Letters, We Get Mail, CCXVI

Date: Sun, January 9, 2011 2:41 pm     (answered 15 January 2011)
From: Sarah
Subject: The TRUTH!


I'm Sarah and I'm an adult Alcoholic with the capacity to CHOOSE whether to drink or not drink

Thank you so much for telling the TRUTH about AA.

I have been sober over a year now.. I was ordered into alcohol treatment and AA by the courts after a drunk and disorderly charge. My drinking was never a daily occurrence but when I did drink.. I always binge drank. I knew before I ever got into trouble that I had a problem so I will give credit for the trouble leading me to finally being sick of it and stopping my drinking... I STOPPED MY DRINKING... not AA... not the courts... not treatment. The only role those played in my stopping was keeping me accountable through meeting slips and piss tests... otherwise I did the work and I make the choice... oh... but according to AA


First, they told me that I'm not a "real drunk" because I was a binge drinker... then they said that if I didn't resign myself to "their program completely surrendering to them" that I would relapse and become a daily drinker... then they told me that I had to have a higher power that was the God of my understanding... which when I insisted that I have always believed in God they told me I wasn't believing in the "right God" that I needed to read the book and get a better understanding of what was expected of me... My sponsor with 22 years sobriety behaved like a dictator in my life TELLING me what to do.. how to do it and when to do it, she tried to tell me what I physically could and could not handle, I have lupus, and I started working again after being unemployed for 3 years... I was proud of this job, was working 70-80 hours per week, and this sponsor kept saying to me I "couldn't handle the work load.. you're going to drink again from the stress, your body can't handle this". I informed her that no one knows my limitations or condition with Lupus better than I and for her not to worry, she informed me that she knew my disease of alcoholism better than I did and that if I missed any more meetings because of my job that I would slip. At the same time I was ordered to treatment I came to the conclusion that a bigger problem I had was severe depression. My drinking got out of control when my sister and father both died 100 days from each other... For several years I drank to deal with that grief until I got into trouble.. My father worked in the State Department of Corrections.. so when I woke up in JAIL dressed in an inmate frock that shook me up "OMG I'M A PRISONER! WHAT WOULD MY FATHER SAY?" so yes, I was ordered to go to treatment by the courts but that wasn't until 3 months after I STOPPED on my own!

When I did I went to my doctor and told them of my depression and got Zoloft to deal with the imbalance... as far as I'm concerned Zoloft saved my life because it took away the depression enough that the compulsion for me to self medicate was gone. My sponsor found out I was on medication and told me to stop taking it... she then in an open meeting addressed me being on medication and the meeting proceeded to be a SHIT ON SARAH FEST for being stupid to allow myself to be medicated!!!!

I was completely LOST as to their hostility... until they made it really clear to me... DO WHAT THEY SAY AND HOW THEY SAY TO DO IT or I'm not welcomed there anymore. I have to stop taking the meds and "hiding" behind my depression and resign myself to being a hopeless weak human being who hasn't a clue how to live in the real world


I was much more happier working full time and avoiding any contact with the meetings or my sponsor.. Finally she left this condescending message on my voice mail and I had had enough! I called her back and gave her a lip full of how I felt about their CULT and about just how powerless I think I am not! She of course went back to the same AA bullshit about being a drunk and in denial.. but wow.. I've stayed sober.. oh according to them I'm "white knuckling it" BULLSHIT!

Life and the actions you take in it are about CHOICES! I choose not to drink, it is that simple. I know that when I drink it leads to trouble for my life.. it leads me to do things I normally would not do.. it leads me to depression.. it leads me to wanting to die... I CHOOSE not to live that way anymore.. so I CHOOSE not to drink.. those freaks in AA have nothing to do with my choices. They had everything to do with my choice not to attend anymore... Newbies are treated like shit... they contradict themselves every other minute, for anyone to say they don't push for donations is BULLSHIT.. if that is the case why is that basket passed and why is someone keeping track of who stuffs it and who doesn't... if it were "free" why at every meeting I've ever attended do they solicit "donations" for various other AA programs other than the core group... the woman who was my sponsor went out to the womens prison and although it's against the traditions she was passing around her own tin can asking for donations to buy books for the women in the joint! She then would point out week from week how stingy and selfish we were for not donating to her fund... and she was ALLOWED to do this!

It's a bunch of hocus pocus cult rationale going on in those meetings... I have never been made to feel so useless and weak by anyone ever in my life as these people tried to make me feel.. and before anyone says "it must have been just that group" it happened in EVERY SINGLE MEETING I ever attended! I did my required meetings for the court and I stopped going as soon as that was satisfied... AA in all it's bullshit is really designed for the purpose of controlling people and making money.. PERIOD!

I have since been out to bars... to clubs.. to casinos... to parties.. to dinners.. and I have been tempted... Hell I can be tempted filling up my car at the local mini mart... I don't need an excuse to drink... I have more excuses NOT to drink because I have a brain in my head and know how I am under the influence... avoiding the life that goes on around me is not the answer to this "problem" I have.. The answer is realizing that I'm an adult and being honest WITH MYSELF and that keeps me from making poor choices. It is that simple... choose NOT to drink.. don't surrender your entire life to a group of people or a program that clearly is out for it's own best interests... it's hilarious to me too because as soon as I told my sponsor to mind her own business and realize that just because I don't follow all of her advice doesn't mean I am relapsing... she took it upon herself when asked where I was at to tell everyone that I had indeed relapsed and that I'm very ill and that I'm beyond hope and help because I wouldn't do what the program required (demanded) of me... wow... talking trash because I wouldn't jump through your hoops? What sort of bullshit is that? And that follows their "traditions" how?

I got sick of going to the meetings and hearing the same poor pity woe is me story over and over again... I thought the purpose was to find support and strength from them.. what I found were people who resented that they couldn't drink anymore "like normal people" What I found were "recovering drunks" who were now obsessed with AA and treated it as their new addiction... what I found was a room full of judgment and ridicule and backstabbing shitheads..none of which would take responsibility for their own actions... NO THANK YOU!

I'm a grown woman.. who has made mistakes.. who allowed myself to abuse a substance that is bad for me.. I may be an "alcoholic" but it's not "everything that I am or can be". If I ever drink again.. it's not because I didn't go to a meeting.. it's not because I'm weak from powerlessness.. or lack of a God.. it's because I choose to... I know it would be the wrong choice.. responsibility is MINE and MINE alone.

Thank you for speaking the TRUTH about this organization.. it is a cult.. it is a group that means to take over your life and finances completely.. sure they don't say it outright "give us all your money and your time and your will and your spirit" they do it a little at a time.. but they do do it.. they use your problem to take you hostage... god forbid if you don't do it their way.. then you are not sober.. guilt tactics to keep you under their control... Thank God I saw through it rather quickly and got out of it.. I'm still sober... still make good choices and some bad.. that's LIFE!

keep doing what you are doing.. you've done your homework.. and I will continue to read everything you have posted and to warn others when given the chance!



Hello Sarah,

Thank you for the letter, and congratulations on your sobriety. I'm so glad to hear that you are doing well, and thinking for yourself.

Isn't this just such a classic bait-and-switch trick?

...they told me that I had to have a higher power that was the God of my understanding... which when I insisted that I have always believed in God they told me I wasn't believing in the "right God"

I have that one listed in The Bait and Switch Con Game: First, it's "any God as you understand Him", and then it's "You don't understand God. You are 'confused' and 'prejudiced'."

This is also so classic:

My sponsor found out I was on medication and told me to stop taking it... she then in an open meeting addressed me being on medication and the meeting proceeded to be a SHIT ON SARAH FEST for being stupid to allow myself to be medicated!!!!

I cannot count how many times A.A. true believers have written to me and complained that they never ever tell newcomers to stop taking their medications, so my criticism of A.A. is invalid and unfair. But I continue to get reports like yours, and this has been going on for 10 years now.

And this is quite beyond the pale:

... as soon as I told my sponsor to mind her own business and realize that just because I don't follow all of her advice doesn't mean I am relapsing... she took it upon herself when asked where I was at to tell everyone that I had indeed relapsed and that I'm very ill and that I'm beyond hope and help because I wouldn't do what the program required (demanded) of me... wow... talking trash because I wouldn't jump through your hoops? What sort of bullshit is that? And that follows their "traditions" how?

That is slander, and it is unjustifiable. Besides which, whatever happened to the A.A. slogans about,

  • "When you point a finger at somebody else, there are three pointed back at you."
  • "Don't take somebody else's inventory."
  • "Just keep your own side of the street clean."
  • "What is said in this room stays in this room."
  • "And be careful not to brand him as an alcoholic. Let him draw his own conclusion." (William G. Wilson, the A.A. Big Book, Chapter 7, Working With Others, page 92).

Yes, it's a cult.

Have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     And the believers spake unto me, and saeth, "If you
**     want what we have, and are willing to go to any
**     length to get it, then, here, drink this koolaid."

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

Canada Goose goslings
The family with orphans

They have all gotten up and gone and gotten a drink of water. The two small orphans are in the middle of the picture.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Thu, December 30, 2010 4:05 pm     (answered 16 January 2011)
From: "J."
Subject: Finding your website made my year . . .

Dear Orange,

I am writing to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your website. You have compiled and written things that every AA-er and every alcoholic needs to read!

Two weeks after reaching my first year of sobriety, I quit AA. I had been a die hard AA-er, listening attentively in meetings, doing everything and anything my sponsors told me to do, praying on my knees daily, doing it all as best as I knew . . . even still, I have been depressed and almost suicidal at times. I was told by many that even though I thought I had been "searching and fearless", that perhaps I just didn't try hard enough or just didn't do it the right way. After all, had I done it the "right" way, I would see the promises fulfilled in my life. In many meetings with my sponsor I had been told to "see my part" in the physical and sexual abuse that happened to me for years. I was told that it wasn't alright to be angry at God for my beloved grandmothers death or in losing people and things that were dear to me. Along with that, every time I felt even a minute amount of any undesirable emotion (sadness, depression, boredom) [I was told] that I just needed to get busy and get with the program! Not a word was ever said to me about actually addressing why I felt the way I did and that it was okay to feel normal human emotions!!!

I tried, my God, I REALLY tried to make the program work for me! I wanted to be joyous and free, however, the program never allowed me to be any of those things. I was told that wanting the things I wanted was wrong, to not think, to give up everything and anything for AA even if I enjoyed my activities and they were healthy ones, that I shouldn't get into a relationship or even have sexual relations because it would render me helpless to alcohol. In AA I never knew a "new freedom", but now without the program in my life my heart and mind are truly free for the first time ever.


Hello J,

Thank you for the letter and the thanks. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well, and are free now. And congratulations on your year of sobriety. It gets easier from here on out.

So have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
**      and all are slaves beside.
**        ==  William Cowper (1731—1800), English poet

Date: Fri, December 3, 2010 5:48 pm     (answered 16 January 2011)
From: "Rick B."
Subject: 12-step programs?


I looked over your "Cult Test, AA Answers 4" document. Why so bitter about 12-step programs? Did you have a bad experience with a family member or friend?

Just wanting to know,

Hello Rick,

Thanks for the letter and the question. I don't think "bitter" is quite the right word. I have a lot of contempt for all cult religions because I am a child of the 'sixties, and I saw a lot of idealistic kids swindled by smooth-talking charlatans who offered spirituality but delivered rip-offs.

Alcoholics Anonymous is just one more.

Way back in the 'sixties, there was a phony guru — a very young fellow from India — who advertised himself as the "14-year-old Perfect Master" while riding around Denver in Rolls Royces. He actually came from a whole family of phony holy men. His father was a phony guru before him, and his brother back in India thought that looked like a pretty good scam, and he wanted to get in on it too. The two brothers got into a big argument over who got to use the title "The One and Only Perfect Master", and they ended up suing each other in India.

When the case came to court, the judge called both of them before the bench and said, "There is no greater crime in this world than to deceive men in the name of God. Both of you get out of my courtroom!"

That is how I feel about cults too.

As far as "bad experiences" go, I've seen an immense number of people not helped by the 12-Step cult. It is really disgusting how A.A. lies to sick people and says that A.A. works great when it is really a total failure.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You can say that some groups are cults. LaRouche's bunch,
**     Moonies, Scientology, Heaven's Gate, etc. There are
**     published scales to measure how much some group is a cult.
**       ==  Keith Henson

Date: Mon, January 10, 2011 10:42 am     (answered 16 January 2011)
From: "Courtney C."
Subject: What's Not Good About A.A.

I don't know where you live or what you have been told about AA, but it is nothing like you describe. i thought AA was exactly like you describe it until I walked in the door. Have you ever attended a good AA meeting? Why not try coming out Brunswick, OH and attending a meeting there. Your facts are wrong. We turn our will and our lives over to God AS WE UNDERSTAND HIM!!!!!!!! We use the word God very liberally. Some people do not believe in God but they have some type if higher power that they talk to. Your article is ridiculous. You should go talk to the guy who has the commercials on right now with his son. The moron wrote a book about how to recover. I think you could be good friends.

Hello Courtney,

Thanks for the letter.

Yes, I have been to many A.A. meetings, some better than others, some worse. The fact that you like your A.A. meetings does not make A.A. a good organization, nor does it make A.A. a success that actually works to make alcoholics quit drinking alcohol.

I don't care how liberal you are in using the word "God". I don't care if you are so liberal that you let people worship a bedpan or a rock or a Group Of Drunks or a Group Of Devils. Or Bill Wilson or Adolf Hitler.

Who says that the average alcoholic is even qualified to make up a defnition of God? Do theology lessons come in bottles labeled "Jim Beam"? How do you know whether somebody's idea of "God" is just so much wishful thinking?

Then the kicker is to imagine that this home-made "god" will perform miracles for you and save your life.

It's a shame that you didn't mention the name of the book that you are describing, or the name of the author who has commercials on TV. That would be interesting to see. But they haven't been running those commercials around here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A biblical false prophet was a servant of the devil
**     attempting to lead people away from the truth.
**       ==  Walter Martin

Date: Mon, January 10, 2011 2:02 pm     (answered 16 January 2011)
From: "Todd Q."
Subject: You Must Read This!

Hi Terry!

I am so happy and excited to send this link to you! Please do get in on this one!


Thanks again...


Hello Todd,

Thanks for the link. That is an excellent article. "No retention rate, just a churn rate." Yes. And his mathematics are flawless. So is the logic. If A.A. actually had anything like a 5% retention rate, it would be growing, not shrinking.

I am reminded of a membership spreadsheet supplied by the Foxhall Group in Omaha Nebraska, that supposedly showed how great A.A. worked, but really showed just the opposite. Some true believer put together a spreadsheet that bragged about the "great A.A. success rate", but by supplying the raw data he allowed analysis of the numbers, and it turned out that the "retention rate" was pathetically low. They took in about 400 or 420 newcomers each year, and only kept about 10 of them, year after year.

Worse yet, in the last full year for which they supplied numbers, they lost 14 old-timers, for a net loss of four members. So during 2007 they took in 421 newcomers, and indoctrinated them, and made them Work the Steps, and pray, and attend meetings, and at the end of the year, they had four fewer members to show for all of their work. So yes, it is a churn rate, not a retention rate.

Getting into the debate looks attractive, but I'm offline now. I got tired of being ripped off by phone companies like T-Mobile and Qwest, so I'm just not giving them any more money. I take a laptop to the library to get online and update the web site. That leaves me little or no time for things like ongoing debates on forums (or Spacebook or Myface, or Tweeter...).

But maybe a bunch of readers will enjoy the debate.

Speaking of which, right now I'm using my spare online time to get the hang of setting up a forum using Drupal. Drupal has a steep learning curve, but I think I'll get there soon. I do believe that an Orange Papers forum is coming fast. (And I probably won't spend a lot of time in there, either.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
**       ==  William G. McAdoo (1863 — 1941)

UPDATE: The forum is now online. See:

Date: Tue, January 11, 2011 9:14 am     (answered 16 January 2011)
From: "Robert P D."
Subject: phrase search

Mr. Orange:

I was googling the phrase "soft and mushy" and came upon your opinion piece which I believe was created many years ago. AA is still struggling with a dismal success rate. But I believe the reason is not with the program itself but its implementation but other sick individuals. Alcoholism is a mental illness. It is not a choice, unlike Ed in your example, who just decided to stop drinking and go to meetings. The book is clear as to the definition (see We Agnostics, first paragraph). Telling a true alcoholic to stop or moderate their drinking is like telling a schizophrenic to stop listening to the voices in their head. The problem is that AA has become a "discussion and participation" treatment alternative (like their rehab counterparts, hence the similar success rates). Fortunately, I am aware of others who have been humble, courageous and honest enough to take that 12 step journey downward (initially) to discover that their thinking is the true source of their misery and subsequently, their "bottles were just a symptom". In truth, no one wants to go there. You are taken, by your disease, to "the jumping off point". Those given that "gift of desperation" who are fortunate enough to find someone in AA who has actually done the work described and continues to "practice these principles in all their affairs", and who can be thorough and rigorously honest with themselves, will recover. AA has lost its way. The statistics are evidence of that. But the tenants of this program remain solid. The comparison can be made to what's wrong with our religious institutions these days. People don't follow Jesus, that doesn't mean his program for a way of living doesn't work.

Thanks for your time

Rob D

This line right here is the killer that breaks all of the following logic:

Alcoholism is a mental illness.

Technically speaking, there is no such disease as "alcoholism". The American Psychiatric Association recognizes two mental illnesses that are caused by excessive alcohol consumption: Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction. But there is no "alcoholism". Furthermore, those diseases are caused by drinking alcohol. They do not make people start drinking excessively. If you don't drink alcohol, then you can't get Alcohol Abuse or Alcohol Addiction. It isn't like you can catch either of them from a toilet seat or a dirty glass or a shared bottle. You can't get infected with those illnesses and then have them make you drink. Likewise, there is no "alcoholism" disease that causes people to drink too much alcohol.

There are, however, many other mental illnesses that cause people to drink too much alcohol: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and clinical depression, just for starters. People who have those illnesses often try to fix themselves by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

This statement is half true:

"their thinking is the true source of their misery".

Yes, mentally-ill people do have a thinking problem. Unfortunately, the 12 Steps do not cure mental illness. If anything, they make it worse. Then A.A. has a bad habit of telling sick people not to take their medications, that the 12 Steps will heal them. That kills people.

This statement is also untrue:

"Telling a true alcoholic to stop or moderate their drinking is like telling a schizophrenic to stop listening to the voices in their head."

You are stereotyping "alcoholics", and your stereotype is false. Many alcoholics do just quit drinking when the situation gets to be too bad. The Harvard Medical School says that over half of all alcoholics eventually quit drinking, and 80% of those successful quitters do it alone, on their own, without any treatment or "support group".

However, if someone is suffering from one of the mental illnesses that I just listed above, then simply telling him to stop being sick is not going to work. Neither is telling him to do the 12 Steps.

The 12 Steps do not contain any "principles", so people cannot "practice these principles in all their affairs". A.A. and its 12 Steps are just quack medicine. Actually, they are worse than that, because they are practices for messing with people's minds and turning them into true believers in a cult. The 12 Steps are not a magical formula for curing "spiritual diseases" or mental illnesses. That is why A.A. does not work, and that is why the A.A. statistics are so bad.

When you say that people will quit drinking if they practice the 12 Steps properly, what you are really saying is, "If people will quit drinking by using their own will power and determination, and then devote their lives to the practices of Alcoholics Anonymous, then they will quit drinking." Of course people can accomplish the same thing — quitting drinking — by just quitting drinking.

Have a good day.

== 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: Wed, January 12, 2011 10:34 am     (answered 17 Jan 2011)
From: "Scott X S."
Subject: Cynical Garbage

Your writings on MRA and Up with People constitute some of the most cynical garbage I have ever seen posted.

Shame on you!

Up with People never incited anything and carried nothing but a positive message.

Scott S.

Up with People, cast 69C

Hello Scott,

Positive message? Like the message that the Vietnam War was a great thing, and they had skits where flag-waving MRA members chased "protester hippies" off of the stage? That kind of "positive message"?

Up With People was just one more song-and-dance show where Frank Buchman sold his fascist philosophy. Admittedly, it was the most artistically and creatively packaged version of his show, cleverly featuring lots of good-looking young people, but it was still just more theatrics being used to sell his perverted philosophy.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      "I thank Heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a
**      front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism."
**         ==  Dr. Frank Buchman, founder and leader of the
**         Oxford Group and Moral Re-Armament, August 26, 1936.

[The next letter from Scott_S is here.]

Date: Thu, January 13, 2011 6:29 pm     (answered 17 January 2011)
From: "Henrietta"
Subject: your website

Dear A Orange,

I am so enjoying your web site! I was reading some of the letters and it seems that you are really helping people, people whose children are hi-jacked and stuffed into treatment centres; the recovery scene seems WILD in the USA. Not quite so bad in the UK; I think we are still allowed more than one drink here without people panicking. In London where i go to meetings and have been for over 20 years I think we have some great meetings and some relatively sane members. Of course, there are some factions of the fellowship here that I avoid like the plague, the kind of meetings where you get told to be quiet if a sad feeling escapes when you are sharing, or the meetings chaired by 3 men in suits who have driven 200 miles just to be there, and every sentence is a cliche from the Big Book, but those meetings are few and far between. Some people seem to like getting sober there so they must be doing something good...

All the problems shared on your site happen here but in a much smaller way — counsellors relapse and abuse clients; people get sober and the next minute (before they have done any work on themselves) are working in treatment centres as counsellors... its all quite unwell, but then there isn't much work you can do when you are a jittering chain smoking mess detoxing in treatment . All those pricey places do is to give you a head start, one hell of an industry. In the UK its falling apart; insurance will only pay for 15/ 30 days.

Its hard to know what to say in defence of the fellowship; i don't disbelieve a single appalling story I have heard about it and I could probably add a few, as I know a few...I cant resist! Did you hear the true story about Yvonne who is sober 40 years and whose rich sponsee became a Catholic, then entered a closed order of nuns i and gave her money to her sponsor?!! True.

I suppose I have just been really lucky; lucky because when I was drinking and trying to get well but didn't have a clue what that looked like, I did quite a few personal growth workshops and got involved with and mentally,emotionally and spiritually beaten to a pulp by some REALLY unwell people — who looked kinda well and successful but were massive users... (in fact, the man who ran those groups moved from Australia to America and has since made it to the sex offenders register in Colorado)

Consequently when i arrived in AA I wasn't going to trust anyone at all..... i arrived late and left early; I wouldn't give out my telephone number; I refused to go to treatment (thank god... i would have been kept in for ages), I hit people who tried to help me but what I did trust and what I held sacrosant, only to myself — was the space in the room where I could share what I needed to share without being criticised or being given feedback and I took it bit by bit from there. That was my starting point and I have managed to pick my way through the years since. I often hear people say there is no right way to recover, theres a different route for every alcoholic/addict; I believe that to be true but like Venn diagrams we meet where we overlap; I could never bang the AA drum and say its nothing but fantasic; i have LOVED having it in my life as a resource it has been without parallel but it is not the only thing that has helped me to recover and I do not take every bit of advice i am given....I did go into treatment after a few years; that was great ...I had a variety of counsellors — also great; I got a dog- great too; ditto Yoga and all sorts of things.

dont know why this has turned int a piece for that hideous "Share magazine" Sorry!

Enjoyed your site! keep up the good work.


Hello Henrietta,

Thank you for the letter. It sounds like you really were lucky in finding groups that helped, rather than hindered you.

I'm sure that there are times when some people are really helped by being able to talk about things, and figure things out with the sympathetic ears of friends. That is the whole idea behind group therapy.

It's good that you found groups in the U.K. that could do that for you, without trying to cram a lot of dogma down your throat, or telling you not to take medications, or trying to exploit you.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**  "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be
**   achieved by understanding."
**    ==  Albert Einstein

Date: Sat, January 15, 2011 11:11 am     (answered 17 January 2011)
From: "Crissie D."
Subject: Alcoholics Anonymous — orange-papers.info

Hi Orange

I have read with interest your website, which was a link on a website www.hypoglycemia.asn.au ; a psychotherapist recommended me to read.

So I am starting to see through reading your website your view about AA. It is making sense to me, but in a nutshell, is it really like you say it is, as there is so much I haven't read.

I went to AA in 2001 after trying to stay sober by myself, but failing; and all I knew was to go to AA if one wanted to get sober, I didn't know about alcohol counselling.

How it helped me — I was crying in the meeting saying that I had to stop drinking because my life was very painful while I was drinking. An older member told me to go home and to put away all my wine glasses. I went home and did that, and didn't drink again, I'm 10 years sober, although I have had 3 slips in that time, but the desire to drink is no longer with me.

It was suggested to me by a member to stop working and concentrate on the program. I stopped working and joined seven other 12 step programs Emotions Anon, Co-Dependants Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Overeaters Anon [Compulsive Easters Anon, Greysheet], Sex and Love Addicts, Co-Addition to Sex Addict, AlAnon, and for 7 years this was my life, and I was totally engrosed in the program, and broke, living on a pension.

We put AA speakers on a pedestal, 'Joe and Charlie' tapes, Sister Bea, John Bradshaw, Pia Melody. I didn't have a life outside the 12 step program, even my psychologist was an advocate of 12 step programs.

I have now left all the 12 step programs, and have no desire to go back. I was more interested in spreading the word of the program and starting new meetings, because my previous job was in marketing. So these groups fulfilled a need in me to continue with my marketing techniques.

I can see looking back that I was lonely at the time and didn't have any friends and was drinking heavily after a relationship breakup. AA and the other 12 step programs provided me with the social outlet, Some of those members remained my 'acquaintances' for 7 years, until I left.

When I joined AA I was hit on by numerous male AAs. Two of them asked for sex and to begin a relationship within a couple of months of meeting them. One of them I started dating only after 3 months in the program, which only lasted 3 months, and then we continued to have an affair on and off over the years. He had a known repretation in AA as being a 'sex addict' and the women were warned to stay away from him, but those that didn't were victims to his good looks and charms, he had a girl/or girls in every meeting. In fact this guy started going to AA when he was 21, he's now 50 and has had years of going in and out of AA and detox units/rehabs, and is still a practicing sex addict, as I have remained friendly with him over the last 10 years. The alcohol has affected his brain, its sad to see. I suggested to him that perhaps AA is not working for him because he keeps busting, but he said the counselling didn't work for him, and besides his only friends are in AA.

In two different AA groups, I was friendly with two gay guys, and they would tell me stories of AA women members asking them to escort the women out of the meeting because the women were wanting to get away from other male AAs making advance toward them.

Once I obtained sobrity and did the steps with my sponsor within the second year; after that I really wasn't a staunch AA Big Book advocate, I was more involved in CoDA, ACA, EA to deal with how to live life and emotions The majority of the members were not alcoholics, or if they were, they had many years of recovery in AA and a number of other programs.

The only AA meetings I got anything out of was attending two detox centres where we talked about EA and AA to the inpatients and held a meeting.

I started to see the agenda behind older AA male members and their behaviour towards the women in the AA meetings. I lost faith in them and their length of recovery, and the meetings and started to get really particular about what meetings I went to, until I stopped going altogether to AA.

Now I take nutritional supplements because according to my psychotherapist all addiction is a nutritional deficiency

I can see now I was totally misguided about the program and the way that I was consumed in the 12 step groups, and this experience over the 7 years has been a total waste of time, where I could have spent the time studying to improve my career prospects. I did spend 1 year working as a volunteer drug and alcohol counsellor for Drug Arm, for a non profit organisation in Australia, but only had inhouse training, not a teritary qualification.

Thank you for the extensive amount of material on this website.

If you have any comments to add, I'd be interested to hear from you.

Brisbane Australia

Hello Crissie,

Thank you for the letter. I'm glad to hear that you are doing well — especially doing well without the 12-Step organization.

Your letter has a familiar feel. I know that feeling of "This is it, I've found an answer, these people know what they are talking about." So you enthusiastically jumped into the 12-Step society, and really gave it a try.

It's a little disappointing when you find that the "Trusted Elders" are really just scheming to take sexual advantage of you.

I'm glad that you are beyond that now.

You asked, "Is it really like that?" Well, in my experience, yes. And in the experience of a lot of people who write to me. I try to describe everything as accurately and fairly as I can. Now I know that there are some very nice A.A. meetings, full of nice people, where people have a good time. But then other meetings are like the Midtown Group, which is a professional sexual exploitation society masquerading as a self-help group.

Have a good day and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    The instinctive need to be the member of a closely knit group
**    fighting for common ideals may grow so strong that it becomes
**    inessential what these ideals are.
**       ==  Konrad Lorenz

Date: Thu, January 13, 2011 2:35 pm     (answered 17 January 2011)
From: Bob O.
Subject: Dr. Phill

Mister T,

I was channel surfing and saw Dr. Phill say how great 12-step programs are and I could not help myself. I told him to read the orange-papers and have you on his show. If he asks please accept. Thank you for all you do.

Long Island Bob O.

Hello again, Bob,

That sounds very tempting. The problem with such shows is that the host controls the editting. If the host is really prejudiced on the subject, and you make a bunch of good points that he doesn't want the audience to hear, he just edits them out and leaves you looking like a fool who cannot answer questions.

James H. Kunstler was just complaining about a show doing that to him recently, when he presented his views on peak oil and coming economic disasters, and the host didn't want to hear it.

It's a common propaganda trick: Pretend to show both sides of an issue, while editting out all of the good points that one side makes.

Still, it's tempting.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Distinguishing Science and Pseudoscience
**     The word "pseudo" means fake, and the surest
**     way to spot a fake is to know as much as possible about
**     the real thing, in this case science itself.
**       ==  author unknown

Date: Sat, January 8, 2011
From: Facebook
Subject: Re: Jon A. sent you a message on Facebook...

Jon sent you a message.

Subject: Citing your work


I am going to be video blogging on my site

Much of my discussion will be about topics on your site. Do you mind if I pick topics on your site to discuss and reference your site in the video and in the video description.

Your body of work is the most extensive and accurate I have come across.



Sure, go for it. Have fun. Too bad I'll be offline, or I'd tune in.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

Date: Sat, January 15, 2011 3:48 pm     (answered 17 January 2011)
From: "Lesley R."
Subject: confusing url — another "orange papers"

Hi, Agent Orange —

Thank God for your web site! It has probably saved lives.

Are you aware of an AA supporter's site at the url agent-orange.com?

Have a great day!


Lesley R.
Attorney at Law

Hi Lesley,

Thanks for the letter and the compliments.

About "orange-papers.com": Yes, that is just another imposter. Same name, different author, intended to fool people into thinking that they have found the Orange Papers when they haven't. Fortunately, it is not working. Google still routes all of the traffic to my web site.

It's revealing to see the lengths to which some A.A. members will go to try to keep people from reading the truth about Alcoholics Anonymous, or even reading any criticism at all. So much for A.A. being "a way of life that demands rigorous honesty" (Big Book, page 58).

Of course the A.A. headquarters sues people who try to use the "Alcoholics Anonymous" name for their thing.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Out, you imposters; quack-salving, cheating mountebanks;
**     your skill is to make sound men sick, and sick men to kill.
**       ==  Philip Massinger (1583—1640), English dramatist, playwright, poet

UPDATE: 2014.08.03: The owner of the "orange-papers.com" neglected and abandoned the domain name. Apparently being an imposter wasn't all that much fun and he/she lost interest. So when the domain name registration expired, and the name became available, I registered it and redirected it to orange-papers.info. I also registered all of the other similar domain names that I could get, to prevent another copycat. So now these all go to the orange-papers.info web site:

  • orange-papers.info
  • orange-papers.com
  • orange-papers.net
  • orangepapers.net
  • orange-paper.com
  • orange-paper.net
  • orange-paper.org
  • orangepaper.net
  • orangepaper.org

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

Canada Goose goslings
An orphan, trying to cuddle
The smaller orphan is trying to again wedge itself into the center of the pack of goslings. But that isn't possible when it is cuddling up with just one larger brother gosling. Instinctively, the orphan wants to shove itself under its mother's wing, but that larger step-brother is not its mother, and big brother has no feathers, and his small wing won't cover the orphan. I don't know if the foster mother was accepting the orphans under her wing.

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, January 15, 2011 4:15 pm     (answered 19 January 2011)
From: "Jon B."
Subject: Spiritual Recovery from Reductionist Materialism

Dear Orange,

I've been in and out of A.A. for around 5 years, presently 6 mo of days consecutively sober. Relapses aren't any more AA's fault than my choice or destiny to drink alcoholically in the first place was. Relapses within AA are no more Bill Wilson's fault than the incomprehensible concept of God's fault itself. It's our own responsibility to learn how to live without drowning down our sensitivity and dying a day at a time in active addiction. Sobriety is splendid and certainly confusing, and I don't wonder if AA helps or hurts. Working the 12 steps gives insight and clarity about the underlying condition and cause of alcoholism and other symptoms of what I call CiviLazy, narcissistic entitlement complex with hedonistic inconsideration and contemptful ignorance seems to sum it up in psychological terms.

One great thing about AA is that nobody has to go, save the diversion program folks who get notes signed for probationary purposes. It is no ones only option, although it is attractive for suffering alcoholics to get the message; seeing the severirty of alcoholism and being rocketed back into the 4th dimension, where normative fellows cope with reality without vicing out. More is always being revealed. Some plants with inedible roots yield nourishing fruits.

While perusing through your exhaustive critique I noticed that you mentioned the "disease" of alcoholism. Evidently you're not convinced that alcohol in the body of an alcoholic creates "dis-ease" and the craving cycle. In what better terms do you conceive it?

The AA program is a trip and I'm still investigating if it's one worth taking. Evidently also, you're model of remaining sober in spite of AA and Bill W. works, yet you'd be unable to do so if their character defects weren't available to scrutinously document. I'm grateful that all of it flows in the stream of consciousness now mystifying and vivifying me.

At a certain point we hopefully consider the cultural framework wherein addictive personalities are a smaller fractal form, and cells poisoned by fire altered food and synthetic compounds are smaller representations of the disharmonious hubris rife in modernity. Civilazy is addicted to a subject-object rationalization for anthropomorphizing, or centralizing Diety hierarchy and exploiting nature with willful ignorance supposedly to near the limit of ecological imbalance.

But for Grace,
Jon B.

"the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone.
Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter."
— Bill Mollison

Hello Jon,

Hello fellow PDX-er, and thanks for the letter. Congratulations on your sobriety.

In your first paragraph, you accept responsibility for your drinking. That is good. That does, of course, contradict the First Step. It says that you are powerless over alcohol, which means that you cannot control your drinking and are not responsible. But you recognize that you are in control, and responsible. The other 11 steps are equally invalid.

There is no "disease" of "alcoholism", and "alcoholism" is not a "spiritual disease", either. There are certainly many diseases and illness that are caused by drinking alcohol, for instance, cirrhosis of the liver, renal failure, and brain damage like Wernicke's Encephalopathy, which in turn causes Korsakoff's Psychosis — the famous "wet brain" Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes two alcohol consumption mental illnesses: the bad habit of Alcohol Abuse (DSM-IV 305.00), and there is the serious medical condition of Alcohol Dependency (DSM-IV 303.90), but there is no such disease as "alcoholism". The A.P.A. also recognizes several associated disorders that are caused by alcohol consumption, like insomnia and sexual disfunction. Here is the relevant page of the DSM-IV that lists all of them. As you can see, there is no "alcoholism" listed. The American Psychiatric Association refuses to even use that word.

DSM-IV page 195

I know that the A.M.A. let two A.A. front groups write a definition of "alcoholism". That was just politics, not medicine. You can read about that fiasco here. The "definition" that they produced is so goofy that it does not even say that "alcoholism" is caused by drinking alcohol. (They were, of course, trying to leave the door open for declaring that "alcoholism is a spiritual disease.")

We were also just talking about the "disease of alcoholism" in a previous letter, here. You might want to see that.

The fact that you enjoy doing the 12 Steps is not evidence that they are good treatment for Alcohol Abuse or Alcohol Dependency. The 12 Steps are just brainwashing practices that Dr. Frank Buchman created and used to recruit and indoctrinate victims in his Oxford Group cult. Bill Wilson just copied that stuff, and changed a mere two words: "sin" became "alcohol", and "sinners" became "alcoholics", and hey presto! Frank's "cure for sin" became a "cure for alcoholism". (Then of course, Bill had to tweak a few more words in order to mollify the Catholic Church and avoid losing his Catholic members: "confess our sins" became "admit our defects", and "religious" became "spiritual".)

By the way, this sentence reveals that the 12 Steps are really working on your mind:

Working the 12 steps gives insight and clarity about the underlying condition and cause of alcoholism and other symptoms of what I call CiviLazy, narcissistic entitlement complex with hedonistic inconsideration and contemptful ignorance seems to sum it up in psychological terms.

You are descending into self-contempt and guilt. That is just what the brainwashing practices like self-criticism and confession sessions are supposed to do: induce a feeling of powerlessness, guilt, covert fear, and dependency. You would be right at home in a Chinese Communist brainwashing program where you confessed that you have always been a selfish, self-indulgent hedonistic Capitalist who never cared about the poor people.

This statement about my sobriety is illogical to put it mildly: "...you'd be unable to do so if their character defects weren't available to scrutinously document..."

My sobriety has nothing to do with Bill Wilson or Dr. Robert Smith or their defects. I am sober because I choose to be sober. I chose to live, rather than die in a very miserable way. I choose to have a functioning brain with some short-term memory, rather than descend into Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. I choose clarity over cloudy. I choose healthy over sick and hung-over. I am not sober because I have "a program" of criticising Bill Wilson or Alcoholics Anonymous. Heck, the geese and their cute little goslings deserve more credit for my sobriety than Bill Wilson or A.A. get.

Have a good day.

== 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,
**              A.D. 60?—?140), Roman Satirist,
**            Satires, (c. 100), 10.356

More Letters

Previous Letters

Search the Orange Papers

Click Fruit for Menu

Last updated 3 August 2014.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters216.html