Letters, We Get Mail, CCXII

Date: Sat, December 18, 2010 12:04 pm     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "Rajiv B."
Subject: Bill W IS NOT the Co-Founder of AA

Hats off to you Orange. I truly appreciate your efforts in letting the public know the truth about AA. You'e been doing a great job exposing the 12 Steps cults. But what many AA/NA members complain about you is that, although you may be right in criticizing AA, you do not offer an alternative therapy where alcoholics can go to if they want to stop drinking or using drugs. Most of the addicts who come to AA, know that AA does not work. But they continue making their meetings because they do not have any other place where they can recover.

Well I continued on in NA for over 20 years although I hated their cultish attitude. But I was on a mission to find the real solution to the addiction problem. But in doing the research for my book I also discovered that AA is a church charity trust formed by Rockefeller the pharmaceutical giant. And they have systematically seen to it that the simple solution to the addiction/alcohol problem disappeared. Here's a Note on it that I just posted in Facebook sometime back. Thought you would like to know about it:

Why the 12 Step Programs have Stopped Working

September 18, 2010 at 2:56 am

In 1938 Associates of Rockefeller formed a tax-free charitable trust in New York, called Alcoholic Foundation. It's founding Trustees were Willard Richardson, who was in charge of all Rockefeller Church charities, Frank Amos, who was one of the best friends of Rockefeller and an advertising man, their lawyer John Wood, and two alcoholics, Dr. Bob whose house mortgage had been cleared by Rockefeller by giving him $3000, and Bill W., an alcoholic from New York who soon relapsed. (Pass it On [PIO], page 188) Dr. Bob, being in Akron and also a minority, had little say in the functioning of the trust. So you can see that the Alcoholic Foundation was nothing but one of the organizations of Rockefeller, one of the biggest pharmaceutical drug manufacturers.

Now the Alcoholic foundation and Rockefeller did not finance the alcoholics in writing their book, but instead asked them to sell off their book for a song to Harpers. So the poor alcoholics raised $7500 from amongst themselves and formed the Works Publishing Inc. Bill and Hank who actually wrote and published the book kept 33% of the Shares each. Thus they somehow, with great difficulty, managed to publish the Big Book in 1939.

But the book did not sell too well in the first two years. Bill & Lois were desperate as they didn't even have a place to stay. Lois was always a cheerful woman, even in desperate times. The one exception to Lois's good cheer: in Feb 1940 while walking down the stairs at the Grand Central Station, she suddenly sat down and started weeping. "Would they never have a home of their own" Would they never stop moving around?" (PIO, page 216) And it looks like Rockefeller took advantage of this too. He threw a big dinner party for the alcoholics that month, and raised $2000 for them.

After the dinner the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation started giving direction to the Fellowship (PIO page 234). After the book started selling well, some of the subscribers to the Works Publishing Inc. began to demand a share of the profits. However the Alcoholic Foundation, with Bill's help (pg.235 Pass it On, which was written by the foundation) bought off all the shares of the members. The foundation which could not get money from Rockefeller to help the alcoholics to write the book, now could obtain a loan to buy off the alcoholics! Thus the Alcoholic Foundation, which was a Rockefeller charitable trust, became the owners of everything that our founders had achieved with so much hardship. And the 49 alcoholics who in 1938 had contributed towards writing of the book, and Hank who had 33% share in it, lost their royalties and only Bill was given royalties from the Big Book. And Bill, who didn't even have a place to stay in 1940, became the owner of his palatial mansion at Bedford Hills, New York.

Now the original AA program was a simple four-step program (See page 8 of the AA Archives document on: http://gsowatch.aamo.info/1938/hank38.pdf ). When an alcoholic came to them, the founders admitted him in hospital for a few days, where one of the recovered alcoholics like Dr. Bob would counsel him with the help of the inventory analysis and they would kneel or sit quiet for an hour of meditation. And after the alcoholic's release from hospital he would go and make his amends, and do the inventory he had learned and meditate regularly. This was the simple path that the founders of our program followed, which they have said rarely failed. (You can read the chapter from my book "12 Steps in a Day: The Lost Path" on what their original program was and why it was changed into the 12 Step program on: https://admin.createspace.com/Preview/1071024 )

As the Big Book was written for alcoholics in other cities and distant places where the suffering alcoholics would not have a recovered alcoholic to counsel and do their inventory analysis for them, the Big Book suggested for them to write their own inventory and then go and share it with some other person. In this way their original program was changed into the suggested 12 Step program for the distant alcoholics. The original program had been effective because in it the inventory was used as an aid, by the recovered alcoholic who had already been analyzed, to analyze the suffering alcoholic. However the new 12 Step program, by splitting the inventory and its sharing into two separate steps lost the effective psychoanalysis element of the original program, unless it was explained to the alcoholic by another recovered person. (Today members are not even aware that they can use the 4th and 5th step to quickly eliminate anger and other debilitating emotions from their day to day life.)

Till the Big Book was written most of the original 100 alcoholics could not help other alcoholics through the steps as they did not have any written direction on the inventory. But after the inventory directions were written in the Big Book in 1939, they too started taking alcoholics through the Steps in 3 or 4 hours, as Dr Bob used to (see Big Book 3rd Ed. pg. 292). By the end of 1939 the 100 members grew to 400, by 1940 the 400 became 2000, and by 1941 they had grown to 8000.

The pharmaceutical industry's profits depend on people suffering from illness. And alcohol is known to cause liver, heart and many other sicknesses. So an alcoholic staying sick is a source of income for the pharmaceuticals. So many alcoholics recovering so quickly was definitely a threat to the pharmaceutical giant Rockefeller's profits. So we can see that it was in the interest of Rockefeller and his Alcoholic Foundation to see to it that the powerful original program of AA was made ineffective. This they did by making the 12 Traditions. And they could use Bill to make the 12 Traditions for them because Bill suffered from depression between 1944 and 1955. And he had even stopped working the Steps, for PIO page 298 says "Above all, Bill believed that his depressions were perpetuated by his own failure to work the A.A. Steps."

The 12 Points, which later became the 12 Traditions, were written in 1946, during the first debilitating phase of his depression from 1944 to 1946, when it used to be difficult for him to even get out of bed over long periods of time. (PIO page 293) And Bill wrote the 12 by 12 book in 1951 and 1952 when "he was suffering from almost constant depression and was forced to confront the emotional and spiritual demons that remain 'stranded' in the alcoholic psyche when the high tide of active alcoholism recedes." (PIO pg.352).

Till the traditions came, AA was simply there to help those who were afflicted, or the suffering alcoholics. But this took a back seat in the traditions. Tradition One says that AA's welfare comes first. So with this tradition the most important thing, what come first in AA, is to take care of AA and not the suffering alcoholic. So whenever there is a conflict between the welfare of AA and the welfare of the suffering alcoholic, it becomes binding on the members to sacrifice the suffering alcoholic's welfare or the suffering alcoholic. What a shame!

Till the 12 Traditions were made personal recovery depended on taking the Steps but the Tradition One says that it depends on our unity. So the traditions saw to it that members did not consider the steps so important.

The Traditions made it binding on the members to follow the suggested 12 step program which was not the effective original program that the founders had followed. Books or literature on following the original program could not be used in AA. The Beginners Meetings that many groups had started in 1941, when large number of alcoholics started coming to AA, to take the alcoholics quickly through the steps had to close down after the 12 Traditions were formally adopted in 1950.

The Big Book say on page 55 that God could only be found deep down within ourselves. "In the last analysis it is only there that He can be found." And it immediately follows this by saying that "If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway." This meant that alcoholics could join them in AA only if they took the steps to search diligently within to find God. The requirement for membership was taking the steps. When the requirement for membership as well as the requirement for staying sober or recovery were both the same their unity was assured, even without the Traditions. The 12 Traditions however changed the requirement for membership so that anybody who just said he was an alcoholic could become a member, probably because Bill himself had stopped working the steps. This new requirement encouraged members to stay in AA without working the Steps, and the recovery rate of AA fell.

Practically everything that an AA group does in some way or the other affects the other groups or AA as a whole. In Tradition Four (Long Form), it says, "And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect AA as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the Alcoholic Foundation." Thus Tradition Four made it binding on all groups to take authority from the Alcoholic Foundation, which was a trust formed by a pharmaceutical giant. The result of this has been that the they systematically saw to it that our program lost its effectiveness over the years. So much so that the program which had made our fellowship multiply 4 and 5 times a year in the initial years of AA, increasing from 100 to 100000 in ten years, is now taking over 20 years just to double — 1 million members in 1975, and 2 million members only after 1995. Also when Bill W discovered around 1960 that 66 percent of the alcoholics can recover by merely taking Vitamin B3 with a proper hypoglycemic diet, the Trustees invoked the Traditions and refused to allow him to share about his greatest discovery in AA (See Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism by Abram Hoffer, who was Bill W physician. Much of the book can also be read on Amazon)

While Bill was down with depression and deluded about the Traditions, our co-founder Dr. Bob who took 4800 alcoholics through the Steps in 8 years (2922 days) at the St Thomas Hospital in Akron, said that the Traditions were too unwieldy and never approved the traditions till the fellowship had somehow got the Traditions approved. But the AA members were never told about this. The Alcoholic Foundation (General Service Board) which controls what is written in the AA literature has taken great troubles in hiding this fact. I was fortunate to see through it:

In "Dr Bob and the Good Oldtimers", published in 1980, on page 325 it says, "It was not until 1950 and Dr. Bob's last appearance at a large A.A. gathering — the First International Convention, in Cleveland — that he agreed to confirm the Twelve Traditions." From this I had gathered that Dr Bob had approved the 12 Traditions. But later on when I checked the book "Pass it On," published in 1984, I found on pages 338-339 that Bill had presented the 12 Traditions as a natural corollary of the 12 Steps and got the Traditions adopted officially for A,A., without any discussion on them, on Saturday, July 29, 1950, by a standing vote of those present at the Cleveland convention. And Dr. Bob's last appearance was on the next day July 30, 1950. So you can see that Dr. Bob never approved the traditions but only agreed to confirm them as the Traditions had already been adopted by AA. Clarence Snyder's book says that the convention was held in Cleveland because Cleveland was the strongest AA fellowship then, and the whole Cleveland contingent had walked out when the Traditions were adopted as Bill at the convention instead of them being adopted after a proper discussion at a service committee meeting.

From the above discussion, I hope it is quite evident that the 12 Traditions have made the groups, committee and members puppets in the hands of the General Service Board of AA (or NAWS) and are doing more harm to the fellowship than helping it. It is about time to get rid of the Traditions. As long as members work the Steps and clean house, all will be well, even if the Traditions were not there.

In order to make it easy for addicts and alcoholics to work the 12 Steps in just 3 or 4 hours like the founders of the 12 Steps took their Steps to calm their emotions, improve relationships and overcome their addiction and other problems I have written the book "12 Steps in a Day: The Lost Path."

You can browse through the initial pages of my book on Amazon.

Hope you can do something concrete with the above information to help the suffering addicts and alcoholics.

Be Happy


"The cause of all suffering is a person's inability to sit still and be alone."

Hello Rajiv,

Thank you for some very interesting input. I have to disagree with your basic premise though. The underlying message in your essay is that A.A. was great in the good old days and just got messed up later.

Dick B. is selling the same idea too, that Dr. Bob and Clarence Snyder in Ohio were "the real A.A.", and Bill Wilson was just a crook in New York. But there is zero evidence that Frank Buchman's Oxford Group was holy, or a gift from God, and that's what all three of them were selling.

For example, you assume that the A.A. program was wonderfully effective in the good old days. But the only writings that we have that declare that A.A. had a great success rate in the good old days were the lies of Bill Wilson — the same Bill Wilson that you denounce for dishonestly foisting the 12 Traditions on the Alcoholics Anonymous membership.

Even Lois Wilson's personal secretary Francis Hartigan reported that Bill and Bob calculated their success rate in Akron, and it was only five percent. Bill Wilson's bragging in the Big Book that A.A. got a fifty or seventy-five percent success rate was just more grandiose lying to make A.A. sound good.

We have to wonder why both the Wilsons and the Smiths did not simply give up. Today the nation's best alcoholism treatment centers report success rates ranging from 25 percent to 50 percent. During Bill's stay in Akron, he and Bob calculated their success rate to be about 5 percent, and among the few who seemed to catch on, not all of them were able to maintain consistent sobriety. The first edition of AA's Big Book, published in 1939, contains the personal recovery stories of many of AA's earliest members. Some years later, Bill made notations in the first copy of the book to come off the press, indicating which individuals portrayed therein had stayed sober. A good 50 percent of them had not.
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson, Francis Hartigan, pages 91-92.

There is much more about the original A.A. success rate here.

I totally agree that the so-called "12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous" are not traditions, and never were. Traditions are things that people have been doing for a long time. Bill Wilson's "traditions" are just 12 new rules that he made up and then foisted on the membership, who didn't like them, and who voted against accepting them. So then Bill Wilson resorted to years of campaigning and chicanery to get his own way.

In keeping with the 12-Step fairy tale, you assume that the 12 Steps do great things, rather than just convert people to belief in an old fascist cult religion:

Today members are not even aware that they can use the 4th and 5th step to quickly eliminate anger and other debilitating emotions from their day to day life.

The whole idea that you cannot get angry, or "have a resentment", is just some more of Frank Buchman's mind-bending cult conversion program. There is nothing wrong with anger. You are supposed to get angry when attacked and hurt, or when your spouse or children are threatened or attacked. Someone who is unable to get angry is crippled inside.

"Don't Feel Your Feelings" is also a very standard cult practice, too. The Cult Test question is here, and the answer for A.A. is here.

Still, I think it will be interesting to read your history.

Have a good day now, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

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

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

Canada Goose gosling, stretching
Gosling stretching

Like I was saying, these rapidly-growing goslings have all kinds of growing pains, and are often spreading out like this.

Canada Goose gosling, stretching

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Sun, December 19, 2010 10:19 am     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "jamie g."
Subject: hi

Hi again orange,

Hope my previous letters have reached you? Pennys are dropping left right and centre for me thats why i am sending you these letters lol....

Do you think that because alcoholics back in the early days were basicly classed as sinners following the oxford group that when an individual says hi my name is ............ i am an alcoholic what they are actually doing is openingly confessing as in my name is ............. i am a sinner?????

If so do you think that the people who started AA actually knew this hence there reason for stating you must say your name followed by "i'm a alcoholic" — in other words, you must say your name and confess to the group you're a sinner????

Would love to hear your feed back on this one.....

All the best Orange and merry christmas


Hi again, Jamie,

That is a real good question. I know that there is this attitude of, "When I say that I am an alcoholic, I am confessing that I am just like all of the rest of you losers. We are all just the same, and nobody can think that they are better than anybody else."
(Which is just not true. The moral quality of the membership varies widely.)

Since A.A. uses at least four different definitions for the word alcoholic, someone can be confessing a lot of different faults and shortcomings when he announces that he is an "alcoholic". He can be somebody who drinks too much, or somebody who used to drink too much, or somebody who is hypersensitive to alcohol, or a disgusting selfish egotistical immoral creep... It all depends on which definition of "alcoholic" you mean.

When you mention the Oxford Group, that brings up the question of how they introduced themselves at meetings. I don't know for sure exactly what wording they used to introduce themselves before they started confessing what horrible sinners they were. I do know that some of them had special "titles", like "Vic" Kitchen, who delighted in introducting himself as an old alcoholic who was saved by the Oxford Group.

Marion Clayton Anderson plays Miss Trust, whispering doubts and seeds of dissension into the ears of labor leaders played by Vic Kitchen (left) and Norman Schwab (right).
Vic Kitchen was another long-time Oxford Group member, and author of the O.G. testimonial "I Was A Pagan" (1934), where he declared that he was an ex-drunkard who was now "receiving supernatural aid ... through God-consciousness — through direct personal contact with the third environment — the spiritual environment I had so long been seeking."140

Other Oxford Group members routinely bragged that they were really horrible sinners before Frank Buchman set their feet on the straight and narrow path. They loved to tell jocular entertaining stories of their wicked ways before they saw the light. The Oxford Group even took pride in what terrible sinners they had for members:

  • "Interesting sinners make compelling saints."
  • "All good cider comes from stinking apples."67
  • "The worse the sinner, the more impressive the conversion."
  • "The worse the alcoholic, the more impressive the salvation."

But I don't know if they had a formal introduction like A.A. does, where the first words out of everyones' mouths were "Hi, my name is Mary-Ellen, and I am a sinner." That is a good area for further historical research.

Have a good day, and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Every man has three characters — that which he exhibits,
**     that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.
**        ==  Alphonse Karr (1808—1890)

Date: Sun, December 19, 2010 2:11 pm     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "Lisa B."
Subject: Today

Hi Terrance,

Today I saw someone trying to sell their self help book on a website. It's a long story. Anyway, I was going to make a post about how I felt if this guy really wanted to help people out of the kindness and generosity of his heart he would put his $50.00 CAD ebook on the web and place a way to donate. Surely people would have no problem donating money to his cause if his book truly helped them to overcome addictions and turn them in to happy, shiny people.

Then I thought about your website. No, reading your website did not turn me in to a shiny, happy person. What it did for me was to arm with information I needed to cut through a lot of bullshit and to make an intelligent choice. It also helped to explain my cravings to me in a way that made a lot of sense to me. I've had fewer cravings since then.

You could have turned all the information on your website in to a book for profit. site. No where on your site have I seen you asking for donations or begging for money.

So today I sent a very small donation to you. It is a (very) small token of my gratitude for the hard work you have done and how your efforts have personally helped me.

Merry Christmas and Thanks!

Hello Lisa,

Thanks for the donation. It all helps, and all adds up. The web site almost breaks even. And donations do help, as January is the month to renew the web hosting for another year. It will be okay.

the bottom of most pages. And I do mention it at the bottom of the wish list page. That's enough.

Basically, my attitude is that I don't expect this web site to be a business or support me or make a big profit. I just want to get the message out. What is it they call it in Step 12? "Carrying the message to the meeting-maker who still suffers"?

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

P.S.: That isn't to say that if someone just has an uncontrollable compulsion to give me a million dollars that I'll be terribly offended.     :-)

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
**       ==  Henry Fielding (1707—1754)

Date: Sun, December 19, 2010 8:56 pm     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "Brian D."
Subject: Lots of wasted years...

First off, just thanks man! Your site has opened my eyes to what I, at some level, knew for a long time, and has helped me push myself away from years of brainwashing.

Hopefully this won't be too long, but here's my story. In '81 I was a young sailor making a little bit (O.K., maybe a lot!) of money selling qualudes. The enterprise fell apart when I made a little sale to an NIS agent... oops! At the time the Navy had a drug exempt program, whenein if you admitted you were an alcoholic or addict charges would disappear, you'd go to treatment and all was O.K. so long as you didn't get into trouble again, so there I was in rehab (basically lying to everyone at first to save my ass!).

Problem was my Dad was addicted to alcohol (these days the word alcoholic makes me a little sick), and they convinced me I inhereted the problem which was basically correct, and that the 12 steps of A.A. were the only way I wouldn't wind up like him, which was wrong. I bought it hook, line and sinker. I stayed sober 8 years that time, losing a wife to A.A, (we met when I had a year, and after 3 years of me putting A.A, ahead of her and our daughter, she split. I don't blame her, really.) and becoming a Navy drug and alcohol counselor myself (they were seeped in the 12 step cult, trust me).

I got drunk and stayed that way a year or so after the divorce, then crawled back to A.A. and got another 4 years, getting out of the Navy finally and becoming a civilian counselor again. I left A.A. that time in, I think, 1995 after a "friend" of mine convinced another friend to quit taking his bipolar medication and that friend wound up in prison after going on a horrible manic phase and raping an 18 year old man because he thought that God wanted him to. I just got pissed and quit going. Unfortunatelly, I never got over the brainwashing.

I wound up drinking again, and a year and a half ago it got out of hand again, so where did I go? Back to A.A., obviously. After this long off, however, I started noticing things. I never did get a sponsor this time, as I was looking at these people and there was no one I trusted. The old timers obviously said I was in "denial" and had trust issues. Whatever. I did a fourth step, thinking the wohle time "What good is this doing me? But they said I'd drink again...". My fifth step was done with an Episcopal minister I didn't know and would never see again. Does that tell you how much shame this process induced in me? When I shared that in a meeting, i got pulled aside afterwards and told I needed to get a sponsor and do another 4th and 5th again, because I was running on "self will" and probably did not do them right. After years as a 12 step counselor I was doing it wrong? I started to suspect something was rotten in Denmark, and after a year (I told myself I'd give it a year to make sure I wasn't imagining things) I quit going.

I later found your site, after doing a search of A.A. as a cult, and realized I was kind of right, but in reality Denmark was rotten to the core. As this sank in, I realized why I lost my wife and daughter and why, since I was 19 and went to that military rehab, I've had this depression. Let's face it, almost 30 years of just looking at your supposed defects and how you've harmed others will do that to you.

When I first realized it was finally over, that I was responsible for my own actions and my own happiness, the relief was so great I actually cried, both for the possibilities for the future and in grief for what I'd been put through and what I'd put myself through for all those years!

I have to say it's been six months since I've been to a cult meeting and in that time I've re-connected with an anti-war group I was once in, I've started bicycling everywhere and getting in shape (as well as not burning poisons and killing our atmosphere) and have gotten involved with bicycle advocacy (sp?). I have no idea where I found all the time to go to those horrible meetings, never mind where I had time even to drink!

I'm using AVDT, however that book is a bit heavy on the teaparty politics! The technique is great, though, so I try to ignore the political rantings the guy gets going on. Like those bozos in A.A. said (and didn't mean) "take what you want and leave the rest", right?

Thanks for listening, and have a Bitchen' Christmas, man!

Peace and thanks again,
Hippie Brian

Hello Brian,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you are free and feeling better.

I'm not sure what AVDT is. Is that like AVRT — Addictive Voice Recognition Technique? If so, I really like that too. Check out The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster, which is essentially the same thing. Recognizing the little voice that is cajoling me to "just have one" cigarette or beer is a life-saver. When I see what is really happening there, it is easy to refute that voice's arguments.

You have a good day and a great Christmas too.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.
**       ==  John Lindsay

[The next letter from Brian is here.]

Date: Mon, December 20, 2010 2:41 am     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "AnythingbutAA"
Subject: Consequences of quasi-indoctrination

Hi Orange

Really appreciate your work. Above all I respect the way you deal with EVIDENCE and don't grandstand, giving bullshit and baseless opinion. Why do steppers do that? In fact, what are they doing posting on your site anyway, given that they are not supposed to engage in matters of "outside controversy"? How is life an outside controversy? These people seem to be seriously insular and misguided; another standard cult characteristic?

I am now 43 years' old. I first went to AA when I was around 24. I knew it was odd and found the rooms creepy. That was in London where I'm sure the "Fellowship" is a little less extreme than in the US. For example, as far as I know there is no coercive (court ordered) recruitment that goes on here. I left the "rooms" after two meetings. Unfortunately I bought in to the 'powerlessness' stuff though. I considered myself as having a 'disease' and that I was 'powerless'. In just two meetings (3 hours) when I was 24 years' old they skewed my thinking for the next 16-17 years. What callous, reckless bastards! I believed AA to be the only way as they had told me; though I knew I couldn't stomach "the programme". Therefore I believed I was presented with the dilemma that even that maniac Bill Wilson concedes is not easy; ie the choice between an alcoholic death or a life built on 'spiritual principles' (yeh, right).

That meant I was in a very bad and dangerous place. It gave a justification for all my bad behaviour, binges, and refusal to stop. I lost many decent jobs, friendships, relationships, flats, etc. as a result of my belief that I couldn't do anything about my behaviour. Even when I went to see professionals about it in the back of my mind I could see AA shaking its head at the advice I was given, ie just stop doing it. I realise now, of course, that I was hideously indoctrinated. At the age of 39 I even went back to them for a while, which gave me a sort of grotesque satisfaction about having been right for the preceding 15 years; I was a diseased, powerless alcoholic, "constitutionally incapable of being honest with myself". However, I did give it more of a go and I didn't drink for about 15 months. Then came the binges. They were much worse.

After one of these binges I 'phoned my sponsor. He put it to me that I hadn't worked the programme and the disease was now "playing with me". He laughed at me saying that the way I was going I could give up for a month or two, but then I would go on binge and would either die or end up in prison (I'd had some minor police problem after my last binge) if I didn't work the programme. At that point I told him to "FUCK OFF" there and then. Something inside me realised that if he gave more of a damn about me as a human being rather than his pathetic parroting of the sacred Big Book he wouldn't have spoken to me like that.

Having read much of your site I now realise that I had accepted at face value the received wisdom that AA is the only way, and that anything it says is right. I have never not questioned anything except AA. I have a good academic record and do a job requiring evidential scrutiny everyday. I don't know why I didn't apply any of my critical thinking skills to this madness, let alone make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyway, I have now recognised AA for the sham it is. I will always be grateful to you for "your part" in that. Incidentally, I have recently been diagnosed with bi-polar 2 and am taking the medication (Lamotrigine 150mgs and Seroquel 25 mgs). I do have a drink, a glass of wine with a meal, etc. I do not feel the need to binge and really can't be bothered with booze any more. I'm sure it was just a symptom of a bigger problem. I'm still struggling with tobacco though.

Thank you so much.

(please don't publish my e-mail address. can you attribute my letter as "AnythingbutAA" if you decide to publish it. thanks)

Hello "AnythingbutAA",

Thank you for the letter, and I'm glad to hear that you have broken free and found a real solution to your problems. Yes, it is digusting and appalling how they foist quackery and cult religion on sick people, and mislead people to the point of keeping them from getting competent medical treatment. But you are free of that now, and forever.

I quite agree that the A.A. declarations that you are powerless over alcohol, and cannot control your compulsions and fix your life on your own, are monstrous teachings that really hurt a lot of people, and cause them to get worse. I'm glad that they aren't fooling you any more.

So have a good life and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Wouldn't it be terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics
**     which prove that more people are driven insane through
**     religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?
**        ==  W. C. Fields

[The next letter from AnythingbutAA is here.]

[The previous letter from David is here.]

Date: Mon, November 29, 2010 9:53 am     (answered 24 December 2010)
From: "david barnes"
Subject: RE: AA (of course!)


had to cut that response short. so here is the finish.

The point I was trying to make is that the 12 steps seem to cause a change in the cognitive makeup of a person. In other words changes in attitudes. These attitudinal changes, once established, allow me to behave with healthier reactions than I could before. This is the debt i owe AA.

I am not, I assure you,some cult victim desperately trying to defend its leader as you seen to want to characterize me as.


Hello again, David,

Well of course the 12 Steps make a change in the cognitive makeup of a person. That is what I've been saying all along. The 12 Steps are techniques for brainwashing people — also known as "conversion", or "thought reform". That is what Frank Buchman created them for, and used them for, and that is what they still do. Compare the 12 Steps to the descriptions of brainwashing from Doctors Lifton, Singer, and Schein, here.

What you do not understand is: those mind-bending practices work just the same, no matter whether you worship a cult leader or don't worship a cult leader. You don't have to be a crazy fanatic drinking cyanide koolaid and praising Rev. Jim Jones for the 12-Step practices to affect your mind.

And they have affected your mind. You sing the praises of Frank Buchman's cult religion practices, and claim that practicing Buchmanism has greatly improved your life, even while you avoid using the names of Frank Buchman or the Oxford Group.

Oh well, I wish you luck.

Have a good day and a Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by
**     its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which
**     blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves."
**        ==  Dresden James

Date: Mon, December 20, 2010 7:54 pm     (answered 25 December 2010)
From: "April"
Subject: HI

Hi Orange,

Just wanted to tell you my story... I am 34 years old and have been struggling with alcoholism for a while now. I started drinking when I was like 20 and not until recently did I feel like it was becoming a "real problem" in my life. I have been married for five years, and my husband pleaded with me for soo long to stop drinking.

Well May 2nd of this year, the day after we had a service for my father in law, I decided it would be a great idea to drink a pint of rum and take the dog we were fostering for a walk. Two people called 911, and when I got out of my car with my foster dog the cop was there and asked if I was drinking. I said yes, and was arrested for a DUI. I will never forget how frightened, embarrassed, and ashamed I was sitting on a cold silver bench with my left hand handcuffed to it waiting for my husband to pick me up. I also had them call my brother because he is a NJ State Trooper, thought he could get me out of it at the time. He could not! I did however get a lesser sentence then I would have if not for him. I was even more ashamed because I did not want my brother to be disappointed in me. He was not... he said "I just want you to be happy April". I lost my license for 8 months and I have to have the interlock device on my car for a year.

So, after that day I took a leave of absence from work for three weeks and went to an outpatient rehab, which did help me A LOT. I started going to AA for three months and then decided to get a sponsor. I told myself I would try it for a month it could not hurt. After I month I told her I was happier without a sponsor, and thanked her for her time. I then stopped going to AA meetings. I am going to individual counseling now because I have to as part of my sentence, and also need to attend 8 AA meetings within a four month period which is not too bad, even though I had already attended more then 20, but I have to do what I have to do to get my license back.

From the beginning I was skeptical about AA, there are some things I like but a lot more I do not. From your advice on the website I looked into SMART, and also started posting on their website, and luckily there is a meeting like 20 minutes from me, although I did not go to one yet. I am 7 months sober now and feel like I am doing very well. I am just struggling with going to AA or not going.

Not drinking is easy for me at this point so far, I am a binge drinker and I think that is what scares me the most. Not knowing when the feeling will come back... Sometimes I feel like if I do not do the 12 STEPS I will not truly recover, why I have no idea.

I think the biggest issue I have with AA is that there is no end... and I do not know if I will ever understand why people who have not drank for 20 years are still going and standing up and calling themselves "DRUNKS".

I just feel like because I am not drinking my life is falling into place naturally, and then I think about the AA stuff and the work you need to do and blah, blah, blah. I do talk to a lady from AA who I love talking to and she has a totally different outlook on it... She told me her counselor said you do not have to make amends to anyone... people will know from your behavior you have changed and will be happy with that.

The counselor I am seeing is an AA advocate and she said I can go to a counselor for like ten years and still not solve my problems like AA could solve them for me... and I like talking to someone on an individual basis, that seems to help me the most.

I do not know what I am really trying to ask you... Just wanted to write and get some advice, other than what I can read on your website, which is amazing...by the way...

Thanks for your time-


Hello April,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well. Congratulations on your seven months of sobriety. That is the biggest part of it, you know. You are over the hump. The worst is over.

These lines stand out for me:

  • Not drinking is easy for me at this point so far, I am a binge drinker and I think that is what scares me the most. Not knowing when the feeling will come back...

    Yes, I am, or rather, was, a binge drinker too. But the feelings — cravings, desire to drink — are not that big of a deal. Cravings come, and then they go. You have successfully resisted them for nine months now. They won't just suddenly get stronger. In fact, they get weaker. Day by day, month by month, they grow weaker because you are not giving in to them and giving them energy.

    This quote is really relevant to cravings:

    Self Discipline and Patience

    "Discipline" is a difficult word for most of us. It conjures up images of somebody standing over you with a stick, telling you that you're wrong. But self-discipline is different. It's the skill of seeing through the hollow shouting of your own impulses and piercing their secret. They have no power over you. It's all a show, a deception. Your urges scream and bluster at you; they cajole; they coax; they threaten; but they really carry no stick at all. You give in out of habit. You give in because you never really bother to look beyond the threat. It is all empty back there. There is only one way to learn this lesson, though. The words on this page won't do it. But look within and watch the stuff coming up — restlessness, anxiety, impatience, pain — just watch it come up and don't get involved. Much to your surprise, it will simply go away. It rises, it passes away. As simple as that. There is another word for self-discipline. It is patience.

    — Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English" from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

    What gets to be a problem after a while is the mind games. Old base brain will start thinking, "We've got it under control now. Seven months and no cheating whatsoever. We can afford to just have one now." The base brain hunger center will do that. Read about The Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster. Knowing the stuff that is in that web page has been a big help to me.

  • Sometimes I feel like if I do not do the 12 STEPS I will not truly recover, why I have no idea.

    That is called "phobia induction". That is what cults do to people. They implant fears. They make you afraid that horrible things will happen to you if you leave the cult. Phobia induction is a standard cult practice, and it's in the Cult Test. The question is here, and the answer for A.A. is here.

  • I think the biggest issue I have with AA is that there is no end... and I do not know if I will ever understand why people who have not drank for 20 years are still going and standing up and calling themselves "DRUNKS".

    Exactly. "No Exit" and "No Graduates" are two more standard cult characteristics. The cult doesn't want to ever let go of you.

    And constantly putting yourself down and calling yourself a "drunk", even after 20 years of sobriety, is not psychologically healthy. It isn't even realistic or honest. There comes a time when you have to recognize that you are not the person that you used to be, that you are no longer "an alcoholic" (whatever that word really means).

    That isn't to say that we can go back to drinking. Once a binge drinker, it's better to not tempt fate by drinking again. I tried that experiment once, after three years of sobriety, and it was a disaster. I drank for 9 more years after that. So let's not tempt fate. It's much easier to just accept the idea that we will never drink alcohol again, and we will be much better off for it.

  • The counselor I am seeing is an AA advocate and she said I can go to a counselor for like ten years and still not solve my problems like AA could solve them for me... and I like talking to someone on an individual basis, that seems to help me the most.

    I would fire that counselor immediately. She is a quack who is just pushing a cult religion. That is not counseling. Since you like one-on-one sessions with a counselor, get another counselor who offers something more than fraud.

    And you mentioned SMART. You can get a lot of sane socializing out of that too. Maybe even some counseling. Oh, and that is a good place to ask for a reference for a good counselor.

Have a good day and Merry Christmas.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself.
**       ==  Gamaliel Bailey (1807—1859), American journalist and abolitionist

Date: Mon, December 20, 2010 7:21 pm     (answered 25 December 2010)
From: "Laura T."
Subject: Fascinating


I just found this site after my dad asked me for the 100th time if I wanted to go to a meeting with him and found myself again, trying to come up with a rational beyond my own thinking of why I did not. I'll just share some tidbits with you as I'm sure you have heard everything... I love what I'm getting by the way, so thanks!

I drank from age 12 to 22 — like black out drunk every time I tried to be social. So I'm hung over for the first time at my first job out of college and freak. I must be an alcoholic (go figure). I just saw that I had to stop and did, cold turkey. Well, I'd already been indoctrinated via treatment family meetings with my younger brother and the fact that he and now my dad were in the program. I just thought, without even thinking about it, that I HAD to go to AA. A few months into it my sponsor got scared about me talking suicide all the time, so she had me commit myself. A few days later they thought I was fine and asked if I wanted to go into alcohol treatment at the same center. Sure. None of it made sense and all I remember is 2 male nurses (I'm female) kept hitting on me. Both in the program. One dated me after discharge. Not long after, I actually attempted suicide — using alcohol. I can't even believe I went to AA in the first place. I moved back home and hopped right in again and lasted 5 years when my husband and I left the program because it wasn't doing anything for us. It just made no sense and all those stupid sayings. Can you believe it turned me OFF from being grateful? It was used like punishment, if something went wrong — make a gratitude list.

I never had the compulsion to drink until a couple of years ago when things got really bad as sometimes happens and I couldn't get the help I needed. The last thing I needed to do was drink, so I went to a meeting (will she ever learn), and all people wanted to know was how long I had been sober (which was like 20 some at this point) or tell your story in a nutshell and then make some snide or condescending remark. Not great your back or why are you back or people coming up after to give you numbers or even say hi. I was a pariah because I had not had a drink in over 15 years outside of AA. I kept trying as the craving was getting worse and some oldtimer at one meeting actually said "bullsh*t" while I was talking.

Fast forward in another state and start going to meetings with my dad mainly to meet people. They were all very nice. I get my first sponsor (what am I thinking) and our first meeting of the minds, I get in her truck with her to run errands and talk. She starts screaming at me because she knew I took medication for some mental illnesses I have. She knows some oldtimer who had what I had was healed with the steps. Well, folks, that was the end of that relationship. She is an MD by the way. Maybe she thought she'd like to have me over off my meds and see how sober and happy I would be working the steps while in la la land. I never did take a drink.

Oh, and the other thing — about AA not being religious — well everywhere I've been they say the Lord's Prayer at the end of the meeting (which is blatantly Christian) and I'm Jewish so I don't say it and people actually look up and stare at you because they don't hear you. But I must say I have noticed more and more people not saying it.

So here I am reading your site, finally satisfied that I am not making this stuff up, and there are real reasons why I don't like AA or any 12-step program I've tried. Such a relief to stop trying to make my life fit that group. Sigh.

Sorry for the length. Lot pent up there. Feel free to edit.

Thank you!!!!!

Hello Laura,

Thank you for the letter and the horror story. And thanks for the thanks. I'm glad things are looking up for you. You sound like you have the situation well in hand now, and as you have seen, you don't need 12-Step anything running your life.

So have a good day and a good life now. And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Force, violence, pressure, or compulsion with a view
**     to conformity, are both uncivilized and undemocratic.
**       ==  Mohandas Ghandi

[The next letter from Laura is here.]

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

Canada Goose family, stretching
The Family of 9, stretching
Now lots of them are doing it.

This photograph makes the difference in size between the mother and the father obvious. The father is on the left, and the mother is on the right, with her wing stretched out. His body is noticeably larger than hers, and he is taller. The father's neck is much thicker, too, which is needed for wrestling matches with other ganders.

You can also tell the sexes of many of the goslings, too. The gosling on the left, the one that is walking, is a boy. The first sitting gosling, the one closest to the camera, is a girl. Then there is a boy behind her, and a girl behind him. The others are too obscured to be sure, but I think the gosling beside that last girl is another boy.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Tue, December 21, 2010 9:56 am     (answered 25 December 2010)
From: "Emmett D."
Subject: Sentenced to aa

Yeah it is a cult. I was sentenced to 90 in 90 in palm beach county, fl. This is my FIRST dui and I blew a 0.082!!!! The cop that got me hung out at the parking garage exit and said I "ran" a stop sign. I didn't have the money to waste on a lawyer, so I pled out.

But man....90 in 90! For blowing 0.002 over the limit on a first offense? These judges are crazy.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Hi Emmett,

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. Yes, they are getting toughter and tougher on DUI.

Never mind 90 in 90, sentencing anyone to any A.A. meetings is illegal and unconstitutional, because A.A. is a religion.

And now you can sue the judge for doing it. Look here.

Take care, and have a good day, and a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
**       ==  Martin Luther (1483—1546)

Date: Tue, January 25, 2011 5:15 am     (answered 30 January 2011)
From: "Emmett D."
Subject: RE: Sentenced to aa

Yeah, but has anyone actually won a case by suing the judge for sentencing to AA? Can you provide examples?

Hello again, Emmett,

Well, obviously, the first victory was the judge's ruling in the case of Inouye vs. Kemna (the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that any coercing authority can be personally, civilly sued for Constitutional damages for sentencing someone to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous). There, a parolee was suing his parole officer for forcing him to go to A.A., and the judge said that he could do it.

That is big. That opens the door to suing judges and parole officers, and sets a precedent.

Now I do not know of any judge who has been successfully sued for cash for sentencing someone to A.A., yet. Yet. I think it's just a matter of time. Why don't you get an ACLU lawyer and become the first?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     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,
**        ruling in the case of Grandberg v. Ashland County, a 1984 Federal
**        7th Circuit Court concerning judicially-mandated A.A. attendance.

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Last updated 26 December 2013.
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