Letters, We Get Mail, CLXXXV

Date: Wed, April 21, 2010 7:06 am     (answered 5 August 2010)
From: "Mark J."
Subject: Interesting site...

I read through much of your document. It is well thought out. I expect you are correct, that many, many folks who step into recovery meetings do not succeed. I am one of those people. I am struggling in recovery.

As I read through your document, I think you missed the point of Bill's approach to recovery. The 12 Steps are not about cult religion, but spirituality. My experience of 12 Step meetings is they are open and inviting to all attendees of any religious background, atheist included.

I relate very much to Bill's description of the source of my addiction. For me, it is a crutch that enables me to deal with the world on my warped terms. I avoid dealing with reality. I've spent a lot of time in Therapy and can tell you all the good reasons why I am who I am and why I turn to my addiction. It hasn't helped me to stop.

My reading of the AA vision of god is not one of omnipotent control and leadership, although if that approach heals you, go for it. I understand the AA approach to be about opening ones eyes to the mystery of life. At the end of the day, we don't know why we're here. Science can't tell us what existed before the big boom and the universe began. Life is full of open and unanswered questions.

My sickness, my addict, demands answers. My addict wants control (thanks to my therapist for this). My addict reels when things don't seem to work out the way I'd like them to. I've run my life on self will, and I've been quite successful too. Self will has also run a piece of my life into the ground.

The Steps have helped open my eyes to mystery. I am not in control. Things don't happen to me, they happen around me. I call this god, it can be called anything you want. Fact is, the Steps are helping me to accept the world as it is, rather than as I want it to be. And that is the point of spirituality. That is what the 12 Steps are about.

Thank you for posting your thoughts. They have helped me to clarify my thoughts. I wish you well.


Hello Mark,

Thank you for the letter. Sorry to take so long to answer it. Your letter got misplaced while I was moving to a new home. I just plugged a thumb drive into my computer and found three letters from April stashed on it. Fortunately they were not lost; just misplaced for three months. Moving is such a hassle.

I'm sorry to hear that you are having difficulties in quitting drinking. I find a certain irony in your letter. You tell me that you are struggling and not succeeding in quitting drinking; the A.A. program isn't working for you; and then you repeat the entire package of A.A. slogans and misinformation at me as if it was the truth and actually worked. But you know from your own experience that it doesn't work.


The 12 Steps are not about cult religion, but spirituality.

Well actually, the Twelve Steps are not ABOUT cult religion; they ARE cult religion. All that Bill Wilson did to get the Twelve Steps was write down the practices of the Oxford Group cult religion. Even Bill Wilson and his wife Lois said so. (Click on that link.)

Also note that the word "spirituality" has changed over the years. The word "spirituality" got a different flavor in the nineteen-sixties and -seventies because of all of the gurus and new-age people selling various Eastern philosophies (as well as quackery and fraud). In Bill Wilson's day, "spirituality" was more like "spiritism", belief in spirits. And Bill Wilson was forever conducting spook sessions and contacting ghosts and supposedly channeling dead saints with the Ouija board and spirit rapping and all of that.

The Twelve Steps have nothing to do with quitting drinking. The Steps do not even tell you to quit drinking, never mind tell you how to do it. All that Bill Wilson did to get the Twelve Steps was write down Dr. Frank Buchman's orders and cult recruiting practices and change the word "sin" to "alcohol". Where Frank Buchman said that you have been defeated by sin and are powerless over it, so only surrender to God will save you, Bill Wilson wrote down that you have been defeated by alcohol and are powerless over it, and your life is unmanageable, and only surrender to God will save you. (That is Steps One and Three, of course.)

The other Steps don't even mention alcohol, until we get to Step Twelve, where Bill Wilson wrote that you should go recruiting and get other people into the religion, especially alcoholics. (They later rewrote Step 12 to make it sound more like it was just for alcoholics, but the original intent was to get everybody into the new 12-Step religion.)

12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The talk about how A.A. is so open-minded and will accept anybody with any religion is just standard A.A. public-relations fluff. In the Big Book, especially Chapter Four, We Agnostics, Bill Wilson made it quite clear that you could have any "G.O.D." that you wanted, like a Group Of Drunks, to start with, but you were expected to eventually conform and come to believe in the A.A. version of God.

Bill Wilson explicitly described that conversion process is his second book:

In Step Eleven we saw that if a Higher Power had restored us to sanity and had enabled us to live with some peace of mind in a sorely troubled world, then such a Higher Power was worth knowing better, by as direct contact as possible. The persistent use of meditation and prayer, we found, did open the channel so that where there had been a trickle, there now was a river which led to sure power and safe guidance from God as we were increasingly better able to understand Him.
      So, practicing these Steps, we had a spiritual awakening about which finally there was no question. Looking at those who were only beginning and still doubting themselves, the rest of us were able to see the change setting in. From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn't got the "spiritual angle," and who still considered his well-loved A.A. group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, pages 108-109.

So much for the freedom of religion, and even atheists being welcome. Oh, and that paragraph is also a very clear description of the process of conversion. That is, thought-control or "brain-washing". You can start off with any beliefs that you want, but you will end up believing what they want you to believe.

The next thing I notice in your letter is that they have poisoned your mind with negativity and self-criticism. That is the effects of Steps Four through Nine. The 12 Steps constantly harp on how bad you are, with all of your moral shortcomings and defects of character and wrongs... And Step Two tells you that you are insane. It's enough to drive you nuts. It sometimes drives people to suicide.

You wrote,

...deal with the world on my warped terms. I avoid dealing with reality.

My sickness, my addict, demands answers. My addict wants control (thanks to my therapist for this). My addict reels when things don't seem to work out the way I'd like them to. I've run my life on self will...

I am not in control.

Fact is, the Steps are helping me to accept the world as it is, rather than as I want it to be.

That is a warped, distorted view of yourself and your life. I can see why you are having problems. They have taught you that "self" and "self-will" is bad. That is pure Buchmanism. Again, that is Frank Buchman's cult religion talking, not a therapy program for addictions. And it is all wrong.

I am running my life on self-will too, and I have nearly 10 years sober now. Just three more months and it's a decade of healthy living. And my will is to not die. I just don't want to get sick and die from stupid bad habits like smoking and drinking and doing drugs. Been there, done that, and I don't want to do it any more. I don't want to ever be that sick again. So I use my will and my determination, and yes, my rational thinking mind, and I just consciously choose to not do those things any more.

Isn't self-will wonderful?

By the way, if you have a therapist who is telling you that "your addict wants control", I strongly suggest that you get a new therapist. I think that he sounds like a quack who is parrotting 12-Step dogma.

Now there is one point where I think we agree. You speak of "your addiction" as if it were an actual entity with a mind and a will. I call that thing the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster. You do not have "an addict" inside of you, but you do have a primitive part of your brain that is mainly just interested in food and sex and feeling good. Unfortunately, when that primitive node learns that drugs and alcohol feel good, it is very difficult to tell the idiot that you can't do that stuff all of the time because it will wreck your health and kill you. The Lizard Brain is too stupid to think about tomorrow. He just wants to feel good today.

Notice that I am not talking about how bad you or I are. It isn't "self-will", or anything like that that causes us addiction problems. It is just a stupid lump of brain cells that is programmed to do whatever it takes to feel good. It is not a sin or a moral shortcoming to want to feel good. In fact, you are sick and twisted if you do not want to feel good.

The problem with Lizard Brain is just that he is too stupid to understand that some ways of feeling good are really bad for our health.

When you recognize that old Lizard Brain is just doing his thing, like he has always been doing for the last hundred million years, then you realize that it isn't "your will" or your bad desires that are causing the problem. You don't have to wallow in guilt and talk about how bad you are. In fact, doing so is very counterproductive. And that's probably one of the reasons that the 12-Step routine isn't working for you.

Look at how they are blaming you for what the other guy is doing. When old Lizard Brain, or "your addiction", as you call it, starts yammering about how he wants a drink, and he wants to relax and feel good, they say that it is your fault. And they have you believing it, so you are beating up on yourself and criticizing yourself for what somebody else is doing. That old Lizard Brain may be a part of your body, but it isn't really you. The real you is the person who says, "I want to quit drinking. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy and free of addictions." Those are good wishes. There is nothing wrong with such "self-will".

So click on this link, and read about the Lizard Brain Addiction Monster.

Have a good day, and a good life, and don't hesitate to write back if you feel like it.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I may stumble... even fall, but I refuse to stay down!
**      And I always learn from abrasions!"
**        ==  Jody Miller Hazelwood

Date: Tue, July 27, 2010 8:23 pm     (answered 6 August 2010)
From: "oakstar"

Ummm... Curiosity, and a desire to know the truth. And a desire to tell the truth. And then there is just the incredible drama of it, everything from Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and World War II, to raving cult leaders misleading thousands or millions of people. It's a fascinating story.

And then there is the tragedy of friends dying. Dying after getting quack medicine and cult religion as "treatment" and "a program".

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history
**     is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
**         ==  Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1959)

Date: Wed, July 28, 2010 12:28 am     (answered 6 August 2010)
From: "Anastasios V."
Subject: AA cult member

i remember reading your material in the second year of my sobriety. i am now five plus years in my sobriety. i always wondered what has become of you. we should get together and talk. i'm interested in your anti-AA views. i have never known such a hater of the program.... except alcoholics in their disease.

my name is nash 949 xxx xxxx

Hello Nash,

Sure, we can talk, but not over the phone. I don't have one now, and don't plan to get one. Tired of getting ripped off by phone companies like T-Mobile and Qwest. So start typing.

I am not really "a hater of the program." I must admit that I do hate to see sick people getting lied to and misled and fed some superstitious garbage as "a cure" or "a treatment". But I don't just "hate the program". I find it rather sad that so many people are so determined to devote their lives to nonsense. And then they want other people to join them in their misery.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is medicine, not scenery, for which a sick man must go searching.
**       ==  Seneca, Letters to Lucilius (1st c.), 104.18

Date: Wed, July 28, 2010 2:51 am     (answered 6 August 2010)
From: "Gary B."
Subject: Hi Orange — Here's a news article that I thought would interest you

Hiya Orange

Hope you're keeping well.

Hey Terry — knowing how fascinated you are to read about cults I thought this article would interest you:


Makes for stomach-churning reading, doesn't it?

Oh well, at least he's behind bars now. Let's just hope that his victims can now get some help and find some sort of peace after such a horrific ordeal.


Gary B.

Hi again, Gary,

Thanks for the link. Yes, I find it interesting. And also appalling. Like there is just always another cockroach coming out of the woodwork, isn't there? When will people ever learn? (And the cynic in the back of my mind says, "Hah! You think these hairless monkeys are going to learn anything?")

By the way, I still have to get the MI5 documents about Frank Buchman and the Oxford Groups online. That stuff came in while I was homeless and looking for a new place to live, and all that I could do at the time was stash it all in some place safe. Now I have to go through it and format it into web pages and all of that. But it's good stuff for the hard-core historians among us. So thanks again for the documents.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      The more we know of History, the less shall we esteem the
**      subjects of it, and to despise our species is the price we
**      must too often pay for our knowledge of it.
**         ==  Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon (1825), 2.157

May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family with Two Goslings, eating oatmeal.
These little guys are really young. They may be only one day old, or they could be zero days old. They weren't here the day before.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Wed, July 28, 2010 1:40 pm     (answered 7 August 2010)
From: "stefan c."
Subject: hello orange

Hello —

Been on your site most of the day and its really helping unscrew my mind from NA.

All the info re: propaganda techniques is fascinating. A lot of the terms and claims made in NA literature I have fit the schemes and tricks you describe so well. I can liken them to so many shares I've heard in NA meetings.

People start off talking about one thing like getting back together with their wife or kids or a new job, then always ascribe those events directly to NA/God/Steps leaving me thinking....I'm not sure I follow the logic there. Or people describe their years of recovery and total abstinence, but then describe relentlessly going to meetings every week for years, and how they still need it as much as they did on day 1. Which makes me think — I'm not really sure that's the future I see for myself for the entire rest of my life, especially as na meetings are often hard for me to get to. I am, of course, happy for these people but as an atheist it became harder and harder for me to see how the steps related to me.

I have an NA step working guide. I've been going through it sentence by sentence. In early days of NA I could hardly sit still or concentrate for more than ten minutes and just accepted what was stuck in front of me, but now I'm looking much more closely. That's partially thanks to your site. I think before when I saw something nonsensical I wrote it off to my confused state and resolved to "fake it til I make it". Or trusted that "more will be revealed". I hate that phrase now... Nobody has ever told me exactly what it was that was revealed to them that I have to wait for.

You know one of the first things that started to really niggle me was the sheer vagueness of NA's claims and statements. Its one of the things that led me to your site.

In the preface I am told I can go through the step questions and "add to them, delete from them, its your choice"

Thats a very dangerous thing to say to a drug addict isn't it!! Especially one that might well be terrified of admitting things that are embarassing / sexual / illegal. I think if I was going to work through a program promising me God and a new way of life I want it to be like a maths equation — either every letter of it needs to be there in its right place, or it won't work. If I delete bits according to my own choice I would be worried about deleting something important. If I add bits — what do I add? It doesn't say to check deleting stuff with my sponsor, but thats my choice. Great! I think I've my decided it's my choice to not do any of it. This vague approach of "there's no right way or wrong way" to the steps that I've heard ppl in NA say so many times really worried me, and its not what I wanted to hear.

Anyway — later on in the text of the step working guide (indeed on page 1) I am told I CANNOT change or go any further until I've done things as stated.

Im also told in the Preface that if I find any unfamiliar terms to use a dictionary, which I have been doing. I found that many words used in NA dont fit the context they are used in when I take the dictionary meaning. Examples would be intuition, miracles, belief, disease, God, and Powerlessness.

Ive struggled with the powerlessness bit from early on. My dictionary tells me that it means without influence. I think I can often feel powerless over my use, but thats different from actually being powerless. I have every influence over my use today — I havent bought any drugs, been to the pub, or been anywhere where I may get offered beer or drugs, and therefore I havent done any drugs today. If I did go to the pub I can have an orange juice or a crate of vodka — thats something I influence. I'm powerless over the weather and how many days there are in a week, that sort of stuff.

Anyway back to the step working guide — it tells me "probably the only innapropriate way to use the guide is alone"

Probably?? What happens if I do? Are there other innapropriate ways then? what is the probability? As its only probable, so there exists a chance I can do it on my own. The next sentence tells me its vital to get a sponsor. Its alternately vague, then explicit.

The intro ends with — reading information will NEVER be sufficient to bring about change/freedom. Its our goal to make the steps part of who we are, and to do that we have to work them.

Imagine that ! — the steps actually becoming part of me, like my hair or legs. Im not sure exactly what that means or if it makes any sense.

If we do work them to the end, then presumably I do get that change and freedom — but if that's true — why do I need to go back and answer all the questions over and over again for the rest of my life like I am told I have to do? Does "ITS OUR GOAL" actually mean "WE WANT THIS TO BE YOUR GOAL" I wonder.

Anyway ,

thanks again.

Hi again, Stefan,

Thanks for the thanks. You make a lot of good points there. Isn't it funny how the whole "program" falls apart when you carefully examine it with a critical eye? And that is the "treatment" that is shoved on nearly all of the alcoholics and addicts in this country, to the tune of $20 billion per year.

What a waste of taxpayers' money. Why do the Senators and Congressmen who are crying about "the deficit" continue to fork over so much money to the 12-Step hoax?

Oh well, have a good day anyway, and congratulations on your recovery.

Oh, and I really want to see what kind of "treatment" Lindsay Lohan is getting right now, like today. They released her from jail, and now she has to do a "treatment program". This will be an interesting show.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**        'Pray to god, but row to shore.'

Date: Wed, July 28, 2010 7:53 am     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "Wayne M."
Subject: On-Line Addiction Websites

Dear Orange-Papers:

I am SO glad to have found your website that has confirmed the darker side of the AA institution to me. I have a favor to ask. I am looking for a website that provides addiction support, but is NOT biased toward AA. I have tried

They are apparently biased toward AA because, as soon as I start asking questions about recovery in general, I am automatically steered toward AA. I have recently asked critical questions of AA in a respectful way. My account was quickly CANCELLED.

Could you please suggest some websites that will be more accepting of other alternatives... those that don't push "AA or the highway" type of point of view? Thank you so kindly and keep up the good work!

Wayne P. M.

Hello Wayne,

Thanks for the question. Sorry to hear about your treatment over at the "dailystrength" web site. That is just so typical. They prove that A.A. is a cult. They cannot tolerate even a little critical questioning (because their dogma is illogical and irrational, and falls apart if you ask intelligent, discerning questions).

Yes, there are many good web sites that can give you non-A.A. and non-cult support. Here is a list:

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

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

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

  4. LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
    LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet, and they are also starting meeting groups in various cities.

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

  6. Moderation Management

  7. And then there are these chat groups or forums:

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

I cannot really recommend one over another, because I have not lurked in them a lot, and I hear good things about all of them. Also, I know that some people post to several of them. You won't find that crazy A.A. territorial jealousy in them. They are actually interested in helping you, rather than owning the territory.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
**     It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another
**     human being. We should all be thankful for those people
**     who rekindle the inner spirit.
**         ==  Albert Schweitzer

Date: Wed, July 28, 2010 2:22 pm     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "Jeff C."
Subject: interesting experiment


I have an idea for an interesting experiment about 3rd party professional views on the AA disaster that is keeping America "diseased." Many professionals refer clients/patients to AA out of force of habit — they simply have a rubber stamp that says, "Call the Central Office and find a meeting" without really knowing what it is that they are exposing the unsuspecting victim to.

I propose we take 100 students in various medical and psych disciplines: 4th yr medical students, psychiatry residents, psychology Ph.D. candidates, nurse practitioners students, social work grad students, etc. The caveat is that they have no prior exposure or real knowlege of Alcoholics Anonymous, other than what the average American knows about it on a superficial level. The students should cross gender, racial, and cultural lines.

They are required to take on the persona of an alcoholic or drug addict in need of help. They are to attend 90 meetings in 90 days and to get a sponsor.

*I have a hunch as to what the students would endure:*

They would listen to the same stories repeatedly. They would endure the berating and insults of those who "have time." They would be told that their best thinking got them there. They would be told to take the cotton out of their ears and put it in their mouths. They would question the authenticity of the disease concept of alcoholism and simply be told to read the Doctor's Opinion.

Their assignment is to respond to an anonymous (pardon the word) survey and to write an assessment of their experience in AA over the course of the 3 months. I would be most interested in the responses. While I have no crystal ball, I could imagine some lines coming out of the assessments would be:

  • **abusive
  • **anti-intellectual
  • **predatory
  • **demeaning
  • **repetitive
  • **unnecessarily pedantic
  • **religious in spite of claims to the contrary
  • **"would be hesitant to refer clients/patients"

Maybe not a practical experiment to conduct, but I think it would go a long way toward ending the professional communities love affair with America's most powerful cult.

Anyhow, thanks for your time!


"A horse doesn't care how much you know until he knows how much you care."

Hello Jeff,

Thanks for a great letter and an amusing idea. Personally, I think it would be good training for medical students. Don't just listen to a few rumors about drug and alcohol "rehab" or "treatment", find out what it really is. And don't just believe a one-liner in a textbook like, "Alcoholics Anonymous is the best way of treating alcoholism." (There have been a lot of such lines planted in medical books. Even the Merck book says that.)

And while such an experiment may be inconvenient because it takes a lot of time, it is possible. I am reminded of the experiment that two journalists did a long time ago for an investigative article. They had the same question: "Is A.A. really a good thing? What happens to newcomers in there?" So these two journalists, a man and a woman I think, pretended to be newcomer alcoholics, and they got involved in A.A. They got sponsors, and "worked the Steps", and did the whole A.A. routine.

The outcome was that they found themselves going crazy, becoming paranoid and irrational. They had a lot of negative things to say about "the program".

I had not thought of that article in several years. Now I shall have to go find it, and get all of the information on it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      If everybody is faking it until they make it,
**      all you are left with is a room full of fakes.
**         ==  Anonymous

Date: Thu, July 29, 2010 9:36 pm     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "Sheri"
Subject: ideas?

Just some random trouble-shooting (causing, depending on how you look at it... ) My husband (dec'd) was a fan of SMART recovery... kinda, he was slowing down his drinking but really didn't stop until he was too sick to continue. Turned out (we were stunned when we got this news) he had an undiagnosed HCV infection. We did not think he had any risk factors but turned out having snorted coke in the 70's was a possible one. Tried for an organ transplant but like a third of people with liver failure he didn't survive long enough. His last two years — all sober — were truly a blessing, though.

I really believe that if he had had a specific medical reason to quit he would have earlier. He could not handle AA, and what treatment programs existed locally were all very much AA-focused. He learned about RR from a TV news segment and we received the News and Views monthly for a long time. Also discovered that Art Horvath and I were alumni of the same very unusual and very small liberal arts college, although each from a different campus (the college has two).

Anyway, I don't remember how I stumbled on your website recently, but the MRA stuff was really creepy (and apparently still is even if having spawned new names).

But ok... I am on a state advisory council for mental health (represent my county, it means a 90-min meeting every 3 mo for $45 plus coffee and donuts). Recently I looked up info about the Drug Court program in this region of the state. Specs are summarized on the Dept of Corrections website. According to the summary, AA/NA attendance 2x per week for one year, plus having an actual sponsor, are absolute requirements of the Drug Court program here. The human services director who represents the agency at our council meetings says her agency only does the treatment aspect and doesn't have anything to do with the AA/NA stuff. She also said she thinks maybe the court just requires the treatment in actual fact. OTOH I have a problem just with the AA/NA requirements being put on a state website even if judges look the other way. Also we have Teen Challenge, which is overtly Christian and is a jail alternative for 18-21 year olds.

I sent an email to the local state's attorney (we have had contacts in the past) regarding AA/NA attendance as a stay out of jail requirement. He usually responds but has not after two weeks, just emailed him again. Cited 2nd and 7th circuit decisions and also reference to one in Hawaii in 2007 (parole officer was not allowed to claim qualifying immunity for sending a Buddhist methhead back to the pen for not going to AA/NA, since the law was clearly settled even though the rulings were in other circuits).

This is North Dakota, there's not much concept of the first amendment here, but these drug court requirements really annoy me. When my husband tried to talk to the treatment guy in the human services center (I insisted he try SOMETHING to get sober) about his AA misgivings the guy sneered at him. Having had the privilege of private health insurance myself and not being stuck with the single-option public system I was appalled at the system attitude... I think they are a little more current these days although that creep hasn't retired yet.


Hi Sheri,

Thank you for the letter, and thank you for your work. Yes, it is really frustrating, trying to change the system. It has such momentum, not to mention the embedded believers who pretend that they are doing it for the addicts' own good.

The main thing that I can suggest is just keep at it. Also, embarrassing the district attorney at election time is a good strategy. Like letters to the editor, and also letters to his opponents, giving the details about how he refuses to enforce the law properly, and stop promoting a cult. If your job keeps you from doing it in your own name, surely you have some friends.

I am also reminded of this book, which is now free to download:
Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment     Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky
See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000.
ISBN: 1-884365-17-5
More truth from the See Sharp Press — how to resist being coerced into the 12-Step cult.
This book is now available for free download at: http://www.morerevealed.com/library/index.html

And perhaps readers have some ideas?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And I'm still waiting for someone to start SFS —
**     Satanists For Sobriety — a 12-Step program where
**     there is no doubt who "Higher Power" really is.
**     Then, what I really want to know is: Will the churches
**     still let that 12-Step group meet in their basements?

Date: Fri, July 30, 2010 11:54 am     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: Taerodmoon
Subject: (no subject)

Sucks being you.

No it doesn't. I'm having fun. How about you?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You are not now the person you used to be.

Date: Fri, July 30, 2010 12:06 pm     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "Mikey L."
Subject: AA and NA

Hey I was wondering if you have done anything or have anything in the works about NA like the "It's Spiritual, Not Religious" paper on AA. I hope you do! As a former NA member and now a devote Christian I am receiving it from all sides about how I am on a course for self destruction. This has all the stuff that I have seen wrong in NA but too many of the facts in the "orange papers" are AA related so they would shoot holes in it as soon as I bring it up.

Thanks for your time!

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the letter. Even though I mainly talk about A.A., and usually use the A.A. name, I am really talking about both. Back when I was going to meetings, I usually divided my time evenly between A.A. and N.A. meetings.

In fact, my moment of realization actually happened at an N.A. meeting. After one too many lectures from a true believer about how we should not question "The Program", just have faith and Work The Steps, I thought, "It might be fun to throw my logical thinking mind into the trash can and join a group of giggling babbling true believers, and be part of one big happy family, but it's really just a cult."

And that was pretty much the end of my involvement with 12-Step programs. Oh, I went to a few more meetings, but the thrill was gone. I couldn't believe in it any more.

I consider A.A. and N.A. to be almost identical. About the only major differences are:

  1. In N.A., you can talk about both drugs and alcohol, while A.A. often discourages talk about drugs.

  2. N.A. considers itself more hip and cool because you can also talk about drugs.

  3. N.A. doesn't worship Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob the way that A.A. does.

And that's it. Otherwise, both of them are selling Frank Buchman's cult religion as a cure for drug and alcohol problems.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     What is the difference between surrendering your Will
**     and your life to "Higher Power" in Step Three, and
**     selling your soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety?

Date: Fri, July 30, 2010 7:32 pm     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "Alfred W."
Subject: Thank you so very much for your work "The Orange Papers", and

I am so relieved you are back to posting and answering emails. I'm sure you are quite busy, and I can only hope (not pray — I gave that up years ago) you might take a few moments to read this and reply.

I am a staunch atheist (although as I'll explain if we start an email conversation, (something I'd greatly enjoy), I occasionally prefer the term "freethinker" or "non-theist") who has over 20 years sober experience in AA, the last 10 or so as an atheist. I have continued to attend my small group (in this tiny desert town, groups are frequently smaller than a dozen people) for a few reasons, namely:

  • 1. My sober presence there (I've been sober 21 years minus a 3 day binge 7 years ago) demonstrates to others that a higher power isn't necessary to get and stay sober — especially the bastardized Judeo-Christian version imported wholesale from that crazy Oxford group by bill & bob et al.

  • 2. Most of my long-term social contacts outside of work attend these meetings.

  • 3. I go once a week and chair a big book study meeting — at many of which I spend a lot of time pointing out bill's errors and logical fallacies to a chorus of grunts, groans, and funny looks from the other members. As we read 1 chapter a week, believe it or not one of my favorite weeks is when we get around to the chapter "we agnostics", as it is just chock full of lies, fallacies, piss-poor analogies, etc — I have a lot of fun with it in a serious sort of way.

Be that as it may, I also am involved in posting on several atheist/freethinker bulletin boards, on which a member started a post about why people insist on calling AA religious.

As you can guess, I came down hard on why not only AA is religious, but fits the definition of a religious cult (as bill & AA doctrine is written, of course it's true there are groups out there that have removed god from their program — but (I argue) if one takes god out of AA, it's no longer AA but something else (hence, AA is still religious based on its accepted core dogma (that being the big book and the 12x12). I hope you don't mind but I did use links to your Orange pages (crediting yourself as Agent Orange).

I'm really not that skilled a debater however, and the thread appears to show the "AA is not religious" crowd if not winning, then at least holding their own, as the AA supporters (about 1/2 the thread posters, the other 1/2 are atheists) ignore my data, use logical fallacies and personal attacks.

I wonder if you'd mind taking a few moments to glance at the following thread which resides at the James Randi Foundation forum and (if you have a spare moment) offer me a few suggestions on how to best counter their arguments? It would be really amazing if you decided to post yourself, but of course I couldn't ask that.

Here is the thread, and regardless if you respond to this, have a great day, an even better tomorrow — thanks so much for what really is your life's work, The Orange Papers!!


Alfred M W.

Joshua Tree, CA.

Hello Alfred,

Thanks for the tip, and thanks for your efforts to get the truth out there. I read that forum, and got the impression that it's the same old thing. That is, there are two hard-core A.A. true believers who will not allow their opinions to be changed by mere facts, and then there are several people trying to tell them the truth. And doing a good job of it. As good as I could do. But it makes no difference. The A.A. true believers will not change their minds, or stop parrotting the slogans. They have no intention of considering the facts, or of questioning their dogma.

However, I think you are giving them far too much credit. The "AA is not religious" promoters are not "holding their own". They are merely stubborn, and they keep on saying the same stupid things over and over again. Their statements are not even logical or realistic. The slogan that "A.A. is spiritual, not religious" is meaningless, really.

Look at the definitions of religious and spiritual.

Especially note:
Spiritual == 7. of or pertaining to sacred things or matters; religious; devotional; sacred.

Religious and spiritual are synonyms.

Claiming that A.A. is spiritual, not religious, is like claiming that it is night, not dark. Such jabber is meaningless.

A Federal district court judge said that same thing:

Alcoholics Anonymous materials and the testimony of the witness established beyond a doubt that religious activities, as defined in constitutional law, were a part of the treatment program. The distinction between religion and spirituality is meaningless, and serves merely to confuse the issue.
— Wisconsin's Federal 7th Circuit Court Judge John Shabaz, in the case of Grandberg v. Ashland County, 1984.

And that is where you can draw some solace. Many state and Federal courts have declared that A.A. is a religion, or engages in religious activities. (Look here.) Legally, it is a done deal. It is a moot point. The A.A. defenders who keep on repeating the same slogans again and again are not even trying to be realistic. That is also a standard cult characteristic.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One Stepper declared, "My stability came out of trying to
**     give, not out of demanding that I receive."
**     Serving humanity is all fine and well, but what if you are humbly,
**     lovingly, spiritually giving out cups of cyanide koolaid?
**     No matter how generous and loving and unselfish you are
**     while you hand it out, it's still cyanide koolaid.

Date: Sat, July 31, 2010 2:28 am     (answered 9 August 2010)
From: "sherp"
Subject: Book Recommendation

Hi Orange,

I just read a great book by historian Christopher Lasch. It's called The Culture of Narcissim: American life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations. You really get different perspective on why organizations like AA and NA and so forth are able to flourish. It's not about drug addiction — it's about what he describes as a therapeutic society and how it developed. It's been around for about 40 years and it highly regarded.


Hi Sherp,

Thanks for the tip. Apparently, great minds think alike, or the Fates are smiling on us or something, because I just found that book at Goodwill a little while ago. It looked very interesting, from a quick scan, so I bought it, $2. (Yes, I judged the book by its cover.)

It even says, "First Printing: December 1979", and has the whole printer's line (10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1). So it's an old paperback, apparently the first paperback edition, first printing, full of somebody else's writing and notes and underlining (which makes it worthless to a collector).

I haven't read it yet, but shall, as soon as possible.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Money spent on the brain is never spent in vain.

May 19, 2009, Tuesday: Day 19, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family with Two Goslings, eating oatmeal.
These little guys are incredibly trusting. Goslings learn from their parents what to fear, and when the parents are not afraid of me, neither are their babies. Besides, these kids have known me almost all of their lives.

Canada Goose family with goslings

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, August 1, 2010 3:28 am     (answered 10 August 2010)
From: "Fred"
Subject: Powerless

Sounds like you never learned what step one is all about. You just don't get it. This too shall pass. Good luck with your research.

Hi Fred,

I did get it. I clearly saw what Step One is about: declaring that you are powerless over the impulses and desires that arise from old Base Brain's programming to do what feels good. Well guess what? I am not powerless over alcohol. I am counting down the weeks until I have 10 years of sobriety now. That isn't powerlessness.

The real purpose for Step One is to convince people that they must join the cult, and surrender their fate to "Higher Power", or to the cult elders, whoever talks louder, to avoid death. It's just Frank Buchman's recruiting trick. "Join my cult, and obey my orders, or else you are doomed."

Good luck with your life too. And have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Whenever we seek to avoid the responsibility for our own
**     behavior, we do so by attempting to give that responsibility to some
**     other individual or organization or entity. But this means we then
**     give away our power to that entity."
**        ==  M. Scott Peck.

[The next letter from Fred is here.]

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Last updated 21 September 2011.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters185.html