Letters, We Get Mail, CCV

[The previous letter from Beth is here.]

Date: Sat, October 30, 2010 12:13 pm     (answered 19 November 2010)
From: "Beth K."
Subject: Decline of ACA

Hi Orange,

I entered AA in the early 90's, through both Al-Anon and ACA. It's difficult for me to even perceive a world without the Net. Certainly far easier to be duped and suckered in, where little outside information was available, and I was suckered in.

ACA peaked in the 90's with various therapists promoting it, (eg John Bradshaw, Claudia Black).

In 2001 I became involved with ACA again through an interest in the International ACA Conference in San Marcos, California. I'd attended this annually until 2005. The price for the three day conference continued to increase, as did the number of vendors, while attendance dropped. The final conference had approximately 50 attendees. It dwindled to a point it was nothing more than a sales seminar for various vendors/therapists.

2006 was my breakaway year from any and all 12 step programs. I spent a year in therapy and a year with a non-12 step therapist. I attended SMART, started a WFS meeting in my area, and moderated my own support group for a year, (type A personality in action :)

ACA is as unconscionable as any other 12 step program. Trauma, shame and confusion are increased through the perpetration and insistence one is a sinner, and had a part in any abuse.

Thought I'd check on what the status was for ACA 2010. The San Marcos ACA International has gone out of business, briefly located to Long Beach, CA, and then into complete demise.

I checked meetings for San Diego and surrounding area, and the good news is there are only 8 in existence.


Contrast this with SMART, who treats the whole person, doesn't deflect from recommending medical or therapeutic help, (12 SMART meetings in the same general area).


I think we may find consensus in the next major shift, which will be in, "challenging rehabs and therapists," on using the 12 steps as appropriate treatment.

My best,


Hi Beth,

Thank you for the information. Now that is interesting. And encouraging.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Quackery gives birth to nothing;
**     gives death to all things.
**       ==  Thomas Carlyle (1795—1881), Scottish essayist and historian
**          Heroes and Hero-Worship

Date: Sun, October 31, 2010 9:20 pm     (answered 19 November 2010)
From: [email protected]
Subject: sherpa recommends Study: Alcohol More Lethal Than Heroin, Cocaine


I know I just emailed a little while ago, but I saw this new "study" — it seems fishy to me.



Hi again, Sherp,

I think the question is just a matter of defining terms. In part of their report, they spoke in general terms of total damage to all of society, not about the damage to the individual. Drugs that are not commonly used won't score very high in total cost to society.

Personally, I regard speed as one of the most destructive of all drugs. It will quickly destroy a person's body like nothing else in this world. However, only a few people take it. What are there, maybe 10 or 20 thousand hard-core speed freaks in the USA? The damage to them cannot compare to the total damage that is caused by tens of millions of US citizens drinking too much alcohol.

However, I wonder why I don't see tobacco scoring very high.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**       Illness is in part what the world has done to a victim,
**       but in a larger part it is what the victim has done with
**       his world, and with himself.
**        ==  Karl Menninger (1893— ) US psychiatrist.
**          Illness as Metaphor, Ch. 6 (Susan Sontag)

Date: Tue, November 2, 2010 7:15 am     (answered 17 November 2010)
From: "Nathan K."
Subject: no white chip needed

Hey Orange,

I've been a reader of your site for a few years now. I had nearly three years of sobriety until just last Friday when I caved on an all inclusive (alcohol everywhere) trip to a resort. I have been around alcohol on many occasions during those three years but I had a hard time being immersed in it for a week and caved on the last day of the trip when I drank and again caught the all hallowed buzz. Over the next few days my mind played out the stuggle of trying to justify to myself that drinking again might be an option for me and was relieved this morning when I told myself no, that this was a one time slip-up and that sobriety must remain a constant in my life. The only people I need to answer to regarding my slip-up are God, myself, and my wife; in that order. I don't need to go to a meeting and tell a group of people that my nearly three years of sobriety was a complete waste of time and that I am now starting over again completely. It's scarey how just opening that door by drinking one time led me to think that I might be able to drink again and has consumed my thoughts for the last few days. I started thinking about when the next time I might be able to drink again would be; a trip to my brother's house in a few weeks, maybe during the holidays, or maybe when my wife has a girls' night out for the evening. This is a sure sign that I can't ever be a normal drinker and that sobriety must be my way of life. I am dissapointed in myself for giving in, but glad that it didn't lead to an immedate return to my normal drinking patterns like it had in the past before the three years of sobriety. Which in all honesty is largely due to the fact that I am now married and my wife knows about my past drinking issues. It's not due to any sort of new found will-power that has been bestowed upon me. Unfortunately, drinking this one time will make it more of a challenge for me to say no in the near future. During the last three years it has been a relatively easy decision for me to say no. But I know that after a period of time it will be an easy choice again, it might be a few days or a few months, but I'll get there again.

Thanks for lending a sympathetic ear (or monitior), putting some of this down on paper helps to organize the thoughts.



Hi Nathan,

Thanks for an enlightening letter. I can really relate to it. Nineteen years ago, I slipped and relapsed and "went out" for nine years. I don't recommend it. Quitting again immediately is definitely the way to go.

When you described how drinking suddenly occupied all of your thoughts, and how your base brain ("lizard brain") was planning the next drinking session, and insisting that a little drinking will be okay, that sounded so familiar. That's what happened with me too. And that is the big red warning flag that says that it won't be okay.

And another thing rings a bell: The idea that it will be okay to drink because you were able to quit again so quickly. I went through that too, where I got worried that I was suddenly drinking a lot, and drinking every day, so I decided to quit again. I did, and I didn't drink again for a few weeks. But then old Lizard Brain argued that I could drink again because I can easily quit again if it becomes a problem. Not so. I ended up drinking for another nine years. Quitting again and again is not so easy. You can lose your will power, and quitting again becomes monstrously difficult.

I'm glad to hear that you got a grip and stopped it fast.

So have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Health is the first of all liberties,
**     and happiness gives us the energy which is the basis of health.
**       ==  Henri Amiel (1821—1881), Swiss philosopher and writer.
**            Journal intime, 3 Apr 1865

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

Canada Goose family with goslings
Carmen's family, swimming
The father is in front, and the mother is following him. Carmen is the gosling right beside the father, closest to the camera.

The two boys look like they are carrying on like they are the kings of the river.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Sun, October 31, 2010 10:33 am     (answered 20 November 2010)
From: ronco99
Subject: ?

Why are you so against AA?

Hello Ronco,

Because A.A. hurts more people than it helps, and A.A. lies about that.


Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for a
**      superstition to enslave a philosophy.
**        ==  Dean Inge (1860—1954), British churchman, Outspoken Essays

Date: Thu, November 4, 2010 6:56 am     (answered 21 November 2010)
From: "Richard B."
Subject: Addiction Inbox

Facts! Evidence! Logic!


Thanks again for your lively website.

Richard B.

Hi again, Richard,

Thanks for the thanks, and the link.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Facts, when combined with ideas, constitute the greatest force
**     in the world. They are greater than armaments, greater than
**     finance, greater than science, business and law because they
**     are the common denominator of all of them.
**        ==  Carl W. Ackerman, Address, 26 Sept., 1931

Date: Thu, November 4, 2010 9:12 am     (answered 29 November 2010)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Interesting Article


It is encouraging that a publication such as Psychology Today has an article about addictions that does not promote 12 Steps as the only answer. I won't be surprised if some steppers claim that failure to adhere to their dogma is dangerous.


Hi Gary,

Thanks for the link. Yes, it is encouraging. And I'm sure that some Steppers will cry that Psychology Today is killing alcoholics by not promoting Alcoholics Anonymous.

Date: Thu, November 4, 2010 9:55 am     (answered 29 November 2010)
From: "Gary J."
Subject: Enabling

I have noticed that very often it is people who are in professionals who are least likely to help out those in need of some assistance. They use excuses like not wanting to "enable" someone or that it is necessary for a person to it a bottom before they can overcome a problem. In my opinion enabling does not consist of giving financial assistance, food or a roof over their head. To me enabling only means assisting someone to get a addictive substance.

I totally agree. This is enabling: "Hi Joe, I just bought you three cases of beer and two fifths of fine single-malt scotch. Have a good afternoon."

It is tragic that Alcoholics Anonymous does not want to give any actual help to down-and-out alcoholics and street drunks. But that was Dr. Frank Buchman's heartless theology — his Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament organization never gave out any charity, not ever — and Bill Wilson copied the policy:

The minute we put our work on a service plane, the alcoholic commences to rely upon our assistance rather than upon God.
The Big Book, 3rd & 4th editions, William G. Wilson, Working With Others, page 98.

One extreme example that I witnessed was when my former employer tried to deny unemployment benefits to a former employee because getting unemployment would "enable" the laid-off former employee. A couple of years ago a friend of mine who was dealing with a drinking problem was suddenly faced with being homeless and out of work. I let him stay in my spare room and shared food with him until he was able to get food stamps. After I took him in I got a phone call from his old AA sponsor who also happened to be a licensed social worker. This guy told me not to give his friend a place to stay because things needed to get worse for the man before he could get better and that me helping was a form of enabling. This is not the first time I have heard of licensed professionals being the least willing to help a person in need. It is as though all that training educates human compassion right out of them. BTW I do know other professionals who do assist people in need and my own physician as well as a neighbor who is an MSW said it was a good thing to help my friend who by the way got back on his feet, reimbursed me for rent and making progress on abstaining from booze.

Yes, one of my favorite phrases is "college-educated fools". I'm all for education, and it is generally a very good thing, and usually, people need a lot more of it, but unfortunately some people get lost in it and lose contact with reality. They can't see a suffering person in front of their eyes; they can only see theories and policies.

Then there is also the issue of sadism. The way that some people treat alcoholics can only be described as sadistic. Many people in positions of power, both "recovery professionals" and A.A. sponsors, seem to take delight in torturing those disgusting weak-willed sinners — and it's always for their own good, of course.

"Tough Love: Abuse of a type particularly gratifying to the abuser, in that it combines the pleasures of sadism with those of self-righteousness. Commonly employed and widely admired in 12-step groups and treatment."

— Charles Bufe

I am curious to see if you have noticed what seems to be a trend for professionals to repeat the AA party line about enabling and the need for someone to hit bottom and their willingness to send them to the bottom.


I don't know if it is "a trend". The trend line may be in the other direction. A.A. may have peaked out. I think it has. We have actually had crazy professionals promoting the 12-Step cult treatment ever since Dr. Silkworth and Dr. Harry Tiebout back in the nineteen-thirties and 'forties. I think that things were worse during the nineteen-sixties through the nineteen-nineties when "everybody knew" that A.A. was the best answer, and Ann Landers spent 30 years promoting Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, professionals are beginning to wake up and smell the coffee. A lot of professionals are seeing that A.A. has failed to deliver the goods. A.A. has had 70 years to show how well it works, and to produce some good results, and it has not done so.

Still, it is an ongoing battle. The Steppers do not wish to give up their monopoly on the "recovery" industry, and they are still greedy for those billions of dollars that flow into the "treatment centers", so this fight is going to go on for a while longer.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     But when we play the fool, how wide
**     The theatre expands!  beside,
**     How long the audience sits before us!
**     How many prompters! what a chorus!
**        ==  Landor, Plays

Date: Sun, September 12, 2010 11:25 am     (answered 4 November 2010)
From: Jake C.
Subject: Arguing against AA with academics


I'm a long-time reader of your site even though I have never been an alcoholic or involved in AA (a YouTube video had your URL at the end and I checked the site out*.) Anyway, I follow a blog called "College Misery"; it's an anonymous blog where college professors write about their cruddy jobs under assumed names, and last week one of the contributors — "EnglishDoc" — made a post (written as a fake note to an "Alcoholic Andrea", who had recently come back from rehab) where they told how this person had drunkenly called them 15 times in 5 days. At the end of the post EnglishDoc suggested to Andrea that she go back to rehab or AA. In the comments section I wrote (as "Strelnikov") that 12 step programs didn't work, suggested SOS and other recovery systems, and gave your URL. I thought nobody would say a thing, but 20 minutes later somebody wrote back, then another, then finally AA member with 29 years. It snowballed from there and by the end of it I was repeatedly told that I was patronizing the 29 year AA veteran. I really didn't want to argue in depth, but it seemed that these people were horrified that there was some other system of getting clean — and there are academics, people who are used to intellectually tearing things apart!



I can see what "miserable adjunct" was trying to do; he was trying to power-trip me because he has time within AA and I'm just an outsider. Notice that the most abusive responder ("Marcia Brady") isn't in AA at all; her dad is/was. I didn't want to be the dogmatic asshole, but notice that my three posts created nine responses. I know that a lot of students, graduate students, and professors battle the bottle, but 90% of the people who commented on that thread either were in AA, knew people in AA, or were just pro AA. Having grown up in Evangelical schools I can see that the 12 steps are little more than a cheap conversion tool; the only difference between them and what a pastor or missionary does is that the holy man demands that you get on your knees and pray for salvation after some sob story. It was just amazing that nobody was willing to question the Big Book, possibly because their careers depended on it. Please send a response by email, and please don't include this in your letters section; it's too trifling.

Continue the good work,

Jake C.

* There is a YouTuber called "4ube" who had the Penn and Teller "Bullshit" show on AA in three chunks, and after watching that I ran across the video with your URL. Actually I'd known about the 12 steps for some time; I used to do un-armed security on a hospital that had a separate detox wing and the local AA chapter would use their meeting room. One night they left a large easel card with them on it and it blew me away; I thought that AA was some sort of Gestalt-style therapy.

UPDATE: 2013.01.13: Here is the entire episode of Penn & Teller in one file:

Date: Mon, September 27, 2010 12:24 am     (answered 4 November 2010)
From: Jake C.
Subject: Previous email

Hello again,

Since I wrote that previous note some interesting things have happened at the web site: (1.) the subject was completely dropped (usually pieces that get a lot of comments get some passing mention in future posts); and (2.) "miserable adjunct" the veteran AA guy completely vanished. He is still listed as a contributor but I haven't seen him make a post or comment since. Actually the guy that runs the web site wants posters who haven't done much to relinquish their posting ability because the site has one-hundred posters (the Blogspot limit) but only ten or twelve actually write in.

Please respond,

Jake C.

Date: Thu, October 21, 2010 6:30 pm     (answered 30 November 2010)
From: Jake C.
Subject: Re: Previous email

Hello again,

I re-sent the original email.... I've brought up the subject again with these people, but they avoid talking about it like the plague. If you want to display my emails in your letters section you have my permission.


Jake C.

Hello Jake,

Thanks for the input. Pardon me for taking so long to answer, but I've been offline a lot, and saying anything intelligent requires actually reading the entire forum to see what people have said before.

That done, I notice, on the part of the A.A. apologists:

  1. Minimization and Denial:
    "The numbers on AA are difficult to pinpoint for lots of reasons."

    No, they aren't. It's just hard for the true believers to accept the real numbers.

  2. Anecdotal Evidence and Semi-Attached Figure and Observational Selection:
    "I know four people who went to A.A. and quit drinking."

    That is not evidence. They ignore the many, many other people who didn't quit drinking because of A.A.

    Likewise, "I've been sober for 29 years and 2 months in AA. At what point can I accept your assertion that AA doesn't work?"

    So how many people has he seen fail in 29 years? One success story in 29 years does not prove that A.A. works.

  3. Escape Via Relativism:
    "My dad kicked with AA and just celebrated his 30th sobriety anniversary. For those for whom AA works, it works."

    That's like saying that witchcraft and snake handling work for those for whom it works.

  4. Argue from Ignorance:
    "AA may not recognize you as a graduate, but you can stop going anytime and continue to not drink; my dad hardly ever goes anymore."

    The writer tries to imply that many people are sober because of A.A. but we can't see them.


    "As has already been pointed out, "no longer coming to meetings" is not an accurate gauge of "no longer using", because there is no way to know how many people who aren't going to meetings anymore have started using again, and how many have simply realised that they no longer need the meetings. I know more than one person who kicked the habit using AA, doesn't go to meetings anymore, doesn't drink anymore either, and hasn't for years."

    The author admitted that he didn't know how many people drop out of A.A. and return to drinking. Yet he wants us to assume that most of the A.A. dropouts are really sober. But he has no evidence other than "more than one person" that he knows.

    Well, back in 1987, I went to four A.A. meetings (only 4, ever), and also quit drinking and kept myself sober for the following three years. But that is not evidence that A.A. works, or that A.A. dropouts are sober. That is evidence that A.A. is unnecessary.

    The writer is also assuming a cause-and-effect relationship where none exists. There is zero evidence that people quit drinking because of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or doing the 12 Steps, or reading the Big Book, or any of the rest of it. When real valid controlled tests were done, A.A. totally failed to get the alcoholics to quit drinking.

    But Klytaimnestra said the opposite: "I have been sober for 18 years, 3 months, and 4 days. I haven't been to a meeting in years, but I certainly credit AA for my sobriety."

    But his crediting A.A. is wishful thinking. Then he again tries the Escape Via Relativism:
    "Not all methods work for all people. AA works very well for some of us."

  5. More Denial. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt:

    "Don't know how you obtained your impression that AA is based on "humiliation". I've been in regular attendance over the years at AA meetings in six states and five countries. I've been exposed to a wide variety of venues and cultural contexts in AA, and I was never humiliated."

    Listing and confessing all of your sins to a sponsor is not humiliating? Being told that you are weak and powerless and selfish and egotistical and a disgusting incurable sinner who cannot think right is not humiliating? That guy has a funny idea of humiliation.

  6. Ad Hominem: attack the speaker and find fault with the speaker, rather than addressing the real issues:
    "It seems to me that Strelnikov has a problem with AA. Maybe he could work that issue out on his own instead of wacking away at folks who — it seems — have had success with the program."

    At the end of that sentence, the writer admitted that he had no evidence that some A.A. members got any real help from A.A.; it just seemed like they did. Nevertheless, he wants people to believe that A.A. works anyway, based on appearances, and he wants the critic to shut up and go away.

  7. Escape via sheer insanity:
    "your 'Higher Power' can be your parakeet if you want it to be."

    Please explain how Polly Parakeet is going to perform Miracles on Demand, and make sick alcoholics quit drinking, and take care of their wills and their lives in Step 3, and remove their "defects of character" and "moral shortcomings" in Step 7, and give them secret work orders and the power to carry them out in Step 11. I really want to hear this explanation.

  8. Quibbling over the definitions of words, as well as a condescending attitude, and using loaded language — the words that the cult has redefined:

    I'm not sure how much direct exposure you've had to AA. But in the context of AA, never assume that "spirituality" = "religion".

    The claim that A.A. "spirituality" is not "religion" is false. Even several Federal Circuit Court Judges have made that ruling. And it is not a matter of "how much direct exposure you've had to AA."

    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 District Judge John Shabaz, in the case of Grandberg v. Ashland County, a 1984 Federal 7th Circuit Court ruling concerning judicially-mandated A.A. attendance.

It's just another typical debate with believers of the 12-Step religion. It's all propaganda and debating tricks, with few or no actual facts to support their crazy statements. Parakeet as your "Higher Power" indeed.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Men willingly believe what they wish.
**        ==  Julius Caesar

Date: Thu, November 4, 2010 6:11 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Jennifer"
Subject: abuse in aa

Hello Terry,

I am over in Spokane WA and I have never talked with you but we were friends when I was on facebook. Ok, so I don't know where to begin. I have such a long, disturbing story concerning aa it is overwhelming.

I started going when I was 19 and I am 36 now and I have grown a lot, I no longer even try and make aa "work" for me and so much of that has to do with finding your site, the information has been so wonderful just to know somebody out there is speaking what I have felt.

So I am going to try and write up a draft of my experience in aa, and send it to you. For now my question is what is it gonna take to get the public truly aware of what aa is? I think it is actually at least growing (the people that expose aa) but mainstream society is still ignorant about it.

What can I do to try and get the word out? I have thought perhaps starting an alternative group over here.

As far as letting mainstream society know about aa, what if we (people that know the truth about aa) were to bombard the media, with our stories as well as the facts about aa. Maybe Bill Maher or somebody that would be open to hearing it. I dk, I just really think there has to be a way to let the masses know about how sick, corrupt and dishonest aa is.

So I'm sure your busy, but I would love to actually talk to you, I left my # with you don't know if you still have it. At least let me know what you think of my ideas.

Take care,

Hello Jennifer,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments. You are already on the right track: It will take a lot of publicity and information to expose A.A. for what it is. The A.A. promotion machine has a 70-year head start in spreading the myths that A.A. has a working program, and A.A is the best way to recover. The public does not know the truth because all that they ever heard was that A.A. is some secret anonymous society of recovering people that really works.

So what we have to do is tell the truth, and keep at it until enough people know the truth. (And I think "enough people" will end up being quite a large number.) When enough people know the truth, things will change.

All of your ideas about how to get the truth out sound like good ideas. I would suggest just trying every channel and medium that you can, and get whatever successes you can whereever you can. TV programs, letters to the editor, magazine articles and stories, the web, you name it. Whatever works. And I think that it all helps. The cumulative effect will be just like the cumulative effect of A.A.'s 70 years of self-promotion.

I look forwards to your story. Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Yogi Bear says that he is smarter than the average bear.
**      He is even much smarter than a "Mama Grisly" like Sarah Palin,
**      because Yogi can speak coherent English in complete sentences.

Date: Fri, November 5, 2010 12:12 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Chris L."
Subject: The Twelve Biggest Secrets of Alcoholics Anonymous.. AMAZING.

I just came upon this via google search, and wow, so good :)

Thank you!


Hi Chris,

Thanks for the compliments, and you have a good day too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Life is not a sitcom. We don't all just return to
**      normalcy after a half hour of comical foibles.

Date: Sat, November 6, 2010 8:44 am     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Artist — Jason A."
Subject: Whats Not Good About AA

You put a lot of work to make this website. I wonder what you have against AA. Is it the reference to God? A lot of people who don't like religion get sober through AA. You seem like the kind of man Samuel Clements wrote about, "A critic is someone who dresses up in a suit of armor to attack an ice cream cone." It seems like you would rather see people be destroyed by their addiction, rather than come to sobriety through a higher power. There are some unfortunate people who cannot submit to God in this lifetime. However, you should know, that you will bow before His Son.

Wonder why you don't have the courage to use your real name.


Hello Jason,

Thanks for the letter. Those questions keep coming up. I think I'll have to do a web page devoted to just those questions and misconceptions.

Once again, what I have against A.A. is: A.A. hurts more people than it helps, and A.A. lies about that.


I have revealed my legal name on this web site many, many times. I am not "hiding behind anonymity" like an A.A. member. My birth name is Terrance Hodgins, and I live in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Click on these links for much more on the questions of Who are you? and How did you get to be where you are?

I have no problem with references to God. I just don't like lying cult religions that sell bizarre perversions of religion that are closer to Satan-worship than Christianity. See this for more on the Heresy of the 12-Steps.

No, I don't want to see people destroyed by addictions. That is why I am opposed to the quack medicine and fraud that is being sold by 12-Steppers.

Have a good day.

== 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: Fri, December 17, 2010 6:16 pm
From: "Artist — Jason A."
Subject: Re: Whats Not Good About AA

You sound like a dry drunk. Your words are totally ignorant. Cheers!

Date: Sun, November 7, 2010 4:51 am     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Mike K"
Subject: Some good points!

Dear Mr/Mrs Orange,

I was just looking over ur "orange papers" and i must say that i was impressed with ur intellect. It appears that youve spent alot of time pointing out the flaws of the entity that has saved me life. I should point that in my experience the fellowship and the principles contained in those twelve steps are what has saved my life and allow me to live in peace today. I fear that your resentful writings are actually a greater detriment to those seeking help than the fellowship itself. I agree, aa is not for everyone. A person must completely admit defeat and want to change. Thats what the twelve steps do. And being able to do that is a miracle for an alcoholic/heroin addict like myself! Im sorry that you had a bad experience when u went to a meeting, or you feel like like ur too smart for aa. Resentment is an aweful thing to live with everyday. I hope you will find some happiness in ur life someday... Until then, God bless!

Hello Mike,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you chose to quit drinking alcohol and shooting dope and save your own life. I do not accept the notion that attending a cult religion's meetings saved your life. You did it yourself. Nobody held your hand every Saturday night but you. You chose to save your own life, and improve your lifestyle, and then you did it. (But of course the cult will tell you that they did it for you, and you owe them your life.)

There are no "principles" in the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps are cult religion practices, not spiritual principles.

These are spiritual principles:

  1. Love thy neighbor and love thy God as thyself.
  2. Honesty is the best policy.
  3. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  4. Get a grip on yourself and take control of your life and start doing the right things.

These are cult practices:

  1. Write a list of all of your moral shortcomings and defects of character and read it out loud to your sponsor.
  2. Dole out the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous to newcomers by Teaspoons, Not Buckets.
  3. Practice tough love towards those disgusting backsliders.
  4. "Make a surrender".

There is nothing wrong with "having a resentment" against criminals who hurt sick people. If you don't have any "resentments" against evil, then there is something wrong with you.

The statement that "AA is not for everyone" is called an Escape Via Relativism. It's like, "Well, your daughter may have gotten raped by her A.A. sponsor, and your son may have learned a bunch of cult religion nonsense and become a fanatical babbling lunatic, but I enjoy my A.A. meetings, so A.A. is okay for some people."
(But by that illogic, so is Scientology, Satan-worship, and the Nazi Party.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

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

Date: Sun, November 7, 2010 3:22 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Cody S."
Subject: AA as a cult.

Bill Wilson has been dead for decades, who is the AA cult leader now?

Hello Cody,

Thanks for the question. There isn't any one single leader any more. The current leadership is distributed. You can start with the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., and then count all of the 30-year old-timers as some more leaders. And then there is the whole pyramid of leaders in the national council and state councils, and the area councils below them.

This is a common phenomenon with cults when the leader dies. Some cults, like Scientology, have one absolute dictator take over. With Scientology, it's David Miscavige. In other cults, like the Hari Krishnas, a group of a dozen "Zone Gurus" took over and divided up the world between themselves. Other cults just fall apart and never develop a new leadership.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side?
**     And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens, 1835—1910), Huckleberry Finn

Date: Sun, November 7, 2010 9:35 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Richard D."
Subject: A question

Hi Orange,

How are you? I hope all is well. Every so often, I go back to your website and chance takes me along a different path of articles and letters. Today I was reading some of the stuff about the origin of A.A., like the https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-prospectus.html and some letters about how A.A. is really just the Cult of Buchmanism and The Oxford Group, and so on.

Well, suddenly I was struck by something. This may seem like a rather odd question considering the massive amount of material on your site, but I can't help wondering if you've ever gone public with this information. You know what I mean. "Public" in the sense that you seek out an audience for this knowledge, either by contacting the media, or some high profile websites, or writing this up and selling it, or whatever.

I mean, for me to read that prospectus was somewhat mind-blowing. Who woulda thunk! I've been involved in the stock market for over 30 years, and I'm also been through "re-hab" two times during those 30 years, but the thought of relating one to the other really is wild.

And the fact that it's not just your idea that this A.A. thing is "sort of" cult-like, but rather you have all the details that lay out the origin of how it really is a cult in fact, is incredible to say the least. I seriously believe you could blow a whole a mile wide in this whole thing if your knowledge became widespread.

Somehow I figure you've been asked this before and have a good answer.

Take care,

Richard D.

Hi Richard,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments.

The simple answer is, I have "gone public" by publishing all of this information on the Internet. The information has been out there for 8 or 10 years now, and available to anyone who wants it.

The big problem is that most people don't want it. They can't be bothered with the truth.

For instance, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal contacted me a few years ago. He wanted to do an article on me and my web site and Alcoholics Anonymous. So he did a bunch of research and interviewed a bunch of people who had written letters to the web site. But then he couldn't get his bosses to publish an article about the Orange Papers and A.A. They didn't think it was relevant to the economy, or the state of the world, or whatever their logic was.

Likewise, the legal authorities don't want to know the truth about A.A. They use A.A. as a cheap and dirty solution to the problem of drunk drivers and wife beaters and drug addicts, and if A.A. were discredited, the judges and parole officers would have to find something else, and that would be a bother and might cost money. So they are too lazy to want to do anything different, and they just make excuses like, "It's all so controversial."

The "professionals" who sell 12-Step cult religion as a quack medical treatment for drug and alcohol problems sure don't want to hear the truth. Many of them are so incompetent that they don't know anything but parrotting A.A. slogans and telling their clients to go to three 12-Step meetings per week and get a sponsor. They will lose their jobs if the powers that be recognize that A.A. is a load of bull crap.

So here we have a good example of institutional inertia. It's easier to just ignore the truth and do nothing.

== Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance
**     is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators,
**     but names and customs.
**        ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Self Reliance

Date: Mon, November 8, 2010 12:05 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: Cindy R.
Subject: Please old A.A. articles sucks balls
To: [email protected]

November 7, 2010



Sorry but are you like 12 or new to the magazine or just broke and have no integrity in journalism? (integrity and journalism yeah right!!!)

Ornery Old timers, nubile newcomers, yuk. Enough with the alliterations. They are all going to panic because they can't find a meeting. They will white knuckle it tonight but they will find one tomorrow. (even the click of a glass can set them off or the smell of stale beer, the love of smelly beer is so loved, do cha know and they are just that POWERLESS) The woman with smeared make-up in her 20's who just came off a coke and booze binge (wow, it is really working for her, while the mustachioed man in tight jeans is reading a magazine and eyeing up the 20-something's ass. Maybe you should check the brains of religious fanatics too. According to your suggestions their brains should be as messed up as an addict's or alcoholic's since their receptors mean their belief in God must be the same.

Dr. Drew Pinsky?? (millionaire A.A. pimp) and no money is exchanged. Just how much did you get to print/write this horseshit? No money? Bill Wilson made no money??? A.A. makes no money?? Do some research, please!!!

Want to puke,


P. S. I actually got paid no money to write this to you.

Hello Cindy,

Thanks for the carbon-copy of the letter to Wired. Yes, I was disappointed by that article too. I have liked and admired Wired magazine for many years, and they seemed to be very hip and sharp when it came to seeing what was happening on the Internet.

I was very surprised that Wired magazine would publish such an inaccurate piece of cult propaganda.

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The true test of civilization is, not the census,
**     nor the size of the cities, nor the crops —
**     no, but the kind of man the country turns out.
**       ==  Ralph Waldo Emerson [1803—1882] Civilization

[The next letter from Cindy is here.]

Date: Mon, November 8, 2010 2:28 pm     (answered 3 December 2010)
From: "Michael O'M."
Subject: Thanks for your site


Just wanted to throw in another letter of thanks about this site. It helps to know there are those out there who speak out against what many people in the US simply assume is the only real known way to deal with addictive behavior. AA certainly has its many apologists (the ones who crow about their 25, 30, 35+ years of sobriety and all the "millions" of those it's helped for those who "wanted it") but it's nice to get another perspective, at least to know that sobriety is simply no longer abusing a substance and that people DO have the power to take that up on their own. I must admit, I'm not of the mindset that AA is a cult (people in AA outside of treatment centers usually come and go pretty freely and I certainly wasn't bothered when I stopped going) but I do think that it is a method of "treatment" which relies heavily on archaic, unproven dogma and homespun slogans and bromides which can be counterproductive as you most extensively document.

It's a shame because I went through AA after a DUI in 2002 and was involved on and off for about 5 or 6 years afterwards. At the time, I believed I learned a lot from these folks and I still believe many of those in the rooms are good and sincere if misguided people. For me, I simply got tired of labeling myself and any and all problems in my life "alcoholic." I was never an alcoholic anyway but a young 20something when I came into the rooms who simply drank too much for a period of time before growing out of it both within and outside of AA.

Anyway, I respect that you take the time to explain your views and back it up with research and I believe you've done more good than you may even know. You help to give voice and confidence to those who don't feel right in AA but have yet to believe that there is a viable alternative. I may not agree with the idea that AA is a cult exactly but I do believe you bring up great points and I believe you've been more honest than most people I knew in the rooms. Keep up the good work!


Hi Mike,

Thank you for the letter and the compliments. I think you are setting the bar too high when it comes to calling something a cult. You mentioned the fact that people in A.A. can come and go freely. Well of course. It is extremely rare for cults to set up armed compounds and shoot the deserters who try to leave. The only cult that comes to mind there is Rev. Jim Jones' People's Temple and his "Jonestown" in Guyana. That was a spectacularly insane and murderous cult. It is also the only cult where 900 people drank cyanide Flavor-Aid® and committed mass suicide for the leader.

Most cults are far less crazy and dogmatic, but they are still cults. People freely come and go from Scientology and the Moonies and the Hari Krishnas, too, and they are real cults.

I suggest that you read the cult test. There you will find that the item Threats of bodily harm or death to someone who leaves the cult is only one of a hundred standard cult characteristics, and it is a characteristic that is exhibited by only the most dangerous and crazy of hard-core cults. The last seven items of the cult test are the absolute worst cult characteristics that are exhibited by only the most crazy and murderous cults, things like shooting deserters, physically attacking critics, and committing mass suicide. Ordinary street A.A. doesn't do those things, but it's still a cult.

I agree that you will find some good people in A.A. I have occasionally joked and called them "The Newcomer Rescue League", and said that their reason for existing was to rescue the newcomers from bad sponsors.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The building of a perfect body crowned by a perfect brain,
**     is at once the greatest earthly problem and grandest hope of the race.
**       ==  Dio Lewis

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

Canada Goose families with goslings
The Family of 9 in front; Carmen's family behind, in the water.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

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Last updated 3 April 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters205.html