Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXI

Date: Tue, February 1, 2011 7:23 pm     (answered 4 February 2011)
From: "Ray Smith"
Subject: 25% of marriages fail in 1 year when one member joins AA

Read you were looking for some statistics on this. I think they left out some of the more important reasons, like how now the spouse is suddenly an outsider, a "normie" who could never understand that being an alcoholic wasn't their fault.


Ironically, the months following intensive treatment can put more strain on a family than years of chronic alcohol abuse. About 25 percent of marriages break up within a year of one partner's joining AA, says Barbara McCrady, Ph.D., clinical director of the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies. She cites three reasons:

  • Traditional AA protocol calls for meetings — lots of them. "Spouses often say, 'First I lost him to alcohol, now I've lost him to AA,'" says McCrady. The alcoholic's reliance on fellow program members, rather than family, can foster considerable resentment.

  • Some families have for years blamed all of their difficulties on the alcoholic's addiction. Only when the drinker is no longer drinking do they realize that long-established alcohol problems do not just vanish overnight.

  • Families that remain intact despite a member's drinking have worked out their own ways to remain a family unit. "They've reallocated responsibilities, roles, and chores, and the family functions pretty well," McCrady says. "Now there's this person who is sober and wants to reestablish a position in the family." But the family may be hesitant if the alcoholic has tried — and failed — to stay sober in the past.

Hello Ray,

Thanks for the information. Wow. Twenty-five percent in one year? That is a marital disaster area. Now I can believe that, but that is even higher than I had been guesstimating.

And I agree with your point about the spouse suddenly being an outsider. I've heard that so many times. The wife gets told that she must join Al-Anon, or else she will be just a drag on her husband's recovery. And she doesn't understand. And she doesn't know anything.

And when she does go to some Al-Anon meetings to see what it's like, and is appalled by the cult religion dogma and how it's all supposedly her fault that hubby drinks, she is told that she is defective and in denial.

Yes, that will make short work of a marriage. Especially when Hubby insists that the Steppers are right about everything.

And then something else that I don't see the Psychology Today article mentioning is the vicious negativity of A.A. The author showed no signs of being aware of it. Both A.A. and Al-Anon treat their members with arrogant contempt. That condescending negativity comes out in the list of quotes that I linked to above:

  • the wife is "afflicted with a sick compulsion",
  • the wife is "blind to the flaws which create so much trouble for [her]"...
  • the wife needs to "correct whatever is keeping [her] from growing into the person [she] wants to be"... [besides a drunk husband]
  • "there can be no progress without humility"...
  • the wives' "grievances are highly-colored and dramatized by [their] confusions"...
  • the family lives under the wife's "Enormous Thumb"...

Given a choice between that kind of poison or walking out, I'd walk out too.

Have a good day, and thanks for all that you do.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Maidens! why should you worry in choosing whom you shall marry?
**     Choose whom you may, you will find you have got somebody else.
**       ==   John Hay, "Distichs" (1871?), 10.

UPDATE: Spring, 2014: Unfortunately, the correspondent Ray Smith has died from cancer. He worked hard for a long time at getting the truth out, and ran the Yahoo group "12-Step Free" for many years. May he have a good time in the next dimension.

Date: Wed, February 2, 2011 6:59 am     (answered 4 February 2011)
From: John

I have read your articles on AA. They are very interesting but what is our alternative as drunks?


Hi John,

I just answered that question again a little while ago, so I'll point you to the answer: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
**     Which we ascribe to heaven.
**       ==  William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well, (1602-03), 1.1.231

Date: Thu, February 3, 2011 9:46 am     (answered 4 February 2011)
From: "Wane B."
Subject: WOW

WOW so all of the millions of people that have changed their live to thanks to AA, are living a Lie? Even though theirs lives and families have benefited.

Wane B.

Hello Wane,

There are no millions of people living happy lives in A.A., because of A.A. That is just one of the standard A.A. myths. The truth is that there are only a few hundred thousand permanent A.A. members, and the rest is just churn — people coming, and then soon quitting. Look here for all of the details on the churn rate.

Then, how happy are those few long-term members? Apparently not very happy, in view of the evidence: elevated binge drinking, elevated rearrest rate, increased cost of hospitalization, increased death rate. (Click on that link for the evidence.)

And we were just talking about the increased divorce rate in a previous letter, here.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     There are some remedies worse than the disease.
**       ==  Publius Syrus, Moral Sayings, (1st c. B.C.), 866, tr. Darius Lyman

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

Carmen the Canada Goose gosling

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Wed, February 2, 2011 5:18 am     (answered 5 February 2011)
From: "Mark H."
Subject: <no subject>

I just wanted to say thank you for your site. I am a happy member of AA and have been for sometime now. However, I find myself bored sometimes at work and love nothing more than reading your site. It is humorous and I love it. I have no opinion on anything on here but it does while away a bit of time.

Check out aacultwatch.org — excellently funny??.     [Now a dead link.]

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the letter. I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic when you say that you find the web site funny. Maybe you were referring to the jokes, maybe not. In any case, I'm glad that you find some relief from the boredom of life.

About aacultwatch.org, they strike me as some good believers in A.A. who wish to keep it from turning into a cult. My answer to them is, "Sorry, fellas, but it's too late, way too late. About 75 years too late. Frank Buchman turned A.A. into a cult, before it was even named 'Alcoholics Anonymous', back when it was just 'The Alcoholic Squadron of the Oxford Group', and it's been a cult ever since."

The AAcultwatch guys seem to believe that only the most radical sub-cults of A.A., like Clancy's Clones and Mike Q.'s Midtown Group, are cultish. They don't seem to realize that the whole program of A.A. is a cult, and the 12 Steps are just Frank Buchman's practices for recruiting and indoctrinating cult members.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities,
**     as well as those of other people, will keep him from the
**     commission of all sins or nearly all, save those that are
**     worth committing.
**       ==  Samuel Butler (d. 1902),
**           "Lord, What Is Man?" Note-Books (1912).

Date: Thu, February 3, 2011 5:31 pm     (answered 5 February 2011)
From: Mark B.
Subject: ScoundrelzNTwK blog runs Adverts for 12-Step "rehab" called The Arbor


Don't know if you got my first email — I tried resending it 3 times from my primary ISP [speakeasy.net]. I got 3 bounce back messages:

<[email protected] </3rdparty/squirrelmail/src/compose.php?send_to=orange%40orange-papers.info>>:
Remote host said: 550 Administrative prohibition

I don't know if your ISP hosting has some blocking rule on traffic coming from speakeasy.net, or what is going on.

So I resent my original first email (and this one) from Roadrunner [rr.com] my cableTV ISP.

Anyhow I just read "Re: AA video, getting out of AA Legally" and follow the link http://scoundrelzntwk.blogspot.com/

The blog post was funny it might just work.

Ironicly just above that post was an advert for The Arbor — which I have some familiarity with.

Basically The Arbor is a high dollar "resort/spa" rehab chain here in Texas that brags about offering all sorts "holistic" scientific sounding services like:


But they combine all that "science" with 12-Step! Real scientific huh?

LOL! Here's a picture of their "therapy":


Looks fun!

Of course the Steppers love them and the local AA group I've been attending for Court Ordered AA has been doing "outreach" meetings at their DFW area facility. What a sad joke.

Anyway, thought you might want to know.

Mark in DFW TX

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the tip. You are right — I didn't get the first three messages. Just this one.

I don't know what is going on with the blocking of Speakeasy. That's the first I ever heard of it. I can believe it though.

A few years back, AOL blocked me from emailing to any of their customers, claiming that "there had been complaints against me". I still haven't ever been able to figure out whether it was an administrative screw-up or deliberate blocking of my web site, because AOL never answered my letters of inquiry. They just silently removed the block one day, without a word of explanation or apology.

I'll ask my web hosting service (Hostmonster.com) about blocking Speakeasy. If they are really blocking Speakeasy because some account got hijacked and is sending out spam, then they are a little behind the curve. I already get tons of spam all of the time, half of it from Russia. And that doesn't get blocked. Instead, Hostmonster offers to sell me a super-duper spam killer program for a dollar a month per email address, which would end up costing more than hosting the web site. (I use a lot of email addresses.)

About the banner ad for the treatment center, I don't see it. I didn't see a banner ad when I read his page before, and I saved a copy of his page to disk when I first read it, and it doesn't contain any banner ad. And I just now checked again, and I still don't see a banner ad. Do you have a URL where you can see the ad?

I notice that scoundrelzntwk's web pages are hosted on blogspot.com. It is possible that they are inserting banner ads into blog pages. And it's probably targeted advertising, too. If somebody writes a blog page that talks about alcohol or alcoholics, a search program picks out that keyword and then chooses advertisements for alcohol treatment centers. Lots of web sites do that.

For a little while, way back in the earliest days of the Orange Papers web site, it was hosted on Yahoo Geocities (until they erased it) and then on Tripod (until the traffic outgrew their bandwidth limits). Both of them inserted banner ads into my web pages without my explicit permission — that's the deal with them — you get free hosting, and they get to run banner ads on your pages and take advantage of your traffic — and they usually put in advertisements for treatment centers. That's where the money is. No way can you charge the suckers $20,000 or $30,000 or even $40,000 for a few books or tapes, but the treatment centers charge that much for quack medicine all of the time. So it's the treatment centers that want to run lots of advertisements.

The main reason that I don't carry any advertising on my web site is because the vast majority of the requests that I get to run banner ads come from treatment centers. If I were to run their ads, it would be a kind of endorsement. I would at least be saying that it is okay for people to read those lies and maybe get suckered into going to the treatment center, or sending a loved one there.

And while there may be a few excellent treatment centers, I don't have the ability to sort them out and figure out which few rare gems are okay. So I just don't carry any ads for treatment centers. Which means that I just don't carry advertising.

I could probably make a lot of money selling quack medicine to desperate sick people (lots of heartless criminals do), but that isn't what I'm about.

I'm happy that I'm now in a position where I don't have to put up with hosting like Yahoo Geocities or Tripod or anybody else who would insert banner ads into my web pages. I feel lucky in that respect. And thanks to the people who make the donations that pay for the hosting. (You know who you are.)

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     He who holds the ladder is as bad as the thief.
**        == German Proverb

Date: Sun, February 6, 2011 2:23 am     (answered 7 February 2011)
From: Mark B.
Subject: Re: ScoundrelzNTwK blog runs Adverts for 12-Step "rehab" called The Arbor


I just read your comments on this letter on your web site. Thanks.

  • 1) The URL for the ad was just as I showed: http://scoundrelzntwk.blogspot.com/
  • 2) The ad was placed directly above the blog post about "getting out of AA Legally"
  • 3) I suspect it was a targeted ad where Blogspot web page picks up my public IP as being routed to RoadRunner ISP Dallas' PoP, I'm reading a web page where AA and alcohol(ism) are page content, and Viola! they conveniently push an inline ad for a dependency treatment center located in my (reported) area. If I'd been accessing that page from a hotel room in Las Vegas, who knows what ad I'd get! Isn't technology great?

Mark in DFW

Hello Mark,

I agree. I think that is exactly what is going on. As I quadruple-checked from here, and still didn't see any advertisement for any treatment center, it occurred to me that BlogSpot.Com is running a cgi-bin program that grabs the user's ISP's IP number and does a lookup to determine the geographical area that the request for the web page is coming from. There is little point in serving up an advertisement for a treatment center in Texas to somebody in Oregon or New York, but there you are, local, just down the road from the treatment center, so lucky you, you get the ad.

I suppose it's only a matter of time before I start getting ads for the Hazelden treatment center here in Oregon, just down the road. As you said, isn't technology great?

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behavior that is
**     often considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business.
**       ==  Robert Rice, The Business of Crime (1956).

Date: Fri, February 4, 2011 5:10 am     (answered 5 February 2011)
From: "Ben S."
Subject: Evidence-based cure for alcoholism

To Orange,

I am writing to thank you for the work you've put into exposing the 12-Step religion for the quack approach to alcoholism that it has always been. I found your online book after over twenty fruitless years in AA, eleven inpatient "treatments", and even court-ordered confinement to a lockdown 12-Step center for five months. Your work, along with Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episode on 12 Step programs, were instrumental in deprogramming me.

One year ago, I found out about The Sinclair Method, which has cured me of alcoholism. TSM does not require supernatural beliefs, meethings, inpatient treatment or any of the other requirements of AA. It is a cure that reverses the addiction at the level of the brain. It actually requires continued drinking to work, the difference being that the alcoholic takes 50mg of naltrexone, a prescription medication, before the first drink of each day. This blocks endorphin reinforcement of drinking, which in a period of a few months turns 78-80% of alcoholics studied from alcoholics to either sober people or people who drink moderately.

I went from being a periodic binge drinker who had to be hospitalized after every binge to being someone who drinks a few beers about twice a month. I know this sounds too good to be true, but it has given me my life back. David Sinclair is a senior researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Helsinki, Finland. He is a legitimate scientist, not some "addiction guru". His research is the reason I have a good life today.

I recently made a video about TSM and my experience with it. I made it strictly to help people. I am not a doctor or professional, and do not make money from TSM. I just want other alcoholics to benefit from the cure for alcoholism. I do recommend the book, which is available on Amazon, but it is also available in a a free online version. There is a link to the online version in the description of the video. Here is a link, in case you find this new approach to alcoholism interesting:


Thanks again for your well-written and often hilarious expose' on AA and Bill W.! Your work improved my life.

All the best,
Ben S.

Hello Ben,

Thanks for the letter, and I'm glad that you got your life back.

Personally, I have zero experience with the Sinclair Method, or Naltrexone. I quit without using any aids, or even any program, really. But I don't want to force that approach on other people. I feel that whatever works, and whatever helps people, is good.

And I have been hearing some good things about the Sinclair Method and Naltrexone. You aren't the first to report successes with it. Here are some other letters:

  1. The Sinclair Method, a revolutionary treatment for alcohol abuse

  2. Then to my astonishment, TSM worked for me. I really never believed it would happen. For me, moderate drinking took hold in 5 months, light drinking around 11 months, and then abstinence in month 17 — without ever trying to stop.

Also, I've been casually following the story of Dr. Sinclair. I find the official policy towards the Sinclair Method to be suspicious. It has been ignored or even blocked by various committees and agencies, people who should be overjoyed to hear about something that actually works, just for a change.

I think that the entrenched "Powers That Be" don't like the prospect of their favorite superstitious quackery being replaced with something else.

Also, pundits don't like to admit that they have been so wrong for so long.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Once Antigonus was told his son was ill, and went to see him.
**     At the door he met some young beauty. Going in, he sat down
**     by the bed and took his pulse.
**     "The fever," said Demetrius, "has just left me."
**     "Oh yes," replied the father, "I met it going out at the door."
**       ==  Plutarch, Lives, page 1083

Date: Sat, February 5, 2011 6:27 am     (answered 7 February 2011)
From: "Tom M."
Subject: Free Your Mind: Drink Orange-Papers!!

Dear Agent Orange,

I hope you are keeping well. This time, I am writing to you to ask your opinion on two sister organisations of AA.

  1. What is your opinion of NA and its 'literature'? Have you read much of it? I must admit that I haven't ever been able to read the first half of the NA basic text, the part before the testimonials of how wonderful NA is. I remember trying to read it a few times but never managed to get too far into it. It appeared pretty chaotic and less overtly insane than AA's big book, with more new age, wishy-washy "spirituality" in it. However I do know that their "solution" to addiction is the exact same as AA's "solution" to alcohol dependency: abject surrender of your mind and life to the cult. In my experience of the NA cult in the city where I live, the problem of thirteenth stepping appeared to be far worse than it was in AA. NA tended to get the younger female newcomers, and nearly all female newcomers attracted many predators and propositions almost as soon as they arrived in "the rooms". There was a very high rate of relapse among these women, even higher and sooner than the rate of relapse amongst men. I occasionally spoke out against this practice of taking advantage of women who were seeking help, on an individual basis with members but I always got the same rationalisations and excuses: "Its just human nature", "Boys will be boys", "The women enjoy the attention" etc. So much for "Its the 12-step way or death" and "Recovery (redefined the AA way) is a life and death situation". I believe that these fools make it all up as they go along. A thought-stopping slogan for every situation. Contradiction be damned!! In fairness, when I was a newcomer in NA, one older member had a talk with me and told me that chasing female members was not a good idea, and that it interfered with their quest for freedom from addiction. However, people of integrity like this man were the exception. I took what he said to heart, but overall, the pattern of predation on female newcomers in NA was very widespread.

  2. What is your opinion of Alateen? I think this is a particularly pernicious, utterly wicked organisation. I was introduced to this organisation at 14, I graduated to Alanon at 19, after a two year hiatus, when I was too old for Alateen but too young for Alanon and I joined the big daddy, AA, at 22 after a severe bout of depression and some bad experiences of drinking on top of a buttload of psych-meds. Whatever one's chance of resisting the twisted, self-hating, brainwashing theology of Bill Wilson and Frank Buchman as an adult, pushing this dangerous nonsense on children and teenagers is amoral. Once again, I can remember one particularly kind woman, she facilitated the group of youngsters, who genuinely cared about the children and young people who were living with an alcoholic parent. However, teaching me to hate my own mother* and to believe that she had a "spiritual disease" and my entire family has the "family disease of alcoholism" and that we all need to find AA's god and accept and surrender to our fathers' drinking and bouts of rage, is just plain wrong, in every sense of the word wrong. I know that I can't blame Alateen for some of the bad things I did as a teenager, like stealing, and some of the bad decisions I made, but repeated exposure to Bill Wilson's preachings on alcoholism certainly didn't help me to develop a sound moral compass.

    (*My mother is a devout catholic. However, she has a very good BS-detector, and gives short shrift to any competing religions who try to convert her. She saw through Alanon's philosophy from the get-go. She didn't like what she saw as the selfishness and self-absorption of the Alanon members. She believes we need to care for other people. She stopped going to Alanon after a few weeks. I continued to go to Alateen against her wishes. From time to time, members of Alateen and Alanon would ask me why my mother wasn't coming to Alanon and encouraged me to recruit her to the cult. When I related her objections to them, they would repeat the dogma of the family disease, and that she was in denial and was trying to control my Dad and his drinking, just the usual Alanon crap. Certainly, I was not encouraged to have any compassion whatsoever for a woman who was trying to raise 7 children, while dealing with a husband who engaged in periodic bouts of heavy drinking and who had very serious rage-issues. Looking back, I wish I could have seen through Wilsonism as quickly as she did.)

  3. At this stage, I don't know if I really am an alcoholic or not. In the current phase of my deprogramming, I am beginning to see that I have been a member of different branches of the same religion for 18 years. The only times I didn't attend 12 step meetings was a year when my mother forbid me to go, so that I would study for my final exams at school and the two years when I couldn't find a 12 step coat that fit. During that timespan, I certainly never stopped believing that Wilsonism had the answers to my problems. AA has so many definitions of "alcoholic" and so many causes of "alcoholism", it would make your head spin. I haven't drank in over ten years, and see no point in drinking now. I certainly have had bouts of very bad depression. St Johns Wort seems to help to alleviate the worst of that, without the side effects of the pills I used to get from my doctor. I stopped taking my medication for depression at the same time as I joined NA in March 2001 (Correlation or causation, I wonder[?]). I was angry at what I thought was an overprescription of pills by a rotating cast of psychiatrists whose care I was under, and I was encouraged to bin my meds by NA members chanting the sacred mantra "we are allergic to all mind and mood altering substances". Whatever the failings of the mental health services in my country, the very idea that people sitting around a table at an NA meeting are qualified to debate whether people should keep taking their meds or not is preposterous, highly dangerous, and the height of arrogance. I had a chat with my mother lately, announcing my renunciation of Bill Wilsons religion, and I crystallised my attitude to alcohol during that discussion. There is only one way for me to find out for sure if I am an alcoholic, and that is to take the next drink. I don't have to do that, I won't ever do that. Not one day at a time. Never. "Don't take the first drink and you can't get drunk" is the one slogan I latched onto very early in my time in AA. It made such perfect rational sense to me, amidst all the murk of the other rubbish I heard in meetings. It was like the beacon of a lighthouse on a foggy night at sea. And it wouldn't really be a good idea for someone with a melancholic nature to consume a depressant drug. Different people define depression in a variety of ways and people say "I am depressed" to mean different things. When considering what depression means to me, I always remember my misremembering of the lines of the REM song, Daysleeper
    "My days are coloured headache grey"

I enjoy writing to you very much. I find it cathartic, it helps me to crystallise my thinking about my experiences in 12-stepland. Your site has validated so many of my suppressed doubts about AA and its other tentacles.

Take Care
Tom M.

P.S. My former AA sponsor, when I would relate my surrender to a particular aspect of AA dogma, would describe these moments as "paradigm shifts" in my "recovery" from my "spiritual" disease. The other day, I had a "paradigm shift" in my recovery of my ability to think for myself: A man like Bill Wilson, who had the morals of an alleycat in all aspects of his life, the abundant evidence makes clear, is in NO POSITION WHATSOEVER to lecture ANYBODY about morality. But do that he most certainly did.

Hello Tom,

Thanks for the letter. I have to agree on all of your points.

Starting at the top:

  1. I also find Narcotics Anonymous to be pretty much the same thing as Alcoholics Anonymous. They are selling the same Buchmanism cult religion cure for addictions. Their "big book" is all the same garbage. I must admit that I haven't read the whole thing from cover to cover either, but I've read enough of it to see that you can put the A.A. Big Book and the N.A. "How It Works" book on the table side by side, and go through them chapter by chapter, and see that they say exactly the same things. The N.A. book just paraphrases the A.A. dogma and changes the word "alcohol" to "our addictions".

    I agree that it is criminally insane for N.A. members to lecture the newcomers about medications and tell them not to take what the real doctor prescribed. It is also practicing medicine without a license, which is grossly illegal.

    The arrogance of A.A. and N.A. never cease to appall and amaze me. They imagine that a few years of drinking and drugging makes them the experts on addictions, qualified to prescribe or proscribe medicines. Heck, who needs medical school? Just go hang out with the alkies and dopers for a few years, and you are a doctor. Yeh, right.

    About the 13th-Stepping: Yes, it drives many women to relapse. Instead of getting help in dealing with their problems, the women find that their real value to N.A. is "bed-warmer". And all of the slogans about "Absolute Unselfishness" and "Absolute Love" become obscene jokes. The women quickly learn that A.A. and N.A. are not about recovery, and they are gone.

    I heard that Women For Sobriety here in Oregon was founded by women who were refugees from A.A., who wanted a meeting group where they could actually talk about drinking and sobriety issues, rather than having to defend themselves from guys constantly hitting on them. It's interesting that they also chose to dump A.A. and its "spiritual" 12-Step program entirely, and use Jean Kirkpatrick's ideas instead. I suspect that they were disillusioned with the A.A. "spirituality".

  2. I think that Alateen is a monster. It should be outlawed for child abuse. I wrote some things about Alateen on the web page about "12-Step Snake Oil", here. Also see this story of one teen's experience in Young People's A.A.: "It's all about cars, pussy, and money."

    Foisting cult religion on innocent, defenseless children is always an especially evil sin. (And mind you, I don't generally believe in "sin", but there are some things that really qualify as spiritual crimes.) I don't care if it's the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints making 14-year-old girls become the fourth wife of a 55-year-old guy, or the "Followers of Christ" refusing to take their sick children to a doctor, or Scientology teaching children that they are mentally defective because the ghosts of dead aliens are bothering them, or Alateen teaching children that they should quit blaming their drinking and drugging parents for their unhappiness, and "look at themselves" and "find their part in it".

    The bottom line is that Frank Buchman's cult religion is not a cure for anything — not for excessive alcohol consumption, or for drug consumption, or for being born the child of an alcoholic or an addict.

  3. I also don't know if you are a "real alcoholic". The word is so poorly defined. I listed the various definitions of "alcoholic" before, here. By most of their goofy definitions, I'm not an alcoholic either: I don't drink alcohol; I can quit drinking without A.A., and I did; and I am not a horrible selfish unspiritual criminal sinner who needs Buchmanism forever. The only definition that fits me is that I am hypersensitive to alcohol, and it really messes up my brain and my life when I drink it, so I'm far better off without it.

    And, apparently, so are you. Congratulations on your sobriety.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**      Someday, maybe there will exist a well-informed, well-considered,
**      and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all
**      possible sins is the mutilation of a child's spirit.
**         ==  Erik Erikson

Date: Fri, February 4, 2011 7:39 pm     (answered 7 February 2011)
From: Bob O.
Subject: aa confidential bulletin on internet

Mister T,

Please try to read http://www.area55aa.org/Quarterly%20Report%202-2010.pdf
it claims to be confidential information about aa and includes grapevine statistics. I have saved a copy but I am not good at this. Can this be real

Long Island Bob O.

Mister T,

I am not sure what just happened. I saw an aa area 55 aa report and I tried to save it but I do not know if I got it before they protected it. I tried to save it to my disk but I do not know how to retrieve it, if it is there. I did get some data from it. grapevine circulation for 2008=104,993 2009=102,281 2010=92,000 It said circulation was down but profits were up because of increased prices. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone. If I can retrieve it from my disk I will send it to you. When I tried to save it, a floppy disk icon appeared which this laptop does not have and it took a few seconds. How can I list the files on my disk? I only remember a list vtoc command from many years ago.

I was able to get this file again and I have it. quarterly%20report%202-2010.pdf

Please look at this asap

Long Island Bob O

[Local copy here: GSO_Quarterly_Report_2-2010.pdf]

Hello Bob,

Thank you for the information. Yes, a few lines are revealing.

Net sales of $13,490,700 were $67,300 (.5%) less than budgeted, but 1,060,800 (8.5%) greater than the year 2008. The primary reason for the large increase in dollar sales over the prior year was the literature price increase effective July 1, 2009

While Grapevine circulation fell to 97,900 in December, average monthly circulation for the year of 102,281 was higher than budgeted. Income from the magazine offset lower than expected income from books, CDs and other items, and A.A. Grapevine finished the year ahead of budget.

It is apparent that total sales of books and other literature were down, but the GSO compensated for that by raising prices. The Grapevine seemed to be doing okay.

Those numbers are actually for 2009, and they were reported in the Spring of 2010. Those numbers neither contradict nor support the statement that I heard earlier, that Grapevine sales are way down now. It will be interesting to see what happened in 2010. Those numbers should be coming out soon.

Here is what they planned for 2010: They anticipated about $2,000,000 income (after "direct costs", like printing expenses), and expenses of 2,315,000, which will yield a big net loss:

The 2010 Grapevine budget was presented and is based on an anticipated average paid circulation of 92,000 copies. Total magazine income is expected to be $2,340,200, an increase of $213,000 from 2009. Total direct costs are expected to be $933,000, an increase of $53,000 from 2009. Gross profit on the magazine for the year 2010 is estimated at $1,407,300, an increase of $160,000 from 2009. Gross profit on other magazine related items of $616,000 is anticipated, $79,000 higher than 2009. Budgeted costs and expenses of $2,315,251 for 2010 compare with $1,959,500 for 2009, an increase of $355,800. After anticipated interest earnings of $45,900, a loss of $245,741 is anticipated for 2010.

That report does not say whether they raised the price of the Grapevine. If so, that can be the start of a death spiral. (Now I'm not saying that it is, but it can be.)

When a magazine is in trouble, with circulation way down, they often resort to raising prices to get some cash. That results in more people dropping their subscriptions, and not renewing. That cuts income further, so the management cuts staff, so the quality of the publication goes down, so more people refuse to renew their subscriptions, which cuts income further... Then the management has to either raise prices further or cut staff more...

I don't know if that is happening with the Grapevine or not.

But when you think about it, the Grapevine doesn't need any reporters. They don't report new developments in the field of alcohol addiction treatment. They just reprint old cult religion.

Other aspects of that report are informative, and even amusing:

  1. One committee debated over whether pro-A.A. videos should be destroyed because they showed some people's faces.

  2. Then they discussed the question of who gets to cherry-pick Conference agenda items. And somebody suggested that they go back to the good old days of the nineteen-seventies.

  3. Then they worried about anonymity:

    "Of concern was the proliferation of anonymity breaks on social networking sites and at events ranging from A.A. meetings to conferences and conventions".

    Gee, after all of the Steppers' demands that I break my anonymity, they still expect people to be anonymous on Facebook and Twitter? Fat chance.

    Mr. Rogers asks, "Can you say, 'Delusional'? I knew you could say that."

  4. Hazelden bought a huge load of Big Books in 2009 — what amounts to a three-year inventory for them. I guess that means that they don't need to buy any books in 2010 and 2011. If you discount the large Hazelden purchase, it appears that Big Book sales to the public were actually down for the year 2009.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     We were but a moment in time.
**     Ah, but what a moment.
**     What a time.

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

Carmen the Canada Goose gosling

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sun, February 6, 2011 10:05 pm     (answered 8 February 2011)
From: pete f.
Subject: who r u?


somehow I came across your web site, that anti AA thing.

yeah I know, it's a cult and rah rah.

Nothing is gonna change, especially the chemical composition of pure alcohol. It does not come from oil in the ground, it comes from vegetation.

Anyway, alcohol messed me up from as young as 8 years old. A spoon full of that taste, the effect and the memory of it, that 10 years later at age 16, when I got my first honest pay check, they sent me home in taxi.

35 years later, not ever hearing of AA, at rock bottom, somewhere in the depths of my sub-concious the idea to ring AA came about.

I rang them, and the man spoke of the alergy, the physical alergy.

So, I am powerless, I know when I take a drink, I want more and my perception changes.

OK, now you say AA is a cult.

ya know what? who cares? if you try to fit in my shoes, if I told you the rest of the story, I don't think even you and your ideals can solve this mystery, of that Jekyl and Hyde change in my own personality, I can't stop that either.

So I am powerless on 2 fronts.
1. the phenomenal of craving
2. the Jekyl and Hyde.

There is no where else to go where I can find other people with this similar thing. may as well join a cult that showed me I no longer need to suffer while trying to keep up with rest of the "normal" world that can handle the alcohol thing. Cos I know I can't, tried for 35 years and no one told me AA had a solution.

What's your solution?


Hello Peter,

Thank you for the letter and the questions.

Starting at the bottom, A.A. is not the only way, or the only place that you can find kindred spirits seeking sobriety. That is just another one of the standard lies that A.A. tells you. Try SMART or LifeRing or SOS. Here is the list of them, including contact information.

About the line, "So what if it's a cult? Who cares?"
Well, the people who get hurt, and even die, from cult mistreatment really care. A.A. does not help alcoholics to quit drinking and live happy lives. It does just the opposite. (And that is typical of cults.) What A.A. really gives people is: elevated binge drinking, elevated rearrest rate, increased cost of hospitalization, increased divorce rate, and an increased death rate. I was just talking about all of that in a previous letter, here. So check out that link.

Then, our reaction to alcohol is not an allergy. While it is true that some people like you and me are hyper-sensitive to alcohol, and should not drink it at all, we are not "allergic" to alcohol. That is just another myth that A.A. speads. Actually, they are misquoting Dr. Silkworth who wrote in the Big Book, on page xxvii, that

"We believe, and so suggested a few years ago, that the action of alcohol on these chronic alcoholics is a manifestation of an allergy..."

Dr. Silkworth said that it was his belief that a chronic drunkard's reaction to alcohol was a manifestation of an allergy. Dr. Silkworth did not present any evidence or research that found that some people's compulsion to drink too much alcohol was really a sign of an "allergy". It was just his opinion. And his opinions were pretty goofy. Dr. Silkworth was the incompetent fool who poisoned Bill Wilson with belladonna and made him "see God" while supposedly treating Bill for alcohol addiction. If you are allergic to alcohol, why do you need to get poisoned with a hallucinogenic drug?

Notice that the A.A. guy who spoke to you on the telephone took Dr. Silkworth's unsupported belief and made it into an unquestioned fact. That is the propaganda trick of Confusion of Beliefs with Facts.

Speaking of which, A.A. will soon pull a bait-and-switch trick on you. They first tell you that you have an allergy to alcohol. That is supposedly a medical problem. But soon, they will pull the medical-to-moral morph on you and insist that you must confess all of your sins because you are an unspiritual sinner, and God is the only cure. And you have to do that for the rest of your life.

If you are really allergic to a poisonous chemical, why do you have to list and confess all of your sins and wrongs and moral shortcomings in Steps 4 through 9? Just don't consume the poison. Problem solved.

And if you do bad things when you drink alcohol, then don't drink alcohol. Problem solved.

Also, we are not "powerless" over alcohol. That is just the cult talking again, making you weak and dependent on the cult. The fact that quitting any bad habit is difficult does not mean that you are powerless over it. Consider quitting smoking. That is generally even harder than quitting drinking, and yet, millions of people do it, including me. So we are not powerless over either alcohol or tobacco.

The answers to your other two questions, "who are you", and "what works", are both in this recent answer to a letter: How did you get to where you are? . So check that out.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Strength of mind rests in sobriety;
**     for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.
**       ==  Pythagoras

Date: Mon, February 7, 2011 2:41 am     (answered 8 February 2011)
From: "Amanda C."
Subject: Your paper on Alcoholics Anonymous as a cult


Well your paper was certainly interesting to say the least. It must have taken you weeks to write this and gather all of your information to discredit A.A.

Hello Amanda,

Thank you for the letter and the opinions. Actually, I've been collecting information for 10 years now, and I'm still at it.

I'm not sure what happened to make you want to write a lengthy paper trying to show that A.A. is the worst thing ever but its too bad you experienced that.

The answers to that question are here:

  1. the introduction, my introduction to A.A.
  2. the "treatment" bait-and-switch trick
  3. another friend goes missing

I am not afraid to admit that I am a member of AA and that I have done work to stay sober and change my life. I will give the credit to the God I believe in for getting me and keeping me sober though because I had placed myself in such a horrible pit, that only a power greater then me could have taken me out of it.

Congratulations on your sobriety. Why do you give "God" the credit for your sobriety after you did the work, but do not give "God" the credit for making you a born alcoholic?

I'm wondering why you put so much effort into finding every horrible thing A.A. has ever done. You know there is not a single organization or person out there that does things perfectly or that suit everyone's needs. That's just life.

That is standard Minimization and Denial. Bill Wilson said that alcoholics are very good at that.

I have done some horrible things in my life and I regret them. That does not make me the person I am today.

Right. And after 10 years of sobriety, should I still be calling myself an alcoholic? I am not the person that I used to be, either.

I know you mentioned a lot in your article the horrible things Bill W. was and how it took him a long time to change what he was doing. Just because he did some bad things didn't mean that was who he was ALL the time. I'm not saying what he did was right because it wasn't. There is not a person on this earth who can say they are without flaws.

Actually, that was who Bill Wilson was, all of his life.

  1. Bill Wilson never stopped philandering and keeping mistresses and using Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as meat markets, and using the A.A. headquarters as an employment agency for his harem of mistresses. Bill even left 10% of his Book Book royalties to his favorite mistress in his will.
  2. Bill Wilson never stopped raving crazy stuff. He never recanted on his claims of being a medium who spoke to the spirits of the dead.
  3. Bill Wilson never gave back all of the money that he stole.
  4. Bill Wilson never quit smoking, while declaring that "Half measures availed us nothing", and claiming that the "spiritual" 12 Steps worked as a "solution" to addictions.
  5. Bill Wilson never admitted that his copy of Frank Buchman's cult religion did not work to make alcoholics quit drinking alcohol.
  6. Bill Wilson never stopped lying about the A.A. history.

I noticed there was a lot of implication that "A.A. doesn't work". Well while it is true that A.A. doesn't work for everybody, I read your "medallion chart" on the different amounts of medallions given away for different amounts of sobriety (and that was only in Texas). Even at 37 years with only a 0.00015% chance of getting that particular medallion, it does work for some people. There is absolutely nothing in this world that works for everybody. So if A.A. doesn't work for everybody that joins it, then that same logic must go for every other organization out there. Well according to that, NOTHING WORKS! LOL. I am not putting you down for your opinion and belief. Everyone is allowed to have their own. So I don't really think its fair for you to tell those who believe A.A. works for them that they cant have that opinion and belief too. I noticed that some others used the catholic religion as an example and its true. Catholicism isn't my bag but it works for people.

That is one of the lamest rationalizations that I've heard in a while. Something that fails for more than 99% of the people who try it is a failure. Period. You don't get to just rationalize that nothing works for everybody. That is also the propaganda trick of Observational Selection, Counting the Hits and Ignoring the Misses. Looking at the one in a thousand who appears to be a big success story and declaring that A.A. works after all is ridiculous.

The FDA would never approve of a medicine that fails to cure more than 99% of the patients who try it.

Furthermore, you are ignoring the issue of spontaneous remission. People do just heal themselves and get over their illnesses, all by themselves. The normal rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics is about 5% per year. That means that about one out of 20 alcoholics just gets sick and tired of being so sick and tired and quits drinking, each year.

And if that alcoholic happens to be anywhere near an A.A. meeting when he quits, A.A. tries to steal the credit for the recovery. Nope, those people did not get sober because of A.A., and A.A. doesn't get the credit for their sobriety. They are not evidence that A.A. works.

I will say that I am impressed in the amount of research you have done and I would like to say if you are going to quote people for your paper then you should place a note next to that stating "This is one persons OPINION". I just noticed a lot of the quotes you used were from the PERSONAL stories in the back of the big book. Just like this paper you wrote is an opinion, it is not fact.

Wrong. I am very careful about the distinction between opinions and facts. When I quote doctors who did clinical tests of Alcoholics Anonymous and found that it was completely ineffective, and even raised the rate of binge drinking, and raised the death rate in alcoholics, those are FACTS, not opinions.

When someone says that she really likes A.A., and she worked the Steps, and she thinks that A.A. helped her to get sober, than is an OPINION.

I actually used very few quotes from the autobiographical stories in the back of the Big Book. The vast majority of my Big Book quotes come from the first 164 pages, written by Bill Wilson and others.

Besides which, what a switcheroo. I have true believers telling me that the Big Book is a spiritual message that Bill Wilson got straight from God, and "If it's in the Big Book, you know it's true." Those believers quote me the Big Book as if it were Gospel Truth — unquestionable truth. But now, when I quote the Big Book, you tell me that the autobiographical stories in the Big Book are merely OPINIONS? Outrageous. Talk about trying to have it both ways.

But interestingly enough, that is exactly what Paul Diener described ten years ago:

        You can't hand out the 'spiritual' literature to the suckers who are ordered by the judge to attend your occultic get-togethers, urging them to read the miracle-words in order to be transformed,
        claim that these words really have no special importance when critics quote them back at you.

        'Conference approved' means really, really, really 'spiritually powerful stuff', no?

Oh and just one more thing :) since you appear to be a expert on the big book and A.A. as a whole and ALL of its members, would you please point out in ANY literature, ANY where, that says A.A. is the only way to get sober and if you don't do everything perfectly then your never gonna be sober.

Okay, here you go:

  • ... you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.     ...
    At first some of us tried to avoid the issue, hoping against hope we were not true alcoholics. But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life — or else.

    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 44.

  • ...he was insisting that he had found the only cure.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 257.

  • ...they had found the only remedy...
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 259.

  • Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become.
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 35.

  • Here, Bill talks about prospects who are invited to join A.A.:
    Some of them may sink and perhaps never get up, but if our experience is a criterion, more than half of those approached will become fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous.
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, William G. Wilson, page 163.

    Note that there is no third choice: either sink or join Alcoholics Anonymous. (That is an example of the Either-Or Propaganda Technique.) Recovery without A.A. is not considered possible. According to Bill, nothing else, like do-it-yourself, works. No other program works. There are no other choices than join A.A. or die.

    Also note that the recruiting rate that Bill claimed — "more than half" — is totally untrue. Bill was just lying about the A.A. recruiting rate again, trying to make A.A. look like a big success.

  • Likewise:
    The final decision came when my daughter, following a drunk which ruined my wife's birthday, said, "It's Alcoholics Anonymous — or else!"
    The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 378.

  • Bill Wilson even declared that failure to follow his directions and practice his cult religion would result in death:

    Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested [my required] Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant. His drunkenness and dissolution are not penalties inflicted by people in authority; they result from his personal disobedience to [my] spiritual principles [superstitions].
    Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 174.

    Bill Wilson's delusions of grandeur are showing here: if you don't do his Twelve Steps, then you are guilty of "personal disobedience to spiritual principles." Mr. Wilson seems to believe that only he knows and has written down The Real Spiritual Rules of God, and they are embodied in The Twelve Steps. No other church is valid — their spiritual principles are worthless, and practicing them will not save you from a fate worse than death. Either do it Bill's way, or you are disobeying The Real Spiritual Principles of God, and you will pay for your disobedience with your life.

    Bill Wilson declared (in so many words):

    I am the Recovery Program, thy Recovery Program. Thou shalt have no other Recovery Programs before Me, for thy Recovery Program is a jealous Recovery Program, and It wants your whole life.

Popular A.A. slogans say:

  • "A.A. is the last house on the street."

  • "It's Our Way or the Die Way."

  • "Work The Steps, Or Die!"

  • If you don't Work The Program, then your fate will be "Jails, Institutions, Or Death".

I know that if PEOPLE are in an organization, then it is going to have its flaws and downfalls. I know A.A. isn't perfect and never will be but I know for ME it helped me learn how to be a better person and work through my flaws so I can continue to be helpful to others. I don't do it perfectly everyday nor will I ever but I'm no where near where I used to be. I sure didn't teach myself that.

Have a good one!

Amanda C.

Amanda, that is more minimization and denial. Why don't you try being "rigorously honest" about the bad aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous, like that it doesn't work and A.A. lies about that a lot?

(Big Book, page 58: "...grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.")

Oh well, have a good day, and a good life.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The A.A. Plan: "Search out another alcoholic and
**     try again. You are sure to find someone desperate
**     enough to accept with eagerness what you offer."
**       ==  The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 96.

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