Letters, We Get Mail, CXCVI

Date: Wed, September 15, 2010 8:47 am     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Nathan F."
Subject: amen brotha!

Recently read the page about AA — right on!

I went to one AA meeting, got a sponsor, and it was just freaking weird. It is a cult.

I drank daily for years, tapered off and eventually quit on my own for three months. I dealt with it by running like a beast — 3 miles daily at least. I had one crazy weekend and a friend convinced me that I needed a sponsor and meetings.

The first thing I noticed was after the meeting, EVERYONE was outside smoking cigs. Its like, WTF??? You know that shit will kill you too!! My sponsor smoked, told me he was on anti depressants. I'm thinking, wow this guy absolutely feels helpless and AA is encouraging that. I know this because I was on antidepressants at one point. I told him that I quit because I made my health a priority — to which he replied, "I don't care about your running, are you sober?"

Now at this point, I wanted to scream. Heres a guy thats hooked on cigs and runs to the doc when he feels depressed. He, and AA have it all wrong. Your health should always, always, always, always be a #1 priority. I firmly believe that the optimal amount of alcohol for ANYONE is zero. Its the same with all the sugary sodas us Americans chug. All that shit is bad for you. That is why I quit drinking, and how I have kept with it. Because I care about my independence, my free will, and my mental and physical health.

I read their book too, so pathetic.

Hello Nathan,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. Congratulations on your sobriety, and taking care of yourself. And yes, you've got it. Health really is Number One.

I quit smoking at the same time as I quit drinking because I decided to actually really live and get healthy, and I knew that half-measures weren't going to make it. (The A.A. Big Book actually says, "Half measures availed us nothing." page 59.) So why quit drinking only to smoke yourself to death? What's the point?

And you are certainly right about those sodas. Now they are all full of High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is one of the most fattening forms of sugar that there is, and the American people have turned into such waddling lard-asses that they look like they are ready for the Cannamits to come and harvest them. (RE: very old Twilight Zone episode from the late 'fifties or early 'sixties, where some tall aliens farmed people for a food supply.)

Have a good day now. And I think you will.

== 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: Wed, September 15, 2010 10:50 am     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Steve S."
Subject: my family experience

Thanks for your site. I've just skimmed it, planning to read it in detail soon. My wife had a bad alcohol problem. In the end, she tried to kill herself, was put in the hospital and then into a treament program for three months (the longer program because she's a nurse and the state requires longer for health care pros).

During the three-month in-patient, my wife and others from the treatment center went to AA meetings every night. Now home two weeks, she's really committed to the program. And for what it's worth, she does behave differently. She used to get angry over just about anything, but so far she's been calm and pleasant.

However, she tells me she no longer loves me; not in an angry, but rather a matter of fact way. She's practicing what she calls "rigourous honesty," and she doesn't want to lead me on. If I'm being "rigorously honest" I can't say that I've loved her for the past year or so, when she's been, for the most part, a drunken shrew, but I hung in as long as I could for the kids (although I did consult an attorney right before she tried to kill herself and went to treatment).

When I would go and meet with her and the family counselor at the treatment center, we would try to work on our relationship. And even though she's been abusive to me in the past, I've been willing to work on it. However, she says that right now, she doesn't want to work on it. She's staying in a seperate room in the basement.

When it was just me and the kids this summer, I was pretty happy. I told her that if she doesn't even want to work on our relationship, we probably don't need to stay together. She seems to be totally confused. Anyway, after reading your website, I'm concluding that things are probably not going to get much better. I'm going to read it in more detail when I have time. I want to find out if there are statistics to prove the 12 step doesn't work. I saw you mention somewhere that only 5% of 12 steppers make it, but I didn't see statistical proof of that.

PS: I should add that, during the summer in treatment, when my wife wanted me to work on our relationship etc, she wanted me to go to Alanon. But that never really appealed to me. I'm a happy person. My wife is miserable, not me. And my happiness is not centered on or depedent on her. So I don't really want to go hear a bunch of people obsessing on their alcoholic family member.

Hello Steve,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. To answer your last question first, all of the statistics about the A.A. success rate are in the file The Effectiveness of the Twelve-Step Treatment.

The two biggest points in the file are that:

  1. People who go it alone and quit all on their own get about a 5% success rate.
  2. People who go to A.A. get about a 5% success rate.
A.A. does not improve the situation at all. A.A. just takes the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway, while disavowing any responsibility for the ones who don't quit.

And then, the psychological damage from the 12 Step organizations is a big problem. They will break up your family. Your wife is already being taught to insist that you must join the cult too, or else the marriage is over.

Now I cannot predict what will happen with your marriage. But I can tell you that A.A. and Al-Anon will not help. More on Al-Anon here and here.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The worst deluded are the self-deluded.
**        ==  Christian Nestell Bovee (1820—1904), American author and editor

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose family with goslings Carmen's Family, eating some rice
Carmen is the small gosling in front. The mother is the adult eating the rice.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Thu, September 16, 2010 4:17 am     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Leon L."
Subject: de bunking initiatives of change

Hello Agent Orange

I noticed that the initiatives of change people AKA modern day Buchmanites, in typical Buchmanite fashion are claiming in their website(s) that they are affiliated with the United Nations (which we both know to be BS) but if you could and would please de bunk this claim it would be awesome since I have friends in Europe who have given them money under the mistaken impression that they are an outgrowth arm of the UN.

Hello Leon,

Thank you for the tip. I didn't know that the Buchmanites are now claiming to have a connection to the United Nations. It does not surprise me though. I mean, after somebody claims that he has a hotline straight to God, claiming to have a line to the United Nations is pretty trivial. And, historically, they have shown that they will tell any lie to further their cause.

I'll have to find those claims and set about debunking them.


If you have been wondering why much of the music and entertainment industries have been in decline (economic down turns and piracy aside) it is because most of the major executives, lawyers, managers, talent etc.... are involved in AA and the agenda of the day is much the same Buchman had with the Nazis and his dreams of being in God Control.

it is no secret that Glenn Beck uses many of the AA and Buchman slogans in his public speaking as he is an admitted member of AA, just as Margaret Chow and Anthony Hopkins have.

my point is that I have been seeing a very disturbing pattern in the media and entertainment industries of mass indoctrination and promotion of artists, media personalities that are AA cult members free to the extent that they are rivaling the Scientologists in Hollywood.

Please look in to all of this and please expose ALL of it

Thank you

Please do not share or display my email address but feel free to post this

Best Wishes

Okay, Leon,

I'll see what I can dig up. I know that in general, A.A. has been proselytizing and promoting itself for a long time, in spite of the fake "Tradition" that says that A.A. is supposed to be a program of attraction, not promotion. We were just talking about the TV shows and movies that plug A.A., here and here.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I count it blasphemy for Dr. Buchman, or anybody else, to pretend to
**     testify to what God has done for him while humanity is at this moment perishing."
**     Rev. John Haynes Holmes, quoted in The New York Times, July 16, 1934, page 9.

Date: Thu, September 16, 2010 8:02 am     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Wayne M."
Subject: Keep up the good work!

Dear Agent Orange:

I thoroughly enjoy your website. It has opened my eyes to many of the "dark ages" opinions of AA hardliners. I have attended AA intermittantly over the last ten years. Out of the last 10 years, I have been sober for seven of those years. I started abusing pain medications soon after being prescribed Oxycotin for pain. The pain was resultant of facial reconstruction surgery in the year 2000.

I have suffered depression since I was 16 years old. I am now 50. So, my depression history existed LONG before my addiction history. One of the largest complaints of AA and the whole 12-step crowd is their insane belief that "pills are for dills." I know that AA has officially denounced this position, but there are still many AA hardliners that continue to carry this INSANE message. I for one am glad that anti-depression medications exist. I owe my life to this medical miracle drug set.

I have had sponsors and others in AA give me this "pills are for dills" BS and it dumfouned me when I first heard it. It still amazes me how how these moronic, big book thumpers try to pursuade newcomers to "toss the dope." I was told that I was NOT sober if I was still taking ANY kind of drug — prescribed or not. WHAT RUBBISH!!! They proclaim that all I needed was the twelve steps and the fellowship of AA.

Well, I continue to attend AA and do derive a lot of pleasure from the friendships I have developed over the years in AA. HOWEVER, I have found a more logically based "program" than the cult-based 12 steps. I also continue to denounce the crazy AA voodoo stuff you talk about. I am amazed when a newcomer comer comes up to me and says, "You don't seem as crazy as some of the others here." :-)

I have recommended your website to many of my friends and will continue to do so.

Best regards,
Wayne M.

Hello Wayne,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. I'm glad that you are making it, and have not let the fanatics drive you crazy. Telling people not to take their doctor-prescribed medications is one of the absolute worst characteristics of Alcoholics Anonymous. They kill a lot of people that way.

And they are stoned crazy to think that just A.A. and the 12 Steps will heal people's medical problems. They are just as bad as the fanatics who insist that only prayer should be used to heal sick children.

Yes, we have a church of those nuts here in Portland, and they kill a child every few years. A couple of parents just got convicted of manslaughter for that, and the father got two years in prison, and the mother got probation. Then another couple of parents just got indicted for killing their kid the same way. I wonder how long it will take to start the prosecutions of A.A. sponsors and self-appointed "experts on addiction".

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A little patience and we shall see the reign of witches
**     pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people
**     recovering their true sight, restore their government
**     to its true principles.  It is true that in the meantime
**     we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the
**     horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public
**     debt.
**         ==  Thomas Jefferson

Date: Thu, September 16, 2010 9:53 pm     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Jessica"
Subject: Your "Blog"

Hello, I just read your blog about what you think you know about Alcoholics Anonymous as the program and the book. I read everything very carefully and realized that your "blog" has quite a few lies about the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship. If you would like to know what they are, send me an email back. :)

Okay, Jessica,
I'm listening.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
** "Now I know what it's like to be high on life.
** It isn't as good, but my driving has improved."
** == Nina, on "Just Shoot Me", 13 Jan 2006.

Date: Sat, September 18, 2010 3:24 pm     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Roger T."
Subject: aa doesnt work

So what does?


Hi Roger,

You do.

There is actually no program or method in the world that really works to make alcoholics quit drinking.

People quit by either:

  1. They get a grip and just stop.
  2. Or they just drop dead.
Either way, they quit.

Now there are actually a bunch of things that can help you. I just answered the same question in a recent letter, so let me point you to it here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As I see it, every day you do one of two things:
**     build health or produce disease in yourself.
**          ==   Adelle Davis

Date: Mon, September 20, 2010 11:53 am     (answered 10 October 2010)
From: "Frank M."
Subject: anti-aa

Why are you against AA? I was in San Antonio for the 75th International AA Convention and over 65,000 former self-proclaimed drunks were sober and leading useful lives?

Hi Frank,

That is an attempt to use the propaganda technique called Appeal to Numbers (Argumentum ad Numerum). Just because a large number of people attend a convention does not prove that a cult religion is good, or a political party is good, or a company, or anything else.

Here is another convention:

Moonies Mass Marriage Ceremony, 13 Feb 2000

(click on image for larger version)

Does this convention prove that the Moonies are a wonderful sober organization, and Rev. Moon really is the new Messiah? Isn't it wonderful how Rev. Moon got all of those kids sober?

And what about Tom Cruise and the Scientologists? If Tom Cruise can get 70,000 Scientologists to attend a convention in Houston, will that prove that Scientology really works, and that Lafayette Ronald Hubbard is the most noble human who ever walked the Earth, a hero who saved us from the Evil Galactic Overlord Xenu?

Oh, and here is another famous convention:

Nazi Party Day, Nuremberg
(click on image for larger version)

Does this convention prove that Uncle Adolf is a great guy, who gave all of these people useful, productive lives?

The reason that I criticize Alcoholics Anonymous is because it is just another cult religion, not a working cure for alcoholism.

Lastly, and most importantly, you are mistaken in assuming that the Alcoholics Anonymous organization is due the credit for "65,000 former self-proclaimed drunks ... sober and leading useful lives". The truth is, either people sober themselves up and repair their own lives, or they don't. A.A. never does it for people. It can't. A.A. just steals the credit for the hard work of the few winners, while disavowing any responsibility for the many more failures (the millions of alcoholics who didn't go to the convention).

I'm pretty sure that, at that convention, nobody talked about the actual very low A.A. success rate and very high A.A. death rate. All of the bragging about how many people attended the A.A. convention is pretty meaningless in the face of the A.A. failure rate and death rate.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Rev. Jim Jones said, "Drink the red koolaid. It
**     has cured millions. RARELY have we seen it fail...
**     But then again, the green koolaid is good too.
**     Take what you want, and leave the rest."

[The next letter from Frank M. is here.]

Date: Tue, September 21, 2010 9:03 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Timothy G. sent you a message on Facebook...

Timothy sent you a message.

Subject: are you the anti a.a. orange papers?

"Before we can be friends, i got the impression from somthing you wrote that seemed to say that people who were pagan and chose a pagan higher power were absurd. to me thats as insulting as bill w. saying that those who wont believe are belligerant. i wanted to come to you for a second opinion on a.a....but if my religion is going to be a problem than should i go somewhere else? well i have been a member for 7 years of a.a....im now three years sober. i have completed the 12 steps.. done some service work etc,and im starting to notice that there is ALOT of strange stuff that goes on in a.a... im also a former scientologist and if i hadnt believed i was gonna die because of my "disease" i might not have joined at all. i would like to discuss the weird stuff that i cant talk to my sponsor about......... tim"

Hello Timothy,

Thanks for the message and the question. Yes, I'm the same Orange Papers.

I didn't mean to insult or put down the Pagans. I just find the idea of somebody going to an A.A. meeting and praying for Thor or Loki or Wotan to make him quit drinking to be too far off the deep end to take seriously.

Yes, we can discuss whatever your sponsor won't.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is
**    never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want
**    it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the
**    first lesson of economics."
**       ==  Thomas Sowell

Date: Tue, September 21, 2010 10:08 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Bill O."
Subject: plugs for A.A.

Okay, readers,
Can you wrack your brains and remember plugs for A.A.?

You Kill Me (2007) w/ Ben Kingsley. Drunk hit man goes to AA, finds god, sobriety


Okay, Bill, thanks for the tip.

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to
**     a profoundly sick society."
**       ==  Krishna Murti

Date: Tue, September 21, 2010 11:58 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Phylis G."
Subject: Bravo... on TE of the TST

I haven't read much of this thing, but I congratulate you on your courage, amidst the crazies who surround us all, as well as your brilliance.


Phylis G.

P.S.: I may well think you deserve a Pulitzer. Am I the first to suggest this to you?

Hello Phylis,

Thank you for all of the compliments. I seem to recall that we were joking about the Pulitzer before — something about whether you get a cup suitable for coffee with it...

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     How long can man go on overpopulating this planet, destroying
**     its topsoils, slashing off its forests, exhausting its supplies
**     of fresh water, tearing away at its mineral resources, consuming
**     its oxygen with a wild proliferation of machines, making sewers
**     of its rivers and sea, producing industrial poisons of the most
**     dreadful sort and distributing them liberally into its atmosphere,
**     its streams and its ocean beds, disregarding and destroying the
**     ecology of its plant and insect life? Not much longer I suspect.
**     I may not witness the beginning of the disaster on a serious
**     scale.  But many of the students who have written me will. And
**     let us not forget that much of the damage that has already been
**     done is irreparable in terms of the insight and effort of any
**     single generation. It takes eight hundred years to produce a
**     climax forest. It will take more than that, presumably, to
**     return the poisoned, deadened waters of Lake Michigan, on the
**     shores of which I was born, to the level of plant and fish life
**     and natural healthfulness that they had at the time of my birth.
**       ==  Democracy and the Student Left by George F. Kennan.
**     Who wants reality when we have a pretty fantasy?
**     Drill, baby, drill.

Date: Tue, September 21, 2010 1:52 pm     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Don O."

I Just found your web site and began to study it and I have to say that it is very well put together. Im a recovered Alcoholic who believes that had it not been for Alcoholic Anonymous I probably would have died. You make some really strong statements and Im just curious why all the hate for our fellowship? We know we are not for everyone that has been proven over the years but it is the only thing that worked for us. Bill Wilson was a ego driven man no doubt but he also did a huge amount of good for all of us! I wonder why all the negative writing and research about this subject? Is there something that is so distasteful about us tht you feel it your responsibility to try to treat us as though we are a dangerous cult? Why spend so much time researching and writing about something you don't believe in?

Whats the point---I mean really? the only way I think you can say we are a lie is to work the program honestly and then if it doesn't then you can say we are a lie. I was at the point of death and AA brought me back life thank God for that. The articles I have read sound like you took bits and pieces that seem to further your point of view and expounded on them and not the entire passage.

Hello Don,

Congratulations on sobering yourself up. You did it. An old pro-Nazi cult religion from the nineteen-thirties did not do it.

What's the point? The point is to get the truth out there, to tell people the real facts about alcoholism and addiction and recovery, something that A.A. will not do. All of the A.A. jabber about "rigorous honesty" is pure hypocrisy.

The truth is that A.A. is a failure as a cure for alcoholism that kills more people than it helps. And A.A. lies about that at the start of every meeting. "RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail..." And that does make it a dangerous cult.

Lastly, you claim that A.A. saved your life. But if you had gone to the local Tiddly-Winks Society, and they told you, "Just play tiddly-winks. Every time you want to drink, just play tiddly-winks. Never drink; just play tiddly-winks. RARELY HAVE we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.", and if you had really thoroughly followed those instructions, then you would have gotten sober that way and now you would be declaring that the Tiddly-Winks Society saved your life.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Being surrounded by a group of people who keep
**     telling you that you are powerless over alcohol,
**     and that your will power is useless, is not
**     getting "support". It is getting sabotaged.
**     With friends like them, you don't need any enemies.

Date: Tue, September 21, 2010 2:02 pm     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: MyraAnne
Subject: AA

Hi, I am recently sober 176 days. I have never been happier in my life. I stumbled on Orange Papers a couple of years ago and always kept it because I knew I wanted to get sober.

There is nothing out here where I live in the woods except one AA meeting on Sunday nights. I got my sponsor before hand and I wasn't driving due to medical problems so I depended on her and her husband both in the AA program for about 25 years. They act like people in a cult, I felt uncomfortable, but again, they were my only ride. They would take me to two other meetings in adjoining towns. Then at three months she dumps me, no explaination,,,,,,,,,,left a real rotten taste in my mouth.

The last thing I said to her was I felt I wasn't moving enough in the steps, she was keeping me stagnant, I tried to say a third step prayer to her for 6 weeks and did all kinds of other 'homework' so to speak, never responded to any of my calls or emails after I told her I got an online sponsor and I was going to do a Back to Basics program, that was the last time I heard from her. She told me she was not for a profit organization and I explained it wasnt. Didn't matter, never heard from her again. I sent her your link, and she ridiculed it, why I dont know. Maybe I am to strong willed for her. I dont follow anyone.

Anyways, I just wanted to take my hat off to you and I have barely scratched the service of your information, I think I will be reading for quite sometime. Thank you............for reading my email.


Hello MyraAnne,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your sobriety. That's really good. I'm sorry to hear that you got mistreated by some A.A. fools.

Since there are no other face-to-face meetings in your area, maybe you could find some happiness in online meetings of SMART or Lifering or somthing like that. Here is the list of non-cult recovery groups, forums, and methods.

Good luck, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     People whose own lives are not worth living desire
**     the power to control other people's lives.

[The next letter from Myra is here.]

Date: Thu, September 23, 2010 8:24 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Name Deleted"
Subject: Thank you!


I'm a recovered heroin addict living in the EU. I was forcefully placed within the walls of a 12-step "home" (treatment centre, located in the middle of the woods).

Never before had I experienced such agony, scrutiny and breaking down of the mind. We spent probably five hours of each day attending group classes, NA-meetings and "mirroring" each other, which was a fancier term for attacking each other verbally.

The inhabitants of the centre were brainwashed to the extent that they had lost all form of individual thinking, resorted to speak in "12-step language". People were reporting each move you took and any oppressive thought expressed.

Upon this we were forced to work in the steps, with which I couldn't cope, since I am a thinking human being. The brainwashing infested every pore of our daily lives, but I withstood it, and was eventually thrown out because of my oppressing (which, since I was under forceful custody for my addiction, ended me up in a locked facility, but that's another story).

I have been longing for some explanations and criticism against this very dangerous cult of religiousness, because I have so far not come along anybody sharing my view.

I have now been clean for about 10 months, thanks to the Suboxone medication (buprenorphine/naloxone, blocks the opiate receptors in the brain and thus reduces opiate cravings), without any help from the twelve steps. The experience has left me scarred for life, and I will now try to spread the message and facts of the real deal of the NA/AA movement.

Thank you for a great site!

Please, I ask that if you publish my email on your site, do not include my email adress or name. I also want to excuse for my poor english, it is only my second language.

Hello "Name Deleted",

Thank you for the letter. I hope you are doing well. Congratulations on your recovery time, and I hope it works out for you.

And thanks for the compliments, too.

So have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     My enemies I can handle, but Lord save me from
**      those who would do unto me for my own good.
**        —  Agent Orange as a young hippie, 1968

[The previous letter from Myra is here.]

Date: Thu, September 23, 2010 11:14 pm     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: MyraAnne
Subject: Agent Orange

Hi, I have a problem with the orange papers. First, what I read was written by one man. Therefore what he wrote is his opinion. It says the following. (I underlined).

One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous and Substance Misuse Recovery Programs, and Real Recovery.

The Twelve Steps _do not work_ (https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html) as a program of recovery from drug or alcohol problems.

How does he know!!

The A.A. failure rate ranges from 95% to 100%. Sometimes, _the A.A. success rate is actually less than zero_ (https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#powerless_binge) , which means that A.A. indoctrination is positively harmful to people, and prevents recovery. Some tests have shown that _even receiving no treatment at all for alcoholism is much better than receiving A.A. treatment_ (https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#no_treatment) :

Where did he get this information?

The only words the author quoted here are "_appalling_ (https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant_deaths) " and "_get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer_ (https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#high_status_healer1) ." All the rest are his own words.

Myra, it's too bad that Vaillant thinks this and evidently said it, but just because someone says this doesn't make it true.


Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, Make Me Feel Important. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.
Mary Kay Ash

Hello MyraAnne,

It looks like you are quoting from the web page called The 12 Biggest Secrets of A.A..

Each of those statements is backed up by the links. If you have any questions about the statements, click on the link, and it will take you to the web page that documents where the information came from, and what doctor said it, and what doctors did what tests to determine what the true A.A. recovery rate is.

So go to these links:

  1. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#powerless_binge
    == A.A. indoctrination is positively harmful to people, and prevents recovery.

  2. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#no_treatment
    == Some tests have shown that even receiving no treatment at all for alcoholism is much better than receiving A.A. treatment.

  3. https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-effectiveness.html#Vaillant_deaths
    == The A.A. death rate, as determined by Dr. George E. Vaillant, who spent many years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. He spent nearly 20 years treating alcoholics with A.A.

  4. Dr. Vaillant is also the man who said that he wanted people shoved into A.A. so that they would "get an attitude change by confessing their sins to a high-status healer",
    — even after he documented the fact that A.A. produced the highest death rate of any way of treating alcoholism that he studied.

The last line indicates that you were corresponding with someone else, and submitting your questions to that person, who answered:

Myra, it's too bad that Vaillant thinks this and evidently said it, but just because someone says this doesn't make it true.

What a Minimization and Denial dance. Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant is one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous. He was on the Board of Trustees for many years, until they kicked him upstairs. When he says that all of the alcoholics should get shoved into A.A., because A.A. is great, the true believers worship him and hang on his every word. But when he says something that they don't like, the song changes to, "..just because someone says this doesn't make it true."

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism,
**  but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
**  == Dr. George E. Vaillant, formerly a member of the A.A. Board of
**  Trustees, describing the treatment of alcoholism with Alcoholics
**  Anonymous, in "The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns,
**  and Paths to Recovery", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA,
**  1983, pages 283-286.

[The next letter from Myra is here.]

Date: Fri, September 24, 2010 4:37 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: Arni S.
Subject: re: paper on attrition rate

produces a very compelling argument against AA as a cure for alcoholism with a dataset that is a little bit flawed in it's base assumption. You assume a 1-to-1 ratio of 1st day recipients to potential 1 year recipients. This is a flawed assumption due to the fact that you have people picking up repeated 1, 30, 60 and even 90 day chips on their way to attaining their 1 year chip. Hence the colloquialism "Desire Chip" for the whites. You should also assume that people die off at the same rate as the general population, explaining some of the attrition. I'm a bit busy these days with a project but might turn to the dataset and try to produce a model that more accurately estimates the attrition curve.

Hi Arni,

Thanks for the letter. Nope, no false assumption. I clearly said that such calculations were not scientific or 100% reliable. And we have errors on both ends, but they tend to cancel each other out: At the start, there are people who pick up several first-day "Just For Today" coins. And at the other end, we have people who are so proud of themselves for making it for 10 or 20 years that they are driving all over town, from one meeting to another, and picking up a coin at each meeting so that they can hear the crowd cheering for them again and again.

Nevertheless, the sales figures for those coins reveal an enormous drop-out rate.

I value your contribution to the debate. I know people that have had bad recovery histories but managed to attain the promises of "happy joyous and free" through the current resurgence of Big Book AA.

But "Big Book A.A." is just another fundamentalist religion.

Some 18 years ago I had problems with alcohol and drugs and did 28 days in rehab joining the "meeting-makers-make-it" type of AA that was around at that time. After 2 years I was tired of complaining at meetings that I didn't attend enough meetings and decided to stop. The fear of relapse was always present for the next few years until I came across a radio station broadcasting speaker meetings from Big Book studies. First thought I had was that it was an Evangelist station but quickly realized it's nature.

Your first guess was correct. It was an evangelist station.

I listened to it for about half a year, taking in a totally different message from my earlier experience of AA. It was through this material I realized that I WASN'T an alcoholic or a drug addict. I realized that I had removed the drugs and the alcohol and my life was getting better. The experience of the true alcoholic and drug addict is that you remove the substance and they go insane. The classification "Problem Drinker" was much more appropriate. I did need to divorce myself from the substances, but once chemically free, could go about my life as long as I was guided by fellowship with my brothers and sisters of the human race, but not greed and selfishness.

I don't know where you get the idea that "The experience of the true alcoholic and drug addict is that you remove the substance and they go insane."
A badly addicted person will go into withdrawal without a continued supply of his drug of choice, but there is no evidence that "alcoholics and addicts go insane if you remove the substance". After they are detoxed, they are pretty much like the rest of us who have had substance use problems.

Nevertheless, I agree that you can just quit your bad habits and get on with your life. You don't need to label yourself "alcoholic" or "addict" forever. The whole classification of "Problem Drinker" versus "Alcoholic" is merely a false dichotomy. It's just a subjective judgement call and all a matter of degree. And many fashionably rich people like to use the euphemism "Heavy Drinker", rather than say that they are an alcoholic.

In a weird way, the Big Book gave me my freedom back. Not by convincing me of the 12-step life (which incidentally I find appealing and the abstractions of which guide much of what I do. When you analyze the 12 steps you find the program wants you to 1. break your cycle of spree and remorse 2. list the harms you made and amend the wrongs 3. live a life of love and free from the pain of your past), but by showing me a diagnostic tool to detect causes and effects in my life.

I totally disagree. The 12 Steps are just Dr. Frank Buchman's fascist cult religion, which Bill Wilson copied and sold as a cure for alcoholism. See: The Twelve Steps Interpreted.

I agree that AA has a QA problem. I read a letter on your page referring to a sponsor as life-coach. My understanding of the sponsor concept is they should ensure the sponsee do the steps promptly and get involved in service work. This sounds as a much better approach than "wait a while" approach I was subjected to back in the 90's. People need solutions to their problems NOW, not in 6 months or a year. Doing 123 is what actually brought people to the doors of recovery, saying they should wait 3,6,9 months or a year to proceed with the work is tantamount to ask an arsonist to safeguard some petrol. In the same vein is it equally arsonistic for a sponsor to contradict the prescriptions of a physician. The healthiest approach I have heard about medication is a sponsor that refused to work with a sponsee due to the sponsee changing his dosage without consulting his physician. The problem seems to be the evangelical nature an inexperienced sponsor seems to tend towards. Purity is confused with absence of chemicals (where purity really should mean: balance).

The 12 Steps are not a solution to a problem, so there is no reason for sponsees to do them promptly or at all.

And yes, there are many hard-core fundamentalist old sponsors who kill their sponsees by telling them not to take their doctor-prescribed medications.

In my opinion spirituality is totally divorced from religion. What the 12 steps ask practitioners to do is to be spiritual, within any religious framework (of which Humanism is one) that doesn't violate the steps. To examine if anything is applicable as a 'higher power' in the sense of the steps you replace that 'higher power' with what you want to guide yourself to see if you find logical fallacies. You quickly find that worldly objects don't fit and neither can you rely upon persons, which have no more power than you. You need ideas, concepts, principles to guide you to be whole. The personification of those are usually a supreme being, a platonic of some sort. The God abstraction is useful in that sense as a wedge to get you from a state of ill-being to a state of well-being. It was for me. I later shed that and consider myself an agnostic. I can't answer the God question, and I think neither can anyone else on this place of existence. Prophets and preachers are usually flawed men like the rest of us and the best you can do with the message is divorce it from the practices they have and see what truth resonates with yourself. Any divine inspiration they might have, must have divine resonance with yourself too, for it to have any value. It is never true, simply for the mouth from which the saying falls.

There is no difference between "spirituality" and "religion". It's all religion. We were just talking about that a few letters back, here.

This line is funny:

"What the 12 steps ask practitioners to do is to be spiritual, within any religious framework (of which Humanism is one) that doesn't violate the steps."

Heck, you can worship anything from Satan to Adolf Hitler as your Higher Power and not violate the Steps.

These lines:

"The God abstraction is useful in that sense as a wedge to get you from a state of ill-being to a state of well-being. It was for me. I later shed that and consider myself an agnostic. "

reveal that the whole "spirituality" thing is dishonest. You pretend to believe in God when it is useful to you, but you were really an agnostic all along. Now I'm not knocking agnosticism — more power to you — but the fake belief in God is not "spiritual".

To declare that "Higher Power" is going to save you from alcoholism, and then later declare that you never believed that "Higher Power" really exists, is kind of nutty, isn't it?

The rest of that paragraph is just quibbling and use of the propaganda trick called Escape via Relativism — "Nobody knows nuthin' for sure..."

I most certainly will take a look at your essays and papers in the future and hope to find more enlightenment.

Arni S.
Sober Problem Drinker (of some 18 years now).

I'm glad to hear that you are sober.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be
**      called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant
**      men are sure — that is all that agnosticism means.
**         ==  Clarence Darrow

[The next letter from Arni is here.]

Date: Fri, September 24, 2010 6:42 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Donna S."
Subject: cult

my name is Donna and i am responding to your website "Is AA a cult". Either you are a practicing alcoholic who doesn't want to abstain from the use of alcohol or you have some kind of a resentment towards AA (possibly an Alcoholic in your life and you are jealous of AA). At any rate Alcoholics Anonymous has helped many people in our world today and AA does not print negative material against other programs that help people in any way. You really should think about the good AA does and if you don't want it leave it alone. Thank you Donna

Hi Donna,

Wow. "A practicing alcoholic", huh? That's as good as "a practicing homosexual".

FYI, in 9 days I will have 10 years of sobriety. So abstinence from alcohol is not a problem.

The reason that I criticize A.A. is: A.A. is a fraud and a hoax that sells an old cult religion as a cure for alcohol abuse.

I have thought about "the good AA does", and found that there is very little of it. A.A. is not much better than Scientology or the Moonies.

Now if you think that A.A. does something good, why don't you answer this simple question:

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.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Facts are stubborn things.
**           ==  Tobias George Smollett, 1721—1771

Date: Sat, September 25, 2010 12:08 am     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: "Ray S."
Subject: "The John Laroquette Show"

The mention of John Laroquette reminded me, add "The John Laroquette Show" to the list:


John Laroquette was the night manager in a bus station; David Crosby played John's AA sponsor. John had a woman throwing herself at him, Crosby said "no new relationships for a year". Crosby relapsed. It was a funny show, even if it did make me cringe on a regular basis.

Hi Ray,

Aha! Another sighting. Thanks for the tip.

And have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Well done is better than well said.
**           ==  Benjamin Franklin 1706—1790

Date: Sat, September 25, 2010 5:40 pm     (answered 11 October 2010)
From: Rusty U.
Subject: MIKE P of LAS VEGAS

Mr. Mike must belong to the spin off of CLANCYS "PACIFIC GROUP" the Vegas branch is called"THE SPECIFIC GROUP"..

I dont hear in meetings or your site people talking about drunk driving. Bill did not write about it because it basically did not exist to the extent it does today. I was .26BAC the night before I went to AA and that was 24 years ago and I knew nothing about AA. Nothing.. When my brother came to pick me up and return me to the floor I was sleeping on something happened. I did the first 4 steps before I even knew what they were. I thought everyone quit drinking when they went to AA. I lived 5 minutes from the Betty Ford Center and my wife went there along with many of my friends. I was a DRUNK and a drunk becomes a "SOCIOPATH". they are not in denial, they just dont care. We had a man named Arthur who gave you a 24 hour chip and wrote your name in a little book. He gave me the 30-60-90- chips and told the group when it was time for me to take a year chip that he had given out 1500 24 hour chips and I was the third guy to make it a year. My first DUI was in 1974 and I was an assigned risk with insurance companies my whole drinking life, in fact in Pasadena I got a ticket on my bike riding the wrong way.

It took me 8 years to identify as a RECOVERED ALCOHOLIC. In my 8th year I was diagnosed as a CHRONIC DEPRESSIVE and I traced that back to when I hit my bottom at 8 years of age. My mothers unresolved childhood made me shut down and go within and I did not come out to play until I was 44 years old. I had been in relapse for 26 years.

I have been to an AA meeting everyday for 24 years as it is just a place to go, it beats the bar stools I sat on. Orange I wish you could be in a meeting with me as I use a lot of your work. I tell them that you are either DONE or you are NOT DONE when you go to your first meeting.

I listen to guys with 25 years say things like this, I AM A HEART BEAT AND AN ARMS LENGTH FROM A DRINK, I COME TO AA because I am SICK, they just complain and play the VICTIM card along with the DISEASE card over and over.

Check out BALDWIN RESEARCH in New York. Dr WM H MILLER PHD from here in Albuquerque did a lot of their work.

I finally figured out why the words SHAME & GUILT are not used in the first 164 pages of the Big Book, Bill Wilson was SHAMELESS — and you tell us why with what he did with AA woman. The steps are not there to bring out SHAME AND GUILT, I had enough from many years ago. The steps are there to give us strength and power to react in a different way. Dr Bob worked them with the new guy the very first day, they are no gurantee of anything.

John Bradshaw said GUILT IS I MADE A MISTAKE and SHAME is I AM A MISTAKE and he wrote a great book that if it is not on your list should be. HEALING THE SHAME THAT BINDS YOU.

Keep up the great work and I will too. I was diagnosed in APRIL of 2009 with STAGE 4 Prostate Cancer and I have not come close to drinking. They gave me a year or so to live. As a MARINE I will go down fighting. If anyone wishes to respond my email is rustyuhl *AT* aol.com

Thanks and good luck with the goslings, RUSTY

Hello Rusty,

Thanks for the letter, and I hope you are feeling okay. Sorry to hear about your cancer.

The numbers that Arthur stated are actually about the worst that I've ever heard: "1500 24-hour chips [given out] and I was the third guy to make it a year." That is really grim. You would think that somebody would eventually notice that something isn't working very well...

I will definitely check out BALDWIN RESEARCH in New York. I am somewhat familiar with the work of Dr. William H. Miller, if only because I used to live on the corner of the UNM campus in Albuquerque, so I'm always interested in what is going on there now.

I really don't see this:

The steps are not there to bring out SHAME AND GUILT, I had enough from many years ago. The steps are there to give us strength and power to react in a different way. Dr Bob worked them with the new guy the very first day, they are no gurantee of anything.

I don't see how Steps 4 through 9 do anything except induce guilt and shame. The victim has to make a long list of his every sin and fault and moral shortcoming and "defect of character", and confess it to somebody else, and then spend the rest of his life "making amends" and finding "when he is wrong". That process does not give strength and power. It induces feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy.

I'm sure that Dr. Bob made newcomers do the Oxford Group practices right away. He even made the new victims get out of their beds in the hospital and "make a surrender" on their knees in front of him before they had even finished detoxing, but that wasn't a good thing. The Oxford Group was just a terrible pro-Nazi cult religion.

Good luck, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**         Lord, what fools these mortals be!
**           ==  William Shakespeare 1564—1616

May 20, 2009, Wednesday: Day 20, continued:

Canada Goose gosling
A Canada Goose Gosling.
I am not sure which one this is. It could be one of Carmen's siblings.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters196.html