for many years, my body can easily feel dehydrated when I'm not constantly guzzling something wet, so thinning the blood is a good thing.

  2. [snip]

Particularly, I am the most concerned with recommendation # 1 . With all kidding aside, even though these are "over-the-counter" medications, couldn't that in some ways be considered giving out medical advice?



Oh come on now, Neal,

That is really extreme. Vitamins are food, not "over-the-counter medications". Complaining about vitamins sounds like the Steppers who complain that people who take medications don't have "perfect sobriety".

Vitamins are good food and they help you to heal.

Now if you really want to stretch the point, advising people to take vitamins could be construed as "giving medical advice", just like advising people to eat good food and to eat a balanced diet is also "giving medical advice". So is telling people to get some exercise and quit being a couch potato. But that is just too extreme.

What most people mean when they talk about A.A. sponsors giving medical advice is things like, "Don't take your doctor-prescribed medications. Just trust God and the Twelve Steps to heal you."

And also, "Doctors and psychiatrists don't know anything about addictions. Don't waste your time going to them. Just listen to your sponsor."

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious
**     that there is such a thing as physical morality.
**         ==  Herbert Spencer, Education

Date: Mon, July 5, 2010 8:39 pm     (answered 14 July 2010)
From: "iamnotastatistic"
Subject: A piece of unofficial AA propaganda

Hi Orange,

Attached is a piece of unofficial AA propaganda. [Unnamed_AA2_Group_File-Midwest_pre_2005.pdf] I found it in the files of an AA group in the MidWest that I attended for a while. I don't think that it was generated by our group — nobody in the group even knew that it existed. This is the factually false, medically and psychologically dangerous, cultish, psychobabble, pseudoscience garbage that pervades AA. This is the stuff that G.S.O. says they are "not responsible for" since each group or area is autonomous. And although that seems like a nice out, AA and GSO are ultimately responsible for this garbage existing in and around AA meetings and rehabs.

Hi again, "iamnotastatistic",

Thank you for this document. It is really something else. And you are quite right about how they evade responsibility for their own propaganda. In the same vein, I just got a book from Goodwill, Getting Started in AA, by Hamilton B., published by Hazelden. It is totally A.A. propaganda, of course, a bunch of bull, but when I criticize the contents of books like that, some Stepper invariably objects and says, "You are criticizing us for literature that is not official A.A. literature, not published by A.A. and is not Council-approved."

Ah yes, the joys of having front groups.

And yes, that document strikes me as "How to use a bunch of slides to sell cult religion and quack medicine."

Rather than go through this utter nonsense in detail I think that it's enough to look at the decision tree on page 4......

There appear to be only two choices for the alcoholic:
1. Believe and Accept Spiritual Help on the way to Sanity And Sobriety OR
2. Disbelieve and Continue Drinking on the way to Insanity Or Death

Weird, that doesn't sound like the nice soft voice of AA in the early pages of the book Alcoholics Anonymous where in all their humility they suggest that theirs is just one approach. If it were then there would be a third option and a fourth and a fifth and however many other options those helpful people in AA can offer to the alcoholic in their quest for abstinence even if that option is abstinence by a path other than AA! That option doesn't exist inside AA. What does that tell anyone about AA and its members?

Keep up the good work!

Yes, that is one of the standard A.A. bait-and-switch tricks, or several:

What I found most outrageous was the "Inventory, Step 4". They say, "OBJECT: DISCLOSE DAMAGED OR UNSALEABLE GOODS". They completely distorted the meaning of the word "inventory". When a business does an inventory, it does not look for the damaged, broken goods — they look for all of the good stuff, and count it, to see how much saleable merchandise they have in the warehouse. They note in passing the broken and damaged stuff, and write it off and send it to Goodwill for a tax deduction. Then they count tools and equipment, and buildings and land and vehicles, and everything of value. The only way that they can come up with "an accurate self-assessment" is by counting everything, both assets and liabilities. But the A.A. inventory just dwells on the negatives: bad ego, bad sex, bad instincts, bad fears, bad resentments. Nowhere do they count the assets, or even allow the newcomer to realize that he has assets and good characteristics and strong points. That will mess with your mind and instill a bad inferiority complex.

I found this one interesting too:

SEX INSTINCT — HIDDEN — Our sex lives that are contrary to either Society, God's principles, or our own principles.

I thought they said that A.A. is not a religion. So where, exactly, are "God's principles" about sex written down in the official A.A. literature? Not written there? Well then, how does A.A. know what God's principles about sex really are?

They can't be Bill Wilson's principles, because Bill Wilson had no principles about sex — he was an outrageous philanderer and sexual predator who used the A.A. office to employ his string of mistresses.

Oh well, enough of that. Have a good day, and thanks again for the garbage.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "To win the sympathy of the masses, you must tell them the
**      crudest and most stupid lies."
**         ==  Adolf Hitler

[The next letter from iamnotastatistic is here.]

Date: Sun, July 11, 2010 7:49 pm     (answered 14 July 2010)
From: "John S."
Subject: Suggestion...

Good day Terry...

Hey, I have a suggestion for an improvement to your site which might cut down on having to continuosly repeat yourself to so many of the steppers. As much as I love your site, it would be awesome to see the Herbert Spencer misquote/introduction replaced, or at least include the question that no steppers are willing to answer:

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?

Maybe it's wishful thinking on my part that the steppers would actually read your site before asking the same boring questions, but I seriously doubt that is ever going to happen. It's not like you haven't given it your all and they still don't get it.

Congrats on your new home and continued happiness. And have a great summer.

John S.

Hi again, John,

Yes, they don't get it, and they won't get it. That is what makes it a cult.

"I have my opinions. Don't try to confuse me with mere facts."

Still, I like your suggestion. I'll do that.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Figures won't lie, but liars will figure.
**       ==  Gen. C. H. Grosvenor, Speech in House of Representatives

Date: Mon, July 12, 2010 12:55 am     (answered 14 July 2010)
From: No_Name
Subject: Thanks for educational site

Especially I would like to thanks you for pointing out the heresies of AA-cult from christian point of view. I have been in AA for some time and somehow managed to believe it has something in common with christianity and results were disasterous. Now I'm still struggling with these issues, I don't anymore go to AA meetings. I talked with my confessor about AA, and he was quite sceptical about that. He didn't deny me to go AA meetings, but told me that I should be very cautious about that group. He also told me that I need much willpower to overcome urge to drink. Now I really don't think that I am sick — have disease called alcoholism. I have quitted drinking and I used to drink too much — that doesn't make me alcoholic for the rest of my life. If I'd have committed murder, that won't imply that I have disease called murderomania or if I'd have committet adultery that doesn't make me adulteromaniac, nor committing homosexual act won't make me homosexual, nor does stealing make me cleptomaniac etc. I have sinned.

Now, should I confess my sins to Christ with my confessor or bunch of people who have acquired false identity as alcoholics and use it as an excuse for not having to repent? Part of the priest prayer in sacrament of confession/repentance say that "...therefore, without worrying about the sins confessed, go in peace". That is quite contrary distorted thinking of AA. Some people in AA say that "By the grace of God, I have been released from my urge to drink". Then they still go to AA meeting weekly and tell stories of their past drinking behavior. Maybe that is the very reason for people in AA relapsing more than those who quit without AA. It is better to avoid cues for drinking (AA-meetings & bars etc).

And on higher power: "God as we understood him". When it comes to Bill W's higher power, it really made me scary. According to fathers of the Church, satan can mask himself even as a angel of light and has deceived many, even people who have reached high level how humility and holiness, let alone self-centered drunk in withdrawal? So, patristic teaching gives sober advice not to trust in any visions or whatever uncommon experiences and always discuss them with ones spiritual father. Exactly opposite what Bill W did. He just trusted the vision he saw and started a new religion.

In AA people are told that they could pick higher power way they want, even hold the group as their higher power. Just imagine people praying: Group of Alcoholics, grant me the serenityTo accept the things I cannot change;Courage to change the things I can;And wisdom to know the difference. or

Lord, group of drunks, have mercy on me, a sinner

I have been in many many AA meetings and never heard word Jesus in these groups. Bill W writes that Jesus was a great moral teacher, but obviously didn't believe he was Son of God. Someone claiming that Jesus was a great moral teacher, must be completely deluded. To quote C.S Lewis:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Mere Christianity, pages 40-41.

P.S. You are free to publish this letter on your site, but remove my name from it.

Hello No_Name,

Thank you for the letter. You made a bunch of good points. There is no need for me to repeat them again.

Something you said that rang a bell, that I did not mention, was the idea of letting go of the wrong after confession. "Go thy way and sin no more, and don't think about it any more either." — "...therefore, without worrying about the sins confessed, go in peace".

I was reminded of a recent letter where a woman said that people in A.A. meetings told the same drunkalogues over and over, so many times, year after year, that she could recite their stories as if they were her own. Obviously, that isn't letting go of the past and getting on with your life. That isn't recovery. And yes, it probably does contribute to the relapse rate. If you never believe that you have changed for the better and are a different person now, have you really changed for the better?

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one
**     of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
**        ==  Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:40)

May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19:

Canada Goose family with goslings
Carmen's family, eating oatmeal
The adult in the middle is the mother. Carmen is on the right. The father is just out of the picture.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[This is a thread from Facebook.]

Date: Sun, July 11, 2010 6:27 am
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Parrish S. K. commented on your post...

Orange Papers: "That kind of medieval barbarity is just unbelievable. And Iran expects to be accepted as a modern, enlightened nation? Unreal."

"I've just signed a petition to end death by stoning in Iran — sign the petition."

Dennis W. M.: "Much of the Middle East is an example of how bad things can get when religious dogma rules the government."

Orange Papers: "Yeh, really. I wonder what Ayatollah Anonymous would do if he got control over here."

Parrish S. K.: "There wouldn't be misdemeanors or felonies anymore, there'd be only resentments. And if someone burgled your house, you would be the perpetrator, and the criminal would be the victim; you'd have to apologize to him and could be ordered by the courts to go to church if you didn't.

Oh, there is totally a movie script in this somewhere..."

Orange Papers: Yeh, some kind of horror movie.

Date: Tue, July 13, 2010 7:41 pm     (answered 16 July 2010)
From: "John R."
Subject: not sure if you would want to know about this or not . . .


Hi John,

Thanks for the tip. Yes, I very much want to know it. That is sad, isn't it?


The author declares: "Kill Them, but Don't Gas Them".

I also notice that the title, "Should Canada Geese Be Gassed" is an example of the propaganda trick "Assume The Major Premise". As in, "Should they be killed by Nazi methods, or should they be killed by Christian methods?" The idea that they should be killed is assumed.

Needless to say, I'm not in sympathy with that author. I find it sad and disgusting that some people think it is okay to kill anything that bothers them.

I posted the following response on July 14th:

OrangePapers           Portland OR
I really don't understand that part of the hairless monkey species that wants to kill everything that inconveniences it. Those hairless monkeys seem to be both insane and very dangerous. Maybe their numbers should be culled by humane methods like the gas chamber.

As far as Canada Geese go, they are delightful creatures. It isn't their fault that somebody paved their meadows and filled their skies with jet airplanes.

You want a story of a cute little orphaned gosling? It starts here, and continues on subsequent pages:


That comment did not appear on the New York Times web page. Apparently, the moderator rejected and deleted it. Other posts were allowed to link to external sites, but I guess the Orange Papers is too "controversial" for their tastes.

So on the following day, I tried again:

OrangePapers           Portland OR
First, the white men killed the Indians who got in the way of white men's taking and using of the land. The few surviving Indians were herded onto reservations.

Then, the white men killed the buffalo who got in the way of white men's taking and using of the land. The few surviving buffalo were herded onto reservations.

Now the white men want to kill the geese who get in the way of white men's taking and using of the land and skies. And they talk about moving the geese onto reservations.

Four hundred years and nobody has learned a darned thing. They don't even practice the Christianity that they proudly profess.

Look at what they want to kill:

We shall see what we shall see. Will that get posted? If you like, you can comment too.

Oh, by the way, The New York Times says:

"Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive."

Have a good day.

== Orange

UPDATE: They published the second comment.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The thinking man must oppose all cruel customs no matter how
**      deeply rooted in tradition or surrounded by a halo. We need
**      a boundless ethic which will include the animals also."
**        ==  Albert Schweitzer, physician/Nobel Laureate.

Date: Sat, July 3, 2010 9:59 am     (answered 16 July 2010)
From: Ellen
Subject: The Effectiveness of The Twelve Steps

I was just trying to print this very analytical and helpful article, but the number of pages is very large. I am referring to the one I found on google, which is on the website,


Is there another way to get this article? Is it in the bookstores? When was it written and who wrote it?

Thanks so much. I am a mother whose daughter (21 Years old), insists AA is not for her and I was researching other programs, such as The Saint Judes program, when I came across this article.

If I have to, I will print it from my computer, but I'd like to get it in a more efficient way.

Ellen K.

Hello Ellen,

That article is Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction, published in The Harvard Mental Health Letter, which is a small monthly newsletter that is published by the Harvard Medical School. Many libraries archive it. My local library only keeps the most recent year of periodicals on the shelves. They microfilm and then discard the previous years. Fortunately, I xeroxed part 3 of that article before it went. I also have electronic copies (web pages) of the whole article. The whole article was published in three pieces, in Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), and Oct. 1995 (Part III).

Most of my files are still in a storage locker, but when I finish getting moved in to my new home, I'll find it and send you a copy, if you haven't already gotten it. That article sounds like one that I should put online. You are the second person who asked for a copy. I'll have to see if I can get permission from Harvard.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The fact that it is difficult to break established bad habits
**     does not mean that those bad habits are diseases.

P.S.: I found it. Here is a zip file that contains all three parts: HMHL_addictions.zip
Be sure to unzip it with subdirectories (folders) recreated, because the pages are structured with the pieces (graphics, style sheets) placed in appropriate subdirectories.

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Last updated 26 May 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters180.html