Letters, We Get Mail, CCXXVII

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 1:16 pm     (answered 6 March 2011)
From: "Mark S."
Subject: Charlie Sheen quote

"Two wars are in an endless state of sorrow. Egypt about burned to the ground, and all you people care about is my bulls**t... [It's] pathetic... Shame, shame, shame."
— Charlie Sheen

He may be a raving crackhead, but through the coke-hazed ramblings a valid point or two is occasionally made.

Hello Mark,

Yes. Thanks for that quote. That really is to the point. It's appalling how many American people distract themselves with trivial bullshit like the matings and squabbles and foibles of Hollywood personalities, while ignoring the big picture.

Meanwhile, the oil is running out and nobody is doing anything about it. We haven't had a serious attempt at preparing for the future since Ronald Reagan cancelled all of Jimmy Carter's alternative energy projects. Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer's Disease. What is those other people's problem?

It's like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Except that this time, it's a large percentage of the American people fiddling.

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,", the Mock Turtle
**     replied, "and the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, 
**     Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."
**      ==  Lewis Carroll (English Logician, Mathematician, Photographer
**      and Novelist, especially remembered for Alice's Adventures in
**      Wonderland. 1832—1898)

Date: Wed, March 2, 2011 8:00 am     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: "Gene L."
Subject: Fear

Just read the article of Bill Wilson, I am a sober member of AA over 32 Years, I thank God for Bill Wilson and his wicked ways, for if I had not been able to identified with Bill, I may not be here today sober. I went through hell in my early sobriety with my sex addition, I am not cured but a hell of a lot better thanks to Bill W.

I was wondering after reading this that was written about Bill, Why do these people that try to destroy Bill, "What are they so afraid of". The whole article is showing nothing but fear all the way through. "WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?" That he will one day be known as one of the GREAT changers of 20th Century that helped more people then you spineless littler article does to harm him, I say spineless, Because I don not respect anyone trying to make themselves look good by writing about a man that is dead and cannot defend himself. I have been in AA long enough to know how people can judge your actions. Mine god the only regret I have is that I didn't screw all the women that people had me screwing, every time I walked out the door with a woman they had me screwing her. I could write a whole book on the virgins I had make in AA, But all they pages would be bland.

I was 32 when I came to AA and now that would be old compared to how young people are coming to AA now, but I found out that it wasn't only the men that did 13 stepping the women did it also. Less than 90 days in the program and I either screwed or be approached by just about every female in the AA club I was going to. So don't just blame the men, women do it also, but when a woman gets involved with a newcomer male or female these days, no one is upset, but let a male do the same and he is the worst person there is.

Just had to write, because I do get upset when I see how some are writing about Bill and if he was still alive it would be different, I for one do respect anyone who writes about a person that who has done so much to help thousands of men and women to recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, Only if you have ever lived in the hell of alcoholism will you ever understand what Bill has done, Thank God Bill was not a saint, are you?

Gene L.

Tampa, FL

Hello Gene,

Wow, you really drank the koolaid, didn't you? Talk about reversal of reality. The "Friends of Bill" have already tried to pass off Bill Wilson as "the greatest social architect of the 20th century", but it didn't work. People are becoming increasingly aware of what a hoax A.A. really is, and what a failure it is.

That line, "What are you afraid of?" is very standard manipulative cult fare. I got the same line when I decided to not waste my life in Amway. "What are you afraid of?" As if I was "afraid" of getting wealth and success from the Amway program.

And Steve Hassan got the same line when three Moonies recruiters were taking him to a Unification Church indoctrination camp in upstate New York. He asked, "Why are we going there?" and they answered, "Why, are you afraid?"

I am not afraid of A.A. or Bill Wilson any more than I am afraid of Rev. Jim Jones or Chuck Dederich or David Koresh or Marshall Herff Applewhite or Rev. Sun Myung Moon or Swami Prabhupada. They are all just a bunch of lying phonies and raving nutcases who hurt a lot of people.

I criticize Alcoholics Anonymous because it is just more quack medicine and cult religion that hurts people more than it helps them.

Thanks for the news that the women in A.A. are sexual predators too. That's a great recommendation for a religion that is supposed to make you spiritual and help you to "find God". Not to mention "acquire faith" and "find sobriety". Yes, that's one hell of a "self-help group". (The question is, "Who is helping themselves to what?")

The fact that you encountered some women sexual predators in A.A. does not make it okay for Bill Wilson or any current group leader to be a sexual predator. Two wrongs do not make a right. A.A. was supposed to be a self-help group devoted to helping sick people to get sober, remember? A.A. was supposed to be a safe place for sick, confused, cloudy-headed people to get help, remember?

When the priest of a church screws the alter-boys, that is not okay.
When the minister of a church screws the girls, that is not okay.
When a doctor screws his patients, that is not okay.
When the leader of a "self-help" group screws newcomers, that is not okay, not even if he is the founder.
Why do I have to explain this to you?

Now, to get down to brass tacks: What is the actual A.A. cure rate? You can see the answers here and here.

And what is the A.A. death rate? You can see the answer here.

Any "self-help recovery" organization that has a higher death rate than its cure rate is not a good helper.

Then you closed with:

Only if you have ever lived in the hell of alcoholism will you ever understand what Bill has done, Thank God Bill was not a saint, are you?

You haven't read much of my web site, have you? I have clearly stated many times that I also went through the hell of alcohol abuse, until my doctor told me to quit drinking or die, choose one. So I know all about the suffering of alcohol addiction.

Claiming that critics of A.A. don't know about alcoholism is another standard cult dodge. Whether critics "understand" the pain of alcohol addiction has nothing to do with the A.A. failure rate or fake spirituality.

I clearly understand what Bill Wilson did, and it was criminal and heartless. And the "special suffering" of alcoholics does not make it okay to foist quack medicine on sick people.

Your excuse that Bill Wilson was not a saint does not excuse his crimes. And that is one strange religion you have there, where you thank God that your founder was not a saint.

Or a prophet. Or in constant contact with God. Or experienced in talking with God. Or honest. Or truthful. Or faithful. Or a Messenger. Or "one of the GREAT changers of 20th Century".

Oh well, have a good day anyway.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Learn the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
**       == Jesus
**     There is no god higher than truth.
**       == Gandhi
**     Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 11:26 am     (answered 6 March 2011)
From: "James G"
Subject: A video in support of Charlie Sheen


A video Mike and I made in support of what Charlie Sheen is saying.


I trust you are well.

Jimmy (aka B l A m E)

Hello Jimmy,

Thanks for the tip, and yes, I am well, thank you. As usual, I'm having troubles viewing videos, but maybe others can see it.

Have a good day now.


*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
**        ==  Mark Twain (Samuel Longhorne Clemens) 1835—1910

Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 9:38 am     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: SherwoodE
Subject: Fwd: Rational Recovery® | Charlie Sheen

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Rational Recovery® | Charlie Sheen
Date: Wed, 02 Mar 2011 20:12:31 -0800
From: Jack Trimpey


Charlie Sheen would rather live free or die reisisting addiction treatment. This article sums up his ordeal, and might find its way to him or his father if it gets enough circulation:


Jack Trimpey

Hello again, SherwoodE,

Thanks for the tip. That is very interesting. I agree with Trimpey about a lot of stuff, especially "the Addictive Voice", or "the Beast", which I call "the Lizard-Brain Addiction Monster".

But I can't agree with his denunciation of alcoholics and addicts as immoral monsters. His rap there is just as bad as the A.A. guilt-induction routine.

I don't believe that it is a sin or immoral to feel bad and try to fix it and feel better. The problem is that the readily-available painkillers are really bad, and harmful and addicting. So suffer in pain, or try to fix it and suffer in pain some more. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have
**     is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
**          ==  Rabbi Harold Kushner

Date: Fri, February 25, 2011 2:33 am     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: "Mm Nottingham Uk" <[email protected]>
Subject: MM London meeting

Hi Orange

I hope you are well.

I am pleased to announce that Moderation Management (MM) are at last starting meetings in London.

The first meeting will take place Sunday 6th March 2.30pm at Islington Unitarian Church 277A Upper Street Islington N1 2TZ (Next to Islington Fire Station), all are welcome. ( The time and venue may change for future meetings)

SMART Recovery UK are also holding on-line meetings Sunday nights.

Anyone requiring information on MM in the United Kingdom or SMART Recovery UK please contact me on [email protected]

MM Nottingham UK

Hello Laurence,

Thanks for the tip. Thank you for your work, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**    Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to
**     the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.
**         ==   Thich Nhat Hanh

[The previous letters from Kim_S are here.]

Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 4:44 pm     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: "Kim S."
Subject: Re: Question on your article regarding AA

Have you heard of placebo controlled studies?

Hello again, Kim,

Yes, I have. One of the strangest of medical research articles to come out lately found that the effectiveness of placebos was decreasing. That may sound like an oxymoron, since a placebo is a do-nothing pill, but placebos do have an effect. If the patient believes that a pill will reduce his pain, then it will. That is of course subjective, but real nevertheless. In fact, you can argue that all pain is subjective.

But the latest study found that placebos were not working as well as they used to. I guess people want real drugs now.

Have a good day.

== Orange

From: "Kim S."
Subject: Re: Question on your article regarding AA
Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 4:51 pm     (answered 7 March 2011)

Would love to know your credentials "orange."

Well, let me make your day. I have a PhD. from the School of Hard Knox. I also have more than 50 years of self-education. And I have 20 years of drinking experience, and 33 years of smoking experience, and a bunch of years of experience in taking drugs too. And now I have over 10 years clean and sober, and tobacco-free too. You can find all of the other autobiographical information here: How did you get to where you are?

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     You start with a full bag of luck, and an empty
**     bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag
**     of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
**     If you succeed you win the game.

Date: Thu, March 3, 2011 4:59 pm     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: "John M."
Subject: John Kalisz

Oh boy, don't know where to begin with this guy:


Perhaps this part of the article sums it up nicely:

After his arrest, and after Greif's mother was killed, some of those who knew Kalisz spoke to the media. Many said they were shocked to learn of the allegations made against him.

Kalisz was active in Alcoholics Anonymous. He helped lead a lot of people along a path of sobriety, they said.

"It was all an act," said Greif of her uncle's life in AA. She thinks he used it as was a way for him to get closer to young women.

"AA is full of cons and full of predators," she said. "He is a predator."

Hello John,

Thanks for the article. Your excerpted quote pretty much says it all.

You know, I feel a sea change. It used to be that you couldn't get the press to report criminals operating within A.A., no way, no matter what. A.A. was perfect, the salvation of all alcoholics, and nobody would say a word against it. When criminals were A.A. members, that fact was just removed from the article.

Now, the press is telling the truth more and more. That alone can spell out the death of A.A. If the public ever learns the truth, it's game over.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     The worst crimes were dared by a few,
**     willed by more and tolerated by all.
**       — Tacitus

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

Canada Goose family with goslings
The Family with the adopted orphans
The father is watching me while I take photographs. They are not afraid of me. If they were, they would be running for the water. The father is just checking me out, being alert, while I take pictures. Three of the goslings are also watching me.

[More gosling photos below, here.]

Date: Fri, March 4, 2011 8:12 am     (answered 7 March 2011)
From: msanglier
Subject: Re: Bill Wilson's many failings...

Dear AO =

Thanks for sending your research. My experience as a member has been polar opposite to yours in terms of the quantity of the quality. I have been a member for 27 years (sober for 24) and due to my extensive traveling have witnessed AA in action in many differing locales. AA does not say, as you must already know, that it is the only way, but rather "a way" for those who have, sometimes repeatedly, tried to get sober via whatever method and have failed. Who but the most desperate would want to work the steps?!? On an ongoing basis keeping the light of self-examination on motives and behavior; putting character flaws in writing and sharing them with a trusted person and a higher power who though I'm willing to believe exists (which AA suggests is all you need) can't prove does exist; making restitution, financial and personal, for past crimes and cruelties; spending precious time trying to help those who wish to achieve sobriety and in the process receiving no compensation other than the joy one receives by being of service to their fellow humans and possibly ensuring their own sobriety. Who would do all of this but one who has failed miserably at self-imposed sobriety?!

If a cancer patient who has been having success with a chemo regimen decides to stop treatment which leads to the cancer flaring out of control threby ending the patient's life, do we blame the treatment for the patients' death. You know where I'm going with this: if a recovering alcoholic is having success staying sober and experiencing an improved quality of life by "working the steps and going to meetings" and using the myriad of tools that AA offers decides to stop doing so and ultimately ends up returning to drinking, do we blame the program for their ill-advised choice? If I were to change one word in the Big Book it would be "rarely" to "never." I, personally, have never seen a person fail who has thoroughly and continuously followed the steps. Conversely, I have many times witnessed people who either never start or at some point stop working the steps, sooner or later return to their alcoholic drinking. Thanks for reading, MM

Hello again, msanglier,

It is nice that you have found pleasant social clubs around the country. But that is not evidence that A.A. saves the lives of alcoholics. It is also not evidence that young women do not have problems with sexual predators.

Yes, A.A. does claim that A.A. is the only way. I've heard that a zillion times. See this cult test item:
11. Insistence that the cult is THE ONLY WAY.

This is standard A.A. condescension, as if nobody would want to be good or spiritual unless they were forced to by an illness:

Who but the most desperate would want to work the steps?!? On an ongoing basis keeping the light of self-examination on motives and behavior; putting character flaws in writing and sharing them with a trusted person and a higher power... making restitution, financial and personal, for past crimes and cruelties; spending precious time trying to help those who wish to achieve sobriety...

There are actually many people in this world who want to be good and moral and ethical, and who do not need "the lash of alcoholism" to drive them to go join a religion. There are even good, moral, alcoholics. The way that A.A. stereotypes alcoholics and puts them down is really disgusting. A.A. is no friend of alcoholics.

You are also assuming that Frank Buchman's self-flaggelation routines do something good, and make people "spiritual" or something. There is zero evidence to support that assumption. On the contrary, the 12-Step routine does very bad things, like raise the suicide rate in alcoholics, and raise the rate of divorces, and raise the rate of binge drinking. We were just talking about that before. Look here and here.

You tried to compare Alcoholics Anonymous to cancer treatment:

If a cancer patient who has been having success with a chemo regimen decides to stop treatment which leads to the cancer flaring out of control threby ending the patient's life, do we blame the treatment for the patients' death.[?]

Alcoholics Anonymous is not medical treatment; it is cult religion. In fact, A.A. defenders have repeatedly declared that A.A. is not treatment, and cannot be judged like a treatment program. For example, William L. White declared in Slaying The Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America that the effectiveness of A.A. in treating alcoholism cannot be determined because A.A. is not a treatment program and does not keep records (page 176). But now you are hinting that A.A. is a treatment program. And your assumption that the treatment is successful is without basis or supporting facts.

The core of your argument is this:

... if a recovering alcoholic is having success staying sober and experiencing an improved quality of life by "working the steps and going to meetings" and using the myriad of tools that AA offers decides to stop doing so and ultimately ends up returning to drinking, do we blame the program for their ill-advised choice?

Well that's the thing. You began that argument with IF. IF the alcoholic is staying sober as a result of practicing Buchmanism. And the truth is, A.A. does not work, and it does not increase the rate of sobriety in alcoholics. In fact, A.A. raises the death rate instead. And those facts came from one of the leaders of Alcoholics Anonymous: Prof. Dr. George E. Vaillant, who is (or was) a member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., not to mention one of the biggest promoters of A.A. on the planet Earth. Dr. Vaillant spent 8 years testing A.A. and trying to prove that A.A. works, and all that he accomplished was proving that A.A. raises the death rate in alcoholics.

Also, A.A. does not offer any "tools". The mind-bending cult practices that Frank Buchman taught to William Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith are not "tools", they are cult recruiting and indoctrination practices.

"Early AA got it's ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and nowhere else."
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, William G. Wilson, page 39.

Where did the early AAs find the material for the remaining ten Steps? Where did we learn about moral inventory, amends for harm done, turning our wills and lives over to God? Where did we learn about meditation and prayer and all the rest of it? The spiritual substance of our remaining ten Steps came straight from Dr. Bob's and my own earlier association with the Oxford Groups, as they were then led in America by that Episcopal rector, Dr. Samuel Shoemaker.
The Language of the Heart, William G. Wilson, page 298.

(Bill Wilson was, of course, using the name of Sam Shoemaker as the leader of the Oxford Group because Bill was hiding the name of Frank Buchman, whom the American and British people roundly hated for his praise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and his draft-dodging, Nazi-helping ways.)

Lastly, I love this line:

If I were to change one word in the Big Book it would be "rarely" to "never."

I have heard of that line being attributed to Bill Wilson in an interview that Bill gave, but have never found it documented. I like that line because it clearly reveals a mind that has lost any rationality and sense of proportion, and has degenerated into extreme black and white thinking: "The Steps never fail; people fail the Steps!" (Which is also an example of an antimetabole.)

Have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "I distrust those people who know so well what God
**     wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides
**     with their own desires."
**        ==  Susan B. Anthony, 1896

Date: Fri, March 4, 2011 9:25 am     (answered 8 March 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Gary Johnson shared a link on your Wall.

Gary Johnson shared a link on your Wall.

Stanton Peele was on Blog Talk Radio last night speaking about the AA monopoly on addiction treatment and the failure of the 12 step approach:


Stanton Peele on Addiction in the Real World
Dr. Stanton Peele has revolutionized the way we view addiction with the publication of such books as Love and Addiction, The Diseasing of America, 7 Tools to Beat Addiction, and Addiction-Proof Your Child. Dr. Peele has been an outspoken critic of addiction treatment programs such as AA and 12 step pro

This is also encouraging:


Wildest Dreams Do Come True? Outta My Way AA | Beyond Rehab
Have you ever had one of your wildest dreams actually come true? When I was five years old I had the wild dream of living with my mother again. For




I got this on a link over at the Stinkin Thinkin blog. I am getting the feeling that thanks to the pioneering efforts of yourself, Dr. Peele and others that there are major breakthroughs on the horizon. I agree with you that the Charlie Sheen episode is something we should approach with caution, but it has opened some avenues to discuss things like the 5% success rate of AA.


Hi Gary,

Thanks for the links. Those are great. I've already added Amy Lee Coy to my list of links.

It was really good to hear Stanton Peele speaking, and it gave me more perspective on the whole Charlie Sheen thing. I didn't know that Martin Sheen, Charlie's father, was a committed 12-Stepper who has been shoving Charlie into A.A. all of his life. No wonder Charlie screams about the Step Nazis. And no wonder there were so many plugs for A.A. in The West Wing. (I was just talking about that in a previous letter, here.)

Thanks again for the links, and have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     As the supply of oil dwindles, and the price of oil goes through
**     the roof, we are living out a future that was planned by a madman
**     with Alzheimer's Disease: President Ronald Reagan.  As soon as he
**     took office, Reagan cancelled all of President Jimmy Carter's
**     alternative energy projects, and took the solar collectors off of
**     the roof of the White House, and decreed that we would be buying
**     our energy from the oil companies.  Now here we are, thirty years
**     later, facing disaster, totally unprepared for the future. But we
**     are prepared for Death Valley Days.  Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

Date: Fri, March 4, 2011 9:44 am     (answered 8 March 2011)
From: "Esm L."
Subject: hello letter about NA

hello . I am a member of NA in Iran . I am reading your website and I agree with some of them . i am clean for about 4 years and never work or do 12 steps completely cos i didn't like . I just joined meetings but 12 steps is not all about sin or god . there are many important things for life in steps . for example step 1 says I should never use any drugs for my entire life . step 2 says I should consult with others and get information and experiences for a good decision . step 3 says I should move and do my best and ... its more deeper than the first looking . bye .

Hello Esm,

Thank you for the letter. Congratulations on your years of clean and sober living. I'm glad to hear that you accomplished it without the 12 Steps. I don't blame you for not liking them.

You seem to have your own private interpretation of the 12 Steps. Step 1 actually says that we are powerless over our addictions. It doesn't really say that we should not take drugs — it just says that we are powerless over our addictions, and our life is unmanageable.

Step 2 does not say that we should consult with others. It says that we came to believe that a "Higher Power" (like Allah) will restore us to sanity. So you are confessing that you are insane, but you believe that a supernatural being will fix your brain for you. (But since you are insane, so are your beliefs. What is that worth?)

And Step 3 says that you should surrender your will and your life to "God". Maybe this is reworded in Iran to say "Allah". Is it?
Step 3 is where you give up your freedom and become a slave of somebody or something else.

Then Step Four says that you must start listing and confessing your sins. Yes, sins. All of those "wrongs" and "moral shortcomings", and "defects of character" are really sins. Bill Wilson clearly said so in his second book, "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions"

Since most of us are born with an abundance of natural desires, it isn't strange that we often let these far exceed their intended purpose. [Whose intended purpose?] When they drive us blindly, or we willfully demand that they supply us with more satisfactions or pleasures than are possible or due us, that is the point at which we depart from the degree of perfection that God wishes for us here on earth. That is the measure of our character defects, or, if you wish, of our sins.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William Wilson, page 65.

Now I'm really glad that you didn't do any of that 12-Step stuff and mess up your mind.

Have a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey.
**       ==  Traditional Sufi Saying

[The next letter from Esm is here.]

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 5:24 am     (answered 10 March 2011)
From: mike
Subject: free from AA

Just before my 9th year sober anniversary I left AA. Two years ago I was so depressed and confused that I decided to get outside help and found a good therapist to address my "outside" issues. it was the best thing I have ever done. once I had a way of reframing my thoughts with a trained mental health professional the grip of the nonsense of AA slogans and group think was lessened.

After awhile what people said in meetings started to sound like repetitive rote recitations of rote stock phrases, and it started to dawn on me that while I was changing for the better the people around me ( especially the old-timers) stayed the same. The final straw was when in one of the last meetings I went to one of the (self appointed) old-timer guru sat next to me and instead of having a normal conversation with me I saw that all he said was mindless superficial spiritual claptrap instead of rational discourse (how about simple polite conversation). I looked right through him and realized I was hopelessly surrounded by very sick people who have no solution for me.

So as of today I am 5 days recovered from cultism, guruism and believe that it is my will to be healthy and my rational mind that wants to be better not some spiritual mumbo jumbo. My mantra now is: if I have a health problem I go to a doctor, if I have a mental health problem I go to a mental health professional, and I do not turn to spiritual or religious groups for solution to those problems.

I am still struggling to deprogram myself and would love some tips. The fear that is planted that I will die if I leave AA or drink again is very strong. Also should I cut off all ties with even people I liked? A part of me says to stay away from all contact because even well intentioned people in AA are very sick. I am in therapy with a good CB practitioner and don't plan on leaving until I finish working on getting over medical phobias. I do not yet know how much any underlying medical conditions may be contributing to what I used to call my alcoholism. you have my permission to post this letter because i found it helpful to read stories similar to my own on your site.


Hello Mike,

Thank you for the letter and congratulations on your years of sobriety, and your newfound freedom and sanity.

Starting with the last item, I don't think that you need to cut all ties with former friends or acquaintances in A.A. (That is actually what cults make members do, to prevent them from learning anything negative about the cult.)

The thing is, you have "seen the light". You described your moment of enlightenment quite well — how you suddenly saw through the oldtimer and realized that he was just a sick man repeating slogans, not a wise old man imparting holy wisdom. Years ago, somebody commented that "Once the little light bulb goes on in your head, it's all over." Yes. You can't get sucked back into believing their nonsense again, because you know too much now.

Continuing to associate with those sick people may be a little depressing. And I wouldn't take too heavy of a dose of it. Undoubtedly, they will try to convince you that you are wrong and they are right about everything, and you are doomed to die drunk in a gutter for leaving A.A. That can be irritating and frustrating. But on the other hand, you might be able to inject a note of sanity into the jabber and help somebody else out of the darkness. Admittedly, most of them don't want out, they don't want to know the truth, but somebody might.

About deprogramming: I wrote a web page about that, here: How To Deprogram Your Own Mind. That is just some ideas that I wrote down. You might find some helpful techniques there. Beyond that, I would suggest that you keep on learning, and keep your eyes and ears open and see when somebody is trying to foist unsubstantiated bull on you. — And irrational thoughts, and myths. In particular, the Cult Test and Propaganda Techniques web pages are good ones for detecting mind games and misinformation tricks.

Each time you recognize that somebody is trying to foist some untrue baloney on you, it loses its power over you.

About myths: A.A. thrives on myths, like the myth that millions of people have gotten sober and live happy lives by doing Frank Buchman's cult practices. And that Bill Wilson was a Holy Messenger who got the Steps straight from God — after he had a Religious Experience and saw God. And that doing the 12 Steps will make you spiritual and get you closer to God. And that leaving A.A. equals relapsing and dying.

Coincidentally, I was just reading a book about the future decline of the Industrial Age, and the author stated that our views and expectations of the future are colored by our only-slightly-veiled mythology:

Many people nowadays think only primitive people believe in myths, but myths dominate the thinking of every society, including our own. Myths are the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our world. Human beings think with stories as inevitably as they see with eyes and walk with feet, and the most important of those stories — the ones that define the nature of the world for those who tell them — are myths.

Most ancient cultures took their myths directly from their religious ideas, using traditional stories about the gods and goddesses to make sense of their world. Our society does the same thing in a hole-and-corner way, dressing up an assortment of old religious ideas in the more fashionable garments of scientific theory or political ideology. Still, scratch the most up-to-date modern world-view or the most casually held popular opinion, and anyone with a nodding aquaintance with traditional myths will recognize the underlying story at a glance.
The Long Descent, John Michael Greer, page 36.

You mentioned one common myth in your fears: Some bad people abandoned the Right Religion and started worshipping a false god (like a Golden Calf or Baal), so an angry God destroyed them. A.A. uses the same myth to instill fear in members: If you leave this religion, and stop doing the Holy Practices (that Bill Wilson got from God), you will be destroyed. (Of course, they also insist that their religion is not a religion, but that's a different debate.)

Another myth is the story of Icarus, who was punished for hubris and wrecklessness and over-reaching. He tried to fly too high, and fell to his death. Similarly, A.A. says that if you are so "egotistical" as to think that you can live without A.A., you will fall to your death. And if you are so "vain" that you think you are saner and smarter than a sad old-timer who spends his life parrotting slogans, you will fall to your death. (So it's better to play it safe and remain a humble slave.)

A myth that the Steppers do not mention, but that I find very appropriate, is the story of Dr. Faustus, who sold his soul to the Devil in trade for power over this world. That is just like a Stepper who sells his soul to the Devil in trade for sobriety.

I imagine that you have seen the Cult Test question and answer about The Cult Implants Phobias. Those things list many of the standard fears and phobias. Just looking at them, and seeing how someone worked at instilling those fears in you can help to undermine the fear. Keep looking at them and refuting them and they will lose their hold over you.

And if it will help any, remember that there are millions of us who stay sober without practicing any cult religion, or going to any "support group" meetings. Many millions. Far more than the number of people who stay sober in A.A. The Harvard Medical School reported that 80% of the successful sober people do it alone, on their own, without any treatment or "support group". That is the vast majority, and that alone proves that the A.A. fear-mongering is false.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     "For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie —
**     deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth —
**     persistent, persuasive — of our forebears. We enjoy
**     the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
**        ==  John F. Kennedy, commencement address,
**              Yale University, June 11, 1962

[There are two responses to this letter, here and here.

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 2:06 pm     (answered 10 March 2011)
From: "Facebook"
Subject: Jillian R. sent you a message on Facebook...

Subject: Virginia Ironside: 'Why I gave up alcohol' — Healthy Living, Health & Families.

"dont know if uv seen this orange interesting"


Hello Jillian,

Yes, thank you for that link. That's good. That gets added to the list.

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is,
**     I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.
**      — George Burns

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

Canada Geese with goslings
The Family of 9

[The story of Carmen continues here.]

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 3:31 am     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "XX (name excised)"
Subject: Thanks, I guess

Hey Orange,

I am about a year sober right now. Maybe two and a half years ago, my best friend joined AA and quit. I went to a few meetings with him back then. I absolutely hated AA. I thought it was dull. I thought that when I spoke, people either ignored me or condescended towards me. I also thought its program was irrational and made no sense. It also did not help me stay sober.

I would sit at my computer for hours, reading the Orange Papers and drinking, and thinking about how much I didn't want to go to AA. At the time, in my few rational moments (I was really not doing well back then), I thought about how screwed up it was to be using this site in order to justify continuing drinking (when that is clearly not its purpose).

After I graduated college, I started experimenting with longer and longer periods of sobriety: one month, six weeks, two months, etc.

About a year ago, after a pretty bad weekend bender, I finally decided to quit for good. I wrote my best friend a letter about why I was going to do it without AA. And then I did. I went to my first AA meeting since quitting on the first year anniversary of my quit date. The secretary of the meeting had just relapsed, and the people in the meeting went around the room talking about their relapses after 3, 4, 6, and even 20 years of sobriety. I was like, "Uhh, what exactly did these people gain from these meetings, if they relapsed?"

Right now I am in the midst of quitting smoking. I'm about 48 hours in. I am struck by how similar it is to quitting drinking. Really, neither was ever a moral failing. They were just addictions. And quitting them didn't require a huge change in my life. It only required abstinence and ignoring the cravings.

It's weird to be one of the "spontaneous remissions" that you write about, because I have to pretend that quitting drinking was either hard or not that big of a deal. In truth, it was both easier than I thought it would be, and a huge deal. Every aspect of my life is immeasurably better. Most days I don't think of drinking at all. I don't really fear a relapse, though I firmly intend to never drink a drop again.

I look at my friend, who went the AA route, and sometimes I think that my life is much better than his. He thinks about drinking all the time, while I never think about it. He fantasizes about all the great stuff he'll do if he relapses (like try heroin). If I relapse, I hope I'll quit again as soon as possible. I don't know, maybe if I went to AA, I would have recovered sooner, and be happier now. I am glad that everything turned out all right to me. And I am grateful to your site, because... back when I hated AA and was looking for info on how to quit drinking... this was really the only site that confirmed for me that something was wrong. Somehow, back then, it felt very important to have some kind of rational basis for quitting drinking... to understand what was going on... and to feel in control, somehow. This site started to convince me that there was. I haven't actually visited your site since the day I quit. I think I am only back on it now because I am quitting smoking, but I thought I'd write you a letter, even though I think mine is kind of low in content.


P.S. If you publish this, can you please redact my whole name? A native-English speaker named XX who is a recovering alcoholic is not that common, and I'd prefer for this letter not to lead back to me.

Hello, XX,

Okay, your name is gone. Thanks for a great letter. It really brightened my morning cup of coffee. And it is not "low in content" at all. It says a lot. Congratulations on quitting drinking and also quitting smoking. That's wonderful.

I can really relate to this statement:

"In truth, it was both easier than I thought it would be, and a huge deal. Every aspect of my life is immeasurably better."

Yes. Like I was just saying in a recent letter, it isn't just that I have a better quality of life after quitting smoking and drinking, it's a whole different life. I do things that I didn't have the energy to do before. I have fun that I was too sick to do before. It's a very different life, not just a better life.

And I went from the doctor telling me I was going to die if I didn't quit drinking to having the doctor raving about how good all of my medical test results are. No joke. No exaggeration there.

I also noticed how similar quitting smoking and quitting drinking was. I had the same stupid little Lizard Brain Addiction Monster yammering his lines about how "We can just have one now", no matter whether "one" meant one drink or one cigarette. What I learned from fighting with him over quitting smoking so many times helped me when it came to quitting drinking.

Have a good day and a good life now.

== Orange

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

[The previous letter from Renee_C is here.]

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 4:41 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: Renee C.
Subject: ANGER


Yes, the ban on anger is just another part of the mind-control program. Don't trust your own mind. Don't feel your own feelings. Don't have a resentment at people screwing you over.

I LOVE THAT!!! Orange you always make me laugh.

Speaking of anger. AA taught me not to be angry, anger was only for NORMAL folks.

Unfortunately living without anger means living without feeling.

Eventually I lost the ability to feel compassion or joy. I couldn't feel sad without feeling bad.

Not feeling anything was the only way I could survive,

It harmed my marriage, and the relationships I had with my children and my family.

I had no friends outside of AA anymore, so I did not even know HOW to be a friend to any.... one.

AA kills it all.

Thank God..... I can laugh again.... feel again..... and STILL stay angry at AA.

Now I finally feel alive, and it feels so very wonderful.

Take Care....

Hi again, Renee,

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

Have a good day now.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Since mind control depends on creating a new identity within
**     the individual, cult doctrine always requires that a person
**     distrust his own self.
**      ==   Combatting Cult Mind Control, Steven Hassan, 1988, page 79.

[The next letter from Renee_C is here.]

Date: Sat, March 5, 2011 7:56 pm     (answered 14 March 2011)
From: "Gene L."
Subject: Truth

You say you writing the truth about AA, How can you, you don't know the truth!

Hi Gene,

Would you care to tell us "the truth" that I supposedly do not know?

Would you care to tell us the truth about the Oxford Group that created all of the practices that make up the 12 Steps?

Would you care to tell us the truth about the A.A. success or failure rate in sobering up alcoholics?

Would you care to tell us the truth about the A.A. death rate?

Please be very specific with the facts, and please list where you get your facts from.

Thank you, and have a good day.

== Orange

*             [email protected]        *
*         AA and Recovery Cult Debunking      *
*          http://www.Orange-Papers.org/      *
**     Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.
**        ==  Senator Patrick Moynahan

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Last updated 8 March 2013.
The most recent version of this file can be found at https://www.orange-papers.info/orange-letters227.html