Letters, We Get Mail, CCVIII

Date: Sun, November 21, 2010 7:40 pm     (answered 13 December 2010)
From: "Sean Wi."
Subject: Credentials/Citation

To whom it may concern:

I am writing a college paper on the effectiveness of the 12-step program and would like to cite your page —

In order to use your website I must provide an evaluation of the author(s) and their credentials. Would you be willing to provide the information I need to cite the page, as well as, the authors credentials please? I appreciate your assistance.


Hello Sean,

You will find all of the biographical information here:

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Most men die of their remedies, not of their diseases.
**       ==  Molière, The Imaginary Invalid (1673), 3, tr. John Wood

Date: Mon, November 22, 2010 7:40 am     (answered 13 December 2010)
From: "Ctmjon"
Subject: Onion News


Consider this a warning...


AA Destroying The Social Lives Of Thousands Of Once-Fun Americans

In The Know panelists discuss how Alcoholics Anonymous wreaks havoc on the friendships of Americans by turning the 'life of the party' into a sanctimonious bore.

AA Destroying The Social Lives Of Thousands Of Once-Fun Americans

Hello again, Ctmjon,

Thanks for the link. I love the Onion. They have a funny way of revealing a lot of truths. For instance, the night that Barack Obama was elected President, they put up the headline,

"Black Man Gets Stuck With The Worst Job In The World".

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     True wisdom is knowledge and humor combined.

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

Canada Goose gosling
The small orphan is gathering his wits after the rude rejection

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Mon, November 22, 2010 7:50 am     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Todd Q."
Subject: The 12 Steps

Hi orange,

A while back I took the time to modify the 12 steps so that they might be a useful tool for people who've been indoctrinated into the AA mind-trap and are thinking about leaving.

Here it is...

RARELY HAVE they seen a person who has thoroughly followed their path. Those who do recover are usually people who have recognized AA as a dangerous religious cult, and will not give themselves completely to AA's fanatical program.The AA Cult is constituted primarily of men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with anyone... including themselves.

Some of them are not at fault; They were screwed the second they set foot into the church basement door. They were systematically indoctrinated into believing that alcoholics are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands any type of honesty. They should still be held accountable for the behavior that has ruined so many lives. Many AA members suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders. The program requires that they believe alcoholics can never recover. Most of the people who quit drinking without AA have recovered in large part, due to their self-determination and ability to act rationally. Our stories disclose in a general way what We used to be like, what happened, and what We are like now.

If You have decided You want to leave Alcoholics Anonymous and are willing to go to any lengths to do it — then You are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these We were delighted. We were sure that We had found a more sound and reasonable way. With all of the earnestness at our command, We encourage You to be resolute and confident from the very start. Some of Us have tried to hold on to Our old AA ideas and the result was nil until We let go absolutely. Remember that WE deal with Alcoholics Anonymous — cunning, baffling, dishonest! Continuing the mental masturbation was too much for Us.

There is only one person who has the power to overcome your alcohol problem — that person is You. May You trust and believe in Yourself now! Delusions and superstitious nonsense availed Us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We learned to protect and care for Ourselves with complete Self-acceptance. Here are the steps We took which are encouraged as a course of action to escape the AA mind trap...

  • 1. We decided We were Not Powerless over alcohol — that Our lives had become dominated by AA.

  • 2. Came to understand that We were never as morally reprehensible as some AA members had led Us to believe.

  • 3. Made a decision to turn and walk away from Alcoholics Anonymous forever.

  • 4. Made a scorching and fearless indictment against AA as an organization.

  • 5. Admitted to Ourselves and another Human Being that We had been ambushed into joining a religious cult.

  • 6. Were entirely ready to relieve Ourselves of the self-defeating bullshit We were taught at AA.

  • 7. Familiarized Ourselves with cult indoctrination tactics in order that We may never fall into a similar trap again.

  • 8. Made a list of all AA-members who had harmed Us, and became willing to confront them all.

  • 9. Called such people on their bullshit whenever possible, except when to do so would significantly injure them or others.

  • 10. Continued to indict Alcoholics anonymous and when We were wronged promptly expressed our disapproval of it.

  • 11. Sought scientific empirical evidence that could help Us to defeat addiction; focusing on Ourselves as the Power to carry that out.

  • 12. Having been awakened from the AA nightmare as a result of these steps, We tried to carry this message to other victims of AA, so that everyone might know the truth about the Alcoholics Anonymous cult.

You are not alone.

Many of Us have been misled by the religion that claims not to be a religion. Some of Us suffered for years oblivious to the fact that AA offers no reliable or even sincere method to help alcohol troubled people to recover from addiction. When We felt hopeless? They used it against Us.

They told Us We were powerless.

They did it to break Us down.

They did it to make Us unsure of Ourselves.

They did it to recruit new members for their religious cult.

We're here to expose AA for what it really is. If You've tried AA over and over again, and You're not getting the results You were promised, maybe it's time You tried something else.

Think about it.

Thanks again for what you do!

Hello Todd,

Thanks for the Steps. That's good, and funny.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Dogmatic ignorance has more than it's fair share of gods to hide behind.
**       ==  Tom Young, http://www.pbase.com/tyoung/

Date: Tue, December 28, 2010 5:35 pm     (answered 31 December 2010)
From: "Todd Q."
Subject: RE: fix

Just a reminder... We've got a growing community of ex-AA members at stinkin-thinkin.com

More and more people are jumping on board to support each other through the process of deprogramming, and also to spread awareness about the dangers of the AA cult.

Every effort of this type starts at the grass roots level. You are the Johnny Appleseed of the movement to bring change to the addiction treatment industry. A hundred years from now, people will look back on this and say, "Terry was the David who broke the back of Goliath."

Personally I think that you deserve some kind of compensation. I think that you should publish your work as a hard copy... or at least sell some T-Shirts. You've helped a lot of people... You deserve a few bucks in your pocket as payment for services rendered.

Right now Christmas has drained my budget, but in the future I'll still be sending you ten bucks here, and ten bucks there.

Sell something Terry... and buy yourself a nice little RV... or a nice little bungalow somewhere that you could call your own. You deserve it.

Thanks again... Todd

Thanks for the compliments, Todd, and you have a happy New Year too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "If you want to make the right decision for the future,
**     fear is not a very good consultant."
**     ==  Markus Dohle, Chairman and CEO of Random House,
**       "Publish or Perish", The New Yorker, April 26, 2010, page 28.

Date: Tue, November 23, 2010 5:15 am     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "kath"
Subject: AA cult test
To: [email protected]

I hope this is a valid email address because I want to say thank you for the AA cult test. I have been ostracized, vilified, bad-mouthed, accused of being a "dry drunk" and all the other crap one hears when one dares to think for oneself. Again, thank you for this site. I LOVE it!!

Kathy H.

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for the thanks, and yes, it's a valid email address.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Our life is what our thoughts make it.
**       ==  Marcus Aurelius,
**        Meditations (2nd century), 4.3, tr. Morris Hickey Morgan

Date: Tue, November 23, 2010 9:50 pm     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Jonathan T."
Subject: Book?

I saw something about you writing a book for See Sharp Press. True, false, hallucination?

Anyway, big fan.

Keep at 'em because they need keeping at!

Thanks for materials that brought me back to reality. Deprogramming is just beginning and is going to be rough.



Hello Jonathan,

Thanks for the thanks. Yes, the rumor is true, in that Charles Bufe asked me to do a book. At first, I thought, "yes", but when I see just how much work it is, I don't know if I will ever get it done. As it is, I'm busy pretty much full time with just keeping the web site updated.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Most thinkers write badly, because they communicate not only
**     their thoughts, but also the thinking of them.
**       ==  Friedrich Nietzsche,
**            Human, All Too Human (1878), 188, tr. Helen Zimmern

Date: Fri, November 26, 2010 8:58 am     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Maria Williams"
Subject: orange-papers.info request


I visited your web site and found some great information and link regarding health, for example on this page:


I thought you might be interested to know that we have a web site — www.healthexpertises.com — dedicated to health including advices, news, topics, dictionary and forum. We were hoping that you might consider linking to us and invite you to review our site at your convenience. If you determine that a link to our site is appropriate, please add it at your your discretion, or might we suggest the following link and description:

<a href="http://www.healthexpertises.com"> Medical and health information provided by experts</a>

Please send me information about your website as you would like it to appear on our directory pages — http://www.healthexpertises.com/health_directories/

Please take a minute to check out our website and get back to if possible. I look forward to hearing back from you and hopefully to collaborate!

Kind Regards,
Maria Williams
New York, NY, United States

Hello Maria,

Yes, I'll give you a plug. Health is a good thing. (The alternative is very unpleasant.) Your link is here.

About my listing, I guess you could call it "Information about drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, recovery, and treatment programs, with a critical analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Digestion exists for health, and health exists for life,
**    and life exists for the love of music or beautiful things.
**      ==  G. K. Chesterton, "On Misunderstanding", Generally Speaking (1928)

Date: Sat, November 27, 2010 9:30 am    (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Ben T."

Im sure you have tons of emails, i am hoping you get to read mine.

I like your website, because its rational, and you back up the points you make. I do believe i am an alcoholic, but have very recently pulled away from AA as my head is in a total mess. I, like many others who have gone to AA certainly have a drink problem, and in my case prescription drugs and other addictions. I identify with some people in the rooms, but not many, and i certainly identify with some of the big book also.

3 weeks ago i was 2 years clean and sober, but for the last 6-8 months something hasnt sat right with me regarding aa and the meetings i attend. from talking to my sponsor and also other trusted friends within aa i definitely have 'outside' issues which are best off not discussed within the rooms of aa as we all know that the yellow card is not worth the paper its written on. I have decided to seek professional help for these issues which centre around emotions, relationship and intimacy issues, which all logical reasoning would suggest is most likely to do with my upbringing and the things i saw as a kid,i grew up in a pretty disfunctional household. I found in recent months, these issues were really getting to the point where i couldnt ignore them anymore and were seriously affecting me in a variety of ways.

Naturally i tried to share this with my sponsor and with close aa friends and more often than not was told to hand it over to god. Alot of the time i was advised i was in 'self' or full of 'self pity'. This made me angry as i just dont believe in wrapping everything under the blanket term of alcoholism. If im honest with myself — these issues have been dogging me for some time. I did work a very tight programme for the first 12 months and did everything suggested. I got periods of temporary relief, followed by crushing bouts of depression and anxiety — again told that his was being in self. With hindsight i think i was trying to apply the 12 steps to a problem that wasnt to do with alcoholism, and slowly going insane in the rooms.

I was, and sill am confused as to why it is that some people seem to do the bare minimum and improve greatly, where i followed this stuff to the letter, did alot of service and did all that was suggesd and really struggled. I started to question aa, and was quite often told to ignore what other people were doing and mind my own business, even though people with so called 'long term sobriety' were saying one thing and doing another. I understand that focusing on myself was wise rather than other people, but to sit there and pretend that it wasnt happening seemed very odd to me and against how i was raised.

I was led to the 'emotional sobriety' part of aa, all from the steps/ traditions / bill w i was told. I listened to cd's and was relieved to hear that other people felt like i did at present. when i attended a meeting i found the structure very odd — people pre-selected to share, stand up and state the 'nature of your disease' — that wasnt all, it was suggested to people there to up their meetings to 5 a week, which seemed weird to me as i was 22 months in. I nearly got caught up in this before seeking professional help, as i am sure it was the emotional difficulties that i was facing causing me so much pain, and the emotional sobriety tag appealed — thankfully i was cautious and didnt go down that path.

gradually the last couple of months i have pulled away from meetings, and have also quit my secretary position because i cant sit there banging the drum of aa when i find it so hard to stomach alot of what i hear and see. The commitment was filling me full of dread and i felt dishonest sat at the front of a room with people looking to me.

I appreciate many people are just trying to help, and help themselves in the process. But constantly being told to hand it over to god doesnt sit right with me, and it isnt helping me at all. I dont feel i can express his for fear of being branded 'sick' or 'unwell' or being opposed to anyone that believes in god. I actually have left aa with much more respect for god and have my own belief which i seek comfort from, i have a healthy respect for religion and those that choose to follow it, i just dont see how being on my knees praying will lift me out of depression and feeling so hopeless, and its very hard explaining that to people who often seem deluded with this handing everything over to god.

when i left my position, people have been calling saying they are worried, but i need to be away from aa for a while as its confusing the hell out of me and really muddying the waters around these other issues, trouble being that you simply cant explain that to these people without getting bombarded with the usual lines of 'the illness is on you' and 'your vulnerable right now' — i find that its almost as if im trying to be scared into staying. And this is why im writing, i big grown man like myself, is actually now full of fear that if i dont attend meetings and dont do what i have been for the last 2 years, i will die. This might sound ridiculous to you, and maybe it is, but its how my experience of aa has made me feel. I am worried that something bad will happen to me, and surely that cant be a good thing to someone who is already worrying about everything else?

I feel angry that these people seemingly have an answer for everything and quite often its irrational. There are alot of good things i have gotten from aa and i have also met a few very wonderful people, but at the moment i cant just sit back and make myself believe the unbelievable. I dont want to pick a fight with aa, and im not anti god,nor anti aa either, im not here to AA bash, im just wondering if there is anyone out there who you have spoken to who feels anything like i do?

Hello Ben,

Thank you for the letter, and I'm sorry to hear the suffering that you are going through, but am very happy to hear that you are seeking professional help.

You wondered why you were having such problems while other people who were doing the minimal effort seemed to be success stories. The answer is simply that people are not all alike, and different people have different problems, and a one-size-fits-all treatment program is guaranteed to be very wrong for a lot of people. The people who seem to be making great progress weren't all that sick in the first place. (In fact, I get a lot of stories about people in A.A. who aren't sick at all — they just go to A.A. to pick up women. And others go just to be a big frog in a small pond, an old-timer who is respected and revered by the young.)

Something that Alcoholics Anonymous is very bad at is analyzing why people got into drinking or drugging excessively in the first place. The standard A.A. answer is that people are sinful, or "egotistical", or "selfish", or "full of self-pity", or "too far away from God", or have unconfessed sins.

That is a bunch of bull. The real answers are things like anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — especially that caused by child abuse or war, chronic depression, and various miscellaneous brain chemistry imbalances that don't have names.

The people who yammered all of that nonsense at you, telling you that you were full of self-pity and should do five meetings per week, are dogmatic fools who don't know what they are talking about. They just parrot a few slogans and think they have the magic answers. Discouraging somebody from seeing a health care professional because they think they have a better answer is medical malpractice.

Yes, see a real doctor, and probably also a real "counselor". And if you don't get good results, try another and another until you find one who is competent and has the right answers. Not all doctors or counselors are excellent, either. I've seen my share of fools with degrees, too. So definitely get professional help, and be prepared to try two or three doctors before you get what you need. (And especially avoid doctors who just say that you should go to 12-Step meetings.)

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If alcoholism is really a disease, then A.A. sponsors are
**     guilty of practicing medicine without a license. They are
**     also guilty of treating a life-threatening illness without
**     having any medical education or training.  They have never
**     gone to medical school, and never done an internship or
**     residency, and yet they presume to be qualified to make
**     life-or-death decisions in the patients' treatment. That
**     is what you call quackery.

Date: Sat, November 27, 2010 6:25 pm     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "John H"
Subject: Intervention on AETV.com?

Curious what you think about "Intervention" on AETV. Directs addicts and alcoholics into rehab centers, not always successfully.

CNN also had an extended series on Addiction a few years ago. They talked alot with Dr. Vostow who is an expert on brain activity and addiction chemistry.

John H.

Hello John,

I have heard about "Intervention", but have never seen it. I don't get cable. (And the way things are going, I'm watching less and less broadcast TV too. What a stupid vast wasteland.)

In general, I hear that the program glorifies interventions and treatment centers, and assumes that "treatment works". I regard interventions as kidnapping and criminal fraud. The victim is pressured into signing a contract where he is forced to pay thousands of dollars for "treatment" that is really just quackery and cult religion.

The treatment center does not provide the "treatment" that they imply that they will deliver — like something that actually works. In fact, they never say exactly what the treatment really is, or how it is supposed to work, or what results will be obtained. Have you noticed how no treatment center ever offers a money-back guarantee?

It's just like the recent Lindsay Lohan drama. She did four cycles through an expensive rehab center washing machine, and came out just the same, just as quick to drink and drug again. Approximately $160,000 wasted on "treatment centers", and "12-Step treatment". And the last I heard, she had failed yet another court-ordered drug test, and was getting sent back to the treatment center yet again. And then the media seems to have grown tired of the story, and stopped reporting it.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.
**       ==  Terence, The Woman of Andros (166 B.C.)

Date: Sat, November 27, 2010 7:39 pm     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Info"
Subject: Just curious

Hi Orange

Sorry, I didn't find your real name on the orange papers site, so Orange it is.

First, full disclosure. I am a long time AA member, with some extended periods of not going to meetings. I moved around a lot (work, executive in insurance industry) in the past 30+ years that I have been sober and clean so I have no attachment to any particular AA group. I would classify myself as a "true believer" in the spiritual life and a heretical skeptic of the AA fellowship. I am also a writer, mostly fiction. I like to explore what makes people tick and why they do what they do.

I am not writing to debate or argue. I concur with much of your assessment of the AA fellowship, although I think you go too far in some of your generalizations. There are many good people in the AA fellowship. Unfortunately, there are also many very sick people in the fellowship that make it almost untenable for me. The level of ethics and spiritual life of the average AA member today is . Well, let's say not great. The fellowship has become a bastardized hybrid of religion and psycho-babble, both things I detest and find hard to stomach.

I would like to share some personal observations from my 34 years if you are interested. If not, simply delete this and move on. I would appreciate it if you did not publish and then dissect each comment. I am very aware of your section on Propaganda and Debating Techniques. You are quite good at these techniques and I would never attempt to best you, nor do I have any desire to debate you. Your opinion is yours and mine is mine and I have no need to convince anyone. I am however interested in learning and growing in my understanding of a broad range of topics, especially as it relates to human behavior. I would welcome personal correspondence if you are so inclined and would love to hear some of your thoughts.

You should know that I had a very different experience when I came to AA in early 1976. I was 28, about to be divorced for the 2nd time and had multiple failed suicide attempts. I had tried to stop drinking and had experienced the "mental blank spot" on several occasions before ever hearing about it in AA. In fact, I had self diagnosed myself before ever getting to AA. If I drank any alcohol I was off and running and would only stop when something intervened. You know, police, money, too sick, or passed out and in many cases all of these. I was an expert at quitting. My problem was I kept starting and seemed unable to do anything about it. I had only been drinking for about 13 years and alcoholically about 10 years. I was an instant drunk having had blackouts from the first time I drank at 15. I had reached the end of the line and suicide looked good. I knew about AA as my soon to be ex had been going to Alanon. I decided to give it a try and if it didn't work I would resurrect the suicide plan, this time for sure.

That was 34+ years ago and I'm still here, sober and clean (I never had a drug problem other than Alcohol but want to be clear I have been drug free the entire time). The difference this time was I didn't "quit" drinking. I really did turn the drink problem over to a higher power and I simply haven't taken a drink since. I admire people who can do as you have and simply quit. I am not one of those people and the higher power has saved my life. Interesting that my complaints about AA is that it doesn't work anymore for people like me as it's too wishy-washy. People are told "Don't drink and go to meetings". Hell Orange, if I could not drink I wouldn't need to go to AA. I wouldn't even meet my definition of an alcoholic.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, AA is full of people who quit and now go to meetings. I haven't met anyone like me for years. My take is people like me come to AA and try (or not) to do what they are told (don't drink) and fail and leave. And to be fair, I'm not sure how many there are like me who simply can't "not drink".

However, in thinking about my experience in AA I would say the spiritual conversion process was spontaneous, not as a direct result of the 12 steps. My moment of truth/conversion happened in the first week of AA and was a result of experimental prayer. I was an atheist and believed there was no God. I was terrified to pray, but it seemed better than the drink or suicide. I am glad I tried as it has worked out well for me. I am retired, married for 30 years, two beautiful daughters and one grandson so far. None of that would have happened if I had picked up another drink.

I did actually do the 12 steps. I got a deep sense of relief, peace and contentment after making my amends. I am probably one of the lucky ones. I was so desperate when I got to AA that I would have done anything. Fortunately I got really good sponsorship from an old timer who helped me look at my life and clean up the messes I had made. And he helped me develop an active prayer life that serves me well to this day.

Your comments about spontaneous recoveries hit home with me. Mine was sort of like that. Most AAs today do not want to hear about what happened to me those many years ago when the higher power first came in to my life. It doesn't fit with their insistence that one "has a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps". My awakening was spontaneous. Check out William James "Varieties of Religious Experience" for a more academic description. My description is personal, not scientific or academic. My sobriety is dependent on my allowing the higher power to keep me from the first drink. My sobriety is NOT dependent on any human power, including AA and certainly not on me.

What the 12 step program did for me was provide a method for living that I never had before. It gave me a chance to put back into life and maybe make up for some of the damage I did when I was drinking. By the way, your comments about AA making one feel guilty left me puzzled. I was guilty and feeling every bit of it. AA didn't have to tell me that, but it did help me get free from the guilt and remorse. I would be interested in hearing more about your thoughts on this subject.

The spiritual principles did give me a track to run on. However, I have outgrown the fellowship and have been going it alone for many years. The only really good spiritual advisor I ever had died many years ago. I still go to one AA meeting a week hoping to find a kindred spirit; so far no luck.

Frankly I am disappointed in the decline of AA. It really was better in the old days. Many of the people in my early groups were like me. They had tried to stop and couldn't. They were fairly low bottom drunks, like me. We understood each other and what was at stake if we took the first drink again. Today there are lots of people in AA who I'm not sure fit my description of an alcoholic. However, since AA encourages each member to make their own diagnosis it's none of my business. They are one if they say they are. Having said that, it seems as if the central AA message has been lost. The "don't drink and go to meetings" crowd is firmly in charge. Oh well, maybe a real drunk like me will come along and I will get to them before the others do and I will find my kindred spirit.

I would be interested in comparing notes and sharing experiences.

Hope you are having a good Thanksgiving holiday.

Cuauhtli P.

Hello Cuauhtli,

Thank you for the letter.

I will grant your wish and not refute every paragraph of your letter. However, I must comment on a few lines, like:
"Your opinion is yours and mine is mine and I have no need to convince anyone."
That is called an Escape Via Relativism. Opinions do not all have equal worth. Some people's opinions are based on true facts, and some people's opinions are based on other things, like wishful thinking, or confusion, or misinformation.

I'm glad to hear that you have managed to get and stay sober. That is wonderful. Of course we disagree about how and why you got sober. In fact, you haven't really said that A.A. or the 12 Steps did it, just that you found some emotional comfort in the A.A. program. You attribute your recovery to spontaneous remission, just as I do mine.

What you did not address at all in your letter was the question of, "Why did you get into excessive drinking in the first place?" It sounds like you were suffering from some kind of compulsive mental disorder or anxiety disorder. You may have just outgrown the disorder, or spontaneously healed yourself. That's impossible to say without a medical diagnosis and a lot of personal history.

Speaking of which, you never said whether you went to real doctors and sought their help.

I can really relate to this line:
"People are told 'Don't drink and go to meetings'. Hell Orange, if I could not drink I wouldn't need to go to AA. I wouldn't even meet my definition of an alcoholic."
Yes, exactly. And that is one of the biggest flaws in A.A. And it was always there. I routinely hear this contradiction:

  1. Do the 12 Steps to quit drinking.
  2. You must quit drinking for the 12 Steps to work.
That is a chicken-and-egg problem. And yet, I see both A.A. members and treatment center "counselors" who insist that you must quit drinking on the first day of the program, before you have done the program or received any "treatment". If the patient can quit drinking and drugging that quickly and easily, then he doesn't need any treatment.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We should pray for a sane mind in a sound body.
**       ==  Juvenal (full name Decimus Junius Juvenalis),
**           Satires (circa 100 A.D.), 10.356

Date: Sun, November 28, 2010 9:45 am     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "Leilani A."
Subject: THANK YOU SO MUCH........................

for your BRILLIANT views on AA...I couldn't agree more with EVERYTHING you say...

I have been sober for 7 1/2 years — I went to a few AA meetings in the beginning but a little voice was telling me that these were some strange folks practicing some pretty strange stuff.... I have stayed sober for this long ALL BY MYSELF..... alcohol addiction is a behaviour problem NOT A DISEASE.... saying it is a disease and that these special members of AA have an "allergy" to alcohol is complete and utter nonsense... it is a cop-out and an excuse not to take responsibility for their own actions and behaviour....

The cult of AA has destroyed my family... my ex-husband (who has been sober for two years) is now a devout AA zealot who lives, sleeps and breathes the ridiculous AA drivel... he is now "turning everything over to God" (he is the strongest aetheist and anti-religious person I have ever met) and constantly shares his "experience, strength and hope" with me.... he has demanded that I go to AA and complete the 12 steps or I can't see my children... my children have been brainwashed by their father and have told me themselves that "I am not well" and that they do not want me in their lives until I get a sponsor, complete the 12 steps, and my sponsor has confirmed to them that I have done so. I miss my kids so I went back to meetings for a bit over the summer and got hooked up with a controlling, abusive, self-righteous, self-centred bitch who called herself a "sponsor" to me.... she demanded I attend the "90 meetings in 90 days", share my innermost feelings with a room full of complete strangers (who, by the way, DO NOT KEEP THE THINGS THEY HEAR IN THE MEETINGS IN THE ROOMS OF AA).... get 5 people's phone numbers and phone them EVERY DAY... and on and on..... I told her to take a hike and I WILL NEVER DARKEN THE DOORS OF AA AGAIN..... It is such a DANGEROUS group of misguided, very ill, controlling and mean people playing psychiatrist with vulnerable newcomers.....

I have lost my children to this ridiculous cult... I hope as they get older they will realize what a load of horseshit it is and how dangerous it is.....

I live a full life — I am a legal assistant in a law firm in downtown Vancouver and am taking a four year Paralegal course online and am on the merit list at the University... I have people in my life who love and accept me for who I am and support me in my sobriety in a positive way... I am not drooling for a drink, in fact, I very rarely ever think about drinking — those few months in AA over the summer had me going over all my drunken episodes and examing what a horrible person I was and feeling guilty about everything I have ever done... I am paying a psychologist a lot of money to realize that I am not any of those things and that I should be proud of staying sober for this long by myself — that I am not a 'DRY DRUNK' as I was told by my fellow AA members.... I am a person who decided that I was going to change my destructive behaviour and I did just that.....

THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS PAPER..... I AM FURIOUS AT THE AA organization..... have you read any of Stanton Peele's books? Resisting coercion into a 12 step program is very, very good.....

Leilani A.

Hello Leilani,

Thank you for the letter and all of the compliments. And congratulations on your sobriety and getting your life together. I'm sorry to hear about the suffering that you have been going through, and difficulties with your children. On the bright side, when kids are raised in a cult, they usually wise up and rebel. Often, in their teen years, when they start thinking for themselves, they see the light, and then they too will be furious at the A.A. organization.

Yes, I've read Stanton Peele. I really like him. His book Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment is on my Top 10 reading list.

Have a good day, and a good life, now. And have a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Man's inhumanity to man
**     Makes countless thousands mourn.
**       ==  Robert Burns, "Man Was Made to Mourn" (1786)

Date: Sun, November 28, 2010 1:54 pm     (answered 14 December 2010)
From: "marco e."
Subject: Lowen

Hi, It was nice to see your quotes from Alexander Lowen's book "Narcissism" on your site. I have tremendous admiration for his work. I did not check all your site, so you might have already carried out the following suggestion: did you quote the parts of his book about alcoholism? They are very profound. How someone, after reading Lowen's observations, can take AA seriously afterwards I cannot understand.

Hello Marco,

Thanks for the letter. I also love Alexander Lowen's book "Narcissism". I have not reread it enough, or quoted it enough yet, but I just lucked out and found a copy at Goodwill, so it's on my list of the thousand things to do as soon as I get around to it.

BTW, another psychologist called Arthur Janov, as acutely insightful as Lowen, has some fascinating comments about alcoholism and AA. If you want the references I can give them to you.

Marco E.

I am extremely skeptical of Arthur Janov. Look here.

PS: I can't beleive that Green papers person patronising you for having been sober so many years. And then pointing out how "resentful" you are! Typical AA and Al-Anon jerks.

Oh yeh. "Agent Green" is something else. We have exchanged letters before, here. And we have discussed her essays here and here.

Here are my comments about the Green Papers from the Stinkin Thinkin site:

Well those Green Papers look like an interesting read. I haven't read them yet, but I've downloaded them for tonight. Think of it: an AA member actually engaging in CONTROVERSY, an AA mortal sin. Is this possible , ladies and gentlemen" This person's "Higher Power" may strike him or her dead for this transgression! He or she might get so angry at some point, engaging in controversy, that he or she might DRINK AGAIN. And if it does drink again, it might not be able to stop, and then lose everything, and end up dying alone in an alley covered in vomit and urine! So, really, this Green Papers person is very "courageous"!! You have to hand it to our saintly AA Green Papers comrade! BTW, you can find the Green Papers link if you Google it (first page), but I could not find it on Yahoo.



Yeah, I found out later that this Green Papers person is not AA, but Al-Anon: same bullshit. I don't think it was an unwarranted assumption that the person was AA. And even though Al-Anon is pretty close to AA, I can't see how this person can really appreciate or criticise AA not having been in it, like us.

I do have to admit that the statistics this person cites are convincing. After all, people do go back and many stop drinking. When I criticise AA, I am criticising those saintly dorks as they are NOW, not as they used to be, which apparently can be pretty fucked up. My drinking was never as bad as most of those people. AA did NOT save my life, because I was never in that kind of danger. And I do beleive them when they say that AA saved them. So, to repeat, my beef with most of them is how they are as people NOW: arrogant "spiritual" and "humble" weirdos who think that they are morally superior to the rest of us "negative" people. And I just basically do not like them or the freaks in Al-Anon, and I do not trust them. End of story.


Thanks again, Marco, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The criterion of mental health is not one of individual adjustment
**     to a given social order, but a universal one, valid for all men,
**     of giving a satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
**       ==  Erich Fromm, The Sane Society (1955), 2.

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

Canada Goose family with goslings
The family with the two adopted orphans

After the little girl pushed the little orphan out from under her, the family settled down to more conventional munching. As you can see, the little orphaned gosling got back into it quickly.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

[The previous letter from David is here.]

Date: Mon, November 29, 2010 8:12 am     (answered 15 December 2010)
From: "david b."
Subject: RE: AA (of course!)

Hi Orange,

I have read over your responses. I think it is probably best to agree to disagree on most of these issues.

That being said I am willing to admit that there are certain ideas presented in AA that I do not agree with. For example, I do not buy the concept of "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic".

The reason for this is that I have never believed that the "obsession for the first drink" was completely psychological while the "craving" that starts once the person starts to drink is completely physical.

As a person with a degree in biochemistry and fairly "up" on what is happening in the fields of biology I know this is not a complete picture. It is obvious that the physiological impacts the psychological and the psychological effects the physiological as well. In other words, I believe that the need to get drunk (as opposed to drinking moderately) once the first drink is taken, is in part a psychological issue not just a physical allergy. Likewise the mental obsession AA talks about is due to certain physiological factors including brain chemistry etc.

This analysis of mine, of course, side-steps the spiritual issue.

Why am I mentioning all of the above?

1. To demonstrate that I am highly intelligent and not just some mindless cult victim.

2. To call into question one important point you made in your last response:

That is an assumption that is not supported by the facts. You are offering a testimonial as evidence. That is a standard cult trick. They always trot out a chorus line of poster children who swear that the cult is just the greatest thing, and made their lives so much better.

Congratulations on your sobriety. You did it. No cult religions did it for you.

By the way, I think you will find that what your family really appreciates is that fact that you are not drinking alcohol any more, not the fact that you spend a lot of time at your new religion. How would they react if you were to go back to heavy drinking while still attending lots of A.A. meetings? How much would they appreciate A.A. then?

This is a valid point that needs to be discussed. If I am to be honest I have to admit that you could be right here. However here is the catch: Before AA I did not have the ability to quit. Believe me I had tried. Even after arrests, failed relationships, lost jobs and physically feeling like crap I could not stop. So it is hard for me to except that "You did it." Yes I did but not on my own. Not without help. And that help, that ability to stop came after I began attending AA meetings and working the 12 steps.

And there is not point in anyone saying I was not a "real alcoholic" because I had all the symptoms: regular blackouts, the "shakes" in the morning etc. not to mention the carnage mentioned above.

I have to disagree with the line, "Before AA I did not have the ability to quit." You always had the ability to quit. You just didn't use it. Your will was not set. You had not really made up your mind, and become 100% determined to quit. You sort-of wanted to quit, but you also wanted to have some more fun, and feel good again.

It's just like, I "could not quit" either drinking or smoking, not until I did both. I just "could not quit", I "relapsed" and smoked another cigarette, every time I quit. And yet I could quit, and did. I had quit for any time span from one day to one year, and yet, 33 years after I started, I was still sucking on a cigarette. And then one day I got so sick, with bronchitis and pneumonia, that I was really done with it. That was it. No more. No more of that suffering. Enough is enough. My will was set. And I haven't smoked a cigarette since. And that was 10 years ago, now.

Similarly, I had quit drinking several times, for periods ranging from a few days or weeks, up to three years. Same story. Always "just had one", and got sucked back into the habit. But then, when I got so sick that a doctor said to me, "Quit drinking or die. Choose one.", I decided to quit drinking and live. And I did. My will was set. I got my head straightened out on that one. It's now been 10 years since I've had a drink.

Quitting for real seems to be more of a process of getting a stimulus that finally motivates someone to break out of the habit than anything that a so-called "self-help" group does. And it certainly is not anything that the 12 Steps do. I never did the 12 Steps. I recognized them as cultish mind-control tools very quickly.

If A.A. contributes anything to recovery, it would just be the social group that encourages one to quit and stay quit. That is helpful in developing your will power. It increases the motivation to quit. Of course, you can get the same group support and encouragement from other groups like SMART, SOS, Lifering, or Women For Sobriety, without the cultish mind games and dogma and misinformation about alcohol abuse.

Now here is the thing that may interest/surprise you. I do not feel that I have to keep going to AA meetings on a regular basis to stay sober. I go to help other alcoholics to get to the place that I am now at.

Of course you don't have to go to the meetings. And thank you for going to help other alcoholics. I just hope that you tell them the truth, rather than repeating standard A.A. dogma and misinformation.

This is how I think it works: Certain people are at an increased biological risk for addictions including alcohol. Line this up with tremendous stress/trauma/abuse in the environment while the person is growing up and you have a high(er) probability of producing the "alcoholic personality".

Actually, it is much more complex than that. Other standard causes of alcohol over-use include: anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — especially that caused by child abuse or war, chronic depression, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and various miscellaneous brain chemistry imbalances that don't have names.

An alcoholic adult is so full of fear, bitterness, resentment etc. that psychologically/emotionally they cannot function without alcohol to kill the pain/brain. This begins over time to have certain negative effects, both physiologically and psychologically on the person.

Sorry, but that is a standard A.A. stereotype of "the alcoholic". I dismantled that stereotype in the file The "Us Stupid Drunks" Conspiracy. That stereotype is a gross over-generalization, and is basically just a projection of Bill Wilson's psychiatric problems. Not all alcoholics are like Bill Wilson.

In addition, teaching you that negative stereotype of yourself is part of the cult process of breaking down your personality and destroying any remaining shreds of self-respect or confidence that you might have. That is part of the cult conversion process.

When you parrot the lines about how "An alcoholic adult is so full of fear, bitterness, resentment etc.", you are not even thinking about how those things might be signs of serious psychiatric problems that require professional treatment. Why not? Why is cult religion automatically always the answer to all mental problems?

This is definitely my story.

What AA did for me was

  1. help me to see/admit there is a problem: drinking to cover up my emotional/psychological problems

  2. Help me to begin solving those problems that lead to my excessive drinking:

    1. fear — answer: trust God, stop trying to control situations

    2. resentment — answer: admit my part, forgive

    3. self pity — answer: gratitude

    4. selfishness — answer: share with/help others

    5. dishonesty — answer: honesty

I could go on and on. The point is that I really don't care about the history of AA or Bill Wilson. The 12 steps by themselves seem to work. I am different than I was before.


Hi David,

Your list of fixes is basically just Frank Buchman's cult religion. (So you should care about the history. Know the religion that you are practicing.)

You did not say one word about understanding what was done to you as a child, or increasing your motivation to quit and stay quit, or developing your willpower, or fixing irrational thinking. Nor did you mention any mental techniques for resisting cravings and temptation. Your whole program is just "Practice Buchmanism".

While you may feel happy with it, Buchmanism is not the answer for most other alcoholics or drug addicts. It kills more people than it saves.

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If God had intended us to fly, he would have given us wings.
**     Well, didn't He?
**        ==  Peter, Paul, and Mary
**     If God had intended us to think, he would have given us brains.
**     Well, didn't He?

[The next letter from David is here.]

Date: Tue, November 30, 2010 6:43 am     (answered 15 December 2010)
From: "Gloria G."
Subject: Karl Menninger

good morning Terrance

just a line to let you know

date is reversed (1983 instead of 1893)

the date intrigued me ;- i thought oh boy such a young psychiatrist !!

I sure do appreciate your dedication


Hi Gloria,

Thanks for the tip. Yes, that was a typo. Found it. Fixed it.
Yes, he was especially young to have a famous hospital named after him.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== 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)

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Last updated 27 May 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters208.html